What Happen To The Kid From 'Elf'? Daniel Tay Has Been Laying Low
'Tis the season for Christmas movies, and Elf is probably marathoning on all cable channels right now. Ever since the cheery, spirited Will Ferrell film debuted in 2003, its sugary-sweet lines have become part of the cultural canon of Christmas movies, from “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear” to “You sit on a throne of lies” (which is still a great one, honestly). And even though the stars of the film were Ferrell playing Buddy the titular elf and Zooey Deschanel playing his love-interest, Jovie, let’s not forget Buddy’s brother, Michael, played by Daniel Tay. So what happened to the kid from Elf since the movie became an instant hit?
Tay, now 24, was only 11 when he made his acting debut in Elf, and he's stayed mostly out of the spotlight since. You're pretty lucky when your first gig is in a Will Ferrell movie, especially when it’s one that becomes forever immortalized. In the movie, Tay played Michael, Walter’s son who is Buddy’s half-brother. At first 12-year-old Michael is way grossed out by Buddy’s syrupy diet and put off by his childlike sincerity, but Buddy ends up teaching Michael a thing or two, and vice versa. It’s a nice family story, OK?
But maybe the heights that Elf reached caused Tay to want to bow out of the spotlight for a bit. Elf was released in 2003, and in that same year Tay played a young Harvey Pekar (the older version played by Paul Giamatti) in the critically acclaimed American Splendor. He did a few other acting spots, one in the show Beer League in 2005 and a spot in the mob movie Brooklyn Rules in 2007.
After that, though, Tay took a different path and decided to do some voice work. He provided the voice of the titular animated character Doogal in the American film version of the British cartoon show in 2006. He also dabbled in video game voiceovers, doing the voice of Pedro De La Hoya in the game Bully and some work in a Grand Theft Auto iteration in 2009, which is listed as his last project.
Aside from that, though, Tay has mostly laid low and it's unclear what he's up to today. Maybe the success of Elf overwhelmed him, or maybe he decided that he could cruise on the momentum of the still popular Christmas film for a decade or two. And hey, Tay is still only 24 years old, and fans will never forget the little kid from Elf who helps his mean old dad find the Christmas spirit with help from a hilariously dressed Will Ferrell. Plus, it's never too late for a child star to try out acting again — everyone loves a comeback.
Images: New Line Cinema; Giphy