E.T. Stars, Then and Now
It’s been 35 years since audiences fell in love with Steven Spielberg’s wide-eyed extraterrestrial with a heart of gold, stranded on Earth and searching for his way home. The film, which won four Oscars, was deemed one of cinema’s greatest in TIME‘s All-TIME 100 list, inspired a hit ride at Universal Studios, and even got a shoutout in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace—or at least E.T.’s species did. Here’s what the original cast is up to now.
Henry Thomas (Elliott)
While he’s no longer embarking on moonlit bike flights, the Texas native is still acting. Following his role as the boy who befriended the alien, Thomas appeared in Murder One, and Legends of the Fall. He also had starring roles in Gangs of New York and the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses. More recently, he appeared in Big Sur, ABC’s season-long series Betrayal, and Law and Order: SVU. He will star in the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game, as well as 2018’s Riptide.
Drew Barrymore (Gertie)
Following her stint as the adorable Gertie, Barrymore went on to become a household name, making headlines for roles in Scream, The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed, the Charlie’s Angels films, 50 First Dates, He’s Just Not That Into You, and more. Barrymore directed the 2009 roller derby film Whip It, starring Ellen Page, and recently served as executive producer on How to Be Single, as well as Netflix’s zombie comedy Santa Clarita Diet, in which she currently stars.
Robert MacNaughton (Michael)
MacNaughton, who portrayed Elliott’s older brother, went in to star in the film I Am the Cheese in 1983. Following that, he appeared on the CBS Schoolbreak Special, “Hear Me Cry,” as well as in the TV movie, A Place to Call Home, and on episodes of Screen Two, Newhart, and Vietnam War Story before retiring from acting. He came out of retirement to appear in two film sin 2015: Frankenstein vs. The Mummy and Laugh Killer Laugh.
Dee Wallace (Mary)
Following E.T., Wallace revisited her horror roots — she had previously appeared in the original The Hills Have Eyes — and starred in the Stephen King adaptation Cujo. She went on to star in the series Nothing Is Easy, as well as The New Lassie. Wallace has since appeared in several TV films and series, including guest roles on Cold Case, Bones, The Office, and Grimm. She has a handful of projects intended for release this year, including the films Encounter, Catch a Fallen Star, and Ayla.
Peter Coyote (Keys)
A prolific actor, Coyote has been in numerous films and TV series. He appeared in the short-lived series The Inside, Commander in Chief, and Law & Order: LA. He also portrayed Kurt Potter in Erin Brockovich and acted in the films Femme Fatale and This Is Not a Movie. His narration in the TV documentary The Roosevelts: An Intimate History earned him an Emmy in 2015. He stars in the upcoming miniseries The Disappearance as well as the film The Etruscan Smile, both set to premiere this year.
K.C. Martel (Greg)
Martel’s last role was 25 years ago. After E.T., he appeared on One Day at a Time and The Best Times. He starred alongside Kevin Bacon and Sean Astin in White Water Summer in 1987. Martel ended his acting career following his recurring role as Eddie on Growing Pains.
C. Thomas Howell (Tyler)
Playing Tyler in E.T. might have been Howell’s first credited part, but the actor now has 200 roles to his name. In the last several years, he’s appeared in films such as Hidalgo and The Amazing Spider-Man, and has had recurring roles on Southland, Criminal Minds, Grimm, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, and Animal Kingdom. His upcoming projects include the films The Rack Pack and Hyde Park.
After smooching Henry Thomas’ Elliott as an unnamed girl in E.T., Eleniak went on to play Shauni McClain in the original Baywatch series and even had a guest role on Full House. In the early 2000s, Eleniak starred in films such as The Opponent, Betrayal, The Librarians, and Brilliant. She had guest roles on CSI: Miami and Desperate Housewives and is currently set to star as Marilyn Monroe in the film Marilyn Monroe Back? later this year.