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LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
- December 04, 2000
- Vol. 54
- No. 24
Where Were They Then?
These Big Stars Started Out Small—with Guest Spots, Supporting Roles or Parts on Short-Lived TV Series. On the Next Six Pages Their Former Castmates Remember Them When
Growing Pains 1989 "When he did the show, Brad was so new and had not done that much. But his looks—wow!" says series star Tracey Gold, who soon learned that Pitt (with her TV brother Jeremy Miller) was not only "superhot" but nice, to boot. "He was from a small town and very polite, holding doors and things."
The Facts of Life 1985-86 "None of the characters had any attraction to him—that wasn't how his part was written," says Lisa Whelchel (top), whose character worked in a store tended by Clooney's handyman. The series' stars weren't panting over Clooney either. "I just thought he was a lot of fun," Wheichel says. "But I have to say, he has matured physically and professionally very well."
Little House: A New Beginning 1982-83 "I thought from the get-go that this was a natural talent," says costar Karen Grassle, who played Caroline Ingalls. "I never dreamed she'd become the huge star she became in such a short time. She was very well-behaved, charming."
A New Kind of Family 1979-80 "The girls in our taping audience went wild over Rob [above, with TV neighbor Carrie Ann Hearn]," recalls Lauri Hendler, who played Lowe's younger sister. "There were actual shrieks when he came out. I hadn't yet discovered boys, so I didn't know what all the fuss was about."
Delta House 1979 Playing a curvy coed, "she put up with a lot—walking around in high heels in a little bikini with a lot of padding," recalls Gary Cookson, who starred as a fraternity brother opposite Pfeiffer (with costar Peter Fox). "But you felt there was a protective angel watching over her who would get her through that demeaning role."
Sarah Jessica Parker
Square Pegs 1982-83 "She was so much fun to work with," recalls Amy Linker (right), who, along with Parker, played a nerd tormented by Tracy Nelson (rear). "Once we had to take a sneaker and drop some lunch on it. Every time the macaroni hit the floor, it made these noises that had us in stitches! But to show you the other side of her: In between takes, she would read these very long literary classics."
Helen Hunt and Anthony Edwards
LISA AND ANDY QUINN
It Takes Two 1982-83 Hunt and Edwards portrayed siblings on this show; actress Billie Bird was their grandmother. "I found Helen to be an extremely energetic actress. I admired her talent," Bird says. "But I was particularly fond of Tony. He was the neatest young guy in the world—polite, well-mannered and a gentleman."
Working Girl 1990 "She was always game, ready to find the fun in the scene," says Judy Prescott, who played Bullock's best friend on this series based on the hit film. "I remember one episode in which Sandy [with cast-mate George Newbern] consumed more Cheez Whiz than I thought humanly possible. A less devoted actor would have traded in the prop for something a little more palatable. But not Sandy. If the joke worked, she'd keep it!"
The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters 1963-64 "He really wasn't interested in acting back then. He talked about football all the time," says Dan O'Herlihy, who played then-12-year-old Russell's father on this adventure series about a young boy on a wagon train. "But he was completely professional—he wouldn't get into conversations sometimes that might have been a bit off-color."
Ferris Bueller 1990 "I'll never forget watching her do a scene one day, where all she had to do was walk from the set kitchen to open the front door, and just in that moment you could see that her attitude, her presence and her timing were perfection even then," recalls Cristine Rose, Aniston's series mom. "Jennifer [left, with costars Charlie Schlatter and Ami Dolenz] was one of the ones you meet where you know immediately that she has it—whatever that 'it' is!"
Married...with Children 1991 "All I remember is that the girls on the set really liked him!" says series star David Faustino about the now-famous Friend, who played a sexy but stupid boyfriend of Christina Applegate (left).
Beverly Hills, 90210 1997-98 "We kept expanding her role because she was so good at it. Four episodes grew to 16 episodes," recalls the show's producer, Aaron Spelling. "She's a beautiful young lady, but Hilary [with series boyfriend Ian Ziering] was just all heart, and that's what intrigued me. She's very special."
Growing Pains 1991-92 "Leonardo was hilarious!" claims Alan Thicke, whose sitcom clan (including Kirk Cameron, right) took in DiCaprio's homeless character. "He's become famous for deep, brooding characters, but he's quite silly and very funny. And he's a great mimic. He used to do an impression of me regularly—it was pretty good! I busted him on it a couple of times. He lit up our set for the whole year he was on."
The Courtship of Eddie's Father 1969-71 "The people on the show built us this little clubhouse set in a field. When we weren't filming, we would go there and play and talk," says the show's star Brandon Cruz (above, with Foster, who portrayed a tomboy). "But when they said action, suddenly she became her part."
Courteney Cox Arquette Arquette
Family Ties 1987-89 "I remember her being really loose and funny, cracking jokes, but she was serious when she had to be," says the show's youngest cast member, Brian Bonsall. Cox, who played Michael J. Fox's girlfriend, "was always really nice to me," says Bonsall. "And she was pretty. Definitely!"
The Wonder Years 1992 "As soon as I met David [with series star Fred Savage], I thought he was great," says his TV bride Olivia d'Abo. "You just immediately love him, he's so approachable. In our wedding scene we had a hippie van with love beads and incense burning and a hysterical preacher going around feeling people's auras. We were reading these vows, and we couldn't keep a straight face."
PENNY GORDON WOODS
Good Times 1977-79 "I was her mentor on the show, giving her tips on acting," says Ja'Net Dubois (above), who played Jackson's mother. "One day she had a scene in which she had to cry. She asked me, 'How do I do this?' I explained it to her, and she said, 'Oh, so all I have to do is think about sad stuff?' She was just so wide-eyed. We bonded well: Long after the show, she needed a mom for the "Control" video; she said, 'I know who my mother is,' and flew me to L.A.!"
Sarah Michelle Gellar
KENDALL HART LANG
All My Children 1993-95 "What made Sarah [with castmate Eva LaRue, left] so special was a wonderful sense of spontaneity," says her soap stepfather Michael Nader. "At certain points there were trying conditions, but she came through with her humor, just letting the difficulties roll off her back."
Twin Peaks 1991 Castmate Miguel Ferrer once took Graham (with costar Kenneth Welsh) to a Van Halen concert. "On the way back we stopped for grapefruit juice," Ferrer says, "and ended up throwing grapefruit at each other!"
Jada Pinkett Smith
A Different World 1991-93 "Everyone was always singing when we were hanging out on the set, and they could all really, really sing—except the two of us!" says castmate Karen Malina White. "We tried but it was pretty pathetic. If you asked her today, Jada would say I was the worst, but if the truth be known, she was!"
CATHY ST. MARIE
Bay City Blues 1983 "I remember the very first time I saw her do a big scene in the show," says Tony Spiridakis, who played a catcher on this baseball-themed series. (Stone played the wife of a pitcher, portrayed by Patrick Cassidy, left.) "it was a reaction shot of her in the stands. She did an expression—I saw this big, fat tear roll down—in a way that was very special."
Growing Pains 1989 "In sitcomland people tend to take on other people's tone and rhythm, but Matthew always had his own tone, his own quirkiness and great timing," says Joanna Kerns, whose TV daughter Tracey Gold (with Perry and Alan Thicke, left) dated Perry's character for three episodes before he was killed off in a drunk-driving accident. "That's why he's a star."
Marisa Tomei and Lisa Bonet
MAGGIE LAUTEN and DENISE HUXTABLE
A Different World 1987-88 "Marisa and Lisa Bonet were really tight," says Marie-Alise Recasner, who played a fellow college student on this series. "I remember one time, Lisa's leg was really sore, and while they were engrossed in a very intense conversation, Marisa was rubbing Lisa's calf. They were in their early 20s and looking out for each other in a very girlfriend kind of way."
Benson 1980-81 "The concept was that Jerry would be a Capitol Hill gofer, a guy who keeps trying to sell the governor jokes—bad jokes," recalls René Auberjonois, who portrayed a gubernatorial aide on this politically themed sitcom. But while the show ran for seven years, Seinfeld (with series star Robert Guillaume) lasted only a handful of episodes. "The character was a terrible idea," says Auberjonois. "Nobody could have made it work. But getting fired was probably the best thing that ever happened to him!"
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