It’s tough to believe that ’90s darling Will & Grace ended its impressive run seven whole years ago. The show was a landmark broadcast for NBC – not only was it the most successful show with a gay lead, but it was nominated for a whopping 83 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning 16 of them. For four years, Will & Grace was the highest-rated sitcom among adults ages 18–49.
Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, who created the show, modeled it after Mutchnick’s relationship with childhood friend Janet Eisenberg, who was a New York voice-over casting agent he had met through theater at the age of 13. (And yes – Kohan is related to Jenji Kohan, who created Weeds and Orange Is The New Black) The show started up in 1998, and lasted a full eight seasons before wrapping up.
So – where’s the cast today?
Eric McCormack as Will Truman
Eric played Will, a gay lawyer who had a romantic relationship with Grace, without the romance. (It was revealed through a flashback that the two had dated in college, before he came out – and while there was a brief rift, the two became best friends shortly after.)
In 1993, you might remember McCormack appearing in the television movie Double, Double, Toil and Trouble playing the father of the Olsen Twins. He also admitted for auditioning for the role of Ross more than once while Friends was casting. But luckily, he got matched with another hit sitcom shortly after. Will & Grace was McCormack’s biggest role then – and remains to be, today.
He’s definitely been keeping busy. Right after the show ended, he hit the stage and appeared in Some Girl(s) at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. During filming of the show, Eric also co-starred in the A&E television mini-series The Andromeda Strain in 1998, which was a remake of a movie that’s based on a book. That same year, he also made an appearance on the show Monk. The next year, Alien Trespass was released, which was a movie that… well, you probably haven’t heard of it for a reason.
He also appeared in a story arc during season five of New Adventures With Old Christine, and he’s lent his voice to episodes of American Dad! and Robot Chicken.
Eric is also big on charity and raising awareness. Not only is he a big supporter of gay rights, but he works closely with Project Angel Food, which benefits men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
Debra Messing as Grace Adler
Debra is one smart lady. During her high school years, she acted and sang in a number of high school productions at East Greenwich High School, and then went on to study at Brandeis University. She continued her education by getting her Masters Degree in Acting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
On April 7, 2004, Messing gave birth to son Roman Walker Zelman (who was the reason for Grace’s pregnancy storyline late in the series), to her now-ex-husband Daniel Zelman, who she was married to for almost eleven years.
“Part of me will always contend with guilt that I wasn’t able to give my son the fantasy that my parents were able to give me,” she said to More Magazine regarding the separation.
In 2007, she found success with the miniseries-turned-regular series The Starter Wife, where she played Molly Kagan. She also starred in the heavily-promoted show Smash before it was cancelled.
Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar
Rosario and Karen had an interesting relationship – while Karen often screamed at her, and Rosario referred to her as a “tipsy witch” in return, Karen also had her temporarily marry Jack in order for her to get a green card and stay in the country. Shelley’s character was meant to only last for an episode, but gained such a fan base that they made her a regular from season 3 to season 8. Ironically, based on Shelley’s resume of being a maid or a housekeeper over 30 times prior, she had originally told her agent not to hand her scripts for similar roles… before she saw the script for Will & Grace.
Shelley, who is sometimes credited as Rachel Domínguez, has done some notable vocal work since the end of the series. She voiced Abuela in the TV series Generator Rex, and has voiced Mrs. Portillo for a handful of Handy Manny episodes since 2006.
Here’s the bad news: Shelley has been suffering with cancer for quite some time. In 1988, she had to undergo a lumpectomy for breast cancer, and when the cancer recurred in 1998, she underwent a full mastectomy. She’s also had a history of lung cancer, which she’s been in remission for.
These personal tragedies have inspired her to speak up for health care. She’s been lobbying government agencies to provide low-income people with access to tests for early cancer detection and also supports L.A. Shanti, which is the first Los Angeles based organization to help those diagnosed with AIDS and HIV.
Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland
Here’s a fun fact about Sean: Not only is he a classic pianist, but he performed in a pop band for five years while attending Illinois State University, where he majored in performance and conducting. The first money he made while acting was put towards buying a concert grand piano. That’s pretty cool.
Sean is one of those actors that pops up in shows you already like, for a one-episode stint. Such examples? Parks and Recreation, Portlandia, and Hot in Cleveland – all in 2012. He also was on a few episodes of Smash, which should have been called “Musical Will & Grace Reunion Show”.
These days, he might not have as much time to make fun cameos. His new show, Sean Saves The World, just started this year.
The show is based on a divorced, gay father (Sean, of course) who has to handle his 14-year-old daughter moving in with him. The show premiered to some mixed reviews, but since it’s still early – maybe he’ll have a hit on his hands.
Megan Mullally as Karen Walker
One only hopes that the character who shares your name will also share some of your personality – but alas, I’m nothing like the loud, rich Karen Walker. Or Karen Foster, from Step By Step. Or Karen Brewer, from the Babysitters Club “Little Sister” spin-off book series. But enough about me – let’s get to Megan.
Despite having an all-star supporting cast (Horatio Santz, Rachael Harris, Tig Notaro, AND Ken Marino?), Megan’s 2009 show In The Motherhood – which was based around a web series by the same name – didn’t pan out as planned. Her next series, Party Down, didn’t have a great fate either, after she filled a void left by Jane Lynch (who left the show after the first season.) Yet thankfully, the show gained a lot of underground cred. Like, a lot. You have to watch Party Down, you guys.
In 2012, she played Ronnie Mann in the TV series Breaking In, which she fit in between guest spots on Parks & Recreation as Tammy 2 – the fictional ex-wife of Nick Offerman’s character Ron Swanson. (Mullally and Offerman are married in real life, which makes it even more delightful.) She also guest-starred as Bev, Liz’s adoption “agent” in a few episodes of 30 Rock throughout the series.
Shes also been appearing on Children’s Hospital since 2008 playing the Chief, and you can see her next in the film Trouble Dolls, alongside Will Forte and Jeffrey Tambor.
Winner: I’m going with Mullally. Not only did she avoid getting typecast as one particular role after the end of Will & Grace (which is tough, if your character is as rowdy as Karen), but the roles she decided to take were all quite funny.