What The Cast Of Ellen Is Doing Today

Running from 1994 through 1998, "Ellen" was aired under the title "These Friends of Mine" for its first season. The title was later changed to keep people from confusing the show with the famous NBC sitcom "Friends." "Ellen" revolves around Los Angeles-based bookstore owner Ellen Morgan (played by Ellen DeGeneres) and her friends, who are just as hilarious as her. Just like the show's title, Ellen's group of friends was also changed in Season 2, but fans of the ABC sitcom can vouch that its essence wasn't.

However, its plot isn't the only thing that makes the show worth looking back on. In 1997, shortly after DeGeneres came out as lesbian in real life, so did her character, making her American television's first-ever protagonist to declare they're gay. Ellen Morgan came out in the fourth season and was given a partner in the fifth. Given that this was over two decades ago, the show received mixed reactions from the public and was ultimately canceled by the network.

Regardless of whether you're a true "Ellen" fan or not, you may want to catch up on what its main cast is currently working on. Here's what nine principal actors from the five-season-long iconic yet underrated sitcom are doing now.

Ellen DeGeneres found success as a talk show host

Without a doubt, Ellen DeGeneres did justice to her character, a short-haired woman in her early 30s who strongly dislikes feminine clothes and dates men once in a while, only to end up realizing she's actually into women. Ellen Morgan is also a gawky people-pleaser who starts prattling whenever she lands into a situation that's too awkward for her to handle — but in an endearing way.

After "Ellen" ended, DeGeneres starred in another sitcom titled "The Ellen Show," which aired on CBS from September 2001 to January 2002. In 2003, she won hearts by voicing Dory in the animated Disney movie "Finding Nemo," the 2016 sequel of which ("Finding Dory") saw DeGeneres reprising the role. In 2003, the comedian also launched her very own talk show titled "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Despite garnering extreme popularity, she faced huge backlash in 2020 after former and then-working employees called the show and its host out on the racism, sexism, and sexual harassment they faced on the set. After 19 seasons, "The Ellen Degeneres Show" ended in controversy, with its final episode airing in May 2022.

Over the years, DeGeneres has performed stand-up comedy, acted in a handful of movies, and hosted multiple award shows, including the Emmys, Grammys, and Oscars. She has also authored books like "My Point...And I Do Have One," "The Funny Thing Is...," and" Seriously...I'm Kidding." She's been married to actor Portia de Rossi since 2008.

Joely Fisher is an established actor

Joely Fisher portrayed Ellen Morgan's quirky childhood friend, Paige Clark, in "Ellen." First introduced in Season 2, Fisher's character stayed on the show until it was canceled. Although Paige was initially upset when her friend, Ellen, revealed her sexual orientation, she ultimately accepted it and became one of Ellen's biggest supporters.

Following the cancelation of "Ellen," Fisher appeared in movies like "Inspector Gadget," "Cougar Club," and "You" alongside TV shows such as "Normal, Ohio," "Danny," "Baby Bob," "Desperate Housewives," and "'Til Death." She has also acted in two Broadway shows — "Grease" and "Cabaret." Fisher is also a singer: The 1993 album "Tradition: A Family at Christmas" features multiple Christmas carols Fisher recorded with her mother and sister. Another of her most notable works as a vocalist is the song "One For My Baby" from Harold Arlen's 1995 album "STAGE."

Fisher's been serving as the secretary-treasurer for The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) since 2021. She was re-elected for the role in 2023. She shares three daughters with her husband and cinematographer Christopher Duddy. She's also a stepmother to Duddy's two sons from his previous relationship.

David Anthony Higgins stuck to acting

Portraying Joe Farrell, David Anthony Higgins first appeared on "Ellen" in Season 1. Later, in Season 3, he became part of the main cast and remained so for the rest of the show's run. Joe is the barista at the café built inside Ellen's bookstore. Despite being a leading character in three seasons, Joe mostly serves as merely a sarcastic friend of Ellen without the show going into the details of his life.

The last "Ellen" episode was aired in July 1998, and by September, Higgins was back on television, playing the leading character in The WB's sitcom "The Army Show." Unfortunately, the show was canceled by the network in December. From 2000 to 2006, Higgins played Craig Feldspar in "Malcolm in the Middle." From 2009 to 2013, he portrayed Reginald Bitters in Nickelodeon's "Big Time Rush." In more recent years, he was featured on the CBS sitcoms "Mike & Molly" and "B Positive." He has also appeared in a few movies, including "The Great Buck Howard" and "Miss Nobody." Additionally, Higgins co-wrote a lesser-known one-season series called "International Ghost Investigators" and the 1997 film "The Wrong Guy," which he also produced and starred in. He shares two children with his wife, Julia Higgins.

Clea Lewis appears mostly on TV but has done voice-over work as well

Portrayed by Clea Lewis, the character Audrey Penney first appeared in Season 1 and became part of Ellen Morgan's core friend group in Season 3. Audrey likes to get dolled up in pink clothes and has an annoyingly squeaky voice. In "Ellen," she initially works at Ellen's bookstore but eventually becomes co-owner.

After "Ellen," Lewis was seen in 16 episodes of "Maggie Winters," which ran from 1998 to 1999. She played the wife of the title character in NBC's "Andy Barker, P.I." and had recurring roles in USA Network's "Royal Pains" and the fifth season of FX's "The Americans." Lewis has appeared in films like "Perfect Stranger," "Confessions of a Shopaholic," and"Antarctica," but is also well-known for her work as a voice-over artist. She voiced Nicky Little in the Disney animated series "Pepper Ann" and multiple characters in "Ice Age: The Meltdown" and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs."

In 1999, Lewis acted in Peter Ackerman's play, "Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight," and ended up marrying him in 2000. The couple now share two children. Lewis's other theatrical credits include "An Experiment with an Air Pump," "Fuddy Meers," and "Writer's Block." She debuted on Broadway with the Manhattan Theatre Club's 2005 production of "Absurd Person Singular."

Jeremy Piven has a stable career in stand-up comedy alongside acting

Jeremy Piven played Spence Kovak in the last three seasons of "Ellen." Spence is Ellen's cousin and a former doctor-in-training who studies law only to aim to become a doctor again. From the end of Season 3 to the beginning of Season 4, Spence dates Paige Clark.

Since 1998, Piven has acted in many films and TV shows, but is best known for playing Harry Selfridge in the British series "Mr Selfridge" and Ari Gold in the HBO series "Entourage." In 2017 and 2018, a total of eight women called Piven out on the sexual assault and harassment they experienced at the hands of the actor. While Piven denied all the allegations at the time and even underwent a polygraph test to claim his innocence, he was faced with serious backlash from the media and somewhat disappeared from the face of the industry. Five years later in 2023, Piven made a comeback with his performance in the Nathaniel Clifton biopic "Sweetwater." He has now established a career in stand-up. In early April 2024, he toured with a stand-up comedy show, performing in Melbourne, Sydney, and Miami.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Arye Gross still has an active acting career on stage and on the screen

Arye Gross portrayed Adam Green, an old friend and roommate of Ellen, in the first three seasons of "Ellen." Before Adam leaves for England to pursue a career in photojournalism, his friendship with Ellen is given a romantic aspect that ultimately doesn't play out. First appearing in Season 1, Adam was a main character until he was written off at the beginning of the third season.

Following his departure from the sitcom, Gross has mostly been seen in smaller roles in TV shows and movies. Notable projects Gross has appeared in include films like 1997's "Big City Blues," 1998's "Spoiler," 2000's "Big Eden," and 2018's "Nostalgia" and shows like "Diagnosis: Murder," "Knight Rider," "Six Feet Under," and "Castle." Gross also directed a movie titled "The Prince and the Surfer" in 1999. He has acted in the Broadway production of Pulitzer-winning playwright Donald Margulies' "Brooklyn Boy." Some non-Broadway plays Gross has been part of include "Our Mother's Brief Affair," "The Square," "Room Service," and "La Bete." He's been married to Lisa Schulz since 1999 and has one daughter.

Holly Fulger isn't quite in the limelight anymore

Holly Fulger only appeared in Season 1 of "Ellen." She played one of Ellen Morgan's closest friends, Holly Jamison, who wouldn't mind being the star of the show but is too timid to let that happen.

Over the years, Fulger has played brief supporting characters in film and television. These include shows like "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "NYPD Blue," and "7th Heaven" and the 2007 movie, "The Rat Thing." Notably, she played Aunt Judy in the Disney movies "Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century," "Zenon: The Zequel," and "Zenon: Z3."

In 2020, Fulger launched the digital nonprofit True Beauty Discovery, which encourages girls and women to find beauty in who they are. In 2012 and 2015, respectively, she created two lesser-known web series called "Speaking of Beauty" and "The Hollywood Beauty Detective," which deal with subjects similar to the ones her non-profit champions.

Maggie Wheeler continues to play supporting characters

Only appearing in the first season of "Ellen," Maggie Wheeler played Anita Warwell, a part of Ellen Morgan's friend group, which also included Holly Jamison and Adam Green. However, Wheeler is probably best known for portraying Janice, the ex-girlfriend of Matthew Perry's Chandler Bing in NBC's "Friends."

You may have also seen her in the CBS series "Everybody Loves Raymond." Wheeler has played supporting roles in movies like 1998's "The Parent Trap" and 2021's "Mark, Mary & Some Other People" and brief roles in shows like "Will & Grace," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Drake & Josh," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Shameless." Additionally, she has done voice-over work for a huge range of projects, including "Dr. Dolittle 3," "The New Batman Adventures," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," and "The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants."

The actor has been married to sculptor Daniel Borden Wheeler since 1990, and the duo is seemingly going strong with two daughters.

Patrick Bristow started teaching improv classes

Played by Patrick Bristow, the character Peter Barnes first appeared in the second season of "Ellen." Although Peter was initially introduced as an employee at the charity organization where Ellen Morgan volunteered, the character was eventually shown to have different professions in different seasons. In the show, Peter dated Paige Clark's assistant, Barrett, and was extremely supportive of Ellen when she came out.

Apart from "Ellen," Bristow is best known for playing Patrick, the maître d' at the Tipton Hotel in "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody." He has also appeared in TV shows like "Malcolm in the Middle," "Pretty Little Liars," and "Shameless," as well as movies like 2005's "The Longest Yard," and 2013's "Pain & Gain."

According to Bristow's official website, he and Brian Henson co-created Henson Alternative's extremely successful adult improv-comedy puppet show "Puppet Up Uncensored." Bristow is currently an improv teacher and an entertainment consultant. He married his long-term boyfriend, Andrew Nicastro, in 2010.