Actor Rick Moranis was a fixture in many movies I watched growing up – Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Parenthood, Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
And then, suddenly, he wasn’t in any more movies. I had never heard what happened to him until I came across this Mental Floss piece this past weekend.
As it turns out (and some of you may already known this), Moranis’ wife died of breast cancer in 1991, leaving him as a single parent to four children. After unsuccessfully trying to juggle acting and parenting, Moranis made a decision to leave the movie industry a few years later to become a stay-at-home father.
He movingly discussed that decision in a 2013 interview on Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, which was only recently transcribed:
“The decision in my case to become a stay-at-home dad, which people do all the time, I guess wouldn’t have meant as much to people if I had had a very simple kind of ‘make a living’ existence, and decided, ‘You know what, I need to spend more time at home. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to do this part time and then work out of my house to do this and this and this.’ Nobody would pay any attention to it. But because I came from celebrity and fame and what was a peak of a career, that was intriguing to people and to me it wasn’t that. It wasn’t anything to do with that. It was just work and it was time to make an adjustment.
I didn’t walk away from [creativity]. I applied all my creativity to my home life, to my kids, to my family. I was the same person. I didn’t change. I just shifted my focus.”
We live in an age that closely links identity and personal fulfillment with our occupations. Giving up those occupations, especially when they involve a public presence, can be a very difficult thing to do. We applaud Mr. Moranis for his sacrifice, for finding peace in that sacrifice, and for seeing fatherhood as his primary vocation.