“I didn’t walk away from (Hollywood). I applied all of my creativity to my home life, to my kids, to my family. I was the same person. I didn’t change. I just shifted my focus." - Rick Moranis, Bullseye With Jesse Thorn
Where is Rick Moranis now? Reminding everyone that there's more to happiness than fortune and glory, that's where. Twenty years ago, Mr. Moranis' wife died from cancer and he made one of the boldest, most humane choices imaginable: he took a step away from Hollywood to care for his kids.
Rick Moranis's acting roles could always bring a smile to audiences. His nebbish neighbor in Ghostbusters. His nebbish father in Parenthood. His nebbish portrayal of plant owner in Little Shop of Horrors. Yeah, he played a lot of nebbishes, dating back to his time on the brilliant SCTV. But he could elevate any movie he appeared in and any role he portrayed with his sincerity and perfect comedic timing.
What happened to Rick Moranis? He tackled the most important role of his career as a dad. Just don't say he retired: he's merely enjoying a Twin Peaks-length hiatus between seasons of his life.
He Raised His Children After His Wife Passed Away
"When my kids came home, there was music, and there were lights on, and there were great smells coming out of the kitchen,” he said. “And it was just a joyful place to be, and that’s what I wanted.” - Rick Moranis on Bullseye
Rick Moranis's wife passed away from breast cancer in 1991. A few years later, the actor realized that being a full-time actor and a single parent was not going to work. The priority was his kids.
As he described on Bullseye, his decision to care for his young children would not have been viewed the same way if he had a more traditional job. Since he was walking away from the bright lights of Hollywood, everyone found his decision rather shocking.
But he wouldn't have it any other way. Rick Moranis wanted to make sure his children grew up in the same loving, supportive household that he experienced in his native Toronto.
And if this doesn't make you fall in love with Rick Moranis, there is a gaping black hole where your heart should be.
He Was Nominated For A Grammy In 2005
In 2005, Moranis's The Agoraphobic Cowboy was nominated for a Grammy for Best Comedy Album. Unfortunately, he and fellow nominees Lewis Black, Seth McFarlane and Larry the Cable Guy lost to Chris Rock. With songs like "Wheaties Box" and "Five Star Motel," Cowboy is a perfect showcase for the actor's endearing singing voice and slightly warped sense of humor.
He Wrote For the New York Times
In the 2000s, Rick Moranis contributed a few quirky op-ed pieces to the New York Times, including one in which he literally took stock of his life (excerpt below):
I HAVE two kids. Both are away at college.
I have five television sets. (I like to think of them as a set of five televisions.) I have two DVR boxes, three DVD players, two VHS machines and four stereos.
I have nineteen remote controls, mostly in one drawer.
I have three computers, four printers and two non-working faxes.
I have three phone lines, three cell phones and two answering machines.
I have no messages.
He Produced The Cartoon "Bob & Doug"
Before Wayne and Garth, there was Bob and Doug McKenzie from the Canadian sketch show SCTV. The drunken hosts of the "Great White North" (played by Moranis and Dave Thomas) soon took over the pop culture world.
In 2009, the animated version of Bob & Doug premiered on the Global Network in Canada. Though Rick Moranis helped create and produce the show, he handed over the voice duties to Full House's Dave Coulier. At least now the character could do a flawless Popeye imitation.