Harriet The Spy Cast: Then And Now

See what the cast of Harriet the Spy has been up to, since 1996. If you are in your mid-twenties, then this movie was probably one of your favorites growing up; I know it was mine! posted on

1. THEN: Michelle Trachtenberg as Harriet M. Welsch

Michelle Christine Trachtenberg (born October 11, 1985) is an American actress. She is best known for her roles as Nona F. Mecklenberg in The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Dawn Summers in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000–03) and Georgina Sparks in Gossip Girl (2008–2012). She also appeared in the films Harriet the Spy (1996), EuroTrip (2004), Ice Princess (2005), Black Christmas (2006), and 17 Again (2009).

NOW: Michelle Trachtenberg

2. THEN: Gregory Smith as Sport

Canadian born Gregory Smith has starred in 25 feature films, including The Patriot (2000), opposite Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger; Closing the Ring (2007), directed by Richard Attenborough which premiered at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival; Small Soldiers (1998), opposite Kirsten Dunst and produced by ‘Steven Spielberg’; Nearing Grace (2005), opposite Jordana Brewster and David Morse which opened the 2005 L.A. Film Festival to critical acclaim; and Book of Love (2004), opposite Frances O’Connor and Bryce Dallas Howard and which premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Additionally, he has starred in over 100 episodes of television, most notably as the protagonist in The WB’s hit series “Everwood” (2002) which aired for four seasons.

Smith is also an accomplished producer and photographer. In 2008, he developed and produced a comedy for Sony Screen Gems which starred Kenan Thompson, Zachary Levi and Fran Kranz. As a photographer, he travels all over the world photographing the different people he encounters.

As an entrepreneur, Smith co-founded theU.net - an immersive student network that releases high production value, high energy youth oriented video tours of the most popular colleges in the USA. He and his partner raised $1 million to both develop and execute the concept. He also structured a deal co-branding theU.net with AOL Time Warner subsidiary, The WB. He will launch his next technology startup company imminently.

In 2009, he starred in Reginald Harkema’s Manson, My Name Is Evil (2009) which had its world premiere at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival.

2010 was a busy year for Smith, who starred in four movies. In Jim Sheridan’s Dream House (2011), he stars opposite Daniel Craig as the gothic young man who is obsessed with the unsolved murders of Craig’s family. In Chaz Thorne’s Whirligig (2010), he plays the lead “Nicholas” in a coming of age story about a lost young man whose shameless lies lead him all the way to discovering the truth. He also filmed a segment of Josh Stolberg’s anthology film Conception (2011). In the film, Smith stars with Julie Bowen as one of nine couples dealing with sex, love and the almost inevitable consequence: pregnancy. Most recently, he filmed Hobo with a Shotgun (2011) which was directed by Jason Eisener. Eisener’s trailer for this film won Quentin Tarantino’s Grind House competition.

As of summer 2012, Greg can be seen starring as “Dov Epstein” in the new ABC/Global television series “Rookie Blue” (2010). This series follows a group of recent graduates from the police academy as they try to navigate their ways as rookie officers.

Smith splits his time between Los Angeles and Toronto.

NOW: Gregory Smith

3. THEN: Vanessa Lee Chester as Janie Gibbs

Vanessa Lee Chester (born July 2, 1984) is an American television and film actress. She has worked on a variety of projects, most notable for her roles as Kelly in Steven Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), and as Becky in Alfonso Cuarón’s A Little Princess (1995). Chester later worked mostly in television, most notably appearing in Malcolm in the Middle and The West Wing. She was nominated for a Saturn Award (The Lost World: Jurassic Park), Image Award (The Lost World: Jurassic Park), Young Artist Award (A Little Princess) and took home the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actress (Harriet The Spy).1 Vanessa is currently working on an unnamed film by Ty Hodges.1

NOW: Vanessa Lee Chester

4. THEN: Rosie O’Donnell as Ole Golly

Roseann “Rosie” O’Donnell (born March 21, 1962) is an American comedian, actress, author and television personality. She has also been a magazine editor and continues to be a celebrity blogger, LGBT rights activist, television producer and collaborative partner in the LGBT family vacation company R Family Vacations.

O’Donnell started her comedy career while still a teenager and her big break was on the talent show Star Search in 1984. A TV sitcom and a series of movies introduced her to a larger national audience and in 1996 she started hosting The Rosie O’Donnell Show which won multiple Emmy awards.

During her years on The Rosie O’Donnell Show, she wrote her first book, a memoir called Find Me and developed the nickname “Queen Of Nice” as well as a reputation for philanthropic efforts. She used the book’s $3 million advance to establish her own For All Kids foundation and promoted other charity projects encouraging other celebrities on her show to also take part. O’Donnell came out, stating “I’m a dyke!” two months before finishing her talk show run, saying that her primary reason was to bring attention to gay adoption issues. O’Donnell is a foster—and adoptive—mother. Since coming out, she has continued to support many LGBT causes and issues.

In 2006, O’Donnell became a moderator on The View. O’Donnell’s strong opinions resulted in several notable controversies including an on-air dispute regarding the Bush administration’s policies with the Iraq War, resulting in a mutual agreement to cancel her contract. In 2007, O’Donnell released her second memoir, Celebrity Detox, which focuses on her struggles with fame and her time at The View. She continues to do charity work and remains involved with LGBT and family-related issues.

From 2009 to 2011, O’Donnell hosted Rosie Radio on Sirius XM Radio. In 2011, O’Donnell signed on with the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network to return to daytime TV with The Rosie Show. The OWN Network cancelled the show due to low ratings on March 16, 2012, and the last show aired on March 29, 2012.

NOW: Rosie O’Donnell

5. THEN: J. Smith-Cameron as Mrs. (Violetta) Welsch

Gifted stage actress J. Smith-Cameron was born Jeanie Smith in Louisville, Kentucky, and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, the daughter of an architect. Known simply as J. Smith by us students of the Florida State University School of Theatre program in the mid-1970s; I was privileged to work with and witness firsthand the extent of J.’s talent early in the game. A very slender figure with tight, curly hair and intent, hooded eyes, she showed amazing potential back then. Despite her age, she made a dazzling young “Anne Frank” in “The Diary of Anne Frank” and an equally touching and memorable “Helen Keller” in “The Miracle Worker”. She was a wonderfully bizarre “Honey” in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and showed off her versatility in an all-female version of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”. J.’s older sister, Joann, also attended FSU at the time and performed with me in a production of the classic Iranian allegory, “The Butterfly” (Shaparak Khanoom), by Bijan Mofid, directed by his actor/brother Ardavan Mofid. Joann later became a teacher.

J. made her film debut while at FSU, starring in the acclaimed low-budget production of Gal Young ‘Un (1979), directed by Victor Nunez, who later helmed Ulee’s Gold (1997). The film, which was shot in Florida, starred and featured several fellow FSU alumni including David Peck, Marc H. Glick, Tim McCormack, Gil Lazier (FSU acting teacher), and Randy Ser (who later won an Emmy as production designer for the Whitney Houston version of Cinderella (1997) (TV)). The film would not be released until a few years later in 1979, years after they all graduated. Following college, J. Smith added the hyphenated “Cameron” name to her moniker as both a tribute to her great-grandmother and in order to avoid confusion once she joined Actor’s Equity. Her peers in college all knew it wouldn’t take long for J. to establish herself. A remarkably unique and impressionable lady both on and off stage, J. has the requisite flair for playing neurotic, off-the-wall characters, both comedic and tragic. Abnormality has been a specialty on her menu and most often the delightful main course. By 1982, J. was showcasing on Broadway as the crazy, suicidal “Babe” in Beth Henley’s “Crimes of the Heart”. She never had to look back. In the course of her veteran on- and off-Broadway career, J. has received a Tony nomination for “Our Country’s Good” (1991), an Outer Critics Circle award for “Lend Me a Tenor” (1989) and an Obie award for her flashy, no-holds-barred portrayal in “As Bees in Honey Drown” (1997). Other successes have included “Wild Honey”, “Tartuffe”, “The Memory of Water” and “Night Must Fall” with Matthew Broderick.

Although TV and film stardom has eclipsed her thus far, she has shown that, even in the smallest role, she can draw attention to herself, as witnessed by her hysterically funny bit as a sexual compulsive in the gay film Jeffrey (1995). She has played various mom parts, some more stable than others, in such films as Harriet the Spy (1996), and The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999). J. met and, later married, playwright/film writer Kenneth Lonergan. She was featured as “Mabel”, the secretary, in Lonergan’s Oscar-nominated breakthrough play-turned-film You Can Count on Me (2000), which made film stars out of Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo. J. and Kenneth have a daughter, Nellie. The diverse range of her talent is what still separates J. from the rest of the pack, and should certainly serve her well for years to come.

NOW: J. Smith-Cameron

6. THEN: Robert Joy as Mr. (Ben) Welsch

Actor Robert Joy was born on August 17, 1951 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He grew up in Newfoundland, eventually joining the Newfoundland Company as an actor, director and composer, before he took up a scholarship at Oxford. Upon graduation, he moved to New York, where he pursued an acting career. While already taking screen roles in the mid-1970s, he initially focused on stage, making his off-Broadway debut in 1978’s The Diary of Anne Frank. He went on to originate a role in the musical Big River, and play mysterious actor Julian Hyde in the stage play Hyde in Hollywood, as well as its television adaptation.

Joy made his film debut in 1981’s Atlantic City: while his was a minor role, it was his character (and his murder) that set the film’s tone. He went on to appear alongside Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan and in the Woody Allen film Radio Days, apart from supporting roles in later films such as Pharaoh’s Army and Waterworld. His more recent film roles include those in the films Perfume, It’s A Boy Girl Thing, Land of the Dead, and as Stephen Hawking in the spoof comedy Superhero Movie.

Joy had less appearances on television, especially during the early part of his career. Apart from sporadic guest appearances, he was a regular in the television series Codco. In recent years, he began taking recurring roles in shows such as Boston Legal, as well as a regular role in MDs. In 2005, he joined the cast of CSI: NY, appearing as controlled coroner Sid Hammerback.

NOW: Robert Joy

7. THEN: Eartha Kitt (Deceased) as Agatha K. Plummer

Eartha Mae Kitt was an international star who gave new meaning to the word versatile. She distinguished herself in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television. Miss Kitt was one of only a handful of performers to be nominated for a Tony (three times), the Grammy (twice), and Emmy Award (twice). She regularly enthralled New York nightclub audiences during her extended stays at The Cafè Carlyle and these intimate performances have been captured in her recording, Eartha Kitt, Live at The Carlyle.

Miss Kitt’s distinctive voice enchanted an entirely new generation of fans. Young fans loved her as YZMA, the villain, in Disney’s animated feature “The Emperor’s New Groove”, (2001 Annie Award for Best Vocal Performance / Animated Feature). Miss Kitt was also featured in the sequel, “The Emperor’s New Groove II” and reprised the role in the popular Saturday morning animated series “The Emperor’s New School” for which she received a 2007 and 2008 Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program and a 2007 and 2008 Annie Award for Best Vocal Performance in an Animated Television Production.

Miss Kitt was ostracized at an early age because of her mixed-race heritage. At eight years old, she was given away by her mother and sent from the South Carolina cotton fields to live with an aunt in Harlem. In New York her distinct individuality and flair for show business manifested itself, and on a friend’s dare, the shy teen auditioned for the famed “Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe.” She won a spot as a featured dancer and vocalist and before the age of twenty, toured worldwide with the company. During a performance in Paris, Miss Kitt was spotted by a nightclub owner and booked as a featured singer at his club. Her unique persona earned her fans and fame quickly, including Orson Welles, who called her “the most exciting woman in the world”. Welles was so taken with her talent that he cast her as Helen of Troy in his fabled production of “Dr. Faust.”

Back in New York, Miss Kitt was booked at The Village Vanguard, and soon spotted by a Broadway producer who put her in “New Faces Of 1952” where every night she transfixed audiences with her sultry rendition of Monotonous. Her show stopping performance in “NEW FACES”, which ran for a year, led to a national tour and a Twentieth Century Fox film version.

Broadway stardom led to a recording contract and a succession of best-selling records including “Love for Sale”, “I Want to Be Evil”, “Santa Baby” and “Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa”, which earned her a Grammy nomination. During this period, she published her first autobiography, “Thursday’s Child.” Miss Kitt then returned to Broadway in the dramatic play “Mrs. Patterson”, and received her first Tony nomination. Other stage appearances followed, as did films including “The Mark Of The Hawk” with Sidney Poitier, “Anna Lucasta” with Sammy Davis, Jr. and “St Louis Blues” with Nat King Cole.

In 1967, Miss Kitt made an indelible mark on pop culture as the infamous “Catwoman” in the television series, “Batman.” She immediately became synonymous with the role and her trademark growl became imitated worldwide.

Singing in ten different languages, Miss Kitt performed in over 100 countries and was honored with a star on “The Hollywood Walk of Fame” in 1960. In 1966, she was nominated for an Emmy for her role in the series, “I Spy”. In 1968, Miss Kitt’s career took a sudden turn when, at a White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson, she spoke out against the Vietnam War. For years afterward, Miss Kitt was blacklisted in the U.S. and was forced to work abroad where her status remained undiminished. In December 2006 she returned to Washington and lit the National Christmas Tree alongside President and Mrs. George W. Bush

In 1974, Miss Kitt returned to the United States, with a triumphant Carnegie Hall concert and, in 1978, received a second Tony nomination for her starring role in the musical, “Timbuktu.” Miss Kitt’s second autobiography, “Alone With Me”, was published in 1976 and “I’m Still Here: Confessions Of A Sex Kitten” was released in 1989. Her best-selling book on fitness and positive attitude,” Rejuvenate! (It’s Never Too Late)”, was released by Scribner in May 2001.

Live theater was Miss Kitt’s passion. In 2001, Broadway critics singled her out with a Tony and Drama Desk nomination for her role as Dolores in George Wolfe’s “The Wild Party.” Over the last few years, she has starred in National Tours of “The Wizard Of Oz” and Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”. In December 2003, Miss Kitt dazzled Broadway audiences as Liliane Le Fleur in the revival of “Nine, The Musical.” In December 2004, she appeared as The Fairy Godmother in The New York City Opera production (Lincoln Center) of “Cinderella.” She also starred in the off-Broadway production of “Mimi Le Duck” (2006) and The Westport County Playhouse production of “The Skin Of Our Teeth” (2007).

Miss Kitt remained devoted to performing in front of live audiences, from intimate cabarets to concert halls with local symphonies. Some of her engagements included appearances with The Atlanta Symphony, The Portland Symphony, Detroit’s Music Hall, D.C.’s Blues Alley, Seattle’s Jazz Alley, Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, The Mohegan Sun, Sarasota’s Van Wetzel Center for the Performing Arts Festival. In addition, she was especially proud to have brought her one-woman show to the 51st Annual JVC Newport Jazz Festival and the Miami Beach JVC Jazz Festival.

In February 2007, Miss Kitt returned to London after a 15 year absence for a remarkable series of sold-out performances at The Shaw Theater. She returned to Great Britain in 2008 to critical raves at London’s Place Pigalle and to headline the prestigious Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

On January 17 2007, Miss Kitt held a celebratory concert in honor of her 80th birthday at Carnegie Hall with a, JVC Jazz called “Eartha Kitt And Friends.”

Miss Kitt died on December 25, 2008 and is survived by her daughter, Kitt Shapiro, and four grandchildren.

Her outstanding vocals along with her curvaceous frame will forever be cherished for generations to come.

NOWish: Eartha Kitt (Deceased) [2008]

8. THEN: Charlotte Sullivan as Marion Hawthorne

Charlotte Sullivan (born October 21, 1983) is a Canadian actress. Her first on-screen role was an extra in a Liza Minnelli music video. She has had a starring role in The New Ghostwriter Mysteries and Harriet the Spy as well as smaller parts in How to Deal and Fever Pitch. She played Katie in Across the River to Motor City.

She portrayed Maxima in an episode of Smallville’s 8th season. She is currently portraying Officer Gail Peck in the police drama Rookie Blue.

NOW: Charlotte Sullivan

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