THEN AND NOW: The cast of 'Matilda' 26 years later

·8 min read
Mara Wilson as Matilda wearing a blue dress and red bow and sitting at a classroom desk; Mara Wilson wearing a red V-neck dress and a silver necklace in front of black background with yellow text
"Matilda" first hit theaters in 1996.Sony Pictures; Jerod Harris/Getty Images
  • The family film "Matilda" debuted in theaters in 1996.

  • Mara Wilson, who played Matilda, now lends her voice to animated characters.

  • Though actors like Danny DeVito are still working today, some have left the spotlight.

Mara Wilson held the titular "Matilda" role.

Mara Wilson as Matilda wearing a red bow in her hair and standing in a doorway
Mara Wilson as Matilda Wormwood.Sony Pictures

Wilson portrayed Matilda, a girl who discovers she has the power of telekinesis and uses it to cope with her immoral family and vile headmistress.

Wilson starred alongside Robin Williams in "Mrs. Doubtfire" (1993), and held a recurring role on Fox's "Melrose Place." She also appeared in the classic Christmas movie, "Miracle on 34th Street" (1994), before portraying Matilda.

After taking a break from acting, Wilson now lends her voice to animated characters.

Mara Wilson in 2019.
Mara Wilson at the premiere of "Knives Out" in 2019.Jerod Harris/Getty Images

Shortly after the film wrapped, Wilson mostly stuck to acting in TV series. She landed guest roles on shows including CBS's "Pearl," Kids' WB's "Batman Beyond," and the film, "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" (2000).

Wilson then took about a decade-long break from film acting. During this hiatus, she performed in some stage productions and wrote and published a few creative pieces, including a play.

She then returned to the spotlight to focus on TV acting with series including Comedy Central's "Broad City," and completed voice work on shows like Netflix's "Bojack Horseman," and Disney Channel's "Big Hero 6: The Series" as well as the "Welcome to Night Vale" podcast.

Wilson also wrote a book in 2016 about her experience as a child actor titled, "Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame."

Her latest role was in the YouTube web series "Helluva Boss."

Danny DeVito portrayed Matilda's scamming father, Harry.

Danny DeVito as Harry Wormwood in a yellow suit, green shirt, a yellow tie, and a yellow fedora
Danny DeVito as Harry Wormwood.Sony Pictures

DeVito played Harry Wormwood, Matilda's father and a used-car dealer using some shady methods to make sales.

DeVito starred in dozens of movies and TV shows before appearing in and directing "Matilda," including "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975), ABC's "Taxi," "Romancing the Stone" (1984), "Twins" (1988), "Renaissance Man" (1994), and "Get Shorty" (1995).

He also directed several projects, including a few episodes of "Taxi," "Throw Momma from the Train" (1987) "The War of the Roses" (1989), and "Hoffa" (1992).

DeVito has starred in a number of roles since.

Actor Danny DeVito poses at the Canadian premiere of "Dumbo" on Monday, March 18, 2019, in Toronto. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)
Danny DeVito at the Canadian premiere of "Dumbo" in 2019.Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

After "Matilda," DeVito lent his familiar voice to the animated Disney movie "Hercules" (1997), and starred in "Man on the Moon" (1999), "Be Cool" (2005), "The Lorax" (2012), "The Comedian" (2016), and "The Survivor" (2021).

He has also starred in the popular FX comedy "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" since 2006.

DeVito's work as a director includes "Death to Smoochy" (2002) "Duplex" (2003) and several short films such as "Skin Deep" (2011) and "Curmudgeons" (2016).

He is set to appear in "Haunted Mansion" (2023) alongside Rosario Dawson and Owen Wilson.

Rhea Perlman played Matilda's mother, Zinnia.

Rhea Perlman as Zinnia wearing a green dress with a fluffy black collar and with blonde, curly hair draping down her left shoulder
Rhea Perlman as Zinnia Wormwood.Sony Pictures

Perlman plays Matilda's mother, Zinnia Wormwood. She often acts as an accomplice to Harry's scams and, just like her husband, neglects to care for Matilda.

Perlman held roles on several TV shows and movies before appearing in ABC's "Taxi" with DeVito.

She also appeared in NBC's "St. Elsewhere" and ABC's "Matlock" in between starring in the long-running NBC comedy, "Cheers," alongside Ted Danson.

Perlman went on to have a starring role in a CBS show.

Rhea Perlman wearing a multicolored dress with yellow, red, purple, and blue with a black cardigan in front of a blue background
Rhea Perlman at a showing of "Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen" in 2019.Bravo/Getty Images

After shooting "Matilda," Perlman went on to play the titular role on CBS's "Pearl."

She appeared in several made-for-TV movies and series since, including guest spots and recurring roles on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," HBO's "Hung," Nickelodeon's "Robot and Monster," and Fox's "The Mindy Project."

One of her latest roles includes the Disney+ series "Star Wars: The Bad Batch," and according to IMDb, she is set to appear in"13: The Musical" next.

Embeth Davidtz played caring teacher Miss Honey.

Embeth Davidtz as Miss Honey with pearl drop earrings and a pink dress in a classroom
Embeth Davidtz as Miss Jennifer Honey.Sony Pictures

Davidtz held the role of Miss Jennifer Honey, the good-natured teacher Matilda confides in throughout the movie.

Prior to "Matilda," Davidtz appeared in films including "Army of Darkness" (1993), "Schindler's List" (1994), and "Feast of July" (1995)

Davidtz has since appeared in several TV shows and other projects.

Embeth Davidtz in a pink, sparkly V-neck gown with short hair in front of a white backdrop with black and red "Cinematheque.com" text
Embeth Davidtz at the 31st Annual American Cinematheque Awards Gala in 2017.Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

After "Matilda," Davidtz mostly stuck to starring in TV series, including HBO's "In Treatment," Showtime's "Californication" and AMC's "Mad Men."

Later, Davidtz appeared on Showtime's "Ray Donovan" and Apple TV+'s "The Morning Show" and in the film "Old" (2021).

She is set to appear on AMC's "Tales of the Walking Dead" later this year.

Pam Ferris played stern headmistress Miss Trunchbull.

Pam Ferris as Miss Trunchbull wearing a green uniform with a black tie and hair pulled back severely
Pam Ferris as Miss Agatha Trunchbull.Sony Pictures

Ferris portrays Agatha Trunchbull, a headmistress known for instilling fear into the students and taking her anger out on Matilda.

Ferris guest-starred in several British series and had recurring roles in ITV's "Connie," and ITV's "The Darling Buds of May" before joining the cast of "Matilda."

Ferris landed several other roles in TV soon after "Matilda."

Pam Ferris in a loose blue and orange shirt in front of a white backdrop
Pam Ferris attends the "Ethel & Ernest" screening during the 60th BFI London Film Festival in 2016.Mike Marsland/Getty Images

Soon after, she starred in British channel ITV's "Where the Heart Is" and appeared in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004) and "Children of Men" (2006).

Ferris starred in the BBC drama "Call the Midwife" and appeared alongside Will Ferrell in "Holmes & Watson" (2018).

One of her latest roles was a guest spot on Sky Arts' "Urban Myths."

Brian Levinson played Michael, Matilda's cruel older brother.

Brian Levinson as Michael in a kitchen wearing a tan baseball cap and an orange tie-dye shirt and holding a spoon with a carrot on it
Brian Levinson as Michael Wormwood.Sony Pictures

Levinson held the role of Matilda's older brother, Brian, who doesn't seem to take issue with his parents' immoral ways.

Levinson appeared in ABC's "Roseanne," NBC's "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and Fox's "Hardball" before he joined the cast of "Matilda."

Levinson hasn't racked up many acting credits since "Matilda."

Selfie of Brian Levinson wearing a fedora in a swimming pool
Brian Levinson has kept a low profile since his days as an actor.brian_levinson/Instagram

Levinson's only acting credit after the movie is an episode of NBC's "Seinfeld."

Levinson has maintained a low profile since acting, though he did attend the cast's reunion dinner in 2013.

Kiami Davael played Lavender, Matilda's best friend.

Kiami Davael as Lavender wearing glasses and a purple floral dress at a school assembly
Kiami Davael as Lavender.Sony Pictures

Davael portrayed Lavender, a fellow classmate and friend of Matilda's.

The movie was Davael's first role.

Davael took a break from acting but is set to return to the industry.

Kiami Davael wears a red dress and a high ponytail
Kiami Davael worked on stage plays and attended college after "Matilda."@officialkiamidavael/Instagram

Afterward, Davael appeared in UPN's "Moesha," NBC's "In The House" and The WB's "The Steve Harvey Show."

After appearing in "Bruno" (2000), Davael took a break from movies and TV but still worked on local stage plays and solo creative projects, according to The Sun.

According to IMDb, Davael is set to star in the drama "Whealthy and Wise" later this year.

Paul Reubens played one of the FBI agents.

Paul Reubens as an FBI agent wearing a white shirt and suspenders and holding a coffee mug sitting on a couch and looking behind him
Paul Reubens as an FBI agent.Sony Pictures

Reubens played one of the FBI agents investigating the Wormwood residents due to Harry's shady dealings.

Before "Matilda," he starred in "Midnight Madness" (1980) and "Cheech and Chong's Next Movie" (1980) and later developed the Pee-wee Herman character. He went on to play Pee-wee Herman for decades, appearing in TV series and movies based on the character.

The actor also appeared in "Batman Returns" (1992) and "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993) before "Matilda."

Reubens has appeared in several projects throughout the years and is most known for playing absurd characters.

Paul Reubens in a dark-blue suit with a light blue shirt in front of white wall covered in handwritten messages
Paul Reubens at the AOL Build Speaker Series in 2016.Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Reubens has spent most of his career holding guest roles on various series including NBC's "30 Rock," ABC's "Pushing Daisies" and Disney XD's "Tron: Uprising."

He also held a recurring role on NBC's "The Blacklist," Fox's "Gotham" and FX's "What We Do in the Shadows."

His latest acting role was on ABC's "The Conners" in 2019.

Jimmy Karz played Bruce, the child who ate a whole chocolate cake.

Jimmy Karz as Bruce wearing a green and white striped shirt holding a large piece of chocolate cake
Jimmy Karz as Bruce Bogtrotter.Sony Pictures

Jimmy Karz portrayed Bruce, the child forced to eat a whole chocolate cake in the infamous "Matilda" scene.

Bruce was Karz's first role.

Karz has largely stayed out of the spotlight in recent years.

Jimmy Karz wearing a white shirt in a garden and looking up to his left
Jimmy Karz in "Afternoon Tea, a Matilda Reunion."Sony Pictures

Karz later appeared in "The Wedding Singer" (1998) and an episode of NBC's "ER" before leaving the spotlight.

He has since gone on to study osteopathic medicine.

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