Thriller Dancers Where Are They Now?

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Introduction to the Thriller Dancers

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is not just a groundbreaking song but also a revolutionary music video that has left an indelible mark on pop culture. Released in 1983, the video featured a horde of dancing zombies performing a now-iconic choreography alongside Jackson. The dancers who participated in this video became part of music history, but where are they now? This article delves into the lives of the “Thriller” dancers, exploring their journeys post the video’s success.

The Legacy of “Thriller”

Before we look into the whereabouts of the dancers, it’s important to acknowledge the legacy of “Thriller.” The music video, directed by John Landis, was more like a short film and set a new standard for music videos. It was MTV’s first world premiere video and has influenced countless artists and dancers since its release. The “Thriller” dance is a Halloween staple, and the red jacket worn by Jackson in the video has become iconic.

Michael Peters: The Choreographer

The man behind the legendary moves was Michael Peters, who not only choreographed the dance but also appeared as one of the lead zombies. Peters was an acclaimed choreographer who won a Tony Award for his work on “Dreamgirls.” Unfortunately, Peters passed away in 1994 due to AIDS-related complications, but his work continues to inspire.

Ola Ray: Jackson’s Co-Star

Ola Ray, who played Jackson’s girlfriend in the video, had a brief career in acting and modeling after “Thriller.” She appeared in a few films and television shows but largely stepped away from the spotlight. In recent years, she released a single in tribute to Jackson and settled a dispute with the Jackson estate over royalties from the video.

The Main Cast of Dancers

The main cast of dancers who brought the undead to life alongside Jackson included a mix of professional dancers and performers. Many of them continued to work in the entertainment industry, while others took different paths. Let’s take a closer look at some of these dancers and their lives after “Thriller.”

Sheryl Crow

Before she became a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, Sheryl Crow was a backup singer for Michael Jackson during the “Bad” tour, which included performing in the “Thriller” segment. Crow’s career took off in the ’90s, and she has since become a household name in music.

Richmond Talauega and Anthony Talauega

The Talauega brothers were part of the “Thriller” dance troupe and went on to have a successful career as choreographers. They have worked with artists like Madonna, Britney Spears, and Chris Brown, and have contributed to Hollywood films.

Vincent Paterson

Vincent Paterson, who was one of the lead dancers, became a renowned choreographer and director. He has worked with Madonna on her Blond Ambition Tour and directed and choreographed for films like “Dancer in the Dark.”

Kevin Petersen

Kevin Petersen, another “Thriller” dancer, continued his career in dance and choreography. He has worked on various projects, including stage productions and dance workshops.

Supporting Cast and Their Careers

The supporting cast of “Thriller” dancers also included talented individuals who pursued various careers post their “Thriller” fame.

LaVelle Smith Jr.

LaVelle Smith Jr. went on to become a five-time MTV Video Music Award-winning choreographer and has worked with Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, and of course, Michael Jackson himself.

Michael DeLorenzo

Michael DeLorenzo, who was one of the younger dancers in “Thriller,” became an actor and is best known for his role in the TV series “New York Undercover.”

Douglas Benson

Douglas Benson continued to work as a dancer and actor, appearing in films like “Captain EO” and “The Running Man.”

Where Are They Now: A Summary Table

DancerCareer Post-ThrillerNotable Works
Ola RayActing, MusicTribute single to Michael Jackson
Sheryl CrowMusicGrammy-winning albums
Richmond and Anthony TalauegaChoreographyWork with Madonna, Britney Spears
Vincent PatersonChoreography, DirectingMadonna’s Blond Ambition Tour
Kevin PetersenDance, ChoreographyStage productions, Workshops
LaVelle Smith Jr.ChoreographyWork with Beyoncé, Janet Jackson
Michael DeLorenzoActing“New York Undercover”
Douglas BensonDance, Acting“Captain EO”, “The Running Man”

Impact on Dance and Choreography

The “Thriller” dancers not only contributed to a monumental music video but also influenced the world of dance and choreography. Their performance in “Thriller” has been emulated by dance troupes worldwide and remains a benchmark for synchronized group performances.

Reunions and Tributes

Over the years, there have been several reunions and tributes to the “Thriller” video. Some of the original dancers have come together for special events and performances, celebrating the lasting impact of their work.

FAQs About Thriller Dancers

  • How many dancers were in the “Thriller” video?
    There were dozens of dancers in the “Thriller” video, including both the main and supporting cast.
  • Did the “Thriller” dancers have careers after the video?
    Yes, many of the “Thriller” dancers went on to have successful careers in music, dance, choreography, and acting.
  • Are any of the “Thriller” dancers still performing?
    Some of the dancers continue to perform, teach, or choreograph, while others have retired or moved on to different fields.
  • Has there been a “Thriller” reunion?
    There have been reunions and tributes where some of the original dancers have performed the iconic choreography together.
  • What happened to the choreographer of “Thriller”?
    Michael Peters, the choreographer, passed away in 1994, but his work continues to be celebrated and influential.


The dancers from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” have taken diverse paths since their participation in the iconic video. While some have continued to work in the entertainment industry, others have found success in different arenas. Their collective contribution to “Thriller” has left a legacy that transcends time, with the choreography still being celebrated and performed around the world. The “Thriller” dancers are a testament to the enduring power of art to connect and inspire across generations.

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