Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Passions?

Making its debut in the summer of 1999, NBC's "Passions" was a soap unlike no other. Hearkening back to 1960s daytime hit "Dark Shadows," "Passions" followed the exploits of the citizens of Harmony, a not-even-close-to-typical New England seaside town populated by witches and warlocks, where all manner of supernatural shenanigans played out, while citizens occasionally stumbled upon the occasional doorway leading to the bowels of hell. At the top of the show's nuttiness scale were Tabitha (Juliet Mills) and Timmy (Josh Ryan Evans), a centuries-old sorceress and the Pinocchio-like doll that she brought to life. So popular were the characters, in fact, that Entertainment Weekly named the unlikely duo one of the magazine's "17 Great Soap Supercouples" of all time.

Sure, the show also served up its fair share of stereotypical soapy storylines, yet there were plenty of plots that could generously be described as bonkers: hot-tubbing zombies, a cameo from Adolf Hitler (in hell, naturally), and the recurring character Nurse Precious, a caregiver played by an orangutan named Bam Bam, whose presence on the show became so controversial that famed primate expert Dr. Jane Goodall herself sent NBC a letter urging the show to stop using the animal in the show. 

Since the series' cancellation in 2007, many of its stars have gone on to other successful projects — albeit arguably nothing nearly as wacky. For a look at where these various actors wound up, here we discover whatever happened to the cast of "Passions."

Juliet Mills has remained busy in film, television, and theater

While the majority of the "Passions" cast were up-and-coming unknowns, Juliet Mills — who played 300-year-old witch Tabitha Lenox — was already a well-established actor with a film career dating back to the 1940s, having starred in the 1970s sitcom "Nanny and the Professor."

After "Passions" ended, Mills continued to do what she always had: act in film and television. That included a stint on the TV drama "Wild At Heart," the British miniseries "Four Seasons," and an eclectic assortment of TV guest spots in series such as "Hot in Cleveland," Netflix animated comedy "Big Mouth," and medical drama "Grey's Anatomy." Mills also remained active in theatre, appearing in post-"Passions" stage productions of "Bedroom Farce," "The Lady Vanishes," "Legends" (co-starring with sister Hayley Mills), "Darker Shores," and, in 2023, a Los Angeles stage reading of "Prin." In many of these, Mills starred alongside her husband, actor Maxwell Caulfield, whom she married in 1980 when she was 39 and he, scandalously, just 21.

Ultimately, Mills looked back at "Passions" with gratitude for a role that allowed her to display the full range of her acting abilities. "It was a wonderful character they wrote for me," she told Soap Opera News. "I got to play all sorts of parts. She was always masquerading as somebody else. I even played Colonel Sanders from Kentucky [Fried] Chicken and Rasputin. I had a wonderful time on that show and made some good friends as well."

Josh Ryan Evans died just a few years into Passions' run

There's no denying that Josh Ryan Evans became the breakout star of "Passions," playing Timmy, the inanimate doll brought to life by Tabitha's witchcraft. At just 37 inches tall, Evans had racked up a few roles prior to "Passions," including playing Tom Thumb in a TV movie about P.T. Barnum, and a young Grinch in the Jim Carrey-starring live-action adaptation of the classic animated holiday special, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." He also performed stunts for the babies in the feature film "Baby Geniuses." Sadly, Evans died in 2002 at the age of 20, due to complications from surgery to repair a heart condition with which he'd been born.

In a bizarre coincidence, a scene featuring Timmy's death on "Passions" aired the same day of the actor's own passing. He'd actually filmed the death scene a month prior, with the fan-favorite character then set to appear in scenes as an angel popping into Harmony from the afterlife — a plan that was sadly quashed by his unexpected death.

In a 2000 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Evans was clearly relishing the newfound celebrity status that "Passions" had given him, and was living in the moment. "I can't think too far ahead," he said. "I am feeling better than I have ever felt. I love being an actor. I love my work. I love the payoff."

Eva Tamargo returned to her telenovela roots and reunited with a Passions co-star for a murder mystery

Pilar Lopez-Fitzgerald, Mexican-born wife of Martin Fitzgerald (Richard Steinmetz) — and mother of their five children — was played by Eva Tamargo on "Passions." Before landing the role, Tamargo — who is of Cuban ancestry, and born in New York City — got her start on the Mexican telenovela "Marielena." After "Passions" ran its course, Tamargo continued working — in both English-language productions in the U.S., and Spanish-language television aimed at Latinx viewers. In the former, she appeared on both "NCIS" and its spinoff, "NCIS: Los Angeles," in addition to such TV series as "Rebel," and "The Haves and the Have Nots." With respect to the latter, Tamargo has racked up credits in several Spanish-language telenovelas, including "Más sabe el diablo," "No Me Hallo," "and El Fantasma de Elena." She also starred in 146 episodes of the telenovela "La Casita Linda." 

"Passions," however, has remained a high point for her. "The soap was so ahead of its time, we had supernatural, we had it all,"  Tamargo said of her experience on the show in an interview with Digital Journal. "It was fun to grow with the character for nine years."

In 2022, Tamargo briefly returned to her soap past, when she reunited with former "Passions" co-star Ryan McPartlin in the Hallmark Channel movie "Cut, Color, Murder," in which she played a hairdresser who teams up with McPartlin's detective to solve a murder.

Galen Gering jumped from Passions to Days of Our Lives

During the entirety of the nine-season run of "Passions," Galen Gering portrayed Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald, son of Eva Tamargo's character. As fans will recall, Gering was involved in one of the series' nuttiest and most controversial storylines, in which Nurse Precious the orangutan fell in love with his character. While Gering enjoyed the show's out-there plots, co-starring with a primate was something he'd never anticipated. "I always wanted more like crazy, campy stuff [for Luis], at least as far as the witchcraft and all of those things were concerned," he admitted in an interview with Soap Opera Digest (via Soaps). "I don't know about the whole orangutan thing. It was challenging."

Immediately after "Passions" ended, Gering was cast on "Days of Our Lives," on which he's portrayed Rafe Fernandez ever since — as of 2023, he'd been part of "Days" for 15 years. 

In fact, Gering admitted that after portraying the two characters, each for a significant number of years, he'd come to recognize how much they were alike. "Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald and Rafe Hernandez are very similar characters, to be honest with you," he told Digital Journal, marveling at how "Passions" continues to be beloved by fans more than a decade after its cancellation. "People still love it, and it has lasting impact on people," he said. "I am certainly glad to have been a part of it."

McKenzie Westmore launched her own beauty line and hosted a distinctive TV reality competition

Viewers of "Passions" will recall McKenzie Westmore as Sheridan Crane, the character she portrayed throughout the series' nine seasons. After that, she headed to "General Hospital" for a brief stint, and also guest-starred in a 2009 episode of the series "Surviving Suburbia." More recently, she starred in a trio of made-for-TV disaster movies: "Super Volcano" (2022), "20.0 Megaquake" (2022), and "Ice Storm" (2023).

Acting, however, hasn't been her primary focus. That, she explained in an interview with Digital Journal, has been Westmore Beauty, her line of makeup and skincare products. "Westmore Beauty is my second child," she said. "Blood, sweat, and tears go into every product that I bring to it."

In fact, makeup is kind of her legacy; her great-great-grandfather, George Westmore, set up the first-ever hair and makeup department at a Hollywood movie studio, and his descendants continued working within that milieu. That connection led Westmore to host SyFy reality competition "Face Off," in which special-effects makeup artists compete in various challenges. "Face Off" became a family endeavor when her father, makeup artist Michael Westmore (who's worked on various projects within the "Star Trek" franchise) joined the show as a mentor. "It was a dream come true having him there," she told Forbes. "My dad is my hero, and to have that time with him, driving into work, laughing and hearing stories is something that I am so grateful for."

Lindsay Hartley stepped behind the camera to forge a career as a director

Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald was the daughter of Martin Fitzgerald and Pilar Fitzgerald-Lopez, a character played by Lindsay Hartley for the entirety of the show's run. Hartley remained an in-demand soap star, appearing in "Days of Our Lives," "All My Children," and "General Hospital." She also appeared as a guest star in numerous TV series, including "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Smallville," and "The Bay," in addition to an array of made-for-TV movies.

Hartley eventually took her experience from those TV movies to the next level by directing them, beginning with 2020's "Mommy is a Murderer." Since then, she's stepped behind the camera more than a dozen times as director of TV movies — often with a woman-in-peril theme but also branching out into lighter fare — ranging from "Vacation Home Nightmare" to "Christmas on Repeat."

As Hartley told Soaps, her experience in soaps proved invaluable when it came to directing these harrowing TV flicks. "I like them because they're just fun," she explained. "They do remind me of being on a soap opera but with a short, real quick story of a soap opera." Despite her burgeoning directing career, Hartley has no plans to give up her original vocation. "I definitely have not forgotten about acting," she told Soap Opera Network. "I did stuff on 'General Hospital' for a brief bit, so I will try to sprinkle in the acting as well but I'm very busy right now directing."

Jesse Metcalfe went on to primetime success with Desperate Housewives

Jesse Metcalfe played Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald on "Passions" until exiting the show in 2004, when he was cast as John Rowland, teenage boyfriend of Eva Longoria's married character on "Desperate Housewives." When the show became both an instant hit and a pop-culture sensation, Metcalfe's career exploded accordingly. Further roles included the title character in the feature "John Tucker Must Die," starring roles in the TV series "Chase," and the reboot of "Dallas." He then went on to appear in some Hallmark Channel movies, including several in the popular "Martha's Vineyard Mysteries" series, and then starred in the network's series "Chesapeake Shores." In 2023, he appeared in the Prime Video movie "On a Wing and a Prayer." He also demonstrated his ballroom skills when, in 2020, he competed on "Dancing With the Stars."

In a 2021 interview with i-D, Metcalfe admitted that the instantaneous fame he experienced after leaping from "Passions" to "Desperate Housewives" was unlike anything he'd ever experienced. "I definitely wasn't ready for so much exposure so quickly ... It was like a tidal wave," he recalled.

Not only was "Passions" his first screen credit, Metcalfe also credited his the show as an on-the-job acting school. "I had very little acting experience when I booked 'Passions' so it was an incredible opportunity to get to learn the craft of acting while getting paid," he told Digital Journal.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead's time on Passions was brief

Mary Elizabeth Winstead had just a few screen credits when the 14-year-old actor was cast as Jessica Bennett on "Passions." She didn't stick around long, appearing in just 89 episodes before exiting the show in 2000. "It was a huge deal for me as a kid. I was going to be a regular on a TV show!" she told Glamour of being a part of "Passions." However, she soon came to realize that the non-stop grind of churning out a soap wasn't for her. "I was the first person on that show to quit! It was after a year, and I thought, This isn't really what I thought acting was about. I wanted the opportunity to try and explore something else," she explained. 

Winstead's post-"Passions" career was a slow build, including a starring role in the short-lived TV series "Wolf Lake," a bunch of TV movies, and some features (including playing the daughter of Bruce Willis' John McClane in two "Die Hard" sequels), all leading to her breakout role as Ramona Flowers in cult-hit movie "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." Other notable projects have included "10 Cloverfield Lane," "Birds of Prey," and the third season of FX's "Fargo." In the latter, she starred opposite Ewan McGregor, whom she would marry (albeit under a cloud of scandal, given that McGregor was still married when they began dating) in 2022.

Justin Hartley struck TV gold with This Is Us

Justin Hartley is best known these days for playing Kevin Pearson on "This Is Us," a role he held for all 106 episodes of the hit NBC drama between 2016 and 2022. "Passions," however, was his very first screen credit, joining the series in 2002 as spoiled Fox Crane, young heir to the Crane fortune. He left the show in 2006, and was cast as the lead in the TV pilot "Aquaman" — which wasn't deemed good enough to warrant being picked up for a series. However, the same team behind "Aquaman" also produced "Smallville," and tapped Hartley for the recurring role of Green Arrow/Oliver Queen, appearing in nearly 80 episodes between 2006 and 2011. 

Further TV roles followed in primetime series, including "Revenge" and "Mistresses," before he returned to his soap roots in 2014 for a two-year stint as Adam Newman on "The Young and the Restless." 

"Passions," however, has remained an important part of his life — not just for sparking his career, but also for introducing him to Lindsay Korman, who would become known as Lindsay Hartley when they tied the knot while co-stars on the daytime soap. "But I have a 17-year-old daughter, that I'm madly in love with, who lives with me now because of that show," he told Sharp. "That's how I met my ex Lindsay [Korman] — we got married and we had Isabella, so that's my most memorable [part of being on 'Passions']."

Natalie Zea married her Passions co-star

Justin Hartley and his ex-wife Lindsay weren't the only "Passions" co-stars to couple up while appearing on the show. Natalie Zea — who played Gwen Hotchkiss between 2000 and 2002 — fell in love with fellow "Passions" actor Travis Schuldt, who played Ethan Crane. After dating for more than a decade, in 2014 the two tied the knot.  

Meanwhile, Zea's career took off after her exit from "Passions." A five-episode stint on "The Shield" ultimately led to becoming a series regular on ABC drama "Dirty Sexy Money," in addition to numerous guest spots on series ranging from "Two and a Half Men" to "Californication." She also starred on Fox serial killer drama "The Following," and landed a fan-favorite recurring role on FX hit "Justified." More recently, she's been a series regular in two TV dramas, "The Detour," and "La Brea." 

During pandemic quarantine in 2020, Zea and Schuldt launched their "Passions for Life" podcast, in which the couple took a weekly deep dive into their experiences on "Passions." "We are doing this podcast, because creatively, we really miss performing and connecting with people," she told Digital Journal of the podcast's origins. "Honestly, it's just an opportunity for us to reminisce about a time in our lives that sort of propelled us forward into who we are today," she elaborated in an interview with Soap Opera News.

Ryan McPartlin enjoyed a long run as Chuck's Captain Awesome

Ryan McPartlin joined "Passions" in 2001, playing Hank Bennett until exiting in 2004. After a few TV guest spots, he was cast opposite Fran Drescher in sitcom "Living with Fran," something of a full-circle experience. "My first professional acting job was as a guest on 'The Nanny,'" he told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. "Fast-forward a few years, and here I am, not only working with Fran again, but I'm playing her lover." After that show ended in 2007, he was cast in NBC spy series "Chuck," playing Devon Woodcomb, a.k.a. Captain Awesome, throughout its five-season run

Since exiting "Passions," McPartlin has cut a wide swath through the television landscape, guest-starring in numerous series before being cast in "L.A.'s Finest," the "Bad Boys" spinoff series starring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba. In 2022, he starred alongside fellow "Passions" alum Eva Tamargo in the Hallmark mystery movie "Cut, Color, Murder." "Eva and I go way back since our 'Passions' days. 'Passions' is great, it is just classic," he told Digital Journal.

Looking back on his soap roots, McPartlin told Soap Opera Digest that he'd seen a shift in how former soap actors were being regarded in Hollywood. "When I talk to casting directors, it's not like, 'Oh, you have a stigma.' It's like, 'Really? What soap were you on?' It's great training. It's really well-respected, like I think it hasn't been before, to be honest," he said.

Brooke Kerr joined the cast of General Hospital

"Passions" viewers will recall Brooke Kerr in the role of Whitney Russell, playing the character from 1999 until her exit in 2007. After leaving the show, Kerr spent some time working to produce her own projects, including a movie and a travel series. "It's really exciting to actually start something in the very beginning and then see it kind of build and grow," she told Soaps in 2009. "It's really exciting."

In the years that followed, Kerr continued acting, albeit sporadically. She appeared in some TV movies (including "Flower Girl," and "Mommy is a Murderer" — the latter directed by fellow "Passions" alum Lindsay Hartley) and TV guest spots, in such series as "CSI: Miami," "Hawaii Five-0," "Westworld," "NCIS: Los Angeles," and "True Blood." "I was going through some personal issues for a while, some family issues, [and] when I'm going through things it's hard for me to audition and put on another character on top of that if I'm not feeling good," she told Soap Opera Digest. "So I kind of stepped away for a little while."

In 2020, she'd been working in real estate when she was invited to audition for "General Hospital" — which led to her being cast on the show as Dr. Portia Robinson-Ashford. "This job on 'GH' feels so full-circle, it's nuts," she told Soap Opera Digest. "On 'Passions,' my mom was the doctor, and now I'm the doctor having scenes with my teen daughter!"