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Where is the ‘Any Day Now’ cast now?

After 20 years, an update on the cast of the Lifetime network drama, 'Any Day Now.'

Image via IMDb

Some shows in their respective eras are groundbreaking for their time. Viewers are informed, educated, and inspired from episode to episode during such a special series. The hit drama Any Day Now is certainly one of those television shows.

For four seasons on the Lifetime network, this drama revolved around two lifelong friends and their growth from childhood upward through breaking apart, to becoming grown women, through the blight of racism and other social strife. Making things even more difficult was the fact that their early years were spent during the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama.

Each episode remarkably paralleled particular situations by branching flashbacks of the past regarding Mary Elizabeth and Rene, the two leads, and their present-day events. Each story captivated viewers from 1998 to the series ending in 2002.

Since then, what has become of the cast of the show?

Annie Potts as Mary Elizabeth “M.E.” Sims

Legendary award-winning TV and film actress Annie Potts co-starred as Mary Elizabeth “M.E.” Sims, during the character’s adult years. Mary grew up as a young white girl with parents who followed the prejudiced status quo, and an uncle who was even worse, a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The friendship between Mary and Rene eventually dissolves when the former gets pregnant at a young age and decides to keep the child against the latter’s disagreement. Mary would drop out of college to have the baby, get married, and stay in Birmingham while her own family grows over the years before reconnecting with Rene in the present day.

Potts has been acting since the late seventies, with her first film role coming alongside Mark Hamill in 1978’s Corvette Summer. After that, she would spend the eighties appearing in Heartaches, Ghostbusters, Pretty in Pink, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Who’s Harry Crumb?, and Ghostbusters II. She also spent time as a regular cast member of the hit CBS sitcom Designing Women from 1986 to 1993. Potts would also continue her outstanding work as the voice of Bo Peep in the Toy Story franchise along with her acting in Any Day Now. After that show, Potts made more TV appearances than film over the past 20 years, taking countless side roles during that time. In 2021, she reprised her role as Janine in Ghostbusters: Afterlife and is currently a part of the main cast of the hit sitcom Young Sheldon, heading into its sixth season.

Lorraine Toussaint as Rene Jackson

The award-winning Toussaint plays Rene, as an adult in the show. Rene, who is African-American, endures much racism, along with the rest of her family in Birmingham. The friendship she builds with Mary Elizabeth is often kept secret out of fear of backlash by Mary’s adult family members. However, after ending their friendship due to their disagreement on Mary’s choice to keep her baby, Rene’s parents would move the family to Washington, D.C. It is there where she would later graduate law school and become an attorney before moving back down to Birmingham and reconnecting with Mary.

Performing since the early eighties, Toussaint went from acting onstage in Shakespearean productions to small roles in made-for-TV movies, starting in 1983. In 1988, she joined the main cast of the ABC soap opera One Life to Live. When she was through with soaps, Toussaint still gained roles in films like Breaking In, Hudson Hawk, and Dangerous Minds from the eighties into the nineties while also appearing in tv shows such as 227, Law and Order, and M.A.N.T.I.S. Then in 1998, Any Day Now came calling with one of the most popular roles of her ongoing career. For the next 20 years, Toussaint would go on to take more supporting roles in various films but would also continue her success with TV roles in Ugly Betty, Saving Grace, The Young and the Restless, Orange Is the New Black, Rosewood, and The Village, to name a whole handful. Right now, Toussaint plays the character of “Aunt Vi” in the CBS action hit The Equalizer, heading into its third season.

Chris Mulkey as Colliar Sims

Chris Mulkey played Colliar Sims, the childhood sweetheart and eventual husband of Mary. He plays a considerable role in both the past and present friendship between Mary and Rene, as the father of Mary’s children and a support system within her present-day family.

Before being cast as Colliar, Mulkey had been a seasoned actor, getting his first start all the way back in the late-1970s. For nearly 20 years, it would seem like he was in everything, having appeared in over 70 movies or TV shows before starting Any Day Now, the longest-running role he’s had in his career. And in the 20 years since the series finale, Mulkey would keep it up with plenty more roles all across the board, more recently in Halt and Catch Fire, Better Call Saul, and Animal Kingdom on television. On the big screen, he appeared recently in Captain Phillips, Gotti, On the Basis of Sex, and How to Deter a Robber. Just in 2022, he’s made appearances in nine separate projects, including an ongoing role in a fantasy-action TV series called Fallen Cards.

Olivia Friedman as Kelly (Sims) Williams

Actress Olivia Friedman played Kelly, the daughter of Mary and Colliar. Kelly goes through a life event quite similar to one from her mother’s past where she gets pregnant at a young age, 17 years old to be exact. And also in a similar fashion, she keeps her baby and marries the father.

Like other members of Any Day Now’s cast, her role on the show was the first in her career. Friedman would only have one more acting role, appearing in a 2003 episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In the nearly 20 years since then, she has stepped away from acting to become a writer, having published two books. She’s also a professor of fiction writing in Mississippi.

Derrex Brady as Ajoni Williams

Derrex Brady played Ajoni, an African-American teenage boy who is Kelly’s boyfriend and the father of her child. After Kelly gets pregnant at the age of 17, much to the disapproval of Kelly’s father, the baby is born but not before Ajoni weds her. The young family remains in Birmingham throughout the course of the show.

Brady started his acting career as an extra in the 1996 comedy remake of The Nutty Professor. He would take small roles in several indie productions before joining the cast of Any Day Now in 1998. After the show ended, he would continue to take small roles in popular television shows such as JAG, NCIS, Strong Medicine, and Girlfriends. Brady then appeared for several episodes in a 2014 romantic drama series called First, followed by even more appearances in television shows. He is currently one of the co-stars of a popular Bounce TV comedy-drama series titled Johnson, now running its second season.

Donzaleigh Abernathy as Sara Jackson

Sara, Rene’s mother, was active in the Civil Rights movement of the sixties along with Rene’s father but is sadly widowed during the present-day events of the show. Her character is featured throughout the series in both flashbacks and current events to help bring parallels to the ongoing plotlines.

Abernathy was born during the Civil Rights movement and her parents were both very active and influential during that era, alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her first love has been acting, going from a performing arts school during her youth to eventually appearing in various TV shows and movies since 1990, in addition to small film appearances beginning in 1994. Her role in Any Day Now is still the biggest role of her career. After the show ended, she continued to act but mainly on television, with recent roles in The Walking Dead, Suits, and Chicago P.D. Her last acting job was part of a 2020 comedy film titled The Industry Did It. Abernathy is still active in various ongoing civil rights-related causes and is also a writer, in addition to her ongoing acting career.

Shari Dyon Perry as Young Rene Jackson (seasons 1–3)

Portraying one of the younger versions of Rene is actress Shari Dyon Perry. She played the character during Rene’s lifetime when she was a little girl, at the beginning of her friendship with Mary. Being cast as the young Rene was Perry’s first acting role. After the series came to an end in 2002, she went on to quickly appear in an indie film called The Painting. A few years later, she had a small role in a TV movie titled Odd Girl Out, followed by a small appearance in a sitcom called Let’s Stay Together and a musical movie, Joyful Noise, in 2012. She still is active as an actress — her most recent acting role was in the 2021 film Redeemed.

Mae Middleton as Young M.E. O’Brien (seasons 1–3)

The younger version of Mary was played by Mae Middleton, who portrayed the character during their early childhood. Like her co-star, Shari Dyon Perry, working on Any Day Now was this actress’ first acting gig. She won a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Drama Series in 2000. After the show, Middleton had a small appearance in the 2003 family comedy The Fighting Temptations, which has been her last acting role to date.

Maya Goodwin as Young Rene Jackson (season 4)

Goodwin portrayed Rene during the more mature storylines involving the girl’s past friendship, as depicted in various flashbacks. Before appearing in Any Day Now, Goodwin had been taking minor roles in TV shows like Beverly Hills, 90210, Sister, Sister, and 7th Heaven. After Any Day Now ended, she would spend the next 20 years continuing to stick to television work with more roles in Dexter, Castle, and 9-1-1. Her latest work has been in a TV movie called Hall Pass Nightmare, currently in post-production.

Olivia Hack as Young M.E. O’Brien (season 4)

To play Mary in more mature flashback scenes, actress Olivia Hack was cast in the role. Hack has been acting in various gigs since she was eight. But roles in movies like Star Trek: Generations and the two Brady Bunch movies of the 1990s made her pretty noticeable by the time she appeared in Any Day Now. Since then, Hack has done loads of voice work in numerous video games and animated series, including an award-nominated performance in Hey Arnold. She has also done even more voice work for shows like Family Guy, Bratz, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Hack’s most recent role was for voice acting in Sammy, an animated comedy that ended in 2021.

Hassan Green
About the author

Hassan Green

Hassan is a proud dad, a habitual night owl, and a passionate fan of many sports, James Bond films, visiting Canada (well, Toronto to be exact), the power of humor, and great food. He often believes that coffee can and will save the world. Hassan tries to be charitable with some of his free time and energy to his local community. In the meantime, he's also attempting to get his one-man podcast back off the ground.