Fact Check

Yes, the Same Actor Played Ralphie in 'A Christmas Story' and Ming Ming in 'Elf'

"The Billingsley Overlap" thrills film-lovers every holiday season, including 2021.

Published Nov 29, 2021

 (_jack_schaller/Twitter)
Image Via _jack_schaller/Twitter
Claim:
The same actor — Peter Billingsley — played Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" and Ming Ming in "Elf."

In late 2021, a whole new cohort of internet users marveled at a piece of Christmas movie trivia, namely that Peter Billingsley, the actor who played Ralphie Parker in "A Christmas Story," also made an appearance in "Elf" — the modern holiday classic starring Will Ferrell. 

Facebook users enthusiastically shared one tweet in particular, which included screenshots of each character, and the following message:

"Today, at approximately 11:19 AM, my life changed forever when I found out this dude from Elf was also Ralphie from A Christmas Story."

The screenshot below illustrates the popularity of that tweet in particular, and "The Billingsley Overlap," as a piece of trivia, in general, during the holidays in 2021:

Those social media posts were entirely accurate. Billingsley — who was already a successful child actor in the 1970s and 1980s — played Ralphie, the 9-year-old hero of the 1983 classic "A Christmas Story," as shown in the opening credits of that film:

Two decades later, he appeared in "Elf" as Ming Ming, the under-pressure workshop supervisor at the North Pole, shown here with the movie's protagonist Buddy the Elf, played by Ferrell:

Back in 2003, Billingsley told The Associated Press his return to making a Christmas classic "felt good...just like riding a bike." Over the years, Billingsley has collaborated frequently with "Elf" director Jon Favreau, including serving as an executive producer on the 2008 Favreau-directed blockbuster "Iron Man," and directing 2009's "Couple's Retreat," which was written by and starred Favreau and Vince Vaughn.


Sources:

Nast, Condé. “How A Christmas Story Went from Low-Budget Fluke to an American Tradition.” Vanity Fair, 30 Nov. 2016, https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/how-a-christmas-story-became-an-american-tradition.

Dan Mac Guill is a former writer for Snopes.

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