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Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Last Action Hero?

When "Last Action Hero" hit theaters in 1993, audiences weren't quite ready for it. While a film with the biggest action star of the time and a well-known cast led by accomplished director John McTiernan seemed like a recipe for box office success, "Last Action Hero" wound up being a major disappointment. The movie brought in about $50 million on a budget of $85 million (via Box Office Mojo), and the critical response was far from glowing, such as a review from Roger Ebert which read, "the underlying story never ever quite works."

Despite its poor performance, many viewers have revisited "Last Action Hero" over the years. Contemporary reviews often call the film ahead of its time, such as a 2020 review from Uproxx, in which senior entertainment writer Mike Ryan wrote, "what I learned from watching 'Last Action Hero' for the first time in 27 years is that it's incredible." While it's hard to say exactly what went wrong, the film had a satirical edge that may have turned off audiences expecting a straightforward action film. However, with Shane Black involved in the screenplay, who had already written "Lethal Weapon," and John McTiernan directing, who had already made "Die Hard" and "Predator," the film was in the hands of consummate action veterans.

With so much of the love for "Last Action Hero" coming years after its release, let's find out what happened to the cast in the time since.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jack Slater

Arnold Schwarzenegger was already a huge action star when "Last Action Hero" hit theaters in 1993. He was still fresh off of the mega-success of "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" two years earlier and already had a string of successful roles to his name throughout the '80s and early '90s, including "Predator," which was also directed by John McTiernan.

In the years since "Last Action Hero," Schwarzenegger's career has followed a trajectory unlike any other. He continued starring in action films for the next decade but put acting on hold when he was elected as the governor of California in the special recall election of Gray Davis in 2003, via the Los Angeles Times. Schwarzenegger was re-elected in 2006 and waited to make a significant acting comeback until he reached his term limit. However, he did have a couple of minor roles during his governorship, such as a brief appearance in "The Expendables."

His first major role after leaving office was a reprisal of his part in "The Expendables 2," followed by starring roles in "The Last Stand" and "The Escape Plan." The 2015 zombie drama "Maggie" showed a different side of Schwarzenegger, one that made use of his dramatic and emotional range rather than his well-established action-star persona. Schwarzenegger also returned to the "Terminator" franchise in "Terminator: Genisys" followed by an appearance in the 2019 film "Terminator: Dark Fate."

Ian McKellen as Death

Ian McKellen had a small but memorable role in "Last Action Hero" as the personification of death. McKellen's decades-long career had already established him as a high-caliber thespian well before "Last Action Hero," though the film did arrive before two of the roles he is best known for today. Much of McKellen's early career was on stage, as noted by London Theatre, often in Shakespearean productions where he played parts like King Lear and Macbeth. He was a member of The Royal Shakespeare Company from the '70s into the '80s and continued in some of those roles on camera in several TV movie adaptations throughout the 1970s.

It was after "Last Action Hero" that Ian McKellen found the parts that brought his name to mainstream audiences. Characters such as Magneto in "X-Men" and Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings" made McKellen recognizable to pop culture and movie fans worldwide. Other significant films since "Last Action Hero" include "Gods and Monsters," which earned him his first Oscar nomination (via IMDb), "The Da Vinci Code," and "Mr. Holmes," in which he took on the iconic role of Sherlock Holmes.

Even at 82-years-old, Ian McKellen shows no signs of slowing down. He remains active in both film and theater and returns to the world of Shakespeare in "Hamlet Revenant," a modernizing of the classic story.

F. Murray Abraham as John Practice

F. Murray Abraham has a supporting role in "Last Action Hero" as John Practice, a detective alongside Schwarzenegger's Jack Slater. The pair have history and poke fun at the buddy-cop clichés that writer Shane Black helped establish with "Lethal Weapon" in 1987. Abraham's career began in the '70s but took off in the early '80s. After a memorable role in "Scarface," Abraham appeared as Antonio Salieri in "Amadeus," a part which earned him the Oscar for best actor in a leading role, per IMDb.

In the time since "Last Action Hero," F. Murray Abraham has remained highly active. Abraham had a small but significant role in the Coen Brothers film "Inside Llewyn Davis" as Bud Grossman, a music producer who, after listening to the title character perform his heart out, declares, "I don't see a lot of money here." He appeared in Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" as Mr. Mustafa, the older counterpart of Zero Mustafa as played by Tony Revolori. Another collaboration with Wes Anderson followed with Abraham voicing Jupiter in "Isle of Dogs."

Abraham has also had several notable television roles. One of his biggest television characters was Dar Adal on "Homeland." He also appeared in three different seasons of FX's "Louie" as a different character each time, demonstrating his range. He also had a standout part in an episode of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" as the much built-up Ayatollah as an extension of the Fatwa arc in Season 9.

Charles Dance as Benedict

Charles Dance played the part of Benedict, the crazy-eyed villain, in "Last Action Hero." This character is essentially a parody of action movie villains, and Dance's performance is appropriately over the top to match. These days, Dance is best known for HBO's "Game of Thrones," where he played Tywin Lannister, the patriarch of the Lannister family. However, "Game of Thrones" is far from being Dance's only significant television role. Dance has also had recurring parts on shows like "The Crown," where he portrayed Lord Mountbatten, the spy mini-series "The Little Drummer Girl," and the Cinemax action series "Strike Back."

Dance has also appeared in several influential films, such as the Academy Award-winning "Gosford Park." Recently, Dance filled the part of William Randolph Hearst in David Fincher's latest film, "Mank." Dance has also appeared as himself on several British comedy panel shows. He has also appeared as a guest on shows like "Was It Something I Said?" and "The Big Fat Quiz," on which he has read excerpts from trashy celebrity autobiographies with the utmost solemnity since 2012.

Tom Noonan as The Ripper

Tom Noonan is an excellent character actor you might recognize even if you don't know his name. In "Last Action Hero," Noonan plays The Ripper, the film's axe brandishing secondary villain. The role sees him covered in prosthetics and wearing fake teeth, but his performance still shines through. Since "Last Action Hero," Tom Noonan has appeared in memorable supporting roles in many films, including Michael Mann's "Heat," Ti West's "The House of the Devil," and Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York."

Noonan has also had recurring roles on several television shows. He played Reverend Nathaniel Cole on "Hell on Wheels" and Detective Victor Huntley on "Damages." Outside of film and television, Noonan is also deeply involved in theater. After taking ownership of a condemned building in New York City, Noonan renovated the property and established The Paradise Factory, a center for film and theater development. Noonan wrote the play "What Happened was..." which he later wrote, directed, and starred in the film adaptation of. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, per IMDb. Noonan was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1998, an award given to those who display "exceptional creative ability in the arts."

Austin O'Brien as Danny Madigan

The child magically transported from the real world to the movie world in "Last Action Hero" is Danny Madigan, as played by Austin O'Brien. When the film was released, O'Brien was 12-years-old and had appeared in just one other film, "The Lawnmower Man." O'Brien continued to work as a child actor over the next few years, appearing in projects like "Apollo 13," "My Girl 2," and "The Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace," in which he reprised his role as Peter Parkette from the first film.

Since becoming an adult, O'Brien has worked less regularly, but still appears in projects from time to time. He gave supporting performances in the indie films "Rain From Stars," "Innocent," and "Bounty." In the world of television, O'Brien played the part of Josh Greene in the "Touched by an Angel" and "Promised Land" when he was younger. As an adult, he appeared on a Season 3 episode of "Bones" titled "The Baby in the Bough." O'Brien's also played himself in the 2015 pilot for "Cowl Girl," which was crowdfunded on Indiegogo but not produced as a full series.

Art Carney as Frank

Art Carney played Frank in "Last Action Hero," which ended up being his final film role before retiring. Carney passed away 10 years later, at the age of 85, via Chicago Tribune. "Last Action Hero" marked the end of a long and storied career in the film and television industry for Carney. His first brush with acting came in 1941 when he made an uncredited appearance as a band member in "Pot o' Gold." Much of Carney's early career was centered around television roles. His most popular role was arguably Ed Norton on "The Honeymooners" and the 1950s and 1960s iterations of "The Jackie Gleason Show." Carney would also reprise the Ed Norton character on "The Ed Sullivan show."

Throughout his five-decade-long career, Carney appeared in just shy of 100 films and television shows. The comedy genre was a frequent home for the actor, but he also appeared in horror, action, and western projects from time to time. A few other noteworthy titles of his include the likes of "Firestarter," "The Muppets Take Manhattan," "Defiance," and "Harry and Tonto."

Frank McRae as Dekker

Frank McRae played Dekker, the ornery LAPD captain in "Last Action Hero." The part is essentially a parody of the screaming-mad police captain archetype found throughout the action and buddy-cop genres, and McRae gives an appropriately over-the-top performance. Before becoming an actor, McRae was a professional football player with the NFL. As noted by Variety, McRae was a defensive tackle who played for both the Oakland Raiders and the Chicago Bears.

McRae's first significant film role was in "Shaft in Africa," the third and final "Shaft" film in the original Richard Roundtree trilogy. McRae went on to appear in dozens of action films throughout the '70s and '80s, notably the 1989 Bond film "Licence to Kill." "Last Action Hero" was one of McRae's last significant roles, though he did continue acting for another 13 years. He appeared in the Paul Hogan film "Lightning Jack" and a handful of smaller films before his final performance in 2006 in "Love's Abiding Joy." Sadly, McRae passed away in April 2021 after suffering a heart attack.

Anthony Quinn as Vivaldi

Anthony Quinn had a small role in "Last Action Hero" as the swimming pool bound thug Vivaldi. Quinn was born in 1915 and began acting as a young man in the 1930s. Outside of the film industry, Quinn had a successful career in theater, per Broadway World. He starred as Stanley Kowalski in the original 1947 Broadway production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" and again in the 1950 revival, among other plays such as "Zorba," in which he played the titular role.

Throughout his lengthy career, Anthony Quinn appeared in many major films. Some of his most notable films include "The Ox-Bow Incident," "La Strada," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "The Guns of Navarone," "Zorba the Greek," and "Lawrence of Arabia." Anthony Quinn was awarded the best supporting actor Oscar twice and was also twice nominated for best lead actor. While the "Last Action Hero" arrived toward the end of Quinn's career, the actor still had a handful of roles post-"Last Action Hero," including playing Zeus in a series of made-for-TV "Hercules" movies. Anthony Quinn passed away at the age of 86 in 2001, per The New York Times.

Sharon Stone as Catherine Trammell

Sharon Stone has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in "Last Action Hero," where she can be seen lighting up a cigarette outside the LAPD headquarters as Jack Slater and Danny Madigan make their way inside. Her costume might look familiar, and that's because she's reprising what is undoubtedly her most famous character — Catherine Trammell from "Basic Instinct." Stone would eventually play Catherine Tramell for the third time when "Basic Instinct 2" was released in 2006, although that film arrived with much less fanfare than its predecessor.

Following up "Last Action Hero," Sharon Stone kept busy throughout the '90s, capitalizing on her "Basic Instinct" buzz. In the years since she has starred as a gunfighter in the Sam Raimi western "The Quick and the Dead," played the conniving Ginger opposite Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese's "Casino," and appeared as one of Bill Murray's many ex-lovers in the Jim Jarmusch film "Broken Flowers." More recently, Stone played Lenore Osgood in Ryan Murphy's "Ratched" series.

Robert Patrick as the T-1000

At the same time Sharon Stone makes her cameo in "Last Action Hero," Robert Patrick is making one of his own on the other side of the screen. This brief appearance finds Patrick back in character as the T-1000 from "Terminator 2: Judgement Day," who famously squared off against Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator character. Since the real-life Arnold Schwarzenegger exists within the reality of "Last Action Hero," the connection to the T-1000 is wonderfully meta.

In the years since "Last Action Hero," Robert Patrick has gone on to act in nearly 150 additional movies and television shows. Some of his most noteworthy roles can be found in "Cop Land," "The Faculty," "Walk the Line," "True Blood," and a long-time recurring role on "The X-Files" as John Doggett. Robert Patrick also starred in the straight-to-video sequel to "From Dusk Till Dawn" subtitled "Texas Blood Money." He would return to the franchise many years later to star in the TV adaptation "From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series." On the show, he plays the role of Jacob Fuller, the part previously played by Harvey Keitel in the original film. Recently, Patrick has appeared in recurring parts on the major TV series "Perry Mason" on HBO and the Amazon Prime original "Goliath."

Noah Emmerich as Rookie

Filling the unassuming role of Rookie in "Last Action Hero" was Noah Emmerich in what was just his second-ever screen performance. Emmerich is another actor who you are likely to recognize even if you don't know his name. While the actor hadn't yet had his first major role when "Last Action Hero" was released, in the years to follow, Emmerich would go on to appear high profile films like "The Truman Show," "Miracle," "Cop Land," and "Super 8."

Though he has had plenty of significant film roles, Emmerich's most recognizable parts are found in television shows. Fans of "The Americans" will undoubtedly recognize Emmerich as Stan Beeman, the FBI counterintelligence agent who moves in next door to the main characters. He has also played recurring characters on shows such as "White Collar," "Billions," "The Spy," and "Space Force." Emmerich also appears in the AMC series "Dark Winds," a western-themed thriller set in the 1970s, per Deadline.