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What The Cast Of A Christmas Story Looks Like Today

For decades, movie studios have raked in the cash with feel-good holiday films. Even today, classic holiday movies from Hollywood's Golden Age — like "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's a Wonderful Life" — continue to dominate the television airwaves. However, by the early 1980s, the traditionally wholesome and saccharine holiday fare of years past had fallen out of favor at the box office. When "A Christmas Story" hit theaters in late 1983, it performed only modestly at first, until word began to spread that this low-budget movie from Bob Clark and Jean Shepherd was not your typical holiday film.

Nostalgic, realistic, and darkly humorous, "A Christmas Story" ushered in a new era of satirical and hilarious holiday movies, a trend continued in films like "Scrooged," "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," and "Bad Santa." Despite its slow box-office start, "A Christmas Story" went on to become a perennial holiday favorite. Let's take a look back at the cast that helped make this beloved movie such a success and find out what they are up to today.

Peter Billingsley (Ralphie)

Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) is a nine-year-old who wants only a few things in life: to earn a good grade on his essay, to survive any future run-ins with school bully Scut Farkus (Zack Ward) and his sidekick Grover Dill (Yano Anaya), and to get a "Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock" and "this thing which tells time" (a sundial) for Christmas. While things don't work out for Ralphie in quite the way he thought they would, his adventures are a large part of what makes "A Christmas Story" great.

After "A Christmas Story," Billingsley continued to act throughout the '80s and '90s in both television shows and movies. In the 2000s, his acting career slowed as Billingsley turned his attention to producing. He has often worked with his friends Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn on projects like "Elf," "The Break-Up," and the romantic comedy "Couples Retreat," which he directed. He also helped produce the first "Iron Man," where he also cameoed as a hapless Stark Industries scientist — a role which made an unexpected return in 2019's "Spider-Man: Far From Home." 

In 2022 Billingsley returned to his most famous role in "A Christmas Story Christmas," picking up the story of the Parkers in the early 1970s, as a 40-ish Ralphie returns home to Indiana to mourn the death of his father and take stock of his life. He also hosts the podcast "A Cinematic Journey" with "A Christmas Story Christmas" screenwriter Nick Schenk.

Ian Petrella (Randy)

While Ralphie and his adventures are the main focus of "A Christmas Story," his little brother Randy (Ian Petrella) has his own problems to deal with. Namely, Randy struggles with the ridiculous way his mother bundles him up for the cold weather and his extreme dislike for meatloaf (though to be fair, the kid loves his mashed potatoes). Randy is a classic tagalong little brother, in awe of Ralphie but never quite able to keep up with the older kids — even when he's not bundled up within an inch of his life.

Petrella appeared in just a handful of other television shows and movies between 1983 and 1991, including episodes of "Who's the Boss?" and "Diff'rent Strokes," as well as Ken Russell's cult erotic thriller "Crimes of Passion." After that, he essentially retired from Hollywood, other than a handful of roles like the 2015 indie rom-com "Quarter Bin." These days, Petrella works as a puppeteer with the Pittsburgh Puppetworks theater troupe, performing throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.

He returned to the screen for a small role in "A Christmas Story Christmas," where Randy has grown into a wealthy world traveler, in contrast to his domesticated older brother. You might also find Petrella at events like the annual A Christmas Story Run, which is held each year in Petrella's home of Cleveland, Ohio.

Darren McGavin (The Old Man)

Known only as "The Old Man," Ralphie's father (Darren McGavin) provides some of the funniest moments in "A Christmas Story." After winning a "major award" in a contest, The Old Man is overjoyed to receive his prize: an extremely unique lamp in the shape of a woman's leg. Mrs. Parker is less enthusiastic, and the resulting "Battle of the Lamp" ends in the lamp's "accidental" destruction — much to The Old Man's horror. In another incident, the notoriously foul-mouthed father vents his frustration at the family's smoke-spewing furnace, delivering "a tapestry of obscenities that, as far as we know, is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan."

In addition to his part as the grumpy father in "A Christmas Story," actor Darren McGavin is probably best remembered for his role as newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak in the 1974 horror television series, "Kolchak: The Night Stalker." After "A Christmas Story," McGavin continued his long and varied acting career with dozens of other roles in film and television shows, including "Murphy Brown" and "Billy Madison." After a couple of appearances on "The X-Files" in 1999, McGavin retired from Hollywood and lived a private life until his death in 2006 at age 83.

Melinda Dillon (Mrs. Parker)

As a young woman, Melinda Dillon began her professional acting career with the famous Second City improv troupe. In 1963 she received a Tony Award nomination for her role in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and set her sights on Hollywood. After transitioning to the big screen, Dillon continued to garner acclaim, earning Academy Award nominations for her performances in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Absence of Malice." Even with these accolades under her belt, Dillon is best remembered today for her role as Ralphie's long-suffering mother.

After "A Christmas Story," Dillon continued her successful career with parts in "Harry and the Hendersons," "How to Make an American Quilt," and "Magnolia." Her last credited movie role was in the 2007 drama "Reign Over Me," with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. After that, she appeared in three episodes of the short-lived TNT medical drama "Heartland." Over the years, Dillon was always gracious towards the legacy of "A Christmas Story," continuing to answer autograph requests and other fan mail even after she retired from the screen. 

For "A Christmas Story Christmas," Julie Hagerty of "Airplane!" and "What About Bob?" fame took over the role of Mrs. Parker. Sadly, Dillion died in February 2023 at age 83.

Scott Schwartz (Flick)

Scott Schwartz's role as Flick in "A Christmas Story" earned him a place in pop-culture history after his character Flick got his tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole. As a child, Schwartz had already achieved some small fame for his part in "The Toy" with Richard Pryor, but his performance as Flick is undoubtedly his most memorable role. A bronze statue memorializing the famous scene was later erected in Hammond, Indiana, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie.

After "A Christmas Story," Schwartz acted in a handful of minor television and film roles throughout the 1980s, but like many child stars before and after him, he found it difficult to transition to more mature roles. In the 1990s Schwartz infamously worked in the adult film industry, both behind and in front of the camera, but since the 2000s he has mostly been seen in low-budget comedy and horror vehicles. Many of these, like the 2014 web series "The Comeback Kids" and 2020's "A Wrestling Christmas Miracle," play off of Schwartz's status as a well-known former child star. 

Offscreen, Schwartz has worked with the charity group A Minor Consideration, which advocates for the rights of child actors. Schwartz and Flick (tongue intact) both returned for "A Christmas Story Christmas" in 2022, where Flick is running the family bar decades later.

R.D. Robb (Schwartz)

Along with Flick, Schwartz (R.D. Robb) is one of Ralphie's closest friends. The trio of boys often share their misadventures and also manage to get each other into trouble regularly — such as when Schwartz challenges Flick with a dreaded "triple-dog-dare" or when Ralphie lies and blames Schwartz for teaching him "The queen mother of dirty words."

Robb made his acting debut in "A Christmas Story," and went on to appear in a number of other television shows and films, including "The Brady Bunch Movie" and "Matilda." By the 1990s he had mostly turned away from acting and, like Billingsley, found success behind the scenes as a producer, working on films like the 2009 indie comedy "What Goes Up" and the 2018 Freeform mermaid series "Siren." 

However, Robb's most notable work, oddly enough, is one that few people have seen. His directorial debut, "Don's Plum," is a black-and-white semi-improvised slice of life starring pre-fame Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. Filmed in 1994, it was screened at the Berlin Film Festival in 2001 before being blocked from release by legal action on behalf of DiCaprio and Maguire. To date, the film has never had an official release, though curious viewers can find it on YouTube without much difficulty. 

Years later, Robb traded on his 1980s cache for a recurring role on ABC's nostalgia sitcom "The Goldbergs," and returned to the role of perpetual loser Schwartz for "A Christmas Story Christmas."

Zack Ward (Scut Farkus)

Throughout most of "A Christmas Story," Scotty "Scut" Farkus (Zack Ward) rules as the top dog in Ralphie's neighborhood, striking fear into the hearts of kids with his so-help-me-God yellow eyes. On several occasions, Farkus and his sidekick Grover Dill terrorize Ralphie, Randy, Schwartz, and Flick. Following a particularly frustrating day at school, Ralphie finally snaps when Scut and Grover try to bully him and his friends again. He turns the tables by knocking the bully to the ground and delivering a profanity-laden tirade while he beats him up.

Of all the child stars featured in the film, Ward has gone on to have the most success with his Hollywood acting career. His debut role as Farkus helped the Canadian actor land many more parts in movies and television shows over the next decade. Ward successfully transitioned to adult roles in the mid-'90s with appearances on shows like "JAG," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "NYPD Blue," and dozens of others. 

In film, you may recognize him from his parts in "Almost Famous" (as legendary roadie Red Dog), "Resident Evil: Apocalypse," or the 2016 horror film "Restoration," which he also directed and co-wrote. In "A Christmas Story Christmas," while Schwartz and Flick are still carrying on the same life-long argument, Scut Farkus has put his bullying days behind him and found his calling as a police officer, inspiring Ralphie at his lowest moment.

Yano Anaya (Grover Dill)

In "A Christmas Story," Grover Dill (Yano Anaya) frequently tags along with Scut Farkus, serving as his right-hand man and helping him bully the rest of the children in the neighborhood. Dill might be Scut's lackey, but his loyalty only goes so far. When Ralphie finally gives Farkus what's coming to him, Grover tries to help his buddy but quickly abandons him and runs home after Ralphie punches him in the stomach.

Unlike many of the other kids in the film, Anaya did not continue his Hollywood career for very long. He quit acting after only a couple of other appearances, one of which was in the music video for Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher." Although he did return to the screen in 2021 for a part in the independent dramedy "Sunday Mornings" and makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in "A Christmas Story Christmas," Anaya's career has mostly been focused on his main passion: fitness. While dealing with weight problems as a young man, Anaya decided to follow in the footsteps of his nutritionist mother by shedding the pounds and pursuing a career as a personal trainer. 

After working for several years as the personal trainer program director for the Atlanta School of Massage, Anaya finally achieved his biggest dream in May 2017 when he opened the doors of his very own fitness center in Woodstock, Georgia. Though that gym has since closed, Anaya continues to follow his passion for health and fitness.

Tedde Moore (Miss Shields)

As you watch Miss Shields (Canadian actress Tedde Moore) patiently deal with the hijinks of her third-grade students at Warren G. Harding Elementary School, it soon becomes clear that she is the kind of teacher most kids would have loved to have. Although Tedde Moore wanted to play Miss Shields like the "mean old thing" who had taught her back in the third grade, director Bob Clark told the actress, "I want her to be sweet and warm and wonderful, just like you are."

After her role in "A Christmas Story," Moore continued her successful acting career and has racked up many more film and television appearances through the years, including voice work on "Little Einsteins" and "Rolie Polie Olie." Of the original cast, Moore was the only one to reprise her role for the 1994 sequel "My Summer Story" (also known as "It Runs in the Family"), though neither she nor her character returned for "A Christmas Story Christmas."  

More recently, you may have spotted Moore in the docudrama miniseries "The Kennedys" or as Mrs. Claus in the Hallmark Channel's 2011 holiday TV film "Mistletoe Over Manhattan." Her last onscreen appearance to date is the 2017 Hallmark movie "Magical Christmas Ornaments."