The Only Major Actors Still Alive From The Cry Baby Killer

Legendary producer and director Roger Corman, who died recently at age 98, had an immeasurable impact on American cinema as we know it. The number of actors, writers, and directors who learned their craft on a Corman production is staggering, and he was known for giving people chances to prove themselves on the low-budget pictures he either produced or directed himself. Tons of notable names went through the so-called "Corman school," including James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, and Joe Dante, just to name a few.

Three-time Oscar-winning actor Jack Nicholson is another significant alumnus of the Corman school of filmmaking — in fact, his very first movie, "The Cry Baby Killer," was a Corman production, and it provided Nicholson the first of many starring roles across his incredible career. The film follows a young man who thinks he's committed murder outside of a local hang-out restaurant, so he takes hostages in a nearby store room and tension builds as he scrambles to figure out his next move. (It also features a theme song performed by Dick Kallman that will get stuck in your head and drive you to the brink of insanity. Listen at your own peril!)

As of today, there are only three major actors still alive from "The Cry Baby Killer," so let's take a look at what they've been up to since the movie came out in 1958.

Jack Nicholson (Jimmy Wallace)

Jack Nicholson would eventually become, by several orders of magnitude, the most famous person from "The Cry Baby Killer" cast. But in 1958, producer Roger Corman gave him a shot to headline his first movie. In the years that followed, he reunited with Corman on several other films, including the original "Little Shop of Horrors" (which may still be getting a remake from Joe Dante) and 1963's "The Raven," which was an inspiration for the wizard battle between Doctor Strange and Thanos in "Avengers: Infinity War." The two also worked together on 1963's "The Terror," which serves as Nicholson's first directing credit (although he was only one of a revolving door of directors on that project), as well as 1967's LSD movie "The Trip," which Nicholson wrote and Corman directed. The burgeoning multi-hyphenate would go on to write, produce, and direct a handful of other projects over the years, but it's clear the experience he gained while working under Corman was invaluable.

A couple of years later, in 1969, Nicholson starred in "Easy Rider," which turned him into a mega star and supercharged his career. "Five Easy Pieces," "The Last Detail," "Chinatown," "The Shining," and many more classics followed, with the actor developing a larger than life off-screen persona and becoming a courtside staple at Los Angeles Lakers basketball games, as well as a regular fixture in the audience of Academy Awards ceremonies. He eventually won three Oscars, for his work in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Terms of Endearment," and "As Good As It Gets," and he unofficially retired from acting in 2010 after completing work on the James L. Brooks dramedy "How Do You Know." He flirted with returning to the big screen in a remake of "Toni Erdmann" a few years ago, but nothing ever came of it, and since he appears to be enjoying his time away from the camera so much, there's no indication he'll ever star in a film again.

Brett Halsey (Manny Cole)

After starring in tons of popular television shows, Brett Halsey was cast as Manny Cole in "The Cry Baby Killer." Manny is the villain of the story, a tough punk (seen in the right half of the image above) who rules the teen crowd with an iron fist but who is so cowardly that he has a few of his underlings hold Nicholson's Jimmy Wallace while Manny beats him up in an alleyway. In a rematch of the brawl, this time taking place in the restaurant parking lot, Jimmy gets his hands on a gun and during a scuffle with Manny and his goons, the gun goes off, convincing Jimmy that he's actually killed Manny. Manny is carted away to the hospital, and it seems as if he's going to recover, but the confrontation causes Jimmy to take hostages, effectively kickstarting the main action of the movie.

As for Halsey, he continued to work in B-movies for years and even starred in several European productions, occasionally using the name Montgomery Ford. He returned to Hollywood and worked consistently on television, popping up on everything from "Columbo" to "The Young and the Restless" to "The Love Boat" to "The Dukes of Hazzard." In 1990, he played Douglas Michelson in the underrated "The Godfather Part III," and a few years later, lent his voice to "X-Men: The Animated Series" as Dr. Bolivar Trask. Off-screen, Halsey served as a professor of film studies at the University of Costa Rica's School of the Dramatic Arts from 1996 until 2004, and he's also written seven novels. His last produced credit is a low-budget 2015 action film called "Risk Factor," but according to his website, he's currently working on a short film called "Twilight Zone" that he wrote and plans to direct, and he also says he received an offer to star in a film called "Spectre of Evil" that will be filming later in 2024.

Mitzi McCall (Evelyn)

In "The Cry Baby Killer," Mitzi McCall plays Evelyn, who previously had a romantic fling with Manny but who's subsequently been pushed to the side in favor of a new girl named Carole (Carolyn Mitchell). Evelyn is a sad, tragic character, and McCall plays her with a desperation that speaks volumes about a character who doesn't have a ton of dialogue.

Immediately after appearing in this movie, McCall popped up as a waitress in an episode of Rod Serling's sci-fi classic series "The Twilight Zone," and not long after that, she formed a comedy duo known as McCall and Brill with her eventual husband, Charlie Brill. (The pair have been married since 1960.) McCall and Brill happened to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show the same night that The Beatles made their U.S. television debut, giving them a front-row seat to one of the most culturally significant moments in entertainment history.

That same year, McCall began writing for television, eventually getting scripts produced for "Eight is Enough," "One Day at a Time," "ALF," "Charles in Charge," and more.

If that weren't enough, McCall went on to become an in-demand voice actor, lending her vocal talents to things like "Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo," "Snorks," "TaleSpin," "Darkwing Duck," "Bobby's World," "Hey Arnold!", "Ice Age," and even Guillermo del Toro's "Crimson Peak," which is her most recent credit. Additionally, she has live-action acting credits on "Roseanne," "Seinfeld," "Ellen," "Caroline in the City," "Becker," "7th Heaven," "Hannah Montana," and "Chuck."