Claire Danes picked up early work with shorts and minor TV cameos in the ’90s before landing her breakout role as Angela Chase on My So-Called Life. The then-teenage star played the relatable high school student until the show’s wrap in 1995, also hitting the big screen as Beth March in 1994’s Little Women during this time. She returned to film soon after, starring opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1996), and going on to appear in The Rainmaker (1997), Les Misérables (1998), Brokedown Palace (1999), Igby Goes Down (2002), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), The Family Stone (2005), and Stardust (2007) before she landed her first Emmy for the 2010 HBO film Temple Grandin. Danes is now perhaps best-known for her Emmy-winning role of Carrie Mathison in Homeland, a gig she has held since 2011.
After making a few small-screen appearances in one-off episodes of ’90s shows, Jared Leto landed his first major role as My So-Called Life‘s Jordan Catalano. He played the high school rebel through the drama’s 1995 finale, reuniting with costar Claire Danes months later for How to Make an American Quilt. Leto then added to his filmography, earning credits for Prefontaine (1997), Urban Legend (1998), Girl, Interrupted (1999), Requiem for a Dream (2000), Panic Room (2002), Lord of War (2005), Lonely Hearts (2006), and Mr. Nobody (2009). The performer also worked on his music career during this time, dropping studio albums as a part of Thirty Seconds to Mars. He then nabbed his first Oscar thanks to his celebrated turn as Rayon in 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club, and took on the role of The Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad.
A.J. Langer kicked off her acting career in the late ’80s and picked up early roles in episodes of Drexell’s Class, Blossom, The Wonder Years, and Baywatch before landing a part in My So-Called Life as Rayanne Graff. She played the out-there pal to Angela and Rickie until the show’s 1995 wrap. Langer kept busy over the next decade, popping up in Coach, Escape from L.A. (1996), Seinfeld, It’s Like, You Know…, Three Sisters, and Eyes. The actress, who married royalty in 2005 when she exchanged nuptials with Charles Courtenay, 19th Earl of Devon, slowed down her career in recent years, doing a stint as Erica Warner on Private Practice from 2011 to 2012 and hitting Lifetime in the 2013 TV movie Kristin’s Christmas Past.
Wilson Cruz picked up his first on-screen role with My So-Called Life, playing Rickie Vasquez for the length of the show’s run. He followed up the debut gig with big-screen turns in Nixon (1995), All Over Me (1997), Joyride (1997), Supernova (2000), and Party Monster (2003), and small-screen roles in Ally McBeal, Party of Five, The West Wing, and Raising the Bar. In recent years, Cruz earned credits for He’s Just Not That Into You (2009), Pushing Daisies, Grey’s Anatomy, Single Ladies, and Red Band Society.
Devon Gummersall picked up one of his first roles as My So-Called Life‘s Brian Krakow. The actor, who had previously cameoed on Step by Step and Blossom, followed his turn as the smart student with roles in It’s My Party (1996), Independence Day (1996), Relativity, Felicity, Dick (1999), Roswell, The L Word , Reeker (2005), and State of Mind. Gummersall’s recent credits include episodes of iZombie, Mad Men, Criminal Minds, and The Last Ship.
Devon Odessa joined My So-Called Life as Angel’s childhood friend Sharon Cherski. The rising star filled the next decade with projects like Campfire Tales (1997), Nowhere (1997), and The Omega Code (1999), as well as episodes of Pacific Blue, Touched by an Angel, and That’s So Raven. Odessa made her last credited turn in a 2011 episode of Private Practice.
My So-Called Life found its Patty Chase in Bess Armstrong, who played Angela’s mother for the show’s two-season run. The Jaws 3-D alum went on to book gigs in Pecker (1998), Diamond Men (2000), and episodes of Touched by an Angel, The Nanny, Good Morning, Miami, Frasier, and One Tree Hill. In recent years, Armstrong did a 10-episode stint on House of Lies as Julianne Hotschragar, played Professor Beth Marillo on Switched at Birth, and joined Zoo as Elizabeth.
Tom Irwin found his spot on My So-Called Life as Angela’s father, Graham Chase. Irwin came into the role after building up his résumé in the ’80s and early ’90s, earning credits for My Life and Times, Light of Day (1987), Midnight Run (1988), Men Don’t Leave (1990), Deceived (1991), and Mr. Jones (1993). The actor followed My So-Called Life with a string of TV movies, going on to appear in The Haunting (1999), 21 Grams (2003), Marley & Me (2008), and episodes of Without a Trace, Private Practice, LOST, Saving Grace, Grey’s Anatomy, Chasing Life, and Devious Maids.
Lisa Wilhoit signed on to play Danielle Chase, the younger sister to Angela, in My So-Called Life. Wilhoit landed the gig after making an uncredited appearance in 1991’s Hook, and followed up with roles in Adam and Eve (2005), The Kid & I (2005), and episodes of Social Studies, The Tom Show, 7th Heaven, and Greek. Wilhoit’s most recent credits are for Family Guy, in which she voices Connie D’Amico.