Whatever Happened to 1980s icon Gennie James???

Okay, maybe icon is stretching it a bit, but Gennie James was THE child actress of the mid-1980s. Homegirl was in EVERY tv movie that mattered: The Hugga Bunch, The Christmas Gift (with JOHN DENVER no less), The Secret Garden (with Colin motherf’ing Firth and other disappearing child actor Barret Oliver!!!) and the first show that ever made me cry Alex: The Life of a Child where she played Frank Deford’s daughter who died of cystic fibrosis. I was in first grade when that movie hit the airwaves. I admit I was a bit of a melodramatic kid–I also loved Beaches–and I snuck downstairs to watch as she passed away in her father’s arms. Oh, how I cried and cried and cried. I just made the mistake of rewatching that scene on youtube and now I need to pop in a Golden Girls DVD so I won’t go to bed depressed.

At any rate, Gennie stopped acting in 1988 when she was just 11 years old. Now, if this was 20 years ago I would forever wonder what the hell happened to her. But this is 2012 where you can find out anything you want via Google! And sure enough . . . Gennie gave up acting and is apparently living a normal life with a husband and kids in Texas. It’s almost anti-climactic how easy this was to find out. Bahhhhh.

Let’s remember the good old days by watching a little clip of The Hugga Bunch.

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33 Responses to Whatever Happened to 1980s icon Gennie James???

  1. Cleveland G. Oakes Jr. says:

    I should be disgusted with myself, but I actually took the time to watch the ENTIRE Hugga Bunch Movie. Oh my!

    • Sage says:

      Please don’t be I literally just did the same thing because I kept thinking of the creepy little colorful haired things I watched when I was very very little.

  2. Cleveland G. Oakes Jr. says:

    More importantly did you notice the invention of the McGriddle sandwich around the 5:53 mark?

  3. thedvrfiles says:

    Hahaha Cleveland you can learn quite a lot from the Hugga Bunch like how to hug!

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  6. thedvrfiles says:

    Reblogged this on The DVR Files and commented:

    An oldie but goodie in DVR Files history.

  7. nat says:

    The Secret Garden was my absolutely favorite adaptation, and I watched the Hugga Bunch too many times to count. I love the 80’s =D

  8. Kyra says:

    Glad someone else out there was like me- lover of Beaches and Alex the life of a child and other GJ movies. ( I also googled to see where Scarlett Deford was today).

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  10. Kayla Rae says:

    My fave Gennie James venue was A Smoky Mountain Christmas featuring Dolly Parton…wonderful!

  11. LadyDanio says:

    I found Gennie James! Here she is in a photo from a wedding she attended in 2008 with her husband (also pictured). She looks exactly the way she did as a child, and moreover, looks like your friendly next door neighbor. She lives in Texas now so I would guess that she IS someone’s friendly next door neighbor!


  12. Taxandria says:

    She looks GREAT! Good for her:) and yay Texas!

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  14. melo436 says:

    She went to school with me in Texas. She looked the same throughout the years!

  15. Evangeline says:

    glad to hear shes well

  16. Lauri Beilhartz says:

    I love this movie. Brings back wonderful memories.

  17. David Rubin Melvin says:

    I think the movie adaptation with Gennie James was a much better adaptation than the one with Kate Maberly. I think the latter one was inadequate because it didn’t live up to the book; the acting was poor because the actors and actresses practically read their lines, It didn’t truly follow the book as well The Hall of Fame version (the one with Gennie James) and I think they were just trying to sell cute. Kate was to pretty for the role and missed the point behind the book. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being the aesthetic value judgment of being considered pretty, but it missed the point of the book. They could of used make up to make her look less attractive. The whole point behind the book is that Mary Lennox went from being ugly to being attractive because she found love at Miisselthwaite Manor by making friends in Dicken and Colin Craven after dicoving the mystery of The Secret Garden.

  18. olivertwist68 says:

    I loved the this version of the secret garden I think it”s much better than the one with Kate Maberly.

  19. thedvrfiles says:

    Thank you all so much for loving Gennie and taking the time to comment. The world is ready for her comeback!

  20. Hamilton says:

    I think Gennie James was a good little actress. Does anyone know why she left acting? Such a talent; to drop it doesn’t make sense to me.

  21. spowalla says:

    I’m watching The Christmas Gift on Hallmark Movie channel right now! I don’t even remember Hugga Bunch but in a few years older than these guys and probably just didn’t pay attention back then. I would have been 14 or so when it was on I think. I’ll have to check it out;)

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  23. Bridget says:

    I though Gennie was absolutely perfect as Alexandra Deford and after the movie was finished, I wanted to see her in other movies! On a sad note, Alex’s real-life father Frank Deford died. Craig T. Nelson who was Frank in the movie is still with us. I thought all the actors in “Alex” were wonderful!

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