Whatever Happened To Mo From GUTS?

For every '90s kid, Moira Quirk was either your first crush, the person you aspired to be, or both. This multi-talent is best known for her turn as "Mo," the no-nonsense referee and co-host who worked opposite Mike O'Malley on Nickelodeon's GUTS. This "extreme" athletic competition show was a hit. Running from 1992 to 1996, it made the British actress a household name for Generation Y. But in the years since it went off the air, Quirk seemingly disappeared from the spotlight.

While it seems like Foot Locker might have been a natural next step (she already had the wardrobe for it), Quirk stayed in the lesser-known, but certainly not less lucrative lanes of the entertainment industry that exist — Gasp! — away from the camera. And you probably won't believe the body of work she's assembled. Away from her day jobs, life also moved on in a personal sense — and we'll fill you in on those happy developments as well. 

Here's what happened to Mo from GUTS.  

Yes, Mo climbed the Aggro Crag

Moira Quirk could not have truly completed her GUTS experience without having a go on the show's ultimate (and by far, coolest) challenge: conquering the iconic Aggro Crag.

"Yes, I did climb the Aggro Crag, and yes it was awesome. How can that much mylar not be?" she wrote on her website, before teasing, "Yes, I do have a piece of the Crag. No, I won't sell it to you." As she told the Miami New Times, "It's actually on the piano right now. I went in the garage and found it. It's always a question people ask me. And I'm like, yeah, obviously! And I don't care! It's such a waste on me. It's like, I hate it, but yeah, I'm keeping it! Because I know that you want it."

Doth the former referee protest too much? Quirk must be at least somewhat proud of this achievement, as her Twitter profile picture was once a snapshot of herself standing next to a piece of the mountain.

A voice-over actress extraordinaire

After GUTS wrapped in the mid-'90s, Moira Quirk moved from Orlando to Los Angeles to pursue her dream: voice-over work. "My first animation job was at the Hanna-Barbera building, and I just about peed my pants, I was so happy. I love all of [the characters]: Magilla Gorilla, Hong Kong Fooey, Scooby Doo," the cartoon-obsessed Quirk told the Miami New Times in 2012. 

"I'm going to toot my own horn — one of the most exciting moments of my life was a Scooby Doo thing," she continued, explaining that she played a villain. "I got to say, 'And I would've done it, too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!' And my life was complete!"

The voice actress' first job in animation was not only a dream come true, it was also "the job that got me my SAG card." Quirk's iconic work on GUTS also kicked off a decade-long collaboration with Nickelodeon. The actress went on to appear as a guest judge on the panelist game show Figure It Out, and voiced several characters on the network's classic cartoons, such as Hey Arnold!, The Wild Thornberrys, and My Life as a Teenage Robot.

Moira Quirk is a prolific writer

Over the course of her multi-decade career, the multi-talented artist formerly known as Mo from GUTS has cultivated an impressive writing portfolio. According to her website, Moira Quirk has written articles for various publications, including the now defunct Wondertime Magazine and The Faster Times, as well as Baby Talk, Hot Valley Writers, and The Story Salon Big Book of Stories.

Quirk is also a successful playwright, and has produced several theater pieces in Los Angeles, including Where are the Hands?, Domestic Bliss and Vaudeville, and A Post Modern Vaudeville. The latter was a successful two-person show she originally performed with her comedian husband, Michael Rayner. At the time, it was even chosen as LA Weekly's Pick of the Week

What's next for this diverse writer? "Currently I'm wondering if I can get it together to relive and write down as a Kindle single my experiences for Nickelodeon and Viacom during the '90s," she teased on her website. "Let me think on that one." On behalf of every kid who once dreamed of competing on GUTS, yes please!

Please keep it going for your next comic, Moira Quirk

You might not have guessed it from Mo's infamous straight delivery on GUTS, but Moira Quirk is a hilarious stand-up comedian.

She caught the comedy bug by chance. "One day I walked into an event called 'Anything But Stand-Up' run by Beverly Mickins. That was my start," the comic wrote on her website. "For a year I went to nearly every coffee house open mic in LA, and then won the Uncle Clyde Stand-Up Comedy Competition and got my first week at The Ice House in Pasadena. I have since appeared in colleges and clubs and theatres around this great land, and LA."

Quirk's material often centers around her children, and gets big laughs and rave reviews. As LA Weekly wrote, "Moira Quirk is aptly named playing a prim and proper British accent against a wicked sense of humor and a touch of gleeful malice."

Mo from GUTS became a gamer fan favorite

Calling all video game fanatics! If you ever thought one of your favorite video game characters sounded familiar, there's a chance Moira Quirk voiced them.

Her most popular voice-acting gig in the gaming world was undoubtedly her turn as Karliah in the 2011 Game of the Year Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. "It was funny, because I started getting comments on my YouTube saying, 'You're Karliah!' And then I realized, it was that game!" she told the Miami New Times. "I didn't realize I'd done it. It was called 'Dragon'-something at the time. Are there dragons in it? I haven't played it! I'm head of the Thieves Guild, I know that much."

Quirk has also voiced other popular characters, such as Elara Dorne in 2011's Star Wars: The Old Republic and Daniella, who the voice actress admitted "freaks me out quite honestly," in 2005's Haunting Ground. And she can't quite get over how awesome her job is. "When I was a kid in the '80s, my family put together a Sinclair ZX81 computer from a kit and played the Pong out of it," Quirk wrote on her website. "I can't even get my head around how cool games are now...nor that I get to be in them!"

Moira Quirk is a go-to radio play actress

Wait, GUTS wasn't Mo's favorite gig? No!! Actually, Moira Quirk considers her work in radio plays to be among some of her favorite. "When I was a young and keen drama student, I thought there could be nothing more wonderful than doing radio plays for BBC radio," she wrote on her website. "Many years later and an ocean away, I get to do just that right here in sunny Cal-i-forn-eye-ay! What?!" the voice actress continued. "Radio is a wonderful and magical place where extraordinarily wonderful and magical people create wonderful and magical art."

Quirk's work in this audio media realm is pretty extensive, as she often works in collaboration with Martin Jarvis and Ros Ayres of BBC productions, LA Theatre Works, and NPR. "Lately I have been performing in and recording a fair number of plays for radio and that is wonderful," she told A Blumes With a View, including John Osborne's Look Back In Anger in 2012. "It's lovely....I really love my job!"

There's a reason the narrator of that audiobook reminds you of your childhood

With dozens of audiobooks under her belt, chances are Moira Quirk's expressive voice has at some point kept you company on long road trips. 

Quirk fell into audiobook narration through her radio play work. "An audiobook producer was there and needed a British female narrator and Martin [Jarvis] recommended me," she told Audio Gals in 2013. "[That] was really the start and a case of serendipity-meets-preparedness!" After getting her feet wet with a few multi-reader audiobooks, Quirk took a turn at solo narration in 2012 with Kristen Callihan's Firelight. It was such a hit, the narrator won an Earphones Award for her debut. And Audiofile Magazine praised her "soft British accent," "well-enunciated tones," and "animated" performance.

"I have been fortunate to read several different genres so far, and I have to say that, truthfully, I prepare for them the same way," Quirk told Audio Gals. "When I'm reading the book I'm looking for its tone and how that might change. I'm noting the characters and their traits and whatever arc they might have. I cast the book in my head like I might a play." She continued, "I've been a voice over artist for many years now, and I think all of us travel with a repertory company in our heads, and so I pull out my readily available characters and create my new characters to build my ensemble."

Mo from GUTS made a successful return to screen

For nearly two decades, Moira Quirk continued to focus on voice-over work in television. But in 2012, she made her successful return on-camera in the twisted comedy Dirty Work (screenshot above). "It's basically a sitcom, but it's very interactive. It's a fun, dark, irreverent sitcom. I get to play someone so foul-mouthed and disgusting. If my oldest child finds it, she would say, 'Mother, that's just terrible,'" the actress told the Miami New Times

"You can hear people's inner monologues," she explained. "The show will text you. There's hidden things that you have to figure out. Before, if you needed to do something while watching TV, you ate or did knitting. But now, the TV will talk to you!" And the show's unique interactive concept garnered some serious accolades. As Quirk wrote on her website, "Loved the cast! Loved the crew! Loved that it was the first 'new media' series that won an Emmy! How cool is that?" Um, very

She also went on to appear in the third season of the web series Pretty in 2013.

Moira Quirk now has a family

Just as Moira Quirk's hosting career on Nickelodeon came to a close, she married America's Got Talent comedian Michael Rayner in May 1996. "I am married, for many years, happily. Very Americana," she told the Miami New Times. "We actually have a basketball hoop right above the garage this summer." As she wrote on her website, the private pair "have two daughters, one dog and a house on the fault-line."  

Over the years, Quirk has found a way to successfully balance her busy work life with her family. "Voice-over allows me a schedule where I can spend a lot of time with [our daughters] and pick them up from school," she told Audio Gals in 2013. "But I still try and do plays...and stand-up comedy, but, oh! That is a late night for momma!"

In 2017, the happy couple celebrated a milestone anniversary. To make his wife's day even more special, Rayner pulled out all the social media stops when he reached out to Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda on Twitter. "@Lin_Manuel Did you watch GUTS?" he wrote. "It's @moiraquirkable 21st wedding anniversary today. I'm her husband. Send her a tweet she's a fan." To which the Tony-winning composer-lyricist immediately replied, "Happy anniversary guys! Take us to the leaderboard MO!" Amazing.

Mike O'Malley and Moira Quirk are still friends

It will warm every '90s kid's nostalgic heart to know that Mo the Referee and GUTS host Mike O'Malley are still good pals — unlike many other Nickelodeon co-stars who ended up hating each other's... guts. (Yep, that happened) 

In fact, other than Quirk's own grandfather, O'Malley is still the only person to use her nickname "Mo." "No one else has really [called me that] before or since," she told the Miami New Times. "I don't think he's changed, even though his life has changed," Quirk said of the actor, who went on to star as Jimmy Hughes on Yes, Dear and play Burt Hummel on Glee. "He's actually really lovely, and sensitive, and has a great deal of integrity. He's a good guy! He's one of the good guys. He's very exuberant, and very A-type, but it's all from a very good place."

The two still talk, although "not as much as we'd like," she added. "He's busy with work and family. I'm busy with work and family," Quirk told A Blumes With a View. "But we keep up with each other, and I'm always happy to hear what he's up to. I did watch the first season of Glee and thought he was amazing." They even reunited via animation in June 2016 to reprise their memorable Nickelodeon counterparts on the "G.U.T.S. Busters" episode of Sanjay and Craig.

Mo from GUTS is a champion in her own right

Even though she's still most recognizable as Mo from GUTS, the multi-talented Moira Quirk is clearly always working. And with such a prolific, multifaceted career, she's also been filling up her awards shelf.

According to her website, Quirk won a cableACE for Nickelodeon's GUTS, was an Ovation Award nominee, and won an Earphones Award, as already mentioned. She's also received several Audie Awards and nominations. Most recently, her work as Mrs. Hudson in LA Theatre Works' 2015 audiobook for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles helped the cast win an Audie. Most prestigious, however, was when Dirty Work won an Emmy in 2012, as mentioned, for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media-Original Interactive Television Programming. 

And Quirk shows no signs of slowing down. "I do a lot of radio plays! I'm also doing a couple of projects that I can't even really talk about, unfortunately," she told the Miami New Times. "I have a list of games and movies I want to be on, and it's just called 'Everything!'"

Moira Quirk is part of the How to Train Your Dragons family

The How to Train Your Dragon trilogy might have ended with The Hidden World, but the franchise is still kicking on the small screen with Dragons: Rescue Riders. In February 2020, Netflix dropped the DreamWorks Animation series' second season which follows twins Dak and Layla on a brand new adventure. According to Animation Magazine, the series includes some big wigs like Emmy-winning executive producer Jack Thomas and black-ish's Marsai Martin, who takes on the role of Aggro, but it's also got a tiny bit of that '90s Nickelodeon spirit — the good one, not the arguably dark side of the popular kids network

According to IMDb, Moira Quirk voiced Hannahr in the series and appeared in three episodes, although it's unclear if she's on deck for 2020's run. IMDb doesn't have her listed, but she promoted the new season online. Beyond that, the star's most recent voice-acting projects include the TV series Castlevania, which is arguably a lot more pleasant than the impossible-to-beat Nintendo game we played on our Game Boy Colors while Mo was still hosting GUTS. She also had a role in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. It's clear that Mo has come a long way since her days of lending her voice to The Wild Thornberrys and Johnny Bravo.

Mo spilled the beans on the early days of GUTS

The legacy of GUTS is so enormous that in 2018, Moira Quirk was still being asked about her role in some seriously large publications. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, the referee admitted that she didn't think she'd be in California for more than a couple of weeks when the opportunity on the show changed all of that.

"I'd come to America [from England] to spend two weeks with my grandma, and I was working at Universal Studios. And that short trip just sort of became forever," she said.

Quirk was an instant hit with the show's producers, but being a Brit, she didn't know a whole lot about American sports. "American football" might as well have been a foreign language, and she only really watched skiing and tennis. Regardless, Albie Hecht, the show's co-creator and executive producer, felt her British accent gave her a sense of authority — something all referees need. "She was this beautiful little imp, the same size as the kids," he told Sports Illustrated, adding, "They loved her; she made them feel comfortable." The feeling was ... mostly mutual for Quick, as she confessed to the outlet, "There were a couple of d**ky kids."