What the cast of Revenge of the Nerds looks like today

Long before there was any sort of Big Bang on network TV, Hollywood spun nerd hijinks into box-office gold with the 1984 comedy Revenge of the Nerds. Telling the comic tale of a group of outcasts who find themselves persecuted on a college campus where jocks and campus bullies have picked on and repeatedly put them down, Nerds follows their fight to end "nerd persecution" once and for all. Little did they know that they'd encourage an entire generation of outcasts to embrace their inner nerd—and that Revenge of the Nerds would lay the groundwork for decades of nerd worship to come.

It's hard to believe it's been more than 30 years since Nerds changed the world. A landmark for '80s comedies, the film also launched the careers of almost every member of its cast. As you can imagine, these stars have changed quite a bit over the years. Who's ready to see what's become of the Tri-Lambs since the '80s?

Robert Carradine - Lewis

With his sharp features and goofy grin, Robert Carradine hardly fit the bill of a typical leading man in Hollywood. But then, Revenge of the Nerds was hardly a typical movie. While it proved a breakout role for Carradine, it wasn't his first brush with Hollywood—the young actor had already caught eyes with supporting turns in Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets and Samuel Fuller's gritty WWII drama The Big Red One. Of course, thanks to one legendary father (John Carradine), an Oscar-winning brother (Keith Carradine) and a Kung Fu fighting half-brother (David Carradine), Robert was already part of a Hollywood legacy. One that now includes his daughter Ever, who can currently be seen in the Emmy-winning adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale all the kids are talking about.

In the years since Revenge of the Nerds, Carradine has carved out a nice little niche for himself in Hollywood, snagging roles on TV (The Tommynockers, Lizzy McGuire) and film (Ghosts Of Mars, Django Unchained) on the regular. But we'll always remember him as the awkward, Betty-obsessed Tri-Lamb Lewis Skolnick.

Anthony Edwards - Gilbert

You probably know Anthony Edwards from the eight seasons he spent playing Dr. Mark Greene on the long-running NBC series ER. You might also know him for his turn as Goose in Top Gun, or from supporting roles in movies like Northfork and Zodiac. But it was his portrayal of the shy, kind-hearted Gilbert in Revenge of the Nerds that put Edwards on the path to stardom.

Over the past 30 years, the former teen star has used the kind eyes and calm demeanor that landed him his Nerds role to bring warmth, depth and intellect to virtually every role he's played. He's also spent time on the stage, racing cars and flying planes. He played Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 2013's underrated Big Sur. He did some voice work as Echo in Disney's animated adventure Planes that same year. He even took his talents behind the camera to direct the 2016 comedy My Dead Boyfriend. While his current look is a long way form the shaggy-haired Gilbert, we can't help but feel he's looking more dignified than ever these days. And we can't wait to see where Edwards will turn up next.  

Julia Montgomery - Betty

If there's one serious knock against Revenge of the Nerds, it's that the film is very, very … masculine. Some might even say misogynistic. Even as the film sought to undercut outlandish stereotypes, it's still every bit a male-driven '80s comedy. And yes, the female characters are more than a little objectified—none more so than Julia Montgomery's sorority girl Betty Childs. Throughout the film, her character has nude pictures distributed across campus without her knowledge, is slighted and ignored by her jock of a boyfriend, and becomes the unwitting victim of what can only be considered sexual assault—no matter how she reacts after the fact.

In spite of all that, one has to admire the tenacity—and ultimately the dignity—Montgomery brings to the role. Her Betty is shrewd, smart, sexy, and unafraid to go after what she wants. Montgomery's performance turned more than a few Hollywood heads, too: while she's worked steadily in film and television over the years—including two more turns as Betty in Revenge of the Nerds sequels—the stardom that seemed certain in the wake of her Nerds breakout never quite came. But she'll always be everyone's favorite Pi Delt.

Curtis Armstrong - Booger

Savvy filmgoers still recognize Curtis Armstrong from his first big-screen role as Tom Cruise's sleazy buddy Miles in Risky Business. But it's his scene-stealing turn as Booger in Revenge of the Nerds that remains his calling card. That's saying a lot for an actor who's appeared in dozens of TV shows—Moonlighting, Supernatural, New Girl—and films like One Crazy Summer, Southland Tales, and Ray. You've likely heard his voice work in shows like American Dad! and Dan Vs. too.

Still, for Nerds fans, Armstrong will forever be Booger. It's a testament to Armstrong's performance that he manages to humanize a character that essentially plays into every stereotype of male vulgarity—and that fans have identified so closely with the wise-cracking, nose-picking, mega-burping, ganja-loving rogue that helped make him famous. To his credit, Armstrong has always embraced the passion fans hold for Booger. He even played it up by co-hosting the TBS series King of the Nerds with his old pal Robert Carradine between 2013 and 2015—and titling his 2017 memoir Revenge of the Nerd: Or…The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger.

Brian Tochi - Takashi

By the time Brian Tochi appeard as Takashi Tohiro in Revenge of the Nerds, he'd already become a well-established presence in film and television. In fact, he'd been in the game since the ripe old age of nine, appearing in hits like Star Trek, The Brady Bunch and The Omega Man. He'd even been the star of his own series The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan. But Revenge of the Nerds was Tochi's chance to prove himself in an "adult" role, and to say he left an impression as the language-challenged Takashi is an understatement.

Maybe you remember him learning to play poker with Booger. Maybe you remember his epic, drunken tricycle race. Whatever Takashi moment counts as your fave, it's almost impossible to think of Nerds without him. And Tochi made the most of the moment, spinning his fame into a decades-long career. He's scored laughs in Police Academy movies and played himself in Robert Altman's Hollywood satire, The Player. But it's Tochi's voice that's landed him the most work. You've heard it in everything from those early '90s live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies (he voiced Leonardo) to The Lion King. We must say, it's nice to see a Nerd find his place … and his voice.

Larry B. Scott - Lamar

Revenge of the Nerds is held in high regard among '80s comedies, but it doesn't get nearly enough credit for challenging social norms of the time. And no character challenged those norms more than Larry B. Scott's openly gay Tri-Lamb Lamar. True, he often feels like a pastiche of gay stereotypes. But the fact that the character is in the film at all is cause to take notice, and Scott brought a real unassuming humanity to the role.

The role was risky. So much so that one has to admire the actor that played him—especially since Scott is not a gay man. Did we mention he's also a person of color? That's the sort of gamble that could sink a young career. Scott ran with it, reprising the role in all three Revenge Of The Nerds sequels, and he starred in a couple of other '80s classics to boot, including The Karate Kid, Iron Eagle, and SpaceCamp. These days, Scott spends his time teaching his craft to up-and-coming actors at W.I.T. Filmwerks.

Andrew Cassese - Wormser

What about Lamar's Revenge of the Nerds BFF Wormser, you ask? Who could forget the wide eyes and devilish grin of the precocious, preteen wunderkind who anchored a tug-of-war prank for the ages? Sure, you remember his face, but we're betting you'll have some trouble coming up with the actor's name.

Don't worry, we looked it up. It's Andrew Cassese. He was just 12 years old when Revenge of the Nerds hit theaters. One can only imagine the fun he had on set for the party-hardy comedy—particularly in that up close and personal conversation with the sisters from Omega Mu. It was at least enough for Cassese to return to the role for the first Nerds sequel, 1987's Nerds In Paradise, though not enough for the young star to want to keep making movies. He all but gave up on the big screen after his Nerds days, preferring a life in the theater. He'd go on to land a degree from NYU film school in 1995.

Timothy Busfield - Poindexter

Timothy Busfield has been very busy in the 33 years since he portrayed the anxious, sight-challenged, violin-playing Arnold Poindexter. He's made quite a name for himself as an actor in both film (Field Of Dreams, Quiz Show, Save The Date) and television (thirtysomething, The West Wing, Sleepy Hollow). He even won an Emmy for his work on thirtysomething.

Busfield's work behind the camera has taken up much of his time of late. The actor first claimed the director's chair in his thirtysomething days, but has gone on to direct episodes of hit shows like Ed, Without a Trace, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and The Night Shift. But we can't help but think one of his favorite jobs was directing his old Revenge of the Nerds co-star Robert Carradine in a one-off gig for Lizzy Maguire. You go, Poindexter.

Michelle Meyrink - Judy

Count Michelle Meyrink as another of the Revenge Of The Nerds stars that turned their backs on Hollywood—but she may be the one who made the most of her brief acting career as well. Meyrink has only 10 credits to her filmography, but almost all of those credits came in '80s films that are now considered classics, including The Outsiders, Valley Girl, Joy of Sex, and Real Genius. And when Meyrink auditioned for the role of Gilbert's prescription-sharing love interest Judy, the competition was tough—she reportedly beat out Sarah Jessica Parker and Joan Cusack. While she delivered an understated, heartfelt performance in Nerds, Meyrink was less than impressed by what Hollywood had to offer female actors throughout the '80s. So much so that she gave up acting after 1988's Permanent Record, became a devout Zen Buddhist, and never looked back.

John Goodman - Coach Harris

With so many fresh young faces breaking out in Revenge of the Nerds, it's easy to forget that the great John Goodman was also in the mix as the nerd-loathing football coach. Prior to Nerds, Goodman had played only bit parts in B movies and little-seen TV shows; that all started to change with his spirited turn as the egomaniacal Coach Harris. Goodman played the role with equal parts menace and mirth, landing many of the film's biggest laughs along the way, like that pitch-perfect motivational speech he caps with the unforgettable—and fully improvised—line "s***, we forgot to practice."

Goodman's performance managed to stand out in a film full of memorable turns. A couple of years later, he landed a part in the Coen brothers' Raising Arizona, then he took TV by storm on Roseanne. The rest, as they say, is history. We won't waste your time by listing the rest of Goodman's memorable roles; just know that he's brought something unique to each, and in the process, has become one of the most consistently compelling performers in Hollywood.

Ted McGinley

Speaking of fresh young faces, Ted McGinley's was widely considered one of the prettiest to turn up in Revenge of the Nerds. McGinley's blonde hair, blue eyes and square jaw made him a perfect fit for villainous super-jock quarterback Stan Gable. They provided a stark counterpoint to the awkward looks of the Tri-Lambs as well.

Of course, fans of Happy Days and The Love Boat had already taken notice of McGinley's classic good looks, and he's never been shy about using them to his advantage as an actor, often undercutting his "pretty-boy" characters with sleazy smugness and ego-driven insecurities. That combo has made McGinley an actor who can play lowbrow comedy—like in his role on Married With Children—as well as drama, as he did during his supporting turns in The West Wing and Mad Men.

Donald Gibb - Ogre

If you spent any time in cinemas or in front of your TV in the '80s or '90s, you're definitely familiar with the distinctive face of Mr. Donald Gibb. His résumé reads like a greatest hits list of movies and shows from both eras, though his rough features and oversized biceps relegated him largely to supporting roles as bad guys—or muscle for bad guys.

Not surprisingly, Gibb actually got his start playing professional football for the San Diego Chargers. Though NFL stardom wasn't in the cards, he returned to the gridiron as a simple-minded jock nicknamed Ogre in Revenge of the Nerds. If that sounds a bit like typecasting…well, it was. To his credit, Gibb embraced the challenge, delivered a fiery, funny performance, and made the mindless dolt one of the film's most memorable characters—just as he's done with dozens of roles in the years since.

James Cromwell - Mr. Skolnick

Et tu, Farmer Hoggett? You bet, though the future Oscar-nominated co-star of Babe was still going by Jamie Cromwell when he stepped into the role of Mr. Skolnick in Revenge of the Nerds. Though Cromwell's role is little more than a cameo, he still manages to show his range in the opening scenes, which involve a few laughs and a couple of tender moments with his young co-stars Carradine and Edwards.

They also see Cromwell deliver that Revenge of the Nerds laugh for the very first time. Rumor has it that Cromwell invented the laugh himself—though it may have inadvertently been modeled after his ex-wife's—and taught it to his co-stars on set. That laugh would become iconic after the film's release. That Cromwell has become a bit of an icon in the years since seems only fitting.

David Wohl - Dean Ulich

Though many of his Nerds co-stars' looks have changed dramatically over the years, David Wohl still looks a lot like he did when he played the Coach-bullied Dean Ulich. That may be the reason Wohl's made a career of playing bureaucratic/neurotic types in almost every film or TV show in which he's appeared—yet he manages to bring something different to every one of those roles. He can play drama (Saving Private Ryan) or comedy (Hot Shots! Part Deux) with equal ease, so it should come as no surprise that Wohl brought both to Revenge of the Nerds, adding tangible pathos to the role—particularly when his long-suffering Dean finally stands up to John Goodman's brutish Coach Harris. Wohl will next bring that mix of styles to the Zosia Mamet-starring rom-com The Boy Downstairs.

Bernie Casey - U.N. Jefferson

Sadly, there's one Nerds star that has left the ranks of the Tri-Lambs forever: the late, great Bernie Casey., who passed away in September 2017 after suffering a stroke at the age of 78. The actor got his start as a professional football player, spending eight seasons in the NFL, and only came to acting after his playing days were over. Casey would go on to star in classic blaxploitation flicks like Cleopatra Jones and Black Gunn, worked with Martin Scorsese on Boxcar Bertha, shared the screen with David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth, and gave new meaning to the term "black hero" in I'm Gonna Get You Sucka. But we'll always remember him for bringing the extended members of Lambda Lambda Lambda to the aid of of their Adam's College brothers in the final minutes of Revenge of the Nerds—and delivering the film's best "stand up and cheer" moment in the process. R.I.P., Mr. Casey. We miss you already.