In the wide world of Christmas movies and holiday media, there may be nothing stranger than The Santa Clause. The 1994 movie stars Tim Allen as a man who becomes St. Nick through an act of strange magic, and has to adapt. Years later, it is now a beloved classic for many viewers, and the cast is finally getting recognition for it.
The Santa Clause debuted in 1994, when Tim Allen was at the height of his fame. He played Scott Calvin, a toy salesman who has lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. After the real Santa accidentally dies on Scott's property, he inherits the mantle, forcing him to reckon with his lack of Christmas spirit.
Allen is joined by a few other big names in the movie, including Judge Reinhold and Wendy Crewson. His son is played by Eric Lloyd, and other stars include David Krumholtz, Paige Tamada, Peter Boyle and Larry Brandenburg.
The Santa Clause is a strange movie — no one can deny it. From its non-canonical premise to the pun that makes up its title, the film sends mixed messages and asks a lot of its viewers. There is no telling why it has become a nostalgic family favorite, but then again, there was no way to know what lay ahead for the cast and crew almost three decades ago now.
Here is what the main cast of The Santa Clause has been up to since 1994.
Tim Allen (Scott Calvin)
Tim Allen was the biggest star in The Santa Clause at the time, and he remains the cast's biggest star today. The movie was made in the middle of Allen's run as Tim "The Toolman" Taylor on ABC's Home Improvement, which ended in 1999. At the same time, he starred in the Toy Story franchise as Buzz Lightyear.
Today, not much has changed for Allen. He still plays Buzz Lightyear, with the latest installment of the Toy Story coming out this past summer. Meanwhile, he stars in Last Man Standing, another family sitcom where he plays a bemused patriarch.
Since The Santa Clause, however, Allen did divorce his first wife, Laura Deibel, and re-marry to actress Jane Hajduk. He has a daughter from each marriage.
Allen has also become politically outspoken in recent years, even making appearances on Sean Hannity's show on Fox News. He is outspoken in his support for President Donald Trump, and when Last Man Standing was canceled by ABC in 2017, Allen remarked that being a Republican in Hollywood is "like 1930s Germany. You gotta be real careful around here, you know. You'll get beat up if you don't believe what everybody believes."
The show was rescued by Fox later that year, and remains on the air today.
Eric Lloyd (Charlie Calvin)
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Eric Lloyd was eight years old when he began his tenure as Charlie Calvin in The Santa Clause franchise. He was already established thanks to early TV appearances, including one as the young Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years.
Lloyd did more movies and TV shows as a child actor throughout the 1990s. He even played the young Bruce Wayne in a flashback sequence in Batman & Robin. He appeared in My Giant, Dunston Checks In and Woody Allen's Deconstructing Harry.
At the same time, Lloyd moved into animation. He did the voice for Blanky in The Brave Little Toaster franchise, and lent his voice to the Nickelodeon series Rocket Power as well.
Lloyd's last role in front of the camera was in 2012, but these days he is on a different track. In 2015, he and his college roommate opened LP Studios, a music and film space in Glendale, California. They do both production and post-production work, with an active social media presence.
Wendy Crewson (Laura Miller)
When The Santa Clause came out, Wendy Crewson was already a Hollywood veteran, with numerous TV shows and movies under her belt. She began doing more and more major features in 1991, and this was her second big hit, following The Good Son in 1993.
Crewson remained on for both sequels to The Santa Clause, and also starred in Air Force One, Bicentennial Man, 6th Day and other big hits throughout the early-2000s. Meanwhile, she worked on many independent films and passion projects over the years — most recently the 2015 hit Room.
Through all of this, Crewson remained in Canada, where she continues to work on TV and movies. She stars in the CBC drama Frankie Drake Mysteries, and in 2016, she was given the Earle Grey Award in recognition of her contributions to Canadian TV as an international contender.
Crewson has two children with her ex-husband, actor Michael Murphy, whom she divorced in 2009. In December of 2014, she revealed that she is a lesbian, and she came out to her family a few years before.
"I didn't care what anybody else thought, I was fine with coming out to everybody, but to your children... it's just a different thing," she told Global News. "You're just afraid of rejection."
Crewson said her family was understanding and supportive during the process.
Judge Reinhold (Dr. Neal Miller)
Perhaps the biggest A-lister on the cast of The Santa Clause, Judge Reinhold was already an established movie actor, though without the daily household recognition Allen had from TV at the time. Reinhold starred in movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Beverly Hills Cop beforehand, and he continued to work on blockbusters afterward.
To hear Reinhold tell it, he was actually on a downward spiral in his career when he was cast in The Santa Clause. He told The L.A. Times in 1992 that he was past "the end of my highfalutin Hollywood career." Speaking candidly, he said he had earned a reputation for being difficult on set.
"I was spoiled, and I was arrogant," said Reinhold. "I was very demanding, had an overblown image of who I was and got a reputation for being difficult. And rightfully so."
For Reinhold, the Santa Clause franchise was an exercise in humility and collaboration, and he returned for all three. In the years since, he has often been cast as himself for self-referential humor, such as his appearance in Arrested Development as a parody of The People's Court.
Reinhold's most recent major movie role was in 2017, when he played Harry in Bad Grandmas.
Paige Tamada (Judy the Elf)
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No words can describe how truly amazing these past 8 weeks at my Macy's Store Management Internship has been. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I owe a lot of my growth and personal development as a leader to my mentor, Paige. She has inspired me to be the best that I can be in all my endeavors and has challenged me to be uncomfortable during my internship in ye best way possible. Thank you so much to the Macy's Executive team and, most importantly, Paige Tamada for giving me the best summer internship I could have asked for. I mean, of course my mentor and I were the dynamic duo team because we are fellow Cal Bears! #iintern4macys #internship #cal #berkeley #macys #blessed
Another rising child star at the time was Paige Tamada, who had just appeared on an episode of Home Improvement the previous year. Tamada was only in the first Santa Clause movie, and stopped acting before the turn of the millenium. She appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air twice, as well as Seinfeld, Full House and other big shows of the day.
Tamada did other movies as well, including Mad City and Milo. The Los Angeles native opted to go off to college following this success, and now keeps to herself. Tamada's social media accounts are all private.
Larry Brandenburg (Detective Nunzio)
Finally, Larry Brandenburg was just getting started when he played Detective Nunzio in The Santa Clause. Although one of the oldest actors in the cast, he went on to have some of the most success. That same year, he starred in The Shawshank Redemption, then went on to Fargo, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Sour Grapes, among other films.
Brandenburg worked even more in TV, with roles on ER, The Drew Carey Show, JAG and The West Wing. He is equally recognizable to younger viewers, who will know him — or at least his voice — from Rugrats, Charmed and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Brandenburg's last acting credit was from 2010, when he presumably retired after appearing on NCIS and co-starring in The Last Harbor.
All three films in the Santa Clause franchise are streaming now on Disney+.