Remember the 90s Saturday morning sitcom California Dreams? The show followed a group of teens in a band called the California Dreams as they dealt with high school, relationships, and chasing their dreams of musical stardom.
One of the standout cast members was Heidi Lenhart, who played the band’s keyboardist Jenny Garrison. With her girl-next-door charm and impressive musical talent, Lenhart quickly became a fan favorite. So what exactly happened to the actress after her California Dreams days?
Heidi Lenhart was born on August 22, 1973, in Los Angeles, California. Before landing her breakout role on California Dreams, Heidi Lenhart had a few small acting credits as a child actress in the late 1980s, including voice roles in the anime series Noozles and The Adventures of Hutch the Honeybee. In the early 1990s, she started getting more prominent TV and movie roles, including parts in films like A Quiet Little Neighborhood, a Perfect Little Murder and TV movies like The Girl Who Came Between Them.
One of Lenhart’s most notable roles was in the hit TV show “California Dreams.” The show, which aired from 1992 to 1996, revolved around a group of teenagers who formed a band and navigated the ups and downs of high school life.
Lenhart played the role of Jenny Garrison, a talented singer and one of the original members of the band.
Why was she written off the show?
Heidi Lenhart’s character Jenny Garrison was written out of California Dreams early in the second season as the show shifted focus away from the Garrison family and more onto the band itself. The producers decided to remove the Garrison parents and Jenny from main roles so they could orient the sitcom around the teens and their musical aspirations. After being accepted to a prestigious music conservatory in Italy, Jenny was written off the show in the season two episode “Ciao, Jenny.”
Career After California Dreams
After being written off California Dreams in 1994, Heidi Lenhart continued acting with roles in various TV movies and shows throughout the late 90s, like Fame L.A., The Pretender, and Beverly Hills 90210.
She also did voice work in notable anime dubs such as El-Hazard and Rakusho! Hyper Doll under the pseudonym Melody Lee.
Her last major acting credit was playing Jenny Morgan in the 2001 TV movie Au Pair II. After that, her acting work tapered off, with just a handful of minor roles in the 2000s.
It seems after 2001, Lenhart stepped back from professional acting and didn’t take on any major roles again. While she had a steady career on TV for over a decade after California Dreams, the 2000s marked the end of Lenhart’s time as a working actress.
What is Heidi Lenhart Doing Now?
After stepping back from acting in the 2000s, Heidi Lenhart became increasingly involved in charitable work, especially with her mother Cheryl Saban’s non-profit the Cheryl Saban Self-Worth Foundation for Women and Girls.
Lenhart served on the board of directors for the foundation, which provides grants and supports programs focused on women’s empowerment, gender equality, education, health care access, and advancing women in fields like science, math, and technology.
Through her position at the foundation, Lenhart has been able to advocate for issues like parenting, wellness, and enabling women to gain financial self-sufficiency.
California Dreams Reunions
In 2010, Heidi Lenhart had a mini California Dreams reunion when she and several of her former co-stars appeared together on The Jimmy Fallon Show. Fallon organized the reunion over 15 years after the show ended, bringing together cast members Brent Gore, William James Jones, Jennie Kwan, Jay Anthony Franke, Kelly Packard, Michael Cade, and Lenhart. The group reminisced about their time on the classic 90s sitcom, and even performed the theme songs from the show.
In 2023, a California Dreams cast reunion was organized, but notably absent was Heidi Lenhart. She had been scheduled to attend the event and reunite with her former co-stars, but unfortunately had to cancel due to the conflict in Israel at that time affecting her immediate family.
With violence escalating in the region, Lenhart understandably prioritized being with her loved ones over the reunion. While disappointing for fans who were excited to see her, the cast and organizers expressed their full support of her decision and sent thoughts and prayers to Lenhart and her family during that difficult time. It wa