Then: Michael Stoyanov
Michael Stoyanov was cast in “Blossom” as the oldest son of the Russo siblings; he was widely recognized as the sarcastic older brother Anthony or as he was nicknamed – Tony. At first, he was a donut shop worker who eventually became a paramedic.
Before the show’s first episode, his character had fallen on hard times with substance abuse. Despite his many struggles, he was always there for his little sister whenever she needed him.
Now: Michael Stoyanov
Michael Stoyanov has since had more success writing for TV than he has acted after his time at “Blossom.” By the late 1990s, he transitioned to writing for “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”
Since then, he’s accomplished other writing credits that have been on “The Dana Carvey Show,” “MADtv,” and “Mr. Show with Bob and David.” Stoyanov has kept a low profile but continues to act; most recently, he appeared as one of the Joker’s cronies in the smash hit “The Dark Knight.”
Then: David Lascher
David Lascher played Blossom’s main love interest in the show as boyishly handsome Vinnie Bonitardi. He first appeared in season two’s finale as Blossom’s date and then began to feature in the show more regularly until season five.
While his relationship with Blossom was constantly on the rocks, their chemistry on screen was great and brought out Vinnie’s softer side that was initially hidden behind a tough-guy facade.
Now: David Lascher
As a New York native, Lascher got a taste of musical theater and decided to relocate to LA at age sixteen to attempt a career on screen. After some failed shows, he promptly bounced back with a regular role on the sitcom “Hey Dude.” Several years later, David played a character named Josh when he joined “Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s” cast as one of her character’s love interests.
Eventually, he landed a part on the series “A Family for Joe,” appearing alongside fellow up and comer Juliette Lewis and star Robert Mitchum. David Lascher then landed some guest roles on a few shows, and he has since appeared with co-star Melissa Joan Hart after reuniting for several episodes of her sitcom “Melissa & Joey.”
Then: Barnard Hughes
Played by veteran actor Barnard Hughes, Buzz Richman had a recurring role throughout the show’s five-year stint. Although his daughter wasn’t around much on the show, he joined at the start of season 2 and lived with the Russo family for a while, eventually exiting the show in the Graduation episode.
His relationship with his daughter’s ex-husband was quite unstable, but more due to Nick’s part than his own.
Now: Barnard Hughes
Sadly, Barnard Hughes passed away in 2006, just five days shy of his 91st birthday. When he joined the cast of “Blossom,” Hughes had a whole host of acting credits to his name, and he was already an extremely successful actor, with many of his roles comprising nuanced portraits of fairly flawed characters.
He featured in a few more films after “Blossom,” the last one being the historical drama “Cradle Will Rock.” During his retirement, he enjoyed the last few years of his life with his wife of over 50 years, the actress Helen Stenborg.
Then: Melissa Manchester
Blossom’s mother wasn’t initially cast as her character had left the family to pursue a promising singing career in Paris. When her character was ultimately brought into the show, she was portrayed by Melissa Manchester.
It was during her appearances in the show’s fourth season that Melissa made many efforts to reconnect with her family in an attempt to make amends for abandoning them years earlier.
Now: Melissa Manchester
Melissa Manchester was a popular singer before her appearance in “Blossom,” with over 10 albums as well as a Grammy Award to her name. She has continued to release new music after her time on “Blossom.” While her music hasn’t gained much chart success, she’s featured as a guest appearance on many other collections.
Her music has also featured in other famous movies like “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” and the blockbuster action picture “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.”
Then: Gail Edwards
Gail Edwards was cast as the mom of Blossom’s closest friend Six, and she was a recurring character on the sitcom. She played the role of a divorced mother and briefly became a love interest for the Russo kids’ father, Nick, as they dated for a short while.
Sharon was noteworthy for her many similarities to her daughter, including talking fast, which made her character quite unforgettable, no matter how little we actually saw her on the show.
Now: Gail Edwards
After her role as Six’s mom in “Blossom,” Gail Edwards began to move away from acting. She appeared in a few “Full House” episodes, having joined the show in the same year as “Blossom,” but after she departed from both sitcoms, she stated that she was officially retiring from acting.
During the years that followed, she’s successfully kept herself under the radar, dedicating a lot of her time to charity work. But, after several years away from the screen, Edwards made a comeback when she emerged in “Fuller House” as her character from the original show, as Danny’s girlfriend who became his fiancée, Vicky.
Then: Ted Wass
As Blossom, Tony, and Joey’s father, Ted Wass’ character, Nick Russo, played the lead adult role. When “Blossom” first began, Nick was a single man who went on to marry Carol, becoming a stepfather to her only child, a daughter named Kennedy, despite Blossom’s initial objection.
Nick was over-protective when it came to his two youngest children due to Tony’s earlier problems, but he came to be less strict as he began to accept that his kids were simply growing up into adulthood.
Now: Ted Wass
Ted Wass had another dream besides acting, and once he decided he wanted to be a director. After directing 18 episodes of “Blossom” during its five-season run, he seamlessly transitioned to the other side of the camera and has remained a mainstay ever since he made the change in 1992.
In the last few years, the bulk of his work has been directing for TV sitcoms, from “2 Broke Girls” to “Spin City.”
Then: Mayim Bialik
Mayim Bialik was the lead character and shining star of “Blossom.” She portrayed the youngest of the Russo siblings, whose peculiar but insightful interpretations were something that many of us could admire or relate to as we watched the show.
What made Blossom stand out was her quirky style, being a thoughtful character in an otherwise complicated household – but it was also her delightful personality that made her one of the most beloved characters of ’90s sitcoms.
Now: Mayim Bialik
After “Blossom” concluded, Mayim Bialik mainly worked as a voice actor while focusing on her studies. While studying towards her doctorate in neurobiology, she would act every now and then, appearing in the indie comedy “Kalamazoo?”
Bialik returned to her roots in 2010 when she joined the sitcom “Big Bang Theory” cast as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler; she became one of the main characters and continues to captivate fans with her clever comments and interesting emotional connection with Sheldon. The role was profoundly suited to Bialik, as she earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience in 2007.
Then: Jenna von Oÿ
Jenna von Oÿ found childhood stardom when she was cast as Blossom’s best friend as the fast-talking Six Lemeure. She garnered the nickname ‘Six’ as she was born the sixth child in her family. Her character was the only one of her siblings to appear on the show, where she experienced various ups and downs.
Her slightly wild and irrational personality was a contrast to the more stable behavior of Blossom. Still, it did give their friendship a strong dynamic, helping Six to stand out as a worthy member of the cast.
Now: Jenna von Oÿ
In the years that followed Blossom’s end, von Oÿ kept on acting. She won a starring role in “The Parkers.” During Jenny’s time on the show, she took a sporadic role in some films and TV series, including voice work as she voiced Stacey’s character in the animated movie “A Goofy Movie” and Gracie in “Dr. Dolittle 3.”
Von Oÿ even dabbled in music a little and recorded her demo in an effort to launch a country music career.
Then: Finola Hughes
Finola Hughes was introduced as Nick’s new girlfriend Carol in the fourth season of the show, and ultimately, Carol would become his wife. Along with her young daughter Kennedy, Carol brought a much-needed maternal presence to the Russo family that had lacked a stable and loving motherly figure for quite a while.
When Carol became an important part of Nick’s life, it was tough for his children to accept her, particularly Blossom. Still, eventually, they all embraced her as part of their family by the show’s end.
Now: Finola Hughes
After Blossom, Finola Hughes appeared throughout Charmed’s eight-year run as Patty, the mother of the Halliwell sisters, but then she made the leap on “All My Children” as Dr. Alex Devane Marick, twin sister to the popular Anna Devane. She also briefly hosted the beloved makeover show “How Do I Look?”
She wrote a fascinating novel that spilled a lot of juicy details about her experiences working on soap operas and regularly returned for a series of reprise roles as Anna on “General Hospital.” Although Finola was most widely recognized for her characters on soap operas, Finola Hughes did succeed in maintaining a loyal fanbase and fashion out an interesting and desirable career.
Then: Joey Lawrence
As an engaging teenage star of sitcoms in the 90s, Joey Lawrence became a household thanks to his portrayal of the dimwitted but big-hearted Joey Russo on the show.
Thanks to his character’s simple-minded charm and catchphrase, “Whoa!” Lawrence was especially favored among teenage girls. Joey Lawrence starred as the older brother of Blossom and the family’s middle child.
Now: Joey Lawrence
After Blossom, Lawrence parlayed his popularity into the short-lived sitcom “Brotherly Love.” He then settled on a string of mediocre movies and feature films that only dimmed the spotlight on his career. But soon enough, Lawrence rose again, first appearing in a regular role for the drama series “American Dreams.”
Showing off his dancing abilities, he won third place overall in the third season of “Dancing with the Stars.” More recently, Lawrence revealed that he and his wife Chandie Yawn-Nelson had to file for bankruptcy in 2017.
Then: Portia Dawson
Portia Dawson played Rhonda Jo Applegate, Tony’s stunning and sultry girlfriend. She was sweet as can be, but the two would get into intense arguments every now and again. She mostly stands with Tony and observes the chaos the goes on around Tony and his life.
She’s a supportive girlfriend, but unfortunately, their relationship doesn’t last too long, and the break-up proves difficult for Tony to get over.
Now: Portia Dawson
After wrapping her role on “Blossom,” Portia managed to book regular appearances. She featured in the medical drama “Nip/Tuck,” “Scrubs,” “Joey,” and in the romcom indie film “Dreamers.” Her last role was in the 2007 romantic drama “The Trouble with Romance.”
Finding good acting gigs in Hollywood has been difficult for Portia. After two decades of pursuing decent roles, Portia decided it was time to get out of Los Angeles, and currently, she’s living off the grid.
Then: Courtney Chase
Kennedy is just eight years when she appears on the show, but this delightful kid shows she is wiser than her years; with her knowledge, we all assumed she was much older.
Along with her mother, Carol, little Kennedy hails from England. After her initial introduction to the show, viewers follow as she eventually forms a stronger bond with both Tony and Blossom. Even though she does have a sharp side, she remains a lovable girl at the end of the day.
Courtney Chase Now
Courtney began her career at just three months old, appearing in commercials. She eventually secured her way to the small screen and starred on the soap opera classic “One Life to Live.” She also starred in the action crime drama “Nick of Time” opposite Johnny Depp and Christopher Walken.
She quit her acting career for good after appearing in the romantic sitcom “Still Standing.” Since then, she decided to focus all of her attention on furthering her studies and her own music career.
Then: Samaria Graham
Graham’s entry into “Blossom” came in an episode where Tony, who was crushed over a breakup with his longtime sweetheart, takes off for Las Vegas in an attempt to forget his troubles.
There, the longtime recovering addict goes on a bender, and he wakes up to find out he has a new wife. On their drive back to LA, Shelly Lewis and Tony fall in love and decide to stay married.
Now: Samaria Graham
Samaria Graham got her start in the afterschool special “Girlfriend.” It was her appearance in the 1993 Forest Whitaker-directed movie “Strapped” that led to her audition and ultimate casting for “Blossom.”
After Blossom, Samaria moved on to ” Providence,” ” The Wayans Bros.,” ” Touched by an Angel,” and ” Beverly Hills, 90210.” She has since shifted out of the spotlight in the mid-2000s and has tried her best to keep a low profile.
Then: Eileen Brennan
Now that we’ve gone through the main characters of the show, we’re going to take a look at some lesser-known yet still mentionable appearances. Eileen Brennan had a small but recurring role as Agnes on the show as Blossom’s confidante and the Russo family’s neighbor.
Eileen Brennan was known for her many character roles as a sassy, bold woman, the kind with a prickly exterior but a pure heart.
Now: Eileen Brennan
Brennan earned many Emmy nominations for her roles and went on to appear in many TV comedies and movies where her feisty persona and unique wit were always a welcome addition. The husky-voiced comedienne also had significant roles in wacky parodies, including the sketch-comedy show “Laugh-In” and Neil Simon’s “Murder by Death.”
After years of struggling with breast cancer, Brennan passed away in 2013 of bladder cancer, with her tenacity enduring as part of her noteworthy legacy.
Then: Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller was a delightful addition to the blossom cast, as she had a recurring role in four episodes as Mrs. Peterson, a mature paramedic that ends up working with Tony on the same shift.
The pair don’t always get along as Mrs. Peterson had a habit of chain-smoking which only served to bother Tony.
Now: Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller was mostly known for her work as a stand-up comedian, but she was also known for her offbeat person on stage, along with her over-the-top hair and exaggerated laughter.
Her last performance was in 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although Diller retired from the stand-up circuit, she never totally left the entertainment industry. Phyllis passed away in her home in Los Angeles on August 20, 2012, at the age of 95.
Then: Ivory Ocean
Those who were big fans of the show will definitely remember Ivory Ocean as he played Shelly Lewis’ father on the show, Carl Lewis; therefore, he was Nick’s father-in-law.
As a police officer, he had a stern and serious demeanor, and it is humorously revealed that he once arrested Nick; now that’s gotta make for an awkward family gathering!
Now: Ivory Ocean
Ivory Ocean was a notable actor who had a few memorable appearances during his career, both before and after starring on “Blossom.”
While he had a small role on “Blossom,” he also appeared in the famous movie “The Mask,” as Mitchell Tilton: The Mayor of Edge City, “A Walk in the Clouds” in 1995, and “Lost Highway” in 1997. He passed away on December 29, 2011.
Then: Kevin Jamal Woods
Kevin Jamal Woods made several appearances as a child actor in a few shows and some movies.
While many will be able to recognize him for his role on “Blossom,” he also starred in “A Perfect World” in 1993, “The Little Rascals” in 1994, and “Babe” in 1995.
Now: Kevin Jamal Woods
Kevin went on to star in a few more TV projects, but since he’s grown older, he’s hung up his acting hat, dropped out of the spotlight, and instead opted for a simpler way of life.
After the 2000 film “The Brainiacs.com,” he’s pretty much been MIA, at least when it comes to the small screen. Kevin went on to attend Bethune-Cookman University with a major in mass communication.
Now that we’ve covered the main cast and regular appearances on “Blossom,” we can check out the many cameos and guest appearances throughout the show.
There were many musicians, TV personalities, and comedians, etc.; some were famous when they first appeared on the show, while others later became famous through their careers.
In Season two, episode four, titled “I’m with the Band,” Blossom and her school band are on a school band trip, and right at the end of the episode, Will Smith appears in the elevator that Blossom takes. Of course, she recognizes him and asks for his autograph but realizes she doesn’t have a pen or paper and that no one will believe that she met The Fresh Prince! Being a generous guy, he gives her his hat.
With his boundless energy and tremendous charisma, this rapper transformed himself from his early persona as a rapper named The Fresh Prince to both an Oscar-nominated performer and one of the biggest blockbuster stars of all time.
In the episode “Six and Sonny,” from season four, Six goes out with a married ex-con named Sonny, ten years older than she is. Blossom confronts them and bravely tells Sonny that she doesn’t think he’s right for her friend. Sonny isn’t convinced and tries his best to dissuade Blossom.
This episode was filmed around a year before David was cast in “Friends,” meaning he went from relative obscurity to a household name practically overnight due to the overwhelming popularity of “Friends.”
Leah Remini built a career in sitcoms, so it would make sense that she also appeared on “Blossom” in the episode of “You Must Remember This.”
In this episode, Blossom waits in line with Six for C+C Music Factory tickets. Leah Remini plays Tony’s coworker named Ellen and is hostile toward Tony. Remini eventually landed her best role when she starred alongside Kevin James and Jerry Stiller on “King of Queens” in 1998.
Multi-talented actress Tisha Campbell-Martin gained renown as the love interest of not one but two comedic talents on the hit sitcoms “Martin” and “My Wife & Kids.”
But before these two shows, she Tisha appeared on Blossom, twice! Her first appearance was in the episode “Here Comes the Buzz!” and again in “To Tell the Truth,” both episodes were from season two.
In season one, episode five, Blossom sneaks out to a make-out party. Jason happens to be Blossom’s date, as portrayed by Johnny Galecki, and he would later co-star with Mayim on “The Big Bang Theory!” The talented teen actor gained recognition on the sitcom sensation “Roseanne.”
But Galecki was determined not to suffer the fate faced by so many teen TV actors, so he continued to sharpen his skills and returned to weekly television when he was cast as adorable nerd Leonard on the hit show “The Big Bang Theory.”
Tonight, on a Very Special Blossom…
“Blossom” as a show was a surefire component for the perfect bowl of ’90s nostalgia. What made “Blossom” so special was that the show had many episodes that centered around a social issue that was always introduced by Mayim Bialik.
Blossom also managed to squeeze in many more appearances from actors like Stephen Dorff, Jane Leeves, Phylicia Rashad, Tobey Maguire, as well as cameos from Mr. T. With it being more than 20 years now since “Blossom” ended, here are some interesting truths discovered about some of the characters in the show.
Inspiration for “Blossom”
Don Reo is a well-recognized television writer and producer, and he was the brains behind “Blossom.” So how did he come up with the idea for the show? He was once invited to Dion DiMucci’s 50th birthday party in Florida.
DiMucci may have been a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, but he was also a pretty normal parent when it came to raising his three daughters. Seeing DiMucci like this gave Don Reo the idea of a family sitcom with Nick Russo as the ‘cool dad.’
“Blossom” pilot aired as a one-off special in July 1990. There were some striking differences between the pilot and the eventual series; Blossom’s parents were still married in the pilot, with her dad being an accountant and her mother was a homemaker.
Another different thing was Joey’s name. Initially, it was Donny. The theme song being Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative.” Soon, NBC picked up the series, and Don Reo convinced the network that he could make it work with both a “cool” musician dad and a hip teen on the same show.
The second episode on the show was “Blossom Blossoms” and aired straight after the pilot, with Ted Wass cast as the piano-playing single dad Nick. In this episode, Blossom reaches adolescence and substitutes an older friend for her absentee mother to talk about it.
Phylicia Rashad’s character drew fallopian tubes on her birthday cake, which made censors quite uneasy, and they almost nixed the entire scene. Still, in the end, the network felt there wasn’t any upside to cutting Clair Huxtable out of a heavily promoted episode and kept the scene intact.
The Incredible Hulk
In addition to being the original star of “The Incredible Hulk,”—Bill Bixby was also a gifted television director. He directed an impressive amount of 30 episodes on “Blossom!”
After directing the majority of Blossom’s third season and the first couple of season four episodes, sadly, Bixby passed away at the age of 59 after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer.
“Blossom” was rated as the most popular show in 1991 for viewers aged 12 to 17, and much of that was thanks to Joey Lawrence. It was said that he received around 4,000 to 7,000 letters from his avid fans every day!
Other estimates report he received around 15,000 letters every week! Could that be possible? We’re not 100% sure but, either way, it sure is a lot of fan mail. Good for you, Joey!
Mayim was Not Very Happy
While they were filming “Blossom,” actress Mayim Bialik has told a very different story than one we would expect. She said in an interview that this was during filming she was quite unhappy and felt very unloved.
On top of that, she also said that she’s actually not a fan of the show when she looks back, as she was also credited with saying the show was a big embarrassment!
Tedd Wass’ Last Show
“Blossom” may have been the last show that Ted Wass’ acted in, but it was also the first show that he directed, and ever since then, he shifted all his focus from being in front of the camera to behind it!
Wass has since accomplished a lot and worked on a few other sitcoms, including “Last Man Standing” and “Melissa & Joey,” in which we saw him reunited with Joey Lawrence, his “son” on “Blossom.”
Jenna Von Oÿ’s Special Morning Drink
Ted Wass revealed that Jenna had a unique drink that she would make to get into character as the fast-talking Six LeMeure. And here we thought she was naturally that talkative.
He said, “Jenna would mash up all this candy—malted milk balls, M&Ms—in a coffee cup, then fill it with Coke or strong hot coffee.” Now that explains how she was so hyped up all the time!
Samaria Wasn’t Thrilled
Samaria Graham landed Shelly’s role in 1993, which was the third season of that show, and somehow she decided to go ahead with it, despite her nonchalant response to the announcement.
“I’m not very excited about it,” she said in an interview with the LA Times in 1994. “It’s just another job. I mean, I’m happy, but I’m not thrilled or anything.”