Where Are They Now: Buckaroo Banzai

January 5, 2008

The cult 1980s hit The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai garnered devoted fans and starred some of the biggest actors across three decades. They’ve played flies, aliens, traveled through time, romanced Matt Damon, and ran from dinosaurs. What else have they been up to?

Peter Weller led the heroes as the title character Buckaroo Banzai. An action star of quirky characters he played RoboCop in 1987 and 1990, then starred in Leviathan, Mighty Aphrodite, Styx, The Order, Undiscovered, and 2007’s Prey. His television credits include Faerie Tale Theatre, Odyssey 5, Monk, and he starred in multiple episodes of 24 in 2006. Aside from acting, Weller is a well known historian. As a college professor he lectures on the Roman Empire and Hollywood. He contributes to the History Channel with productions, such as Peter Weller, Syracuse University and will be hosting Engineering an Empire on the History Channel. A versatile man, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 1993, has a Masters Degree in Roman and Renaissance art, and occasionally plays in a jazz band with fellow Buckaroo Banzai costar Jeff Goldblum.

After playing the dual parts of Lord John Whorfin and Dr. Emilio Lizardo, John Lithgow grabbed many great roles. He starred in Footloose, Santa Clause, Harry and the Hendersons, Memphis Belle, Cliffhanger, The Pelican Brief, Don Quixote, Shrek, Orange County, Dreamgirls, and the very successful TV show 3rd Rock from the Sun from 1996-2001. Successful on stage and radio as well as film and television he has many Emmy and Tony awards and two Oscar nominations for Terms of Endearment and World According to Garp. Lithgow is dedicated to working for children. He’s written many children’s books including Marsupial Sue, Holiday, A Lithgow Palooza: 101 Ways to Entertain and Inspire Your Kids, with seven of his books on the NY Times best-sellers list. In 1999 he began making albums for kids beginning with Singin’ in the Bathtub and in 2003 he collaborated with Christopher Wheeldon to create a new ballet piece and narrated the production. Go to www.johnlithgow.com for more on the actor/singer/writer.

Ellen Barkin played leading lady Penny Priddy in Buckaroo Banzai, then followed it with many roles as the femme fatale. She starred in Terminal Choice, Down by Law, The Big Easy, Johnny Handsome, Into the West, This Boy’s Life, The Fan, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Someone Like You, Trust the Man, and 2007’s Ocean’s Thirteen. She has appeared in many off-Broadway plays and was well praised for her role in Eden Court. A dominate acting presence, Barkin earned an Emmy for her performance in the TV movie Before Women Had Wings presented by Oprah Winfrey. Expanding her career from acting she set up a film production company in 2005 with her brother George and ex-husband Ronald Perelman.

Hollywood tall man Jeff Goldblum played New Jersey then a list of charming and often zany characters. His film credits include Into the Night, The Fly, Earth Girls Are Easy, Deep Cover, JurassicPark, Nine Months, Powder, Independence Day, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Cats & Dogs, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and next year’s Adam Resurrected. The comical actor hosted Saturday Night Live a few times, appeared in episodes of Crank Yankers, Will & Grace, and Raines. A favorite voice actor he’s voiced commercials for Apple, Toyota, and Procter & Gamble. Sharing his acting knowledge that got him nominated for an Academy Award in 1996 for Live Action Short Film, he teaches acting at Playhouse West in North Hollywood. Currently Goldblum is working on The Fire Dept. theater company he co-founded in New York with the goal to produce work specific for stage and may reprise his role as Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park IV.

Following his performance as John Bigboote, Christopher Lloyd dominated the movie screen with many comical roles. He starred in the Back to the Future movies, Clue, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Addams Family and Addams Family Values, Camp Nowhere, Baby Geniuses, Wish You Were Dead, A Perfect Day, has six movies set for release in 2008-09, and voiced two seasons of Back to the Future – The Animated Series. On stage he appeared on Broadway in Happy End, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Total Eclipse, MacBeth, and more. Along with his family he donated the WavenyMansion to the town of New Canaan, Conn. which has become popular park.

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