See the Cast of 'My So-Called Life' Then and NowBritt Hayes |
In 1994, 'My So-Called Life' debuted on ABC and was instantly praised for its frank portrayal of teenage life. The show followed Angela Chase (Claire Danes), an insecure teenager struggling through high school as she befriends the "cool kids" and leaves her preppy best friend behind. 'My So-Called Life' focused on hard-hitting issues like teenage homelessness, alcoholism, and abuse, and it introduced teen girls everywhere to Jared Leto and his hair.
Though it only lived for one season, 'My So-Called Life' is still hailed to this day as a landmark television series. Almost 20 years later, we take a look back at the cast and see what they're up to now.
Claire Danes, Angela Chase
Then: Claire Danes, who had previously starred in the film 'Little Women,' played Angela Chase, the show's confliced, angsty protagonist who leaves her bookish friends behind and distances herself from her family while doing a little self-exploration in high school. Alicia Silverstone (who would go on to star in 'Clueless') auditioned for the role, but the producers thought Danes was a better fit -- even though the character Angela Chase was 15, and Danes was just 13 at the time.
Now: Danes currently stars on the Showtime drama 'Homeland,' and has won two Golden Globes and an Emmy for her portrayal of bipolar FBI agent Carrie Mathison. She is married to 'Hannibal' star Hugh Dancy.
Bess Armstrong, Patty Chase
Then: Bess Armstrong played Patty Chase, Angela's mom and the main breadwinner of the Chase household -- an unusual thing for viewers to see on television.
Now: Armstrong has appeared on 'Criminal Minds,' and recently guest-starred on 'Mad Men' and the Showtime comedy series 'House of Lies.'
Tom Irwin, Graham Chase
Then: Tom Irwin played Graham Chase. As Angela's father and Patty's husband, he struggles with his identity and place at home, since his wife is the main breadwinner.
Now: Irwin is an instructor at the Steppenwolf Theater West School of Drama in Los Angeles, and, like Armstrong, he also appeared on the Showtime series 'House of Lies.' He currently has a recurring role on the Lifetime series 'Devious Maids.'
Lisa Wilhoit, Danielle Chase
Then: Lisa Wilhiot played Danielle, Angela's sister who is often ignored thanks to her sister's problems and the drama between her parents. Danielle often functions as comic relief.
Now: Wilhoit has guest-starred on '7th Heaven,' 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,' and 'Greek.' She lends her voice talents to 'Family Guy' as popular snobby girl Connie D'Amico and various other characters.
A.J. Langer, Rayanne Graff
Then: A.J. Langer played Rayanne Graff, Angela's new best friend who is very troubled and rebellious. Rayanne is raised by a single mother and struggles with drug and alcohol problems throughout the series.
Now: Langer has guest-starred on 'Seinfeld,' 'Touched by an Angel,' and 'The Drew Carey Show,' and returned to ABC in 2011 for a recurring role on the 'Grey's Anatomy' spin-off 'Private Practice.'
Jared Leto, Jordan Catalano
Then: Jared Leto played bad boy Jordan Catalano. Angela has a crush on Jordan, who presents himself as rebellious to hide the real reason for his bad grades -- a learning disability.
Now: Leto reunited with Danes for the 1995 film 'How to Make an American Quilt,' and has since appeared in the films 'Fight Club,' 'American Psycho,' 'Girl, Interrupted,' and 'Requiem for a Dream.' He took a break from acting for a few years to focus on his music; he is the frontman of the band 30 Seconds to Mars. Leto has garnered early acclaim for his role in the upcoming film 'Dallas Buyers Club,' which marks his first film since 2009's 'Mr. Nobody.'
Devon Gummersall, Brian Krakow
Then: Devon Gummersall played Brian Krakow, one of the friends Angela ditches to hang out with Rayanne and Jordan. Brian is awkward and has an unrequited crush on Angela.
Now: Gummersall appeared in several films, including 'Independence Day' and 'Dick,' and has had recurring roles on the shows 'The Gates,' 'Drop Dead Diva,' and 'The L Word.'
Wilson Cruz, Ricky Vasquez
Then: Wilson Cruz played the eccentric gay teen Ricky Vasquez. He is raised by his uncle, who abuses him, but is later taken in and mentored by his gay English teacher.
Now: Cruz went on to originate the role of Angel in the 1998 Broadway production of 'Rent,' and has appeared in the films 'Party Monster' and 'He's Just Not That Into You.' Following 'My So-Called Life,' he had a recurring role on 'Party of Five' and has since guest-starred on 'Grey's Anatomy.'
Devon Odessa, Sharon Cherski
Then: Devon Odessa played Sharon Cherski, Angela's childhood best friend who is your conventional "good girl" -- she's very academic, but eventually becomes more open-minded through her experiences with Angela and Rayanne.
Now: After 'My So-Called Life,' Odessa guest-starred on shows like 'Pacific Blue,' 'That's So Raven,' and the short-lived horror series 'Sleepwalkers,' created by Davis S. Goyer and starring a younger Naomi Watts. Odessa's last acting credit was in the 2008 film 'Broken Angel.'