What 'Free Willy' Child star Jason James Richter has been up to ahead of the film's 25th anniversary

Two decades and a half after 1993's Free Willy made Jason James Richter a star at just 11 years old, Richter is still acting today.

2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the beloved film, which starred Richter as Jesse, a foster child who befriends a captive orca named Willy. Eventually, Jesse helps set Willy free after learning of a plot to kill the whale for his million-dollar insurance policy.

The film was an incredible hit, grossing more than $150 million worldwide.

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'Free Willy' star Jason James Richter through the years
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'Free Willy' star Jason James Richter through the years
Jason James Richter in the water in a scene from the film 'Free Willy', 1993. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
Jason James Richter holding whale piece in a scene from the film 'Free Willy', 1993. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
Jason James Richter looking through window in a scene from the film 'Free Willy', 1993. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 18: Jason James Richter (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 18: Jason James Richter (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 18: Jason James Richter (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 18: Jason James Richter (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 18: Jason James Richter (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Jason James Richter during Jason James Richter appears on the 'CBS Morning Show' - April 11, 1995 at Jason James Richter appears on the 'CBS Morning Show', NYC in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Derek Storm/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 17: Actor Jason James Richter attends the 'Free Willy' 20th Anniversary Celebration at the Egyptian Theatre on August 17, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 17: (L-R) Actors Michael Madsen, Jason James Richter and Jayne Atkinson attend the 'Free Willy' 20th Anniversary Celebration at the Egyptian Theatre on August 17, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 17: Actors Jason James Richter (L) and Jayne Atkinson attend the 'Free Willy' 20th Anniversary Celebration at the Egyptian Theatre on August 17, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
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Richer, who is now 38, starred in an number of films after Free Willy, including its sequels, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home and Free Willy 3: The Rescue. He also appeared on the small screen, making appearances on Bones, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Criminal Minds. 

Richter is still acting today -- his projects this year include the upcoming Ghost in the Graveyard, Infidelity and 818. The actor is also active on Instagram, giving fans a look at what a grown-up Jesse looks like today.

#throwback #mondaymotivation Hiking valley of Fire. #2018

A post shared by Jason👀Richter (@jason_james_richter) on

Interestingly enough, the controversial captivity of killer whales -- and its possible dangers for both humans and mammals -- was brought back into the spotlight in 2013 thanks to the hit documentary Blackfish. Male orca whale Tilikum -- who was profiled in the film after he killed trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010 when he pulled her into the pool following a "Dine With Shamu" show at Seaworld -- died last January. 

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