Whether you love movies that carry a powerful message, or you just love Edward Norton, you’ve watched American History X for one reason or another. Almost 25 years later, the movie about racism and redemption is just as significant now as the day it came out. The movie helped launch certain actors into the spotlight and brought a resurgence to others’ careers. We’ll check out how the actors moved on after American History X.
What was American History X about?
Brothers Derek and Danny, played by Edward Norton and Eddie Furlong, are neo-Nazi skinheads who want to further the white power movement. Though once Derek spends time in jail and is befriended by a Black inmate named Lemont, he learns that maybe his Aryan Brotherhood ways aren’t the best ways, and comes out the other side wanting to show his little brother how wrong they’ve been.
Not to spoil the ending (because you should have seen it a few times by now) but while Derek was able to change his ways, the cost of his journey to do so was pretty high.
A movie like American History doesn’t come around often, and when it does, it makes a huge impact. The critics were mostly unanimous in praising the movie and Norton’s performance. Norton was a shoo-in for the Oscar win and his surprising loss is still on lists of the biggest Oscar upsets in history.
Norton’s loss aside, the movie was nominated over a dozen times for various awards, with Norton taking home four wins across the categories.
With an estimated budget of $20 million, the film grossed just under $24 million, which technically is a box office flop money-wise. The cult following and longevity of the movie say otherwise.
Edward Norton as ‘Derek’
Though we could write an extended essay on the acting powerhouse that is Edward Norton, we only have time to hit some highlights. Since breaking out in 1996s Primal Fear, Norton has been unstoppable on the big screen. American History X may have only been his fifth feature film, but it is still one of his most well-known roles.
Since his time playing the neo-Nazi-turned-doing-his-best-big-brother Derek Vinyard, Norton has maintained his A-list status in movies like Fight Club, Moonrise Kingdom, The Bourne Legacy, and Birdman.
But it’s his off-the-beaten-path roles that we love the most. Make sure you add movies like Death to Smoochy (with the late but always great Robin Williams), 25th Hour, and The French Dispatch to your must-watch list. Norton has two movies coming out soon with Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery dropping in 2022 and Asteroid City currently in post.
Edward Furlong as ‘Danny’
We all know Eddie Furlong from him first appearance on screen in the action movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but his role in American History X as Danny Vinyard is another one to watch. After playing Edward Norton’s little brother in the critically acclaimed movie he went on to star mostly in horror/thriller movies like Cruel World, The Visitation, and Below Zero to name a few. On the small screen Furlong was in a handful of episodes of CSI: NY and a few episodes of Star Trek: Renegades.
(photo: Global Implant Dentistry)
After some trouble with the law and after overcoming a drug addiction, Furlong seems to be getting back on track and regaining his acting groove. He has three projects in post-production with one more just announced. We hope he keeps up with his health, so we see more of his acting in the future.
Beverly D’Angelo as ‘Doris’
Beverly D’Angelo showed her range in American History X as Doris Vinyard, a far cry from her time being our favorite mom in the National Lampoon movies.
After this more serious role, D’Angelo went back to her comedy roots in movies like The House Bunny, Accidental Love, and The Unicorn, not to mention her time on amazing shows like Entourage and Law & Order: SVU.
Beverly will appear in the Christmas-themed movie Violent Night in December of 2022. She also has one more movie completed but not yet released, one in post-production, and two in pre-production, so it’s safe to say we’ll see on her screen for at least a few more years.
Jennifer Lien as ‘Davina’
Playing the baby sister to Derek and Danny, actress Jennifer Lien portrayed Davina Vinyard in the movie American History X while she was still in the middle of her role on Star Trek: Voyager.
Unfortunately, Jennifer only went on to act until 2001. She has since become a nutritionist, but had a bit of a problem with the law from 2015 to 2018, and has stayed away from any spotlight since.
Ethan Suplee as ‘Seth’
Ethan Suplee had already appeared in cult classics like Mallrats and Chasing Amy by the time he played Seth Ryan in American History X. After this mega-hit, Suplee kept his streak going with movies such as Dogma, Remember the Titans, Blow, The Butterfly Effect, and Wolf of Wallstreet.
Suplee has also been on the small screen in dozens of guest spots as well as a main role in the popular show My Name is Earl. Ethan has two projects in post-production for 2022 and will be reprising his role as William in Twilight of the Mallrats, which is in pre-production.
Fairuza Balk as ‘Stacey’
Our favorite crafty actress Fairuza Balk portrayed Danny’s girlfriend-turned-ex in American History X. Used to playing characters a little out there, Fairuza definitely brought color to the role. That same year she shocked us with her comedy chops by popping up in Adam Sandler’s The Waterboy.
Though she hasn’t appeared in a lot of big blockbusters since, with the most notable being Almost Famous and Deuces Wild, Fairuza has been on the small screen in hits like Ray Donovan and Paradise City, making a guest appearance as our favorite crazy witch Nancy in the reboot The Craft: Legacy.
Avery Brooks as ‘Sweeney’
Avery Brooks had two successful TV shows wrapped before he played Dr. Bob Sweeney in American History X. Brooks also went on to command, and then captain, his own crew in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where he also directed and performed songs for various episodes.
Since then he’s mostly been in the documentary world, with his last one in 2020. His last actual feature film was 15 Minutes in 2001. Not retired, though not represented, Mr. Brooks said he would jump back in his acting shoes if called upon.
Guy Torry as ‘Lamont’
While his first movie role in the Wayans comedy Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood may not have shown his more serious acting abilities (though we loved it), Guy Torry’s performance as Lamont in American History X sure did.
From blockbusters like Pearl Harbor to amazing under-the-radar thrillers like Don’t Say a Word, Torry’s acting career has been consistent since then. He currently has a rom-com Christmas-themed movie, Hope Street Holiday, in post-production.
Elliott Gould as ‘Murray’
Yes, yes, we all know Elliot Gould only as Jack Gellar from Friends, but we saw a different side of him as Murray in American History X.
Has he been acting since then? Uh, you could say that. With a filmography too long to list and spanning seven decades, Mr. Gould is also well-known as Reuben Tishkoff in the Ocean’s franchise for the adults, and as Mr. Stoppable in the Kim Possible series for the kids.
His role as Ezra Goodman in Ray Donovan is also one to watch. Now in his 80s, he still pops in shows here and there, like The Kominsky Method, and 2022s The Lincoln Lawyer.
Stacy Keach as ‘Cameron’
With an impressive filmography himself (seriously, we should do a showdown between him and Elliot Gould) Stacy Keach had been on screen for about three decades before playing Cameron Alexander in American History X. Known for roles in shows like Titus, Prison Break, Lights Out, The Simpsons, NCIS: New Orleans, and Man with a Plan (to name a few), it’s safe to say you’ve seen him on screen pretty regularly.
Most recently on the Tom Selleck smash Blue Bloods, Keach is filming the movie Buckle Up, and has no fewer than three projects in pre-production. Not bad for a man of a young 81 years old.
William Russ as ‘Dennis’
William Russ is no stranger to playing that dad role, as we all know his best as Mr. Matthews on Boy Meets World. Portraying the small but pivotal role of Danny and Derek’s father, Dennis, in American History X, Russ went on to pop up in shows like Dragnet, CSI: NY, and Boston Legal, before grabbing a steady role on the daytime staple The Young and the Restless from 2009 to 2010.
More recent roles for Russ include guest spots on shows like Bosch and 9-1-1, with the final season of the drama Animal Kingdom in 2022 being his last project on the books.