Twenty years has passed since we were first introduced to the characters of My So-Called Life, twenty years! Where has the time gone? And more importantly when did I get so old?
While most of you won’t really care too much what I’ve been up to since the show finished, let’s take a look at what the actors have been up to in the years since the cancellation of what is frankly the greatest teen TV drama ever.
Claire Danes (Angela Chase)
After breaking out in My So-Called Life, Danes focused on her film career first with a leading role in 1995’s Little Women and then supporting roles in smaller but interesting films like Home For The Holidays, How to Make An American Quilt and To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday. She then got her biggest movie role to date, playing Juliet to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo in Baz Luhrmann’s modern day re-telling of Romeo + Juliet.
The movie was a huge success and should have been a springboard for both stars, however as DiCaprio’s star rose faster than it took the Titanic to sink, Danes choices were less successful with her next five movies failing to recover their costs as the box office and her last moderate hit, The Rainmaker just about being able to recover costs, even with names such as Matt Damon and Francis Ford Coppola attached.
After a break to focus on her theatre work, Danes returned to the big screen with a small but interesting role in the somewhat overlooked Igby Goes Down and the multi-award winning The Hours. She then took on leading roles in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Steve Martin’s wonderful Shopgirl and Stardust.
In 2010 Danes starred as the titular character in the HBO made for television movie Temple Grandin for which she won Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actor Guild Awards. Shortly after she was cast in her biggest hit to date Homeland, playing the talented but fragile Carrie Mathison.
A fourth series of this highly acclaimed show is due to air later this year.
Jared Leto (Jordan Catalano)
After moving to Los Angeles to further his musical career, Leto landed the role of Jordan Catalano and changed focus onto his acting, which saw him also starring in another Danes project, How To Make An American Quilt. He then focused on his film career and went on to play leading roles in The Last Of The High Kings, Prefontaine and Basil. Ensemble performances were to follow in teen horror Urban Legend, WWII drama The Thin Red Line and bizzare drama Black And White.
Leto then began making more interesting and varied choices in his acting roles, with turns in Fight Club, Girl, Interrupted, American Psycho and Requiem For A Dream. He also turned up as one of the three burglars terrorising Jodi Foster in Panic Room.
It was his role as Mark David Chapman in the movie Chapter 27 which brought Leto back to the headlines, not so much for the subject matter of the movie (the assassination of John Lennon) but the physical transformation Leto undertook, gaining 67 lbs to play the role. However it was his last physical transformation as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club (Leto lost 30lbs going down to a skeletal 114lbs) which earned him the attention of the world and an Academy Award (as well as every other award going) for his portrayal of the HIV-Positive trans woman next to Matthew McConaughey’s butch cowboy.
If that wasn’t enough Leto is also the lead singer of hugely successful rock band 30 Seconds to Mars.
A.J Langer (Rayanne Graff)
Having guest starred in an impressive bunch of shows before taking on the role of Rayanne (Baywatch, Blossom, Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, The Wonder Years and Beverly Hills 90210 to name but a few) when My So-Called Life ended she took the leading roles in two new sitcoms Three Sisters and It’s Like, You Know… both of which only lasted one season. Further guest appearances were also made in Diagnosis: Murder, Seinfeld and Poltergeist: The Legacy.
Unlike Danes and Leto, Langer never really focused on a film career, taking only small parts in made for television movies but can be found popping up in the theatrically released Escape From L.A. and Meet The Deedles. Most recently she took on the reoccurring role of Erica Warner in the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Private Practice.
Langer is married to Lord Courtney, the son of the Earl of Devon which means someday Rayanne Graff will become Countess of Devon.
Wilson Cruz (Rickie Vasquez)
After landing his debut role in My So-Called Life, Vasquez went on to guest star in shows such as Sister, Sister, Ally McBeal, ER, The West Wing, Pushing Daisies and Grey’s Anatomy. He also had recurring roles as Victor in the final season of Party Of Five and as Rafael de la Cruz in Raising The Bar.
He has also had small roles movies such as Nixon, Party Monster and He’s Just Not That Into You.
Vasquez is also well known for his stage work including playing the role of Angel in the Broadway production of Rent.
Devon Gummersall (Brian Krakow)
After small roles in Beethoven’s 2nd and My Girl 2, Gummersall’s break out in My So-Called Life led him become a regular face on television with roles in both made for TV movies and TV series, including Felicity and The Fugitive. He also turned up in two excellent, if very different movies, It’s My Party and Independence Day.
After bulking up and losing any remaining glimpse of Brian Krakow, he went on to play Sean de Luca in Roswell. He also made appearances in Tru Calling, 24 and Castle.
Gummersall is also a Director, Writer and Producer.
Devon Odessa (Sharon Cherski)
Odessa started her career with guest roles in Highway To Heaven, The Facts of Life, Good Morning, Miss. Bliss, Full House, Step By Step and The Wonder Years. After My So-Called Life finished she went on to make a series of small and still to this day mostly unknown films and made for TV movies.
She had a small role in Alan Parker’s Shoot The Moon and also guest-starred in television shows such as Touched By An Angel, Once And Again, That’s So Raven and Private Practice.
Bess Armstrong (Patty Chase)
Armstrong had a varied career on both stage and screen before she took on the role of Patty in My So-Called Life (including a part in Jaws 3-D!). After the series finished she went on to star in a series of made for TV movies while also turning up on the big screen in That Darn Cat and Pecker.
On the small screen Armstrong can also be found popping up as a guest star in The Nanny, Fraiser, Boston Legal, Criminal Minds, One Tree Hill, Castle, Mad Men and most recently in the reoccurring role of Julianne Hotschrager in House Of Lies.
Tom Irwin (Graham Chase)
Irwin began his acting career on the stage, starting off with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company before coming known to TV audiences as Graham Chase, which was his first starring television role. Since then he has become a staple on our television screens appearing in The Outer Limits, Frasier, Angel, Without a Trace, ER, Ghost Whisperer, 7th Heaven, Private Practice, 24, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle and Criminal Minds to name but a few.
Film credits for Irwin include 21 Grams and Marley and Me.
He currently can be seen in the recurring role of Adrian Powell in Devious Maids.
Lisa Wilhoit (Danielle Chase)
Whilhoit’s first big break was My-So Called Life having previously only been credited as Baby Tinkerbell in Hook. Since then she has guest starred in many TV series such as Walker, Texas Ranger, Watching Ellie, CSI, 7th Heaven, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Greek and also had a part in the Disney sequel Honey We Shrunk Ourselves.
She currently provides the voices of Connie D’Amico and Beth in Family Guy.
Read Carley’s take on what happened next to the characters of My So-Called Life at her blog, here.
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