Just say the words “NeverEnding Story” to any person born between 1970 and 1990 and you’re bound to get a Rockbiter-sized grin. Like The Goonies and Labyrinth, The NeverEnding Story is an outrageous adventure that could never possibly take place, making it the perfect piece of entertainment for kids growing up in the 80s. It brought dragons, magic, and monsters into homes well before Harry Potter, and it took on similar themes, from self-acceptance to bullying, the power of children to change the world to the values of imagination.
With the story came one of the most fantastic casts of characters ever assembled in a film. While most of the cast didn’t go on to become as successful as the stars in The Goonies or Labyrinth, the characters they played remain with fans decades after first seeing a luck dragon fly, a racing snail zoom by, and a trio of bullies flee into garbage bins. We remember these timeless moments and more when we think about Where Are They Now: The Cast of The NeverEnding Story.
15. Tami Stronach- The Childlike Empress
All it took to save the Childlike Empress from a terrible illness was a new name from a human child, but she still had to beg him to call it out in a storm. The childlike empress of Fantasia wasn’t in the film for more than a few moments, but young actress Tami Stronach was able to portray serene sagacity and sheer panic in those seconds of screen time, earning her a spot in the heart of every ’80s kid who wanted to wish on that first grain of sand. Even so, she would not appear in another film for nearly a quarter of a century until she played Panenka z krámku kuriozit in the television film Fredy a Zlatovlaska. Nearly another decade later she made another foreign film, Posledni z Aproveru, in 2017.
14. Thomas Hill – Carl Conrad Coreander
You probably didn’t even know that the owner of the bookstore where Bastian finds The NeverEnding Story was named Carl Conrad Coreander, but now that you do, you have to admit it’s a pretty boss name. Coreander warned Bastian that his book was too dangerous for him to read, but given the fact that Bastian was the hero of the book, many viewers wonder if he was simply using reverse psychology with the boy. Coreander, played by Thomas Hill, seemed larger than life in the movie, a foreboding and austere presence who happened to be an authority on books.
Hill passed away in 2009 at the age of 81 due to a motor neurone disease, and the last film he made was 1990’s An Empty Bed, in which he played the character Elmer. He made The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter the same year. Some other notable Hill performances include Barlow in The Postman Always Rings Twice and Jim Dixon on the TV show Newhart.
13. Limahl – Soundtrack
“There beyond a rainbow is the answer to a neverending story…” Who didn’t love to sing along with Limahl and the ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahs in the film’s theme song? Christopher Hamill, better known as his stage name Limahl (an anagram of Hamill), made it to fame as the lead singer of the 1980s English pop group, Kajagoogoo. Fans of the pop single “Too Shy” may recognize the band. Unfortunately, that’s as far as the group’s success went.
Limahl himself was booted from the group for being difficult to work with and desiring a more limelight-centered career, but since then he has made a decent career in the European market with his solo albums and songs like “Only for Love.” He reunited with Kajagoogoo off and on over the years, appeared on a few reality television shows like Bands Reunited, and continues to perform solo. His last two singles, “1983” and “London for Christmas,” were both produced in 2012.
12. Chris Eastman – Bully 1
He played the bully every ’80s kid loved to hate all the way until his garbage bin comeuppance at the end of the movie. From 1984 to 1996, Chris Eastman was billed as Drum Garret during his film career. “Bully 1” was his first film role and he has consistently worked as a character actor over the past few decades. Eastman hasn’t had any huge roles lately, but people often remember him most strongly as the bully Belch in the TV miniseries It, based on the Stephen King novel with the same title. He also had small roles in 21 Jump Street and Danger Bay in the 80s.
Eastman has made appearances as recently as 2016 in the TV movie Season’s Greetings, in which he played a tour guide named Roger. He has had similar small roles in TV shows like Supernatural, The Flash, Fringe, and Almost Human. Eastman has also worked as a producer on the documentary short It’s All About the Silicone.
11. Frank Lenart – Teeny Weeny
In case you ever ever wondered, Teeny Weeny was not voiced by the same actor who played the top hat-sporting character in the movie, Deep Roy. It’s pretty obvious when you hear Roy speak in other roles, but some people miss it since they may not know what his voice actually sounds like. While the racing snail rider was played by a young Deep Roy (more about that later), the character was actually voiced by actor Frank Lenart, who was uncredited in the role.
Lenart was much more active in the 1970s and ’80s. The son of actor Ernest Lenart, he worked primarily in foreign productions, such as TV movies like Klavierspiele, Was Waren Wir Ohne Uns, and Tiere und Menschen. His most famous roles include The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, in which he played Trainer, and The House of the Spirits, in which he was the Interviewer. Lenart’s most recent project was voicing Cole in 2014’s Knight Rusty.
10. Sydney Bromley – Engywook
A delightfully eccentric scientist and expert on the Southern Oracle, Engywook, played by Sydney Bromley, was an odd little man who helped to save Atreyu’s life. Kids giggled over Engywook and his basket in the film, and he and his teasing wife paved the way for another strange couple three years later in The Princess Bride. While many actors enjoyed their first roles in The NeverEnding Story, Engywook was unfortunately one of Bromley’s last, at the end of a long career spanning over four decades. When he died in 1987, fantasy and sci-fi film lovers lost one of their favorites.
Sydney Bromley only filmed three movies after The NeverEnding Story: Pirates, Anastasia: They Mystery of Anna, and Crystalstone, in which he played a role he frequently fulfilled over his career, the “Old Man.” Some fan favorites throughout his career, however, include movies like Dragonslayer and An American Werewolf in London.
9. Tilo Pruckner – Night Hob
Creepier than Gmork to some fans, the Night Hob’s red-rimmed eyes, puffy fur, and piercing stare gave him the look of a strange creature, but his demeanor was friendly enough, if a bit on the grumpy side. He also rocked some seriously fabulous ears and attached bling. Tilo Pruckner is the man behind the hob, and while he hasn’t made many English movies since his NeverEnding Story days, he’s not stopped working in the decades since riding his “stupid bat,” filming dozens of German movies in his native country.
Americans may have seen him in films like 2012’s Iron Sky or 2007’s The Counterfeiters, but Pruckner, who has a farm in lower Bavaria, has starred in movies like 2001’s SOKO Leipzig, the current TV series Rentnercops: Jeder Tag zahlt! and 2017’s Ostwind 3: Aufbruch nach Ora. He is currently filming the 2018 TV movie Ein Lacheln nachts um vier.
8. Patricia Hayes – Urgl
Engywood and Urgl may not have served as the epitome of romance or the perfect couple, but they were a quirky pair that added both humor and convenient solutions to The NeverEnding Story. Like many caregivers, Urgl’s first instincts were to help Atreyu heal from his wounds when Falcor brought him to her doorstep, and her eagerness to serve up her bat wing broth to aid in his speedy recovery betrayed the revolting nature of her soup’s ingredients. We almost expected her to tell him it would put some hair on his chest.
An enchanting and witty actress, Hayes passed away in 1998 at age 88. Like her counterpart Bromley, she had been acting for decades long before her role as his winching wench. Fantasy lovers will always remember her as the sorcerer on Willow, but she also had roles in films like A Fish Called Wanda and Went the Day Well? The last film that Hayes made was the 2002 movie Crime and Punishment.
7. Alan Oppenheimer – Rock Biter, Gmork, Narrator, Falkor
Would you believe it if you were told that both the light-hearted luck dragon Falcor and the servant of The Nothing, Gmork, were voiced by the same man? Alan Oppenheimer voiced both characters as well as serving as the film’s narrator and the Rock Biter, giving him a larger range than most other performers in The NeverEnding Story.
However, Oppenheimer isn’t only a voice actor. Trekkies may recognize him from both Deep Space Nine and Voyager, and he has been a character in everything from Murphy Brown to Murder, She Wrote, Married with Children to Dragnet. That said, Oppenheimer is most well-known for his amazing vocal talents. He has voiced characters on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, The Smurfs, Duck Tales, and dozens of other programs. Most recently his talents have been featured in the TV shows Adventure Time, the short Fall of Grayskull, and the video game Fallout 4.
6. Moses Gunn – Cairon
Adults likely trembled beside their children when Cairon announced the Empress’s terrible illness. His sombre delivery and poise commanded the room both on and off-screen, and the effect paid testament to the talents of Moses Gunn. In a fantasy film in particular it can be difficult to establish such an austere tone, and Gunn, surrounded by giant heads and other crazy creatures, managed to do so and make it look easy.
Moses Gunn left the acting world too early, passing away in 1993 at age 64. He did manage, however, to work steadily in the industry, making films like Disney’s Perfect Harmony and the film adaptation of Stephen King’s Firestarter. The Emmy-nominated actor (Roots) performed in dozens of TV shows up until his death, ranging from Highway to Heaven to Hill Street Blues, The Cosby Show to Tales From the Crypt. His last role was in the program Homicide: Life on the Streets.
5. Barret Oliver/Bastian
He couldn’t keep his feet on the ground, but that’s what we loved about him. Bastian’s story was one that not only gave bullied kids hope, but one that also reaffirmed that it was okay to be different and outside the crowd. As common as that message is in 2017, it wasn’t as widespread in 1984 in children’s media. Along with Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, who played Bastian, was a first crush for lots of kids growing up in the’ 80s.
From 1981 to 1989, Oliver was a busy child actor, with over 20 roles in less than a decade of acting. Following The NeverEnding Story, Oliver went on to play a few more characters, including TV roles in Highway to Heaven and The Twilight Zone. He starred in both Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return. Today Oliver is an accomplished artist and teaches photography. He also wrote the book A History of the Woodburytype.
4. Noah Hathaway – Atreyu
Bastion may have been the main protagonist of The Neverending Story, but it was Atreyu who stole the hearts, had the cool horse, and killed Gmork in a then-thrilling moment that would make today’s tween audiences yawn. Noah Hathaway remained in the limelight for a few years after playing Artax, appearing in a few television series roles like Call to Glory, Simon & Simon, and Family Ties. He starred in another ’80s film that makes early Millennials grin with nostalgia and everyone else cringe, the horror movie Troll. (His name in the film was also Harry Potter, Jr.)
Hathaway’s career on screen became more sporadic, with only one role in the 1990s. He took another break from 1994 to 2012 when he joined the cast of Sushi Girl. Hathaway has appeared in films Blue Dream and 2016’s The Chair since then. The quarter-Mohican actor has taught dance and combat training, raced cars, and fought as an amateur Muay Thai boxer.
3. Deep Roy – Teeny Weeny
Who owns a racing snail, motivates his group to move out of the forest to see the Empress, and rocks a top hat? Fans of The NeverEnding Story can’t recall the tale without remembering Teeny Weeny, who was played by fantasy film favorite Deep Roy. Roy may not have used his own voice for the character, but he is often cited as a favorite presence in the movie.
You may know him best as all of the Oompa Loompas in Tim Burton’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Big Fish. His roles on various TV shows, from X-Files to Doctor Who, have earned him status as a staple actor in the sci-fi community as well. Some other fun fantasy roles that Roy has taken on include The Dark Crystal, Return to Oz, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Star Wars: Episode VI, Return of the Jedi.
2. Gerald McRaney – Bastian’s Dad
If the remake of The NeverEnding Story goes through, it’s quite possible that Bastian’s dad will be more prominently featured in the film. In the original, Gerald McRaney had very little screen time, and while the role isn’t about to become a starring one, the loss of a mother and the role of a single dad are both addressed on a deeper level in many movies these days.
Today McRaney is much more famous for his roles in TV shows like 24: Legacy, Major Dad, This Is Us and House of Cards, but Gerald McRaney has plenty of film credits to his name as well. He latest film, The Disappointments Room, was released in 2016, and before that he acted in the films Focus, The Best of Me, and Heart of the Country. The popular actor has had roles in The West Wing, Deadwood, Jericho, and Mike & Molly, among many other credits.
1. Wolfgang Petersen – Director
The most successful person to make it out of The NeverEnding Story‘s Nothing is probably the movie’s director, Wolfgang Petersen. No, he did not escape on a luck dragon, but he did manage to make several blockbuster movies many years down the road. His 1993 drama In the Line of Fire, which stars Clint Eastwood, snagged a 95% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. While his thriller Outbreak didn’t fare as well with the critics two years later, it was still a well-liked film with an A-list cast including Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, and Rene Russo.
Both Air Force One (1997) and A Perfect Storm (2000), while not critical successes, performed well among audiences. Peterson decided to take on some myth and mythology once again with the film Troy in 2004, followed by the thriller Poseidon in 2006. The former did much better than the latter, but audiences enjoyed both movies. In 2016, after taking a decade-long break from moving-making, Petersen returned to his German roots to make the comedy film Vier gegen die Bank.
Who’s your favorite character in The NeverEnding Story? Let us know in the comments!
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