It’s officially been five years since The Office ended and every day since has been that little bit sadder without it. Luckily for us, we live in a day and age where we can still binge watch old episodes of it to our heart’s content, but we still miss the days when new plots and storylines would emerge to excite and delight us.
When The Office first aired on NBC in 2005, many people weren’t sure how this remake of a quirky British mockumentary-style sitcom was going to translate for wider audiences. Well, it turns out it was a sleeper hit, and it has gone down in history as one of the most successful and most loved TV series of all time.
Thanks to this show, many great actors that we love and respect today got their big starts, including Steve Carell, John Krasinski, and Jenna Fischer, and provided a launch pad for other big names to get their huge breaks, such as Ellie Kemper, Mindy Kaling and Ed Helms.
It’s been a while now since our dear Dunder Mifflin pals have left Scranton for good, but most of them are off doing bigger and brighter things than ever before. It’s about time we catch up with our old friends.
With that in mind, here’s What The Cast Of The Office Looked Like In Their First Episode Vs Now.
20 Steve Carell (Michael Scott)
Steve Carell began his tenure as Michael Scott on The Office a year after the release of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, in which he played oddball Brick Tamland, who collectively made us all fall in love with lamp.
Carell’s role as Brick Tamland in Anchorman was exemplary of the kind of supporting comedy roles the actor was getting before the dawn of The Office, but then in 2005 when Carell stepped into his roles as Michael Scott, the well-meaning buffoon of a boss at a paper company, he almost instantly shot to superstardom.
Steve Carell earned six Emmy nominations for his role as Scott, the world’s best worst boss, and received acclaim for his genius as a lead comedic actor.
Following his success in The Office, Carell went on to star in numerous films including The 40 Year Old Virgin, Crazy, Stupid, Love, and voiced the popular animated character Gru in the billion-dollar Despicable Me franchise.
Since finishing up with The Office, Carell has also gone on to receive an Oscar nomination for his work in Foxcatcher, acclaim for his role in Oscar-winning The Big Short and Golden Globe attention for his part in Battle of the Sexes.
19 Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute)
Rainn Wilson’s eccentric character Dwight Schrute on The Office is by far one of the most memorable characters of the whole show, whose interests firmly lay within the three categories of B: “Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica.”
Before bringing the legend that is Dwight Schrute to life on The Office, Rainn Wilson was most famous for his recurring role in Six Feet Under, where he played the character Arthur Martin. However, it was really his ability to channel immense comedy into his role as the brown-nosing oddball Dwight Schrute that really captured people’s attention. His role on The Office really demonstrated what a talented comedic actor he was, and since debuting on the office-based sitcom, Rainn Wilson has gone on to showcase his singular brand of humor in programs including Adventure Time, Backstrom and as the voice of Gargamel in Smurfs: The Lost Village.
Demonstrating that he’s not just a great actor, Rainn Wilson also went on to form his own digital media company called “SoulPancake” and he also wrote and published an autobiography, The Bassoon King, in 2015.
Most recently, Wilson has appeared on Star Trek: Discovery and has several other projects in the works that will be completed this year and next.
18 John Krasinski (Jim Halpert)
John Krasinski’s portrayal of loveable paper salesman Jim Halpert is without question one of the most universally loved characters in TV.
Although Krasinski had appeared in numerous film and television projects before being cast in The Office, these were mostly smaller parts as shown by his roles in Dreamgirls, The Holiday, and It’s Complicated. Jim Halpert was definitely Krasinski’s breakout role, and thanks to his time served playing the adorably deadpan prankster, the actor earned an army of fans who couldn’t wait to tune in to find out how his quiet yearning for receptionist Pam was going.
Indeed, the romance between Krasinski’s character Jim and Jenna Fischer’s Pam is one of the most celebrated TV couple romances in history. Their storyline often tops the list of people’s favorite sitcom love stories.
Most recently, John Krasinski has earned massive acclaim for directing A Quiet Place, in which he also stars alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt.
Krasinski is also working on some more small-screen projects, including an adaptation of John Clancy’s Jack Ryan books by Amazon, in which he’ll star as the titular character. This new series will debut in August 2018, and will co-star Abbie Cornish, Wendell Pierce, and Ali Suliman.
17 Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly)
Before starring in The Office as receptionist-turned-saleswoman Pam Beesly, Jenna Fischer had numerous acting credits in film and TV. These were mainly guest-starring roles and secondary parts, however, with appearances in Miss Match, Employee of the Month, and Cold Case amongst her roster of roles.
Scoring the part of loveable Pam Beesly was hugely important therefore for Fischer’s career, and it really put her on the map in terms of her acting.
As previously mentioned, Pam’s storyline with Jim Halpert melted the hearts of countless viewers, and her kindness and sweetness made her an instant favorite with practically everyone who tuned in to watch the show. The legacy of Pam and Jim has lived on far past the finale of The Office and the emotional weight of the two characters’ journey together throughout the series has been one of the most enduring qualities of the show.
Soon after her debut on The Office, Fischer scored a number of roles in notable rom-coms including Hall Pass, Blades of Glory, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
All her film roles were very similar to that of Pam Beesly.
Since The Office came to a close, Jenna Fischer has had several roles on TV shows including You, Me, and the Apocalypse and The Mysteries of Laura as well as some film appearances such as in Brad’s Status. This year, she also starred in Clint Eastwood’s film 15:17 Paris as well as debuting her role as Lena in the TV series Splitting Up Together, which was renewed for season 2.
16 B.J Novak (Ryan Howard)
B.J Novak brought to life Ryan Howard, the slightly sleazy intern who had a toxic relationship with Mindy Kaling’s character Kelly Kapoor. While we saw Ryan work his way up the corporate ladder, we were mostly entertained by the dynamic and questionable chemistry he shared with Kelly. This relationship between Kelly and Ryan is all the more hilarious and even a little endearing as the two actors, Novak and Kaling, have off-and-on dated over the years, and share a very close friendship with one another
Before becoming the office intern Ryan, B.J Novak was already known as a comedian, being named one of Variety’s “Ten Comedians To Watch” in 2003. He was also mostly associated with being one of Ashton Kutcher’s co-pranksters and lead accomplice on the show Punk’d.
Aside from his turn as Ryan Howard on The Office, B.J. Novak has also appeared in many popular films, including Knocked Up, Inglourious Basterds, Saving Mr. Banks, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He has also done other television work on shows such as Community, The Newsroom, and The Mindy Project.
B.J. Novak was one of the actors on The Office who also worked as a member of the writing staff on the show, and since The Office came off the air, he has mainly concentrated on writing and miscellaneous business ventures rather than acting.
15 Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor)
Over the years, Mindy Kaling has become one of the most exceptional people in entertainment.
Her talents as a writer, a director, and an actress demonstrate that she is not only a multi-gifted human being, but also a tour de force to be reckoned with.
Kaling starred in The Office as the boy-crazy chatterbox Kelly Kapoor, whose infatuation with office intern Ryan Howard made us all relate to her on a comedic and empathetic level. However, Kaling wasn’t just another great member of the cast. She was also a prolific writing staff member on the show, as well as a director for multiple episodes too. When Kaling joined The Office team, she was just 24 years old and the only female member of the writing staff.
Kaling debuted her character Kelly Kapoor in the episode called “Diversity Day”, which was the second episode of the first season. People instantly fell in love with her gossipy, romance-obsessed character.
In 2012, Kaling began her stint as Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project, a series that she wrote, produced, and starred in. Kaling is very much considered a pioneer, as prior to her show, there hadn’t many very many, if any, shows starring an Indian-American woman.
Kaling also went on to feature in many popular films, including voicing Disgust in Pixar’s Inside Out and Mrs. Who in A Wrinkle in Time. She is also starring in this year’s all-female Ocean’s 8 and is working on a comedy called Late Night.
14 Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin)
Angela Kinsey played straight-laced, rule-obsessed head of accounting Angela Martin to perfection during her time on The Office, and provided her fair share of big laughs with her judgemental, strict portrayal of her character. We can’t imagine anyone else playing the role quite like Angela Kinsey did, and she has definitely left a lasting impression on viewers.
Before playing Angela Martin on The Office, Kinsey had appeared in just a handful of roles on other TV series, but her most notable pre-Office gig was doing recurring voice work on King of the Hill.
Her featured role in The Office really highlighted Kinsey’s acting talent, and her romance storylines with both Dwight Schrute as well as Andy Bernard on the show made for great TV. Indeed, Angela Martin’s romance with Dwight created a funny juxtaposition with the other, very different romantic storyline we got to follow throughout the show, that between Pam and Jim.
Since the end of The Office, Angela Kinsey has gone on to star in other successful TV shows including two seasons of The Hotwives, a spoof of The Real Housewives, as well as Netflix’s Haters Back off! In addition to these, the actress has also had roles in New Girl, Your Family Or Mine, and Fresh Off the Boat.
13 Ed Helms (Andy Bernard)
Funnyman Ed Helms made us all cackle with his role as Andy Bernard, the proud Cornell graduate with an affinity for a cappella singing. Ed Helms joined the cast of The Office in season three, when he was introduced to us as the Regional Director in Charge of Sales at the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin when Jim Halpert transfers.
Although his character got mixed reviews when he debuted on The Office scene, being named one of Vulture’s most annoying TV characters of 2011, Ed Helms portrayed the insecure, sycophantic Andy Bernard with aplomb. His romantic storyline with Angela Martin created some great viewing, as did his transition into a relationship with reception Erin Hannon.
Similarly to Steve Carell, Ed Helms had spent some of his early career days as a correspondent on The Daily Show, but seemed to really find fame once he was introduced into The Office family. Indeed, thanks to his role on the sitcom, Helms managed to land one of the biggest roles of his career, playing Stu in the popular and irreverent The Hangover film franchise.
His popularity and success in the Hangover role led to further comedy parts being offered to him, including films such as We’re the Millers, Vacation, and The Clapper as well as parts on many TV shows, such as Arrested Development, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and BoJack Horseman.
Most recently, Ed Helms starred alongside Owen Wilson in the movie Father Figures as well as in the Netflix film A Futile and Stupid Gesture about National Lampoon’s successes and influences.
12 Paul Lieberstein (Toby Flenderson)
Repping human resources like no one else could, Paul Lieberstein played HR director Toby Flenderson throughout The Office’s run on-air, beginning with his first episode “Diversity Day” in season one. Whereas many of the characters on the show were equivalent parts to the original British version of The Office, Lieberstein’s character Toby was a new, fully original character.
Toby Flenderson is known for his mild-mannered ways, and his inability to speak up and voice his opinion might have grated on some. His fraught relationship with Michael Scott created some hilarious moments throughout the show, and it was always entertaining to see the strain that occured between the two characters.
Aside from playing Toby Flenderson on the show, Paul Lieberstein was involved in many other ways with The Office, including being staff writer, director, executive producer, and showrunner for season five to eight.
Before his involvement with The Office, Lieberstein was a producer on a wide variety of TV shows, including The Drew Carey Show and The Bernie Mac Show, and has writer credits on shows such as Clarissa Explains It All, The Naked Truth, and King of the Hill.
Post-The Office, Lieberstein became an executive producer on The Newsroom, and turned his hand at directing for an episode of The Mindy Project with his former co-star Mindy Kaling.
11 Phyllis Smith (Phyllis Lapin)
Phyllis Smith, who played soft-spoken Phyllis Lapin-Vance, wasn’t originally meant to be in The Office. She was actually busy working as a casting associate on the show when she suddenly offered the part of saleswoman Phyllis.
Again, similarly to Paul Lieberstein’s character Toby Flenderson, Phyllis’ character has no counterpart on the original British TV series of the same name.
Even though Smith had no intention of being a star on the show, her portrayal of office worker Phyllis Lapin-Vance is a tour de force.
Mixing sweetness and motherly kindness with a side dish of vindictiveness when it comes to Angela Martin and Pam Beesly, Phyllis Lapin is a great addition to The Office dynamic.
After managing to segue into the world of acting, Phyllis Smith has gone on to create quite a successful career for herself. She has appeared in Arrested Development, Trophy Wife and the movie Bad Teacher alongside Cameron Diaz, and was an absolute wonder bringing to life the voice of Sadness in the Pixar blockbuster Inside Out.
Most recently Phyllis Smith has had a recurring role on Netflix’s The OA, and we have no doubt this talented lady will go on to make her way into further big roles in the future.
10 Leslie David Baker (Stanley Hudson)
Leslie David Baker was a much-loved character on The Office, playing Stanley Hudson, the sales representative, with aplomb. Grumpy, disgruntled, and thoroughly disinterested in what was going on around him in the office, Stanley Hudson wasn’t afraid to tell boss Michael Scott what he thought, and wasn’t shy about his lack of respect for him ether.
Baker’s character Stanley Hudson was featured in the first to the last episode of The Office, and his character has been compared to that of Malcolm in the British series.
Leslie David Baker wasn’t always an actor, though. Before getting a role on The Office, he worked as a K-8 special education teacher, and he holds a B.S. in psychology from Loyola University Chicago as well as a M.S. in human services administration. He has a number of early acting credits in TV series such as That 70s Show, Malcolm in the Middle, and Scrubs, but his biggest and most notable role to date is without a doubt that of Stanley Hudson on The Office.
Since the series ended, Baker has continued to land acting roles, mainly in TV, including featured parts on Scorpion, Still the King, and Raven’s Home, as well as several movie roles, such as in Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie and Fallen Stars.
9 Ellie Kemper (Erin Hannon)
Ellie Kemper is by far one of the most adorable, likable people in Hollywood, and her success story as an in-demand actress certainly stems from her great performance as receptionist Erin Hannon on The Office.
Kemper joined The Office cast in the fifth season of the show when Jenna Fischer’s character Pam Beesly left to go work at The Michael Scott Paper Company, taking over Pam’s job in her absence. Erin is one of the most likable characters of the Dunder Mifflin bunch, as her smiley demeanor and genuine love for her job are in stark contrast to many of her co-workers.
Before joining The Office, Ellie Kemper was busy performing comedy on the improv circuit, and was mostly known for funny viral sketches. Her role as Erin Hannon really put her on the map though, and garnered her a lot of attention. Following on from her success on the sitcom, Kemper went on to star in multiple big movies, including the hugely successful Bridesmaids, as well as 21 Jump Street and a stint on Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project.
Of course, aside from her turn as receptionist Erin, Ellie Kemper is now best known for her amazing portrayal of bunker-survivor Kimmy Schmidt on her popular sitcom Unbelievable Kimmy Schmidt.
8 Oscar Nuñez (Oscar Martinez)
Oscar Nunez portrayed accountant Oscar Martinez during The Office’s run on-air, and played his role with the rationality and intelligence that one would normally associate with this type of job. Oscar Martinez was particularly known for being the gay character on the show, who saw his orientation get outed by his boss Michael Scott during the very memorable episode called “The Gay Witch Hunt” in season three. This storyline was actually hugely important, as Oscar Martinez became one of the only openly gay characters being shown on network television, bringing a diversity to television.
Before joining the cast of The Office, Oscar Nunez was already a relatively known comedian and had appeared on show such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Malcolm in the Middle, and 24 before taking on his role as Oscar Martinez.
While his role on The Office has arguably been his biggest and most successful part to date, Nunez has also appeared in a number of films, including his very memorable performance as a male dancer in The Proposal, as well as television parts in projects such as New Girl, Benched, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and most recently, a recurring role as Father Doug in the TBS comedy series called People of Earth.
7 Kate Flannery (Meredith Palmer)
Bringing comedy to The Office in some pretty heavy doses, Kate Flannery was a triumph as Meredith Palmer, the brash single mom who always had a hilarious comment to make or a wild antic to entertain us with.
Truly providing comic relief to an already hilarious show, Kate Flannery was always a joy to see on screen in the office environment.
Before landing the part of drink-loving Meredith Palmer, Flannery was a familiar face in the world of comedy, mainly working in both stage productions and improv. Flannery also appeared in a number of TV series before her time on The Office, including shows such as Curb your Enthusiasm, The Bernie Mac Show, and Boomtown.
It’s obvious when watching Kate Flannery perform in The Office that she has a particular affinity for playing a gruff, slightly outlandish character, and as such, she has found success post-The Office with similar bawdy parts. She has since made guest-appearances in a number of big TV shows, including Brooklyn Nine-Nine in which she literally plays a character called Mean Marge, New Girl, American Housewife and Steven Universe.
Most recently, Flannery has taken on the role of Principal Saperstein in the teen comedy All Night.
6 Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone)
Brian Baumgartner was exceptional as the loveable, not-so-bright Kevin Malone in The Office. With his dry humor and subdued, blunt persona, Kevin was a character we all looked forward to seeing on screen. This aspiring warehouse-worker-turned-accountant was indeed named one of the characters Slate magazine was most looking forward to seeing return to the show after its summer hiatus in 2007, and we don’t blame them, as we all couldn’t wait for him to come back too.
Although Baumgartner had appeared in numerous projects before he began his tenure on The Office, his role as Kevin Malone has certainly been the part for which he's most remembered.
Pre-Office, the actor had parts in shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Arrested Development, and Jake In Progress, but these were mainly bit parts and guest appearances.
Once he landed his Kevin Malone role however, his acting credits began to expand, and he got cast in several films, including Licence to Wed, Four Christmases, and Into Temptation.
After The Office came to a close, Brian Baumgartner continued to be successful in landing TV roles, with many guest-star appearances on shows including Mike & Molly, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Bridge, Scream Queens, and recently, a recurring role in Hand of God as Dr. Olonari.
5 Rashida Jones (Karen Filippelli)
Rashida Jones first made her appearance as Karen Filippelli on The Office in season three, during the episode “Gay Witch Hunt”. She went on to star in the sitcom until season eight, acing her role as the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Utica.
Rashida Jones is a well-known name by all, and before gaining a role on The Office, the actress had appeared in a number of mainly small screen roles, including programs such as Freaks and Geeks, a recurring role on Boston Legal, and Wanted.
The Office gave Rashida Jones a lot more exposure than she’d gotten on previous projects and showcased her talents as a comedic actress.
Her biggest role aside from The Office that she is best known for, is Ann Perkins, the delightful sidekick to Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation.
She currently stars in the titular role of Angie Tribeca on TBS.
Of course, the small screen isn’t the only place Jones has found success. She has also starred in a number of films, including I Love You, Man, The Social Network, The Muppets, and Celeste and Jesse Forever. In addition to co-writing Celeste and Jesse Forever, Jones helped pen the "Nosedive" episode of Black Mirror.
4 Craig Robinson (Darryl Philbin)
The addition of Craig Robinson as warehouse foreman Darryl Philbin to The Office was nothing short of genius. Making his debut in the fourth episode of season 1 called “The Alliance”, Robinson’s character was an instant hit with audiences. Watching his character change when interacting with Michael Scott as opposed to with other people is great viewing, witnessing Darryl go from serious and humorless to silly and relaxed within a short space of time.
As we’ve seen with many of the actors who starred in The Office, Craig Robinson’s time on the show shot him to bigger heights in his career, making him one of the true success stories of The Office’s time on air. Admittedly, Robinson had been working as a television actor and comedian before his stint as Darryl Philbin, however the success and widespread viewership this role got him shot him to wider fame. Previously, Robinson had appeared in shows such as The Bernie Mac Show, Friends, and Arrested Development, but these were all small, bit parts.
Thanks to his success on The Office though, Robinson went on to be cast in some notable films and TV projects, including Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Hot Tub Time Machine 1 and 2, among many others.
Since The Office wrapped, Craig Robinson also got a recurring part on Brooklyn Nine-Nine as hilarious Doug Judy, as well as a recurring role in the Fox sitcom Ghosted.
3 Melora Hardin (Jan Levinson)
Melora Hardin took on the role of Jan Levinson in The Office, making her debut in the first season of the show. Playing the part of Vice President of Northeast Sales and Michael Scott’s love interest, Hardin contributed a lot of laughs to the show, especially when she and Michael Scott clashed over social interactions and professional attitudes.
Before becoming a recurring character on The Office, Melora Hardin had already established a firm and long-running acting career. Her first acting credit was all the way back in 1978, when she appeared in TV series Police Story. She also had a recurring role in Thunder in 1977, and appeared in many now-classic shows such as The Love Boat, Diff’rent Strokes, and Little House on the Prairie.
Hardin went on to form a successful adult acting career after her many roles she landed as a child star, going on to play parts in shows as diverse as the television show Dirty Dancing, Quantum Leap, Friends, and Gilmore Girls as well as appearing in big screen productions such as 27 Dresses, 17 Again, and Hannah Montana: The Movie among others.
Hardin also managed to break into Shondaland, making a guest appearance on Scandal.
Most recently Hardin has been acting in a recurring role on The Bold Type and has several other projects in production.
2 David Denman (Roy Anderson)
David Denman starred as Roy Anderson, Pam Beesly’s original love interest and fiance whose romantic aspirations were eventually thwarted by John Krasinski’s Jim Halpert. It was always pretty hard to root for Roy when we knew that Pam and Jim belonged together, and his dismissive attitude towards Pam’s aspirations were never going to put him in our good books.
Before becoming Pam’s initial love-interest on The Office, David Denman had already enjoyed quite a notable acting career, with many credits to his resume.
He has appeared in shows such as ER, The X-Files, Angel, Bones, and Grey’s Anatomy among other big TV series, as well as in movies including The Replacements, Out Cold, and Big Fish.
After leaving The Office, Dan Denman acted alongside Ashton Kutcher in the critically-panned Steve Jobs biopic Jobs and starred alongside Adam Sandler in the dramedy Men, Women, & Children. Unfortunately this was a commercial and critical failure, but that did not seem to deter Denman from seeking other roles. He went on to star in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, and played the father of Red Ranger Jason Scott in 2017’s Power Rangers.
Denman has certainly had a varied and interesting career, and we’re sure to see more of him in future projects coming up.
1 James Spader (Robert California)
James Spader is one of the most wacky, eccentric men in Hollywood, and with about as many re-inventions of himself as he has acting credits, he never ceases to entertain and amaze.
Although many suspected the show would waste away when Steve Carell’s character Michael Scott left the office and moved to Colorado, it turns out the pain of seeing Scott leave was aided by the addition of legendary James Spader to the cast. It was obvious that no one could fill the shoes Carell left behind and there would be no point trying to find someone similar. Spader’s character Robert California was the answer to these worries, as he was most certainly the complete antithesis of Scott in every way.
Of course, James Spader was very much known before joining The Office, making him one of the bigger names to be included in the show’s lineup. The actor’s impressive credits include roles in Pretty in Pink, Mannequin, Wall Street, Secretary, and many more.
Spader stayed with The Office from 2011 to 2012, after which he took his leave. Since then, the revered actor has gone on to star as super villain Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron and most recently, the part of Red in the series The Blacklist.
Who's your favorite actor on The Office? Let us know in the comments!