Back in 1989, a National Lampoon movie came out that was to go down in Christmas movie folk legend. Sure, we all enjoyed the Lampoon flicks, especially those starring ’80s comedy legend Chevy Chase. But there’s just something special about National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s just endlessly watchable, isn’t it? It’s very funny indeed. Written by John Hughes, the action starts with a dad heading out to get a Christmas tree and the chaos descends from there. We could watch this movie every festive period, we really could. We love it so much, we got to wondering just how the stars of the film have got on since Christmas Vacation wrapped… Let’s take a look!
One of the 1980’s biggest comedy stars, Chase’s career took somewhat of a nosedive after that. In recent history, he’s popped up on Family Guy and guest appearances on Saturday Night Live, but it’s his appearance in the early episdoes of Community that stand out – they were brilliant. It’s just such a shame that he had a falling out with the show’s creator and walked out. He’ll be cameo’ing in ‘Vacation’ the latest installment of the National Lampoon movies.
Bev here has had a pretty decent acting career, but might – arguably – be better known for her relationship with Al Pacino. The couple split in 2003. She’s appearing alongside Chevy Chase again in Vacation, as well as an upcoming ABC sitcom about an aging couple. The reunion might not last too long however, the show is only at pilot stage. But if it’s half as funny as the two’s pairing on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – it’s a cert to get commissioned! So we could be seeing Ms. D’Angelo on our screens again real soon…
Older brother of Innerspace and The Day After Tomorrow star Dennis Quaid, Randy Quaid started his movie career in The Last Picture Show. Though he’s probably most famous for his role as the crazed crop duster and alien abductee who sacrifices himself to help save the world in Independence Day. But it’s been a slippery slope since then. He’s now wanted by cops and hiding out in Canada after skipping bail on charges of illegal occupancy. Through a bizarre set of YouTube videos, Quaid also claims that there is a shadowy cabal responsible for the death of many Hollywood types called ‘The Hollywood Star Whackers’.
Now a Scientologist, Juliette Lewis went on to star in some pretty big films, including a few opposite Brad Pitt. She was also in controversial movies like Natural Born Killers as well as Robert Rodriguez’s excellent vampfest From Dusk Til Dawn. More recently she’s played the character Tammy on the television show ‘The Firm.’ Lewis is also a singer and guitarist and fronts a rock band with a terrible name – The New Romantiques.
That’s right! Russ Griswold was Johnny Galecki, the short guy from Roseanne and then The Big Bang Theory. He’s also pitched up in movies like In Time opposite Justin Timberlake, but it’s his role in the world’s biggest sitcom that he’s most famous for. As Leonard in Big Bang, he’s built up a devoted army of fans. Gossip fans might enjoy to know that he dated his on-screen beau for a few years too. Yip – him and Kaley Cuoco were an item in real life too!
Veteran actor John Randolph won us all over in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, didn’t he? We loved him as Clark W. Griswold, Sr. The thespian had pitched up in some classic movies like Serpico, All The President’s Men and Prizzi’s Honor. Post-Lampoon? He only starred in a few more films, like You’ve Got Mail opposte Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. He died aged eighty eight back in 2004.
You might remember her as Nora Griswold from the movie, but Diane Ladd is much more than that to a lot of people. She’s Flo from the 1974 Martin Scorsese film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore to some. Others know her for being Bruce Dern’s former wife, Laura Dern’s mom or her daughter’s co-star from Enlightened. But to us? She’ll always be Marietta Fortune, the weird overbearing mother character from David Lynch’s excellent – if nuts – Nic Cage starring-Wizard of Oz-inspired Wild at Heart.
Our Doris here played Frances Smith in Christmas Vacation. Since then she’s mostly worked on television, pitching up in shows like The Middle and Desperate Housewives. But it was her casting as the protagonist’s mother Marie in the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond that she’ll be remembered for. Her role opposite Ray Romano even bagged her four Emmy Awards!
‘Cheers,’ ‘Family Ties’ and ‘Raising Miranda’ actress Miriam Flynn played Catherine in National Lampoon Christmas Vacation. Recently? We’ve seen her on television in things like Suburgatory. But the majority of her work won’t have had anyone see her at all. That’s not to say she hasn’t been busy, though. She does a lot of voiceover work. For TV, movies, carttons and video games. Most notably, she voiced Grandmother Longneck in nine of the Land Before Time movies.
Ellen Hamilton Letzen
Ms. Letzen here played Eddie’s daughter in the movie. A role she was not unfamiliar with. She played the part of Michael Douglas’ daughter in the bunny-boiling movie Fatal Attraction. Those days are a long way away, though. Ellen has since quit the acting game and gone into business. She’s now an ‘Account Executive’, apparently. We don’t know who know or in what industry, but good luck to her, we say!
This guy played Todd Chester, the stuck-up neighbor of the Griswold family, if you remember. Before appearing opposite Chevy Chase and Beverley D’Angelo, Guest could be found in flicks like Eddie Murphy’s Trading Places. Recently? Well, it’s just voice work, really. Nothing all that exciting. He’s behind the voice of John Teller on ‘Sons of Anarchy’. And that’s about it of note worth mentioning.
Julia Louis Dreyfus
Where a lot of these actors and actresses in this list tasted fame and success with the National Lampoon Christmas movie and went on to fade somewhat, the opposite is the case with Julia Louis Dreyfuss, the actress who played Margo Chester. She went on to appear in Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld (for ages) and now Armando Iannucci’s hit political comedy Veep.
Brian Doyle Murray
Recognize this man? Sure you do – he was the mayor in the best comedy movie of all time, Groundhog Day. And recognize the surname? Yep – he’s a Murray. As in Bill Murray. He’s Bill’s older brother and has turned up in lots of his little bro’s films. Caddyshack, Ghostbusters II, Scrooged… Recently, though? You can find Brian on the ABC comedy series The Middle as Mr. Ehlert.
No relation to famous film director Martin, Nicolette here played the attractive swimsuit girl in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. But, aside from an appearance in the weird indie flick Boxing Helena, Scorsese never really hit it off all that well in the movies biz and is more of a kind of socialite type now.