Skip to content

He Played Rory on "8 Simple Rules." See Martin Spanjers Now at 35.

The former child star still acts and honors his late TV dad.

Martin Spanjers starred on the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules from 2002 to 2005, playing Rory Hennessy, the youngest child of Cate (Katey Sagal) and Paul Hennessy (John Ritter). While on the show, Spanjers was twice nominated for the Young Artist Award, winning in 2004 for his work in the wake of the unexpected death of Ritter.

While 8 Simple Rules was canceled in 2005, Spanjers has continued to draw inspiration from his three years on the show. Find out where the former child star is now at age 35.

READ THIS NEXT: She Played Kerry on 8 Simple Rules. See Amy Davidson Now at 42.

He has honored the memory of John Ritter.

John Ritter, Amy Davidson, Kaley Cuoco, and Martin Spanjers in 2003
Steve Grayson/WireImage

Ritter's untimely passing from an undiagnosed aortic dissection at the age of 54 during the filming of 8 Simple Rules' second season impacted not only the course of the show's plot—the death was written into the show, and Sagal moved into the lead role with James Garner and David Spade joining the cast—but also the lives of his co-stars. Ritter's three on-screen children, Spanjers, Kaley Cuoco, and Amy Davidson, have each spoken about the actor's death over the years and frequently taken to social media to remember him.

"He was the greatest," Spanjers recounted on Instagram in 2020. "The most kind, genuine, loving and yes, hilarious person."

Spanjers has also paid tribute to the late actor by raising money for The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health, an organization founded by Ritter's widow Amy Yasbeck to raise awareness of the condition that took his life. In 2018, the late star's TV son joined "#TeamRitter" in the New York Marathon to raise money for the foundation. In 2020, he also participated Aortic Dissection Awareness Week, which is devoted to raising awareness of the condition on social media.

He still acts here and there.

Martin Spanjers in 2005
Jim Spellman/WireImage

After 8 Simple Rules, Spanjer continued to act, with appearances on shows including Grey's Anatomy and 90210. He also guest-starred as a teenage Sam Merlotte on True Blood, and took on film roles, including the 2007 football spoof The Comebacks, indie film Sassy Pants, and the ill-fated Jamie Kennedy/John Goodman throwback Spring Break '83. In recent years he has appeared in a number of short films and the 2019 horror thriller The Body at Brighton Rock.

He's a producer who has worked on a documentary about the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Martin Spanjers in 2011
Jerod Harris/Getty Images

At just 20, Spanjers produced and directed First Night, a short film starring former 8 Simple Rules co-star James Garner. He has continued working behind the scenes as a producer on music videos and short films, recently working with directing duo Jonathan Hoeg and John F. Beach to produce short films The Accomplice and Gifted.

In 2016, he also joined friend and director Raviv Ullman (another former child actor, Disney's Phil of the Future) as producer on the documentary Standing Ground. Launched via a Kickstarter campaign, the film sets out to document the Indigenous protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline as well as issues surrounding other pipelines across North America. (As of 2021, the film is in post-production, according to a Kickstarter update by Ullman.)

For more celebrity updates sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

He became a "Burning Man expert."

On a 2015 episode of The Selfie Talk Show, Spanjers revealed a serious love for Burning Man. He shared that he was anticipating attending the annual art and community event in the Nevada desert for the sixth time later that year and gave it his ringing endorsement.

"Burning Man's a treadmill. You're going to experience a lot in a small amount of time. It leaves a big impact," he said.

He has worked in the tech world and as a photographer.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Spanjers works in Special Operations and was an angel investor and Brand Director at Rufus Labs. The Los Angeles-based technology company has developed wrist communicators/wearable computers and barcode scanning wristbands for warehouse workers, as well as related software. As if his resume could be any rounder, Spanjers also does freelance photography, shooting portraits, corporate shots, and other types of photos.

Joel Cunningham
Joel Cunningham is a writer and editor who lives in Brooklyn. Read more
Filed Under