Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where Are They Now? The Cast of Clarissa Explains It All

Hopefully the first entry in a series of "Where Are They Now" posts, I decided to start with the Nickelodeon classic Clarissa Explains It All after watching reruns on "90s Are All That" on TeenNick (great idea!) the other night.  I'm focusing on the 5 main characters: Clarissa, Ferguson, Sam, and Mr. and Mrs. Darling. Names link to IMDB pages:

The cast of Clarissa Explains It All

Clarissa Explains It All tv show photo1. Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Darling)
Clearly the most famous/successful of anyone on the show, Melissa is now 35 years old and a mother of two.  Her spouse, since 2003, is Mark Wilkerson, frontman of "Course of Nature".

After the successful run of Clarissa, Melissa Joan Hart briefly attended New York University before landing the role of Sabrina Spellman on Sabrina the Teenage Witch (made-for-TV movie and TV series).  Sabrina lasted even longer than Clarissa, running 7 seasons from 1995-2003.  During the show's successful run, Hart had several roles in made-for-TV movies, as well as the Hollywood films Can't Hardly Wait (1998) and Drive Me Crazy (1999).  She also provided voicework for various projects, and guest-starred (as Sabrina Spellman) on several other TV shows (Boy Meets World, Teen Angel, etc.).

Once Sabrina had ended, Hart was unable to keep her streak of successful TV series going.  She still remained busy, however, starring in even more made-for-TV movies on ABC Family and guest-starring on Law and Order: SVU (2007).  She ventured into directing, producing a few short films and directing a music video for her husband's band.  She appeared on Dancing with the Stars in 2009, and in 2010 starred in the film Nine Dead.

Melissa Joan Hart (still looking good!) continues to act and is currently starring in Melissa & Joey on ABC Family. She owns a candy shop called "SweetHarts" and resides with her family in Westport, Connecticut. She maintains her own website as well.

Total IMDB credits: 136

2. Jason Zimbler
(Ferguson W. Darling)

Who can forget that red hair?  And that annoying personality?  If Jason played his cards right, he could have been Michael Cera before Michael Cera was Michael Cera.  But in all honestly, Zimbler is best only known for his role as Ferguson (or Fergwad or Fergeek); it's even his official IMDB picture.

Despite few acting credits, Jason (age 34) is successful in his own right.  He has a Bachelor's degree from Notre Dame University in Business Administration, as well as a graduate degree in Theatre Directing.  While attending NDU, he and a fellow classmate started the "X2 Radio" show.

He has used his education to his advantage, becoming involved in several productions in NYC.  He has been head of Buck's Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp since 2003.  In 2007, Zimbler, along with Sam Kusnetz, founded "The Re-Theatre Instrument" company in Portland, Oregon.

In perhaps the least surprising revelation considering Ferguson's nerdy characteristics, Zimbler is now a software designer for HBO in NYC, putting his theatre company on hold for the time being.

Total IMDB credits: 5

3. Sean O'Neal (Sam Anders)
Sean, age 35, has done even less than Jason Zimbler post Clarissa.  Besides 2 voices in random TV series (2001 and 2002), he has one lonely appearance in the short The Cost.  He turned down a chance to be the lead in an Orlando based boy-band, right before that craze swept the nation.

He currently dabbles in musical theatre, and is a triple threat (dance, voice, acting) according to his own website.

Total IMDB credits: 6
4. Joe O'Connor (Marshall Darling)
In perhaps the most surprising post Clarissa career, Joe has remained quite active in TV and film.  He has guest starred on numerous television series, with at least one credit in every year from 1996-2011 aside from 2004.  In fact, you've probably seen him without knowing: his credits include Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Friends, The Practice, Melrose Place, Boston Public, The West Wing, ER, Malcolm in the Middle, Cold Case, Reno 911!, Weeds, and a recurring role on Mad Men.

O'Connor has most recently appeared in this year's film The Green Hornet, and the soap opera The Young and the Restless.  He is now married and living in the San Fernando Valley.  I was unable to find much information on Joe (despite him remaining active) but was able to find a fairly recent (and weird)  YouTube interview with him.

Total IMDB credits: 48

Janet(mom) in My Photos by Clarissa explains Clarissa explains5. Elizabeth Hess
(Janet Darling)

Last but not least we come to Elizabeth Hess, who played the at times spacey mother of Clarissa.  She, like Jason and Sam, has posted a modest acting career after Clarissa's run had ended but has remained busy in other ways.

From 1997-2003 she appeared in 3 short films, and also is credited with a guest appearance on Law & Order in 2000.  Most recently (2009) she appeared in the film Handsome Harry and the documentary Heretics, as herself. She focused more on theatre productions, appearing in dozens of plays, both on and off Broadway.

Despite few TV/film acting credits, Elizabeth is currently using her skills (she has a BA from York University and an acting diploma from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and attended several other institutions) to teach others at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus, and NTI's O'Neill Center.  She also has dual American/Canadian citizenship.

Right now, Hess (58 years of age) is writing a book called "The Actor's Instrument: The Interplay of Being".  She still acts in theatre, and directs as well.  Tickets can be purchased for Dust to Dust at Elizabeth's website.

Total IMDB credits: 11

Any ideas for the next installment of WATN?  Feel free to post in the comments!

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