While Beverly Hills, 90210 is one of the most iconic teen sitcoms ever to grace the small screen, and arguably one of the most influential series in television history, it was also made fun of a lot. One of the main reasons was the decision to cast people who were actually much older than the characters they were playing.
Set in West Beverly High, a fictional high school in an affluent area of Los Angeles, California, all of the main characters were students, which means they should have been about 16 when the show began. Yet some of them, at the time the first season aired back in 1990, were already in their mid-20s, even 30s. Thankfully, they managed to pull off the roles in a convincing way for an entire decade. But how old were they, really, and how old are they today?
10 Jennie Garth (Kelly Taylor)
Garth was indeed a teenager when the series began, though she was already 18, which meant she would have been graduating high school already, or just about to. Nonetheless, the transformation of her character on the show coincides with Garth’s real transition into adulthood.
She rose to fame playing the resident pretty, popular girl in high school, then Garth went on to star in other sitcoms, including What I Like About You, as well as her own reality show, Jennie Garth: A Little Bit Country. She also reprised her role in the sort-of revival series BH90210 with almost all of the original cast. Today, Garth is 48 years old.
9 Ian Ziering (Steve Sanders)
Ziering managed to pull of playing a high schooler even though he was 26 at the time the show began. It might seem crazy but consider that Cole Sprouse, who currently stars it the teen drama Riverdale, plays a high schooler as well and he’s 28 years old!
Ziering’s most notable role since Beverly Hills, 90210 is, of course, starring in the Sharknado film series. Today, it might be difficult for fans of the show to accept the fact that he is 56 years old, born in 1964.
8 Brian Austin Green (David Silver)
He played the youngest of the main cast members, a freshman when the rest were already seniors and the goofy high school kid that originally hung with other cliques. Indeed, Green was one year younger than Garth when the show began at just 17, making him the second-youngest original cast member.
Notable for other roles like Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Freddie, Wedding Band, and Anger Management, Green was most recently seen on the reality competition singing show The Masked Singer. He is now 47, born in 1973.
7 Tori Spelling (Donna Martin)
Also born in 1973, Spelling is 47 years old and was 17 years old when the series began. Her character was supposed to be a year older than David, who wound up becoming her boyfriend and later husband.
Spelling, who played the dimwitted and naïve Donna Martin, is the daughter of Aaron Spelling, the late creator of the series. She has become an author and had her own reality series.
6 Jason Priestley (Brandon Walsh)
Resident teen heartthrob, young girls who loved the intelligent and morally perfect Brandon, making him the most likeable character on the show. His clean-cut good looks and piercing blue eyes didn’t hurt his chances at popularity either. Priestley was already in his 20s when the first season aired: he would have been about 21, in fact.
Today, at 51, Priestley continues to act. He starred in the series Call Me Fitz from 2010-2013 and currently stars in the Canadian comedy-drama series Private Eyes. The Canadian actor was born in 1969.
5 Luke Perry (Dylan McKay)
Sadly, Perry passed away in 2019 at the age of 52. At the time of his death, he was starring in The CW series Riverdale, playing the lead character Archie Andrews’ father Fred. The series paid tribute to him after his death.
Born in 1966, Perry was already 24 in season one, but he managed to pull off the brooding, bad boy high schooler Dylan who had some good traits, too. Fans didn’t seem to care that he looked a lot older than he was supposed to be, as he became a bona fide teen heartthrob. It’s interesting to think that he was well into his 30s by the time the series ended.
4 Gabrielle Carteris (Andrea Zuckerman)
A puzzling casting decision at first, Carteris was about to celebrate leaving her 20s and entering her 30s, as she would have been about 29 when the first season premiered. But somehow, she managed to be convincing as a high school student that was significantly younger. The fact that her character was wise beyond her years and a nerdy outcast helped. And she ended up getting some pretty compelling storylines.
Carteris has been the president of SAG-AFTRA, the trade union representing actors, since 2016. Prior to that, she was executive vice president. Today, she is 59, born in 1961, celebrating her 60th birthday in January 2021.
3 Joe E. Tata (Nat Bussichio)
One of the few original cast members who wasn’t a student (or parent of a student), Tata was the kind and lovable owner of The Peach Pit restaurant the gang frequented, and where Brandon (and sometimes others) worked. Born in 1936, he was 54 at the time the show started, which is about the age his character probably was as well.
Today, at 84, Tata reprised his role as Nat in a few episodes of the 90210 spin-off in 2008. His last acting role was in a 2014 episode of the series Mystery Girls, where he played a school principal.
2 Shannon Doherty (Brenda Walsh)
Doherty was only on the series for its first three seasons but she did reprise her role in BH90210, poking fun at many of the rumors about her and the “bad girl” reputation she acquired after the show. She went on to star in another hugely successful show, Charmed, from 1998-2001.
Nineteen years old when the series began, two years younger than Priestley, who played her twin brother, Doherty was born in 1971, making her now 49. She has been open about her battle with cancer, announcing in February 2020 that her cancer had returned and she was in stage four.
1 Douglas Emerson (Scott Scanlon)
The storyline of his death might have seemed ridiculous back then, but sadly, it is something that happens all too often. In the saddest moment of the second season, while playing around with his father’s gun, twirling it in the air, Scott accidentally shot and killed himself, right in front of his best friend David.
Emerson only appeared in the first two seasons of the series, as David’s best friend who suffered greatly when David started hanging out with the “popular kids.” Born in 1974, he was 16 when the show started, making the youngest original cast member. He left the world of acting afterwards and joined the U.S. Air Force, though he reportedly left in 2003. It’s unclear what the actor is up to now.
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