See The Cast of ‘Prancer’ Then And Now
In the holiday movie ‘Prancer,’ a little girl who has just lost her mother finds an injured reindeer, which she believes to be Santa’s famous sleigh puller Prancer, and nurses it back to health despite her father’s objections.
The 1989 family drama contained an interesting mix of older, accomplished actors and young upstarts. See what the cast of ‘Prancer’ is up to these days below
Rebecca Harrell (Tickell), Jessica Riggs
Then: Rebecca Harrell made her movie debut as Jessica Riggs, who develops a bond with an injured reindeer.
Now: The 32-year-old doesn’t act much these days, with her last role being in 2007’s ‘Sugar Creek.’ However, she is a well-known environmentalist and in 2009 she and her husband Josh Tickell became the first people to drive across the United States in a car powered by an algae gasoline blend. In 2011, Harrell Tickell co-directed two environmental documentaries, ‘Freedom’ and ‘The Big Fix.’
Sam Elliott, John Riggs
Then: Sam Elliott brought his distinctive grizzled quality to protective father John Riggs. That same year, he starred alongside Patrick Swayze in ‘Roadhouse’ and was known in the ’90s for his role as Virgil Earp in ‘Tombstone’ and for playing the cowboy narrator “Stranger” in ‘The Big Lebowski.’
Now: Still ruggedly handsome at 67, Elliott will appear in the upcoming Robert Redford-directed thriller ‘The Company You Keep.’ He has been married to actress Katherine Ross since 1984.
Cloris Leachman, Mrs. McFarland
Then: Cloris Leachman played town recluse Mrs. McFarland in ‘Prancer.’ The veteran actress had been working since the mid 1940s and had snagged a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in 1971’s ‘The Last Picture Show.’ She was also well-known for playing nosy landlady Phyllis on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show.’
Now: The 86-year-old shows no signs of slowing down. In 2008, she was the oldest contestant ever on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and she currently stars on the sitcom ‘Raising Hope.’ If that wasn’t enough for the octogenarian, she has four movies, including ‘Adult World’ and ‘The Bronx Bull,’ scheduled for 2013 release.
Rutanya Alda, Aunt Sarah
Then: Rutanya Alda played Aunt Sarah in ‘Prancer.’ The Latvian-born actress had notable roles as Joan Crawford’s secretary in ‘Mommie Dearest’ and as John Savage’s wife in ‘The Deer Hunter.’
Now: Alda has appeared in recent HBO movies ‘Too Big To Fail’ and ‘You Don’t’ Know Jack.’ The 70-year old is also an accomplished stage actress.
Abe Vigoda, Orel Benton
Then: Vigoda played kindly veterinarian Orel Benton in ‘Prancer.’ 68 at the time, Vigoda had played Sal Tessio in the first two ‘Godfather’ movies and was known for his role as Detective Phil Fish on ‘Barney Miller’ and its spinoff ‘Fish.’
Now: Vigoda is still with us, despite erroneous reports of his death that stretch back to 1982. The 91-year-old provided a sign of life in 2010 when he appeared in a popular Super Bowl commercial for Snickers with another ancient actor, Betty White. He is set to star in the 2013 comedy ‘Mobster Movie,’ which would be his first film role in five years.
Michael Constantine, Mr. Stewart/Santa
Then: In ‘Prancer,’ Michael Constantine played Mr. Stewart/Santa. The veteran actor had made one of his first appearances in the 1961 Paul Newman movie ‘The Hustler,’ and had numerous TV credits during the ’70s and ’80s on shows like ‘MacGyver’ and ‘Simon & Simon.’
Now: The role of Constantine’s career came late, in the form of the windex- obsessed father “Gus” Portokalos in 2002’s ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’ The next year he reprised that character in the short-lived sitcom version of the movie. Since then, the 85-year-old has been in semi-retirement, appearing only in a few short films.
Ariana Richards, Carol Wetherby
Then: Richards played Jessica’s friend Carol Wetherby in ‘Prancer.’ She also received critical acclaim for the early ’90s TV movies ‘Switched at Birth’ and ‘Locked Up: A Mother’s Rage’ and is best known for her role as Lex Murphy in the ‘Jurassic Park’ franchise.
Now: Richards stopped acting around the time she want to college, instead focusing on her career as a graphic artist. She appears to be making a comeback, however, and is scheduled to star in the 2013 movie ‘Wards Island.’
Johnny Galecki, Billy Quinn
Then: Johnny Galecki was 14 when he played Billy Quinn in ‘Prancer.’ 1989 was a big year for the future ‘Rosanne’ star, as he also played Rusty Griswold in ‘Christmas Vacation.’
Now: Galecki currently plays lead character Leonard Hofstadter on ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ Next year the 37-year-old is set to star in the movie ‘CBGB,’ which takes a cinematic look at the legendary music club.