'Punky Brewster': Where are they now?
Hard to believe it's been 30 years since we were first introduced to Punky Brewster! To celebrate the 30th anniversary of this iconic 80s sitcom, 22 Vision caught up with Punky, Cherie, Margaux, Allen and Henry. So who's ready for PUNKY POWER?
Punky Brewster was the story of a 7-year-old girl, who after being abandoned by her parents gets adopted by a grumpy, lonely man named Henry Warnimont.
The role of Henry was played by veteran actor George Gaynes. Even though his character was a little rough around the edges, George brought a warmth to the role that made audiences love him. You may also remember George from the Police Academy movies as Commandant Eric Lassard and in Tootsie as Dr. Van Horn.
Today, George, now 97-YEARS-YOUNG is retired from acting and resides in Santa Barbara with his wife of over 50 years, Allyn Ann. Producers initially wanted Fred Gywnn, aka Herman Munster for the role, but he turned it down.
Ami Foster played Punky's friend Margaux Kramer, the blonde little rich girl who called everybody "peasants." Ami played the role of the snooty, stuck-up character to perfection even though she's actually one of the sweetest girls in real life. After Punky Brewster, the multi-talented Ami continued to sing, dance and act, most notably co-starring in the cult classic, Troop Beverly Hills.
These days, Ami is a devoted mom raising her two kids in Los Angeles, while also teaching acting workshops. It looks like the talent runs in the family as her 11-year-old daughter Tessa Bella is quite the fledgling starlet and dancer herself. Guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
The role of Punky Brewster's best friend Cherie Johnson was played by ... well ... Cherie Johnson! It's not a coincidence that she shared the same name as her character. Her uncle, David Duclon, was the show's creator and created the character for his talented little niece. After Punky Brewster, the lovable Cherie joined the cast of Family Matters as Laura's BFF, Maxine.
Nowadays, not only has Cherie produced 10 films and published 4 books, but this busy entrepreneur recently launched the successful business, Wild Cherry Hair Fresheners – www.usewildcherry.com . But by far her favorite creation has been her new baby girl, who she welcomed into the world earlier this year.
Punky's friend Allen Anderson was played by Casey Ellison in his very first acting role. The goofy, yet lovable Allen was always making audiences laugh as he often guided Punky into trouble. Casey left the show in the 3rd season for a reoccurring role on Mr. Belvadere as Wesley's friend Miles.
Today, the highly intelligent Ellison resides in Los Angeles with his daughter and he recently completed a 4-year stint managing a research lab at Purdue University in the biomedical engineering department.
Did you know the character of Punky Brewster was actually based on a real person? That's right. While growing up, then-NBC President Brandon Tartikoff had a crush on a girl named Penelope "Punky" Brewster. The real Punky Brewster even had a small cameo in the second season as Mrs. Rudlege.
Soleil Moon Frye
Punky Brewster was played by the adorable Soleil Moon Frye. The spunky little 7-year-old beat out thousands of young hopefuls to land the role of the iconic character. Her brilliant performance as Punky instantly made Soleil a star overnight, appearing on t-shirts, lunchboxes and even had a her own doll.
After Punky Brewster, Soleil continued to act in various projects and later returned to the silver screen when she joined the cast of Sabrina The Teenaged Witch.
In 1998, Soleil married Producer Jason Goldberg and started a family -– two daughters, Poet and Jagger and their newest member, her son Lyric. Soleil also runs the popular website and blog, moonfrye.com, that focuses on parenting and creative family activities ... and has also published two books on the subjects as well. She may be all grown up, but Soleil definitely hasn't lost her playful spirit.
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