List of The Wonder Years characters

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This is a list of characters of the television series The Wonder Years.

Main characters[edit]

Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage)
The main character born on March 18, 1956, Kevin grew up in the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s.[1] The voice of the present-day adult Kevin (the show's voice-over narrator) is supplied by Daniel Stern.
John "Jack" Arnold (Dan Lauria)
Character born on November 5, 1927, died in 1975. Kevin's father is a gruff, laconic man and a Korean War veteran; he grew up during the Great Depression, served in the US Marine Corps, and is seen in photographs wearing the uniform of a First Lieutenant. He works as a product distribution manager at NORCOM, a large electronics corporation. Later, he starts his own business, building and selling handcrafted furniture. The series' last episode reveals that he dies in 1975 near the end of Kevin's freshman year of college—that is, two years after the time of the show's finale—although in a previous episode, an adult Kevin says his father would later be the grandfather of Kevin's sons. Jack Arnold represents the viewpoint of the conservative "Greatest Generation" that grew up during the Depression and came of age during World War II; this generation was confused and angered by the rapid changes taking place in the 1960s.
Norma Arnold (née Gustafson) (Alley Mills)
Kevin's housewife mother. Unlike her husband, Norma is friendly, upbeat, and optimistic. She met Jack as a college freshman. When he graduated, she moved across the country with him and did not finish college. She eventually gets her degree late in the series and begins work at a software startup called Micro Electronics. Although she came of age at the same time as her husband, she is less conservative than him and increasingly yearns to break out of her homemaker role, reflecting the rise of feminism in the 1960s—as was illustrated in one episode where she takes a pottery class, much to the dismay of Jack.
Karen Arnold (Olivia d'Abo)
Kevin's older, rebellious, hippie sister. Her free-spirited lifestyle clashes with her overbearing father's conservatism, and she depends upon her mother as a mediator. When Karen moves in with her boyfriend Michael (David Schwimmer) during her freshman year of college, she has a falling out with her father. The pair marry one year later and move to Alaska, where Michael has secured a good job working on the Alaska Pipeline. Karen ultimately accepts some of her parents' viewpoints and has a baby, while her husband learns to support his wife and child.
Wayne Arnold (Jason Hervey)
Kevin's older brother. Wayne enjoys physically tormenting Kevin and Paul, calling Kevin "butthead" or "scrote". He takes over the family furniture business when his father dies. Wayne is usually portrayed as a loser in romantic relationships. For a time he dated a girl named Dolores, which was more casual than serious. In later seasons, Wayne matures. In the final season, he begins a serious relationship with a divorcee named Bonnie but is left heartbroken when she reconciles with her ex-husband. In the series finale, it is revealed that he takes over the family furniture business after Jack dies in 1975.
Paul Joshua Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano)
Character born March 14, 1956, Paul is Kevin's long time best friend, a bright and excellent student, and an allergy sufferer. He is also Jewish and in one episode celebrates his Bar Mitzvah. Although Kevin and Paul are best friends in the series's early seasons, their relationship becomes somewhat strained later. Kevin begins to spend more time with Chuck and Jeff, causing tension with Paul. Paul also attends a private prep school for one season, leaving Kevin alone to start public high school. In another episode Kevin tattles on Paul after Paul loses his virginity. In the final episode it is revealed that Paul eventually attends Harvard.
Gwendolyn "Winnie" Cooper (Danica McKellar)
Winnie is Kevin's main love interest and neighbor for the first three seasons (she and her family move across town at the end of Season 3). Their first kiss, and her older brother's death in Vietnam, play an important part in the pilot. In another episode, Winnie's parents separate in grief over the death of their son. In the epilogue of the final episode, it is revealed that Winnie travels overseas to study art history in Paris. Kevin and Winnie write to each other every week for these eight years until she returns; in the concluding moments of the finale, Kevin says that when Winnie returned to the States, Kevin met her accompanied by his wife and first child—despite the hope among Wonder Years fans that Kevin and Winnie would themselves marry, as they seemed destined to do so throughout the series's run. "Like I said," says Kevin at the end, "things never turn out exactly the way you plan them." As suggested in an episode entitled "The Accident" and in the final episode of the series, every important event in Kevin's life has somehow involved Winnie.

Recurring and other notable characters[edit]

"Grandpa" Albert Arnold (David Huddleston)
Kevin's paternal grandfather, a loving but stubborn old man who constantly annoys his son, Jack. Though their relationship is strained, Kevin's father and grandfather have a strong bond that has a lasting effect on Kevin as he grows older. Grandpa gifted Kevin with a dog, which Kevin named Buster, and sold Kevin his very first car—for one dollar.
Kevin's dog, a loving and loyal brown and white beagle. Buster was a gift given to Kevin by his grandfather Albert, much to Jack's disapproval. Eventually the family all fall in love with the dog, especially when it is feared that he is lost after running away in the park. Though physically appearing in only four episodes throughout the entire series, Kevin reminisces that Buster would always be there happily waiting for him throughout the most important events in his young life, including his graduations from high school and college.
Randy Mitchell (Michael Tricario)
Kevin's friend, described as loyal and brave, though noticeably lacking Paul's intelligence. (He gets a 730 combined score on his SAT.) Though he appeared throughout the entire series, he usually had only minor parts in episodes. Randy and Paul are the only characters to remain on throughout the series as Kevin's friends in both junior high and high school.
Doug Porter (Brandon Crane)
Kevin's junior high school classmate and friend. He also becomes part of Kevin's entourage. In one episode, he briefly replaces Paul as Kevin's best friend after the two have a falling out. Doug is very agreeable and loves to eat junk food. In later episodes Doug befriends both Kevin and Paul where they engage in activities such as touch football or sneaking to a sleepover attended by older teenage girls.
Chuck Coleman (Andy Berman)
One of Kevin's high school friends, who often appears with a "nervous tic". Chuck dates Alice Pedermeir and, on one episode, confides that he may have gotten her pregnant. However, much to his relief, the pregnancy test turns out negative. On another episode, Chuck punches Kevin in the face after he catches Kevin in a compromising position with Alice, who was helping Kevin to get a good deal on a used car. But they patch things up.
Alice Pedermeir (Lindsay Sloane)
One of Kevin and Winnie's high school friends, and Chuck's girlfriend. In the episode "Alice in Autoland", after breaking up with Chuck, she tells Kevin that she has had a crush on him forever, but then she comes back with her boyfriend. Everybody says she has an annoying voice.
Cindy (Heather McComb)
Kevin's high school classmate whom he had been dating. When Kevin lies to Cindy to break a date and go cruising with his friends and she finds out, she is left heartbroken.
Brett (Jon Frear)
Kevin's classmate. He was featured a few times during the series. 1992–1993.
Coach Ed Cutlip (Robert Picardo)
Kevin's gym teacher, who excels in bullying his students and always wears a red cap to hide his bald head, which has a steel plate in it. He enjoys drawing diagrams on the board that nobody can decipher, and Kevin describes him as having an inferiority complex. However, he is shown to be somewhat of a more sensitive person than usually indicated when he plays a department store Santa in a Christmas-related episode, where Kevin is the only student to know of Coach Cutlip's part-time job. Coach Cutlip is also aware of his mean personality towards the students, and admits to Kevin, "kids like me when I am Santa". During the 1988–1991 seasons, Picardo was simultaneously seen on the ABC Vietnam series China Beach in the role of Dr. Dick Richard, and is among a small group of television actors to achieve notoriety on two television series at the same time.
Jeff Billings (Giovanni Ribisi)
Plays Kevin's good friend in the later part of the series. His parents are divorced and he lives with his mother, which is the reason that he moves in late. He has a girlfriend from his old town but breaks it off with her midway through the final season.
Ricky Halsenbach (Scott Nemes)
Kevin's classmate and friend. He also becomes a member of Kevin's entourage. He was Kevin's first friend to get a driver's license. He fell in love with a new student named Haley but broke it off with her after Kevin and Jeff made fun of the size of her nose.
Carla Healey (Krista Murphy)
Kevin's junior high school classmate and one-time girlfriend of Paul.
Lisa Berlini (Kathy Wagner)
Kevin's junior high school classmate whom he develops a strong crush on. After Kevin works up the courage to call Lisa on the phone to break the ice, a steady relationship between the two seems promising—until Lisa unceremoniously breaks a date with Kevin to the Fall Dance to go to the same dance with another guy.
Mr. Cantwell (Ben Stein)
Kevin's junior high school science teacher. He often shows filmstrips to the class while speaking in a monotone voice with steady emotion (similar to his performance as the monotonous economics teacher in the 1986 movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which made him famous).
Rebecca "Becky" Slater (Crystal McKellar)
Kevin's junior high school classmate and one-time girlfriend. He dates her purely to make Winnie jealous and she punches him when she finds out he still likes Winnie. Because of that, she holds a grudge against Kevin and becomes a recurring, physically aggressive nuisance throughout Kevin's junior high school years.
Mr. Diperna (Raye Birk)
The Vice-Principal of Robert F. Kennedy Junior High. In the pilot episode, Kevin gets in trouble and is disciplined by Mr. Diperna. Mostly in the series, he usually gives Kevin and the students a hard time. He later fires Kevin's mom shortly after she is hired by the school as a receptionist.
Teri (Holly Sampson)
An older, attractive girl whom Kevin meets and has a brief fling with while on vacation in the episode "Summer Song" from Season 3, which is cut short when Teri and her family are called back home prematurely.
Craig Hobson (Sean Baca)
Kevin's junior high school classmate. He often teases Kevin and Paul over their emotional hang-ups resulting from girlfriend problems, only to accidentally start a relationship himself by falling for Becky Slater when she hits him with her bicycle (her intended victim was Kevin). Craig's relationship with Becky stops her from harassing Kevin and allows the couples to happily co-exist. However, Hobson ends the relationship with Becky when he gets sent to military school for his ninth grade year, reviving her hatred of men and blaming Kevin.
Miss White/Mrs. Heimer (Wendel Meldrum)
Kevin's junior high English teacher. Kevin harbors a crush on her and sometimes imagines that she feels the same way. She gets married after the second season and becomes Mrs. Heimer, but Kevin continues calling her Miss White, which she always corrects. In one episode, a pregnant Mrs. Heimer needs Kevin to drive her to the hospital on the day of his junior high graduation as she's going into labor and can't find her husband.
Michael (David Schwimmer)
Karen's live-in boyfriend, and eventually, her husband. Kevin looks up to him as a role model and friend. Though a hippie like Karen, he's less opinionated, more level-headed and seemingly more mature than Karen. He and Karen move into the same place together before marriage, which upsets Jack greatly. Michael eventually wins Jack's approval and respect when he takes a job in Alaska, proving himself to be a hard worker who puts family first.
Wart (Scott Menville)
Wayne's best friend. Wart early in the series is much like Wayne: immature and dimwitted. He later joins the Army and is shipped to Vietnam. He returns much more mature and serious. He receives accolades and respect from people like Wayne, Kevin and Jack, but also receives threats and verbal abuse from other people. Wart is hinted at suffering from PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) after his time in Vietnam, in particular Kevin notices him shirtless and crying by himself during a football game.
Bonnie Douglas (Paula Marshall)
A 23-year-old divorcee with a six-month-old son whom Wayne meets at NORCOM and starts a relationship with. However, she eventually realizes she still has feelings for her ex-husband and breaks up with Wayne to reconcile their marriage.
Madeline Adams (Julie Condra)
Kevin's junior high classmate whom he develops a crush on after Winnie attends another school after moving. Romantic tension develops between the two, and after Kevin and Winnie break up, he starts dating Madeline. It's short lived, however, as Kevin still has feelings for Winnie and dumps Madeline after she badmouths her. (4 episodes)
Cara (Lisa Paige Robinson)
Kevin's girlfriend during his summer vacation at the lake. Unlike other girls he has dated, Cara is a bit rebellious (smokes cigarettes, etc.). She and Kevin keep in touch by writing letters to each other after he leaves. On a spur-of-the-moment decision, Kevin ditches a workday to visit Cara the following summer, but is disappointed when he finds out she has another boyfriend.
Mr. Arthur Collins (Steven Gilborn)
Kevin's math teacher in junior high. Despite his difficulty, and some misunderstandings between them, Kevin grows to have a respect for him and more than once regards him as a hero-figure. He dies of a heart condition in 1970.
Kirk McCray (Michael Landes)
A popular 8th grader whom Winnie starts dating in 1968. She ultimately breaks up with him early the next year.
Brad Gaines (Mark-Paul Gosselaar)
A student at Kevin's junior high school who inadvertently throws a monkey wrench into Kevin and Lisa Berlini's would-be relationship when he asks Lisa to a school dance and she accepts—after she accepts the same date with Kevin.
Mrs. Carples (Maxine Stuart)
Kevin's Piano teacher, Kevin thinks he isn't good enough at the piano, because his rival Ronald Hirschmuller is much better than him, she gives him great life advice.
Young Kevin Arnold (Jeremy Yablan)
Appears in flashbacks to Kevin Arnold when he was a young boy.
Mr. Nestor (Charles Tyner)
Kevin's hard-of-hearing elderly shop teacher.
Tommy Kisling (Jay Lambert)
Kevin's junior high school classmate and friend who finds a copy of Becky Slater's election speech and tempts Kevin to use it.


  1. ^ Lee, Felicia R. (January 19, 2006). "A Sitcom 70's Child Grows Up to Be an Alter Ego". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-11.