Whatever Happened To The Cast Of The Original Child's Play?  

Unleashed on theaters in 1988, director Tom Holland's "Child's Play" introduced America to Chucky, a My Buddy-like doll inhabited by the soul of a foul-mouthed serial killer. Equal parts absurd and frightening, that first movie spawned six sequels, a remake, and a TV series. Of all the iconic '80s horror villains, he's the only one still written by his original creator, Don Mancini. As such, the TV series has brought back many actors and characters from throughout the franchise's history, in an increasingly complicated — and refreshingly LGBTQ-positive — narrative of epic proportions. A narrative that involves Devon Sawa playing multiple roles, for some reason.

Fans of the show know where some of the original film's cast members ended up, but what about the rest? Shot in Chicago, "Child's Play" made use of several local stage talents, as well as a few veteran actors and familiar faces. Can you guess who went on to become a food podcaster, who sells their own strains of weed, which one could definitely kick your ass, and which one has been in serious trouble with the law?

Read on to find out what became of the cast of the original "Child's Play."

Brad Dourif (Charles Lee Ray/Voice of Chucky)
MGM/UA, Paul Archuleta & Paul Archuleta/Getty
A promising young actor who studied under the legendary Sanford Meisner, Brad Dourif got his big movie break when director Milos Forman saw him on the New York stage, and cast him in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," in which he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His convincing portrayal of a mentally disturbed young man set the tone for a career's worth of characters who were frequently psychopaths, serial killers, or mad scientist types. His most enduring, iconic role has been as the voice of Chucky, and occasionally the doll's previous human incarnation, Charles Lee Ray. His second most famous role is arguably as Saruman's creepy toady Grima Wormtongue in "The Lord of the Rings."

Outside of those two franchises, he's been a horror stalwart in such films as "Exorcist III," "Critters 4," the Rob Zombie "Halloween" movies, and "Malignant." On TV, he's consistently a go-to guest star for genre fare, appearing on the likes of "The X-Files," "Star Trek: Voyager," "Tales From the Crypt," "Babylon 5," "Fringe," and "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Now that Chucky has a TV show, Dourif continues to own the lead role there, although his daughter Fiona, who joined the franchise with the direct-to-video "Curse of Chucky," now plays the younger version of Charles Lee Ray in flashback, doing a dead-on impersonation of her dad while dressed in male drag.

Catherine Hicks (Karen Barclay)
MGM/UA, Presley Ann/Getty
An Emmy winner for her lead role in ABC's 'Marilyn: The Untold Story," Catherine Hicks' biggest movie role pre-"Child's Play" was as whale expert — and almost-love interest for Captain Kirk (William Shatner) — Dr. Gillian Taylor in "Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home." Her face-off against Chucky would net her a real-life love interest: make-up artist Kevin Yagher, whom she married in 1990. After "Child's Play" and several TV pilots that didn't catch on, she landed the role of matriarch Annie Camden on "7th Heaven," opposite fellow "Star Trek" movie alumnus Stephen Collins. The show, about a Protestant minister and his wife raising seven children, launched the career of Jessica Biel, and lasted for 11 seasons. Though Hicks became one of the best known Protestant TV characters, the actress is actually a Catholic.

Hicks continued to act, mostly in TV movies and on stage, as well as doing charity work for Catholic Relief Services and others. In 2023, however, she told TMZ she was done with acting, citing the fact that "7th Heaven" kept her from being an attentive mother to her real-life daughter, and now she was making up for lost time and didn't have the energy to summon tears on cue any more. Her final credited role was as the voice of Pinocchio's fairy on the darkly comedic Adult Swim show "J.J. Villard's Fairy Tales."

Chris Sarandon (Mike Norris)

It's arguable that Chris Sarandon's biggest contribution to the film industry was giving his first wife Susan the last name that she's been known for ever since, but he's had some pretty iconic roles of his own. At the time of "Child's Play," he was famous for portraying Prince Humperdinck in "The Princess Bride" and vampire Jerry Dandridge in "Fright Night." Since tussling with Chucky, however, he has gone on to become an even more famous voice of a spooky character than Brad Dourif. 

As Jack Skellington in "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas," Sarandon gave voice to a Halloween mainstay who has subsequently become one of the most merchandised and cosplayed characters of all time. Danny Elfman handled the singing, but Sarandon has continued to speak Jack dialogue in video games, parades, theme park rides, and everything in between. Always afraid of being typecast as a villain, Sarandon achieved vocal immortality as a sort of anti-hero, forever to be associated with every goth kid's favorite animated, narcissistic holiday-wrecker.

Sarandon hasn't acted much since 2015, but has taken on a new career as a food podcaster. "Cooking by Heart," with celebrity guests, is a show "featuring discussions with well-known actors, directors, authors, chefs, politicians, business figures, and comedians ... [It] will center on memories of the meals or favorite foods we all grew up with, from the exotic to the mundane, dishes that still tickle or tantalize us as adults." He is also working on his memoirs.

Alex Vincent (Andy Barclay)

Alex Vincent beat out hundreds of other boys to land the role of young Andy, whom Chucky pursues in the hopes of making him a new vessel for his evil soul. Success in "Child's Play" and its sequel led to a couple of other high profile roles, like the Joe Mantegna film "Wait Until Spring, Bandini," but after a narrative time-jump for "Child's Play 3" necessitated recasting Andy with the older Justin Whalen, Vincent got tired of being recognized as the "Chucky kid," and of auditioning. As an adult, he reinvented himself as a sound engineer, and founded a recording studio, A/V Productions, in Clearwater, Florida, in addition to writing and publishing poetry.

His friend to the end came calling back in 2013, and a quick cameo at the end of "Curse of Chucky" led to a full-fledged franchise comeback, as Vincent continued to play the adult Andy in "Cult of Chucky" and on the "Chucky" TV series. Outside of the killer doll saga, his acting work mostly consists of small cameos, but he continues to write and record. He also markets his own line of marijuana, AV Best Buds, which, unlike his Florida studio, is based out of Michigan. As you might expect, the company has made some limited-edition packages that allude to Vincent's film fame ... within the bounds of fair use, of course.

Neil Giuntoli (Eddie Caputo)

Charles Lee Ray's faithless partner got blown up real good by Chucky in doll form, though to be fair, it was Eddie's own fault for firing a gun without taking a moment to smell the stove gas filling the room. As an actor, Neil Giuntoli's biggest chance at "blowing up" in a good way was when he succeeded Michael Rooker in the role of Henry Lee Lucas in "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Part II." Anita Gates of "The New York Times" wrote, "Mr. Giutoli [sic] makes Henry's coexisting woundedness and amorality fascinating to watch."

Smaller parts in "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Waterworld" undoubtedly continue to send some residual checks his way, and in 2006, he wrote and starred in the play "Hizzoner," a biography of former Chicago mayor Richard Daley, which ran for three years in the Windy City. 

As for Eddie Caputo, the character returned for a flashback in the "Chucky" TV series featuring a young Eddie (Ivano DiCarlo) meeting the teenaged Charles Lee Ray (Tyler Barish) in a home for wayward boys.

Dinah Manoff (Maggie Peterson)

Andy's babysitter was already a familiar face when she got defenestrated by his killer pal. Previously best known for playing Marty in "Grease," and subsequently better known as Carol Weston on "Empty Nest," Dinah Manoff is the daughter of actress-writer-director Lee Grant and blacklisted screenwriter Arnold Manoff ("Man From Frisco"). She's also one of those "oh, that person" character actors who pops up everywhere on TV. "Cybill," "Touched by an Angel," "The John Larroquette Show," "Murder She Wrote," "Night Court," and "The Golden Girls" are among the many popular series she can claim on her resume. During the '90s, she also worked in TV as a director, beginning with "Empty Nest" episodes and concluding with "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch."

After working only sporadically in the 2000s, Manoff published her first novel, entitled "The Real True Hollywood Story of Jackie Gold." She described it as "an honest, fictional glimpse behind the red carpet ... about a Hollywood star, the remarkable journey that got her there, and her walk-in closet full of tabloid-worthy secrets." Though she hasn't acted on-camera since 2008, she now teaches and coaches acting, including to prison inmates at the Purdy Womens Correctional Facility in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Tommy Swerdlow (Jack Santos)

Following parts in "Howard the Duck," "Spaceballs," and "Hamburger Hill," Tommy Swerdlow's role as Norris' skeptical partner was one of his last big ones before he segued into writing family films. The guy who battled a melting Chucky is indeed the same guy who wrote "Cool Runnings," "Little Giants," and "Snow Dogs." He was also, at that time, a major heroin user, as he discussed with Deadline. In 2017, together with friends he made in recovery, Swerdlow wrote, directed, and co-starred in "A Thousand Junkies," about three addicts on a desperate search for their next fix.

Since then, he's returned to family movies of the animated kind, as a credited writer on the likes of "The Grinch" and "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish." He maintains a blog on Substack entitled "Feel the Rhythm," after a phrase he wrote for "Cool Runnings." There, amidst musings on life and Hollywood, he revealed that his favorite unproduced script was for an animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss' "Oh, The Places You'll Go," which Seuss' widow Audrey ultimately put the kibosh on.

Jack Colvin (Dr. Ardmore)

If that doctor who tries to sedate Andy looks familiar, it's likely you recognize him as antagonistic reporter Jack McGee from "The Incredible Hulk" TV series. Determined to expose David Bruce Banner and his green alter-ego as a murderer, he prompts Bill Bixby's famous line, "Mr. McGee, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." Both solo "Hulk" movies paid tribute to the line.

Jack Colvin's career goes back way further and even more impressively than that, though. At the age of 17, Colvin was studying acting directly under Michael Chekhov (nephew of playwright Anton). After many years on the stage, he made the jump to TV and movies, appearing on the big screen in the likes of "Jeremiah Johnson," "Rooster Cogburn," and "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" On the smaller screen, under contract to Universal, he would pop on shows from "Kojak" to "The Bionic Woman," finally scoring regular gigs on "The Incredible Hulk" and "Washingtoon."

Sadly, "Child's Play" would be his final movie. He died from a stroke in 2005, while working on a play for the Michael Chekhov Studio USA West in Los Angeles, where he served as artistic director.

Juan Ramirez (Peddler)

The acting career of Juan Ramirez is full of generic, unnamed roles to which he added character and personality. Aside from playing the peddler who steals Chucky from a burned-out toy store and sells him to Karen, he may be familiar as "Latin Guy #2" in Martin Scorsese's "The Color of Money," or "Chicano Leader" in Chris Columbus' "Adventures in Babysitting." In Ron Howard's "Backdraft," he at least gets a character name: Ray Santos. Since then, however, he has continued to play his fair share of roles like "Policeman," "Hired Goon," and "Hispanic Man."

His last noted onscreen acting role was as Mr. Madrigal on the Apple TV+ series "Shining Girls," starring Elisabeth Moss. Though his middle initial is "A," he should not be confused with the younger writer Juan A. Ramirez, a pop culture critic who writes for Theatrely and has occasionally appeared in the New York Times.

Alan Wilder (Mr. Criswell)

The role of Karen's fussy boss was filled by yet another Chicago theater veteran: Alan Wilder, who appeared in over 70 productions by the city's Steppenwolf Theatre. Often cast in small parts in major movies with a Chicago connection, Wilder appeared in "Home Alone," "A League of Their Own," "Kiss the Girls," "Sour Grapes," and "A Civil Action." TV shows on which he had one-shot appearances include "Mad About You," "Party of Five," "Murphy Brown," "Frasier," and "E.R." More recently, he appeared in two episodes of "Chicago Fire."

His final film role, however, took him to Indiana, to appear in Henry Johnston's "King Rat," also featuring Burt Young and Austin Pendleton. The film, based on Johnston hearing Kal Penn speak at his graduation and imagining what it would be like to be his friend, follows a college senior (Julian Hester) who befriends his graduation speaker, a washed-up filmmaker (Bradley Grant Smith) in need of new inspiration.

Wilder is currently retired as of this writing.

Ed Gale (Chucky)

Little person actor and stuntman Ed Gale got his big Hollywood break inside the beak and feathers of Howard the Duck, whose eponymous movie may have been an infamous bomb, but proved Gale could move efficiently inside a full body suit. He followed that by playing one of the Dinks in "Spaceballs" before landing the role of Chucky, whose costume he would don again in "Child's Play 2" and "Bride of Chucky." Though he has frequently donned creature costumes, including Pikachu on the Norm MacDonald sitcom "Norm," he has often acted outside of suits as well, on TV shows like "Third Rock From the Sun" and "My Name Is Earl," and in the Coen brothers' film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Sadly, his lengthy career looks likely to come to an ignominious end. In 2023, Gale was busted in a sting operation for allegedly soliciting sex with minors, which he admitted on camera. He was not arrested, apparently due to his poor physical health, but remains under investigation (via LA Weekly).

Edan Gross (voice of Good Guys Chucky)

At the age of 7, Edan Gross provided the voice of the Good Guys dolls before they go full Chucky: "Hi, I'm ______ and I'm your friend to the end! Hi de ho, ha ha ha!" Now all grown up, he works as a commercial real estate broker in Los Angeles, following a three-year stint as head of a carpet-cleaning business in Washington state.

Throughout the '90s, however, he maintained a successful career as a voice actor. Adult female actors often voice young boy characters in animation, but Edan proved an exception, notably playing Flounder on Disney's "The Little Mermaid" TV series, Christopher Robin in "Winnie the Pooh & Tigger Too," and Tyrone Turtle on "Tiny Toons." As an adult, he attained the rank of first-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do karate, and put those skills to use in "Best of the Best II," though any budding career as an action star went no further than an episode of "Renegade."

Gross still makes regular appearances at conventions, and books private autograph signings.

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