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Ralphie All Grown Up: A Christmas Story's Child Star Opens Up

December 20, 2013

Peter Billingsley, now 42, is a top Hollywood director who has worked on films including Iron Man, The Break-Up and Couples Retreat

He says starring in 1983 film A Christmas Story was 'a very odd, gradual fame... It didn't hold me back, and it didn't propel me'

Peter Billingsley has opened up about why he never felt forcibly propelled into adulthood like many child actors, despite starring in A Christmas Story as Ralphie Parker at the tender age of 12.

The former actor, now a 42-year-old director, told BuzzFeed that two important factors kept him grounded during his childhood: living away from the hubbub of Los Angeles, and the slow, gradual success of the 1983 movie.

'I mean, now you can get famous instantly overnight from some YouTube craziness that you don’t want,' he said. By contrast, A Christmas Story 'was just a very odd, gradual fame. . . For better or worse, it didn't hold me back, and it didn't propel me.'

He added that his supportive parents, who saw his acting as more of a hobby than a career, shielded him from the tragic fate of many young actors.

'I had brothers and sisters and did chores and had to pick up the dog crap in the yard and mow the lawn and do all the normal things that kids have to do,' he said of growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, instead of Los Angeles. Read More