Fan Beloved Actors of the 'Wings' Series Then and Now
The series takes place in a fictional universe similar to “Cheers" and with its mix of comedy and drama, it was a hit. But a lot has happened to its beloved actors and actresses since the good old days... We wonder how many of them you would recognize today. Let’s take a look at them now and then!
THEN: AMY YASBECK
The 57-year-old actress played Casey Chappel, Helen’s older sister, who returns to Nantucket after her husband abandoned her. Antonio falls for her, but she doesn’t react well to his feelings. Yasbeck went on to star in series like “Alright Already” (1997-1998).
Along with this was “Life on a Stick” (2005), apart from starring in “Just Shoot Me!” (2003), “Raven” (2006), “Hot in Cleveland” (2010), “Bones” (2013), “Modern Family” (2013), and “Pretty Little Liars” (2016). She has also landed roles in films like “Up Above the World” (1997).
NOW: AMY YASBECK
Amy Yasbeck has more recently starred in many great films and television series such as Splash, Pretty Woman, Problem Child, The Mask, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, House II: The Second Story, and many more. Amy got married to John Ritter in 1999.
But he tragically passed away in 2003. The two met at a read-through for their movie Problem Child in 1990. How sweet? They have one child together. Most recently Amy is still acting and has remained in the industry. She is making a name for herself as a true star.
THEN: TONY SHALHOUB
The 66-year-old actor played Antonio Scarpacci, an Italian immigrant that operates a taxi service for the airport. Shalhoub went on to star in his massive series “Monk” (2002-2009) and continued landing roles in series like “We Are Men” (2013) and “Nurse Jackie” (2015).
Along with this was Brain Dead” (2016), and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (2017-2019). He has also been in several films, including “Men in Black” (1997) “Gattaca” (1997), “Galaxy Quest” (1999), “Spy Kids” (2001), “Pain & Gain” (2013), and “Rosy” (2018).
NOW: TONY SHALHOUB
Tony Shalhoub is a famous award-winning actor. He has won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and three coveted Primetime Emmy Awards for his role as detective Adrian Monk in the television series Monk.
THEN: REBECCA SCHULL
The 90-year-old actress played Fay Cochran, a sweet widow that runs the ticket counter at the airport. She is a retired flight attendant and acts as everybody’s mother at the airport. Schull is still active despite her mature age. She has done very well.
In 2019 she starred in “The Last,” with other of her film credits including “The Odd Couple II” (1998), “Analyze This” (1999), “Analyze That” (2002), “Little Children” (2006), and “Molly’s Theory of Relativity” (2013). This is a very impressive history for her.
NOW: REBECCA SCHULL
Rebecca is still acting and is a series regular on the ABC Family television series Chasing Life. She most recently acted in Crisis in Six Scenes. She is a true veteran in the acting world and very few people will not recognize her from one or the other role.
Rebecca was also featured on the famous hit television series Suits for quite a few episodes. Rebecca married Gene Schull in 1951 and they were together until he passed away in 2008, they have 3 children together. From her days on Wings to Suits, she's made it!
THEN: DAVID SCHRAMM
The 73-year-old actor played Roy Biggins, the head of Aeromass, a larger airline that is Sandpiper’s rival. Except from voicing the character Bellerophon in the Disney animated TV series “Hercules” in 1998, Schramm hasn’t been in anything on the screen.
NOW: DAVID SCHRAMM
David also played on and Off-Broadway in many plays such as King Lear and A Chorus of Disapproval. He was also featured in a few movies like Let it Ride, A Shock to the System, and Johnny Handsome. David lives in New York and most recently has gone back to acting.
THEN: THOMAS HADEN CHURCH
The 59-year-old actor played Lowell Mather, the dimwit airport mechanic in charge of every plane at the Nantucket Island airport. He is divorced and has many children, and is a chronic womanizer. Church is nowadays mostly known for “Crash Pad” (2017).
NOW: THOMAS HADEN CHURCH
Thomas Haden Church is a triple threat. An actor, director, and writer. His breakout role was on Wings portraying Lowell but after that, his career took off. He has starred in Spider-Man 3 and was nominated for an Academy Award for his acting in the movie Sideways.
Thomas also directed the movie Rolling Kansas. Thomas lives in Kerrville, Texas with his two children from his previous relationship with Mia Zottoli. He is currently starring in the television series called Divorce. This speaks to his great skills as an actor.
THEN: STEVEN WEBER
The 58-year-old actor played Brian Hackett, Joe’s brother and co-owner of Sandpiper, who is chronically irresponsible, which has kept him from having more success in his career despite his brilliance. Weber has been in films like “Sour Grapes” (1998), and “The Perfection” (2018).
On the small screen, he has had roles in a number of shows such as “Brothers and Sisters” (2007-2008), “Dallas” (2013-2014), “Chasing Life” (2014-2015), “House of Lies” (2015-2016), “NCIS: New Orleans” (2014-2017), “Mom” (2017-2018), and more recently “13 Reasons Why” (2017-2020).
NOW: STEVEN WEBER
Steven Weber is an incredible actor who was made famous for playing the role of Brian on Wings. He also starred in quite a few hit television series such as NCIS: New Orleans, iZombie, and NBC’s Once and Again. Steven also acted on Broadway in many plays.
THEN: CRYSTAL BERNARD
The 58-year-old actress played the role of Helen Chappek, a Texas-born that runs the lunch counter in the airport while dreaming of becoming a classical musician. Bernard’s career slowed down after the series ended, but made appearances in the film “Gideon” (1998).
NOW: CRYSTAL BERNARD
Crystal Bernard is an actress, singer, and songwriter. Her acting career included stage productions as well as roles on TV and in films. Her television credits include Happy Days, It’s a Living, and of course Wings. She has also acted in the movie Young Doctors in Love.
THEN: TIM DALY
The 63-year-old actor played Joe Hackett, a pilot and the co-owner of a small airline company on Nantucket Island named Sandpiper. He has a fallout with his brother Brian after the latter elopes with his former fiancée. Daly has continued working on TV.
He has played roles in several different shows such as “The Fugitive” (2000-2001), “Eyes” (2005-2007), “The Sopranos” (2004-2007), “The Nine” (2006-2007), “Private Practice” (2007-2012), and more recently “Madam Secretary” (2014-2019). On the big screen, he has starred in “Seven Girlfriends” (1999).
NOW: TIM DALY
Tim also starred in many other hit TV shows such as Superman: The Animated Series, The Sopranos, Private Practice, and Madam Secretary. His sister is a theater and TV actress Tyne Daly. He married actress Amy Van Nostrand in 1982. How cute!
They had two children together but divorced later on. Tim has been dating his Madam Secretary co-star Téa Leoni since 2014. Daly does a lot of not-for-profit work and has served as the president of the Creative Coalition. This speaks to his passion for life.
WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT THEIR FAMOUS SHOW
It’s no coincidence that Wings is the airport version of Cheers, as its co-creators—David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee—spent many years working on the beloved series about the bar where everybody knows your name. How cool is this little bit of history!
GEORGE CLOONEY VYED FOR A ROLE IN WINGS
A few years before landing the career-changing role of Dr. Doug Ross on ER, George Clooney tried to play the role of charming playboy Brian Hackett. David Duchovny and Hank Azaria were among the other actors also looked at. Until Steven Weber came along.
BRYAN CRANSTON TRIED OUT FOR THE SPECIAL PART
Walter White auditioned to play Joe Hackett. This was the humorous owner of Sandpiper Air. Daniel Stern and Nick Cassavetes auditioned, but Tim Daly got the part. It was all meant to be though because now we all know he was the perfect actor.
HOW THE SERIES GREW ON TIM DALY
In a 2014 interview with The A.V. Club, Daly admitted that “like a lot of people, I hadn’t really appreciated Wings until sort of recently.” He did admit he had an awesome time filming the show and worked with lots of talented people. He was frustrated by something.
This was the fact that, as he put it:
“it didn’t get very good reviews, and it wasn’t, like, hip, you know? It wasn’t Seinfeld, it wasn’t Friends, it didn’t really have a reputation as a ‘hot’ show, and—it kind of made me feel a little bad. I was like, ‘Hey, how come nobody likes this show?"
"Being many years removed from it, I look back at it, and that show was really great! It’s hilarious! And we were very good. We were really fun. I don’t know why we didn’t get the credit we deserved at the time. But it’s kinda odd..."
Why is it odd? Well mainly because now people think of it as a classic TV show. Critics, maybe not, but the citizens or whoever seems to think it was one of the all-time greats. The show remains an absolute success and one that won't be forgotten anytime soon.
DALY’S SISTER, TYNE
Daly’s got a point about the series and its somewhat critical reception. Though it features top-notch acting and writing, Wings only ever received a grand total of three Emmy nominations—one for Outstanding Makeup in 1996, and the others for guest stars.
This was disappointing, to say the least. The stars who were nominated were Kelsey Grammer (playing Frasier Crane) and Tyne Daly (Tim’s sister) for her one-episode appearance as Mimsy Borogroves. It was kinda cool that she was recognized for this though.
HELEN’S ROLE WASN'T WRITTEN FOR HER
A shocking revelation is that Crystal Bernard’s character, Helen Chapel, was originally written as Helen Trionkis—and intended for Peri Gilpin. David Lee shared in 2010:
“Yes, Helen in the first draft was Helen Trionkis, a dark beauty of Greek descent. Our first choice was Peri Gilpin. [NBC President Brandon] Tartikoff thought she wasn't ready to head a series yet.”
WHAT IS THE STORY WITH HELEN’S ACCENT.
Though she is meant to represent a native islander, Helen Chapel has a rather intense Southern accent. “[Tartikoff] pitched Crystal and left it up to us to figure out the accent bit,” David Lee recalled:
Can't remember what lame convoluted plotting we came up with to explain the accent, but after convincing no one, it was soon forgotten.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT PERI GILPIN’S FRASIER CHARACTER
Angell, Casey, and Lee were able to sell the network on Gilpin’s leading lady abilities. A heartwarming fact is that her role on that show as Roz Doyle is actually a name used for one of the producers of Wings, who passed away from breast cancer in 1991.
JOHN RITTER PLAYED THE EX-HUSBAND OF HIS FUTURE WIFE
In 1996, John Ritter made a guest appearance on Wings. He came on as Stuart Davenport, the ex-husband of Helen’s sister, Casey Davenport, real name, Amy Yasbeck. Three years later, Ritter and Yasbeck got married. How cute and what a twist in the story!
What a story this was! The majority of faces who graced the screen back then are still going strong in the industry today. Who is your favorite 'Wings' cast member? Let us know all about it by leaving us a comment below!