On March 24, 2005, The Office premiered. Based on the successful UK version created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, it depicted the day-to-day life of the employees at the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of paper company Dunder Mifflin, as seen through the eyes and camera of a documentary film crew.
Many of the cast members were also writers on the show, and by the end of the series, there was a bevy of writer-director-producer-actors sitting in those swivel chairs. What else was going on in those chairs? A lot of emailing, online shopping, and solitaire, with several participants also writing behind-the-scenes or character blogs while appearing to be hard at work.
The show attracted great talent. Paul Giamatti, Martin Short, Bob Odenkirk and Hank Azaria were all considered for the Michael Scott role before Steve Carell was hired, and guest directors on the series included Jason Reitman, J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, Amy Heckerling, Bryan Cranston and Harold Ramis.
Let’s see what the Office actors are up to now:
Steve Carell (Michael Scott)
Michael Scott finally got it all. He married his true love Holly (Amy Ryan), they had kids, and he had so many pictures of them that he had to buy a second phone to hold them all. He made Dwight’s wedding everything Dwight dreamed it could be by showing up just in time to step in as the best man.
Carell has come a long way since his days as “Sapphire Steve Carell” on his college radio station. He first got notice on the short-lived Dana Carvey Show, but it was his five years well spent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart that really put him in the spotlight, and ultimately led to his starring role on The Office, where his salary was doubled by season three and his status as a star was confirmed. A string of hit movies followed, with the funnyman continuing to voice the villainous Gru from the 2010 animated feature Despicable Me through multiple sequels. Carell also showcased a broader range of acting skills with 2014’s Foxcatcher, for which he earned an Oscar nomination, and later garnered Golden Globe nods for his roles in The Big Short and Battle of the Sexes.
John Krasinski (Jim Halpert)
“Even if I didn’t love every minute of it, everything I have I owe to this job. This stupid, wonderful, boring amazing job.” That’s how Jim wraps up his experience at Dunder Mifflin, as he prepares to move to Austin with Pam and their kids to start a new life.
The charismatic John Krasinski honed his acting chops at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon Avon, so of course, he was still working as a waiter to pay the bills right up until he got his role on The Office. He’d also been a script intern on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
His career has skyrocketed since then. He’s co-starred with George Clooney, co-written with Matt Damon, and wrote and directed Brief Interviews with Hideous Men while The Office was still in production, based on the short story by David Foster Wallace.
Along with appearing in Cameron Crowe’s Aloha, and voicing a character in the animated movie Animal Crackers, alongside Sylvester Stallone, Ian McKellen and Danny DeVito, Krasinski continued his work behind the camera as director of The Hollars and the hit horror flick A Quiet Place. He also began starring on the Amazon series Jack Ryan, and further expanded his fan base in 2020 with the web series Some Good News, with Krasinksi reeling in several Office co-stars to watch him officiate a wedding on one episode.
Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly)
Pam Beesly wrapped up her life in Scranton pretty definitively. Married to Jim with two kids, she gave him the kick he needed to pursue his dreams with the grand gesture of selling their house without telling him. . .much the way he initially bought it without telling her. The perfect match.
Between takes for The Office, Fisher co-starred in Blades of Glory, Hall Pass, and The Giant Mechanical Man, the latter written and directed by husband Lee Kirk, with whom she has two children. She went on to lead roles in the series You, Me and the Apocalypse and Splitting Up Together, along the way recounting her Hollywood journey in the memoir The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide.
Despite their frosty on-screen relationship, she and Angela Kinsey are actually best friends, and Fischer is godmother to Kinsey’s daughter. The besties teamed up in 2019 to launch the Office Ladies podcast, in which they rewatch and provide commentary to each episode of their hit show.
Kate Flannery (Meredith Palmer)
At the end of the series, alcoholic and notorious flasher Meredith Palmer celebrates Angela’s bachelorette party by dancing with her son, who was hired as a stripper for the occasion. Surprise!
Kate Flannery, while not an alcoholic flasher, did grow up in a bar-owning family. On Sundays when it was closed, she and her six siblings would hang out, help clean up, and dance on the windowsill while playing music on the jukebox.
After The Office, Flannery rejoined Jane Lynch for the latter's musical comedy tour, See Jane Sing, and voiced a main character on the cartoon OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes. She also returned to her bar-dancing roots as a contestant on season 28 of Dancing with the Stars, before getting eliminated in week eight.
Ed Helms (Andy Bernard)
Poor Andy. At the end of the series, he’s still something of a laughingstock after his tearful audition for an a capella show goes viral, but at least he has a job at his beloved alma mater, Cornell.
While Ed Helms didn’t attend Cornell – he went to Oberlin – he did have his shining Cornell moment, delivering their convocation speech in 2014.
Like Steve Carell, his career got a big boost on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He was added to The Office cast in 2006 in a recurring role, and had so much in common with the character they wanted to create that a year later they made him a series regular. Since then, he’s starred in The Hangover trilogy, voiced leading characters in The Lorax and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, and starred as Rusty Griswold in a revival of the Vacation franchise. He’s also in a bluegrass band called The Lonesome Trio. Like Andy, Helms is also obsessed with a cappella music and plays guitar, banjo, piano and sitar.
Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor)
In the end, Kelly finally got what she wanted all along: Ryan.
Since The Office, in addition to her success with The Mindy Project, Kaling has appeared in the movies This Is the End, A Wrinkle in Time, Ocean’s 8, and Late Night, and voiced characters in Wreck-It Ralph and Inside Out. She’s also continued her work for the small screen, co-creating the shows Champions, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Never Have I Ever, along with a much-talked-about Nationwide commercial, with Matt Damon, in which she actually walked through a real car wash.
Kaling also became a mother to daughter Katherine in 2017 and remains close friends with B.J. Novak.
Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute)
Dwight married his Angela, kept his farm, and finally achieved his dream of becoming the regional manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin. In an uncharacteristic act of kindness, he fired both Jim and Pam, so they’d be able to get severance when they moved to Austin to start their new lives.
Rainn Wilson is the only cast member to appear in every single episode of The Office. He originally auditioned for Michael Scott but was given the role of Dwight, beating Seth Rogen for the part.
His first post-Office venture was going to be a spin-off centering around Dwight’s life on Schrute Farm, but Wilson’s glad that didn’t work out, as it gave him the opportunity to try something new. He starred in the crime comedy-drama Backstrom and appeared in indie films like Uncanny and The Boy, before landing a recurring role on the hit sitcom Moms. Wilson also continued developing content for the website and YouTube channel SoulPancake, which he co-founded while The Office was still on the air, and wrote a memoir, The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.
Ellie Kemper (Erin Hannon)
Erin met her biological parents in the final episode of The Office. They apologized for giving her up, and said it was the biggest mistake of their lives. Also, they’re puppeteers. Also, in a move of brilliant casting, they were played by Ed Begley, Jr. and Joan Cusack.
Since then, Ellie Kemper has been busy. She was the first-ever guest host of Ellen, appeared in Bridesmaids, and went on to star in the popular Netflix series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, created for her by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock of 30 Rock fame, as a young woman who starts a new life in New York after escaping a doomsday cult. She also lent her voice to The Secret Life of Pets, alongside Louis C.K., Albert Brooks, and Kevin Hart, penned an autobiographical collection of essays, and found time to become a wife and mother.
Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin)
In the series finale, Angela finally marries Dwight, her one true love, after a disastrous marriage to a gay congressman and a short-lived engagement to Andy Bernard.
Angela Kinsey originally auditioned for the role of Pam Beesly but was considered “too feisty,” so they called her back to try out for Angela.
The real Angela is also a big cat lover. She’s also a writer and a comedic performer and won an Emmy, along with several of her Office co-stars, for the web series The Office: The Accountants.
Kinsey has since been involved in an array of screen projects, nabbing regular roles on The Hotwives of Orlando, Your Family or Mine, and Haters Back Off. She’s also continued to collaborate with several old co-stars: Along with her Office Ladies podcast with Fisher, Kinsey was a regular guest star on Impress Me, which originated on Rainn Wilson’s SoulPancake YouTube channel, and later became a recurring character on Kaling’s Never Have I Ever.
Paul Lieberstein (Toby Flenderson)
The hapless Toby Flenderson finally gave up on Scranton, and moved to New York City to be the misfit writer he was meant to be.
Paul Lieberstein was never actually supposed to be a cast member. He was a writer, who had one line in the pilot, but when then NBC Entertainment president saw him in the dailies, he said he wanted to see more of him. By season 5, Lieberstein was the showrunner and tended to prefer his behind-the-scenes role to his on-camera one.
Prior to The Office, he’d been a writer on Clarissa Explains It All and was a producer on King of the Hill, for which he won his first Emmy. Since then, he became a producer for the third season of The Newsroom, where he also found himself on camera for a couple of episodes. He also directed several episodes of The Mindy Project and took over as showrunner halfway through the lone season of Ghosted, which co-starred Craig Robinson. Lieberstein then showcased the full range of his creative efforts as writer, director and star of the comedy Song of Back and Neck, an entry in the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.
B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard)
Ryan wrapped up his on-again-off-again I-want-her-I’m-scared-of-her romance with Kelly Kapoor by running off with her during Dwight’s wedding, leaving his baby son to the care of Kelly’s pediatrician date.
B.J. Novak and Kaling actually did date on and off during the show’s run, and they’ve remained close friends even though their romance is long over.
Novak’s first TV acting experience was on the second season of MTV’s Punk’d, where he was Ashton Kutcher’s lead accomplice. He also did a lot of stand-up, which is where he was spotted by The Office producer Greg Daniels. He was made an executive producer of the show during season seven and directed several episodes.
Since then, he’s appeared in multiple movies, including Knocked Up, The Smurfs, Inglourious Basterds, Saving Mr. Banks and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. On the small screen, Novak served as a consulting producer on the first season of The Mindy Project, (his brother Jesse composed music for the series), and appeared on Newsroom and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. He also found success as an author, publishing a collection of essay-like short stories and a best-selling children’s book called The Book With No Pictures, which spawned the follow-up title, The Alphabet Book With No Pictures.
Oscar Nunez (Oscar Martinez)
Oscar Martinez finally left accounting behind at the end of The Office to run for Pennsylvania State Senate.
During the show’s run, Oscar Nunez was heard in Bob’s Burgers and seen in the movie The Proposal and the Lifetime TV movie Prosecuting Casey Anthony. Once the show was done, he moved over to the USA show Benched, which was itself benched after only one season, before joining the cast of The 33, about the 2010 mining disaster in Chile. Nunez went on to enjoy regular roles on the sitcoms People of Earth and Mr. Iglesias, along with a recurring gig as a pitchman for State Farm Insurance.
Craig Robinson (Darryl Philbin)
Darryl flew in for Dwight’s wedding and the documentary cast reunion from Austin, Texas, where he’s the VP of Athlete Relations at his new company.
Craig Robinson had done appearances on numerous TV shows, with a regular role on the one-season show Lucky in 2003, before he first appeared on The Office in 2005. The following year, he appeared in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ video “Hump de Bump,” directed by Chris Rock, and a year later, he was a regular Office cast member.
Robinson has since turned up in Hot Tub Time Machine parts 1 and 2, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and Dolemite is My Name, while joining his Pineapple Express and This Is The End co-stars James Franco and Rogen to voice a character in the raunchy Sausage Party. He’s also been a ubiquitous television presence, scoring recurring roles on Eastbound & Down and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, before headlining Mr. Robinson, as a musician who takes a job as a music teacher in a big-city middle school, and co-starring on Ghosted.
Phyllis Smith (Phyllis Vance)
Phyllis, happily married to Bob Vance, left Dunder Mifflin and Scranton for St. Louis and the joys of knitting with yarn.
Phyllis Smith never expected to find herself as an actress on a long-running series. She graduated with a degree in elementary education, then became a dancer, eventually becoming a cheerleader for the old St. Louis Cardinals football team. After that she spent years as a burlesque performer, but a knee injury derailed her career, so she took a job as a receptionist. Eventually, she found her way to becoming a casting assistant, and reading with hundreds of different actors at their auditions brought out the actress in her. She was hired to help cast The Office, and after enough readings, the writers created the role of Phyllis just for her.
Smith appeared with Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher while The Office was still airing, and followed with a leading voice role in the new Disney/Pixar movie Inside Out, alongside Kaling, Amy Poehler, Kyle MacLachlan, and Laraine Newman, before joining the cast of the well-received Netflix sci-fi series The OA.
Leslie David Baker (Stanley Hudson)
At the end of the series, Stanley has retired and moved to a little house on the edge of the Everglades. He’s finally divorced from the wife he cheated on, and sits on his porch all day carving birds.
Leslie David Baker had the perfect qualifications for The Office. He has B.A. in Psychology and a Masters in Human Services Administration, he taught special ed while he was working on his Masters, and played an office worker in several ads for Office Max.
Baker teased at a post-Office music career with the 2011 release of the party single and video for “2 Be Simple." He’s mainly stuck with acting, however, landing a recurring role in the sitcom Still the King before appearing in the films Fallen Stars and The Happytime Murders.
Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone)
After being fired by Dwight, Kevin ended up running a bar, having accumulated so many drinks on credit due to his fame from the documentary that it was easier to just make him co-owner.
Brian Baumgartner did a lot of theater before he found his way to TV, and the same year The Office premiered, he’d had parts on Jake in Progress, Arrested Development, and Everwood. During the show’s run, he appeared in the movie License To Wed with Robin Williams and Mandy Moore, and afterwards, he did guest spots on series like Hot in Cleveland, Mike & Molly, Criminal Minds, The Bridge and Scream Queens.
Baumgartner got married in 2014. Guests at his wedding included former castmates Jenna Fischer, Oscar Nunez, Angela Kinsey and John Krasinski, along with his wife Emily Blunt. In 2020, Baumgartner recounted his experiences with them and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin crew with his Spotify podcast, An Oral History of The Office.
Creed Bratton (Creed Bratton)
The fictional Creed Bratton went on the run near the end of The Office, then faked his own death. The police finally caught up with him after Dwight’s wedding and led him away in handcuffs.
The real Creed Bratton, just like the fictional one, was actually a member of The Grass Roots. They toured, had some hits, and even appeared on American Bandstand. Bratton also had a number of small acting roles here and there, his favorite being a nasty carnival ticket-taker in a brief but memorable scene in the movie Mask, starring Cher.
He was doing extra work when he met Grass Roots fan and director Ken Kwapis, which is what eventually brought him to The Office in the second season. Bratton went on to appear in the film Saving Lincoln, two different TV movies with Lindsay Lohan, and shows like Franklin & Bash, while continuing to release new music.