How Old Every Griswold Family Member Is In National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (& How Their Actors Compare)


  • Chevy Chase was 46 when filming Christmas Vacation, but his character Clark Griswold is supposed to be in his early 40s. Chase’s infectious energy brings the film to life.
  • Ellen Griswold, played by Beverly D’Angelo, is around 40 in Christmas Vacation, despite D’Angelo being 38 during filming. Her sophisticated presence contrasts with her husband’s antics.
  • Juliette Lewis was 16 when filming Christmas Vacation, perfectly portraying the exasperated teenager Audrey Griswold. Her razor-sharp wit adds to the hilarity of the film.



National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a beloved holiday classic that features a multi-generational cast of characters centered around the Griswold family. Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) are hosting Christmas at their home, but no holiday would be complete without a few unexpected guests, a deranged squirrel, a burning Christmas tree, and a stampeding rottweiler. When Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his brood appear on Clark’s doorstep, not only do the Griswolds have to find extra space for his quirky extended family, but figure out how to handle Eddie’s idea of the perfect gift – Clark’s miserly boss in a red bow on his doorstep!

The National Lampoon’s Vacation movies were based on a short story entitled “Vacation ’58” that was written by John Hughes, and in both National Lampoon’s Vacation and National Lampoon’s European Vacation, the Griswold shenanigans don’t include all of the older members of the family. Due to the season’s penchant for bringing people together, it was a natural choice to include a few more unseen Griswolds, including Clark’s parents and his in-laws. Many of the actors were the same ages as the characters they played during filming, but some actors were a lot younger than the characters they played.

Clark Griswold Is Around 42 Years Old In Christmas Vacation

Chevy Chase Was 46 When Filming Christmas Vacation

At the time that National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was in production, Chevy Chase was 46 years old. Clark Griswold, on the other hand, is supposed to be in his early 40s based on the era of the home movies that he watches upstairs in the attic, as well as the ages of his children. Chase’s unbridled enthusiasm and ability to vacillate wildly between moods gives the film an infectious energy that never gets old.

Ellen Griswold Is Around 40 In Christmas Vacation

Beverly D’Angelo Was 38 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Beverly D’Angelo was 38 when production started, making her eight years younger than Chevy Chase. Due to the clothing and hairstyles of the late ’80s, Ellen Griswold looks sophisticated and mature despite the age discrepancy with her costar. Ellen is supposed to be around the same age as her husband Clark, which means that she would be around 40.

Audrey Griswold Is Around 16 In Christmas Vacation

Juliette Lewis Was 16 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Audrey standing outside in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

A teenager herself during production, Juliette Lewis was exactly the right age to portray Audrey Griswold, who was meant to be about 16. Exasperated at having very little agency in her family and being forced to share a bedroom with her younger brother Russ, Lewis adds a razor-sharp wit to the hysterics going on around her. Lewis replaced the actress who portrayed Audrey Griswold in the previous National Lampoon Vacation films, and was replaced herself in National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation.

Russell Griswold Is 14 In Christmas Vacation

Johnny Gallecki Was 14 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Rusty standing outside in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

The Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Gallecki was 14 when he filmed National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, which aligns with his character’s age. Like Juliette Lewis, he replaced the actor who played Russ in previous films in the franchise. Gallecki made an impish voice of reason and comedic straight man for Chase’s more hair-brained schemes.

Cousin Eddie Johnson Is Around 40 In Christmas Vacation

Randy Quaid Was 39 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Cousin Eddie is a few years younger than Clark Griswold, but he acts even less mature than his age, which is around 40. Randy Quaid was 39 when he played Cousin Eddie and completely stole the show. Though Cousin Eddie has been in four out of the seven films in the franchise, the surname of “Johnson” wasn’t included until the spin-off film devoted to the bawdy character entitled National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2.

RELATED: Christmas Vacation: 20 Best Cousin Eddie Quotes

Catherine Johnson Is 38 In Christmas Vacation

Miriam Flynn Was 38 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Catherine smiling in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Ellen’s sister Catherine, Eddie’s wife, is supposed to be around 38, which is the same age that Miriam Flynn was when filming began. She and Eddie are involved in some of the more uproarious scenes in the film, with Flynn balancing out Quaid’s raucous energy. She appeared alongside her scene partner again in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2.

Ruby Sue Johnson Is Around 9 In Christmas Vacation

Emily Hamilton Latzen Was 9 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Ruby Sue standing in a kitchen in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Ruby Sue John is Cousin Eddie’s adorable daughter and is depicted as being around 9 years old, which is the same age that Emily Hamilton Latzen was when the film started production. Even though she’s older than Rocky, she’s still young enough to still believe in Santa Claus. Latzen’s innocence and sweetness perfectly underscores her use of profanity in the film, leading to some of its most hilarious exchanges with Clark.

Rocky Johnson Is Around 6 In Christmas Vacation

Cody Burger Was 6 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Rocky standing with his parents in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Cody Burger made his big screen debut with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and was just six years old during filming. Rocky has zero lines of spoken dialogue, but his gaping, vacant expression provides plenty of laughs. Burger made another few films in the ’90s but none as big as this holiday favorite before retiring from acting.

RELATED: Christmas Vacation: 15 Funniest Scenes From The Holiday Film

Clark Wilhelm Griswold Is Around 75 In Christmas Vacation

John Randolph Was 74 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Clark Sr looking surprised in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Clark Wilhelm Griswold, also known as Clark Griswold Sr., is around 75 in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, which is about the same age John Randolph was when he filmed it. With a career stretching back to the ’60s, John Randolph was known for gritty movies like Serpico as well as comedic television series like Roseanne. Randolph’s performance makes it clear where Clark’s tireless optimism comes from, not to mention his commitment to giving his family the perfect Christmas experience.

Nora Griswold Is Around 70 In Christmas Vacation

Diane Ladd Was 57 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Nora standing in the doorway in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

As it turns out, Diane Ladd was closer in age to the actor playing her son than to her husband. At 57, Ladd was 11 years older than Chevy Chase, and 17 years younger than John Randolph, her onscreen husband. Over the course of a career that includes 200 films, she’s been nominated for three Academy Awards for Wild at Heart, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and Rambling Rose, and is the mother of actress Laura Dern.

Aunt Bethany Is Around 80 In Christmas Vacation

Mae Questel Was 81 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Aunt Bethany smiling in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Aunt Bethany appears to be around 80 in the film, which is nearly the same age that Mae Questel was during production. Aunt Bethany’s cognitive issues lead to some truly hilarious moments, including serving her famous cat food key lime jello. Questel got her start in vaudeville and went on to become a prominent voice artist, lending her distinct talents to two famous characters – Olive Oyl from Popeye and the iconic Betty Boop.

Uncle Lewis Is Around 82 In Christmas Vacation

William Hickey Was 62 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Uncle Lewis smoking a cigar in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

It might surprise fans to learn that, despite the fact Uncle Lewis is around 82 in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, William Hickey was 20 years younger when he filmed it. Hair and makeup were used to make him age-appropriate next to Aunt Bethany. Just four years before appearing in the holiday film, he was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Don Corrado Prizzi in John Huston’s Prizzi’s Honor.

Francis Smith Is Around 70 In Christmas Vacation

Doris Roberts Was 59 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Ellen's mom drinking a martini in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Despite the fact that Francis Smith is supposed to be around 70 in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Doris Roberts was only 59 when she played the part. The Everybody Loves Raymond actress was 15 years younger than her onscreen husband Art. Roberts brings her usual plucky irreverence and superb comedic timing to the Griswold family arguments, which cause no end of embarrassment to her daughter, Ellen.

Art Smith Is Around 75 In Christmas Vacation

E.G. Marshall Was 74 When Filming Christmas Vacation

Ellen's dad looking upset in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

E.G. Marshall was 74 when he filmed National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, making his character, Art Smith, roughly around the same age. As Ellen’s cantankerous father, Art provides much of the cynical humor in the film along with Uncle Lewis. Having starred in numerous films over a career stretching back decades, he’s best known as the incredibly analytical Juror 4 in Sidney Lumet’s dramatic courtroom film 12 Angry Men.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

  • Christmas vacation

    National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

    Release Date:

    Jeremiah S. Chechik

    Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, John Randolph, Diane Ladd, E.G. Marshall, Miriam Flynn


    97 minutes

    Comedy, Holiday

    John Hughes

    Creator :
    John Hughes

    $25 million

    Hughes Entertainment

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Vegas Vacation, Vacation

    National Lampoon’s European Vacation, National Lampoon’s Vacation

    National Lampoon’s Vacation


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