Every successful Hollywood star had to get their start somewhere, and that somewhere is usually TV shows. If you watched ’90s sitcoms back when they were airing on television, it would be impossible to recall all the one-time guest stars who came and went. These shows might have been super popular way back then, but these celebs weren’t, which means you probably totally overlooked one of their first credited roles. Here we have compiled 21 famous celebrities who starred on 90s sitcoms before they got famous.
1) Adam Scott Played A Tough-Guy Band Kid On ‘Boy Meets World’
He channeled his early Derek Huff (from the film Step Brothers) in an episode of Boy Meets World, the polar opposite of his lovable Parks and Recreation character Ben Wyatt.
2) Jurnee Smollett Played A Little Girl On A Christmas Episode Of ‘Martin’
Now the star of HBO’s Lovecraft Country, Jurnee Smollett appeared in as “Little Girl No. 1” in a Christmas episode of Martin.
3) Chris Hardwick Played A Beauty Competition Host On ‘Married… with Children‘
Chris Hardwick, famous nerd, comedian, actor, and television host appeared on Married… with Children as… basically himself, playing spring-break beauty contest host Dan Inwood.
4) Ellen Pompeo Played Ross And Chandler’s Former Crush On ‘Friends’
Before Ellen Pompeo played Dr. Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy for almost two decades, Ross and Chandler fought over her character Missy on an episode of Friends.
5) Linda Cardellini Played High School Girl ‘Lorna’ On ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’
Linda Cardellini appeared on television in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun as Lorna before starring in Freaks and Geeks, Bloodline, and Dead to Me. She is also known for appearing as Velma in the live-action Scooby-Doo films and Laura Barton in the Avengers films.
6) Ashley Tisdale Played A Trivia Competitor Amy On ‘Smart Guy‘
Before becoming a Disney star known for playing Sharpay in the High School Musical films, Ashley Tisdale made the rounds on various ’90s sitcoms as a young actress. She played T.J.’s game show opponent on Smart Guy.
7) Keri Russell Played Mr. Feeney’s Niece On ‘Boy Meets World’
Keri Russell has been around for a long time. Before starring in multiple television series like Felicity and The Americans, she played small television parts, including Jessica, Mr. Feeney’s niece, on Boy Meets World.
8) Milo Ventimiglia Played A Party Guest On ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’
Fans know him now from his starring roles on the TV shows Gilmore Girls, Heroes, and This Is Us, but Milo Ventimiglia made his first-ever television appearance as “Party Guest No. 1” on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
9) Jessica Alba Played A Snobby Girlfriend On ‘The Secret World of Alex Mack’
Before starring in such film franchises as The Fantastic Four and Sin City, movie star Jessica Alba had a brief recurring role as Alex’s school rival Jessica on Nickelodeon’s The Secret World of Alex Mack.
10) James Marsden Played Margaret Sheffield’s Boyfriend On ‘The Nanny’
Before appearing in such films as X-Men and Superman Returns, James Marsden landed a couple of bit parts on ’90s sitcoms including Saved by the Bell and Blossom, and as Margaret’s boyfriend Eddie on The Nanny.
11) Craig Robinson Played A Store Clerk On ‘Friends’
Craig Robinson appeared as an office clerk in an episode of Friends before becoming Darryl Philbin on The Office and “The Pontiac Bandit” Doug Judy on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
12) Tobey Maguire Played Becky’s Friend Jeff On ‘Roseanne’
Before landing the role of Peter Parker in the Spider-Man trilogy, Tobey Maguire appeared in an episode of Roseanne as Becky’s pal Jeff.
13) Hilary Swank Played Ben’s Love Interest Sasha On ‘Growing Pains’
Before becoming a major film star, Hilary Swank played Sasha Serotsky, a fellow student at Ben’s high school, in Growing Pains for two episodes.
14) Kaley Cuoco Played Ellen As A Child On ‘Ellen’
Before starring in The Big Bang Theory, one of the biggest shows on television, or even her breakout role in 8 Simple Rules, Kaley Cuoco played young Ellen Morgan (Ellen DeGeneres’s character) on Ellen.
15) Jon Stewart Played Matthew’s (Andy Dick’s) Twin On ‘NewsRadio’
Before his own comedy news program, The Daily Show, Jon Stewart appeared as Andy Dick’s “identical” twin brother on the NBC sitcom NewsRadio.
16) Alyson Hannigan Played Becky’s Friend Jan On ‘Roseanne‘
Before taking on iconic television roles like Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Lily Aldrin from How I Met Your Mother, Alyson Hannigan appeared in an episode of Roseanne as Becky’s friend Jan.
17) Don Cheadle Played Will’s Friend On ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’
Before taking over the iconic role as James Rhodes/War Machine in the Iron Man and Avengers movies (and countless other films), Don Cheadle appeared in the first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Will Smith’s friend Ice Tray.
18) Joseph Gordon-Levitt Played D.J.’s Friend On ‘Roseanne’
Now one of the biggest film stars, Joseph Gordon-Levitt grew up on TV, appearing as Tommy Solomon in 3rd Rock from the Sun. But before that, he played D.J.’s friend George on Roseanne for a brief period.
19) Michelle Williams Played Brad’s Girlfriend On ‘Home Improvement’
Renowned film actress Michelle Williams appeared in an episode of Home Improvement as Brad’s girlfriend Jessica before moving on to her leading role on Dawson’s Creek, and roles in such films as Manchester by the Sea, Blue Valentine, and Shutter Island.
20) Dave Chappelle Played A ‘Tool Time’ Guest On ‘Home Improvement’
One of the biggest comedians to date, Dave Chappelle appeared with his Half Baked co-star Jim Breuer as a guest on Tim’s show Tool Time in an episode of Home Improvement.
21) Aaron Paul Played A High School Prom Announcer On ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’
Aaron Paul will be forever known as Jesse on Breaking Bad, but before that, he had bit parts in sitcoms and commercials, and even ended up as a contestant on The Price is Right. On 3rd Rock from the Sun, he played an announcer at a high school junior prom.