The combination of well-known actors and fresh-faced newcomers found in the “8 Simple Rules” cast are part of what made the short-lived ABC sitcom a favorite among fans. The show was loosely based on W. Bruce Cameron’s best-selling book “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.” Viewers enjoyed watching the trials and tribulations of the Hennessy family as Paul, the dad, becomes more involved in the lives of his two teenage daughters and pre-teen son when his wife returns to her nursing job. The series ran from 2002 through 2005.
Paul Hennessy The main male character of “8 Simple Rules” in Paul Hennessy portrayed by the late John Ritter. Paul is married to Cate and is the father of the three Hennessy kids: Bridget, Kerry and Rory. He works at home writing a Lifestyle column while he tries to deal with his maturing daughters and precocious son. Paul Hennessy often embarrasses his kids, but he always means well and wants them to be happy. Paul died during the second season of “8 Simple Rules” while out shopping for milk. Ritter’s character was not recast after he died.
Cate Hennessy Played by Katie Sagal, Cate Hennessy is a wife, mother and a nurse and is the most stable member of the family. She returns to her nursing position, leaving her husband Paul at home to tend to their children. When Paul died during the second season of “8 Simple Rules,” Cate took the position of school nurse at the kids’ school which allows her spend more time with her children. During the third season Cate began a romance with the school’s principal, Ed Gibb. The children were against the relationship, but eventually realized that they had to accept that their dad was gone and their mom should be allowed to move on.
Bridget Hennessy Kaley Cuoco plays pretty-but-dumb Bridget, the oldest of the Hennessy kids on “8 Simple Rules.” Her nickname is “Beach," given to her by her parents because she was conceived on a beach. Bridget is worried about her looks and about chasing boys. She felt very guilty about her father’s death because they had an argument before he went to the store where he died. The last words she said to him were “I hate you.”
Kerry Hennessy Sometimes called “Care Bear” by her parents, Kerry was played by Amy Davidson. Kerry is the middle Hennessy child and she’s sarcastic, snide and sees herself as ugly when she compares herself to her sister Bridget. Although she constantly seems to ridicule Bridget for her behavior, Kerry secretly wants to be popular like her sister. She is considered the smartest Hennessy kid and is very artistic.
Rory Hennesy The youngest and only boy in the family, Rory often takes great pleasure at getting his two older sisters in trouble. Portrayed by Martin Spanjers, Rory is a fan of video games and once traded his father's baseball cards for a monkey. Rory was devastated by his father's death and eventually acted out by punching a wall on the show.
Jim Egan James Garner joined the “8 Simple Rules” cast in 2003 and played character Jim Egan. Jim is Cate Hennessy’s father who comes to live with his daughter to help out with the kids after Paul dies. He is divorced from Cate’s mother and lives in the basement. Jim is a proud veteran of the Korean War and is often seen sneaking away to have a smoke.
C.J. Barnes Thirty-two-year-old C.J. Barnes, played by David Spade, is the nephew of Cate and Paul Hennessy. He served in the military during the Gulf War and received a Purple Heart in combat. C.J. teaches a the local school, lives in the Hennessy basement with his grandfather Jim and has a very child-like attitude. He often chases women, but doesn’t have much luck in getting their attention.