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Characters / Beetlejuice

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Characters found in the live-action film Beetlejuice and the cartoon Beetlejuice.

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Film Characters

It's Showtime!
Played by: Michael Keaton

The Ghost with the Most. A shady figure who enjoys tormenting the living.

  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Betelgeuse's head spins freely, apparently not within his complete control.
  • Affably Evil: While hardly anybody's friend, Betelgeuse actually seems like a fun guy to be around (unless you're a woman). How miserable can someone really be if he occasionally dresses up as a cowboy, enjoys carnival games, and offers to make Barbara and Adam an Italian dinner?
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Betelgeuse's main goal is to marry Lydia, because marrying a living person will allow him to stay in the living world indefinitely.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Betelgeuse does the following in his second summoning: maims if not outright kills Maxie Dean and his wife, sexually harasses Lydia, and changes Otho's suit into one not his style.
  • Berserk Button:
    • He might not look it, but Betelgeuse takes great pride in his work as a bio-exorcist. When the Maitlands stop Betelgeuse from continuing to menace the Deetzes in his snake form, he gets pissed off at them for interrupting the work of a professional.
    • Also calling his name to summon him only to reject his services, thus getting his hopes up and wasting his time. That's the first time you really see him upset.
  • Bishōnen Line: Betelgeuse shapeshifts into a variety of forms throughout the film and appears in the model repeatedly, but for the final confrontation appears full-sized at last, now wearing the iconic black and white prison-stripe-style suit.
  • Dirty Old Man: Okay, so Keaton isn't old, but almost every perverted aspect of Betelgeuse's personality is based around this trope.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Lydia gives Betelgeuse the implication she wants to die by telling him "I want to get in," he responds with a confused "Why?", pointing out that no matter how bad things get, death is still worse. Then he tells her that if she lets him out, they can talk, and maybe he can help her if she helps him.
  • Eaten Alive: At the end of Beetlejuice, he gets eaten by the Sandworm used by Barbara.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Betelgeuse's fun side can actually be the enjoyment of his sadistic nature to torture and kill. It has been shown that he's perfectly willing to harm and even murder people with Dark Humor continuing on with the laughter and humorous effects afterwards.
  • Forceful Kiss: Immediately after introducing himself to Adam and Barbara, Betelgeuse grabs her and gives her this kind of kiss. As you can imagine, they're already regretting their decision to meet with him, especially since he acts like a pervert around her the rest of the time.
  • Iconic Outfit: Betelgeuse's black-and-white striped suit. Ironically, he's only wearing the outfit for about five minutes of screen time (during the climax) as he's typically in a long coat and ratty pajamas for most of the film like a ghastly Hugh Hefner. However, the look was so iconic and so heavily featured in the movie's advertising that it's basically the only thing he wears in the animated adaptation.
  • Lack of Empathy: Betelgeuse's biggest trait. He really doesn't give a shit about anyone but himself; the closest we ever see him get to showing empathy is when he talks to Lydia about her suicidal impulses.
  • Large Ham: He's lecherous, shouts at random, has no sense of personal space and cackles a lot.
  • Laughably Evil: Betelgeuse is a pervert and a con-man who tries forcing Lydia into marrying him so he'll have permanent access to the mortal world—but he's so funny that people forget what a terrible person he is.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Betelgeuse tries, at least.
  • Monster Clown: Betelgeuse invokes this a tiny bit.
  • Motor Mouth: Betelgeuse talks very quickly.
  • Mysterious Past: Aside from the fact that he was once Juno' assistant, we really don't know anything about Betelgeuse. He makes all sorts of grand claims, but these are clearly Blatant Lies.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: By sending Adam to the model city and Barbara to the desert where the sandworm is, it made it that much easier for the Maitlands to easily defeat Betelgeuse.
  • Nightmare Face: Betelgeuse makes one to demonstrate his talents to the Maitlands. "Can I be scary? Well, whaddya think of this?" The audience can't see it, but the Maitlands certainly seem terrified.
  • Noble Demon: Despite being a disgusting con man and pervert, Betelgeuse does have some otherwise redeeming moments:
    • When the Maitlands first enlist his services as a bio-exorcist, he goes right to work and actively tries to live up to his end of the bargain in getting rid of Otho and the Deetzes.
    • When Lydia is contemplating suicide, he actually shows genuine concern for her.
    • When Lydia agrees to release him in exchange for saving the Maitlands from being exorcised by Otho, he lives up to his end of the deal and saves them. He then immediately subverts this when he attempts to banish the Maitlands; however, his chosen methods are much more temporary than exorcism, and he only does it because they're attempting to stop the wedding - and to be fair, Lydia did agree to marry him as the price for his aid. He also treats Lydia very affectionately throughout the whole wedding scene, although whether this is genuine or a continuation of his con artistry is up for debate. In any case, the Maitlands return and promptly turn the tables on him.
  • Non-Indicative Name: If the lead character's name had been spelled the same as the title of the movie, it would have made sense. However, he has nothing to do with what he's actually named after: a star in the constellation Orion, notably a home of the Elder Gods in the Cthulhu Mythos and the location of Hell in the poem "Betelgeuse, a Trip Through Hell."
  • Saw Star Wars 27 Times: Betelgeuse has seen The Exorcist "about a hundred and sixty-seven times" (and it keeps getting funnier every time he sees it).
  • Scaled Up: Betelgeuse can turn into a giant snake.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: Betelgeuse to Lydia, after she gives him a Please, I Will Do Anything! so he'll save Adam and Barbara from being exorcised.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The title ghostly con artist is trapped in the afterlife. He can be temporarily brought back to the real world (and returned) by saying his name three times, but can only be truly free if he marries a human female.
  • Shrunken Head: At the end, Betelgeuse runs into a hunter who has a shrunken head, then starts chatting with the Witch Doctor next to him, asking if that's his work, while he steals the witch doctor's line number. He gets his head shrunk himself in retaliation.

The Maitlands


  • Bedsheet Ghost: While trying to scare the Deetz family. It didn't work: Charles thinks one of them was Lydia trying to play a prank, Delia is too doped out on "Prince Valium" to notice them, and Lydia thinks (at first) that it's Charles and Delia playing some kinky bedroom game. Lampshaded by Barbara.
  • Country Mouse: Adam and Barbara. Their idea of a vacation? Spend it in their country house and renovate.
  • Dead to Begin With: The Maitlands die a few minutes into the film. Most of the plot involves them dealing with the afterlife and with the people who are now inhabiting their house.
  • Idiot Ball: Adam and Barbara grab this at the climax when they both have enough time to get out Betelgeuse's name three times if they're quick about it, but fail. Barbara even waits for him to retaliate between sayings.
    • Especially bad since Barbara did this properly earlier in the film.
  • Monster Roommate: The Maitlands are this for the Deetzes, although they seem to feel it's the other way around.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Maitlands do this a few times.
    • The "Day-O" haunting attempt only serves to entertain the Deetzes and their guests, not frighten them.
    • The Maitlands release Betelgeuse, they let Otho steal the Handbook, and their lackluster haunting attempts have succeeded only in Charles thinking the town would make a neat tourist attraction. Juno calls them out on all of it.

    Adam Maitland
Played by: Alec Baldwin

A humble countryman who enjoys building miniature models.

  • Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: When Adam finds the advert for Betelgeuse, he actually says the name three times, but because he pronounces it "Bay-til Guy-ce", the incantation doesn't work.
  • Adorkable: He tinkers with a model of his hometown, has a picture of Bigfoot, believes that bedsheets can be scary and apparently has issues reading complex words, but is nonetheless a likeable character.
  • Body Horror: Having his head cut off, then stretching his nose out while shoving his hand into the back of his head and growing eyes on his fingers.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Adam and the spider. Instead of squashing it, he only comments on its size and lets it go free, showing him to be a nice guy.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": At first, Adam can't even pronounce Betelgeuse's name right. A bit of a Running Gag implies that Adam isn't horribly bright (or perhaps dyslexic), as he reads the word "deceased" as "diseased" before Barbara corrects him.

    Barbara Maitland
Played by: Geena Davis

A homemaker who was planning on starting a family before her death.

  • Action Girl: A downplayed example since she doesn't have too many action scenes, but the scenes where she deals with the sandworm definitely puts her here.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just as Betelgeuse is about to marry Lydia, Barbara comes in riding on a Sandworm that eventually eats Betelgeuse, stopping the wedding in the nick of time.
  • Body Horror: Ripping her face off, then stretching out her jaws and setting her eyes in her open mouth.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Barbara wangs the Sand Worm right on the nose, causing it to retreat... and then later befriends it!
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: It's possible that Barbara is infertile, especially when Jane says that their house should belong to a family; Barbara looks crushed. At the very least, they've had no luck conceiving. It's no wonder they become almost second parents to Lydia.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Barbara tames the sandworm — and since time passes differently on Saturn, she must have tamed it almost instantly.


The Deetzes

    Lydia Deetz
I myself am strange and unusual.
Played by: Winona Ryder

A goth girl who can see ghosts.

  • Camera Fiend: Lydia is an avid photographer.
  • Death Seeker: The existence of the Maitlands, combined with their supposed betrayal, just makes her more convinced suicide is the answer. The Maitlands manage to cure her of this with An Aesop that the afterlife is just as difficult and that death doesn't have any of the mystery people think it does.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: A Tim Burton staple.
  • Emotionless Girl: At least she tries to be; she actually feels things pretty intensely.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Lydia sees a big spider and notes, "I could live here." It's a hint that she'll get on well with the Maitlands.
  • Free the Frogs: Lydia gets a C in Biology because she refuses to dissect frogs. However, she clearly states that she did it because she thought it was gross, not for animal rights. She tries to get out of it by claiming that it's against her religion, but gets the C all the same.
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: Lydia considers suicide early in the film.
  • Goth: Lydia qualifies, though she becomes a Perky Goth at the end of the movie.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Lydia longs to be a ghost.
  • Missing Mom: She explicitly identifies Delia as her stepmother, but the film never reveals who or where her birth mother is.
  • Only Sane Man: As strange as she is, Lydia is basically this for the film.

    Delia Deetz
Played by: Catherine O'Hara

An eccentric contemporary artist and Lydia's stepmother.

  • Adapatational Nice Guy: Delia gets along much better with Lydia in the cartoon, even if they're very different.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Subverted. She at first refuses to believe Lydia about her claims about the house being haunted, but comes to believe it immediately after the dinner scene. Her agent Bernard, on the other hand, absolutely refuses to believe it happened, despite the fact that he was there when it happened.
  • Berserk Button: If you do not let Delia gut out her new house and make it her own, she will go insane AND SHE WILL TAKE YOU WITH HER!
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Delia is an obnoxious yuppie in the film, but in the cartoon she's this Up to Eleven. Whenever she's visited the Neitherworld, she's actually enjoyed it. Other living people laugh at Delia's strange art, but the ghosts of the Neitherworld love it.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: A lot of what Delia wears could be considered this. In one scene she has a glove on her head as part of a sort of headband. Meanwhile, the red sweater Charles wears in one scene makes a reappearance later as Delia's pants, held up with suspenders.
  • Informed Flaw: Everyone calls Delia's sculptures "garbage," but they're actually pretty good. She clearly has talent; what she lacks is conventional taste. The workers hired to help the Deetzes move into and renovate the house, as well as Delia's own agent, show no appreciation for her work.
    • Living humans laugh at Delia's art in the cartoon like they do in the film, but the ghosts of the Neitherworld love her bizarre creations.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Largely averted. She and Lydia clearly don't understand each other much at all, and Lydia resents that her father keeps referring to Delia as her mother, but they don't seem to dislike each other too much. Delia is actually fairly well-meaning in the way she interacts with Lydia, and seems genuinely frightened by the situation her stepdaughter is in during the climax.

    Charles Deetz
Played by: Jeffrey Jones

A city native that just wants to retreat to the country.

  • Bumbling Dad: He's not the most hands-on parent, but he's shown calling Lydia "pumpkin" and demonstrating genuine affection toward her.
  • Butt-Monkey: Betelgeuse makes a hobby out of tormenting him in the animated series.
  • Only Sane Man: Subverted; he seems to be this at first, because of his wife and daughter's wackier personalities. However, his obsession with money and turning the quiet town into a tourist attraction shows that he's at least as weird as either of them.


Other Characters

Played by: Glenn Shadix

Delia's friend. An interior designer and amateur occultist.

  • Ambiguously Gay: He's obsessed with fashion and interior design and overall behaves in a very effeminate manner. It helped that Shadix himself was gay, and that Otho makes a The Wizard of Oz reference.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Otho is portrayed as a pompous and hubristic thief at worst; he actually seems to be a pretty good friend to Delia and, to a lesser extent, Charles, and is always polite to Lydia. Even he's horrified at what his bumbling nearly does to the Maitlands.
  • Hidden Depths: He was able to see the Maitlands partially the moment he arrived in the house as well as sense Adam running past him when rush to close the attic door.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Betelgeuse inflicts Otho with this in the climax.
  • Ironic Hell: While it's an extremely light example, what little punishment Otho gets is catered directly to his critical attitude toward fashion.
  • Karma Houdini: Otho seemingly gets off with nothing more than a torn suit and a bad replacement.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Otho claims to be schooled in chemistry (among other things) while sharing many of Delia's off-beat fashion and artistic interests; but according to Lydia, he can't even change a tire. Otho's lack of know-how comes back to bite him in the ass when he snags the Recently Deceased handbook and summons the Maitlands without realizing he's actually exorcising them; this leads to Betelgeuse humiliating him with a Shameful Strip. He does get one thing right, though he doesn't know it: he jokes during his dinner with the Deetzes that people who commit suicides become civil servants in the afterlife.
  • Naked Freak-Out: He's not left naked or in his underwear, but Otho has this kind of reaction after Betelgeuse changes his outfit into a leisure suit.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Otho is all too happy to ditch the Deetzes when his séance gets out of control. He doesn't get far, though...
  • Shameful Strip: This happens to Otho when Betelgeuse goes on his climactic rampage. When Otho tries to make a run for it, Betelgeuse uses his powers to shoot Otho's black and red clothes off—but rather than leave Otho naked or in his underwear, Betelgeuse leaves the poor bastard dressed in a light blue leisure suit, which causes Otho to scream in horror before running away.

Played by: Sylvia Sidney

An undead caseworker and Betelgeuse's old boss.

  • Cool Old Lady: Juno is savvy and competent, and easily the most helpful person in the realm of the dead. Naturally, she has a huge waiting list.
  • Get Out!: Juno explodes at the football players when one of them asks where the men's room is.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Juno, in a Black Comedy sort of way; when she smokes, she exhales through a wound in her throat, which presumably has something to do with how she died.

Animated Series Characters

Voiced by: Stephen Ouimette

The Ghost With the Most again, although this incarnation is much more weird and gross rather than cruel and lecherous.

  • Adaptational Heroism: Big time. He may be as much as a scammer as before but here he has transitioned from the main antagonist to the main protagonist.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Subverted. His named is pronounced the same, but is spelled as it sounds and as written in the title.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: He's a much more benevolent (though still crooked) figure in the animated series than he was in the movie. Rather than wanting to actually cause physical harm to people, he's content with merely driving them crazy - he even has a license to do so.
  • Aloof Big Brother: He's something like this to his brother Donny, who loves him anyway.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Do not threaten, endanger, harm, or flirt with his Morality Chain.
    • Do not get him wet and clean, either. Poopsie nearly learned this the hard way.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: He's this to his own neighbors in the Neitherworld, and his human disguise of Betty Juice is this to Lydia's other friends in the living world.
  • Hidden Depths: He presents as a Dumb Blonde, but he really isn't. He's well versed in the works of his old friend Shakespeare, knows enough about auto mechanics to repair Doomie on his own, and is something of a chemistry whiz.
  • Iconic Outfit: He wore the black and white striped suit for all of about five minutes in the film. In the show, he's rarely seen wearing anything else.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is far more likable in this version than he was in the film. He's as much of a selfish scammer and probably even more obnoxious here. However, there's no doubt he cares about Lydia and shows more of a Hidden Heart of Gold here than his past self.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When Lydia is threatened, Beetlejuice reminds everyone why he's called the Ghost With The Most. He can even curbstomp sandworms with minimal effort when he's motivated to, whether by Lydia encouraging him or his father Gnat Juice being in danger.
  • Literal Genie: The main demonstration of his powers in this iteration. He can alter reality just by using the right (or wrong) phrase.
  • Literal-Minded: On occasion, such as when he thinks "babysitting" means "sitting on babies."
  • Pet the Dog: As much as he enjoys pranking them, Beetlejuice is genuinely fond of Lydia's parents and will do things to help them, as well as protect them from real danger.
  • The Pig Pen: Beetlejuice takes great pride in being a filthy pig. Cleanliness is almost like Kryptonite to him.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Beetles, of course. But he can't stomach killer beetles, since they bite back.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Or rather, sandworms. Beetlejuice is so terrified by sandworms that he's all but helpless against them. Occasionally subverted when he overcomes his fear, such as in saving his father Gnat Juice being eaten by a sandworm, or when Lydia's encouragement rallies him.

    Lydia Deetz 
Voiced by: Alyson Court

A living girl in her early teens who is Beetlejuice's best (and arguably only) friend.

  • Adaptational Heroism: While her film version was still a good person and was not really a jerk by any means, she's definitely less creepy and more friendlier in the cartoon than her past self. She also gets more opportunities to be a real hero in the show.
  • Camera Fiend: As was the case for her film counterpart, her main hobby is photography.
  • The Fashionista: In her own macabre way; it's shown in a few episodes that clothing design and manufacture is one of her hobbies.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Several episodes show her interacting with assorted wildlife, all of which seem to love her.
  • Kid with the Leash/Morality Chain: To Beetlejuice. Any time you see him doing something good, it's due to her influence in one way or another.
  • Nice Girl: She's friendly and sweet to everyone, and as a result, the large majority of the cast is dearly fond of her.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: In a downplayed, kid-friendly way.
  • Perky Goth: Like her movie counterpart, she enjoys dark, spooky, and bizarre things; however, this is offset by her being cheerful, friendly, and kindhearted.
  • The Rival: Claire sees her this way. Lydia would just as soon be left alone, but Claire has a gift for pushing her buttons.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In one episode, we find out she’s afraid of hospitals. She gets over it by the end, though.

Neitherworld Residents

    Jacques LaLean 

One of Beetlejuice's housemates. A French skeleton who is also a fitness enthusiast, and Beetlejuice's old high school classmate.

  • French Jerk: Inverted. Jacques is a perfect gentleman, particularly to Mademoiselle Lydia.
  • Gratuitous French: He has a French accent and occasionally says French words in his lines. Possibly justified if he was a Frenchman in life.
  • Irony: He's a bodybuilder who is somewhat obsessed with building muscles. He's also a skeleton.
  • Meaningful Name: In addition to being named after Jack LaLanne, "LaLean" refers to him, a skeleton, being lean.
  • Shout-Out: To fitness guru Jack LaLanne.


Betelgeuse's other neighbor and high school classmate is a tap-dancing spider.

    The Monster Across the Street 

Betelgeuse's neighbor, a big fluffy brown monster who wears a cowboy hat and speaks with a western dialect. He has a pink monster dog named Poopsie who hates Beetlejuice, and who BJ hates in turn.

  • Dreadful Musician: Beetlejuice thinks so, anyway - he really hates the Monster's country-style music.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: He's a monster who lives across the street from Beetlejuice. In the episode "It's a Wonderful Afterlife," he instead lives down the block, and his name is changed accordingly.
  • No Name Given: It would seem his given name is simply based on his proximity to his neighbors.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Poopsie can be this if he doesn't like you. Not that Beetlejuice doesn't deserve it.


Betelgeuse and Lydia's car and other best friend. While he has the personality of a lovable dog like figure, his "abnormal brain" causes him to occasionally turn into a literal speed demon.

  • Berserk Button: His "Hyde" side comes out whenever he sees a dog.
  • Cool Car: It's hard to get much cooler than a car which 'talks', drives itself, and flies.
  • Happily Adopted: In a way. Some episodes have Beetlejuice and Lydia treating him like he's their son rather than their car.
  • Hopeless Suitor: He falls into this in "Doomie's Romance," when he falls in love with an adorable but non-sentient pink convertible. By the end of the episode, his love for "Pinky" brings her to life.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: His two opposite sides.
  • Morality Chain: Not nearly to the extent that Lydia is, but he has shades of this with Beetlejuice.
  • Nice Guy: Most of the time. Even his "Hyde" side is still pretty lovable.
  • Sentient Vehicle: Thanks to an abnormal brain and some judicious application of lightning.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Normally Doomie is quite restrained. But in his "feral" form, he moves at a truly staggering speed, unmatched by any other vehicle.


Example of: