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3rd Rock from the Sun cast now – Tragic deaths, restraining orders and Hollywood royalty

American sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun aired from 1996-2001 and followed three aliens on a trip to Earth, the third planet from the sun.

They consider the Earth to be an insignificant planet and pose as a human family in Ohio in order to study human behaviour reporting to an unseen boss named Big Giant Head, who was eventually revealed to take the form of William Shatner.

The much-loved show launched the careers of stars including Joseph Gordon-Levitt and John Lithgow and in 1997 it won the most Primetime Emmy Awards for a TV show with five wins and eight nominations.

But what are the cast doing now, 20 years on from the show’s end?

John Lithgow


John Lithgow has written children’s books as well as having a lengthy acting career

John Lithgow, 75, played Dick Solomon, the leader of the expedition and otherwise known as High Commander.

Since his role on 3rd Rock from the Sun, he has had a incredible Hollywood career, starring in 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, Interstellar, Late Night, and The Crown, where he played Winston Churchill.

He received his first Oscar nomination for his role in The World According to Garp, and his second for Terms of Endearment.

He starred in more films including Footloose, Shrek, Dreamgirls and Bombshell, where he played Rodger Ailes.

He has written children’s books and recorded music for children, and sometimes appears on stage with a guitar, singing children’s songs.

He has published two books of poetry and illustrations about Donald Trump, one of which reached number three on The Times’ hardcover nonfiction bestsellers in its first week.

John married teacher Jean Taynton in 1966, and they had one son together named Ian, born in 1972, who starred in 48 episodes of 3rd Rock.

He split from Jean after he had an affair with actress Luv Ullmann, and they divorced in 1980.

John then married Mary Yeager, a history professor who supports Liverpool FC, in 1981.

They share a son named Nathan and a daughter called Phoebe.

Kristen Johnston


Kristen Johnston went on to mentor high school girls with similar issues she battled
Kristen Johnston went on to mentor high school girls with similar issues she battled

Kristen Johnston, 53, played Sally Solomon, lieutenant of the expedition and second-in-command to Dick.

After 3rd Rock ended, Kirsten had a starring role in Sex and the City in 2004 as the iconic Lexi Featherington, who died falling out of a window after exclaiming: “I’m so bored I could die!”

The two-time Emmy-winning actress went on to star in other shows including The New Adventures of Old Christine, Ugly Betty and Modern Family.

She also acted in Mom alongside her 3rd Rock co star French Stewart, as well as Ice Age, Music and Lyrics, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and Bride Wars.

Kristen has written an autobiography called Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster, in which she details her pills and alcohol addiction that she struggled with in high school.

Sober since 2007, she now mentors high school girls in New York who are similarly battling with addiction and self-esteem issues,

In 2013, Kristen was diagnosed with lupus myellitis, which forced her to miss some of her filming for her series The Exes, with another character played by Leah Remini brought in to cover her absence.

She married David Newsom in 1996 and actor Ryan Reynolds in 1999-2000, and is thought to be single now.

French Stewart


French Stewart met his first wife on the 3rd Rock set
French Stewart met his first wife on the 3rd Rock set

French Stewart, 57, played Harry Solomon, transmitter for the group’s mission, receiving messages from the Big Giant Head.

The actor went on to star on Ally McBeal, Bones, Pushing Daisies, and Private Practice, and The Middle, as well as playing Inspector Gadget in Inspector Gadget 2.

He had a starring role as Chef Rudy in Mom alongside Kristen, and then guest starred after the first two series until the show concluded in 2021.

He was married to actress Katherine LaNasa, who he met when she had a guest role on 3rd Rock, from 1998 to 2009.

He married Vanessa Claire Perkins in 2011, and they share one daughter named Helene, who is seven.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt


Joseph Gordon-Levitt went on to have an illustrious Hollywood career
Joseph Gordon-Levitt went on to have an illustrious Hollywood career

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 40, played Tommy Solomon when he was just 15, and looked the youngest, but was actually the oldest of the aliens.

He was nominated for three Screen Actors Guild Awards for the role.

Former child star Joseph has starred in a host of films including Mysterious Skin, Brick, 500 Days Of Summer, Inception, Looper, Lincoln, 50:, and The Trial of the Chicago 7.

He played Robin in the Batman films alongside Christian Bale’s Batman, and whistleblower Edward Snowden in Snowden, 2016.

He also had a voice cameo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017.

In 2013, he wrote, directed and starred in Don Jon, alongside Scarlett Johansson and Juliane Moore, for which he received an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay, and has gone on to write several more films.

He helped to produce Broadway show Slava’s Snowshow, and founded an online collaborative media platform called HitRecord.

He married tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley in 2014. They share one son, born in 2015, and a daughter who was born in 2017, with whom he lives in New Zealand after he moved his TV production there to safely film away from the pandemic ripping through the US at the time.

Tragically, his older brother Dan, who was a photographer and fire spinner, died in 2010 aged 36.

Jane Curtin


Jane Curtin played Dr. Mary Albright, an anthropologist and Dick's girlfriend
Jane Curtin played Dr. Mary Albright, an anthropologist and Dick’s girlfriend

Jane Curtin, 73, played Dr. Mary Albright, an anthropologist and Dick’s off and on girlfriend.

The actress and comedian went on to star in I Don’t Know How She Does It, The Heat, The Spy Who Dumped Me and Godmothered and has starred in episodes of Broad City, The Good Wife and The Good Fight.

Her delivery has led to her being nicknamed “the Queen of deadpan” and she was often on Saturday Night Live, and one of her characters named Prymaat Conehead was made into a film called Coneheads.

She has been married to producer Patrick Lynch since 1975, and they share one daughter named Tess, who was born in 1983.

Simbi Khali


Simbi Khali has lent her voice to a host of video games as well as acting roles in films
Simbi Khali has lent her voice to a host of video games as well as acting roles in films

Simbi Khali played Nina Campbell, a professional assistant to Mary and Dick at their university, initially meant to be a recurring character, but becoming a main role in the third season.

After 3rd Rock, the actress appeared programmes including Martin, The Bernie Mac Show, Weeds and Better Things.

She has starred in movies We Were Soldiers, Vampire in Brooklyn, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Plump Fiction and Mississippi Damned.

She has also lent voice to several films including as Varesh Ossa in video game Guild Wars Nightfall, and as Amanda in the game Detriot: Become Human.

She married actor Cress Williams in 2000 but they split in 2011, and they share two children, son Elijah born in 2004, and daughter Amika, born in 2007.

Elmarie Wendel


Elmarie Wendel died in 2018, aged 89
Elmarie Wendel died in 2018, aged 89

Elmarie Wendel starred as Mamie Dubcek, the eccentric landlady to the Solomons.

The actress and singer voiced a character in The Lorax and appeared in episodes of Seinfeld, Love & War, NYPD Blue, General Hospital and The Exes which also starred 3rd Rock alums Johnston and Wayne Knight.

The appeared in General Hospital in the recurring role of Peg, as well as musical theatre roles in shows such as Wonderful Town, Cole Porter Revisited, and Little Mary Sunshine.

She died in 2018, aged 89, and her daughter, J.C Wendel, who is also an actress, announced the sad news on her Instagram page.

Wayne Knight


Wayne Knight starred in Seinfeld and Jurassic Park
Wayne Knight starred in Seinfeld and Jurassic Park

Wayne Knight, 65, played Don Orville, a police officer who dated Sally.

He also starred as Newman in Seinfeld, and played Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park, for which he was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor.

He has had many voice roles including Kung Fu Panda, Tarzan, and Toy Story 2, and has starred in Hail, Caesar!, Cheaper By the Dozen, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Hot in Cleveland and Narcos.

He has also become a stage star, playing Santa in Elf: The Musical, and Broadway show Art.

He was married to makeup artist Paula Sutor from 1996 to 2003, and since 2006, he has been married to film editor Clare de Chenu, with whom he shares son Liam.

Jan Hooks


Jan Hooks died from cancer in 2014
Jan Hooks died from cancer in 2014

Jan Hooks played Vicki Dubcek, the daughter of Mamie, girlfriend to Harry and later wife to the Big Giant Head.

The comedian did voice work in Futurama, The Simpsons and The Cleveland Show and appeared in Designing Women, and 30 Rock, and starred in films Primetime Glick, and Batman Returns.

Jan turned down a role in 2003 TV film The Music Man and declined an invite to reprise her SNL sketch The Sweeney Sisters in a special appearance in 2014.

The star struggled with anxiety and excessive drinking and said she was warned by her doctor to quit the booze due to liver damage, but did not.

Her friend speculated that her drinking had made her lose her passion for acting, or suggested she did not want more money or fame and another friend reportedly said she only wanted to work enough to maintain her Screen Actors Guild health insurance.

She was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2009, which was treated and she went into remission that May. but in April 2014, she discovered a bump on her throat and it was found to be a tumour that did not respond to chemotherapy.

She went into a hospice and sadly died in 2014 after losing the ability to speak, eat and and breathe.

She never married but briefly dated her SNL costar Kevin Nealon in the mid-1980s.

Larisa Oleynik


Larisa Oleynik had to get a restraining order against an obsessive fan
Larisa Oleynik had to get a restraining order against an obsessive fan

Larisa Oleynik, 40, played Tommy’s girlfriend, Alissa Strudwick in series 4-6 of 3rd Rock.

Shortly after she began her run on the sitcom, she also played Gordon-Levitt’s girlfriend in the 1999 teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You, and was in The Secret World of Alex Mack, Jessabelle, American Rhapsody, and The Baby-Sitters Club.

She has also starred on Pretty Little Liars, Mad Men, Malcolm in the Middle, and Hawaii Five-0, and was recently seen in comedy series The Healing Powers of Dude.

In 2013, Larisa was granted a restraining order against an obsessed fan, who changed his last name to hers and left gifts for her at her mother’s apartment.