Malcolm in the Middle Cast: Lives After the Show
Malcolm in the Middle has millions of fans around the world! True fans of the show try to keep up with all the news about their favorite actors and definitely know what they are doing now!
Was Malcolm in the Middle a career-killer for most of its actors? Who would like to participate in the reboot of the show? And why doesn’t Frankie Muniz remember himself playing Malcolm? In this article, we're going to tell you all the most exciting news about the Malcolm in the Middle actors!
Bryan Cranston as Hal
Malcolm’s likable but slightly ridiculous and completely indecisive father was a breakthrough role for the actor. Bryan Cranston was so good in this role that he didn’t only get three Primetime Emmy nominations, but also a few offers to play similarly silly dad characters in other shows and movies. But, to avoid being typecast as a “silly but lovable dad” character, Cranston turned down these offers.
“I just had to have faith that something would come along. I just didn’t want to be redundant,” the actor explained in an interview with IFC.
And something DID come along for him! Along with multiple guest appearances in Family Guy, How I Met Your Mother, Little Miss Sunshine, and Drive, he received what most would call a role of a lifetime! Of course, I'm referring to Walter White in the wildly popular drama series Breaking Bad! What an amazing transformation – and it earned him a few Emmys and Golden Globe Awards!
But Cranston didn’t stop there. Five years ago, he starred in Trumbo, a biographical drama film about the Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. The film received positive reviews from critics and Cranston was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance. Despite his meteoric rise to stardom, the actor seems to be missing the good old days!
When asked about a possible Malcolm in the Middle reboot, Cranston said: “I sure hope so. I really do, for no other reason than that I miss those people like crazy and I stay in touch with them.”
Jane Kaczmarek as Lois
Malcolm’s mom was the complete opposite of his dad. The caring, smart, but overbearing Lois was quite a boost for Jane Kaczmarek’s career. She even set a record for receiving the most number of Emmy nominations for the same category… without winning a single one. So it’s hard to say whether this record is a good or bad thing.
After Malcolm in the Middle ended, Kaczmarek appeared in quite a few other TV series. Do you remember her in Law & Order: SVU, The Big Bang Theory, The Middle, and This Is Us? The actress also made a surprise appearance and reprised the role of Lois in the alternative ending for Breaking Bad.
In an unexpected scene included in the DVD set of the series, Bryan Cranston wakes up in bed next to her, revealing that the entire show was nothing but a nightmare of his! Yes, you got it right – the plot of Breaking Bad was a nightmare of Malcolm in the Middle’s Hal! Who could ever expect that to happen?
Christopher Masterson as Francis
Being rebellious and a delinquent, the eldest son of the Wilkerson family loved frustrating his mother and always clashed with her. In real life, Christopher Masterson also comes from a big family and many of his siblings are into acting, as well.
For example, his brother Danny played in That 70s Show. His other brother Jordan is known for his role as Mark in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. And his sister Alanna is famous for playing Tara in The Walking Dead. That’s quite a family, huh?! But let’s get back to Christopher.
Reportedly, he was considered for the role of Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean, but then Orlando Bloom stepped in and turned out to be a perfect fit. After Malcolm in the Middle ended, Masterson appeared in a few TV shows, including White Collar Men at Work, and Haven.
You can also see him in a few short films. But these days, he isn’t much into acting and more into music. Fans can spot him in the Los Angeles-based nightclub where he performs under the name DJ Chris Kennedy. In his personal life, Chris also seems to be doing fine because last year, he married his girlfriend of four years. Congrats!
Justin Berfield as Reese
A guy who bullies his brothers at home but protects them at school? Yeah, sums up Reese, Malcolm’s other older brother. Oh, you probably had no idea that, although Justin Berfield played Malcolm's older brother, he’s actually younger than Frankie Muniz in real life!
To this day, the role of Reese remains the most notable in Berfield’s filmography. After Malcolm in the Middle, he mostly resigned from acting. His only film credit was a guest appearance in one episode of Sons of Tucson. Instead of taking on new roles, Berfield went behind the scenes and devoted his time to producing movies.
He’s now part of Virgin Produced, a subset of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Company involved in film and television development, packaging, and production. Berfield works as a Chief Creative Officer there. According to his Twitter and Instagram, when he’s not working, the former actor seems to enjoy traveling and fishing.
Erik Per Sullivan as Dewey
Malcolm’s musically gifted but often overlooked brother was the youngest child in the family until a new child came along in the fifth season of the show. Now in his twenties, Erik Per Sullivan seems to have completely disappeared from the limelight. Like his other brothers from the show, he doesn’t act anywhere these days.
Ever since Malcolm in the Middle released its final episode, he only appeared in Joel Schumacher’s teen drama Twelve, where he starred alongside 50 Cent, Chace Crawford and Emma Roberts. For the last ten years, Sullivan has had no film or TV credits. What’s more, his social media footprint is remarkably low, especially for a millennial.
But there are still a few facts that we managed to dig up for you, Dewey fans! First of all, don’t let his big-eared childish appearance fool you - Sullivan has a black belt in Taekwondo! Just like his character from the show, Erik has musical talent. He plays the piano and saxophone. And here’s another fact: Sullivan helped his Malcolm co-star Jane Kaczmarek write a children’s book titled Together.
Frankie Muniz as Malcolm
Now let's talk about the main character of the show! After playing an extremely intelligent but slightly self-absorbed boy, Frankie Muniz became one of Hollywood's most bankable teens. It seems that after being skyrocketed to fame, he should’ve remained in the spotlight for a long time and turned into a successful adult actor. But that didn’t happen.
Muniz made guest appearances in a few TV shows and had a titular role in the spy comedy film Agent Cody Banks about a James Bond-like teenage spy who has to save the world along with doing his homework. Cody Banks was one of the final main roles of the actor, who later put his career on hold to become a professional race-car driver.
But in 2012, things changed drastically for the young actor. Muniz suffered two mini-strokes a year apart from each other that resulted in significant memory loss. His memory loss is so bad that he doesn’t even remember playing Malcolm!
“I’ve gotten to really do anything I’ve wanted to do, but the truth is, I don’t remember much [of that] ... It almost feels like it wasn’t me,” the actor shared.
But we should give credit to the actor that, despite this terrible event in his life, he keeps on living happily with his long-time girlfriend and now-wife Paige Price. These days the two of them run their own olive oil company and Muniz says that this experience is really rewarding!
Craig Lamar Traylor as Stevie
After playing Malcolm’s equally intelligent but asthmatic and wheelchair-bound friend, Traylor didn’t act much either. He appeared only in a few minor roles in films, including This Bitter Earth and Get a Clue. Next year, Craig is also going to appear in a western, Forgiven This Gun4hire. Does this mean that he’s returning to acting? We’ll see!
Anyway, these days, Traylor looks completely different. So even if you’re a huge fan of Malcolm in the Middle and you happen to run into Craig Lamar Traylor in the street, you probably won’t recognize him! He now has ear stretchers and quite a few tattoos on his body. The former child actor is now a tattoo artist, wire artist, and spiritualist.
Traylor creates various jewelry items that, according to a description on Deity Designs, which is his shop’s Instagram page, “heal the soul and tame the mind.” He has quite a few pretty knick-knacks there, so be sure to check them out!
Hayden Panettiere as Jessica
Do you remember the girl who babysat the Wilkerson brothers and even lived on their couch for a while when her dad was arrested? Even though she was quite a manipulative young lady, she was still a good friend to Malcolm. For Hayden Panettiere, this role wasn’t her most successful because she played in so many other TV shows and films before and after Malcolm in the Middle.
She was Maddie Harrington, one of the main characters of the final season of Ally McBeal. And she also played a lead role in NBC’s superhero drama series Heroes, as well as in Nashville, The Forger, and Custody. Other than being a successful actress, Panettiere is also a singer, model, and activist who holds a PETA Compassion in Action Award for her efforts to stop the dolphin hunt in Japan.
David Anthony Higgins as Craig
Here’s another supporting actor who, as opposed to the main cast, continued his acting career after Malcolm in the Middle! In the show, Craig was Lois's co-worker and was secretly in love with her. He had quite a few interesting storylines, despite only being a recurring character. Ever since Malcolm in the Middle ended, David Anthony Higgins continued playing minor and major parts both on the big and small screens.
We can see him in episodic roles in such popular shows as Last Man Standing, American Horror Story: Murder House, and Californication. Besides, he also was a recurring yet important character in Big Time Rush and Mike and Molly. What’s more, Higgins is also at the helm of the parody comedy TV series International Ghost Investigators, where he helps celebrity guests solve their paranormal problems. Sounds funny, huh?
Cloris Leachman as Grandma Ida
Probably one of the most despicable characters on Malcolm in the Middle, she seemed to dislike absolutely everyone, especially her daughter Lois. Thankfully, Cloris Leachman is a completely different person in real life. She’s a successful actress who had an extensive filmography even before taking on the role of Grandma Ida.
Overall, the actress has credits in 275 films and TV shows over her seventy-year career! She even won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for her role in 1970’s drama The Last Picture Show. After Malcolm in the Middle, she kept on playing in multiple TV shows and movies and she even became the oldest contestant ever on Dancing with the Stars!
And, even though the actress is already over 90 years old, she doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon! These days, Leachman seems to have gained even more fame due to playing Zorya Vechernyaya in the Starz TV series American Gods.