Austin O’Brien is best known as the leading actor (alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger) in the action movie Last Action Hero, which came out in 1993 when Austin was only 12 years old.
It does not appear that Austin has acted in some time, and has largely been out of the public eye. So, whatever happened to Austin O’Brien from Last Action Hero?
Austin O’Brien hails from Oregon, which isn’t necessarily a hotbed of child acting stars. Nevertheless, he eventually made his way from Eugene, Oregon to the bright lights of Hollywood.
As a young child, Austin gained some fame from a Circuit City commercial. If you’re too young to remember Circuit City, it was a “Best Buy”-type store. In the ad, Austin played a kid who says “Cool” to the store employee when he finds out he saved money.
His presence in front of a camera must have helped Austin make his into acting, as he appeared in The Lawnmower Man as Peter Parkette in 1992 at only 11 years old.
The following year would see the release of Last Action Hero, the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle that brought him into the spotlight.
The Last Action Hero
The action movie Last Action Hero, directed by John McTiernan of Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October Fame, was projected to perform well as it featured Arnold Schwarzenegger in the midst of his acting fame peak.
The movie faced some tough competition that year, however, with competing action films such as Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, the Tom Hanks movies Philadelphia and Sleepless in Seattle, and other hits such as Mrs. Doubtfire and The Pelican Brief. All in all, it was a heck of a year for movies.
Anyway, back to Last Action Hero. Despite it being a box office flop, making $137 million on an $85 million budget, it wasn’t disastrous.
Plus, the film has come to gain cult status in recent years. Arnold Schwarzenegger even recently acknowledged the film, saying that it was one of his most underrated roles and saying that people really enjoy it, something he can tell from the residuals he’s been getting in recent years.
In any case, Austin O’Brien starred in Last Action Hero as Danny, a ten-year-old boy living in New York City with his widowed mother. After his father’s death, Danny enjoys watching movies featuring an LA cop. Danny gets magically transported into the fictional world of the movie, where he gets to spend time alongside this LA cop, Jack Slater, who is played by Schwarzenegger, of course.
Ultimately, Last Action Hero is a fun but fairly silly movie with a fantastical plot. It’s not difficult to see why it had trouble competing with some of those other huge films from 1993.
After Last Action Hero
While Last Action Hero was Austin O’Brien’s biggest role, it didn’t necessarily lead to a long and prosperous acting career.
He did followed it up with some notable roles in The Babysitters Club, My Girl 2 and Apollo 13, but his movie career fizzled out and he ventured into television where he found limited success.
He appeared in an episode of ER in 1995, had a recurring role in the TV series Touched by an Angel (1996-1998), and appeared in 69 episodes of the spinoff Promised Land (1996-1999).
After the 1990s, however, Austin’s roles became fewer and farther between. Apart from a guest role on one episode of the TV series Bones in 2008, Austin has not been in anything too notable.
His last acting credit comes from All Our Yesterdays, a short film released in 2015.
What Is Austin O’Brien Doing Now?
Following his acting success in the 1990s, Austin has switched gears, retiring from acting and focusing on his career in user experience product design (UX) and photography. Now in his 40s, he currently works at the Great American Insurance Group and has been with the company since December 2022, according to his Linkedin.
Prior to being a UX product designer, O’Brien focused his efforts on being a professional photographer. According to his Instagram page, @aobrienphotography, O’Brien specialized in weddings in the Chicago area. He has many creative shots in famous Chicago locations, including Fulton Market, Grant Park, the Wrigley Building, and more.
When it comes to his personal life, Austin has been married to Kristin Wurgler since 2006, and they share one child. Not much else is known, as Austin would seem to maintain relative privacy as he focuses on his professional career.