Twenty-four years have come and gone since the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers first appeared on American television screens. The adventures of Jason, Tommy, Kimberly, Billy, Trini, and Zack were an instant hit, enthralling kids with martial arts battles and giant robotic vehicles. The Power Rangers saved the world on a weekly basis, and fans couldn’t get enough.
Across 26 seasons and no less than 24 different incarnations, Power Rangers constantly evolved, with cast members coming and going. There have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 Rangers over the years, not counting those in the 2017 big screen reboot, making for a huge roster of teenagers with attitude (along with a few heroes that a bit older).
Since many of these actors got their start or “big break” on Power Rangers, we couldn’t help wondering who among them went on to higher-profile, more “serious” work. Here are the 15 most successful actors and actresses who used their time on Power Rangers as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
15. Karan Ashley
When Trini Kwan retired as the Yellow Ranger, the torch was passed to Aisha Campbell, who along with Rocky DeSantos and Adam Park (see #10), had accidentally discovered the secret identities of the Power Rangers. The trio was soon added to the team, and Aisha distinguished herself as a strong team member with a powerful will. After contributing to more than 70 episodes, she was written out of the show at actress Karan Ashley’s request, to be succeeded by the character Tanya Sloan (see #12).
In real life, Karan Ashley is a singer (with a Platinum album under her belt), dancer, writer, producer, and actress who has appeared in numerous TV commercials, and guest starred on various sitcoms.
Most recently, Ashley has conceived and spearheaded a crowdfunded action film called The Order through her own KAsh Pictures, which is set to star an enormous roster of former Power Rangers actors. (Above is an image of her character in the film.) Produced by Ashley and written by Ashley and Zordon actor David J. Fielding, The Order is about a group of covert vigilantes who must identify a traitor in their midst. Its former Power Rangers stars include Austin St. John, David Yost, Catherine Sutherland, Paul Shrier, Walter Jones, Steve Cardenas, and many more.
14. Walter Jones
Zack Taylor was always the life of the party. Perpetually upbeat and always ready to dance, he provided levity and sincerity across his 82 episodes of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Despite his charm and quick wit, it took a very long time for him to win over Angela, the object of his affection.
Actor Walter Jones starred as the Black Ranger throughout the entire first season, and more than half of the second. In the show, Zack left to be part of a group of teenagers sent to a peace conference in Switzerland. In real life, it’s been reported that Jones (along with co-stars Thuy Trang and Austin St. John) departed after contractual disputes with the show’s producers. Despite this, he returned to voice villains in a few later episodes, and continues to have an affinity with his Power Rangers fans.
With more than 50 credits to his name, Jones clearly has had a healthy career. He’s appeared in numerous TV roles as recurring regulars, and he’s done voice acting for films, television, and video games, among other projects.
13. Patricia Ja Lee
When the former Pink Ranger retired to pursue a dream career, she chose amateur singer Cassie Chan as her successor. Cassie was present for more than half of Power Rangers: Turbo and all of Power Rangers in Space on her way to becoming one of the best Pink Rangers the series has ever seen (not to mention one of its most powerful heroes). She passed the torch in the first two episodes of Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy.
The first person Cassie met upon arriving in Angel Grove was Power Ranger fanboy T.J. Johnson, who she quickly befriended, and the duo soon became a serious couple after they were both made Rangers. Her fun-loving, fearless attitude endeared her to the Turbo team, and she developed a strong sisterly bond with Yellow Ranger Ashley Hammond.
Patricia Ja Lee is an actress and voice performer with dozens of credits. She’s probably best known as the voice of Jill Valentine from the Resident Evil games, and as Fom from Ghost In the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. She’s also done voice work for Final Fantasy, Cowboy Bebop, Akira, Mobile Suit Gundam, and appeared in many television commercials.
12. Aloma Wright
With nearly 100 credits across a long, impressive career, Aloma Wright has definitely made her mark on Hollywood. She’s remembered best for her time as Nurse Roberts on Scrubs and Nurse Maxine on Days of Our Lives. (She’s played a lot of nurses.)
She’s recurred on Suits and Private Practice, and guest starred on the likes of Masters of Sex, Scandal, Parenthood, Mad Men, N.C.I.S., Cold Case, Ally McBeal, NYPD Blue, Malcolm In the Middle, Friends, Frasier, and much more.
Power Rangers fans will recall Wright for playing Adelle Ferguson from Power Rangers in Space. Adelle was the proprietor of The Surf Spot, the nautically-themed hangout where the Space Rangers spent their downtime. Wise, tough, and no-nonsense, Adelle was always on hand to feed the Rangers when they were hungry and offer advice when they needed it. She even stood up to the season’s main villain when the Rangers were otherwise indisposed.
11. Nakia Burrise
Tanya Sloan took over as the Yellow Ranger with the advent of Power Rangers: Zeo, but she was a Ranger like no other. Heroes on the show are known for having diverse backstories, but Tanya’s was one of the most unexpected. She hailed from Africa, where she was found during a time travel adventure by another Yellow Ranger, Aisha Campbell. She was a child at the time, but thanks to some time travel magic, she later leapt forward in time, becoming a teenager — but in appearance only.
Inside, she was still just a kid, displaced from her own time with no family or understanding of the 1990s. She acclimated fast, though, learning martial arts and attending high school with her fellow Rangers. She served as the Yellow Ranger throughout Zeo and about half of Turbo, where she handed the baton off after graduating from high school.
Actress Nakia Burrise has guest starred on a number of high-profile TV shows such, as The Mindy Project, The New Girl, 90210, The Middle, Bones, and several others. She’s voiced Nikki in the Barbie animated movies for years, and she created and stars in the web series Class Dismissed. She’s also a singer, dancer, and model.
10. Johnny Yong Bosch
Adam Park was a master of martial arts, and first came into contact with the Power Rangers while competing in a karate tournament (alongside friends and future Rangers Rocky and Aisha). He and his pals were chosen by Zordon to become Power Rangers after the departure of original Rangers Zack, Jason, and Trini, whereupon Adam became the second Black Ranger.
Adam is one of the longest-running Power Rangers, appearing in three incarnations of the show (Mighty Morphin’, Zeo, and Turbo), and made guest appearances in two later seasons. He became the Green Ranger in Power Rangers: Zeo, and kept the color when he transitioned to Power Rangers: Turbo. After 143 episodes, Adam decided to retire as a superhero.
Actor Johnny Yong Bosch has enjoyed a pretty prolific career, particularly as a voice actor. With more than 200 credits to his name, his voice can be heard in countless popular Anime series such as Sailor Moon, Naruto Shippuden, Mobile Suit Gundam, Trigun, Bleach, Doraemon, Pokemon, and many more.
9. Richard Steven Horvitz
Throughout a whopping 209 episodes, Richard Steven Horvitz provided the voice for robot sidekick/assistant Alpha 5. The lovable droid worked in the Command Center, a loyal servant to Zordon himself. He had great affection for the Power Rangers, whom he secretly wished to be like. Alpha 5 took part in numerous adventures, though he rarely left the Rangers’ home base.
Alpha 5 was there from the very beginning of the show, and stayed until that fateful episode of Power Rangers: Turbo, where he and Zordon returned to the planet Eltar. Rather than leaving the Rangers in the lurch, he activated another robot named Alpha 6 to take his place. Horvitz later returned to the show for one episode of Wild Force, where he voiced Alpha 7 — which was actually a rebuilt version of Alpha 5!
Richard Dean Horvitz has provided voice work for dozens of TV cartoons, along with countless video games. Highlights include Rugrats, Zatch Bell, Ben 10, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Ratchet & Clank, Metal Gear Solid 4, among others. Parents and their kids will be interested to hear that Horvitz is the voice of main villain Kaos, from the Skylanders games. (It’s a big deal, honest.)
8. Alex Borstein
You may not recognize her name, but you’ve definitely encountered her work. Alex Borstein is best known as the voice of Lois Griffin, aka the long-suffering mom on Family Guy; Gilmore Girls fans know her as fashionista Ms. Celine, and she was a regular player on MadTV for five years, where she had her share of memorable characters.
A Seth McFarlane mainstay, she’s lent her voice to American Dad, and appeared several times on The Cleveland Show as kindergarten teacher Mrs. Lowenstein. She put in appearances in McFarlane’s big-screen comedies as well, serving as the mother to Mark Wahlberg’s character in Ted along with a smaller role in A Million Ways to Die in the West. Robot Chicken has employed her talents as the voice of Wonder Woman and various other characters.
A stand-up comedian who’s toured nationally, she has dozens of major credits on her resume. On Power Rangers, she’s best known as Queen Machina from Zeo, though she’s voiced other characters on the show as well, including one-off villains Bloom of Doom and Madame Woe.
7. Archie Kao
Kai Chen served as the Blue Ranger from Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy. Kai was a straight-laced, highly disciplined warrior, who was always one of the most reliable members of the team. He later returned for a two-part episode of the Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue season, in which he helped the Lightspeed team take down his old enemy, Trakeena. He also voiced the villainous General Venjix for an episode of Power Rangers: Wild Force.
After his Power Rangers stint, actor Archie Kao went onto regular status on a number of TV series, including C.S.I., for which he became a regular as audio/visual expert Archie Johnson from the second season until the show’s twelfth and final season.
He also recurred in 15 episodes of Chicago P.D. His credits list is extensive, including guest spots on ER, Desperate Housewives, Heroes, and more. He has also voiced characters in video games, and he’s recently appeared in a number of feature films, including Michael Mann’s 2015 thriller, Blackhat.
6. Brandon Jay McLaren
Power Rangers: S.P.D. — which stands for Space Patrol Delta, for the inquiring mind — was a series set in the future, where an alien race attacks the Earth and a “last line of defense” thing is needed. Hence, new Power Rangers.
The Red Ranger and leader of this team was Jack Landors, as played by Brandon Jay McLaren. Landors was a pickpocket off the street who volunteered to become a Power Ranger, and he quickly rose up to become the team’s leader. Even without his Ranger powers, Landors possessed the unusual ability to pass through solid objects, a la Kitty Pryde of the X-Men.
Actor Brandon Jay McLaren has enjoyed an impressive career that includes stints on Smallville, Kyle XY, C.S.I., and Chicago Fire. He’s had longer-term parts more recently on the likes of The Killing, Falling Skies, Graceland, and he’s currently one of the main characters on CBS’ Ransom. Keep an eye on McLaren; his star is clearly on the rise.
5. Eka Darville
Power Rangers: RPM was a drastic departure to anything the show had done before. Instead of following the ongoing adventures of the recruits of Zordon, this series was set in an alternate reality, where a sentient computer virus named Venjix had taken over the Earth, enslaving most of mankind and driving the few free survivors to a domed city called Corinth. Leaning heavily on Mad Max for inspiration, the show focused on wheeled vehicles, technological powers, and a wasteland environment.
In this dystopian-ish world, we were introduced to a new team of Rangers led by Scott Truman, who was also the son of the military officer in charge of Corinth’s security, Colonel Mason Truman. Scott was never able to live up to his dad’s lofty expectations, forever being overlooked in favor of his older brother Marcus. When another Ranger was given a medal by Mason, Scott left on his own, determined to find a battle that would finally earn him his father’s approval.
Beyond his single season of Power Rangers, Australian actor Eka Darville has appeared in multi-episode arcs of Spartacus: War of the Damned, Terra Nova, The Originals, Empire, and more. Most recently, he did some impressive character work on Netflix’s Jessica Jones as the titular hero’s junkie neighbor, Malcolm Ducasse. He’s expected to return to the Marvel world in The Defenders, though he’ll almost certainly be back for season 2 of Jessica Jones.
4. Jason David Frank
Bad boy turned good Tommy Oliver is a quintessential part of Power Rangers‘ DNA. He first appeared in season one, where he was recruited by Rita Repulsa to be a Ranger of her very own, intended to take down the Rangers team with similar powers. But he turned on Rita and joined the heroic Power Rangers for real as the Green Ranger.
In subsequent seasons, Tommy was almost always a key part of the formula, very often leading the show’s revolving-door lineup of team members. Actor and martial arts expert Jason David Frank built his career around Power Rangers, growing up and maturing with the role as time went by. Tommy was a major player on the team for years, though he eventually decided to leave to pursue a doctorate in paleontology. Even this couldn’t keep Tommy away for long, as he frequently guest starred in a mentor capacity, or suited up when the situation called for a little extra muscle.
Frank’s resume doesn’t contain a whole lot aside from Power Rangers, but he’s appeared in more seasons and more episodes — 234 total — than anyone else. More importantly, he still shows great affection for the series and its fans, and those fans adore and revere him in equal measure. Off-camera, he’s put together a pretty respectable mixed martial arts career for himself. His character’s status as one of the most powerful Rangers of all time wasn’t entirely an act, apparently.
3. Amy Jo Johnson
The first and still most popular Pink Ranger was Kimberly Ann Hart, as portrayed by Amy Jo Johnson. One of the original five Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, her earliest appearances depicted her as a shallow valley girl with natural gymnastic talents. But she evolved into maturity during her time on the show, which numbered more than 130 episodes.
Hart’s love life was often a source of consternation for fans, with a love triangle forming between her, Tommy Oliver, and Jason Scott. While she was with Tommy for a long time, she eventually left him in favor of an off-camera interest. Later, it was implied that she and Jason had developed a romance, though this was never officially confirmed.
So popular was Hart that her departure on the show was written as a 10-episode-long arc. Fans were sad to say goodbye, but Johnson was ready to pursue other acting goals. After Rangers, she garnered ongoing roles on Felicity, The Division, Covert Affairs, Flashpoint, and guest parts on many, many others. She also currently has a self-produced film project called The Space Between, co-starring Michael Ironside, in the works, so keep an eye out for that.
2. Rose McIver
Summer Landsdown was a spoiled princess who cared about no one but herself when Venjix attacked, forcing her to realize what was really important in life. Resolving to change her ways, she became the Yellow Ranger of Power Rangers: RPM, one of its most valued members.
Even before she was cast as Summer, Rose McIver’s star was on the rise. Following her stint as a Ranger, she landed recurring gigs on Showtime’s Masters of Sex and as Tinkerbell on ABC’s Once Upon a Time.
But it was what came next that generated the biggest buzz of her career. As the lead character Liv on iZombie, McIver stars as a coroner turned undead flesh-eater, who fights off her monstrous cravings by ingesting the brains of the dead. This smart, Buffy-like subversion of the zombie genre finds Liv able to solve murders after taking on the memories and personality traits of those she eats. (It both is, and isn’t, as weird as it sounds.)
1. Bryan Cranston
Way back in 1993, long before he took on the role of Zordon in the new film, Bryan Cranston made two brief vocal performances in the first season of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. But you’re forgiven for not knowing that little factoid, because he was uncredited for both.
In “Foul Play in the Sky,” he voiced a one-off baddie named Snizard, which was a part snake, part lizard monster. Cranston later showed up in the “A Bad Reflection on You” episode, which is notorious for being the first time that evil versions of the Power Rangers were featured on the show. This go around, Rita tried to frame the Rangers for attacking the citizens of Angel Grove. Cranston voiced Twinman, the illusionist villain who created the doppelgängers.
Seven years later, Cranston shot to fame after over a decade of character work in the sitcom, Malcolm In the Middle. Two years after Malcolm’s demise, Cranston garnered extraordinary critical claim and a legion of fans as Walter White, the chemistry teacher turned meth supplier in a little show called Breaking Bad. He’s currently one of the most sought-after character actors in Hollywood, and his star continues to rise every year.
What other Power Ranger actors went on to surprising amounts of success in Hollywood? Let us know in the comments.
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