‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ Cast: Where Are They Now?

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David Shankbone

Can you believe it’s been over 30 years since National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation came out in theaters? The movie is still one of our absolute favorites and a must rewatch during the holiday season. Watching Clark Griswold try to give his family the perfect Christmas never gets old. The cast has been super busy since appearing in the 1989 film. Here’s what they’ve been up to!

Christmas Vacation Cast: Chevy Chase – Clark Griswold


 
 
 
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Chevy Chase is Clark Griswold, the well-intentioned but bumbling movie dad, who always wants to make the best of any situation. His first appearance as Clark was in 1983’s Vacation, followed by 1985’s European Vacation. Later, Chevy went on to reprise his role in 1997’s Vegas Vacation and most recently 2015’s sequel Vacation (where this time it’s Clark’s son Rusty who takes his family to Walley World!). Prior to the National Lampoon movies, he was an original Saturday Night Live cast member, best known for his Gerald Ford impression, as well as being the original “Weekend Update” anchor. Chevy has appeared in movies such as Orange County, Snow Day and Hot Tub Time Machine. He also played Pierce Hawthorne on NBC’s Community for five seasons. Chevy recently co-starred in Netflix’s The Last Laugh along with Richard Dreyfus. He is an environmentalist and a liberal democrat.

Christmas Vacation Cast: Beverly D’Angelo – Ellen Griswold


 
 
 
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After garnering a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Coal Miner’s Daughter, Beverly D’Angelo joined the Vacation film franchise appearing in all of the films including 2015’s Vacation alongside Chevy Chase. Beverly has starred in numerous films during the 1990’s and early 2000’s including American History X and The House Bunny. She also had recurring roles on both Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Entourage. From 1996-2003 she was married to Al Pacino. The couple have twins together, a son Anton James and daughter Olivia Rose. In 2018, Beverly appeared as Stella Rose Buckley, a pageant mentor, on the Netflix series Insatiable.

Christmas Vacation Cast: Randy Quaid – Cousin Eddie


 
 
 
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After appearing in 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation, Randy Quaid reprised his role as Cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation. Cousin Eddie was so popular that he even got his own spin-off, the made-for-TV movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure. Though Randy continued to act through the 1990s and 2000s with roles in films like Independence Day and Brokeback Mountain, his various legal issues have greatly out-shined his work as an actor. Randy is the older brother of actor Dennis Quaid, and he is a trained general aviation pilot.

Christmas Vacation Cast: Juliette Lewis – Audrey Griswold


 
 
 
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Every Vacation movie features a different actress playing Audrey Griswold. In Christmas Vacation, the role belonged to 16-year-old Juliette Lewis. The movie was one of her very first acting jobs and it was definitely a breakout part. Shortly thereafter, Juliette appeared in the hit television show, The Wonder Years as Wayne Arnold’s girlfriend. In 1991, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Cape Fear. Since then, Juliette has been in numerous films including What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Old School, August: Osage County, and Ma. She’s also appeared in television shows such as The Act, Sacred Lies, and Camping. Recently, Juliette’s been super busy and has three movies that all premiered in 2021! She is a musician, and was a member of the rock band Juliette and the Licks until 2009.

Christmas Vacation Cast: Johnny Galecki – Rusty Griswold

Like the role of Audrey, every Vacation movie features a different Rusty, too. Johnny Galecki was the third actor to fill the character’s shoes in the franchise. After Christmas Vacation, he played David on Roseanne for the majority of the ’90s and has even reprised his role in a few episodes on The Connors. Johnny has also starred in several films including Bounce and I Know What You Did Last Summer. He is now probably best known as Leonard Hofstadter from The Big Bang Theory, a character he played for almost 12 years. Lately, Johnny is spending time behind the camera. He is producing movies and films. One of his projects in development? The Griswolds, a TV series based on the movie series.

Christmas Vacation Cast: Diane Ladd – Nora Griswold


 
 
 
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Veteran actress Diane Ladd’s appearance as Clark Griswold’s kind mom Nora was just another in a very lengthy film career. In the ’70s, she was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Post-Christmas Vacation, Diane teamed up with her daughter, actress Laura Dern, for the film Wild At Heart. Since then, she has appeared in other movies including Primary Colors, 28 Days and Joy. In 2011, Diane and Laura reunited to star on the HBO show Enlightened. Most recently, Diane was seen in Chesapeake Shores, a Hallmark Channel series.

Christmas Vacation Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Margo Chester


 
 
 
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The same year she began her acclaimed role as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus also starred as the Griswold’s prissy neighbor Margo Chester. Her now famous and often quoted line? “Why is the carpet wet, Todd?” Post Christmas Vacation and Seinfeld, she starred in Watching Ellie and The New Adventures of Old Christine. In 2012, Julia began playing Selina Meyer on the HBO smash hit Veep. She won the Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy Series six years in a row! Julia has also appeared in films such as Enough Said, Downhill and was a voice in the animated Onward. This past year, she made a surprise appearance as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine in a few episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Christmas Vacation Cast: Doris Roberts – Frances Smith

After playing Frances, Ellen’s judgemental mother, Doris Roberts became a household name as the smothering but loving Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond. She appeared on the show from 1996-2005 and won four Emmys. Doris also made various cameos in other TV shows, including The King of Queens, The Middle, and Melissa and Joey. In 2005, she co-wrote the cookbook Are You Hungry, Dear? Life, Laughs, and Lasagna in 2005. Sadly, Doris passed away in 2016 at the age of 90. During her life, she was an avid animal rights advocate and cook.

Christmas Vacation Cast: Miriam Flynn – Cousin Catherine

Miriam Flynn originated her role as Catherine Johnson, Ellen’s cousin, in National Lampoon’s Vacation. She reprised the part in Christmas Vacation and Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure. During the ’90s, Miriam began doing a great deal of voice acting. She had roles in the cartoons Ducktales and Taz-Mania. She also voiced Grandma Longneck in The Land Before Time films. Most recently, Miariam has appeared in the television shows Suburgatory, Mom, and The Unicorn.

Christmas Vacation Cast: Ellen Latzen – Ruby Sue


 
 
 
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After making her acting debut in Fatal Attraction, Ellen Latzen snagged the role of Ruby Sue, Catherine and Eddie’s daughter, in Christmas Vacation when she was just 9 years old. She left acting shortly thereafter. Ellen attended the California College of the Arts and is currently a small business support consultant in Pennsylvania. Fun news: she’s on Cameo! Best. Holiday. Gift. Ever!

Christmas Vacation Cast: E.G. Marshall – Art Smith

Before playing Ellen Griswold’s grumpy dad, E.G. Marshall had an expansive career that went back to the 1940’s. He is perhaps best remembered as “Juror #4” in Sidney Lumet‘s  1957 masterpiece 12 Angry Men. After Christmas Vacation, E.G. made several appearances on television shows including The Cosby Show, Chicago Hope, and Courthouse. His final role was in the TV film Miss Evers’ Boys. Marshall passed away in 1998 at the age of 84.

Christmas Vacation Cast: Mae Questel – Aunt Bethany

You probably don’t know that Mae Questel was the original voice of both Betty Boop and Olive Oyl. Talk about an icon! Before portraying Aunt Bethany in Christmas Vacation, she also starred in Funny Girl and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Aunt Bethany was Mae’s last role. She passed away in 1998 at 89 years old.

Christmas Vacation Cast: John Randolph – Clark Griswold, Sr.

John Randolph was already a seasoned actor when he played the elder Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation. Prior to that, he acted in movies like King Kong and All the President’s Men. In the late 1940’s and 1950’s, John was blacklisted from working in Hollywood films and from New York television and radio because of his perceived links to Communism. He did not act again until the mid-1960s. One of John’s last film roles was as Tom Hanks’s grandpa in You’ve Got Mail. He passed away in 2004 at the age of 88 years old.

Christmas Vacation Cast: William Hickey – Uncle Lewis

Academy Award nominee William Hickey was a veteran actor long before playing Uncle Lewis. He’d even acted alongside two of his Christmas Vacation co-stars previously. William and E.G. Marshall both appeared on the 1960’s television series The Defenders, and he played opposite John Randolph in 1985’s Prizzi’s Honor. Post-Christmas Vacation, he voiced Dr. Finklestein in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas as well as had roles in films such as Major Payne and Mousehunt. William passed away in 1997 after a bout with emphysema and bronchitis. He was 69 years old.

Where to watch Christmas Vacation

Currently, Christmas Vacation is streaming on HBO Max. You can also rent or buy it on Amazon.

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