The Bugsy Malone Cast: Then and Now

Tom Butler - do not use
Senior UK Writer

‘Bugsy Malone’, the movie musical beloved by drama teachers, was released in 1976 to positive reviews.

Sir Alan Parker’s sassy singalong cast a bunch of largely unknown youngsters (Jodie Foster aside) to play thinly veiled versions of infamous US gangsters and molls. The film itself, now considered a classic, was a bit of a flop upon release, failing to make a big impact at the US box office.

It fared much better with the critics though, and it went on to bag a handful of award nominations at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Oscars. Some of the cast went on to bigger and better things, while some disappeared into obscurity.

Lets find out who went to be anything that they wanted to be.

Scott Biao – Bugsy Malone

Brooklyn-born actor Baio made his movie debut in ‘Bugsy Malone’, a part he admits he wasn’t very interested in at the time. “I went to the city to meet with Alan Parker. I read it, but I just barely read it,” he told AV Club. "I didn’t even want to be there. He was English, but I didn’t even know what that was.”

He later went on to play Chachi, the Fonz’s heartthrob cousin, in ‘Happy Days’ and he even bagged his own short-lived spin-off ‘Joanie Loves Chachi’. More recently Baio has been seen in hit US comedy ‘Arrested Development’ as attorney Bob Loblaw, and in a number of VH1 reality shows.

Florrie Dugger – Blousey Brown

The American actress made her one and only film appearance in ‘Bugsy Malone’. She was living in the UK on a US Air Force base when ‘Bugsy’ was casting and was originally due to play a very minor role. That all changed when the starlet set to play Blousey had a sudden growth spurt and Dugger found her self taking centre stage.

She never acted again, instead she followed her family into the military and has enjoyed a 21-year career in the United States Air Force Medical Corps.

Jodie Foster – Tallulah

1976 was a breakthrough year for Jodie Foster with five films including ‘Bugsy Malone’, ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Freaky Friday’ being released. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar that year for ‘Taxi Driver’ and landed two BAFTAs for ‘Bugsy Malone’.

She’s one of the few child actors to successfully transition into an adult star winning two Oscars (for ‘The Accused’ and ‘Silence of the Lambs’) during her very successful career. More recently, the actress has turned to directing but her last film ‘The Beaver’, starring Mel Gibson and a glove puppet, was met with mixed reactions.

John Cassisi – Fat Sam

Legend has it John landed the role of gang boss Fat Sam when director Alan Parker visited his Brooklyn classroom. The film-maker asked the assembled children, “Who is the naughtiest boy in the class?”, and the whole class singled him out. He’s great in the film as the tough gangster, but he no longer works in the film industry.

He went to appear in a short-lived TV show ‘Fish’ about a New York cop who adopts five kids, but now he’s married with kids and works in construction in his native New York.

Martin Lev – Dandy Dan

Liverpool-born Martin started acting aged 16 in the NBC TV movie ‘The Day After Tomorrow’. He then landed the part of the dapper Dandy Dan in ‘Bugsy Malone’ and he puts in one of the film’s more memorable performances as Fat Sam’s rival, thanks to his drawn on mustache.

He later gave up acting and worked as a designer before becoming a trustee of Action for ME, a charity set up to raise awareness of the misunderstood disease. He later committed suicide in 1992 as a result of the illness. He was just 32.

Dexter Fletcher – Baby Face

British actor Dexter Fletcher’s first film part came in ‘Bugsy Malone’. He played the youthful (even for a film filled with tots) robber Baby Face who helps Bugsy to steal splurge guns for Fat Sam. Fletcher went on to become an accomplished child star with roles in ‘The Long Good Friday’ and ‘The Elephant Man’ before graduating into teen roles like ‘Press Gang’ on ITV.

As an adult actor he has appeared in ‘Band of Brothers’, ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ and ‘Kick-Ass’, and has recently moved into directing. He was due to helm the Freddie Mercury biopic but he recently departed the project over creative differences.

Bonnie Langford – Lena Merelli

Bonnie Langford won the UK talent show ‘Opportunity Knocks’ at the tender age of 6 in 1970 and made her film debut as the squeaky singer Lena Marelli in ‘Bugsy Malone’. She went on to appear in ‘Just William’ and a prime-time kids show ‘Junior Showtime’.

Her most famous TV role came in ‘Doctor Who’ playing spunky companion Melanie Bush opposite both Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor. Her appearance in 2006’s ‘Dancing on Ice’ has lead to a career revival and she’s now makes regular appearances in theatre musicals across the country.

Andrew Paul - O'Dreary

The London-born actor turned professional aged just 14 and made his film debut in ‘Bugsy Malone’ as copper O’Dreary the same year. He later appeared in the controversial borstal film ‘Scum’, and spent most of his youth touring with the RSC.

He’s best known as PC Dave Quinnan in ‘The Bill’, a role he played for 13 years. He also briefly appeared in ‘Eastenders’ as Maxwell Moon and ITV’s ‘Where The Heart Is’ and can now been seen in NBC’s ‘Dracula’.

Mark Curry – The Producer

Before Mark Curry landed the role of the theatre producer in ‘Bugsy Malone’ he had been a regular child performer on the pantomime scene. Coincidentally, he appeared in the 1972 TV panto ‘Babes In The Wood’ alongside fellow ‘Bugsy Malone’ alumni Bonnie Langford in 1972.

After his movie debut he moved into television presenting famously co-hosting ‘Blue Peter’ from 1986-89. Since then, Curry has appeared in numerous West End plays, and hosted a radio show ‘Curry For Breakfast’ on Talk Radio Europe.