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‘Northern Exposure’ Cast Then and Now: Catch Up with Dr. Fleischman and Small-Town Alaska Crew

Plus, find out who got one of the starring roles by accident.


Northern Exposure, the beloved television series that captured the hearts of audiences in the early ’90s, boasted a stellar cast that played pivotal roles in its success. From quirky characters to compelling storylines, the show became a cultural phenomenon. It was created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey and premiered in 1990 and ran for six seasons until 1995. The show was set in the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska, a close-knit community where eccentricity and charm blended seamlessly.

After graduating from medical school, Dr. Joel Fleischman, played by Rob Morrow, finds himself in Cicely as part of a state program to pay off his student loans. The fish-out-of-water premise, immediately took off and the show gained a loyal and large following. 

The Northern Exposure cast was widely praised by both fans and critics for their humor, heart, and the authentic portrayal of community, culture, and small-time life in Alaska.

Here, a look at the actors from the show and where they are now.  

Rob Morrow as Dr. Joel Fleischman

Rob Morrow as Dr. Joel Fleischman (Northern Exposure Cast)
1996/2024Bob Riha Jr / Contributor/Getty; Monica Schipper / Staff/Getty

Born in 1962 in New Rochelle, New York, Rob Morrow played the main character of Dr. Joel Fleischman. Before Northern Exposure, Marrow had bit parts in several shows including Fame and Spenser for Hire.

His big break came playing Dr. Fleischman, a New York City physician adjusting to life in Cicely, Alaska. He was nominated for a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards for his role. 

After the series, Marrow’s career continued to flourish. He appeared in many films including Robert Redford’s Oscar-nominated Quiz Show (1994) opposite Ralph Fiennes; Albert Brooks‘ comedy Mother (1996); Last Dance (1996) opposite Sharon Stone; and The Emperor’s Club (2002) opposite Kevin Kline. He also had sizeable roles in The Bucket List (2007) starring opposite Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and The Good Doctor (2011) opposite Orlando Bloom.

On the small screen, Morrow continued to have success. In 2005, Morrow starred in the long running CBS hit drama, Numb3rs. He also starred in The Whole Truth (2010) the hit legal drama that explores how a case is built from the perspective of both the defense and the prosecution. Most recently he’s appeared in the TV series Billions.

Janine Turner as Maggie O’Connell

Janine Turner as Maggie O'Connell (Northern Exposure Cast)
1992/2023Barry King / Contributor/Getty; Gary Gershoff / Contributor/Getty

Janine Turner was born in 1962 in Lincoln, Nebraska. She became a model at age 15 and had bit parts in the television dramas Dallas, General Hospital and Another World.

Her big break came when she was cast as Maggie O’Connell—the spunky, crop-haired Alaskan air taxi pilot.

Since then, she’s appeared in numerous films including Sylvester Stallone’s action thriller Cliffhanger. She also played the perfect mom, June Cleaver, in the film Leave It to Beaver. She starred alongside Richard Gere in Dr. T & the Women.

Turner also played a series regular in the show Strong Medicine.

John Corbett as Chris Stevens in the Northern Exposure cast

John Corbett as Chris Stevens (Northern Exposure Cast)
1992/2023Vinnie Zuffante / Stringer/Getty; James Devaney / Contributor/Getty

Born in 1961 in West Virginia, John Corbett worked as a steel laborer and hairdresser before becoming an actor. He was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role as the philosophical and laid-back radio DJ Chris Stevens. He developed a loyal following (and became a heart throb) during his time on Northern Exposure.

He continued his hunk status after the series, when he went on to star in another hit show HBO’s Sex and the City. He played opposite Sarah Jessica Parker as her love interest, Aiden Shaw.

Corbett also appeared in several movies including opposite Nia Vardalos in the blockbuster film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Most recently, he was in the Sex and the City spin-off And Just Like That and reprised his role in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3.

He’s been a couple with Bo Derek since they met on a blind date in 2002.

Barry Corbin as Maurice Minnifield in the Northern Exposure cast

Barry Corbin as Maurice Minnifield (Northern Exposure Cast)
2003/2020Jean-Paul Aussenard / Contributor/Getty; Getty Images / Staff/Getty

Born in 1940, Barry Corbin has been acting since the 1970s and had bit roles in the A Team, Dallas, Matlock and M*A*S*H.

But his big break-out role came as Maurice Minnifield, a former astronaut and wealthy businessman, in Northern Exposure. He was nominated for two Emmy awards for his role.

He continued to find success after the series. He had roles in several films and television shows including  One Tree Hill, The Closer, Anger Management, The Ranch. Most recently, he appeared in the TV show Tulsa King and in the movie Killers of the Flower Moon.

Cynthia Geary as Shelly Tambo in the Northern Exposure cast

Cynthia Geary as Shelly Tambo (Northern Exposure Cast)
1990/2020Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer/Getty; Getty Images / Staff/Getty

Born in 1965 in Jackson, Mississippi, Cynthia Geary achieved success and fame in her role as

Shelly Tambo, a sweet and naive character in Northern Exposure. She was nominated for an Emmy for her performance. Prior to her big break, Geary appeared in television commercials.

Once she got her break on Northern Exposure, she found success in films including 8 Seconds (1994) and The Awakening (1995) and The Breakup (1998).

She most recently had a guest appearance on the TV series Going Home (2020).

Darren E. Burrows as Ed Chigliak

Darren E. Burrows as Ed Chigliak (Northern Exposure Cast)
1994/2014Vinnie Zuffante / Stringer/Getty; Jeff Vespa / Contributor/Getty

Born in 1966 in Kansas, Darren Burrows played Ed Chigliak on Northern Exposure.

Prior to the role, he had bit parts in TV and film including Casualties of War (1989) and Cry-Baby (1990). Northern Exposure really put him on the map. After the show, he appeared in several television shows and films including Amistad (1997), NYPD Blue (1998), The X-Files (1999). More recently, he was seen in Magpie Funeral (2023).

Burrows has been married to Melinda Delgado since 1993 and together they have  four children.

Northern Exposure Cast: John Cullum as Holling Vincoeur

John Cullum as Holling Vincoeur (Northern Exposure Cast)
2002/2019Derek Storm / Contributor/Getty; Walter McBride / Contributor/Getty

John Cullum was born in 1930 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He is both an actor and director, and is known for his extensive stage experience. He also appeared in films and television shows, like the movie 1776 (1972) before coming to fame as the tavern owner Holling Vincoeur in Northern Exposure. He was nominated for an Emmy for his performance.

After the show, he had bit parts in several television shows including Madame Secretary (2017), The Blacklist (2019) and Prodigal Son (2021). His most recent movie was 2022’s Simchas and Sorrows.

He has been married to Emily Frankel since 1959. They have one child.

Elaine Miles as Marilyn Whirlwind in the Northern Exposure cast

Elaine Miles as Marilyn Whirlwind in the Northern Exposure cast

Elaine Miles was born in 1960 in Pendleton, Oregon. She is best known for her role as Marilyn Whirlwind on Northern Exposure. Ironically, it’s a part she got by accident. Her mother, Armenia Miles, auditioned for the part of Marilyn, but casting directors saw Elaine in the waiting room. They asked Elaine to audition and she won them over. Agents then cast Armenia in the role of

Mrs. Whirlwind, Marilyn’s mother. Mother and daughter played mother in daughter in the series.

After Northern Exposure, Elaine had bit parts in movies including Smoke Signals (1998) Wyvern (2009) and Juanita (2019) She also appeared in the TV series Pandora’s Clock (1996), and The Last of Us (2023).

For more 1990’s entertainment, click through the links below!

Blossom Cast: See the Hilarious Russo Family Then and Now

‘The West Wing’ Characters: See Where President Barlet and His Cabinet Are Today

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