Life Goes On was a one hour drama series that aired on ABC from 1989 to 1993 and focused on the Thacher clan. When the show premiered, it focused mostly on Charles ‘Corky’ Thacher and his struggles with mainstreaming, but I feel like later seasons decided that little sister Becca and her HIV-positive boyfriend were the centerpiece.
At any rate, this IMDB synopsis is pretty fantastic:
A TV-series about the life of the Thachers, especially “Corky,” that has Down Syndrome but goes to ordinary school (“mainstreaming). We get into their problems and joys. Drew Thacher’s dream comes true when he is able to open his own restaurant, but it’s a hard business, and he often run into problems. Becca has a constant crush on Tyler, but he’s not available. He and his girlfriend, Rona, break up and get together all the time. Libby Thacher hates her boss, and quits her job. After a while she finds out that she’s pregnant, and that her boss is desperate to get her back. She starts working for him again, after getting better paid, among other things. Meanwhile, “Corky” has problems with keeping up at school and accepting who he is. He fights his battles, and wins. - Eva Kristin Berntzen
I really need Paul Scheer to yell, “FIVE STARS” right after that masterpiece.
So, what happened to everyone since the show went off the air 22 years ago?
Patti LuPone — Libby Thacher
LuPone has probably remained the most visible of the cast, most recently appearing in American Horror Story: Coven, Penny Dreadful, and Girls. I could list more, like 30 Rock, Ugly Betty, and Oz, but I won’t. I will tell you that she continues to appear on-and-off Broadway in Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, and The Anarchist.
Bill Smitrovich — Andrew ‘Drew’ Thacher
Smitrovich is most likely that guy you recognize in flicks like Ted and Independence Day, but you can’t quite place which TV Dad he played in the late 80s/early 90s. He has kept himself busy with small parts on television and in movies, like Ted 2 and The November Man.
Chris Burke — Charles ‘Corky’ Thacher
Since appearing as the first character/lead actor on network television to have Down Syndrome, Burke has appeared on The Commish, E.R., and Touched By An Angel. He has been the Goodwill Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society since 1994. Burke also tours with his four-piece folk band, Forever Friends.
Kellie Martin — Rebecca ‘Becca’ Thacher
Kellie Martin will always be that annoying Lucy King on e.r. that was murdered and then the killer waited to stab Dr. Carter, which led to his addiction to pain pills and some just terrible storylines. Damn it. Martin has also appeared on Mad Men and is currently a host on Home & Family on The Hallmark Channel. That explains why I’ve never seen it. There was recently a Life Goes On reunion on the talk show/craft/cooking/whatever show with LuPone, Martin, and Burke.
Tracey Needham - Paige Thacher
Needham has been quiet since 2007, when she appeared on Veronica Mars as Kathleen Barry. Prior to that she was on JAG. She appeared in a movie called The Last Harbor in 2010, but I don’t know what that is so it doesn’t count. She’s married and has a daughter!
Chad Lowe — Jesse McKenna
Lowe was married to Hilary Swank from 1997 until 2007, helping to make everyone suspicious of anyone that forgets to thank their spouse after winning an Oscar. Lowe stays busy, having voiced Captain Marvel in Young Justice and appearing in Pretty Little Liars, e.r. (it’s a real theme), Medium, and Ghost Whisperer. He also appeared in Bones and directed several episodes of that series and Pretty Little Liars.
Tommy Puett — Tyler Benchfield
Oh how the mullet has fallen. Puett last acted in 1997 in a movie called Switchback with Danny Glover and Dennis Quaid. My fondest dream is that Puett still has this majestic mullet and pulls out these acid-washed jeans to reminisce about the days when he was in Teen Beat, making pre-teen girls tingle in places that public school sex education classes would gloss over in an incompetent rush.