WhatsOnStage Logo
Home link
Features

Stars on Screen: Where Are They Now?

Prepare to feel old

Like flicking through an old school yearbook, seeing actors in their younger years can really help you put your time on this Earth in perspective. We've handpicked a few from screen versions of popular musicals you might not recognise if you bumped into them on your daily commute.


Aileen Quinn as Annie in Annie (1982)


(© Colombia Pictures/ Aileen Quinn)

Annie grossed over $57million at the box office with Quinn in the title role when she was only eleven years old! Prior to that, she was the English voice of Dorothy in the Japanese version of The Wizard of Oz. She toured the US with Fiddler On The Roof, Peter Pan, and Saturday Night Fever. After that, she taught Spanish, drama and dance in New Jersey.


Peter Ostrum as Charlie in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1968)


(© Paramount Pictures/ Fourthords)

On the back of Willy Wonka success, Ostrum bought a horse, and it opened a new door in his life: veterinary. He went on to receive a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and worked with Pfizer on a video series called Veterinarians on Call.


Karen Dotrice as Jane Banks in Mary Poppins (1964)


(© Disney )

Alongside Matthew Garber (who died of pancreatitis aged 21), Dotrice was one of the twins Julie Andrews swooped in to look after. She appeared in Upstairs, Downstairs as Lily Hawkins, and won Evening Standard's Best Newcomer (ten years after Mary Poppins) for playing Alex in The 39 Steps. She now lives in California, and prior to the release of Saving Mr Banks, spoke to the New York Times about her time filming Poppins.


Ted Neeley as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)


(© Universal Pictures)

Twenty years after first playing Jesus, Neeley reprised the role on a US tour on which he co-starred alongside Stevie Wonder's ex-wife Syreeta Wright. He had a cameo in and contributed to the score of Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, and his EPs are available on iTunes.


Mark Lester as Oliver in Oliver! (1968)


(© Colombia Pictures/ Mark Lester)

Lester was a close friend of Michael Jackson, and claimed to be the biological father of the singer's daughter Paris, though Jackson family lawyers reject the claim. Lester is due to return to acting this year, after a 37-year hiatus, when he appears as King Harold II in 1066 alongside son, Felix.


Karen Lynn Gorney as Stephanie in Saturday Night Fever (1977)


(© Paramount/ Karen Lynn Gorney)

Gorney appeared alongside John Travolta in the 70s disco hit, but only went on to smaller roles after a break from acting which saw her manage a Manhattan art gallery. She's appeared in Law & Order, The Sopranos, and Six Degrees, and has also released three albums she's performed in jazz clubs and cafes.


Mara Wilson as Matilda in Matilda the Musical (1996)


(© TriStar/ Mara Wilson (twitter.com))

A young Wilson caught the eye of Danny DeVito which led to her casting in the title role of Matilda. She went on to audition for The Parent Trap (but was too young), and table read What Dreams May Come with the late Robin Williams. She has since quit acting to become a writer, and had a recurring role in the Welcome To Night Vale podcast.


Jamie Bell as Billy in Billy Elliot (2000)


(© BBC/ Gage Skidmore (flickr.com))

Now over 30, this role was only the start of a glistening Hollywood career for Bell. Appearing in Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of King Kong, and the music video for Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends", he has played 'The Thing' in Fantastic Four and recently got into the musical groove with Rocket Man.

Originally written by Will Longman

Loading...