1983's A Christmas Story is an all-time great holiday movie. Directed by Bob Clark, who had previously helmed mostly low-budget comedies throughout the '70s, the film captures the magic of Christmas during childhood while fitting in as much boundary-pushing humor as a PG flick can handle: The Old Man's furnace rant? As close as you can get to profanity without actually being profane. Whatever hijinx the script called for, the stellar Christmas Story cast knocked every line reading outta the park.
The story of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker's favorite Christmas—in which he received the Red Ryder BB gun he had long coveted—is awash with memorable moments. Take the iconic leg lamp or the famous triple dog dare that ends with poor Flick's tongue stuck to the school flagpole. And let's not forget the visit with Santa Claus at Higbee's department store.
In 2022, much of the main Christmas Story cast reprised their roles for the sequel, A Christmas Story Christmas. The festive reimagining saw Peter Billingsley's all-grown-up Ralphie take over Christmas duties for the Parker household, with his childhood friends (and one memorable foe) along for the ride. But a lot has changed in the 40 years since A Christmas Story was released. Some original cast members went on to wonderful (and slightly wacky) careers in acting, producing and even puppetry. And, sadly, not every member of the Parker family was around to participate in the long-awaited sequel.
What happened to the stars of A Christmas Story, those delightfully bonkers characters who light up our screens every holiday season? Here's what your favorite cast members are up to today.
Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker
Young Peter Billingsley had been acting since he was just two years old. In addition to starring in numerous commercials, he had already appeared in high-profile films, including Paternity opposite Burt Reynolds. Apparently, he beat out 8,000 other kids for the role of Ralphie. Fun fact: Jean Shepherd, who voiced adult Ralphie, also helped write the script with Bob Clark.
Billingsley has gone on to become an executive producer and director, frequently working with his best friend Vince Vaughn. He helmed the 2009 comedy Couples Retreat and served as an executive producer on Iron Man, Four Christmases and the R-rated Christmas with the Campbells. Billingsley hasn't given up acting altogether, though. He reprised his role as Ralphie in the 2022 Christmas Story sequel, A Christmas Story Christmas.
Ian Petrella as Randy Parker
Who could forget Ralphie's little brother Randy? One of his most notable moments is when his mother dresses him up in winter gear to walk to school that is so aggressive, he can barely move around. Though he started acting as a toddler, A Christmas Story was his big break. He reprised his role as Randy in the 2022 sequel.
Petrella has appeared in a few TV shows including Who's the Boss?, Highway to Heaven and Beverly Hills, 90210. These days, he's a puppeteer and animator in Cleveland, Ohio.
Melinda Dillon as Mrs. Parker
Two-time Oscar nominee Melinda Dillon sadly passed away at age 83 in January 2023. Dillon was already a well-known actress when she was cast as the doting mother Mrs. Parker who predicts that Ralphie's beloved BB gun will take his eye out. She previously won a Tony Award for the Broadway play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as another doting mother in the 1978 sci-fi film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Dillon went on to star in Harry and the Hendersons, Magnolia, Reign Over Me and various TV series including Judging Amy, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Heartland.
Darren McGavin as Mr. Parker (The Old Man)
Darren McGavin was perfect in the role of The Old Man, Ralphie's foul-mouthed dad who was obsessed with his leg lamp. He went on to appear opposite Melinda Dillon in the 1990 rendition of Captain America and played Adam Sandler's wealthy father in the 1995 comedy Billy Madison. Sadly, the beloved actor passed away in 2006 from cardiovascular disease.
Scott Schwartz as Flick
Flick will forever be remembered for falling victim to the triple dog dare and getting his tongue stuck to the flagpole. This Christmas movie was only his second film after appearing in The Toy with Richard Pryor. Schwartz went on to appear in Raiders of the Living Dead, 21 Jump Street and Rags to Riches. He apparently got into the adult film industry in the '90s, appearing in films and working behind the scenes until the early 2000s. Schwartz reprised his role as Flick in the 2022 sequel.
R.D. Robb as Schwartz
Ralphie's friend Schwartz, played by R.D. Robb, was the little kid behind the iconic triple dog dare. He went on to appear in The Brady Bunch Movie, Matilda, Eight Days a Week, Touched By an Angel and The Goldbergs. He also co-wrote and directed the indie film Don's Plum, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, but it was never released in the U.S. Most recently, Robb executive produced the Freeform series Siren. In the above right photo, Robb reprises his role as Schwartz in the 2022 Christmas Story sequel.
Zack Ward as Scut Farkus
Initially, Zack Ward was cast as Scut Farkus' bullying sidekick Grover Dill. But after he and Yano Anaya showed up to set, their roles were switched. Scut terrorizes poor Ralphie and his friends until Ralphie finally gets the nerve to strike back. Ward went on to appear in NCIS, Lost, Almost Famous, Transformers, American Horror Story and Anne of Green Gables.
Tedde Moore as Miss Shields
Ralphie's teacher Miss Shields is yet another person who warns him that getting a BB gun could cause him to put his eye out. Moore has gone on to appear in The Kennedys miniseries, as well as in Hallmark Christmas movies Mistletoe Over Manhattan and Magical Christmas Ornaments.
Enjoy Country Music?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.