It’s the horror film which launched a franchise that refuses to die. Indeed, since it first hit screens way back in 1980, Friday the 13th has spawned nine sequels of varying quality, a crossover movie with the one and only Freddy Krueger and a Michael Bay-produced reboot that was nowhere near as ghastly as its reviews suggested.
But for some reason, the careers of the first installment’s cast haven’t been as enduring as the franchise. Sure, just like the ground-breaking Halloween movie it blatantly borrowed from, Friday the 13th helped to give a future Hollywood favorite their first notable role. However, the majority of its main players either got stuck in direct-to-DVD purgatory, disappeared completely back into obscurity, or lost the acting bug altogether. Here’s a look at what the likes of the original Alice L. Hardy, Jack Burrell, and, of course, iconic serial killer Jason Voorhees got up to following the seminal thrasher’s release.
15. Kevin Bacon (Jack Burrell)
The only Friday the 13th cast member to subsequently forge a glittering Hollywood career, Kevin Bacon has been so prolific that he’s even had a six degrees of separation-style parlor game named after him. After playing Voorhees’s victim Jack Burrell in the slasher, Bacon starred in Barry Levinson’s directorial debut Diner, attained leading man status with his toe-tapping performance in Footloose, and proved he could also play the villain in the much-maligned serial killer flick Criminal Law.
She’s Having a Baby, Tremors, Flatliners, JFK, and A Few Good Men were just some of the box-office hits which utilized Bacon’s talents before he picked up his first major award nomination for The River Wild. Bacon also received critical acclaim for his performances in Murder in the First, Sleepers, Apollo 13 and the underrated Stir of Echoes, and continued to bag major roles well into the 21st Century including Hollow Man, Mystic River, and Frost/Nixon. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also been a three-season stint as Ryan Hardy on Fox’s surprisingly gory The Following, a Golden Globe win for TV movie Taking Chance, and six albums recorded with sibling Michael under the guise of The Bacon Brothers.
14. Adrienne King (Alice L. Hardy)
Before taking on the role of the film’s sole surviving camp counselor Alice L. Hardy, Adrienne King had appeared in TV movie Inherit the Wind and enjoyed uncredited parts in classic ’70s musicals Saturday Night Fever and Hair. She briefly returned to the franchise for the 1981 sequel in which she met a grisly end early on. But sadly her performance in the series also attracted the attention of a real-life stalker and after being badly shaken by a near break-in at her apartment, she decided to quit the acting world and concentrate on her painting instead.
Wood eventually stepped back in front of the camera in 2010 for sci-fi chiller Psychic Experiment, and after reprising her most famous character for two Back to the Lake short films, she joined veteran horror actresses Barbara Steele, Heather Langenkamp, and Erica Leerhsen in The Butterfly Room, voiced The Stranger in the remake of Silent Night, Bloody Night, and played the Queen of Dreams in anthology Tales of Poe.
13. Betsy Palmer (Pamela Voorhees)
Famed for playing Jason Voorhees’s mother Pamela, aka the franchise’s original killer, Betsy Palmer was undoubtedly Friday the 13th’s most experienced cast member. The actress had already enjoyed a lengthy career which included key roles in Oscar-nominated western The Tin Star, film noir Queen Bee, Henry Fonda comedy drama Mister Roberts, and biopic The True Story of Lynn Stuart, as well as a lengthy stint as a panelist on quiz show I’ve Got a Secret before taking most of the 1970s off.
Following her return to the screen in Friday the 13th, Palmer enjoyed stints on soap operas As the World Turns and Knots Landing, guested on everything from Murder, She Wrote and Columbo to Just Shoot Me! and Hang Time, and voiced the title character in low-budget horror Bell Witch: The Movie. Sadly, in 2015 Palmer died of natural causes at a hospice care center in Connecticut, aged 88.
12. Harry Crosby (Bill Brown)
As the son of one of classic Hollywood’s best-loved entertainers, it was inevitable that Harry Crosby would enter into the world of showbiz. But although he had already appeared alongside his father Bing in numerous Christmas specials, Crosby’s Friday 13th role as the masked killer’s final victim Bill Brown was his first acting role. It was also one of his last, with 1980 TV movie Riding for the Pony Express and 1981 Mark Twain adaptation The Private History of a Campaign That Failed as the only other notable entries on his filmography.
Instead Crosby switched his attention to the business world, landing an associate position at Lehman Brothers, becoming managing director of the Credit Suisse Financial Sponsors Group and North America Financial Sponsors Group at Merrill Lynch and a general partner at Snow Phipps and Cranemere, as well as serving on various philanthropic boards including the Monterey Peninsula Foundation and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
11. Jeannine Taylor (Marcie Stanler)
Jeannine Taylor also decided to retreat from the spotlight after playing ill-fated camp counselor Marcie Stanler in Friday the 13th. Indeed, the actress’ only other on-screen role was in a 1982 TV movie about the royal romance between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, although she did also tread the boards in off-Broadway productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hijinks! and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, as well as Seagulls at Ohio’s Cincinnati Playhouse.
Instead, like co-star Crosby, Taylor changed tact completely by pursuing a career in business, namely as a marketing manager for The Institutional Investor, a leading global magazine renowned for its extensive financial industry research. She has since admitted that she never really saw herself as an actress: “As far as acting in major motion pictures… frankly, I didn’t think I was pretty enough. I wasn’t tall and blonde – I didn’t ever think of myself in that way.”
10. Mark Nelson (Ned Rubenstein)
Unlike many of his Friday the 13th co-stars, Mark Nelson has immersed himself in the acting world since making his film debut as Ned Rubenstein. There have been one-off appearances in Remington Steele, Thirtysomething, Suddenly Susan, various Law & Order series, Unforgettable, and The Good Wife. He’s also snagged a recurring part as a therapist on Spin City, and supporting big screen parts in The Seventh Coin, The First Wives Club, and The Rewrite.
But it’s on the stage where Nelson’s career as a thespian has truly flourished. Alongside Broadway stints in the likes of A Few Good Men, The Invention of Love, and After the Fall, he received numerous awards for his performance as Einstein in Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile and has directed at the Manhattan Theatre Club, George Street Playhouse, and Chautauqua Theatre Company. Nelson has also served as an acting teacher at his alma mater, Princeton, and regularly guest directs at the Juilliard School.
9. Laurie Bartram (Brenda Jones)
As likable counselor Brenda Jones, Laurie Bartram was one of the few familiar younger faces in the Friday the 13th cast having enjoyed a stint as Karen Campbell on daytime TV institution Another World in the late ’70s. She had also guested on two episodes of medical drama Emergency and made her first venture into the horror genre in 1974 with an uncredited role in haunted house picture The House of Seven Corpses.
But her character’s untimely demise proved to be the last time that Bartram was seen on screen. Instead, she focused on directing and choreographing various local theater productions, providing voiceovers for numerous local businesses and working as a costume designer, as well as attending Liberty Baptist College to improve her education. Just nine days after her 49th birthday in 2007, Bartram died from pancreatic cancer leaving behind husband Gregory and children Lauren, Scott, Jordan, Francis, and Isabelle.
8. Robbi Morgan (Annie Phillips)
The first character to lose their life following the film’s 21-year flash forward, perky hitchhiker Annie Phillips was played by Robbi Morgan. The actress first appeared on screen aged seven playing the younger version of Patti Duke’s titular character in Me, Natalie, and went onto impersonate Mae West in the Depression-era horror What’s the Matter with Helen before showing up in Friday the 13th.
Co-starring roles in TV movies Forbidden Love and I Married a Centerfold followed, as did a guest spot on The Fall Guy, a performance in the Broadway stage production of Barnum, and rather randomly, some stunt work on the John Candy comedy The Great Outdoors. Married to game show host Mark L. Walberg, Morgan then disappeared from our screens for over three decades before returning in 2015 with a key role in horror thriller Dutch Hollow and a supporting turn in comedy horror short The Sub.
7. Peter Brouwer (Steve Christy)
Like most of his Friday the 13th co-stars, Peter Brouwer’s on-screen career has been strangely intermittent to say the least. After making his film debut as murdered camp owner Steve Christy, and briefly showing up in its sequel, the actor guested as Brad Hollister on two episodes of soap opera As the World Turns, but then took another 20 years to add another entry to his resume, namely as a professor in 2001 cross-cultural college comedy American Desi.
Another four years passed before he appeared on screen again, this time on the long-running Law & Order. But since landing the role of Beaver Calhoun on One Life to Live in 2008, Brouwer has been relatively prolific, guesting as Judge Robinson in All My Children, showing up in TV movie Hellman v. McCarthy and, slightly randomly, cornering the market in playing auctioneers with spots on Arthur, Person of Interest, and White Collar.
6. Rex Everhart (Enos)
As with Betsy Palmer, Rex Everhart was something of an acting veteran by the time he landed the role of Enos, the truck driver who informs Annie of Crystal Lake’s dark history, in Friday the 13th. Although he’d racked up two dozen screen credits including a desk sergeant in Superman, it was on the stage where his career thrived the most. Just two years previously he’d picked up a Tony Award nomination for his performance in Working, while he also earned glowing reviews for his turns in Shakespeare productions The Comedy of Errors and Much Ado About Nothing.
Following Friday the 13th, Everhart appeared as Snork in The Elephant Man, appeared in Sidney Lumet’s comedy heist drama Family Business and perhaps most notably voiced Belle’s madcap inventor father Maurice in the Disney favorite Beauty and the Beast. Everhart retired from acting shortly after the latter’s 1991 release and sadly passed away from lung cancer at the age of 79 in 2000.
5. Walt Gorney (Crazy Ralph)
The only original Friday the 13th cast member to appear in two of its sequels, and the only one to play two separate characters, Walt Gorney had also enjoyed a lengthy career treading the boards before playing the eccentric drunk who warns the gang “You’re all doomed!” Indeed, Gorney, who as well as reprising his Crazy Ralph role in the sequel also served as the narrator in 1988’s Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, may have made his screen debut as a bum in 1973’s Heavy Traffic. But by that point, he’d appeared in numerous stage productions both on and off Broadway including If Five Years Pass and The Male Animal.
Polish-born Gorney only made a handful of other film appearances inbetween his Friday the 13th duties, playing a passerby in romantic drama Endless Love, a duke in festive comedy Trading Places and a security guard in Rodney Dangerfield vehicle Easy Money, as well as landing brief roles in sci-fi Nothing Lasts Forever and one of Robin Williams’ most obscure films, Seize the Day. In 2004 Gorney died from natural causes at his New York home aged 91.
4. Ari Lehman (Young Jason)
Ari Lehman might not have got the opportunity to wear that famous hockey mask, but he can still lay claim to being the first ever Jason Voorhees. The New Yorker, who played the serial killer as a ten-year-old in a dream sequence, has certainly embraced this fact in his post-Friday the 13th career. Indeed, Lehman, whose only previous film appearance was in soccer-based family comedy Manny’s Orphans, went on to form a punk metal band named First Jason, whose 2009 first album was titled Jason Is Watching!
But Lehman’s musical talents don’t stop there. After studying Big Band Orchestration and Jazz Piano at New York University, he became a touring keyboardist for various reggae and African music artists, formed his own world music outfit Ari Ben Moses Band and composed soundtracks for several horror films including Salome and Vampire the Movie. In 2006, 16 years after his last screen appearance as Jason, Lehman returned to acting in ThanXgiving and has since shown up in a whole host of intriguingly-titled indie movies such as Night on Has Been Mountain, House of Forbidden Secrets, and Pi Day Die Day.
3. Ronn Carroll
Ronn Carroll made his film debut in Friday the 13th playing Sergeant Tierney, one of two officers who discover Alice floating in a boat in the middle of the lake following all the carnage. He went on to take similarly authoritative roles in college comedy Spring Break, haunted house horror House and its sequel House II: The Second Story, guest on Kate and Allie, Third Watch, and Dawson’s Creek, and was last seen on screen as a Stormtrooper in the 2005 remake of The Producers.
But like so many of the Friday the 13th cast, Carroll found far greater success on stage. In 2002, he played Ike Sidmore in a Gershwin Theatre production of Oklahoma and Baldy O’Shea in the Mitzi Newhouse Theater’s staging of A Man of No Importance, while there have also been roles in The Rink, The Front Page, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Annie Get Your Gun.
2. Sally Anne Golden (Sandy the Waitress)
Best-known for playing Sandy, the waitress at the Crystal Lake diner, Sally Anne Golden’s acting career consists of just a handful of similar blink and you’ll miss it roles. Born Sally Annazecksy Goldenni in Dresden, Germany in 1910, she moved to the United States with her family as a youngster, where she settled in Green Bay, Wisconsin and changed her name to her more familiar moniker.
She first appeared on screen as a policewoman in Alice Sweet Alice, the 1976 slasher notable for giving Brooke Shields her film debut. She went on to play “Crying Woman” in Philip Kaufman’s 1979 cult classic The Wanderers, and following her brief Friday the 13th appearance, earned her final credit with a guest appearance as Norma Greenberg on ABC’s long-running medical series Ryan’s Hope. The oldest cast member at the time of Friday the 13th’s filming, Golden sadly died just two years after its release, aged 71.
1. Ron Millkie (Officer Dorf)
First seen in Friday the 13th questioning the gang of counselors about their drug use, the deadpan Officer Dorf was played by Ron Millkie, a former theater colleague of Al Pacino who began his career in various off-Broadway productions but later became something of a horror movie regular. A Return to Salem’s Lot, Satan’s Playground, The Torture Chamber, and The Bone Garden are just some of the chillers which boasted his name, although Millkie is far from a one-trick pony.
Indeed, alongside appearances in crime drama New Jack City, period romance Grand Isle, and sci-fi mystery Meridian, Millike has become an esteemed acting coach, with Party of Five’s Lacey Chabert and Dawson’s Creek’s Kerr Smith as just a few of his more notable students. Unlike most of his Friday the 13th co-stars, Millkie is still acting and will next be seen in Night Shift, a miniseries about two men working at a decrepit motel.