A killer clown stalks a group of preteens in small town Maine. As adults, the survivors return to make sure It’s gone for good. Stephen King’s It has served as nightmare fodder it released in the mid-1980s, and remains one of his scariest stories ever. In 1990, ABC released a TV miniseries based on the novel. Yes, it was incredibly cheesy at times. No, the televised adaptation didn’t truly capture the abject horror in King’s original story. Still, for many of us, it served as nightmare fodder, thanks to the demonic Pennywise the Clown.
Next year, the first of two long-awaited feature-length movies based on It will hit theaters. We’re just starting to get a glimpse of the actors who will play the Losers Club and their iconic antagonists. For those of us that grew up watching the 1990 original, though, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing some of these unforgettable characters. From main characters to bit players, It boasted a talented cast. Some stepped away from the spotlight, while others -- even those that had cameo appearances -- went on to pretty impressive careers. Let’s take a look and see Where Are They Now? The Cast Of Stephen King’s It.
16 John Ritter - Ben Hanscom
Of all the main characters in It, Ben Hanscom underwent one of the most amazing transformations from childhood to adulthood. Once a perpetually bullied and insecure pre-teen, he shed his childhood obesity and became a womanizing, award-winning architect. Still, deep inside he was always the good-hearted young man who wrote poetry for his childhood crush. He was also totally capable of taking down a huge demonic spider creature, even when he was past his prime.
John Ritter brought a considerable professional legacy to the table when he was cast as the adult Ben. As one of the core trio on Three’s Company, he was one of the most well-known faces on primetime TV for years. After It, Ritter remained a regular player in film and television. He starred in Problem Child and it’s lesser-remembered sequel, and he also starred with Billy Bob Thornton in the raucous comedy Bad Santa. Ritter stayed true to his small-screen roots, too, though. He played Mrs. Summers’ evil robot boyfriend on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and for years, he voiced the titular character in the children’s series Clifford the Big Red Dog. In the early 2000s, he starred in the popular sitcom, 8 Simple Rules. Sadly, Ritter passed away while working on the series in 2003.
15 Laura Harris - Loni
We don’t get to know Loni very well in It, because she only appears long enough to make fun of the beleaguered Beverly Marsh. With her prim disposition and disdain for the other girl’s blue collar background, she might be a major antagonist if this weren’t a movie about an ancient child-murdering clown. Instead, she was relegated to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment -- but one that firmly establishes that even in a town like Derry, teenage cruelty was alive and well.
Laura Harris may have only appeared in a tiny part of It, but she’s actually gone on to be one of the more successful child actors in the film’s cast. Throughout the ‘90s and early 2000s, she had dozens of guest and supporting roles, including The Outer Limits, The Dead Zone and Christopher Guests’ folk music parody A Mighty Wind. Harris also had more substantial parts -- as the demure Marybeth in The Faculty and radicalized terrorist Marie in 24. Harris’ best role to date, though, was as the Golden Era actress-turned-grim-reaper Daisy Adair in Showtime's dark comedy Dead Like Me.
14 Chelan Simmons - Laurie Ann
Chelan Simmons was only 8 years old when It hit TVs around the country in 1990. Since her fictional counterpart’s untimely demise, she’s done pretty well for herself. Simmons has had small roles in TV series like Hannibal and Mistresses, and appeared regularly on Kyle XY and The L.A. Complex. She’s also appeared in Good Luck Chuck, Final Destination 3, and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, proving that when it comes to an acting career, starting small -- both age-wise and role-wise -- isn’t always a bad thing.
13 William B. Davis - Mr. Gedreau
We know next to nothing about Mr. Gedreau -- other than that he doesn’t appreciate it when teenagers slam straight into him with their lunch trays. His role is still somewhat vital in Richie Tozier’s development in It. Thanks to their unfortunate collision, the grumpy educator sends our young jokester into the Derry High boiler room -- where he first encounters It as a monstrous werewolf, and thereby traumatizes him for the rest of his life.
Mr. Gedreau is such a small role, that it’s easy to miss the fact that it’s played by a very memorable actor. William B. Davis wasn’t a familiar face when IT premiered in 1990, but three years later, he would become a part of sci-fi infamy, thanks to his role on The X-Files. For ten seasons, The Smoking Man was one of the most talked-about villains in a series full of bad guys. Davis has appeared in other roles throughout his long career, including Sliders, The Outer Limits and Supernatural. There’s no question, though, that he will always be best remembered for the havoc he wreaked in Mulder and Scully’s lives.
12 Jarred Blancard - Young Henry Bowers
Yes, It’s main villain is Pennywise. But Henry Bowers, the teenaged bully that stalks the Losers Club into the Barrens to kill them, sure gives him a run for his money in the demented sociopath department. He’s a true psychopath, so in some ways he’s even scarier than the movie’s titular supernatural spook. After all, there’s little chance that an otherworldly beast could do us any real harm -- the Henrys of the world, however, are very much real.
Jarred Blancard played the teenaged version of the terrifying teen, and gave one of the more convincing performances of the younger cast. After his role in IT, he appeared in bit parts in a number of other series and TV movies, and did some voice work as Michaelangelo in Saban’s Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. He also appeared on the short-lived TV adaptation of The Crow. These days, Blancard has set his acting career aside, and works as an addiction counselor in Vancouver. He’s also produced several YouTube videos in which he speaks about his own experience as a recovering alcoholic.
11 Richard Masur - Stanley Uris
Poor Stan Uris. As a child, his obsession with the empirical made it difficult for him to reconcile the fact that he was being stalked by an evil clown. As an adult, he couldn’t handle the fact that his childhood demons had resurfaced. He committed suicide before he had to face It again -- but not before leaving a bloody, ominous message for his traumatized wife.
Though Richard Masur didn’t get as much screen time as his fellow adult compatriots in It, he definitely made a lasting impression. The Stephen King adaptation wasn’t his first foray into horror; he'd previously co-starred in John Carpenter’s classic, The Thing. He’s moved on from battling vaguely-named monsters, though. Masur has appeared in more than two dozen movies and TV series since the early ‘90s, including My Girl and the oft-forgotten classic, Encino Man. He’s also managed to snag roles in many of the most celebrated TV shows of the last few years, from Girls and The Good Wife to Orange is the New Black and Transparent.
10 Tim Reid - Mike Hanlon
It’s hard not to feel bad for Mike Hanlon. As a teen, he was the only black kid in Derry, so he not only had to deal with Pennywise, he also had that added layer of terrible small-town racism thrown in. As an adult, he was the only member of the Losers Club to stick around, so he bore witness to the terrible resurgence of It’s murderous rampage. At least he got the honor of assembling the old gang for one last nostalgic trip down into the sewers.
Tim Reid was one of the standout performers in It’s large adult ensemble, thanks to his nuanced portrayal of Mike. The WKRP in Cincinnati star was well-known to most viewers who tuned in to the original 1990 telecast. He’s also probably familiar to older Millennials, thanks to his role as Ray on Sister, Sister. Reid never really broke out as a big-time actor, but he’s kept himself plenty busy with regular stints on TV series like That ‘70s Show, Treme, and most recently, Limitless.
9 Dennis Christopher - Eddie Kaspbrak
Eddie Kaspbrak lived his entire life thinking that he could die at any moment if he made the wrong move. It wasn’t even because he was almost killed by Pennywise, since those memories faded after he left his hometown. His fears stemmed from his mother’s overprotectiveness, and her insistence that he was sickly even when he wasn’t. Though he grew up to be a successful entrepreneur, his fate ultimately led him back to the place that both shaped him, and would ultimately claim his life: Derry.
Dennis Christopher, like so many of his adult It castmates, was a well-known actor when he was cast as the elder Eddie, thanks to roles in Breaking Away and Chariots of Fire. While his career never quite met the same heights they reached in the ‘70s and ‘80s, he’s held up a fairly solid living since his 1990 stint in IT. Christopher has appeared in many popular series and films over the years, including the cult hit FreakyLinks, HBO’s stellar western drama Deadwood, and most recently as Leonide in Django Unchained.
8 Harry Anderson - Richie Tozier
When we met Richie Tozier in his adult incarnation, he was at the height of his career. That was, until, he put it temporarily on hold to return to his hometown and help his friends kill the evil there once and for all. An actor and stand-up comedian, he always had jokes and provided some much-needed levity throughout the second half of It. Still, he was capable of standing strong, even when he was facing down the Deadlights, so he deserves some serious props for that -- if not for his incredibly lame jokes.
Life was definitely imitating art when Harry Anderson was cast as Richie, because he was also a well-known comedian, thanks to parts on Night Court, Cheers and Saturday Night Live. In the early ‘90s, he starred on the sitcom Dave’s World. Since then, he’s mostly stuck to live comedy and guest-starring roles on series like 30 Rock. He also appeared as a pro-evolution professor in the 2014 anti-evolution movie, A Matter of Faith. That’s about as anti-It as you can get, for what it’s worth.
7 Emily Perkins - Young Beverly Marsh
Given her horrendously crappy upbringing, it’s pretty awesome that Beverly Marsh ended up being as functional as she was throughout the first half of It. Her dad was abusive, the girls at school were cruel because she was poor, and once a bunch of blood spurted out of her sink when she was just trying to get ready for bed. Still, she managed to rise above it all and find some incredible friends. It just sucks that they had to spend most of their time trying not to die.
Emily Perkins, who portrayed Bev in her younger years, has done pretty well for herself, too, in the years since It was released. Though she’s not a widely known actress, she’s appeared in some pretty popular movies and TV shows. Perkins has also stayed close to her horror roots. She had bit parts in The X-Files and The Outer Limits, and had a recurring role as Sam and Dean superfan Becky on Supernatural. Perkins is probably best known, though, for playing the lycanthropic Brigitte in the cult horror franchise Ginger Snaps.
6 Annette O'Toole - Beverly Marsh
Since she was raised in an abusive household, it’s sad but not shocking that Beverly Marsh ended up with a terrible excuse for a husband when she grew up. It was all the more satisfying when she finally snapped and fought back against him before hightailing it home to Derry to meet up with the only people she could ever really call friends.
Annette O’Toole portrayed the adult version of Beverly, and turned in one of the better performances in the second part of It. Since her time playing the only female member of the Losers Club, she’s gone on to an eclectic and successful career. She’s probably best known for her portrayal of Clark Kent’s mom, Martha, on Smallville; but she’s had high-profile guest appearances on series like Grey’s Anatomy and Lie to Me. Stephen King uber-fans know that the preteen Bevvie appears in his novel, 11.22.63 -- and although she was cut from Hulu’s limited series, O’Toole did have a cameo as a no-nonsense boarding house owner. She’s also the only It cast member to have received an Oscar nomination, for the original song “A Kiss At the End of the Rainbow” from A Mighty Wind.
5 Jonathan Brandis - Young Bill Denbrough
The Losers Club are the backbone of It -- and Bill Denbrough was their leader. Spurned on by the death of his younger brother Georgie, the stuttering future best-selling writer assembled his six companions and took his quest for vengeance to the darkest corners of Derry. Stuttering Bill would go on to do great things as an adult, but maybe none of them quite as meaningful as the summer he spent fighting evil with his friends.
Jonathan Brandis played the younger version of Bill in the 1990 TV adaptation. At the time, he was one of the more well-known child actors in Hollywood, and he went on to nab memorable roles in movies like The Neverending Story Part II. He did karate with Chuck Norris in Sidekicks and portrayed a cross-dressing junior league soccer player alongside Rodney Dangerfield in Ladybugs. Brandis was probably best known to the ‘90s crowd as computer prodigy Lucas in the TV series SeaQuest DSV.
Sadly, Brandis committed suicide in 2003, when he was just 27 years old.
4 Richard Thomas - Bill Denbrough
The older version of Bill Denbrough goes through a lot in It. He suddenly remembers that his little brother was violently murdered by an evil entity, almost loses his wife to the same creeper, regains his childhood stutter and has to take a trip back to his exceedingly crappy hometown. At least he gets a chance to reminisce about the not-so-good-old days with his former BFFs -- and one more ride on his beloved bike, Silver.
Richard Thomas took on the part of the grown-up Bill and was actually pretty convincing as an aging version of the younger Brandis. Like many of the adult actors in IT, he was a pretty well-known performer back in 1990, thanks to his role as John-Boy on the 1970s series The Waltons. Since the early ‘90s, Thomas has kept up a regular schedule of appearing on TV series. He was on Touched By an Angel and The Practice. Most recently, he played Special Agent Frank Gaad on FX’s spectacular political drama, The Americans.
3 Seth Green - Young Richie Tozier
Richie Tozier was in many ways the poster child for a 1960s preteen nerd. A fan of monster movies and a terrible impressionist, he cracked wise, even in the face of pure evil (beep, beep!). He also rocked a mean pair of broken spectacles.
Seth Green played young Richie and has undoubtedly gone on to be the most successful of the teen actors in It. Since the mid-’90s, he’s starred in some of the most popular movies and TV shows of our time. From Scott Evil in Austin Powers to Oz in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he mastered the art of playing a disaffected teen. These days, he spends most of his time working on animated projects. Since 1999, he’s voiced Chris Griffin on Family Guy and he’s also the star and co-creator of Comedy Central’s Robot Chicken. Given his penchant for creating boundary-pushing comedy, it’s safe to say that his It alter ego would be proud.
2 Tim Curry - Pennywise
He terrorized children. He disguised his true form with a clown costume. He called himself the eater of worlds. Pennywise was, in other words, the stuff that nightmares were made of. Even though he was ultimately defeated when he was in the form of a giant insect, It’s eponymous monster was undeniably more frightening in his kid-friendly get-up. From his maniacal laugh to his razor-sharp teeth, he remains one of the most terrifying villains ever brought to life on TV.
Simply put, Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise is a the main reason why the 1990 version of IT was successful. His seething but somehow charming portrayal of the titular creature cut through the melodrama and occasional silly special effects and helped give the TV movie an air of real horror. Curry has taken a step back from the limelight since his days playing a killer clown, though he did turn in a memorable supporting performance as the villainous concierge in Home Alone 2. Since then, he’s split his time doing guest roles on series like Criminal Minds and lending his voice to popular animated series and direct-to-video movies. You’ve probably heard him on The Wild Thornberries, Scooby-Doo!, Regular Show and as Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Insidious on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. We will see him on-screen again this fall in FOX’s TV adaptation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Even though he won’t be reprising his iconic role as Dr. Frank-n-Furter, we’re still shivering in antici….pation.
1 Honorable Mention: The Rest of the Losers Club
More than half of the members of the original Losers Club didn’t make it onto this list. That’s because, for all intents and purposes, they stopped acting professionally before they hit adulthood. Marlon Thomas (Mike), Brandon Crane (Ben), Adam Faraizl (Eddie) and Ben Heller (Stan) all turned in strong performances in IT, and then pretty much disappeared -- at least, from a pop culture perspective. Crane appeared in The Wonder Years and guest-starred on Step by Step before turning his attention to regional theater, but these days he works as a web-developer. Faraizl turned in small appearances in early ‘90s TV movies like Where The Red Fern Grows Part 2 before turning away from the spotlight for good. Thomas, too, had small roles on series like Sister, Sister -- and showed up in a short film called Puppeteer a few years back, but he, too, has stayed very much under the radar. To this day, It is Heller’s only professional acting credit. It's kind-of a bummer, since all four of these young actors showed some serious promise -- but hopefully they've found clown-free happiness in their other professional pursuits.
Did the original IT scare the crap out of you, or are you eagerly awaiting the R-rated adaptation? Let us know in the comments!
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