They wish you a Merry Christmas! Every year, fans watch their favorite holiday films on repeat — including It’s a Wonderful Life and Home Alone — but whatever happened to the kids who starred in the iconic movies?
While the leads often get all the love — like Tim Allen as Santa Claus/Scott Calvin in The Santa Clause trilogy — the cute child stars that accompany them help make the movies feel warmer and fuzzier.
Love Actually, for example, has a ton of major adult actors such as Liam Neeson and Keira Knightley, but for many, it’s Neeson’s character’s stepson, Sam, who steals the show. Nearly a decade after the British rom-com hit theaters in 2003, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who played Sam, still gets recognized for his adorable role.
“I don’t think Love Actually is going to go anywhere. I think I’ll forever be known as the cute little kid from Love Actually,” the Nanny McPhee actor told Mr. Porter in an interview published in February 2021. “I don’t mind that, that’s fine.”
The Nowhere Boy star recalled hating “being spoken down to in any way or mollycoddled as a child,” while working in the entertainment industry. That desire to be treated like just one of the cast ultimately transformed how he approached going to work as a kid and beyond.
“When I’d go on set, everyone would just treat me as just another person hired to do a job and I loved that sense of responsibility,” Brodie-Sangster told the outlet. “But, I mean, that must affect how you develop and grow as a person.”
Karolyn Grimes is another actor who will never be forgotten for her holiday movie role. The California native portrayed Bailey’s daughter Zuzu in 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life, and 75 years later, she is happy that people still stop her to talk about the heartwarming film.
Grimes was only six years old when she uttered the famous line, “Look, Daddy, teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” It wasn’t until she was nearly 40 that she actually watched the movie all the way through — and at that moment she understood why viewers loved it so much.
“It impacted me in a way I will never forget,” Grimes told the Washington Post in December 2021 while reflecting on the classic tale. “I was taken on an emotional roller-coaster, and at the end, I realized what a wonderful message this film has for everyone. I knew then that this was going to be a part of my life, because I wanted it to be.”
When it came to her memorable line, she admitted that she couldn’t have guessed how “those words would be so special to so many people.” She added: “I’m thrilled I got to say them and that I got to be a part of that scene and that movie.”