What Ever Happened To The Star Of Free Willy?
Marc Gordon - February 8, 2018

Happiness Is Fun

By Pauline Oliver

Happy is as happy does
When all is said and done
Truly being happy
Starts with having fun

Set those happiness endorphins free
To flood your stressed out brain
With lots of happy thoughts
To relax and ease the strain
Eat chocolate
And laugh-a-lot

Chew chilis hot and red
Wear bright colours instead

Keep a dog or a cat
Try yoga on a mat

Feel sunshine warm your being
Seek beauty for the seeing

Classical music wins by miles
Exchanging lots of smiles

That's how to raise your spirit
Lift your body and your mind
This daily dose of happiness
Is a pleasure - you will find.

Can you believe that the movie Free Willy  came out an entire 25 years ago? This legendary film made us all appreciate whales a whole lot more. Although a fictional story, it was sad to see what life was like for animals in some amusements parks.  Thankfully, Jesse was there to save Willy from the evil plan against him to drain his tank, and then claim insurance money from his death.

The most epic and memorable scene of the movie is without a doubt when Jesse helps Willy escape with an impressively high jump.  Even if it’s been decades since you’ve seen the movie,  there’s no way you don’t remember this scene.

Jesse was played by Jason James Richter, and Free Willy is where he began his acting career.  He auditioned against 4,000 actors for the part and went through a challenging and long process. Clearly it was worth it though.  The movie was highly successful and even inspired two sequels, as well as an animated series.

But what ever happened to Richter once he stopped saving whales? After Free Willy 3, Richter acted in two other movies, but after Ricochet River, his acting career did not continue.  Richter found after that after his 10 years away from Hollywood, there were tons of rumors going around about him. People were saying that he got a face tattoo, into a car accident and became a drug addict.  He expresses his frustration about how people will always be making things up if you don’t tell them anything.

In fact, he decision to stop acting was not dramatic in any way.  He wanted to focus on new hobbies, such as music and eventually joined the band Fermata as a bassist.  Richter appreciated being able to just be one of the guys, and to be out of the fantasy land that many actors experience.