Matilda was released in the summer of 1996 — more than two whole decades ago. If you can’t believe it’s been that long, you aren’t alone. Based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name, Matilda follows the title character as she uses telekinesis and her genius intellect to manage life with her not-so-genius family and an oppressive principal at school.
With more than 20 years of devoted fandom, you may be wondering what the cast of Matilda looks like today, and what it is they’re all up to. Buckle up, because we’ve got the answers!
Kiami Davael as Lavender
Matilda’s best friend Lavender was played by Kiami Davael in the 1996 movie. Lavender, who befriends Matilda on the playground as they watch their principal taunt the other children, continues alongside Matilda in much of the ensuing chaos throughout the movie. Notably, it is innocent-looking Lavender in her large glasses and braids that plays a prank on the principal involving a newt.
While she may be remembered for her role as Lavender, Davael is also a model, singer, songwriter, and screenwriter. Not one to shy from the spotlight, Davael is very active on Instagram where she shares selfies, throwback photos, and fan-submitted content with her over 40,000 followers.
Jacqueline Steiger as Amanda Thripp
Everyone who has ever had braids will remember the iconic scene in Matilda when Agatha Trunchbull throws character Amanda Thripp through the air by her braided pigtails as punishment for her girly hairstyle. Played by Jacqueline Steiger, Amanda survives the toss, but it’s in this scene that Matilda first learns just how brutal Trunchbull can be.
Steiger went on to play many roles in television and movies before taking a break to attend college at UCLA, where she graduated summa cum laude. She’s now on a mission to jump back into the industry, so keep your eyes peeled.
Kira Spencer Hesser as Hortensia
Speaking of the playground scene, that’s also where Matilda and Lavender meet Hortensia, played by Kira Spencer Hesser. Hortensia is an expert on Trunchbull, and is the person who tells Matilda and Lavender all about the heinous things Trunchbull has done.
Hesser is still very involved in the industry after a break to get her master’s in modern literature in London, and has done everything from stand-up comedy to voice-over work, television hosting, and short film. She currently hosts Islands Without Cars on PBS.
Jimmy Karz as Bruce Bogtrotter
The character of Bruce Bogtrotter is in another iconic Matilda scene you aren’t likely to forget. When Bruce steals a slice of Trunchbull’s chocolate cake, he is punished by being forced to eat the entire thing in front of the whole school, which he does successfully after much cheering from his classmates. Played by Jimmy Karz, Bruce’s punishment is another example of Trunchbull’s oppression.
These days Karz, looks and behaves quite differently from his role as Bruce. After small roles in The Wedding Singer (1998) and on the TV show ER, then working as a production assistant at MTV for two years after undergrad, Karz set his sights on osteopathic medical school. "I realized I wanted to do more service-oriented work," he told The DO. "I liked osteopathic medicine’s focus on helping the whole patient, and I was interested in learning manual techniques to help patients."
Karz went on to tell The DO that his work in the entertainment industry has helped him with medicine because it taught him that you "have to be prepared for anything to happen." You mean anything like Karz re-enacting his scene from the movie with a cupcake at a recent Matilda reunion?
He’s come a long way from playing a chocolate-covered kid who steals cake, wouldn’t you say?
Pam Ferris as Agatha Trunchbull
With all this talk of Agatha Trunchbull, you didn’t think we would skip giving you an update on where she is today, did you? She may have been terrifying as Agatha Trunchbull, the abusive principal in Matilda, but Pam Ferris has played a variety of roles. Harry Potter movie fans might immediately recognize Ferris as the woman who played Aunt Marge in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).
Most recently, Ferris starred on the TV series Call the Midwife as Sister Evangelina from 2012-2016. A fan favorite, many were saddened when her character passed away in her sleep. With so many credits to her name, it’s likely we’ll see Ferris in something again soon.
Paul Reubens as FBI Agent Bob
Paul Reubens, perhaps better known for his character Pee-wee Herman, played FBI Agent Bob in Matilda. He was one of the two FBI agents who threatened Matilda with time in an orphanage if her father goes to federal prison, and though Agent Bob may not have been in many scenes. he was certainly memorable.
Since Matilda, Reubens has guest starred on a number of television shows, most recently in five episodes of The Blacklist as Mr. Vargas, three episodes of Gotham as Elijah Van Dahl, and the upcoming movie Mosaic.
Tracey Walter as FBI Agent Bill
If there’s one thing an FBI agent needs, it’s a partner. Agent Bob’s partner in Matilda was FBI Agent Bill, played by character actor Tracey Walter. Even if you don’t recognize him by name, you probably find him familiar anyway. Walter has been in over 100 TV shows and movies. Before Matilda you might have seen him in Silence of the Lambs (1991) or Batman (1989). So what has Walter been doing since Matilda? Plenty.
From playing Leon in Wild America (1997), Charles Embry in Erin Brockovich (2000), and Ben Franks in Death to Smoochy (2002) to guest spots on TV shows like Medium, Monk, and Southland just to name a few, chances are you’re familiar with his face even if you don’t really remember Agent Bill.
Danny DeVito as Harry Wormwood
Danny DeVito not only directed Matilda, he starred as Matilda’s villain father Harry Wormwood and served as the film’s narrator. He is known in the movie for his illegal dealings and for his abuse of Matilda, including punishing her for her interest in school and destroying her books. Matilda wasn’t DeVito’s first role (he starred in Taxi from 1978-1983 and was in many films in the 80s and 90s) and it certainly wasn’t his last.
These days, most people probably recognize DeVito from his time starring on the TV series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. DeVito has starred as Frank Reynolds on the show since 2006 and episodes are planned through at least 2019. DeVito isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Rhea Perlman as Zinnia Wormwood
Along with Matilda’s father, Harry Wormwood, her mother Zinnia was not exactly the best parent. Played by Rhea Perlman, DeVito’s real life wife of over 30 years, Zinnia Wormwood spent her days playing Bingo rather than taking care of Matilda.
From her days working on Cheers to her movie roles and beyond, Perlman is another star who has found her way into our hearts via multiple TV shows and movies. Most recently, fans might recall Perlman as Annette Castellano in 13 episodes of The Mindy Project and can catch her these days in the 2017 YouTube series Me and My Grandma. Grandma? Has this woman aged even a day?
Embeth Davidtz as Miss Honey
While Matilda was unlucky in the parent department originally, she lucks out with her teacher Miss Jennifer Honey, played by Embeth Davidtz. Miss Honey is the polar opposite of Matilda’s mother Zinnia as she is kind, nurturing, and patient. Just as Miss Honey is said to immediately have the adoration of children, she won our adoration as well when she agreed to adopt Matilda.
After Matilda, Davidtz went on to earn several roles in television shows including Amy in the HBO series In Treatment and Rebecca Pryce in Mad Men. While Davidtz took some time away from acting after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, fans will recognize her recent work as Sonia Kovitzky in Ray Donovan.
Mara Wilson as Matilda
That leads us to the star character herself. Mara Wilson played Matilda Wormwood after her previous breakout roles as a child star in both Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and Miracle on 34th Street (1994). Her portrayal of genius and telekinetic Matilda, who was both kindhearted and a bit mischievous, aligned in many ways with her prior roles. While Matilda has had a turbulent life leading up to and during the events of the movie, ultimately she gets her happy ending.
After Matilda, Wilson went on to star in A Simple Wish (1997). While she has had a few roles in television shows and online series, Wilson officially retired from film acting after her role in Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000). She described film acting as "not very fun," on her blog, and has instead turned her focus to writing. She maintains her website Mara Wilson Writes Stuff and released her book Where Am I Now? in September 2016.
While you may not be able to see Wilson on the big screen (and never on Dancing With The Stars), Wilson has said she loves theater and voice-over, so acting in that capacity is not out of the question in the future.
Reunited and it feels so good
In the 20 years since Matilda was released, the actors have gone on to pursue a variety of paths. Some are still acting, starring in television and movies. Others have shifted their sights to modeling or writing. Still others have left the spotlight completely. If one thing is for certain based on the reunion photo Mara Wilson shared on Facebook, they all still have a lot of love for each other and they know how to have a good time.