See the Cast of ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ Then and Now
In 1983, a little road trip comedy was released that set the precedent for all road trip comedies to follow. ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ starred Chevy Chase as the well-meaning and aloof patriarch of the Griswold family who takes his clan on the road trip from hell. In honor of the film’s Blu-ray release, we take a look back at the cast then and see where they’re at now.
Chevy Chase, Clark Griswold
Then: ‘Saturday Night Live’ vet Chevy Chase played Clark Griswold, the bumbling father and husband who just wants to take his family on the perfect vacation. Director Harold Ramis and Chase did some uncredited rewrites to John Hughes’ original script, shifting the focus from the kids to the parents.
Now: Chase reprised his role as Clark in three more ‘Vacation’ movies (and some Old Navy ads), and is rumored to be returning for the ‘Vacation’ reboot starring Ed Helms as a grown-up version of Rusty Griswold. Most recently Chase just finished his run on the NBC comedy ‘Community,’ where he notoriously clashed with the show’s creator Dan Harmon.
Beverly D’Angelo, Ellen Griswold
Then: Beverly D’Angelo had previously appeared in ‘Annie Hall’ and ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ before landing the most iconic role of her career as Ellen Griswold, one of the most put-upon women in film history.
Now: D’Angelo’s career really took off — and took her all over the place. She’s starred in everything from television (‘Entourage’) to indie movies (‘Nowhere’) to more critically-acclaimed fare, like ‘American History X.’ She’ll also reportedly be reprising her role as Ellen alongside Chase in the upcoming ‘Vacation’ reboot.
Anthony Michael Hall, Rusty Griswold
Then: Anthony Michael Hall was a John Hughes mainstay in the ’80s, and ‘Vacation’ was his first Hughes role, playing the first of four versions of Rusty Griswold.
Now: Hall went on to star in three more movies for John Hughes, and appeared in 14 episodes of ‘SNL’ as a short-lived cast member. Hall couldn’t stay away from Chase, it seems, and appeared in two episodes of ‘Community.’ Recently he’s been on ‘Awkward’ and ‘Psych,’ and delighted fans in 2008 when he had a small part in ‘The Dark Knight.’
Dana Barron, Audrey Griswold
Then: Audrey Griswold was one of Dana Barron’s first roles, and though she was playing younger sister to Rusty, she was actually two years older than co-star Anthony Michael Hall.
Now: Barron continued to find a lot of television work, and reprised her role of Audrey in the 2003 made-for-TV movie, ‘Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure.’ Recently she turned up on ‘Leverage’ and in the short ‘Mayfly.’
Randy Quaid, Cousin Eddie
Then: A great character actor and brother of Dennis Quaid, Randy Quaid played the goofy, crass and wildly inappropriate Cousin Eddie.
Now: Quaid reprised the role in two more ‘Vacation’ films (three, if you include the TV movie ‘Christmas Vacation 2′) and has starred in tons of movies. In recent years, though, he’s run into some weird legal troubles, and took refuge in Canada.
Miriam Flynn, Cousin Catherine
Then: A veteran of the infamous Second City comedy group, actress Miriam Flynn played Catherine, wife to wacky ol’ Cousin Eddie.
Now: Flynn has found plenty of work since (including two more ‘Vacation’ films and that TV special), and currently has a recurring role on the ABC show ‘Suburgatory.’
Jane Krakowski, Cousin Vicki
Then: Jane Krakowski made her big screen debut in ‘Vacation’ as Cousin Vicki, daughter of Eddie and Catherine.
Now: A trained stage actress and singer, you probably know Krakowski best for her role as Jenna Maroney on ’30 Rock.’
Eugene Levy, Car Salesman
Then: Noted comedic character actor Eugene Levy made a name for himself on ‘SCTV,’ the Canadian version of ‘SNL,’ which is how he caught the eye of director Harold Ramis, who cast him as the car salesman in ‘Vacation.’
Now: Levy has appeared in tons of films, most notably for writer/director Christopher Guest. But you also probably know him really well as Jim’s dad in the ‘American Pie’ series.
Christie Brinkley, The Girl in the Ferrari
Then: Model Christie Brinkley was cast as the “Girl in the Ferrari” for one of the film’s most notorious scenes, in which a lovely woman drives next to Clark, distracting him from his family. The part was originally meant to be for a 13-year-old love interest for Rusty, but when Chase and Ramis re-wrote the script, they went with the much funnier idea of giving Clark a dream woman to awkwardly flirt with.
Now: Brinkley reprised her role for ‘Vegas Vacation’ in 1997, once again tempting Clark away from his familial duties. More recently, Brinkley appeared as the unlikely wife of Jerry on ‘Parks and Recreation.’