Interview with ’80s icon Diane Franklin (Better Off Dead, Amityville II, The Last American Virgin)


“I want to be remembered as a good representation of what an actor should be. I feel that I’m also a good rep to go after your dreams and if you work hard you will get there.”

Last night I had the pleasure of talking on the phone with actress Diane Franklin. Many of us remember her for her curly hair (while in that time everyone was blonde and blue-eyed, Diane Franklin changed the system with her first lead role in The Last American Virgin) and roles in such films as Better Off Dead and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. 

She’s also been in plenty of horror movies, most recently is a new one called The Amityville Murders. The digital release of that movie will be on Nov. 13, 44 years after the murders of the DeFeo family.

She also recently played a medium in the action horror film No Respect for the Living. It’s her first time playing a medium, which she said was exciting. She will be in Ohio at Nightmares Film Festival for another new film, The Final Interview too.

While she’s an ’80s icon, Diane Franklin is still making her mark in 2018! She even has a fun YouTube channel with her daughter Olivia (she’s 22, and Franklin is 56) called Liv and Di in LA

Her daughter is a comedian that also directs comedies and her son is a musician and in a band called Swatches. Her husband of almost 30 years, Ray DeLaurentis wrote episodes of FairyOdd Parents. Diane told me this and she seemed very proud of them all!

Besides acting and writing (Diane recently majored in writing and minored in theater), she also teaches acting to kids from K through 8th grade. She works in a public school and has been doing this for 14 years now.

The Interview

1428 Elm: Amityville II: The Possession to me is creepier than the first movie because of the subject matter. Are you a believer that the house is actually evil? 

Diane Franklin: I believe that the house has a bad feeling or bad energy to it. I’ve never been to the real Amityville House but would love to go there and do a lockdown with the Ghost Adventures crew.

1428 Elm: You went back to Amityville with The Amityville Murders, so what was it like this time around? 

DF: The Amityville Murders is the best work I’ve done as an actress. If this was the last movie I’ve ever made, I would be happy. In Amityville II, I played the daughter and now in The Amityville Murders, I play the mother. The story is tragic and I tried to play Louise DeFoe in an empathic way.

The director of Amityville Murders,  Daniel Farrands made a documentary first and then this movie. It’s a docudrama, maybe one thing isn’t true (the floating coins I think), but the rest is true.

1428 Elm: I love TV movies, so I have to talk about Deadly Lessons. What was filming like with TV legend Donna Reed? 

DF: It was really fun filming Deadly Lessons. I played the lead (even with Ally Sheedy in the cast) and I loved working with all the girls. Nancy Cartwright from The Simpsons is in it too! Bill Paxton played my boyfriend in the movie. We actually dated after the film. Bill Paxton was a total gentleman and was really nice. Deadly Lessons was before everyone was so famous.

When I worked with Donna Reed, I saw her as the head of the school and not as the warm mother figure that a lot of people knew her as because of her TV show. I never grew up watching her show, it was before my time. She seemed to stay in character too.

1428 Elm: TerrorVision is a wild, but fun movie. What made you want to be part of it? 

DF: It was before Bill & Ted and I was so excited about playing a valley girl and punk character. It’s funny because nobody in the ’80s got that it was a parody of the ‘80s, but now people get it. The characters were intentionally supposed to be cartoon characters. I also got to use a machine gun for the first time in TerrorVision, which was fun!

1428 Elm: Aside from your horror films, fans can you see you in plenty of ’80s hits like two of my favorites, Better Off Dead and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.  I have to ask, between those two movies, which one do you like better? 

DF: Better Off Dead, because it was a bigger role for me. My character was a good role model too. The only thing I’m ashamed about was my character had good manners and everything, but she had to be European, not American to be a good example. 

1428 Elm: What’s your favorite horror movie of all time? 

DF: I like Dressed to Kill, The Exorcist, and Jaws, but I’m going to say The Amityville Murders. Even after filming the movie, I’m still scared!

I would like to thank Diane Franklin for taking the time out of her busy schedule to talk about her classics as well as her new movies. I would also like to mention her books for those who would like to read even more tidbits and facts about her career: Diane Franklin: The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s and Diane Franklin: The Excellent Curls of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s.

She’s also working on a third book that will be about Better Off Dead and is asking if anyone who has a photo with her at conventions wearing the coat from the movie to send her an email at

Next. My conversation with Bruce Campbell: Straight, no chaser and no agendas. dark

What’s your favorite Diane Franklin movie? Share your favorite in the comments and also what you thought about the interview!