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Where the cast of beloved Christmas film Elf are now – 18 years later

Elf is still a festive favourite played on millions of screens during the winter season. But where are its stars almost two decades later? We take a look at what happened next for the star-studded cast…

A look at what the cast of beloved Christmas film Elf has been up to over 18 years on

It may be almost 20 years since it first hit our screens, but Elf has remained one the nation’s most popular and loved Christmas films.

Since its 2003 release, fans have looked forward to viewing the festive favourite during the holiday season, as it’s truly become the gift that keeps on giving.

The flick’s popularity is said to be down to its capturing of all the feel good elements, including a lots of humour, mystery and a sprinkling of romance.

At the heart of the film is Buddy the Elf, played by Will Ferrell, who steps out of his peaceful elf bubble in the North Pole onto the manic streets of New York City to find his birth father. From there the crazy adventure begins.

We take a look at what the cast of Elf has been up to over the nearly two decades since its epic debut.

Will Ferrell

The comedian was the show’s lead as Buddy the Elf. The star already had a following before starring in the festive film, due to his performances on hit US TV shows such as Saturday Night Live.

However, it was his beloved role as Buddy that made him a household name.

Since Elf, Will Ferrell has gone on to star in hit films, including Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Blades Of Glory and Step Brothers


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Since the film he’s gone on to star in a string of successful films, including Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Blades Of Glory and Step Brothers.

The 54-year-old has also become an acclaimed writer and executive producer on hit shows such as Booksmart, Succession, Dead to Me and Motherland.

Zooey Deschanel

The actress starred as Jovie, the dissatisfied store employee.

Zooey Deschanrel, who starred as Jovie in Elf, has gone on to star in lead roles of hit TV shows such as New Girl and The New Guy



A hit with viewers, Zooey, 41, went on to portray equally witty characters, such as the lead role of quirky school teacher Jessica Day in hit sitcom New Girl and Nora in The New Guy.

She’s also since starred in successful films such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Failure to Launch, Yes Man and 500 Days of Summer and earned an Emmy Award nomination and three Golden Globe Award nominations.

James Caan

James Caan took a step back from movie roles after appearing in Elf


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Following the success of Elf, in which he starred as Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s father, the legendary actor, 81, who previously starred in gangster trilogy, The Godfather, went on to lend his voice to The Godfather video game franchise and animation movie series Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Earlier this year, he starred in romantic comedy Queen Bees, his first major film since Elf.

Bob Newhart

Since Elf, legendary actor Bob Newhart’s career has continued on at full force


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Bob Newhart at the series finale party for CBS’ The Big Bang Theory in 2019 in Pasadena, California, was an Elf fan-favourite


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The 92-year-old iconic American actor, who appeared as Papa Elf in the Christmas film, has been acting in his films since the 1960s and previously voiced Leonard the Polar Bear in the classic holiday animated movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and starred in Legally Blonde 2.

Since Elf his career continued on at full force.

The star, who remains married to his wife, Virginia Quinn, who he wed in 1963, went on to make appearances in top TV shows such as ER, Desperate Housewives, NCIS, Hot in Cleveland, The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon.

Mary Steenburgen

Buddy’s family: Elf stars Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay and James Caan


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Since Elf, Mary Steenburgen, has appeared in hit shows including, Orange Is the New Black, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Last Man on Earth, The Conners, Grace and Frankie and The Good Place


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Oscar winner Mary, who was discovered by actor Jack Nicholson in Paramount’s New York office, starred as Emily Hobbs in Elf and reunited with co-star Will years later in the comedy Step Brothers.

She later appeared in films Four Christmases, The Proposal and The Help.

Apart from the big screen, the 68-year-old has been in Orange Is the New Black, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Last Man on Earth, The Conners, Grace and Frankie and The Good Place.

Daniel Tay

Daniel Tay as Buddy’s brother Michael in Elf

Daniel Tay, who was only 11 when he made his debut in Elf as Michael Hobbs, quit acting and is now at age 29, a teacher of graduate students


Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

The actor was 11 when he made his debut in Elf as Michael Hobbs .

Now 29, Daniel who had a handful of roles in the following years, quit acting in 2009.

He became a teacher, instructing students for a company that does test preparation for graduate schools.

Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage, who famously starred as Tyrion Lannister in Game Of Thrones, first made his name in 2003 when he starred in Elf

Peter’s appearance in Elf brought him to prominence and has since made him one of the most recognisable actors in Hollywood.

The star, who had spent years trying to make his name in by appearing in several movies and TV shows, has gone on to famously appear in Game of Thrones for which he won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister in the hit HBO drama.

Throughout the fantasy series’ eight seasons, he was nominated nine times for an Emmy and bagged the award four times for Outstanding Supporting Actor. He’s he also won a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Edward Asner

Edward Asner, pictured with Will Ferrell, died aged 91 on 29 August of this year of natural causes at his Los Angeles home

Edward, whose career started in 1957 and was famously the chairman of the Screen Actors Guild in the 80s, died aged 91 on 29 August of this year of natural causes at his Los Angeles home.

Edward has over 400 credits to his name, which includes starring in films and TV series.

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