Where Back to the Future cast are now - Losing role over tragedy to five wives

Lottie O'Neill December 5, 2022
Where Back to the Future cast are now - Losing role over tragedy to five wives
Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images


A well-deserved cult classic, Back to the Future has earned itself a spot as one of Hollywood’s best franchises over the past few decades – but where are the cast now? The incredible story of one teenager’s dance with time travel hit screens almost 40 years ago. It is still considered to be just as iconic years later.

Following the guitarist Marty McFly, viewers were led on a trip filled with uncertainty, love and plenty of horse manure. As the teen is helping out his scientist friend Doc Brown document the first ever successful attempt of time travel, he faces the tragedy of his good friend’s death.

As Marty tries to flee attackers in the famous Delorean the Doc modified, he unknowingly drives away at 88mph – the exact speed to travel through time – and finds himself being transported back to 1955. When he arrives in the past, and with no way of re-filling up the Delorean’s tank’s radioactive plutonium fuel to get back to the future, he has to come up with another plan to get home.

Marty eventually finds his friend Doc Brown – 30 years younger – who tragically tells him the timeline has found an alternative path because he used the time machine. Therefore, they must work together to try to get back to the correct timeline… or Marty’s life is at risk. With the likes of an awkward infatuation between his mother and himself, a feud with bully Biff and lightning to spark the Delorean’s flux capacitor, Marty is on his way.

Great Scott! Back to the Future was released on July 3, 1985, so let’s head back in time to see what the cast are doing now.

Where the Back to the Future cast are now

Michael J Fox – Marty McFly

Now, if we take a look at the Back to the Future cast, Michael J Fox is at the top of our list.

Playing the disgruntled teen who is pals with a wacky genius, he unexpectedly dabbles in time travel. But he almost removes his family from existence in the process.

However, before Fox stepped into Marty’s Nike sneakers, another actor also played the part. Christopher Lloyd confirmed Eric Stoltz originally played the part for six weeks at the beginning of the production. But, in the middle of the night, director Steven Spielberg spilled the beans they were changing the lead part in favor of Michael J Fox.

Already claiming his fame with Alex Keaton with Family Ties, being cast in Back to the Future, helped his career skyrocket into what it is now.

Fox went on to become Teen Wolf and star in Bright Lights, Big City and Casualties of War. He later reprised his role in the sequels of the time-travelling hit in 1989 and 1990. He and even took up more roles as his ‘relatives’. Following on, his career continued in the 90s, with Tales from the Crypt, The Hard Way and Doc Hollywood, before voicing Chance the dog in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (tissues, anyone?).

More iconic roles followed, with Stuart Little and Mars Attacks! before voicing Milo in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and later, playing Mike Flaherty in Spin City.

His work began to slow down to fewer appearances amid his health struggles. But he still managed to make a heartbreaking cameo as a doctor with OCD in Scrubs in 2004. Other TV shows include Nightcap, The Good Wife, Phineas and Ferb for one episode and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Michael J Fox’s Parkinson’s disease diagnosis

The star was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the young age of 29. Although, he later admitted he spent several years in denial after being told he only had ’10 years’ left in Hollywood working because of the diagnosis.

After hearing the news in 1991, just six years on from Back to the Future’s success, he told the world in 1998. Fox created a foundation to raise money for research, and it has amassed one billion dollars already.

Fox has released several books about his life and health. Lucky Man, Always Looking Up, No Time Like the future and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Future, to name a few. The 61-yea-old has had three books on the New York Times’ Bestsellers list.

The actor married Tracy Pollan in 1988, and they share four children – Sam, Esme, Aquinnah, Schuyler.

Christopher Lloyd – Doc Brown

Great Scott!

Now, we can’t think of any other actor being cast as the genius Doc Brown in Back to the Future. Lloyd embodied Dr Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown like no other star could.

He played the wacky scientist who helps Marty safely return to and from the past (and future).

Lloyd had already found his footing on the big screen, after his Emmy-winning role on Taxi. He has more than 200 credits to his name and shows no signs of stopping now, either.

After hitting his head on the toilet and conjuring up the design of the flux capacitor, Lloyd went on to play Professor Plum in Clue and Harry in Miracles. After, he played the villain Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and reprised his role in the time-travelling sequels.

Who can forget his electric performance in The Addams Family as Uncle Fester as well? Lloyd went on to play Switchblade Sam in Dennis the Menace before Mr Dewey in The Pagemaster. He committed to voice over work in the 90s, being cast as Rasputin in Anastasia, as well as other animations.

The Hollywood icon also had small roles in big TV shows. This included the likes of King of the Hill, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The West Wing, Law & Order and Numb3rs.

Some of his more recent works include A Million Ways to Die in the West, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and The Mandalorian.

‘Wife number five is the last’

Christopher Lloyd is also not afraid of the altar, as he’s been married five times.

He married Catherine Boyd in 1959, and they were together for 12 years, it’s his second-longest marriage so far. Boyd was also in showbiz, but hasn’t acted since the late 1990s. She starred in Girls Town, When It’s Over and Checkmates.

Lloyd’s second marriage was to Kay Tornborg, and they were together for 13 years, between 1974 and 1987. Also an actress, Tornborg was cast in Who? Otherworld and Not My Kid.

The star then exchanged vows with Carol Ann Vanek in 1988, and they were an item for three years. His fourth wife was Jane Walker Wood, they were together for 13 years from 1992 to 2005.

Now, the Back to the Future cast member says marriage number five is the last, reports The Guardian. He tied the knot with wife Lisa Loiacono in 2016. They have been happily married ever since, and the 83-year-old often posts about his wife Lisa, 52, on Instagram.

Lea Thompson – Lorraine McFly

Photo by Emma McIntyre/WireImage

We now move on to Marty’s mom in Back to the Future – who was cast via Lea Thompson.

After the success of the film, Thompson went on to have her own show in the mid-1990s, Caroline in the City. She also starred in Some Kind of Wonderful, SpaceCamp, Nightbreaker and The Wizard of Loneliness. She was cast alongside Lloyd in Dennis the Menace, before playing roles in The Beverly Hillbillies and Article 99. There is also an uncredited scene as Caroline Duffy in Friends.

Another major role came in the form of Cathy Davis in various TV Movies titles Jane Doe, after an appearance in Law & Order and CSI. Other TV parts were noted in Family Guy, The Muppets and American Dad!

She wed director Howard Deutch in 1989, and they share two daughters. They both followed in her footsteps, as Zoey and Madelyn Deutch are also actors.

Crispin Glover – George McFly

Marty’s socially-awkward blubbering mess of a father was played by Crispin Glover.

With 70 credits to his name, the Hollywood star went on to play Howdy in Twister, Layne in River’s Edge and Lucas in At Close Range. He even featured in a couple of episodes alongside Fox in Family Ties.

Glover then starred in Where the Heart is, Little Noises and played Andy Warhol in The Doors. Some fans may remember him playing the hair-obsessed villain in Charlies Angels. He went up against Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu.

Other works are listed as Bartleby, Crime and Punishment and Willard. Whereas in the 2000s Glover continued on to feature in the movie 9, Epic Movie and to voice the Knave of Hearts in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. He also played Phil in Hot Tub Time Machine, before taking up the part of Ned in The Carrier. Most recently, fans would have seen him in Starz and American Gods.

Thomas F Wilson – Biff Tannen

Photo by Neil Mockford/Getty Images

Big bully Biff – who seems to always end up finding himself face-down in manure – was played by Thomas F Wilson. Now, despite how fans were pretty much cheering for Marty the entire time, we can’t leave him out of the Back to the Future cast round-up.

With almost 150 credits to his career, Wilson has kept busy after the franchise. The year prior, he played Chip in an episode of Knight Rider with David Hasselhof. This was before Detective Scott Turner in Turner & Hooch in the 1990 edition.

Wilson lent his voice to several animated series and video games, like Wing Commander and Superman.

He’s known for his parts in Freaks and Geeks as Coach Ben Fredricks, and Pete Costas in Max Steel. This was before he took up the role of Sean Nowell in Ed. Later, Wilson was cast as Coach Doresey in Do Over, and he even voiced over some lines in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in 2004.

His TV cameos extend to Two and a Half Men, Cold Case, House MD, Boston Legal and Ghost whisperer. But did anyone even notice he was Mr Finn’s Dad in the School of Rock TV series?

He married Caroline Thomas in 1985, and they share four children.

Claudia Wells – Jennifer Parker

Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images

Now, Back to the Future fans would have noticed the movie cast a different actress as Jennifer in the second and third sequel. There was no drama behind the decision, it was actually because Wells’ revealed her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was her breakthrough role, and it promised a bright future in Hollywood. However, Wells took a break from acting to nurse her mother in her final months.

“Life was very, very difficult and stressful,” she said, according to The Sun. “I just didn’t have it in me to do anything but deal with the stress and the emotions that were going on as a result of my mum being in the process of dying.” 

“I just wasn’t in a place to be able to think about my career or the film or anything other than what I was doing with my own life.”

She returned to acting in 2008 and played Jennifer in the Back to the Future video games. Wells also manages an LA designer menswear store called Armani Wells. The store first opened in 1991, a few years after the first film of the franchise came out.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Lottie O'Neill is GRV Media's Head of Audience. After studying BA in Film and Media, Lottie obtained a MA in Journalism at the University of Sunderland and Gold Standard NCTJ with 120 wpm shorthand. In 2017, she was chosen as the student journalist rep for the UK by the EU to report on the Union's Regions and Cities week in Brussels. After walking the beat at her local paper, EssexLive, she worked as a senior reporter before joining the quirky news team at The Daily Star. She managed the national desks of Showbiz and News overnight. In 2022, Lottie joined GRV Media to work on their continuing expanding coverage and readership across their extensive entertainment websites.