Back in the day, Zach Galligan’s problems could be avoided by following three simple rules: 1. No water, 2. No food after midnight and 3. No bright lights.

Today, the Gremlins actor says his worries involve whether or not he’ll get another job in Hollywood.

More than 30 years after the iconic film launched him to super-stardom, the now 50-year-old actor is opening up and sharing his regrets about pursuing higher education rather than chasing a career in Tinseltown.

zach galligan

Zach now credits his real-life crush on costar Phoebe Cates for helping him nab the role. (Courtesy of Getty)

“After ‘Gremlins’ came out I should have packed up everything, moved to Los Angeles from New York and dedicated myself to being a full-time film actor. I had the world at my feet,” he says now.

“But the other side of the coin is I could have moved to LA, made three or four more movies, become a household name and wrapped myself around a tree when I was 23. I would have been dead by now.”

After the film — at his parents’ urging — he went on to study history at Columbia University. He says he tried to return to Hollywood after school — but it wasn’t easy to adjust.


“Three years is a lifetime in Hollywood. If your career starts slipping in LA, you can really feel it. All of a sudden the people that you were beating for a part start beating you,” he says.

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“Before ‘Gremlins’ I was a normal person, then within two weeks of the movie coming out I couldn’t walk into a store without people turning around and staring. It’s exciting and also scary because everyone starts telling you how amazing you are.

“Then when the fame starts to go away you ask yourself, ‘What happened? I thought I was this special thing?’ And it’s very weird because your identity shifts and you’re a normal person again. It can be very difficult and a lot of young people just can’t take it.”

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