“Will & Grace” is certainly one of the most beloved sitcoms in American television history.
Based on the lives of Will Truman — a young, attractive, gay lawyer — and Grace – another young, equally-as-attractive Jewish lawyer — the show’s six seasons dealt with contemporary social issues, stereotypes, and the important role of friendships.
The slapstick humor kept viewers laughing and since the show ended, devoted fans have re-watched countless episodes. But the cast members have moved on with their lives.
Here is an update on what the cast of “Will & Grace” has been up to since the show ended, plus some fun facts and news tidbits! Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars got their first-time appearance on screen on “Will & Grace.” And some had their last appearance ever… (Rest in Peace, Gene).
After his days as the dreamy, articulate Will Truman on “Will & Grace,” Erin McCormack has filled his schedule with a variety of roles. After a brief stint on Broadway, he tried his hand at voice acting and even starred in his own mini-series. None of his newer ventures have been as successful as “Will & Grace,” but we’re sure he will be living off those royalties for a long time!
Debra Messing, who played interior designer Grace Adler on the show, has kept quite busy since “Will & Grace” ended. She has sung on Broadway, starred in several feature films, and directed her own mini-series. People magazine has even named her one of the “50 Most Beautiful People in the World!” Currently, she is filming a made-for-TV version of Dirty Dancing.
Megan Mullally played the loud and funny Karen Walker on “Will & Grace.” Since then she has played a huge variety of unique characters. Television has been her bread and butter, but she has also lent her signature smile to several films. She married actor Nick Offerman and starred as his ex-wife, Tammy II, on “Parks and Recreation.”
Sean Hayes played Will’s (also gay) best friend, Jack McFarland on “Will & Grace.” A classically trained pianist, he has performed several musical gigs. He has made cameos in a number of television shows, including “Parks and Recreation” and “Portlandia.” He appeared as the star of the short-lived TV show “Sean Saves the World.” He came out as gay in real life and has been an advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights.
Rosario Salazar’s portrayer had a successful career as a voice actress immediately following her stint on “Will & Grace.” Unfortunately, she has suffered from different types of cancer since then. She has been afflicted with breast, lung, and throat cancer, but has used her personal battles for inspiration to advocate for those with limited access to healthcare.
Harry Connick Jr.
Harry Connick Jr. portrayed Leo Marcus, Grace’s love interest on the show. He has had a wildly successful musical career since then, recording several famous Christmas albums. He is married with several children, including one who will be starting college this year. He played a judge on the final few seasons of “American Idol.”
Bobby Cannavale played Vince D’Angelo, Will’s love interest. Since “Will & Grace,” he has starred in shows like “Boardwalk Empire” and Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Most famous is his starring role as Bobby Caffey in the crime drama “Third Watch.” He’s on his way to a long and successful career.
Beverley Leslie (played by Leslie Jordan) was Karen’s small and southern-accented frenemy. Though Jordan no longer plays Leslie, he still appears in a number of TV shows and movies. Recently, he starred in “Big Brother UK: Celebrity Edition,” a reality TV show that houses a bunch of celebrity strangers in a home together to duke it out for the last housemate standing.
A Famous Composer
Jonathan Wolff, an accomplished Hollywood composer, wrote “Will and Grace’s” iconic theme. In addition he has written music for “Seinfeld,” “The New Mickey Mouse Club,” and “Hudson Street.” He retired in 2006, and now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife and children. We assume he sings his kids to sleep at night — regardless of their ages.
A Karen Spinoff?
Reportedly, NBC considered giving Megan Mullally her own prime-time show that would focus on the life of Karen Walker. However, they changed their minds after seeing the failure of the “Friends” spinoff based on the life of character Joey Tribbiani. It was probably for the best, her character really played off the other characters strengths and weaknesses — It just wouldn’t have been the same without them.
An Ironic Twist
Scottish-American actor John Barrowman was nearly cast as Will Adler. However, the idea was nixed during final auditions when producers decided he was “too straight” and cast Erin McCormack instead. Ironically, McCormack is straight in real life, but Bowman is actually gay! Someone’s gaydar was way off during this casting decision.
A Show About Straight People
The first script for the show featured several straight couples living together in a San Francisco apartment complex. However, while writing the pilot, producers decided that a show about a woman living near her gay best friend would be much funnier and culturally salient. They were right on the money and the show was a massive success.
The First Gay Character
“Will & Grace” was the first primetime TV show to feature an openly gay leading character. Thanks to the producers’ forward thinking, it paved the way for many other shows that helped advance the battle for equality in the United States. These days gay characters are prevalent in many popular TV shows in primetime television.
A Presidential Endorsement
Vice President Joe Biden is a fan of “Will & Grace!” In 2009, he publicly praised the show, saying that without it, the American public would not be nearly as educated on LGBTQIA+ issues. With fans like Joe, it’s hard to believe this show ever went off the air! But, as you can see in the next few slides, there were some hidden reasons for its demise.
Gene Wilder’s Last On-Screen Appearance
The late, great comedian Gene Wilder made his last-ever on-screen appearance on “Will & Grace.” He played Will’s manic employer, and Karen’s love interest, in a double-episode storyline in 2003. He won an Emmy for the role. After Wilder’s August 2016 death, McCormack paid tribute on Twitter: “A genius I stole from constantly, and one I was humbled & thrilled to work with. RIP #GeneWilder”
In 2003, a man named Jack Deamer sued the writers of “Will & Grace.” He alleged that the writers had promised him material compensation in exchange for basing Jack’s character on him, but that they never followed through on the deal. The suit was settled outside of court, but many believe that this may have caused financial troubles for the show.
Two of “Will and Grace’s” creators sued NBC Studios for intentionally misrepresenting the amount of money they earned from the show and in turn, denying them of their rightfully owned money. The case was settled for almost $50 million after a three-month trial.
The show’s cast eventually came together for a two-hour reunion special to honor Director James Burrows. This was the same special that included the “Friends” cast reunion. The actors discussed their favorite memories from the show, as well as updated fans on what they’ve been up to since then.
The Silver Screen
Rumors of a “Will & Grace” inspired movie have been flying for years, but don’t expect the original cast to jump on board! None of them have been too enthusiastic about the idea, and Debra Messing has even said that she fears a film would blemish the W & G legacy.
Though the cast has not been thrilled with the idea of filming a movie, many of them have expressed interest in seeing a reboot of the show with new characters. It seems that they are all happy with their post-primetime lives and don’t want to go back! It would still be cool if they recreated the show and had the original cast members show up for the occasional cameo appearance.
A Mysterious Cancellation
Die-hard fans have never been satisfied with the lack of official reason that “Will & Grace” was canceled. Many theorize that there was discord among the actors and actresses, financial troubles, or that it was ‘just time’ for the sitcom favorite to end.