Where Are They Now? The Cast of Hocus Pocus

Updated on November 27, 2019
Rachel M Johnson profile image

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.


On July 16, Hocus Pocus celebrated its 25th anniversary. The cult classic film has since become a beloved staple around Halloween, and fans can’t get enough of the witchy Sanderson sisters. In honor of the film’s anniversary, let’s take a look at what the stars are up to now.


Bette Midler (Winifred "Winnie" Sanderson)

Then: Bette Midler played the buck-toothed ringleader of the Sanderson sisters, Winnie. She was domineering and demanding, and was the driving force behind the trio. Her role as Winnie has since become iconic, but Midler's long list of achievements doesn't stop there. Prior to appearing in the 1993 film, the highly successful singer, songwriter, actress and producer appeared in movies such as The Rose, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, and Beaches. Midler also had a lucrative music and stage career, having released Grammy winning albums like The Divine Miss M, Some People's Lives, and the mega-successful 1988 cover of "Wind Beneath My Wings."

NOW: Midler's impressive resume has only gotten bigger since the release of Hocus Pocus. She has sold an astounding 30 million records, won a Golden Globe and Emmy Award, and most recently won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her 2017 performance in Hello, Dolly! The talented artist has appeared in 1996's First Wives Club, 2004's The Stepford Wives, and 2008's The Women. Midler's most recent album, It's The Girls was released in 2014 and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200.

Fun Fact: Before Winnie sings "I Put a Spell on You," she tells the audience, "Hello, my name's Winifred. What's yours?" This is a reference to a famous line from Gypsy, which Midler starred in the TV version of.


Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah Sanderson)

Then: Sarah Jessica Parker portrayed the ditzy but beautiful Sarah Sanderson, who had the ability to entrance children with her siren-like singing. Prior to the film's release, she was an up-and-coming actress who appeared in films like Footloose (1984), Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (1985), and the critically acclaimed Honeymoon in Vegas (1992). Parker also had Broadway experience, starring The Innocents and Annie as a young girl and The Heidi Chronicles in 1989. The actress also had a highly-publicized relationship ship with fellow actor Robert Downy Jr. from 1984 to 1991.

Now: Since starring in the cult classic, Parker has kept very busy. In 1998, she was cast as the iconic Carrie Bradshaw in the beloved HBO hit series Sex and the City, for which she won two Emmy Awards. She also won an impressive four Golden Globes and three Screen Actors Guild Awards for her portrayal of the character. Parker reprised her role in two follow-up films. She has also appeared in movies such as The Family Stone, Failure to Launch, and Did You Hear About the Morgans? Since 2016, Parker has starred in the HBO drama Divorce.

Fun Fact: Throughout the film, Sarah's hair changes from curly to straight, just like Dorothy's hair did in The Wizard of Oz.


Kathy Najimy (Mary Sanderson)

Then: Prior to being cast as the dim-witted but devoted Mary Sanderson, who had a knack for smelling children, Kathy Najimy was just beginning her film career. She had minor roles in movies including The Hard Way, Soapdish, and Topsy and Bunker: The Cat Killers. Her most notable role was in 1992's Sister Act alongside Whoopi Goldberg, portraying another Sister Mary.

Now: Since starring as 1/3 the iconic trio, Najimy has found much success in Hollywood. From 1997 to 2010, she was the voice of Peggy Hill in King of the Hill and made appearances on the shows Ellen, Veronica's Closet, and Numbers. Najimy's film credits include Hope Floats, Rat Race, WALLE-E, and A Madea Family Christmas.

Fun Fact: Before appearing in Hocus Pocus, Najimy was a huge Bette Midler fan and even snuck backstage at two of her concerts in order to try and meet her. She even dressed up as a bunny for a singing telegram in her effort to!


Omri Katz (Maximilian "Max" Dennison)

Then: Omri Katz starred as Max Dennison, the virgin who lit the flame and brought the Sanderson sisters back to life. Prior to being cast in the role, Katz starred on Dallas from 1983 to 1991 as John Ross Ewing III. He also appeared as the lead in the short-lived NBC series Eerie, Indiana and alongside John Goodman in 1993's Matinee.

NOW: Since appearing in the beloved Halloween film, Katz took a step away from Hollywood. He returned to his Dallas roots in 1996 in the TV movie Dallas: J.R. Returns. Aside from a few small parts in shows like Freaks and Geeks, Journey Into the Night, and General Hospital, the actor has not acted. Katz reunited with his fellow cast members in 2013 in honor of the film's 20th anniversary. He now works as a hairdresser in Los Angeles.

Fun Fact: The role of Max was originally offered to Leonardo DiCaprio, but he turned it down in favor of starring in What's Eating Gilbert Grape.


Thora Birch (Danielle "Dani" Dennison)

Then: Thora Birch starred as Max's spoiled 8-year-old sister who worships Halloween and looks up to her big brother. The actress made her film debut in 1988 in Purple People Eater. She would also star in the drama Paradise, All I Want For Christmas, and as the daughter of Harrison Ford in the spy thriller Patriot Games.

Now: Since appearing in the film, Birch has gone on to have a lengthy film career. She played the younger version of Melanie Griffith's character in the coming-of-age film Now and Then (1995), and starred in the critically acclaimed American Beauty (1999). The movie went on to win a whopping five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In 2001, Birch appeared in the black comedy film Ghost World. It would go on to become a cult film and she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress.

The star also portrayed the titular character in 2003's Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story, for which she earned an Emmy award nomination. After taking a break from acting, Birch appeared in the TV show Colony and will appear in the upcoming film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.

Fun Fact: For the film's 20th anniversary panel, the actress had expressed, "honestly the most fun I've ever had on a film was Hocus Pocus, I was 10, it's my favorite holiday anyways, and it doesn't get any better than that, really."


Vinessa Shaw (Allison Watts)

Then: Vinessa Shaw starred as Max's love interest and daughter of the woman who previously ran the Sanderson sisters museum. The actress only had two prior acting credits before being cast in the film. She starred in the 1981 slasher film Home Sweet Home, and later in the 1992 Rodney Dangerfield sports-comedy film Ladybugs.

Now: Shaw has gone on to have a successful acting career since the 1993 classic. She had a small yet important role in Stanley Kubrick's 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut, 40 Days and 40 Nights, and the horror movie The Hills Have Eyes, which was a box-office success. The actress also had roles in 3:10 to Yuma, Garden Party, and Side Effects. Most recently, Shaw appeared in the Showtime series Ray Donovan, and starred in 2018's Family Blood.

Fun Fact: There may have been a hidden message when the candle was lit by Max. The black flame candle can only be lit by a virgin, and when Max offered for Allison to light it, she coyly shook her head and declined.


Sean Murray (Thackery Binx)

Then: Sean Murray portrayed Thackery Binx, who was originally a teenager from 1693 who was transformed into a cat by the witches. His acting credits prior to the film include the comedy/western series Harts of the West opposite Beau Bridges, the TV movie Backfield in Motion, and the short film Too Romantic.

Now: Since 2003, Murray has starred as Timothy McGee on NCIS. His other film appearances include This Boy’s Life and Too Romantic. He also has a guest stint on the TV show JAG.

Fun Fact: Though Hocus Pocus is one of his most well-known roles, Murray’s voice in the film was actually dubbed over by fellow actor Jason Marsden.


Doug Jones (Billy Butcherson)

Then: The famous actor and contortionist Doug Jones played poor Billy Butcherson, the lover of Winnie who was caught cheating with Sarah and ultimately poisoned and killed. His mouth was sewn shut by the vengeful witch so that he would never reveal Winnie’s secrets. Before being cast. He appeared in CarHal Crimes and as Thin Clown in Batman Returns. Jones got his start as a television advertisement character/contortionist, Mac Tonight.

Now: Jones has gone on to have a successful career, appearing in films like Pan’s Labyrinth, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Hellboy. Most recently, he appeared as Amphibian Man in the Academy Award-winning film The Shape of Water.

Fun Fact: The moths that flew out of Billy’s mouth were real, and were not actually computer generated. Yikes!

Which Sanderson Sister was your Favorite?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • Who played the dad in Hocus Pocus?

    Charles Rocket portrayed the dad, Dave Dennison. He was a member on Saturday Night Live from 1980-1981 and was known for films like Dumb and Dumberer and Titan A.E. He sadly passed away in 2005 from suicide.

© 2018 Rachel M Johnson


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Rachel M Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel M Johnson 

      20 months ago

      Hi Linda, Hocus Pocus has definitely become a favorite Halloween staple for many people!

    • Rachel M Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel M Johnson 

      20 months ago

      Hi Katie, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the read!

    • profile image


      20 months ago


    • cluense profile image

      Katie Luense 

      20 months ago from Buffalo, NY

      Awesome Article! Thanks for the update!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)