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‘Freaks and Geeks’ Cast: See the Stars of the 90s Sitcom That Ended Too Soon

See how much they've all changed over the years!


This cult-classic series Freaks and Geeks, which came to an end after only one season, gave a start to a lot of today’s major stars. Despite winning an Emmy Award, was canceled quickly due to disagreements between show runners and NBC over the series’ direction. But the Freaks and Geeks cast lives on as a memorable one.

Major stars like Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Jason Segel and Seth Rogen got their breakthrough roles on Freaks and Geeks, catapulting them into stardom. Airing from 1999 to 2000, the series was far ahead of its time, covering relevant issues that many series didn’t.

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Freaks and geeks cast
Cast of “Freaks and Geeks” (1999) Productions

The show centers around a former mathlete, Lindsay, who starts to hang around with the Freaks, a group of students that choose drugs and ditching school over going to classes. Being the only “nerd” in the Freaks, Lindsay starts to blend in with her new friends, while also remaining her former studious self.

Sadly, fans only got to enjoy the Freaks and Geeks cast for one year, but the stars created from the show went on to have extraordinary careers. Catch up with those actors and see where their careers took them afterwards.

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Linda Cardellini as Lindsay Weir

Linda Cardellini
1999/2023 Productions // Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff / Getty

Although actress Linda Cardellini got her start in the industry in the 1996 series Bone Chillers, she didn’t get her breakthrough role until Freaks and Geeks. Despite its short run, Cardellini went on to become one of the most well-renowned actresses today.

After Freaks and Geeks came to an end, Cardellini booked the role of Velma in the live-action version of Scooby-Doo (2002) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleased (2004).

In 2003, she joined the cast of ER as Nurse Samantha Taggart, and during that time had roles in Brokeback Mountain (2005), American Gun (2005) and The Lazarus Project (2008). In 2009, Cardellini married Steve Rodriguez and the couple has one daughter.

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Woman looking shocked
Linda Cardellini in “Dead to Me” (2019)

More of her projects include Daddy’s Home (2015) and Daddy’s Home 2 (2017), Gravity Falls (2012), Bloodline (2015), A Simple Favor (2018) and Green Book (2018). Most recently, Cardellini starred on the hit series Dead to Me (2019), which came to an end in 2022.

Speaking about the end of Dead to Me, Cardellini said, “We all knew that it was the end, so that does parallel grief… Knowing that we had one more season, it’s so much nicer than somebody just ripping it away.”

John Francis Daley as Sam Weir: Freaks and Geeks cast

John Francis Daley
1999/2023 Productions// Phillip Faraone / Stringer / Getty

Playing Lindsay’s freshman brother in the Freaks and Geeks cast is John Francis Daley. After his time on the series, Daley went on to star on The Geena Davis Show (2000), which again lasted only one season. He later snagged a role on the Bradley Cooper series, Kitchen Confidential (2005).

In 2007, he joined the cast of Bones as Lance Sweets, where he remained until 2014. Daley shared with TVLine that he “had a strong bond with Sweets … I really did feel like I was losing a part of me. He had gone through so much, and to see him die in such a grim way was shocking.”

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Two men negotiating
John Francis Daley in “Bones” (2014) Field Productions

And while he had to say goodbye to his Bones character, Daley left to make his directorial debut on the movie Vacation (2015). He then went on to direct Game Night in 2018, which he also had a small role in; and his most recent project was Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023), which he directed and had a minor role in. Daley married Corinne Kingsbury in 2016 and the couple has one son together.

James Franco as Daniel Desario

James Franco
1999/2022 Productions // Daniele Venturelli / Contributor / Getty

James Franco, who got his breakthrough role as part of the Freaks and Geeks cast, has had a massive movie career since the series ended. The Oscar-nominated actor portrayed James Dean in a movie of the same name, which he won a Golden Globe for.

In 2002, he starred in Spider-Man as Harry Osborn, a role he reprised in 2004 and 2007. In 2009, Franco booked a slot on the soap General Hospital, where he remained until 2012.

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In 2010, Franco starred in the 6-time Oscar nominated film 127 Hours, a role he won multiple awards for. He then went on to star in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Spring Breakers (2012), The Interview (2014), Why Him? (2016) and The Disaster Artist (2017).

Man with backpack in mountains
James Franco in “127 Hours” (2010)

Franco has also had an impressive career as a director, collaborating on movies like Good Time Max (2007), Sal (2011) and The Pretenders (2018).

He said of his decision to direct while also acting in major films, “Spielberg films were a big part of my childhood, E.T. and ‘Indiana Jones,’ all that stuff,” he explained. “Movies were magical to me at that point.” But when Franco started to watch films by Gus Van Sant, he explained, “I could feel the pull — I wanted to get into that.”

Samm Levine as Neal Schweiber: Freaks and Geeks cast

Samm Levine
1999/2023 Productions // Chelsea Guglielmino / Contributor / Getty

Samm Levine may have gotten his breakthrough role on Freaks and Geeks, but he went on to have a lengthy career. Over the years, he has guest starred in a lot, including Spin City (2000), What I Like About You (2002), Fillmore! (2004), Veronica Mars (2006) and Modern Family (2011).

Some of the films he had parts in are Not Another Teen Movie (2001), Sydney White (2007), Promoted (2015), The Night is Young (2019) and Immortal (2019).

Seth Rogen as Ken Miller

Seth Rogen: Freaks and Geeks cast
1999/2024 Productions // Unique Nicole / Stringer / Getty

Everybody knows Seth Rogen as an actor, comedian and filmmaker, but did they realize he got his start as a part of the Freaks and Geeks cast?

After the series ended, Rogen got a role on another series with the same producer, Undeclared (2001). His movie career soon took off, starring in 40-Year- Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), Horton Hears a Who! (2008) and Pineapple Express (2008).

He then went on to star in Funny People (2009), The Guilt Trip (2012), Neighbors (2014), The Interview (2014), Sausage Party (2016), Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) and all the Kung Fu Panda films. He’s also had a successful career as a director and producer. Seth Rogen married his wife, Lauren Miller in 2011.

Jason Segel as Nick Andopolis: Freaks and Geeks cast

Jason Segel: Freaks and Geeks cast
1999/2024 Productions // Jeff Kravitz / Contributor / Getty

If you’ve forgotten how audiences met Jason Segel, it might’ve been as Nick in Freaks and Geeks. After the show, Segel starred in Slackers (2002), 11:14 (2003) and Undeclared (2003). In 2005, Segel booked the role of Marshall Eriksen on How I Met Your Mother, where he remained until 2014.

While on his hit series, Segel had roles in Knocked Up (2007), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), I Love You, Man (2009), The Five-Year Engagement (2012) and This is 40 (2012). Most recently, Segel has starred in The Sky is Everywhere (2022), Windfall (2022) and the series Shrinking (2023).

Martin Starr as Bill Haverchuck

Martin Starr: Freaks and Geeks cast
1999/2023 Productions // Steve Granitz / Contributor / Getty

Martin Starr was successful after the series, starring in Knocked Up (2007), Superbad (2007) and Save the Date (2012). In 2014, he was cast as the main role in the series Silicon Valley, which went on for six seasons until 2019.

While filming the series, Starr was in Intruders (2015), Operator (2016) and Lemon (2017). In 2017, he booked Spider-Man: Homecoming, and starred in the sequels in 2019 and 2021. Most recently, Starr was in Lousy Carter (2023) and There’s Something in the Barn (2023).

Busy Phillips as Kim Kelly: Freaks and Geeks cast

Busy Phillips: Freaks and Geeks cast
1999/2024 Productions // Jamie McCarthy / Staff / Getty

After Busy Phillips starred on Freaks and Geeks, she had a lot of major roles. In 2001, she booked Dawson’s Creek, where she remained until the series’ ending. Afterwards, she starred in White Chicks (2004), Made of Honor (2008) and He’s Just Not That Into You (2009).

In 2009, Phillips booked Cougar Town, a series that lasted six seasons. Later, she starred in I Feel Pretty (2018), Mean Girls (2023) and Girls5eva (2024). The actress married Marc Silverstein in 2007 and the couple has two children together.

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