Comedian Rick Moranis became a household name in the '80s. But his career took a backseat after his wife, Anne Moranis, fell ill and died. He became a single dad and struggled to balance his work and personal life.
Actor Rick Moranis has been dubbed a "comedic genius" after bringing his on-screen characters to life dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.
Rick's memorable roles include playing an accountant in "Ghostbusters," a caveman in "The Flintstones," and a mad inventor in "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids."
Actor Rick Moranis attending the premiere of "The Nutcracker" at the Ziegfeld Theater on November 21, 1993 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
His comedic talent first sparked before he made it big in Hollywood. It all began when he was a salesman at hockey games.
Rick sold programs to hockey fans, but because it was a slow-moving business, he used his wit to capture the crowds' attention. According to Goal Cast.com, he would yell:
"Souvenir hot dogs! Get your ice-cold programs!"
Comedian Rick Moranis pictured with his son Mitchell at the Superskate 2001 charity hockey event at Madison Square Garden on January 7, 2001 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Apart from the antics, Rick also developed a skill as a teenager. He wanted to be a rockstar one day, and he began practicing by playing guitar and composing his own songs. That talent served him well later in his career as he became a musician.
In high school, Rick worked as a DJ under the moniker "Rick Allen" for several radio stations in Toronto. His big break came in 1977 when he used his humor on CBC's "90 Minutes Live," a series of sketches he wrote.
Three years later, a pal of his, Dave Thomas, persuaded him to audition for an upcoming TV show, and he agreed. Rick soon received recognition for his unique sense of humor and later joined the cast of "Second City Television (SCTV), where his popularity gained momentum.
RICK'S RISE TO SUPERSTARDOM
(L-R) Phil Hartman as Chet Masters, Mike Myers as Indian Boy, Rick Moranis as Jimmy, Nora Dunn as Ms. Parsons during the "Wild Horse" skit in "Saturday Night Live" on October 7, 1989. | Source: Getty Images
Then came 1980 when SCTV moved to CBC. Rick and Thomas were chosen to create "identifiable Candian content" for the network. They collaborated and devised a sketch called "The Great White North," which features brothers Doug and Bob McKenzie.
The sketch became a success both in the US and Canada, and years later, a comedy album cut from the skit got nominated for a Grammy Award.
Rick Moranis as Bob McKenzie and his brother Doug, played by Dave Thomas, appearing at Flip Side Records on January 14, 1982 in Chicago, Illinois | Source: Getty Images
By 1983, Rick and Thomas were asked to reprise their goofy roles in their own film, "Strange Brew," which became a box-office hit, raking in double its initial budget.
Rick's fame began to rise steadily, and in 1984, he starred as Louis Tully in the movie "Ghostbusters" for which he also helped write the screenplay. The film became a multi-million-dollar success and earned Rick his golden status as a comedy legend in Hollywood.
Rick Moranis attending the 4th Annual SuperSkate 2002 Charity Hockey Event at Madison Square Garden on January 19, 2002 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
He also starred in the movie sequel in 1989 that grossed $215 million at the box office. However, Rick refused to do a reboot of the franchise, telling The Hollywood Reporter in October 2015 that it was senseless to make a comeback for a cameo:
"I wish them well. I hope it's terrific. But it just makes no sense to me. Why would I do just one day of shooting on something I did 30 years ago?"
RICK'S FAST-RISING CAREER INTRODUCED HIM TO HIS WIFE
Rick Moranis posing at the opening night after party for "In & Of Itself" at The Ace Hotel on April 12, 2017 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Rick's Hollywood career started rapidly. He became a fan favorite and was sought-after by directors who wanted to work with him for their screenplays. The next few years saw him star in more notable films such as "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Spaceballs."
During that period, he met costume designer Anne who would later become his wife. The pair wed in 1986 and welcomed two kids, a daughter and a son named Rachel and Mitchell.
Rick Moranis with his children Rachel and Mitchell attending the premiere of "The Nutcracker" at the Ziegfeld Theater on November 21, 1993 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Rick met the love of his life during the peak of his career. She was later diagnosed with breast cancer. Anne's health deteriorated, and the disease spread to her liver.
Rick decided to drop the projects he worked on during a pinnacle period in his career to be home with his ailing wife. Anne sadly succumbed to cancer in 1991, leaving her dearest husband to care for their young children alone.
RICK STRUGGLED TO JUGGLE WORK WITH RAISING KIDS
Rick Moranis attending the premiere of "The Flintstones" at the Ziegfeld Theater on May 23, 1994 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
After her death, Rick tried to pick up where he left off in his career as a comedy actor, but he soon learned that it would not be that easy. Traveling nonstop while raising his brood became more challenging as keeping in touch with them while far away was not convenient.
He then remembered that he had a good childhood back in his hometown, Toronto. That was when he decided to recreate the same childhood memories he had for his kids. The writer chose to exit Hollywood in 1997 quietly.
Rick Moranis attending the Fourth Annual Comedy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on March 10, 1990 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
He later explained that he was initially taking a break from showbiz, but the hiatus turned into an 18 year break. The producer told USA Today in 2005 that he realized he was better off out of the spotlight:
"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."
Comedian and musician Rick Moranis spotted on on May 7, 1991 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Rick later revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that raising his children was important to him, and he has had no regrets about deciding to become a stay-at-home dad.
"I went from that to being at home with a couple of little kids, which is a different lifestyle. But it was important to me. I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever. My life is wonderful," he said.
RICK'S RARE TV APPEARANCES SINCE HIS HIATUS
Rick Moranis attending the opening night of 'In & Of Itself' at the Daryl Roth Theatre on April 12, 2017 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
After he decided to step away from the limelight by gradually declining movie and TV roles, it made people wonder whether he retired or not.
Rick eventually made an on-screen comeback when he made a rare appearance alongside actor Ryan Reynolds in a 40-second commercial. The 2020 clip, which promoted Reynolds' Mint Mobile company, went viral as fans were happy to see Rick after a long time. It garnered 1.5 million views just a few days after its release.
Rick also stunned fans when he made another rare appearance in a Disney Plus documentary series, "Disney Pop Culture." The doccie is dedicated to the 1989 hit film, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." The songwriter went down memory lane, sharing some of his memorable moments from the movie.
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