"Bueller? ... Bueller? ... Bueller?"
"Life moves pretty fast," says Ferris Bueller, Matthew Broderick's most iconic character. "If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Of course, it only speeds up as you get older. Here, for Broderick's 56th birthday, are 15 cool facts.
He Beat Out Some Big Names When He Was Cast as Ferris
The competition for the title role in 1986's "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was stiff. The stars who auditioned for the part included Rob Lowe, Johnny Depp, Jim Carrey, John Cusack, Michael J. Fox and Tom Cruise.
He Dated His Onscreen Sister
Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey played brother and sister in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," but they embarked on a different kind of relationship while the teen comedy was in production. By the time the movie was released in 1986 (a year before Grey's breakout role in "Dirty Dancing"), they were secretly engaged to be married. Broderick was 24; Grey, 26.
Their Affair Surfaced After a Tragedy
Broderick and Grey were vacationing in Ireland in 1987 when they were involved in a head-on car crash that killed a mother and her daughter in the other car. The young stars suffered minor injuries in the headline-making accident, which was the first public revelation of their relationship. Broderick faced prison time, but was convicted of only minor charges and paid a small fine.
Ferris Bueller Took Another Day Off for Honda
In February 2012, Broderick reprised his role as Ferris Bueller in a Super Bowl commercial for the carmaker. He wakes up, calls in sick to a film shoot and spends the day joyriding in a Honda CR-V. "Life moves pretty fast," goes the tagline. "If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." The ad did not amuse everyone. Martin Doherty, the son and brother of the two people killed in Broderick's 1987 car crash in Ireland, criticized the ad, saying that Broderick "wasn't the greatest choice of drivers, knowing his past."
He Crossed Paths With a Real-Life Mobster
While filming "The Freshman," Broderick went out on the town one night in New York with co-stars Bruno Kirby and Marlon Brando, who spoofed his role as Vito Corleone in the 1990 comedy. In his autobiography, Brando recalled how the three actors met Gambino family crime boss John Gotti at a restaurant—and had to make a quick exit when the movie godfather made a joke at the expense of the real one.
He Passed on “Family Ties”
Broderick auditioned for the role of Alex P. Keaton in the hit 1980s sitcom "Family Ties," but when offered the role turned it down. A lifelong New Yorker, Broderick didn't want to move to Los Angeles, where the show was filmed. Michael J. Fox won the role instead and went on to win three Emmys for portraying the lovable young Republican.
He Wanted to be a Science-Fiction Hero
Broderick was in the running for the lead role in the 1990 sci-fi blockbuster "Total Recall." Richard Dreyfuss and Jeff Bridges were also considered for the part, which was awarded to a very different kind of actor: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He Directed Just One Movie
In 1996, Broderick starred in and directed "Infinity," based on a true story about Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb during World War II. It was the 34-year-old actor's first job as a director—and he made it a family affair, working with a screenplay written by his mother, Patricia Broderick. The biographical drama, co-starring Patricia Arquette, received some positive reviews but flopped at the box office, grossing just $195,000 in the U.S.
He Saw Every Sunday as Mother's Day
For more than 20 years, Broderick had dinner every Sunday night with his mother, even after he became a married man. Patricia Broderick, a writer and painter, died at 78 at her Greenwich Village home in 2003.
He Once Got Top Billing Over Seinfeld
Broderick was walking with a friend when a fan stopped to ask if he would pose for a snapshot with his young daughter. When Broderick agreed, the fan asked the friend to please step off to the side while he took the photo. Somehow Broderick's admirer didn't notice that the friend was Jerry Seinfeld, who can be seen at the edge of the frame. Family members who saw the picture later ridiculed the photographer for not recognizing the comedian and sitcom star.
He's Nuts About Ping-Pong
Broderick plays table tennis every chance he gets. And he's"very competitive" about it, says his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker. Broderick even trained with ping-pong champ Marty Reisman (seen here) at his club in New York. Dustin Hoffman and other celebrities were also tutored by Reisman, who died in 2012.
He Loves His Irish Roots
Broderick spent childhood summers at his Irish Catholic family's home in County Donegal, Ireland. (His father was actor James Broderick, best known for his role as the patriarch in the 1970s TV drama "Family.") Matthew and wife Sarah Jessica Parker continue the family tradition to this day, returning to Donegal every year with their three children.
They Live Large in the Village
In 2016, Broderick and Parker bought two West Village townhouses with an eye toward turning them into one giant mega-mansion for the couple and their three kids. The combined red brick buildings total nearly 14,000 square feet inside, complemented by a 2,100-square-foot garden. The two townhouses set the couple back about $35 million, but renovations are expected to up their investment to at least $50 million.
Baseball Is a Fierce Family Affair
Like his friend Jerry Seinfeld, Broderick is a die-hard fan of the New York Mets. His wife's favorite team, however, is the crosstown rival New York Yankees. But their son James really stirs the pot by rooting for the one team that New York baseball fans love to hate: the Boston Red Sox.
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