In 1998, Fox and creators Mark Brazill and Terry and Bonnie Turner sent TV viewers back two decades to a small Wisconsin town in the mid-70s. That ‘70s Show became a huge hit, mixing the standard teen coming-of-age sitcom with the trappings of Middle America in ‘70s.
The double-dose of nostalgia proved to be gold, as the series ran for 8 season and 200 episodes (with all but one being directed by David Trainer in a truly uncanny feat). It also led the way by introducing absurdism into sitcoms, thanks to its regular cutaway gags and dream sequences, an idea that would later be run into the ground by shows like Family Guy and 30 Rock.
Along the way, the show proved the jumping-off point for a number of actors while telling the story of its core cast of teens and their families. Though mostly centering on the Forman and Pinciotti households, the years slowly introduced us to many of the character’s parents and siblings. With a decade having passed since the show ended its run, we want to take a look back at the cast of That ‘70s Show and see where they are now.
15. Laura Prepon (Donna Pinciotti)
200 episodes is a lot of TV to fill, especially with a young cast eager to move on to new things. Still, Laura Prepon, who played Donna Pinciotti, is one of only 7 actors on the show to appear in every episode of the series. Donna served as something of a Mary Jane Watson to Eric’s Peter Parker, though, of the two, she would certainly be the one granted superpowers. Presented as a brass tomboy-next-door, Donna often served as the well-read feminist voice of the show, helping to counteract the ‘70s machismo that permeated the storytelling.
For awhile, it looked as if Prepon wouldn’t be able to escape the vacuum of That ‘70s Show. She had a few small movie roles over the years, but mostly just popped on for occasional episodes of TV without her character ever sticking. All of that changed when she landed a starring role Alex Vause in Netflix’s hit series Orange is the New Black. She may always be known for playing Donna, but her work on OITNB is quickly eclipsing her first role.
14. Wilmer Valderrama (Fez)
Joining Prepon in all 200 episodes of That ‘70s Show was Wilmer Valderrama. Known only as Fez, Valderrama was the show’s sole person of color for many seasons. It’s unfortunate that the very “joke” of his character was his vague foreignness. On top of that, he was portrayed as a creepy and lecherous loser who often lashed out at those around him. He was just as often the heart of the show, however, and the source of much of its absurd humor. Still, he’s likely one of the elements the series would change if it were cast today.
While Valderrama has never had as high profile of a role as Fez, he’s got over 60 parts to his name thanks to a number of TV roles, like a stint hosting Yo Momma on MTV. He’s also had fairly long runs on NCIS, From Dusk Til Dawn, and Minority Report. His biggest role, however, is one you may not recognize him from. For six years and 97 episodes, he played the title character on the animated show Handy Manny. He’ll likely never outlive Fez, but he’s still going strong.
13. Debra Jo Rupp (Kitty Forman)
Unlike the younger actors on the series, Debra Jo Rupp was acting for a solid decade before landing the part of Kitty Forman on That ‘70s Show. Appearing in all 200 episodes, despite her son’s departure from the series late in the show’s run, Kitty was the soothing balm to her husband Red. Not only was she the parent that didn’t seemingly despise Eric (though she wasn’t to keen on her daughter Laurie), Kitty got most of her laughs by being fun and effervescent around her stern husband. Their odd couple chemistry helped make the scenes involving the parents just as fun as those down in the basement (especially when Kitty and company decided to sit in The Circle themselves).
Since the series ended, Rupp hasn’t been up to that much. She’s continued working on television with parts on Better With You and He’s With Me, and has done a couple of small films as well. Still, she’s only had a handful of roles since That ‘70s Show ended. She was on a recent episode of Elementary, though, and you can look for her in the upcoming film Fair Market Value.
12. Kurtwood Smith (Reginald “Red” Forman)
Like Rupp, Kurtwood Smith has been in all 200 episodes of That ‘70s Show and has been working since the ‘80s. Despite how well-known he is as Red “Bet You Didn’t Know His Real Name Was Reginald” Forman, however, he’s likely one of the few actors on this list who’s recognizable for many of his other roles. Thanks to his parts in Rambo III and RoboCop, you’re likely familiar with a number of Smith’s gruff and often villainous roles. Though Red wasn’t necessarily a bad guy, he was certainly the antagonist to the show’s protagonist; his son, Eric.
With 147 credits to his name, Smith has done a lot since his first part in 1980. His work in TV, film, and animation hasn’t slowed down since That ‘70s Show ended, either. He joined Valderrama on an episode of Handy Manny, has had an arc on 24, and played Commissioner Gordon on Beware the Batman. Most recently, he played the not-so-secretly evil Vernon Masters on Agent Carter, was a recurring voice on Regular Show in Space, and, most intriguingly, played a character called Angry Old Raisin on Pig Goat Banana Cricket. Good to know he doesn’t take things as seriously as Red.
11. Tommy Chong (Leo)
Tommy Chong was sadly not in all 200 episodes of That ‘70s Show, but he’s still number 11 for most appearances. Part of that is thanks to the relatively tight ensemble the show had, but the rest is because once Chong appeared as the mononymous Leo in season 2’s “Sleepover,” the writers knew they’d struck gold. Though he was almost cartoonish in his portrayal of a stoner, Leo provided a great foil for Hyde, Fez, and, most hilariously, Red.
Even more than his partner in crime Cheech Marin, who you may have forgotten had an arc on Lost, Chong’s career has followed a pretty straight path. Well, perhaps “straight” isn’t the right word, as almost all of his roles since his debut in 1978’s Up in Smoke have been that of the token pothead. He’s only had 20 or so parts in the 10 years since That ‘70s Show ended, and most of them were either part of a Cheech & Chong project, or playing a similar role.
His most recent gig was as the voice of Yak in Zootopia, so while he doesn’t work much, he still nabs a strong role here and there.
10. Danny Masterson (Steven Hyde)
Back to the 200 Club, Danny Masterson will probably always been known as Hyde. Like a number of the main cast, he’s never really been able to overcome the rebellious stoner from the series. It’s not a bad role to be remembered for, however, as Masterson perfectly embodied the part of the renegade, small town teen on the show. Despite starting off as mostly just a generic cool guy, the show slowly fleshed out his character and backstory over the years, exploring his absentee parents and his upbringing in poverty.
Masterson actually worked as an actor on and off for ten years before landing That ‘70s Show, including a long run on the show Cybil. He worked regularly during the run of That ‘70s Show, and since 2006 has kept himself pretty busy with small film and TV roles. In 2012, he landed a starring role in the show Men At Work which ran for 3 seasons. Now, he stars alongside fellow That ‘70s Show alum Ashton Kutcher on the Netflix comedy The Ranch.
9. Katey Sagal (Edna Hyde)
Katey Sagal actually only appeared in 3 episodes of That ‘70s Show, but her role was pretty sizable. Her arc aired during the show’s first season where she played Edna Hyde, Steven’s deadbeat mother. At least, that’s how he portrayed her. Though they clearly had some issues, she seemed like a loving enough parent who just worked a lowly job to provide for her son. It’s a bummer that she never came back, especially when Hyde’s father and half-sister were brought into the mix years later.
Still, she’s been doing fine since then. She had a similarly small but meaningful arc on Lost as Locke’s former partner, and landed the role of Leela on Futurama right after she left That ‘70s Show. Since then, she’s starred in Sons of Anarchy and Kurt Sutter’s follow-up series The Bastard Executioner. And later this year, she’ll be co-starring in the TV musical remake of Dirty Dancing, so look out for that.
8. Don Stark (Bob Pinciotti)
If you were to guess who of the main characters of That ‘70s Show are part of the 7 who were in all 200 episodes, Don Stark’s Bob Pinciotti probably wouldn’t be one of them. And yet, Red’s annoying neighbor and Donna’s father wormed his way into every plot the show ever constructed. Goofy yet lovable, Bob was the ultimate frenemy to Red, as he was the exact opposite of the gruff and emotionless man, and still, somehow, his only friend.
With almost as many roles as Kurtwood Smith, Stark has been acting since the mid-’70s in movies and TV. He didn’t land a big role, however, until he got the part of The Rhino on the animated Spider-Man series of the mid-’90s. Since That ‘70s Show ended, he’s kept pretty busy with small film parts and a bunch of TV appearances. His biggest roles have been on IFC’s Maron and as Dean Cain’s co-star on Hit the Floor, a three-season show about dancers at basketball games.
7. Tanya Roberts (Midge Pinciotti)
Bob’s wife Midge, played by Tanya Roberts, didn’t get quite as much screentime as her husband, but she’s still one of the show’s top ten characters in terms of appearances. Like her husband, she never got to play more than one note, as the dim object of the neighborhood boys’ affections. Like Bob, her role was mostly to highlight how Donna managed to be the show’s smartest character despite having the two dumbest parents, but it allowed Roberts to get a lot of comedic lines.
Roberts actually hasn’t had a single role since That ‘70s Show ended. She did work on various projects while it was running, but she’s almost the inverse of many of the actors on this list, as That ‘70s Show is the after to her before. Beginning her career in the mid-’70s, Roberts was an ‘80s it-girl, landing starring roles in Beastmaster, Sheena, the Charlie’s Angels reboot series, and the 007 movie A View to a Kill. Roberts actually left That ‘70s Show in the middle of its run to be with her terminally ill husband, and his passing in 2006 is likely the reason she left the entertainment industry. Still, she’ll always be remembered for her many roles over the years.
6. Ashton Kutcher (Michael Kelso)
As part of the core cast of That ‘70s Show, Ashton Kutcher’s Michael Kelso appeared in most of the series. His rising star, however, caused him to leave just 17 episodes shy of the full 200– he returned a couple of times after his initial departure. Seeming more like the son of Bob and Midge, Kelso is the group’s resident idiot who’s mostly skated through life on his good looks. Most of his humor comes from his stupidity, and his proclivity for pratfalls.
Like many of the teen actors, That ‘70s Show was the start of Kutcher’s career. More than the others, however, he seemed the one truly destined to breakout. During the show, Kutcher was the actor from the series you’d most often see popping up in films, though movies like The Butterfly Effect and Dude, Where’s My Car? hardly helped him gain acclaim.
Though he’s continued working since the show ended, and mirrored Valderrama by hosting an MTV show (Punk’d), he’s never really had much success. He joined Masterson on an episode of Men At Work before the two landed The Ranch, and his biggest roles have been replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men and playing Steve Jobs in the movie about the former Apple head that didn’t win awards. Though his name and face are well-known, Kutcher never quite lived up to the legacy many people imagined for him.
5. Lisa Robin Kelly (Laurie Forman 1.o)
Lisa Robin Kelly is one of two actors to play Eric’s sister Laurie on That ‘70s Show. Like Midge, she was a fairly one-dimensional character. She was mostly portrayed as mean and sexual liberated. Though she had occasional moments of shading, the show preferred treating her as an object of either lust or scorn.
Sadly, Kelly’s real life wasn’t much better. Though she had a number of TV movie, film, and television roles before being cast as Laurie, her struggles with alcoholism during the show’s run ended most of her career. She left the show for a time and was written out, before returning for a few episodes. Kelly’s substance abuse problem forced her to leave once again, and the show decided to honor the tried and true TV trope of replacing the character with another actor.
4. Christina Moore (Laurie Forman 2.0)
Though Christina Moore only played Laurie Forman for 6 episodes, she’s worth discussing just based on the role she took over. Considering the writers had already written Laurie out during one of Kelly’s absences, it’s peculiar that they’d make the decision to recast Laurie but only put her in 6 episodes. Considering how little she added to the story, it was a jarring choice. Then again, the writers seemed dead set on doing a “Fez gets a green card marriage” plot and maybe figured Laurie was disposable enough to be the other half. Plus, what better way to piss off Red than make Fez his son-in-law?
Moore has actually kept insanely busy since then. She’s had runs on Hot Properties, True Blood, and 90201, just to name of few of her many TV roles. She’s also got an incredibly packed 2017, with two TV parts and 5 films currently in production. She may be barely remembered for her time on That ‘70s Show, but she’s not letting that stop her.
3. Brooke Shields (Pamela Burkhart)
Following the departure of Tanya Roberts, That ‘70s Show decided the best way for Bob to move on was to start dating again. They also wanted to introduce Jackie’s mother, so they combined the two plots and had Brooke Shields join the show for 7 episodes as Pamela Burkhart. Much to Jackie’s chagrin, her mom Pam immediately took a liking to Bob. Though their relationship didn’t last long, it forced the proud Jackie to accept that Donna’s doofy dad might become her step-father.
Acting since the ‘70s, Shields had a long and successful career before she guested on That ‘70s Show, with most of her acclaim stemming from her starring in the long-running sitcom Suddenly Susan. She’s kept busy since her time as Pamela Burkhart, acting mostly in TV show with roles on Scream Queens, Army Wives, Lipstick Jungle, and as Miley’s mom on Hannah Montana.
2. Mila Kunis (Jackie Burkhart)
The final member of the 200 Club and perhaps the most successful actor post-That ‘70s Show is Mila Kunis. Kunis was acting on TV for a good five years before she landed the role of snobby rich girl Jackie Burkhart. It’s never quite clear why she’s friends with everyone on the show, as even her relationship with Donna is contentious. It mostly seems to stem from her dating Kelso, and then Hyde after that. Much like Red with Bob, Jackie seems to begrudgingly hang out with the Gang, as she doesn’t appear to have any other friends, despite her supposed popularity.
Kunis wasn’t as pegged to be a star as Kutcher, but she still had a solid career during and after That ‘70s Show. It was her role opposite Natalie Portman in 2010’s Black Swan, however, that really catapulted her into the stratosphere. Though she doesn’t work a ton, she’s been able to gather a lot of acclaim from a number of indie film roles while also quite regularly appearing on Robot Chicken. Her biggest part has been as Meg Griffin on Family Guy, and she’s even attempted a few blockbuster films like Oz the Great and Powerful and Jupiter Ascending.
1. Topher Grace (Eric Forman)
Like Ashton Kutcher, Topher Grace made it just a little shy of 200 episodes thanks to Eric’s character departing at the end of season 7. Though he returned for the finale, it was still an odd choice for the lead of the show (and the person whose basement everyone hung out in) to leave. With Grace and Kutcher both gone, the show felt weirdly rudderless, and it’s no surprise the series ended just one season later.
Grace has had a mixed career. That ‘70s Show was his first role, but it gave him the clout to start pursuing other work. Unlike much of the rest of the cast, he tried to put as much distance in between Eric and his other work as he could. He immediately landed a role in Traffic in 2000, though movies like Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! pulled him back to the Eric character. He then broke nerds’ hearts (and likely Eric Forman’s) by giving us our one and only live-action Venom in the Spider-Man-Movie-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named.
Luckily, a series of indie film roles and parts in American Ultra and Interstellar have helped Grace redeem himself. He’s by no means a star and Eric Forman is still his biggest role, but he’s made a solid career since That ‘70s Show kicked things off for him. He also has five films currently in production, so perhaps his fate can yet change.
Which That ‘70s Show actors do you think have been able to come out of the shadow of the show? Let us know in the comments!