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Where Are They Now?

Brandy Cerne | Wednesday, August 31, 2011

At one point, they all seemed destined for stardom. We grew up watching them every day, welcoming the young actors of ‘90s Nickelodeon as a strong presence in all of our childhoods. Some remain a part of mainstream entertainment today. To the others who dropped off our radar, we ask, “Where are you now?”

Summer Sanders

A gold-medal swimmer in the 1992 Olympics, Sanders is best known to Generation Y as the host of “Figure It Out,” the game show that had Nickelodeon celebrities guess real kids’ talents with some random slime mixed in. Sanders put her sports background to good use, working as a correspondent and sideline reporter for the WNBA, USA, “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and “The Rachael Ray Show.” She also seems to be a fan of reality TV, co-hosting “Skating with Celebrities” in 2006 and competing on the third season of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Don’t be too hard on Sanders for only placing seventh. No gold medal can compete with the power that is Bret Michaels.

Melissa Joan Hart

When “Clarissa Explains It All” ended in 1994, Melissa Joan Hart started classes at New York University until she was offered the lead in “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.” A fixture in several teen movies like “Can’t Hardly Wait” and “Drive Me Crazy” with Adrian Grenier, Hart disappeared for a few years, taking small parts in a few series and made-for-TV movies. As all middling celebrities do, Hart made her comeback as a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars,” and now acts opposite fellow former child star Joey Lawrence in ABC Family’s sitcom “Melissa & Joey.” Hart is married with two sons.

Mike Maronna

The Big Pete to Danny Tamberelli’s Little Pete on “The Adventures of Pete & Pete,” Maronna hasn’t made much of an impression on screen since. He appeared in the films “Slackers” and “40 Days and 40 Nights,” as well as a few ads, but has steadily been working behind the scenes as an electrician on films such as “Sex and the City” and “Be Kind, Rewind.”

Joanna Garcia

Who knew this Yankee wife was a cast member of the original run of the spooky “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” Garcia went from telling ghost tales around the fire to a recurring role on the acclaimed “Freaks and Geeks,” and eventually ended up on “Reba.” Despite her charm and successful guest runs on “Gossip Girl” and “How I Met Your Mother,” Garcia has had bad luck attracting audiences for her television series, first headlining the CW’s short-lived “Privileged” with future Pretty Little Liar Lucy Hale and then in the recently cancelled sitcom, “Better With You.” Garcia married New York Yankee Nick Swisher last year.

Larisa Oleynik

Larisa Oleynik seemed to be one of the rising talents in the 90’s teen world, perfecting her role as the All-American girl next door in “The Secret World of Alex Mack” and “The Baby-Sitters Club” movie. Oleynik appeared on “3rd Rock From the Sun” with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, her co-star in perhaps her most recognizable role, Bianca, in “10 Things I Hate About You.” Besides a few low-budget films here and there and a degree from Sarah Lawrence College, Oleynik has stayed busy with guest roles on “Aliens in America,” “Mad Men” and most recently, “Hawaii 5-0.”

Mike O’Malley

He may now be known as an Emmy-nominated actor for his sympathetic portrayal of Kurt’s dad on “Glee,” but Mike O’Malley was originally the host of game shows “Get the Picture” and “GUTS.” In between his two most important roles, O’Malley has kept a steady but quiet presence on Hollywood, acting in the television shows “Yes, Dear,” “My Name is Earl” and “Parenthood,” as well as appearing in the films “Deep Impact,” “Pushing Tin” and “Leatherheads.”

Danny Cooksey

The redheaded camper on “Salute Your Shorts,” Danny Cooksey enjoyed a substantial career in voice-animation in the ‘90s, lending his voice to “Ren & Stimpy,” “Tiny Toon Adventures,” the “101 Dalmations” TV series, “Pepper Ann” and Stoop Kid on “Hey Arnold!” His vocal talents must also transfer to music, as he sang for heavy metal bands Bad4Good, Lucy’s Milk and Arbuckle.

Cast of “All That”

Lori Beth Denberg

A standout due to the classic sketches “Vital Information” and “The Loud Librarian,” Denberg seemed poised to become one of the next great comediennes, yet hasn’t been around much since. After “All That,” Denberg acted in several seasons of “The Steve Harvey Show” and had a small role in 2004’s “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.” There were rumors a few years ago that Denberg had passed away, but fret not — she is alive and well.

Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson

Nickelodeon in the ‘90s couldn’t exist without the superstar duo of both “Kenan and Kel” and “All That.” Kenan and Kel starred in the film “Good Burger,” adapted from one of their sketches on “All That.” Kel went on to do some minor acting, voicing a dog on “Clifford the Big Red Dog” and acting in the TV series “One on One” and “Take the Cake” on BET. Kel has also dipped his toes in the bustling Detroit theater scene, acting in the plays “Affairs” and “Laundromat.” He now plays several parts on “Attack of the Show!” Kel is divorced and has two children.

Kenan has seen much more success than his former comedic partner. Not wanting to lower his standards after “Good Burger,” he played the title character in the masterpiece that was “Fat Albert.” While he has taken supporting roles in “Barbershop 2: Back in Business,” “Snakes on a Plane” and “The Smurfs,” Kenan’s greatest success has been joining the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 2003. He plays character DeAndre Cole in the “What Up With That?” sketch and DJ Dynasty Handbag.

Amanda Bynes

At the age of 10, Amanda Bynes joined the cast of “All That.” She used the success of skits like “Ask Ashley” to start her own sketch comedy show, “The Amanda Show,” which featured characters like Bynes-obsessed Penelope and Judge Trudy.

Moving on from Nick, she starred in the sitcom “What I Like About You” and continued the theme of choosing song-titled projects by acting in the film “What a Girl Wants” with Colin Firth.

After “She’s the Man,” a modern boarding-school twist on Shakespeare, Bynes was part of the ensemble of the hit film adaptation of “Hairspray.” Last year, Bynes played the holy-roller opposite Emma Stone in “Easy A,” and afterwards unexpectedly announced her retirement.

As one child star who has actually kept it classy through the years, here’s to hoping that it’s all just a phase and that Bynes will return to playing fun, goofy characters soon.

Danny Tamberelli

Danny Tamberelli started off his Nick career as Little Pete on “The Adventures of Pete & Pete,” and eventually moved on to become a player on “All That.” After dabbling in some voice work for cartoons like “Fillmore!” he graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in Interdisciplinary Arts.

Superfans of this redhead can now enjoy his talents through another medium: music. He’s rocking out as a vocalist and bassist for his band Jounce and plays the bass for Every Good Boy. Not totally leaving the influence of “All That” behind, Tamberelli started the sketch comedy group “Man Boobs: Sketchy Comedy.”

Nick Cannon

Yes, he came in at the end of the golden era of “All That,” but any former Nickelodeon child star who’s had babies with Mariah Carey deserves some recognition in this round-up. Cannon moved on to have two of his own comedy shows, SNICK’s “The Nick Cannon Show” and “Wild ‘n Out” on MTV.

Any Saturday afternoon on cable TV, you can find Cannon in the films “Drumline” and “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.”

After a short-lived attempt at a musical career, Cannon focused on hosting various awards shows and currently hosts the TV show “America’s Got Talent.” When he’s not spending time with Carey, his wife of three years, Cannon is steadily building his brand as a mini-mogul, starting the music label N’Credible Entertainment and serving as the Chairman of TeenNick.