A.J. Langer had several minor roles in shows like Baywatch, Blossom, and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper before landing a recurring role on the ABC teen drama My So-Called Life, which soon became a cult classic. Why don’t we see her in television and movies anymore?
Allison Joy (AJ) Langer was born on May 22, 1974, in Columbus, Ohio, to Deanna, an audiologist, and Gary, who worked in sales.
At age five, Langer and her family, including her brother Kirk, moved to the San Fernando Valley, and she eventually joined an all-boys baseball team when she was eight.
Since males surrounded her and considered her name, Allison, “too feminine,” they gave her the nickname “AJ, " which is how fans know her today.
The future actress was introduced to acting coach Ernie Lively, who would eventually become her coach. Lively, who died in 2021, is also the father of actress Blake Lively.
Langer’s first credit was in 1990 in the television series Dragnet, when the actress was 16 years old.
She would continue to add credits to her resume with roles in the 1991 film The People Under The Stairs and popular television shows like Drexel’s Class and Baywatch. Drexel’s Class also introduced the world to a then-unknown, Brittany Murphy.
She would also appear in the hit show Beverly Hills, 90210 in the 1993 episode “Radar Love,” and the same year, Langer played Mary Jo Genaro in an episode of The Wonder Years, titled “Eclipse.”
On the big screen, Langer landed roles in Lighting in a Bottle, Ghost Brigade, and Arcade.
My So-Called Life
While her resume added small roles over the years, it wasn’t until 1994 that she could continually punch her timecard when the actress scored a recurring role in the teen drama, My So-Called Life, which starred Claire Danes.
The series revolved around a 15-year-old high school student, Angela Chase (Danes), who lived with her father, mother, and sister. Angela narrated the series, documenting the typical teenage life of guys, school, parents, and friends.
Ironically, Langer originally auditioned for the role of Angela, but history knows it didn’t work in her favor. However, Langer played Rayanne Graff, Angela’s new rebellious/out-of-control best friend. While it wouldn’t be the role she initially wanted, she reeled fans in with her defiant character.
The series only lasted one season, with Langer appearing in all 19 episodes of the sole season, from 1994-1995. Despite its short life, My So-Called Life became a cult classic and is often quoted as one of the best teen dramas of all time.
What did she do after My So-Called Life?
Langer continued to act when My So-Called Life ended, landing roles in popular shows like Coach, Seinfeld, Touched by an Angel, and Brooklyn South.
In 1996 she would land a spot in the movie Escape From L.A., alongside Kurt Russell.
From 2001-2002, Langer had a recurring role in the sitcom Three Sisters, starring as Annie Bernstein-Flynn.
She also had a recurring role for 14 episodes in the medical drama Private Practice, playing Erica Warner until the character’s death.
In 2002, Langer appeared in two episodes of the series The Drew Carey Show, which aired for nine seasons.
While she continued her career, she typically landed one-time roles and the occasional recurring role for a handful of episodes.
Her last acting role was in the 2013 Lifetime TV film Kristin’s Christmas Past, where she played Debbie.
Why did she quit acting? What is A.J. Langer doing now?
The actress exited the acting scene in 2013 when she married Charles Peregrine Courtenay, the 18th Earl of Devon, in 2004.
Langer is said to have met her husband in a bar, with neither having prior knowledge of the other, and the couple had a civil ceremony in 2004; they would hold a formal wedding in April 2005.
Today, the couple has two children, a daughter and a son (Lady Joscelyn Skye Courtenay and Jack Haydon Langer Courtenay, Lord Courtenay).
While Langer held the title of Lady Courteney after the marriage, she took the title of Countess of Devon when her father-in-law died.
Although the couple doesn’t let their titles go to their head, with Langer telling People Magazine in 2017, “Countess is a work title. We’re still AJ and Charlie.”
Until her father-in-law’s death in 2015, the couple lived in Los Angeles before relocating to Powderham Castle in London, a giant multi-era structure built in 1390.
In addition, Langer advocates for fibromyalgia and raises awareness and money for the cause.
In 2020, Langer joined the My So-Called Life Zoom reunion with co-stars Clare Danes, Bess Armstrong, Tom Irwin, Mary Kay Place, and more.
While fan-favorite Jared Leto wasn’t present, the cast enjoyed the heartfelt reunion and brought up the love the cast has for one another.