Bursting onto our screens in 1994, medical drama ER became so popular that it lasted for a whopping 331 episodes over 15 series. We’re sure that, like us, many of you were massive fans of this classic show, but have you ever wondered what became of the actors who appeared on the show? Read on to see what they look like these days, and catch up on what they’re doing now.
Before ER, Anthony Edwards was best known for appearing in the popular (though morally dubious) college comedy Revenge of the Nerds, before literally soaring to fame as Goose in 1986 classic Top Gun. ER cast Edwards as Dr Mark Greene, a role he would continue to play for the show’s first eight seasons.
Since then Edwards has made several movies including Zodiac, but has otherwise worked largely in TV, in such shows as Designated Survivor, Inventing Anna and Tales of the Walking Dead. Also, while he only appeared in 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick in archival footage, his shadow hung large over the airborne blockbuster sequel.
George Clooney had been struggling to make a name for himself in Hollywood for over a decade when he was cast in ER as Doug Ross – then almost overnight, the world fell in love with him. Clooney soon side-stepped into movies via From Dusk Till Dawn, One Fine Day and The Peacemaker, and though he was almost derailed by Batman & Robin, he was soon one of the biggest movie stars around.
Clooney left Doug Ross behind after five seasons of ER, and beyond a few bit parts he’s largely stayed off the small screen since. His big screen success is considerable, though; also a successful writer, director and producer, he has two Oscars to date, as Best Supporting Actor in 2009’s Syriana and producer of 2013 Best Picture winner Argo.
Sherry Stringfield had only two credits to her name (one appearance in TV’s Guiding Light, and an extended run on NYPD Blue) when she was cast as Susan Lewis in the first season of ER. The performance saw her land three Emmy Award nominations, yet Stringfield surprised many by quitting the show in its third series, citng exhaustion from the demanding shooting schedule.
Outside of roles in 54 and Autumn in New York, Stringfield’s career failed to take off, so she returned to ER in 2001, again playing Susan Lewis from seasons eight to 12. She’s taken several other film and TV roles since, but has largely fallen off the radar since her last screen appearance in Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders in 2017.
Aged 23 when the show began, Noah Wyle was the youngest member of the original ER ensemble, playing medical student (and later Doctor) John Carter. He also proved to be the longest-serving original cast member, remaining in the series for the first 11 seasons before finally departing in 2005.
Despite roles in A Few Good Men, Donnie Darko and W., Wyle has never quite broken through as a movie star. He’s clocked up plenty more small screen credits, however, most recently as an ongoing cast member of Leverage: Redemption, of which he has also directed several episodes.
Eriq La Salle
Eriq La Salle had been a jobbing actor for almost a decade, and was best known for his supporting role in the hit comedy Coming to America, when he was cast in ER as Dr. Peter Benton. Like Anthony Edwards, La Salle stuck it out at Cook County General Hospital for the first eight seasons, but later returned for guest spots in two of the show’s final episodes in season 15.
La Salle made plenty more film and TV appearances after leaving ER, but his last acting role to date was a small role in 2017’s Logan. These days he works primarily as a TV director, on such shows as Chicago Justice, The Librarians and Law & Order.
After making her debut in 1991 Steven Seagal movie Out for Justice, Julianna Margulies took a few more film and TV roles before being cast as Carol Hathaway in the first season of ER. She played the role for the first six seasons, leaving in 2000 to focus on her film career, which saw her appear in the likes of Ghost Ship and Snakes on a Plane.
After taking more TV work including a recurring role on The Sopranos, Margulies took on the lead role of Alicia Florrick in legal drama The Good Wife in 2009, a role that twice saw her win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, as well as a Golden Globe. More recently, she’s appeared in TV’s The Morning Show.
After starting out as a recurring character on season one, Gloria Reuben’s Jeanie Boulet was promoted to full-time cast member in ER’s second season. Reuben remained with the show until its sixth season, and during her run on ER she earned the rare merit of being named one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1996.
On top of being an accomplished actress, Reuben is also a singer and pianist, and after leaving ER she joined Tina Turner on a 2000 world tour performing back-up vocals. She continues to balance music and acting, and most famously had a recurring role on Mr. Robot from 2015 to 2019.
Introduced in season two then promoted to full cast member in season three, Laura Innes took the role of Kerry Weaver. She proved to be one of the longest-standing ER cast members, remaining in the show all the way until season 13. A veteran of stage and screen, Innes had been in the business more than 15 years when she came to Cook County General Hospital.
After ER, Innes appeared on TV’s The Event and Awake, but in more recent years she’s largely steered clear of acting in favour of directing. Her directorial credits include episodes of Sneaky Pete, Mr. Mercedes and How to Get Away With Murder, the last of which she also appeared in.
Alex Kingston rose to fame in her native UK in 1996 period drama The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders, alongside a then-largely unknown Daniel Craig. This paved the way to Kingston joining ER in its fourth season as Elizabeth Corday, a role she would continue to play until season 11.
Since ER, Kingston has played the recurring role of River Song on Doctor Who, and has taken many more TV credits including Arrow, A Discovery of Witches and Treason. She has also taken many stage credits, including productions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Prior to joining ER in its fourth season as Robert Romano, Paul McCrane was probably best known for his roles in early 80s musical Fame, his bad guy role RoboCop and for his turn as a guard in The Shawshank Redemption. He would appear in ER until its tenth season.
McCrane has largely disappeared from the limelight since leaving ER, but he’s made appearances in a number of hit TV shows, including 24, Ugly Betty, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, All Rise and The Terminal List.
Introduced as Luka Kovač in ER’s sixth season, Goran Višnjić joined the show just as George Clooney’s Doug Ross departed, and he promptly took over as the hospital’s premier heartthrob. The Croatian actor had been working in the US for a few years prior to casting, taking small parts in such movies as Rounders, Practical Magic and The Peacemaker (alongside Clooney).
During his time on ER, Višnjić was among the final four actors considered to take over from Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, but lost out to Daniel Craig. Since ER, his credits include The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 2022’s Hellraiser and TV’s The Boys.
First appearing as a supporting character in the first season, Ming Na-Wen’s Jing-Mei “Deb” Chen became a full-time ER cast member in the drama’s sixth season. At that point, Wen was best known for her roles in The Joy Luck Club, her turn as Chun-Li in 1994’s Street Fighter, and as the voice of the title character in Disney’s Mulan.
Since ER, Wen has kept busy. Her many small screen credits include Inconceivable, Two and a Half Men, and Awkwafina is Nora from Queens. She’s particularly noted for her fan-pleasing genre work, however, including recurring roles in Stargate Universe, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Star Wars TV shows The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.