Whatever Happened to Henry Thomas Since E.T.?

If you’ve seen E.T., and who hasn’t, then you remember Elliot. The boy who befriended a weird-looking alien and ended up with a flying bike isn’t someone you easily forget. Or do you? If you’re reading this, then you have to be wondering whatever happened to Henry Thomas since E.T., but you probably already know the answer. He never disappeared, but Henry has a forgettable name. Moreover, he’s not the sort of star who works every second of the year and chases the trend of the moment while landing in the tabloids weekly. Henry Thomas has been quietly involved in film, TV, and even music since 1981 before he was in E.T., and he never stopped, though he did take the occasional break.

Begin at the Beginning

Thirty years ago, Steven Speilberg took a considerable risk. Instead of releasing an adventure story with a romantic subplot, massive battles and an epic plotline that spans worlds or cultures, he told a story about a handful of kids who didn’t get more than a few miles from home, and yet managed to have an intergalactic adventure. By the standards of the time, it probably should have failed, but it didn’t. E.T. was the top-grossing film of all time for the next decade.

We all know where Drew Barrymore, who played Gertie, went after E.T. The five-year-old sister of Elliot and Michael, who dressed the alien up like a doll, was almost as famous as Elliot himself. Over the years, the stunning and talented Drew has undoubtedly made the most of her fame. Everyone knows her name. Henry took a couple of years off, presumably to enjoy his success and fame, and hopefully to have fun and be a kid. By 1984 he was back in movies again. He took two roles that year in the films Misunderstood and Cloak &Dagger. The next year the young actor was in The Quest and Frog Dreaming. After 1985 he took another break. We wouldn’t see him on screen again until 1988 when he appeared in Murder One.

Moving to TV

By the 1990s, Henry Thomas was doing more than just movies. He appeared in at least seven major motion pictures, including the well-known Suicide Kings. In addition to his work on the big screen, he also became a part of five made for TV movies like Psycho IV, where he played Young Norman Bates. However, Henry also transitioned to working in television during that era. In 1998 he played in a miniseries adaptation of Herman Melville’s famous novel Moby Dick. Along with a stellar cast that included Patrick Stewart, Thomas performed the narrator of the tale, Ishmael.


For a year, Henry attended Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. He studied Philosophy and History. However, it wasn’t meant to be. After a short time, he dropped out to go back to acting full time. Apparently, Henry was meant for the stage and screen despite his more intellectual interests.

Musical Career & Literary Aspirations

In addition to his work, on-screen, Henry Thomas is a musician. He plays the guitar and sings as well as writing songs. During the 1990s, Thomas was a part of a reasonably well-known band in Texas called The Blue Heelers. The group was named after a dog breed, and they played and self-produced songs and albums for several years. Though the band never signed a formal record deal, their songs were popular on local radio stations. The country-inspired acoustic guitar from Henry is soulful and lovely. Perhaps their best-known song Truckstop Coffee, got a lot of radio time during the 90s. Henry has a pleasant and quiet voice that’s well suited to the music he writes and performs.

Ultimately The Blue Heelers came to an end. Fortunately, that wasn’t the finale for Henry’s music career. These days he performs with L.A. based band Farspeaker. Beyond his musical talent, Henry is also a writer. He wrote the novel The Window and The Mirror. The fantasy novel was well received and reviewed. It tells the story of a man named Joth, a soldier who is first kidnapped and then sets out on a journey with a mysterious woman. He escorts her to a faraway city to help broker a peace treaty. We’re not sure if he has any other novels in the works, but Henry’s first book was excellent, and we’d like to see him do more writing.

The Act Continues

On May 10th, 2004, Henry married the well-known actress Marie Zeilcke, who is very popular in Germany. The couple has a daughter named Hazel, but unfortunately, they divorced in 2007. He remarried a woman named Annalee, and they have two children, but they also live a very private life. The couple moved to Wilsonville, Oregon in 2014. Since 2000, Henry Thomas has been in about thirty-five films and TV shows. Among the better known are Gangs of New York, the Sons of Liberty miniseries, and at least two Stephen King movies. Most recently, he was cast in Stargirl, which comes out in 2020. He will play Charles McNider, aka Doctor Midnight, a recurring role.

Just this year, Henry received an award for his work. His role in The Haunting of Hill House garnered him the Best Actor in Streaming Presentation from the Saturn Awards. The only bad news is that he was also briefly arrested for a DUI in Oregon this year. However, given his mostly clean record, we’re going to chalk that up to a mistake. No one should drive under the influence, but accidents happen, and he didn’t harm anyone as far as we know.

Final Thoughts

Where is Elliot from E.T. now? He never left. You may not have realized it, but you’ve been watching and listening to him for years. Henry Thoms is a common name, but the Henry Thomas is a remarkable man who has had a long career full of outstanding performances. Did it surprise you to find out that Henry never left the screen? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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