In 1980, David and Jerry Zucker, along with Jim Abrahams, co-wrote and directed the hit comedy, “Airplane!,” which, for many fans, was the film that thrust Julie Hagerty into the public eye. The film follows Ted Striker (Robert Hayes), a traumatized military fighter pilot who is trying to overcome his fear of commercial air travel in order to get back with the love of his life, Elaine (Hagerty).
Hagerty embodies this sweet and timid character, who is initially reluctant to reconcile with Ted but eventually assists him in saving the seemingly-doomed flight. With the hilarious comedy’s success, Hagerty reprised her role of Elaine in the 1982 follow-up, “Airplane 2: The Sequel.” Matching the exact character traits from the original, Hagerty once again has Elaine break through her timid facade to help save the day. Simply put, fans got pretty much the same movie, albeit that time set in space.
Speaking to The Gate in 2019, Hagerty recalled enjoying her time working on “Airplane!” as this was her first film. She also told a funny story about how her grandparents had mixed opinions on “Airplane” when they got to watch it. “My grandma, bless her heart. I was so excited to be in a movie, then she saw it. She says to me, ‘Are you ever going to make a nice movie?'” Hagerty said. “I was like, ‘Grandma! It’s a movie. I’m from Ohio.’ It still wasn’t good enough for grandma. That’s okay. My grandpa liked it.”