The Cast of 'Arrested Development,' Then and Now

8:00 AM 5/29/2018

by Michael Waters

As the iconic Fox comedy celebrates the 15th anniversary of its premiere this year, here's a primer on its star-studded cast and what they've been up to in the years since.

Arrested Development cast Netflix - H

Arrested Development debuted on Nov. 2, 2003, and as evidenced by the high saturation of quotes and GIFs that pervade the internet, the Fox comedy has officially achieved cult status.

About the dysfunctional Bluth family, whose privileged lifestyles are thrown in turmoil after patriarch George Sr. is suddenly arrested, Arrested Development debuted in November 2003 to stellar reviews but low ratings that never quite ticked upward. Despite earning several Emmy and Golden Globes nominations, the show was cut short in the middle of its third season.

But the show, like its stars — almost all of whom took on major film and TV roles in its wake — never fully disappeared, and in 2013, Netflix rebooted it for a fourth season with the entire cast returning and a fifth season debuting May 29 in 2018.

Below, take a look back at the cast and see what they've been up to in the 15 years since the show premiered.


  • Jason Bateman

    Jason Bateman’s self-righteous deadpan as Michael, the only person willing to take on the nitty-gritty details of managing his family’s finances after his father’s arrest, catapulted him into mainstream stardom after an earlier brush with stardom as a younger actor in shows like Little House on the Prairie, Silver Spoons and The Hogan Family, he won a Golden Globe for his role in Arrested Development and went on to become a regular of wide-release comedies, with starring appearances in Horrible Bosses, Paul, Identity Thief and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. But Bateman’s return to the awards circuit has only occurred in the last year, when he broke from the comedy genre to star in Ozark as a financial planner who is blackmailed into helping a drug dealer with a money-laundering operation. Bateman was nominated for a Golden Globe for his part in the series, whose second season is due out soon.

  • Portia de Rossi

    Portia de Rossi had been a household name years before appearing as the oblivious Lindsay on Arrested Development. From 1997-2002, she starred in the lawyer dramedy Ally McBeal, and after Arrested Development’s cancellation, she took on guest roles in numerous TV shows, including Scandal, Nip/Tuck and The Santa Clarita Diet. De Rossi has also positioned herself as a voice for change. She has talked openly about her struggles with eating disorders, including in her 2010 memoir Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, and her public embrace of her sexuality in the early 2000s was momentous for the queer community. Since 2004, she has been married to talk show superstar Ellen DeGeneres.


  • Jeffrey Tambor

    Tambor’s portrayal of the bumbling Bluth family patriarch built on his successful stint on the late-night talk show sitcom The Larry Sanders Show. Though he has had tremendous post-Arrested Development success, winning both a Golden Globe and an Emmy for his starring role on Amazon’s Transparent, in late 2017 numerous women, including a former assistant and a Transparent co-star, revealed he had sexually harassed them throughout his career. Tambor has since been removed from Transparent. He opened up about those accusations in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year.

  • Alia Shawkat

    In Arrested Development, Alia Shawkat played Maeby, Lindsay’s rebellious adopted daughter, and her star has only continued to rise since. Shawkat has appeared in Whip It (2009) with Ellen Page and in Transparent alongside Arrested Development co-star Jeffrey Tambor. But a big break has come in the form of the critically beloved TBS noir-satire Search Party, where Shawkat stars as Dory Sief, an amateur Brooklyn detective who investigates the disappearance of a college acquaintance and quickly gets in over her head.

  • Will Arnett

    Before he landed the role of Job, a failed magician trying to prove himself to his family, Will Arnett was ready to swear off TV pilots. After TV networks failed to pick up a string of shows he'd been in, Arnett thought he was done doing pilots — but then his agent convinced him to give it one last try, with Arrested Development. It worked out. Arnett's performance on the show, bolstered by an Emmy nomination, launched his career: he has since lent his voice to the titular role in the critically beloved Netflix animated comedy BoJack Horseman, to Vern Fenwick in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) and to Batman in the Lego Batman Movie (2017). He has also guest-starred in a number of TV shows, including 30 Rock and Parks & Rec, and he appeared in figure-skating comedy Blades of Glory (2007) as sibling skaters with Golden Globe-winning comedian Amy Poehler, his wife from 2003-12.

  • Michael Cera

    Michael Cera has been famous since he was on the cusp of his teenage years. In Arrested Development, he turned his portrayal of an awkward-but-endearing teen boy — George Michael, the frequently confused son of Michael (Jason Bateman) — into a brand, landing him similar roles in Superbad, Juno and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Though Cera’s onscreen ubiquity has subsided slightly, he most recently appeared as a hot dog trying to escape a supermarket in Sausage Party (2016) and as a talented celebrity gambler — which some considered to be a mash-up of real-life celebrity poker players Leonard DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Ben Affleck — in Molly’s Game. His next role is on Broadway, where he’ll join Chris Evans onstage in the upcoming Lobby Hero.

  • Jessica Walter

    Jessica Walter was critically praised for her role as Bluth family matriarch Lucille Bluth, earning her an Emmy nomination and a slew of memorable quotes that still pervade the internet. But Walter’s fame came earlier, through her roles in the technically innovative Grand Prix (1966) and in Clint Eastwood’s Play Misty for Me (1971). After Arrested Development, Walter has voiced Malory Archer on the FX animated show Archer, a character with numerous similarities to Lucille Bluth herself. Still, Walter told IndieWire in 2013 that she says the two as distinct: “Yes, they’re both mothers that don’t know how to show love to their kids. They’re both control freaks. Of course, now the more I’m speaking about it, the more it sounds like they’re definitely alike. But Malory runs a whole big business, and Lucille is not self-made; all of her trappings come from other people.”

  • Tony Hale

    Tony Hale’s run as Lucille’s favorite child Buster Bluth in Arrested Development helped him corner a niche of well-meaning-but-blundering characters. Most notably, on HBO’s Veep, Hale’s portrayal of Gary, the “bagman” of Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who worships his boss despite the sheer lack of respect she offers him, nabbed him Emmy awards in 2013 and 2015. He also recently appeared as a nosy vice principal in the gay teen romance movie Love, Simon.