From “A Christmas Story” to The Break-Up

From “A Christmas Story” to The Break-Up

Who is Peter Billingsley?

American actor and movie-maker Peter Billingsley, also known as Peter Michaelsen, was born in New York City, USA, on 16 April 1971, making Aries his zodiac sign. He’s appeared in 38 and has produced 26 movies and TV series, but is perhaps still known best for playing the lead character Ralphie Parker in the 1983 family comedy movie “A Christmas Story”, which also starred Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon, and was written and directed by Bob Clark. It follows young boy Ralphie Parker who’s trying to convince his family and friends, as well as Santa Claus, to buy him a Red Ryder Range 200 Shot BB gun for Christmas; the movie won three of its 14 award nominations.

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Education and early life

Peter was raised alongside his four siblings in New York City, by their mother Gail who was a housewife, and who also worked as a secretary for their father Alwin Michaelsen who was a financial consultant.

Peter and his siblings all launched their acting careers at a very early age; he was seven when he made his debut film appearance, playing Child at Christmas Party in the 1978 romantic movie “If I Ever See You Again”. Peter studied at several schools, including New York City’s Professional Children’s School and Longview Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona; he was 14 when he passed his California High School Proficiency Exam; Peter hasn’t attended college.

Roles in movies

In 1980, Peter starred as Messy Marvin in the short comedy “Hershey’s Syrup: Messy Marvin”, and the following year saw him appear in both the action comedy “Honky Tonk Freeway” and the romantic comedy “Paternity”.

In 1982, he played Billy in the crime horror “Death Valley”, directed by Dick Richards, and which starred Paul Le Mat, Catherine Hicks and Stephen McHattie. It follows a boy who’s embarked on a road trip together with his mother and stepfather, but they’ve now run into a serial killer in the Death Valley. Some of Peter’s notable performances in the remainder of the ‘80s were in the 1984 family comedy “The Hoboken Chicken Emergency”, the 1985 family fantasy comedy “The Dirt Bike Kid”, and the 1989 comedy “Beverly Hills Brats”.

The year 1993 saw him star as Nick in the science fiction “Arcade”, directed by Albert Pyun, and which also starred Megan Ward and John de Lancie; it follows a group of teenagers as they’re playing a virtual reality game. Peter had only a couple of other roles in the ‘90s, in movies such as the 1994 short science fiction “The Sacred Fire”, the 1995 comedy “Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare” and the 2000 comedy “Who’s Watching Who?”

He appeared in several hit movies in the 2000s, starting with the 2003 adventure family comedy “Elf”, which starred Bob Newhart, James Caan and Will Ferrell, and was directed by Jon Favreau. It follows the life of an oversized elf, and the movie won two of its nine award nominations. Peter was then cast to play Andrew in the 2006 romantic comedy “The Break-Up”, which won three of its eight award nominations, and William Ginter Riva in the 2008 action science fiction adventure “Iron Man”, which won 22 of its 95 award nominations, including two Oscar nominations for Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Visual Effects.

He appeared in only two movies in the 2010s, including his portrayal of Willian Ginter Riva in the 2019 action adventure comedy “Spider-Man: Far from Home”, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson and Tom Holland, and was directed by Jon Watts. It follows Spiderman as he’s taking on new threats, and the movie won 11 of its 37 award nominations.

Peter’s since appeared in only a single movie: the 2022 family comedy “A Christmas Story Christmas”.

Roles in TV series

Peter’s debut TV series role was playing Gideon Hale in the 1982 episode “No Beast So Fierce” of the romantic family drama “Little House on the Prairie”, and the same year saw him play Markie Potter in the episode “From the Mouths of Babes” of the crime drama “McClain’s Law”.

The year 1985 saw him play Ridley in two episodes of the popular fantasy “Highway to Heaven”, created by Michael Landon, who also starred in it, alongside Victor French and James Troesh. It follows an angel who’s been sent to Earth, the series aired from 1984 through 1989 and won three of its 23 award nominations. The remainder of the ’80s saw Peter appear in an episode of the family comedies “Tall Tales & Legends” and “Punky Brewster”.

In 1996 and 1997, he played Billy Baker in the comedy “Sherman Oaks”, which starred Heather Elizabeth Parkhurst and Tyler Bearde, and was created by Chris Bearde; the series follows the lives of a plastic surgeon and his family. Peter appeared in only three other TV series in the ‘90s: the family comedy “The Wonder Years”, the adventure comedy “CBS Schoolbreak Special” and the action crime comedy “L. A. Heat”.

He’s since had only a single role, appearing in a 2022 episode of “Geek Girls Universe Podcast”.

Other credits

Peter’s received five special thanks, including for the 2004 drama movie “Mysterious Skin”, the 2006 romantic film “Come Early Morning” and the 2017 crime action movie “Brawl in Cell Block”.

Some of his most recent producing work has been all 44 episodes of the animated comedy series “F Is for Family”, which aired from 2015 through 2021, the 2022 romantic comedy movie “Christmas with the Campbells” and in the same year the family comedy film “A Christmas Story Christmas”.

Peter’s three most recent talk-show appearances have been in “A Cinematic Journey”, “Entertainment Tonight” and “CBS Mornings”.

Awards and nominations

Peter’s won one of his seven award nominations: a 1987 Young Artist Award for Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor Starring in a Feature Film, for “The Dirk Bike Kid”.

He was also nominated for a 1981 The Stinkers Bad Movie Award for Worst Performance by a Child in a Featured Role, for “Honky Tonk Freeway”, a 1995 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Special, for “CBS Schoolbreak Special” and a 2005 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Series for “Dinner for Five”.

Love life and marriage

Peter’s not open when it comes to sharing the details of his love life with the public, but it’s known that the popular actor’s been married for close to a decade now, and that he’s a father of two.

He and American non-celebrity Elizabeth ‘Buffy’ Bains exchanged vows in 2015; not many details have been disclosed about Elizabeth as she enjoys her privacy, and her profession thus remains undisclosed. She gave birth to their daughter in 2017, and their son followed in 2020; the names and exact birthdates of Peter and Elizabeth’s children haven’t been revealed.

He’s yet to speak of other women whom he’s dated, Peter’s married to Elizabeth ‘Buffy’ Bains as of May 2023, and they have two children together.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Peter’s sister Melissa Michaelsen appeared in 11 movies and TV series prior to retiring from acting in 1991, while his brother Neil Billingsley retired with five acting credits in 1988.

VH1 ranked Peter #63 on their 2005 list ‘100 Greatest Kid Stars’.

Peter wrote the introduction for his friend Brian Evans’ 1994 autobiography “Dreamer”.

One of his best friends is American actor and screenwriter Vince Vaughn; the two starred alongside in the 1990 episode “The Fourth Man” of the series “CBS Schoolbreak Special”.

Peter’s followed by over 3,000 people on Instagram, as he’s posted only three pictures onto the network.

One of his favorite actors is Sean Penn, while some of his favorite movies include “Dead Man Walking”, “I Am Sam” and “Mystic River”.

Height, eyes and wealth

Peter’s age is 52. He has blue eyes and brown hair, is 5ft 9ins (1.77m) tall and weighs around 170lbs (78kgs).

Peter’s net worth’s been estimated at over $12 million, as of May 2023.

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