Liz O'Rourke was portrayed by Cathy Keenan and Brooke Madigan (as young Liz in Crossed Wires). Although Liz appears as a new character in season 2, Cathy Keenan is an uncredited extra throughout season 1, starting with the first episode, Kiss Me, Steph.

Degrassi Season 2-5 (Original Degrassi)

Starts as: Grade 8

Liz O'Rourke was a former student at Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High School. She is a new student in Degrassi Junior High in January or February 1988, and Joey Jeremiah hears rumors that Liz is a wild sex girl. He tries to have sex with her, and she angrily refuses, but later forgives him. Liz becomes best friends with Christine "Spike" Nelson, and they are inseparable. Liz has strong feelings about animal rights.


She helps Caitlin do some research on her animal testing article in the school paper and shows her a video and invites her to a rally. Catlin finds out that her epilepsy medicine was tested on animals and tells Liz so Liz thinks she should stop taking it and their friendship is pretty much over. In a later episode we find out she was an unwanted pregnancy and her mother almost had an abortion which led to her pro-life/animal rights interests.

Liz posted pro-life posters in school washrooms and on lockers when she found out about Erica Farrell's abortion. This leads to the first Degrassi girl fight ever. Erica grabs Liz's hair, and pulls her to the ground. The two fight until two teachers pull them off each other. Although Liz and Spike were best friends, they have had problems in their relationship, like when Spike and Patrick broke up, and Patrick asked Liz out to a concert. Liz agrees, and Spike is jealous, although she initially told Liz that she didn't care if she went out with Patrick. The two girls argue, as Spike thinks that Liz should have just known that it was wrong to go out with her ex-boyfriend. Although Liz enjoys spending time with Patrick, she cares too much about her friendship with Spike and tells him that she can't go out with him anymore.


Joey and Liz

In another Liz featured episode, Tim asks her to go the The Pogues concert and she turns him down. After talking with Spike, who convinces her Tim is a nice guy, she changes her mind and they go out. At the end of the date Tim tries to kiss her and she freaks out, screams, and slams the door in his face. Tim begs her to forgive him and is confused why she cannot. She tells Spike about it and asks for her advice. We find out through flashbacks and a heart to heart with Spike that she was molested as a child by her mother's boyfriend (not her father who was long gone by that time) which is the reason she is terrified of Tim giving her a peck and men in general. She starts to cope with it at the end and Tim and her decide to just be friends. She and Tim share a dance at Degrassi High's final dance, showing that they still have a strong friendship.

Although Liz's character was a new student to Degrassi in Great Expectations, Cathy Keenan can be spotted in earlier episodes including Kiss Me Steph and Revolution as an extra.


Liz's mother was played by Laine Williams. Liz's father was never in her life. However, in flashbacks of abuse she suffered as a child, the mother's boyfriend, who committed the abuse, was played by Les Porter, who is mis-identified in the closing credits as "Liz's Dad".


Liz delivering baby Jack

Degrassi: The Next Generaton (Season 1, 3, 5)

On the Degrassi: The Next Generation Season 1 special features, in a reunion video she says she now works with the developmentally disabled. She also helps her best friend, Spike, give birth to her second child, Jack. When Liz's best friend Spike needs a pick-me-up during her separation from Snake, Liz is there comforting her. She is present along with other Degrassi alumni, when male strippers arrived to cheer Spike up.


Liz at Spike's male strippers party.


  • Liz, along with fifteen other characters, was sexually assaulted:
  • She is the second character to have an abusive father, the other four being Rick MunroCraig ManningJane Vaughn, and Miles Hollingsworth III.
    • Liz's father never abused her, but he was abusive to her mother, beating her unconscious when she discovered that she was pregnant with their daughter.
  • Liz and Erica had the first female fist fight in the Degrassi Franchise.
  • In A New Start, it was revealed that she was pro-life. In Everybody Wants Something, she says that she is against abortion because when her mother fell pregnant with her, her father demanded that she have an abortion. Her mother didn't want to have an abortion so he beat her until she became unconscious. Her mother never went back to her father, but if she had then Liz wouldn't be alive.
  • She had the back of her head shaved during Degrassi Junior High.
  • Liz was the first character who was a background character before her first appearance. The second was Zane.
  • Liz shares similarities with future characters Emma Nelson and Jane Vaughn.
    • Like Emma, Liz was passionate about animal rights and protesting. She was also pro-life, though Emma was considerably more tolerant of other people's choices.
    • Similar to Jane, Liz had a punk, tomboyish style when she was in high school. Liz and Jane were also both molested as children by fathers or father figures in their lives. Liz was molested by her mother's boyfriend, and Jane was molested by her father.