The Santa Clause stands out among Christmas movies as one of the strangest stories ever to become a "classic" to some viewers. The 1994 film stars Tim Allen as an average suburban dad who accidentally becomes St. Nick himself through some strange and convoluted magic. While it was clearly created as a kind of irreverent comedy, it has become a Christmas classic to some viewers, and its recent revival on Disney+ has brought the main cast back into the limelight.
The Santa Clause premiered in 1994 and its cast and creators likely had no idea they were launching a beloved media franchise. The Santa Clause 2 debuted in 2002 followed by The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause in 2006. There was also a short film in 2003 called "True Confessions of the Legendary Figures." This year, Disney gave fans something new in this franchise with the Disney+ original series The Santa Clauses, bringing back a few main cast members. For many fans, that raised the question of where the rest of the cast had gone and what they had all been up to in the intervening years.
In addition to Allen, the main cast of the original movie includes 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 Clauses includes Allen as well as Elizabeth Mitchell, who joined the cast in The Santa Clause 2, but other than that cast members only return as "guest stars."
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. 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 starred in Last Man Standing, another family sitcom where he played 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 was outspoken in his support for former 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."
Allen reprised his role as Santa in The Santa Clauses this year. Other than that, he has no ongoing projects at the time of this writing.prevnext
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 still makes some on-camera appearances as well, 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. Of course, Lloyd made an appearance in one episode of The Santa Clauses on Disney+ this year.prevnext
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. In the last few years she has had a few more big roles, including a successful stint in the live-action TV adaptations of DC Comics through Superman & Lois and Titans. She did not return for The Santa Clauses.prevnext
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. He did not return for The Santa Clauses, but is expected to return for a long-awaited sequel to the Beverly Hills Cop franchise, which is currently in production.prevnext
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.prevnext
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+, along with the new limited series The Santa Clauses.prev