CBS made a big bang on September 24, 2007, when the first episode of The Big Bang Theory premiered. Of course, science nerds everywhere rejoiced as they saw that there was finally a show they could relate to on mainstream television. The sitcom focuses around a group of socially awkward nerds, and their pretty normal lives. The show finally gave nerd and non-nerds alike a show that they could both relate to and fall in love with.
The Big Bang Theory is now on its 11th season, and still manages to maintain some of the highest ratings on American television. The actors and actresses on the show, who mostly started off as pretty unknown names in television, are now making the highest salaries in the industry. The leads, Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki are collecting a whopping $1 million per episode and their costars are coming in close behind. It is no surprise that the cast of The Big Bang Theory are making so much money, considering the show itself is taking in not millions, but billions of dollars. In 2015, the show generated $1.74 billion and that raised to $1.83 billion the following year.
So it is no wonder why producer Chuck Lorre (who also produced other big shows such as Two and a Half Men and Dharma & Greg) decided to co-create a spin-off for his successful predecessor, especially one that focuses on the young life of one of Big Bang’s most loved characters, Sheldon. To make it even better, Jim Parsons (who plays grown up Sheldon) is not only narrating the series, but is also one of the executive producers. Throw in an incredibly talented child actor to play young Sheldon as well as an amazing and diverse cast, and you have yourself a pretty good show.
Although the series just started, we are almost positive that Young Sheldon will gain the same success and popularity as The Big Bang Theory. It already has received high ratings and was one of the top-rated shows to be broadcasted on its first Thursday night, next to The Big Bang Theory of course.
If you have seen the first few episodes of Young Sheldon, then you probably noticed that the cast is filled with some familiar faces. While some of the actors and actresses you were able to put a name to the face, others you might have been scratching your head trying to figure out where they are from.
So why not take a quick moment and get introduced to the new, awesome cast of Young Sheldon.
Zoe Perry as Mary
If you are a fan of The Big Bang Theory, then you are well aware of Sheldon’s devout born-again Christian mother Mary. Of course older Mary is played by Laurie Metcalf, but the younger version of Sheldon’s mom is portrayed by actress Zoe Perry. Although Sheldon doesn’t agree with his mother’s religious beliefs, he shows both in Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory that he does indeed love his mother.
Zoe Perry – in real life
If you have wondered why Zoe looks so much like the younger version of older Mary, we will give you a hint- it’s not just good casting. Zoe looks so much like older Mary because she is actually the daughter of Laurie Metcalf! Phew, now that makes a lot more sense. Of course, Zoe has a successful acting career of her own, and was seen last as Samantha in the popular ABC series Scandal.
Ryan Phuong as Tam
Sheldon’s friend Tam, who introduces Sheldon to comic books, is played by the 15-year-old multi-talented actor Ryan Phuong. He grew up in San Gabriel, and knew at a young age that he wanted to be a performer. He started taking dance classes at the age of 7, and fell in love with hip hop. Shortly after, he started sharing some of his dance moves with his thousands of followers on Youtube. He made his first TV appearance in 2011 when he danced with Mark and Lacey on Dancing with the Stars.
Ryan Phuong – in real life
Since then, Ryan has focused on his acting career, although he still loves to dance and frequently shares videos on his Youtube page. He has made small appearances on Showtime’s Shameless and Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans, and also acted and danced in Chris Brown’s music video for his song Party. Ryan’s role as Tam is his first ever recurring acting gig, and so far he is doing a pretty good job!
Danielle Pinnock as Mrs. Ingram
Danielle plays Sheldon’s hilarious teacher Mrs. Ingram who shares a bit too much information with him and frequently urges him to go outside and play. Before she appeared on television, Danielle wrote and performed a one-woman play titled Body/Courage that consisted of over 300 interviews conducted worldwide and focused on body issues women face in everyday life such as weight, illness, skin color, aging and more. The show was aimed at encouraging women to love and accept their body.
Danielle Pinnock – in real life
Danielle is at the beginning of her TV acting career, and so far so good! Although her role in Young Sheldon is her biggest role yet, she has also appeared on shows like Get Shorty and Workaholics. You also might recognize her from her role in NBC’s hit show This Is Us, as the women in Kate’s support group who speaks out about her love for Thanksgiving stuffing and her struggles with weight loss.
Lance Barber as George Sr.
Sheldon’s football coach Dad George Sr. is played by Lance Barber. Barber has proven his ability to play a wide range of characters on TV and has been appearing in the television show since 2001. He got his start playing roles on series like ER and On the Spot. And continued to get cast in various TV roles until landing his first recurring role in The Comeback as Paulie followed by Lucas in Faking It.
Lance Barber – in real life
Lance most recently appeared in the newest season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in his recurring role as Bill Ponderosa, the brother of Dennis’ ex-wife Maureen. He also played the role as Dr. Gabler in a couple episodes on the series Black-ish. If you still don’t recognize him, you might recall that he played in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, where he played Leonard’s high school bully Jimmy Speckerman.
Annie Potts as Meemaw
Meemaw is Mary’s mother and Sheldon’s grandmother. Sheldon makes it clear that Meemaw is one of his favorite family members. He describes her as being a wonderful, warm, loving and wise grandmother who is protective of her dear grandson. We got to see her briefly in the ninth season of The Big Bang Theory played by actress June Squibb, now we get to see her a bit younger, portrayed by Annie Potts.
Annie Potts – in real life
If Annie looks familiar to you, it is easy to see why. Annie Potts was known for her roles in some of the most popular ’80s films such as Ghostbusters (I and II), Pretty in Pink and Jumpin’ Jack Flash. She also was the voice of Bo Peep in the first two Toy Story movies. In 1994, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for playing Dana Palladino on the CBS sitcom Love & War. Her most recent role before Young Sheldon was in the Freeform drama series The Fosters, where she plays a recurring role of Sharon.
Montana Jordan as George Jr.
George Jr., or Georgie, is Sheldon’s big brother. The two brothers don’t get along and it could be due to the fact that Georgie was constantly getting compared to his genius little brother. Georgie is played by 14-year-old actor Montana Jordan. He grew up in Texas and started racing dirt bikes at the age of five! Unlike his character on the show, he is actually the youngest of three children.
Montana Jordan – in real life
Montana might not be a familiar face like some of the others on this list, but we are sure he will be soon! His role as Georgie is actually his first ever acting job, and we think he is doing pretty well so far. This also certainly won’t be his last role, and will be playing Jaden in the upcoming comedy film The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter. He auditioned for the role of Jaden with 10,000 other kids! Despite his lack of acting training and experience, he got picked out of all of them.
Doc Farrow as Assistant Coach Wilkins
Doc Farrow has been playing a recurring character since the show’s pilot as Assistant Coach turned Coach Wilkins of Medford’s football team. Doc started acting in 2003, with his first-ever appearance as Officer Taylor in an episode of Arrested Development’s fifth season. Since then, he has been making several minor appearances in TV series, but his role on Young Sheldon has certainly been his biggest break to date and will hopefully help kick off his career!
Doc Farrow – in real life
If Doc Farrow looks familiar it could be because he has been in multiple popular TV shows such as Pretty Little Liars, Modern Family, The Goldbergs, and Fresh Off the Boat. However, his most recent role before Young Sheldon was as a guest appearance in the ninth season of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he played Larry’s car mechanic named Greg who Larry, in typical Larry David fashion, manages to offend.
Cait Pool as Lisa May
Cait Pool appeared in the second episode of the first season. She played the blond, popular cheerleader who Sheldon tries to be friends with by saying that he admires her “boldly applied makeup.” Cait is still a relatively new actress, with her first professional acting role in 2015 as Gretchen in the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire. She landed her first recurring role later that year as Rachel Buchanan in the Freeform series Party Girl.
Cait Pool – in real life
The real-life Texan’s acting career is starting to take off. And she was most recently seen as a recurring character in CMT’s series Sun Records as Jerry Lee Lewis’ girlfriend, Peggy Sutter. Unfortunately, the series that followed the lives of ’50s Rock n’ Roll singers didn’t last long and was canceled before it could make it to the second season. Since then, Cait had a minor role in HBO’s Vice Principals, where she played a character named Deb.
Vernee Watson as Nurse Robinson
Vernee Watson joined the cast of Young Sheldon during the first season’s third episode. She played the nurse who treated George Sr. after he is rushed to the emergency room. Vernee has a long list of acting credentials behind her, with her first recurring role in 1976 as Vernajean Williams in the classic sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. She also had a leading role as Lucille Banks in the ABC series Carter Country during the late ’70s.
Vernee Watson – in real life
Of course, one of Vernee’s most famous roles is probably as Will Smith’s loving mother in the popular ’90s show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. However, Big Bang fans who watched her Young Sheldon episode probably recognized her as a different nurse named Althea, who has appeared in several episodes of The Big Bang Theory. More recently, Vernee has been playing the social worker named Stella Henry in the soap opera General Hospital.
Brian Stepanek as Mr. Givens
The talented Brian Stepanek has been in three episodes of Young Sheldon, including the pilot, as one of Sheldon’s teachers, Mr. Givens. He has been making appearances on popular TV series as early as the late ’90s. Most of his earlier roles were minor and lasted no more than one or two episodes. He appeared in several TV series during the early 2000s such as The West Wing, The Drew Carey Show and even had a minor role in the film Kissing Jessica Stein, where he played a character named Peter.
Brian Stepanek – in real life
Why does Brian Stepanek look so familiar? Well, he has been in several TV series, but he is probably most recognized for his work in popular kids shows. Brian played the comedic engineer of the Tipton Hotel on Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Most recently, however, Brian has moved on to Nickelodeon, where he plays the lead Tom Harper, a father of quadruplets, in the show Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn.
Wyatt McClure as Billy Sparks
Wyatt McClure plays Sheldon’s former classmate and bully, Billy Sparks. Billy is constantly picking on poor Sheldon. Grown-up Sheldon even mentions him during an episode of The Big Bang Theory’s third season, where he says that Billy is on his list of all-time enemies. The young actor is still new in the world of television, but we are sure with his talent we will be seeing him a lot more in the near future!
Wyatt McClure – in real life
Wyatt made his acting debut in 2014, in the film The Fault in Our Stars. He played an adorable little boy named Gabriel who witnesses a romantic moment between Hazel and Gus. He also was a co-host on the hilarious Youtube talk show, Between 2 Phat Kids, where Wyatt and his co-host Brice would interview young upcoming celebrities. He has also appeared in the horror film, Psychos, and is set to appear in the upcoming boxing thriller titled Glass Jaw.
Melissa Tang – Ms. Fenley
In the pilot episode of Young Sheldon, we were first introduced to Ms. Fenley after Sheldon finds his way into the school music room, and hears her perform a classical piece on her cello. Before too long, Sheldon has made his way over to the piano and perfected the piece of music himself – without ever playing before. Intrigued by his talent, Ms. Fenley encourages Sheldon to pursue a career in music, but in true Sheldon fashion, he rejects the compliment and notes that music is for homeless people and those addicted to illegal substances…
Melissa Tang – in real life
If you were scratching your heads during this pilot episode and wondering where you had seen Melissa Tang before, you don’t need to look too far to find the answer. In fact, Melissa starred in an episode of The Big Bang Theory as Mandy Chao! Alongside this, Melissa has also appeared in some of the biggest TV shows and movies of today, including New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Mom. However, her most prominent role to date is in The Goodwin Games.
Rex Linn – Principal Petersen
It’s fair to say that any principal who could deal with the many obscurities and the intelligence of Sheldon Cooper needs a medal – and that medal should be awarded to Principal Petersen. We first met Principal Petersen in the first ever episode of Young Sheldon, and see that Petersen is completely overwhelmed by the new kid at his school. Nevertheless, he returns later on in ‘An Eagle Feather, a String Bean, and an Eskimo’ to remark on Sheldon’s intellect, and suggest that to his parents that he go to a school for the gifted.
Rex Linn – in real life
Although he only appeared in two episodes of Young Sheldon, that doesn’t mean Rex Linn hasn’t made a name for himself elsewhere. If you’re a fan of CSI: Miami, you’ll probably recognize this American actor from his role as Frank Tripp in the popular crime show. In recent years, Rex has become a staple member of the TV show circuit and used his talents on the likes of Lethal Weapon, Better Call Saul, and Nashville. He’s even earned himself a star on the Carpenter’s Square Theatre Walk of Fame!
Bob Newhart – Professor Proton
You know the drill, you need to get your goggles and lab coat on because Professor Proton is here! In Young Sheldon, Professor Proton (real name Arthur Jeffries) appears in episodes one and nine and reprises the same role he dominated in The Big Bang Theory. As a television host and professional scientist, Professor Proton is one of the only people who Sheldon looks up to in his life, and Sheldon becomes enamored with his television shows.
Bob Newhart – in real life
Let’s be honest; Bob Newhart is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. As an acting legend, Newhart has also made a name for himself as a stand-up comic, famous for his deadpan stare and his slightly uncomfortable delivery. Although he appears in Young Sheldon, Bob Newhart is even more prominent in The Big Bang Theory and appears in around five episodes as Professor Proton. In fact, Bob won a Primetime Emmy Award for this cameo role! Outside of Sheldon’s life, Bob has won numerous awards for his comedic and acting style.
Ray Liotta – Vincent
With various characters in Young Sheldon, it’s hard to keep up with who’s who, especially if they are only minor characters. Of course, Meemaw is not a small character – but her bookie is. Throughout the first series of Young Sheldon, Meemaw tried to hide the fact that she was addicted to gambling and LOVED going to the casino. She even tried to get Sheldon to help her out. However, she once again finds herself in the casino, throwing away her money, until Vincent comes to collect his share…
Ray Liotta – in real life
Although he only appeared for a few minutes on Young Sheldon, there is speculation that he may return in season 2 as a recurring character – and as he’s one of the most popular actors in the business, this makes us pretty happy. Over the course of his 40-year career, Ray has put his name to numerous movies and TV shows including Wild Hogs, Killing Them Softly, and Something Wild. However, his main claim to fame came from his role as Henry Hill in Goodfellas.
Brielle Barbusca – Cheerleader
Throughout Young Sheldon, it’s easy to see why Sheldon despised going to school, as his fellow students weren’t too welcoming. However, in ‘A Solar Calculator, a Game Ball, and a Cheerleader’s Bosom,’ things drastically change for the science nerd. Thanks to his knowledge of sports analytics, Sheldon helps the school football team win their match, to raucous applause. Before too long, Sheldon is the talk of the town, and getting a good ol’ hug from a preppy, pretty cheerleader…played by Brielle Barbusca.
Brielle Barbusca – in real life
Of course, we know the cheerleader role is relatively small – but how could we leave Brielle Barbusca off this list?! This child star started her career when she was just five years old and has since soared to stardom with her acting talent and her beauty. Most notably, she has worked with the cast of Modern Family, Hope & Faith, Trophy Wife, Scandal, The Mindy Project and more. She is a star on the rise and has already got three acting jobs lined up for 2018.
Valerie Mahaffey as Ms. MacElroy
Ms. MacElroy is a teacher of Sheldon’s, and is played by the critically acclaimed actress Valerie Mahaffey. Valerie has been acting since the early ’80s, and was first known for her role Tiffany in the soap opera spoof Fresno. From then on, she continued to appear in a variety of TV roles in series such as ER, Desperate Housewives and Glee (just to name a few).
Valerie Mahaffey – in real life
One of her most recent roles that you might have remembered her from was as the mentally-unstable ex-wife of Michael Stappord, Olivia Rice in the popular Lifetime series Devious Maids. She has also appeared in some big blockbuster movies such as Seabiscuit, Jack and Jill and more recently Sully, where she played alongside Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart.
Iain Armitage as Sheldon
Iain Armitage plays the adorable and incredibly intelligent young Sheldon. The nine-year-old actor was born to two very talented parents. His mother is theater producer Lee Armitage and his father is musical theater actor and Tony Award-nominated Euan Morton. So in other words, Iain was born to perform. His first role was in a single episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, where he played a little boy who was kidnapped.
Iain Armitage – in real life
If young Sheldon looks familiar to you, it is probably because he was recently on the Emmy Award-winning HBO series Big Little Lies. He played the mature little boy named Ziggy, who is the son of young single mom Jane Chapman (played by the lovely Shailene Woodley.) He also presented an award next to big Sheldon Jim Parsons at the recent Emmys. With his talent, he definitely has a bright future ahead of him!
Matt Hobby as Pastor Hodgkins
Matt Hobby plays the pastor at Sheldon and his family’s local church. Sheldon, who tells him and the whole church that he doesn’t believe in God and only believes in science, argues with the pastor who tries to change his mind. As the pastor tells Sheldon that many famous scientists believed in God, Sheldon responds, “So Darwin is right about God and wrong about evolution?”
Matt Hobby – in real life
Although Matt Hobby doesn’t have the longest acting résumé, he is certainly proving his skills with his new role as Pastor Hodgkins. You may remember him from his role as the Thompson House Servant Phillip on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, or as Rudy in The CW’s Hart of Dixie. His most recent recurring role before Young Sheldon was on the Fox series The Grinder, where he played Pat Landy.
Mary Cooper in Young Sheldon vs. Mary Cooper in The Big Bang Theory
In Young Sheldon, Mary Cooper is a lovable mother just getting to grips with her newfound religion and is a prominent member of the cast list. Yet, in The Big Bang Theory, Mary is a little more absent. As Sheldon gets older, his father passes away, leaving Mary alone in East Texas. Despite the fact that she is so far away, she will often pop in from time to time to make sure Sheldon isn’t causing any trouble, or to sort out his problems. In The Big Bang Theory, Mary is played by Laurie Metcalf.
Sheldon Cooper in Young Sheldon vs. Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory
Iain Armitage certainly does an incredible and believable job at showing us what Sheldon was like as a kid. As a grown-up, we can see many of Sheldon’s qualities that he had as a child has stayed with him over the years, like his overly intellectual personality, obsession with cleanliness and hygiene, and lack of understanding of humor and sarcasm. However, it is also easy to see just how much Sheldon has grown. Adult Sheldon seems to let people emotionally into his life more, like his group of best friends and his fiancé Amy.
Meemaw in Young Sheldon vs. Meemaw in The Big Bang Theory
Sheldon’s beloved Meemaw is seen in Young Sheldon as his best friend, who nicknames him “moon-pie.” She is often teaching Sheldon life lessons, such as, don’t trust your component’s facial expressions while playing cards and how to negotiate with his parents in order to get what he wants, like a new train set. In The Big Bang Theory, we see a lot less of Meemaw, but it is clear that the older Meemaw is still a warm, loving, wise, and protective grandmother to Sheldon.
Professor Proton in Young Sheldon vs. Professor Proton in The Big Bang Theory
In Young Sheldon, Sheldon never missed an episode of Professor Proton, and idolized him so much that he once wrote a letter inviting him to come over to his house. In TBBT, Sheldon finally gets to meet his childhood idol, after he and Leonard pay him to do a show at their house. The professor confesses how other scientists think he is now a washed up joke, but Sheldon and Leonard prove him otherwise by telling him that he is the reason they became scientists.
Raegan Revord as Missy
Missy is Sheldon’s fraternal twin sister, but is ironically the opposite of her brother. When she was 6-years-old she convinced Sheldon that Batman was coming to his birthday party. Although grown-up Missy is played by Courtney Henggeler, little Missy is played by the very adorable and charming Raegan Revord. Reagan and her family moved to LA at a very young age in order for her to pursue her dreams of acting and so far she is doing pretty well.
Raegan Revord – in real life
Does Raegan look familiar? It is probably due to the fact the young star’s resume is already pretty lengthy considering her age. She most recently played a small part in a horror movie titled Wish Upon, Melinda in the TV Land series Teachers and also made an appearance on the Netflix series Grace and Frankie. But you most likely remember her Megan on Modern Family, which was her first ever recurring role.
Missy Cooper in Young Sheldon vs. Missy Cooper in The Big Bang Theory
Because we’re obsessed with Young Sheldon, we of course know all we need to know about his adorable little sister, Missy Cooper. However, this Missy is a little different to the Missy we know in The Big Bang Theory. Played by Courtney Henggeler, this actress allows us to see the stark differences between the two Cooper’s. While Sheldon is intelligent and astute, the older Missy focuses more on her looks and her humor – and the other men in the apartment lap it up.