By Sara Vilkomerson
Updated November 07, 2014 at 03:30 PM EST
Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

When EW reunited the cast of Sisters, the beloved NBC drama that ran from 1991-1996, talk naturally turned to a certain former co-star turned Sexiest Man Alive: George Clooney.

“I ran into George a few years ago and I said to him, ‘I told you not to leave Sisters! Your career has never recovered,” says Julianne Phillips (Frankie Reed) with a laugh. “It was great to see him. He’s so incredibly sweet and kind. Just the same George as he always was.”

Phillips remembers their time on the set together fondly. “George was a goofball. He was the proverbial clown. We’d sit in the trailer and see who could tell the dirtiest jokes.”

Clooney played James Falconer, a detective who falls in love with Sela Ward’s character, Teddy, and marries her. “Yes, he was my husband for a year,” says Sela Ward. “None of us wanted him to leave! I remember after I won an Emmy he said to me, ‘I’m just riding on your coattails.’ And now here he is….I saw him at an Academy Awards party and wanted to say to him: okay, do I get to ride your coattails now?”

James Falconer met his demise when it became clear that Clooney was moving on to bigger things. “The other girls don’t remember this, but I remember sitting in the trailer with him and he was like, there’s a pilot that they want me to do and it’s a sure thing. But there’s this other show produced by Spielberg that I really want,” says Patricia Kalember (Georgie Reed). That other show? ER, which went on to launch Clooney into the A-list stratosphere.

Swoosie Kurtz, who played Alex, wasn’t surprised. “This isn’t Monday morning quarterbacking—I knew he had it,” she says. “That chemistry. That charisma. I felt it and it was special. What you don’t almost ever get in a guy that gorgeous is a sense of humor about himself. Those two qualities rarely occur in one man. That’s the beauty of George.”

For more classic TV and movie reunions, including Ghostbusters and Mean Girls, pick up a copy of the latest Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday.