It has been 25 years since writer-director Amy Heckerling’s Clueless hit cinemas. The sparky reinvention of Jane Austen’s Emma, set at a Beverly Hills high school, became a sleeper hit in the summer of 1995, earning a strong $56.6m (£45.1m) from a fairly low budget. Many of its stars, including Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd, would use the movie as a springboard for bigger careers in Hollywood.
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The movie remains one of the most acclaimed teen comedies ever made and has had a legacy in popular culture ever since. Whether it’s the protagonist’s unique vernacular or nods in cultural artefacts as varied as TV thriller Killing Eve and the video for Iggy Azalea hit Fancy, there’s no denying the impact of Clueless. A stage musical has already happened and there’s a Gen Z remake in the works.
But what has happened to that illustrious cast since the movie was released?
Clueless was Silverstone’s breakout role, with the young performer excelling as the pampered, wealthy Cher Horowitz. She would go on to sign a huge deal with Columbia Pictures and then play Batgirl for Warner Bros in the ill-fated Batman & Robin. Her take on the character remains her only depiction in a live-action movie.
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More recently, she has balanced her acting work with animal rights activism. She sent up her own teen movie persona with a role in the musical remake of Valley Girl and appeared in the Netflix series The Baby-Sitters Club. Next up for Silverstone is a voice role as Queen Marlena in Kevin Smith’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation series for Netflix.
Paul Rudd hasn’t aged a day since he played Josh Lucas in Clueless and he’s now one of the biggest stars on the planet. In the wake of Clueless, he played a number of film roles — including in Halloween sequel The Curse of Michael Myers — and then joined the cast of Friends in 2002 as Phoebe’s love interest Mike.
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After pivoting into frat boy and stoner comedy as a prolific member of the Judd Apatow stable throughout the noughties, he is now a key part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as burglar Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man. An appearance in the biggest movie of all time is a pretty good place to be for a “where are they now?” article.
Brittany Murphy shot to fame after playing new girl Tai Frasier, who is “adopted” by Cher in her supposedly altruistic move to play match-maker and style advocate for others. Murphy took on big roles in Girl, Interrupted and Drop Dead Gorgeous in the late 1990s and then appeared in critically acclaimed films like Don’t Say a Word and Sin City in the noughties.
Murphy tragically passed away in 2009 as a result of pneumonia. Severe anaemia (iron deficiency) was also listed as a contributing factor, as well as elevated levels of various legal, over-the-counter medication used to treat respiratory issues.
Stacey Dash portrayed Cher’s equally beautiful, equally wealthy best friend Dionne Davenport in Clueless. She reprised the role for the 1996 TV series, alongside Rachel Blanchard as the recast Cher. In the wake of the movie, she took on guest roles on television shows and launched her own lingerie line.
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During the presidency of Barack Obama, Dash became a contributor to Fox News. She supported Donald Trump at the 2016 election and, in 2018, she briefly entered the race for a congressional seat in California as a Republican candidate. She is set to appear as pro-life activist Mildred Fay Jefferson in an upcoming movie based on the landmark Roe v. Wade case.
The post-Clueless career of Donald Faison, who played Dionne’s boyfriend Murray, is dominated by one project. Faison played one of the lead roles in medical sitcom Scrubs as Turk. He appeared in all nine seasons of the show along with fellow lead Zach Braff. Outside of Scrubs, he has also taken small roles in films including Kick-Ass 2 and Pitch Perfect.
In 2020, Faison launched a Scrubs podcast with Braff in which the two of them tell stories about their time on the show while recapping episodes. The audio series, entitled Fake Doctors, Real Friends, airs on the iHeartRadio podcast network.
Justin Walker played the part of Christian Stovitz — the target of Cher’s affections in Clueless until he is revealed to be gay. He took on some small acting projects in the late 1990s and the early noughties, before leaving the industry altogether. For a while, he owned a restaurant in California and he’s now a partner and chief marketing officer for online sports betting business Draftster.
As the skater Travis, Breckin Meyer played a character looked down upon by Cher as being below the wealthy, pampered Beverly Hills class of his schoolmates. He was typecast in stoner roles throughout the 90s and played the lead in Joker director Todd Phillips’ sex comedy Road Trip.
In more recent years, he has done extensive writing and voice work for Adult Swim comedy series Robot Chicken. He also appeared in 10 episodes of the legal drama The Fix.
Jeremy Sisto was a target of Cher’s match-making in Clueless, with his wealthy Elton picked out as an ideal boyfriend for her protégé Tai. After the movie, he nabbed recurring TV roles on both Law & Order and Six Feet Under. He played the lead role in ABC sitcom Suburgatory from 2011 until 2014.
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On the big screen, he has served as a character actor in a string of movies including offbeat comedy Robot & Frank and supernatural horror The Other Side of the Door. Last year, he provided the voice of Elsa and Anna’s grandfather, King Runeard, in Disney’s Frozen II.
As the snobbish Amber Mariens in Clueless, Elisa Donovan served as the primary antagonist for Silverstone’s lead. Alongside the aforementioned Dash, she reprised her role in the TV series adaptation as well. Around the same time, she kept things in California with a role on Beverly Hills, 90210.
Since Clueless, she has mainly played roles in smaller films and television shows. Her most significant work was as the shallow Morgan Cavanaugh in three seasons of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
Dan Hedaya was already an accomplished Hollywood supporting player when he portrayed Mel — Cher’s dad — in Clueless. His career has largely continued in the same vein since, including appearances in Alien: Resurrection and David Lynch’s mind-bending Mulholland Drive.
Hedaya’s recent TV work includes multi-episode runs on both Gotham and Blue Bloods. Devoted fans of the Harry Potter franchise might also recommend him as the voice of goblin bellboy Red in the recent Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie.
Wallace Shawn has a habit of popping up unexpectedly every few years and being totally brilliant at whatever he does. Best known in live-action for playing Vizzini in late 80s classic The Princess Bride and teacher Mr Hall in Clueless, an entire generation will be unable to separate his distinctive voice from the role of timid dinosaur Rex in the Toy Story franchise.
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His most recent work has included memorable turns in both Oscar favourite Marriage Story and the Disney+ family adventure Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. On the small screen, he portrayed college professor Dr Sturgis as a recurring role on The Big Bang Theory spin-off Young Sheldon.