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Whatever Happened To The Cast Of The King Of Queens

When it comes to by-the-book sitcoms, few are as successful as the hit CBS series "The King of Queens." The show was a TV from its inception in 1998 until its final season in 2007, and if you turn on the TV and flip through channels today, there's a good chance you'll eventually run into an episode. Created by Michael J. Weithorn as a throwback to older, blue-collar sitcoms like "The Honeymooners," the show struck a chord with fans around the world. While much of that success is due to the show's writers, "The King of Queens" became a huge hit in large part because of its amazing cast.

Despite being constantly on the air, "The King of Queens" isn't brought up much in discussions of great television shows of its era. Many fans likely don't even know what the cast is up to nowadays, despite them being such an essential part of what made "The King of Queens" so enjoyable. Several actors who worked on the series went on to have massive careers in showbiz, either through film, television, or the live stage. Some were considered household names even before their appearances on the show, while others took the momentum of being on a hit CBS sitcom to reach even greater heights. Read on to find out what happened to the cast of "The King of Queens."

Kevin James

By far the biggest star to come out of "The King of Queens" is Kevin James, who plays everyman Doug Heffernan on the show. Gluttonous, opinionated, and occasionally dimwitted, Doug is constantly put into complicated situations by his own poor decision making. James' performance actually earned him several accolades over the course of the show's run, such as a Primetime Emmy nod for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2006.

James is arguably more recognizable for his many film roles since "The King of Queens" than for the show itself, as he's had a very successful career on the big screen. During the show's run, he made appearances in movies like "Hitch" and "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry," but it wasn't until his starring role in 2009's "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" that James' Hollywood career really took off. His performance as Paul Blart proved to be a hit, with the movie opening at the top spot at the box office and grossing nearly $180 million. James then continued his movie career with roles in "Grown Ups," "Zookeeper," "Pixels," and "Hotel Transylvania," among others. He also returned to CBS in 2016 with the series "Kevin Can Wait," and he's uploaded a number of short films and other pieces of content to his YouTube channel. James brought an undeniable talent to "The King of Queens," and he's continued his comedic success in big ways since.

Leah Remini

Leah Remini plays Carrie Heffernan in "The King of Queens," the combative wife of Doug. Carrie frequently acts as a foil to Doug, with her implusiveness and intensity often clashing with her more lax and lazy husband. Their dynamic is the centerpiece of the show's comedy, with Carrie constantly pushing Doug to grow as a person and step out of his comfort zone. Along with James and Jerry Stiller, who plays Carrie's father Arthur, Remini forms the core trio of "The King of Queens."

Since the show ended, Leah Remini has arguably been most well known for her outspoken stance against the Church of Scientology, of which she was a member for nearly her entire life. Remini left the Church of Scientology behind in 2013 and began speaking out against the organization on multiple platforms, even producing her own tell-all documentary series titled "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath," which has won several Emmy Awards. Remini still has an active acting career as well, having reunited with Kevin James in 2016 for the CBS sitcom "Kevin Can Wait" and appearing in shows like "The Exes" and "Family Tools." She's also made several prominent TV appearances as herself, such as on "The Masked Singer" and "So You Think You Can Dance?" 

Jerry Stiller

Jerry Stiller can only be described as a comedy icon. With a career spanning over 60 years in entertainment, it should come as no surprise that Stiller became hugely popular for playing Arthur Spooner in "The King of Queens." Arthur is Carrie's widowed father, who's forced to move in with the Heffernans after an unfortunate house fire. Of course, having an in-law in the house causes its fair share of problems, leading to a near-endless stream of hilarious interactions between Arthur, Carrie, and Doug.

Stiller's acting career started in the late 1950s, and he accrued a huge number of TV and film credits in the following decades, mostly in minor comedy roles. He gained particular fame before "The King of Queens" thanks to his performance as Frank Costanza in "Seinfeld." as well as numerous other film and television appearances. He's also frequently collaborated with his son Ben Stiller on films like "The Heartbreak Kid," "Zoolander," and "Heavyweights." Following "The King of Queens," his biggest TV role was as the voice of Principal Stickler in the Disney cartoon Fish Hooks. Stiller sadly passed away in 2020, but he left behind an indelible and incredible legacy.

Victor Williams

One of the most important characters in "The King of Queens" is Doug's best friend Deacon Palmer, played by Victor Williams. Deacon acts as a sounding board for many of Doug's plots throughout the show, while also managing to be the voice of reason during their interactions. Deacon is known for being relaxed and more mature when compared to the ridiculous antics of Doug, but he also has his fair share of trouble in the show. 

Victor Williams rose to prominence thanks to his excellent performance in "The King of Queens," and he's done a lot of work in TV since. His television credits in the wake of the series ending include recurring roles in "The Affair," "NYC 22," "Sneaky Pete," "The Sinner," "Happy Together," and "Hunters," just to name a few. He also plays Coachman Jim in Showtime's big-budget miniseries adaptation of James McBride's "The Good Lord Bird." Additionally, Williams has made smaller appearances in popular shows like "Fringe," "The Leftovers," and "The Righteous Gemstones."

Patton Oswalt

One of the most memorable characters in "The King of Queens" is Spence Olchin, played by Patton Oswalt. Spence is a close friend of Doug who mainly functions as the nerdy guy of their group. He's anxious, dorky, and often out-of-place amidst the more traditionally blue-collar characters of Doug and Deacon. Spence is very in-line with the kinds of characters Oswalt often plays — earnestly lovable nerds who know way too much about pop culture.

Oswalt has an impressive career under his belt, with roles in dozens of movies and shows over the years. He started his journey into the comedy world with stand-up performances and writing jobs for shows like "MADtv" before transitioning into more acting roles like "The King of Queens." Since the show ended, he's become a household name for comedy fans everywhere. His bigger roles include Baxter Sarno in the "Battlestar Galactica" prequel series "Caprica," Teddy Sykes in "Veep," Principal Durbin in "A.P. Bio," and Max in the Netflix reboot of "Mystery Science Theater 3000." He's also done a tone of voice acting work over the years, most famously as Remy the rat in Pixar's 2007 hit "Ratatouille," but also in shows like "BoJack Horseman," "The Sandman," and "M.O.D.O.K."

Larry Romano

Although not present for the entire show, Richie Iannucci plays a major role in "The King of Queens." Played by Larry Romano, the character is a close friend and former roommate of Doug, and their friendship continues well through the series. Romano left the main cast of "The King of Queens" after Season 3, but he still made occasional appearances afterward, even into Season 9.

Romano has continued to appear on the small screen since his time in "The King of Queens," moving directly to the short-lived sitcom "Kristin" immediately after departing the main cast of the CBS series. Since then, he's played roles in shows like "What I Like About You," "The War at Home," and "CSI: NY." He's also accrued some notable film credits over the years, such as in "The Ascent," "bad Education," "The Irishman," and "Laugh Killer Laugh." While Romano has clearly kept busy in the years since "The King of Queens," Richie is arguably still his most famous and beloved character.

Nicole Sullivan

Nicole Sullivan plays the friendly neighbor character of Holly Shumpert in "The King of Queens," who's hired by the Heffernans as a dog walker, but to "walk" Arthur instead of an actual dog. This silly character dynamic is bolstered by an excellent performance from Sullivan, who plays Holly as a friendly and well-meaning character forced to deal with the curmudgeonly old man. Quirky and eccentric, Sullivan's character brings a fun outsider perspective to the rest of the "King of Queens" cast.

Sullivan is a prolific actor and comedian who, like co-star Patton Oswalt, broke out as a writer on "MADtv" in the late 1990s and early 2000s. After her time on "The King of Queens," Sullivan continued getting work both on screen and in voiceover with roles, with credits on "Scrubs," "Family Guy," "Meet the Robinsons," and "Cougar Town," among others. Her biggest live-action role since the show ended has been as Janine in the ABC series "Black-ish" — the Johnson family's next-door neighbor.

Lou Ferrigno

One of the most amusing and strange characters to appear in "The King of Queens" is legendary TV star Lou Ferrigno. Within the lore of the "King of Queens" universe, Ferrigno plays a fictionalized version of himself who becomes a neighbor of the Heffernan family. The humor in their interactions mostly comes from how obsessed Doug and Carrie are with the famous actor, much to his chagrin.

In real life, Ferrigno became a huge star after playing the eponymous Marvel superhero in the 1978 live-action series "The Incredible Hulk." As such, he was a well-known presence in the TV industry long before his role in "The King of Queens," which uses his fame as a long-running joke. Following his time on the show, Ferrigno continued his acting career, most prominently as the voice of the Hulk for much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ferrigno has also appeared in projects like the "Godfather" origin story series "The Offer" and the action movie "Rage," in which he stars. In addition to his on-screen work, Ferrigno has done voice acting for shows like "Adventure Time," in which he plays the legendary hero Billy, and "We Bare Bears." He also featured as a contestant on Season 5 of "The Celebrity Apprentice."

Gary Valentine

Gary Valentine is best known for playing Doug Heffernan's beloved cousin Danny on "The King of Queens." While their relationship starts out a bit contentious, it slowly and surely becomes a healthy friendship based on a mutual love for one another. Danny is a key part of Doug's core friend group and brings a unique brand of comedy to the series, even becoming Spence's roommate at one point. Valentine's chemistry with Kevin James is also largely thanks to the fact that they're brothers in real life, though both took on different last names for their careers in show business.

Valentine's first big acting gig came on his younger brother's show, but his career continued well after "The King of Queens" reached its end. He's been featured in several Happy Madison productions that James was also involved in, such as "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," "Zookeeper," "Jack and Jill," and "Here Comes the Boom." he reunited with his brother in 2016 for the CBS sitcom "Kevin Can Wait," and he played the recurring role of deputy Knudsen in the acclaimed FX series "Fargo," based on the Coen brothers movie of the same name. Valentine has also made appearances in films like the "Dog Who Saved Christmas" series and "Home Team," which also stars James.

Lisa Rieffel

One of the more bizarre elements of "The King of Queens" involves what happens with the character of Sara Spooner, played by Lisa Rieffel. In the show, she very briefly appears as Carrie's half-sister who's a reckless wannabe actress who frequently clashes with both her sister and brother-in-law. What's most interesting about Sara Spooner is that she completely disappears from the show after Season 1, never to be seen or heard from again. Rieffel does perfectly well in the role for the handful of episodes she appears in, but it seems there just wasn't enough meat to the characters for the writers to keep her going.

Fortunately, Rieffel didn't let the loss of her character on "The King of Queens" keep her down. She continued acting after leaving the show, appearing in projects such as "Lost at Home," "NCIS," "Drowning Mona," and "Pivoting." Rieffel's main artistic pursuit since leaving the show has been her music career, however. Since 2003, she's performed as the lead singer for the LA-based alt-rock band Killola. She's recorded multiple albums with the group and performs with them regularly.

Ray Romano

As part of a network crossover event, CBS found a way to insert the lead character from another popular show into "The King of Queens" by featuring Ray Barone from "Everybody Loves Raymond." The character, played by the legendary Ray Romano, only shows up in four episodes throughout "The King of Queens," but he's a fundamental part of each episode's storyline. As a more reserved and anxious character, Ray is often contrasted with the bombastic personality of Doug to create hilarious situations. Several other core characters from "Everybody Loves Raymond" appear in "The King of Queens" as well, creating a connective tissue between the two series.

Ray Romano is one of the biggest names to appear in "The King of Queens," having been in numerous movies and television shows over the course of his long career. After starring as the lead character in "Everyone Loves Raymond," Romano became particularly prominent on the big screen, with credits on films like "The Big Sick," "The Grand," "Bad Education," and even Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman." Younger fans will know him best for providing the voice of Manny the woolly mammothfeatures in the "Ice Age" film franchise. Romano has also kept up his TV work, appearing as a regular on a number of shows including "Men of a Certain Age," "Parenthood," "Vinyl," and "Made for Love."

Merrin Dungey

Merrin Dungey plays the character of Kelly Palmer in "The King of Queens," one of the main recurring characters of the series. Kelly is the wife of Deacon Palmer and has two kids with him in the show named Kirby and Major. She's also a close friend of Carrie's, paralleling Doug's friendship with Deacon. What's perhaps most interesting about her character is the frequently strained relationship she has with Deacon, which is fraught with arguments and affairs. For a show that's generally pretty easygoing and light, "The King of Queens" gets into some serious territory with Kelly and Deacon's relationship.

In addition to "The King of Queens," Dungey has had a long career in television across various networks. Her more notable roles since include Ellie Moss in "Hollywood Heights," Ursula in the fantasy series "Once Upon a Time," Terry Jeffords' wife Sharon in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and detective Adrienne Quinlan in "Big Little Lies." She's also featured in shows like "Malcolm in the Middle," "Alias," "American Horror Stories," "The Resident," and "Lucifer." Dungey stars alongside the likes of Courteney Cox and Greg Kinnear in the 2022 Starz series "Shining Vale."