Being a teenager is always a difficult time in anybody’s life, there’s no doubt about it. Hormones are raging and your body is changing every day, many of us look back at our teens and shudder with the memories. When the Wonder Years was released in 1988 teenagers could relate to a show that detailed their own struggles so accurately. This coming-of-age comedy series was a hit from the very first episode, and a large part of that was the audience seeing bits of themselves in the characters and situations they found themselves in.
Since the Wonder Years came out, there have been several coming-of-age series that have related to teens throughout the decades. Shows like The OC, Glee, and Gossip Girl have all tackled the difficulties teenagers across America face growing up. Plenty of time has passed since the first season of the Wonder Years, and we can’t help but wonder what the young cast members of the show are looking like now.
The Wonder Years was set in the ‘60s in a bid by the creators to get some of the baby-boomer generation interested and watching. The show featured many of the childhood experiences of the co-creator, Neal Marlens, and followed the adventures of a boy who grew up during the time of significant social changes in America. Audiences followed the fortunes of the Arnold family, mom and dad, Norma and John, and, mainly, the lives of their children, Kevin, Karen, and Wayne. Kevin retells the stories of his childhood as an adult narrator and the characters included in the story are ones that most people can recognize. Everyone one knows a Winnie Cooper, or Chuck Coleman, which meant that people watching the show could reminisce about their own experiences that were similar or the same as Kevin and company.
Some of the cast managed to go on to become household names, with many making it big in the world of film and TV. Not everyone who appeared in the show managed to crack showbiz, so we aren’t so familiar with what they look like anymore. Which of the cast used the show as a stepping stone to bigger and better things and which ended up moving on with their lives after the show content not to be much involved with acting? Strap yourself in and get ready for some nostalgia as we are about to discover the changes the cast members of The Wonder Years have gone through in the 30 years since the show aired originally.
Fred Savage – Kevin Arnold
Let’s start with the main man, young Kevin Arnold, played by Fred Savage. He is the focus of the show, and through him, we learn all about his and his friends’ adventures and misfortunes at their local school. Kevin recalls the ups and downs of growing up in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s as his grown-up self narrates the various experiences he had as an adolescent. His will they/won’t they romance with Winnie Cooper had viewers on edge throughout the series.
Fred Savage – Today
Fred Savage is probably best known for his portrayal of Kevin in The Wonder Years, but he has been successful as an actor since the show was canceled in 1993. He featured on our screens most recently as the lead role in legal comedy TV series, The Grinder from 2015 – 2016. And he now stars in Netflix comedy series Friends From College. Savage has become fond of the director’s chair and directed the 2007 comedy Daddy Day Camp starring Cuba Gooding Jr.
Alley Mills – Norma Arnold
Most of us can agree we wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for our moms, and Kevin Arnold is no different. His mom, played by Alley Mills, is a hugely positive person and we can see this influence in the optimism Kevin sometimes displays. Norma contrasts her husband’s personality perfectly, and the pair of them offer a balance of perspectives for their children. She is not content with being a housewife and is determined to earn a degree, something she proudly achieved by the end of the entire series.
Alley Mills – Today
She was already well-known before the Wonder Years but appearing in the show no doubt helped her to appear in further television shows and movies. After The Wonder Years was canceled, Mills found herself featuring on TV in projects such as drama Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and another teen series, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Her most recognizable role in recent years has been her portrayal of Pamela Douglas in the long-running TV drama The Bold and the Beautiful.
Josh Saviano – Paul Pfeiffer
Josh Saviano played the stereotypical nerdy character who hated physical education and loved to get his head down and study. Did we mention he had those black framed glasses that all stereotypical nerds have in TV shows? Well, he did. Paul is Kevin’s next-door neighbor, and they were close friends, although this friendship was soon put to the test. Paul moves to a private school, and the pair initially struggled to remain friends, although luckily they both find a way to remain close.
Josh Saviano – Today
There were many rumors that the man who played Paul turned out to be none other than Marilyn Manson; however, that is clearly not the case as it was Josh Saviano. He hasn’t done much in the way of acting since The Wonder Years but did make a few appearances in crime drama Law & Order between 2014 and 2016. Saviano actually emulated his character’s path and studied a law degree, although where Saviano went to Yale, his character, Paul, went to Harvard.
Olivia d’Abo – Karen Arnold
Karen is Kevin’s older sister and is the very definition of a rebellious teenager. She takes any opportunity she can to buck the social norms. As the show is set in the ‘60s, she finds free love, and the hippie lifestyle soon brings plenty of difficult romantic partners into her life, and by extension Kevin’s. She pushes the boundaries so much that she eventually makes her father crack. Karen’s story ends with her moving to Alaska to start a family with her partner, Michael.
Olivia d’Abo – Today
Playing Karen was a significant step in Olivia d’Abo’s acting career, as before The Wonder Years she had made several smaller appearances. After the show finished she featured in martial arts TV series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, and comedy series, The Single Guy from 1995 -1997. Recently she appeared in 2015 family sci-fi movie Robo-Dog and 2015 festive movie A Christmas Eve Miracle. D’Abo has done voice work for several video games including; Lego Batman 3 and Infinite Crisis.
Lindsay Sloane – Alice Pedermeir
It was only a brief appearance, but Alice managed to steal Kevin’s heart for a short amount of time. She featured for six episodes, but they were eventful. She was friends with both Kevin and Winnie but soon had her sights set on dating Kevin, despite the lingering romance between him and Winnie. Alice ends her relationship with another of the group just so she can have a free pass at dating Kevin. Sadly things soon turn sour, and Alice leaves Kevin to go back to her ex.
Lindsay Sloane – Today
Sloane has had a prolific acting career and has 70 credits to her name so far. She featured in the comedy movie Horrible Bosses and its sequel, Horrible Bosses 2. She is perhaps best known for featuring in another teen drama though. Sloane featured in the Nickelodeon classic Sabrina the Teenage Witch, as Valerie Birkhead, the long-time friend of Sabrina. She has featured in TV comedy The Odd Couple, starring Matthew Perry, as Emily as well as the 2010 romcom movie She’s Out of My League.
Jason Hervey – Wayne Arnold
While his siblings are perceived as being more considerate and sensitive, Wayne appears to be your typical jock. Wayne will frequently pick on Kevin, and he puts his superior strength and size to the test often. Wayne doesn’t discriminate though, and he’ll quite happily torture Kevin’s friends as well as his younger brother. Wayne does eventually mature as a person, and he slowly stops bullying those around him. He becomes so responsible he even takes over the family business once their father passes away.
Jason Hervey – Today
While he remains best known for playing Wayne, Jason Hervey has had other roles in big movies and shows. He featured as Milton Baines in the time-traveling adventure, Back to the Future and as E.J. in the comedy horror The Monster Squad. He is a fan of professional wrestling and has helped produce several reality TV shows including Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling. His most recent acting role was as the voice of Dove in animated adventure TV series Justice League Unlimited in 2004.
Juliette Lewis – Delores
Juliette Lewis plays the intimidating Delores, a character that is never happy and seems to have been born angry. She dated Wayne so that probably didn’t help her mood. Not one for sugar-coating anything she often speaks her mind, regardless of whoever’s feelings get hurt in the process. The gum-chewing teen doesn’t last too long in the show and once her and Wayne’s relationship is doomed to failure she disappears, not that many of the characters would complain.
Juliette Lewis – Today
Juliette Lewis has featured in many films since she made a small appearance in The Wonder Years. She famously starred in the 1994 crime thriller Natural Born Killers, and the 1996 crime horror From Dusk Till Dawn. Besides acting, Juliette Lewis was the frontwoman of a rock band Juliette and the Lick but since 2009 has performed as a solo artist. Lewis made an appearance as herself in the crime video game series Grand Theft Auto 4 in 2008.
Julie Condra – Madeline Adams
Kevin is a little downbeat following the departure of his love interest, Winnie. Luckily for Kevin, Madeline manages to catch hs eye before he gets too upset about things. While Kevin and Winnie try to maintain a long-distance relationship it eventually ends as the pair struggle to keep it going. Kevin has the happy distraction of being able to cry on Madeline’s shoulder, which is what Madeline was secretly hoping for as she had developed a major crush on Kevin.
Julie Condra – Today
Julie Condra don’t spend too long acting in The Wonder Years, she only made it into five episodes before moving onto other things. She starred in the supernatural adventure TV series Eerie, Indiana but sadly for her the show was not a huge success and came to an end after just 19 episodes in 1992. Condra appeared in action movie Crying Freeman, a 1995 story about an assassin who cries every time he kills somebody. She also featured in the 1995 political drama Nixon as a young Pat Nixon.
Carla Gugino – Sandy Tyler
Wayne Arnold dates women frequently throughout the show and adding another to the list is Sandy Tyler. In a complicated plot twist, Kevin actually begins dating Sandy as he feels his brother isn’t fulfilling his role as an adoring boyfriend. Although Kevin does begin to feel guilty about the whole thing, Sandy calls off her relationship with Wayne so she can continue dating Kevin. It is a sticky situation made even more complicated due to the fact the Sandy is much older than Kevin.
Carla Gugino – Today
One of the actors who really benefited from the exposure from The Wonder Years and never looked back is Carla Gugino. She has starred in many Hollywood movies including the family espionage Spy Kids Movies as well as action movies San Andreas and Sin City. She featured in the recent Netflix adaptation of a Steven King story, Gerald’s Game, and is set to reprise her role as Emma Gaines in the upcoming sequel to action movie San Andreas 2.
Giovanni Ribisi – Jeff Billings
The very talented Giovanni Ribisi plays Jeff Billings, one of Kevin’s very good friends by the end of the series. We are only introduced to Jeff late in the series because his parents get divorced, and he moves into the neighborhood with his mom. Jeff comes to the show with a girlfriend, and his relationship greatly influences Kevin – especially as Kevin likes thinking about girls, a lot. His girlfriend lives in his old town, and eventually, the relationship ends during the final season.
Giovanni Ribisi – Today
Giovanni Ribisi has appeared in many TV shows and movies. He featured in sitcom Friends as Phoebe Buffay’s brother who dates his sister and likes to melt stuff. He can later be seen in the comedy show My Name is Earl as the super intense Ralph Mariano. Ribisi featured in the comedy movie Ted and its sequel and also featured in the Oscar-winning drama Lost in Translation alongside Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray. He currently stars in the crime TV drama Sneaky Pete, with Bryan Cranston.
Paula Marshall – Bonnie Douglas
Paula Marshal plays Bonnie Douglas, a woman who had the misfortune of getting divorced at the age of just 23. She meets Wayne later on in the series at his father’s company NORCOM. He soon enters a relationship with Bonnie, and the pair are serious about each other for quite some time. Eventually Bonnie figures out that her ex-husband is the man she loves and she leaves Wayne for him. Bonnie becomes another case of “one that got away” for Wayne as her ex-husband welcomes her back.
Paula Marshall – Today
Paula Marshall has not quite managed to be the star in many productions, but she has over 60 acting credits to her name, so she is clearly doing something right. She has featured in medical TV drama House on a few occasions as well as small appearances in TV crime dramas; CSI, and Law & Order. She appeared in the 2003 family comedy movie Cheaper by the Dozen as Tina Shenk and, recently featured in the comedy film We Love You Sally Carmichael in 2017.
Kathy Wagner – Lisa Berlini
Lisa Berlini is a classmate of Kevin’s during junior high, and Kevin develops a massive crush on her during the time they spend together in the classroom. Kevin finally calls Lisa after much hesitation, and it seems as though the pair could be a good couple. Kevin asks Lisa to go to a dance with him, which she accepts but later calls it off as she wants to go to the dance with another guy instead. Poor Kevin!
Kathy Wagner – Today
Kathy Wagner had a few acting roles after she left The Wonder Years cast in 1988. She featured in the TV drama sisters as Reed Halsey and then appeared in the TV comedy Billy – starring Scottish comedian Billy Connolly. Her most recent acting role was in 2006 as she played Ashley McConnell in the comedy movie You Did What? She briefly found work as a producer and helped to get the short films The Honor System and The Slow and the Cautious released.
Alicia Silverstone – Jessica Thomas
Long before she featured in the teen movie Clueless, Alicia Silverstone played the role of Jessica Thomas in The Wonder Years. In one of his classic cases of misjudged bravado, Kevin promises Jessica a ride in his car even though he has yet to pass his test. He is so wracked with nerves about taking his driving test he channels his nervous energy the wrong way. He tries to show off to Jessica and promises something he wasn’t sure he would be able to deliver.
Alicia Silverstone – Today
Alicia Silverstone was huge in the ‘90s, and was most famous for playing Cher in the comedy Clueless. She also featured in several music videos for the rock band Aerosmith. On top of this, she starred in comic book action Batman & Robin in the ‘90s, playing the role of Barbara Wilson. Silverstone continues to act and was recently seen in the family comedy Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul in 2017. Silverstone is a vegan and actively endorses PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) activities.
David Schwimmer – Michael
Before appearing in Friends, David Schwimmer played Michael, the boyfriend of Karen. He is very much as laid back and open-minded as Karen, and the two appear to be made for each other even – though he is a lot more sensible than she is. Michael is a source of inspiration for Kevin, who sees him as a role model, as well as a friend. Michael moves to Alaska to take a job and make sure he can provide for his family, something that Karen’s father approves of greatly.
David Schwimmer – Today
Okay, we know he was Ross from Friends, but what has he done lately? Schwimmer is the voice of Melman in the animated adventure franchise Madagascar, where he plays a giraffe. Not satisfied with just acting he moved to directing, and his directorial debut came in 2007 in the comedy film, Run Fatboy Run. Schwimmer portrayed Robert Kardashian in the crime documentary series The People v. O. J. Simpson in 2016, which detailed the events of the court trial of the former football star.
Bobbie Eakes – Bookstore clerk
“Bookstore clerk” probably isn’t the highlight of anybody’s resume, but at least it got Bobbie Eakes on TV. Back in the ‘60s, bookstores were more popular than they are today so this was a more important role than you might think. Without the power of the internet to rely on, Kevin becomes curious about all things romantic and seeks a book to educate himself further. It could have been an awkward moment at the register, but the clerk simply smiled and let Kevin leave the store with his dignity.
Bobbie Eakes – Today
Bobbie Eakes managed to use her brief role as a bookstore clerk to help forge a good career as a TV actress. Following The Wonder Years, she made single appearances in TV dramas such as 21 Jump Street, JAG, Full House, and Days of our Lives. Eakes featured in the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful from 1989 – 2000. She continued her soap opera success as Krystal Carey in All My Children, a role she played from 2003 – 2011.
Kelly Packard – Susan Fisher
In a case of not being able to have your cake and eat it, Kevin has the possibility to bring two girls to the dance but ends up without any. Kevin asks Linda Sloan to the dance, even though he has a huge crush on Susan. Susan even asks Kevin to save a dance for her, so Kevin has the best of both worlds. During the dance, Kevin pays no attention to Linda and shuffles over to Susan but he has left it too late, and she has moved on.
Kelly Packard – Today
After appearing in The Wonder Years, Kelly regularly featured on the TV dramas Baywatch and California Dreams. She joined the Mormon church as a teenager and is married to her husband, Darrin Privett, through the church. Packard appeared on an episode of Celebrity Wife Swap in 2014, where she swapped lives with fellow actress Tichina Arnold. She hosted the documentary TV series Ripley’s Believe It or Not! where people perform incredible stunts and feats from across the globe.
Holly Sampson – Teri
Kevin is enamored with Holly Sampson’s character, Teri, as soon as he lays eyes on her while on vacation. She is much older than him, but that doesn’t stop him trying his luck with her. The pair managed to have a brief romance, but unfortunately, the two are not together for very long after Teri and her family have to go back home. The premature end to relationships made on vacation is one many young fans can relate to.
Holly Sampson – Today
Holly Sampson didn’t only break the heart of Kevin when she was in The Wonder Years. She was named as one of the women believed to have had extramarital relations with professional golfer Tiger Woods during his period of numerous alleged infidelities. Besides being famed for the Tiger Woods incident, she has gone on to star in several adult film movies. Sampson has also featured as a regular actress in a number of projects throughout her careers, including; TV series Beauty and the Beast and romantic drama film Other People’s Wives.
Dan Lauria – Jack Arnold
The family dynamics would have been completely different if Kevin’s grumpy father Jack hadn’t been around. He was a working man in the ‘60s and as such took a rather conservative approach to life, not wanting to take many risks or accept some of the changes that were happening in society. Despite his unwillingness to accept some of the ideologies of the new world, he was still one of the most beloved characters in the show. In the final episode, we are sadly informed that Jack died in 1975.
Dan Lauria – Today
While his character in The Wonder Years may have been a bit miserable, Lauria’s career has been nothing but positive, with over 180 acting credits and still going. He featured in the sci-fi classic movie Independence Day and later appeared in 2008 fantasy adventure The Spirit. Most recently he starred in the TV drama Fly, as Clayton Millbanks. He made regular appearances in the TV sports drama Pitch and is set to feature in upcoming golf movie The Eagle and the Albatross.
Andy Berman – Chuck Coleman
Chuck is a friend of Kevin’s who we are introduced to later in the series. Chuck is dating Alice Pedermeir and begins to freak out when the two suspect she is pregnant, a situation that highlights Chuck’s nervous tics. Much to Chuck’s relief, Alice’s pregnancy test comes back negative, and the pair can continue to get on with school life. Kevin finds himself being punched in the face by Chuck after he is found with Alice in a car, despite not doing anything wrong.
Andy Berman – Today
Andy Berman turned into one of those actors that could do a bit of everything and later in his career turned to writing and producing. He wrote and produced the comedy detective TV series Psych, and even managed to write a character he could play into the story. He regularly featured in the animated comedy Invader ZIM and did some more voice work for the video game Spongebob Squarepants featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom in 2008.
Wendel Meldrum – Miss White
We’ve established Kevin was very fond of girls, but he developed a big crush on his teacher Miss White during his time at school too. While Kevin was often dreaming about his teacher, his dreams turned to nightmares after she got married. Reluctant to accept the possibility there is no future for him and his teacher, Kevin continued to call his teacher by her maiden name, ignoring the fact she was now Mrs. Heimer.
Wendel Meldrum – Today
This Italian born actress grew up in Canada and has had several guest appearances on TV shows over the years. She is perhaps best known for her role in TV comedy Seinfeld, where she played both Leslie and “Low-Talker” from 1993 to 1998. Her most recent role was in TV comedy Working the Engels, where she played Little Wanda in 2014. She received award nominations for her role in Canadian comedy series Less Than Kind, including winning a Canadian Comedy Award in 2009 for the Best Performance by a Female.
Soleil Moon Frye – Mimi
Soleil Moon Frye featured in a guest role as yet another of Kevin’s fleeting romances. She played Mimi, who was the daughter of one of Jack’s work colleagues. Kevin soon falls head over heels for Mimi but begins to have doubts about the relationship after it is revealed her father beat Kevin’s to a big promotion at work. Jack gets a little tense about the whole situation, and Kevin is left having to make a difficult choice, something he would learn that can be a difficult part of growing up.
Soleil Moon Frye – Today
The Wonder Years was not Moon’s big break – that had actually already happened for the young actress. She played Penelope Brewster in the sitcom Punky Brewster, and again in the following animated show, It’s Punky Brewster in the mid-‘80s. She had a few smaller roles in movies and TV shows until 2000 when she would feature as Roxie in sitcom many teens loved, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Since Sabrina, she has made frequent appearances on animated comedy series Robot Chicken. Moon directed award-winning documentary Sonny Boy in 2004.
Seth Green – Jimmy Donnelly
Seth Green turned out to be the fly in Kevin’s ointment during the two episodes he played Jimmy Donnelly. Jimmy was a disruptive member of Kevin’s class and had no issues getting himself into as much trouble as possible. Kevin had set up a sweet deal for himself, but once Jimmy got wind of the situation he decided he would try and ruin it for Kevin. He succeeded and left us all throwing shady looks at Jimmy through our TV screens.
Seth Green – Today
Seth Green has featured in several TV shows and movies since he was Jimmy in The Wonder Years. Many people may remember him as Dr. Evil’s moody teenage son, Scott Evil, in the Austin Powers comedy movie franchise. He also appeared in the teen drama Buffy the Vampire Slayer and had a role in sci-fi drama The X-Files. Green created the animated comedy series Robot Chicken which uses action figures to tell satirical stories about the world we live in.
Stephanie Satie – Ida Pfeiffer
Paul Pfeiffer is Kevin’s best friend, and we see him regularly throughout the show, but we don’t get to meet his family much. His mom, Ida Pfeiffer, is played by Stephanie Satie and she is every bit as lovely and endearing as Kevin likes to reminisce. Kevin liked her so much he would refer to her as Paul’s “mother extraordinaire.” Ida represented a fairly typical Jewish mom during the ‘60s and often liked to feed the boys and just about anyone who would enter her home.
Stephanie Satie – Today
Stephanie Satie didn’t appear on television much after she appeared in The Wonder Years. She made a brief appearance in the TV drama Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1996. It is fair to say her screen acting career never really took off and her last acting credit came in 2002 in the TV crime series The Division. She has taken to the theater though and is earning plaudits for her storytelling ability. She wrote and starred in several one-woman plays, including Silent Witnesses and Coming to America.
Ben Stein – Mr. Cantwell
Ben Stein played Kevin’s junior high science teacher. He plays the role in a monotone voice with unwavering emotions similar to the role that made him famous in ‘80s comedy movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Mr. Cantwell manages to make a difficult subject very boring, which probably didn’t inspire many of his students to take up science later in life. Not a fan of actually teaching much, he would often just how a series of filmstrips and hope the kids would absorb some of the information.
Ben Stein – Today
Famed for his role as the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ben Stein continued to find work in similar roles. He featured in 1994 comedy movie The Mask, playing Dr. Arthur Neuman, a role that he would reprise in the follow-up TV series of the same name. Stein had a busy career before acting, he used to be a lawyer, and he is now often a political commentator for news outlets. His most recent acting credit was in family cartoon As Told by Ginger in 2009.
Crystal McKellar – Becky Slater
Becky Slater was another of Kevin’s girlfriends throughout the show, although his motives for dating her are not entirely justifiable. He only dates Becky to try and make Winnie jealous, something that comes out eventually. Becky decides to give Kevin a huge punch after she finds out about his secret feelings for Winnie. Thanks to this experience Becky is bitter towards Kevin and regularly appears throughout the series with less than positive things to say about him.
Crystal McKellar – Today
Amazingly, Crystal is the real sister of Kevin’s major girlfriend, Winnie, played by Danica McKellar. They both auditioned for the role of Winnie, but it went to Danica after the casting department whittled auditioning children down to the two sisters. The showrunners liked Crystal so much that they created the role of Becky for her to play. Crystal didn’t stay in the acting world for long and moved on with her life. She studied law and graduated from Harvard Law School in 2003.
Danica McKellar – Winnie Cooper
We’ve spoken about her a lot so far and here is the girl herself, Winnie Cooper, played by Danica McKellar. She is Kevin’s next door neighbor, and Kevin can’t help himself but fall for her. The pair’s relationship has its ups and downs, and they finally put the past behind them in the finale, but they can’t stay together. Winnie moves to Paris which puts an end to their relationship once and for all. Kevin, as the narrator, admits the pair do remain close friends as adults, however.
Danica McKellar – Today
While growing up with her sister, Crystal, their parents emphasized their children should focus on their education. Both sisters followed their parent’s advice and entered the world of academia where Danica followed her prowess for mathematics. She is now a mathematics writer as well as a true advocate for education. Danica did continue to act too; she had a recurring role in political TV drama The West Wing, and sitcoms How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory.