HBO premiered the first episode of The Gilded Age in January, introducing audiences to the luxurious and elitist world of 1800s New York. Created by the mastermind behind classics like Gosford Park and Downton Abbey, The Gilded Age promises to be as insightful and addictive as those two acclaimed projects.
The Gilded Age features a large ensemble of intriguing characters, played by a cast of very familiar faces. From Broadway legends to television icons and even a few newcomers, the show’s cast is perhaps its biggest asset, and fans will surely recognize them from other projects.
10 Carrie Coon – Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Bertha Russell, played by critically-acclaimed actress Carrie Coon, represents the “new” side of New York. She’s the wife of a robber baron, determined to make a name for herself among the city’s elitist and ultra-conservative society.
Ever since her breakthrough in the criminally underrated masterpiece The Leftovers, Coon has been working non-stop. The actress received an Emmy nomination for her leading role in Fargo‘s third season and played memorable supporting roles in movies like Gone Girl and The Post. Most recently, Coon starred in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, playing one of the film’s funniest characters.
9 Morgan Spector – The Plot Against America
Bertha’s husband, George Russell, is stereotypical robber baron and ruthless magnate, willing to do everything to expand his growing empire.
Played by Morgan Spector, Russell is a key figure in The Gilded Age. Spector is something of a television veteran, having appeared in multiple shows, most notably The Mist and Homeland. To date, his most recognizable role is Herman Levin in HBO’s drama The Plot Against America. Spector is married to actress Rebecca Hall.
8 Denée Benton – UnREAL
In The Gilded Age, Denée Benton plays Peggy Scott, a young and ambitious Black writer who just finished her education. Reluctant to return home, she takes a job as Agnes’ secretary.
Benton is a renowned singer, having played prominent roles in Broadway productions, including Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 and Hamilton. In television, Benton is best known for her recurring role in UnREAL‘s second season, playing a passionate BLM activist.
7 Taissa Farmiga – American Horror Story
Bertha and Steven’s daughter, Gladys, played by Taissa Farmiga, is an innocent and wide-eyed young girl who hasn’t made her debut in society. Despite her timid appearance, she longs for her parents to treat her as an adult.
Ryan Murphy fans will easily recognize Farmiga; indeed, the actress has played some of the best female characters in American Horror Story, Murphy’s long-running horror anthology. The actress also had leading roles in Sophia Coppola’s satirical heist film The Bling Ring and Todd Strauss-Schulson’s meta-slasher The Final Girls. She is the younger sister of actress Vera Farmiga.
6 Blake Ritson – Krypton
Oscar van Rhijn, played by Blake Ritson, is one of The Gilded Age‘s most shameless charismatic characters. Oscar is Agnes’ only son, a charming and seemingly careless bachelor who leads a private life behind closed doors.
Ritson has played several television roles since the mid-90s, including Mr. Elton in the 2009 BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. However, he is perhaps best-known to modern audiences for playing Brainiac, one of Superman’s coolest villains, in the short-lived SyFy drama Krypton. Ritson is also a director alongside his brother, Dylan.
5 Jack Gilpin – Billions
A crucial part of Fellowes’ projects is the lives of the “downstairs” staff, and The Gilded Age includes several compelling staff figures. Church, for example, is the Russell family’s dedicated butler, a man trying to evade his past by excelling at his job.
Jack Gilpin brings the character to life in The Gilded Age. Fans will recognize the actor for his portrayal of Sean Ayles in Showtime’s legal drama Billions. Gilpin also memorably played Tom Wambsgan’s father in Succession, another HBO property. He is the father of actress Betty Gilpin.
4 Audra McDonald – The Good Fight
Dorthy Scott, played by Broadway legend Audra McDonald, is Peggy’s mother, who struggles to maintain a relationship with her daughter despite the family’s problems.
McDonald is theater royalty and is the most awarded actress in the Tony Awards’ history, having claimed a record six trophies; she’s also the only actress to win in all four acting categories. In television, she is perhaps best known for her role as Liz Lawrence in CBS’s hit The Good Fight, where she stars opposite her The Gilded Age co-star, Christine Baranski.
3 Donna Murphy – Tangled
And speaking of Broadway legends, The Gilded Age has another one among its cast, Donna Murphy. The acclaimed actress plays Mrs. Astor, a prominent American socialite who led the Four Hundred, based on the real-life figure of the same name.
Murphy is world-renowned for her work on the Broadway stage. She has won two Tony Awards for her roles in Passion and The King and I. On the big screen, she’s played memorable supporting roles in movies like Spiderman 2 and The Nanny Diaries. Murphy gained new fame for providing the voice of Mother Gothel, one of Disney’s greatest female villains, in 2010’s Tangled.
2 Cynthia Nixon – And Just Like That…
Cynthia Nixon is another of The Gilded Age‘s most recognizable names. The multi-awarded actress plays Ada Brook, Agnes’ sweet and supportive sister who depends entirely on her.
Nixon has called HBO her home for years, starring in one of the network’s seminal hits, Sex and the City, for which she won an Emmy. The actress reprises her role as Miranda Hobbes in the series’ revival, And Just Like That, currently airing. Nixon is also an acclaimed stage actress, having won two Tony Awards for her leading role in 2006’s Rabbit Hole and her supporting turn in the 2017 revival of The Little Foxes.
1 Christine Baranski – The Good Fight
Already a television icon, Christine Baranski is one of the central figures in The Gilded Age. The veteran plays Agnes van Rhijn, a proud widow and socialite who still clings to the traditions and values from the so-called old New York.
Baranski has starred in several television hits throughout her career. She won an Emmy for her role in Cybil and earned additional nominations for her guest roles in Frasier and The Big Bang Theory, where she played one of the best secondary characters. From 2009 to 2016, she starred in The Good Wife, earning six consecutive Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Baranski reprises her role in a spin-off, The Good Fight, recently renewed for a sixth season.
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