Ten years ago, The Office premiered on NBC. 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, PA, 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. All the computers were hooked up to the web and since so many scenes required the characters to be sitting in the background looking as if they were working, they kept themselves busy. In addition to playing games and doing their taxes, many of the cast members were writing behind-the-scenes or character blogs, all while the show was filming.
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, actor Bryan Cranston, and the late Harold Ramis.
Let’s catch up on where each of our favorite Dunder Mifflin employees were at the series’ end, and then see what the actors who played them are up to now.
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.
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.
His newest project is the upcoming indie film Fallen Stars, but more surprising is his debut single and video “2 Be Simple,” which actually got some pretty good reviews. You can find it on YouTube.
Fun fact: When Baker arrived at the callbacks for Stanley, he saw 50 other actors waiting and figured he could dodge out to another audition and still return in time. He got stuck in traffic on the way back, and arrived grouchy and sweaty, so he went to the restroom to gather himself up a little. When he came out, the casting director thanked him for being so patient, assuming he’d been the restroom the whole time.
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.
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, like a lot of the cast, he appeared in the movie License To Wed with Robin Williams and Mandy Moore, and afterwards, he did guest spots on Hot in Cleveland, Mike & Molly, Criminal Minds, and The Bridge.
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.
Fun fact: Baumgartner was the team captain when The Office competed on Celebrity Family Feud.
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. After that he was in the movie Saving Lincoln and two different TV-movies with Lindsay Lohan. Want to know what he’s up to now? Check out his quirky website at www.creedbratton.com.
Fun fact: When Bratton got out of college he hitchhiked to New Orleans and boarded a cargo ship headed towards Venice, Italy. He left the ship after 28 days at sea, with only $25 in his pocket.
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.
Steve 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, both commercial and critical successes, and an Oscar nomination for his performance in Foxcatcher. In the works now, Freeheld, co-starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, still in pre-production but snapped in a bidding war based on only 12 minutes of footage made available for screening.
Fun fact: In 2008, Carell saved the historic Marshfield Hills General Store in Marshfield, Massachusetts from the wrecking ball, buying it and putting his sister-in-law in charge. Rumor has it that he sometimes shows up to man the cash register, but we promise nothing.
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.
Without even calling it method acting, a young Fischer worked as a receptionist at various offices, and still types 85 words per minute with 90% accuracy. She worked at a car wash for three years, and even had a brief gig as a telephone psychic. She auditioned for what became Jennifer Garner’s role in Alias, and reported that they liked her acting, but thought she wasn’t hot enough. It doesn’t matter: the role of Pam Beesly made her famous.
Despite their frosty on-screen relationship, she and Angela Kinsey are actually best friends, and Fischer is godmother to Kinsey’s daughter. She herself is married now for the second time, with two of her own kids. Her newest project is for NBC, produced by a British production company, and it’s a comedic drama called Apocalpyse Slough. (And yes, Slough is the town where the original The Office took place.) The show co-stars Rob Lowe and Megan Mullaly, and Fischer is playing "a mild-mannered librarian who finds herself dangerously out of her depth when she is sent to a maximum security prison in New Mexico for a crime she did not commit."
Fun fact: Fischer took her first acting class at age 6, alongside Gilmore Girls regular Sean Gunn. She later married and eventually divorced his brother, James.
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.
In the early stage of her performing career, Flannery did a lot of comedic theater. She was one of the founding cast members of The Real Live Brady Bunch alongside Andy Richter and Jane Lynch, in a show co-created by Transparent creator Jill Soloway.
These days, she’s still busy, with multiple movies in post-production, and a new TV series. Executive produced by Ben Stiller and, co-starring Christina Hendricks, Another Period will premiere later this year on Comedy Central.
Fun fact: While on the road with The Real Live Brady Bunch, Flannery had an affair with a certain famous guest star, an experience she documented on the website The Yarn.
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, as well as The Lorax, and developed a film with Judd Apatow, among other projects. Coming up, he’s kicking off a new National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise as Rusty Griswold, appearing in a Naked Gun reboot, and will be voicing Captain Underpants in a movie scheduled for 2017. He’s also in a bluegrass band called The Lonesome Trio. Like Andy, Helms is also obsessed with a capella music, and plays guitar, banjo, piano and sitar.
MINDY KALING (Kelly Kapoor)
In the end, Kelly finally got what she wanted all along: Ryan.
Want to know what Mindy Kaling’s up to? Go become one of her 3.8 million Twitter followers, or read her bestselling book “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”, or watch the sitcom she created, writes, produces and stars in, The Mindy Project. Really, you should do all three: you won’t regret it.
Before The Office¸ Kaling had written and starred in her own theater productions, toured as a stand-up comedian (with future co-star Craig Robinson), was an intern on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and worked a production assistant on Crossing Over with John Edward.
Since then, in addition to creating her own TV series, she appeared in This Is The End starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, was a voice in Wreck-It Ralph, and appeared in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. She’ll be the voice of “Disgust” in the new movie Inside Out, due in theaters in June. She also starred with Matt Damon in a much-talked-about ad for Nationwide during this year’s Superbowl, for which she actually walked through a real car wash.
Fun Fact: When she met Robin Williams and told him that her name came from his TV show Mork & Mindy, he didn’t believe her.
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.
Kemper started off her career in theater, writing sketch comedy shows, and appearing in commercials. She wrote a lot, submitting about a hundred different headlines before finally making the front page of The Onion, and like three of her Office co-stars, she interned at Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
She auditioned for Saturday Night Live in 2008 but didn’t make the cut, then tried out for a role on Parks and Recreation. While she didn’t get that either, it did lead to an audition for The Office, where a four-episode guest role turned into a job as a full time cast member, with her sister signing on as a writer for a few seasons too.
Since then, she’s been busy. She was the first ever guest host of Ellen, she co-starred in Bridesmaids, and she’s the star of the new Netflix series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, created for her by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock of 30 Rock fame. She plays a young woman who starts a new life in New York after escaping a doomsday cult that lived in an underground bunker for 15 years. She’s also lending her voice to The Secret Life of Pets, a movie scheduled for 2016 that features Louis C.K., Albert Brooks, and Kevin Hart.
Fun fact: One of Ellie’s high school theater teachers was Mad Men star Jon Hamm, who guest stars on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as the leader of her doomsday cult.
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.
Kinsey originally auditioned for the role of Pam Beesly, but was considered “too feisty,” so they called her back to try out for Angela. Before that, she’d played a murderer on Monk, been an intern for Max Weinberg at Late Night with Conan O’Brien, guested on various sitcoms, and was an operator at 1-800-Dentist for a while.
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.
She’s a busy woman these days. She’ll be playing the lead in a new ABC pilot, The 46 Percenters, her Hulu series The Hotwives of Orlando was just picked up for a second season, and she’s a regular guest star on Impress Me, which is moving to Pop (formerly the TV Guide Network) from Office co-star Rainn Wilson’s YouTube channel SoulPancake.
Fun fact: Kinsey’s grandmother refused to watch The Office because she thought Michael Scott was just too vulgar.
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 Kraskinski 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 show was still in production, based on the short story by David Foster Wallace.
What’s he up to now? He directed The Hollars, will be starring in 13 Hours (the newest movie from Michael Bay), appearing in Cameron Crowe’s Aloha, and voicing one of the characters in the animated movie Animal Crackers alongside Sylvester Stallone, Ian McKellen, and Danny DeVito, due next year. He’s also the executive producer of the TV series Lip Sync Battle along with Jimmy Fallon, and Stephen Merchant, co-creator of the original UK version of The Office. And if you think you’re hearing him when you can’t see him, you’re probably right: he’s voiced ads for Ask.com, Apple TV, Verizon Wireless, Esurance, and Carnival Cruise Lines.
Fun fact: The footage of Scranton used in the open for The Office was all filmed by Krasinski and a couple of his friends, while on a road trip.
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.
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’s also directed several episodes of The Mindy Project.
Fun fact: Toby’s ill-fated move to Costa Rica that resulted in a broken neck was inspired by a vacation he took in 2007 with co-star B.J. Novak, when Novak almost killed him with a surfboard.
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.
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. He’s released two books, a collection of essay-like short stories and a best-selling children’s book called “The Book With No Pictures.” He was a consulting producer on the first season of The Mindy Project, and his brother Jessie composes music for it.
OSCAR NUNEZ (Oscar Martinez)
Oscar Martinez finally left accounting behind at the end of The Office to run for Pennsylvania State Senate.
One of Nunez’s first TV appearances was on Match Game in 1998. (He didn’t win.) He was in the 24 pilot, appeared as a ranch hand on Malcolm in the Middle, and had had some small roles on other shows like Reno 911 and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
During the show’s run, he 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. He’ll next be appearing in the movie The 33, about the 2010 mining disaster in Chile.
Fun fact: Nunez is a certified dental technician. Also, his parents were classmates of Fidel Castro at the University of Havana. (He gets two fun facts, because they’re both fun.)
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.
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. He’s been busy ever since, turning up in Hot Tub Time Machine 1 and 2, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Shrek Forever After, Eastbound & Down, and of course Pineapple Express and This Is The End with James Franco and Seth Rogen. He’s working with the duo again on Sausage Party, an animated adult comedy coming in 2016. And he’s got a new series coming to NBC this year, Mr. Robinson, in which he’ll star as a musician who takes a job as a music teacher in a big city middle school.
Fun fact: Craig Robinson actually was a music teacher in real life, teaching elementary and middle school kids.
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.
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.
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.
One of his early breakthrough roles was as the strange and awkward intern Arthur Martin on Six Feet Under. He had memorable guest roles on Charmed, Law & Order: SVU, and Monk, among dozens of other shows, and popped up in movies like Almost Famous and Galaxy Quest.
His first post-Office venture was going to be a spin-off centering around Dwight’s life on Shrute Farm, but Wilson’s glad that didn’t work out, as it gave him the opportunity to try something new. He’s currently starring in (and producing) Backstrom on Fox, a crime comedy-drama set in Portland, based on a Swedish book series. He co-stars in the indie film Uncanny, which is making the film festival rounds, and The Boy, which premieres this month at SXSW.
He’s also the co-founder of website and YouTube channel SoulPancake, which has a million and a half subscribers, with some of its segments airing on Pivot. Pop has also picked up SoulPancake’s Impress Me, a comedy about celebrity impressionists trying to transition into drama.
Fun fact: His very first TV role ever was as “homicidal stand-up comic” Casey Keegan on the soap One Life to Live. So those were the regular cast members.
The Office also featured a slew of well-known guest stars, including James Spader, Will Ferrell, Roseanne Barr, Kathy Bates, Amy Adams, Rashida Jones, Will Arnett, Josh Groban, Idris Elba, Jim Carrey, Ray Romano, and even investment guru Warren Buffett.
We sum up with the very final words of The Office¸ said by Jenna Fischer’s Pam Beesly: “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that the point?”
That’s what SHE said!