For those 80’s kids who grew up in the age of Nickelodeon, numerous child stars are remembered fondly for stealing hearts – and Sunday mornings. From “Clarissa Explains It All” and “Hey Dude” to “Salute Your Shorts” and “All That”, there was endless childish variety to the channel’s programming. Of course, with the endless choices in cartoons and live-action television these days, millenials have a very different and more sophisticated media experience. But Nick’s “Golden Age” will always be fondly remembered.
The risks Nickelodeon took in children’s programming opened up doors and opportunities for new genres of television and paved the way for some of the most kids’ shows of the 2000s.
Just as the 80s’ Nickelodeon fans are now all grown up, the child actors from these Nickelodeon favorites have long outgrown their roles. A few have gone on to create successful careers for themselves in Hollywood, while others got their fill of the limelight and moved on to other adventures. Ever wondered where your favorite childhood stars have ended up? Here’s what became of 17 of Nickelodeon’s former child stars
17. David Lascher
David Lascher graced the silver screen in the 1989-1991 show, “Hey Dude”, making young girls realize that they preferred the tall, dark, and handsome teenage boys. After “Hey Dude” was over, Lascher played regular roles on shows like “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Blossom” and even appeared in the movie “Clueless”. He certainly didn’t have trouble finding roles.
Today, he is married to Jill London and has two daughters. Based on his social media profiles, he is spending less time in front of the camera and more time just enjoying life with his family.
16. Ross Hull
Let’s test out your Nickelodeon knowledge: When Ross Hull was young, he played a kid who was a member of the Midnight Society and told spooky stories while throwing some magical dust into the campfire. Which Nick favourite did he appear in?
If you guessed, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” then you’re on the money. Hull starred in the show from 1991-1996, causing plenty of youngsters to have sleepless nights. Today, Hull has stepped away from Hollywood. He has since become a weatherman for a station in his native Canada, a job he took on in Ottawa in the mid-2000’s.
15. Sean O’Neal
You may remember Sean O’Neal as Sam from the show “Clarissa Explains It All”, as he climbed the ladder to her bedroom window with the classic guitar twang. After the show ended, O’Neal wanted to take a break from Hollywood and the spotlight. He even refused to join a boy band when a spot was offered to him.
O’Neal has since returned to the acting world, playing small roles on television shows, and still auditioning on a regular basis.
14. Michael Ray Bower
Most audiences will best recognize Bower as Donkey Lips on the Nickelodeon show, “Salute Your Shorts” in the early nineties causing trouble at Camp Anawanna. After his time with Nick, Bower became a regular guest star in several shows such as “The X Files”, “Friends”, “Bones”, and “Dark Angel”. He has also dived into voice acting offering his voice for one of the Grand Theft Auto video games. While his name may not be up in lights, he is definitely keeping consistent work in the business.
13. Lori Beth Denberg
You may remember her as the girl who brought the world “vital information” that it needed in order to function. Lori Beth Denberg took a brief hiatus from acting after she grew out of her role in the show “All That” , to “[live] out her old age.” However, the break didn’t last long as she landed a spot in “The Steve Harvey Show” and most recently appeared in an episode of “Workaholics.”
12. Danny Cooksey
Danny Cooksey is best remembered and loved for his role as Budnick in the show, “Salute Your Shorts.” His iconic evil laugh plus lovably evil personality made him a show favorite. After the show ended, Nickelodeon kept Cooksey on the books; he later lent his voice to Stoop Kid on the Nick cartoon, “Hey Arnold!” Cooksey also gave the voice to Montana Max in “Tiny Toon Adventures” as well as having numerous guest spots in a multitude of shows and movies, including Terminator 2. Today, he is married with two children and has his own band.
11. Danny Tamberelli
You probably remember Danny Tamberelli as the adorable, younger Pete in Nickelodeon’s “The Adventures of Pete & Pete”. Besides being a Pete, he also appeared in movies such as “The Mighty Ducks” and “The Babysitter’s Club” along with having a spot in “All That.”
Since his Nick days, Tamberelli has been enjoying a quieter life away from the spotlight. In the noughties, he appeared to be inching his way back to Hollywood with a role in the 2002 movie, “Igby Goes Down.”
10. Michael C. Maronna
Maronna was best known as “Big Pete” on the iconic show. However, he wasn’t quite able to recreate his success after the show ended. Since his time on Adventures of Pete and Pete, he has been playing smaller bit parts in movies such as “40 Days and 40 Nights” and landed a role in a series of Ameritrade ads. But Maronna has kept himself busy behind the camera as well, earning a filmmaking degree and spending time behind the scenes on shows such as “Sex and the City” and “Tower Heist.”
9. Josh Server
Josh Server was the longest-running cast member on the show, “All That” and also made guest appearances in other Nickelodeon shows such as “The Secret World of Alex Mack”, “The Amanda Show”, “Kenan & Kel”, and “Figure It Out”.
While it seemed that for a while that Server was never going to leave the network, he eventually branched out and has since been auditioning for other roles. He did grow up to be quite a good looking guy, and with his comedic chops it shouldn’t take him long to find another gig.
8. Jason Zimbler
If you don’t recognize his face or real name, you might know him as “Ferg Face.” Zimbler played the bratty little brother of Melissa Joan Hart’s character in “Clarissa Explains It All.” He also had a small role in the soap opera “The Edge of Night.” Zimbler later attended Notre Dame and graduated in 1998. Since then, he has been focusing on his theatrical career as a director and often works with people on their acting. Zimbler isn’t shy about his “Ferg Face” days and is more than happy to take a photo and sing the theme song with you.
7. Trevor Eyster
We best remember Tim/Trevor Eyster as the lovable geeky kids with glasses and printed sweaters who stunned fellow campers with his computer knowledge. Eyster is best known for playing Sponge on “Salute Your Shorts” and definitely had the nerd look down. After the show ended, Eyster got a few tattoos, spiked his hair, and definitely did his best to prove that he wasn’t a nerd anymore, which worked since he later made an appearance on the show, “Babylon 5.” Since then, his career has been a bit quiet.
6. Christine Taylor
Christine Taylor is best remembered as the lifeguard Melody in Nickelodeon’s “Hey Dude”, playing the role from 1989 to 1991. After the show, she was cast as Marcia Brady in “The Brady Bunch Movie” and “A Very Brady Sequel” along with making numerous guest appearances on television shows such as “Seinfeld” and “Friends.” Today, Taylor is married to actor Ben Stiller, and continues to be a working actress in the industry.
5. Amanda Bynes
Despite having a rough time currently, Amanda Bynes was one of Nickelodeon’s most iconic stars, from her first moment in the spotlight as a kid in “All That” to getting her own show, appropriately called “The Amanda Show.” Bynes had a great run with the network that opened a few doors for some movie roles before officially retiring from acting in the mid-2000’s. She has recently returned to the spotlight due to some social problems, but hopefully she will find herself out of it soon and back to doing what makes her most happy.
4. Kel Mitchell
Kel Mitchell paired up with Kenan Thompson to create one of the funniest and most powerful duos to come out of Nickelodeon. First appearing in “All That”, Mitchell and Thompson’s shenanigans landed them their own show called, “Kenan & Kel” and one of their sketches even inspired a movie called, “Good Burger.” Lately, everyone has been wondering what happened to Mitchell, and he was even the subject of a death rumor. Mitchell has since been working on rapping career and even made an appearance on the recent Nick show, “Sam & Kat.”
3. Kenan Thompson
Kenan Thompson has had quite the successful career since his days on “All That”, “Kenan & Kel”, and “Good Burger”. After his Nickelodeon days, he found himself competing with his partner Kel for a coveted spot on the Saturday Night Live team, which he eventually won. Now, you can see Kenan every late Saturday night, and Nickelodeon fans find a bit of nostalgia since it’s like “All That” but for grown ups. When asked, Kenan does state that while he and Kel don’t talk as much anymore, they are still on good terms.
2. Larisa Oleynik
Despite having numerous theatrical roles, we still remember Larisa Oleynik as the young girl who got special powers after being doused with toxic waste in “The Secret World of Alex Mack.” Oleynik’s “girl next door” look and great acting skills ensured that she would get a long lasting acting career after her time with Nickelodeon was over. She starred in movies such as “The Baby-Sitter’s Club” and “10 Things I Hate About You” and found herself to be a teen idol in her prime. Oleynik is still a working actress with guest spots galore being offered to her as well as roles in film.
1. Melissa Joan Hart
Melissa Joan Hart earns herself the number one spot on this list is because her role in “Clarissa Explains It All” literally changed the dynamic of children and teen television. Hart’s role as Clarissa was the first female lead in Nickelodeon’s programming history and no doubt paved the way for shows like “iCarly” and “Sam & Cat.” Hart has kept a consistent acting career after “Clarissa” and her later “Sabrina The Teenage Witch” roles, and is currently co-starring with Joey Lawrence in the show, “Melissa & Joey.” She has also been making appearances in Walmart commercials as well. And you know what? She doesn’t look much older than she did in the early nineties.