Celebrity Monsters Who Are in Your Favorite Christmas Movies
The holiday classics are full of villainous creatures, from the Grinch who terrorized Whoville to the Bumble in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to the angry ghosts who haunted Ebenezer Scrooge. (Heck, you could count Scrooge himself among the biggest Christmas creeps.) But the most despicable monsters in your favorite Christmas movies are hiding in plain sight — the actors who landed a permanent spot on the real-life naughty list.
Bing Crosby in ‘Holiday Inn’
To some, it’s not really the holidays until they hear Crosby singing White Christmas. But it’s tough to reconcile the mellow crooning with reports of Crosby’s violent parenting. In son Gary’s book, Going My Own Way, he claims that his father put him on a scale weekly, whipping him if he’d gained weight.
In fact, Gary claims he suffered daily beatings. “My father would come home at 6 o'clock and by 6:05 he'd heard the news of what I'd done. Then I'd get bent over and my pants taken down and beat till I bled.” Gary’s siblings differ on the specifics of his accusations, but all agree that Bing wasn’t shy about corporal punishment.
George C. Scott in ‘A Christmas Carol’
For this 1984 rendition of the old Dickens tale, The New York Times praised Scott’s performance as Scrooge, proclaiming that “the Scott method and mannerisms have found a most rewarding subject to explore.”
Not mentioned is his violent affair with actress Ava Gardner. In her memoir, Ava: My Story, she claimed, “When George got drunk he could go berserk in a way that was quite terrifying.” She described one fight in which Scott used broken bottles as weapons. “He was kneeling across me, waving the jagged edges of glass in front of my face with one hand and hitting me with the other. Telling me he loved me, and smashing a fist into my eye. 'Marry me, do you hear what I'm saying?' followed by another blow.”
Devin Retray in ‘Home Alone’
Kevin’s older brother Buzz was a real jerk, but the actor who played him, Devin Ratray, was allegedly worse. In 2021, he was arrested after Oklahoma City authorities issued a warrant after an altercation with his girlfriend. According to a redacted police report, the woman alleged that Ratray punched her in the face, covered her mouth with his hand and tried to strangle her.
Chevy Chase in ‘Christmas Vacation’
We’ve run down the long list of Chase’s past transgressions, which are admittedly mild when measured against the violence inflicted by other holiday stars. But Chevy could still be a grade-A butthole, even when it came to making Christmas Vacation. In fact, he chased off the film’s original director, Home Alone’s Chris Columbus, according to an oral history in Chicago magazine. “To be completely honest,” Columbus said after an initial get-to-know-you dinner with Chase, “Chevy treated me like dirt.” After a second meeting, the director called it quits. “I called John (Hughes) and said, 'There’s no way I can do this movie. I know I need to work, but I can’t do it with this guy’.”
Bill Murray in ‘Scrooged’
It’s been a rough few years for Murray, full of self-inflicted misery. In her memoir, Dying of Politeness, Geena Davis alleged that Murray made her lie on a bed while he used a massage device on her despite her protests. In 2019, Richard Dreyfuss said Murray threw a heavy glass ashtray at his face during the filming of What About Bob? And he was responsible for the suspended production of Aziz Ansari’s directorial debut after a crew member filed a complaint that Murray straddled her on set. (There’s an even longer list of grievances over at Vanity Fair.)
Unsurprisingly, Murray was also miserable to work with on Scrooged. Murray and misanthropic writer Michael O’Donoghue were at each others’ throats, with Murray improvising much of his dialogue and complaining about, well, everything. “On Scrooged, I was trapped on a dusty, smelly, and smokey set in Hollywood for three-and-a-half months, having a lousy time by myself, and just coughing up blood from this fake snow that was falling all the time,” he told Starlog. Bah humbug.