Ranking The Careers Of ‘Jurassic Park’ Cast Members From Best To Worst

It’s been 20 years since Jurassic Park first hit theaters and this weekend it will return to the box office in 3-effing-D. To mark the occasion, we thought it would be fun to look back on life after the film series for the actors who played the main roles. Who benefited from being chased down by dinos and whose career died with their onscreen death? Ready? Let’s go…

1. Julianne Moore (Dr. Sarah Harding – The Lost World: Jurassic Park)

In an unexpected move, Moore followed her Oscar-nominated turn in Boogie Nights with The Lost World. Much like her character in the film, her career walked away unscathed. She quickly returned to the world of drama, picking up Oscar nominations for The End of the Affair (just two years after her dino chase), Far From Heaven and The Hours. But that didn’t stop her from making pitstops in smart sci-fi flicks like Children of Men.

2. Samuel L. Jackson (Ray Arnold – Jurassic Park)

Jackson has built a career on being attacked by creatures — velociraptors, sharks (Deep Blue Sea), snakes (Snakes On A Plane), aliens (Sphere) and Christina Ricci (Black Snake Moan – still not sure what happened there). Just one year after his severed arm groped Laura Dern in a shed, Jackson starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, thrusting him into A-List territory. Though it didn’t stop him from tempting fate with the disaster that was The Man co-starring Eugene Levy.

3. Vince Vaughn (Nick Van Owen – The Lost World: Jurassic Park)

The years immediately following The Lost World were the dark period in Vaughn’s career when he mistakenly pursued dramatic roles in films like Return To Paradise, Psycho and The Cell. It wasn’t until Zoolander that he returned to form and got back into comedy (Old School, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Wedding Crashers). He even managed to survive RomCom territory (The Break Up with Jennifer Aniston). As long as he stays away from Katherine Heigl he should continue to be fine.

4. Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler – Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III)

Following Jurassic Park, Laura Dern starred in a string of critically acclaimed dramas (We Don’t Live Here Anymore, Inland Empire) before turning to TV. She famously helped Ellen out of the closet in 1997 in between JP stints. And then she finally started getting the recognition she deserved by taking on roles that came with awful hair: Katherine Harris (Recount) and Amy Jellicoe (now canceled Enlightened).

5. William H. Macy (Paul Kirby – Jurassic Park III)

The actor did everything right up until JPIII! He starred in Fargo, Magnolia, ER and Sports Night. And then he got stranded on Isla Nublar with Tea Leoni. It was a bumpy road back to prestige: There was the good – The Cooler, Thank You For Smoking; and the bad – Cellular, Bobby. Now he’s the patriarch in the demented family dramedy, Shameless.

6. Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcolm – Jurassic ParkThe Lost World: Jurassic Park)

After being terrorized by the T-Rex for two films, Goldblum continued to have an eclectic career by starring in everything from Cats & Dogs to Igby Goes Down and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou to The Switch. Most of that time, though, he spent it watching you poop or reminding people that, despite what Twitter said, he was not dead. Following a random turn as Detective Zack Nichols on Law & Order: Criminal Intent (still wrapping my head around that), Goldblum settled into being the ultimate TV dad with spots on The League and Glee.

7. Wayne Knight (Dennis Nedry – Jurassic Park)

Most famous for playing Newman on Seinfeld, the actor has successful runs on other TV shows (3rd Rock from the Sun and two aging actors series, Hot in Cleveland and The Exes). Newman also has had a successful voice-acting career with roles in The Brave Little Toaster Goes To Mars, Tarzan, Toy Story 2 and Kung Fu Panda.

8. Joseph Mazzello (Tim Murphy – Jurassic ParkThe Lost World: Jurassic Park)

The likable one in JP all but disappeared after co-starring with Meryl Streep in 1994 film, The River Wild. Thankfully, he sparred us the awkward puberty years. A grownup and almost unrecognizable Mazzello returned notable roles in The Social Network, HBO’s The Pacific and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Timmy he is no longer.

9. Pete Postlethwaite (Roland Tembo – The Lost World: Jurassic Park)

Deemed “the best actor in the world” by Stephen Spielberg, the character actor had a steady career with parts in The Constant GardenerThe OmenInception. His last role was as the most badass flower shop owner ever in The Town before he passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2011.

10. Tie: Richard Schiff (Eddie Carr – The Lost World: Jurassic Park) & B. D. Wong (Dr. Henry Wu – Jurassic Park)

One of Schiff’s first major roles was The Lost World so he had anywhere to go but down. Following a series of bit roles here and there, Schiff landed career-defining part as Toby Ziegler on The West Wing. But after seven seasons in the White House, he has done much since.

Even though Wong followed Jurassic Park with a major role on Oz as Father Ray Mukada, he will forever be known as Dr. George Huang on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit where he has helped with 228 cases and counting.

11. Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant – Jurassic ParkJurassic Park III)

Neill’s most notable gigs have been a string of TV roles. He was Merlin in the award-winning mini-series of the same name, had a recurring part on The Tudors and was the lead in the now canceled J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi drama, Alcatraz. Even though he starred in the awesome sci-fi horror flick, Event Horizon, his career has failed to surpass the glory of Dr. Grant.

12. Camilla Belle (Cathy Bowman – The Lost World: Jurassic Park)

Remember that girl that got attacked by a Compsognathus? Yeah, well that was Camilla Belle who went on to share the screen with Steven Seagal (The Patriot), Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock (Practical Magic) and Daniel Day-Lewis (The Ballad of Jack and Rose – her breakout role). Even though she landed the female lead in Roland Emmerich’s prehistoric epic, 10,000 BC, her career stalled when she started dating Joe Jonas. Damn purity rings.

13. Tea Leoni (Amanda Kirby – Jurassic Park III)

Prior to and following JPIII, Leoni’s career has borderlined on mediocre (The Naked TruthFun with Dick and Jane, Ghost Town). It’s as if God has been punishing her for that awful hair in the third film. She was last seen in the 2011 Eddie Murphy bomb, Tower Heist. Eesh!

14. Richard Attenborough (John Hammond – Jurassic ParkThe Lost World: Jurassic Park)

The most acclaimed actor to star in the Jurassic Park series, Attenborough’s acting career slowed down following the films. He starred as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street before dedicating most of his work to charitable foundations and trustee boards, even a stint as Chancellor of the University of Sussex. Since 2009, the actor has been battling health problems and officially retired from acting after becoming wheelchair bound.

15. Alessandro Nivola (Billy Brennan – Jurassic Park III)

The stud from JPIII starred in the FIFA-sponsored trilogy, Goal! Outside of that he hasn’t done too much else. He wandered onto the set of James Franco’s indie project, Howl. But things could turn around, he is currently filming an unspecified role in David O. Russell’s upcoming untitled project starring Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence.

16. Martin Ferrero (Donald Gennaro – Jurassic Park)

Getting chomped by the T-Rex while on the toilet was the highlight of Ferrero’s career. Following Jurassic Park, he had bit parts in a handful of decent movies, such as Get Shorty, Heat and Gods and Monsters.

17. Bob Peck (Robert Muldoon – Jurassic Park)

Even though Peck had a promising career, winning a BAFTA for Edge of Darkness, he quickly fell into the direct-to-TV film career. Sadly he died in 1999 but he would have been the perfect candidate for a SyFy series.

18. Michael Jeter (Udesky – Jurassic Park III)

Jurassic Park III was one of Jeter’s last films. The actor had a decent career as bit character in everything from Patch Adams to The Green Mile. His last two films, Open Range and The Polar Express, both came out after his death.

19. Ariana Richards (Lex Murphy – Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park)

The girl who only liked the veggiesaurus suffered the curse of Jurassic Park‘s child stars. She got an abortion in Ben Folds Five’s music video for “Brick” and reprised her Tremors role in straight-to-video threequel before she left acting for a career in painting. Here’s hoping someone’s planning another Tremors trilogy.

20. Vanessa Lee Chester (Kelly Curtis Malcolm – The Lost World: Jurassic Park)

Chester suffered much of the same fate as Richards. The poor girl didn’t have much success following her dino days. She’s become a hidden Easter Egg, appearing as Girl #2 in She’s All That, Youth Voter #2 in The West Wing and Cheerleader #1 in 17 Again. Drink every time you see her in the background!

21. Velociraptors (Themselves – Jurassic ParkThe Lost World: Jurassic ParkJurassic Park III)

The main stars of all three films haven’t done too much since the series. One appeared in the un-aired pilot of Archer, and another made an appearance in Terrence Malick’s film, The Tree of Life. But they’ll be back (hopefully without feathers) in Jurassic Park 4.

22. Thomas F. Duffy (Dr. Robert Burke – The Lost World: Jurassic Park)

While he had a small part in TLW, Duffy made the list because he was James Van Der Beek’s football obsessed dad in Varsity Blues. Sadly though, no one wanted his life.

23. Trevor Morgan (Eric Kirby – Jurassic Park III)

What happens when you star as the only child role in the Jurassic Park film? Well, as you saw earlier, not much of anything –  just a bunch of single episode roles on a string of canceled TV shows.