Childhood & Early Life
Peter Billingsley, also known as Peter Michaelsen, was born on April 16, 1971, in New York City, to Alwin Michaelsen and Gail Billingsley. His father, Alwin, was a financial consultant, while his mother was earlier an assistant to Alwin.
He has four siblings, all of whom have had minor stints as child actors. Gail would often take all her children for their auditions. While the other siblings quit the entertainment industry early, his older sister, Melissa Michaelsen, and his brother Neil Billingsley continued working in the industry well into their adult lives. Melissa is majorly known for her role as a lead in the movie ‘Orphan Train’ and the TV series ‘Me and Maxx.’ Neil is known for his role of ‘Danny Walton’ in the soap opera ‘Search for Tomorrow.’
Peter received his education in a combination of ways, via private schools, public schools, and home tutors. He attended the ‘Phoenix Country Day School’ and the ‘Professional Children’s School’ in Arizona. In 1986, he witnessed the doomed launch of ‘Space Shuttle Challenger’ from ‘NASA’s ‘Kennedy Space Centre.’ It exploded 73 seconds into flight. He was also a spokesman for the ‘Young Astronaut Program.’
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Peter Billingsley embarked on his Hollywood career when he was just 2 years old. His first commercial was for ‘Geritol.’ His most popular TV commercial was the one he had shot for ‘Hershey’s’ chocolate syrup. It featured him as ‘Messy Marvin.’
In 1978, he made a small appearance in the movie ‘If I Ever See You Again,’ which was one of his first movie roles.
In 1981, he was nominated for the ‘Young Artist Award’ for his performance in the movie ‘Paternity.’ The same year, he appeared in ‘Honky Tonk Freeway’ and on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’ (as a guest).
In 1982, he was seen in various feature films, such as ‘Massarati and the Brain,’ and ‘Death Valley.’ He was also seen in the made-for-TV movie ‘Memories Never Die,’ which also featured his sister Melissa.
After appearing in numerous commercials and movies, he delivered his most memorable performance in the movie ‘A Christmas Story’ in 1983. The film featured him as ‘Ralphie,’ the youthful alter-ego of Jean Shepherd. This role earned him another ‘Young Artist Award’ nomination.
In 1984, Peter worked in the movie adaptation of ‘The Hoboken Chicken Emergency.’ He also appeared in ‘Celebrity Hot Potato’ and ‘Super Teen.’
In 1985, Peter starred in ‘The Dirt Bike Kid,’ for which he won a ‘Young Artist Award.’
With the beginning of the 1990s, Peter started appearing in older roles. He played a would-be jock in the ‘CBS Schoolbreak Special’ ‘The Fourth Man.’ His next ‘Schoolbreak Special’ appearance was in ‘The Writing on the Wall,’ as a “rabbi.” His performance earned him an ‘Emmy Award’ nomination.
In 1993, he served as a post-production supervisor for the movie ‘Arcade.’
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In the 1990s, he became more inclined toward behind-the-scene activities, while also making small cameo appearances. One of his first major projects was as an assistant editor in the movie ‘Knights.’
He wrote, directed, and also acted in the short movie ‘The Sacred Fire’ (1994). The movie won a ‘Golden Scroll Award.’
He has also worked as an editor for ‘Patriot Son,’ as a senior field producer for ‘The X Show,’ and as a co-producer for ‘Made.’ He had cameo appearances in the movies ‘Elf’ and ‘ARK: The New Adventures of Animal Rescue Kids.’
He received an ‘Emmy Award’ nomination in 2005, as the co-executive producer on the critically acclaimed show ‘Dinner for Five,’ alongside Jon Favreau.
‘Break-Up’ (2006) and ‘Iron Man’ are two of his movies that have seen him work as an executive producer.
His first major directorial venture, ‘Couples Retreat,’ starring Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, released in 2009. It was followed by his second directorial project, ‘Term Life’ (2016), again starring Vince Vaughn. .
He is currently the principal of ‘Wild West Picture Show Productions,’ the production company founded by his good friend Vince Vaughn
Peter produced the musical adaptation of ‘A Christmas Story’ that opened in Seattle in December 2010
His most recent work has been as an executive producer for the ‘Netflix’ show ‘F Is for Family.’
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As an actor, his most popular role has been that of ‘Ralphie’ in ‘A Christmas Story.’ Two of his other well-known roles movies were ‘Paternity’ and ‘The Dirt Bike Kid.’
‘Couple’s Retreat’ was his first major directorial debut. He co-produced ‘Zathura- A Space Adventure,’ which was another major hit. He worked as an executive producer for the movie ‘Break-Up,’ which earned $204.9 million.
Peter worked as an executive producer for ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Four Christmases.’ He also made small cameo appearances in both.
Family & Personal Life
Peter has managed to keep his life away from the media. For a long time, he was rumored to be gay, as there was not enough information on his personal life. The rumors died down when in 2015, ‘US Weekly’ reported he was engaged to his girlfriend, Buffy Bains. This information was not confirmed by either of them. There was no news of their marriage after that.
He is known to be a philanthropist.
By the age of 11, Peter had been part of about 120 TV commercials, two feature films, two movies, and three TV shows.
He ranked 63 on ‘VH1’s ‘100 Greatest Kid Stars’ list in 2005.
In 1986, he witnessed the doomed launch of ‘NASA’s ‘Space Shuttle Challenger,’ which exploded 73 seconds into flight.
In 2012, a rumor of Peter’s death had spread on the internet.
He once found the dead body of a former colleague in a Chicago hotel.