What The Cast Of The King Of Queens Looks Like Today

In September 2023, memes using photos from "The King of Queens" were inescapable online. Fans plucked promotional shots of star Kevin James from the archives, using them as reaction images to sum up any number of emotions. The show's stars couldn't help but notice all the renewed chatter about the sitcom, which went off the air in 2007. Leah Remini wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, "I wanted to let you all know I'm seeing all of 'The King of Queens' memes and tweets and I absolutely love them. Thank you for 25 years of amazing memories!"

It's true; even though the show hasn't aired new episodes in a decade and a half, "The King of Queens" has lived on in syndication and streaming. Andrew Champagne, the first person to tweet the memeable photo of James, told Today that it was about time for "The King of Queens" to be recognized as a great show. "I think Kevin James deserves his flowers," he said. "For some reason there is a narrative in our society that Kevin James isn't hilarious, and that bothers me."

Fans who have streamed every episode ad nauseam may be wondering what the cast of the classic sitcom is up to these days. Read on to find out what the cast of "The King of Queens" looks like today.

Kevin James is bearded now

Between 1998 and 2007, Kevin James played Doug Heffernan across nine seasons and more than 200 episodes of "The King of Queens." Doug is a lovable oaf, a man who works at a package shipping company by day and bickers with his wife Carrie by night. 

Marking the 25th anniversary of the show's premiere in 2023, James wrote on Instagram, "I am so incredibly blessed to have taken this ride with the insanely talented @leahremini and Jerry Stiller." He added, "Thank you to the greatest fans in the world." Those fans still express their love for the show online, as when a promotional photo of James in character as Doug became a meme in the fall of 2023. James acknowledged it on Instagram, including the throwback pic in an ad for his standup comedy tour.

In addition to starring in films like "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" and "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," James has continued to lead various sitcoms. In 2020, he led the action/horror film "Becky," playing a white supremacist. The following year, he starred on Netflix show "The Crew." In both the film and his show, James sported a new look: bald and bearded. On "The Crew," his character's name was also Kevin, as it was on his 2016-2018 sitcom "Kevin Can Wait." He told Collider that he initially resisted that, but eventually gave in. "It felt natural and it was fine," he said. "It was one less thing."

Leah Remini's anti-Scientology crusade

For nine seasons of "The King of Queens," Leah Remini played Carrie Heffernan, Doug's long-suffering wife. In 2023, the "Old School" star marked the show's 25th anniversary on Instagram with a long, emotional post about what the show has meant to her and the fans. "As soon as production started on Season 1, I knew I was home, and I am blessed to say I was part of a truly special show," she wrote. She added, "It means the world to me, and I'm so grateful for this experience that lives on and on."

In 2013, Page Six broke the news that Remini was leaving the Church of Scientology. She spent the rest of the decade as a fierce advocate for other people trying to escape the controversial group. A docuseries called "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath" chronicled her quest to get justice for victims. When the show ended in 2019, she told The Hollywood Reporter, "We've done our job. The public is seeing what a truly evil organization it is. It's not about religious beliefs. They can believe whatever the f*** they want. But they can't just do whatever the f*** they want."

Remini reunited with Kevin James on "Kevin Can Wait," taking over for Erinn Hayes, who was written off. When the show was canceled, Remini reacted on Instagram, writing about what it meant to get to work with James again. "I laughed every day," she said, "and I will miss that the most."

Nicole Sullivan is still a TV regular

"Mad TV" veteran Nicole Sullivan joined the cast of "The King of Queens" several years into the show's run, playing Holly the dog walker. In addition to being one of Sullivan's most recognizable roles, the show gave her something else. "This is why 'King of Queens' is forever my favorite place to be," she said on the show's 2021 reunion livestream (via YouTube). "I met my husband on set! I hit on him at a Christmas party, and I asked him if he wanted to make out in my dressing room, and he said no." Her husband, Jason Packham, was Kevin James' assistant at the time.

Since "The King of Queens" went off the air, Sullivan has continued to enjoy a very prolific career on television. Among many others, she's been on "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series," "Raven's Home," "The Sex Lives of College Girls," and more. She also does a lot of voice work. 

In 2023, Sullivan appeared in a revived version of the animated series "Clone High," which she first starred on back in 2002. She told Collider that she wasn't really keyed into the show's humor while she recorded it initially, but when she watched it back, she became a fan. "I just wanted more," she said, "and I always thought, 'I bet if there's anything that comes back it's gonna be this.'"

Patton Oswalt learned how to act on King of Queens

On "The King of Queens," Patton Oswalt played Doug and Carrie's nerdy friend Spence. Oswalt was primarily a comedian before appearing on the show, and he told People that the show taught him important lessons. "I learned how to act, basically. I didn't really know how to act until I got to do scenes over and over," he said, shouting out his castmates. There was another reason why he liked being on the show, too. "God, I had so much fun on that show," he mused. "I loved doing 'King of Queens' ... 'cause it got me a house."

The "Young Adult" star often makes cameo appearances in live-action projects, including "What We Do In The Shadows" and "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story." Like his "The King of Queens" co-star Nicole Sullivan, Oswalt is also a prolific voice actor. He voiced Remy in "Ratatouille," and he's the narrator on "The Goldbergs." Appearing on "The Howard Stern Show" in 2022, Oswalt gushed, "Getting to do voiceover is the best. It's so much fun."

Oswalt's personal life has made headlines. His wife, true crime writer Michelle McNamara, died in 2016. Oswalt helped finish her book "I'll Be Gone in the Dark," which was later turned into an HBO series. The sudden loss affected the kinds of stories he was telling onstage. "I think everything changes your art," he told The Guardian. "The good, the bad, the horrifying and the sublime."

Victor Williams played Doug's best friend Deacon

Victor Williams played Deacon Palmer on "The King of Queens." Deacon is Doug's best friend, a coworker who delivers packages with him at International Parcel Service. In a behind-the-scenes interview about the show (via YouTube), Williams explained that he was frustrated for the show's first few seasons, unhappy that he was playing a supporting character. Eventually, though, he came to appreciate his role on the show. "I don't know, something sort of clicked, and you sort of realize that there's something to be said for being the steady, stable, right-hand man," he said.

He's had roles on a lot of TV shows since, including "Happy Together," "The Sinner," "The Affair," and more. In 2023, he appeared as Wendell Robinson on "Justified: City Primeval," a revival of the Timothy Olyphant-led series. 

Williams told The Detroit Free Press that his cop character's unusual wardrobe was key to getting in his head, explaining, "I've played a lot of detectives and the question is always like, 'Is his shirt white or is his light blue?' ... [Here] it started with this purple button-down shirt." He even wore his facial hair differently; whereas Deacon was fresh-faced, Wendell has a beard. He was told, "Let's make sure it's really finely cut."

Jerry Stiller is no longer with us

Legendary comedian and sitcom actor Jerry Stiller, who played Frank Costanza on "Seinfeld," portrayed Arthur Spooner on "The King of Queens." Arthur was Carrie's father, and he lived in the basement apartment of the house that Carrie and Doug shared. 

Stiller told The Television Academy (via YouTube) that he initially didn't think "The King of Queens" would be a hit, noting that he was the only thing connecting the show to "Seinfeld." Still, he found his place on the cast. "You live off of the person you're working with," he explained. "You took it from the other actors, and how they treated me, in terms of the character ... I carried it out to the best of my ability."

Stiller died in 2020 at the age of 92. The "King of Queens" cast reunited in 2021 for a livestreamed reunion and table read, and they paid homage to their dearly departed TV dad. "I miss him so much, man," Kevin James said. "He's just the greatest. ... A lot of people see him how he acts, you know, he's always the cranky old man, yelling and screaming, but it was never who he was. He's an angel."

Gary Valentine is Kevin James' real-life brother

Comedian Gary Valentine played Doug's cousin Danny Heffernan on 136 episodes of "The King of Queens," and fans might not know that Valentine is related to Kevin James in real life, too. In fact, he's his brother. 

In a behind-the-scenes interview for the show (via YouTube), Valentine joked, "First of all, I got the show because ... You know, you sleep with the right people, you get somewhere in this business. And my brother and I slept in the same room. Bunk beds, you know." Valentine's explanation wasn't entirely a joke. "We always talked about it. We laid awake at night saying, hey, if one of us gets a sitcom, bring the other one along."

Valentine is a stand-up comic, but when he appears on screen, he acts primarily in his brother's projects. He played Kyle on 48 episodes of "Kevin Can Wait," and in 2022, he appeared in the Netflix film "Home Team" alongside his brother. In 2023, Valentine starred in the Christmas comedy "Grumpy Old Santa." Promoting the film on YouTube, Valentine said that he enjoyed working with director Jay Dee Walters because he let him improvise. "He lets you do your thing, you know?" Valentine said. "Or, lets me do my thing. I don't know about the rest of the actors. I think they've really gotta stick to the script. But I don't. Mainly because I can't remember the lines."

Lou Ferrigno played himself on King of Queens

Lou Ferrigno, best known as the star of "The Incredible Hulk," played himself on "The King Of Queens." In this fictional world, Ferrigno is Carrie and Doug's neighbor. The former bodybuilder seems to have loved being on set; in 2020, he wrote on Facebook, "I miss filming 'The King of Queens' — always had a great time!" 

In particular, Ferrigno loved that they trusted him to actually act. When he played Hulk, he mostly just grunted, but he had real lines on "The King of Queens." He told Tulsa World that people thought he actually couldn't speak as a result of the superhero show. "Over a period of time I changed that because, at the beginning, I did have like a speech impediment," he said. "But over the years, I have kind of fine-tuned that."

Thanks in part to his role on "The King of Queens," Ferrigno still acts regularly. In 2022, he played Lenny Montana on "The Offer," a show about the filming of "The Godfather." Ferrigno often sports a gray beard these days, and he makes the rounds on the convention circuit as a way to give back. He told HomeTown Living, "People get a chance to meet the heroes in person! Like, I would've given anything if I was a kid to come to a show like this ... I know what it means to the fans."

Merrin Dungey played Deacon's wife

While "The King of Queens" focused primarily on the home life of Doug and Carrie Heffernan, some episodes included a peek at Deacon Palmer's family, too. His on-again, off-again wife Kelly was played by Merrin Dungey; ultimately, she appeared in 40 episodes of the series. 

Speaking with Emmys.com, Dungey reflected that she didn't mind having both bigger and smaller roles across her career. "For me, it's a marathon, not a sprint," she said. "I've had some peaks, being on such series as 'King of Queens,' 'Alias,' 'Summerland.'" She's had some lows, too, including being replaced on "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff "Private Practice" after filming the pilot ... even though her sister Channing Dungey was an ABC executive at the time.

After appearing on "The King of Queens," Merrin went on to play Ursula the sea witch on "Once Upon a Time." She's been on "The Resident," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "American Horror Stories," among many others. Beginning in 2022, Merrin took on a leading role on Starz series "Shining Vale," opposite Courteney Cox. "I've worked with Courteney, but briefly, on 'Friends,'" she told TV Fanatic. "So to actually get to really engage with her has been a thrill. And it's such a tremendous caliber of people on this show."

Ricki Lake had an arc as Stephanie Heffernan

"Hairspray" star Ricki Lake appeared in a number of episodes of "The King of Queens" as Stephanie Heffernan, Doug's sister. "[She's] got a lot of his personality," Lake told The New York Post. "She's spunky and gets on his nerves." At the time, Lake was also hosting an eponymous talk show, and she explained that she wasn't able to sign on for more than six episodes of the sitcom because of her filming commitments. "CBS wanted me to do the whole season," Lake said. She added, "We'll see if I have time to do more, maybe next season." Unfortunately, Lake did not return to the show.

Lake still acts intermittently, including appearing on a 2016 episode of "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" and starring in a Lifetime Original Christmas movie called "Under the Christmas Tree" in 2021. 

Her talk show is no more, but beginning in 2022, she launched a podcast called "Raised By Ricki." Lake appeared on "The Sherri Shepherd Show" and explained the podcast's topic, clarifying, "It's about my old talk show. It's for people who grew up with me, and it's also for people who didn't." On the pod, they revisit old episodes of Lake's controversial show, picking apart what made it such compelling television. "We needed that," Lake said. "It was like, must-see television for all of us."