The popular ’80s sitcom Silver Spoons told the tale of an adorable young boy, Ricky Stratton (Ricky Schroder) who came to live with his wealthy, irresponsible father, Edward Stratton III (Joel Higgins) who was initially unaware of his existence. Airing from 1982 to 1986, the show, with the talented Silver Spoons cast, presented a charming role reversal, with an immature father and a preternaturally sophisticated son.
Over the course of five seasons, we came to appreciate all the laughs father and son gave us, as well as the sweet lessons they taught one another. And we’ll never forget that toy-filled mansion where the Strattons made their home! Over 40 years after Silver Spoons debuted, we’re taking a look back at the cast and what they’ve been up to lately.
Ricky Schroder as Ricky Stratton
Ricky Schroder made his acting debut at age 9, playing Jon Voight’s son in the 1979 film The Champ. The youngster took home a Golden Globe Award for Best New Male Star and to this day, he holds the title of youngest Globe winner. Silver Spoons catapulted Schroder to child stardom, but when the sitcom ended, he struggled to avoid typecasting as a blond, boyish teen idol. (Click through to check in with more 80s child actors!)
Now 53, Schroder started going by Rick instead of Ricky and taking on more adult roles in the late ’80s. He acted in the Western miniseries Lonesome Dove in 1989, and later joined the casts of intense shows like NYPD Blue and 24. He’s also directed three films (including Black Cloud, starring Tim McGraw, and the Hallmark movie Our Wild Hearts) and acted in the TV movies Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors and Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love.
Joel Higgins as Edward Stratton III
Joel Higgins started out as a Special Services Sergeant in charge of entertainment for the United States Army and spent a number of years acting in musicals, including the first national tour of Grease. From there, he became a series regular in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow. Following the cancellation of his short-lived cowboy comedy series Best of the West in 1982, Higgins was cast in Silver Spoons, and became forever known as the ultimate man child.
After Silver Spoons ended, Higgins was part of the priesthood comedy Have Faith which tanked with audiences and ran for just seven episodes. Now 80, Higgins acted in a handful of TV movies and episodes in the ’80s and ’90s, and had his last acting job opposite Nathan Lane and Gabriel Byrne in the 2016 comedy No Pay, Nudity. Outside of acting, Higgins has found much success as a composer of over 200 jingles for Kool-Aid, M&M’s and more.
Erin Gray as Kate Summers-Stratton
Kate is Edward’s secretary/assistant who has a crush on him but is too shy to tell him. Eventually she overcomes her shyness and becomes his wife and Ricky’s stepmom.
Following a successful modeling career in the ’70s, Gray tried her hand at acting. She rocked a white bodysuit and commanded viewers’ attention as Colonel Wilma Deering in the sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. After that came appearances in classics of the era like Fantasy Island, The Love Boat and Magnum, P.I.
Gray went on to act in movies including the ninth installment in the Friday the 13th franchise and appear in a handful of shows (including a five-episode run on Baywatch). Gray ultimately left acting and became a Tai Chi instructor and casting agent. Now 73, Gray owns a talent agency, Heroes for Hire, which specializes in casting sci-fi and fantasy actors for speaking engagements, personal appearances and charity events.
Franklyn Seales as Dexter Roosevelt Stuffins
Franklyn Seales came on Silver Spoons in season two, taking on the role of Edward’s new business manager, Dexter Roosevelt Stuffins, following the departure of actor Leonard Lightfoot.
Seales had his breakthrough playing Lt. Henry O. Flipper, the first black West Point graduate, in the 1978 PBS TV drama The Trial of the Moke. He then co-starred in the 1979 film The Onion Field, portraying real-life convicted cop killer Jimmy Lee “Youngblood” Smith, alongside James Woods and Ted Danson.
Sadly, Seales passed away in 1990 at just 37 from complications related to AIDS.
Alfonso Ribeiro as Alfonso Spears
Alfonso Ribeiro played Alfonso Spears, Dexter’s cool nephew who became Ricky’s best friend. Ribeiro joined the cast in season three and quickly became a fan favorite. Before Silver Spoons, Ribeiro starred in the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid and danced alongside none other than Michael Jackson in a Pepsi commercial.
After Silver Spoons, Ribeiro was cast as Will Smith’s conservative, preppy cousin in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Now 52, Ribeiro still possesses a boyish charm and likability. Not only has he starred in an iconic sitcom of the ’80s and an iconic sitcom of the ’90s, he’s also remained a pop culture fixture. He’s kept busy directing TV episodes and hosting a variety of shows, including America’s Funniest Home Videos: Animal Edition and Dancing With the Stars.
Jason Bateman as Derek Taylor
As the younger brother of Family Ties star Justine Bateman (see the Family Ties cast then and now!), Jason Bateman was destined for child stardom. When the younger Bateman was breaking into show biz, he was cast in a supporting role on Silver Spoons playing Derek Taylor, Ricky Stratton’s “bad boy” friend from military boarding school.
Bateman was let go from the show after two seasons, as the producers were allegedly concerned he was upstaging Schroder. After Silver Spoons, he starred in the sitcom The Hogan Family. Throughout the ’90s, Bateman was a reliable TV presence, and in the ’00s, he starred in the hilariously dysfunctional family comedy Arrested Development, winning over a new generation of fans.
More recently he acted in the acclaimed drama series Ozark, and he’s also been in comedy films like Horrible Bosses and Game Night. He currently hosts a popular podcast, SmartLess, with his Arrested Development co-star Will Arnett and Will & Grace star Sean Hayes.
Read on for more nostalgic ’80s TV!