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Actors Who Regret They Turned Down These Iconic TV Show Roles

An actor can go from being a nobody to a household brand with the right role on the right TV show. Several artists had been offered just that but chose to turn them down. Here’s a list of actors that wish they hadn’t passed on these classic TV show roles.

1. Jane Krakowski – F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Rejected the role of Rachel Green - Jane Krakowski.
Rejected the role of Rachel Green – Jane Krakowski.

Jane Krakowski rose to prominence after her appearance on Ally McBeal. She is a success on the sitcom 30 Rock, for which she has received four Emmy nominations for her portrayal as Jenna Maroney. Surprisingly, she was offered the lead TV show role in yet another famous series. She was offered the role of Rachel Green on Friends after a successful audition. However, pay discussions between her agent and the producers fell through, and the job went to Jennifer Aniston.

2. Ed O’Neill – Cheers

Ed O'Neill as his TV show role of Al Bundy
 Played Al Bundy on Married With Children – Ed O’Neill.

Ed O’Neill is known for starring as Al Bundy, the cantankerous patriarch on the famous comedy Married…with Children, and his TV show role in Modern Family. However, you probably didn’t even know he was almost cast as the womanizing pub owner Sam Malone on Cheers! Ed rejected the offer of Sam in the iconic series in order to concentrate on serious projects.

3. Paul Shaffer – Seinfeld

Rejected a TV Show role in Seinfeld- Paul Shaffer.
Canadian singer, composer, and actor – Paul Shaffer.

You might be surprised to discover that Paul Shaffer, known for his fame as David Letterman’s bandleader and buddy, declined the position of George Constanza on Seinfeld. Shaffer claims in his autobiography that Seinfeld called him privately and offered him the position without even requiring him to audition! Shaffer, on the other hand, was preoccupied at the moment and never backed it up with Jerry. He probably regrets his actions now, as his career has been stagnating for years and he hasn’t had much progress in the profession.

4. Martin Landau – Star Trek

Rejected the TV show role of Spock on Star Trek - Martin Landau
Rejected the role of Spock on Star Trek – Martin Landau.

Spock from Star Trek is a memorable character cherished by admirers all across the world, with his pointy ears, angular eyebrows, and flat affect. However, it’s hard to believe he was almost played by someone other than Leonard Nimoy. That someone was Martin Landau of Mission: Impossible and Ed Wood fame. “A character without emotions would have driven me crazy. I would have had to be lobotomized,” Martin said when asked why he didn’t take the TV show role.

5. Paul Giamatti – The Office

Turned down a TV show role because he was a movie actor - Paul Giamatti.
Turned down a TV show role because he was a movie actor – Paul Giamatti.

Paul Giamatti was a successful movie celebrity, straight off the success of his leading performance in the Academy Award-winning picture Sideways. It’s no surprise, however, that when he was considered for the TV show role of Michael Scott in the American remake of the British comedy The Office, he declined. Why would a film star switch to television? Paul obviously had no idea that The Office would go on to be a huge hit, with Steve Carell bagging one of the most iconic TV show roles ever.