Still so very, after all these years
On March 31, 1989, Heathers arrived in theaters, bringing its tale of the very dark side of high school cliques to the big screen. Starring Winona Ryder, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, Kim Walker, and Christian Slater, among others, the flick was hardly a box office success but soon became a celebrated cult classic. In honor of the film’s 30th anniversary, catch up with the stars, ahead.
Winona Ryder (Veronica Sawyer)
THEN: Early in her career, Winona Ryder picked up a gig as Veronica Sawyer in Heathers. She landed the role of the clique’s latest recruit after making her debut in Lucas in 1986, and going on to appear in Square Dance (1987), Beetlejuice (1988), and 1969 (1988).
NOW: After completing her turn as the accidentally murderous high school student, Ryder kept busy in the late ’80s and early ’90s with parts in Mermaids (1990), Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Little Women (1994), and Reality Bites (1994). She went on to appear in The Crucible in 1996, Girl, Interrupted in 1999, and Mr. Deeds in 2002. Ryder slowed her filming schedule slightly in the mid-2000s, but returned with Star Trek (2009) and Black Swan (2010); her more recent titles include Experimenter (2015) and Destination Wedding (2018). She currently stars on Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things.
Christian Slater (Jason "J.D." Dean)
THEN: After making early ’80s appearances in The Legend of Billie Jean and The Name of the Rose and episodes of Ryan’s Hope and The Equalizer, Christian Slater landed the role of Jason “J.D.” Dean in Heathers. He played the rebel who gets to know Veronica and has a dangerous impact on her because of his dark side.
NOW: Slater continued his big-screen work throughout the ’90s, picking up credits for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), True Romance (1993), Murder in the First (1995), Broken Arrow (1996), and Very Bad Things (1998). He went on to appear in 2000s episodes of The West Wing and Alias and was a part of Bobby‘s star-studded cast in 2006. Slater won his first Golden Globe award in 2016, for his starring role in USA’s Mr. Robot.
Shannen Doherty (Heather Duke)
THEN: Shannen Doherty joined Heathers as Heather Duke, a member of the clique who becomes the Regina George of the group following Heather Chandler’s death. She came into the role two years before she became Beverly Hills, 90210‘s Brenda Walsh. Doherty filled her resume ahead of the gig with a turn as Jenny Wilder in Little House on the Prairie and big-screen roles in Night Shift (1982) and Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985).
NOW: Doherty spent four years on Beverly Hills, 90210 after Heathers, later reprising her role of Brenda for the late 2000s reboot 90210. She expanded her resume with Mallrats (1995) and a late ’90s turn as Prue on Charmed. The former teen star has tried her hand at reality TV in recent years, and wrote a book, Badass: A Hard-Earned Guide to Living Life with Style and (the Right) Attitude, in 2010. She had a recurring role on Paramount Network’s 2018 Heathers TV series as J.D.’s mom.
Lisanne Falk (Heather McNamara)
THEN: Lisanne Falk joined the Heathers as Heather McNamara. The former child model came into the role after making previous appearances in I Love N.Y., In the Mood, and Less Than Zero, all in 1987.
NOW: Falk followed-up Heathers with an appearance in another beloved flick, picking up a small part in 1989’s Say Anything…. She went on to book roles in various TV movies in the early ’90s, and appeared in Night on Earth (1991), Leather Jackets (1992), and Suicide Kings (1997). Falk’s final credited project was a 2002 appearance in a short, before she retired from acting.
Kim Walker (Heather Chandler)
THEN: Kim Walker picked up her first major role as Heather Chandler in Heathers. After making an appearance in one episode of Crime Story and popping up in the 1987 TV movie Student Exchange, Walker played the leader of the Heathers who is killed in a seemingly accidental poisoning.
NOW: Walker continued to act throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s, reuniting with Lisanne Falk in Say Anything… (1989) and going on to appear in Nervous Ticks (1992) and The Favor (1994), and episodes of The Outsiders, Picket Fences, and Matlock. Walker made her final on-screen appearances in the late ’90s and 2000 before dying of a brain tumor at the age of 32 in 2001.
Glenn Shadix (Father Ripper)
THEN: Glenn Shadix came into the role of Heathers‘ Father Ripper after gaining experience with just a handful of roles. The star played the religious figure who speaks at Heather’s funeral after making previous appearances in Beetlejuice alongside Heathers costar Winona Ryder, 1988’s Sunset, and an episode of The Golden Girls.
NOW: After hanging up his robe, Shadix had a busy small-screen career in the ’90s, booking cameo gig s in Roseanne, Seinfeld, Night Court, Cheers, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He also returned to the big screen in Demolition Man (1993) and Multiplicity (1996). In the final years of his career, Shadix largely focused on voice work, lending his vocals to the Kingdom Hearts video games and voicing various characters in Justice League and Teen Titans. The late actor died in September 2010 at the age of 58 after suffering a fall.
Patrick Labyorteaux (Ram Sweeney)
THEN: Heathers found one if its resident bullies, Ram Sweeney, in actor Patrick Labyorteaux. Labyorteaux picked up the gig of the classic high school antagonist after making a name for himself on television with cameo appearances in Shazam!, Starsky and Hutch, and The Love Boat, and a four-year turn as Andy Garvey on Little House on the Prairie.
NOW: Labyorteaux continued to see success on the small screen. He reprised his role of Andy in The Last Frontier in 1996, lent his voice to the character of Flash Thompson in Spider-Man in the late ’90s, and spent 10 years playing Bud Roberts on JAG. After popping up on Ghost Whisperer, Dexter, and iCarly in 2009, the star has made more recent appearances on episode of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Scandal, and Castle.
Phill Lewis (Dennis)
THEN: Phill Lewis joined Heathers as Dennis, the school’s yearbook editor. Lewis filled his résumé before the role largely with TV credits, making appearances in Hill Street Blues and 227 in ’86, and Sonny Spoon and The Bronx Zoo in ’88.
NOW: While he hit the big screen in City Slickers (1991), Bowfinger (1999), I Spy (2002), and Kicking & Screaming (2005), Lewis spent much of his time with TV work after Heathers. In the ’90s, he was seen in episodes of Hardball, The Wayans Bros., Sister, Sister and Mad About You. The following decade he played Principal Tweedy on Lizzie McGuire, picked up a three-episode arc on Friends, and appeared as Mr. Moseby on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Hooch on Scrubs. Lewis reprised his role of Mr. Moseby on The Suite Life on Deck from 2008 until 2011, and more recently appeared in 2014’s Wish I Was Here and an episode of Undateable, among others.
Renée Estevez (Betty Finn)
THEN: The daughter of Martin Sheen and Janet Templeton, Renée Estevez joined the family business in the ’80s. After appearing in Growing Pains, MacGyver, and For Keeps?, the Hollywood child picked up the role of the nerdy Betty in Heathers.
THEN: Estevez continued to act, landing roles in Paper Hearts (1993), The War at Home (1996), and episodes of JAG. She also spent seven years appearing alongside her father in The West Wing, playing the assistant Nancy. In recent years, she wrote a handful of episodes of Anger Management, which starred her brother, Charlie Sheen.