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It's been 20 years since "Free Willy" first surfaced in theaters, on July 16, 1993. The family film made a huge splash, earning $153.7 million at the box office, transforming newcomer Jason James Richter into a tween star, spawning three sequels and an animated series, and inspiring schoolchildren around the world to work to return Keiko, the orca who portrayed Willy, safely to the wild after years of captivity and illness.

Since the family film's release two decades ago, many of its stars have flourished, though for others, "Willy" marked their career peak. Read on to learn what became of the makers of this whale tale.



Free Willy: Escape from Pirates Cove - Trailer No. 1