If yours is one of the many families who rewatches National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation every year around the holidays, then you’re surely familiar with unannounced Griswold guest Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid). With him in his RV, Eddie also brings his wife Catherine (Miriam Flynn), son Rocky (Cody Burger), and daughter Ruby Sue. Played by Ellen Latzen, Ruby Sue has some sweet, scene-stealing moments in the holiday classic.
Latzen was just nine years old when the 1989 Christmas comedy came out. Today, at 41 years old, the former child star is out of the industry and doing her own thing—but she still remembers her days on the set of such an iconic movie fondly. Read on to find out what she’s up to today.
After her first job in 1987, when she played Ellen Gallagher in Fatal Attraction, Latzen went on to score roles in Family Ties and The Equalizer before filming Christmas Vacation. She then appeared in an ABC Afterschool Special and a short called Alkali, Iowa before her final credit in Boys Life 2 when she was 17 years old.
But there were aspects about being a child actor that Latzen found difficult and has been very open to talk about since.
“I don’t think people really give a lot credence to kids and they don’t really understand what some of the struggles are that myself and my peers have gone through being a child actor, and it’s really heavy stuff. I want to be an advocate for child actors now,” Latzen said in a 2015 interview with HuffPost.
In the same interview, Latzen explained why she stopped acting as a teenager. She attended a boarding school in Vermont, and after graduation, the time came to make the choice about whether or not she wanted to return to the entertainment industry. She chose not to.
“It would’ve been a lot of effort to get back into it, and I wasn’t really ready to do that,” she told HuffPost. “And even though I loved acting and was passionate about it, at that point, I really wanted to be another person, and I decided to walk away.”
According to Latzen’s LinkedIn profile, she now has a career as a small business support consultant.
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Latzen may not be an actor anymore, but she doesn’t mind being connected forever to her most famous role. In fact, her Instagram bio is a quote from her the movie about her character: “Fell in a well, eyes went crossed. Got kicked by a mule, they went back to normal.”
She also makes herself available to fans on Cameo, where she offers personalized shout-outs and the opportunity to ask questions about her movies.
“It’s hard for me to fathom that after all this time, the film is still as popular, as relevant, and as beloved as it’s ever been,” Latzen wrote in an Instagram post marking Christmas Vacation‘s 30th anniversary in 2019. “I’m beyond humbled to have played a role in something so special and revered, and I thank all of those that continue to bring us into your homes every year.”
Latzen’s social media presence suggests that she’s lives a very normal, non-Hollywood life. She resides in Pennsylvania, is in a relationship with a man named Edward Campbell, and if the many photos of them are any indication, her dogs are a very important part of her life. Though she isn’t acting anymore, Latzen’s followers still comment about her classic role on her Instagram posts.