Within a storm of comic book-driven series in the Berlanti Universe, one of the The CW’s most talked-about comic book adaptations happens to be Riverdale, a dark reimagining of the adventures of Archie Andrews and his pals. Since its 2017 debut, fans have obsessed over the splintered romance of Archie and Veronica Lodge (if Archie is not with Betty Cooper at that time), murder mysteries plaguing Jughead Jones, and other perilous high school issues that occur all too commonly in the titular town.
Fortunately, the cast of Riverdale, such as KJ Apa as Archie or Lili Reinhart as Betty, are nothing like their characters (with a few notable exceptions, but more on that later). Yet, due to the series huge popularity, the performers’ lives have become just as much of a topic of interest for its audience.
Riverdale fans wonder if KJ Apa or Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl Blossom) are natural redheads, or if Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse’s (Jughead) romantic chemistry goes beyond the script. You may find answers to whatever questions you may have about the Riverdale cast in real life here.
KJ Apa (Archie Andrews)
Taking the role of football player Archie Andrews, the central lead on Riverdale, has been a transformative experience for K.J. Apa. For one, the actor is not really a redhead (which apparently took a 10-hour trip to the salon to achieve), but has dark brown hair naturally, and the role has made him into a sex symbol, which he claims does not bother him.
Born Keneti James Fitzgerald Apa in Auckland, New Zealand on June 16, 1997, KJ Apa is the youngest of three children with two older sisters, Timena & Ari. He started out acting in New Zealand TV dramas, landing first role being on the long-running hospital-set soap opera Shortland Street, and is also a musician, having recorded a solo guitar album at just 14 years old.
Since breaking out on Riverdale as Archie Andrews, he has gone on to roles in notable films like The Hate U Give or Netflix’s The Last Summer. KJ Apa will soon star in Altar Rock, a drama set around the time of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and will play Christian music singer Jeremy Camp in the 2020 biopic, I Still Believe.
Camila Mendes (Veronica Lodge)
Technically, Camila Mendes’ first role was as “Sister #1” in an IKEA commercial. Otherwise, her performance as Archie Andrews’ off-and-on high school sweetheart Veronica Lodge on Riverdale is her official debut into the acting world.
Born June 29, 1994, in Charlottesville, Virginia, Camila Mendes also lived in Brazil for a year at 10 years old and is fluent in Portuguese. Coincidentally, she attended New York University the same time as her Riverdale co-star Cole Sprouse, but the two did not meet until their casting in 2016.
Breaking out on Riverdale as Veronica Lodge has opened up many doors for the young actress, including appearances in music videos and comedies, like the Netflix film The Perfect Date as Noah Centineo’s crush. Camila Mendes is in for a big year, leading upcoming thrillers Coyote Lake and Windfall, and starring opposite Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg for the romantic comedy Palm Springs in 2020.
Cole Sprouse (Jughead Jones)
If Riverdale’s Jughead Jones looks familiar, you may not have realized you have been growing up with actor Cole Sprouse’s work all your life. Or, you just mistook him for his twin brother, Dylan.
If you did not catch on already, Jughead Jones from Riverdale is also one half of the troublemaking twins from Disney Channel’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, which Cole Sprouse and Dylan Sprouse starred in, along with its spinoff and TV movie follow-up, before taking a break from acting to study geographical information systems at New York University until 2015. Earlier than that, Cole got noticed as Adam Sandler’s accidental son in 1999 Big Daddy, a role he shared with his brother, before playing Ross Geller’s son Ben on Friends.
After his triumphant return to acting on Riverdale, Cole Sprouse has continued to get steady work. He recently played a cystic fibrosis patient in the young adult romantic drama Five Feet Apart and will soon star in the drama Silk Road, a true-life drama about the creation of the black market site the film is titled after.
Lili Reinhart (Betty Cooper)
In the original Archie comics, Betty Cooper is an outgoing, happy-go-lucky go-getter. Her Riverdale counterpart, as portrayed by Lili Reinhart, reveals that “perfect girl next door” persona to be merely a front.
On the other hand, Lili Reinhart herself, born September 13, 1996, in Cleveland, Ohio, has been very open about her struggles with anxiety and depression. Probably the one thing that Reinhart has most in common with Betty Cooper as that she is dating her onscreen off-and-on boyfriend (Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones) in real life, as you can see from this Valentine’s Day post from her Instagram:
Before becoming Betty Cooper, Lili Reinhart began acting as a teenager and has since tried her at a variety of different genres, like as the title role in the horror film Lilith or as the high school crush of the central character in the short-lived sitcom Surviving Jack. Later this year, she will star as a stripper-turned-con-artist in Hustlers and a high school journalist in Chemical Hearts, which is currently in production.
Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl Blossom)
With her fiery red hair and pouty expression, Madelaine Petsch effortlessly pulls off the devious nature of her Riverdale character Cheryl Blossom. In reality, Petsch is a sweet, talented performer with nothing else to prove but her love for acting.
Madelaine Petsch, who is a natural redhead, was born in Port Orchard, Washington, on August 18, 1994, to South African parents, which is why she had an accent early in life, which she was bullied at school for. She knew she wanted to be an actress at just 3 years old and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting at 18.
Before landing the part of Cheryl Blossom in Riverdale, she could barely get a starring role, with her first credit being “Current Girl #1” in indie horror film The Hive. Now, she is the lead of two upcoming thrillers, Sightless and Clare at 16, based on the novel by Don Roff.
Casey Cott (Kevin Keller)
Kevin Keller was introduced quite late in the Archie comics (about 70 years after its debut) as the series’ first openly gay character. Since Casey Cott was cast as Kevin in Riverdale, rumors about the actor’s sexuality have swirled around since.
Casey Cott, born August 8, 1992, in Michigan, is not gay in real life, but has enjoyed the opportunity of portraying a gay character on Riverdale nonetheless. Kevin Keller is easily his most interesting onscreen role to date, having made music video appearances and small guest spots on TV series like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit previously.
His first foray into acting was as a student of the craft at Boston University, before transferring to Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, and he would partake in various theatrical productions extracurricularly and post-graduation. Casey Cott just recently completed filming the college drama All The Little Things We Kill, due out later in 2019, and is in pre-production on the sports comedy The Mascot.
Luke Perry (Fred Andrews)
Earlier this year, Riverdale lost one of its most important cast members: Archie Andrews’ father, Fred Andrews. Luke Perry died of a stroke a stroke on March 4, 2019, at the age of 52.
The cast of Riverdale paid tribute to Luke Perry following his death through social media. The actor’s final episode as Fred Andrews aired on April 24, 2019, with the remaining episodes of Season 3 writing Fred out as “away on business.” Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has said that the show is waiting until Season 4 premieres to directly address how they will handle Fred’s absence moving forward.
The actor left behind a prolific career in film and, especially, television. Before Riverdale, Luke Perry’s best known role was Dylan McKay on the long-running drama Beverly Hills, 90210. Audiences will see his final film role in July 2019 as actor Wayne Maunder in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.
Skeet Ulrich (FP Jones)
Jughead Jones’ father, Forsythe Pendleton “FP” Jones II, has seen many ups and downs throughout Riverdale’s run. Skeet Ulrich plays into the dark mysteries surrounding street-gang-leader-turned-sheriff FP Jones very convincingly, having played a well-known character of hidden sinister intent before.
Born Bryan Ray Trout on January 20, 1970, in Lynchburg, Virigina, Skeet Ulrich’s first film appearance was as an extra in 1989’s cult comedy Weekend at Bernie’s before landing his breakout role as Billy Loomis in Wes Craven’s slasher revival, Scream in 1996. He would go on to star in various film and TV projects before his casting on Riverdale, such as short-lived TV dramas Jericho or Law & Order: LA and even a few guest voice spots on Robot Chicken.
Next up for Skeet Ulrich on the big screen is the sci-fi drama BIOS, which also stars Tom Hanks, in 2020. His latest return to the horror genre, The Mystery of Casa Matusita, is currently in post-production.
Marisol Nichols (Hermione Lodge)
When questioning who the most ruthless character on Riverdale is, Hermione Lodge, played by Marisol Nichols, makes a great case, having tried to kill her husband twice as a solid argument. Nichols has never been the murderous type - quite the opposite, in fact.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, on November 2, 1973, to a Mexican mother and a Jewish Roman father, Marisol Nichols made her feature film debut as the fourth actress to play Audrey Griswold in 1997's Vegas Vacation, with Chevy Chase reprising his role as bumbling family man Clark Griswold. She went on to a plentiful television career with starring roles in 24, GCB, MTV's Teen Wolf, and many others, as well as a few notable film appearances, such as 2007's Delta Farce opposite Larry the Cable Guy.
When she is not ruffling feathers as Hermione Lodge on Riverdale, Marisol Nichols is adamant in her fight against human trafficking, having visited Congress multiple times to speak about the issue. In 2015, she started the Foundation for a Slavery Free World, which aims to protect children, as well as adults, from falling into the clutches of modern-day slavery of any kind.
Mark Consuelos (Hiram Lodge)
Hemione Lodge has certainly had her moments of villainy, but the most hateful antagonist on Riverdale is more likely to be Veronica Lodge's father, Hiram Lodge. Mark Consuelos plays him like the kind of character soap opera fans scream at through their televisions. The actor's early career served as effective training for the role.
The Spanish-born Mark Consuelos found his breakout role on the long running soap opera All My Children, playing Mateo Santos Sr. from 1995 to 2010. He married his co-star Kelly Ripa in 1996, with whom he has three children.
Outside of acting, Mark Consuelos is a bit of a jack of all trades. He is an athlete, an ordained minister, has a marketing degree from the University of Tampa, and in before starring on All My Children, he worked as an exotic dancer at a club in Florida under the stage name "Meat."
Mädchen Amick (Alice Cooper)
Veronica Lodge is not the only Riverdale character with a strained parental relationship. Imagine being Betty Cooper and having a mom in a cult.
However, the actress who plays Alice Cooper, Mädchen Amick, is not a follower of the dark arts, but her filmography is somewhat shrouded in darkness. The 48-year-old actress landed her breakthrough role at 19 in David Lynch's groundbreaking surrealist noir series Twin Peaks, in the role of Shelly Johnson. She followed that up with a starring role in the Stephen King-penned thriller Sleepwalkers.
While Mädchen Amick's most popular role at the moment would most likely be as Alice Cooper on Riverdale, she has a long eclectic career in television, featuring recurring roles on series like Dawson's Creek, Gilmore Girls, American Horror Story, and the Twin Peaks revival in 2017. An actor cannot help but feel safe around a veteran of her prowess.
Riverdale Season 4 will debut on The CW later this year on October 9.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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