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10 Actors You Never Knew Turned Down Iconic TV Roles & Now Regret It

More than the movie roles, good TV roles leave a better lasting impression on the minds of the viewers. These actors had a chance but blew it.

Pamela Anderson – Dana Scully in The X-Files

She is better know for her role as CJ Parker in Baywatch. But there was almost another iconic role she landed. X-Files creator Chris Carter had created Dana Scully specifically keeping Pamela Anderson in mind. Network execs found her to be a flawed actor. Pamela later turned down the role. Gillian Anderson was cast instead as Scully.

Jane Krakowski – Rachel in Friends

Krakowski’s rise to fame after starring in Ally McBeal and 30 Rock. She was even nominated for 4 Emmy awards for her role as Jenna Maroney. She could have immortalized her career had she agreed to play Rachel in Friends. Salary negotiations turned sour and Jennifer Aniston was brought in instead.

Ed O’Neill – Sam Malone in Cheers

He is more well-known for her role in Modern Family. However there is a part he almost played on TV. He was the original choice for playing womanizer and bar owner Sam Malone in Cheers. How content are we that the role went to Ted Danson after he turned it down.

John Cryer – Chandler in Friends

When John Cryer was offered the role of Chandler, he turned it down because he thought he is more of a serious actor. Then he went on to star as Alan Harper in the sitcom Two & A Half Men. The irony is killing us.

Katie Holmes – Buffy in Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Holmes was just a teenager back then. She turned down the role to focus on her school work. The role of Buffy eventually went to Sarah Michelle Gellar. She still talks about how she regrets doing what she did.

Ellen DeGeneres – Phoebe in Friends

A very classy lady, Ellen DeGeneres broke barriers when she publicly came out on air in the ’90s. She is better known for role in her eponymous sitcom and later, daytime talk show. The celebrity was almost cast as Phoebe in the hit TV sitcom Friends back then. The role then went to newcomer Lisa Kudrow and the rest is history.

Martin Landau – Spock in Star Trek

Leonard Nimoy played the character to absolute perfection in Star Trek. It is hard to imagine anyone else in the role now. But in 2001, Martin Landau of Ed Woods and Mission Impossible fame said he was offered the role before Nimoy. He turned it down because the character was too ’emotionless’.

Paul Giamatti – Michael Scott in The Office

Fresh off his success from the Oscar winning movie Sideways, Paul Giamatti was the talk of the town. He was approached by many networks for TV roles, including the role of Michael Scott in the American version of the original British comedy series – The Office. He turned it down but littler did he know The Office would achieve legendary success later on.

Thomas Jane – Don Draper in Mad Men

Thomas Jane has been pretty vocal about his regret for turning down the role of the iconic Don Draper, the 1950’s anti-hero of Mad Men. Jane believed back then that he was built for films not small TV roles. Jon Hamm was actually the show’s backup! Thomas Jane has found success in small screen with Hung while Mad Men gave Jon Hamm his breakout role.

John Cusack – Walter White in Breaking Bad

The legendary show was about a genius chemistry teacher going rogue and entering the criminal underbelly of organized crime. Walter White became the greatest drug lord that ever was, is, or will be. But the role was almost not played by Bryan Cranston. The showrunner reveals that they originally planned to cast John Cusack of 2012 fame as the lead.

Written by Bibhu Prasad Panda

Bibhu Prasad Panda is a Senior Content Writer at FandomWire. He has always been fascinated with the world of word balloons and text boxes since he was 5. From aspiring to be an engineer to becoming a market research specialist, life's been quite a journey for him. Bibhu now follows his passion as an entertainment journalist/blogger. He's also an Omen main in Valorant. SCATTER!!!!