NBC’s “Night Court” broadcast from 1984 to 1992. The series was hysterical and quirky, with a funky opening theme arranged by composer Jack Elliott. In its heyday, “Night Court” won two Golden Globes and 31 Emmy Awards. The basic plot followed an out-there judge who presided over the night shifts at a municipal court. After 8 years on the air, fans clearly loved the show, but where are these actors today? Let’s see what they’re up to…
Prosecutor Dan Fielding (John Larroquette)
John Larroquette was one of the most prominent stars of the series, having had the role of prosecutor Daniel R. “Dan” Fielding. His performance landed him four straight Emmy wins for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series from 1985 up until 1988, plenty for Larroquette.
In 1989, he asked the show producers not to submit his name again. He had several projects after “Night Court” finished: hosting “The John Larroquette Show,” roles on “Boston Legal” and “The Practice,” a recurring appearance on the show “The Librarians,” and, most recently, starring in “The Good Fight” as Gavin Firth.
Billie Young (Ellen Foley)
Billie Young (played by Ellen Foley) first debuted on season 2 of “Night Court” as Stone’s romantic interest. Producers ended up writing her out of the series because they thought she and Harry Anderson lacked chemistry. After “Night Court,” Foley managed to remain busy.
In 1988, she appeared opposite Tom Cruise in the movie “Cocktail.” She also starred in the 2015 film “No Pay, Nudity,” in addition to the documentary “Meat Loaf: In and Out of Hell.” She also starred on Broadway, has four solo albums, and has collaborated with musician Meat Loaf.
The Judge Himself (Harry Anderson)
Another significant contributor to the success of “Night Court” was Judge Harold “Harry” T. Stone, played by Harry Anderson. Before gaining notoriety on “Night Court,” Anderson appeared on “Cheers” and “Saturday Night Live.” Starring as Judge Stone earned Anderson three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
Post “Night Court,” Anderson landed the titular role of the CBS show “Dave’s Place.” After four seasons of that show, he began performing magic shows across the United States. He has been inactive in the industry, and last starred on the show “A Matter of Faith” in 2014.
Harry Anderson Passed in 2018
In April 2018, Harry Anderson passed away. It was later revealed that he had a stroke at the age of 65. Anderson also suffered from heart disease and had been ill with the flu at the time.
These conditions, plus a stroke, were imminently fatal for Anderson. His wife reported that he was past resuscitation by the time she found him. Furthermore, it was discovered that he had suffered multiple strokes in the months leading to his passing.
Public Defender Liz Williams (Paula Kelly)
Paula Kelly, who starred as Public Defender Liz Williams, earned an Emmy nomination for her role on the series. Though she was only on “Night Court” for one season, she managed to enrapture audiences. But her career didn’t end there.
After “Night Court,” she earned another Emmy nomination for her role on the TV mini-series, “The Women of Brewster Place.” Though filled with potential, she was last seen on-screen in the 1999 show “Any Day Now.”
Bailiff Roz Russell (Marsha Warfield)
Another large draw for “Night Court” was actress and comedian Marsha Warfield as Roz Russell. The fiery bailiff eventually won over the audience, and she starred in the series from seasons 4 through 9.
After “Night Court” concluded, Warfield did “Empty Nest,” starring as Dr. Maxine Douglas. Since then, she has had no lack of projects and also acted in “Family Ties,” “Riptide,” “Cheers,” “Clueless,” “Living Single,” “Moesha,” among others. Her latest on-screen role was on an episode of the drama “9-1-1.”
Buddy Ryan (John Astin)
John Astin starred as Harry’s father on “Night Court,” who had formerly been a psychiatric patient. John Astin was one of the more veteran actors on the series, already having been in numerous projects and earning Oscar nominations for directing and acting roles.
Besides “Night Court,” his best-known for playing Gomez Addams in the live-action adaption of “The Addams Family.” After “Night Court,” he reprised his role as Gomez for the animated reworking of “The Addams Family.” His latest project was the film “Starship II: Rendezvous with Ramses” as Professor Peabody.
Mrs. Robinson (Denice Kumagai)
Denice Kumagai, playing Mrs. Robinson, joined the cast of “Night Court” in season 2. Married to Mac, Mrs. Robinson’s full name was Quon Le Duc Robinson, and she was supposed to be Vietnamese. The couple’s backstory was that they met while he was stationed in Vietnam.
Before starring on “Night Court,” she appeared on the hit show “M*A*S*H.” When “Night Court” finished, she found roles in “Happily Ever After Fairy Tales for Every Child,” “Living Single,” and “Veronica’s Closet.” She last appeared in the role of Aunt June on “Gilmore Girls.”
Lana Wagner (Karen Austin)
Hailing from West Virginia, Karen Austin played court clerk Lana Wagner for the first season of “Night Court.” After being diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, Austin alleges that she was asked to leave the show.
After leaving the series, Austin was able to land many other projects. She had several roles on well-known shows like “CSI: Miami,” “Whole Day Down,” “ER,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Desperate Housewives,” and others. The 2015 horror film “The Wicked Within” was her last on-screen role.
Hillbilly Bob (Brent Spiner)
The recurrent role of Bob Wheeler the hillbilly was played by Brent Spiner. “Night Court” was just a stepping stone for the actor as he later went onto the most monumental role of his career within the “Star Trek” franchise.
He was cast as Lt. Commander Data in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in addition to the movies “Star Trek: Generations,” “Star Trek: First Contact,” and “Star Trek: Insurrection.” Lately, he has been starring on “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” as Ned Vanderhoff.
The Escort (Rita Taggart)
Actress Rita Taggart was featured on the first two seasons of “Night Court” as Carla Bouvier, the escort, also referenced as Carla B. After Taggart left “Night Court,” she took on countless, recurring parts on series like “Almost Grown,” “Coach,” and “Northern Exposure.”
She was also involved in several smaller projects and starred as Doris Dorkoff on the mystery/comedy web show “Where the Bears Are.” Her latest project was 2019’s “The Lilac Thief.”
Terry Kiser and the Actor’s Arena
Terry Kiser starred as tabloid reporter Al Craven for two seasons of “Night Court.” After exiting from the show, Kiser made sure to stay active in the world of acting. He starred in the movies “Weekend at Bernie’s” and the sequel “Weekend at Bernie’s II” in the role of Bernie Lomax.
Kiser’s passion for acting led him to open an acting school with his wife Joy Leigh in 2013. They set up the school in Austin, Texas, and called it “The Actors Arena.” Recently, he’s been seen in smaller projects like TV’s “Running” as Harry Wallace.
Mac Robinson (Charles Robinson)
Charles Robinson starred as mellow, agreeable Macintosh “Mac” Robinson on “Night Court.” His backstory added that he was a Vietnam Veteran who was known to be a huge cardigan fan. After his time on “Night Court,” Robinson had some more minor roles but is most well-known for Mac Robinson.
Robinson went on to star as Abe Johnson on the CBS series “Love & War” and also has guest-starred on “Mom,” “Key and Peele,” “Raven’s Home,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Russell Maniac.”
Nostradamus “Bull” Shanon (Richard Moll)
Richard Moll’s trademark deep voice helped to distinguish him as an actor. While on “Night Court,” he was one of the most popular characters. Unfortunately for audiences, he eventually left the show, but he had no shortage of roles after “Night Court.”
Moll had lots of work throughout the 90s and also became the voice behind comic book characters on “Spider-Man” (Scorpion), “Batman: The Animated Series” (Two-Face), and “Justice League” (Java). Recently he’s also starred on shows like “Cold Case,” “Anger Management,” and “Kirby Buckets.”
Lisette Hocheiser (Joleen Lutz)
Near the end of “Night Court,” scatterbrained court stenographer Lisette Hocheiser (played by Joleen Lutz) entered the scene. Despite only being in the last two seasons, she managed to star in 45 episodes.
After her time on “Night Court,” Lutz had minor roles on “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” “City Guys,” and “Living Single.” More recently, she also starred in “Pushing Daisies,” “Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint,” and “Desperate Housewives.”
Judge Willard (Jason Bernard)
Jason Bernard appeared as Judge Willard on the initial two seasons of “Night Court.” After his time on the show ended, Bernard got the roles of Deputy Inspector Marquette on “Cagney & Lacey” and Mr. Bracken on “Herman’s Head.”
He also starred in movies like “Death Wish,” “Liar Liar,” and “While You Were Sleeping,” as well as several smaller projects. Liar was his final movie before his unexpected death, due to a heart attack, in October 1996. The hit comedy was dedicated in honor of Bernard.
Christine Sullivan (Markie Post)
Actress Markie Post had a long stint on “Night Court.” From 1985 to 1992, she played the ambitious, high-minded public defender Christine Sullivan. Sullivan was beautiful, daring, yet considerate and proved to be a real challenge (professionally and romantically) for Dan Fielding.
After leaving Night Court, Post landed a part on CBS’s “Hearts Afire” from 1992 to 1995. Since then, her career has continued to be filled with appearances on TV shows and films.
Phil Sanders (William Utay)
The character of Phil Sanders, a follower of Dan Fielding, was a kooky homeless man. It was later shared that the character used to be rich but had lost his money. Utay also appeared as Sander’s evil twin brother Will on the program.
When “Night Court” was over for Utay, he appeared in several roles and had appearances on shows like “Days Of Our Lives” as Dr. Wilhelm Rolf. He played Dr. Rolf from 1997 until 2003 and returned from 2007 to 2008. He acted in “Species” in 1995, and in 2012 he was in “What Are Friends For?”
Yakov Korolenko (Yakov Smirnoff)
Ukrainian comedian Yakov Smirnoff appeared as Russian immigrant Yakov Korolenko. Smirnoff continued his comedic performances after “Night Court” and has been mentioned on numerous popular comedy shows, including “Family Guy,” “Futurama,” and “The Simpsons.”
Smirnoff announced a PBS special called Yakov Smirnoff’s “Happily Ever Laughter: The Neuroscience of Romantic Relationships.” His last known role was him starring as himself on the TV show “Dice” in 2017.
Oscar Brown (Gilbert Gottfried)
Gilbert Gottfried’s thunderous and piercing voice became his trademark as an actor. In the final season of “Night Court,” he came on the show as attorney Oscar Brown, who stepped in for Dan Fielding. Gottfried went on to score some notable, career-defining roles.
He voiced Iago, the parrot, from the Aladdin franchise and the Aflac duck in their commercials. Additionally, he also had roles as Kraang Subprime from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and Digit from “Cyberchase.”
Judge Margaret Wilbur (Florence Stanley)
Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Florence Stanley appeared as no-nonsense Judge Margaret Wilbur, who would occasionally step in for Judge Harry.
Stanley was also recognized for her parts as Grandma Ethyl Phillips on ABC’s “Dinosaurs,” Dr. Amanda Riskin on the NBC series “Nurses,” and Wilhelmina Packard in the Disney movies “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” and “Atlantis: Milo’s Return.” On October 3, 2003, Stanley passed away at age 79 as the result of a stroke.
The Gruff County Clerk (Selma Diamond)
The Gruff County Clerk, starring Selma Diamond, appeared in the first season of “Night Court.” The Canadian American actress had an assortment of other parts on series like “Bang the Drum Slowly,” “All of Me,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World,” and “The Twilight Zone.”
The Sally Rogers character on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” was allegedly inspired by Selma Diamond. In addition, Diamond was a voice actor in “The Jetsons” animated series for the character of Di-Di. Unfortunately, Diamond would not give her talents to the industry for much longer after that.
Selma Diamond Lost Her Cancer Battle
Selma Diamond was a chronic smoker for most of her life, and during the first season of “Night Court,” she was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Her symptoms worsened, and her health rapidly deteriorated. At age 64, Diamond died in Los Angeles, California.
Diamond is currently buried at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California. After her passing, Diamond’s role was replaced with a new character, Baliff Florence Kleiner, played by Florence Halop. Tragically, Halop also succumbed to lung cancer, only a year after Diamond.
Miriam Brody (Fran Drescher)
With her distinct voice and comedic timing, Fran Drescher was comedy gold. She is best recognizable for her work on the 90s comedy series “The Nanny,” but before that, she guest-starred during season 4 of “Night Court.”
In one episode, Drescher played Miriam Brody, a schizophrenic woman who randomly shifted personalities from an excessively open woman to a straight-laced one. More recently, Fran has added “writer” to her capabilities, along with acting, and has appeared in the series “Indebted.”
Patty Douglas (Mimi Kennedy)
Patty Douglas, played by Mimi Kennedy, starred in the second season of “Night Court.” Douglas was an heiress and Dan Fielding’s fiancé, at least for a while. Beyond “Night Court,” Kennedy became familiar to viewers for her role on the 1990s show “Dharma and Greg,” portraying Dharma’s mother, Abby O’Neil.
Still an active actress, Mimi has been on several TV series, like “Veep,” “Criminal Minds,” and “Scandal.” She presently has a recurring role in the series “Mom,” playing the character Marjorie and is also set to star in two upcoming movies.
Mel Torme As Mel Torme
Easy Listening singer Mel Torme, famous for songs like “The Velvet Fog,” made eight total guest appearances on “Night Court.” He played himself on the series but was also known to star in other TV shows and movies.
Mel had the chance to both sing and write his own songs. Some of his most well-known songs have become famous classics like “Jeepers Creepers” and “The Christmas Song.” Though he passed away at age 73 in 1999, Torme’s music has continually been used throughout television series and films.
Leon (Bumper Robinson)
Bumper Robinson played the role of Leon, the orphaned shoeshine boy, in two seasons of “Night Court.” Robinson started as a child actor and starred as an infant on shows like “Hill Street Blues” and “The Jeffersons.” Having years of experience working in the industry, he has appeared in several TV shows as both a voice and on-screen actor.
One of his most known voice acting roles was on “Futurama” as Dwight Conrad. Acting as Clarence on “Amen” was his most noted live-action role. He has worked as a voice actor in a couple of animated shows.
Easy Mary (Estelle Harris)
Estelle Harris is infamous for her role as Estelle Costanza on “Seinfeld,” but she also starred in two seasons of “Night Court.” Her character, “Easy Mary,” was an escort on the series and was on both the third and fourth seasons.
Despite now being in her 90s, Estelle has yet to retire from acting and has been in countless projects over her long career. Her most current voice acting role was as Mrs. Potato Head in “Toy Story 4.”
Vincent Daniels (Daniel Frishman)
Daniel Frishman appeared as District Attorney Vincent Daniels on “Night Court.” As a person with dwarfism, Daniels broke barriers and stereotypes in the industry through work on the show. The character of Vincent Daniels first showed up in an episode called “Dan’s Boss” from the third season.
Daniel was initially a stage actor before moving into the film industry in the film “Under the Rainbow” as the Mayor of Munchkinland. Frishman also starred in several Shakespearean plays over his career. He acted into the late 80s then retired to pursue a career in real estate.
Eddie Simms (Michael J. Fox)
During the series, one of the most noteworthy guest stars, Michael J. Fox, appeared on “Night Court” in the first season as a teen delinquent named Eddie Simms. Before he was the iconic Marty McFly, Fox was famous for playing Alex Keaton on “Family Ties.”
Later on, he would become a household name as Marty McFly in the “Back to the Future” movies and his ’90s comedy “Spin City.” In 1991, Michael was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. He now divides his time between advocating for a Parkinson’s cure and taking on a few acting projects.
Princess Tatiana of Kapua (Jeanne Mori)
Jeanne Mori starred in the special role of Princess Tatiana of Kapua in the fourth season of “Night Court.” Mori is best-known by audiences for her playing the Helm Officer in the film “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.”
She has also starred in many well-known films throughout the ’80s and ’90s, such as “Protocol,” “Mars Attacks!,” “Night Shift,” and “Real Genius.” Jeanne continued her career throughout the 2000s, but her last known role was in 2009 with the short project “Shear Delight.”
Two Different Roles (Cathy McAuley)
Like a few other actors, Cathy McAuley starred as two different characters on “Night Court.” In four episodes of the show, she appeared as a character named Daphne and then as a character named Wanda Flinn, a dating agency clerk who would go on to marry Bull.
McAuley has been in several TV shows over the years, such as “Murder She Wrote” and “Dharma and Greg.” In addition to her acting career, she became a playwright and established The Sparc Foundation, which uses acting and performance to mentor high-risk youth.
Many, Many Roles (Angela Aames)
Angela Aames is best known as the blonde bombshell in various ’70s and ’80s projects. She appeared as numerous different characters in four episodes of “Night Court,” including Angela, who dated Dan, a character named Debbie, and finally, a character named Ursula.
She starred in shows like “Cheers” and “The Love Boat” and also appeared in the iconic movie “Scarface.” Tragically, she passed away at 38 years old in 1988 as a potential result of a virus that weakened her heart.
Ronald McKenzie (Joey Aresco)
Ronald McKenzie, played by Joey Aresco, starred in the first season of “Night Court.” Joey had an array of parts throughout his career, appearing on TV programs like “General Hospital,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Remington Steele,” “The A-Team,” “MacGyver,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and “The Flash” (which was his last show).
He even starred alongside his “Night Court” co-star John Larroquette in the ’70s TV show “Baa Baa Black Sheep.”
Arnold Preminger (Stanley Brock)
What may surprise many “Night Court” viewers is that Freddie Kreuger once starred on the series, or at least Robert Eglund did. Eglund was famous for his role in the horror movie but appeared as Arnold Preminger on “Night Court.”
Besides playing Freddie Kreuger, Brock in countless horror movies over the years and is also a classically trained actor. While he did star in other horror films, he most recently starred in the comedy “The Extra.”
What Arnold Did
What were the specific events that led to Freddie Kreuger, or Arnold Preminger, landing in court? Preminger was tried in “Night Court” for possible arson. He claimed to think there was an imminent alien threat and that he needed to “fight back” against the invaders.
When he suggested he had proof of the aliens from “The New York Times,” Judge Harry enlightened him that the article talked about “immigrants.”
Jack Gilford Appeared on the Show
Jack Gilford had been acting since the 40s in film and on stage. Though he was blacklisted during the peak of McCarthyism in the 50s, he managed to stay active in the industry.
In the third season of “Night Court,” Gilford starred as Marty Ratner, Selma’s former lover. Gilford went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1973 movie “Save the Tiger.” After a successful career, he passed away in 1990 at the age of 81.
Kitty Daniels (Teri Hatcher)
In the fifth season, Teri Hatcher appeared as Kitty Daniels, the niece of District Attorney Vincent Daniels. Teri became famous for her roles as Lois Lane in the beloved TV series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” and then as the character Susan Mayer Delfino in the hit drama “Desperate Housewives.”
After the end of “Desperate Housewives,” Teri focused on raising her daughter and taking voice acting parts like her role in the movie “Coraline.” Recently she has starred in series like “Super Girl” and “The Odd Couple.”
Sheila (Leslie Bevis)
The beautiful Leslie Bevis began working as a model in Europe before breaking into the film industry. On “Night Court,” Bevis played Sheila, a clerk who worked in the Records Department. In the third season, Sheila began dating Dan Fielding, and they proved to be an actual match.
Bevis was famed for her role in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and her portrayal of Ruth Perkins on the “Young and The Restless.” The soap opera was her final role in the film industry before focusing on her family.
Many Roles (Judy Landers)
Judy Landers starred on “Night Court” multiple times as different characters. She was Vickie Guyer-McKenzie, one of Dan’s dates and U.S. Army Reserve Major Roberta Savage. Landers studied at both Warren Robertson Dramatic Training School and the Juilliard School of Music.
In addition to “Night Court,” she also appeared in numerous other TV series over the years, like “Happy Days,” “The Love Boat,” and “ALF.” In 2019 she played Francine Davis in the movie “Manipulated.”
John Larroquette, The Voice of Horro
Before starring as Prosecutor Dan Fielding, John Larroquette was granted a unique voice-over opportunity.
Surprisingly, John Larroquette was asked by director Tobe Hooper to narrate the opening text in 1974’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Larroquette voiced the opening text for the low-budget film that would go on to become a cult classic.
Markie Post on Game Shows
Before acting, Markie Post worked behind the scenes on several game shows. She was an associate producer on “Double Dare,” part of the production crew on “Second Split,” and a car dealer on “Card Sharks.”
She then would later appear as a celebrity guest on an array of game shows like “Password,” “Blackout,” and “Pyramid.” Now, this is a fantastic example of working your way to the top!
The Origins of Night Court
Where did the idea for the “Night Court” series come from? The show’s creator, Reinhold Weege, said that the concept came from hearing the real-life accounts of night court judges in New York City. When he was asked to develop a courtroom show, Weege chose to research by sitting outside a Manhattan night court.
He said that what he observed served as inspiration for him, along with the enthralling stories he had read about the emotionally erratic judges presiding over these nighttime court sessions.
“Must See Thursday”
“Night Court” was such a success that it joined the lineup of shows (called “Must See Thursday”) on NBC. “Night Court” was joined by shows including “The Cosby Show,” “Dear John,” “Family Ties,” and “A Different World.”
It’s thought that sitcoms broadcasting on NBC have not been doing well since the ending of the incredibly celebrated “Friends” sitcom in the 90s and, though NBC doesn’t do “Must See Thursday” anymore, the fact that “Night Court” was once part of that time slot speaks greatly to its success.
Markie Post’s Pregnancy
Filmmakers and TV producers often run into creative discrepancies when an actress becomes pregnant, but thankfully there are usually solutions to work around it. When Markie Post became pregnant, “Night Court” writers simply incorporated it as part of the plot in the upcoming episodes.
The character arc for Christine Sullivan then evolved into that she both got married and became pregnant. In the episode “The Blues of the Birth,” her character went into labor in an elevator.
Modern shows that center around courtrooms typically cover heavy topics, but “Night Court” was strictly a comedy. The executive producer, Stuart Kreisman, reported that “Night Court” strived to be a lighthearted series.
John Larroquette also agreed that, as part of the sitcom world, his goal was to simply make people laugh. Given how well the show did, it’s clear that the creators knew what they were doing!
Too Many Loose Ends in Storylines
One primary complaint viewers may have about “Night Court” is that there were a number of loose ends in the stories when the series finally ended. Many of the subplots never concluded for the characters on the show. Why did they do this?
Well, the program’s fate was up in the air after the ninth season ended, with NBC considering renewal for “Night Court.” Sadly, nothing came of the possible renewal, and the show ended with nine seasons.
Inspired By Real-Life People
“Night Court” saw many intriguing and even strange characters in its show run. Some typical types of characters would make appearances in the series.
The names of these characters were often named after creator Reinhold Weege’s friends. Weege did this to recognize friends in a fun and different way, or maybe it was meant as a humorous jab.
Wile E. Coyote Has His Day in Court
As if the “Night Court” premises couldn’t get any goofier, the animated Wile E. Coyote (from the Road Runner cartoon) even appeared in one of the courtroom sessions.
He was on the episode “Still Another Day in the Life.” Wile E. Coyote showed up because the Warner brothers created both the infamous cartoon and the show and decided to combine the two worlds. It certainly was a fun surprise for viewers!
Bald For A Reason
Though it only added to his scary-looking character, Richard Moll wasn’t supposed to be bald for the role of Bull Shannon.
Moll had recently appeared in a sci-fi film (“Metal Storm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn”), and his role required that he be bald. He went into his “Night Court” audition with his bald head and, although Weege had not pictured the character being bald, he decided he liked the look.