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See Vinnie From "Doogie Howser, M.D." Now at 55

Max Casella played the teen doctor's best friend on the early '90s series.

While Doogie Howser was busy being a teenage doctor, his best friend Vinnie Delpino was living a normal high school life. On Doogie Howser, M.D., Max Casella played Doogie's (Neil Patrick Harris) friend and ongoing his connection to the teen issues of the day. Casella starred on the series throughout its four seasons, from 1989 to 1993, and since then, has had a lengthy career that includes popular TV shows, major movies, the Broadway stage, and voice roles.

Read on to find out more about Casella's life and career today.

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Doogie Howser, M.D. was his big break.

The cast of "Doogie Howser, M.D." at the People's Choice Awards in 1990
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In 2015, Casella told The A.V. Club that getting cast on Doogie Howser, M.D. was a huge turning point in his career. When the show premiered, Casella was 22 years old.

"Well, that was huge for me, the whole thing of doing Doogie," he said. "I mean, it changed my whole life. It literally changed my whole life overnight. Like I said, before I did Doogie, I had done some theater and small TV things in Boston, and then in New York I did that episode of The Equalizer—and also one of Kate and Allie!—while I was studying and working in a small off-off-Broadway theater."

In an interview with HuffPost Live in 2016, he was asked how he came out of Doogie Howser without the "child star" label. "I was not a child and I was not a star, so that is why I escaped that," he replied.

He's taken on many more roles.

Max Casella at the premiere of "Benny & Joon" in 1993
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Casella has a prolific career in TV, film, and theater. He's played recurring roles in The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Ray Donovan, Vinyl, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. On the big screen, he's been in the movies Newsies, Ed Wood, Revolutionary Road, Inside Llewyn Davis, Jackie, and The Tender Bar, among others. On stage, he originated the role of Timon in The Lion King on Broadway and was also in the Broadway revival of The Music Man.

Casella was unsure about being in The Lion King at first, especially because he had to wear and operate a large puppet. "That turned out to be a phenomenal experience, but at the time, it just seemed like a huge digression from what I wanted to be doing," he told The A.V. Club.

He's a father.

Max Casella at a screening of "The Rhythm Section" in 2020
Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Casella has two children, Mia and Gioia, with his ex-wife Leona Robbins, and he occasionally posts about them Instagram. In July 2022, he shared a picture of them posing with Sylvester Stallone, his co-star on the upcoming series Tulsa King, and wrote, "Sly and the Family Casella." Back in December 2020, he shared a picture of himself with his children and wrote, "These kids, these kids, THESE KIDS!"

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He's not very close with his Doogie co-stars.

Max Casella at a screening of "The Tender Bar" in 2021
Santiago Felipe/WireImage/Getty Images

In a different interview with The A.V. Club in 2019, Casella was asked if he still talks to his Doogie Howser co-stars.

"Talk? No," he said. "But, you know, Instagram. Like, like, like, hey, emoji with a few people." He also said that Lawrence Pressman, who played Dr. Benjamin Canfield on the show, came to opening night of the play A Play Is a Poem, which he was starring in at the time. "I hadn't seen him in 30 years," Casella said.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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