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This Is What Happened To The Cast Of Cry-Baby

After two decades of making subversive, challenging, and often downright offensive comedies like Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living, and Multiple Maniacs, Baltimore-based filmmaker John Watersnicknamed The Prince of Puke, The Duke of Dirt, and The Pope of Trash — finally found his sweet spot. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Waters and his collective of punk-like "Dreamlanders" mixed broad comedy, gross-out humor, camp, kitsch, irony, and a heavy dose of satire of mainstream American culture. What resulted is the apex of his career. First came the 1988 movie Hairspray, about the 1960s integration of a Baltimore teen dance TV show, followed by 1990's Cry-Baby, a parody of '50s juvenile delinquent movies. Johnny Depp starred as Wade Walker, also known as Cry-Baby, an emotionally anguished teenage criminal who can sing his heart out and cry a single dramatic tear — hence the nickname.

Cry-Baby, like many of Waters' other films, became a cult classic. Here's what's become of the main members of the cast since the film's release more than 30 years ago.

Johnny Depp (Wade Walker)

Cry-Baby is a cheeky parody of the long-gone genre of '50s teen rebel movies. It offers lots of social commentary about how bonkers that time in history could be, so it wasn't the most likely film to launch an actor into superstardom. But for Johnny Depp, it did. He landed the film's titular role in Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker, a hardened delinquent who's really a lovelorn softie. Depp evokes Elvis Presley and James Dean, while also making fun of them.

Admittedly, by the time he played Wade, Depp was already a teen idol from playing Officer Tom Hanson on the undercover-cops-pose-as-teens TV drama 21 Jump Street. But after Cry-Baby, he was snatched up for roles in interesting and offbeat movies including Edward Scissorhands, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Sleepy Hollow. In the 2000s, he became one of the biggest blockbuster draws in the world, with starring roles like Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, and Captain Jack Sparrow in five Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The three-time Academy Award nominee joined the Harry Potter franchise with his role as dark wizard Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series, a role he relinquished in November 2020 after continued legal fallout and abuse allegations stemming from his contentious and public divorce from ex wife Amber Heard.

Amy Locane (Allison)

Amy Locane demonstrated serious comic chops and rom-com lead potential as good girl-gone-bad Allison Vernon-Williams, who falls in love with charming juvenile delinquent Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker, much to the alarm of her totally square family. After playing a series of TV roles as a teenager, Cry-Baby made Locane a star. She landed major roles in big early '90s movies including School Ties, Airheads, and Blue Sky. Probably her most high-profile acting work was as Southern transplant and aspiring actress Sandy Harling on the first and very popular season of Melrose Place. Locane's career cooled a bit in the late '90s and 2000s, with parts in indie movies like Bongwater and Secretary, and low-budget action fare including Throttle. That 2005 movie, which features a murderous truck driver, marks Locane's last feature film role to date.

Tragically, Locane would make headlines again over a terrible incident in 2010. According to People, an intoxicated Locane got behind the wheel of her SUV, rear-ended another vehicle, then crashed into a car turning into a driveway in Montgomery, New Jersey, killing passenger Helene Seeman and injuring the driver, Fred Seeman. In November 2012, Locane was convicted of vehicular homicide, and later received a three-year prison sentence, which, after multiple official reviews and appeals, was upped to eight years.

Ricki Lake (Pepper)

The members of the teenage gang known as the "Drapes" in Cry-Baby are presented as so antisocial that Pepper Walker (Wade's sister) is sexually active outside of marriage — and talks about it a lot. Needless to say, these are acts which were seriously frowned upon in American society during the conservative 1950s. Pepper (Ricki Lake) already has a school-age kid when she finds out she's pregnant (or, rather, "knocked up") and she vocally hopes for triplets.

Cry-Baby marked the second John Waters movie in a row for Ricki Lake: She'd already starred as teenage dance enthusiast-turned-civil rights advocate Tracy Turnblad in 1988's Hairspray. These two movies brought Lake into the public consciousness. After a supporting role on ABC's Emmy-winning Vietnam War drama China Beach, Lake would continue to act occasionally over the next two decades, but only when she could break away from her day job as the host of one of the most definitive talk shows of the time. From 1992 to 2004, she presided over more than 2,500 installments of Ricki Lake, a highly sensationalized and often confrontational daytime talk show focusing on relationship problems and surprise revelations. A revival series appeared on TV from 2012 to 2014, by which time Lake had established herself as a reality show mainstay. She's competed on Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Poker Showdown, and The Masked Singer, and hosted Charm School with Ricki Lake.

Traci Lords (Wanda)

Every '50s teen movie needs a "bad girl:" A wayward young woman who goes after what and who she wants, openly flouting the chaste and proper ways girls of the time were expected to act. In Cry-Baby, this character is Wanda Woodward, who is seemingly always flirting, gyrating, and smoking. She is brought to life by actress Traci Lords, who brings a tongue-in-cheek air to her performance. 

Cry-Baby was one of Lords' first legitimate, mainstream projects. For the latter half of the 1980s, she'd starred in a few dozen adult films and videos, many of which were banned and pulled from distribution after it was discovered that they'd been produced before Lords' 18th birthday. Lords' work as sneering '50s bad seed Wanda required some major talent, and she parlayed her impressive performance into an active and prolific career in television, movies, and the further works of John Waters. In addition to Blade and Serial Mom, Lords had stints on Roseanne, Married ... with Children, Profiler, First Wave, and Swedish Dicks. She's also done a lot of voice work for the Hitman game series and made a winking cameo in Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

Kim McGuire (Hatchet-Face)

Mona Malnorowski is perhaps the most one-of-a-kind character in Cry-Baby, a film full of remarkable individuals. Better known by her nickname "Hatchet-Face," Mona is part of Wade's gang, and is the loudest, most unhinged, and most confident member of the whole group. This is in spite of her appearance, which is not what would have been considered conventionally attractive in the film's '50s setting. Actress Kim McGuire held nothing back in her performance: "There's nothing the matter with my face!" Hatchet-Face bellows at one point, "I got character!" After Cry-Baby, she acted sporadically over the next decade, appearing in episodes of Dream On and New York Undercover, and as part of the main cast of David Lynch's surreal, short-lived sitcom On the Air. McGuire popped up in movies like John Waters' Serial Mom and the erotic thriller send-up Acting on Impulse. But by the time the '90s were over, McGuire was done with Hollywood.

McGuire went on to follow in the footsteps of her father, a public defender, and went to law school. She passed the bar exam in Alabama, Mississippi, California, and the District of Columbia, specializing in cases concerning abused children and women. The retired performer also started a children's book publishing company and developed a strong social media following for her daily posts of inspirational messages. In 2016, McGuire died at age 60 after suffering from pneumonia.

Darren E. Burrows (Milton)

Hatchet-Face may not be the most graceful, friendly, or traditionally pretty girl in town, but teen bad-boy Milton doesn't seem to care. The character, played by Darren E. Burrows, is singularly and completely devoted to Hatchet-Face and her happiness. Burrows had a very big 1990: Cry-Baby hit movie theaters in April, and three months later, Northern Exposure debuted on CBS to critical acclaim. The quiet, quirky dramedy concerns a New York doctor assigned to tiny, tight-knit Cicely, Alaska, a town filled with unique characters. Burrows played Ed Chigliak, a low-key, wannabe film director who works in the general store. 

Northern Exposure won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 1992, and after the show wrapped up in 1995, Burrows appeared occasionally in film and on TV, in productions including Amistad and The X-Files. Burrows doesn't actually live near a major entertainment industry hub anymore, having decamped to Missouri, where he runs his own jewelry business called MetalManiacArt.

Patricia Hearst (Mrs. Woodward)

John Waters loves casting unlikely people in his wild and audacious movies, especially almost-forgotten celebrities like Sonny Bono in Hairspray and Tab Hunter in PolyesterPatricia Hearst fills this niche in Cry-Baby. Waters gave Hearst the role of the embarrassingly nice mother of rebellious teen Wanda Woodward because it's a world away from what made Hearst famous. In February 1974, the 19-year-old heiress to the Hearst newspaper fortune was violently kidnapped by a revolutionary group calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army. Two months later, Hearst appeared to have joined the cause, helping the SLA rob a bank. After 18 months, Hearst was released, and despite her claims that she was forced to assist in the crime, she was sentenced to seven years in prison. This was commuted by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

Waters, long fascinated with Hearst, met the newsmaker at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, and they hit it off. After casting her in Cry-Baby, Waters used Hearst in all of his subsequent films, including Serial Mom (as a murder trial juror) and Cecil B. Demented (as the mother of a criminal who kidnaps a famous person).

Polly Bergen (Mrs. Vernon)

At first, Mrs. Vernon is the villain of Cry-Baby. The overprotective grandmother and guardian of Allison Vernon-Williams doesn't initially approve of her granddaughter's relationship with teenage criminal Wade Walker. She comes around after he's unfairly incarcerated, however, because she likes his good manners and ability to croon a tune. Mrs. Vernon, a rich and proper community leader, is the personification of the 1950s mainstream that Cry-Baby satirizes. 

Such a role required serious talent, and so Mrs. Vernon was portrayed with over-the-top comedic archness by Polly Bergen, a veteran actress who had won acclaim for her many dramatic performances. In 1958, she won an Emmy Award for playing 1930s singer Helen Morgan on the anthology Playhouse 90, starred in the original Cape Fear in 1962, and earned two more Emmy nominations for appearing in two highly lauded World War II-based 1980s miniseries: The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, earning an Emmy nomination both times. Cry-Baby was among Bergen's last big film roles: She moved into doing mostly TV work in the '90s, including co-starring on the Look Who's Talking-inspired sitcom Baby Talk, and the acclaimed drama Commander in Chief. Bergen's last big project was Desperate Housewives. She appeared as Stella Wingfield on 10 episodes of the popular dramedy soap, earning herself one more Emmy nod in 2008. Bergen died at age 84 in 2014.

Susan Tyrrell (Ramona Rickettes)

Amidst the wacky, '50s-skewering comedy of Cry-Baby, there is Ramona Rickettes, the movie's slightly off-kilter emotional center. Ramona is the gun-toting, off-the-grid, petty criminal grandmother who raised Cry-Baby from early childhood. She is wildly supportive of the teen and his singing ambitions, and also treats her grandson's gang of miscreants like they're family.

Veteran character actor Susan Tyrrell was perfectly cast as Ramona Rickettes, recognizable for her raspy, theatrical voice and her ability to deftly portray outcasts and weirdos. "I like people with heart and soul, and character work is soul," she told the New York Times. Tyrrell appeared in many off-Broadway and Broadway productions, as well as films including Andy Warhol's Bad and John Huston's Fat City. Her performance as a boxer's alcoholic love interest in the latter film earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. After Cry-Baby, Tyrrell appeared in other films and TV shows, but after 2000, her career slowed down when a rare blood disease necessitated amputation of her legs below the knees. She took on a few voice acting gigs, but decided to focus instead on writing and painting. Tyrrell died in 2012 at age 67.

Iggy Pop (Belvedere Rickettes)

Apart from Johnny Depp, the most famous person in the cast of Cry-Baby at the time of its release was the performer who played kindly Drapes godfather Uncle Belvedere Rickettes: American musical icon Iggy Pop. As the explosive front man of the Stooges, he recorded three classic albums, The Stooges, Fun House, and Raw Power, between 1969 and 1973, which became a blueprint for punk rock before the genre had a name. Beyond crooning and growling his way through such memorable tunes as "Search and Destroy" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog," Pop was most known for his on-stage behavior, which was legendarily wild. 

The man who was born James Osterberg, Jr. had made himself into such a charismatic icon that he maintained a successful solo career later in the '70s, then dabbled in acting in the '80s. After small roles in Sid and Nancy and The Color of Money, he landed his first significant role in Cry-Baby. After its release, Pop continued to act, primarily in quirky and independent projects including Tank Girl, The Crow: City of Angels, The Dead Can't Die, and on the Nickelodeon cult hit The Adventures of Pete & Pete.

Music is obviously Pop's first love, and he continues to perform and record music. In 2010, as part of the Stooges, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Troy Donahue (Mr. Malnorowski)

In a bit of stunt-casting for Cry-Baby, a movie that thoroughly skewers teen-rebel pop culture of the 1950s (and that era's fear of dangerous young people), director John Waters brought in Troy Donahue to play Mr. Malnorowski, father of Mona, AKA "Hatchet-Face." Made up to look like an older version of the degenerate criminals with which his daughter associates, Donahue is almost completely unrecognizable from his days as a midcentury teen idol. But indeed, he was once a square-jawed handsome hunk who landed on a lot of magazine covers. How big was Donahue in the Eisenhower era? He gets a shout-out in "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee," a song from the '50s nostalgia trip — and Cry-Baby opposite — Grease.

In between his star-making role in the 1959 movie A Summer Place and his role in Cry-Baby, Donahue appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, including The Godfather Part II and The Love Boat. Cry-Baby turned out to be one of Donahue's last roles, and certainly his most high profile. In the '90s, he appeared in B-movies like Omega Cop, Double Trouble, and Shock 'Em Dead. In September 2001, Donahue passed away at age 65.

Mink Stole (Mrs. Malnorowski)

John Waters started making proudly and profoundly trashy and transgressive films in the late 1960s. He worked in the Baltimore area with a devoted troupe of actors who he'd continue to work with for decades. Mink Stole is one of Waters' most frequent and longest-serving collaborators, having been part of his "Dreamlanders" collective since 1969. Stole has appeared in all 12 of Waters' feature films, starting with Mondo Trasho in 1969, all the way through to 2004's A Dirty Shame, Waters' final movie to date. One of her more memorable, if smallest, roles came in Cry-Baby as Mrs. Malnorowski, mother of out-of-control teen Mona "Hatchet-Face" Malnorowski. Since this role, she's enjoyed quite a lot of success. She's appeared as Helen in all five installments of the LGBT indie comedy series Eating Out, the horror spoof Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth, the horror comedy Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, and an episode of the Hulu comedy Difficult People.

Stole (whose real name is Nancy Stoll) also performs weddings as an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. She also raised money to release an album with her Wonderful Band in 2013, which she called "a memoir of her life in songs written by other people."