What the Stars of Little Giants Are Up to Now

Ed O'Neill, Rick Moranis and Devon Sawa all starred in the 1994 comedy about a ragtag football team that has gone on to become a cult classic.

By Tierney Bricker Oct 14, 2020 10:00 AMTags
Watch: "Little Giants" Turns 26: E! News Rewind

The little Giants aren't so little anymore.

Though it was considered a box office disappointment after its release in October 1994, Little Giants has gone on to become a cult classic in the 26 years since.

Intended to be the Bad News Bears or Mighty Ducks for football, the comedy found Ed O'Neill and Rick Moranis starring as polar opposite brothers facing off against one another with their respective pee-wee teams, the fiercely talented Cowboys and the Giants, an underdog team of misfits. (We'll give you one guess as to which team ends up winning the big game in the end.)

The feel-good movie helped cement Devon Sawa's status as the ultimate '90s heartthrob and its lead, Becky "Ice Box" O'Shea, played by Shawna Maldron, became an inspiration to young girls. 

The Little Rascals: Then and Now

After pulling off the Annexation of Puerto Rico, here's what the cast of Little Giants is up to 26 years later...

Ed O'Neill

Ah, Kevin O'Shea, the hometown hero of Urbania, Ohio, thanks to winning the Heisman Trophy in his heyday. To play the tough head coach of the Cowboys, the producers tapped the Married With Children star, who had become one of the most successful actors on TV thanks to his iconic turn as Al Bundy. (Fun fact: he once almost played professional football after he was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969, but was ultimately released.) 

After Married With Children ended its 10-year run in 1997, O'Neill once again found TV success on ABC's Modern Family, playing the patriarch of the Pritchett clan, Jay, opposite Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell. O'Neill has earned three Emmy nominations for his work on Modern Family, which ended its 10-year run in 2020. 

Married to Catherine Rusoff since 1986, the couple have two children together. 

Rick Moranis

Moranis was one of the most in-demand comedy actors in Hollywood when he snagged the role of the little O'Shea brother and head coach of the Giants, thanks to his turns in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids film franchise, Ghostbusters II, Little Shop of Horrors, Parenthood and Spaceballs

After leading the Giants to a surprise victory, Moranis, 67, mostly went on to provide voice work in animated series, leaving Hollywood behind to focus on his two kids following the death of his wife, Ann Belsky

And after a 23-year hiatus from acting, Moranis will reprise his role from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in Disney's reboot of the beloved film. He is also set to make an appearance in Netflix's reunion documentary An Afternoon with SCTV, which will bring together members of the Second City TV comedy troupe, directed by Martin Scorsese.

Devon Sawa

Thanks to his turns in Casper (as the human version of the friendly ghost), Now & Then and Little Giants, as new kid in town-turned-QB Junior Floyd, Sawa was one of the '90s ultimate teen heartthrobs, going on to star in hits like Final Destination and Idle Hands. But Junior was initially set to be played by another teen heartthrob: Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Still, with Spielberg in his corner, Sawa landed the role, even though, at age 15, he was several years older than the rest of the cast. 

Of course, Devon, 42, also infamously played the title role in Eminem's "Stan" music video, and in 2010, he joined the cast of The CW's Nikita.

Sawa and his wife Dawni Sawa, who have been married for six years, have two children and he made headlines in 2019 for a faux-feud with fellow '90s idol Macaulay Culkin that the Internet became obsessed with. It remains to be seen if he can still throw a perfect spiral with a roll of toilet paper. 

Shawna Maldron

Fact: Icebox is one of the most underrated female characters from the '90s. Maldron played the tomboy Becky (but call her Icebox, obviously!), whose dad starts the Giants after her Uncle Kevin won't let her play on the Cowboys because she's a girl...even though she's one of the best players.

"I think the message was really strong with little girls, and it really means a lot to me when I hear things from people that affected them," Maldron told ESPN of the response she's received from young girls.

After winning the big game (and landing the guy), the actress' next high-profile role was playing Michael Douglas' daughter in the movie The American President before she went on to star on the TV series Ladies Man.

Since then, Maldron, 38, starred in 2008's Poison Ivy: The Secret Society and appeared in several horror films, though she's still known for her turn as Ice Box. 

"I thought it would fade into obscurity, but it just kind of stuck around," she told ESPN.

Alexa PenaVega

Before she was a Spy Kid, PenaVega played O'Neill's youngest daughter Priscilla, who memorably said a blessing for the following at a family dinner: "God bless family, friends, flowers, Nickelodeon, fuzzy little kittens, Pez, Mr. Lerenzo, the school janitor 'cause he's so hairy."

After becoming a child star with her breakout role in the Spy Kids franchise, PenaVega married Carlos PenaVega in 2014 and the two competed against each other on Dancing With the Stars before going on to star in Hallmark Channel Original Movies, together and separately. 

Alexa, 31, and Carlos have two sons together, and recently teamed up for a new Nickelodeon animated series, The Casagrandes

Sam Horrigan

"Spike's in hell. Spike's in pee wee hell!" Oh, Spike, the scary pre-teen who was recruited to the Cowboys from the Giants was played by Horrigan, who went on to star in the TV series Grace Under Fire after hanging up his jersey.

Since then, the now-39-year-old popped up on TV shows like One Tree Hill, Desperate Housewives, Veronica Mars and True Blood, and made a few appearances on Nickelodeon's School of Rock TV series. 

Jon Paul Steuer

Who can forget Johnny Vennaro running straight into his dad's open arms in the end zone to score a TD in the big game, one of the film's most heartwarming moments? The Star Trek vet also went on to star on Grace Under Fire, appearing in 73 episodes of the TV series until 1996 when he retired from acting and former Giants co-star Sam Horrigan took over his role.

He then turned his focus to music, going by the stage name Jonny P. Jewels and fronting Soda Pop Kids, a glam-punk band. In 2018, Steuer died at the age of 33 in Portland, with his death being ruled a suicide

"The addition of Jonny to our dysfunctional band family was one of the best choices that we have ever made, and he brought a much needed sense of fun and lightheartedness to everything we did," a note from his then-band P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. wrote on their Facebook page after his death.

Courtney Peldon

Peldon proudly cheered on both teams, pom-poms in hand, as a cheerleader and Kevin's oldest daughter/Ice Box's cousin who briefly catches the attention of Junior. (Ugh, boys.) 

After her cheerleading days ended, Peldon, 39, made the TV rounds, guest-starring as Jonathan Taylor Thomas' love interest on Home Improvement after co-starring alongside him in Tom and Huck, as well as making appearances on The Steve Harvey Show, Nash Bridges, Boston Public and Entourage, though her last role was in 2015's Star Trek: Renegades.

In 2015, she married Brian Calicchia and the couple has one child together. Peldon is the head of theatrical at the Aqua Talent Agency.

Susanna Thompson

Junior's mother Patty, who catches the interest of Danny O'Shea, was played by Thompson, who would go on to play the iconic Borg Queen on Star Trek: Voyager in the late '90s. A TV veteran, Susanna has appeared on Once and AgainNCIS, Timeless and, most notably, starred as Moira Queen, Oliver Queen's (Stephen Amell) mother on the CW's Arrow.

Marcus Toji

A member of the Little Giants team, Toji left football behind to make appearances on seemingly every popular show in the '90s and early '00s: Boy Meets World, Zoey 101, Party of Five, Hey Arnold! and The West Wing.

In addition to providing a lot of voice work to animated projects, the 36-year-old appeared in History Channel's The Terror.

"We were a bunch of tweens hanging out together all summer, so of course there was a lot of camaraderie," he said of filming the movie in a 2013 interview. "I think once it went into Lord of the Flies territory while enjoying a role-playing game under the bleachers, but luckily we had to go to set."

Toji remained close with Todd Bosley, who played Little Giant player Jake Berman, with Bosley even giving a toast at Toji' wedding.