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Thursday, June 9, 2011

'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' at 25: Where Are They Now?

Steven Bryan

On June 11, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," an iconic movie from the 1980s, will celebrate its 25th anniversary. To honor the silver anniversary of Ferris' golden day off from school, here's a look at what happened to some key cast members.

Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller)
1983's "Wargames" made Matthew Broderick a household name and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" turned him into a star. Broderick took the audience on a glorious joyride through Chicago, making stops at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Wrigley Field before taking over an afternoon parade. Broderick's performance inspired the "Ferris Bueller" TV series, which featured a pre-"Friends" Jennifer Aniston, and the cult series "Parker Lewis Can't Lose."

Broderick, the son of "Family" star James Broderick, continued his onscreen career, even starring opposite Marlon Brando in the hilarious comedy "The Freshman." Broderick also lent his voice to the adult Simba in "The Lion King," a film that continued Walt Disney's animation domination of the early 1990s. The actor also received critical acclaim for playing a conflicted high school teacher in 1998's "Election," a dark comedy featuring Reese Witherspoon as ambitious honor student Tracy Flick.

For Broderick, however, the Broadway stage offered even greater rewards. The actor starred in the Broadway revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" before teaming up with Nathan Lane for Mel Brooks' stage adaptation of "The Producers."

In May 1997, Broderick married future "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker, a union that has been rocked by allegations of infidelity. Still, as these recent Memorial Day photos show, Broderick and Parker are still maintaining their family unit.

Alan Ruck (Cameron Frye)
The talented Alan Ruck played Cameron Frye, the hypochondriac best friend of Ferris Bueller. Though Cameron was intended for comic relief, his neglectful father was shown as the root cause for his paranoia and unhappiness.

In the years following his success in "Ferris Bueller," Ruck has been a frequent guest star on such shows as "Mad About You," "Scrubs" and "Stargate Atlantis." He also completed a six-season stint on "Spin City," the popular sitcom that featured Michael J. Fox and Charlie Sheen. Recently, Ruck appeared as Dean Bowman on "Greek," which gave the writers the opportunity to throw in some "Ferris Bueller" references.
Mia Sara (Sloane Peterson)

Pretty Mia Sara played Sloane, the only girl capable of keeping up with Ferris as he mapped out his wild day in the city of Chicago. Sara starred opposite Tom Cruise and Tim Curry in the 1985 cult classic "Legend" and later played the wife of a time-traveling Jean-Claude van Damme in 1994's "Time Cop." One year earlier, she also was the love interest of another time-traveling peace office in the syndicated TV series "Time Trax."
More recently, Mia Sara played Princess Langwidere in "The Witches of Oz," a television mini-series slated for a fall debut in the United States. The series looks at Dorothy Gale's continuing battle with the Wicked Witch of the West.

Jeffrey Jones (Dean of Students Ed Rooney)
1980s films often portray educators as clowns or buffoons, and no one did it better than Jeffrey Jones. As Dean of Students Ed Rooney, Jones waged a battle of wits against Ferris Bueller and his school-skipping ways. By the end of "Ferris Bueller," however, Dean Rooney hobbles away in a shredded suit and muddy shoes, his car having been towed to the police impound.

Jones' life and career has at times been marred by controversy. After co-starring in the cult classic "Beetlejuice," Jones appeared with "Saturday Night Live" alum Mary Gross in "The People Next Door," an innovative CBS comedy created by Wes Craven that lasted only five episodes.

In 2003, Jones was arraigned on charges of hiring a 14-year-old boy to pose for sexually explicit photos. Jones pleaded no contest to the charges and became a registered sex offender. He has since been twice arrested for failing to keep his sex offender status current in Florida and California.

Jennifer Grey (Jeanie Bueller)
Though most people thought her brother was a "righteous dude," Jeanie Bueller, played by Jennifer Grey, couldn't stand his slacker ways. Jeanie spends the bulk of "Ferris Bueller" trying to expose her brother's illness as a con to get out of school, but she relents in the end, saving Ferris from another year of school under the close personal supervision of Ed Rooney.

Grey was hilarious here and, a year later, she starred opposite Patrick Swayze in the mega-hit "Dirty Dancing." Before the film came out, Grey and Matthew Broderick, then her boyfriend, were involved in a car crash in Ireland, resulting in the death of two people. Broderick came out of the crash with a broken leg while Grey suffered only minor injuries.

Considered unconventionally pretty by fans, Grey had cosmetic surgery to remove a bump on her nose, but the results of the surgery were far more dramatic than she intended. Almost unrecognizable next to photos of her classic 1980's look, Grey has said she went from being a celebrity to anonymous. Grey made lemons out of lemonade on the short-lived series "It's Like, You Know" playing an actress named Jennifer Grey who had botched plastic surgery.

In 2010, Grey slipped on her dancing shoes once again for "Dancing with the Stars," becoming the Season 11 winner.

Ben Stein (economics teacher)
Delivering a hilarious explanation of " voodoo economics," Ben Stein also is credited for saying the classic "Bueller? Bueller?" line in the movie. A former speech writer and lawyer for President Richard Nixon, Stein has a dry, slow manner of speaking that makes him instantly unforgettable. Stein's acting ability is second only to his intelligence, which became the basis of "Win Ben Stein's Money," a game show where contestants matched wits with Stein to win $5000 of the host's money. Jimmy Kimmel appeared as Stein's announcer on this Comedy Central show.

Stein came under fire, though, in 2008 for "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," an anti-evolution documentary. Critics specifically attacked the film's position that Darwin's Theory of Evolution contributed to Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust.

John Hughes (director)
The director who set the tone for many 1980s teen movies, John Hughes suffered a fatal heart attack on Aug. 9, 2009, but his legacy continues to inspire and recruit new legions of fans. After the successes of "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club," Hughes offered up mature comedy in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," a road trip film featuring the odd couple of Steve Martin and John Candy.

Hughes also had great success as a screenwriter, creating the script for "Home Alone," the wild Christmas comedy about a little boy accidentally left at home. Hughes' films and style are so recognizable that the parody film "Not Another Teen Movie" both honors and tweaks his work. Director Joe Gallen even had his characters attend John Hughes High School.

Edie McClurg (Grace, the school secretary)
Herb Tarlick's wife finally hit the big time thanks to John Hughes. Appearing as school secretary Grace in "Ferris Bueller," McClurg, a featured played on "WKRP in Cincinnati," explains to boss Ed Rooney why Ferris Bueller is so popular. A talented character actress, McClurg had Grace using her wig as a place to store pencils and pens.

Now a recognizable voice-over actress, McClurg has done character for "Cars" and "The Rugrats Movie." Arguably, she will be fondly remembered as the overly chipper car rental agent in another Hughes project, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," who delivers a memorable variation of the F-bomb.

Charlie Sheen (Garth Volback)
Before "Platoon," "Wall Street" and the failed "Torpedo of Truth" tour, Charlie Sheen had a memorable cameo in "Ferris Bueller" as Garth Volback, a scruffy teen who charms Ferris' sister Jeanie. Currently, Sheen is between jobs and seeking new career opportunities