Adam Sandler’s comedies might not deliver the same belly laughs as they once did — one can only watch Sandler play a schlub who gets the girl so many times — but in the mid-to-late ’90s, he was a comedy powerhouse at the box office. And the movie that kicked off Sandler’s movie reign is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week. I knew nearly every line from Billy Madison and its even funnier follow-up, Happy Gilmore, and would savor any opportunity to throw out “You blew it!” or “O’Doyle rules!” with my middle school friends. Looking back, it was probably annoying as hell to anyone who wasn’t a teenager.
With the exception of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Billy Madison arguably pulled off sophomoric humor better than any movie that decade. Similar to many of Adam Sandler’s other movies, Billy is surrounded by a jackass group of friends, a female love interest who’s way out of his league both physically and intellectually, and a villainous douchebag. It worked in 1995 and has continued to work to varying degrees in nearly every Happy Madison production since.
Besides giving us lines like, “If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis,” Billy Madison delivered memorable cameos from the late Chris Farley and Steve Buscemi. Sandler is still very much in the public eye, but what about the rest of the Billy Madison cast? Here’s what they’ve been up to since helping Billy go back to school:
Eric Gordon (Bradley Whitford)
Yes, Eric was a dick and shouldn’t have pulled that gun on Billy, but who do you really want running a billion-dollar hotel chain: a business man or an idiot who stages shampoo vs. conditioner debates in the bathtub? Whitford has had a very successful career with roles dating back to the mid-1980s (Revenge of the Nerds II), but is probably best known for his time on The West Wing. Recently, he was on Trophy Wife and Transparent, and is currently filming a new series called Happyish with Ellen Barkin and Steve Coogan.
Veronica Vaughn (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras)
Billy eventually did get with Veronica, despite only being slightly less stupid by the end of the movie, but that’s where a billion dollar fortune comes in handy. Prior to teaching Billy how to read at a first-grade level, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras had a recurring role on Saved by the Bell. Since then, she’s appeared in I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Wedding Planner. Her last acting role was 2008’s Phantom Punch, and the former Miss Teen USA is currently raising a family with tennis legend Pete Sampras.
Frank (Norm MacDonald)
Norm and Adam always played well off one another on Weekend Update, and Norm was a solid fit as the role of Billy’s equally lazy, but far less rich friend. Norm has been involved with a lot of different projects over the years to varying success, from his own self-titled sitcom to the now-defunct Sports Show on Comedy Central. He’s put out two seasons of the popular podcast Norm MacDonald Live and currently provides the pigeon voice on Adult Swim’s animated mystery throwback, Mike Tyson Mysteries.
Principal Anderson (Josh Mostel)
Before crushing on Billy and later crushing Eric as the Revolting Blob, actor Josh Mostel got his start singing in New York’s famous Metropolitan Opera. Moss appeared in such ’80s classics as The Money Pit and Wall Street, and he later went on to act in Rounders and Adam Sandler’s Big Daddy. Moss’ most recent acting role was a small part on a recent episode of the Tom Selleck TV drama, Blue Bloods.
Carl (Larry Hankin)
Larry Hankin’s acting career dates back nearly 50 years to when he landed his first gig on the 1960s TV show Hey, Landlord. Over the years, Hankin has acted in everything from sitcoms like Seinfeld and Friends to films including Pretty Woman and Home Alone. One of his more notable appearances to date was playing Old Joe the junkyard owner who hooks Walt and Jesse up with a super magnet on Breaking Bad. Hankin continues to act and appeared in Pain and Gain in 2013. Oh, and he also made a run for Vice President in 2012 alongside Presidential candidate Connor Ratliff.
Ernie (Jared Cook)
Last time we saw Jared Cook, he was unknowingly kicking off the cool new trend of wetting your pants at school. Billy Madison was Cook’s last acting role, and while he may no longer be acting, TMZ caught up with him and discovered that he’s engaged and no longer pisses his pants.
Juanita (Theresa Merritt)
Juanita was the only other primary adult female in Billy Madison, and even she wanted to romance the illiterate dolt. Prior to offering Billy a sponge bath, Theresa Merritt was best known for the 1970s TV series That’s My Momma, but also acted in films like The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and The Wiz. Merritt passed away in 1998 after finishing her final acting role in Home Fries.
Honorable mention: The dead clown. We hardly knew ye.