Christmas movie season is in full swing, and if you’re like us, you’ve got holiday films blasting from your television and Netflix window 24/7. “Timeless” is the term that gets thrown around for the good ones, and it’s often true — except in one respect. Those cute and cuddly kids so often at the center of yuletide tales have, in the years since they staked out a permanent place in your heart, grown up. Some have gone on to successful acting careers. Some dropped out once puberty hit. And one even, God help us, did porn. After the jump, our roundup of the after-Christmas lives of our favorite holiday movie kids.
Peter Billingsley and Scott Schwartz, A Christmas Story
Tracking the co-stars of the holiday favorite and TNT/TBS mainstay A Christmas Story makes for about the most terrifying child actor Choose Your Own Adventure imaginable. One path is that of Peter Billingsley, who played little “Ralphie,” our protagonist. Though he never managed to parlay the film into further acting success (his follow-up films included such lesser efforts as The Dirt Bike Kid and Russkies), a 1990 “Schoolbreak Special” called The Fourth Man placed him alongside another young actor, a lanky kid named Vince Vaughn. The pair remained friends, and when Swingers took off, Billingsley became an integral member of the Vaughn/Favreau crew: he co-produced Favreau’s TV show Dinner for Five and his films Made and Zathura, while exec-producing The Break-Up, Iron Man and Four Christmases (and made brief cameo appearances in those three, just for funsies).
On the other hand, Scott Schwartz (aka “Flick,” the kid with the tongue on the pole) took, well, a more colorful path. He came to the film after a leading role in The Toy (opposite Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason), and followed it with Kidco, a comedy about kids selling fertilizer that your film editor maintains an unreasonable affection for (mostly due to its endless HBO screenings at an impressionable age). But after that, the work dried up, and by the 1990s — as anyone who’s read David Foster Wallace’s brilliant Premiere reportage “Big Red Son/Neither Adult Nor Entertainment” or saw Schwartz’s very sad episode of the E! True Hollywood Story can tell you — Schwartz was working in the adult film industry. His credits include New Wave Hookers 5, The Devil in Miss Jones 6, and the immortal Booby Trap; he mostly appeared in non-sex roles, primarily due to some, erm, performance anxiety. He left the industry around 2000, and spends his time these days running a sports and movie collectibles store and talking about A Christmas Story at conventions and in documentaries.