As the air starts to pick up a chill and fall creeps ever-closer, there are but two thing on our minds: the 1993 Disney Channel movie “Hocus Pocus” and its long awaited sequel “Hocus Pocus 2.”
With its Halloween theme and cult classic status, “Hocus Pocus” is the perfect film to watch while curled up under a blanket and sipping on tea. (Though we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that any Nora Ephron movie would be appropriate as well.) It’s also a perfect film if you want to watch incredible Jewish talent — Bette Middler and Sarah Jessica Parker play two of the three Sanderson sisters!
But did you know that Omri Katz, another star of “Hocus Pocus,” is also Jewish?
Here are 18 things to know about the ’90s actor:
1. Omri Katz was born on May 30, 1976 in Los Angeles.
2. ICYMI, that makes him a Gemini.
3. His parents, Rina and Yoram, are Israeli-Jewish immigrants, though Omri lived in Israel for a year as a kid.
4. Perhaps because of that, he is fluent in Hebrew!
5. His middle name is Haim, which means life in Hebrew.
Fun fact: He shares the name with two trios of musically talented Jewish sisters — Danielle, Este and Alana Haim of the band Haim and Tair, Liron, and Tagel Haim from Israeli band A-WA.
TBH, we want to see a Haim x Haim x Omri Haim Katz collab immediately!!
6. Omri made his TV debut as John Ross Ewing III in the hit soap opera “Dallas.”
Check out this scene from the show, featuring Omri as an adorable child:
7. His performance as John Ross Ewing III was so good that in 1984 it earned him a Soap Opera Digest Award in the Best Youth Actor in a Prime Time Soap Opera category.
8. In 1991, Omri starred in the short-lived horror sci-fi show “Eerie, Indiana.”
Here’s the very spooky opening:
It’s giving “Goosebumps” with a dash of baby “X-Files” and we’re here for it.
9. Of course, Omri is most famous for starring as protagonist Max Dennison in “Hocus Pocus.”
While we’re talking about “Hocus Pocus,” let’s rewatch the iconic “I Put a Spell on You” scene, just because:
10. Omri almost didn’t play Max!
“[The casting ladies] were like, ‘You need to see this guy because he’ll inspire you and if nothing else, he’ll help you find the right guy to play Max,’” Director Kenny Ortega said. “And they send me in a young Leonardo DiCaprio, who I completely and absolutely fall in love with.”
Fortunately for Omri, Leonardo wasn’t available for the role.
“When Omri Katz came around, I fell in love again and he was our Max,” Kenny added.
11. You can listen to Omri discuss his experience working on “Hocus Pocus” in this podcast episode:
12. As evidenced by this photo from 2015, it seems that Omri keeps in contact with his “Hocus Pocus” costars:
13. In 1999 he had a featured role in “Freaks and Geeks” as Brad.
He shows up around 30 seconds in this video, sans his signature ’90s floppy hair:
14. In 2020, Omri reprised his role of Max Dennison for a video for a fundraising event put on by Bette Midler!
Check out part of the video here:
15. He’s on Cameo!!
(This is a not-so-subtle hint as what to get us for our birthday.)
16. Unfortunately, Omri will not be in “Hocus Pocus 2.”
“People have been asking, and unfortunately, I’m not in it. I would have loved to be involved,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
17. Even so, Omri has still praised the sequel.
“I think it’ll be good for everyone who loved the original!” he added. “I hope fans will go see it. I know I will.”
In that vein, here’s the trailer!
18. As of now, Omri has retired from acting.
Instead, he’s focused on his cannabis culture/lifestyle brand The Mary Danksters!