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What the cast of Doogie Howser is doing now

Television audiences love a good medical drama. There are plenty of shows to choose from, both vintage and modern: ER, Grey's Anatomy, M*A*S*H, and Scrubs all come to mind. But set a bit apart from all the rest is Doogie Howser, M.D., which ran from 1989 to 1993 and placed at its center an exceedingly precocious teenage doctor. 

The audience follows Doogie as he deals with the ups and downs of hospital residency and teenage shenanigans, all while the show's writers delve into topical medical and social issues of the time, such as AIDS awareness (a common subject of '90s TV), racism, homophobia, and scores of specifically teenage worries like having sex for the first time. Though the series may not quite hold up to many current viewers' standards, Doogie Howser holds its place in the annals of television history, and the comings and goings of its cast in the years since it ended are certainly worth exploring.

Neil Patrick Harris

Young brilliant Doogie is played by Neil Patrick Harris, years before he was known to scores of fans as Barney Stinson on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Doogie was undoubtedly Harris' big break, a starring role at a tender age on a four-season series after a handful of smaller roles in film and television. After the show ended, he relentlessly kept working, and though many of the parts would not be readily recognizable to most audiences, his focus clearly paid off. 

He got the starring role in How I Met Your Mother in 2005, followed by another starring role in Joss Whedon's cult internet mini-series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog in 2008. His recent portrayal of Count Olaf in the Netflix adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events hearkens back to Dr. Horrible, and it's hard to deny that Harris makes an awfully good villain. 

In real life, though, the actor is happy to use his fame and his money to fund myriad philanthropic endeavors. Himself a married gay man, many of his charitable efforts have gone toward AIDS foundations and LGBTQ centers, as well as countless cancer charities. Fans can look forward to seeing Harris in the films Anita, set for release in 2020, and Spinning Gold, whose release has yet to be announced.

Max Casella

Even though Doogie is a bit of an outsider among his peers, he still has his teenage best friend, Vinnie Delpino, played by actor Max Casella. Vinnie is the quintessential rebellious teen, keeping Doogie down-to-earth and defying his father's wishes by going to school to pursue a career in directing film. According to Casella, the two actors were the exact opposite off-set, with Harris being the good but adventurous teen and Casella, a few years older than Harris, being much more closed off and introverted. And though Casella admits that he had a few professional bumps in the road that he might have avoided if he had been as focused as his bright young co-star, he certainly stuck with acting and has been making quite the career out of it. 

In addition to performing on well-regarded shows like The Sopranos, Casella has lent his voice to several animated television ventures, including Courage the Cowardly Dog and Pepper Ann, as well as the recurring role of Daxter in the Jak and Daxter series of video games. Casella is slated to appear in several upcoming films, including the drama The Rhythm Section alongside Hollywood heavy-hitters like Jude Law and Blake Lively.

Belinda Montgomery

Doogie's mom, a housewife turned patient advocate at the hospital where Doogie works, was played by Belinda Montgomery. The actress already had plenty of experience in medical dramas, with roles in Marcus Welby, M.D., Medical Center, and Trapper John, M.D. Though her career had already spanned over two decades by the time she was cast as Katherine Howser, her role on Doogie was the most regular work she had done on one show up until that point, appearing in all 97 episodes. 

She has continued to work in film and TV with some regularity over the years after Doogie Howser, appearing in Tron: Legacy, as well as in a number of television movies — especially of the Christmas variety. However, she has found herself drawn back into painting, a hobby she began to pursue at a very young age, as well as a newfound exploration of figurative sculpture.

James Sikking

Playing the role of Doogie's doctor father was James Sikking, an actor with screen experience stretching all the way back to the mid-'50s. Despite parts in what are now classic television hits like Bonanza, Hogan's Heroes, and M*A*S*H, Sikking's biggest role before Dr. David Howser was that of Lieutenant (later Sergeant) Howard Hunter on Hill Street Blues, where he appeared in all 144 episodes. 

After Doogie Howser, Sikking lent his voice to a number of animated roles, including parts in Rocket Power, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Batman Beyond, and the English language dub of the Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart. Sikking, after working as an actor for more than half a century, retired in 2012 to enjoy life with his wife, Florine (to whom he has been married almost as long). At 85 years old, his retirement is well-deserved, and one hopes that he has plenty of time to spend with his four grandchildren.

Lawrence Pressman

Another long-time actor, Lawrence Pressman, played Dr. Benjamin Canfield, an old friend of Doogie's dad. Pressman, like James Sikking, got his first role in the '50s, but didn't hit the screen again until the '70s, continuing to take small roles for some time. Also like Sikking, Pressman had a walk-on role on M*A*S*H, and the two actors' paths probably crossed when Pressman had a small part on Hill Street Blues

Pressman appeared in all 97 episodes of Doogie Howser, making it the first time he had such a regular role on a long-running series. And though he has not had such a long-running part since, Pressman's still acting. At 80 years old, he's set to appear in three upcoming films (Snowbird, The Guardian Angel, and Golden and Gone) and is also working in theater. Early in 2019, he played the role of Jacob in a Philadelphia production of Awake and Sing!, a play which he believes is just as relevant now as it was when it was written during the Depression. Since age clearly isn't preventing Pressman from continuing to pursue his acting goals, we may continue to see him in film, television, and theater for quite some time yet!

Mitchell Anderson

For the first couple seasons of Doogie Howser, Mitchell Anderson played Dr. Jack McGuire, a friendly rival to the show's protagonist who is eventually inspired to travel to Mexico to work in underserved communities. Up until this role, Anderson had been working for a few years, mostly taking small roles in television and TV movies — most notably playing Richard Carpenter in the TV biopic The Karen Carpenter Story

After Doogie Howser, Anderson continued acting, but took a hiatus from the screen from 2002 to 2018 to pursue the culinary arts. He is now a chef and restaurant owner, running MetroFresh in Atlanta, Georgia, which boasts a menu of fresh and healthy food at reasonable prices. Even as a business owner, Anderson is somehow still finding time to do a little bit of acting. Most recently, he starred in the drama webseries After Forever, an emotional tale about a man picking up the pieces of his life after losing his partner.

Kathryn Layng

Nurse Mary Margaret "Curly" Spaulding, played by Kathryn Layng, dated Dr. Jack McGuire before he eventually parted from the show. After that, she memorably dated both Doogie and Dr. Canfield — a man old enough to be Doogie's father! The character of Curly took up the bulk of Layng's acting career. After a hiatus starting in 1995, she appeared in the dramatic film White Frog in 2012. She hasn't appeared in any film or television since then. 

In 1993, she married playwright David Henry Hwang, with whom she has two children. Layng's lack of work has not prevented the family from living in a certain amount of style, however. For some reason, the New York Times thought it important to write an article about the couple's purchase of an Art Deco chair for a few thousand dollars from an unknown dealer in 2002. Why this is worth nothing is unclear, but it is just about all the information that can be found about Layng's life in the last decade and a half.

Markus Redmond

Starting in season two, Markus Redmond played Raymond Alexander, a gang member who holds Doogie hostage but is eventually convinced to take a position as an orderly at the hospital. He works there long enough to receive EMT training and certification, truly the epitome of the "turn your life around" TV trope. 

After Doogie Howser, Redmond continued his acting career, with regular roles on TV shows like NYPD Blue and Murder One, as well as a role in the cult favorite film Fight Club. And though Redmond has acting credits lined up for 2019, it seems that the actor is also focused on writing for television. In 2007, he wrote and starred in If I Had Known I Was a Genius, and he recently dispelled the myth about "having industry connections" in order to get work in television and movies. The actor/writer also seems to be pitching his own work to various studios, even as he appears in other films.

Lisa Dean Ryan

Lisa Dean Ryan had the role of Wanda Plenn, Doogie's girlfriend who ended up pursuing an art degree that split her up from the young doctor. Though she left Doogie Howser in the second season (coming back for a couple guest spots in season 3), Ryan continued acting up until her retirement from the screen in 2005. Chiefly a TV performer, she had guest roles in series like Diagnosis Murder, Boy Meets World, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and NYPD Blue, among others. Younger TV audiences might recognize her from her role in the Disney Channel original movie Tiger Cruise. Her last role was in the Hallmark Channel original movie Mystery Woman: Vision of a Murder

The last decade and a half have passed since this final credit with no news of her private life or whether she has any further acting ambitions. She may well be one of those actresses who viewed performance more as a paycheck than a vocation, or she may find that as she ages, there are fewer roles for her — as always, movies and television could be much better about representing women at all stages of their lives.

Lucy Boryer

Janine Stewart, Vinnie Delpino's girlfriend and Wanda Plenn's best friend, was played by Lucy Boryer. Die-hard science fiction fans will recognize her as Ensign Janeway in Star Trek: The Next Generation, a character who, rather confusingly, seems to have no relation to Star Trek: Voyager Captain Kathryn Janeway (played by Kate Mulgrew). Boryer continued acting for a couple years after Doogie Howser, then took a hiatus from 1994 to 2001 and another from 2001 to 2012. Since 2012, however, she has had steady, regular acting work, mostly in shorts and walk-on television roles. Her most recent film, Hard Luck Love Song, is currently in post-production with no set release date.

Boryer seems to keep her private life very private — or perhaps her decently-sized filmography is not intriguing enough to any but the most dedicated of cinephiles. Regardless, it's hard to know how she's spending her time between filming as she seems to be leading a quiet life outside the limelight.

Rif Hutton

Even outside the bulk of the main cast, there are a couple of noteworthy regulars from Doogie Howser. For instance, Rif Hutton's Dr. Ron Welch only appeared in 17 of Doogie Howser's 97 episodes, but it was the most regular role the actor had seen up until that point. Since then, he has continued acting with enthusiasm, mostly in guest roles on television series. Post-Howser, he has particularly focused on voice work for animated films and video games, including Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Princess and the FrogParaNorman, and the 2005 English language dub of the Miyazaki favorite Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Hutton doesn't seem to be slowing down, with several acting and voice credits from the last couple years and more roles lined up ahead.

Robyn Lively

Michele Faber, Doogie's short-lived girlfriend and a nursing student, was played by Robyn Lively — who, yes, is related to Blake Lively. The two actresses are half-sisters, in fact. Before Doogie Howser, Lively was instantly recognizable as Jessica from The Karate Kid Part III and lead witch Louise from the teen favorite Teen Witch. She also had a role in the original run of David Lynch's cult classic Twin Peaks

Lively has continued acting with great regularity in the years since Doogie Howser, notably appearing in horror and thriller offerings like Ouija, Into the Dark, and Light as a Feather. In addition to keeping up with regular work, Lively maintains a robust social media presence, especially on Instagram. There she posts regular updates on her work, her family life, and trips down memory lane. Unlike many of her other women co-stars from Doogie Howser, she's leading a very public-facing life, clearly enjoying her continued work in film and television.