12 Future Stars Who Appeared on Roseanne

ROBIN UTRECHT, AFP/Getty Images
ROBIN UTRECHT, AFP/Getty Images

Roseanne, a sitcom about a working-class family living in Lanford, Illinois, aired on ABC from October 18, 1988 until May 20, 1997. Following the trend of classic TV shows being rebooted, Roseanne Barr and company will return to ABC on March 27, for a 10th season of the show. The revival will ignore the fact that Dan Conner (John Goodman) died, and it’ll also resurrect the original Becky, played by Lecy Goranson. (The second Becky, Sarah Chalke, will also have a role.)

Throughout the series's original 222 episodes, scores of actors guest starred before they were famous (and/or Oscar winners), including regular cast member Johnny Galecki, who became even a bigger name while starring on The Big Bang Theory. Galecki will make an appearance on the new Roseanne. Here are 12 Roseanne actors who eventually found stardom. 

1. GEORGE CLOONEY

George Clooney had been in and out of sitcom purgatory by the time he spent 11 episodes on Roseanne, as Booker Brooks, Roseanne and Jackie’s (Laurie Metcalf) supervisor (and Jackie’s love interest) at Wellman Plastics. He made those appearances from 1988 to 1989, soon after he had done shows like Baby Talk, The Facts of Life, and the B-movie Return of the Killer Tomatoes!

While at the Telluride Film Festival, Clooney shared a story about a time Barr hit on him. “The first season of Roseanne was pretty fun,” he said. “The first time I met her she’s like, ‘You’re really good looking. Why don’t you take me behind the stage and make me stink?’” Insane fame wasn’t far off for the former lothario; in 1994 he became of star of ER, which made him a household name.

2. LEONARDO DICAPRIO

On the February 5, 1991 episode entitled “Home-Ec,” Leonardo DiCaprio played a classmate of Darlene’s. Much to her daughter’s chagrin, Roseanne visits the class and explains to them what a housewife does. DiCaprio doesn’t have any lines, but he can be clearly seen in the classroom, sitting near Darlene. He also had a recurring role on Growing Pains, and in 1993 he landed a star-turning role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, which garnered him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod. Of course the rest is history: In 1997 he hit Titanic-sized success. Besides Clooney, DiCaprio is the only before-they-were-famous Roseanne guest star to win an Oscar.

3. TOBEY MAGUIRE

One week after DiCaprio's episode aired, his longtime friend Tobey Maguire made a quick guest appearance on the show—albeit with a couple of lines.

4. JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Multi-hyphenate Joseph Gordon-Levitt was just a pre-teen when he appeared as George, D.J.’s (Michael Fishman) weird and intolerable friend, for four episodes between 1993 and 1995. Before Roseanne he had small roles on Family Ties and in the movie A River Runs Through It. A year after his last appearance on Roseanne, Gordon-Levitt got cast as one of the leads on the NBC show 3rd Rock from the Sun. He eventually transitioned to film, making a name for himself in the 2009 rom-com 500 Days of Summer, and starring alongside fellow Roseanne guest star DiCaprio in 2010’s Inception.

5. ELLEN DEGENERES

Though Ellen DeGeneres already had her namesake sitcom in 1994, she wasn’t quite on a first-name basis with the world. On a May 1995 Roseanne episode called “The Blaming of the Shrew,” Ellen played a therapist named Dr. Whitman, who comically counsels Jackie and her husband Fred (Michael O’Keefe). Dr. Whitman’s advice didn’t work, as the couple divorced.

6. BOB ODENKIRK

Since beginning his career in the 1980s, Bob Odenkirk has racked up more than 100 acting credits. In a 1993 season five episode called “Tooth or Consequences,” he played Jim, a friend of Dan’s who pretends to be a health inspector. At this point in his career, Odenkirk had already written for SNL and starred on the short-lived The Ben Stiller Show. Although in 1995 he and David Cross became well known for their HBO sketch show Mr. Show, it wasn’t until 2009 that Odenkirk became a household name by playing Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad. This led to him headlining the Emmy-nominated spinoff Better Call Saul.

7. BRAD GARRETT

Actor Brad Garrett of FX's 'Fargo' attends the Getty Images Portrait Studio powered by Samsung Galaxy at 2015 Summer TCA's at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 7, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California
Tommaso Boddi, Getty Images for Samsung

Actor and stand-up comedian Brad Garrett played a guy named Doug on a May 1991 episode entitled “The Pied Piper of Lanford.” Garrett had mainly worked behind the scenes, providing silly voices for animated movies and shows. But in 1996 he was cast as Robert Barone on the blockbuster show Everybody Loves Raymond; he won three Emmys for the role.

8. ALYSON HANNIGAN

Actress Alyson Hannigan attends the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation's 19th Annual 'Taste for a Cure' at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on April 25, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

On the season three episode “Like, A New Job” in 1990, Alyson Hannigan portrayed Becky’s friend, Jan. Becky, Jan, and their other friend (who didn’t become famous) visit Roseanne at her new waitressing job, and Roseanne makes a point to embarrass them. The future How I Met Your Mother celebrity wasn’t new to acting—she had a role in 1988’s My Stepmother is an Alien, and had started acting in commercials at the age of four. Seven years after the Roseanne cameo, Hannigan landed the role of Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Two years later she became infamous for her quotable “this one time at band camp” American Pie performance.

9. STEPHEN ROOT

Actor Stephen Root attends the 'Selma' New York Premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on December 14, 2014 in New York City
Ben Gabbe, Getty Images

Character actor Stephen Root played Roseanne’s lawyer, Peter, in a March 1990 episode. (The episode also featured Melora Walters, who would go on to star in Boogie Nights and Magnolia.) According to IMDb.com, this was Root’s seventh TV/film role. He became a ubiquitous TV actor, popping up in everything from Night Court to Seinfeld. In 1995, he finally became a series regular, on NewsRadio. In 1999 he reached cult status when he played the stapler-loving Milton in Office Space.

10. JENNA ELFMAN

Actor Jenna Elfman attends Larry King's 60th Broadcasting Anniversary Event at HYDE Sunset: Kitchen + Cocktails on May 1, 2017 in West Hollywood, California
Rich Fury, Getty Images

The effusive actress played a hitchhiker named Garland in the November 14, 1995 episode “The Getaway, Almost.” The description of the episode reads: “Roseanne and Jackie’s shopping trip turns into a road trip when they pick up a hitchhiking teenage girl.” At that time Elfman was just two years away from starring on another ABC show, Dharma & Greg, which put her on the map.

11. JAMES PICKENS JR.

Actor James Pickens Jr attends the People's Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Christopher Polk, Getty Images for People's Choice Awards

Between 1990 and 1996, James Pickens Jr. appeared on 19 episodes of Roseanne, playing Dan’s pal Chuck Mitchell (and one of the show’s only minority characters). It was Pickens’s first major part, but throughout those six years he also starred on Beverly Hills, 90210 and L.A. Law, and in 1998 he began a stint on the X-Files. He didn’t become famous until 2005, though, when Shonda Rhimes cast him as Dr. Webber on the long-running (300 episodes and counting!) Grey’s Anatomy. Pickens supposedly will reprise Chuck on the reboot.

12. ERIC DANE

Speaking of Grey’s Anatomy: When Eric Dane played a bellhop on a season eight episode in 1996—in which the Disney-owned ABC mandated that the Connor family visit Disney World—he was a decade away from playing Dr. Mark “McSteamy” Sloan on Grey’s. Previously, he had guest starred on The Wonder Years and Saved by the Bell.

Alexander Skarsgård Could Have Played Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Marvel fans may have trouble imagining Thor played by anyone other than Chris Hemsworth, but apparently, Alexander Skarsgård was pretty darn close to getting the role. How close, you ask? He tried on the costume, held the hammer, and even filmed an audition in the garb.

In 2009—just a year after True Blood premiered—the actor told MTV that he met with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and Thor director Kenneth Branagh about the part. “Yeah, I met with Kevin [Feige] a few times and the director,” he said. “There was definitely some truth in that, yeah.”

When the MTV interviewer said he thought the actor had the perfect look to bring Thor to life, Skarsgård simply replied, “So did I.”

But before you start to feel too sorry for Skarsgård, let's not forget the number of impressive roles the True Blood alum has landed. At the moment, he’s playing Perry Wright in HBO’s Big Little Lies, for which he won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

As for the Thor role, Hemsworth went on to play the God of Thunder in multiple films, and although his future in the MCU is not certain after Avengers: Endgame, the Australian actor confirmed he’d love to keep playing the character.

Watch the Stranger Things Cast Recap the First Two Seasons in 15 Minutes

Priah Ferguson stars in Stranger Things.
Priah Ferguson stars in Stranger Things.
Netflix

While we can't wait for the third season of Stranger Things to premiere next month, many of us have also probably forgotten what happened in the series' first two seasons—especially the tiniest of details, which might prove to be significant in the upcoming episodes. Coming up with fan theories can get difficult when we can’t remember everything, but watching all 17 episodes before July 4 isn't feasible for everyone. That's why this new video, in which the cast of the Netflix hit provides the ultimate recap, is a lifesaver.

The video features Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), and Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler) recalling all the key moments of seasons 1 and 2, in just over 15 minutes.

The actors first go through the main characters of the series, explaining how each of them are intertwined, such as Hawkins's sheriff Jim Hopper, and Nancy's then-boyfriend Steve Harrington. They introduce the Upside Down, which Will was trapped in during the majority of the first season, resulting in his mom Joyce relying on a few nontraditional strategies to get him back. The cast also explains who Eleven is and how she's able to help get Will back.

The recap pinpoints all the major moments of the first season, and then goes into the second season, where everything in Hawkins appears to be normal again. The latest season, as the cast recalls, explores Eleven's backstory and introduces new characters like Max Mayfield, Billy Hargrove, Bob Newby, and sadly, the baby Demogorgon named D'Artagnan. The video concludes with the school Snowball dance, but things don't exactly end on a happy note, as the season's final moments show a monster is still very present in Hawkins.

As action-packed as Stranger Things is, a recap like this is truly a must. We'll rewatch it a few times before season 3 debuts on July 4.

[h/t Highsnobiety]

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