The New York native first gained prominence in the mid-1980s as the wide-eyed male lead in Joe Dante's horror comedy "Gremlins" (1984). A more mature Galligan reprised the role in the unnecessary but not unentertaining sequel "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" (1990). In between, he had found a series of small screen roles that displayed his charm and talent, most particularly "Surviving" (ABC, 1985), in which he and fellow up-and-comer Molly Ringwald co-starred as teenaged lovers who carry out a suicide pact. Galligan's best small screen role, however, was as turn-of-the-century prep school prankster "The Prodigious Hickey" (PBS, 1987) and its two sequels, "The Return of Hickey" (PBS, 1988) and "The Beginning of the Firm" (PBS, 1989).
Despite a turn on Broadway in Neil Simon's "Biloxi Blues" in 1985, Galligan soon became remanded to genre fare, predominantly horror films like the middling "Waxwork" (1988) and its even worse sequel "Waxwork II: Lost in Time" (1992). He fared slightly better as the gullible young husband in "Mortal Passions" (1989), which at least had festival screenings before being consigned to the video shelves. More recent outings like "All Tied Up" (1994) and "Cupid" (1997) have gone directly to video stores. Galligan continues to make the occasional guest appearance on TV episodics such as "Melrose Place" and "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman".