Among a sea of Porky’s-clone sex comedies of the early 1980s, Bachelor Party stands out. Sure, it has the same level of raunch that any of those other films, as well as a mild does of casual racism and homophobia thrown in, but Tom Hanks’ bubbly, goofy performance manages to convey a genuine sweetness to his relationship with fiancee Tawny Kitaen that gives it an emotional core that most other films in the genre lack.
Allegedly inspired by a real life bachelor bacchanal thrown for the film’s producer Bob Israel, Bachelor Party follows the antics of Hanks and his friends throwing one big party filled with “With chicks and Guns and Firetrucks and hookers and drugs and Booze! All the things that make life worth living for!” before Hanks’ upcoming nuptials. Needless to say, hijinks ensue when fiancee Kitaen and her friends set out to ensure that not too much fun is to be had.
Released on this date in 1984, Bachelor Party was not too enthusiastically greeted by critics. The public, however, ignored the bad reviews and the film grossed about $38.4 million against its $6 million budget. So what has happened to most of the cast, after they shook off their day-after hangover, over the past three decades?
Tom Hanks (Rick Gassko)
Previously – Hanks was working as a stage actor with only the low budget slasher He Knows You’re Alone (1980) and the the TV movie Mazes And Monsters (1982), based on Rona Jaffe’s slanderous novel, when he landed his breakout role as Kip Wilson on the sitcom Bosom Buddies. The series only lasted two years, but lead to Ron Howard casting Hanks in his mermaid comedy Splash, also released in 1984. Bachelor Party was his first follow up to that hit.
Since – Do we really need to do this? Been in numerous hit films, both dramatic and comedic, which have earned literally billions at the box office. Nominated for five Academy Awards, won twice for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump as well as numerous other honors. Basically, one of the biggest and most iconic stars today.
Tawney Kitaen (Debbie Thompson)
Previously – Prior to replacing the previously-cast Kelly McGillis in the lead role of Tom Hanks’ future spouse Debbie, this daughter of a former beauty pageant contestant had only a minor role in a made-for-TV film and the lead in the cult movie The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak on her resume.
Since – After a string of less than successful films through the rest of the decade, Kitaen closed out the 1980s with a run on the daytime soap opera Santa Barbara. She also co-starred in the syndicated The New WKRP in Cincinnati and had a recurring role in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In the 1980s, she also becae the leading sex symbol in the glam rock movement, first appearing as a model on the covers of two albums from the group Ratt (she was high school sweathearts with the group’s guitarist and founder Robbin Crosby) before marrying Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale.
Adrian Zmed (Jay O’Neil)
Previously – Zmed was a firmly established TV actor appearing on a number of television series, including a guest shot as an old friend of Hanks’ on Bosom Buddies, before landing a supporting role in the sequel misfire Grease 2 (1982).
Since – Bachelor Party happened while Zmed was co-starring on perhaps his most well known project, the William Shatner-starring cop series T. J. Hooker. Following Hooker, his career has subsisted on numerous guest shots on various series as well as the occasional small film role.
Wendie Jo Sperber (Dr. Tina Gassko)
Previously – Sperber launched her career with appearances in a handful of high profile features starting with I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Corvette Summer and 1941, before landing a lead supporting role in the Hanks co-lead sitcom Bosom Buddies. She followed that with another supporting role on the TV version of Private Benjamin before reuniting with Hanks for Bachelor Party.
Since – Continuing to work in both film and television, Sperber’s highest profile post-Bachelor Party role was probably as Michael J Fox’s sister in the Back To The Future films. In 1997, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and spent years fighting the disease as well as using her celebrity to raise awareness for cancer-related causes. She died in 2005.
Robert Prescott (Cole)
Previously – Nothing, really. The role of the snobbish and psychotic Cole was Prescott’s first professional film acting gig.
Since – Prescott followed his Bachelor Party debut with a few more comedies through the 1980s, most notable his role as the unctuous and toadying Kent in 1985’s Real Genius. More recently, the actor has been making television appearances in numerous series produced in New York such as Law & Order and Blue Bloods. He occasionally still lands small roles in films such as Michael Clayton, Burn After Reading and The Bourne Legacy.
Michael Dudikoff (Ryko)
Previously – Dudikoff had been working a number of years in blink-and-you-miss-him roles in TV shows like Dallas and in films like TRON before landing the part of Tom Hanks’ dim-witted, barely literate waiter friend Ryko.
Since – Dudikoff’s big break came the year following Bachelor Party‘s release, when he made the first of his three starring appearances in the American Ninja action film franchise. Most recently he had a cameo in last year’s Olympus Has Fallen.
Previously – After a brief foray into children’s animation as a writer on the 1973 series Yogi’s Gang, Israel broke into directing with the sketch 1976 sketch movie Tunnel Vision. Both that, and his follow-up Americathon (1979) were lukewarm-received at best. Bachelor Party marked his first hit.
Since – Israel would go on to re-team with Bachelor Party co-writer Pat Proft to script the initial Police Academy film, Moving Violations and Real Genius. But after directing Moving Violations in 1985, Israel mainly continued to work in television on such series as Fast Times, Nash Bridges, Clueless and The Fresh Beat Band. His only notable return to features was 1993’s Surf Nazis.
Previously – Proft had been working mostly in television by the time that Bachelor Party premiered, his most famous work being done on the Zucker-Abrams-Zucker-produced cop show parody Police Squad!, though he does have The Star Wars Holiday Special on his resume as well. Proft also co-wrote another of 1984’s big comedy hits, the original Police Academy, with Israel.
Since – Proft has continued writing comedies including reteaming with Israel for Moving Violations and Real Genius and then going solo for Brain Donors and a couple of entries in the Scary Movie franchise. Perhaps his most notable work was getting back together with Zucker-Abrams-Zucker for the big screen Police Squad! spinoff The Naked Gun films.