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The Real Reason These '90s TV Characters Were Recast

Growing up in the 1990s meant that TV lovers had the opportunity to watch and experience some of the greatest shows of all time. From critically acclaimed sitcoms like "Frasier" to groundbreaking dramas like "Law & Order," there was no shortage of amazing television to watch. And with those great shows came several iconic characters, some of which were played by multiple people because the actor who originated the part was recast.

As much as we love certain actors and actresses on these shows, there's never a guarantee that they'll stick around for the entire series run. This can be because of behind-the-scenes shenanigans with producers or network executives, the actors getting better opportunities or having previous commitments with other projects, or real life simply getting in the way. Here is a rundown of nine memorable characters from several '90s television shows that were recast with different actors, and the various rumors and reasons as to why they left these shows in the first place.

Aunt Vivian from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Anybody who is well-versed in the world of sitcoms knows about the drama surrounding the departure of Janet Hubert from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." The popular sitcom stars Will Smith as a teenager sent to live in the affluent community of Bel-Air with his Uncle Philip and Aunt Vivian, played by James Avery and Janet Hubert, respectively. Avery stuck with the show for all six seasons, but Hubert left the show after Season 3, with Daphne Maxwell Reid stepping into the role for the remainder of the show's run.

Since Hubert's departure, the feud between her and Smith persisted for several years. Rumors and speculation circulated endlessly, and it wasn't until the "Fresh Prince" reunion on HBO Max that the two were able to talk about their differences and come to an understanding. In between Smith and Hubert's heart-to-heart about their past issues, the actress revealed why she didn't return to the show, stating that she wasn't actually fired and cited a bad deal from the network for why she chose to leave. Regardless, after all those years of bad blood, it's nice to see the two former co-stars finally make amends.

Carol Willick from Friends

One of the major plotlines of the first season of "Friends" is Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) struggling with love after his first wife, Carol Willick, comes out of the closet and divorces him. Though he finds hope in the return of his high school crush Rachel Greene (Jennifer Aniston), Ross' world turns upside down yet again when he finds out that Carol is pregnant with his child in the second episode of the series. Despite his initial hesitation over raising a child with his ex-wife, especially considering the tense relationship he has with Carol's new partner Susan (Jessica Hecht), the trio end up putting aside their differences once baby Ben (Cole Sprouse) is born at the end of the season.

Carol, Susan, and Ben all become major fixtures in Ross' life from that point on, with Carol appearing across seven seasons. When Carol first appears on the show, she is played by Anita Barone. However, Barone left the part in order to pursue a career in film and was replaced by Jane Sibbett, who would go on to play Carol for the rest of her character's appearances.

Becky Conner from Roseanne

It can be a little jarring for audiences to accept that a character they loved suddenly looks and sounds different because the actor was recast between seasons. This suspension of disbelief was put to the test with "Roseanne," the sitcom starring Roseanne Barr as the matriarch of the Conner family. Roseanne's eldest child, Becky, was originally portrayed by actress Lecy Goranson for the first five seasons. But the actress had plans to attend Vassar College and live a more normal life, so the writers wrote Becky out to accommodate Goranson's leave from the show.

But when they decided to bring Becky back, Sarah Chalke was brought in to replace Lecy in Seasons 6 and 7. Goranson would later return to the role in Season 8, but Chalke didn't actually leave the show. Instead, the two women alternated appearances, subject to Goranson's availability. The constant switching ended when Chalke committed to the role in the final season, but Goranson returned as Becky for the short-lived "Roseanne" revival and its spin-off show "The Conners." As for Chalke, she also returned for the revival, but as a different character.

Morgan Matthews from Boy Meets World

A television character can change a lot between seasons — sometimes because young actors age quickly, but sometimes as the result of a change in casting. This was the case for Morgan Matthews, the younger sister of Cory Matthews from the family sitcom "Boy Meets World." During the show's first two seasons, Morgan is portrayed by Lily Nicksay, a sweet little girl who gets into her own misadventures in the background. But in Season 3, Morgan disappears for several episodes before reappearing as an entirely new person. Now portrayed by Lindsay Ridgeway, Morgan is much more vocal and antagonistic towards her brother.

While never explicitly stated, Nicksay's departure from "Boy Meets World" came as a "mutual agreement" between her parents and the producers, implying that she chose to leave the show at a young age. But despite leaving, Nicksay continued to act after "Boy Meets World." She has appeared in crime dramas like "The Mentalist" and "NCIS," as well as films such as "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle." Ridgeway, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have done much acting since the show ended, although both Morgans appear together in an episode of "Girl Meets World."

Harriette Winslow from Family Matters

"Boy Meets World" was originally part of ABC's "TGIF" programming block on Friday nights. This block introduced several fan-favorite shows geared towards a family audience, including sitcoms like "Full House," "Sabrina The Teenage Witch," and "Perfect Strangers." The latter was so popular that it produced its own spin-off called "Family Matters," which is now best known for launching the iconic character of Urkel, the nerdy and annoying next-door neighbor. But before it became all about Urkel, "Family Matters" centered around the Winslow family.

Jo Marie Peyton played matriarch Harriette Winslow, a character that first appeared on "Perfect Strangers" in the 1980s, for eight of the nine seasons of "Family Matters." However, during the show's final season, Peyton left, and the role of Harriette was taken over by Judyann Elder. Peyton had expressed interest in leaving the show prior to the final season, motivated by a desire to try other projects. There were rumors that she left the show due to the popularity of Urkel, but Peyton has denied them.

Frank Costanza from Seinfeld

"Seinfeld" is filled with several memorable side characters. But one of the greatest is Frank Costanza, the father of George Costanza. Most people know Frank as being portrayed by Jerry Stiller, who was also known for his equally memorable role as Arthur Spooner on "The King of Queens." Stiller played Frank for over 20 episodes of "Seinfeld," but he wasn't the first person to play the character.

When Frank first appeared in the fourth season, he was originally portrayed by John Randolph. Randolph was not the first choice of show creator Larry David, who had previously called on Stiller to play the part. But Stiller declined, and Randolph was chosen instead when the character debuted. It wasn't until much later that Stiller eventually agreed to play the part, and fans were gifted with all the hilarious interactions between George and his father. The most interesting aspect about Stiller's casting as Frank is that Randolph's scenes from Frank's original appearance were reshot when the show went into syndication.

Owen Salinger from Party of Five

Fox's "Party of Five" is a family drama that centers around the Salinger siblings, who must adjust their lives after their parents die in a car accident. The four main siblings consist of eldest brother Charlie (Matthew Fox), younger brother Bailey (Scott Wolf), middle child Julia (Neve Campbell), and youngest sister Claudia (Lacey Chabert). And then there's Owen Salinger, the youngest sibling, who is only one year old when the show starts. "Party of Five" shows all five siblings, including Owen, grow up before viewers' eyes. But little Owen does more than just grow up: He becomes a completely different person, thanks to recasting.

Because Owen is just a baby when he is first introduced, the character was recast several times. Owen is portrayed by multiple young actors in his early years: Alexander and Zachary Ahnert, Brandon and Taylor Porter, and Andrew and Steven Cavarno. It wasn't until later in the series that actor Jacob Smith took over the role, depicting Owen as a school-age child and playing him for the rest of the show.

Rose Walton From Keeping Up Appearances

The British comedy series "Keeping Up Appearances" follows Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge) as a middle-class woman who constantly strives to gain the acceptance of the upper class. Her efforts include deliberately mispronouncing her last name to make it sound fancier and hosting elaborate parties to fool her neighbors into thinking she is a member of their world. Her attempts to appear more like an upper-class woman are constantly thwarted by others, including her own husband and family. In addition to having a father who constantly embarrasses her, Hyacinth has two sisters, Daisy and Rose. Daisy, a happy-go-lucky character with a slob for a husband, is portrayed by Judy Cornwell.

The character of Rose, a man-chaser known for wearing provocative outfits, is played by actress Shirley Stelfox in the show's first series. But when the show returned for a second series, Stelfox already had prior commitments to other projects that meant she was not able to continue playing the character of Rose. She was replaced by another actress, Mary Millar, who would portray Rose for the remainder of the show.

Jimmy Olsen from Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

There have been many different adaptations of Superman over the years, both live-action and animated. One of the most notable is "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," a series that focuses on the relationship between Superman and his love interest, Lois Lane. Like many other adaptations, this show features its own version of Jimmy Olsen, the Daily Planet photographer who works closely with both Lois and Clark Kent. Michael Landes portrays Jimmy in the first season of the show, but was fired and replaced by Justin Whalin for the next three seasons.

According to Landes in a Digital Spy interview, he was informed that he was being let go from the show because he "looked too much like Dean Cain." Of all the reasons to fire someone from a television show, this is definitely one of the strangest. However, Landes was able to rebound from the ordeal with roles in the horror film "Final Destination 2" and a starring role in the British series "Hooten & the Lady."