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Famous TV and Film Sidekicks Then and Now

Rider Strong / Verne Troyer / Alfonso Ribeiro
ABC / New Line Cinema / NBC

If America loves anything more than a hero, it’s a sidekick. Because people realize they aren’t leading man material, but are still hopeful enough to think they could probably kick it next to Batman. That’s *way* more realistic.

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite sidekicks of television and film fame and where they are today!


Anthony Edwards, Goose

'Top Gun'
 
 
 
Anthony Edwards
Paramount / Toby Canham, Getty Images

Then: LTJG Nick Bradshaw (better known as Goose) was the sidekick to 'Top Gun' star Tom Cruise (aka Maverick). Though he had previously starred in 'It Takes Two,' Revenge of the Nerds,' and 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High,' his role as Goose would be one he's be associated with for the rest of his career.

Now: After the success of 'Top Gun,' Edwards went on to earn accolades in both film and television, but it would be his role as Dr. Mark Green on 'ER' that would prove to define him in the modern era. Today, Edwards stars as Hank Galliston on ABC's 'Zero Hour.'

Alan Ruck, Cameron Frye

'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'
 
 
 
Alan Ruck
Paramount / Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Then: Yes, Ferris was a great character, but who would he be without Cameron Frye? Had Alan Ruck not been cast as the extremely depressed sidekick, we wouldn't have had anyone to relate to in this movie.

Now: After 'Ferris' Ruck appeared in 'The Edge,' 'Muscle' and 'Mad About You.' He finally hit the jackpot with 'Spin City.' Ruck played Stuart Bondeck -- the crass city staff member who was quite a change from soft-spoken Cameron. Most recently he appeared on 'Bunheads' and 'Hot in Cleveland,' and is starring in the movie 'Booted' as "The Meter Maid."

Efren Ramirez, Pedro Sanchez

'Napoleon Dynamite'
 
 
 
Efren Ramirez
Fox Searchlight / Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Then:  Efren Ramirez, was shy Pedro Sanchez in 'Napoleon Dynamite.' When he was cast, he was just another working actor, but when the film earned $44.5 million (after costing $400k to make), things changed quickly.

Now: Luckily Ramirez has managed to avoid typecasting, appearing in 'Gamer,' 'When in Rome,' 'Scrubs' and 'Eastbound and Down.' Currently he's voicing Pedro in the 'Napoleon Dynamite' animated series. Hey, can't forget where you came from!

Rider Strong, Shawn Hunter

'Boy Meets World'
 
 
 
Rider Strong
ABC/David Livingston, Getty Images

Then: Rider Strong appeared on 'Boy Meets World' throughout the entire series as best bud Shawn Hunter. As the "sidekick" to Cory Matthews (Ben Savage), he was something of a teenage heartthrob.

Now: Recently, Strong has appeared in 'Pepper Dreams,' 'Kim Possible,' 'Bones' and 'Paulilu Mixtape.' And word has it that he's locked for the 'Boy Meets World' reboot 'Girl Meets World.'

Alfonso Ribeiro, Carlton Banks

'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'
 
 
 
Alfonso Ribeiro
NBC / Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Then: Actor Alfonso Ribeiro is famous for two things: a Pepsi commercial where he danced opposite Michael Jackson and 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.' As Carlton Banks, the affluent nerd of Bel-Air, Ribeiro gained quite a following, mostly due to his affinity for dancing like Courteney Cox in the 'Dancing in the Dark' video.

Now: Ribeiro's post-'Fresh Prince' career has turned mainly to directing (with occasional on-camera roles). He's recently directed shows such as 'Meet the Browns,' 'Are We There Yet,' 'Shake It Up' and 'Let's Stay Together.' Thankfully he can still do 'The Carlton Dance,' as evidenced by this recent flash mob video.

William Daniels, K.I.T.T.

'Knight Rider'
 
 
 
William Daniels
Glenn A Larson Productions / IMDB

Then: As 'K.I.T.T.' (Knight Industries Two Thousand), William Daniels used his distinct voice to play the part of the world's favorite TV car sidekick.

Now: Some time later, Daniels would allow the world to see the face behind the iconic voice. He went on to play Mr. Feeny in 'Boy Meets World,' the insightful teacher who followed the same group of kids through every grade and school (even to college). A former president of the Screen Actors Guild, he recently played Dr. Craig Thomas on 'Grey's Anatomy' and recently signed on to play Mr. Feeny once again in 'Boy Meets World' update 'Girl Meets World.'

Verne Troyer, Mini-Me

'Austin Powers'
 
 
 
Verne Troyer
New Line Cinema / Michael Buckner, Getty Images

Then: Mini-Me, played by Verne Troyer, was a miniature version of Mike Meyers' Dr. Evil. Almost instantly, the world was in love with Verne Troyer. Before taking on the role of Mini-Me, Troyer had worked in film, but his work on 'Austin Powers' was the stuff that careers are made from.

Now: Troyer will forever be remembered for two things: his role as Mini-Me and that sex tape he made a few years back. Porn aside, his most recent credits consist of 'Story Cops with Verne Troyer' and indie comedy 'Convenience,' which is slated for release later this year.

Jerry Levine, Rupert 'Stiles' Stilinski

'Teen Wolf'
 
 
 
Jerry Levine
Wolfkill / IMDB

Then: It isn't easy for a sidekick to steal the film but Stiles somehow did so. Maybe it was his "can-do" entrepreneurial optimism, but his character would probably be even more liked than Michael J. Fox's, if he had sprouted hair all over his body and won the basketball game.

Now: After 'Teen Wolf,' Levine went on to find much success in television, playing Joe on 'Will & Grace' for six seasons. He's since become a prolific director, having sat behind the camera on 'Hawaii 5-0,' 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' and 'Monk.'

Jonathan Ke Quan, Short Round

'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom'
 
 
 
Jonathan Ke Quan
Paramount / Billy Ingram, Getty Images

Then: Jonathan Ke Quan played Short Round in 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.' The film would be his first one, and he followed it up with 'The Goonies.' Definitely not a bad way to start a Hollywood career.

Now: After his 'Indiana Jones' success (and 'Goonies') Quan worked a little bit in film and television. He has studied both Taekwondo and Tao-liang Tan, which helped him when he was a stunt choreographer for 'X-Men' and 'The One.'

Stacey Dash, Dionne 'Dee' Davenport

'Clueless'
 
 
 
Stacey Dash
Paramount / Lorenzo Bevilaqua, Getty Images

Then: Playing the attractive best friend of Cher, Stacey Dash became forever connected to the role of Dionne. Fresh from appearing in films such as 'Renaissance Man,' 'Mo' Money' and 'Moving,' the 1995 cult hit 'Clueless' put Dash on the map.

Now: Even though she's continued to act in both film and TV (reprising her role as Dee for the 'Clueless' series), Dash was recently in the news for endorsing the 2012 Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. She's currently on VH1's 'Single Ladies' and will soon be appearing with Carmen Electra in the stripper flick 'Monica.'

Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca

'Star Wars'
 
 
 
Peter Mayhew
Lucas Film / Angela Weiss, Getty Images

 Then: Peter Mayhew was over seven-feet-tall, making him perfect for the role of Han Solo's hairy pal. Mayhew got his start in acting after his photo was featured in a newspaper article about men with large feet, which led to being cast as a minotaur in 'Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.'

Now: Mayhew's Chewbacca fame has never waned, and he continues to appear at fan conventions, While he has appeared in a few other films and television shows, it's his Wookiee role that garners him the title of best sidekick. He returned for 2005's 'Revenge of Sith' and could join Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in the next 'Star Wars' outing. 

Next: See '90s Rock Stars Then and Now

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