What Ever Happened To … the cast of Ally McBeal?

Ally McBeal (1997-2002) was a hugely popular legal-comedy-drama about a supposedly intelligent woman who dithered about and would fall over if she fancied someone.

ally mcbeal calista

The show will be remembered for it’s Hallmark Card sentiment in court, the imaginary dancing babies, the audio hallucinations of Barry White,  that time Billy dyed his hair peroxide blonde, the unisex toilets with the secret office, the Ally-Billy-Georgia triangle…

ally mcbeal georgia billy

… and of course the seemingly competitive dieting of the female cast-members.  By the end they were just rib-cages with scared, hungry eyes.

The programme definitely got less attached to reality as the years passed (culminating in the convenient introduction of a surprise daughter for Ally) but what bothered me most  was Vonda Shepard constantly being promoted as a cast member.

She was just the singer in the bar.  She wasn’t a leading cast member.  What kind of threats were the production team under?  What terrifying hold does Vonda Shepard have on their souls?  I best be quiet, the eye of Vonda has awoken.

After the jump I’ve got all the info on what the actual Ally McBeal cast members are up to these days!

Calista Flockhart – Ally McBeal

calista flockhart ally mcbeal

While at University Calista’s roommate’s best friend was her future co-star Jane Krakowski.

Since the show she’s starred in smaller films, was offered the role of Susan in ‘Desperate Housewives’ but turned it down (the part went to Terri Hatcher), and played Kitty on ‘Brothers & Sisters’ for five years.

She met Harrison Ford at the Golden Globes in 2002 and they’ve been together ever since.  They married in 2010 and together they raise a son, Liam, who Calista adopted in 2001.

calista flockhart harrison ford 2013

Gil Bellows – Billy Thomas

gil bellows ally mcbeal

Before ‘Ally McBeal’, Gil played Tommy Williams, the young prisoner who gets murdered on orders of the warden, in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.

gil bellows shawshank

It was a part Brad Pitt passed up so he could do ‘Legends of the Fall’ instead.

Gilstarred opposite Renee Zellweger in a little-seen 1994 film ‘Love and a .45’. 

Since ‘Ally McBeal’, he’s done amazing-sounding TV movies like ‘Final Days of Planet Earth‘ and ‘The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom’ along with a guest role on ‘Smallville’ and a recurring role on ‘FlashForward’.  

He has two children with his wife Rya.

billy ally mcbeal now gil bellows

Lisa Nicole Carson – Renee Raddick

lisa nicole carson ally mcbeal

Lisa was also well-know in the late 90’s for playing Carla Reese, Dr Peter Benton’s girlfriend on ‘ER’.

She was fired from both ‘ER’ and ‘Ally McBeal’ amid reports of erratic behaviour, ‘unpleasant attitude’, and alleged drug use.

In 2000 she was arrested for disorderly conduct in a hotel and was later treated for mental health issues in hospital.

Lisa returned to acting in 2012, and was playing Renee from ‘Ally McBeal’ again!  This time she popped up in ‘Harry’s Law’ where Renee was now a judge.

lisa nicole carson 2013

Greg Germann – Richard Fish

greg germann ally mcbeal

Before ‘Ally Mc Beal’, Greg’s biggest role was played a doomed businessman in ‘Child’s Play 2’.

Since the show he’s guest starred in ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Medium’,  ‘Law & Order: SVU’, played a vet in ‘Quarantine’ (the US adaption of Spanish horror ‘REC’) and voiced ‘The Agent’ in Disney’s ‘Bolt’. 

He now lives in Barcelona with his 12 year old son Asa.

greg germann 2013

Jane Krakowski – Elaine Vassal

jane krakowski ally mcbeal

Jane is one of the few cast members who won’t be remembered as ‘that one from Ally McBeal’ – these days she’s much better known as Jena Maroney from ’30 Rock’.

Where’s that name from?  Jane’s family is entirely Polish and originally come from Krakow.

She also played a babysitter in ‘Fatal Attraction’, was Betty Rubble in ‘The Flintstones in Viva Las Vegas’ and is a Tony award-winning theatre performer who starred opposite Ewan McGregor in a West End performance of ‘Guys and Dolls’. 

Jane is married with one son, and is freaking hilarious.

jane krakowski 2013

Peter MacNicol – John Cage

peter mcnicol john cage

You may also recognise Peter as the baddie’s assistant from ‘Ghostbusters II’

peter macnicol ghostbusters 2

… or the dad from that Mr Bean movie, ‘Bean’.

mr bean peter macnicolHe also starred opposite Meryl Streep in ‘Sophie’s Choice’, was the summer-camp director in ‘Addams Family Values’ and appeared in the first series of ‘Chicago Hope’ (he left for ‘Ally McBeal’).

Since then he’s starred in ‘NUMB3RS’, made a guest appearance in ’24’ and most recently has joined ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ as Dr Stark.

UPDATE: In September 2014 James joined the cast of ‘CSI: Cyber’.

He lives in LA with his wife.

peter mcnicol 2013

Portia De Rossi – Nelle Porter

portia de rossi ally mcbeal

Porita was born Amanda Lee Rogers in Victoria, Australia.  She took on the name Porita De Rossi at age 15 as she wanted to ‘re-invent’ herself.

She started off opposite Hugh Grant in the Aussie film ‘Sirens’ before moving to LA and playing a bitch with bad eyebrows in ‘Scream 2’.

portia de rossi scream 2

After ‘Ally McBeal’, Portia landed her most famous role, Lindsay Bluthe-Funke on ‘Arrested Development’.  It’s a part she recently reprised as Netflix have brought back the cult favourite.

arrested development 2013 portia de rossi

She was married to filmmaker Mel Metcalfe in the late 90’s, until he left her and ran off with her brother’s wife.

During her ‘Ally McBeal’ years Portia kept her sexuality a secret but dated Ringo Starr’s step-daughter Francesca Gregorini.  They broke when she met Ellen Degeneres.

They married in 2008 and Portia has legally changed her surnamed to Degeneres, although she still uses ‘De Rossi’ professionally.

portia de rossi ellen degeneres

Lucy Liu – Ling Woo

lucy liu ally mcbeal

Lucy originally auditioned for the role of Nelle (which went to Portia De Rossi) but the part of Ling was created especially for her because she was so damn good.

She went on to star with Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz in the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ films and had an iconic role as O-Ren Ishii in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’.

lucy liu kill bill

Lucy also appeared in the flop ‘Ballistic:  Eks vs Sever’ alongside Antonia Banderas and has had guest roles on ‘Ugly Betty’, ‘Sex and the City’, ‘Futurama’ and ‘Joey’. 

Most recently she plays Joan Watson (yup they changed Watson to female) opposite Jonny Lee Miller in a US adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes stories called ‘Elementary’.  

elementary lucy liu jonny lee miller

As ‘Elementary’ is set in the modern day (albeit in New York rather than London) it faced criticism that it is a rip-off of BBC’s ‘Sherlock’, which it is.

Lucy is also a painter, photographer and campaigner.

lucy liu 2013

Courtney Thorne-Smith – Georgia Thomas

courtney thorne-smith ally mcbeal

Before ‘Ally McBeal’, Courtney was best known as Alison Parker on ‘Melrose Place’.

She originally auditioned for the role of Ally but lost out to Calista Flockhart.   Her character was written out at the start of the fourth series but popped up again occasionally.

Since then Courtney has appeared in ‘According to Jim’ and played Alan’s girlfriend Lyndsey on ‘Two and a Half Men’.

She has a son called Jake with her second husband, Roger Fishman.

courtney thorne-smith 2013Hayden Panettiere – Madison (Ally’s surprise daughter)

hayden pannetiere ally mcbeal

Yup, Hayden played Ally’s daughter in the final season of the show.  She of course when on to fame with her role as cheerleader Claire on ‘Heroes’.

Hayden played Kirby in ‘Scream 4’ and most recently she stars in ‘Nashville’, a country-western drama that’s proved to be a surprising success.

hayden panettiere 2013And because she can probably sue or steal our souls if we don’t include her

Vonda Shephard as herself

vonda shepard

Since the show Vonda has released two more albums, a live album and worked on the soundtrack to ‘Love and Other Drugs’.

She has a son with her husband Michael Froom and is a step-mum to his daughter from a previously relationship.

vonda shepard 2013‘Ally McBeal’ also featured some famous faces in guest roles including ..

Robert Downey Jr as Larry Paul

robert downey jr ally mcbeal calista

and Jon Bon Jovi as Victor Morrison

calista flockhart jon bon jovi ally mcbeal

So that’s what the cast of ‘Ally McBeal’ are up to these days, I think it’s fair to say the ladies aged a little better than the blokes.

ally mcbeal cast

The cast of ‘Ally McBeal’, we salute you!

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7 thoughts on “What Ever Happened To … the cast of Ally McBeal?

  1. Pingback: Quick Quiz | Showbiz Geek

  2. What is it with you and Vonda Sheppard? It is possible, you know, that Vonda was just popular enough with the audience (due to her beautiful, soulful renditions of some nice old songs) that the producers wanted her up there front and center. The last thing Vonda is is a demanding vixen. And anybody who knows anything about Fox knows that the producers don’t put up with attitudes from cast members. They write you off the show.

    • it’s because she wasn’t a cast member of the show, she was a featured singer – c’mon Dan you have to admit that is an usual billing

  3. You also failed to mention Anne Heche, the Tourette’s-addled soul-mate of John Cage (Peter MacNicol) during the 2000-01 season.

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