See the Cast of ‘Die Hard’ Then and Now
‘A Good Day to Die Hard,’ the fifth movie in the franchise in which John McClane is tasked with stopping a diabolical mad man (as per usual), opens today (February 14).
It may be hard to believe, but the original ‘Die Hard’ came out 25 years ago. With a new Blu-ray set and the original films returning to theaters, now is as good a time as any to see what the stars of the landmark first ‘Die Hard’ film are doing today.
Bruce Willis, John McClane
Then: Willis was already a star when ‘Die Hard’ came out, thanks to his work on ‘Moonlighting.’ But his work in ‘Die Hard’ launched him into another rarified air of action icon, alongside Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Willis went on to star in a boatload of hits, including ‘Pulp Fiction,’ ‘Armageddon’ and ‘The Sixth Sense.’ He had some misses along the way (‘Hudson Hawk,’ ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities’) and wound up marrying Demi Moore. They had three kids before getting a divorce.
Now: Willis, 57, also has a daughter with model Emma Heming, whom he married in 2009. As for his on-screen exploits, Willis shows no signs of stopping. Later this year, you can catch him in two other sequels: ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ and ‘Red 2.’
Bonnie Bedelia, Holly McClane
Then: Bedelia played Willis’ estranged wife in ‘Die Hard’ and returned for the second film in the series. A trained ballerina, Bedelia’s nephew is Macaulay Culkin.
Now: She never appeared in another film that could rival the success of ‘Die Hard,’ but Bedelia, 64, has worked steadily, starring in scores of TV movies, as well as the Lifetime series ‘The Division.’ Currently, she stars as the family matriarch on the NBC drama ‘Parenthood.’
Reginald VelJohnson, Sgt. Powell
Then: A relative unknown at the time, VelJohnson was Al Powell, the cop with a love of sweets first summoned to check out Nakatomi Plaza. This New York City native kicked around in a few films before ‘Die Hard’ (he had played a jail guard in ‘Ghostbusters’), but the 60-year-old’s real legacy didn’t come until the ‘90s when he played Carl Winslow on ABC’s TGIF staple, ‘Family Matters.’ He played the part for over 200 episodes before the series ended.
Now: He’s remained busy, lending his voice to ‘Die Hard’ video games and scoring a recurring roles on shows like ‘I’m With the Band’ and ‘Mike and Molly.’ He currently plays Southern gentleman Dash DeWitt on ‘Hart of Dixie’ and voices Able on ‘Tron: Uprising.’
Alan Rickman, Hans Gruber
Then: As international terrorist Hans Gruber, Rickman, 66, was one of the most memorable bad guys on the big screen. In fact, the American Film Institute named Gruber the 46th best villain in movie history.
Now: Rickman’s distinctive voice continues to serve him well, earning him plenty of work since ‘Die Hard.’ He has starred in several blockbusters, including the ‘Harry Potter’ series where he portrayed Severus Snape. He’s also appeared in the film adaptation of ‘Sweeney Todd,’ and will play Ronald Reagan in the upcoming political drama ‘The Butler.’
De’voreaux White, Argyle
Then: White was already a grizzled veteran of TV and film when he added a touch of levity to ‘Die Hard’ with his portrayal of Argyle, the limo driver who offers to help John McClane in case he can’t patch things up with his wife. He had done films before – you may remember him as the kid who tries to steal a guitar from Ray Charles’ store in ‘The Blues Brothers’ – and scored several appearances on ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ as well as cropping up on ‘What’s Happening!!,’‘The Jeffersons,’ and ‘Max Dugan Returns.’
Now: After ‘Die Hard,’ he landed the role of Aristotle on ‘Head of the Class’ before fading into obscurity. In fact, he doesn’t appear to have acted on screen between 2000 and 2012 when he showed up in a film called ‘Sandbar.’
James Shigeta, Mr. Takagi
Then: An accomplished singer, Shigeta played Mr. Takagi, the man who runs the Nakatomi Corporation. The Hawaiian native was a staple on the guest star circuit of TV shows in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s (‘Medical Center,’ ‘Perry Mason’ and ‘The Greatest American Hero,’ among others). He kept chugging along in the post-‘Die Hard’ era, landing parts on ‘Beverly Hills, 90210,’ ‘Murder, She Wrote’ and lending his voice to the part of General Li in the hit film ‘Mulan.’
Now: Now 79, Shigeta has slowed down in recent years – his most recent credit came in 2009 in the movie ‘The People I’ve Slept With.’ And here’s a fun fact to impress people the next time you’re at a party. Shigeta is actually a Golden Globe winner, nabbing the now-defunct award for Most Promising Male Newcomer award in 1960, an honor he shared with George Hamilton and Troy Donahue.
Hart Bochner, Ellis
Then: Bochner played Ellis, Bonnie Bedelia’s sleazy co-worker who wasn’t afraid to give up McClane’s identity to the terrorists. His performance was so good that Ellis was named the second greatest movie sleazeball by Maxim in 2005. Bochner burst on the scene in the ‘70s, landing a role in ‘Breaking Away’ and kept working steadily.
Now: After ‘Die Hard,’ he continued to be seen on the small and big screen, appearing in the TV miniseries ‘War and Remembrance’ and landing a recurring role as Debra Messing’s boyfriend in ‘The Starter Wife.’ The 56-year-old has also gone behind the camera, directing four films, most notably the 1994 comedy, ‘PCU.’
Robert Davi, Special Agent Johnson
Then: In ‘Die Hard,’ Davi played FBI Special Agent Johnson, but you may remember him as one of the bumbling bad guys in ‘Goonies,’ as well as his turn as another agent — Agent Malone — on the ‘90s series ‘Profiler.’ He also played the villain in the James Bond flick ‘Licence to Kill.’
Now: Davi has worked consistently throughout his career in TV and film, with more than 120 credits to date. (Mostly as bad guys.) What you may not know is that Davi, 59, is a pretty good singer and worked as a headliner belting out Frank Sinatra songs at the Venetian in Las Vegas last year. The acting well hasn’t dried up, either. Davi has three projects slated to come out in 2013, including the controversial ‘Raging Bull’ prequel/sequel ‘The Bronx Bull.’
Clarence Gilyard Jr., Theo
Then: The lone American among the bad guys, Gilyard’s Theo spent the bulk of the film trying to break the code to get access to the money. Prior to ‘Die Hard,’ Gilyard had done a lot of TV work, surfacing on ‘CHiPS’ and working with a then-unknown Jim Carrey on the short-lived series ‘The Duck Factory.’ He even had a small part in ‘Top Gun.’
Now: After ‘Die Hard,’ Gilyard enjoyed a mountain of jobs, becoming a cast member on ‘Matlock’ and ‘Walker, Texas Ranger.’ (He played Chuck Norris’ sidekick James Trivette.) While he didn’t act between 2005 and 2012, the 57-year-old Gilyard now has two films in the can and remains active teaching theater at UNLV.