The Cast Of ‘Dawson’s Creek’: Then And Now

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When it comes to teen television dramas, there’s “Dawson’s Creek,” then there’s everything else.

The show was a massive hit for WB, and it weaved its way into all of our childhoods (so much so that you’re humming the theme song right now).

But what happened to the actors when the show went off the air in 2003? Here’s a look.

James Van Der Beek played the title character, Dawson Leery.

Ah, Dawson. Weirdly charming, sort of funny. Kinda like the show itself, right? Van Der Beek’s career didn’t exactly take off after Dawson’s Creek, at least at first; he was in a few movies, including Varsity Blues and Scary Movie, but he didn’t land any huge roles for the next decade.


In 2012, he joined Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, playing an exaggerated version of himself. Critics loved his self-deprecating humor, and since then, Van Der Beek has had something of a career resurgence, with additional roles in CSI: Cyber, Friends with Better Lives, and most recently, Carters Get Rich. He’s basically reinvented himself as a comedic actor, which is pretty impressive.

Katie Holmes played his main love interest, Joey Potter.

She became a household name when she married actor Tom Cruise, although they eventually divorced. Her career has been fairly solid since then, with notable appearances in Batman Begins, Abandon, and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.


Joey…sorry, we mean Katie, has also played roles on Broadway. Most recently, she was cast as Jackie Kennedy in The Kennedys: After Camelot, a drama that she also executive produced.

Joshua Jackson played Pacey Witter.

Jackson also played Charlie Conway in The Mighty Ducks, so he was a pretty big part of our childhood. While filming Dawson’s Creek, he also appeared in Cruel Intentions, The Skulls, and as himself in a cameo in Ocean’s Eleven. He also dated Katie Holmes while working with her—in fact, she has referred to him as her first love.


After Dawson’s Creek ended, Jackson landed the role of Peter Bishop in Fringe, a cult hit. More recently, he was in The Affair, and he appeared in one episode of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. 

Mary Beth Peil played Evelyn “Grams” Ryan.

Peil had a healthy career prior to playing Grams. She was an opera singer for several decades before her first film appearance in 1992’s Jersey Girl. She appeared in an episode of Law & Order, then played Grams for 66 episodes of Dawson’s Creek.

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Since then, Peil has taken occasional television roles, including Jackie Florrick on The Good Wife. She’s also returned to the stage, performing in a production of Anastasia as Maria Feodorovna. For that role, Peil received a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Michelle Williams played Jen Lindley.

Williams stayed busy while filming Dawson’s Creek, building a sizable resume that allowed her to earn some incredible roles. She appeared in Brokeback Mountain as Alma Beers del Mar, a role that won her considerable acclaim.


Later, Williams appeared in I’m Not There, Shutter Island, Wonderstruck, Blue Valentine, and more than a dozen other films. In 2017, she played the role of Una in Blackbird, a theatrical production staged at the Belasco Theatre.

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