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Strange things happen to the cast of ‘Beetlejuice’

The Beetlejuice: 20th Annivesary Edition DVD hits stores next Tuesday. Has it really been 20 years since I first watched Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis play a newly dead couple, Winona Ryder as their goth teen-age daughter, and Michael Keaton as loveable ghoul Beetlejuice in this Tim Burton -directed masterpiece?


It’s one of my all-time favorite movies, but it’s interesting how many strange things have happened to its cast in the last two decades.

* Alec Baldwin has become notorious for anger management issues. In 1995, he punched a paparazzi photographer who was hounding him and then-wife Kim Basinger. More recently, he was vilified for calling his 11-year-old daughter a “thoughtless little pig” in a phone message that was sold (or given) to tabloid outfit TMZ.

* Jeffrey Jones (who also played the principal in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) was arrested on child porn charges in 2002. (He was paying a 14-year-old boy to pose naked in photographs for him). He was arrested again two years later for failing to notify authorities of his change of address.

* Little Winona Ryder would grow up to be arrested for shoplifting in 2001. During the trial, she faced allegations of drug abuse because when she was arrested she had a syringe and an array of prescription drugs including percocet, percodan, vicodin, valium, and morphine pills, in her purse.

* After Geena Davis and her husband Jeff Goldblum divorced in 1990, Geena married Hollywood director Renny Harlin and Harlin’s ex-girlfriend Laura Dern later dated Jeff Goldblum.

* Character actor Glenn Shadix, who played the rotund and sassy Otho, underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2000, lost 100 pounds and is now virtually unrecognizable.

* Funny man Dick Cavett revealed to the world in the 1990s that he has suffered with clinical depression his whole life and was being treated with ECT, or shock therapy. In 1997 Cavett was sued for breach of contract for failing to show up to record a new radio talk show. (His lawyer confirmed he was having a manic-depressive episode.)

* Catherine O’ Hara has a rare condition called Dextrocardia with situs inversus, which means her heart and other vital organs appear on the right side of her body.

* Robert Goulet died in 2007 of a rare pulmonary disease. Goulet’s life, too, was not without weirdness: in 1965, the singer was roundly criticized for mangling the lyrics to The Star-Spangled Banner before a Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston fight. Also: the longstanding rumors of Elvis Presley shooting televisions with a shotgun whenever Goulet appeared on them, were confirmed by the King’s friends after his death.

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3 thoughts on “Strange things happen to the cast of ‘Beetlejuice’

  1. Otho is my favorite part of that whole movie. “I know just as much about the supernatural as I do about interior design!”

  2. You’re right, I so appreciate the pop culture esoterica of this post! And I learned something new. I had no idea that Robert Goulet caused such a violent response from Elvis.

  3. ffeathers on said:

    Heh, I just found your post by surfing the WordPress tags. I’m a Beetlejuice fan too, and just saw the movie again. Awesome! Being a tech writer, and a fanatic one at that, I’m particularly keen on the “Handbook for the Recently Deceased” and I’ve just written a blog post dissecting it. Strange is good 🙂

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