Other than Homer Simpson, did anyone see the 1982 movie 'Tron'?
The Disney film that also spawned a popular arcade game was a revolutionary new adventure in digital effects, telling a tale of rebellion set within the computer world. Jeff Bridges starred as the awe-struck human sucked into a fantastic digital landscape filled with Light Cycles and identity discs.
The film became a cult hit, inspiring a passionate and devoted fanbase that kept it alive for over two decades. With the release of this Friday's sequel, 'TRON: Legacy,' a whole new generation of fans will be exposed to the continuously-innovating technological adventure.
For all those viewers that discovered the original hit on VHS over the years and want to know what happened between then and now, here is our update on the whereabouts of the cast and crew of 'Tron.'
Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn/Clu)
Then: Son of Hollywood star Lloyd Bridges, Jeff was already a big deal when 'Tron' came along. In 1971, he was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor category for his performance in 'The Last Picture Show,' then again in 1974 for 'Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.' He also starred in 1976's big budget remake of 'King Kong.' In 'Tron,' he plays Kevin Flynn, the genius video game designer whose ideas are stolen by Ed Dillinger (David Warner). While trying to gather evidence against Dillinger, the Master Control Program uses an experimental laser to digitize Flynn and sends him inside the computer system, beginning his adventure inside "the Grid" (where he is also trapped in the sequel).
Now: After 'Tron,' Bridges' success continued to grow and grow. He appeared in hit films such as 'Against All Odds,' 'Starman,' 'The Fabulous Baker Boys,' 'The Fisher King,' 'Arlington Road,' 'Seabiscuit' and 'Iron Man.' He finally won the Oscar for Best Actor last year with this performance as a faded country-music star in 'Crazy Heart.' He's an avid published photographer, co-founded the End Hunger Network in addition to other humanitarian efforts, studied Buddhism and is a practitioner of Zen meditation. He returns as Flynn in 'TRON: Legacy,' opening this Friday, and then next week he'll appear in the critically acclaimed 'True Grit' -- meaning you can get a double dose of Bridges this Christmas, if you're nice. Oh, yeah, and he's also the Dude.
Bruce Boxleitner (Alan Bradley/Tron)
Then: Boxleitner first got attention as the star of TV's 'How the West Was Won, a spin-off of the classic film epic. But then came 'Tron,' where he starred as the titular sentient security program and a video game warrior who rebels against the MCP. Tron teams up with the digitized Flynn to save the ENCOM system. This occurs even though Flynn, in real life, does not get along with Tron look-alike Alan Bradley, as Bradley is now dating the love of Flynn's life, Lora (Cindy Morgan).
Now: If there's a TV show, Boxleitner's probably been on it: 'Mary Tyler Moore,' 'Tales from the Crypt,' 'Outer Limits,' 'Touched By An Angel' -- the list goes on, all the way up to a November guest spot on 'NCIS.' If that wasn't enough, '80s fans remember him as Lee Stetson on the hit romantic-spy caper 'The Scarecrow and Mrs. King' (he was Scarecrow, in case you were confused). 'Tron' isn't Boxleitner's only sci-fi cred, as he also starred as John Sheridan, commander of the space station in 'Babylon 5.' He has also written two sci-fi-western mash-up novels, and is a member of the Board of Governors for the National Space Society, a nonprofit organization advocating space education. He has stayed close to 'Tron,' voicing the character in the sequel video games, and to top it off, he'll bring the Alan Bradley character back with the release of 'TRON: Legacy.'
Cindy Morgan (Lora/Yori)
Then: Morgan started out as a radio DJ in the Chicago area. After a pit stop into commercials -- she was the first Irish Spring girl -- she moved on to movies. For a generation of young men, she will always be remembered as the devilish rich girl Lacey Underall from the 1980 classic 'Caddyshack.' Then she appeared in 'Tron' as Lora, Flynn's ex-girlfriend. Her computer counterpart Yori is Tron's lover, but it's Flynn who gets to introduce her to the idea of "kissing."
Now: After becoming the object of affection to a generation of slobs and nerds, Morgan continued to act in movies. She also re-teamed with Bruce Boxleitner on the short-lived adventure show 'Bring 'Em Back Alive.' Morgan is also a fan-friendly performer, having done voicework for the 'Tron 2.0' computer game and organized the Caddyshack Reunion Golf Tournament in 2006, which raised money for the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.
(Read our interview with Morgan from this summer.)
David Warner (Ed Dillinger/Sark/Voice of Master Control Program)
Then: Warner got his start as a Shakespeare-trained actor in his native England, performing all over the country, including the role of Hamlet. He moved to film, taking on a series of memorable roles, such as the part of Ken Jennings, the photojournalist who literally loses his head in 'The Omen,' and the disturbed Henry Niles in the controversial 'Straw Dogs.' 'Tron' fans know him as the villainous Dillinger, the corporate raider who develops the Master Control Program, a bit of code that becomes sentient and begins ruling over all other computer programs. Within the system, Warner's avatar is Sark, a snide henchman to the MCP.
Now: Warner had a memorable performance as Jack the Ripper in 'Time After Time' -- a performance that was so well-regarded, it almost earned him the part of Freddy Krueger (a scheduling conflict got in the way). He continued to appear in horror movies and take on villainous roles, before developing a second career as an in-demand voice actor for cartoons such as 'Batman,' 'Spider-Man,' 'Freakazoid' and a series of computer games. In recent years, he has returned to his Shakespeare roots with a series of performances in Great Britain.
Barnard Hughes (Dr. Walter Gibbs/Dumont)
Then: In 1978, Hughes won the Tony Award for Best Actor for his performance in the show 'Da' -- a role he reprised for the big screen in 1988. In addition to the Tony, he won an Emmy that year for his guest appearance on 'Lou Grant.' Additionally, he appeared on soap operas and in movies like 'Oh God!' and 'Midnight Cowboy,' before taking on the part of Walter Gibbs, the co-founder of the ENCOM Computer Corporation. When Gibbs is pushed out of control by the dastardly Dillinger, he re-appears within the system as his computer avatar Dumont.
Now: A legendary stage actor, Hughes appeared in over 400 theatrical productions. He continued to act in theater, television and film -- with a memorable turn as "Grandpa" in the 'The Lost Boys.' In 2006, Hughes passed away at the age of 90; he is survived by his wife of 50 years and two children, who continue his work in the world of theater.
Dan Shor (Ram)
Then: A New York actor, Shor acquired the lead role in the first national company tour of 'Equus.' He continued to study acting in London, and made appearances on PBS and ABC. As the laid-back Ram, he breaks out of the Game Grid with Tron and Flynn before he is struck down by a game tank chasing after the trio.
Now: You might also remember Shor as Billy the Kid in 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.' In addition to a recurring part on 'Cagney and Lacey' and multiple appearances in the 'Star Trek' franchise, Shor continues to work extensively in the realm of theater. He wrote and directed the play 'He Who Gets Slapped,' racked up over thirty Dramalogue, Ovation and L.A. Weekly awards, served as a director in residence at the Diversified Theater Company and taught acting at the International Academy of Film & Television in the Philippines. After traveling through Asia, the digital world, ancient history, and outer space, Shor is currently producing theater in New York City.
Peter Jurasik (Crom)
Then: Jurasik started his acting career doing off-Broadway stage work in New York. He moved to Los Angeles and began appearing in television shows such as 'M*A*S*H' and 'Barney Miller.' 'Tron' fans remember him as Crom, the opponent Flynn is forced to play in a deadly round of the Ring Game.
Now: After 'Tron,' Jurasik continued working in television, including a series of memorable performances as Sid the Snitch on 'Hill Street Blues.' Perhaps his most famous role is Londo Mollari, on the '90s cult sci-fi show 'Babylon 5' -- where he worked next to Bruce Boxleitner. Jurasik has continued to keep his sci-fi bread buttered with appearances on shows like 'Sliders' and 'Doctor Who,' and penning 'Diplomatic Act,' a 1998 novel about an actor who is abducted by aliens that think he is his TV show character (it predates the very similar sounding 'Galaxy Quest' by a year).
Steve Lisberger (writer/director)
Then: Lisberger studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston before establishing Lisberger Animation Studios in the mid-1970s. His cartoon work was featured in the 'Fantastic Animation Festival' and his kid's program 'Animalympics' appeared on NBC. He developed the idea for 'Tron' after discovering Pong and attempting to create a project that utilized video-game visuals. 'Tron' was originally conceived as an animated film before moving the idea to Disney, where the film became a pioneer in digital computer effects.
Now: Lisberger continued working -- including giving Ben Stiller his first speaking line, in 'Hot Pursuit' -- while the cult of 'Tron' grew through video games and comic books. He serves as a producer on 'TRON: Legacy' and will even make an appearance in the movie, as the character Shaddix.
Wendy Carlos (Soundtrack)
Then: Wendy Carlos was born Walter Carlos, and first gained attention in the late 1960s for his pioneering work in electronic music. Carlos was one of the most noted users of the Moog synthesizer, using it to record the landmark album 'Switched-On Bach,' which became one of the first classical albums to go both Gold and Platinum in sales. His sound caught the attention of legendary director Stanley Kubrick, who commissioned Carlos to compose music for his films 'A Clockwork Orange' and 'The Shining.' In between those films, Carlos gained a level of notoriety when he underwent sexual reassignment surgery, and subsequently rechristened herself Wendy Carlos. For the 'Tron' soundtrack, Carlos expanded her sound with orchestral accompaniment and the Royal Albert Hall Grand Organ.
Now: Carlos remains a prolific composer of electronic music. Starting in 1998, her entire catalog was re-mastered and re-released, including songs and film compositions that had never been heard before. If that wasn't enough, she's a noted photographer of solar eclipses, and has had her work used by NASA.
Tim Burton (Uncredited Animator)
Then: Burton graduated from CalArts in 1979, after studying character animation, and was immediately hired by Walt Disney's Animation studio. During his time there, he worked as a concept artist on 'The Fox and the Hound' and 'Tron,' doing uncredited work. His only credited work was on 1985's 'The Black Cauldron,' after which he left the studio, citing disagreements between his personal style and Disney's.
Now: You know what happened to him; he became the macabre, goth visionary that launched a thousand Hot Topics. If he had had more say over the artistic direction of the 'Tron' franchise, the MCP would have been stop-motion animation, the electronic score would have been replaced by Danny Elfman's oddball orchestrations and there would have been dead trees inside the computer system. Also, Johnny Depp would have been in there somewhere.