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The ‘Fringe’ Cast: Here’s What Happened to the Stars of the Otherworldly Drama

The show trafficked in the unexpected, which is what attracted actors Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and more!

The television series Fringe — and the Fringe cast itself — traffics in the unexpected; episode to episode, season to season, it was a series that continued to change and evolve over its 2008 to 2013 run, often times dictated by the show and its characters more than an overall plan — which is not to say that there wasn’t one firmly in place.

As originally conceived by J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, Fringe was designed to utilize its core characters — Olivia Munn (Anna Torv), Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and his father, Walter Bishop (John Noble) — as investigators of bizarre activities occurring around the world that were the results of “fringe science.”

On a conceptual level, the show’s inspiration was clearly The X-Files, but as it went on, it became much more as it managed to explore its characters in depth while revealing a greater mythology in the form of an alternate earth very much like our own (though with some significant differences).

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Further evolutions had a war between the two earths a seemingly inevitable conclusion; a war which only one side would survive. Add into the mix their Olivia temporarily taking the place of ours, Walter, having lost his own version of Peter many years earlier heading over to the other side to kidnap that world’s Peter Bishop and raising him as his own, and that action, in turn, serving as a catalyst for the destruction of everything.

And there it is again: Fringe traffics in the unexpected. “I like that it’s just so broad,” mused Fringe cast member Anna Torv at a press event. “It doesn’t fit in any particular genre.  I think it’s scary.  I think it’s kind of mystical.  I think sometimes we’ve had episodes that are really quite magical.  There are parts of it that are really heightened.  There’s parts of it that are really kind of down and dirty.  It’s got humor and a little bit of romance.  The fact that it’s so broad in its spectrum and in its stories and that it’s unafraid to go, ‘Let’s just take this leap, shall we?’ 

Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham

Anna Torv in 2008 and 2024
Anna Torv in Fringe back in 2008 and at an advent in 2024Getty

Leading the Fringe cast is Anna Torv, born June 7, 1979 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Following high school, she enrolled at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, graduating in 1996 with a performing arts degree in 2001. Her professional acting career began two years later in a production of Hamlet, followed in 2004 by the Australian television series The Secret Life of Us.

In 2008, she starred in the BBC series Mistresses before journeying to America to take on the role of Olivia Dunham as part of the Fringe cast. Torv was with the show until its end in 2013, taking home four Saturn Awards in the category of Best Television Actress.

Anna Torv in The Last of Us
Anna Torv in The Last of Us, 2023©HBO/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

During the run of Fringe, she was one of the stars of the Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg-produced HBO miniseris The Pacific. In 2016, Torv joined the cast of Mindhunter as FBI consultant Dr. Wendy Carr. Ever busy, beginning in 2021 she has starred in the Australian drama The Newsreader and appeared in three episodes of 2023’s The Last of Us.

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One of the questions she faced at the aforementioned press conference was how she felt about Olivia being a relatively repressed character. “I didn’t mind her being that repressed,” she said. “I actually think that there was something — this sounds so counter-intuitive — but there’s something actually liberating in that. So often you’ve got the guys that are the quiet, silent types that do all the tough stuff. Then you’ve got the girls that are all emoting and chatting and talking about their feelings, working out their relationships.

Anna Torv as Dunham and her version of the character from another world in the third season of Fringe, 2011
Anna Torb as Dunham and her version of the character from another world in the third season of Fringe, 2011©WBDiscovery/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

“On Fringe,” she added, “you’ve got the woman who doesn’t talk all that much, who’s extremely repressed, who just goes and does the job, doesn’t have much of a life at home. Then, you’ve got the two guys who sit around in the lab — which essentially is the kitchen — cooking cookies and trying to work out where they stand with each other. I actually have always found that side of it interesting. Why can’t a woman be a little cooler in her emotions and a little quieter and a little repressed without it being a huge thing? So, I’ve actually always quite enjoyed that, to tell you the truth.”

In her personal life, Torv was married to actor Mark Valley (a costar on early episodes of Fringe) from 2008 to about 2010. She has one son, with whom she lives in Northern New South Wales. She’s 44.

Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop

Joshua Jackson
Joshua Jackson in Fringe and in 2024 at the premiere of Dr. DeathL-R: ©WBDiscovery/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com; Leon Bennett/FilmMagic

As part of the Fringe cast, Joshua Jackson had successfully moved beyond his role of Pacey Witter on Dawson’s Creek. Born June 11, 1978 in Vancouver, British Columbia, his career starred with a small role in 1991’s Crooked Hearts, while the following year he played Charlie in a musical stage adaptation of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, then portrayed another Charlie in the 1994 film D2: The Mighty Ducks.

Pacey Witter really put him on the map on Dawson’s Creek, which ran from 1998 to 2003. During those years, Jackson could also be seen in a number of movies, among them Cruel Intentions (1999), The Skulls and Gossip (both 2000), The Safety of Objects (2001), The Laramie Project and Lone Star State of Mind (both 2002) and I Love Your Work (2003). Since the show ended, he’s been in 13 movies between Cursed (2005) and Sky (2015).

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Group of friends on a dock; Katie Holmes movies and tv shows
Katie Holmes, James Van Der Beek, Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson in Dawson’s Creek (1998) Getty

Jackson portrayed Peter Bishop through the entire run of Fringe, and since then was one of the stars of the series The Affair (2014 to 2018), miniseries Little Fires Everywhere (2020), Dr. Death (2021) and the miniseries adaptation of the film Fatal Attraction (2023). He’s appeared on stage as well, in A Life in the Theater (2005), Smart People (2016) and Children of a Lesser God (in both 2017 and 2018).

Of his work on Fringe, the actor reflected with collider.com that the most satisfying to him as a performer was the work he and John Noble did, along with writers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman, to try and keep the father-son relationship as honest and dynamic as they could, in the center of what was a “very, very large, crazy science fiction story.”

John Noble and Joshua Jackson in 2008 to 2013's Fringe
John Noble and Joshua Jackson in 2008 to 2013’s Fringe©WBDiscovery/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

“That was always really a point of focus for me,” he said. “I had the chance to be on a serialized TV show and to tell my piece of it, which was the story of the prodigal son who starts off doing everything he can to get out of this world, and then eventually gets drawn in through the love of his father, and then falls in love with a woman, and then, over the course of the seasons, completely reverses to now become a dedicated son and solid and reliable boyfriend, and then husband and crazily protective father.  I think that’s an interesting journey to go on.  For me, as an audience member, I’m always most engaged by serialized storytelling, so as an actor, the thing that I take away from it is how much fun it is to perform a serialized story. “

Now 45, Jackson married Jodie Turner-Smith in 2019, the couple separating in 2023. They have one child.

John Noble as Dr. Walter Bishop

John Noble, then and now
John Noble in Fringe (2008) and at the opening night celebration for Maestro in 2019Getty

Probably one of the most unique characters introduced on television is Dr. Walter Bishop, the brilliant but mad character as portrayed by John Noble. The actor was born on August 20, 1948 in Port Prie, South Australia.

He worked in theater throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and spent a decade as the artistic director of the Stage Company of Australia. He didn’t make his film debut until 1988, at the age of 40, when he appeared in The Dreaming.

There would be a few more film roles before he portrayed the character of Denethor in 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. There have been an additional nine movies featuring him, including voicing one of the Man of Steel’s greatest enemies, Brainiac, in the 2013 animated movie Superman: Unbound.

John Noble in 2003's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
John Noble in 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King©New Line/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

Prior to joining the Fringe cast, he appeared in a number of Australian television shows and TV movies, portraying Dr. John Madsen in 32 episodes of the medical drama All Saints (1998 to 2004), followed by nine episodes of Home and Away (2001 to 2006) and four episodes of Young Lions (2002). He came to America for three episodes of 24 and was back in Australia for 13 episodes of Pirate Islands: The Lost Treasure of Fiji (2007).

Cast members of 2008 to 2013's Fringe
Cast members of 2008 to 2013’s Fringe©WBDiscovery/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

Fringe would be next, and in an interview with fringetelevision.com he explained why he viewed Walter Bishop as his dream character: “It requires a complete range of emotions. You have the comedic element, which is in the timing — because Walter never tries to be funny. Physically, what I try to do is create a character who’s older than me, but also still has this incredible energy coming through. It is so rare as an actor to be given a chance to grow a character over a long period of time. It’s a long-term development, and of course in theater and film, you can’t do that. So that also makes it fun to play Walter, to look back and forward at his journey out of madness, to see where that takes him.”

John Noble voiced the character of Brainiac in 2013's animated Superman: Unbound
John Noble voiced the character of Brainiac in 2013’s animated Superman: Unbound©WBDiscovery/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

Since Fringe, his regular or recurring TV roles have included Dark Matters: Twisted but True (2011 to 2012), The Good Wife (2013), Sleepy Hollow (2013 to 2017), Devil’s Playground (2014), Elementary (2015 to 2019), Legends of Tomorrow (2017 to 2018), Salvation (2017 to 2018) and he’s voiced the character The Diviner on Star Trek: Prodigy (2021 to 2022).

Married to Peggy Noble, they have three children. The actor is 75.

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Lance Reddick as Phillip Broyles: Fringe Cast

Lance Reddick, then and now
L-R: Lance Riddick in Fringe (2008) and the 50th Anniversary of the Saturn Awards in 2022Getty

Lance Reddick had quite an extensive career. Beyond portraying Fringe Division head honcho Phillip Broyles as part of the Fringe cast, he was Cedric Daniels in The Wire, Chief Irvin Irving in Bosch and Charon in the four films making up the John Wick franchise.

He was born June 7, 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland and attended Friends School of Baltimore, going on to extensively study music. In the early 1990s, he attended the Yale School of Drama from which he received a Master of Fine Arts Degree.

Lance Reddick as Broyles in Fringe, 2008 to 2013
Lance Reddick as Broyles in Fringe, 2008 to 2013©WBD/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

Reddick appeared in three dozen movies between 1998’s Great Expectations and the forthcoming 2025 posthumous release of the John Wick spin-off, Ballerina. Beyond television guest appearances and TV movies, he had recurring roles on shows that have included the HBO prison drama Oz (2000 to 2001), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2000 to 2001), Lost (2008 to 2009), Intelligence (2014) and Corporate (2018 to 2020), with main roles in Resident Evil (2022) and Farzar (2022). In 2007, he recorded the album Contemplations & Remembrances.

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Lance Reddick and Keanu Reeves in 2019's John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum
Lance Reddick and Keanu Reeves in 2019’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum©Lionsgate Films/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

While speaking to gamesradar.com, the actor reflected on the fact that on Fringe he got to play two versions of Broyles, one on “our” Earth and a different take on an alternate Earth. “They’re both intense,” he explained, “but alternate universe Broyles is intense in a different way. He is looser and is basically a foot soldier. Even though he’s still colonel and he’s still head of the Fringe division, he’s out in the front with the guys. As opposed to being a paramilitary organization that’s basically a branch of the FBI, Fringe over in the alternate universe is more straightforward military. Also, Broyles in the alternate universe is still married. So he’s a looser, happier guy. Even though that universe is actually grimmer, the people are better adjusted there.”

Riddick was married twice and had two children. He died on March 17, 2023 of heart disease at the age of 60.

Blair Brown as Nina Sharp: Fringe Cast

Blair Brown, then and now
Blair Brown in Fringe (2008) and at a photo call for the play The Minutes in 2022Getty

Blair Brown is Massive Dynamic’s — a science and technology firm — Nina Sharp, a longtime friend of both William Bell and Walter Bishop. The actress was born April 23, 1946 in Washington, D.C. She graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada in 1969 and first came to people’s attention as a performer at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

Blair Brown and Joshua Jackson in 2008 episode of Fringe
Blair Brown and Joshua Jackson in 2008 episode of Fringe©WBDiscovery/courtesy MovieStillsDB.com

Her film roles have included everything from The Paper Chase (1973) and The Speed of Thought (2011), with 22 others in between. There have been dozens of TV movies from 1973’s Dracula to 2004’s Copshop and, besides guest appearances, she starred or recurred on Space (1985), The Day and Nights of Molly Dodd (1987 to 1991), American Experience (2003 to 2007), Orange is the New Black (2015 to 2019), Limitless (2015 to 2016) and Jack Ryan (2018).

She was the romantic partner of actor Richard Jordan from 1976 to 1985, and she is the mother of one.

Leonard Nimoy as Dr. William Bell: Fringe Cast

Leonard Nimoy, 1967 and 2014
Leonard Nimoy in 1967 and in 2014.Getty

While he was never able to separate himself from the character of Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek and its subsequent films, he enjoyed a varied career in film, television and on the stage. This included his role as William Bell, Walter Bishop’s former partner in science and technology, on Fringe.

In reflecting on what drew him to Fringe, Nimoy told MTV, “It’s not just the role of William Bell. It’s the show. I think Fringe is a wildly imaginative show. The writers and the creators of the show, the producers, are very bright and very theatrical. All the characters are fleshed out wonderfully and the chemistry amongst the cast is terrific. I wanted to be a part of this project. I enjoy the project.”

Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner in Star Trek
They may have become great friends later in life, but during the making of Star Trek there were tensions between Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. Courtesy of MovieStillsDB.com/Paramount Pictures

He was born on March 26, 1931 in Boston Massachusetts. Nimoy got his start in uncredited roles in such films as Francis Goes to West Point and Zombies of the Stratosphere (both 1952), and while he would go on to appear in a number of films, he found his calling on television.

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There he frequently guest starred on different shows and had recurring roles on Sea Hunt (1958 to 1960) and The Tall Man (1960 to 1961) before playing Spock from 1966 to 1969, reprising the part vocally in 1973’s Star Trek: The Animated Series and playing the character in eight subsequent films. He portrayed Paris on Mission: Impossible from 1969 to 1971 and served as narrator of In Search of … (1976 to 1982), Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories (1991) and Ancient Mysteries (1994 to 1998).

Leonard Nimoy in the series finale of Fringe, 2013
Leonard Nimoy in the series finale of Fringe, 2013©WBDiscovery/IMDb

Nimoy enjoyed success on the stage in such shows as 1971’s Fiddler on the Roof, 1974’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next, 1975’s Sherlock Holmes, 1977’s Equus, 1981’s Vincent (as in Van Gogh) and the list went on from there.

Beyond directing the films Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), he shot such non-Trek projects as Three Men and a Baby (1987), the highest-grossing film of the year; The Good Mother (1988), Funny About Love (1990) and Holy Matrimony (1994). Diversifying further, he wrote a pair of autobiographies (1975’s I Am Not Spock and 1995’s I Am Spock), several volumes of poetry and books of photography. And then there were studio and spoken word albums, from 1967’s Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space to 1982’s The Mysterious Golem.

He was married twice and had two children. He died on February 27, 2015 following a long bout of COPD at the age of 83.

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