Years after setting his sights on post-Edwardian England and escapades of the Crawley family with the landmark series Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes is now doing the same with The Gilded Age, the new HBO period drama set in the lavish world that was New York City in the late 19th Century. With a cast of characters played by the lauded likes of Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, Carrie Coon, and a dozen or so other actors, the show about the clashing of cultures of “Old Money” versus “New Money” appears to be just as dramatic, and fabulous, as anything that has come before it.
But, after watching the first episode of the sumptuous period drama there’s a good chance you’re wondering where you’ve seen The Gilded Age cast before. There are a lot of names to go through, including stars of some of the best HBO shows, so let’s get started.
Christine Baranski (Agnes van Rhijn)
Christine Baranski takes on the role of Agnes van Rhijn, a New York City elite who is stubborn as she is vengeful. The Primetime Emmy Award winner (Cybil) is perhaps one of the most recognizable faces on television thanks to shows like Frasier, The Good Wife, and The Good Fight, but that’s not all. Baranski has also given tremendous performances in movies ranging from The Birdcage to Chicago, as well as the uber-successful Mamma Mia! franchise. And, even if you haven’t seen her on the screen, chances are you’ve heard Baranski’s voice from time to time as she has appeared on animated shows like Family Guy, BoJack Horseman, and The Simpsons.
Cynthia Nixon (Ada Brook)
Taking on the role of Ada Brook, Agnes’ unmarried sister, on The Gilded Age, is Cynthia Nixon, who is no stranger to longtime fans of HBO. Best known for her portrayal of Miranda Hobbes on the groundbreaking comedy series Sex and the City, Nixon has gone on to play her several more times in the two movie adaptations and the revival series, And Just Like That. Outside of that, Nixon has appeared on shows like Alpha House and The Big C, as well as in movies like The Only Living Boy in New York, A Quiet Passion, and The Pelican Brief, to name only a few.
Carrie Coon (Bertha Russell)
Carrie Coon plays Bertha Russell on The Gilded Age, a woman who has recently come into money and fires back at the old way of doing things. Over the years, Coon has appeared in movies and TV shows like Gone Girl, The Leftovers, and even Avengers: Infinity War, giving commanding performances in each of those. In 2021, she even appeared in the long-awaited Ghostbusters: Afterlife. She’ll next appear in the upcoming drama Boston Strangler.
Morgan Spector (George Russell)
Taking on the role of George Russell, the robber baron and cut-throat businessman husband of Bertha, is actor Morgan Spector on The Gilded Age. Throughout his career, which goes back more than a decade, Spector has appeared on shows like The Plot Against America, Homeland, and Boardwalk Empire, on which he portrayed Frank Capone. Then there are movies like Christine, The Last Airbender, and Permission. Spector’s stage performances include A View from the Bridge, Harvey, and Machinal.
Denée Benton (Peggy Scott)
Denée Benton portrays Peggy Scott, an ambitious New York writer seeking a fresh start in The Gilded Age. Although she has appeared on the Lifetime drama series UnREAL and in movies like Our Friend, Benton is best known for her stage work, which includes a couple of the biggest productions of the past decade. She got her start in the U.S. national tour and West End residency of The Book of Mormon, which she later followed up with the 2018 Broadway production of Hamilton, in which she portrayed Eliza Hamilton.
Louisa Jacobson (Marian Brook)
Taking on the role of the young and penniless Marian Brook who’s sent to live with her aunts in New York on The Gilded Age is Louisa Jacobson. The HBO period drama is Jacobson’s TV debut, though she has appeared in various stage productions over the past few years. This includes Native Son, Member of the Wedding, and Romeo and Juliet, in which she played the ill-fated lover.
Taissa Farmiga (Gladys Russell)
Taissa Farmiga, sister of Vera Farmiga, takes on the role of Gladys Russell, the young daughter of George and Bertha. Throughout her career, Farmiga has appeared on several chapters of the American Horror Story anthology series, as well as other horror-themed shows like The Twilight Zone and 50 States of Fright. Her film appearances include The Nun, The Mule, and The Final Girls, to name only a few.
Blake Ritson (Oscar Van Rhijn)
Blake Ritson is in The Gilded Age cast as Oscar van Rhijn, the highly intelligent and charismatic son of Agnes. Throughout his career, which goes back to the mid 1990s, Ritson has spent most of his time appearing on TV shows or in made-for-TV movies. This includes shows like Upstairs Downstairs, Da Vinci’s Demons, and Krypton, on which he portrayed Brainiac. He is also rather prolific in the world of video games, voicing characters in everything from the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire adaptation and Dark Souls III.
Simon Jones (Bannister)
Taking on the role Agnes van Rhijn’s butler, Bannister, on The Gilded Age is veteran actor Simon Jones. Over the years, Jones has played characters like King George V in the 2019 Downton Abbey movie, various roles in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, and Arthur Dent in various versions of the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Harry Richardson (Larry Russell)
Harry Richardson shows up on The Gilded Age as Larry Russell, the Harvard graduate son of George and Bertha, who has a strong relationship with his younger sister Gladys. Fans of the period drama Poldark will certainly recognized Richardson for his portrayal of Drake Carne throughout the show’s run. If not, the eagle-eyed viewers of Dunkirk will also find Richardson oddly familiar.
Thomas Cocquerel (Tom Raikes)
Taking on the role of Tom Raikes, a young lawyer who falls in love with Marian Brook on The Gilded Age, is Thomas Cocquerel. Over the course of the past decade, Cocquerel has gone from appearing in various short films like Walk Right In and Campdraft to landing prominent roles in everything from Billionaire Boys Club to Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. He has also showed up on a few shows during that same stretch of time, including Love Child, Anzac Girls, and The 100.
Jack Gilpin (Church)
Jack Gilpin shows up on The Gilded Age as Church, the no-nonsense butler who runs a tight ship at the Russell home. Gilipin, who balances his time between acting and serving as an Episcopal priest, has pulled off a Dick Wolf hat trick by appearing on Law & Order, Special Victims Unit, and Criminal Intent. Outside of that, he has shown up on series like Damages, Succession, and Billions, to name only a few. His film credits include 21, Trouble with the Curve, and Adventureland.
Jeanne Tripplehorn (Sylvia Chamberlain)
Jeanne Tripplehorn appears in a guest role on The Gilded Age taking on the part of enigmatic art collector Sylvia Chamberlain, who has been shunned from most of New York high society. This is not the first time Tripplehorn has appeared on an HBO drama series as she previously co-starred alongside the late Bill Paxton on Big Love. Over the years, Tripplehorn has also made appearances on shows like Mrs. America and The Ben Stiller Show. Her film work includes Basic Instinct, The Firm, and Gloria Bell, to name just a few.
Nathan Lane (Ward McAllister)
The great Nathan Lane takes on the role of Ward McAllister on The Gilded Age. One of the most recognizable members of the cast, Lane’s character opens the doors to the ultra-elite known as “The Four Hundred.” The three-time Tony Award winner has bounced between the stage, film, and TV throughout his career, appearing in The Producers, The Birdcage, and Modern Family, to name just a very small portion of his work. Lane most recently showed up in the Only Murders in the Building cast.
Audra McDonald (Dorothy Scott)
And then there is Audra McDonald, who takes on the role of Dorothy Scott, the estranged mother of Peggy Scott. Prior to joining The Gilded Age cast, the multi-talented performer made Broadway history by taking home a staggering six Tony Awards over the years for shows like A Moon for the Misbegotten, 110 in the Shade, and several others. Her TV credits include Private Practice, Sesame Street, and The Good Fight. McDonald also provided the voice of Madame de Garderobe (a.k.a. The Wardrobe) in the 2017 live-action version of Beauty and the Beast.
These are just some of the actors and actresses who make up The Gilded Age cast, and there are plenty of other great names who are featured throughout the series. If you want to know what other shows are coming to HBO and other networks this year, check out CinemaBlend's schedule of 2022 TV premiere dates.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.