Whatever Happened to the Original Cast of ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’?
Children of the ’90s will rejoice when they hear the original ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’ is coming to DVD this August. If you remember, all the karate moves combined with flashing lights and high-energy music made kids watching at home run around their living rooms tripping off adrenaline and pure excitement.
There have been many seasons and spinoffs of the very first season, but none of those installments can compare with what the original cast brought to the table. But what, pray tell, did ever happen to those five “teenagers with attitude” and the rest of the ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’ cast?
Austin St. John — Red Ranger, Jason
Then: Jason, played by actor Austin St. John, was the original leader of the Power Rangers on top of being the first hunky heartthrob. All the girls watching at home wanted to date this completely chiseled teenage dream, while all the boys broke their moms’ furniture trying to perform his karate moves at home.
Now: In 2007, John showed up at a “Where Are They Now?” panel at the — get ready for it — Power Morphicon with details on what he was up to after departing the show in the middle of season 2. When alleged pay disputes made it too difficult for the Red Ranger to stay on, John continued with his martial arts practices, revealing that he toured the world as a Thai kickboxer. Nowadays he can be found in Washington DC working as a paramedic. And by the way, all those rumors about him participating in adult gay films are completely false.
Jason David Frank — Green/White Ranger, Tommy
Then: Jason David Frank burst onto the show as the dreamy but oh-so-evil Green Ranger named Tommy. Thankfully, though, the team turned him over to the good side and he became both the White Ranger and the new group leader. Offscreen, Frank was big into the martial arts scene and simultaneously ran his own studio.
Now: Still unable to shake his passion for butt-kicking karate skills, Frank, now 38, fights in the MMA and has created his own style of fighting called Toso Kune Do. It apparently can teach you “an entire arsenal of dynamic kicks, elusive hand techniques and powerful restraining holds.” Parents, this is what’s in store for your children with continuous exposure to ‘Power Rangers.’ Well, it may not be entirely because of that. Might be the tattoos.
Amy Jo Johnson — Pink Ranger, Kimberly
Then: Amy Jo Johnson played Pink Ranger Kimberly, the slightly ditzy, Valley Girl-type teammate on the ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.’ Her signature move was getting kidnapped by the Putty Patrol and locked in a giant demon jar so that the Red or Green Ranger could come to the rescue. Aside from the TV series, you might also remember Johnson as that gymnast in the Lifetime original movie ‘Perfect Body.’
Now: It looks like Johnson is no longer the damsel in distress. Most recently, she was in the series ‘Flashpoint’ where she played a member of a specialized team that rescued hostages, defused bombs and other risky business of that nature. But acting is only the tip of the iceberg. She wrote on her MySpace page, “I flow with creative passion and jump from project to project,” and she’s been doing just that. She’s dabbled in both crazy paintings and music, which you can sample at her website.
David Yost — Blue Ranger, Billy
Then: Back in the day, David Yost was the quintessential geek who could also kick your butt and run you over with a triceratops megazord. His character as Billy, the Blue Ranger, stayed for about four seasons, although he slowly moved from a member of the karate-fighting team to the tech guy at the Command Center.
Now: A few years after leaving the show, Yost came out as gay and revealed that it was actually because of bigotry that he left the show so suddenly. “A week before I left the TV show I made a commitment to myself saying, ‘If I get called f***** one more time, I’m walking because I can’t handle it anymore,” he told The Advocate. Since then, he’s turned most of his attention over to the production side of TV, working on shows like ‘Temptation Island’ and ‘Alien Hunter.’
Thuy Trang — Yellow Ranger, Trini
Then: A 2-year-old Thuy Trang and her family fled Vietnam and came to America in response to the fall of Saigon. When she was older, she signed with a talent scout who landed her a bunch of commercial appearances, but it wasn’t until Trang was 18 that she became the Yellow Ranger on TV. Some believe she (along with the Black Ranger) were victims of racism, being that Vietnamese Trang played the Yellow Ranger and African-American Walter Jones played the Black Ranger.
Now: Tragically in 2001 when Trang was only 27, she was the victim of a car accident that claimed her life. The driver of the vehicle she was a passenger in lost control of the wheel, sending both of them over the side of the road. Before this devastating event, Trang’s most notable role besides that from ‘Power Rangers’ was in the movie ‘The Crow: City of Angels.’
Walter Jones — Black Ranger, Zack
Then: Walter Emanuel Jones played the original Black Ranger in ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.’ He was known as the dancer of the group, which makes sense since he’s also a master of the dance. Just like Austin St. John, however, Jone’s departure from the series was rumored to be a result of pay disputes.
Now: Upon leaving the ‘Power Rangers’ team, Jones began a slew of guest appearances on as many shows from the ’90s you can think of — ‘Family Matters,’ ‘Step by Step,’ ‘Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,’ ‘Talisman,’ ‘Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,’ and way too many others. He’s most recently popped up on the show ‘Prime Suspect,’ where he played — surprise, surprise — a “prime suspect” in the case involving “A Gorgeous Mosaic.”
Barbara Goodson — Rita Repulsa (VOICE)
Then: You’ll know Barbara Goodson as the voice of the evil Rita Repulsa, the very first villain the Power Rangers went up against. (Japanese actress Machiko Soga portrayed Rita onscreen.) Her distinct, high-pitched voice made her the ideal bad guy for the show and would become her greatest asset in auditioning for jobs down the road.
Now: When Goodson left ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers,’ she had no intention of slowing down her acting career. You might recognize her voice from past commercials for Pepperidge Farm, T-Mobile, McDonalds or Nation Wide Insurance. She’s also done an incredible amount of voice work with animated shows like ‘Digimon’ and Nickelodeon’s ‘Avatar: The Last Air Bender,’ and the World of Warcraft game to name a few.
Alpha 5 — Richard Steven Horvitz
Then: Richard Horvitz, who voiced the original Alpha 5 robot in ‘Power Rangers,’ got his start in showbiz as a child actor. At 10, he starred onstage in the musical ‘Oliver!’ and in numerous TV commercials. Then at 27, he became the lovable animatronic Command Center assistant who helped guide the band of superhero teens.
Now: Today, Horvitz has a resume that’s too long for most people to read through. Think of a popular kid’s cartoon show from back in the day and he’s probably voiced one of the characters. Some of his most recognized roles include Invader Zim, Billy from Cartoon Network’s ‘The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy’ and the beaver in Nickelodeon’s ‘The Angry Beavers.’ Follow him on Twitter.