Image: via Pride in Plymouth
Image: via Pride in Plymouth
Believe it or not, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was pretty much overlooked upon its original release in 1975. Thanks to word of mouth and some very devoted fans, though, it’s now a cult behemoth that has stood the test of time with its risqué characters and memorable songs. But how has its cast held up after 40 years? We’ll fill you in.
As self-proclaimed “sweet transvestite” and outré Transsexual native Dr. Frank N. Furter, Tim Curry landed the most iconic role of his career – and spawned a legion of corset-and-fishnet-donning imitators in his wake.
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That said, after being asked in 2015 about his part in the cult classic, Curry revealed that he regards it “with a sort of bemused tolerance. It’s neither a blessing nor a curse.” The award-winning British actor sadly endured a stroke in 2012 but has still lent his voice to several animated series over the past few years.
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Susan Sarandon nailed her portrayal of Janet Weiss, who transforms neatly from naïve virgin to Rocky-seducing vamp over the space of the movie’s 101 minutes.
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In the years since, Sarandon’s career has bred greater success, taking in multiple Oscar nominations, one Academy Award win and a role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. And the actress has maintained that Rocky Horror’s message is about more than how fun it is to dress up, saying in 2014, “It’s ‘Don’t dream it. Be it.’ That’s bigger than fishnets.”
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Barry Bostwick’s character, Brad Majors, initially comes across as quite the strait-laced all-American boy. As The Rocky Horror Picture Show progresses, however, his sexual confusion is revealed – though never conquered – when he falls for the myriad charms of Frank.
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And even though Bostwick has taken on a multitude of stage and screen parts since – most notably playing Mayor Winston in sitcom Spin City – he’s always happy to revisit his Rocky Horror days, even attending conventions from time to time.
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As The Rocky Horror Show’s writer, Richard O’Brien could probably have had his pick of any role in the movie adaptation. Just like in the stage version, though, he plays Riff Raff, Frank’s scheming handyman, who eventually turns on his abusive employer and escapes with his own sister, Magenta.
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And in 2015 O’Brien would take to the Rocky Horror stage again – this time, however, as the show’s narrator for performances in London’s West End. The British star has also taken on a slew of movie and TV roles since The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s first release, including one in another cult classic – Flash Gordon.
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Patricia Quinn’s maid Magenta is strongly suggested to be in an incestuous relationship with brother Riff Raff, although the actress herself has admitted that she never saw the pair in that way. Quinn’s also the owner of the pair of lips that you see during “Science Fiction Double Feature.” Suffice to say, though, that that isn’t her voice you hear in the movie.
Quinn memorably appeared in 1981 Rocky Horror movie sequel Shock Treatment, this time as Dr. Nation McKinley, and here Richard O’Brien again played her character’s brother. The British TV mainstay is also one who doesn’t mind checking in with the fans now and again, as suggested by her appearances at a Rocky Horror Picture Show convention and a New York film screening in recent years.
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Columbia – played by Nell Campbell – may be billed as a mere “groupie” of Frank-N-Furter, but she gives the movie ditsy heart and some top-class “Time Warp” dancing skills. And it’s hard not to feel for her when the transvestite object of her affections spurns her for his muscle-bound creation.
Campbell has proved herself quite the Renaissance woman since appearing in the much-loved movie. She opened a nightclub and two restaurants in New York City in the 1980s and 1990s, had a semi-successful music career and continues to act on stage and screen – notably having taken on the role of Nurse Ansalong in Shock Treatment.
Dr. Everett Scott ostensibly arrives at Frank-N-Furter’s castle looking for his nephew Eddie – something that causes the cross-dressing scientist to suspect that Brad and Janet have turned up as part of a plot to bring Jonathan Adams’ German-accented UFO investigator to his door.
Adams originally played the narrator in the preceding London stage production of The Rocky Horror Show, and he would continue to act on stage and in British TV shows like Yes, Prime Minister until his death in 2005, aged 74.
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Peter Hinwood took on the role of dishy blond Rocky – the proud creation of Frank and the libidinous owner of half of Eddie’s brain as well as the eventual seducer of Janet Weiss.
Not long after starring in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, though, the former model retired from acting to become an antiques dealer in London. “I relish a quiet, peaceful life,” he said to People magazine in 2000.
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Before Bat Out of Hell made him a musical superstar, Meat Loaf was perhaps best known for playing The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Eddie. The former delivery boy comes to a sticky end when Frank jealously slays him and then serves his remains for dinner – as you do.
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As for the man behind the makeup, even though Meat Loaf’s multi-platinum musical career has more than kept him busy, he still keeps his hand in at acting – most memorably having taken on roles in Fight Club and The 51st State within the past two decades.
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Charles Gray’s criminologist narrator is the clear-eyed, level-headed teller of the terrible tale of Brad and Janet’s corruption. That, and the steps to the “Time Warp” dance, of course.
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By the time that Gray appeared in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, he’d already made his name playing iconic Bond villain Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever. The British star also took on a role in Shock Treatment and continued to bring his acting talents to plays and movies until his death in 2000 of cancer, at the age of 71.
Although Ralph Hapschatt is far from a central character in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it’s his wedding to Betty Munroe that starts Brad and Janet on their fateful road trip – and, eventually, to Frank-N-Furter’s castle.
Image: via The Shock Treatment Network
Jeremy Newson was the only actor to reprise his Rocky Horror Picture Show character in the movie’s ill-fated follow-up, Shock Treatment. Nowadays, though, you’re more likely to find him on the other side of the camera as a writer and director.
As Hilary Labow, Hilary Farr is bouquet-throwing bride Betty Munroe in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Not much is revealed about Betty in the movie apart from her relationship to Brad and Janet, her presumed affection for Ralph and, of course, that’s she’s a good cook.
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Post-Rocky Horror, Farr mostly left acting behind. She didn’t, however, leave screen appearances behind entirely, for the interior designer is now a presenter on Canadian home renovation show Love It or List It.