There was something so charming about The Wonder Years – it was a show that, as a kid, I could watch with my parents and we could all enjoy it on different levels. Airing on ABC from 1988 to 1993, the show was strong enough to win an Emmy for Best Comedy Series after only six episodes had aired, and Fred Savage became the youngest nominee in the category of Outstanding Lead Actor for a Comedy Series, at the age of 13.
The show focused on young Kevin Arnold, and his family and social life between the late 60’s and early 70’s. Kevin was reflecting on his past as a mid-30’s adult, a tactic on television that is somewhat similar to How I Met Your Mother‘s Ted Mosby – his narration was voiced by actor Daniel Stern.
So – What happened to the Arnold clan?
Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold
Our boy Fred tried entering the sitcom world again, with Working and Crumbs – but unfortunately, both shows didn’t pan out. He’s taken a few bit parts in movies, but is mostly active behind the scenes – In 1999, Fred began his directing career, working with The Disney Channel on a few children’s sitcoms (as well as his younger brother Ben’s show, Boy Meets World.) Remember the film Daddy Day Camp, the sequel to Daddy Day Care? Me either! But he directed it, back in 2007. He has also served as a producer for several episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Friends with Benefits, Phil of the Future, Happy Endings, and a personal favorite of mine – Party Down.
Dan Lauria as “Jack” Arnold
Was anyone else terrified by this guy? As Kevin’s Dad, he grew up during the Great Depression, served in the US Marine Corps, and was Korean War Veteran. And when he got angry, the world felt his rage.
Dan had one big real life similarity to Jack – he served as an officer in the US Marine Corps in the early 1970s.
Since the show ended, he’s dabbled a bit in theater – he appeared on stage in New York in the summer of 2006 in an Off Broadway production of “A Stone Carver” by William Mastrosimone, played Jimmy Hoffa in Brian Lee Franklin’s “Good Bobby” in 2009, played Jimmy Hoffa in Brian Lee Franklin’s Good Bobby in 2010, and just last year played the part of Jean Shepard in the Broadway production of “A Christmas Story”. He’s currently playing another Jack – Jack Sullivan – in the TBS show Sullivan and Son which premiered last July.
Alley Mills as Norma Arnold
Did you know that Kevin Arnold and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch have the same fictional Mom? Alley played Diana Spellman during the character’s last two appearances on the show.
Alley has also been known to participate in a game show or two. She was a celebrity panelist on To Tell The Truth and Match Game back in the day, and appeared on a special “Celebrity TV Moms” episode of The Weakest Link, where she was the second person out. (“Goodbye!”)
She joined the cast of The Bold and the Beautiful in 2006, where her character went insane, was confined to a mental hospital, and then disappeared from the show until December 2008.
Olivia d’Abo as Karen Arnold
Karen Arnold – The best definition of what a hippie was to a young Karen Belz. And is it a coincidence that Olivia and I have the same birthday? Yes. Yes it is.
In 1992, she guest starred in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “True Q” as Amanda Rogers. She also made five appearances on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. On the Sci-Fi Channel series Eureka, she has the recurring role of Abby Carter, the ex-wife of Sheriff Jack Carter.
But she does more than act – she’s also a singer/songwriter. And a guitarist. AND a pianist. And she’s dated some pretty notable guys – for example, she was engaged to Thomas Jane and Julian Lennon at some point. (Not at the same time.)
Jason Hervey as Wayne Arnold
Jason got out of the acting game between 2001 and 2003, when he took on the position of Senior Vice-President of Media and Communications for HealthSouth Corporation, based in Birmingham, Alabama. Unfortunately, the new stint didn’t end very well. There was a massive fraid scandal that caused Jason to sue the company, demanding over $300,000 in compensation.
Afterward, Jason went down the reality show route. He was in an episode of Hogan Knows Best, and in several episodes of Scott Baio Is 45…and Single. Him and Scott Baio actually seem to be pretty good friends.
Josh Saviano as Paul Pfeiffer
Let’s just get this out there: Josh Saviano is NOT Marilyn Manson.
Instead of being a controversial rocker, Josh majored in Political Science at Yale University where he became President of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. After graduating in 2008. he worked as a paralegal for a New York City law firm. He is currently a Partner at Morrison Cohen LLP.
And that’s about it, really. He seems happy?
Danica McKellar as “Winnie” Cooper
Winnie was Kevin’s first love, and while they didn’t end up getting married in the last episode, almost all of Kevin’s biggest life moments included her.
Now, Danica is extremely successful. Not only has she continued to act, but she’s also a film director, academic, book author and education advocate. She’s had four books (all about math, geared towards adolescents) hit the New York Times bestseller list. Her latest, released in 2012, is called Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape. As of 2009, she’s the math correspondent for Brink, a program by the Science Channel about upcoming technology.
She’s lent her voice to a few shows, most notably Young Justice (a cartoon about teenage superheroes) between 2010 and this year.
And – guys? She’s newly single. While being with composer husband Michael Verta since 2001 and marrying in 2009, her divorce was finalized this February. You have a chance!
And The Winner Is: I’m going with Danica McKellar here – because anyone who can show young girls that math, education, and intelligence are positive things to excel in, deserves to win a few extra sentences at the end of this series of articles.
Seriously, Danica – you rock.