Before The CW debuted The Flash as part of the Arrowverse, the Scarlet Speedster’s first live-action show premiered on CBS in 1990. It starred John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen, who had only been dead in the comics for five years at that point. Unfortunately, the show may have been a little too far ahead of its time. Production costs for each episode ran over $1 million, and the Flash’s suit alone cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make. Combine the fact that the show failed to find an audience among other, more popular competitors, and it’s no wonder it lasted only one 22-episode season between September 20, 1990 and May 18, 1991 before cancellation.
Despite the show’s short run, The Flash has had a lasting legacy, which has since been celebrated in the Arrowverse. Multiple actors from the original series have joined the cast of the new show since 2014. Some have played new characters while others have actually taken on the same role 25 years later. If we look back on the 1990s show, we would find many familiar faces who went onto other popular endeavors. Let’s look back on those 22 episodes and discover where the cast of The Flash is today.
15. JERI RYAN (FELICIA KANE)
A young Jeri Ryan appeared in The Flash as Felicia Kane, a wealthy heiress who is kidnapped and held for ransom by Marxist revolutionaries in the episode “The Deadly Nightshade.” She is saved by the violent vigilante the Deadly Nightshade before becoming a patient of Denise Crosby’s Rebecca Frost. She provides key testimony to clear the Flash of any supposed wrongdoings.
In 1997, Ryan debuted as Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager, a role that would gain her widespread attention and win her several accolades. She played the character through 2001 for 102 episodes total. She then went on to play regular roles on Boston Public, Shark, Leverage, Body of Proof and Bosch. She returned to comic book television in 2015 with an appearance on Arrow.
14. RICHARD BELZER (JOE KLINE)
In the spirit of J. Jonah Jameson, The Flash had its very own news pundit who who hated the main character. Richard Belzer portrayed Joe Kline, a reporter who frequently covered the activities of the Flash and usually put a negative spin on them. He appeared in 10 episodes of The Flash.
The former Saturday Night Live cast member followed The Flash with appearances on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He made it big as Detective Munch, a character he played from 1993 to 1999 on Homicide: Life on the Street, before moving over to the Law & Order franchise. After 22 seasons playing the character, including 17 on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Belzer’s Munch became the longest running character in American television history.
13. DAVID CASSIDY (SAM SCUDDER/MIRROR MASTER)
After gaining fame as a member of The Partridge Family, David Cassidy played Sam Scudder in the episode “Done With Mirrors.” In The Flash, Scudder is a professional thief and an expert with mirrors and holographics. His daughter is Katie Cassidy, who has played Laurel Lance on Arrow.
In 1990, Cassidy revived his musical career by returning to the top 40 with “Lyin’ to Myself.” He also released the hit “No Bridge I wouldn’t Cross” in 1998, and went platinum with the 2001 album Then and Now. He hosted VH1’s 8-Track Flashback from 1995 to 1998, frequented Las Vegas Strip shows, and appeared on ABC Family’s Ruby & the Rockits. Frequent DUI citations has brought Cassidy into legal trouble. He has since announced that he is living with dementia and is now retired.
12. JOHN WESLEY SHIPP (BARRY ALLEN/THE FLASH)
John Wesley Shipp made a name for himself in 1990 as a forensic scientist in the Central City Police Department who gained super speed after being struck by lightning in his lab. Shipp was the first actor to portray Barry Allen in live action, paving the way for much that happens on the current CW show.
After his run as a superhero ended, Shipp was a main cast member on Sisters from 1994-1995 and Dawson’s Creek from 1998-2001. He then appeared on CSI: New York and The Closer before voicing Professor Zoom in a 2010 episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. From 2010-2013, Shipp appeared on One Life to Live and Teen Wolf before returning to the Flash franchise in 2014. He played Barry Allen’s father, Henry for two seasons before portraying Jay Garrick in season three.
11. MARK HAMILL (THE TRICKSTER)
The former Star Wars actor joined The Flash to portray the Trickster for two episodes. His portrayal of the character as a psychotic mass murderer in a multi-colored leotard is likely one of the more memorable images to come out of the entire show.
Following the end of the series, Mark Hamill was cast as the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series, and the rest is pretty much history. He enjoyed years of success as the Joker across the DC Animated Universe. Hamill has also worked on various Scooby Doo projects, the Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk animated shows from the 1990s, Robot Chicken, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Metalocalypse, Regular Show, and Ultimate Spider-Man. He returned to The Flash to portray the Trickster in three episodes. He is also due to appear in a little movie called The Last Jedi.
10. CORINNE BOHRER (ZOEY CLARK/PRANK)
On The Flash, Zoey Clark is the owner of a toy store and a fan of the Trickster. She frees him from police custody and becomes his sidekick Prank in “The Trial of the Trickster.” The Trickster brainwashes the Flash into joining a life of crime before he abandons Clark and ultimately allows her to get caught.
After her appearance, Bohrer made appearances on Dream On in 1991, Diagnosis Murder in 1994, and Friends in 1995. She is probably most remembered for her role on Veronica Mars as the title character’s mother. Bohrer appeared in seven episodes across season one and two. She has also become a successful commercial actor, appearing in Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign and several other commercials for well known brands. Recently, Bohrer played a recurring character on Murder in the First.
9. VITO D’AMBROSIO (TONY BELLOWS)
Before appearing on The Flash, Vito D’Ambrosio had small parts in The Color of Money in 1986 and The Untouchables in 1987. During his time on the show, the Italian-American actor played a cop that frequently accused his partner of being the Flash until he finally saw the two in the same place at the same time. He appeared in six episodes of The Flash.
After the show ended, D’Ambrosio had small roles in The Usual Suspects in 1995, War of the Worlds in 2005, and Nancy Drew in 2007. He had recurring roles on Jack & Jill from 1999-2000, The Bold and the Beautiful in 2006, and Boston Legal in 2008. Though he has remained relatively unknown, The CW invited him back onto The Flash in order to play Mayor Anthony Bellows in 2015.
8. DENISE CROSBY (DR. REBECCA FROST)
Following her departure from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Denise Crosby landed a role on The Flash as Dr. Rebecca Frost in the episode “The Deadly Nightshade.” She played a psychologist who specialized in psychoanalyzing masked vigilantes, which included the Flash. She even dated Barry Allen for a hot second.
Crosby went on to star in the short-lived drama Key West in 1993 before appearing in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Diagnosis Murder. She has quietly appeared on many of the most popular television shows from the last 20 years, including The X-Files, NYPD Blue, Baywatch, Bones, Mad Men, and Prison Break. She played the nurse on Dexter who ended up as the title character’s first kill. In more recent years, Crosby has appeared on Southland, Ray Donovan, The Walking Dead, Scandal, The Magicians and Castle.
7. MICHAEL CAMPBELL (CAPTAIN COLD)
Before Wentworth Miller portrayed Captain Cold for The CW, the role was given to Michael Champion on The Flash. The character’s name was changed from Leonard Snart to Leonard Wynter in an obvious effort to increase the amount of puns on the show. In 1991, Champion portrayed an albino hitman who likes to freeze his victims with a nuclear-powered freeze gun, beating Batman and Robin’s Mr. Freeze by seven years.
Champion actually had a musical career under his real name, Michael Campbell. His claim to fame is that he served as a songwriter and provided backing vocals on Meatloaf’s debut album Stoney & Meatloaf in 1971. As Michael Champion, he appeared in History of the World: Part I in 1981, Beverly Hills Cop in 1984, and Total Recall in 1990. Following his appearance as Captain Cold, Campbell appeared in Toy Soldiers in 1991, and on Diagnosis Murder and NYPD Blue.
6. ALEX DÈSERT (JULIO MENDEZ)
Alex Dèsert starred in The Flash as Central City Police Department scientist Julio Mendez, who worked with Barry Allen. After the show ended, he was part of the main cast on another short-lived called The Heights in 1992. The list of movies he has appeared in include comedies like PCU, Swingers and High Fidelity.
He was a main character in season 3 of Boy Meets World as Eli Williams between 1995 and 1996. Dèsert played a leading role on Becker for six seasons alongside Ted Danson from 1998 to 2004. He has also taken on voice acting, portraying Nick Fury in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. In 2016, he returned to the Flash, playing Captain Julio Mendez in “Flashpoint” before meeting his end in “Untouchable.” Dèsert is also the lead singer of the band The Hepcats.
5. JEFFREY COMBS (JIMMY SWAIN)
Star Trek veteran actor appeared in the episode “Captain Cold” as the mob boss named Jimmy Swain. He hired Captain Cold to kill his enemies, but is killed by him when Swain refuses to pay him for failing to kill the Flash.
Combs went on to appear in several iconic ‘90s films, including The Frighteners, I Know What You Did Last Summer and House on Haunted Hill (as well as its sequel). Between 1994 and 2005, Combs played nine different roles between Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. He also became a successful voice actor as the Scarecrow on The New Batman Adventures, the Question on Justice League Unlimited, the Leader on The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Rat King on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
4. M. EMMET WALSH (HENRY ALLEN)
In The Flash, Barry’s father Henry was a retired CCPD sergeant who inspired his son to join the police force. Henry was a supporter of the Flash but his relationship with his son was strained. M. Emmet Walsh, a noted character actor through the ‘70s and ‘80s, appeared on the show for two episodes.
Among Walsh’s many roles following his appearance in The Flash, he appeared in Romeo + Juliet from 1996, Wild Wild West in 1999, and even voiced a role in The Iron Giant that same year. On television, he played small roles on Home Improvement, The X-Files, and NYPD Blue. In recent years, he has voiced a major role in the animated Pound Puppies TV series, appeared on Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories, and also had a role on Adventure Time.
3. JASON BERNARD (DESMOND POWELL/NIGHTSHADE)
Jason Bernard played Desmond Powell, a doctor who used to be the 1950s vigilante Nightshade, who uses tranquilizer darts to capture criminals. He appeared in two episodes, ultimately inspiring another man to follow in his footsteps known as the Deadly Nightshade. Powell is framed for the crimes his admirer committed before helping the Flash take him down.
He went on to appear in Dinosaurs, While You Were Sleeping and Murder, She Wrote through the ‘90s. He was also a regular cast member on the Fox comedy Herman’s Brain, which was broadcast from 1991 through 1994. He portrayed Judge Marshall Stevens in the 1997 Jim Carrey comedy Liar Liar before suffering a heart attack and passing away. The film was released posthumously and was dedicated to his memory.
2. RICHARD BURGI (DEADLY NIGHTSHADE)
Richard Burgi plays a philanthropist who follows Desmond Powell’s vigilante legacy and becomes the violent Deadly Nightshade. Curtis Bohannan eventually builds a high-tech exoskleleton that allows him to match the Flash’s speed before Powell helps defeat him.
Since his appearance on The Flash, Burgi has been on the move, starring in Days of Our Lives from 1992-1993, One West Waikiki from 1994-1996, and The Sentinel from 1996-1999. He has also appeared on The District, 24, Judging Amy, Firefly, CSI, Law & Order, NCIS, Lie to Me, Castle, Chuck, Blue Bloods, Burn Notice, and many other shows. He was a main cast member on Desperate Housewives from 2004-2012. Burgi has more recently had a recurring role on Body of Proof and returned to his soap opera roots on General Hospital.
1. AMANDA PAYS (TINA MCGEE)
After Iris West was written off the show following the pilot episode, Tina McGee became Barry Allen’s new love interest. Can you image a Flash show without Iris? Amanda Pays played a scientist working for S.T.A.R. Labs who provides the Flash with technical support and assistance in learning how to use his powers.
Since then, she has appeared on The X-Files in 1993, was featured in ITV’s Thief Takers from 1996-1997, and was in an episode of 7th Heaven in 1999. More recently, she appeared in Nip/Tuck in 2006 and Psych in 2008 before returning to the character of Tina McGee in The Flash. As the director of Mercury Labs — the competition to S.T.A.R. Labs — she has been featured in five episodes across season one and two.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know who you remember from The Flash.
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