At 51, Jean Louisa Kelly From ‘Uncle Buck’ Went From Snarky Teen To Soothing Singer


UPDATED 3/21/2023

Jean Louisa Kelly isn’t making things difficult for her TV uncle as Tia Russell anymore. But she still has a commanding presence 30 years after Uncle Buck released. In the comedy, Kelly’s Tia is as stubborn and rebellious as any teenager. Her elegant and broody sass made the titular Uncle Buck, played by John Candy, really have to work hard as he babysat his brother’s kids. But Tia changed by the film’s end, warming up to her well-meaning uncle, and similarly, Kelly’s career has shifted course over the years. What happened to the famous actress after this iconic comedy movie?


Since her birth on March 9, 1972, Kelly spent most of her early defining years in her native Massachusetts and the east coast as a whole. She graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, a pursuit that’s a unique blend of her father’s experience as an English teacher, with her mother’s piano lessons making themselves more known years later with Kelly got into music production. As a child actress, Kelly proved herself in theater productions when she was just 11.


Jean Louisa Kelly landed a strong first film

Tia from Uncle Buck / YouTube screenshot

Jean Louisa Kelly made her big film debut as Tia Russell in John Hughes’s Uncle Buck. Only seventeen at the time, she perfectly portrayed Tia’s defiance and stubbornness against her hapless uncle. Both characters showed each other their true, well-intentioned natures eventually. Uncle Buck proved himself to be capable when it meant the most and Tia showed her capacity to care for the man. Funnily enough, Kelly actually got along very well with candy outside of their scenes. She especially considered it an honor to work with someone she saw as a legend.

THE FANTASTICKS, Jean Louisa Kelly, 2000, (c)United Artists/courtesy Everett Collection

RELATED: The Cast Of ‘Uncle Buck’ Then And Now 2022

After proving herself to be a valuable part of any film formula, Jean Louisa Kelly continued to shine in other movies – and even a sitcom. She ended up contributing even more to a production’s comedy aspect in Yes, Dear, from 2000 to 2006.

What was Jean Louisa Kelly in?

Kelly in 2009 / Wikimedia Commons

Everyone was probably at least a little jealous of Tia’s iconic curly locks. Jean Louisa Kelly still has great hair – and looks like she’s defying the aging process all the while. As of recently, fans can see her in a more action-packed setting – though Uncle Buck seemed prepared to throw some punches in his movie. 2022 sees Kelly acting in the new Tom Cruise movie Top Gun: Maverick. As its name suggests, it is sequel to the 1986 film Top Gun. In this, she plays Sarah Kazansky, the wife of Iceman. She’s joined by a lot of well-known names, including Val Kilmer, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, and more.

Jean Louisa Kelly in 2011 / Byron Purvis/AdMedia / ImageCollect

Several stars are reprising roles from the first film, so fans were hopeful for some strong loyalty to the source material. Also boarding Top Gun: Maverick are Greg Tarzan Davis of Chicago P.D. fame, Jake Picking, Raymond Lee, and Lyliana Wray in CBS All Access’ Strange Angel.

She shows no signs of slowing down

Today, Kelly is 51 and she’s still collecting movie credits. Before the summer blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick, she appeared in The Fantasticks (1995) and Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995). 2000 to 2006 saw her TV stardom shine as Kim Warner on the CBS sitcom Yes, Dear.

Kelly has branched out into music and is still in new celebrated films / Instagram

Also on this day, she celebrates 25 years of marriage to James Pitaro, an attorney and media executive. She has another famous acquaintance too: one Jennifer Garner, for whom she planned a baby shower when Garner was expecting Violet Anne Affleck. Kelly’s interests go beyond the entertainment industry, though, and bleed into music as well. She’s responsible for a 2013 children’s music album Color of Your Heart and the five-song EP Willing followed by the 2017 album For My Folks.

In the meantime, we’re looking forward to seeing what else this stunning actress will be up to next.


How old was Jean Louisa Kelly in the movie Uncle Buck?

Jean Louisa Kelly was 16 years old when she appeared in the movie Uncle Buck. She had appeared in Broadway’s production of Into the Woods but had no screen credits at the time.

Was Jean Louisa Kelly in the original Top Gun?

Jean Louisa Kelly was not in the original Top Gun. She was, however, in its sequel, Top Gun: Maverick.

Show comments
Published by

Recent Posts

Lindsay Lohan Shares Encouraging Parenting Advice That Movie Mom Jamie Lee Curtis Gave Her

Earlier in March, Lindsay Lohan shared the wonderful news that she and her husband, Bader…

48 mins ago

Kathy Griffin Shares Glimpse Into Vocal Surgery Following Lung Cancer

Kathy Griffin, who was diagnosed with lung cancer, posted in December 2021 that she had…

51 mins ago

‘Days Of Our Lives’ Star Bill Hayes Celebrates 98th Birthday On Set With Wife And Co-Stars

Following a successful musical career, Bill Hayes forayed into the acting world and starred on…

53 mins ago

Christopher Lloyd Surprises Cast Of Broadway’s ‘Back To The Future’ Rehearsal

Christopher Lloyd played the lovable Doc Brown in the 1985 blockbuster movie, Back To The…

57 mins ago

Insider Shares That Massive Age Difference Between Al Pacino And Pregnant Girlfriend Is ‘Not A Concern’

Hollywood legend Al Pacino is set to embrace fatherhood once again as he prepares to…

2 hours ago

The Cast Of ‘The Love Boat’ Then And Now 2023

*FAQs at the bottom of article* UPDATED 6/9/2023 Welcome aboard The Love Boat! This truly…

3 hours ago