From 1984 to 1992, the sitcom Night Court was one of the biggest hits in NBC’s history, with its witty cast and the funky theme song composed by Jack Elliott. The show, which was produced by Barney Miller writer Reinhold Weege, was nominated for 31 Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards during its run. How much do you remember about the show and the actors who made it so great?
When Comedy Meets the Courtroom
The show surrounds the nightly activities inside Manhattan’s Criminal Court, which is led by the newly appointed judge Harold T. “Harry” Stone. Even with the show moving from network to network throughout the years, it still had a strong fan base that helped the show last for an incredible 193 episodes.
Night Court received recognition for its technical direction and editing, lighting, sound, and mixing. But the main thing that made the show great was its cast. Read on to find out where they are now.
All Rise for Harry Anderson
After appearances on Saturday Night Live and Cheers, actor/magician Harry Anderson got his big break portraying Judge Harold “Harry” T. Stone, which earned him three Emmy nominations in the category of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
After Night Court ended, he landed the title role in the CBS sitcom Dave’s Place which lasted four seasons. He performed magic shows across the country. Sadly, Anderson died on April 16, 2018. We’ll learn his cause of death in just a few pages.
Public Defender Paula Kelly
During the first season, Paula Kelly played the role of public defender Liz Williams, which earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. After leaving the show, she earned her second Emmy nomination for her work in the TV mini-series The Women of Brewster Place.
Her last on-screen performance was in the 1999 series Any Day Now. In 2011, she was the narrator for the documentary Homeless in Hollywood.
Falling for Ellen Foley
In the second season, actress/singer Ellen Foley was cast as Harry Stone’s love interest Billie Young. She was removed from the show because the producers felt that her on-screen relationship with Harry Anderson was more of a brother and sister type.
In 2015, she appeared in the film No Pay, Nudity and the documentary Meat Loaf: In and Out of Hell. She’s also appeared on Broadway and has four solo musical albums and some collaborations with the rock singer Meat Loaf.
John Larroquette’s Humble Request
John Larroquette’s role of prosecutor Daniel R. “Dan” Fielding earned him four straight Emmy wins (1985-1988) in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. In 1989, he asked for his work to not be submitted for another Emmy nomination.
After the show, the Louisiana native would create The John Larroquette Show and make critically acclaimed appearances on The Practice and Boston Legal. Recently, he had a recurring role on the TNT series The Librarians.
Richard Moll Becomes a Villain
Voice actor Richard Moll’s portrayal of Nostradamus “Bull” Shannon was beloved by Night Court fans around the world. His deep voice really resonated with audiences and he continues to use this talent in his acting career.
Since leaving the show, the California native became the voice behind comic book characters on Batman: The Animated Series (Two-Face), Spider-Man (Scorpion), and Justice League (Java). Recently, he has made appearances on Anger Management, Cold Case, and Kirby Buckets.
Marsha Warfield Is a Twitter Jokester
Actress and comedian Marsha Warfield’s best-known role was the tough as nails bailiff Roz Russell from seasons 4 through 9 on Night Court. After the show ended, she landed the role of Dr. Maxine Douglas on the sitcom Empty Nest.
She has also appeared on Family Ties, Clueless, Riptide, Cheers, Living Single, Moesha, and more. Warfield’s last on-screen role was on an episode of Veronica’s Closet back in 1999. She still performs stand-up comedy and delivers jokes over Twitter.
Karen the Court Clerk
For the first season, Karen Austin played the role of court clerk Lana Wagner. She claims that she was let go from the show due to her being diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy
After leaving Night Court, the West Virginia native had a supporting role on the 1995 drama Live Shot, but that show was canceled after 13 episodes. She recently had recurring roles on CSI: Miami, Fresh Hell, and Whole Day Down.
Robinson Plays a Robinson
Charles Robinson’s biggest role in his career was playing Vietnam War veteran Macintosh “Mac” Robinson on the hit show.
After Night Court ended, he landed the role of Abe Johnson on the CBS sitcom Love & War. Lately, the Texan has made appearances on Grey’s Anatomy, Mom, and Key and Peele. He is the recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.
Terry Kiser Will Spend the Weekend with You
Terry Kiser portrayed the role of tabloid reporter Al Craven in the first two seasons. After leaving the show, he gained his most memorable role of Bernie Lomax in the popular films Weekend at Bernie’s and its sequel, Weekend at Bernie’s II.
In 2013, he opened an acting school with his partner Joy Leigh in Austin, Texas called The Actors Arena. He was recently seen on The Accidental President, Bail Out, and Johnny Dynamo.
Harry Anderson’s Cause of Death Revealed
In October 2018, authorities disclosed what had killed Harry Anderson back in April 2018. It turns out that the actor suffered a stroke in the middle of the night. This event, coupled with having heart disease and a bout of flu, was ultimately fatal.
Anderson’s wife said he was cold when she found him, and resuscitation efforts were futile. She also said that he had experienced multiple strokes in the months leading to his death.
Jason Bernard Can Tell If You’re a Liar Liar
For the first two seasons, Jason Bernard portrayed Judge Willard. After his contract was up, the Illinois resident landed the roles of Deputy Inspector Marquette on Cagney & Lacey and Mr. Bracken on Herman’s Head. He was in the films Death Wish, Thomasine & Bushrod, WarGames, Car Wash, Blue Thunder, No Way Out, and While You Were Sleeping.
On October 16, 1996, Bernard died from a heart attack shortly after filming for the 1997 film Liar Liar. The movie was dedicated in his memory.
Rita Was a Woman of the Night
In the first two seasons of Night Court, Rita Taggart portrayed the role of a prostitute named Carla Bouvier. She’s usually referred to as “Carla B.” by the other characters.
After leaving, Taggart received recurring roles on Almost Grown, Coach, and Northern Exposure. Recently, the actress portrayed the role of Doris Dorkoff on the hit comedy/mystery web series Where the Bears Are. She was also played Linney James in the creepy and critically-acclaimed film Mulholland Drive.
Denice Is Mrs. Robinson
Starting from season two, Denice Kumagai had a recurring role on Night Court as Mac’s wife Quon Le Duc Robinson. Her character was Vietnamese, and Mac had served in Vietnam during the war.
Prior to the show, she appeared on M*A*S*H. After Night Court ended, she was seen on Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child, Veronica’s Closet, and Living Single. Her last onscreen role was Aunt June on Gilmore Girls.
John Astin Is an Addams
Oscar-nominated actor/director John Astin, who is best known for the role of Gomez Addams on The Addams Family, portrayed the role of Harry’s biological father Buddy Ryan. After leaving the show, Astin revived his role of Gomez Addams for The Addams Family animated series.
In 2015, he landed the role of Professor Peabody in the film Starship II: Rendezvous with Ramses. Fun fact: Astin was married to the iconic actress Patty Duke from 1972–1985.
Markie Post’s Recurring Roles
From 1985 to 1992, Markie Post portrayed the role of public defender Christine Sullivan on Night Court. The character was beautiful and fiercely independent but had a prudish attitude.
After the show ended, she landed a co-starring role on the CBS sitcom Hearts Afire, which lasted from 1992 to 1995. Recently, she lent her voice to the Transformers Prime cartoon, and she held recurring roles on Rack and Ruin and Chicago P.D.
William Utay Was a Doctor for Days
William Utay portrayed the roles of an oddball tycoon named Phil Sanders and his evil twin brother Will on the show.
After Night Court ended, Utay landed the role of Dr. Wilhelm Rolf on the popular NBC soap opera Days Of Our Lives. He held this role from 1997 through 2003 and returned from 2007 to 2008. He was in Species in 1995, and in 2012 he appeared in What Are Friends For?.
Brent Plays Hillbilly Bob
Brent Spiner had the recurring role of hillbilly Bob Wheeler on the hit series. After leaving the show, he gained the biggest role of his career as Lt. Commander Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the films Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, and Star Trek: Insurrection.
Recently, he landed the role of Sidney on the Cinemax series Outcast. Spiner is also a musician and he recorded an album of 1940s pop songs in 1991.
Yakov Smirnoff Is Everyone’s Favorite Russian
Comedian Yakov Smirnoff portrayed the role of Russian immigrant Yakov Korolenko. After his stint on the show, Smirnoff, who is credited for Russian reversal jokes, continued to perform stand-up all over the country. His catchphrase is “And I thought, ‘What a country!'”
He has been referenced on several shows, including Futurama, Family Guy, and The Simpsons. Recently, he released a PBS special titled Yakov Smirnoff’s Happily Ever Laughter: The Neuroscience of Romantic Relationships.
Remember Joleen Lutz as Lisette?
In the final two seasons of Night Court, Joleen Lutz played ditzy court stenographer Lisette Hocheiser. She appeared in 45 episodes over the final two seasons of the series.
After the show ended, she made small appearances on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, City Guys, and Living Single. Recently, she was seen on Pushing Daisies, Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint, and Desperate Housewives. Fun fact: she was once a Chicago Bulls cheerleader.
Gilbert Gottfried’s Voice Was Heard
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried is famous for his loud and shrill voice. In the final season of Night Court, he portrayed the role of attorney Oscar Brown.
After the show, Gottfried gained what would become his most well-known roles as Iago from the Aladdin franchise. He also had roles as Digit from Cyberchase, Kraang Subprime from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and voiced the Aflac duck. Currently, he hosts Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, which he’s done since 2014.
You Could Find Ms. Stanley on Stage
Florence Stanley brought her My Two Dads character Judge Margaret W. Wilbur onto Night Court to help fill in for Harry. The Illinois native is also known for her roles as Grandma Ethyl Phillips on the hit ABC series Dinosaurs, Dr. Amanda Riskin on the NBC sitcom Nurses, and Wilhelmina Packard in the Disney films Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Atlantis: Milo’s Return.
On October 3, 2003, Stanley died from a stroke. She was 79.
What Happened To The Gruff County Clerk?
If you tuned into Night Court during Season 1, you likely remember the Gruff County Clerk. Played by Canadian-American actress Selma Diamond, you may have noticed her in a variety of other appearances such as It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World, Bang the Drum Slowly, All of Me, and The Twilight Zone.
It’s also rumored that she inspired the Sally Rogers character on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Sadly, Diamond sadly wouldn’t appear in any additional seasons of Night Court…
Selma Diamon Died of Lung Cancer In 1985
Selma Diamon was a longtime chain smoker, and while filming Season 1 of Night Court she was diagnosed with advanced-stage lung cancer. Her symptoms worsened rapidly and at age 64, Diamond died in Los Angeles. She is buried in Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California.
Following her death, actress Florence Halop replaced Diamond as bailiff Florence Kleiner. Sadly, Halop also died of lung cancer, just one year after Halop.
Fran Drescher is most famous for starring in the hit 1990s television series The Nanny, but before that she appeared in a guest role during Season 4 of Night Court. She played the character Miriam Brody in one episode. The character was a schizophrenic woman and randomly changes personalities between a “sexpot” to a “prude”.
Most recently, Fran is putting her famous voice to good use in the animated Hotel Transylvania series.
“Mimi” Kennedy played the character Patty Douglas in Season 2 of Night Court. The character was an heiress and also mentioned to be the fiancé of the character Dan Fielding for a time. Mimi later became better known to audiences for her role on the 1990s show Dharma and Greg, where she played the character of Dharma’s mother Abby O’Neil.
Mimi is still acting today and has appeared in tons of TV shows including Criminal Minds, Veep and Scandal. She currently has a recurring role on the show Mom, playing the character Marjorie.
The famous jazz vocalist Mel Torme, whose voice was called “The Velvet Fog,” made eight guest appearances on Night Court. He appeared as himself on the show and also acted in other shows and films.
Mel wrote many songs over his life, some of which are now classics like “Jeepers Creepers” and “The Christmas Song.” His music is still constantly used throughout television shows and films despite the legend having passed away in 1999 at the age of seventy-three.
“Bumper” Robinson appeared throughout Seasons 2 and 3 of Night Court where he played the role of Leon, an orphaned shoeshine boy. Bumper started as a child actor and appeared as a baby on shows like The Jeffersons and Hill Street Blues. He has appeared in numerous television shows over the years as both an on-screen voice actor. One of his most famous voice acting roles was Dwight Conrad from Futurama.
Probably his most popular acting role, though, was Clarence on the sitcom Amen. Most recently, he has worked as the voice of Falcon in the animated version of Avengers Assemble.
Estelle Harris is most famous today for her role as Estelle Costanza on Seinfeld. She appeared in Season 3 and 4 of Night Court as the character named “Easy Mary.” As the character name implies, Easy Mary was a prostitute.
Estelle is still acting and is now in her 90s. Her most recent voice acting role is as the character Mrs. Potato Head in Toy Story 4. She also played Muriel on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.
Daniel Frishman broke boundaries for little people after he appeared as District Attorney Vincent Daniels on Night Court. His character first appeared in a Season 3 episode called “Dan’s Boss.” Daniel first got his start acting on the stage before transferring into film in the movie Under the Rainbow as the Mayor of Munchkinland.
He also appeared in multiple Shakespearean plays over the years. He has since retired from acting and now works as a real estate agent.
Michael J. Fox
Marty McFly himself, or Michael J. Fox, also appeared on Night Court in Season 1 which aired in 1984. Michael played a teenage delinquent named Eddie Simms. At the time, Michael was best known for his role as Alex Keaton on Family Ties.
He later became a huge star thanks to playing Marty McFly in the Back to the Future films and also from his 1990s sitcom Spin City. Michael was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease in 1991. He now has dedicated much of his life to advocating and helping to find a cure for the disease.
Jeanne Mori played a princess in Season 4 of Night Court. Her character’s full title was Princess Tatiana of Kapua. Jeanne is actually best recognized by audiences for her role in as the Helm Officer in the film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
However, she has also appeared in numerous well-known films throughout the 1980s and ’90s including Night Shift, Protocol, Mars Attacks!, and Real Genius. Jeanne continued acting throughout the 2000s although her last noted role was in a short film in 2009 entitled Shear Delight.
Cathy McAuley appeared as two different characters in four episodes of Night Court. She played a character named Daphe and then a character named Wanda Flinn, who was a dating agency clerk who later married Bull.
Cathy appeared in numerous TV shows over the years including Murder She Wrote, TJ Hooker, and Dharma and Greg. Cathy has since transitioned to a playwright and also founded The Sparc Foundation, which aims to mentor high-risk youth through acting and performing.
Angela Aames was best known for playing the busty blonde in multiple TV roles and films throughout the late 1970s and 1980s. She appeared in four episodes of Night Court as several different characters including Angela (a nudist), one of Dan’s previous dates, a character named Debbie and lastly a character named Ursula.
Although she was best known for her work in sexploitation films like H.O.T.S. she also appeared in more mainstream hits like Scarface. Sadly, she died at only age thirty-two in 1988. Her death was said to be from the deterioration of the heart muscle, likely caused by a virus.
Joey Aresco appeared in Season 1 of Night Court as the character Ronald McKenzie. Joey appeared in many roles on TV over the years including with his Night Court co-star John Larroquette. The two starred together in the TV series Baa Baa Black Sheep in the 1970s.
Joey has continued acting over the years and his most recent role was in the 2015 series The Flash. He was also in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Stargate SG-1.
Even Freddie Kreuger once appeared on Night Court! Well actually, his acting counterpart Robert Englund appeared on the show as the character Arnold Preminger. This character was in court because he started a fire after he thought aliens were coming to his job.
Although Robert is best known for his iconic role as Freddie Kreger in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, he has appeared in numerous horror films over the years and is also a classically trained actor. He continues acting today with his most recent role in Arputio which is, of course, a horror film.
Freddie Kreuger even once appeared on Night Court! Well actually, his acting counterpart Robert Englund appeared on the show as the character Arnold Preminger. This character was in court because he started a fire after he thought aliens were coming to his job. Although Robert is definitely known for his iconic role as Freddie Kreger, he has appeared in numerous horror films over the years and is also a classically trained actor. He continues acting today with his most recent role in Arputio which is, of course, a horror film.
Jack Gilford was a veteran stage and film actor. He made it through the upsurge of McCarthyism which hit Hollywood in the 1950s, in which many entertainers were suspected of Communism. Jack continued acting despite facing adversity and appeared as the character Marty Ratner in Season 3.
He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1973 film Save the Tiger. Jack passed away in 1990 at the age of eighty-one.
Teri Hatcher is another familiar face who appeared on Night Court. She appeared as the character Kitty Daniels who was the niece of District Attorney Vincent Daniels in Season 5. Teri is probably best known for her roles as Lois Lane in the hit series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and later as the character Susan Mayer Delfino in the equally successful hit show Desperate Housewives.
Since leaving Desperate Housewives, Teri several years raising her daughter and taking only primarily voice acting roles including in the film Coraline. More recently she has appeared on the shows The Odd Couple and Super Girl.
Leslie Bevis got her start working as a model in Europe. She later made her way into the film industry. Leslie Bevis appeared as Sheila, a clerk who works in the Records Department on Night Court. In season 3 the character begins dating Dan Fielding.
Leslie is also well known for her role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and for the character Ruth Perkins on the Young and The Restless, which was her last television role before devoting herself to her children.
Educated at Warren Robertson Dramatic Training School and the Juilliard School of Music, Judy Landers appeared multiple times as different characters on Night Court. She played the characters Vickie Guyer-McKenzie, Dan’s date, and U.S. Army Reserve Major Roberta Savage.
Judy appeared in many other shows over the years including hits like The Love Boat, Happy Days and ALF. In 2006, Judy, her mother, and sister starred and produced a family film called Circus Island.