When it comes to children’s movies, I have a hard time deciding which is my favorite; it’s either The Dark Crystal or The Neverending Story. Both movies are pretty dark considering their target demographics, and I can remember certain aspects of each that used to scare me. And both movies involved some incredible work by puppeteers and voice actors, helping to bring to life the wide array of fictional creatures. Unlike The Dark Crystal, however, The Neverending Story featured live human actors that were, in my opinion, perfectly cast for their roles. Keep reading to find out what happened to not only the on-screen actors from The Neverending Story, but to one of the greatest voice actors, as well.
Barret Oliver as Bastian Bux
Barret Oliver’s acting career didn’t last too long after The Neverending Story, but he didn’t exactly fade into obscurity, either. After his role as Bastian, Oliver was cast in Tim Burton’s lost, alleged classic Frankenweenie, and then as a the title role in D.A.R.Y.L., for which he earned a Saturn Award. After roles in Cocoon and its sequel, though, Oliver was pretty much finished was acting; he doesn’t have an acting credit to his name since 1989. But there’s more to life than acting, and Oliver picked up photography both as a hobby and a professional endeavor. As of April 2008, Oliver was teaching photography in Los Angeles, and he had even written a book on photography called A History Of The Woodburytype. Although uncredited, Oliver also worked as a still photographer for Cold Mountain.
Noah Hathaway as Atreyu
After playing Atreyu – pretty much the coolest little kid role in the history of cinema – Hathaway had some minor television appearances on shows such as Simon & Simon and Family Ties before landing the starring roll in the 1986 movie Troll. Hathaway didn’t appear on screen again until 1994, when he played Phil in To Die, to Sleep. This was the last film in which Hathaway has appeared, and after his retirement from acting, he got into motorcycle racing. Like Atreyu, Hathaway has turned into quite the tough guy, picking up black belts in Tang Soo Do and Shotokan Karate in addition to trying to set up his own chopper shop on the west coast.
Tami Stronach as The Childlike Empress
Appearing in The Neverending Story was the first and last acting role for Tami, unless you count her brief appearance in the short Czech television film, Feedy a Zlatovlaska. And I don’t think we do. It turns out that Tami is really a dancer by trade and has been dancing since she was a child. In 1996, she joined the U.S.-based Israeli dance troupe the Neta Dance Company, and she now has her own dance company in Brooklyn.
I did a little poking around, and it looks like Tami has gotten back into acting, but instead of on screen, she’s acting on stage in New York.
Alan Oppenheimer as the voice of Rockbiter, Falkor, Gmork, and the Narrator
As one of the greatest voice actors to ever live, Alan Oppenheimer has had steady, memorable work since The Neverending Story. Oppenheimer appeared on camera on dozens of shows, ranging from Married with Children to Who’s the Boss? to Star Trek: The Next Generation, but it’s his voice acting that without a doubt has paid the bills. In addition to voicing Skeletor, Oppenheimer has voiced the Transformers Warpath and Beachcomber, Vanity Smurf, various characters on Scooby-Doo, and even characters on the Gummi Bears. More recently, Oppenheimer has moved into video game voice acting. One of his notable performances is that of Prometheus in God of War II.
Thomas Hill as Mr. Koreander
Thomas Hill appeared on several television shows following The Neverending Story, including his recurring role as Jim Dixon on Newhart up until 1990. Hill also appeared on the original “V" series, The Facts of Life, Coach, and like Alan Oppenheimer, Married with Children. He didn’t have any notable movie roles – unless you count “Attorney" in the 1987 film Black Widow – until he once again played Mr. Koreander in The Neverending Story II. Thomas Hill’s last role was on an episode of Law & Order in 1993, and he passed away at the age of 81 in April 2009.
Moses Gunn as Cairon
Moses Gunn was a respected, accomplished actor long before appearing in The Neverending Story, so writing about what the Tony-nominated actor had done after his role as Cairon is somewhat of a disservice. Aside from a role in Leonard Part 6, Cairon appeared in mostly television shows – such as The Cosby Show and an episode of Tales From the Crypt – until his final role as a murder suspect on Homicide: Life on the Street in 1993. Sadly, Cairon died in 1993 from asthma complications.
When The Neverending Story is inevitably re-made, I have to think that Sam Jackson is going to play this character.