Sitcoms have always had one prevailing feature – pretty faces. Sometimes pretty wives that are inexplicably worlds better looking than their TV husbands. Other times, it’s the daughters that are unbelievably great looking. During the nineties, especially with the advent of cable TV and networks all scrambling to combat the rise of cable networks seemingly trotted out a dearth of not just pretty funny ladies, but very pretty funny ladies.
They were everywhere! A veritable Valley of the Dolls right on our TV screens – Jerry had a new girl every week. Central Perk had not one but three tremendous twenty somethings running around and shows like Step by Step and Full House saw cute little girls blossom over the years into beautiful women.
The bombshells were all over – main cast members and guest stars alike, who would eventually get their own shows. Some might have left Hollywood, or slowed down a bit, some might still be captivating fans with their performances and their beauty. Let’s check in on some of our favorites, here are 15 bombshells from sitcoms of the 90s, then and now.
15. Debbe Dunning (Home Improvement) – Living At Home Out Of Hollywood
When you’re cast as replacement for Pamela Anderson, you better be as Derek Zoolander might say, “ridiculously good looking.” When Pam’s britches got too big to just be a Tool Time girl on Home Improvement, Debbe Dunning was brought in to play Tim and Al’s newest and hottest sidekick – Heidi.
Appearing in several bit parts prior, most notably on Married…with Children, Heidi Keppert was Dunning’s big breakout role and to date her only notable one. Her role started just as a replacement for former Tool Time girl, Lisa (Anderson). Over the course of her run on the show, Dunning’s role kept getting bigger, she was oldest kid Brad’s crush on series and Dunning’s first real life pregnancy was written onto the show and her delivery was one of the loudest ovations the series got.
But with appearing in over 100 episodes and getting all kinds of residuals for the role, she clearly isn’t hurting for cash. After Home Improvement was over, Dunning sadly for her fans has left the public life more or less. She has been raising her children ever since, playing homemaker for her pro volleyball player husband Steve Timmons. But several years ago, she emerged at the TV Land awards and at fifty years of age, still looks as dynamite as she did when she first donned a tool belt.
14. Danielle Fishel (Boy Meets World) – Short-Lived Role On Girl Meets World
Growing up as a TV star has got to be surreal. You’re in millions of homes every single week, going through every stage of growing up in public, every single awkward moment not just captured for the world to see, but immortalized forever and a day in reruns. Danielle Fishel fits this bill, as do several lil’ girls-to-bombshells on this list, and took the mid-nineties by storm, becoming the prototype for the girl-next-door vixen fans fawn all over.
She began as her most well-known role, Topanga Lawrence on Boy Meets World in 1993 at around 12 years old, right when girls go through all kinds of changes. Corey Matthews, much like many young male fans of BMW watched in awe at just how gorgeous Topanga would become and Fishel in the process became just about every 90s teenage male’s crush.
Nowadays, Fishel ended her run as Topanga, as the spinoff show, Girl Meets World recently got cancelled. She maintains a fairly low profile, but beauty like hers always makes a statement and whenever Fishel remerges again like the mermaid she is, her fans will be waiting and watching.
13. Nikki Cox (Unhappily Ever After) – Some Guest Appearances Here And There
A trained dancer since the age four, the ravishing redhead, Nikki Cox had all kinds of bit parts in film and TV series such as Terminator 2, Star Trek: the Next Generation, and Blossom before landing the role that made her a household name – Tiffany Malloy on the (no pun intended), redhead stepchild of Married…with Children, Unhappily Ever After.
Similar to what happened on MWC with Christina Applegate (definitely more on her later), Cox’s Tiffany was growing up on the series and Nikki soon became the hottest girl on TV and the defacto star of the show by default.
After Unhappily ended, Cox would star in her own show, Nikki, before becoming part of the ensemble drama, Vegas, where she’s meet her husband, Jay Mohr. Despite at one point being considered one of the prettiest girls in Hollywood, Cox has led a more low-key life these days, being the happy homemaker with her last roles being guest spots on the Ghost Whisperer and getting nominated for a Grammy for writing hubby’s Happy and A Lot.
12. Heather Locklear (Spin City) – Some Guest Roles
Thanks to her stint on Spin City beginning in 1999, Heather Locklear makes this list and amen to that! Locklear, who at this point was most known for her stint on T.J. Hooker and supervixen Amanda Woodward on Melrose Place and one of the blondest, hottest dames of the decade, joined the cast of Spin City as the mayor’s campaign manager. Not coincidentally, she was also married to Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee (like another 90s bombshell, Pamela Anderson) as well as Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora.
Her comic timing and prior vixen personas also landed her guest spots on Scrubs, Two and a Half Men, and Rules of Engagement, not to mention reprising Woodward on CW’s updated Melrose Place.
She’s 55 now and more or less has aged wonderfully despite some personal skirmishes several years prior. Most recently, she can be seen as a recurring role on Too Close to Home on TLC and in an episode of Fresh off the Boat on ABC.
11. Christina Applegate (Married…With Children) – Some Movie And TV Roles
Within a few short seasons of the now classic Married…with Children, it became apparent that while Al was the king, many fans lusted after his bimbo daughter, Kelly played by Christina Applegate. For twelve years, the airhead with a heart of a gold tantalized her fans by wearing about as little clothing as Fox network deemed possible.
After the epic run ended, Applegate flexed her sexy dancing legs as one of the Pussycat Dolls before returning to TV in sitcoms like Jesse and Samantha Who and starring in films like Anchorman, probably her most memorable non-Kelly role.
She’s an advocate for PETA, as well as fought and beat breast cancer, Applegate does tend to keep a low profile, but whenever she takes on a new project, she tends to take the world by storm. Rest assured, whenever her next project does come up, Christina will be back in full force.
10. Rena Sofer (Seinfeld) – Some TV Roles And On The Bold And The Beautiful Since 2013
While not a big name on this list, Rena Sofer was all over sitcoms during the decade. The raven-haired beauty had parts on all kinds of sitcoms like Herman’s Head (seriously underrated sitcom of the early 90s, but that’s a list for another day), Caroline in the City, Ellen, Two Guys…, and most famously Seinfeld as George’s love interest Mary Anne in “the Muffin Tops,” who he shamelessly tried to convince that he was a tourist in New York.
Between her bit parts and her four-year stint on General Hospital, Sofer has continued to show her pretty face on all kinds of hit dramas and sitcoms – Vicki Costa (Just Shoot Me), Heidi Petrelli (Heroes), and Marilyn Bauer (24).
The blue eyed girl continues to be a force on daytime TV, and has been starring on the Bold and the Beautiful since 2013 and is happily living Los Angeles raising her children with husband and TV director Sanford Bookstaver. She also might be a Vampire – take a look at her, she hasn’t aged a day.
9. Jennifer Aniston (Friends) – Acting Career Still Going Strong With Multiple Roles
Try as one might, you can’t have a list like this one without putting one of the three fairer “friends” on it. Seeing as how the country was infatuated with everything about Jennifer, including her hair, she rules the roost between her, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow, and graces this list with her presence.
For ten years, Aniston was a part of fans’ lives, every week and we got to see Rachel Greene go from twenty something with no direction to a fashion buyer who trades it all for motherhood and finally admitting her love for Ross at the end of the series. Rachel’s quirks, not to mention Aniston’s looks helped her become America’s Sweetheart, a title she still holds to this day.
After Friends ended and up ever since, Aniston endeavored into a film career, starring in a variety of roles and films from the Hitchcockian type thriller Derailed to crazy femdom boss in Horrible Bosses and all points in-between, Jennifer Aniston will most likely continue to reign supreme in Hollywood.
8. Christine Lakin (Step By Step) – Guest Roles And Voice Roles On Family Guy
Before remakes and reboots became the norm, several years ago, the nineties had a blatant update on The Brady Bunch. Suzanne Somers (a beauty in her own right) and Patrick Duffy, who were both previous sex idols for shows in the 70s and 80s were cast as the parents of three children each. They get married and the now six kids were forced to become a family.
In the first episode of Step by Step, we were introduced to Tomboy Al, Frank’s only girl constantly complaining of stomach pains. When no one believed her, except for her new stepmom Carol, which was all Al needed to be won over by her mom. Over the course of seven years we saw Al, and the girl who played her Christine Lakin age into a real beauty.
After Step by Step ended, Lakin would marry a bit part actor, Brandon Breault and had a baby girl in 2016, she has been in bit parts and cameos ever since. But the best place to at least hear her is in video games like Mass Effect and on Family Guy as news anchor, Joyce Kinney.
7. Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (Saved By The Bell) – Has A Show On The Cooking Channel
Landing her first TV role, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen instantly became a household name, girl next door, and object of affection for plenty of red-blooded American males. She stole the hearts of many of men who ogled her, and of course her TV boyfriend, Zack Morris. After graduating high school on Saved by the Bell, Thiessen headed over to the other popular California-based teen show and showcased that Kelly was not all that innocent, when she played the role of temptress Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills, 90210.
Certainly one of the “main events” on this list, Thiessen has simply gotten hotter with age, dropped the ‘Amber’ from her name and sadly to many a fan got married in 2005 to fellow actor, Brady Smith.
Since 2015, the quintessential girl-next-door started inviting us into her home on the Cooking Channel’s Dinner at Tiffani’s, where she cooks it up and hams it up with all kinds of celebrity friends, including Nathan Fillion, Jason Priestly, and yes some of her old Saved by the Bell co-stars as well.
6. Katey Sagal (Married…With Children) – Mother On Sons Of Anarchy And New Show Superior Donuts
Underneath a ginormous head of red bee hive hair, leopard print shirts, stretch pants, and high heels was Katey Sagal. Wearing the ensemble as a parody of what a housewife would wear, for twelve years, she was Peg Bundy on the now classic genre and ground breaking Married…with Children.
It was one of the first sitcoms where the live audiences hooted and hollered like men at a construction yard for the fairer Bundys, while Kelly might have gotten a whole slew of press, don’t ever sell Peggy short; either she had a whole ton of fans as well.
After the show was over, she shed her costume and fans began to see that Sagal wasn’t really a ravishing redhead, she was a ravishing raven haired lady, who could do it all – sing and act. She most notably has been a part of both the cast of 8 Simple Rules and the craziest batcrap mother of all on Sons of Anarchy. Fans can still see her weekly on a new series, Superior Donuts, playing Officer DeLuca.
5. Amy Yasbeck (Wings) – Most Recent Roles Was On Pretty Little Liars
From John Ritter’s former TV and movie wife to his real one, and unlike his TV wife Katey Sagal, Yasbek is a real redhead. Fans might know her better as the love interest for both Problem Child movies (where she met Ritter) and most notable as Maid Marian in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. But for fans of the underrated sitcom, Wings, Yasbeck will forever be Casey Davenport Chappel.
How hot was Yasbeck on Wings? Her character in the throes of passion had her bra heaved into the fireplace and no one noticed, until the house caught fire!
Her stint on Wings being her last regular full time TV gig, the fiery redhead has been on bit parts ever since, most recently the popular Freeform drama Pretty Little Liars.
She has been manning the fort ever since John’s untimely and tragic death on September 11, 2003 – the same day as their daughter’s fifth birthday. She has also started the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health, whose goal it is to help people get the correct diagnoses.
4. Elizabeth Berkley (Saved By The Bell) – Some Minor Roles But Focused On Being A Mom
While Kelly Kapowski might have been the girl next door, Jesse Spano literally was the girl next door as Zack’s neighbor on Saved by the Bell and just like Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Jesse is Elizabeth Berkley’s most iconic role. Through her eyes, we got to see the drama of playing second fiddle, academically to Screech and in the looks department to Kelly. It’s enough to drive a perfectionist like Jesse to get hooked on Caffeine Pills just to keep up and make it to their concert.
While Jesse is her most iconic role, her most infamous would come after SBTB, as Nomi Malone in Showgirls, which was her tawdry attempt at shedding the Jesse image out of her, but fans got to see her shed it all instead in one of the biggest flops of all time.
While career never quite took off after the Showgirls fiasco, Berkley still appears all over the place in bit roles in all kinds of dramas, and since 2012 her biggest role to date came in the form of mom, when she gave birth to her son, Skye.
3. Tisha Campbell (Martin) – Various Roles And On NBC Show Dr. Ken
One of the first bombshells of the decade, Tisha Campbell‘s star had been steadily rising since she was six years old and appeared on the PBS show, The Big Blue Marble. With some bit parts under belt and even an album with songs co-written and produced by Vanilla Ice, Tisha was already a rising star when she was cast as Gina Waters, girlfriend to series star, Martin Payne. The very popular Fox show lasted five seasons, and probably would have ran for more had it not been for the sexual harassment lawsuit Campbell filed and won against Lawrence.
After Martin‘s run ended, Campbell continued to act in movies, like Down to Earth before coming back to TV, this time as Jay, Damon Wayan’s wife on My Wife and Kids for the entire series run.
2. Kirstie Alley (Cheers And Veronica’s Closet) – Recently On Scream Queens
No woman on this list has had more to overcome in the negative press department than the late eighties/early nineties sexpot, Kirstie Alley. Sadly, most of that negative press actually came from (gasp!) gaining weight, a lot of weight. Hollywood ain’t called Holly–weird for no reason.
The decade started with Alley firmly entrenched in her role as Rebecca, seducing Sam Malone on Cheers, before landing the lead role on her own sitcom several years later as Veronica Chase, owner of a lingerie shop on Veronica’s Closet, a series which lasted for three seasons and netted Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG nominations for Alley. Several years into the new millennium, Alley, by her own admission had loved eating and started gaining and gaining – her metabolism had slowed to a halt, and her weight gain made her a bit of a laughing stock.
Hollywood of course loves a comeback story and thanks to exercise and her partnership with Jenny Craig, Alley has since lost at least fifty pounds and is back in “fighting” shape, most recently starring in the second season of Scream Queens.
1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld) – Can Find Her On HBO Show Veep
When you’re the lone female on a cast of men, you better be able to hold your own, but to do it on a sitcom and get the lion’s share of the laughs – you need to be and are on top of your game.
From the moment Elaine Benes came into Seinfeld’s life, it was clear as the day is long that she and Jerry had lighting-in-a-bottle type chemistry and they duo clearly had a deep love for one another. But thanks to the careful planning of show creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, the two never truly rekindled their romance onscreen and both Jerry and Elaine would trot out bimbo after mimbo after dimwit week after week and tease one another about their vapid choices.
All the while, season after season, Elaine (Julia Louis Dreyfus) just got hotter. Women claim to love a man with a sense of humor, but perhaps there’s something to a funny lady as well.
After Seinfeld took its final bow, Dreyfus has been consistently telling the “Seinfeld Curse” to go F itself, not just starring in comedies, but successful ones, winning awards in the process. She is currently serving as Commandress-in-Chief on the HBO comedy Veep and even at 56 years of age is proving that Hollywood’s ageism should be abolished.
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