’90s Nickelodeon Stars: Where Are They Now?


[Editor’s note: Flavorwire is counting down our most popular features of 2010. This post comes in at position number 3. It was originally published June 3, 2010.] It’s been a nostalgic week for us at Flavorpill. A post devoted to ten child stars to follow on Twitter got us thinking about what ever happened to all the kid actors we used to love on classic Nickelodeon shows. Are the All That kids still comedians? Does the Roundhouse gang still sing and dance? What are Alex Mack and Sam from Clarissa Explains It All up to in 2010? Remember Hey Dude? After the jump, we answer all those questions and many, many more.

The Adventures of Pete & Pete , 1993-1996

How has life been treating the brothers Pete since their wonderful show ended nearly 15 years ago? (Does this make you feel old? We’re feeling downright ancient.) Let’s start with Michael C. Maronna, better known as Big Pete. He’s a graduate of New York’s prestigious Hunter College High School and studied filmmaking at artsy SUNY Purchase. He was steadily employed as a film and TV actor through the mid-’00s, mostly playing burnout types in movies like Slackers and 40 Days and 40 Nights. In 1999, he portrayed Stuart, the knowing slacker in a series of Ameritrade commercials. Since then, he’s remained in show business but switched to the other side of the camera. These days, he mainly works as an electrician, and his credits include everything from the first Sex and the City flick to Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead to Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind.

Little Pete, a.k.a. Danny Tamberelli, jumped to All That post-Pete and stayed there through 2000. He also appeared in the underrated indie Igby Goes Down in 2002 and on a few short-lived TV series. Tamberelli went to high school in New Jersey before jumping ship to hippie haven Hampshire College. (If you know anyone who went there in the first half of the ’00s, we’re sure they have stories about him. Our friends certainly do.) These days, he’s in two bands, Jounce and Every Good Boy. And to the best of our knowledge, the last time he appeared on TV was in a 2006 Wendy’s commercial. These days, you can find him on Twitter.

Hey Dude, 1989-1991

Where can we find the ensemble cast of teens who populated the Bar None dude ranch 20 years ago? (Oh my God, shoot us. We are so old.) Some are still boldface names: Christine Taylor, then known as Melody, kept acting, grew up, and married Ben Stiller. They have two kids. In the past several years appeared mainly in his projects, including Tropic Thunder, Zoolander, and Dodgeball. Then there’s David Lascher, a.k.a. Ted. Post-Hey Dude, he played the boyfriend on every teen TV series from Blossom to Sabrina. He’s been married to his second wife since 1999, and the couple has two kids. Lascher still acts in films, albeit ones we admit we haven’t heard of.

But what about Lucy (Debrah Kalman), who seemed to fall off the face of the earth since the show ended? Apparently, according to a Wikipedia stub seemingly created by the actress or a rep, she did some film acting for a few years after Hey Dude and is still modeling and acting. She has two kids and two stepkids and lives in Florida. She and Kelly Brown, who played the only girl we’ve ever heard of named Brad, are still buds. Joe Torres, who co-starred as token Native American Danny Lightfoot, apparently appeared in the 2000 electronic music film Groove (a piece of trivia Wikipedia states but IMDb doesn’t confirm). There was an internet rumor that he had died of kidney failure, but TopCultured learned that he’s alive, well, and working in New Jersey as a car salesman. The site also reminds us that Jonathan Galkin, who was part of the cast for about half of the show’s run, grew up to co-found DFA Records. How relevant! As for Josh Tygiel, who played Buddy… no one seems to have heard from him since Hey Dude bit it.

Know who still does have an acting career, though? David Brisbin, who played Mr. Ernst. He’s spent the past two decades doing character work on TV shows ranging from ER to Melrose Place to NYPD Blue, as well as in such films as Erin Brockovich. Brisbin is married to the actress Laura Innes (also of ER) fame, and the couple has two kids, including a daughter they adopted from China. Way to go, Mr. E!

Salute Your Shorts , 1991-1992

Another great, short-lived Nick ensemble comedy, Salute Your Shorts was the show that had the guts to include the word “fart” in its theme song. Of course, the first actor you’ll be curious about is Danny Cooksey, who starred as fire-haired troublemaker Bobby Budnick. If you’re like us, he may have been your first bad-boy crush. And did you know that, while he was on the show, he was also part of metal band Bad 4 Good, with Steve Vai? Good news: He’s still out there! Cooksey has appeared in a number of TV series and his fair share of small films. He’s also done a great deal of voice acting, for such series as Invader ZIM and Kim Possible.

But what of the people we care about less? Megan Berwick, who played Z.Z. Ziff, appeared in the 1993 TV movie The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. We imagine that one was a tough act to follow. She and Heidi Lucas (Dina Alexander) are no longer in show business, but you can see current photos of the pretty ladies here. Lucas did keep her career going for a while longer after Salute Your Shorts, guesting on such teen series as Saved By the Bell: The New Class and Boy Meets World. Check out an old fan site for her here. The final female cast member, Venus DeMilo (Yes, people. This was her name), had a considerably longer career. The actress who played Telly took recurring roles on Sister, Sister and Family Matters, rapped at the graduation scene in Ghost World, and appeared in a few seasons of The Bold and the Beautiful. To find out more, listen to an interview with her from 2009.

Now for the boys. Remember Sponge? Tim Eyster didn’t do much onscreen after Salute Your Shorts, but he does have a Facebook fan page! These days he goes by Trevor, and in a personal message on the page, he expresses his gratitude to the fans. “I’m glad to have been part of one of the TV Shows that has defined the childhoods of Our generation…” he writes. In a series of long interviews with Millionaire Playboy, he revealed that he is bisexual, plays music, is into astrology and the law of attraction, and other tidbits. Erik MacArthur, who played Michael Stein, appeared in one season of the show and then left because he decided he didn’t like acting. A few years later, after graduating from high school, he reconsidered, going on to appear in films such as Pleasantville and We Were Soldiers. Recently, he’s also served as a producer, director, and writer. Here is an old-school Erik MacArthur fan page. His replacement, Blake Soper, was too-cool-for-school Pinsky. After appearing on Boy Meets World and 3rd Rock from the Sun, he founded Rilo Kiley. We wonder if he and Galkin have formed a support group for child stars turned indie musicians. Then there is Donkey Lips. If ever there were a TV one-hit wonder, we would have assumed it would turn out to be him. But no, Michael Bower is still very much in the business. Also, he is a Taoist who used to be a Scientologist! A few years back, he sat down for an interview with College Humor. And he’s on Twitter.

Last but not least is the kids’ vindictive camp counselor, Ug. Kirk Baily‘s done a good deal of film and TV work, including a lot of anime voice acting. Also, he is 57 years old… approximately 20 years older than we would have guessed.

Clarissa Explains It All , 1991-1994

We all know what happened to Clarissa: Our childhood idol, Melissa Joan Hart, went on to star on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, cameo in a Britney Spears video, and continue acting in fairly low-profile films. She also got married to musician Mark Wilkerson, gave birth to two sons, and did a stint on Dancing with the Stars. Not too shabby!

But what about the show’s other teen stars? What ever happened to Clarissa’s next door neighbor Sam, shaggy heartthrob to 10 year olds everywhere? Sean O’Neal took a major break from acting post-Clarissa, not popping up on IMDb again until 2001, when he lent his voice to a few anime series. Then, he laid low again until popping up last year in the short film The Cost . We don’t have a ton of other confirmed info about O’Neal, although he and friends may have posted on this “What happened to Sean O’Neal?” message board. Quoth a poster claiming to be Sam: “not really sure how all the crap people hear and think about me gets started. funny shit though! Im currentley living in Orlando, but movin’ to vegas shortly! going to pursue my vocal career while dipping my feet back in the acting world. who knows!!!!!!”

[Image of Zimbler now via Oregon Live]

Of course, no inquiry into Clarissa stars’ whereabouts would be complete without some follow up on Republican little brother Ferguson. According to IMDb, Jason Zimbler hasn’t acted since the show wrapped. But his surprisingly elaborate bio confirms that he didn’t entirely fade into oblivion: “Just as the show ended its run, college began for Jason in beautiful, temperate South Bend, Indiana. Despite having survived countless perils to this point, college was no picnic. A veteran of thrice-changed majors and numerous cocktail parties, Jason emerged relatively unscathed and ready for the real world.” The ’98 Notre Dame grad has since hosted a radio show and — we’re not kidding — founded Been There, Done That, a support group for child actors. He was also the artistic director for Portland, Oregon’s Re-Theatre Instrument company before going on hiatus to pursue projects in New York earlier this year.

Roundhouse , 1992-1996

For a few years, Roundhouse was what all the cool kids were watching on SNICK. The stars breakdanced and wore flannel. And in the early ’90s, what else did we really need? This show had a huge, constantly rotating cast, and we kind of forget what they all looked like, anyway, so we’re only going to touch on the cast members that went on to do interesting things.

First of all, there’s Crystal Lewis. These days, she’s a gospel singer. Her cast mate Jennifer Cihi is also a musician. Bryan Anthony is still working as an actor and dancer, appearing in the recent films (500) Days of Summer and Clerks II. Micki Duran could be seen strutting her stuff on Entourage and in Orange County. Natasha Pearce also continued acting after the show ended, and you can check out Natasha’s music on MySpace. Julene Renee has held many small parts on big movies, notably Titanic, The Polar Express, and Avatar. On a final, sad note, one Roundhouse cast member didn’t live to see the series’ final episode. Dominic Lucero died of lymphatic cancer in 1994.

All That , 1994-2005

All That was Saturday Night Live for tweens. While the show lasted over a decade, let’s be honest: We don’t really care about the Jamie Lynn Spears, Nick Cannon, and Amanda Bynes years. So what happened to our favorite cast members of the ’90s?

Well, we all know about Kenan Thompson, who graduated to the real SNL in 2003 — but not before starring in the spinoff Kenan & Kel with fellow cast member Kel Mitchell. And who could forget their 1997 movie, Good Burger ? Kel still has a film career, doing mostly lesser-known stuff, and currently has no less than three movies in post-production. He’s also a musician. Josh Server stuck it out for six years on All That, doing only a smattering of roles after leaving. These days, he lives and works in Hollywood… although apparently not in show business.

On to the ladies: Angelique Bates did some acting after All That, but now focuses on her music career. These days, you can call her Alizay. Katrina Johnson, who you may remember as the little girl who impersonated Ross Perot, has given up acting. For a while, she was a flight attendant. Now, she’s engaged and living in Las Vegas. But Alisa Reyes is still very much in the business. For a while, she was acting in such soaps at Passions and The Bold and the Beautiful. She did voice work for The Proud Family. At the moment, she’s got a ton of films in the works and lends her voice and body to Playboy Radio and PlayboyU. The very funny Lori Beth Denberg moved on from All That to The Steve Harvey Show. A few years ago, some angry internet asshole started the rumor that she was dead.

Are You Afraid of the Dark? 1991-1996

It might not give us nightmares now, but when we were kids, Are You Afraid of the Dark? was the real thing. Every week on SNICK, we joined the members of The Midnight Society as they submitted for their peers’ approval a Goosebumps-worthy tale of PG-rated creepiness. But what became of the teens who told the stories?

As for the ladies, it seems Raine Pare-Coull (Betty Ann) hasn’t been acting much since the show went off the air. But she does seem to have joined and abandoned Twitter. Jodie Resther, who played Kiki, has stayed in the business. She’s the voice of Francine in the Arthur series, and she’s also appeared in some lesser-known films. Resther is also a French-language R&B musician. Listen to her music, which apparently hasn’t been terribly successful, here. Rachel Blanchard (Kristen) has continued her small screen career. These days, she’s best know for playing a poor man’s Alicia Silverstone on the late-’90s Clueless TV series and Roxanne on 7th Heaven. Later, she co-starred in the British sitcom Peep Show. Blanchard can also be seen on the big screen, most notably in such camp fare as Sugar & Spice and Snakes on a Plane. Sam has also moved past The Midnight Society: Joanna Garcia has become something of a WB/CW lifer, playing Cheyenne Hart-Montgomery on Reba and then moving on to the not-so-brilliant-but-canceled Privileged and a recurring role as Bree Buckley on Gossip Girl. Speaking of gossip, Garcia is engaged to New York Yankee Nick Swisher.

Ross Hull, who played Gary on Are You Afraid?, can still be seen on daily TV. Beginning in 2005, he’s been a local news personality in Canada. These days, he’s a reporter at Citytv Calgary. You can follow his news updates on Twitter. Frank hasn’t done much in front of the camera post-Nickelodeon. But Jason Alisharan did turn up last year as a co-producer on Tom Ford’s Christopher Isherwood adaptation A Single Man . Unlike his co-stars, Daniel DeSanto (Tucker) is still a working actor. After popping up in a short-lived, 1999-2000 Are You Afraid? re-boot that also starred Elisha Cuthbert, he’s appeared in everything from Mean Girls (yup, he was Jason!) to Boondocks Saints II. He, too, is on Twitter. In a 2009 interview with the New York Post, he said of Are You Afraid?, “I can’t even watch it, it’s painful.” Ouch. He also revealed that the dust cast members threw on the fire to great effect was nothing more than “Coffemate and sparkles.”

The Secret World of Alex Mack , 1994-1998

One of the last great SNICK shows, Alex Mack was about a girl who gets covered in a mysterious chemical goo that gives her special powers. (Isn’t pollution fun?) She can move objects with her mind, electrocute people with her fingers, and melt into a silver puddle to fit in tight spaces. The only catch is, when she has feelings, she turns yellow, which is pretty much every teenager’s nightmare.

When we talk about Alex Mack, we’re really talking about Larisa Oleynick, who played the title role. So WTF happened to her? For a while in the late ’90s, she was everywhere. Remember her in The Baby-sitters Club and 10 Things I Hate About You? Remember her on Boy Meets World and as Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s girlfriend on 3rd Rock from the Sun? Post-millennium, she’s been in a slew of smaller movies and popped up on TV from time to time. In 2004, she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. And according to a semi-active fan site, Oleynick performed work by the author Marisa Silver at New York’s Soho House last month.