What The Cast Of The Wonder Years Looks Like Now

When it comes to classic television that perfectly encapsulates the coming-of-age experience, few shows hit closer on the nose than The Wonder Years, the tender, hilarious, and sometimes too close to home comedy-drama that aired from 1988 to 1993. Starring Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold, the show followed his exploits in school, friendship, family, and of course, romance — and boy was there some adolescent drama and heartbreak to digest. And of course, who could forget the show's theme song, which was Joe Cocker's soulful cover of The Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends." So good, y'all!

It's been a long time since the show's been on the air in real time, but for die-hard fans, there's always an excuse to put on old episodes and wax romantic about arguably simpler times. To that end, have you ever wondered what the cast of the show looks like today? Is Winnie still a total goddess, for example? And what ever happened to Kevin Arnold's bully of an older brother? Well, whet your nostalgia, because here's what the cast of The Wonder Years looks like today. 

Fred Savage - Kevin Arnold

It would be difficult for anyone to dispute that Fred Savage was imbued with some seriously natural acting chops considering how he carried The Wonder Years as its lead for the entire run of the show. Often funny, always relatable, and frequently humbled by life's natural developments, Kevin Arnold shepherded viewers through each episode with his big brown eyes and completely believable performance. The man is truly a legend, and deserving of the Emmy award nominations he received for the role. 

Life on set was kind, as Savage remembers it, and the adults made sure that the child actors were protected. "We had a very family-friendly set," he shared in an interview with Esquire. "It was all about the kids, about us feeling comfortable and not growing up too fast." It's good to know that things were wholesome behind the camera, too!

As for Savage's life as a grown up, the husband and father is busy with other endeavors. Additionally, despite claims of harassment, the actor is a host of the ABC show Child Support alongside Ricky Gervais.

Danica McKellar - Winnie Cooper

Winner Cooper, played by actress Danica McKellar, was the girlfriend that you could only dream about while watching The Wonder Years growing up. With her enviable, long dark hair and soulful brown eyes, she was literally the girl you wanted to either fall in love with, or to be. She taught fans of the show so much about love, loss, longing, and forgiveness — and projected an innocence that belongs to a different time, before Instagram and Twitter changed the game.

McKellar acknowledges the powerful impact that the show had on viewers. "From my perspective, this was the first show that really honored the strength and emotions that kids have at such a young age. Most TV shows, up until that point, were all about that parents, and the kids were there, too," she shared in an interview with Collider. "I don't think any other show had done that before, and we got to be a part of something that was ground-breaking and gave a new perspective for people on their own childhood." Amen to that!

McKellar continues to have a successful acting career. We love you, Winnie!

Josh Saviano - Paul Pfeiffer

What would a good coming-of-age comedy/drama be without a sidekick, a buddy, a BFF to help the protagonist navigate through life's trials and tribulations as an adolescent? In The Wonder Years, the role was filled perfectly by actor Josh Saviano, who played the role of Kevin Arnold's wingman, Paul Pfeiffer. And even though his friendship with our main man was strained at the end, their bond has proven to be unforgettable in the annals of TV time.

Well, just as Paul Pfeiffer decided to go to Harvard and become a lawyer, Saviano himself took a similar trajectory, as he went to Yale University and later became... you guessed it, a lawyer, according to his LinkedIn page. But he hasn't distanced himself from his thespian past, as he posted a photo on his Twitter account in 2019, showing himself, Savage, and McKellar all looking amazing. "The more things change, the more things stay the same, and the more I enjoy hanging out with these 2," he wrote in the caption. So even though the show is over, the love is not lost. We are so here for this!

Jason Hervey - Wayne Arnold

When it comes to characters everyone loves to hate, none other than Wayne Arnold comes to mind. Who could forget his rousing proclamation: "Kevin Arnold: born a butthead, lived a butthead's life, and died, a butthead." Ugh, how infuriating can you get? His bullying ways had every viewer completely cranky — though you do have to give Jason Hervery kudos for so completely embodying the spirit of the role. Okay, we'll forgive him.

So what's everyone's reviled TV older brother up to now that he's not tormenting his younger sibling? Primarily, he's a producer on the A&E documentary Dope Man, which chronicles the life of former addict and ex-con Tim Ryan, according to Fox News. As a father, the story of Ryan hit close to home for the child actor. "It scared me to death, quite honestly, just being totally honest with you. It scared me to death that [heroin] is easy to get, it's cheap, and I guess the cool thing to do," he confessed in an interview with the network. 

Hervey also served brief time in Tennessee for a DUI, according to People magazine. 

Dan Lauria - Jack Arnold

Jack Arnold was the quintessential TV 1980s/1990s dad, with his fondness for sports, briefcase in hand, and often gruff and monosyllabic ways of interacting with his family. But despite his penchant for broodiness and sometimes anger, the character had a surprising depth to him, and a genuine love and gentleness beneath the surface. His presence on television marked a shift in how family patriarchs were depicted in popular culture, which was usually as an all-knowing counsel or a bumbling buffoon.  

Dan Lauria did a fine job with the role, and has been an extremely active actor since The Wonder Years wrapped. He had roles in television series like Party of Five, Law & Order: SVU, Sullivan & Son, and This is Us, to name just a few, as well as roles in dozens of television movies. The man has been busy!

His successful and enduring career hasn't kept him from staying in touch with the cast members of The Wonder Years, according to CT Style. "I may be doing a new series with Danica McKellar, Winnie Cooper, who is as gorgeous as ever," he shared in the interview. That would be amazing!

Alley Mills - Norma Arnold

Ah, Norma Arnold. She was such an iconic presence in late 1980s/early 1990s television with her perfectly coiffed blonde hair, deep concern for her children and family, and some seriously styling costumes — for the time. Often seen with an apron on her front and a casserole in hand, Norma was quick to try and diffuse potentially volatile situations, always trying to keep peace and make sure everyone was taken care of. 

All these years later, actress Alley Mills looks back extremely fondly on the show. "[Fred] and his family are, like, the greatest human beings that ever lived," she gushed in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. "He still is! He is an amazing kid, Fred, just amazing; his family is amazing." How sweet is that!

Plus, Mills stands by Savage in the face of the allegations of harassment leveled against him and Hervey by a costume designer during the show's run. She calls the accusations a "completely ridiculous sexual harassment suit that was going on against Fred Savage — who is, like, the least offensive, most wonderful, sweet human being that ever walked the face of the Earth."

Olivia d'Abo - Karen Arnold

Olivia d'Abo absolutely nailed the role of Karen Arnold, the progressive-minded, hippie sister who was never afraid to speak her mind about all matters from feminism and marriage, to war and government, and more. She reflected the growing movement of feminism that was spreading like wildfire in the 1960s and 1970s, and gave viewers a likable character rather than a stereotypical, spiteful man-hater. Plus, she had David Schwimmer as a love interest, and in the end married him and moved to Alaska while pregnant. Goals, y'all!

Since the show ended, d'Abo has kept busy with a variety of acting jobs, including Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Psych, and Wayne's World 2, among many others, according to her website. Plus she has some ideas about what her character would be like if she were alive and kicking today. "She would be 67 now," she shared in a 2018 interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. "I think I would be, definitely on the board of Greenpeace. I would have had grandkids, I would have been married a few times." Who wants to see the Karen Arnold sequel now?

Daniel Stern - The Narrator

One of the most prominent characters on The Wonder Years was someone who viewers never actually got to see, ironically enough. That's because he was the omniscient voice of the older Kevin Arnold, who played the narrator on the show. His reflective monologues contextualized events, letting viewers into the protagonist's most intimate thoughts, and providing clarity in nearly every scene in the show. Just check out how creepy it is without the narrator's ever-guiding voice!

Actor Daniel Stern, who also starred in blockbuster films like Home Alone and City Slickers, as well as countless other television shows and films, voiced the all-wise narrator. That almost didn't happen, as he was hired, then let go, then re-hired after another actor voiced the character in the pilot. "I don't know why it went back to me. It was such an incredible gift, given, taken away, and given back," he recalled in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. Sounds like the producers finally came to their senses! 

Stern also directed several of the episodes, showcasing just how talented he was. 

Giovanni Ribisi - Jeff Billings

If you've ever been the new kid in school, chances are you identified with the character of Jeff Billings, who was introduced to viewers in the latter part of the series. A good friend of Kevin Arnold, his parents were divorced, allowing for viewers with similar home situations to see themselves represented on television. It was a pretty big deal at the time!

Giovanni Ribisi was cast in the role after it was established as a pop culture staple. "I auditioned for it," he shared in an interview with The AV Club. "It was a show that had already been on for quite some time." Fortunately for him, he was able to snag the part!

Ribisi went on to act in a host of television shows and films, such as Lost Highway, Friends, Avatar, and Sneaky Pete — the latter of which he ran into a familiar face. "What's interesting... is that one of the producers and showrunners on [The Wonder Years] actually was involved in Sneaky Pete," he continued. "So, 30 years goes by, and you're finding yourself working with the same people." Small world, huh?

Ben Stein - Mr. Cantwell

Who could forget Mr. Cantwell, the science teacher at Robert F. Kennedy Junior High? In an archetype straight out of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, he spoke in a monotonous voice that could put even the most ambitious student to sleep. Although, to his credit, it was pretty insane when he blew up the lab — that wasn't boring at all.

Of course, Mr. Cantwell was played by Ben Stein, who seems to get typecast over and over again — probably because that's how he is in real life, too. "I got called by ABC to play the same kind of person I have always been — a big, monotoned nerd, exactly what I was in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off and what I am in real life when I teach at Pepperdine or UCLA or give expert testimony in securities law cases," he penned in an essay for Entertainment Weekly. Hey, if the shoe fits, wear it!

Stein absolutely loved working on the show, which helped him heal his real-life scars from junior high. "It's never too late to have a happy childhood, especially out here at the end of the Yellow Brick Road," he added. Awww!

Robert Picardo - Coach Cutlip

Ah, Coach Cutlip. The classic embodiment of the bullying gym teacher, he struck fear in the hearts of viewers who were always picked last for sports, or couldn't keep up when it was time to run laps. His inferiority complex was about as obvious as the red cap he wore to cover his bald head. But to be fair, even Coach Cutlip revealed some tenderness from deep down inside with rare moments of softness.

The actor who so perfectly played Coast Cutlip — and even garnered an Emmy award nomination for the role — was none other than Robert Picardo, who imagined Coach Cutlip taught gym because he was shafted out of a better position. "I played a character who had the IQ of a stupid walrus," he confessed in an interview with CNet. But he did it so, so well!

Picardo went on to secure a wide variety of acting jobs, such as in Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate: Atlantis, and Bravest Warriors, to name just a few. But he'll always be Coach Cutlip to us.   

Alice Pedermeir - Lindsay Sloane

If you compiled a list of all of Kevin Arnold's love interests on The Wonder Years, you'd see that he was quite the player! Even though Winnie Cooper was always the number one girl in his life, there were a few others that were especially notable. One example was Alice Pedermeir, a regular friend of Kevin on the show, who was also on-and-off dating his friend Chuck. After one of their breakups, she tried to make a move on Kevin, creating a lot of sitcom-worthy drama. And in the end, after all of her histrionics, she went back to her boyfriend Chuck anyway. What a waste of time, y'all!

But you have to hand it to Lindsay Sloane, who inhabited the role effortlessly, and really was insanely annoying at times. "I made the choice to be whiny, and be a version of myself if I were mad," she revealed in an interview with TV Line. "I started to realize the crazier I am, the funnier it is to people." Indeed it worked out perfectly.

Sloane went onto perform in many shows and films, like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Bring it On, and The Odd Couple

Brandon Crane - Doug Porter

As you know from watching The Wonder Years, Kevin Arnold had a few good buds on the show other than Paul Pfeiffer, his OG right-hand man. One of those friends was Doug Porter, a junk food loving yes-man who was always game to join Kevin when there was mischief to be attended to. And someone had to be there when Kevin and Paul were on the offs!

The actor who brought us Doug Porter is in fact Brandon Crane, who enjoyed his tenure on the show. "I was cast 3 separate times for 3 separate roles on The Wonder Years before the last one, 'Doug Porter' would stick," he wrote on his website. "The last one stuck it out for another 3 seasons." That's a pretty good run, for sure.

If you thought he looked familiar, that's because he was also cast in the terrifying horror classic It as Ben Hanscom — which is one of the reasons everyone is terrified of clowns. 

Mr. Diperna - Raye Birk

Every good protagonist needs a nemesis, and Kevin Arnold's adversary was mean old Mr. Diperna, the Vice-Principal of Robert F. Kennedy Junior High. Right out of the gate Mr. Diperna is clearly a bad guy in Kevin's world, and not one to be sympathetic to the plights of his students. Raise your hand if you're still traumatized by his epic crankiness!

The actor who played such a meanie so well is Raye Birk, who has quite the impressive film and television resume. He's been in everything from soap operas like Days of Our Lives, television shows like Night Court, LA Law and Silk Stalkings, and movies like Naked Gun 33 1/3

Birk also has an active and well-rounded theater career, having secured both acting and directing positions. So he's truly a master of the medium, and can act in any capacity. That's not easy to do, either!