What a Thrill! See the Cast of Troop Beverly Hills Then and Now

Troop Beverly Hills, starring Shelley Long as a pampered 90210 housewife trying to prove she can rough it as a Wilderness Girls leader, came out 35 years ago.

By Natalie Finn Mar 24, 2024 7:00 AMTags
Watch: "KUWTK" Nostalgia: Favorite Kardashian Moments

Nowadays, you can buy Girl Scout Cookies online and Culver City is a fully gentrified hangout destination full of bars and restaurants.

But 35 years ago, few things signified that you'd made it big more than a Beverly Hills address.

Troop Beverly Hills starred Shelley Long as pampered housewife Phyllis Nefler, who's determined to prove to her daughter Hannah (future Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis, who referenced the role—and the outfits—in her music video for "She's Not Me") and her estranged husband Freddy (Craig T. Nelson) that she can navigate more than the wilds of Saks Fifth Avenue.

The cult-classic comedy directed by Jeff Kanew hit theaters March 24, 1989. And while it may not have won the big box office jamboree right out of the gate, it's been camping out in fans' hearts ever since.

For instance, that was Troop Beverly Hills' famous Beverly Hills Hotel "camp-out" that Kim Kardashian was paying homage to with her pajama party baby shower in 2015. Kumbaya, indeed.

Troop Beverly Hills Iconic Movie Style

But you want s'more, right?

Gale Adler/Fries/Avanti/Weintraub/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

While Long, having starred in Cheers and big-screen comedies like The Money Pit and Outrageous Fortune, was the big star when the movie was made, once you take a closer look at the girl squad she's surrounded by, you'll see some very familiar faces.

So make your khaki wishes and cookie dreams come true with a look at the cast of Troop Beverly Hills then and now:

Shelley Long

In the end, Phyllis Neffler proved she was way more than a Beverly Hills housewife, whether she was helping her girls smash records in the cookie-selling department, winning the annual Jamboree or redefining troop leader fashion forever. 

Long, an Emmy and two-time Golden Globe winner, had romantically sparred with Ted Danson's Sam Malone on Cheers for five season and starred in the comedies Money PitOutrageous Fortune and Hello Again before donning Phyllis' khaki couture. She returned as Diane Chambers for the Cheers finale in 1993, then played the iconic Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel.

She also notably had a recurring role as family patriarch Jay Pritchett's ex-wife DeDe on Modern Family until 2018. The character's off-screen death injected some intense emotion into the usual hilarity as the Emmy-wininng show headed into its 10th season, and co-creator Steve Levitan told The Hollywood Reporter that Long was "very sweet about it."

Long is mother of daughter Juliana with ex-husband Bruce Tyson.

Carla Gugino

That's The Haunting of Hill House star as Chica, the daughter of forgetful international jet-setters who blows out the candles on a lasagna cake when Phyllis and Rosa whip together a birthday celebration for her.

Gugino has been working ever since, with movie highlights including Son In Law, the Spy Kids movies, Sin City and 2024's Lisa Frankenstein, as well as an endless stream of TV work including The Girls on the Bus, The Fall of the House of Usher and Manhunt. She can also be heard narrating Netflix's The Haunting of Bly Manor and that's her as the Kyptonian ship A.I. in Zack Snyder's Justice League, aka "the Snyder Cut."

She's been in a relationship since the 1990s with filmmaker Sebastian Gutierrez, who created Jett, in which she played a top-notch thief who, fresh out of prison, gets pulled back into that life.

"He wrote nine hours on spec, for free," Gugino said on Today in 2019, describing the four-year labor of love that Jett, which landed on Cinemax, was for both of them. "...And we waited a long time to make it the way we wanted to make it, not knowing we were going to get to make it."

"I don't think there's any magic bullet [to work well with your partner]," she added, "but I'll just say, with us, what's great is that we are good at different things and therefore makes it a good balance...And you do have trust. I think that's great for creativity."

Kellie Martin

Emily was the only member of Troop Beverly Hills who had trouble paying the dues because her dad (played by Edd "Kookie" Byrnes) was between acting jobs. That's when, as Tiffany reminds her as she fronts Emily the money, having kind-hearted "friends with money" doesn't hurt.

Martin was a very busy child actress who went on to star as Becca Thatcher in Life Goes On and ill-fated doctor Lucy Knight on ER. (She also starred as the titular teacher in 1912-era Appalachia in the short-lived Christy with Emily Schulman.) Most recently she starred in the Hailey Dean Mystery series, Hallmark's Christmas in Montana and Lifetime's An Amish Sin.

The Yale graduate has two daughters with husband Keith Christian, whom she married in 1999.

Tori Spelling

The future star of Beverly Hills, 90210, reality TV and some epic TV movies (Death of a Cheerleader, in which her mean-girl character is killed by Kellie Martin; Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? with James Franco) had bit roles in a number of her mega-producer dad Aaron Spelling's productions, including The Love Boat and Fantasy Island, before she showed up as Cleo's largely silent Red Feather sidekick Jamie.

"I came from Beverly Hills to Troop Beverly Hills, did Beverly Hills, 90210—Beverly Hills is in the blood," the sTORI TELLING author mused about her character's fate to ET in 2019. "So, I would have to somehow go back to my roots and do Beverly Hills again."

Mission accomplished: She appeared in the 2019 meta-reunion series BH90210 and cohosts the 9021OMG podcast with Jennie Garth.

She shares sons Liam, Finn and Beau and daughters Stella and Hattie with second husband Dean McDermott. They broke up in 2023 after 17 years together.

Jenny Lewis

If you have your indie pop druthers about you, you know that the artist formally known as Phyllis' gymnast daughter Hannah was the lead singer of L.A.-based band Rilo Kiley, which she formed with Salute Your Shorts star Blake Sennett.

They disbanded in 2014, but Lewis has logged time in other groups, including the Postal Service and the trio Nice as F--k, and has four solo albums under her belt, the most recent being 2023's Joy'All. The release followed 2019's more melancholy On the Line, which probed the depths of her grief following the death of her mother and a painful breakup.

"It's life. It's work. Life mirrors work, vice versa. I don't know," Lewis told 303 in 2019. "But it couldn't possibly just be a breakup album because you don't just break up and then nothing else happens. It all happens at once. People love a breakup album and I think it can stand as one but then it is also about a rebound, rebirth and death. Thinking of a breakup as an end is a misstep, for me. It was a beginning."

Lewis' post Troop Beverly Hills film credits include Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get EvenFoxfire and Pleasantville, and she appeared on the Netflix special A Very Murray Christmas in 2015, teaming with Bill Murray to sing "Baby It's Cold Outside."

Aquilina Soriano

Lily Marcigan was the daughter of the cheerful dictator ("just call me Bong Bong") of an unspecified country and his shoe-hoarding wife, seemingly inspired by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.

Soriano had a few more appearances in the 1990s, including on Blossom and Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, but stopped acting and moved on to focus on her family and activism on behalf of the Filipino community. She was honored for her work as executive director of the Pilipino Workers Center by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors in 2016.

Craig T. Nelson

In addition to playing Phyllis' estranged husband, auto parts titan Freddy "The Muffler Man" Neffler, Nelson had just started what would be a nine-season run playing college football coach Hayden Fox on the ABC sitcom Coach, for which he won the Emmy for Best Actor in a Comedy Series in 1992.

Definitely in the running for America's Dad, Nelson—who was the tough but terrified father in the 1982 horror classic Poltergeist—is the voice of Mr. Incredible in Pixar's smash-hit The Incredibles and its 2018 sequel; he was Ryan Reynold's dad in The Proposal; and he tugged all the heartstrings as family patriarch Zeek Braverman on the NBC drama Parenthood

Nelson also starred in the 2000-'04 court drama The District, played Mary Steenburgen's husband in the Book Club movies and since 2017 he's been playing Sheldon's twin sister's baseball coach and love interest for his grandma on the CBS hit Young Sheldon.

He's been married to Doria Cook-Nelson, his second wife, since 1987 and has three grown kids from his first marriage.

Dinah Lacey

Her mom being in labor for 17 hours meant nothing to ruthless Cleo Plender, daughter of the win-at-all-costs Velda, leader of the Culver City Red Feathers.

After appearing on The JeffersonsFacts of LifeLife Goes On and others, Lacey put acting on hold in 1990 but the proud mom made the Troop Beverly Hills fans happy with an appearance at Wondercon in 2019 and joined in the ET reunion.

Betty Thomas

The Hillstreet Blues star was a seven-time Emmy nominee—and winner in 1985—for her supporting role as Sgt. Lucy Bates when she took on the role of Phyllis' ruthlessly determined nemesis Velda Plender, leader of the Culver City Red Feathers.

As an alum of Second City, it turned out she had comedic timing to spare, but Troop Beverly Hills was her last acting job (minus playing a version of herself in a 2018 episode of Kidding) before she moved behind the camera—and was quite successful at it. She won an Emmy for directing an episode of the HBO comedy Dream On, and then made HBO's The Late ShiftThe Brady Bunch Movie (reuniting her with Shelley Long as Carol Brady), the Howard Stern biopic Private Parts, Doctor Dolittle with Eddie Murphy28 Days with Sandra Bullock, and John Tucker Must Die, among others. Most recently she has directed episodes of the Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie.

Born Betty Nienhauser, her married name is Thomas. Asked where her Troop Beverly Hills character would be today (in 2019), she told ET, "Velda is a lying cheat and she doesn't tell the truth. I think I'd be running for president!"

Heather Hopper

Before playing Tessa, the daughter of two movie directors who enjoys psychoanalyzing others with what she's learned from her own therapist, Hopper played Nikki on Good Morning, Miss Bliss—the sitcom that later became Saved by the Bell.

She only acted a bit after Troop Beverly Hills, popping up on Beverly Hills, 90210The Shield and the soap opera Passions, choosing instead to focus on raising her daughter, who was born in 1998.

She leads a private life in her home state of California, but did join the rest of the cast for a 30th anniversary reunion in 2019 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. "I think that since Tessa had so much therapy—she was always in therapy—it probably inspired her to become a therapist, a psychiatrist or a psychologist," Hopper told Entertainment Tonight. "I definitely think she would be in that field."

Emily Schulman

The child star also played nosy next-door neighbor Harriet Brindle on the family-pretending-a-robot-is-a-real-girl sitcom Small Wonder before landing the role of Tiffany, diamond enthusiast and daughter of a renowned plastic surgeon.

In addition to making close to 200 commercials, she appeared in shows like The Wonder Years and ALF and starred in the short-lived family drama Christy with Troop co-star Kellie Martin. Schulman stopped acting in the mid-'90s and after high school became a commercial talent agent. She went on to teach acting after moving to Connecticut, and she's mom to three children with her husband since 2002, Derek Webster.

Ami Foster

Best known then for playing rich girl Margaux in Punky Brewster, Foster was a natural as rich and kind-hearted Claire, daughter of a romance novelist and a successful divorce attorney (who happens to be representing Phyllis' husband, Freddy).

"You might remember me from some classic 80's television," Foster notes in her Instagram bio.

After a packed first half of the 1990s (guest spots on Quantum Leap, The Wonder YearsStep by Step, etc.), culminating in a 1994 CBS Schoolbreak Special about gun violence in schools, the multi-talented child star gave up acting—but she did return as Margaux in an episode of Peacock's 2021 Punky Brewster revival.

In her private life, she's raising daughter Tessa and son Brock with her firefighter husband Trent DeFries.

Tasha Scott

Scott stole the show as Jasmine "Officer, do you know who this man is?" Shakar, the proud daughter of a famous boxer. She continued to act on TV—most prominently in the sitcoms South Central with Larenz Tate and The Parent 'Hood with Robert Townsend—and played Dorothy in a 1996-97 touring production of The Wiz.

After a 20-year break from acting, she popped up in the 2018 indie movie Bluest Moon and her EP, Moon Child, is streaming. Per IMDb, she's starring in an upcoming series called The Bostons.

Stephanie Beacham

The British actress played romance novelist Vicki, Claire's mom and Phyllis' best friend who is appalled to see her depressed pal drowning her sorrows in a case of Evian.

Most memorably, Beacham played Sable Colby on Dynasty and her own spin-off, The Colbys, with Charlton Heston; she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as a nun who takes a flock of kids under her wing in the short-lived sitcom Sister Kate; and she played Dylan McKay's artsy mother Iris on Beverly Hills, 90210.

In 2009 she played Martha on the long-running British soap opera Coronation Street and starred in the BBC One sitcom Boomers, which ran from 2014 to 2016, plus she's been in a number of recent rom-coms, including 2022's Christmas in the Caribbean with Elizabeth Hurley

Beacham has two daughters from her marriage to late actor John McEnery, whom she divorced in the 1970s, and she's been in a relationship with Dr. Bernie Greenwood since 2008.

"I've met many women in their forties who are successful but alone I didn't meet Bernie until I was 60," Beacham, born in February 1947, told BANG Showbiz in 2022. "Let that be an inspiration! Let's be honest, that's post-menopause, post-children. That's post a lot of things—but not all things! We fell in love, no compromise."

Mary Gross

Gross sharpened her comedy chops as a cast member and writer on Saturday Night Live for four years, so she was sneakily good as the soft-spoken Annie Herman, who starts off as Velda's spy but comes into her own under Phyllis' wing.

The character actress' roles over the years ran from voicing Katie's mom on Animaniacs to playing Mrs. Quick on Sabrina the Teenage Witch to appearances on Boston LegalCalifornication and Hart of Dixie.

Fun fact: Her older brother is Michael Gross, best know as dad Steven Keaton on Family Ties

Shelley Morrison

As Phyllis' indispensable housekeeper, Rosa, Morrison had one of the most famous lines in the whole movie with the Treasure of the Sierra Madre-inspired "We don't need no stinkin' patches!"

A decade later the Bronx-born actress had a recurring role as Karen's acerbic maid Rosario in Will & Grace, for which she shared in two SAG Award nominations for ensemble performance. After Morrison died in December 2019 at the age of 83, the rebooted Will & Grace had Karen pay uncharacteristically emotional (but still crude and funny) tribute to Rosario as well.

Audra Lindley

Before she played Frances Temple, head of the Los Angeles County Wilderness Girls program, Lindley had a long career as a theater and film actress, but was best known to audiences as Mrs. Roper, the caftan-rocking landlady on Three's Company.

The Golden Globe nominee later played Phoebe's grandmother Frances on a 1995 episode of Friends and had a recurring role playing Cybill Shepherd's mother on the CBS sitcom Cybill. The twice-divorced mother of five died in 1997 at the age of 79.

(Originally published March 24, 2020, at 8:39 a.m. PT)