See the Cast of ‘Spaceballs’ Then and Now
Released in 1987, Mel Brooks’ ‘Star Wars‘ spoof ‘Spaceballs‘ followed the adventures of a renegade space cowboy named Lone Starr as he fought to stop the evil Dark Helmet. Join us as we look back at the cast of this classic comedy and investigate what they’re up to these days.
Mel Brooks, President Skroob/Yogurt
Then: The writer and director of classic comedies ‘Blazing Saddles’ and ‘Young Frankenstein’ decided to spoof sci-fi films with ‘Spaceballs,’ in which he cast himself as President Skroob (Skroob is an anagram for “Brooks”) and Yogurt, the character based on ‘Star Wars’ guru Yoda.
Now: Brooks was recently honored with an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a writer, director, producer and actor. In 2008, he worked on a short-lived ‘Spaceballs’ animated series for the G4 network. Word is he working on bringing ‘Blazing Saddles’ to Broadway. Could ‘Spaceballs: The Musical’ be on the horizon?
Rick Moranis, Dark Helmet
Then: The Canadian-American star of ‘SCTV’ (Canada’s answer to ‘SNL’), ‘Ghostbusters‘ and ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ was cast as Dark Helmet, a riff on Darth Vader.
Now: Moranis went on to star in ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’ and ‘Little Giants,’ and retired in 1997 following the death of his wife. But word is he’s ready to return to the spotlight, and will release his fifth album, ‘My Mother’s Brisket and Other Love Stories,’ this year.
Bill Pullman, Lone Starr
Then: Bill Pullman only had two credits under his belt when he landed the lead role in ‘Spaceballs’ as Lone Starr, the film’s answer to Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. His previous work included ‘Ruthless People’ and a bit part on ‘Laverne and Shirley.’
Now: Pullman is now a much-loved actor, and has appeared in several films, including ‘Independence Day‘ and ‘Igby Goes Down.’ He recently starred in the short-lived TV series ‘1600 Penn’ on NBC. In his free time, Pullman lives on a ranch in Montana called Whitehall which he co-owns with his brother.
Daphne Zuniga, Princess Vespa
Then: Prior to landing the role of Princess Vespa — whose hair and look is clearly inspired by Princess Leia — Daphne Zuniga had starred in ‘The Dorm That Dripped Blood’ and ‘Quarterback Princess.’
Now: Zuniga went on to land a recurring role on ‘Melrose Place’ as Jo Reynolds, and in recent years has continued to work in TV, both as a guest on series like ‘Nip/Tuck’ and as the star of such TV movies as ‘Family Thanksgiving.’
Dick Van Patten, King Roland
Then: Best known for his role on the TV series ‘Eight is Enough,’ Dick Van Patten played King Roland, extravagant father of Princess Vespa.
Now: Van Patten has acted in some films, but has always enjoyed immense success on television. In recent years he’s appeared on shows like ‘The Sarah Silverman Program’ and ‘Arrested Development.’ He is the uncle of actress Talia Balsam, who once dated George Clooney and is now married to ‘Mad Men’ star John Slattery.
Michael Winslow, Radar Technician
Then: Known for his incredible ability to simulate sound effects with his voice, Michael Winslow saved director Mel Brooks $1,000 by performing all the sound effects in his scene by himself.
Now: Billed as “The Man of 10,000 voices,’ Winslow has appeared in every ‘Police Academy’ movie and TV show, and loves to show up at conventions to sign autographs for fans. He’s also released his own iPod and iPhone apps, featuring sound effects he recorded himself.
Joan Rivers, Dot Matrix
Then: The veteran comedienne lent her voice to the robot character Dot Matrix, a twist on ‘Star Wars’ bot C-3PO.
Now: Rivers has her own show on E! called ‘Fashion Police,’ where she and a panel of fellow stars critique the fashion choices of celebrities. She continues to perform stand-up and recently guest-starred as herself on an episode of ‘Louie.’
Jim J. Bullock, Prince Valium
Then: The comedian and ‘Hollywood Squares’ regular played Prince Valium, the boring guy King Roland wants Princess Vespa to marry.
Now: The openly gay actor went on to star on ‘Alf’ and hosted a TV show with ex-evangelist Tammy Faye. In recent years he’s appeared on ‘Ned’s Declassified Survival Guide’ and ‘The Bold and the Beautiful.’