Here’s What Happened to Scott Baio and the Cast of ‘Charles in Charge’ Before and After the Show

After spending seven years playing Chachi Arcola on the enormously popular Happy Days, the opportunity to move over to the sitcom Charles in Charge in 1984 was something of a breath of fresh air for actor Scott Baio. In fact, at the time he described the change from the Happy Days experience as being a “healthy” one for him. “It’s a different comedy than in Happy Days,” he said. “The humor comes from real situations, real problems … not the setup and the joke.”

Created by Michael Jacobs and Barbara Weisberg, the premise is that Scott’s Charles is a college student attending Brunswick, New Jersey’s Copeland College (a fictional school). For financial reasons he answers an ad for a couple seeking a caretaker for their children and ends up moving in with them, doing exactly that in exchange for room and board.

The Cast of 'Charles in Charge'
Universal TV/Kobal/Shutterstock

Initially, Charles is living with the Pembroke family, consisting of parents Stan and Jill (James Widdoes and Julie Cobb), and their kids Lila (April Lerman), Douglas (Jonathan Ward) and Jason (Michael Pearlman). Additional cast members are Willie Aames (Eight is Enough) as Charles’ best friend, Buddy; and Jennifer Runyon as his girlfriend, Gwendolyn Pierce. The show aired from 1984 to 1985, but was canceled by CBS at that point. What saved the show is that, like a number of others at the time, it was picked up for new episodes for first-run syndication (meaning that it aired on a variety of independent TV stations rather than one of the — then — three networks).

Charles in Charge returned on January 3, 1987 and ran until November 10, 1990, and when it did the premise was similar with one key difference: the Pembrokes, it seems, had moved to Seattle and sublet the house to the Powell family, with a provision that would allow Charles to continue living there. And in a major “coincidence,” they just happened to have children of their own for him to help take care of.

New cast members were single mom Ellen (Sandra Kerns), her father Walter (James T. Callahan) and kids Jamie (Nicole Eggert), Sarah (Josh Davis) and Adam (Alexander Polinsky). Recurring on the show was Ellen Travolta (John’s sister) as Charles’ mother, Lillian.

To see what happened to Scott and his young co-stars before and after the show, please scroll down for more.