Originally adapted for an American audience from Ricky Gervais’s mockumentary style British program, The Office captured our hearts from the very first episode back in 2005. The characters were clearly well thought out and the story lines are especially engaging. Michael Scott, for example, is the favorite character of countless fans. In fact, most characters on The Office, aside from a few bizarre quirks, are not that far off from the co-workers of the average American. We decided to take a look at and investigate who the characters of The Office are in real life and what they’ve been up to since the end of the show.
Jenna Fischer – Pam Beesley
We all know Pam Beesly as the soft-spoken yet witty love interest of Jim Halpert.
It’s easy to forget, however, that Pam was engaged to Roy Anderson for three years before becoming romantically involved with Jim in the fourth season.
Jenna Fischer – Real Life
The quirky Pam Beesly is portrayed by Jenna Fischer, an actress born and raised int the Midwest. In her early career, Fischer appeared on shows such as Six Feet Under, That ’70s Show, Cold Case, Undeclared, What I Like About You, and Off Centre.
In 2005, Fischer was cast as Pam and she instantly became a household name. Since her start on The Office, she has appeared in films like Blades of Glory, The Promotion, Hall Pass, and The Giant Mechanical Man.
Ellie Kemper – Erin Hannon
After Pam leaves Dunder-Mifflin to work for the Michael Scott Paper Company, Erin Hannon replaces her as the new office receptionist. Erin is known for her positive attitude, admiration for her co-workers, and appreciation of her position at Dunder-Mifflin.
Many fans would consider Erin’s biggest character flaw to be her willingness to follow Dwight’s lead. At one point, Dwight, Andy, and Ryan all have crushes on the very naive Erin, which leads to the awkwardness we’d expect to see from The Office.
Ellie Kemper – Real Life
Erin Hannon is played by actress Ellie Kemper. Kemper first discovered her love for acting in High School. While studying English at Princeton University. Kemper became involved in Quipfire!, a Princeton improv group, as well as the Princeton Triangle Club, a musical comedy group. Kemper joined The Office in 2009.
While her character was originally written to be sarcastic and dry, the writers decided to make her perky and upbeat to match Kemper’s real-life personality. Kemper now stars in Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Mindy Kaling – Then
Kelly Kapoor serves as a customer service representative for Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton branch. She is known around the office for her over-talkative nature and love for online shopping.
Toby Flenderson, with whom Kelly shared the annex, is often annoyed by her constant rambling about superficial topics such as boys, dating, and celebrity gossip. While Kelly comes across as rather immature, she has spoken on numerous occasions of her desire to get married and how she can’t wait to “get pregnant and have babies.”
Mindy Kaling – Now
In real life, Kelly Kapoor is portrayed by Mindy Kaling, who was also a writer and producer for The Office. In 2013, Kaling left The Office to create, write, produce, and star in her own Fox/Hulu sitcom titled The Mindy Project.
After graduating from Dartmouth with a degree in playwriting, Kaling served as an intern on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, where she described herself as “less of a ‘make copies’ intern and more of a ‘stalk Conan’ intern.”
Steve Carell – Michael Scott
Michael Scott is the Regional Manager of Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton branch. His goofy antics, irresponsibility, and lack of common-sense don’t exactly make him the ideal candidate for a leadership position. Michael is often the butt of his co-workers’ jokes without even realizing it.
Despite his shortcomings, Michael Scott always means well and many fans of The Office consider him to be their favorite character. Whether it’s his “That’s what she said!” catchphrase or his hilarious song parodies, Michael Scott always keeps us on our toes!
Steve Carell – Real Life
In real life, Michael Scott is portrayed by actor Steve Carell. Carell’s comedy and acting career began in the early 1990s. He rose to prominence with reoccurring roles on shows like The Dana Carvey Show and Saturday Night Live.
From 1999-2005, Carell served as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. Before starring in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Carell was featured in films such as Bruce Almighty, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Carell played Michael Scott from 2005 until 2013.
Angela Kinsey – Angela Martin
Angela Martin is the head of accounting for the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin. Angela is known for her cold and often uptight personality. She tends to have a negative response to any sort of office activity that may come across as unprofessional or overly-fun.
She also openly criticizes Pam and Jim’s romance, while remaining secretive when it comes to her own office relationships and flings. Angela pretty much only expresses any form of happiness or excitement when she is talking about her cats.
Angela Kinsey – Real Life
Angela Martin is played by American actress Angela Kinsey. As a child, Kinsey spent 12 years living in Indonesia before returning to the US, where her family settled in Archer City, Texas.
Kinsey went to Baylor University and upon graduating, interned on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. She then moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Her role on The Office was her first major gig. Since then, she’s appeared on shows like Wilfred, New Girl, and Hot in Cleveland.
Rainn Wilson – Dwight Schrute
Dwight Schrute is an exemplary salesman and assistant to Dunder-Mifflin’s regional manager. Dwight has a reputation among his co-workers as being a suck-up to Michael Scott.
He is constantly providing The Office with a comical level of awkwardness as a result of his poor social skills and lack of self-awareness. Schrute takes great pride in his work and is often overly competitive with his co-workers, specifically Jim Halpert, who will usually play into Schrute’s games for the sake of his own amusement.
Rainn Wilson – Real Life
Dwight Schrute is played by Rainn Wilson, a Seattle native and University of Washington graduate. Wilson’s first acting gig came in 1997, with a small part in One Life to Live, followed by a supporting role in the film Galaxy Quest in 1999.
Before landing his career-defining role on The Office, Rainn Wilson was featured in films like Almost Famous, America’s Sweethearts, and House of 1000 Corpses. Wilson played Dwight Schrute for the entire length of the show, from 2005 until 2013.
Phyllis Smith – Phyllis Lapin
Phyllis Lapin serves as a sales representative at the Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton branch. While she may come across as quiet and shy, Phyllis actually loves to gossip and engage in “girl-talk.”
Michael Scott will often make inappropriate and embarrassing comments towards Phyllis regarding her appearance and age, even though the two were in high school at the same time. Despite the motherly and caring vibes she gives off, Phyllis can often be petty and vindictive, especially with co-workers Angela and Pam.
Phyllis Smith – Real Life
In real life, Phyllis Vance is actually Phyllis Smith. Before beginning her acting career, Smith was a dancer and cheerleader for the St. Louis Cardinals NFL team.
She spent some time working as a burlesque performer but quit as the result of a knee injury. She then set out to become an actress. Her first film appearance was alongside her office co-star Steve Carell in 2005’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin. That same year she landed the part of Phyllis on The Office.
B.J. Novak – Ryan Howard
One of the more interesting characters on The Office, Ryan Howard joins the team as a temporary employee, earning himself the nickname, “The Temp.” Ryan’s dislike of Michael Scott is evident early on.
Michael often requests strange and meaningless tasks from Ryan and takes an uncomfortable interest in his personal life. As the show progresses, we see Ryan’s dissatisfaction with his job and co-workers grow. Ryan is also known for making dramatic changes to his personality and appearance throughout the series.
B.J. Novak – Real Life
B. J. Novak not only portrays Ryan Howard on The Office, but also serves as a writer and executive producer for the successful series. A Harvard graduate, Novak moved to Los Angeles after graduation to pursue a career as a comedian.
His first television gig came in 2003, alongside Ashton Kutcher on the celebrity pranking show Punk’d. Two years later, he began working and acting on The Office. In recent years, Novak has appeared in The Mindy Project, Community, and The Newsroom.
Catherine Tate – Nellie Bertram
Nellie Bertram first appeared in the seventh season of The Office as an English interview candidate for the Regional Manager position to replace Michael Scott. She then returned for the second half of the eighth season and final season.
As a friend of Jo Bennet, the outspoken and often rude Nellie Bertram admits to the camera that, “I grew up poor. I have had little formal education, and no real skills. I don’t work especially hard. Most of my ideas are… unoriginal.”
Catherine Tate – Real Life
English comedian, actress, and writer Catherine Tate plays Nellie Bertram on The Office. Tate’s acting career began in the mid-1990s with roles in Men Behaving Badly, and Big Train, as well as UK theater productions The Way of the World and The Prince’s Play.
Aside from The Office, Tate has appeared in episodes of Doctor Who, as well as the British sitcom Big School. She also starred in her own sketch comedy show titled The Catherine Tate Show from 2004-2007.
Oscar Nunez – Oscar Martinez
Oscar Martinez is the quiet accountant for Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton branch. His intelligence often goes unappreciated and overlooked. His personal life is highly scrutinized by his co-workers, especially Michael Scott, who outs him as a gay man in the first episode of the third season.
At the time, Oscar was one of just a few openly gay characters on broadcast television. Well-known for his levelheadedness and ability to see logic, Oscar considers himself, along with Jim and Pam, to be the “Coalition for Reason.”
Oscar Nunez – Real Life
Oscar Martinez is portrayed by the Cuban-American actor and comedian Oscar Nunez. Before becoming a comedian, Nunez studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Parsons School of Design, and the Magna Institute of Dental Technology, where he became a certified dental technician.
Before The Office, Nunez appeared on episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Malcolm in the Middle, Reno 911!, and 24. Nunez has remained busy and in recent years has acted in episodes of New Girl, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Shameless.
Kathy Bates – Jo Bennett
Once the powerful and authoritative CEO of the successful Tallahassee printer company Sabre, Jo Bennett has a highly-respected reputation from all of Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton employees.
Despite the fact that they felt intimidated by Jo’s presence at first, the Scranton workers soon learned to appreciate Jo’s headstrong and independent leadership style. At the start of season eight, she was replaced as CEO of Sabre by Robert California. Before she left, however, she managed to carry out Sabre’s impressive buyout of Dunder-Mifflin.
Kathy Bates – Real Life
Kathy Bates started her long and ongoing career as an actress in the ’70s and ’80s with roles in Broadway productions such as Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July and Robert Altman’s Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.
Bates boasts a long list of appearances both in film as well as in television. Her most notable credits include roles in Titanic, The Waterboy, Bruno, Rumor Has It…, Failure to Launch, The Blind Side, and Midnight in Paris.
Ed Helms – Andy Bernard
Andy Bernard, AKA the “Nard Dog,” is a proud graduate of Cornell University with delusional dreams of one day becoming a famous musician.
Andy works his way into a position as the Regional Manager at Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton branch but his lack of professionalism, issues with anger, and personal relationship problems often get in the way of his career goals and eventually lead to his voluntary resignation. Andy frequently references his ivy league education and involvement in the “Here Comes Treble” a cappella group.
Ed Helms – Real Life
Ed Helms got his big television break with a correspondent position on The Daily Show, where he worked alongside John Stewart from 2002 until 2009. Similar to his character on The Office, Helms is also a lover of all things music.
He has even displayed his unique style of musical comedy in the 2009 blockbuster The Hangover. Throughout his career, Helms has also been featured in films such as Evan Almighty, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and We’re the Millers.
Kate Flannery – Meredith Palmer
Meredith Palmer has a tendency to make her co-workers slightly uncomfortable. Meredith’s inappropriate office behavior, alleged alcoholism, and clear attraction to Jim Halpert make her one of the most exciting and unique characters to watch throughout the entirety of the series.
With Meredith, fans never know what to expect. Whether it’s contracting rabies from a bat, egging on arguments between Jim and Pam, or drinking hand sanitizer, if Meredith is featured in an episode, you know it will be worth watching!
Kate Flannery- Real Life
Prior to landing the role of Meredith on The Office, Kate Flannery began her career in improv as a member of The Second City’s National Touring Company. Flannery has appeared in episodes of popular television series such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Saturday Night Live, and The Bernie Mac Show.
A multi-talented actress, Kate Flannery has even participated in music projects. She was featured on Jane Lynch’s Christmas Album, A Swingin’ Little Christmas in addition to a brief stint in the band Mono Puff.
Leslie David Baker – Stanley Hudson
Stanley Hudson is a hardworking yet irritable sales representative at Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton branch. As a member of the Black Panther Party in the early days of the movement, Stanley has a difficult time dealing with Michael Scott’s subtle and unintentional racist comments.
He shows a clear disdain for Michael, but as a clever employee plays into Michael’s “humor” when need be. Stanley is typically reserved and calm. However, he can have a mean temper if the right trigger is set off.
Leslie David Baker – Real Life
In real life, Leslie David Baker is much more animated that his character on The Office. Aside from The Office, he has acted in comedy television series including episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, That ’70s Show, Just Shoot Me!, Scrubs, and Key & Peele.
In 2011, Baker experimented with music, releasing his debut single catering to middle-aged men titled “2 Be Simple,” along with a music video. He has shared that his favorite episodes of The Office are “Did I Stutter?” and “Basketball.”
Cody Horn – Jordan Garfield
During season 7, we saw Deangelo Vickers bring Jordan Garfield, who had zero business experience, into The Inner Circle. This angers Pam, who, along with others, speculates that the only reason she was hired was for her attractive appearance.
In her short-lived stint on The Office, Jordan is bossed around by both Dwight, who drops some harsh truths on her, as well as Creed, who assigns her bizarre and unclear tasks such as putting ambiguously described clients on the phone with him.
Cody Horn – Real Life
Born to a mother who was a model and actress, and a father who was an entertainment executive, Cody Horn was destined for Hollywood success. Like her mother, Cody has worked both as an actress as well as a model.
Aside from her three-episode stint on The Office, Horn has also appeared in episodes of Rescue Me and White Collar. Her most notable film role came in 2012 when she starred opposite Channing Tatum in the comedy-drama film Magic Mike.
Brian Baumgartner – Kevin Malone
The simple-minded Kevin Malone initially applied for a job in Dunder-Mifflin’s warehouse but ended up working as an accountant after Michael Scott claimed he had “a (gut) feeling about him.” Kevin is typically soft-spoken, but will occasionally make rude and disrespectful comments directed at his co-workers.
Kevin does his best to keep his internet habits secret and plays drums for a local cover band. Kevin’s immaturity, lack of social awareness, and surprising creativity never cease to entertain fans of The Office.
Brian Baumgartner – Real Life
It’s not surprising that Brian Baumgartner is a great deal smarter in real life than his character on The Office. Baumgartner graduated from Southern Methodist University where he studied acting at the Meadows School of the Arts.
His television and film career began in the early 2000s with roles in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Arrested Development, and Everwood. In 2005, Baumgartner was cast as Kevin Malone. Most recently, he’s appeared is episodes of Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU, and Disjointed.
Amy Ryan – Holly Flax
A proud former middle school hall monitor, Holly Flax originally joined Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton branch as Toby Flenderson’s HR Representative replacement. It becomes evident almost immediately that Holly and Michael Scott have a very unique type of chemistry.
They share some very similar mannerisms and their sense of humor is nearly identical. For this reason, Michael befriends her and eventually falls in love. The only difference between Holly and Michael, in fact, is that Holly is a much more rational thinker.
Amy Ryan – Real Life
The real-life Holly Flax is Amy Ryan. In addition to her work in movies and on television, Amy Ryan is also a distinguished theater actress. She actually got her start in acting with on an off-Broadway show titled A Shayna Maidel.
Ryan has won awards for her performances in Uncle Vanya, Saved, and A Streetcar Named Desire. In 2007, Ryan starred in the critically acclaimed drama film Gone Baby Gone. Most recently, Ryan has appeared on episodes of Broad City and High Maintenance.
John Krasinski – Jim Halpert
Jim Halpert is the perfect level-headed and sarcastic character to balance out the eccentric personalities of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute. Jim starts as a sales representative but eventually becomes the Assistant Regional Manager after the merger of the Scranton and Stamford branches.
Jim is known not only for his adorable romance with Pam Beesley, but also for the hysterical pranks he pulls on Dwight. Jim’s intelligence and laid back personality serve to contrast his over-the-top co-workers, creating a hilarious office dynamic.
John Krasinski- Real Life
Though he is known for his professional and calm demeanor as Jim Halpert on The Office, the real life John Krasinski has actually acted in some much more rugged and macho films like 2005’s Jarhead, and 2016’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.
Krasinski is also no stranger to television. Aside from The Office, he’s appeared in episodes of Law & Order, 30 Rock, and Arrested Development. Similar to Jim’s adorable relationship with Pam, Krasinski is happily married to actress Emily Blunt.
Rashida Jones – Karen Filippelli
Karen Filippelli transferred to Scranton as a sales representative from Stamford and immediately took a liking to Jim. The two dated for a bit until Jim realized he had feelings for Pam, causing the two to break up and Karen to leave Scranton and become the Regional Manager of the Utica branch.
Karen’s friendship with Pam is strained for most of the series as a result of her relationship with Jim. Karen’s ethnicity is purposely made unclear and hence becomes a running joke.
Rashida Jones – Real Life
In real life, Karen Filippeli is played by Rashida Jones. With an African-American father, and a Jewish mother, Jones claims that she was a “straight-up nerd” as a child. Since her first role on the miniseries The Last Don, Jones has seen tremendous success, in both film and television.
Her most notable movie appearances include credits in Little Black Book, I Love You, Man, and Our Idiot Brother. Jones is also well-known for playing Ann Perkins on Parks and Recreation.
Melora Hardin – Jan Levinson
Jan Levinson is the Vice President of Northeast Sales and supervisor of Michael Scott. Her serious and by-the-book management style is a clear contrast to Michael’s nonchalant and carefree management style.
The chemistry between Jan an Michael, as well as their dysfunctional working relationship offers endless material, including a running gag where Jan calls the Scranton branch and asks Michael if she is on speaker, to which Michael lies and says no, but quickly confesses that she is, leading to her hanging up on him.
Melora Hardin – Real Life
Jan Levin is portrayed by accomplished actress and singer, Melora Hardin. Hardin’s acting career began on the ’70s television series Thunder, where she played Cindy Prescott for 12 episodes.
Aside from her role on The Office, Hardin has appeared on episodes of Diff’rent Strokes, Little House on the Prairie, Magnum, P.I., Friends, Gilmore Girls, Transparent, and The Blacklist. With an equally impressive film resume, Hardin has also been featured in 27 Dresses, The Hot Chick, and Hannah Montana: The Movie