Billingsley earned icon status before hitting his teens. His unforgettable portrayal of the blue-eyed, pink-cheeked hero on a quest to the Holy Grail of all Christmas gifts — the Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle — solidified his place pop culture history.
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These days, Peter Billingsley mostly uses his talents behind the camera. Since the early 2000s, he’s served as executive producer on TV shows ranging from Jon Favreau’s Dinner for Five to Steve Byrne’s Sullivan & Son, and most recently, F Is for Family. If his face looks familiar outside of A Christmas Story, you might also remember him as Billy Baker on Sherman Oaks in the ’90s!
Darren McGavin (The Old Man)
He’s the Parker family’s stern-faced patriarch — except when he first laid eyes on his leg lamp — and the saint who came through with the best Christmas gift Cleveland Street had ever seen.
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Though Darren McGavin was already a seasoned pro on stage and on screen before A Christmas Story, he saw some of his biggest television success after. Before he passed away in 2006, McGavin’s recurring role on Murphy Brown in the late ’80s/early ’90s earned him an Emmy. Now that’s a “major award”!
Melinda Dillon (Mrs. Parker)
The doting, cheerful yin to the Old Man’s yang, Dillon’s character was the face of Midwestern family values and the first speaker of what is perhaps A Christmas Story’s most famous line: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
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After the success of the holiday classic, Melinda Dillon continued to work in film as well as TV, including roles in the TV movies Confessions: Two Faces of Evil and Judgment Day: The John List Story. Most recently, she appeared in three episodes of Heartland.. Since 2007, however, she’s lived quiet life outside of the spotlight.
Zack Ward (Scut Farkus)
In his role as the most terrifying neighborhood bully in all of northern Indiana, Ward’s “yellow eyes, God help us, yellow eyes!” are burned into the memory of every kid who grew up watching A Christmas Story.
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A character actor still in demand, Zack Ward has had roles on shows like American Horror Story, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Z Nation — and that’s in the last year alone. Who knew Scut Farkus would turn out to be one of the biggest success stories of A Christmas Story?
R.D. Robb (Schwarz)
Five words: I TRIPLE-DOG-DARE YA!
After spending over a decade out of the public eye, R.D. Robb, who made his acting debut in A Christmas Story, took a brief step back into the spotlight last year. He appeared as a headshot photographer in an episode of The Goldbergs, which incorporated his famous childhood role, and his mother’s position as an acting manager, into its plot. You know you’ve made it when you’re playing a fictionalized version of yourself on TV. And on top of that, he now serves as executive producer on Freeform’s Siren!
Tedde Moore (Miss Shields)
If we didn’t know any better, we’d think she was still giving Ralphie “the look” all these years later!
…And maybe she is! Here, Tedde Moore is seen on the 2011 series The Kennedys, her most recent recurring role. Also since A Christmas Story, Moore has appeared in 2001’s RoboCop: Prime Detectives, and spread Christmas joy in TV movies like 2011’s Mistletoe Over Manhattan (starring as Mrs. Claus!) and 2017’s Magical Christmas Ornaments.
Jean Shepherd (Adult Ralphie)
Peter Billingsley is the star of A Christmas Story, but whether or not you recognize his face, Jean Shepherd is a close second. After decades of story-telling as a radio personality, Shepherd wrote his first feature film, A Christmas Story, which starred his semi-autobiographical character “Ralphie,” and featured his own voice in grown-up Ralph’s narrations of his childhood shenanigans. Shepherd also made a cameo in the film during the family’s annual trip to visit Santa Claus at the mall (that’s him in the photo above)!
In his post-A Christmas Story life, Shepherd wrote and voiced “Ralph, the man” in the 1988 TV movie Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss, which told the story of 14-year-old Ralph Parker getting his first job. He also returned to Sesame Street to voice all of the characters in the ‘Cowboy X’ segment (pictured above). Shepherd passed away in October 1999 at the age of 78, but continues to delight audiences each year with his holiday masterpiece.
Since appearing in the 1983 holiday classic A Christmas Story, most of the cast seems to have decided that working in TV is the way to be.
The actors who brought iconic characters like Ralphie Parker and Scut Farkus to life have seen continued success both in front of and behind the camera. For instance, can you guess who executive produces Netflix's F is For Family? How about those who appeared on Sesame Street and American Horror Story?
The actor weighs in on whether the beloved film should have a reboot or a follow-up in today's time.
Of course, there were a few that disappeared into oblivion or have since left us, but many of these friendly faces are still around. Wondering where you might have seen the cast of your favorite festive film on TV (outside of those Christmas Day marathons)? Click through the gallery above to find out!