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Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Hocus Pocus?

Disney's "Hocus Pocus" has become a Halloween classic in the multiple decades since it debuted, but it's possible none of its cast would have predicted this legacy at the time. Premiering in the dead of summer in 1993, the film wasn't actually a spooky season release, but by telling the story of three witches brought back to life in Salem, Massachusetts — arguably America's Halloween capitol — it became synonymous with the ghostly holiday celebrated on October 31. Even now, kids and adults alike enjoy dressing up as the film's characters and reenacting scenes for Halloween, in addition to watching the movie a zillion times.

The story follows the three Sanderson sisters, olde-style witches who murder children and suck their life force to stay young. The sisters are hanged in the 17th century, but they cast a spell that guarantees their return when certain conditions are met. Three centuries later, when All Hallows' Eve occurs on a full moon night, a disgruntled teenager lights the sisters' Black Flame Candle and brings them back to life, leading to full-on Halloween chaos. 

The fun, musical, campy Halloween flick featured a number of already-famous, a-little-bit-famous, and not-so-famous actors (some of whom then went on to become extremely well-known as a result of this movie). If you give the film a watch today, you may recognize many of them. Here's what happened to the cast of "Hocus Pocus" after 1993.

Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson

The Sanderson witches are led by eldest sister Winifred, played by the incomparable Bette Midler. Winifred Sanderson is bossy, angry, and selfish to the point where if she sacrificed her own sisters to survive, we wouldn't be surprised. Her style is showy, sassy, and very musical. Winifred performs the show-stopping number in the film, a jazzy, upbeat, and Halloween-themed cover of "I Put a Spell on You." Winifred and her sisters are, of course, supposed to be the bad guys, but you can't help but love them, especially Winnie's exaggerated showman personality.

Midler has the perfect resume to play the elaborate Winifred. She started her career back in 1965 when she moved from her native Hawaii to New York City, where she got her first Off-Broadway role. From 1966 to 1969, she played Tzeitel in the Broadway run of "Fiddler on the Roof." In 1971, she released her first album, "The Divine Miss M," and took off from there. Midler has released 13 albums, four soundtracks, five live albums, and seven greatest hits compilations. She's been in over 40 movies and over 40 television shows — many in the role of herself as a performer — and appeared in numerous stage productions with concert tours around the world. To say Bette Midler still has a strong career is an understatement.

Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson

Middle sister Mary Sanderson is played by top-notch comedienne Kathy Najimy. While all of the Sanderson sisters are funny in their own ways, Mary does a lot of comic relief via physical comedy and gross-out humor. She's the one who finds the children by sniffing them out like a dog and, in case you forgot, rides a flying vacuum cleaner when there's no broomstick to be found in the updated Sanderson house closet. She's often made fun of and berated by Winnie, and she's not the brightest of the trio, but she's a fun part of the witchy gang.

Much like Midler, Najimy is still having a pretty successful acting career, mostly on TV. She started her comedy career in the early '90s and quickly made the shift to film after a couple of HBO specials. Her first big break was the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg comedy "Sister Act," followed by its 1993 sequel. Since playing Mary Sanderson, Najimiy co-starred on the sitcom "Veronica's Closet" from 1997 until 2000, voiced matriarch Peggy Hill on the animated series "King of the Hill" from 1997 until 2010, and had recurring roles on "VEEP" and "Younger," among dozens of other TV appearances. In 2021, Najimiy had a part on "The Morning Show," and like her other Sanderson sisters, is coming back for "Hocus Pocus 2."

Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson

Dim-witted youngest sister Sarah Sanderson was beautiful but brainless. Played by Sarah Jessica Parker, Sarah epitomizes the "dumb blonde" trope – though she does resourcefully utilize her beauty and lovely singing voice to hypnotize and lure the children to their doom at the sisters' cottage. Sarah's character comes along with plenty of innuendo for a Disney movie intended for children, and Sarah's intended doofiness is a foil for Winnie's intense anger and Mary's comforting aura.

Parker, as we know, is a huge star thanks to the HBO hit comedy "Sex and the City." Before landing her signature role as Carrie Bradshaw, Parker was a child star, appearing in movies like "Footloose" and "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." "Sex and the City" most certainly launched Parker into the household name realm, however, and fame from the female-centric comedy series hurled her into lead roles in romantic comedies like "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" and "Failure to Launch." Other comedy films of Parker's include "Honeymoon in Vegas," "The First Wives Club," "The Family Stone," and "I Don't Know How She Does It." Parker has an upcoming "Sex and the City" sequel mini-series called "And Just Like That" in the works.

Omri Katz as Max Dennison

Young actor Omri Katz played the teen lead of "Hocus Pocus," the disgruntled transplant Max Dennison. Perpetually grumpy about having to move from his hometown of Los Angeles to the Halloween-obsessed Salem, Massachusetts, Max doesn't believe in any of that silly "hocus pocus" about ghosts or spells or witches, which is exactly the kind of hubris that results in setting the Sanderson sisters free once more.

Katz was another child star of the '80s and '90s. His first major gig was as John Ross Ewing III on the soap opera "Dallas" from 1983 to 1991. After that, Katz starred as Marshall Teller on the NBC horror sci-fi series "Eerie, Indiana," which followed the teen investigating mysterious scenarios. The show was a hit in syndication on The Disney Channel and other Saturday morning time slots. After "Hocus Pocus," Katz had a co-starring role on "The John Larroquette Show" for a couple of years, but his career slowed after that.

He's had a couple of other single-episode TV appearances, but has no real credits on his resume since 2002, other than a cameo as Marshall Teller on 2018's "Childhood Thoughts," a revisiting of the spooky kids' series. Katz reportedly worked as a hair stylist in Los Angeles after retiring from the acting world and now runs a cannabis company. He had a mini-reunion with his "Hocus Pocus" castmates in 2015 and joined the gang for the 2018 25th anniversary reunion special on Freeform.

Thora Birch as Dani Dennison

Dani is the annoying little sister whom Max tries to avoid but who always ends up hanging around. Played by Thora Birch, Dani is enthusiastic, loud, and a nuisance, but is still adorable and loving to her big brother. Dani has the complete opposite reaction to moving to Salem that Max has. She fully embraces all things Halloween and even dresses as one of the Sanderson sisters for the big night.

Thora Birch is probably one of the more famous faces to come out of "Hocus Pocus," besides the three Sanderson sisters. Like some of her fellow castmates, Birch started out acting pretty young and continued into adulthood. Before "Hocus Pocus," she was on the series "Day by Day" and "Parenthood." Birch then hit it big, acting alongside Harrison Ford in "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger," joining the teen drama "Now and Then" with Christina Ricci and Gaby Hoffmann, appearing in "Ghost World" with Scarlett Johansson, and co-starring in the Best Picture-winning drama "American Beauty." Most recently, Birch took a recurring role on "The Walking Dead," keeping the spookiness alive.

Vinessa Shaw as Allison

Vinessa Shaw plays Salem teen Allison, a young woman with deep knowledge of Salem's history and witch lore. When Max first arrives in Salem, he tries to give Allison his number and immediately develops a crush, though his efforts are rebuked. When Max and Dani end up at Allison's family's fancy Halloween party, the three head off to the Sanderson house, which is where they get themselves into trouble. Allison is the brains of the "Hocus Pocus" outfit. She knows spells, legends, history, and tricks to help out their quest, and even though she's intended as a foil for Max's dumb instincts, they make a cute pair.

Shaw started singing, acting, and modeling at a young age, but "Hocus Pocus" was her largest role yet. After that breakthrough, she had a few more parts before she took a break to attend Barnard College in New York City, though she eventually dropped out to return to her acting career. It was at Barnard that she auditioned to play the memorable sex worker Domino in Stanley Kubrick's last film, "Eyes Wide Shut." Since then, Shaw has had a stable yet low-key acting career, working on TV series like "Vegas" and "Ray Donovan" and in films such as "3:10 to Yuma" with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe.

Doug Jones as Billy Butcherson

If there's anyone who is the ultimate king of Halloween, it's the inimitable Doug Jones. Jones plays Winifred Sanderson's long-dead zombie boyfriend brought back to life, Billy Butcherson. Butcherson was caught cheating with Winnie's sister Sarah and Winnie ultimately killed him. When Winnie lures Billy out of the ground, she assumes that he'll help the sisters out, but instead he turns on them and helps Max, Allison, and Dani escape.

You probably wouldn't recognize Doug Jones if you saw him in real life, because for the majority of his career, he's worn elaborate costumes and full body makeup or portrayed non-human creatures. He started his career in commercials as a contortionist and mime, and after "Hocus Pocus," his costumed career only grew more intense, on both the large and small screens. After "Hocus Pocus," Jones played the leader of the ghoulish Gentlemen in the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode "Hush."

His most famous roles are probably Abe Sapien in the "Hellboy" franchise, the Faun and the Pale Man in Guillermo Del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth," The Ancient in the TV series "The Strain," the Amphibian Man in the Oscar-winning "The Shape of Water," Baron Afanas in "What We Do in the Shadows," and Saru on "Star Trek: Discovery." He'll also appear as Count Orlok in a remake of "Nosferatu." Jones really is the king of costumes.

Sean Murray as Thackery Binx

At the beginning of "Hocus Pocus," there is a flashback to the 1600s, where the Sanderson sisters are busy luring colonial New England children to their demise. Thackery Binx tries to stop the sisters from killing his own sister, Emily, and is then turned into an immortal black cat. At the end of the film, his soul has finally been set free.

Young actor Sean Murray took on the part of (human) Thackery, battling with the Sanderson sisters in the movie's opening scenes. Murray had appeared in a couple of shorts and TV shows before "Hocus Pocus," but like many, the Halloween romp was his big break. After that, Murray starred alongside Beau Bridges as Zane Grey Hart in the Western comedy "Harts of the West." A slew of guest appearances followed until Murray landed a recurring role on "JAG," followed by another steady lead role on its spinoff series, "NCIS." Murray has been acting on "NCIS" for almost 20 seasons and shows no signs of stopping.

Jason Marsden as Thackery Binx

As any real "Hocus Pocus" fan knows, Sean Murray didn't actually provide the voice of Thackery Binx; that job went to Jason Marsden. As Murray told Bustle, "They originally wanted a sort of California vibe with the voice, and then at some point thought [they] should do it Olde English. I'm not a voice actor; I couldn't do an English accent, I'd never been trained to do that, and I was young." So for consistency, both cat Thackery and human Thackery were dubbed with Marsden's voice-over work.

Though Marsden only did voice acting in "Hocus Pocus," unlike Doug Jones, Marsden is someone you'd recognize if you saw him in real life, especially if you're a millennial. The actor played Eric Matthews' best friend, ironically named Jason Marsden, on "Boy Meets World," Nelson on "Full House," and Rich on "Step By Step." But as "Hocus Pocus" proves, Marsden's real bankable roles are via his voice-over work. He is the official voice of Max Goof in "The Goofy Movie" and its various sequels, and he voices a ton of other characters on Disney animated series and for DC's various Batman animated projects, as well as "Transformers," "Duck Tales," "Garfield," "Scooby-Doo," and about a zillion other voice-over roles.

Larry Bagby as Ernie 'Ice'

Shortly after arriving in Salem, Max is attacked by a couple of the town's teenage bullies, one of whom is Ernie (who calls himself "Ice" for some reason). Ice loves his new nickname so much he's even had the word shaved into his head. He and his bully buddy Jay insult Max and steal his sneakers, but they thankfully get their comeuppance in a slightly disturbing way.

Actor and musician Larry Bagby plays Ernie "Ice" in "Hocus Pocus." The movie was one of the earlier credits on his résumé. After the film, Bagby did a long list of single-episode series appearances before landing the recurring role of Larry Blaisdell on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." After "Buffy" hung up the stake, Bagby's career continued in the form of single-episode spots on a ton of TV shows, like "Malcolm in the Middle," "JAG," and "CSI." In 2005, Badby played Marshall Grant, Johnny Cash's bandmate in "Walk the Line." Bagby then did a year on "The Young and the Restless" from 2008-2009 and continues to act in supporting roles in television and film today.

Tobias Jelinek as Jay

Ernie "Ice" doesn't go anywhere without his bully buddy Jay. Jay, sporting long blond hair and a leather jacket, seems a little bit dumber than Ice, but he's also the meaner of the two. The messed up thing about Jay and Ernie "Ice" is that, at the end of the movie, after the Sanderson sisters have captured them and locked them in hanging cages, there isn't a scene resolving whether or not they were let go. So Jay and Ernie "ice" might have just hung there ... forever.

Jay in "Hocus Pocus" was pretty much Tobias Jelinek's first acting credit aside from an uncredited background appearance in the movie "Falling Down." After "Hocus Pocus," he's got a bit gap on his IMDb résumé from 1997 through 2007, but since getting back into the acting business, Jelinek has been pretty successful in supporting roles on TV, especially where the otherworldly is concerned. He's played recurring parts on "Agents of S.H.I.E.LD.," "Arrow," "Baskets," "Stranger Things," and "Ronstadt."

Stephanie Faracy as Jenny Dennison

A recurring theme in children's fantasy movies is that when the kids are in some kind of peril, the parental figures are often off somewhere being, shall we say, a little negligent. That's definitely the case for the Dennison parents, Dave and Jenny, who uproot their kids across the country, disregard how their son is feeling, and leave the kids on their own so they can attend a raucous town Halloween party. We're not going to judge Jenny's epic Madonna costume, because it actually kind of rules, but we are going to recommend she and Dave pay a little more attention to what's going on with their kids.

Jenny Dennison is played by actor Stephanie Faracy, whose career is filled with numerous little film and TV roles like the one in "Hocus Pocus." Her career began in the 1970s with spots on "Laverne & Shirley" and continued with dozens of other TV show roles, including leads on "His & Hers" and "True Colors." On the movie side, Faracy had roles in the Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger romantic comedy "Blind Date" and played John Candy's wife in "The Great Outdoors." After "Hocus Pocus," Faracy's career has continued in much the same fashion: a working actor with steady gigs. Her recent roles include recurring spots on "Devious Maids," "How to Get Away with Murder," and "Sneaky Pete."

Charles Rocket as Dave Dennison

The Dennison patriarch, Dave, as played by actor Charles Rocket, is also pretty oblivious when it comes to the mental health of his teenage son and the whereabouts of his eight-year-old daughter. Dave dresses as a vampire for the town's Halloween party, and his costume is not nearly as cool or well-done as his wife's.

Dave may be a dope, but actor and comedian Charles Rocket had a lot of talent and a cool name. Yes, sadly we have to use the past tense here, because Rocket passed away in 2005. It's actually a pretty tragic story: Rocket was found in a field near his Connecticut home, and investigators ruled his death a suicide. Rocket was a cast member on "Saturday Night Live" and "Moonlighting" in the '80s, and after "Hocus Pocus," he appeared in both movies like "Dumb and Dumber" and "Murder at 1600" and on various TV shows, always bringing his comedic talent to roles large or small.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Garry and Penny Marshall as the Devil and his wife

Though they play a married couple in "Hocus Pocus," Garry and Penny Marshall were in fact siblings. The hilarious celebrity cameo comes toward the middle of the movie, as the newly awakened Sanderson sisters are wandering Salem and checking out the modernization of Halloween. They stumble into a house decorated by Garry Marshall's Master Devil, a civilian dressed up as Satan himself. His wife isn't dressed up, wearing curlers in her hair and pajamas — but the Sanderson sisters still assume she's a Medusa-type demon.

The Marshalls' marital bickering is even funnier because the two actors are siblings. Though they only have a small cameo here, their pre- and post-"Hocus Pocus" careers were impressive. The siblings worked together throughout their careers, feeding into each others' accomplishments: Penny Marshall was famous as the titular Laverne in "Laverne & Shirley," a character who originated on "Happy Days" — a series created by Garry. Both remained successful directors, producers, screenwriters, and actors until the end of their lives. Penny's final role was on "The Odd Couple," for which brother Garry (who created the original 1970s series of the same name) served as executive consultant.

Garry passed in 2016 after a long and successful career as what the New York Times called "a TV and film comedy mastermind," and his loving sister Penny passed in 2018 after also becoming a force to be reckoned with in entertainment.