Boston Legal produced five great seasons of legal drama, and the cast has been busy since ABC’s series ended in 2008.
Ahh, Boston Legal. One of television’s finest legal dramedys of all time, the show ran for a criminally short 5 season, when it reigned among Primetime’s premium offerings until its unfortunate cancellation in 2008.
Like many of David E. Kelley’s productions, the cast was star-studded and the writing was unmatched. Though there was a Rolodex of rotating main characters throughout the show’s history, there were also many who remained with the series for multiple seasons. Here are ten of the most iconic fixtures in the world of Boston Legal, and what they are up to today!
Henry Gibson: Judge Clark Brown
Henry Gibson starting acting in the late 50s when he was a young boy. He is well-remembered for starring in the Jerry Lewis film The Nutty Professor, as well as starring as Quirt Manly on The Beverly Hillbillies. His full comedic potential was realized in 1971 when he joined Laugh-In, where he lasted in the cast for 3 years and was nominated for a Golden Globe. Gibson also frequently lent his voice to animated roles, including Charlotte’s Web, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, and King of the Hill.
As Judge Clark Brown, Gibson remained a constant presence on Boston Legal even when the main cast departed their roles. He appeared in 24 episodes of the series and stayed until the series ended in 2008. Unfortunately, it was one of his last roles and he passed away in 2009, a week before his 74th birthday.
Gary Anthony Williams: Clarence/Clarice Bell
Gary Anthony Williams first played Clarence “Clarice” Bell in Season 3 of Boston Legal, originally only slated to appear in one episode. The producers liked him so much that they expanded his part to be recurring, and then regular a bit later on. Though he disappeared after Season 4 with no explanation, Williams has had no shortage of work after his time on the series.
He frequently appears on the revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway, and does voice-over work as Mufasa in the Disney series The Lion Guard, as well as playing Uncle Ruckus in the Adult Swim program The Boondocks. He also appeared as a recurring character on the sitcom The Soul Man, and played a part on sketch-comedy series Mad, based on the popular magazine of the same name.
Julie Bowen: Denise Bauer
Julie Bowen was active in the industry before her appearance as junior attorney Denise Bauer on Boston Legal, but you probably know more about her career after the show ended. After her first prominent role on television in the series Ed, her three years on Boston Legal was only a precursor for her most famous role as Claire Dunphy on Modern Family.
Bowen has scored six consecutive Emmy nominations for Modern Family, winning two in 2011 and 2012. She is still starring on the show today, but it is set to end after its 11th season.
Mark Valley: Brad Chase
Before his acting career began, Mark Valley served in the military during the Gulf War, and he actually received his first acting role while stationed in Germany. He took a role in Days of our Lives during the mid-’90s, playing Jack Deveraux for four years on the soap.
On Boston Legal, Valley starred as attorney Brad Chase, staying with the show for 70 episodes, which is still his longest-running television role to date. He has starred in a few film and television roles since his time on the series, most prominently Fringe, Human Target, Body of Proof, and Harry’s Law, where he played another attorney that worked for Kathy Bates’ character, Harry.
John Larroquette: Carl Sack
John Larroquette has played a few attorneys in his acting career, including that of Dan Fielding on the popular Night Court, for which he picked up 4 consecutive Emmy wins. After playing Shirley’s eventual romantic interest, Carl Sack, on Boston Legal, Larroquette has starred in guest spots on numerous television shows like Phineas and Ferb and CSI: New York.
In 2014, Larroquette starred in The Librarians for 42 episodes, playing Jenkins for 4 years until the show’s cancellation. Most recently, he has appeared in Blood & Treasure in a recurring role as billionaire Jacob Reece. The show has just been renewed for a second season, so we may be seeing more of him on the series in the future!
Christian Clemenson: Jerry Espenson
Famous for his role as the eccentric and kind-hearted Jerry Espenson on Boston Legal, for which he received the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2006, Christian Clemenson was not new to the industry. He had already been seen in acclaimed films like Apollo 13, Hannah and Her Sisters, and The Big Lebowski. Clemenson was also talented enough in his craft to graduate from both Harvard and Yale!
After Boston Legal ended, Clemenson retained a recurring role in the 8th, 9th, and 10th seasons of CSI: Miami, and also appeared as a guest on another David E. Kelley production, Harry’s Law. Most recently, Clemenson portrayed the primary role of Deputy District Attorney William Hodgman in the Ryan Murphy production American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson.
René Auberjonois: Paul Lewiston
René Auberjonois had a long career before his tenure as the practical, poised Paul Lewiston on Boston Legal. Prior to the part, he performed in the smash-hit M.A.S.H. and even lent his voice to animated features like The Little Mermaid and Cats Don’t Dance. He also portrayed Clayton Endicott III on the sitcom Benson, for which he was nominated for an Emmy, and had a starring role in the ’90s series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
After Boston Legal, Auberjonois has resigned to mainly doing guest stints on both live-action and animated series, but he has been in many popular shows like Archer, Young Justice, The Good Wife, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Madam Secretary. He also does extensive voice-work for video games, most notably for Fallout: New Vegas and the Uncharted series.
Candice Bergen: Shirley Schmidt
Candice Bergen has been in the television and film industry since the 1960s, receiving her first film role in Sidney Lumet’s The Group. She received her first Academy Award nomination in 1979 for Starting Over, a role she played opposite the iconic Burt Reynolds. Her stint on the 1988 to 1998 sitcom Murphy Brown became her most well-known role, scoring her 5 Emmys out of 7 nominations.
Bergen was also Emmy nominated twice for her role as the wise and intelligent Shirley Schmidt on Boston Legal but unfortunately didn’t take home any wins. After Boston Legal, Bergen starred in the romantic comedy Bride Wars, also lending her name in recent years to smaller guest spots in films. In 2018, CBS commissioned a Murphy Brown reboot starring Bergen that was sadly canceled in May 2019.
William Shatner: Denny Crane
Say it with me, now: Denny…Crane. William Shatner has long been a mainstay in the world of television, first coming to prominence in the original Star Trek series as Captain James T. Kirk. After his work as the eponymous T.J. Hooker and two seasons of starring in 3rd Rock from the Sun, Shatner made his debut as the wily Denny Crane on The Practice, before receiving a part in the spin-off Boston Legal. He was well-awarded for the role, taking home an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
After Boston Legal ended, Shatner performed in 2 Broadway one-man shows, one of which ended up touring the country after its initial three-week run. He also wrote and produced a Star Trek documentary entitled The Captains, exploring the different actors that have portrayed the role that first made him famous. He most recently starred in the reality program Better Late Than Never, in which four seasoned American men explored new cultures in order to check them off their bucket list.
James Spader: Alan Shore
James Spader’s character Alan Shore first made his debut on the long-running David E. Kelley series The Practice, and then took the lead for five seasons of Boston Legal. Throughout the series, Alan Shore proves himself as both an attorney and a person, enduring many personal changes as his friendship with Denny Crane evolves. Spader won 3 Emmys for the role: One for The Practice in 2004 and two for Boston Legal in 2005 and 2007.
It’s safe to say that Spader has been doing phenomenally after the show ended in 2008. After a season-long stint on popular American sitcom The Office, he now stars on NBC’s The Blacklist as main character Raymond “Red” Reddington, a role for which he has picked up 2 Golden Globe nominations!
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