Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, pretty much every kid found themselves sitting in front of the TV on Friday nights watching ABC’s TGIF. For two hours every week, we would be given a healthy dose of family-friendly jokes with a smidgen of more risque humor.
These shows introduced us to our first TV crushes and gave us unrealistic ideas of what being a teen would be like . They dressed in bright colors and were quick with the quips. Sometimes it seemed like these teens didn’t have any parents at all. Sometimes it seemed like they had four or five parents at any given moment. Sometimes they would get into some really crazy and fun antics, and sometimes they would teach us all a valuable lesson about some serious real-life problem that could be solved in 22 minutes and never mentioned again on the show.
We wanted to be these teens because to us they represented a freedom we hadn’t tasted yet, but by the time we reached our teen years, we were ready to leave them behind. The sitcoms of TGIF gave way to more adult sitcoms and game shows. By 2000, TGIF was gone. These days, kids turn to the Disney Channel for their fill of teen sitcoms, but what happened to our heroes? Where are the teens from our TGIF childhoods?
Here is Remember The Stars Of TGIF: Where Are They Now?
17. Melissa Joan Hart
Melissa Joan Hart’s career started on Nickelodeon with Clarissa Explains it All, but she became the face of TGIF in 1996 with Sabrina the Teenage Witch. For four years on ABC, kids watched Sabrina use her witch powers to get into and out of trouble. When ABC canceled the series in 2000, marking the end of TGIF, Sabrina the Teenage Witch moved over to the WB (now CW), where it continued for three more seasons.
Since then, Hart has married musician Mark Wilkerson and showed off her dramatic skills by guest-starring in an episode of Law & Order: SVU. In 2007, Hart starred in the ABC Family original movie Holiday in Handcuffs, which became the highest rated program in the channel’s history. She followed it up with another ABC Family movie, My Fake Fiancé, in 2009.
In 2010, Hart starred in Melissa & Joey, which ran for four seasons. Her memoir, Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life, was published in 2013. Most recently, she starred in the Christian drama God’s Not Dead 2.
16. Kellie Shanygne Williams
While Family Matters ended up focusing on the adventures of nerdy kid next door Steve Urkel, the original idea of the series was that it would follow the life of the Winslow family. The series, a spin-off from Perfect Strangers, quickly found that audiences really liked Urkel, who was madly in love with the oldest Winslow daughter, Laura Lee, played by Kellie Shanygne Williams. As the series went on and the stories focused on Urkel and Carl, the Winslow patriarch, Williams was used less and less.
Since the end of Family Matters in 1998, Williams has made a few appearances on TV, but her main focus has been the Kellie Williams Program in Washington D.C. The program gives students between the ages of 14-20 the chance to produce their own show that then airs on the local Comcast Cable station.
15. Ryan Reynolds
The most successful of the TGIF alums, Ryan Reynolds joined the ABC Friday night lineup right at the end of the era with Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, which was renamed in the third season, becoming Two Guys and a Girl. Along with Reynolds, Nathan Fillion also appeared on the series.
Since the end of Two Guys and a Girl, Reynolds has become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, as well as being proclaimed the sexiest man of the year by People Magazine in 2010. With Hugh Jackman ending his twenty year run as Wolverine, Fox is looking to Reynolds to become the new face of the X-Men franchise. 2016’s Deadpool grossed nearly $800 million dollars worldwide and earned the actor a Golden Globe nomination.
14. Trina McGee
A late addition to the show, Trina McGee joined Boy Meets World in the fifth season, playing Angela Moore. On the show, McGee won the heart of Shawn Hunter and millions of kids at home gained a new crush. In reality, McGee was nearly a decade older than the rest of the main cast. The interracial relationship between Rider Strong’s Shawn Hunter and McGee’s Angela Moore was rare for TV in the 1990s, and even rarer when it came to a family show.
Since the end of Boy Meets World, McGee has appeared on a number of series, including Politically Incorrect, So Little Time, and Girl Meets World. She also played Cinnamon in the final chapter of the Friday trilogy, Friday After Next.
13. Christine Lakin
For eight seasons, Christine Lakin played tomboy Alicia “Al” Lambert on Step by Step, but putting her in overalls and a backward baseball cap didn’t keep teens of the time from crushing on her.
After Step by Step, Lakin starred in a number of TV movies, including Reefer Madness with her longtime friend Kristen Bell, as well as the Paris Hilton film The Hottie and the Nottie. In 2006, Lakin appeared in four seasons of the MTV series Wild ‘n Out.
Also a fan of the stage, Lakin won the LA Weekly Theater Award for Female Comedy Performance for her role in Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. Not long after, Lakin starred in the mockumentary series Lovin’ Lakin; a spoof on reality shows about child stars.
This year, Lakin starred in Hollywood Darlings alongside fellow ’90s teen stars Beverley Mitchell, from 7th Heaven, and Jodie Sweetin, of Full House/Fuller House fame. In the series, the three women play overblown versions of themselves as they try to live normal lives.
12. Will Friedle
On Boy Meets World, Will Friedle played Eric Matthews, the older brother to Ben Savage’s Cory Matthews. While the character started off as your typical sitcom older brother – smooth, cool, and everything the main character wasn’t, Friedle’s comedic skills pushed the character into a more comedic version, making him a goofy older brother who tended to come up with really dumb ideas.
These days Friedle is better known for his voice work. In 1999 he took his first acting job as a voice artist for the hit animated series Batman Beyond. On the cartoon, Friedle played Terry McGinnis, a high school kid who becomes the new Batman when he learns about Bruce Wayne‘s secret past.
Along with playing Terry McGinnis, Friedle voiced Ron Stoppable on the hit Disney cartoon Kim Possible. These days, if you’re watching a cartoon with superheroes, there’s a good chance you’ll hear Friedle’s voice – he has played Captain America, Star-Lord, Nightwing, Kid Flash, and Deadpool, just to name a few.
11. Rachel Blanchard
Rachel Blanchard already had fans before she played Cher Horowitz on the TV series based on the hit movie Clueless. As a regular cast member of Are You Afraid of the Dark, viewers tuned in week after week to get spooked, but also to keep an eye on their teen crushes.
Since Clueless, which only ran for one season as a part of TGIF before moving to the now-defunct UPN, Blanchard has kept busy with a number of guest spots on various shows including Flight of the Conchords, Psych, and Childrens Hospital. In 2014 she played Kitty Nygaard in the critically acclaimed series Fargo.
Today Blanchard – who you can also see in the Samuel L. Jackson movie Snakes on a Plane – stars on the Canadian television dramedy You Me Her.
10. Heather Langenkamp
Best known for her role as Nancy Thompson – Freddy Krueger‘s greatest adversary in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies – Heather Langenkamp also played Marie Lubbock, oldest of the Lubbock sisters on TGIF’s Just the Ten of Us.
After Just the Ten of Us ended in 1990, Langenkamp played Nancy Kerrigan in the TV movie Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story. She also played herself in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.
These days, Langenkamp spends more time behind the camera as a makeup artist. Working with her two-time Academy Award-winning husband, Langenkamp’s work can be seen on shows like American Horror Story and Scream Queens, or in movies like Dawn of the Dead, Cinderella Man, and Star Trek Into Darkness.
9. Jaimee Foxworth
As Judy Winslow, the youngest daughter on Family Matters, Jaimee Foxworth was set up to be the precocious kid who makes snarky remarks and keeps the audience laughing, but it didn’t work out that way.
As the producers saw viewers connecting with Urkel more than the Winslow family, Foxworth’s role in the show diminished until they finally cut her from the series in the fourth season.
After being dropped from Family Matters, Foxworth had trouble finding acting work and turned to adult films, going by the name “Crave”. Along with the adult films came issues with drugs and drinking.
Thankfully, Foxworth was able to work through her substance abuse problems. Since 2007, Foxworth has been married to Michael Shaw. In 2009 she gave birth to her first child. Currently, Foxworth is working on her autobiography.
Raven-Symoné may be one of the hardest working people in Hollywood. Her career started when she was just four years old, playing Olivia Kendall on The Cosby Show and it hasn’t stopped since. After the end of The Cosby Show, Raven-Symoné landed the role of Nicole Lee on the TGIF series Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, joining the show in the second season and staying on until the finale.
Following Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, Raven-Symoné played Eddie Murphy‘s daughter in the hit movie Doctor Doolittle and its sequel. In 2003, her Disney Channel series That’s So Raven premiered and quickly became the channel’s biggest hit. At the same time as she was starring in That’s So Raven, Raven-Symoné starred in and produced the two Disney Channel original movies The Cheetah Girls and The Cheetah Girls 2.
Along with a stint as one of the hosts of The View, Raven-Symoné has appeared in a multitude of shows, recently playing herself in the Netflix hit Master of None. She’s now the star of the That’s So Raven revival series, Raven’s Home.
7. Caroline Rhea
While a lot of the kids were crushing on Melissa Joan Hart’s Sabrina, some of them were more into the aunts. In this case, we’re talking about Hilda Spellman, played by Caroline Rhea.
Rhea started her career as a comedian, playing some of the best-known comedy clubs in New York and coming up at the same time as Chris Rock, Louis C.K., and Jim Gaffigan when she was cast as Hilda on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She also became a regular member of Hollywood Squares.
After Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Hollywood Squares, Rhea hosted her own talk show. In 2005, she had her own stand-up special, One Night Stand, on HBO.
Today you may recognize her voice coming from the animated mouth of Linda Flynn-Fletcher on Phineas and Ferb. Most recently, Rhea appears on the Match Game and played Eugenia Scrimmage in the two TV movies based on the Bruno & Boots/Macdonald Hall book series.
6. Jaleel White
The only member of the TGIF family to get their own cereal, Jaleel White is likely the first face you thought of when you saw the words “TGIF”.
As Steve Urkel on Family Matters, White turned a recurring role into a starring one – the audience loved the character so much that the focus of the series shifted from the Winslow family to Urkel, even going out of its way to have Urkel move into the Winslow home later in the series.
As the original Sheldon Cooper – Urkel’s “Did I Do That?” catchphrase was on just as many pieces of merchandise as Sheldon’s “Bazinga!” – White’s career slowed after Family Matters ended.
White handled the off years well – he finished college, graduating from UCLA in 2001, and continued to make guest appearances on shows like Psych and House. He appeared in the 2006 film Dreamgirls and on Dancing With the Stars, slowly rebuilding his image.
This upcoming TV season, White will be starring on Me, Myself & I on CBS. The series also stars Bobby Moynihan and John Larroquette.
5. Matt Shakman
If you don’t remember Just the Ten of Us, which spun out of Growing Pains, the show was basically an updated version of The Brady Bunch – a family with way too many kids. In this case, the Lubbocks had eight kids who caused all kinds of mischief for three seasons. While the show usually centered on the four Lubbock sisters, one of the mischievous Lubbock kids was Graham “J.R.” Lubbock, Jr., played by Matt Shakman.
Since the end of Just the Ten of Us in 1990, Shakman has focused his attention on working behind the camera. Since 2002, Shankman has directed or produced nearly fifty TV shows, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Good Wife, and Game of Thrones.
4. Mark Linn-Baker
For eight seasons Mark Linn-Baker starred alongside Bronson Pinchot on the hit sitcom Perfect Strangers. The series, about the friendship of regular American guy Larry Appleton and his newly arrived Eastern European cousin Balki Bartokomous, was full of wordplay, slapstick, and jokes at the expense of immigrants. The show turned Linn-Baker, whose acting resume was already impressive – he had stared alongside Peter O’Toole in My Favorite Year and acted in a number of high-profile plays – into a star.
Since the end of the series, Linn-Baker has continued to act, appearing in Law & Order, Red Oaks, and playing himself on the HBO series The Leftovers. Along with acting, Linn-Baker has directed as well – most notably, he directed 31 episodes of Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.
3. Holly Robinson Peete
While Holly Robinson Peete will always be remembered for her role as Officer Judy Hoffs on the iconic 80s series 21 Jump Street, she followed that iconic show by joining the TGIF family playing Vanessa Russell on Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.
Since the end of Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, Peete stared in the series For Your Love and co-wrote the book Get Your Own Damn Beer, I’m Watching the Game!: A Woman’s Guide to Loving Pro Football.
In 2010, Peete was runner-up on Celebrity Apprentice and co-hosted The Talk. Peete made a brief cameo in the 2012 film version of 21 Jump Street and had a recurring role on Mike & Molly.
2. Scott Weinger
For four years, Scott Weinger played Steve Hale on the hit TGIF series Full House. As D.J. Tanner’s first real boyfriend, Steve had to deal with not just her dad, but her two uncles who also lived in the Tanner house – not to mention Michelle and her “cute” bullying tactics!
Weinger continues to lend his voice to the character of Aladdin for video games, ice shows, and cartoons. Between recording sessions, he makes the occasional live-action appearance, including reprising the role of Steve on Fuller House, but mainly works behind the camera as a writer and producer on a variety of TV shows, including Galavant, Black-ish, and The Muppets.
1. Constance Marie
For 120 episodes, Constance Marie had to act like she loved George Lopez enough to deal with his wacky mom on the TGIF series simply titled George Lopez. While the younger viewers were sure to crush on Masiela Lusha, the older viewers found themselves paying more attention to the show when Marie was on screen.
A one-time dancer for David Bowie, Constance Marie followed up her six seasons on George Lopez by launching her own clothing line. She did a few guest spots on other shows before taking on the role of Regina Vasquez on the series Switched at Birth.
This year Constance Marie will be staring in Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders as Marta Cano, aunt to Lyle and Erik Menendez. The show also stars Edie Falco, Anthony Edwards, and Heather Graham.
Who was your favorite TGIF star? Who’s made the most of their TGIF fame? Sound off in the comments!
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