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What The Cast Of Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead Is Doing Today

Hot on the heels of the popular underdog occupational films of 1987 and 1988, "The Secret of My Success," "Working Girl" and "Big," a script by Neil Landau and Tara Ison with the title "The Real World" was taking shape, with Justine "Jason's older sister" Bateman originally attached to star. Years passed, and when it finally moved forward, to avoid confusion with a new MTV reality series of the same name, a focus group helped come up with a new title: "Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead."

After directing "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," Stephen Herek's next excellent adventure would be focused on a party of five siblings forced to grow up and fend for themselves after their mom left for vacation and their temporary guardian unexpectedly passes away. The eldest child, Sue Ellen, lies her way into a job at General Apparel West (GAW), quickly learns all the workspeak, smokes a zillion cigarettes, and becomes en vogue within the adult fashion industry, while still juggling her familiar duties.

Cast with a lot of up-and-coming actors, the $10 million budgeted Warner Bros film was released on June 7, 1991 and opened that weekend to a disappointing 6th place, trailing other new entries "City Slickers" and "Jungle Fever," and eventually capping out at $25.1 million in total at the box office. When the VHS hit rental stores in February of 1992 (with the buzzy critic quote "IT'S HOME ALONE TIMES FIVE" headlining the box), and received endless airings on HBO starting that August, "Babysitter" finally found its audience and grew to become a cult classic. The dialogue has become etched into its generation's brain, even inspiring works of art, influencing modern looks, and now, there's even a remake in the works.

Thirty years have passed since its release, and "Dead" is more alive than ever, so let's catch up and tell you what the cast of "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" is doing today.

Christina Applegate as Sue Ellen "Swell" Crandell

Some of Christina Applegate's earliest memories "were when my mom would put me in the plays that she was in because she couldn't afford a babysitter," she told Good Morning America in 2018. Proving she had no need of a babysitter, the "Married... with Children" star was looking to show a "different side" of her acting and easily made the leap to the big screen, commanding the lead role in "Don't Tell Mom." Comparing her two characters, she said "'Swell grows up in a hurry. But Kelly [Bundy] never learns." Her work as the eldest Crandell kid-turned-working-girl not only impressed audiences, but her co-stars as well.

After her Kelly Bundy days came to a close in 1997, Applegate branched out even more, headlining a wide array of sitcoms "(Jesse", "Samantha Who?," "Up All Night") and playing funny in feature films ("The Sweetest Thing," "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," "Bad Moms"). She has been nominated for 7 Emmys, including 3 times for her current Netflix series "Dead To Me," and won 1 for playing Jennifer Aniston's sister, Amy Green, on "Friends."

Looking back on "Babysitter" today as an adult, Applegate sees it as a feel-good movie. "Everyone gets a second chance, everyone gets the chance to turn themselves around and all kids want to feel that way," she told BuzzFeed in 2015. "They don't want to feel stuck in what they are. These characters give kids hope and I think that's thematically what you walk away from it believing and sensing and seeing."

The twice married actress and mother of one is a breast cancer survivor, founder of Right Action for Women, and recently revealed she has multiple sclerosis.

Joanna Cassidy as Rose Lindsey

"I'm right on top of that, Rose!" is exactly what the Senior VP of Operations at the "bowels of the industry" GAW wants to hear when she asks for something that needs to be done STAT. And the character Rose, "that fell in love with everything," was done more than right by veteran actress Joanna Cassidy, who "played her like Rosalind Russell, or with a Mae West sort of spin." She added that she "put on this wonderful red wig and it all happened." A mentor to Swell on-screen, she took Applegate under her wing while filming, assuring Christina's mother that "I will be her mother in this movie." She once lightened up her younger co-star by throwing M&Ms at her.

The Jersey native was born with the last name Caskey, and her "good-looking pair of legs" made their unofficial debut in the Steven McQueen 1968 classic "Bullitt." From there she netted bit parts in films and well-known TV shows, before handing in three roles from the '80s that are career highlights: the snake charming replicant Zhora in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner," Dabney Coleman's producer Jo-Jo White on "Buffalo Bill" (which netted her a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination), and Eddie Valiant's non-toony girlfriend Dolores in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."

Post-"Babysitter," Cassidy has had a steady stream of work, seen in fare as diverse as "Melrose Place," "Star Trek: Enterprise" and "Six Feet Under," for which she would receive her latest Emmy nomination. In 2010, she and her GAW co-worker Kimmy Robertson both appeared in the film "Anderson's Cross." She currently can be seen on "NCIS: New Orleans" as Pride's mother Mena, and had a key part in the final season of "Younger."

While she has played a lot of memorable parts, Cassidy has said that "Babysitter" was the most fun to film of them all. She's even had little girls around the world come up to her and say, "I'm right on top of that, Rose."

John Getz as Gus Brandon

John Getz has been a working actor for over 50 years, and in the hundreds of roles he's tackled, a lot of them have cast him as a sharp-dressed man. "You know, if you wear a suit well you end up being a lawyer an awful amount of the time," Getz relayed to Forbes in 2020. One of his more comedic roles that suited him quite well was that of the lecherous and creepy VP of Marketing at GAW, Gus Brandon in "Babysitter." He had his paws all over Rose, and his eyes focused on Swell to help "break down those corporate barriers."

Prior to Gus, Getz was Jack Tripper's perfect older brother on "Three's Company," Frances McDormand's lover in the Coen Bros' "Blood Simple," and Geena Davis' ex in David Cronenberg's "The Fly" and its sequel. After "Babysitter," he did solid, yet reserved, work as San Francisco Chronicle editor Templeton Peck (no relation to "Faceman" from "The A-Team") in David Fincher's revered "Zodiac," and re-teamed with the director for "The Social Network" to play Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's lawyer Sy. Getz has also appeared on many popular and critically acclaimed shows including "Scandal," "Bones," "Castle," "Halt and Catch Fire," "Homeland," "Better Call Saul," "Transparent," and "American Horror Story." In 2016, he joined his fellow GAW co-worker David Duchovny, suit and all, for the TV series "Aquarius."

Absent from conventions, as well as interviews mentioning his fine, yet goofy work on "Babysitter," Getz doesn't tend to get too nostalgic, having once said that he'll "work on a movie for a short period of time and subsequently not go back over it again."

Josh Charles as Bryan

Baltimore native son Josh Charles stood out in locally shot films "Hairspray" and "Dead Poets Society" before he got to spend his first summer in Los Angeles to play Clown Dog deliveryman Bryan, with puppy dog eyes zeroed in on Swell. Charles reflected on "Babysitter" in 2015, saying the film wasn't "curing cancer," but added that they had "a fun time making a movie that was entertaining." The lifelong Orioles fan even got to support his baseball team by sporting their hat on-screen.

Charles reunited eight years later with his older big screen sister Jayne Brook, "who ended up playing my shrink [Abby] on 'Sports Night,'" the Aaron Sorkin show he starred in for all 45 episodes. Further well-known dramatic parts on TV include Jake on "In Treatment," Will Gardner on "The Good Wife" and Dan Logan on "Masters of Sex." He has also tickled his funny bone on comedy shows "Inside Amy Schumer," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," "Wet Hot American Summer," and "Drunk History." He recently starred as astronaut Hillary Swank's husband, left behind on Earth in Netflix's "Away."

Once romantically linked to Jennifer Connelly, Charles is married to former ballet dancer and "Bunheads" author Sophie Flack. The couple have two children.

Keith Coogan as Kenneth "Kenny" Crandell

No Crandell sibling has a sharper character arc curve than that of head-banging pothead (they used catnip on set) Kenny. By the time he matures in Act III, he's cleaned up well (taking off his $3,000 wig), cooking up a storm like Julia Child, ready to hit the books, and even getting the girl.

Within four years, Keith "grandson of Jackie" Coogan had become the clown prince of babysitting movies, starring in two of cinema's most beloved ones, 1987's "Adventures in Babysitting" (his first feature), and "Don't Tell Mom." He originally read for the "Bryan" role in "Mom," but didn't want to repeat himself too much by falling for the babysitting again.

Born Keith Eric Mitchell, Coogan had an expansive career as a TV child actor, with credits on shows like "The Waltons," "Laverne & Shirley," "Mork & Mindy," "Knight Rider," and "CHiPs" (he doesn't count his voice over work in Disney's "Fox and the Hound" as his first film). After 1987's "Adventures," he made memorable turns in films such as "Hiding Out," "Cousins," "Book of Love," and "Toy Soldiers," which was released the same year as "Don't Tell Mom." He has continued to have a steady career since, even poking fun of his own image in 2014's "The Comeback Kids," and in 2020's "The Quarantine Bunch," with former child stars moving their "support group meetings online."

Coogan still revels in his "Babysitting/Babysitter" fame, perhaps more than any of his other castmates, attending conventions (he met his wife Pinky at his very first one), making Cameos, and selling fun merchandise (like autographed dishes) in honor of his most famous line. In fact, Coogan believes "that's gonna be the epitaph on my headstone: 'The dishes are done, man.'"

Concetta Tomei as Mrs. Crandell

At the time of filming, Concetta Tomei (no relation to Marisa) was 44 years of age when she played the 37-year-old mother of five with the deadbeat husband, Mrs. Crandell. Her character is key to setting the plot's ball in motion, as her 2 month Australian vacation away from the kids brings about the need for summoning a babysitter, who subsequently dies. In real life, the Kenosha, Wisconsin native Tomei is married without children.

She originally was a 7th grade English and Social Studies teacher, but after four years, with the encouragement of her parents, followed her dreams of becoming an actor. Tomei eventually landed on Broadway and even acted opposite David Bowie in his stage debut for "The Elephant Man." More stage and TV roles followed, opposite Kevin Kline in "Cyrano," and recurring parts on "Falcon Crest," Max Headroom," and "Picket Fences." Two of her larger roles were as Major Lila Garreau on "China Beach" and Lynda Hansen on "Providence." Her latest work, in 2020's "Space Force," found her parodying Nancy Pelosi as the show's Representative Pitosi.

David Duchovny as Bruce

In the late '80s, David Duchovny was failing at a lot of television auditions because he was told he was more of a "movie star," which meant he was unemployed most of the time. After he moved to Los Angeles, his "first or second job" with a "really bad hairdo" was playing the sneaky, snooping inventory clerk Bruce in "Babysitter."

His career slowly inched up and up from there. The "movie star" did appear in plenty of them — "Beethoven," "Chaplin," "Kalifornia," and "Zoolander" included — but it was on television where he would make his mark. Duchovny booked an early key TV role, alongside "Babysitter" co-star Kimmy Robertson, as Agent Dennis/Denise Bryson on "Twin Peaks," followed by "The Red Shoe Diaries," and then, the role of his lifetime, Fox Mulder on "The X-Files." He's played Mulder in the original series, two feature films, and two later seasons in 2016 and 2018. He also was oversexed for 7 seasons as Hank Moody on Showtime's "Californication." Not so ironically, he had a sex addiction problem in real life, which led to a split with his wife Téa Leoni.

No matter the hairdo, Duchovny has done a lot, keeping busy in a variety of media. He has released two albums, with a third, "Gestureland," coming out this month. He's written four books, with him attached to star in a Showtime adaption of his latest work, 2021's "Truly Like Lightning." Recently, he and a star-studded cast wrapped the Judd Apatow pandemic comedy "Bubble."

Kimmy Robertson as Cathy Henderson

While Kimmy Robertson was on hiatus from playing her most iconic role, police station receptionist Lucy Moran on "Twin Peaks," she landed the only audition she got — the eager beaver, computer whiz, QED reports and Jell-O mold making machine Cathy Henderson. She liked the part because Cathy was "helpful and enthusiastic," and has "had a seriously positive effect" on young women in the workforce. People have thanked Kimmy for her character helping "them to understand that you could work in an office, and enjoy it, and not be ashamed of it."

Robertson has a very unique sounding set of vocal cords and has made a solid career using them in voiceover animation. Her voice can be heard in "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Simpsons," "Batman: The Animated Series," "The Tick," and the current web series, "Ollie & Scoops." Robertson reprised her "Twin Peaks" role in 2017's "The Return," having married her sweetheart Andy (Harry Goaz), and seen their son, Wally Brando (Michael Cera), grow to be a "wild one" with a life on the road.

Robertson continues to brighten people's days with her voice and smile at conventions and with Cameos. In her free time she enjoys cats, dogs, flowers and Colman's Mustard.

Jayne Brook as Carolyn

"It was fun to play an unmitigated bitch," Jayne Brook said of her snappy, bitter and conniving GAW receptionist Carolyn, adding "But I was horrified when I saw it because they cut all the scenes that explained why I was in such a bad mood." The rival of Swell, and older sister of Bryan, made even more of a name for herself (she was born Jane Anderson) in the '90s, starring on TV dramas "Sirens" (where she met her husband), and as Dr. Diane Grad for 103 episodes of "Chicago Hope." She also played an abused wife forced to fess up to Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Kindergarten Cop."

More TV stints followed in the early 2000s, on "Boston Legal," "Private Practice," "Major Crimes," and most recently, as Admiral Cornwell on "Star Trek: Discovery." Previously unfamiliar with the famous franchise's universe, she has since come to embrace her Trekking by making rounds at conventions, and co-hosting a YouTube mini-series teaching biology (her one time major) via "Star Trek" with fellow Duke alumnus Dr. Mohamed Noor: "BioTrekkie with the Admiral."

Back in 2019, she wished her fans a Happy Halloween by telling them to "watch out for mean receptionists."

Eda Reiss Merin as Mrs. Sturak

For over 30 years, Eda Reiss Merin made the rounds in the theater scene (even co-starring on stage with a pre-film career Al Pacino in 1967), playing "a lot of landladies, maids and mothers," but felt "battered" by industry for never truly making it. "I have never had a chance to do a part that earns you a reputation." She moved to Los Angeles in '70s, and small roles followed on shows like "Charlie's Angels, "Mama's Family," and "The Garry Shandling Show," and films such as "The Frisco Kid," "Ghostbusters," Disney's "The Black Cauldron" (as the voice of Orddu), and "Turner & Hooch."

Merin finally got a part that earned her a "reputation" when she breathed a lot of life, with minimal screen time, as the titular "Babysitter," Mrs. Sturak. A sweet looking old lady to parents, Mrs. Sturak is a menace to the "little maggots" she's in charge of looking after. Her tight ship runs aground when she dies in her sleep, is placed in a trunk, dropped off at a mortuary, and buried with an anonymous [spoiler alert] "Nice Old Lady" headstone. When "Don't Tell Mom" made its first rounds on HBO, the cable channel sent her on a promotional tour, with fans clamoring to meet her. She told her daughter Jennifer, "I don't get it. Why didn't they do this when I played Clytemnestra or Lady Macbeth?"

A dozen or so roles followed her "Babysitting" gig, on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Murder, She Wrote," and "ER," with her final one a mile high, as "Older Woman on Plane" in 1995's "The Pompatus of Love." Merin would pass away three years later at age 84. Her journalist daughter Jennifer named The Alliance of Women Film Journalists' EDA Awards in her honor.

[Fun fact: Merin was one of the founding members of AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), and her union card number was #00012.]

Robert Hy Gorman as Walter Crandell

Walter, the youngest Crandell child, loved watching TV so much that he never had any interest in going outside, since there's "no tv, and no [game show] prizes." That is until he tried to set up an antenna on the roof and fell off of it [don't worry, the filmmakers didn't make him really climb up on the roof].

The child actor who played him, Robert Hy Gorman, loved starring on TV shows and films, and by the time he was 18 years of age, he had already worked alongside the likes of Michael Landon, Art Carney, Mel Gibson, Gene Wilder, Jane Wyman, William Hurt, Geena Davis, Jennifer Aniston, the "Leprechaun,", and Hulk Hogan. After wrapping the series "The Home Court" in 1996, and an appearance on "Boy Meets World" in 1998, Gorman didn't resurface in the industry until 2005 for the show "Surface." A few more roles followed, before capping his acting resume in 2009, playing an "assistant" on "Drop Dead Diva."

In 2016, Gorman co-produced the drama "Warrior Road," which filmed on location in South Carolina. He currently resides in Charleston, and in 2018 he co-founded the wealth management company Apollon.

Danielle Harris as Melissa Crandell

Melissa Crandell manned-up far more than any of her three brothers were. The tomboy, played by Danielle Harris (who stepped in after "Kids Incorporated" wouldn't let Jennifer Love Hewitt out of her contract), was more at home in baseball pinstripes than wearing a nice dress with stripes. In the same year as "Babysitter," she also appeared as Bruce Willis' daughter in "The Last Boy Scout."

Prior to both, she would become a "horror gal" appearing in the fourth and fifth installments of "Halloween," and later returning to the franchise with the Rob Zombie reboots in 2007 and 2009. She did the same with "Roseanne," appearing as Darlene's neighbor nemesis Molly from 1992-93, then reprised her role for "The Connors" in 2021, in a revealing episode. She loved returning to the series, especially since it was something she could watch with her children, where for once "I'm not covered in blood and I'm not screaming."

Harris is aware of the "Babysitter" remake, and when asked if she'd be up for reprising that role or participating at all, she said "that would be interesting."

Christopher Pettiet as Zach Crandell

Christopher Pettiet's career was just starting up when he landed the role of charming little Romeo with the striking blue eyes, Zach Crandell. He paid lip service to the ladies, and then was at his sister Swell's service when she needed him most — the head maitre d' for her big fashion show party. In 1991 alone, he was in "Babysitter," "Point Break," and played a young Jesse James on the TV series "The Young Riders."

The teenage friend of Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio would go on to play over 15 more roles, mainly on television, with his last ones as Dean on MTV's "Undressed" (reuniting him with "Babysitter" scribe Neil Landau), and an episode of "Judging Amy" that both aired in 1999. Although Pettiet had a crush on his screen sister Christina Applegate, he later briefly dated his other screen sister, Danielle Harris.

Pettiet died of an accidental drug overdose in Los Angeles on April 12, 2000, two months shy of his 24th birthday. Upon his death, his mother Helen asked for people to donate money in his memory to the acting studio where he got his start.

Applegate recently told BuzzFeed, "He was a really special, special young man. Dark and twisty inside, which I gravitate towards. I loved him. I really did. It's the saddest thing that could ever happen. God rest his soul."

The Crandell House - Private Santa Clarita Home

While not officially listed in the credits, the Crandell household plays just as big a role in the film as any of the characters that inhabited it. It is where all the sibling messes are made and eventually cleaned up (who needs a dishwasher when you can just skeet shoot them off a roof?). It's also where Swell staged her incredible poolside fashion show that wowed her boss, industry and even her mother.

An actual Santa Clarita, California residence's exterior (roof and pool included) as well as its interiors were used in the filming of "Babysitter." Keith Coogan described it as a "big, hot, smelly house — because the kitchen was just rotting away. They let that kitchen build up over time so it just kept getting grosser and grosser." In 2020, he revisited the house for the first time since filming and estimated that it was 90% the same.

Built in 1983, the house first gained notoriety as the new home of "Growing Pains" Coach Lubbock and his large brood, on the spin-off show "Just The Ten of Us" (it can be seen in the opening credits) that ran from 1988-1990. It's currently a private, off-market home with 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms, valued at over $2.2 million.