What happened to all the stars of ‘Home Alone’?
It’s been over 22 years since Home Alone made Macauley Culkin one of the biggest child stars of all time and became an instant holiday classic — not to mention nostalgia bait for nearly the whole of the Millennial generation. Let’s take a look at all the ups, downs, and turnarounds the cast has experienced in the two decades since the film hit the theater in the fall of 1990.
Macauley Culkin as Kevin McAllister
Culkin had already appeared in Director John Hughes’s prior effort, Uncle Buck, before his career was hurled into the stratosphere by Home Alone. Culkin would go on to star in the movie’s sequel as well as a string of movies that made him perhaps the most famous child star of the 1990s. After completing Richie Rich in 1994, Culkin, already weary of acting, retired. After his retirement, Culkin succumbed to some of the pitfalls that are common for child stars. A messy trust fund lawsuit left him estranged from his father, Kit. In 2004 he was charged for misdemeanor drug offenses following an arrest in Oklahoma for possession of marijuana and other controlled substances.
However, since returning to acting in the early ‘oughts, Macauley has maintained a low-profile but often highly-acclaimed resume of film and television work, from guest appearances to starring roles in indie darlings like 2003’s Party Monster, and 2011’s The Wrong Ferrari. After a long-term relationship with Mila Kunis which ended in 2011, Culkin has been involved with fellow child star Brenda Song. The pair welcomed a son, Dakota, in August. Culkin was a series regular in the tenth season of American Horror Story, where his performance earned critical praise.
Joe Pesci as Harry Lyme
Although Pesci is most known for his longtime association with director Martin Scorsese, most ’90s kids’ first experience of him was as the clownish yet still somehow terrifying Harry Lyme, the brains — with “brains” being relative — of the “Wet Bandits” antagonist duo. Pesci would go on to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Goodfellas, the same year Home Alone was released. Pesci would go on to play a string of iconic roles throughout the remainder of the decade, from Lethal Weapon’s Leo Getz to Casino‘s Nicky Santoro before announcing his retirement from acting in 1999. The actor has made only a handful of returns to the screen since but was persuaded — after being offered the role a reported 50 times — to reunite with longtime co-star Robert DeNiro from 2019’s The Irishman. Pesci earned yet another Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod for his performance.
Daniel Stern as Marv Merchants
Character actor Daniel Stern already had over a decade’s worth of credits under his belt, including his VO as the adult narrator of The Wonder Years before he appeared in Home Alone. After his portrayal of Marv Merchants, the dim-witted other half of the “Wet Bandits” duo, Stern would go on to star in the City Slickers franchise and would later go behind the camera to serve as a director and a producer. Stern is a respected sculptor as well as an actor and has done private commissions, gallery exhibitions, and has created works for public art projects in cities throughout California. He is currently an artist in residence at Studio Channel Islands Art Centre in Camarillo, California.
Catherine O’Hara as Kate McAllister
Before she ever screamed “Kevin!”, O’Hara was already renowned in comedy circles for her work with the legendary sketch show, SCTV (aka Second City Television) as well as her performance as Delia Deetz in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. After Home Alone exposed her talents to a broader audience, the actor has rarely lacked for work. She has returned to work with Burton on animated projects such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Frankenweenie and has made multiple award-winning appearances on various TV series and specials. O’Hara has recently found herself catapulted into the public spotlight yet again for her critically acclaimed role as fan-favorite Moira Rose in the Dan Levy-penned comedy series Schitt’s Creek. The TV series reunites O’Hara with fellow SCTV alum Eugene Levy and has earned O’Hara an Emmy win.
John Heard as Peter McAllister
Heard portrayed beleaguered father Peter McCallister in both installments of the Home Alone franchise with a mixture of dramatic worry and comedic takes. Unfortunately, the actor’s real home life was not as wholesome as McCallister’s. Heard endured a string of divorces and was arrested for allegedly assaulting his then-girlfriend, actor Melissa Leo. Heard was later found guilty of trespassing at Leo’s home. Heard, who passed away from a cardiac arrest in 2017, said in 2008, “I think I had my time. I dropped the ball, as my father would say. I think I could have done more with my career than I did, and I sort of got sidetracked. But that’s OK, that’s all right, that’s the way it is. No sour grapes. I mean, I don’t have any regrets. Except that I could have played some bigger parts.”
Roberts Blossom as Old Man Marley
To portray Old Man Marley, reputed to be the neighborhood serial killer, the casting team turned to horror veteran Roberts Blossom, previously portraying a serial killer based on the infamous Ed Gein in Deranged, and delivering a creepy-yet-memorable performance in John Carpenter’s adaptation of Christine. Blossom was a respected stage actor prior to his film career and was also known as a talented poet. Blossom would make several more appearances in various projects after his performance in Home Alone before retiring to concentrate on his poetry. He passed away in 2011 from cerebrovascular complications.
Angela Goethals as Linnie McAllister
Unlike most of her fellow cast members, Goethals opted not to return for the Home Alone sequel. Goethals starred in the brief-lived sitcom Phenom following the original Home Alone, and went on to play a small role in Jerry Maguire. Following graduation from Vassar in 1999, Goethals went on to a variety of projects in the 2000s including Comedy Central’s first feature film effort, Porn ‘n Chicken and a five-episode stint on 24 as Maya Driscoll. She has also played a variety of stage roles both on and off Broadway.
Devin Ratray as Buzz McAllister
In Home Alone, Kevin’s brother Buzz is practically a one-man inciting incident and is more or less the cause of Kevin getting left behind in the first place. Buzz actor Devin Ratray had already played a bully in 1989’s Little Monsters, which starred Fred Savage. Ratray would go on to appear in a broad range of projects, including MTV’s reality show Damage Control and an appearance in 2013’s acclaimed Nebraska. Ratray reprised his role as Buzz, now a police officer, in the recent franchise installment, Home Sweet Home Alone. However, Ratray’s private life has recently taken an ugly turn. He has recently been accused of strangling his girlfriend in an Oklahoma City incident earlier this month.
Hilary Wolf as Megan McAllister
Hilary went on to appear in the Home Alone sequel but has since put her acting career behind her. However, the movie franchise isn’t Wolf’s only claim to fame. She is a champion judoka and was a member of the U.S. Olympic judo team in 1996 and 2000.
Michael C. Maronna as Jeff McCallister
Maronna’s appearance in Home Alone coincided with the height of his popularity as Big Pete on Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete and Pete. He would continue to play Big Pete after his stint as older brother Jeff in Home Alone and its sequel. Maronna later reinvented himself when he appeared as Stuart, the over-the-top slacker Ameritrade mascot, in a series of popular commercials for the stock trading company in the latter part of the decade. He even appeared as the character in a viral video about Bill Clinton’s last day in office shown at the 2000 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Michael has since gone on to become an electrician for films and television. He hosts the podcast The Adventures of Danny and Mike with his former Pete and Pete co-star Danny Tamberelli.
Anna Slotky as Brook McAllister
After playing Brook, Slotky had several years of regular appearances on TV sitcoms such as Third Rock From the Sun and Sister Sister in the mid to late ’90s, but retired in the 2000s to pursue a legal career. She received her Juris Doctor in 2008 from UC Davis School of Law and currently serves as a public defender for Los Angeles County.
Kieran Culkin as Fuller McAllister
Kieran Culkin made his film debut in Home Alone and followed in his brother’s footsteps as a child actor. In 2002, Kieran achieved a breakout adult role for himself as the title role of Igby Goes Down. Though he achieved a high degree of critical acclaim for the role, Culkin went under the radar for several years before re-emerging into a series of highly regarded supporting performances in Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Weiner Dog, and Infinity Baby before being cast in the breakout hit series Succession. His portrayal of Roman Roy on the show has earned him a Golden Globe nomination. Culkin also became a father for the second time earlier this year.
John Candy as Gus Polinski
Where would Kate McAllister be without the help of polka musician Gus Polinski? Home Alone was a reunion for Candy and fellow SCTV Catherine O’Hara, as well as with director John Hughes who had previously directed the Candy-helmed Uncle Buck as well as directing him in his most famous role, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles‘ Del Griffith. Hughes would go on to produce Only the Lonely, starring Candy, one year after Home Alone. Sadly, the beloved comedian died prematurely of a heart attack in 1994.