It’s been more than two decades since Angels in the Outfield offered up some feel-good fun and a ray of hope that, yes, good things can happen to those who most deserve it, and the movie still holds up and reminds us of the void left by all those great kids’ sports movies of the mid-90s. The 1994 family film, which followed a pair of foster children who became the lucky charms of the (fictional) California Angels baseball program after one’s prayer that the team win the pennant – so that his biological father might finally bring him home as haphazardly promised – was answered. The film boasted a bevy of veteran actors in its adult cast (some that you probably even forgot were in the pic), but the movie was ultimately carried by its duo of adorable child actors whose innocence and camaraderie hit viewers right in the feel spot.
So, where are these Angels in the Outfield stars now?
15. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Roger Bomman)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt was categorically a child star thanks to Angels. He was just a preteen when he landed the starring role in the pic and had but a few credits to his then-unknown name when he nabbed the part. Soon after, though, he’d pick up a series of supporting film roles that jettisoned him into household name status (at least with the adoring teen crowd), including The Juror, Halloween H20, and 10 Things I Hate About You. He also starred in the hit television comedy 3rd Rock from the Sun, which featured him as an ancient alien sect leader disguised as a human teen, and established himself as a formidable indie actor in films like Brick, (500) Days of Summer, and the dramedy 50/50.
He’d later achieve marquee status thanks to starring roles in sci-fi action fare like Looper and Christopher Nolan’s Inception, and has since starred in a number of solo vehicles, including his 2013 directorial debut Don Jon and The Walk. He also founded his own collaboration project hitRECord, which aims to give a platform to fledgling artists and auteurs. He’ll next be been as the eponymous and controversial real-life character Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone’s Snowden, which releases to U.S. theaters on September 16, 2016.
14. Milton Davis Jr. (J.P.)
Little J.P. was a scene stealer, winning over peoples’ hearts, so director William Dear clearly hit one out of the park when casting this tiny tot in his first feature film role. Milton Davis Jr. has, for the most part, left Hollywood in his proverbial rear view. After Angels in the Outfield, he nabbed a few background parts in TV’s Sister, Sister and 7th Heaven and was seen briefly in Mad City.
Otherwise, he disappeared from the spotlight until 2015, when an all-grown-up (but completely recognizable) version of himself resurfaced to appear in College Humor’s 30 for 30 spoof of Angels in the Outfield as a grown-up version of himself looking back on the team’s (faux) storied season. In the clip, he’s shown deadpanning about the involvement of actual angels in the team’s play-off series and reveals that he’s still got the same boyish charm that made him so unforgettable in the first place.
13. Danny Glover (George Knox)
By the time Danny Glover stepped into his role as the frustrated team coach George Knox, he was already an international movie star, thanks to his buddy cop comedy blockbuster Lethal Weapon. He was also critically acclaimed for his supporting role in the adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and he earned even more respect with his television work in Mandela and Lonesome Dove.
Angels only accelerated his career momentum, as he would later become a regular in the family movie genre — later seen in Operation Dumbo Drop and heard in DreamWorks’ Antz, for example — but he was far from limited to that arena. In addition to continuing onto a fourth installment of the Lethal Weapon series, he went on to star in further dramas including the adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Beloved (which reunited him with Oprah Winfrey) and Dreamgirls and also tried his hand at the thriller scene in films like Saw and Night Train. While he’s yet to find another starring vehicle like the Lethal Weapon heyday, he’s certainly had no shortage of work and will next be seen in Diego Lunas’s road trip drama Mr. Pig.
12. Christopher Lloyd (Al)
Christopher Lloyd had also already hit his career stride by the time Angels cast him as Al, the angel who personally endeavors to make little Roger’s wish come true. He’d already earned critical recognition – namely, three Emmys for his work in Taxi and Road to Avonlea – and established himself as a franchise sensation as Doc Brown in the Back to the Future series and Uncle Fester in The Addams Family. And Angels was but one of several family films he’d participate in throughout his career – count Dennis the Menace, Camp Nowhere, The Pagemaster, My Favorite Martian, and Jack and the Beanstalk among his many youth-oriented works. And the now-77-year-old actor is showing no signs of slowing down as he’s even expressed an interest in reviving the Back to the Future series for a fourth run and will next be seen in Billy O’Brien’s I Am Not A Serial Killer, which debuted at SXSW Film Festival in 2016.
11. Brenda Fricker (Maggie Nelson)
Chances are, most ‘90s kids have dear old Maggie Nelson to thank for that voice that reminds everyone to clean the lint out of their belly buttons. Irish actress Brenda Fricker, who’d become the first Irish actress to win an Oscar for her work in My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown before becoming the soft-spoken foster mum in Angels, would go on to star in memorable supporting roles in movies like A Time to Kill, the breakthrough film Cloudburst, and Albert Nobbs and was a regular in TV’s long-lived series Casualty. The actress has since retired from stage and screen acting, however, after her sister passed away and ended a string of family deaths, including her ex-husband’s in 1990, the funeral for which she couldn’t attend due to filming commitments overseas. She now devotes her time to charity work and currently lives with her pets in Belfast, Ireland.
10. Jay O. Sanders (Ranch Wilder)
Ranch Wilder, also known as the “Voice of the Angels” for his constant radio ranting, was a duplicitous sort in Angels in the Outfield, and his real-life counterpart Jay O. Sanders has largely carried that persona into his later projects. His TV turn as the murderous Bill Weller in Blindspot was even more pernicious. Also there was his oh-so-smug alter ego Alex in American Odyssey, as well as his run as the cutthroat Special Counsel in Person of Interest.
In real life, the 63-year-old Austin native seems to be a different sort than these small and big screen versions, having remained true to his theater roots, frequenting the Broadway circuit with appearances in Pygmalion and Loose Ends, and even recently debuting his own first play, Unexplored Interior, in Washington D.C.’s Atlas Performing Arts Center in 2015. He’s set to star alongside fellow Angels alum Tony Danza in a psychological thriller called A Loss of Shadows.
9. Matthew McConaughey (Ben Williams)
Matthew McConaughey’s career was already “alright, alright, alright” by the time he suited up as outfielder Ben Williams in Angels – chiefly, he’d been the grody hippie hallmark in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused – but he’d really start to round the bases towards his eventual homerun (an Oscar win for 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club) after the film. Soon after his supporting run in Angels in the Outfield, McConaughey eventually began to nab central roles in films like the cult classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, the gripping adaptation of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, the so-bad-it’s-great alien adventure film Contact, historical drama U-571, and the eerily amazing Frailty. He’d later fall into a rom-com rut (filled with kitschy-but-popular titles like The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, Fool’s Gold, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past).
McConaughey insisted on his dramatic prowess, however, and ultimately turned his back on romantic leading roles that were still coming his way and charted a new career course. His work in celebrated indie films like Mud and Bernie marked the beginning of that return to form, and he bolstered perceptions of his ability to do the unexpected by baring it all in Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper drama Magic Mike. After that, the golden roles just kept coming, including his charismatic supporting part in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, his series-making turn as Detective Rust Cohle in HBO’s True Detective season 1, and as the lead in Christopher Nolan’s box office and critical sensation Interstellar. His upcoming work as the Man in Black in the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is, for some, his most anticipated role to-date.
8. Dermot Mulroney (Mr. Bomman)
It was pretty easy to dislike Dermot Mulroney’s deceitful and dismissive father role in Angels in the Outfield, and given what a nice guy charm he’s revealed in subsequent pics, it’s a true testament to his thespianism. After Angels, he’d star opposite Julia Roberts in the memorable rom-com My Best Friend’s Wedding as the ultra-desirable and likable Michael O’Neal before touting a beer gut and mullet for a cringe-worthy part in About Schmidt. Mulroney has also had some memorable stints in TV – recurring roles on Friends, New Girl, Showtime’s Shameless, and Mozart in the Jungle counted among them – and he even re-teamed with Roberts (who he’s still “best friends” with after all these years) for the acclaimed family drama August: Osage County, this time starring as her sister’s twisted fiancé. The Virginia native will next be seen in Baran bo Odar’s crime thriller Sleepless, which debuts to U.S. theaters on February 24, 2017, and will also star in CBS’ new medical drama, Pure Genius as a surgeon who teams up with a Silicon Valley tech titan to advance medicine. That series premieres on October 27th, 2016.
7. Adrien Brody (Danny Hemmerling)
When he joined the Angels team as infielder Danny Hemmerling, the benched-batter-that-could (albeit with some bizarre angelic interference), Adrien Brody’s career was still in its infancy. But he would soon experience an uptick of screen activity thanks to Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line and Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam. He would hit his highest point of praise in 2003, when won the Academy Award for Best Actor in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist but has had no trouble keeping busy with worthwhile work ever since, including roles in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village and Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Brody most recently starred in an Australian thriller pic called Backtrack as well as a critically panned Iranian drama called Septembers of Shiraz. He currently moonlights as a visual artist and recently had some of his sculptures on display at Art Southampton. On-screen, he will next be seen in the title role of Lee Tamahori’s Emperor.
6. Tony Longo (Triscuitt Messmer)
Tony Longo’s career was already well-established by the time he brought in some comedic relief as beefy team member Triscuit Messmer, thanks to memorable roles in CBS’s Alice and 80s TV series 1st and Ten. He was also known for his film roles in Splash, Mulholland Drive, The Last Boy Scout, and Sixteen Candles.
After his small role in Angels in the Outfield, the actor went on to maintain his status as a serviceable supporting cast mate on both the TV front – particularly with recurring roles on daytime soaps such as The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives – and in movies for two more decades. He even re-teamed with Matthew McConaughey for a brief scene in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Strangely enough, Longo was struck by lightning in his mouth on-set in 2011, but he ultimately survived the incident and continued to work on several indie projects, including Fall of Night. Longo unfortunately passed away in 2015 at the age of 53.
5. Taylor Negron (David Montagne)
California native Taylor Negron played the humiliated team assistant in Angels in the Outfield, but the comedy actor was hardly incompetent in real life. In fact, off-screen, he was an accomplished painter and writer and penned the autobiographical musical The Unbearable Lightness of Being Taylor Negron – A Fusion of Story and Song, which was received well by critics.
Although his film and TV roles throughout the years were often bit parts, they were almost always memorable, such as his small part as a gun-toting, disgruntled passenger in The Last Boy Scout and as the pizza delivery dude in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and a clueless restaurateur in Friends — the list goes on. Tragically, Negron died of liver cancer in 2015 at the age of 57.
4. Tony Danza (Mel Clark)
Before his role as the Angels’ star pitcher Mel Clark, Tony Danza had already risen to ubiquity thanks to his popular roles in TV’s Taxi and Who’s the Boss? (both of which featured his real name in-character), but his career has continued to round the proverbial bases ever since.
Danza has long maintained his status as a staple of the small screen universe with roles in his own The Tony Danza Show, as well as appearances on The Practice, and Family Law. He’ll next be seen in NBC’s comedy pilot Sebastian Says. Meanwhile, he’s also been steadily working on the theatrical circuit, with Broadway credits such as A View from the Bridge, The Iceman Cometh, The Producers, and Honeymoon in Vegas, which is expected to tour across the country this year. Funnily enough, he also reunited with the all-grown-up Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 2013’s Don Jon, starring as Levitt’s father in the film.
3. Stoney Jackson (Ray Mitchell)
Stoney Jackson, who portrayed the troublesome batter Ray Mitchell in Angels in the Outfield, is perhaps best-known for his then-hip hairstyle, his dance skills display in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video, and for his role as Travis Fillmore in TV’s 227. In Angels, Mitchell gets dropped for Hemmerling in a crucial moment, and throws a bit of a fit, tossing his bat and helmet around the dugout. After Angels, Jackson maintained a quiet career in TV and film, with guest stints in shows like Black Scorpion, Modern Family, Psych, and Everybody Hates Chris. His latest project was a recurring role in the TV drama Sangre Negra. In addition to continuing his acting career, he also reportedly referees for high school and college basketball games.
2. Neal McDonough (Whitt Bass)
As relief pitcher Whitt Bass in Angels, Neal McDonough was hilariously (and sometimes maddeningly) inept, but he’s since grown from that comedic relief origin and has commanded the screen in a series of dramatic TV series, including Band of Brothers, Boomtown, Justified, and Public Morals. His film repertoire, too, has been oriented in the action and adventure arena, with his significant roles in films like Timeline, Minority Report, and Walking Tall.
Recently, his career has reached an utter precipice of relevance, thanks to his role as Captain America’s pal Dum Dum Dugan in the Marvel cinematic and television universes (chiefly, Captain America: The First Avenger, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Agent Carter) and he also stars as Damien Darhk in Arrow. Perhaps ironically, McDonough also voiced the character Oliver Queen a.k.a. The Green Arrow in several cartoon iterations of the comics. He’ll also be seen in Greater, the true story of legendary All-American college football star Brandon Burlsworth, who earned his way onto the Arkansas squad and became known as the greatest walk-on of his era. Greater will hit U.S. theaters on August 26, 2016.
1. Tim Conlon (Wally)
As Ranch Wilder’s much more cool-heeled assistant in Angels in the Outfield, Tim Conlon’s first major motion picture role was quite a success, but he’s spent most of his subsequent career in small TV roles. The Ontario, Canada native has enjoyed a steady career as a working supporting actor and comedian in Hollywood, guest-starring on a great number of TV series (including Medium, Curb Your Enthusiasm, House, The Mindy Project, and, most recently, NCIS). He’s also had a number of regular show roles as well, including a year-long stint on MADtv and a recurring stint on Party of Five shortly after Angels. Conlon also made a brief return to the big screen with a small role in Ocean’s Thirteen in 2007 and then again in 2009 with Waiting for Ophelia, but his most regular work has been on the tube since he became that likable scamp Wally, who was a much better voice to the Angels than his boss.
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