Lacey Chabert Was The Original Meg Griffin

By Doug Norrie | 4 weeks ago

Lacey Chabert

Lacey Chabert for sure goes down as a child of the 90’s. Anyone coming of age in the latter half of that decade knows her as one of the forlorn Salinger children on Fox’s Party of Five. She played Claudia, one of the five orphans who struggled to make a life for themselves after their parents passed away in a car crash. The show was something of a touchstone for the decade and helped put Chabert’s acting career on the map.

Lacey Chabert began acting at a young age, even scoring a role in Les Miserables on Broadway when she was just five years old. Granted, this was an understudy replacement part for Cossette, but it speaks to the idea that Chabert got cracking on a career early. This led to a few bit parts on All My Children and other minor roles before the big chance would come. 

Though she’s best known in her role on Party of Five, Lacey Chabert’s career is anything but confined to a quick television run. Here’s how she landed her first big role on Party of Five and what happened after.

Lacey Chabert On Party of Five

Lacey Chabert

In 1994 Lacey Chabert would become something of a household name (if your household had teenagers in it) when she landed the role of Claudia Salinger on Fox’s Party of Five. The show, about the aforementioned five Salinger children who are left orphaned when their parents are killed by a drunk driver, performed enormously well within its demographic even if the general ratings left something to be devised. The show scored a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes for its audience score. 

Party of Five ended up as a career launcher for not only Lacey Chabert but also three of her other Salinger sibling co-stars. Matthew Fox played Charlie, the oldest child who’s tasked with becoming the family’s patriarch. Among many other works, Fox would really blow it out of the box when he played Jack on Lost. 

Party of Five
Lacey Chabert with the Party of Five cast

Then there was Scott Wolf as Lacey Chabert’s brother Bailey, the troubled teen who became the apple of many a female fan’s eyes during the time. Wolf has maintained a solid career in Hollywood, starring on Night Shift and Perception among a ton of other work. 

And of course, who could forget a pre-Scream Neve Campbell, who played older sister Julia. Campbell’s career needs no real introduction. And it wasn’t just the Salinger kids who got their starts here, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jeremy London, and Scott Grimes also made their breakthroughs in various roles on the show. If anything, Lacey Chabert might rank sixth or seventh on just popularity career arc from this cast. 

Lacey Chabert Was The Original Meg Griffin

Sometimes it can seem like an actor or actress leaves the limelight without realizing they’ve been working steadily for quite some time. Among other things, Lacey Chabert has had a rather robust voiceover career. Most notably, she voiced Meg Griffin on Fox’s Family Guy for its first season (1999) before being replaced by Mila Kunis going forward.

Meg Griffin
Meg Griffin

There was no ouster when it came to Chabert’s departure from the role, rathershe was simply too busy with school and Party of Five to continue on with the role. She doesn’t claim to have regret about leaving, but man does it seem like this was a huge opportunity lost considering just how popular the show has been. 

However, Party of Five was cancelled after its sixth season much to fans’ dismay and the cast went its separate ways. But Lacey Chabert continued working a fairly heavy voiceover schedule with the longest-running role as Eliza on Nickelodeon’s The Wild Thornberrys. If there’s a consolation prize for leaving Family Guy, this has to be it. Between a five season run on Nickolodeon and two feature films, this had to have gone a long way in recouping any *losses* from leaving Family Guy

Becoming A Movie Star

Lacey Chabert

Lacey Chabert has had a jam-packed career since entering the scene in the mid-’90s. The timelines of her career tend to overlap with an IMDB page as long as you’ll ever see. Her time on Party of Five helped her land a lead role as part of the Robinson family in 1998’s Lost in Space. The big-budget affair was mostly dumped by critics and scraped by to turn a profit on its $80+ million dollar budget. 

Lacey Chabert
Lacey Chabert in Mean Girls

But that performance didn’t spell the end of Lacey Chabert making a star turn in a film. The Tina Fey-penned Mean Girls in 2004 was a wild success, grossing more than $130 million at the box office on a sub-$20 million budget. It helped skyrocket the careers of Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams (among others) and Chabert played Gretchen, a member of the Plastics who is about as ditzy as they come. The character has even stuck around the zeitgeist with mentions of Gretchen’s Burn Book appearing in an Ariana Grande song in 2018

The Hallmark Channel Years

In 2010 Lacey Chabert made her debut on The Hallmark Channel in Elevator Girl. It would be the beginning of a prolific relationship. With that movie, Chabert has appeared in 18 different films on the channel with no real end in sight. This Christmas she’s starring in Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas which releases at the beginning of December this year. 

Lacey Chabert
Lacey Chabert on the Hallmark Channel

This will mark her ninth Christmas movie for the channel which is becoming almost a yearly thing for the actress. While not at the top of critical lists, this kind of steady gig and relationship with the channel is what keeps her steady earning even if her general popularity might not be quite what it was in the late 90’s- early 2000’s. 

Lacey Chabert Now

Hallmark

Now 38-years-old Lacey Chabert is married to businessman David Nehdar. Little is publicly known about his business affairs, but the two were married in 2013 and have a four-year-old Julia. 

She’s involved in a number of different charities including the American Humane Society as well as work with multiple sclerosis with organizations like Race to Erase MS and the Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis

Lacey and her daughter

With a career spanning almost three decades, the diminutive, 5’2″ actress isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. While her Hallmark Christmas movie is coming down the pike, she has a number of films in her Crosswords Mysteries franchise set to hit The Hallmark Channel within the next year. In them, Lacey Chabert plays a newspaper crossword puzzle editor who is also an amateur detective. It sounds like something that could only hit basic cable small screen, but that’s Hallmark for you. She’ll have starred in at least six of these when it’s all said and done. 

For an actress who came on the scene in a popular television role and had a star turn on the big screen, it would seem like Lacey Chabert’s career has been quiet since. But that hasn’t been the case. She remains one of the hardest working actresses in Hollywood and things don’t appear to be ebbing any time soon.

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