Frederick Alan "Rick" Moranis (born April 18, 1953) was born to a Jewish family in Toronto, Ontario. As a boy, he spent his summers at Camp New Moon, located in Baysville, Ontario, north of his native Toronto. During his last summer as a camper, Moranis achieved his Master Canoeist's award, qualifying him to teach canoeing.
In the 1970s, he worked (using the stage name Rick Allen) as a disc jockey at various radio stations in Toronto, including CFTR, CKFH, and CHUM-FM. Together with Ken Finkleman, he tried his hand at stand-up and did some comedy for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He followed that with his work at SCTV, enjoying particular success portraying "Bob" of Bob and Doug McKenzie. Doug was played by Canadian actor Dave Thomas. His other memorable SCTV characterizations include motor-mouthed film producer Larry Siegel, terminally-ill rock star Clay Collins, smooth-voiced video deejay Gerry Todd, cool Leutonian pop star Linsk Minyk, kid-brother amateur comic Skip Bittman, head cheese butcher Carl Scutz, and morning homily intellect Rabbi Karlov.
After SCTV and its NBC continuation, SCTV Network 90, Rick ended up in a bunch of movies throughout the '80s and for over half of the '90s. During his career, he got married to an artist named Ann, and they had two kids, Ariel and Josh. In late 1990, Ann was diagnosed with liver cancer, prompting Rick to decline the offer of doing City Slickers in order to nurse her back to health. Sadly, she died 5 months later.
By 1997, he had become sick of the lackluster roles he was then taking, which were making him, in his own words, "a marketable entity," and was struggling with the impossible task of being a full-time actor and full-time single father, convincing him to semi-retire from acting. Since then, he's contributed the occasional witty article for the New York Times and voice-over for animated films.
In 2005, Rick also released a comedy album entitled The Agoraphobic Cowboy, which draws influence from country music. To his and everyone else's surprise, it was nominated for a Grammy Award. 8 years later in 2013, Rick made a comeback with My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs, an album based around his Jewish heritage. Special orders of the CD came with a purple yarmulke, similar to what Rick wore on the album cover.
In 2020, it was announced that Rick is coming out of retirement after 24 years and 14 years after his last film (Brother Bear 2) for a reboot of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. In September 2020, he appeared in a commercial for American mobile virtual network operator Mint Mobile alongside fellow Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds (who owns that company).
Some information can be found here.
Films and shows (pre-hiatus):
- SCTV (1976)note
- Strange Brew (1983)note - Bob McKenzie
- Streets of Fire: A Rock and Roll Fable (1984)note - Billy Fish
- Ghostbusters (1984)note - Louis Tully
- Head Office (1985) - Howard Gross
- Head Office (1986)note - Howard Gross
- Club Paradise (1986) - Barry Nye
- Little Shop of Horrors (1986)note - Seymour Krelborn
- Spaceballs (1987) - Lord Dark Helmet
- Ghostbusters II (1989) - Louis Tully
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)note - Wayne Szalinski
- Parenthood (1989) - Nathan Huffner
- My Blue Heaven (1990) - Barney Coopersmith
- Gravedale High (1990)note
- Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992) - Wayne Szalinski
- Splitting Heirs (1993) - Henry Bullock
- The Flintstones (1994) - Barney Rubble
- Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (1994)note - Wayne Szalinski
- Little Giants (1994) - Danny O'Shea
- Big Bully (1995) - David Leary
- Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (1997)note - Wayne Szalinski
Films and shows (post-hiatus):
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer And The Island Of Misfit Toys (2001) - The Toy Taker / Mr. Cuddles (voice)
- Brother Bear (2003) - Rutt (voice)
- Brother Bear 2 (2006) - Rutt (voice)
- The Goldbergs (2018)note
- The Great White North (1982; alongside Dave Thomas)
- You, Me, The Music and Me (1989)
- The Agoraphobic Cowboy (2005)
- My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs (2013)
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Partially due to James Rolfe, Rick is believed to have said, "It just makes no sense to me", in regards to there being a Ghostbusters remake. While Rick did say those words, the statement was taken out of context. What he meant was that doing a cameo didn't make sense, because it would have been nothing more than an in-joke, and thus, pointless.
- Creator Backlash: He hated filming Streets of Fire, as director Walter Hill forbade him from improvising, and hated the final product even more as a result.
- Reclusive Artist: He famously disappeared from acting in the late '90s to become a full-time single father, refusing most any role offered to him, including vocally reprising Louis in Ghostbusters: The Video Game. As mentioned above, he's only willing to spend time away from his family if the role is good enough, as most of the movies he made in the '90s only used him for his recognition and not for the talents; he was getting fewer and fewer opportunities to show off.
- Star-Making Role: Made it big on SCTV with characters such as Bob McKenzie and Gerry Todd. And as for the big screen, it's his role as Louis in Ghostbusters.
- Those Two Actors: Moranis frequently appeared in multiple projects with the same small group of collaborators.
- He and his fellow McKenzie brother, Dave Thomas, shared the screen not only in SCTV and Strange Brew, but also Brother Bear and its DTV sequel. These latter films are among the very few projects he's worked on since retiring.
- He also appeared with another SCTV co-star, John Candy, in Spaceballs, Little Shop of Horrors, and Brewster's Millions (1985).
- He and Steve Martin worked on four films together: Little Shop of Horrors, Parenthood, My Blue Heaven, and L.A. Story. Their partnership was so successful that Moranis has (jokingly) said he would come out of retirement if Martin ever wanted to make another movie with him.
- Typecasting: His characters range between nerds, sleazes, weasels, geeks, and goofs. Keep in mind that the roles are more versatile than you think (in Streets of Fire, for example, he got to play a nerdy Jerk with a Heart of Gold badass).
- Vocal Dissonance: His natural voice is deep and sonorous (think of Lord Helmet but less goofy), which is not surprising considering he got his start as a radio DJ. But it can be surprising hearing it coming out of someone who looks like, well, Rick Moranis. Moranis is aware of this and many of his most famous roles have him affecting a higher, more nasal, "bumbling" character voice.