In the heyday of late-70s horror movies, The Omen wasn’t as gory as Texas Chainsaw Massacre or as suspenseful as Halloween. But in much the same way that The Exorcist and the earlier Rosemary’s Baby got underneath audiences’ skin, so did The Omen. Perhaps it was the thought that their progeny could be the devil’s spawn that irked viewers in 1976. Although some parents would argue that their less-than-angelic kids are the work of Satan, so maybe Damien’s not that unlikely.
Despite two less popular sequels and the unnecessary 2006 remake with Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles, The Omen remains one of the classic horror titles to watch. As the movie marks its 40th anniversary this year, what has the cast been up to since then? Sadly, some have passed on, but others are still here, including the actor who played Damien, the Antichrist himself.
Here’s The Omen cast, 40 years later:
10. Gregory Peck
Perhaps the most recognizable face in The Omen, Peck played US ambassador Robert Thorn in the 1976 film. Before taking on the role of world’s most desperate dad, he played countless heroes in movies like The Guns of Navarone and To Kill a Mockingbird, sometimes alongside romantic leads like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.
After The Omen, Peck continued working sporadically in film and television, even taking a part in Martin Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear, a remake of a Peck from from 1962. The legendary American actor passed away in 2003 when he was 87. His last role was in a TV miniseries adaptation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
9. Lee Remick
Poor Katherine Thorn. The ambassador’s wife was never told that her child had died and had been replaced by the Antichrist until it was too late. It’s impossible to envy anyone who tasked with raising the Devil himself.
The New England actress who played the unfortunate mom already had a storied career by the time The Omen hit theaters. Lee Remick worked with Jimmy Stewart on Anatomy of a Murder, Andy Griffith in A Face in the Crowd, and Jack Lemmon on Days of Wine and Roses. After The Omen, Remick kept busy with a string of television projects and the occasional movie role. She died in 1991 at only 55-years-old.
8. David Warner
The curious photographer, Keith Jennings, was met with one of the most memorable deaths in The Omen. David Warner was a bit actor on television with a few film credits under his belt (including one in Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs) when he signed on for Jennings’ part. After The Omen, Warner’s amassed an impressive 218 credits on IMDb and still going strong. He’s probably been in some of your favorite movies, like Time After Time, Time Bandits, TRON, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, In the Mouth of Madness, and Titanic.
Millennials may recognize him better as the voice behind many animated TV shows like Gargoyles, Men in Black: The Series, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Batman: The Animated Series and Freakazoid. Whovians may remember Warner as Lord Azlok during the reboot’s first season, and The Omen has another treat for classic Doctor Who fans as well…
7. Patrick Troughton
If the name behind Father Brennan sounds familiar, you might know a thing or two about Doctor Who. Before playing the ethically troubled priest, Troughton served as the second Doctor to man the TARDIS after William Hartnell’s health began to decline. Showrunners introduced the concept of the Doctor’s regeneration to bring in the new actor, and Troughton took the role from 1966-9, occasionally returning to the popular BBC show over the years. He continued working in television until he passed away at 67 in 1987, and he played the role of the Doctor until 1985.
6. Billie Whitelaw
And you thought your babysitter was evil. Billie Whitelaw’s chilling Mrs. Baylock only looked like she was going to restore order, but ultimately she only helped chaos reign by killing more than her share of the cast. Before The Omen, Whitelaw was largely a TV actress with parts in literary adaptations like Huckleberry Finn and The Secret Garden.
After her role as Satan’s nurse, she continued to do several film and television appearances before her last performance in 2007’s Hot Fuzz, which might be the only film in which the esteemed actress was asked to wield a machine gun. The actress passed away in 2014 at 82.
5. Holly Palance
Holly Palance didn’t make it too far in The Omen. One of the other memorable deaths you might not have been able to shake off is perhaps her character, Damien’s first nanny. With her appearance so brief, her nanny goes unnamed, but Palance’s character hung herself outside of the Thorn’s house, presumably at Damien’s request.
Before The Omen, Palance had only three credits to her name from small TV show appearances. Afterwards, she continued to appear in brief bit parts in TV and film before retiring from the scene in 1989. Palance is still alive, but no longer active in showbiz.
4. Nicholas Campbell
Some actors went on to bigger careers after a few seconds of screentime in The Omen. One such lucky actor was Nicholas Campbell, who worked on the movie in a tiny role as a marine in during the climax. The horror movie was only his second on-screen performance.
Since then, he’s appeared in over 100 movies and TV shows including Orphan Black, Cinderella Man, The Spy Who Loved Me, The Border, Goon, Antiviral, Street Legal and The Insiders. In Canada, he became fairly well-known for playing the title role on the longrunning TV series DaVinci’s Inquest. He continues to work, with two upcoming titles The Addition and The Performance slated for 2016.
3. Michael Byrne
Michael Byrne scored an uncredited role as a monk in The Omen. As such, he has no speaking lines, but no worries, Byrne’s had plenty of them throughout his lengthy career. Starting over a decade before his appearance in the 1976 movie, the actor moved his way up from uncredited bit parts to regular TV work. After The Omen, Byrne went on to regularly play royalty, from dukes to kings and back again.
He took a break from the crown to play a Nazi in 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and as an admiral in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies. In the 2000’s, Byrne worked on Gangs of New York and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. He has an upcoming movie in pre-production, Sins of the Father, due later this year.
2. Leo McKern
Australian character actor Leo McKern had a sizable resume before embarking on The Omen. Already a veteran after 25 years in the industry, the one-eyed actor had parts in A Man for All Seasons, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Mouse That Roared. He even played opposite the Beatles in 1965’s Help! Just before working on the horror classic, McKern played Moriarty in Gene Wilder’s Sherlock Holmes’s Smarter Brother, where he starred opposite Wilder, Marty Feldman, and Madeline Kahn.
After The Omen, McKern continued his acting career with parts in a television production of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, The Blue Lagoon and The French Lieutenant’s Woman. He was well-known in the UK for his role as the lead in Rumpole of the Bailey. The actor passed away in 2002 at age 82.
1. Harvey Stephens
As the original Damien, son of Satan, Stephens taught us to be wary of any birth mark in the shape of three 6s and any kid who upsets that many animals. At 6-years-old, he was excused from committing much of the on-screen slaughter, but Harvey Stephens perfected the creepstare that finally gives away his demonic identity to his father. The young actor tried to grow out of the part by appearing in the TV movie, Gauguin the Savage, but ultimately walked away from acting and eventually started a family of his own.
See if you can spot the now grown-up Stephens when he returned to the series in the 2006 remake in a cameo appearance as a tabloid reporter.
Are there any other cast members that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments.
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