Whatever Happened To "Big" Pete, Anyway?

When your lifeblood is based on nostalgia for Nickelodeon (i.e. you are me), you often find yourself Googling “whatever happened to that actress?” Though I take comfort in knowing Melissa Joan Heart is alive and well, and that every five years or so Lori Beth Denberg will resurface in Dodgeball or Workaholics, there are plenty of forgotten Nickelodeon stars who have dropped off the grid completely. And, again, when your lifeblood is based on nostalgia for Nickelodeon (i.e. you are still me) it is your civic duty to find out what’s going on with their lives.

And that’s exactly what I did. I flipped through plenty of oldtime ‘90s and early 2000s Nick shows to see where some of your beloved characters ended up today. Most have long given up acting, while others are behind the cameras, and some... well, they merely disappeared with Nickelodeon fame as their shining moment. I mean, not everyone can make like Ariana Grande and follow up their time on Nick with a mega-successful pop career (but I don’t forget your days as a redhead, Grande, because I’ll never forget).

So, without any more delay, here is a selection of some of your favorite forgotten stars of some of your favorite (maybe forgotten) Nickelodeon shows, because you know you're as curious as I am.

1. Ross Hull — Gary On Are You Afraid Of The Dark

Let's be real. Except for guest star Ryan Gosling, the bulk majority of actors on Are You Afraid Of The Dark are probably lost to the ages. Gary, however, was a constant throughout the first few seasons, the ringleader of the Midnight Society, so attention must be paid. Hull has stepped away from acting, as far it would seem, but not necessarily away from the camera: he's a meteorologist who's had a career as a weather anchor aaaaaall over Canada.

2. Mike Maronna — "Big" Pete Wrigley On Pete and Pete

As in, the non-Danny Tamborelli Pete. While he also has stepped away from acting, he hasn't strayed too far from film and TV, working as an electrician behind the scenes.

3. Sean O’Neal — Sam Anders On Clarissa Explains It All

We've tried to find what Sam from Clarissa Explains It All is up to before, and our efforts were mainly fruitless. O'Neal did vocal work for some animes in the early 2000s, so that's... something?

4. Jason Zimbler — Ferguson Darling On Clarissa Explains It All

Speaking of Clarissa, what has Fergface been up to? Again, acting is off the table, but he seems to have a cushy IT job at a little channel called HBO.

5. Vanessa Baden — Kyra Rockmore On Kenan And Kel

Of note, Baden was a Nickelodeon power player: she not only served as Kenan's Kel-obsessed sister on Kenan And Kel, but she also spent significant time on Gullah Gullah Island. There isn't much to say from there, though, she picked up a sociology degree from Florida State University and probably retreated into a life of normalcy... a good move when you spend a chunk of your adolescence with a giant yellow tadpole.

6. Irene Ng — Shelby Woo On The Mystery Files Of Shelby Woo

The Mystery Files Of Shelby Woo was only on Nickelodeon for a hot second, but who can forget that title? Ng has retired from acting, but don't cry for her: she headed to Harvard post-Shelby Woo. I wonder if "I Starred In A Nickelodeon TV Show" was the title of her admission essay...

7. Lindsay Felton — Caitlin Seeger On Caitlin’s Way

The titular Caitlin of Caitlin's Way made for an interesting Nick show lead, half because she was the closest thing we got to a goth girl protagonist, half because she was the closest thing we got to a horse girl protagonist. Technically Seeger hasn't stopped acting, and apparently she snagged a bit part on Orange Is The New Black in the past... three years. Still, no other roles that live up to Caitlin and her collection of mulberry-colored lipstick.

8. Christina Vidal — Taina Morales On Taina

Real talk: I don't remember much about Taina except that it sort of had a proto-Victorious theme (kids in performing art schools, etc) and a really fire theme song. Anyway, leading lady Vidal isn't not acting: she's actually had some guest roles on everything from Castle to Limitless. But, like Seeger, nothing has truly lived up to the days when she helmed Taina, IMOH.

9. Brandon Gilberstadt — Justin Taylor On 100 Deeds For Eddie McDowd

That's the one that wasn't Eddie McDowd, BTW, and last we saw him it was in a 2012 episode of Body of Proof. But, hey, it's hard to live up to your co-star when he's basically Jason Dohring and Seth Green.

10. Kristen Herrera — Dana Cruz On Zoey 101

Hm... you may remember Herrera as one of Zoey's first roommates, who bounced after Season 1 and was never seen again. Well, Herrera kind of pulled a Dana, in that her last acting role was in 2008 and then she was never seen again (um, at least by me).

11. Raja Fenske — Jake Behari On Unfabulous

Fenske is best known as playing Addie's heartthrob crush, and he's since acted since the show went off air. But, while Emma Roberts is raising hell on American Horror Story and Scream Queens, Fenske's last role was 2013's Pendejo which is apparently a movie that happened.

12. Robert Pinkston — Coconut Head On Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide

Coconut Head actually has some pretty sweet Morrissey hair. So, at least someone escaped their Nickelodeon days as their best self...

If you ask me, all of this is just an excuse to revisit all of these shows to see these amazing teen actors in their prime. Especially if it means revisiting the fire Taina theme song.

Images: Nickelodeon (13)