Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What The Cast Of California Dreams Is Doing Today

"Surf dudes with attitudes ..."

(Kinda groovy)

So begins the super-catchy theme song to the early '90s Teen NBC show "California Dreams," known as "Saved By The Bell" with a band, which ran for five seasons and featured 40 original songs sung by the cast. Like with a lot of bands, there are line-up changes, and the Dreams were no exception, losing their lead singer and keyboardist within two seasons, and proving that the show must go on with new members for the next three. No matter who was singing the songs at Sharkey's, all the Dreamers still matter. Outside of a very touching reunion, with most of the band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2010, and a one-night-only performance in 2019, the cast has gone their own ways. Let's take a trip down '90s memory lane and see what they're all up to today.

"Don't wake me up if I'm dreaming ..."

Kelly Packard as Tiffani Anne Smith

No star of "California Dreams" lived out their California dreams more than Kelly Packard did, from winning big on "Card Sharks" to rocking out hard at Sharkey's. The perky California native with the radiant smile was one of three cast members to appear in all 78 episodes. She played the ever-positive, sunny bassist Tiffani, who also enjoyed catching a wave on a surfboard. Post-Dreams, she made quite the splash as April Giminski on "Baywatch" and was a field correspondent for "Ripley's Believe It Or Not." Since then, she's starred in over a dozen productions, including reteaming with her fellow "Baywatch" babes to make fun of their own image and careers in "The B Team." Packard self-describes her current life as "Married to an ER doctor. Was once an actress, now SAHM [stay at home mom] of four children." Her and her husband Darrin swapped spouses with Tichina Arnold on "Celebrity Wife Swap."

William James Jones as Antoine Bethesda Tony Wicks

Tony Wicks, like any good drummer, was the backbone of the California Dreams band and always kept them in rhythm. Played with much gusto by William James Jones, he was one of the few actors to never leave the band/show. After graduation, Jones attended the late '90s Peter Engel series "USA High," as American student Dwane "Excess" Wilson at a French boarding school. After a few more roles, he left Hollywood, but remained in California to follow a different dream — to help others struggling with mental health issues. He earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology, a master's degree in Clinical Psychology, followed by a Ph.D. Currently, he is the Clinical Director & Clinical Psychologist at The Jones Psychology Group, Inc., teaches as an adjunct professor at several universities, and has been published in Journal of Humanistic Psychology. And yes, he still smiles.

Michael Cade as Sylvester Leslie Sly Winkle

Every band needs a manager, and every Saturday morning teen show airing on NBC needed a loveable goofball, and Sylvester "Sly" Winkle fit the bill. With dapper duds, a comely coif, a sexy six-pack, a mind forever focused on money, and the explosive catchphrase "ba-boom!," Sly made all the Dreams' dreams come true for the entire run of the series. Michael Cade was initially reluctant to take on the role, but was one of the more seasoned actors in the main cast of California Dreams. He had already appeared in "General Hospital," "Baywatch," "Chaplin" and "Life Goes On" before joining his TV band family.

Life went on post-Dreams, as Cade continued to act in film and television, and is now rocking it as a different kind of manager — a Sales Manager for Oxcyon, Inc., an Information Technology and Services company.  He enjoys golf and the great outdoors.  And yes, he kinda looks like Tom Cruise, especially standing next to Tom Cruise.

Jay Anthony Franke as Jacob Samuel Jake Sommers

A lot of shows follow the Happy Days formula for characters, and have a Fonz-like cool guy in a leather jacket. "California Dreams" had gearhead guitarist hunk Jake, played by Jay Anthony Franke. He had only a few roles before "California Dreams," his first being a "Pizza Boy" on "Married... with Children," and then he took time off before jumping into the video game industry. He worked for companies Ion Storm and Activision on the production side, and also as a voice actor for various games. He provided all the dialog for JC Denton, the lead protagonist of the action role-playing classic "Deus Ex" and its sequel, as well as working as a tester behind the scenes on the games. 

Twelve years ago, he followed his heart and the love of his life, wife Tracey, to her native Australia, where they still reside — thus making him the furthest travelled band member for that reunion on Jimmy Fallon. He is a dog lover and supports the Washington Football Team from afar.

Jennie Kwan as Samantha Woo Deswanchoo

Originally a finalist for the role of Tiffany, Jennie Kwan had to defer her dreams of being on the show, when she went on the road for a tour with the musical "Miss Saigon," before arriving via Hong Kong in Season 2 as foreign exchange student Samantha Woo. She took over departed Jenny's vacant room, and shortly after, her place in the band. 

Always delivering her lines with a bright smile and nervous laugh, Jennie as Sam acclimated herself to her new sunny horizons quite well. After the show ended, she continued to utilize her multiple talents on stage ("Avenue Q" and "Aladdin"), screen ("Entourage" and "New Girl"), music (the girl group Nobody's Angel), and voice acting ("Avatar: The Last Airbender" and "Raya and the Last Dragon"). Kwan told Asia Society, she's honored and humbled to be a trailblazer for Asian actors: "It meant a lot to me personally if I could see someone reflect something I was going through or what I look like, because there weren't that many [roles like that] back then."

Brent Gore as Matt Garrison

Once the focus of the show and the band, Matt Garrison was always rocking out, and then after two full seasons, he, like his sister and the rest of their family, were just plain out. Nashville native Brent Gore moved away from the acting part of his previous job and focused on the music aspect. He formed the band King Straggler with fellow actors John Hawkes and Rodney Eastman, releasing a self-titled album in 2005. He has gone on to a solo career, under his full name, Brentley Gore, and released numerous albums with the most recent being "From the Divine." His latest, recorded at home during the pandemic, is described as "an indie, avant-garde, folktronica album primarily dealing with the individualized unrecognizable perfection that dwells in all of us." Gore also DJs, and has some impressive fans on Twitter including both The Beatles and Barack Obama.

Heidi Noelle Lenhart as Jenny Garrison

In Season 1, Jenny Garrison was the lead female singer and keyboardist of the California Dreams, and by early Season 2, she was packing her bags, ditching her family, band, and friends and heading off to Italy where she was to attend a music conservatory. Her real-life counterpart, Heidi Noelle Lenhart, stayed in the United States and continued to work in '90s television and made-for-TV movies. She had a six-episode relocation to "Beverly Hills, 90210" as Ellen, a recovering alcoholic and single mother, who makes moves on Donna Martin's former flame Noah Hunter. 

Lenhart also was the titular star of the "Au Pair" film trilogy, with the first two films co-written by her mother, ex-Playboy model Cheryl Saban and produced by her stepfather, Haim Saban. Twice married and twice divorced, Heidi is currently focusing on these roles: "Mama. Partner. Poet. HSP [Highly Sensitive Person]."

Aaron Jackson as Mark Winkle

Aaron Jackson may have been the new kid on the block when he joined the "California Dreams" cast as Sly's talented cousin Mark (although the two had very little in common outside of sharing a last name), but the veteran has now been around the block several times over. 

Since the show ended, Jackson has continued acting, including "Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror," but has also acted as producer and director of many short films, including his festival-winning titles 2017's "What's Your Poison" and 2019's "Reel Life." On top of that, he runs the production company Dangerous Curves Productions, coaches fellow actors with workshops, and travels the country, talking with students about bullying and positive life choices as a motivational speaker. On his acting resume, one of his special skills is juggling (pins and balls) as well as wrestling and snow skiing. 

Diana Uribe as Lorena Marina Costa

When the Garrisons skipped town, Sam needed a new host family to stay with, and luckily newcomer character Lorena Costa and her wealthy family were more than happy to welcome her into their home. Lorena, played by the lively Diana Uribe (not to be confused with the Colombian historian of the same name), made an immediate splash with the band, becoming one of their vocalists, co-manager, and love interests. 

Uribe landed some decent parts following the show, including a part opposite Robert Forester in Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown" and appearing in the music video for Johnny Gill "I Got You." She was also a background dancer in Lenny Kravitz's video for "Are You Gonna Go My Way." Uribe hasn't, however, been involved with the industry since appearing in Broken Sky in 2003. It seems the actress is now enjoying life out of the spotlight and is married with two children.

Michael Cutt as Richard Garrison

While his wife, daughter, and youngest son already having exited the show, Papa Garrison stuck around for two episodes in Season 2, so maybe his son Matt wouldn't feel so orphaned. Michael Cutt's work as the patriarch of the Garrison clan ended up being one of the bigger, and funnier roles of his career, although he packed a lot in on smaller roles, mainly in law enforcement (check out his demo reel). 

An avid outdoorsman and mountain climber, he's sadly climbing back from a very personal tragedy. In 2017, he slipped on ice, striking his tailbone and shattering his neck. He was diagnosed with Acute Traumatic Central Cord Syndrome and required very high-risk surgery. He's on the road to recovery and has a Go Fund Me page to help defray the exorbitant costs for his lengthy rehabilitation. We wish you nothing but the best, Michael.

Gail Ramsey as Melody Garrison

Gail Ramsey played Alan Quartermaine's mistress and mother to their love child on "General Hospital" and is now repenting for her sins and others as the head of her own ministry. The actress had a good run in a 15-year career, including playing Laura Whitmore McCallum on "Generations," and the Garrison matriarch for a full season in "California Dreams," before saying ciao like her daughter Jenny did in Season 2. 

That turned out to be her last role, as the newly minted Christian took a sabbatical from Hollywood, went to Bible College, became an ordained minister, and now teaches and preaches on the pulpit and through every form of media possible. Ramsey's written two books, "Dear God It's Me Again" and "Don't Sign For It!" She's also an accomplished athlete, having won pro-celebrity tournaments in golf, skiing, and tennis.

Ryan O'Neill as Dennis Garrison

In the Garrison household, with siblings Matt and Jenny making all the noise, it was hard for younger brother Dennis to stand out and get a word in.  Although he had an episode named after him and his whereabouts, "Where's Dennis?", child actor Ryan O'Neill's character was phased out of the show before the start of Season 2. In his one season of work, O'Neill was twice nominated for a Young Artist Award, in 1993 and 1994. Since then, he has sporadically worked in the entertainment industry, including getting tied up in 1997's "Hollywood Safari" and making an appearance in the Michael Jackson music video for "Childhood." It appears that O'Neill's last known credit came in 2011, as Ike's (Will Oldham) Friend in New Jerusalem.

Nikki Cox as Allison

Nikki Cox had a very special role for two episodes as Sly's blind girlfriend Allison. Sure, there were jokes with no end in sight, but there were also lessons learned, and a better understanding for our main characters about lives that aren't as fun and rosy as theirs. Cox had a steady rise to fame, including dancing in two Paula Abdul music videos, one directed by David Fincher and co-starring Elijah Wood

She hit it big starring as Tiffany Malloy on "Unhappily Ever After" and continued success with "Norm" before landing her own short-lived sitcom with her first name in 2000. On her last big hit series, "Las Vegas," Cox met her now ex-husband Jay Mohr. The two were married for nine years before Mohr filed for divorce from Cox over possible mental and drug-related issues that allegedly compromised her motherly abilities. Cox has kept a low profile ever since.

Brittney Powell as Randi Jo

Matt crushed hard on Randi Jo, while everyone else has had a crush on her portrayer, German-American actress and model Brittney Powell. The world was first exposed to her body of work in "Playboy: Girls of Spring Break," which followed with a lot of guest work on shows like "California Dreams," "Saved By The Bell: The College Years" and "The New Class." Her biggest contribution to television was her 78 episode residency on "General Hospital" as former call girl Summer Halloway

In the past decade, she played the titular "going on" lady in the dismal comedy "Stacy's Mom" (no direct relation to the Fountains of Wayne song), wrote and starred in the noir film "Trouble Is My Business," and was Verne "Mini Me" Troyer's partner from 2007 until his death in 2018. The two exchanged significant others with Steelers great Hines Ward on "Celebrity Wife Swap."

Barry Coffing and Zachary Throne, singing voices of Jake and Mark

Jake and Mark had the good looks, but the actors that played them apparently didn't have the proper vocal cords to sing the California Dreams back catalog. To remedy this musician Barry Coffing lent Jay Anthony Franke his pipes and Zachary Throne sang Aaron Jackson. Coffing co-wrote the "California Dreams" theme song with Steve and Stephanie Tyrell, and 21 more songs for the show, as well as over 200 other tunes for film and TV. 

Currently, he's the founder and CEO of Music Supervisor Inc., a software company that automates music licensing. Throne is an actor/musician who has worked with Coffing on "The Heights," "Dreams," "The Brady Bunch Movie" soundtrack, and the reality series "On The Road In America." He's acted on "Cop Rock," "90210," "Party of Five," and played in the band Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise. He is currently recording and touring with Slipknot lead singer Corey Taylor.

Too cool for school guest stars

Earl Boen, who played Principal Wolfman Blumford, has a diverse portfolio of memorable work in front of the camera, including being the only actor besides Arnold Schwarzenegger to appear in the first three "Terminator" films. Boen has been retired from the screen since 2003 and now focuses on voice-overs for cartoons and video games.

Denise Dowse has spent a lot of time on television and movies roaming hallways and overseeing the education of TV youth. Dowse has played her share of teachers and principals with a stern approach and slight smile, in such works as "Full House," "Beverly Hills 90210," "Pleasantville," "Coach Carter" and as Vice-Principal McBride on "California Dreams." She has graduated to playing judges, doctors, and detectives, most recently on "Grey's Anatomy" and "Insecure."

Before she was mega pop sensation Fergie with the Black Eyed Peas, the incorporated kid actor Stacy Ferguson unknowingly judged a "Mr. Stud" contest, which resulted in Sly getting his pants wet.

Hiccuping surfer Sea Kelp is just another classic experience Jamie Kennedy has given us. In addition to acting (the "Scream" franchise, "Ad Astra"), he continues to do stand-up comedy and hosts a podcast.

In art imitating her later life, Tara Reid plays a booze-thirsty wild child who almost ruins Mark's life. She became an American sweetheart after starring in "American Pie," but her career has been over-baked since, starring in B and C-level type movies, including the "Sharknado" series.

The surfers and turfers

After Christopher Hewitt served us well on "Mr. Belvedere," he served up laughs and knowledge on "California Dreams" as Mr. Green. It was his penultimate role before dying in 2001 from complications from diabetes.

Eddie Mekka's Uncle Frank was a bad influence on Jake, as he took up smoking to be just as cool as him. Mekka has always been a cool guy though, playing Carmine on "Laverne & Shirley" and recently as a coach of a football team filled with sumo wrestlers in 2018's "Hail Mary!"

Robert Pine played a wealthy dad who wasn't fond of his daughter having an interracial relationship with Tony, and in real life is the proud father of actor Chris Pine. The former "CHiPs" star still rides high in the industry at age 79, and can now play a grandfather.

Hey, hey, it's a Monkee! Peter Tork hung ten as the Grand Surf Guru presiding over the ill-fated soul swapping vows of Tiffani and Sly, in a rare role for him outside of the goofball bassist of The Monkees. He continued to tour with his bandmates up until his death in 2019 at age 77.

Strange that the owner of Sharkey's would appear in only two episodes, but Johnny Williams bit into his bit part. He went on to play many an Italian goomba, with his most famous being Johnny Roastbeef in Martin Scorsese's "Goodfellas."