It has been thirty-five years since film audiences were given “20 Seconds to Fulfill”. RoboCop, Paul Verhoeven’s dystopian sci-fi impaling of the American corporation. A Trojan horse for Reagan-era social satire and a takedown of the trickle-down economy, the hyper-violent futuristic action film proved to be a surprise breakout hit, grossing over $53 million at the box office and spawning a franchise, which has spanned two sequels, several TV series and a 2014 reboot.
The film assembled a cast of rising stars and veteran character actors to tell the story RoboCopa.k.a. Detroit Police Officer Alex Murphy, killed in the line of duty and then reanimated as an armored cyborg with no apparent memories of his past, sworn to serve the department and also – unknown to him or the citizens he serves – programmed to Absolute Loyalty to his bosses.
To celebrate the anniversary of the often brutal masterpiece, here’s a look at what the cast have been up to over the past several decades.
Peter WellerAlex Murphy/RoboCop
Weller began his acting career in the late 1970s, but until RoboCop he was best known for his performance as the title character in the whimsical cult favorite The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai in the 8th Dimension. Weller would reprise the role of RoboCop in the first sequel, appearing in art-house fare such as Mighty Aphrodite and Naked lunch. But he spent a good chunk of his post-RoboCop career pursuing his passion for art.
In 2004, Weller received his Masters in Roman and Renaissance Art from Syracuse University. During his studies he taught courses in ancient history. Weller received his PhD in Italian Renaissance Art History in 2014.
Weller became a television director. His credits include Sons of Anarchy, Magnum PI, and Mayan’s MC.
Nancy Allen Anne Lewis
Allen was already known for her collaborations with her former husband Brian DePalma, including Carrie dressed to killand blow out before appearing in RoboCop. Allen would play Officer Lewis in both RoboCop‘s sequels and continued to play for the next two decades until tragedy altered her career path.
In 2005, Allen’s girlfriend, comedian Wendie Jo Sperber – with whom she co-starred in the Robert Zemeckis film I want to hold your hand – died of breast cancer. Three years later, Allen made the decision to leave acting and dedicate himself to caring for cancer patients and their families. In 2010 she was appointed Executive Director of the weSPARK Cancer Support Center, an organization founded by Sperber before her death. In a 2011 interview with Media Mikes’ Mike Smith, Allen stated, “That’s what my life is dedicated to. I’m here, I’m running it. I created the entire program format and I’m raising funds. It’s my life’s work.”
Ronny CoxDick Jones
Character actor Ronny Cox is arguably the most famous actor to join the cast RoboCop. Cox was already known for his role as Drew Ballinger in the 1970s liberation and had struck gold with ’80s audiences for playing Beverly Hills Police Lieutenant Andrew Bogomil Beverly Hills Copa role he would reprise in the sequel, which came out the same year as RoboCop.
Cox has remained a successful and sought-after actor over the years. He went on to portray another classic sci-fi villain in Total recall He has made at least one film or television appearance almost every year since then. Cox last appeared in last year’s Be the Ricardos but devotes most of his time to making and performing music. He told The Wichita Eagle in 2012 that he turns down “90 percent” of the roles he’s offered each year to tour with his band.
Kurtwood Smith Clarence Boddicker
Smith’s portrayal of the psychopathic Clarence made him a crowd pleaser and launched his film career as a dependable heavy, a guy he played often over the next decade RoboCop‘s publication. After his tenure, however, Smith’s range of parts expanded significantly That 70’s show where he demonstrated his impressive comedy skills week after week as Red Forman, the father of series protagonist Eric.
Smith continues to be cast in a variety of film and television roles and is also a sought-after voice actor, appearing in several DC Comics properties as well as Adult Swim titles such as robot chicken and Rick and Morty. He will reprise his role as Red in the spin-off project later this year That ’90s showstreaming on Netflix.
Miguel FerrerBob Morton
As the ruthless Bob Morton, Ferrer embodied all the sociopathy of unbridled greed that characterized the ’80s at its worst – perhaps even better than Gordon Gekko in it Wall Street published in the same year. Though Ferrer and both of Ferrer’s parents — Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney — had successful showbiz careers, Ferrer almost accidentally seemed to stumble into acting after pursuing careers as a drummer and comic book writer before being cast by friends in small roles. He had come under the radar flash point alongside Kurtwood Smith previously RoboCop established his film career.
Ferrer also gained cult favorites for his role as the irascible FBI agent Albert Rosenfield in David Lynch’s film twin peaks. He then made regular appearances in film and television, including regular roles as Dr. Garret Macy cross Jordan and NCIS Assistant Director Owen Granger NCIS: Los Angeles. Ferrer also performed as a voice actor and played multiple roles in various DC and Marvel animated shows and films. He also played Vice President Rodriguez in Iron Man 3 in the MCU.
Tragically, Ferrer died of throat cancer in 2017 at the age of 61.