Steven Spielberg changed the game in 1993 when he released the dinosaur epic Jurassic Park, which remains one of the most successful and popular movies Hollywood has ever seen. Among those featured in the movie were child actors Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards, who played the forever-traumatized grandchildren of Richard Attenborough. In the two decades since becoming famous for running from velociraptors, where are the Jurassic Park kids now? We dug up some pretty interesting facts to catch you up to (carbon) date.
Steven Spielberg owns some of Ariana Richards’ art
According to a 2011 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ariana Richards sent Steven Spielberg a watercolor self-portrait of herself that was inspired by one of the scenes in Jurassic Park, which now hangs in Spielberg’s office. For his part, Spielberg is a pretty good gift-giver, too. "He never fails to send me something around Christmas," Richards said. "When he finds people he likes, he’s really good at keeping in touch." And here we thought we couldn’t love Spielberg more than we do already.
Spielberg wrote Joseph Mazzello a college recommendation letter
Talk about friends in high places. In a 2013 interview with People, Mazzello revealed that Spielberg helped him get into the University of Southern California. "Steven wrote me a recommendation for USC to go to film school. Believe it or not, I got in," he said, surprising exactly no one. "He’s been there for me throughout my life whenever I really needed him." Mazzello graduated from USC with a degree in cinema and television.
Mazzello still has the acting bug
Though he didn’t show up at the premiere of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Mazzello has acted steadily since becoming famous as a Jurassic Park kid. His biggest post-Jurassic roles include The Social Network, in which he played the Harvard student who inspired Mark Zuckerberg to add relationship statuses to people’s Facebook profiles, and a stint in the HBO Emmy-winning miniseries, The Pacific. More recently, he played John Deacon, the bass guitarist of Queen, in the wildly popular biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. When filming wrapped in January 2018, he tweeted: "I’m sad. Every moment was a pleasure. Every day was a blessing. One of the all time great experiences of my life." And all that hard work and passion definitely came through in the finished product.
Ariana Richards had been acting for a while before Jurassic Park
Although she was relatively young in Jurassic Park, Ariana Richards already had several credits to her name by the time she got her big break in the kickoff of the dino franchise. Richards had 16 acting credits prior to Jurassic Park, including a supporting role as Carol Wetherby in the 1989 Christmas feel-good flick Prancer. (Also appearing in that film alongside stars Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, and Rebecca Harrell Tickell? Johnny Galecki, who would one day star on The Big Bang Theory.) Her other pre-Jurassic Park credits include appearances on The Golden Girls and Switched at Birth, as well as a role in 1990’s Spaced Invaders.
Richards’ last appearance on the big screen was years ago
Ariana Richards’ movie career pretty much ended with the Jurassic Park franchise. She last appeared in a feature film in the 1997 sequel, The Lost World. Subsequent acting gigs were on an incredibly smaller scale; TV movies like Broken Silence: A Moment of Truth Movie (1998) and Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001) are among the titles. No, we’ve never heard of them either. And she hasn’t even bothered with those types since 2013, when she played in the TV movie Battledogs.
Richards traded acting for art
According to People, over the years Richards shifted from acting to painting, which is now her main professional focus. "I love to work with people in the art and express their story on canvas and my impression of them and what they want to express and use oils, brushes, canvas to create something that will last the generation," she revealed. Now reportedly in South America for her art tour, Richards says she’s living a "much quieter" but "still very rich" life compared to her days in the glitz and glamor of Hollywood. "My life story these days, I still experience the red carpet as an artist," she said. "But on a day-to-day basis I live kind of a country life."
But she might return to acting one day
Also in her interview with the Wall Street Journal, Richards — who graduated from Skidmore College in 2011 — admitted she hasn’t altogether ruled out a return to acting. "Sometimes I’m on the the pulse of what’s happening in Hollywood," she said, "but other times, I’m just totally absorbed by what I’m creating on the easel." Adding to People, she said: "If some great role or project finds me, absolutely that could be a nice thing to do, for sure." Here’s hoping she paid attention to Jurassic World‘s record box office returns…
Richards is married … with daughter
Now, here’s something that’ll make you feel super-old: Ariana Richards, born in 1979, tied the knot with her hubby, Mark Bolton, in 2013, and gave birth to a daughter in 2015. "My husband and I are thrilled," Richards told People in June that year, while she was pregnant. "This is really a wonderful moment for us. It’s super exciting." If her Twitter is any indication, she’s still pretty excited about being a mom. And at the premiere of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, she was quite excited to reunite with Jeff Goldblum — they discussed lots of things, but especially their toddlers.