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Rick Moranis

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Rick Moranis
Moranis and his wife Ann in March 1990
Frederick Allan Moranis

(1953-04-18) April 18, 1953 (age 71)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • musician
  • songwriter
  • writer
  • producer
Years active1976–present
Ann Belsky
(m. 1986; died 1991)

Frederick Allan Moranis (/məˈrænɪs/; born April 18, 1953) is a Canadian actor, comedian, musician, songwriter, writer, and producer.

Moranis appeared in the sketch comedy series Second City Television (SCTV) in the 1980s and starred afterward in several Hollywood films, including Strange Brew (1983), Streets of Fire (1984), Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Spaceballs (1987), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989, and its 1992 and 1997 sequels), Parenthood (1989), My Blue Heaven (1990), and The Flintstones (1994).

In 1997, Moranis began a long break from acting to dedicate his time to his two children as a widower.[1] He has not appeared in a live-action film for over 25 years, although he provided voice-over work for a few animated films, including Disney's Brother Bear (2003). He also released comedy albums and made appearances at fan conventions.

In 2020, after a hiatus of nearly 23 years from live-action films, Moranis signed to appear in a new sequel to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, called Shrunk. However, as of 2024, the project has yet to proceed to the filming stage.

Early life[edit]

Moranis was born in Toronto, Ontario, to a Jewish family.[2] He attended elementary school with Geddy Lee, frontman of the rock band Rush.[3][4]


His career as an entertainer began as a radio disc jockey in the mid-1970s, using the on-air name "Rick Allan" at Toronto radio stations CFTR, CKFH, 1050 CHUM and CHUM-FM.[3][5][6]

In the mid-1970s, Moranis and comedy partner Rob Cowan, also a budding young radio announcer, performed on CBC-TV. Their spoof of Hockey Night in Canada was popular, and they periodically performed it on the road, including a charity sports dinner in Sarnia, Ontario.[citation needed]

In 1977, he teamed up with Winnipeg-born writer/director and performer Ken Finkleman on a series of live performances on CBC's 90 Minutes Live; comedy radio specials; and television comedy pilots, including one called Midweek and another called 1980 (produced at CBC Toronto in 1979). Both pilots starred Finkleman and Moranis in a series of irreverent sketches, including an early mockumentary sketch featuring Moranis as a Canadian movie producer, and another featuring the dubbed-in voiceovers of Nazi war criminals as they appear to be discussing their Hollywood agents and the money one can earn being interviewed on major documentary series like The World at War.[citation needed]

In 1980, Moranis was persuaded to join the third-season cast of Second City Television (SCTV) by friend and SCTV writer/performer Dave Thomas.[7] At the time, Moranis was the only cast member not to have come from a Second City stage troupe. He is known for such impressions as Woody Allen, George Carlin, Merv Griffin, and David Brinkley.[citation needed]

With SCTV moving to CBC in 1980 (and syndicated in the United States), Moranis and Thomas were challenged to fill two additional minutes with "identifiable Canadian content", and created a sketch called The Great White North featuring the characters Bob and Doug McKenzie, a couple of Canadian buffoons. By the time NBC ordered 90-minute programs for the U.S. in 1981 (the fourth season of SCTV overall), there had been such favourable feedback from affiliates on the McKenzies that the network requested the duo have a sketch in every show.[8][verification needed]

Bob and Doug became a pop-culture phenomenon, which led to a top-selling and Grammy-nominated album, Great White North,[9] and the 1983 movie Strange Brew, Moranis's first major film role.

Another notable Moranis character on SCTV was Gerry Todd, a disc jockey who presented music clips on television. The sketch aired before the debut of MTV in the United States, leading both Sound & Vision and Martin Short to dub Moranis as the creator of the video jockey. "There had been no such thing" up until that point, recalled Short, so "the joke was that there would be such a thing."[10][11]

Feature films[edit]

The handprints of Rick Moranis in front of the Chinese Theatre at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World

After his SCTV work and the Strange Brew movie, Moranis had a busy career in feature films that lasted over a decade, most notably Ghostbusters; Spaceballs; Little Shop of Horrors; and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and its sequels. He also did the voice-over for a short-lived cartoon series on NBC called Gravedale High (1990).

Moranis was also slated to appear (as the janitor) in the 1985 John Hughes film The Breakfast Club. After a week or so of filming,[12] Moranis was released by producer Ned Tanen because he felt Moranis's interpretation of the role as an over-the-top Russian caricature was not appropriate for the serious nature of the film.[13] Moranis presented the departure as a mutual decision and hoped to work with Hughes in the future.[14]

Moranis was originally cast as Phil Berquist in the 1991 film City Slickers, but later dropped out due to his wife's illness.[15]

Moranis's last film roles were Barney Rubble in The Flintstones (1994) and the box-office flop Big Bully (1996). Other than the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids sequels, by the mid-1990s his only appearance in that genre was a 1993 music video, "Tomorrow's Girls" by Donald Fagen, in which he played a man married to an extraterrestrial woman. Disney's final film in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids franchise is 1997's direct-to-video film Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, in which Moranis is the final remaining original cast member. The series Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show also launched in 1997 but without Moranis; it concluded in 2000. He worked for Disney twice more (with his fellow SCTV alumnus Dave Thomas), voicing Rutt the moose in the 2003 animated film Brother Bear and its direct-to-video sequel.

In a 2004 interview, Moranis talked about his favourite kinds of films:

On the last couple of movies I made—big-budget Hollywood movies—I really missed being able to create my own material. In the early movies I did, I was brought in to basically rewrite my stuff, whether it was Ghostbusters or Spaceballs. By the time I got to the point where I was "starring" in movies, and I had executives telling me what lines to say, that wasn't for me. I'm really not an actor. I'm a guy who comes out of comedy, and my impetus was always to rewrite the line to make it funnier, not to try to make somebody's precious words work.[10]

Acting hiatus[edit]

In 1997, Moranis took a hiatus from working in the film industry. He later explained, "I'm a single parent and I just found that it was too difficult to manage to raise my kids and to do the traveling involved in making movies. So I took a little bit of a break. And the little bit of a break turned into a longer break, and then I found that I really didn't miss it."[16]

After having declined an invitation to make a cameo appearance in 2016's Ghostbusters, Moranis clarified in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that despite his hiatus he had not, in fact, retired from acting in films, but instead had become selective about future roles.[17]

Later work[edit]

In 2001, Moranis received his first film credit since 1997 when he provided voice work in the animated film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys.

As of 2004, Moranis was on the Advisory Committee for the comedy program at Humber College.[18]

In 2005, Moranis released an album titled The Agoraphobic Cowboy, featuring country songs with lyrics that Moranis says follow in the comic tradition of songwriters/singers such as Roger Miller, Kinky Friedman, and Jim Stafford. The album was produced by Tony Scherr and is distributed through ArtistShare, as well as Moranis's official website. Commenting on the origins of the songs, he said that in 2003, "Out of the blue, I just wrote a bunch of songs. For lack of a better explanation, they're more country than anything. And I actually demoed four or five of them, and I'm not sure at this point what I'm going to do with them—whether I'm going to fold them into a full-length video or a movie. But, boy, I had a good time doing that."[10]

On December 8, 2005, The Agoraphobic Cowboy was nominated for the 2006 Grammy for Best Comedy Album. On February 3, 2006, Moranis performed "Press Pound" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and discussed the development of his music career.

In November 2007, Moranis reunited with Dave Thomas for a 24th anniversary special of Bob and Doug McKenzie, titled Bob and Doug McKenzie's 2–4 Anniversary. The duo shot new footage for this special. Thomas subsequently created a new animated Bob and Doug McKenzie series, Bob & Doug, for his company Animax Entertainment. Moranis declined to voice the role of Bob, which was taken over by Dave Coulier, but remained involved in the series as an executive producer.[19]

On June 18, 2013, Moranis released the comedy album titled My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs, his first album in eight years.[20] Moranis said of the release, "When I first began writing jokes and sketches with various Jewish partners one of us would inevitably stop at some point and announce, 'Too Jewish!' Too Jewish for the star, the show, the network, or the audience. The songs on this album are all in that category. I grew up hearing the Allan Sherman and the You Don't Have to Be Jewish albums in the '60s. Now I am in my 60s."[21]

In a June 2013 interview, Moranis talked about reprising his role as Louis Tully in a third Ghostbusters film and his disappointment with the sequel. Moranis said, "I haven't talked to Dan Aykroyd about it. Somebody he's associated with called me and I said, 'I wouldn't not do it, but it's got to be good.' You know, I'm not interested in doing anything I've already done, and I thought the second one was a disappointment. But I guess I'm interested in where that guy is now. I sort of see him as being Bernie Madoff's cellmate in jail. Both of them being so orderly that they race to get up and make their beds."[22] In 2015, regarding an offer for a brief appearance in the 2016 film, he concluded, "Ghostbusters didn't appeal to me. I wish them well, but it just makes no sense to me."[1]

In July 2017, Moranis and Dave Thomas reprised their Bob and Doug characters at a benefit concert in Toronto. Proceeds from the benefit went toward caring for Jake Thomas, Dave's nephew, who suffered a spinal cord injury that has left him paralyzed from the waist down.[23]

On May 9, 2018, Moranis returned as the character Pannakin Crybaby / Lord Dark Helmet from Spaceballs in an episode of The Goldbergs, albeit as a voice.[24] He also appeared in an episode of Prop Culture discussing the film.[25]

Moranis appears in the Martin Scorsese–directed Second City TV reunion documentary, titled An Afternoon with SCTV, set to premiere on Netflix.[26]

In 2020, Moranis signed on to reprise his role as Wayne Szalinski in Shrunk, a new sequel in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids series. When completed, it will mark a return to live-action films for Moranis after a hiatus of over two decades.[27] Later that same year, he appeared in a commercial for Mint Mobile alongside Ryan Reynolds.[28][29]

Personal life[edit]

Moranis married make-up designer Ann Belsky in 1986; together they had two children, a son and a daughter.[30] Belsky died of cancer in February 1991.[30][31] Moranis then slowly left public life to become a full-time single father.[30][17]

On October 1, 2020, Moranis was assaulted in New York City, in the vicinity of West 70th Street, Manhattan. He suffered minor injuries to his head, back, and hip. He reported the incident to the New York Police Department (NYPD) who posted security footage from the attack.[32] The alleged perpetrator was arrested a month later in New York City on November 14.[33]



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Strange Brew Bob McKenzie Also co-writer and co-director
1984 Streets of Fire Billy Fish
Ghostbusters Louis Tully
The Wild Life Harry
1985 Brewster's Millions Morty King
Head Office Howard Gross
1986 Club Paradise Barry Nye
Little Shop of Horrors Seymour Krelborn
1987 Spaceballs Pannakin Crybaby / Lord Dark Helmet
1989 Ghostbusters II Louis Tully
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Wayne Szalinski
Parenthood Nathan Huffner
1990 My Blue Heaven Barney Coopersmith
1992 Honey, I Blew Up the Kid Wayne Szalinski
1993 Splitting Heirs Henry Bullock
1994 The Flintstones Barney Rubble
Little Giants Danny O'Shea
1996 Big Bully David Leary
1997 Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves Wayne Szalinski
2001 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys The Toy Taker / Mr. Cuddles (voices) Direct-to-video
2003 Brother Bear Rutt (voice)
2006 Brother Bear 2 Direct-to-video; final film role (so far)
TBA Shrunk Wayne Szalinski Pre-Production


Year Title Role Notes
1979 1980 Various roles 1 episode
1980–1981 SCTV 25 episodes
1981–1982 SCTV Network 26 episodes
1982 Twilight Theater Television film
1983, 1989 Saturday Night Live Himself 2 episodes
1984 Hockey Night Coach Television film
1985 The Last Polka Linsk Minyk
1988 The Best of SCTV Various roles Television special; also writer
1989 The Rocket Boy Automatic Safety System Television film
1990 Gravedale High Max Schneider (voice) 13 episodes
1990 The Earth Day Special Vic's Buddy Television special
1992 Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories Narrator Episode: "Little Toot & the Loch Ness Monster/ Choo Choo"
1997 Muppets Tonight Himself Guest; 1 Episode
2003 Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids Holley (voice) Television special
2007 Bob & Doug McKenzie's Two-Four Anniversary Bob McKenzie
2009 Bob & Doug Co-creator and executive producer
2018 The Goldbergs Pannakin Crybaby / Lord Dark Helmet (voice) Episode: "Spaceballs"
2020 Prop Culture Himself Episode: "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"
TBA An Afternoon with SCTV Television special

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1994 The Flintstones Barney Rubble Arcade game
2003 Brother Bear Rutt Platform game



  • 1989: You, Me, the Music and Me
  • 2005: The Agoraphobic Cowboy
  • 2013: My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs

Bob and Doug McKenzie

Other soundtrack appearances

Year Film Songs Artist(s)/Writer(s) Role
1986 Little Shop of Horrors "Skid Row Downtown"; "Da-Doo"; "Grow For Me"; "Feed Me (Git It!)"; "Suddenly, Seymour"; "The Meek Shall Inherit" Howard Ashman, Alan Menken Seymour Krelborn
1997 Muppets Tonight "High Hopes"
"Salute to the late fifties crooners, obscure British bands and Bill Withers"
Various artists Himself


  • 1973: "Rock Radio Scrapbook" (as Rick Allan)[34]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
1982 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program SCTV (shared with other writers) Won
1990 American Comedy Awards Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Parenthood Won
1995 Gemini Awards Earle Grey Award for Best Cast SCTV Won
2006 Grammy Awards Best Comedy Album[35] The Agoraphobic Cowboy Nominated


  1. ^ a b Parker, Ryan (October 6, 2015). "Rick Moranis Is Not Retired". The Hollywood Reporter.
  2. ^ "Rick Moranis, going from 'Ghostbusters' to mom's brisket, draws on Jewish roots in new album". JNS.org. Archived from the original on December 9, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Rick Moranis". Yuddy.com. Archived from the original on April 2, 2009.
  4. ^ Lee, Geddy (November 2023). My Effin' Life. Harper. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-06-315941-9.
  5. ^ "Rock Radio Scrapbook: Aircheck of the Week".
  6. ^ "Rick Moranis". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica. Retrieved April 6, 2024.
  7. ^ "SCTV Guide – People – Cast". SCTV Guide. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  8. ^ Plume, Kenneth. "Interview with Dave Thomas (Part 1 of 5)", movies.img.com, February 10, 2000.
  9. ^ Hanna, Erin (2009). "Second City or Second Country?". Cineaction. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c Mettler, Mike (August 2004). "An Hour with SCTV's Rick Moranis". Sound & Vision. Archived from the original on July 14, 2009.
  11. ^ Ryan, Mike (June 7, 2012). "Martin Short On The Differences Between 'SNL' & 'SCTV'". Huffington Post.
  12. ^ "Back to the 80s: Interview with John Kapelos from The Breakfast Club & much more". Kickin' it Old School. November 16, 2012. Archived from the original on November 16, 2012. Retrieved January 10, 2023 – via tBlog.
  13. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (March 12, 2015). "How the Female Stars of The Breakfast Club Fought to Remove a Sexist Scene, and Won". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  14. ^ Rick Moranis for 'Ghostbusters' 1984 – Bobbie Wygant Archive, retrieved January 10, 2023 – via YouTube
  15. ^ Evans, Bradford (February 14, 2013). "The Lost Roles of Rick Moranis". Vulture.
  16. ^ "Rick Moranis: From 'Spaceballs' to country 'Cowboy'". USA Today. October 13, 2005. Archived from the original on June 14, 2023.
  17. ^ a b Parker, Ryan (October 7, 2015). "Rick Moranis Reveals Why He Turned Down 'Ghostbusters' Reboot: 'It Makes No Sense to Me'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  18. ^ Peterson, Dean (October 4, 2012). "Hey, Whatever Happened to Rick Moranis?". My Damn Channel. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  19. ^ Rob Salem (April 19, 2009). "Bob & Doug taking off again". Toronto Star.
  20. ^ Dionne, Zach (May 9, 2013). "Rick Moranis Is Ready to Return to the World". Vulture. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  21. ^ "Rick Moranis – My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs". Amazon Music. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  22. ^ Plumb, Ali (June 25, 2013). "Exclusive: Rick Moranis On Ghostbusters 3". Empire. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  23. ^ Vlessing, Etan (June 2017). "Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas to Reunite as McKenzie Brothers". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  24. ^ Keveney, Bill (May 7, 2018). "Exclusive: 'The Goldbergs' snags Rick Moranis to reprise the Dark Helmet of 'Spaceballs'". USA Today. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  25. ^ Hughes, William (May 9, 2020). "Disney+'s Prop Culture scores rare Rick Moranis interview". The A.V. Club.
  26. ^ Vlessing, Etan (May 10, 2018). "Rick Moranis Joins 'SCTV' Reunion Documentary for Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter.
  27. ^ Warner, Sam (July 22, 2020). "Josh Gad offers 'heartbreaking' update on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids sequel". Digital Spy. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  28. ^ Nolfi, Joey. "Rick Moranis returns to acting in Ryan Reynolds commercial". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  29. ^ "Rick Moranis Returns To The Screen After Two Decades In An Advertisement With Ryan Reynolds". Digg. September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  30. ^ a b c Lloyd, Brian (July 25, 2015). "Whatever happened to... Rick Moranis?". entertainment.ie. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  31. ^ Black, Shelby (October 23, 2020). "Actor Rick Moranis Took 23-Year On-Screen Hiatus After Wife Died of Breast Cancer, But He's Back In Spotlight With Ryan Reynolds & Fans Are Thrilled". Survivor Net. Retrieved January 7, 2024.
  32. ^ "Actor Rick Moranis randomly attacked in Manhattan". BBC News. October 2, 2020. Retrieved January 7, 2024.
  33. ^ Romero, Dennis (November 15, 2020). "Man arrested in New York City attack on actor Rick Moranis". NBC News. Retrieved January 7, 2024.
  34. ^ "Rock Radio Scrapbook: 1973 airchecks". rockradioscrapbook.ca.
  35. ^ Gerstein, Ted; Berman, John (February 5, 2006). "Rick Moranis on His Transformation Into a Grammy-Nominated Country Western Singer". ABC News.

External links[edit]