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The ‘Simon & Simon’ Cast, Then and Now

Catch up with Gerald McRaney, Jameson Parker and all the stars of the great 1980s comedy-drama

One of the great things about the Simon & Simon cast is that they perfectly capture the show’s sense of The Odd Couple — but as an action show rather than a sitcom. It’s undoubtedly why it connected with the audience so strongly throughout its 1981 to 1989 run.

Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker are, respectively, brothers Rick and Andrew Jackson (“A.J.”) Simon, who form a private detective agency in San Diego, California. Sounds like a pretty standard set-up, but the hook is that these brothers couldn’t be more different.

Rick had served in the Marine Corps Vietnam and enjoys wearing the regalia of a cowboy, while A.J. has a preppy look, is a college graduate (unlike his brother) and is definitely not the kind of rule breaker that Rick is. Needless to say, there’s comedy and drama to be mined from their different personalities and outlook on things.

Jameson Parker and Gerald McRaney
Comedy and action were part of the mix on 1981 to 1989’s Simon & Simon©NBCUniversal/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

The rest of the Simon & Simon cast consists of Mary Carver as their mother, Ceceilia Simon (the only other character that made it through every season), Eddie Barth as Myron Fowler, A.J.’s former boss and owner of a competing detective agency; Jeannie Wilson as Myron’s daughter, Janet Fowler; the wonderful Tim Reid as a cop who is a friend to the brothers, Lieutenant Marcel Proust “Downtown” Brown, and Joan McMurtrey as Lieutenant Abigail Marsh.

The series lasted for 156 episodes. Most of the Simon & Simon cast reunited for the 1995 TV movie, Simon & Simon: In Trouble Again. And now, this is your opportunity to get to know what became of those fantastic actors.

The Simon and Simon cast

Gerald McRaney as Rick Simon

Gerald McRaney
Gerald McRaney, from 1981 and 2022Getty

Beyond playing Rick Simon in Simon & Simon, Gerald McRaney has had a long and distinguished career in film and television. Born on August 19, 1947 in Collins, Mississippi, he made his big screen debut in Night of Bloody Horror (1969), admittedly not so distinguished a start, but went on to appear in 18 other films, most recently 2019’s A Violent Separation.

Jameson Parker and Gerald McRaney
Jameson Parker and Gerald McRaney in character on Simon & Simon in 1981.©NBCUniversal/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

Prior to leading the Simon & Simon cast, he first appeared on television in a 1972 episode of Rod Serling‘s horror anthology Night Gallery, and followed up with dozens of other appearances on episodic television and TV movies. Right after the series came to a close, he shifted over to play Major John D. MacGillis in Major Dad (1989 to 1993) and then appeared in 10 additional TV movies between 1993 and 1995. He had recurring roles in Touched by an Angel (1995 to 1998) and Central Park West (1995 to 1996).

Gerald McRaney and Milo Ventimiglia
Gerald McRaney and Milo Ventimiglia in This is Us (2016 to 2022)©NBCUniversal/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

From 1996 until 2023 he has worked consistently in dozens of TV movies with starring or recurring roles in such shows as Promised Land (1996 to 1999), Deadwood (2005-2006), Longmire (2012 to 2015), House of Cards (2013 to 2017), NCIS: Los Angeles (a total of 54 episodes between 2014 and 2023), This is Us (2016 to 2022), 24: Legacy (2017), Filthy Rich (2020) and Duncanville (2021 to 2022).

One point the actor makes is that right from the start of Simon & Simon, he had a plan for role diversity. “I like to do different parts to get away from this,” he told the Messenger-Inquirer in 1983. “Rick’s a role I could easily get typecast in. Rick’s kind of an outlaw. It’s a good character and one of the most interesting on television.”

Gerald McRaney and wife Delta Burke
Gerald McRaney and wife Delta Burke in 2020Getty

Although he never served in the armed services, McRaney plays military personnel in a number of his roles, and often expressed his support to soldiers and veterans. In his personal life he’s been married three times (including current wife, Designing Women‘s Delta Burke, who he wed in 1989) and he has three children. Gerald is 76.

Jameson Parker as A.J. Simon

Jameson Parker
Jameson Parker as seen in Simon & Simon in 1981 and more recently in an author’s portrait in 2017 Getty

Born November 18, 1947 in Baltimore, Maryland, his interest in acting began while attending Beloit College and performing in various student productions. Early stage roles in Washington, D.C. include The Great White Hope, Caligula and Indiana, which was followed by summer stock and dinner theater.

One Life to Live
Front: Jameson Parker and Teri Keane; Back: Julia Montgomery and Farley Granger in the soap opera One Life to Live, 1977©ABC/Wikipedia

Jameson moved to New York and found work on soap operas like Somerset (1975 to 1976) and One Life to Live (1976 to 1978). This led to work in a number of TV miniseries and movies and, after Simon & Simon concluded its run, he continued doing so with credits that include Have You Seen My Son (1996) and Something Borrowed, Something Blue (1997). He guest-starred on Gerald McRaney’s Major Dad and Promised Land. Most recently he played Harrison Kershaw in four episodes of Jag between 2003 and 2004.

In 2003 he began the shift over to writing, penning the autobiography An Accidental Cowboy, and the novels American Riff, The Horseman at Midnight and Dancing with the Dead. He’s been married three times (most recently to actress/singer Darleen Carr in 1992) and has four children. He’s 76.

Mary Carver as Cecilia Simon

Mary Carver
Mary Carver in a scene from a 1988 episode of Simon & Simon. ©NBCUniversal/IMDB

Mary Carvellas, who eventually changed her name to Mary Carver, was born on May 3, 1924 in Los Angeles. On the series she played Cecilia Simon, mother to the Simon boys. Her career would include performances on Broadway, a number of guest appearances on such shows as Lou Grant, Mannix, Quincy, M.E. and The Rockford Files, and films like Protocol (1984), Arachnophobia (1990) and Safe (1995). From 1952 to 1968 she was married to director Joseph Sargent (Colossus: The Forbin Project, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three). The mother of two, she passed away on October 18, 2013 at the age of 89.

Eddie Barth as Myron Fowler

Eddie Barth
Eddie Barth in Barney Miller (1975) and Men in Black (1997).L-R: ©Columbia Pictures/IMDB

On Simon & Simon, Eddie Barth played Myron Fowler, owner of rival detective agency Peerless Detectives. Born on September 29, 1931 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he had roles in 15 films between 1971’s Bananas and 2001’s Osmosis Jones. There were many guest credits on episodic TV, and he enjoyed recurring roles on the TV version of Shaft (1973 to 1974), Husbands, Wives & Lovers (1978), Stone (1980), The New Mike Hammer (1984 to 1987) and Civil Wars (1992 to 1993). He was married to Sally Hada from 1961 until his death on May 28, 20109 at the age of 78.

Jeannie Wilson as Janet Fowler

Jeannie Wilson Simon and Simon Cast
Jeannie Wilson, who appeared on 33 episodes of Simon & Simon, as seen in 1981.©NBCUniversal/IMDB

Playing Janet Fowler, daughter of Myron Fowler in Seasons 1-2, and guest starring in Season 3 and 6, is Jeannie Wilson, born February 4, 1947 in Memphis, Tennessee. There isn’t a lot out there about her beyond the fact that she made a number of guest appearances on different TV shows starting with Lindsay Wagner‘s The Bionic Woman in 1976, and followed by The Love Boat (1977), John Ritter‘s Hooperman (1979), a couple of episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard (both 1979), The A-Team (1984), Murder, She Wrote (1986) and Jag (2001). Her most recent role was in the 2010 feature film Cartel War, in which she played a character named Detective Carol Stern and served as Associate Producer. According to simon-and-simon.info, Jeannie is an expert in nutrition and has spent time counseling others on the subject. In 1980, she married Jack Lucarelli. She’s 76-years-old.

Tim Reid as Lieutenant Marcel Proust “Downtown” Brown

Tim Reid Simon and Simon Cast
On left, Tim Reid in 1978’s WKRP in Cincinnati and. on right, the 2019 TV movie Check Inn to Christmas.L-R: ©CBS, ©Hallmark Channel, both courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

Next to Gerald McRaney, actor Tim Reid, who played Lieutenant Marcel Proust “Downtown” Brown in Seasons 3 to 6 of Simon & Simon, has had the most prolific acting career among the cast.

Born December 19, 1944 in Norfolk, Virginia, Reid’s career in entertainment was actually inadvertent: Having graduated from Norfolk State College with a Bechelor’s Degree in Business Administration, he found himself hired by the Dupont Corporation, where he remained for three years.

In 1968 he and insurances salesman Tom Dreeson met at a Junior Chamber of Commerce meeting near Chicago, and were actually assigned to work together an anti-drug program that they would present at different schools. Their rapport was such that one of the kids they spoke to suggested that they should become a comedy duo. Liking the sound of that, they did.

Tim Reid and cast of Frank's Place. Simon and Simon Cast
Tim Reid and the cast of the 1987 to 1988 sitcom Frank’s Place.©CBS/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

Tim and Tom, the first interracial comedy duo, was formed, and they even wrote the 2008 book about the experience, Tim & Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White.

His first regular acting gig was in the 1978 to 1982 sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, on which he played Venus Flytrap, which would eventually lead to 1983’s Teachers Only and, of course, Simon & Simon.

His most critically acclaimed role was in the 1987 to 1988 sitcom Frank’s Place, in which he played Frank Parish, an Ivy League professor who moves from Rhode Island to Louisiana when he inherits a restaurant. Additional series in which he was a regular are Snoops (1989 to 1990), Sister, Sister (1994 to 1999), That ’70s Show (recurring in episodes airing between 2004 and 2006), and, in the 2017 to 2018 season, Me, Myself & I and Greenleaf. His most recently-filmed role is for the horror film Stream, which is being released in 2024.

Tim Reid and cast of Sister, Sister Simon and Simon Cast
Tim Reid, Tia Mowry, Tamera Mowry Housley and Jackee Harry in a 1999 publicity shot from Sister, Sister.©ABC/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

He and second wife Daphne Maxwell Reid built, in 1997, New Millennium Studios in Petersburg, Virginia, which was a 14,850-square-foot film studio, one of the largest independent ones outside of Hollywood. In March 2015 they unfortunately sold the studio out of frustration over Virginia’s lack of attempting to lure film productions to the state. Now 78, he has two children.

Joan McMurtrey as Lieutenant Abigail Marsh

Joan McMurtrey Simon and Simon Cast
Joan McMurtrey shortly before joining Simon & Simon in 1985, and, in 2015, How to Get Away with Murder.L-R: ©ABC/courtesy IMDB; ©Disney/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

Rounding out the Simon & Simon cast is Joan McMurtrey, who portrayed Lieutenant Abigail Marsh in Season 7 and 8. She was born August 30, 1958 in Homewood, Illinois and made her television debut in a 1985 episode of Kate Jackson‘s Scarecrow and Mrs. King, followed immediately by the pilot episode of Moonlighting.

Over the years she’s made many episodic guest appearances, had a recurring role as Dr. Michelle Paxson on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful (2000 to 2004), was featured in a few television movies and in feature films including No Way Out (1987), Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990) , Home Room (2002) and The Glorias (2020). She is currently an acting professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design.


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