Another example was the Police Academy films. During the height of its popularity the franchise also spawned both a live action and a cartoon series for TV, but the last feature film, Police Academy: Mission To Moscow was made in 1994. Since then the cast have all pretty much faded our of the fame radar.
Anyhoo, we loved them back in the day. They were the most lovable bunch of misfits ever to don cops' uniforms, from the wise cracking Mahoney to Zed - the lunatic with the stupid voice. Honestly they were absolutely 'hilarious'. But where are they now?
Officer Mahoney - Steve Guttenberg (films 1-4)
The hero of the first four films, Mahoney was the definitive ladies man. Handsome, charming and cheeky, he was essentially a wise ass. He was played by the charming and cheeky Steve Guttenberg, and this film franchise made him one of the most bankable stars of the 80s.
He first rose to fame appearing in the film Diner in 1982, and also enjoyed huge success with a load of old guys in Cocoon in '85, then the following year in Short Circuit , alongside an irritating robot (basically an animatronic Jar Jar Binks) and then in '87 in Three Men & A Baby, with Tom Selleck and Ted Danson.
Guttenberg wisely left the series in '87after the third sequel (Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol), although perhaps that was already three films too late.
The 90s saw his star power begin to fade and appearing in films with titles like P.S. Your Cat Is Dead, couldn't have helped. Most recently he has been appearing in several TV series such as Veronica Mars, while popping up in bargain basement family fare, like 2005's Meet The Santas. Oh dear.
Guttenberg was recently seen in his panto debut playing Baron Hard Up in Cinderella at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley over the Christmas 2008 period - bet he's glad he got out of the Police Academy films now...
Officer Zed - Bobcat Goldthwait (films 2, 3 and 4)
Zed appeared as a hardened lunatic gang member in the first sequel (Their First Assignment), before being recruited to join the academy in 3 and 4 (Back In Training and Citizens On Patrol, respectively). He was apparently hilarious because he spoke in a weird way.
Goldthwait is a successful stand up comedian who has made a living out of his bizarre voice. Today he mainly makes a living doing voice work in cartoons, from Duckman and The Moxy Show to Disney's Hercules, the Buzz Lightyear TV series and Lilo & Stitch.
Interestingly, he was a close friend of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.
More recently he has gone on to direct extremely left-field black comedies, such as Stay, about a girl who admits to giving a dog a blowjob, and World's Greatest Dad, with Robin Williams playing, according to Empire film website, "a poetry teacher who covers up his son's death in a freak masturbation accident by faking a suicide journal that becomes a literary phenomenon". We told you it was left-field...
Officer Jones - Michael Winslow (every damn thing to do with Police Academy)
Winslow's character of Sgt Jones is the only character to appear in all the installments of Police Academy, including all seven movies, the cartoon, and the TV series.
Essentially Mahoney's mate, Jones was able to make a range of realistic sound effects using only his mouth. Jones also did martial arts, while pretending to be speaking as if he was Chinese but dubbed into English. Classic.
Winslow was hired because he could actually do those noises for real, and apart from smaller roles in movies and TV, he has been touring for a little while as a stand-up comedian, displaying some of his vocal prowess as the "Man of 10,000 Sound Effects".
In 2010 it was announced that Winslow would be performing his stand up in london as part of E4 Udderbelly at the Southbank Centre during the summer. If you want to see him live, click here.
Officer Hightower - Bubba Smith (films 1 - 7)
A former pro football player in the 70s, Smith basically played the 'token big black guy' in all the Police Academy films. Needless to say, his acting career was overshadowed by his role as Hightower, the super strong giant with the heart of gold.
Today he pops up on US TV as a sports personality and was last seen in 2004's The Coach, starring alongside no one in particular.
Officer Tackleberry - David Graf (films 1 - 7)
Tackleberry was the one who had a very gung ho attitude to policing and got highly excitable whenever he got to use a massive gun. That's about it really. Before during and after this film franchise, Graf was a respectable character actor and became one of those faces you recognised from just about anything on TV during the 80s.
Sitcom fans can see him popping up in the likes of M*A*S*H, Seinfeld, Home Improvement and Veronica's Closet, while fans of cheesy US dramas can spot him guesting in The A Team, Airwolf and Quantum Leap. He also gave his voice to a series of Star Trek video games.
Sadly Graf wont be joining the cast for the new film, as he died of a sudden heart attack at a family wedding in 2001. He was 50. It was his birthday.
Officer Hooks - Marion Ramsey (films 1 - 6)
Hooks' 'thing' was that she was very unassertive and had a timid voice, until she shouts, then it's deafening. Great. Actress Ramsey wore a fat suit for the role, and originally the plan was for her character to get thinner as the movies progressed, but the producers later decided not to bother.
While her profile was raised in the 80s she appeared in the odd episode of McGyver and later Beverley Hills 90210, but since the Police Academy films her acting roles have been few and far between. The only thing our researchers found was that in 2003 she played 'a maid'. Oh well, the lord giveth...
Sgt Cllahan - Leslie Easterbrook (films 1, 3 - 7)
Callahan was the macho blonde drill instructor with the big knockers. That's it. Since Police Academy Easterbrook has, like all of the above, slipped into the murky waters of made-for-TV dramas and movies. She did pop up most recently in the horror film The Devil's Rejects.
Bizarrely, although a native of California, she has her own theatre over here, in Nottingham. It has the rather modest title of The Leslie Easterbrook Auditorium.
Cmnd Lassard - George Gaynes (films 1 - 7)
Lassard was the head of the Academy and a bumbling fool. He was played by Finnish-born George Jongejans, who was born way back in 1917.
A veteran of Broadway musical theatre, Gaynes was another of those familiar faces, thanks to guest spots in a wealth of TV shows, including Bonanza, Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, Columbo, Quincy and Punky Brewster as the man who adopted the eponymous kid.
After Police Academy, he continued making guest appearances in shows throughout the 90s.
Guess what? He's still alive! His last role came in 2003 as a priest in the Ashton Kutcher Brittany Murphy and rom com Just Married.
Lt. Thaddeus Harries - G.W.Bailey (films 1, 4 - 7)
This guy was the hard-nosed chief who ran the academy like a military prison. He was obsessed with discipline and that Mahoney, boy he loved nothing more than setting up practical jokes, with an unsuspecting Harris always the butt. Grr, that Mahoney!!
With his rugged face, Bailey always wound up playing heavies. However, he couldn't be a more learned and caring individual. He went to high school in Texas with Janis Joplin before starting his acting career in the theatre.
Bailey has been working steadily in various roles on TV and film and after the Police Academy films he returned to college in 1993, studying theatre at Southwest Texas State University.
Continuing his academic interests, he returned to this university, and for the 1999-2000 school year he was the 'Artist-in-Residence'. He is also the Executive Director and Board Member of the Sunshine Kids Foundation, which provides trips and activities for hundreds of young cancer patients annually.
So there you have it - all the actors involved in this hugely successful film franchise have enjoyed a mixed bag of ongoing success and fading into obscurity.
However, apparently there's a brand new installment in the works! According to internet film bible IMDb.com, its due for a release in cinemas next year and will star all the original cast!
Presumably it's going to be called Police Academy 8 - Mission to The Toilet In The Middle Of The Night.
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