See the Cast of ‘Billy Madison’ Then and Now
In 1995, following his exit from ‘SNL,’ Adam Sandler starred in ‘Billy Madison,’ a film he co-wrote about a defiant slacker who must return to school and successfully complete his education before he can take over his father’s company. ‘Billy Madison’ was Sandler’s first major starring vehicle and a smashing success, cementing his future as a comedic leading man and paving the way for him start his own production company. Now, 19 years later, we revisit the cast of Sandler’s first big hit to see what they’re up to now.
Adam Sandler, Billy Madison
Then: In 1995, Adam Sandler had just been fired from ‘SNL’ after working as a writer and cast member for five years. After previously starring in the comedy ‘Airheads,’ Sandler co-wrote ‘Billy Madison,’ about a directionless man who, in order to prove he’s worthy of inheriting his father’s business, must return to and complete elementary, middle and high school.
Now: Thanks to the success of ‘Billy Madison,’ Sandler went on to write, star, and produce films like ‘Happy Gilmore,’ ‘Big Daddy,’ ‘Little Nicky,’ and ‘Grown Ups,’ and produced and starred in films like ‘Mr. Deeds’ and ‘Anger Management.’ He’s also starred with Drew Barrymore in the rom-coms ‘The Wedding Singer’ and ’50 First Dates,’ and has surprised audiences with his dramatic work in the films ‘Punch Drunk Love,’ ‘Reign Over Me,’ and Judd Apatow’s ‘Funny People.’ Recently, he produced and starred in ‘That’s My Boy’ with Andy Samberg, and ‘Grown Ups 2,’ which he also wrote. Up next, he’ll reunite with Drew Barrymore for the rom-com ‘Blended,’ appear in Jason Reitman’s ‘Men, Women and Children,’ and lend his voice to the animated film ‘Pixels,’ which he’s also producing.
Bridgette Wilson, Veronica Vaughn
Then: Bridgette Wilson played Veronica Vaughn, the third grade teacher Billy has a crush on and with whom he later has a relationship. Wilson was previously known for her supporting role in ‘Last Action Hero’; the same year ‘Billy Madison’ was released she also played Sonya Blade in the ‘Mortal Kombat’ film.
Now: Wilson went on to star in ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer,’ ‘Love Stinks,’ the ‘House on Haunted Hill’ remake, and ‘The Wedding Planner.’ After guest-starring on episodes of ‘Frasier’ and ‘CSI: Miami,’ Wilson had roles in the indie film ‘Shopgirl’ and the short-lived 2008 ABC series ‘Carpoolers.’ Her last role was in the 2008 Sonny Liston biopic ‘Phantom Punch’ — she hasn’t acted since. Wilson is married to tennis pro Pete Sampras, with whom she has two children.
Bradley Whitford, Eric Gordon
Then: Bradley Whitford played Eric Gordon, the obnoxious executive vice president of Billy’s father’s company, and the man primed to take the position if Billy doesn’t get his act together. Whitford had previously appeared in ‘Adventures in Babysitting,’ ‘Scent of a Woman,’ and ‘Philadelphia.’
Now: From 1999 to 2006, Whitford starred on Aaron Sorkin’s hit television series ‘The West Wing,’ and followed that up by starring in Sorkin’s short-lived series ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.’ In 2012, he had a highly memorable role alongside Richard Jenkins in Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s ‘The Cabin in the Woods,’ and since then he’s appeared in Marvel’s ‘Agent Carter’ one-shot as well as the films ‘CBGB’ and ‘Saving Mr. Banks.’ He’s also recently guest-starred on ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘Drunk History.’ Currently, Whitford stars on the ABC series ‘Trophy Wife,’ which is still in its first season.
Josh Mostel, Principal Max Anderson
Then: Josh Mostel played Max Anderson, the elementary school principal who has a dark past and a certain affinity for Billy. A veteran actor of stage and screen, Mostel’s career included roles in classics like ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ ‘Sophie’s Choice,’ and ‘Wall Street.’
Now: Mostel went on to appear in ‘The Basketball Diaries,’ ‘Great Expectations,’ and ‘Rounders,’ and reunited with Sandler in 1999 for ‘Big Daddy.’ He took some time off for several years before appearing in the film ‘State of Play’ and guest-starring on a 2012 episode of ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.’ Up next, he’ll appear in the films ‘Growing Up and Other Lies’ and ‘Catatonk Blues.’
Norm Macdonald, Frank
Then: Sandler’s former ‘SNL’ castmate Norm Macdonald played Frank, one of Billy’s man-child friends. Macdonald was still on ‘SNL’ and hosting Weekend Update in 1995, but would be fired a couple of years later due to pressure from an NBC executive who deemed Macdonald’s style “not funny.”
Now: In 1998, Macdonald co-wrote and starred in the comedy ‘Dirty Work,’ and has since also lent his voice to the role of Eddie the dog in the three ‘Dr. Dolittle’ movies. In 1999, Macdonald got his own sitcom on ABC, ‘The Norm Show,’ which ran for three seasons. He also had a short-lived show on Comedy Central, ‘Sports Show with Norm Macdonald,’ which occasionally featured current ‘SNL’ cast member Kyle Mooney as his nephew. Macdonald reunited with Sandler for parts in the films ‘Funny People,’ ‘Grown Ups,’ and ‘Jack and Jill,’ and currently has a recurring role on the sitcom ‘The Middle.’
Larry Hankin, Carl Alphonse
Then: Character actor Larry Hankin played Carl Alphonse, a loyal employee of Billy’s father who tries to help Billy out. At the time, Hankin was also starring on ‘Friends’ as eccentric landlord Mr. Heckles.
Now: Hankin has appeared on tons of television shows over the years, including ‘Party of Five,’ ‘Malcolm in the Middle,’ ‘My Name Is Earl,’ and ‘Breaking Bad.’ He recently had a supporting role in Michael Bay’s ‘Pain and Gain,’ and guest-starred on the shows ‘Random Acts’ and ‘Vegas.’
Jim Downey, Principal/Judge of the Decathlon
Then: Longtime ‘SNL’ writer and sometimes supporting player Jim Downey played the high school principal and decathlon judge who is preoccupied with his cheating wife.
Now: Downey also appeared in Norm Macdonald’s ‘Dirty Work,’ and had a small role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 film ‘There Will Be Blood.’ He’s also guest-starred on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and ’30 Rock’ (pictured above right). Downey, who started at ‘SNL’ in 1976 and only left for a few years in the ’80s, and again when Macdonald was let go in the ’90s, continued to write for the show until he retired in 2013.
Steve Buscemi, Danny McGrath
Then: Steve Buscemi had an uncredited part as Danny McGrath, a former classmate of Billy’s who has a list of people he wants to murder and is fond of lady’s lipstick. Buscemi had previously starred with Sandler in ‘Airheads,’ and had also starred in the Coen Brothers’ ‘Miller’s Crossing’ and ‘Barton Fink,’ as well as Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs.’
Now: Buscemi reunited with the Coens for ‘Fargo’ and ‘The Big Lebowski,’ and has also appeared in films like ‘Con Air,’ ‘Ghost World,’ and ‘The Island,’ and was the voice of Randall in Pixar’s ‘Monsters, Inc.’ He’s had small roles in several Adam Sandler movies, including ‘The Wedding Singer,’ ‘Big Daddy,’ ‘Mr. Deeds,’ and ‘Grown Ups,’ and he lent his voice to Sandler’s animated film ‘Hotel Transylvania.’ After a memorable recurring role on ‘The Sopranos,’ co-writer Terence Winter cast Buscemi as the lead in his own HBO series, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ — Buscemi has starred on the series, which is soon entering its fifth and final season, since 2010. Recently, Buscemi appeared with Sandler in ‘Grown Ups 2,’ starred in ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,’ and reprised his voice role for ‘Monsters University.’ Up next, he’ll appear with Sandler again in ‘The Cobbler.’