How Did Casper the Friendly Ghost Die?

By jake rossen | dec 23, 2019.

Universal Pictures

The star of dozens of animated shorts and specials, hundreds of comics, and one big-screen feature (which spawned a couple of straight-to-video follow-ups), Casper the Friendly Ghost has enjoyed a great deal of spooky success since he debuted in 1945. An affable spirit, the seemingly pre-adolescent blob of ectoplasm only wants to make friends. Unfortunately, people are consistently wary of his ethereal qualities. In the earliest shorts, he preferred to hang out by himself near a tombstone.

Does the tombstone belong to him? By virtue of being a ghost, doesn’t that mean Casper was once a real, live boy who suffered a tragic fate at a young age?

The Ghost With No Name

When Casper was created back in 1940 by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo, the question apparently didn’t come up. Reit and Oriolo planned to have Casper—who did not yet have a name—be the star of an illustrated children’s book, with Reit writing and Oriolo illustrating it. They never got the chance. The two, who worked at Fleischer Studios on animated shorts, were both drafted to serve in World War II. When they returned, Fleischer Studios had been purchased by Paramount, renamed Famous Studios, and wanted complete control over the intellectual property of work created by employees. The two sold Casper and other characters for a total of $200 to Paramount.

When Casper made his animated debut in the 1945 Famous Studios short “The Friendly Ghost,” he finally got a name , but no mention was made of his origins. The short references his “brothers and sisters” who enjoy scaring people but offers no other details of his private life.

A second short , 1948’s “There’s Good Boos To-Night,” shows Casper leaning on a tombstone while reading a book, with a “Love Thy Neighbor” sign hanging nearby. The ghosts in the cemetery are referred to as his “neighbors” and appear to rise from their respective resting places when it’s time to go haunting. This would imply Casper is relaxing at his own gravesite, though his name doesn’t appear on the tombstone. If so, it would support the idea he once occupied the land of the living.

As Casper moved into another medium, however, a case began to be made for his existence as something other than human. In 1949, St. John Publishing produced five Casper comics. In 1952, Harvey Comics took over the license. In an effort to expand Casper’s world, Harvey gave him a ghost family, including a mom and three uncles. None of them were named until 1955, when the uncles were dubbed Fatso, Fusso, and Lazo. What wasn’t clear, however, was whether Casper’s relatives were all deceased as well or whether the Casper mythology implies ghosts are simply "born" ghosts.

The Pneumonia Theory

When the Casper feature film starring Christina Ricci was released in 1995, producers apparently thought moviegoers would be confused by a lack of explanation, and so the Casper of that film was portrayed as a boy named Casper McFadden. He was said to have died of pneumonia at the age of 12 after staying out in cold weather for too long playing with a sled he had just received as a gift.

There is one alternative, and slightly darker, theory that was purportedly first floated by The Simpsons . In the 1991 episode “Three Men and a Comic Book,” Bart and Lisa speculate that Casper is the ghost of Richie Rich, another Harvey Comics icon. (The two bear a resemblance.) Lisa believes that his realization of “how hollow the pursuit of money really is” caused Richie to take his own life. Other observers have speculated that perhaps Richie’s parents killed their son for the insurance money.

This is, of course, virtually impossible, as Richie Rich wasn’t created until 1953, 13 years after Reit and Oriolo conceived of Casper.

So what is Casper—former boy or forever ghost? Given his comfort hanging around a tombstone and his pleasant nature preventing him from besmirching the grave of another, it seems likely he was once human. To date, only the 1995 feature has attempted to detail what led him to the afterlife. Considering Casper's appeal as a children's property, that's probably for the best.

How Did Casper Become a Friendly Ghost?

Casper the Friendly Ghost is best known for his ghostly adventures. But what isn't known is exactly how the boy became a ghost.

Since his days in publication with Harvey Comics, Casper the Friendly Ghost has always been viewed as a ghostly child who loves to make friends with humans. However, as the years progressed, fans began to wonder precisely how Casper became a ghost in the first place. While everyone knows that spirits are what occasionally come after a person passes, hints to Casper's death are never explained . Instead, the cartoons and comics focus more on his adventures and dealings with his strange uncles , the Ghostly Trio. That being said, there are some answers to Casper's origin.

Because Casper is just a boy, many had believed that the cartoon ghost died sometime when he was a child. From that idea, even more theories to the circumstances of his death began to emerge. The notion that he died as a child was born from an episode of his cartoon, " There's Good Boos To-Night ," in which Casper befriends a fox that later passes. However, rather than crossing over, the fox returned as a ghost to continue spending time with Casper. To detract from the morbidity of the idea, Harvey Comics came up with its own view that changed the lore forever.

RELATED:  Is Casper's Ghostly Trio Actually His Uncles In The 1995 Film?

According to the company, Casper was born a ghost to two ghost parents. Along with the change came an update to Casper's design that gave him a slimmer figure and feet. This avoided the notion that he was a deceased child and established ghosts as something separate from the afterlife. Casper was now looked at more like a creature akin to a goblin or other spectral beings thanks to the updated origin. While this idea worked for a few decades, his first live-action film resurrected the age-old theory of how he died -- and gave fans a different answer.

In the family film   Casper , the friendly ghost is portrayed as the same fun-loving character that audiences have grown to adore. However, rather than his parents being ghosts, the film kept his origin grounded and explained that he was once a living child. The story of his death explains that when Casper was 12, he was out sledding too late one night and caught pneumonia. Eventually, he succumbed to his illness, and he chose to remain a ghost to be with his grieving father. The explanation is clearly more somber than what came before but helped to ground the character and the story.

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While this explanation confirms that at least one version of Casper came to be through natural causes, none of his other films ever brought it back up. As a result, Casper has since remained in a purgatory of his own where he was either born a ghost or became one after passing away at a young age. Fortunately, neither situation has negatively affected his cheery disposition.

Even though Casper's film origin is more realistic and sad, his story hasn't been updated or retconned. So now, fans have the option to believe either the classic origin or the more recent one. No matter the version, Casper will always be a beloved Harvey Comics character. He also shows that positivity can always shine through whether a person gets their start from a happy or sad situation.

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Casper (1995): 15 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Friendly Ghost's Movie

Posted: October 31, 2023 | Last updated: October 31, 2023

  • Casper was filmed in Maine, specifically in the town of Camden, which provided the perfect setting for the family-friendly spooky vibe of the movie.
  • The actors had to act alongside tennis balls on strings to serve as reference points for the animators to add CGI ghosts, showcasing the challenges of incorporating CGI technology in the '90s.
  • Despite its success and cult following, a sequel to Casper never materialized due to the underwhelming performance of direct-to-video sequels and scheduling conflicts with key actors like Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman.

Based on the Harvey Comic Casper the Friendly Ghost , Universal Pictures released a fantasy film in 1995 simply titled Casper that still has a cult following to this day. Starring Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, and Devon Sawa, the movie follows a spiteful heiress who hires Dr. James Harvey to hunt ghosts from her latest mansion. What results is Dr. Harvey and his daughter, Kat, making friends with Casper and his uncles as he tries to get them to cross over.

The film was a modest success at the box office and is still shown every Halloween on television. 28 years after the movie first hit theaters, it even became a top 10 streaming option on Netflix, showing that the love for Casper is still there. Despite the movie being a beloved '90s family classic, there's a lot modern audiences might not know about the movie, like where Casper was filmed. Casper launched the star of Devon Sawa and cemented Christina Ricci as an accomplished actor at a young age, so it's no wonder so many people have such fond memories of the movie.

RELATED: Sad Facts About Casper The Friendly Ghost's Backstory

The Actors Spoke To Tennis Balls Instead Of Ghosts

With Casper and his uncles being ghosts, the talented people behind the movie had to create a focal point for the actors to look at before the animators went in and added CGI. To assist, they placed tennis balls on strings and had the actors look at them while acting.

Wherever the actor's eye movements went through the conversation is where the animators added the ghost's movements. Even in today's CGI-laden blockbusters, CGI can be quite expensive and having such a luxury in the '90s -- when the technology was only being perfected at the time -- was a huge deal.

Universal Studios Had Casper Exhibits

Universal Pictures and Universal Studios theme parks seem to go hand-in-hand these days with props from movies often being put on display at the parks. That usually involves something like a car from the Fast & Furious franchise that fans can pose with, but in 1995 when Casper hit theaters, that was an entire exhibit that theme park visitors could walk through to help promote the film’s release.

The display was set up at the theme park for four months. It included things like props on display but also exhibits explaining the technology used in the movie, and even a partial recreation of Whipstaff, the mansion in which Casper lives.

Casper Really Was Filmed In Maine

Because Dr. Harvey was a man who could talk to the dead, he traveled across America with his daughter Kat. When he got the call to talk to the ghosts inside Whipstaff Manor, he and Kat traveled to Friendship, Maine. As it turns out, most of Casper really was filmed in Maine.

RELATED: Every Disney Channel Halloween Movie, Ranked From Least To Most Scary

While Friendship was said to be the town they were in, Casper's Fandom page admits that most shots were filmed in the nearby town of Camden, Maine. Camden produced that safe yet haunting vibe so many family-friendly scary movies have.

Most Of The Mansion's Scenes Were Shot On A Set

Unlike Disney's Haunted Mansion , which has a definite location in California, the location of Whipstaff Manor is fuzzy at best. Cinemaholic notes that Whipstaff Manor is a real estate on the Eastern side of Canada, though others claim Whipstaff was mirrored after the Casa Batlló in Barcelona, Spain.

But regardless of where the exterior was shot, most of the interior shots were all filmed on set. The ballroom where Kat has her school's Halloween dance has been used in another project though.

The Backstreet Boys Visited Whipstaff

It’s no secret that set pieces can be reused quite a bit in Hollywood. It’s not often, however, that such a distinct-looking set like the pieces built to create Whipstaff mansion, get used in a way that audiences would be able to recognize them. That’s just what happened when the Backstreet Boys filmed one of their music videos though.

The music video for “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” utilizes pieces of the set created for Whipstaff. Specifically, the dance hall sequence uses the main floor of Whipstaff from Casper. It’s actually a very good choice since the music video sees the various members appear as classic movie monsters.

There Was A Cut Musical Number

Casper does appear like a film that would have one or two musical numbers in it. One can imagine Casper looking up at the moon and singing a soft melody about missing his mother. Maybe Kat would be singing a similar song since she too missed her mother.

As on-point as that sounds, Casper has no musical numbers in it but that wasn't always the plan. Casper's uncles were supposed to break into song. Titled "Lucky Enough to Be A Ghost," the song was about the trio's depression and the difficulties of being a ghost. The scene, however, was cut because it was too expensive.

Steven Spielberg's Cameo Was Cut

After exploring Whipstaff Manor and realizing there were real ghosts inside, Dr. Harvey runs into the bathroom to wash his face because he can't believe what he thought he saw. As he looks in the mirror, his face quickly changes to Clint Eastwood's, Rodney Dangerfield's, and finally Mel Gibson's (above). As fun as these cameos were, there was supposed to be one more cameo made by Steven Spielberg .

Spielberg filmed the scene but when it came time for the editing process, there were just too many cameos. Spielberg's bit ended up getting the cut because he wasn't the "strongest" of the group. Bill Pullman did an amazing job of being terrified at the three faces, though.

The Studio Lost Confidence In Casper 2

After the success of Casper, fans wanted to see more. A sequel seemed like the next logical step but before it could be filmed, Universal released a few direct-to-video sequels to keep fans interested (i.e. Casper: A Spirited Beginning and Casper Meets Wendy ).

Sadly, the direct-to-video sequels didn't do so well, which made Universal hesitant about any further Casper projects. After hiring director Simon Wells to write and direct the supposed follow-up, it was finally canceled due to scheduling conflicts with Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman .

Bill Pullman Portrayed Dr. Harvey For His Kids

Bill Pullman did a fantastic job as a single father and grieving widower. However, his name wasn't the only name in the pool of potential actors to play Dr. Harvey.

According to the Casper Fandom page, actors like Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Robin Williams were all potential candidates. The A.V. Club , meanwhile, reports that Pullman snagged the part of Dr. Harvey because of his kids. He said, " That was one I really remember looking forward to taking, so that I could bring my kids to the set. They were right at the perfect age to enjoy all the magic of that. "

Casper Was Voiced By A Real Child

When Casper transforms into a young boy, he's portrayed by Devon Sawa. But when Casper is a ghost, his voice is not Devon Sawa's but Malachi Pearson. At the time, Pearson was a child who also did voice work.

According to E! , Pearson auditioned for the role six times and didn't think he did well enough to land the part. " I thought I blew it so bad, I told my mom, 'I don't think I got this one! This one's over. '" Not too long after that, Pearson was offered the role of one of the most famous CGI ghosts in cinematic history.

Devon Sawa Considered A Sequel 20 Years Later

Devon Sawa is very active on social media, and he hasn’t been shy about talking about his career - or joking about it. In 2017, he spent some time on Twitter (now X) talking about movies he was interested in making sequels for, and both choices included those he worked on with Christina Ricci - Casper and Now And Then .

Sawa went as far as tweeting to Universal Pictures about Casper 2 , saying he was “ ready to make ” the sequel, and tweeting Marlene King, the writer of Now and Then , to ask about progress on the script. He was clearly just having some fun on social media though as the next day, he tweeted that he would rather make a Little Giants sequel instead. The platform has been a great way for Sawa to engage with fans who grew up with him in the 1990s and appreciated his coming-of-age movies.

Devon Sawa’s Chemistry With Christina Ricci Got Him The Role

Though Casper is voiced for the entire movie by another actor, another actor was needed to play the live-action version of the character for the brief scenes involving Casper getting to dance with Kat at her Halloween party. The actor needed to be closer to Ricci’s own age and height for the on-camera work.

According to Sawa, Ricci was instrumental in his being selected for the role because even as kids, they had great chemistry. Director Brad Siberling only affirmed Sawa’s assertion in recent years when he wrote on twitter that it was the “ color in Christina’s cheeks ” when they met that sealed the deal for the actor. Ricci and Sawa went on to work together again in Now And Then when Ricci recommended Sawa for a part in that movie as well.

JJ Abrams Is Responsible For “Can I Keep You?”

Possibly the most quoted line in Casper is “Can I keep you?” Casper says it to Kat twice, once when she’s falling asleep in his ghostly form, and once in his human form when they’re dancing together. It’s the line that allows Kat to know who Casper really is during the dance. That moment is courtesy of JJ Abrams, who modern audiences know for TV shows like LOST and his work in the Star Wars franchise.

RELATED: Where The Casper Cast Is Now

JJ Abrams was brought into the movie to perform uncredited rewrites, something that often happens in Hollywood. Writers can “punch up” existing scripts for studios without their names appearing in the credits of the movie. Abrams was the one who wrote the additional scene with Casper getting the chance to be human for a few hours, and a casting call was sent out, which then got Devon Sawa his audition.

Casper Used More CGI Than Jurassic Park

Casper was far ahead of its time in terms of digital effects. The CGI was so amazing for the '90s and still looks fantastic today, despite its age. Even better, it wasn't just one ghost that was created via CGI; it was Casper's uncles and those who died and came back to life as well.

Shockingly, Casper's director Brad Silberling tweeted that there were " more CG shots in the kitchen sequence [of Casper] than in all of Jurassic [Park]. " The aforementioned scene involved Casper making everyone breakfast and his uncles blasting through the ceiling and eating all the food.

Christina Ricci Doesn't Think The Movie Made Sense

Christina Ricci was everyone's favorite spooky girl because of her dark features and bold eyes. After starring as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family , she was the perfect choice for Kat in Casper . However, years after the movie came out, Ricci was asked about her time in Casper and she had a shocking response:

Looking back, that movie sucked. It made no sense. I'm supposed to fall in love with a ghost? How does this work? And he's like a cartoon, well part of him?

While that might sound like Ricci would never have participated in a Casper sequel, she's made it clear since then that it wasn't solely the script that she takes issue with as an adult. She looks back on her performance and is very critical of it. Ricci was not happy with her performance in Casper at 13. That's perfectly understandable since the movie is a stepping stone in Ricci's career, but Casper will always be a beloved part of childhood for many fans.

Casper (1995): 15 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Friendly Ghost's Movie

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It's easy to see why Casper the Friendly Ghost has such an appeal for small children. They have so much in common with him, since they, too, feel invisible and misunderstood and remember little of their earlier lives. He is reassuring; in a universe of scary ghosts, it's nice to know there's one on your side. The Casper comics did not survive into the current age of megadoom superheroes, but their memory did, and now here is "Casper," a high-tech special-effects extravaganza starring His Friendliness.

There's been a lot of speculation about the coming age of computerized performances in the movies, when we will see whole characters made up of bits and bytes. Jessica Rabbit was such a creation, and now Casper and his uncles - Stretch, Stinkie and Fatso - dominate a movie that essentially stars computer programming.

Ghosts offer, to be sure, certain advantages to the programmers, since their bodies are soft and changeable, but their faces display a full range of emotion, and they are as real as the human characters in the film - which is, I suppose, a two-edged compliment.

As the movie opens, a rich man's daughter named Carrigan ( Cathy Moriarty ) learns that her father has left her nothing in his will, except for crumbling Whipstaff Manor in Maine. She's enraged, until her assistant, Dibs ( Eric Idle ), discovers a secret message suggesting that a vast treasure may be hidden there. They leave immediately for Maine - where, of course, it turns out that Whipstaff Manor is haunted.

She determines to get rid of the ghosts, and the movie has a lot of fun with scenes involving an exorcist ( Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci) and a ghostbuster ( Dan Aykroyd ). Nothing works. Meanwhile, Casper, the resident ghost, pulls himself away from watching "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" long enough to learn, on the news, about a ghost psychiatrist who specializes in helping spirits come to peace with themselves, so they won't need to haunt any longer.

Casper draws the program to Carrigan's attention in an insistent if ghostly way, and soon the psychiatrist ( Bill Pullman , from " While You Were Sleeping ") is on the case, along with his daughter Kat ( Christina Ricci , from " The Addams Family "). Kat and Casper soon become fast friends, and Casper is telling her what it's like to be a ghost: "You know that tingling feeling when your foot falls asleep? I think I'm made of that." Unfortunately, the presence of flesh and blood in Whipstaff Manor draws Casper's uncles from an ectoplasm, and things get exciting.

There are funny lines in the movie, as when the politically correct ghost psychiatrist observes, "You can call them ghosts or, as I prefer, the living impaired." The uncles could be a vaudeville team. And Moriarty makes a ferocious antagonist, clicking around Whipstaff in her high heels and trying to claim it as her own.

But the real stars of the movie are the special effects and animation artists. The story is more or less what you'd expect, and there is only so much you can do with a relationship between a little girl and a ghost. But Whipstaff comes alive with amazing achievements in art direction, set design, and gizmos like a chair that will brush your teeth while hurtling you down a rail at terrifying speeds. The use of special effects also allows sight gags that couldn't be done any other way, as when a car squeals to a stop on the edge of a towering cliff, just in the nick of time, and then a relieved character opens the door and steps out into nothingness.

Like " The Flintstones " and "The Addams Family," "Casper" is an attempt to bring cartoons to life while incorporating them with real actors and sets. As a technical achievement, it's impressive, and entertaining. And there is even a little winsome philosophy, as when Casper sadly tells Kat, "I guess when you're a ghost, life just doesn't matter that much anymore."

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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Casper (1995)

Christina Ricci as Kat

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Casper the Friendly Ghost

casper the ghost age

1 9 6 3 – 1 9 7 0  (USA)

Casper made his television debut in 1950, on the show  Casper the Friendly Ghost . Casper was something of an anomaly among the supernatural world – he had little interest in scaring people, haunting houses or doing any of the usual ghostly activities.

Instead, Casper just wanted to play and make friends like other children his age, though his inherent spookiness was enough to frighten away any prospective friend.

Usually, Casper would end up making a connection with a small child or a friendly animal, someone who wouldn’t run away before getting to know the “real” Casper. Someone who was unconcerned with the fact that their new friend was, indeed, dead.

In 1963, Casper premiered in a new series entitled  The New Casper Cartoon Show . While the character of Casper was essentially the same, the show itself was growing more complex.

Taking a clue from the popular  Casper  comic books, the new show added more characters, including the older and nastier Ghostly Trio, who never approved of Casper’s friendly ways.


But Casper now also had friends – Wendy, the Good Little Witch; the self-proclaimed “tuff” ghost Spooky; and Nightmare, a talking ghost horse – all of whom were on hand to join Casper in his adventures as well as star in their own segments.

This latest version was set in the magical Enchanted Forest, where the sight of a ghost trying to make friends was no big deal. This atmosphere gave the writers more latitude with creating characters and gave Casper more to do than just accidentally scare people.

In the late ’70s, Casper appeared yet again, in Casper and the Angels  – probably the least successful of the Casper incarnations.

Set in the future, Casper was teamed with two girls, Mini and Maxie, as members of the Space Patrol, working together to capture intergalactic criminals. The team received instructions from the Commander via two-way radio and was assisted by the nutty ghost, Harry Scary.

Two bumbling members of the Space Patrol, Nerdly and Fungo, supplied the comic relief. Why a ghost was needed to help capture criminals in the future was never explained.

Like many popular cartoon characters, Casper eventually starred in his own full-length, live-action feature film, which utilised the latest technology to bring this perennially popular character of the undead to life.

1995’s  Casper  live-action movie was an international success (also the first feature film to have a CGI character as the lead role), and the Friendly Ghost returned to Saturday mornings in 1996.

Casper Ginny Tyler (1) Julie McWhirter (2) Mini Laurel Page Maxi  Diane McCannon Harry Scary  John Stephenson Commander  John Stephenson Other Voices  Bradley Bolke Rick Dees Bob Hastings Jim MacGeorge Jack Mercer Sid Raymond Ronnie Schell Hal Smith Allen Swift Frank Welker

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Screen Rant

How did casper the ghost die.

Casper explored parts of the Friendly Ghost's backstory, including how he died and why he decided to be a ghost instead of crossing over.

  • Casper's backstory adds a layer of tragedy to his character, exploring his death and why he became a ghost.
  • The movie Casper mixed live-action with CGI and became the first to feature a fully CGI character in a lead role.
  • Casper developed a strong friendship with Kat, and through his memory, it was revealed that he died from pneumonia at the age of 12.

Casper revealed parts of the Friendly Ghost’s backstory, including how he died, adding a layer of tragedy to his story. The adventures of Casper the Friendly Ghost started in a series of cartoons, and in 1995, he made the jump to the big screen in Casper , directed by Brad Silberling. Casper mixed live-action with CGI in order to bring the title ghost and his uncles, the Ghostly Trio , to life, becoming the first movie to have a fully CGI character in the lead role. Although Casper stayed true to the character’s sweetness and ideas against scaring humans, it also went on a darker path by exploring parts of Casper’s backstory.

Casper follows Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman) and his daughter Kat (Christina Ricci) , who are called by Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty) to get rid of the ghosts living in Whipstaff Manor, which she inherited from her father. Dr. Harvey and Kat soon befriend the Ghostly Trio and Casper, and team up to stop Carrigan from kicking them out and stealing Casper’s treasure. Casper addressed themes of grief and death, not just through Dr. Harvey’s search for the ghost of his wife, Amelia, but also through Casper’s backstory, as it explains what happened that led him to become a ghost.

What Happened To Kat’s Mom In Casper

Casper died from pneumonia at the age of 12.

Kat and Casper quickly developed a strong friendship and had moments where they opened up to each other about the tragedies in their lives. However, when Kat asked him about what his life was like, Casper said he couldn’t remember anything before becoming a ghost. One day, Kat found Casper’s toys and other belongings in the attic and set them up for him. This unblocked Casper’s memory, but moments later, after giving Kat his mother’s old wedding gown to wear at her Halloween party, Casper found his old sled, which triggered the memory of how he died and why he didn’t cross over and became a ghost.

Casper told Kat that he begged his father to get him the sled, and one morning, he came down for breakfast and found the sled. Casper then spent the whole day sledding, and though his father told him to stop and go back inside, Casper didn’t care as he was having a lot of fun. Casper continued playing outside for hours until it got dark and colder. As a result, Casper got sick, and as revealed in an old newspaper, Casper died of pneumonia when he was just 12 years old.

Unable to cope with the death of his son, Casper’s father came up with the Lazarus, a machine through which he hoped to bring his son back to life. Casper’s father claimed to be haunted by the ghost of his son, which wasn't a lie as Casper decided to stay with his father, but his father was sent to a mental institution, where he died. Casper couldn’t cross over after that, so he stayed in his house as a ghost.

Who Plays The Human Version Of Casper The Ghost

Casper was played by two different actors in his first live-action movie. Malachi Pearson voiced Casper the ghost, but when Kat’s mom granted Casper his wish of coming back to life (though only until 10 o’clock), human Casper was played by another actor. Devon Sawa played human Casper , and although his role was very brief, it was enough to establish him as a teen heartthrob. Sawa’s popularity grew even more after starring in the horror movie Final Destination , after which he played Owen Elliot/Sam Matthews in the TV series Nikita and various roles in the TV series Chucky .

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The Cast of Casper : Where Are They Now?

Check in with the stars of the supernatural classic 28 years after the film premiered in 1995

casper the ghost age

Universal Pictures/ Everett

It's been nearly three decades since a young Christina Ricci stole hearts as Kat Harvey in the supernatural coming-of-age comedy Casper . Produced by Steven Spielberg , the 1995 film featured young up-and-comers and familiar faces, like Bill Pullman and Amy Brenneman .

The friendly ghost's story continues to live on as fans rewatch the spooky classic year after year. Check back in with the cast members of Casper and see what they're up to today.

Christina Ricci as Kat Harvey

Universal/ Everett; Gilbert Flores/WWD via Getty

Playing Kat Harvey proved to be the perfect spooky follow-up to Ricci 's famed role as the eerie, pigtailed Addams family daughter, Wednesday. The Casper alumna then made a name for herself as a grown-up actress, starring in films like Buffalo '66 and The Opposite of Sex in 1998.

Her career continued flourishing with big- and small-screen roles in the aughts and 2010s. She also debuted on the Broadway stage with Laura Linney in Time Stands Still in 2010. Then in 2021, Ricci won critical acclaim and an Emmy nomination for her role as Misty Quigley in Yellowjackets .

The former child star revisited the Addams family universe in Tim Burton's revival series Wednesday starring Jenna Ortega. Ricci — who previously worked with Burton in the 1999 horror Sleepy Hollow — played one of Wednesday's school teachers in the 2022 Netflix show.

While Ricci's performance in Casper is beloved by many, the former child isn't a fan of her early work in the ghostly classic.

"If you actually watch  Casper , I'm terrible," Ricci said during her 2022 appearance on Marc Maron's WTF podcast . "People get so upset when I say that. And I'm like, 'No, it's a wonderful movie. It's a childhood treasure. But I am terrible in it.'"

Malachi Pearson as Casper


Following his role in the 1995 flick, the voice behind the friendly ghost guest starred on shows like Full House and Baywatch . He even reprised the vocal role again in a Casper video game and the late-90s cartoon series The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper .

Pearson has since departed from screens and launched a music career. He's currently one-half of the DJ duo Motel Club with fellow artist Matt Cash.

Bill Pullman as James Harvey

Universal/ Everett; Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Bill Pullman had an established career as a leading man before he played widowed dad and medium Dr. James Harvey in Casper . He starred in Spaceballs , Sleepless in Seattle and While You Were Sleeping across Sandra Bullock.

The actor appeared as the U.S. president in the 1996 sci-fi film Independence Day and in the same role for the 2016 sequel Independence Day: Resurgence . Pullman has also starred in several theatrical productions and he tapped his intergalactic acting experience to write his own play Expedition 6 in 2007.

On television, Pullman played the president once again in the comedy series 1600 Penn and most recently, he played convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh in a Lifetime docuseries about his crimes. Murdaugh Murders: The Movie is set to air Oct. 14.

Pullman's son, Lewis , has followed in his dad's Hollywood footsteps to become a big time star with credits in Top Gun: Maverick and the Hulu miniseries Catch-22 . Bill also shares daughter Maesa and another son, Jack, with his wife of over three decades, Tamara Hurwitz.

Cathy Moriarty as Carrigan Crittenden

Universal/ Everett; Kristina Bumphrey/Shutterstock

The actress behind bitter heiress Carrigan Crittenden also boasted an impressive resume before her antagonist role in Casper . Moriarty's 1980 film debut in Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull earned her nominations for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. She kicked off the '90s with major roles in Kindergarten Cop alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Soapdish , which featured Sally Field, Robert Downey Jr., Kevin Kline, Carrie Fisher and Whoopi Goldberg in its A-list ensemble cast.

Moriarty returned to the friendly ghost franchise in 1998, when she played Hilary Duff's on-screen Aunt Gert in Casper Meets Wendy .

On TV, the Hollywood veteran has appeared on shows like Bless This House , This Is Us and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: An American Crime Story.

Joe Nipote as Stretch

Universal/ Everett; Tommaso Boddi/Getty 

Nipote voiced Stretch, the fiery leader of the Ghostly Trio in Casper , though he's best known for playing Frankie Waters in the TV show Viper from 1994 through 1999. Nipote voiced Strech again in The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper and went on to make guest appearances in shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Suite Life on Deck .

Joe Alaskey as Stinkie

Universal/ Everett; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Joe Alaskey — who died at age 63 in 2016 — was best known for his voice acting, including his portrayal of Ghostly Trio member Stinkie in Casper . In the late '90s and early 2000s, Alaskey voiced several Looney Tunes characters, Grandpa Lou on Rugrats and Sylvester the Cat in The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries .

In the last few years of his life and career, the talented impersonator lent his voice to the Tom and Jerry and Garfield franchises.

Brad Garrett as Fatso

Universal/ Everett; Roy Rochlin/Getty

Brad Garrett soared to fame as the first comic winner of Star Search in 1984, nearly a decade before he voiced Fatso, a member of the Ghostly Trio in Casper . He went on to play several other animated characters, with roles in iconic Pixar movies like A Bug's Life , Finding Nemo and Ratatouille .

In 1996, Garrett nabbed a major TV gig playing Robert Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond , winning three Emmys in 2002, 2003 and 2005 for his performance. He went on to star in 'Til Death from 2006 to 2010, and he earned another Emmy nomination for his starring part as Jackie Gleason in the television film Gleason in 2002.

Garrett's maintained his stand-up comedy career throughout and still regularly performs at his own comedy club in Las Vegas.

Eric Idle as Dibs

Universal/ Everett; Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty

Eric Idle — who played Carrigan's attorney, Paul "Dibs" Plutzker — launched into fame doing sketch comedy in Monty Python films, TV series and stage productions. After Casper , Idle voiced characters in The Simpsons , Shrek the Third, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and even narrated the 2004 comedy Ella Enchanted .

In 2004, the comic created the hit Monty Python play Spamalot , which won the coveted best musical Tony Award.

Idle beat the odds after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019 and survived. He's since joined forces with Stand Up to Cancer to create  the Bright Side Fund in support of cancer research and the early detection that saved his life.

Devon Sawa as Human Casper

Universal Pictures; Paul Archuleta/Getty

Devon Sawa only made a brief appearance as human Casper at the end of the film, but he's still grateful for the role that launched his career. On the 25th anniversary of Casper in 2020, Sawa shouted out Christina Ricci as a reason for his industry success.

"Christina Ricci is a HUGE talent and played a big part in me getting the role and then went on to recommend me for Now And Then . I owe her the world." Sawa tweeted, referencing the next movie he and Ricci costarred in.

With another nod to director Brad Silberling, Sawa continued, "I was in Casper for 30 secs. Malachi Pearson did the hard work. When they decided last minute to bring Casper to life he was too young. so I landed the role. And I'm very fortunate @BSilberling chose me cause I'd be lying if I said it didn't start a 30 year job that I love. Thnx."

After Casper and Now And Then , Sawa starred in several films and TV shows, notably Wild America , Final Destination , and The CW's Nikita . He also played Eminem in the rapper's music video for his song "Stan" and currently stars in the Syfy horror series Chucky .

Amy Brenneman as Amelia Harvey

Universal Pictures; Kevin Winter/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty

Amy Brenneman followed her Emmy-nominated performance in NYPD Blue with a ghostly cameo playing Kat's deceased mom in Casper , which was directed by her husband Brad Silberling. She went on to star in Daylight, opposite Sylvester Stallone, in 1996 and then did another thriller, Fear , the same year.

As the century turned, Brenneman starred in her own series Judging Amy from 1999 to 2005. She could also be spotted as Violet Turner in the Grey's Anatomy spinoff Private Practice . In her most recent work, Brenneman costars with Jeff Bridges on the FX series The Old Man .

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How Did Casper Become a Friendly Ghost, and What Killed Him?

Casper is one of the most iconic pop figures of all time, yet one sad question has puzzled everyone: how did this little boy become a ghost?

Casper the Friendly Ghost . Just like the song says, Casper's the friendly ghost you know. Though grown-ups might look at him with fright, the children love him so. Yet any viewer who is even aware of Casper as a movie or a character notices something about him that is quite troubling: he is a child that is also a ghost, meaning he is the spirit of a dead child.

This innocent cartoon character has raised plenty of questions over the years regarding his origin — do ghosts just exist, or for Casper to be a ghost, does he have to be a dead child? It is a long-standing question that most adaptations of the characters tend to avoid, likely due to the grim reality of talking about a dead child and how that certainly does not make for a family-friendly viewing experience. However, the question has been asked so often regarding if Casper is a dead child, and how he died if so, that it has not only been pondered by audiences but even filmmakers. It would be about 50 years before the character got a proper explanation for his status as a ghost child. Here is a breakdown of how Casper came to be.

History of Casper the Ghost

Casper first appeared in a series of theatrical animated shorts from Famous Studios titled Casper the Friendly Ghost . Casper was created by Seymour Reit, Joe Oriolo, and Vincent E. Valentine II. The shorts ran from 1945 to 1959, which is around the time Harvey Comics purchased the rights to the Casper character from Famous Studios. Harvey had been publishing Casper comics since 1952 when he was one of the company's selling titles.

Related: Casper: Every Movie in the Franchise, Ranked

Casper's stories tend to follow a similar format: Casper tries to befriend humans but his ghostly appearance scares them, and he has to deal with his "uncles," the Ghostly Trio, who are often scaring people. This has been the basis for many Casper stories, with the fact that he is a child not mattering to the plot but only really existing as a fun way to feature a cute cartoon character for kids to connect with. It was sort of a given that this ghost was also a child, but as generations of fans grew up with Casper and got older, the question of the character's mortality began to be raised.

Previous Explanations For Casper as a Ghost

For much of Casper's existence, his status as a ghost kid never really was brought up in his original cartoons or comics. The most that got revealed was in the wholesome Harvey comics from the 1960s, that Casper is a ghost because his parents are ghosts. He didn't die but was instead just born a ghost. So he isn't a dead child but, instead, ghosts are sort of a separate species that can apparently procreate. Aside from the many more questions that raises about ghosts, it provided a semi-answer, although not an entirely satisfying one for fans.

Related: Goosebumps: Every Movie and TV Adaptation, Ranked

However, Casper being a kid ghost was a troubling notion for some. It was even joked about on The Simpsons , where Bart theorizes that Casper is the ghost of fellow Harvey comics character Richie Rich. That funny observation was made in the season two episode "Three Men and a Comic Book," which aired in 1991. This set the stage for the upcoming Casper movie to finally answer the age-old question: how did Casper die?

The Movie Reveals What Killed Casper

The 1990s saw a major boom in adaptations of classic television series . This ranged from live-action franchises like The Addams Family , Mission: Impossible , and The Fugitive to animated series getting the big live-action treatment, such as The Flinstones , George of the Jungle , and Dudley Do-Right . In 1995, Universal Pictures released Casper on Memorial Day weekend . The film was notable for being the first to have a CGI title character, and brought the lovable cartoon character to life like never before.

Yet with a big feature film adaptation, the filmmakers were tasked with finally explaining why there is a ghost child. Director Brad Silberling and screenwriters Sherri Stoner and Deanna Oliver crafted a backstory for Casper. In the film, it is revealed his real name was Casper McFadden (the first time he was provided with the last name). Casper was a 12-year-old boy who died of pneumonia after playing out in the snow for too long. His death motivated his father to spend the rest of his life trying to find a way to bring his son back, and his invention becomes a catalyst for the rest of the film.

Casper is a rather dark take on the classic material, but the filmmakers embraced the concept of death intrinsic to the character and made it the thematic hook of the movie. The entire film is about dealing with death . Showcasing that even a child can die is a bold creative risk for a family film, yet it makes for an emotionally powerful movie and even elevates Casper beyond its source material. Not much has been done with the character in recent years, though it was reported recently that a new Casper series on Peacock is being developed. It will be interesting to see if they keep the origin from the 1995 film or create a new explanation for why Casper is a ghost boy.

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  • Parents say (27)
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Based on 27 parent reviews

90s trash not fit for kids

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Perfect halloween film, language not for kids movie.

Beware- bad language and intense themes.

The language wasn’t good

Lackluster and all over the place, too much swearing, great movie with various perspectives, not for young kids, embarrassingly bad.

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Kathleen "Kat" Harvey

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"In two years I have been to nine different schools. I have eaten in nine cafeterias. I can't even remember anyone's name."

―Kat, to her dad, Dr. James Harvey.

Kathleen "Kat" Harvey is the deuteragonist of the 1995 flim, Casper . Kat was born in 1982. She is the daughter of Dr James Harvey and the late Amelia Harvey . In Casper , she is a 13-year-old girl; who moves to Friendship, Maine with her father, where she meets and befriends a ghost, named Casper McFadden . She is portrayed by Christina Ricci .

In The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper , Kat appears as a secondary character, continuing to live in Whipstaff Manor with Casper and his uncles. In the animated series, she is voiced by Kath Soucie.

  • 1.1 Early life
  • 1.3 The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper
  • 2 Personality
  • 3 Appearance

Background [ ]

Early life [ ].

Kathleen "Kat" Harvey was born in 1982 to James Harvey and Amelia Harvey, a middle-class American couple. When Kat was thirteen years old, Amelia abruptly passed away, which led James to give up his conventional career as a therapist and move onto parapsychology. He and Kat moved across the states, taking any available job opportunities while searching for Amelia's spirit, which James stubbornly believed was still present in the living world. Meanwhile, Kat dismissed her father's belief in ghosts as a sign of grieving, putting on a stoic face for his sake and struggling to fit in at various schools.

Because of the constant moving around, Kat was never able to maintain long-term relationships, quickly becoming lonely and embarrassed by her father's line of work (which attracted negative attention more often than not). As a result Kat developed a somewhat cynical outlook on life, growing up sooner than what was expected of a person her age.

Main article: Casper

"Yeah, right. This place is a freak's holiday."

―Kat's quote in Casper .

Casper first notices Kat while watching Hard Copy' s news report on the paranormal studies of James Harvey. The reporters try to interview her, but she refuses to answer any questions (mostly because she does not believe in ghosts at this point, not to mention she has no time due to it being the first day of school). Smitten with her on sight, Casper uses his supernatural abilities to possess the TV in Carrigan Crittenden ’s motel room while seeking to inherit Whipstaff Manor in her late father's will. Upon seeing the report herself, Carrigan contacts Dr. Harvey immediately.

It is revealed that the Harveys have very recently moved from Santa Fe, uprooting Kat from yet another school in order to travel to Maine, where Whipstaff is located. Recognizing his daughter's unhappiness and desire to make a long-term friend, Dr. Harvey promises if he "doesn't find what he's looking" for in the form of Amelia Harvey's spirit, this assignment will be the last. Kat eagerly agrees, but makes her father "pinkie promise".

Once arriving at Whipstaff, the Harveys are greeted by Carrigan Crittenden and her attorney, Paul "Dibs" Plutzker both of whom Kat regards with a great deal of skepticism. After being ordered by Carrigan to remove the ghosts as quickly as possible, the Harveys move in and search for their respective bedrooms. Kat is secretly observed by the smitten Casper, who is attempting to work up the courage to introduce himself to her. While Kat is unpacking, Casper accidentally catches her attention by deflecting an object at the back of her head. Once she recognizes that she is face-to-face with a real ghost, Kat keels over from shock and falls to the ground unconscious. Casper is able to revive her by absorbing cold water and wringing it out over her body, but Kat remains in a state of terror, screaming and alerting Dr. Harvey. He too panics upon seeing Casper, frantically carrying Kat to a closet to hide her. It is there that Kat apologizes for disbelieving in ghosts and for "thinking he's a total loser". He appears to forgive her, but tells her to apologize when he comes back for her.

Kat remains in the closet while Dr. Harvey confronts the Ghostly Trio, who have arrived home. Casper is able to free Kat from the closest after she is trapped within it by Fatso, but she flees at the sight of him, running downstairs to witness her father in combat with the Trio. After he is able to detain them with a vaccum, Kat rushes to his aid, guiding them to a safer portion of the house.

The following morning Kat enters the kitchen, first clearing the area with a "dust-buster" (hand-held vacuum). She is startled by Casper, who persuades her not to scream in order to avoid awakening his uncles. The two then begin their first real conversation over breakfast, beginning to develop a bond as Casper entertains Kat with questions about what it is like to be a ghost. James Harvey, who is still disturbed over the events of the previous night, arrives shortly afterwards, followed by the Ghostly Trio. Stretch becomes agitated with Casper after seeing his nephew has served the "air-sucking intruders" before himself and his brothers and is openly cruel to him, much to Kat's disgust. Recognizing the escalating hostility between Kat and Stretch, Dr. Harvey hurries her off her first day of school.

While at school (where she is followed by Casper), Kat is introduced to Victor "Vic" DePhilippi and Amber Whitmire , the former of which she becomes quickly attracted to and the latter of which dislikes her immediately. Aside from Vic, Kat's classmates treat with disdain and teasing, including Amber. When Kat reveals that she lives in a notorious haunted mansion and thinks it's kinda cool, if she drinks blood according to Amber, the class unanimously votes to relocate the setting of their Halloween party from Amber's new boat house to Whipstaff Manor, much to Amber's chagrin.

That afternoon, Vic surprises Kat with a visit inside her door, where they make small talk. After learning that Kat has her father's permission to host the party, Vic requests to be her date, to which Kat happily agrees. Unknown to Kat, Vic has courted her under orders from Amber, who plans to take vengeance on Kat for embarrassing her (as well as showing her up). Kat returns to her room, where Casper, having witnessed the conversation with Vic, attempts to persuade her to attend the dance with him instead and displays jealous behavior. Kat refuses, insisting that she "already has a date" and that she could not go with a ghost. Casper then takes Kat outside, flying to a nearby lighthouse that he regularly visits. While there, Kat asks him about his former life, none of which Casper can remember. He asks if this is a bad thing, but Kat denies it, replying it's "just kind of sad".

The scene cuts to Casper and Kat lying on their bed, presumably some time later. Kat wants to know why Casper has no recollection of being alive, to which he replies that all ghosts tend to forget things that no long matter to them. Kat goes on to reminisce about her mother, wondering if it is possible that Amelia has forgotten her. Casper reassures her, and Kat begins to fall asleep, only half-listening when Casper asks if she would have expressed romantic interest in him if he were still alive, or ever. Upon being kissed on the cheek by Casper, Kat misinterprets it as the wind and asks him to close the window before falling asleep alongside him.

The next day, Kat confides in her father about her date with Vic and requests money for clothing. He informs her that he would love to buy her whatever she wants, but admits that he will not be receiving any money until Carrigan Crittenden pays him. Kat appears disappointed, but understands, pleading Dr. Harvey not to let the eavesdropping Ghostly Trio ruin her party. She then goes to the attic, where she discovers Casper's former bedroom, alongside with various crates that contain old possessions. After setting everything up (off-screen), Kat invites Casper upstairs in hopes of reviving his memory of being alive. The plan is successful, and as a result Casper retrieves his mother's wedding gown for Kat to wear to the party. Shortly afterwards, he comes across an old sled, which reminds Casper that he died of an illness caught during one winter.

After discussing Casper's death, the two discover an old newspaper article about Casper's late father, J.T. McFadden. The article explains that J.T. McFadden was an inventor who claimed to be haunted by the ghost of his son. As a result, J.T. McFadden apparently built a machine intended to bring back the dead, which he called the Lazarus. However, J.T. McFadden was committed to an insane asylum before his work was complete. Realizing that this could be his chance to come back to life, Casper leads Kat to his father's secret laboratory, having her guided by a mechanical chair which leads to a hidden passage underneath the floorboards of the library. The laboratory contains various "steampunk-era" contraptions , including the Lazarus, which Kat activates by pushing a button on an old Frankenstein book. Unknown to Casper and Kat, they were followed by Carrigan and Dibs, who discover that the laboratory also contains the vault leading to the treasure they are seeking.

Meanwhile, Kat discovers a glass capsule containing an unnamed liquid that brings the deceased back to life, but only enough for one person. Kat is wary of the machine but Casper is adamant about putting it to use. While operating the machine, the serum is stolen by Carrigan and Dibs, leaving Casper and Kat baffled by the unfinished results. Shortly afterwards, Carrigan returns as a ghost, having died from a fall off a cliff during a dispute with Dibs. Unhappy that she has died, Carrigan still realizes her new powers and decides to use them to steal the treasure chest from the vault while the two young friends watch helplessly. Carrigan laughs greedily, quite impressed with herself. Dibs returns with the stolen capsule, which Casper forcefully takes back. Kat realizes her party guests have arrived and rushes to greet them upstairs before returning to the laboratory.

There she and Casper install the potion into the machine, where Carrigan surprises them. She commands Dibs to transform her back into a human. Fed up with her abuse, he betrays her, claiming he will keep the treasure for himself. He decides to destroy the capsule as well making sure Carrigan remains a ghost forever. Carrigan gasps as she watches Dibs attempt to destroy the capsule, knowing it is her only chance of ever coming back to life. Enraged, Carrigan berates Dibs, saying if she is forced to be dead and stay a ghost forever, then she’ll haunt him for the rest of his life. Dibs is unbothered by the threat. Carrigan then flings Dibs out a nearby window, presumably killing him. As she prepares to leave with the treasure, Casper and Kat stop her, inquiring about her "unfinished business". When Carrigan gloats, denying she has any, she is forcefully crossed over to the afterlife for the rest of eternity as the children planned. Kat retrieves the serum that Carrigan had stolen and discovers that the "treasure" was actually a baseball signed by Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Casper's favorite player (so the treasure would have been worthless to Carrigan, meaning she got herself killed for no reason).

Just as Casper and Kat are about to use the Lazarus to bring Casper back to life, Dr. Harvey returns as a ghost, having died in a drunken accident while out with the Ghostly Trio. As a ghost, he is now loud and goofy like the Trio, but apparently lacks memory of his daughter. While Stretch and his brothers are very pleased with this turn of events, Kat is driven to tears. It is only when she reminds Dr. Harvey of their "pinkie promise" that he is reminded of who he is and what he has done. Casper, realizing that Kat needs her father alive, decides that Dr. Harvey must be brought back to the living world instead. He uses the Lazarus to revive him, thereby giving up his own chance to be alive himself again and being forced to remain a ghost. After a joyful reunion, Kat is reminded of her party and goes upstairs to play hostess.

Meanwhile, Amber and Vic sneak into the house, as Amber had planned to frighten Kat by dressing up as a spooky ghost. The Ghostly Trio intervenes and drives them away before they can succeed, causing Vic (with Amber atop his shoulders) to run wildly out into the foyer; their costume falls apart, ruining Amber's prank and humiliating the both of them. Kat looks confused while the other students applaud, but the smile that appears on her face suggests she has figured out what happened.

Some time passes and the other students have coupled up for the slow dancing; Kat is seen sitting by herself, now dateless. She is introduced to a human Casper, who has been rewarded by Amelia Harvey's spirit for his selfless deed. The two share a dance and a kiss just as Casper transforms back into a ghost, driving the crowd into a hysterical frenzy and causing them to flee the mansion. Kat wryly comments that this was "not bad for her first party", to which Casper happily agrees. After James Harvey and the Ghostly Trio appear, everyone dances to Little's Richard's "Casper the Friendly Ghost", thus concluding the film.

The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper

Main article: The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper

Kat appears as a secondary character in the animated spin-off of the feature film, although there are noticeable differences in her character. While neutral to Amber in the film for the most part, Kat now openly dislikes her and behaves in a vindictive manner. Kat's personality has drastically changed as well; she is much more snide and critical of others, particularly Casper and his uncles, and desires popularity amongst her peers.

It has been debated by fans whether or not these cartoons should be accepted as canon, as an Edward Gorey-style short entitled The Ghostly Day depicts a completely different meeting between Casper and Kat than what was shown in the film.


"'Stretch'... 'Fatso'... and 'Stinkie'? Man, they had cruel parents. Wonder where Doc and Dopey sleep."

―Kat, discovering the Ghostly Trio's bedroom.

Wise beyond her years, Kat has a deadpan, wry sense of humor (which is said to be inherited from her mother) and a no-nonsense attitude. She can be stubborn and occasionally short-tempered, often putting up a stoic front to cover up her true vulnerability and self-doubt. Despite these traits, Kat remains a courageous and determined girl who isn't afraid to speak her mind and doesn't frighten easily. Kat is also empathetic and inquisitive, often expressing concern for the well-being of others, as well as the desire to learn new things.

Even at her young age, Kat has proven herself to be intelligent and responsible, stepping up to take care of herself and her father after the sudden death of Amelia Harvey; an event that caused Kat a great deal of emotional trauma. It was through her friendship with Casper that Kat was able to recover and find peace within herself.

In the Spooktacular cartoon, Kat is more snarky and sarcastic than she was in the film. Her voice is radically different is well, sounding more childlike and bubbly than in the theatrical film.

Appearance [ ]

In the film, Kat is a very petite girl, standing at a mere five feet. She is slender, with a round face, broad forehead and large hazel eyes. Her hair is brown, straight and a little bit wavy and mid-length. Something of a tomboy, she typically sports oversized clothing such as henleys, crochet sweaters and cardigans, and jeans. Towards the end of the film, Kat wears a white Edwardian gown made of antique lace for her Halloween party, along with lace-up black combat boots. She is frequently seen with rings on her fingers, most prominently a large one on her thumb.

In the Spooktacular cartoon, Kat's appearence is drastically different. Her hair is much shorter and black instead of brown, with side-bangs. She also has green eyes instead of hazel. She no longer wears jewlery and dresses in an oversized gray-pink shirt, skinny jeans and white sneakers.

  • The last name of the Christina Ricci's and Bill Pullman's characters is "Harvey". Harvey Comics is the long time publisher of Casper the Friendly Ghost. The surname is of Scottish, English and Irish origin.
  • Was originally named Wendy in the script but changed at the last minute because otherwise Universal would have been required to buy the rights to her character as well. However, several hints that her character was originally Wendy still it made it into the film, such as the red hoodie she wears in the film during one scene that resembles her robe from the comics.
  • This is the second movie in which Christina Ricci is the love interest of Devon Sawa. The other one is Now and Then (1995).
  • First name, Kathleen, is Greek for the word "pure".
  • Her second name is Louise, so her complete name is Kathleen Louise Harvey
  • Nicknamed "Bucket" by her father.
  • Admits that she doesn't have much knowledge of machinery and "couldn't even get her Easy Bake oven to work".
  • The character of Kat was intended to return for the cancelled sequel of the 1995 film. Ricci was unable to reprise her role for at least another year due to attachment to another project.
  • According to Hard Copy , she may have gone by the nickname "Kathy" in the past.
  • Dislikes sunny-side up eggs, claiming they "kind of make her yak".
  • Is a fan of Brad Pitt and Crispin Glover, having posters of both in her bedroom ( A Picture Says 1000 Words ).
  • Mockingly called "Kitty-Kat" by Amber in the animated series. In many fan-made works, however, Stretch is the one to frequently refer to her as such.
  • Does not own a cellphone ( Trick's a Treat ).
  • Plays on a softball team ( Field of Screams ).
  • Uses makeup powder ( Day of the Living Casper ).
  • Hates fruitcake, claiming there is "nothing worse" ( Grim and Bear It ).
  • At least tolerates Stinkie, as they have been shown getting along and occasionally helping each other throughout the animated series.
  • In the animated series, it is mentioned that she enjoys rollerskating.
  • Is seen reading The' Catcher and the Rye at one point during the animated series.
  • Casper was originally filmed in 1993, it took two years because of the drawings.
  • Eliza Dushku, Kristy Swanson, Scarlett Johansson and Kirsten Dunst were all considered for the role of Kat Harvey before Christina Ricci was cast.

Gallery [ ]

First appearace of Kat

  • 1 The Ghostly Trio
  • 2 Casper the Friendly Ghost
  • 3 Casper McFadden


Casper (McFadden)

casper the ghost age

(From Casper 1995 and the Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper)

Basic Info :ok_hand:

Full name: Casper McFadden

Date of Birth: Unknown, but sometime in April according to "Day of the Living Casper"

Aka: Casp, bulbhead, shortsheet, etc.

Age: 12 (or 112 in his years as a ghost, also according to the same episode as mentioned above)

Gender: Male

Species: Ghost

Relationship Status: Crushing, Kat Harvey

Sexuality: Straight

Affiliation: Good

Relatives: The Ghostly Trio (Uncles), J.T. McFadden (Father), Spooky McFadden (Cousin)

Likes :sparkling_heart:

J.T. McFadden

The Harveys

The Ghostly Trio (sometimes)


Detective marathon shows

Winter activities, like sledding

His playroom

J.T.'s inventions

Dislikes :broken_heart:

Spooky McFadden (sometimes)

Being judged/talked down to

Being underestimated/ignored

Being bossed around

Feeling alone/lonely

Scaring/Haunting fleshies


Carrigan Crittenden

Paul "Dibs" Plutzker

Victor "Vic" DePhillipi

Appearance :eyes:

Casper is often recognized for his large and round head. He has big, bright blue eyes, dimples, and a warm smile. He is mostly seen with a pear-shaped body along with a short ghostly tail. He is also generally shorter in height, even for a boy his age which earned his nickname "shortsheet". He often appears harmless and more approachable than most other ghosts.

As a human, Casper is revealed to be very handsome and attractive, as noticed by several girls at the Halloween Dance. He is of average height, fair skin with dark blonde hair and has the same bright blue eyes. He was dressed in a simple pirate's costume without any extra accessories.

Personality :ghost:

Unlike most others of his kind, Casper is genuinely friendly and is determined to stay that way. He is usually calm and collected, only having a bad temper when someone finally pushes him too far. Unlike most other ghosts his age, he's almost always well-behaved and particularly innocent even if it goes against 'ghost-etiquette'. He almost never allows ghastly customs to change his ways. Despite his friendliness, he is sometimes rather shy toward strangers, turning invisible if he detects a fleshie nearby or may ask "who are you", before talking to someone he doesn't know, and is often more nervous or shut-down around his uncles. In most, if not all cases, he still refuses to scare the living unless extremely necessary. He can be edgy at times, varying from being silly and playful, to jealous and vindictive. But overall he's protective and sensitive of those he cares about, especially with Kat. He likes performing and showing off around his loved ones but sometimes suffers from stage fright if his classmates are involved. It has also been said that Casper is nosy at times, eavesdropping on conversations or asking too many questions at the wrong time even if he has good intentions.

Relations :point_down:

Ghostly Trio (Stretch, Stinkie, Fatso)- Uncles

J.T. McFadden- Father

Spooky McFadden- Cousin

Kathleen Harvey- Love interest

Dr. Harvey- Therapist

Ms. Banshee- Teacher

Background :pray:

When he was alive, Casper was very close to his father J.T., who always made time for his son despite being busy as an inventor. One fateful day, Casper pleaded his dad for a sled, which was finally randomly given to him one morning. The boy spent the entire day sledding and playing in the snow, enjoying the winter season. He stayed outside even when night arose, paying no mind to the dropping temperatures. He soon became ill with pneumonia, a serious bacterial or viral infection in the lungs. He was unable to recover and soon died. Since then, his afterlife hasn't been pleasant. After his father was eventually driven to insanity after trying to develop an invention to bring his son's ghost back to life (according to newspapers from that time), Casper remains at Whipstaff with his guardians, the Ghostly Trio. He usually has to tend to his uncles and their every want and complaint, as well as his chores, while most of the time suffering from abuse and neglect. He tries to make the best of his afterlife through the Harveys, or being friendly with other fleshies while all at the same time, generally staying true to himself.

:star: Trivia :star:

:star: Most of the time, Casper seems to take great pleasure in his head being pet or stroked

:star: In several instances, he's been shown to have signs of anxiety and depression, but hasn't been diagnosed to further validate these signs

:star: He regularly receives failing grades in school, even once been threatened to be sent over to the military if his grades wouldn't improve

:star: Tends to make slightly outdated, particularly 90s pop culture refs once in awhile

:star: Casper has been shown to get 'ectospasms", a condition where he uncontrollably morphs and shapeshifts, worsening when he's nervous

:star: He seems to break the 4th wall in the Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper more than any other character in the show

casper the ghost age

Related Pages


Kathleen (Kat) Harvey

Comments (2).

casper the ghost age

AAAA I’m so happy we now have Casper’s wiki here too!! :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :ghost: :purple_heart: I had ta feature it :cry: :pray: 🏻

AAA YESS, thanks a bunch Crazy! :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :ghost: :two_hearts: :two_hearts: This really just made my day :cry: :see_no_evil:

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The True Backstory of Casper the Friendly Ghost is Super Dark

The True Backstory of Casper the Friendly Ghost is Super Dark

There might be a reason why we never hear about Casper’s back story all that much, and it’s largely because it could have very well put a damper on the movie, which was supposed to be a pleasant family film for everyone. Apparently Casper’s back story was much darker and a lot more disturbed than anyone would have wanted to see in the film.

It starts off that Casper’s mom passed away giving birth, leaving him to be raised by his father. Apparently his father was a pleasant and even doting man and tried to make his son happy. When Casper all but begged for a sled his father gave him one and allowed him to go sledding all day. Unfortunately it would seem that somehow Casper contracted pneumonia and died not long after. Instead of moving on to the afterlife however he stuck around, not wanting his father to be all alone.

This prompted his father to make the attempt to build an artificial body that Casper could inhabit. Unfortunately he was taken to an asylum before he could test the contraption out and was never seen again. That alone sounds like a very tragic story that understandably didn’t make it to the final cut for the Casper movie. Detailing how he was all alone in the house was more than enough, but reliving the pain of an existence that was cut short by tragedy would have elevated the movie from being a family film straight into a supernatural drama that would have been a little too much to be a family-driven picture.

Casper the friendly ghost has been a cartoon that has been around for generations now and has been fully enjoyed by many kids whether it’s Halloween or not. The story of Casper has been something that kids have managed to find endearing and even entertaining throughout the years. Yet it never struck a lot of people that the ghost of a kid could be anything tragic, mostly because Casper was such a fun-loving and kind spirit that no one really thought about delving into his back story. Nowadays however the idea of a child ghost is more than enough to get anyone riled and ready to ask a slew of questions.

It kind of doesn’t help that there are a host of movies out there now that deal with children and the many issues they must face as well in very negative terms. Some of those that are supernatural in origin are more than a little disturbing and are uniquely geared towards making certain that the back story of the affected children is either as normal or as messed up as can be. So really, honestly, truly, Casper’s back story is not as bad as it could be, but it is extremely tragic.

Casper didn’t stay out of a deep-seated grudge or because he was afraid of moving on. He did so out of the deep love that he had for his father and the desire to not leave him alone in the world. So as dark as his back story might have b been it still had some light to it.

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Ronnie Magro

A lover of great stories and epic tales, Tom is a fan of old and new-school ideas. As a novelist and a screenwriter, he enjoys promoting one story or another. With 18k+ articles and 40 novels written, Tom knows a little something about storytelling.

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Casper (1995)

  • Parents Guide


  • Sex & Nudity (2)
  • Violence & Gore (2)
  • Profanity (3)
  • Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking (2)
  • Frightening & Intense Scenes (2)
  • Spoilers (2)

Sex & Nudity

  • None 51 of 67 found this to have none Severity? None 51 Mild 11 Moderate 1 Severe 4 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • The main villainess Carrigan Crittenden went from being flat in the chest as a human, to being busty as a ghost, Edit
  • A couple of chaste kisses, a couple of vague sexual references. Edit

Violence & Gore

  • Mild 40 of 52 found this mild Severity? None 8 Mild 40 Moderate 3 Severe 1 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • Casper mocks hanging himself to dissuade Kat from going out with a boy. Edit
  • Some mild comic violence including a humerous fight scene. Ghosts pull out guns and attempt to kill a man. Two characters die and later on in the film turn into ghosts. Edit
  • Mild 45 of 102 found this mild Severity? None 11 Mild 45 Moderate 43 Severe 3 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • Many infrequent uses of "Damn", "Hell", "Piss", and "Bitch" are used throughout the movie. Edit
  • Carrigan says "for Christ's sake" on a few occasions. Edit
  • 2 uses of bitch 1 use of piss, damn, shut up and sucks 3 uses of hell Edit

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • Mild 44 of 54 found this mild Severity? None 5 Mild 44 Moderate 3 Severe 2 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • Carrigan briefly asks Dibs quietly if Casper "is a drug dealer". Edit
  • A character smokes cigarettes in a few scenes. A character is drunk which leads to his death. Edit

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • Mild 38 of 61 found this mild Severity? None 8 Mild 38 Moderate 14 Severe 1 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • Casper's sled backstory can be emotional. Edit
  • The film deals with the ideas of death, loss, and remembering those you've loved. Everything in this regard is handled in a thoughtful and even touching fashion, but it may be unexpected. Edit

The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

  • Carrigan grabs an axe and tries to kill Dibbs, after this fails she attempts to run him over. This attempted is thwarted by her crashing into a tree. She then forces open her door and accidentally falls to her death. Edit
  • Three mean ghosts are rude, they turn out to be nice at the end. Some characters die or are referenced to be dead. Edit

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  21. Casper (McFadden)

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