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25 Future Stars Who Appeared on Seinfeld

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Columbia Pictures Television

Originally titled The Seinfeld Chronicles, the sitcom went from inauspicious origins to become one of the most iconic shows of all time, turning its stars into household names. But Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards weren’t the only actors to get their break on the show about nothing. These now-familiar faces appeared in bit parts on the series before making it big.

1. Peter Krause - Tim in "The Limo" (February 26, 1992)

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On Seinfeld: Before he was spotted driving a hearse on Six Feet Under, Peter Krause played a white supremacist who winds up riding in a limo with Jerry and the gang.

Since Seinfeld: He’s gone on to become a bonafide leading man, most recently on Parenthood.

2. Jeremy Piven - Michael Barth in “The Pilot” (May 20, 1993) 

On Seinfeld: In one of the series’ more meta moments, Piven plays an actor who auditions for the part of George in “The Pilot.”

Since Seinfeld: Piven has had a long career in TV and film since Seinfeld, but his name is now synonymous with irate super agent Ari Gold from HBO’s Entourage.

3. Lauren Graham - Valerie in “The Millennium” (May 1, 1997)

On Seinfeld: She plays Jerry’s speed-dial ranking girlfriend.

Since Seinfeld: A few years after getting dumped by Jerry, Graham landed her most famous role as Lorelai Gilmore on the much-loved Gilmore Girls. She's currently on Parenthood, where she plays Peter Krause's sister.

4. Patton Oswalt - Video store clerk in “The Couch” (October 27, 1994)

On Seinfeld: A fellow stalwart of the mid-nineties stand-up circuit, Patton Oswalt made his first-ever TV appearance as a video store clerk on this episode of Seinfeld.

Since Seinfeld: Oswalt’s career now spans TV, movies, stand-up specials, books, and even video games.

5. Brad Garrett - Tony in “The Bottle Deposit” (May 2, 1996)

On Seinfeld: Garrett had a successful stand-up career and had even performed on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson before his Seinfeld debut, where he played Tony, the mechanic who was deeply dedicated to his craft.

Since Seinfeld: Garrett has lent his dulcet tones to animated hits like Tangled and Finding Nemo, but he’s perhaps most recognized for his role on Everybody Loves Raymond.

6. Michael Chiklis - Steve in “The Stranded” (November 27, 1991)

On Seinfeld: In the early '90s Chiklis was a serial guest-star of shows including Miami Vice, L.A. Law and of course Seinfeld, where he played a friend who lives way out on Long Island.

Since Seinfeld: The same year as his Seinfeld appearance, Chiklis landed his first big role in The Commish, which ran until 1996 on NBC. Since then he’s found fame and critical acclaim on The Shield and starred in blockbusters like Fantastic Four.

7. Jane Leeves - Marla in “The Virgin” (November 11, 1992)

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On Seinfeld: Pre-Frasier Jane Leeves played the titular virgin in "The Virgin" who eventually leaves Jerry for John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Since Seinfeld: Leeves clearly impressed the NBC brass — she was cast as Daphne on Fraiser just months after “The Virgin” first aired.

8. Jon Favreau - Eric the Clown in “The Fire” (May 5, 1994)

On Seinfeld: Favreau played Eric the Clown, the entertainer at a kids' party that was interrupted by a fire — and George's subsequent cowardly escape.

Since Seinfeld: Favreau turned his own struggles into the surprise hit Swingers, a breakout moment that led to a successful career as an actor, writer, and director.

9. Debra Messing - Beth in “The Yada Yada” (April 24, 1997)

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On Seinfeld: Messing played Jerry’s date in two episodes of Seinfeld, including classic “The Yada Yada,” where she’s revealed to be a closet racist.

Since Seinfeld: Just a few months after her final outing on Seinfeld, messing would go on to become one of the stars of her own groundbreaking sitcom, Will & Grace.

10. Christine Taylor - Ellen in “The Van Buren Boys” (February 6, 1997)

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On Seinfeld: Taylor made an early appearance on Seinfeld as one of Jerry's many flames.

Since Seinfeld: She’s starred in hits including Zoolander and Dodgeball. In 2000, she married Ben Stiller, whose dad Jerry starred on Seinfeld as George’s father, Frank Costanza.

11. Courteney Cox - Meryl in “The Wife” (March 17, 1994)

On Seinfeld: Courteney Cox played Meryl, a girlfriend who masquerades as Jerry's wife in order to share his dry cleaning discount.

Since Seinfeld: Cox will always be known for playing Monica during Friends’ decade-long stint next to Seinfeld on Thursday nights.

12. Teri Hatcher - Sidra in “The Implant” (February 25, 1993)

On Seinfeld: The same year that she got her big break opposite Dean Cain in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Teri Hatcher appeared as Jerry's girlfriend Sidra, who Elaine thought had fake breasts. Her oft-quoted retort, “They’re real and they’re spectacular,” told Jerry all he needed to know after it was too late.

Since Seinfeld: Alongside her aforementioned turn as Lois Lane, Hatcher starred as a Bond girl in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies before returning to the small screen on ABC’s Desperate Housewives.

13. Marcia Cross - Dr. Sara Sitarides in “The Slicer” (November 13, 1997)

On Seinfeld: Marcia played a life-saving dermatologist who Jerry dismissed as "Pimple Popper M.D."

Since Seinfeld: Cross appeared on shows like Boy Meets World, Ally McBeal, and Spin City before getting her big break on Desperate Housewives.

14. Drake Bell - Kid in “The Frogger” (August 23, 1998)

On Seinfeld: Bell featured in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment from this season nine episode.

Since Seinfeld: A Nickelodeon star turned musician, Bell has come a long way since his Frogger skills (or lack thereof) landed him in George Costanza’s bad books.

15. Jennifer Coolidge - Jodi in “The Masseuse” (November 18, 1993)

On Seinfeld: Another notch on Seinfeld’s bedpost, Coolidge made one of her first TV appearances as the masseuse from this 1993 episode.

Since Seinfeld: Coolidge went on to forge a successful career on the silver screen where she’s perhaps best remembered as Stifler’s mom from the American Pie movies. She’s also still a regular on the sitcom circuit where she has a recurring role on CBS’s 2 Broke Girls.

16. Sarah Silverman - Emily in “The Money” (January 16, 1997)

On Seinfeld: Sarah Silverman popped up as Kramer’s girlfriend Emily whose “Jimmy legs” keep the K-Man up at night, eventually forcing the couple into separate beds.

Since Seinfeld: The sharp-tongued stand-up star has appeared in her own show, released an autobiography, and recently completed the circle by joining Jerry Seinfeld as a guest on his online series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

17. Denise Richards - Molly Dalrymple in “The Shoes” (February 4, 1993)

On Seinfeld: Playing the daughter of NBC’s head of programming, Richards’ low-cut top almost costs George and Jerry their sitcom in Seinfeld’s meta show-within-a-show fourth season.

Since Seinfeld: She continued to distract the Costanzas of the world in films like Starship Troopers, The World is Not Enough, and Wild Things.

18. Kristin Davis - Jenna in “The Pothole” (February 20, 1997)

On Seinfeld: After unknowingly using a toothbrush that had fallen into the toilet, Davis’ character becomes another in an increasingly long line of Jerry’s ex-girlfriends.

Since Seinfeld: By the time she’d appeared on Seinfeld, Davis was already a familiar face to many armchair dwellers after a starring turn on teen drama Melrose Place. But it wasn’t until a year later that she’d truly hit the big time with her critically acclaimed performance as Sex and the City’s resident prude, Charlotte.

19. Rob Schneider - Bob Grossberg in “The Friar's Club” (March 7, 1996)

On Seinfeld: Rob Schneider had actually opened for Jerry Seinfeld on the stand-up circuit before he appeared on the sitcom as Elaine’s partially deaf colleague in this season 7 episode.

Since Seinfeld: The former SNL cast member has gone on to star in comedies like Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and Grown-Ups.

20. Amanda Peet - Lanette in "The Summer of George" (May 15, 1997)

On Seinfeld: Peet played Lanette, Jerry's date to the Tonys whose male roommate catches Jerry totally off-guard.

Since Seinfeld: Peet's resumé since Seinfeld includes starring roles in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and The Whole Nine Yards.

21. Chris Parnell - NBC Executive in "The Butter Shave" (September 25, 1997)


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On Seinfeld: After purposely sabotaging his own set, Seinfeld is dismayed to find out that two NBC executives (one played by Parnell) were in attendance and offer Jerry's hack nemesis Kenny Bania a pilot.

Since Seinfeld: Parnell later joined the cast of Saturday Night Live and played the hapless Dr. Spaceman on 30 Rock (pictured).

22. James Spader - Jason 'Stanky' Hanky in "The Apology" (December 11, 1997)

On Seinfeld: This one's definitely pushing it—Spader had already been in several notable films before he appeared on Seinfeld—but it was a great performance. He played a recovering alcoholic who, during Step Nine of Alcoholics Anonymous' Twelve Steps, apologizes to everyone he has ever wronged—except George.

Since Seinfeld: Spader has been a mainstay in indie films and has won three Emmys for his TV work. His most recent gig has him starring as Raymond "Red" Reddington in NBC's The Blacklist.

23. Anna Gunn - Amy in “The Glasses” (September 30, 1993)

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On Seinfeld: George’s poor squinting ability leads to him mistakenly identifying Gunn's Amy as a cheating girlfriend of Jerry's.

Since Seinfeld: Anna Gunn made her name as an Emmy award-winning star of AMC’s Breaking Bad.

24. Bob Odenkirk - Ben in “The Abstinence” (November 21, 1996)

On Seinfeld: Elaine's almost-doctor boyfriend, Ben, who went to medical school but had not yet passed the licensing exam.

Since Seinfeld: Odenkirk would eventually join Gunn on Breaking Bad, and is currently filming the spinoff Better Call Saul. Before Seinfeld, he was a writer for SNL, and he was starring in Mr. Show when this episode first aired.

25. Bryan Cranston - Tim Whatley in “The Mom and Pop Store” (November 17, 1994)

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On Seinfeld: Cranston famously had a recurring role as Jerry’s dentist, the original re-gifter who converted to Judaism for the jokes. It seems that even then he was destined for great things. Seinfeld has said that he knew the actor would become a star the second he walked on set.

Since Seinfeld: He’s had a successful and varied career in both film and TV, but Cranston will always be remembered for his Emmy-winning turn as Walter White in Breaking Bad.

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked
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Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
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9 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Hollywood Body Doubles
Hugh Jackman and his Real Steel body double, Taris Tyler
Hugh Jackman and his Real Steel body double, Taris Tyler
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When you see the back of an actor’s head in a movie, it may not be the actor you think it is. In addition to stunt performers, most movies employ body doubles (or photo doubles) with a passing resemblance to the principal actors. While some body doubles are brought on set for specific skills—like helping an actor pass as a professional athlete—the job can often involve just being a body, whether that means being nude on camera, having photogenic hands, or appearing in place of actors who can’t be on set for some reason. Here are nine secrets of the job:

1. THEY MIGHT ONLY BE MODELING ONE BODY PART.

Body double Danielle Sepulveres has played the hands of other actors in plenty of roles in her career, on TV and in beauty commercials featuring close-up shots of her holding moisturizer or makeup. She’s drizzled dressing on salad in place of Brooke Shields. She regularly slides files across tables, makes lists, and pours wine in the place of actresses on The Good Wife. (She has also played Jill Flint's butt on the show.) “I knew only glimpses of my hands might make it into a shot, or part of my shoulder along with a wisp of hair,” she wrote of one of her jobs in Good Housekeeping in 2016. But she overheard the director complaining that her wrists looked “vastly different” than those of the principal actress in the movie, 2015’s Mania Days. “Luckily, I didn't get fired in spite of my wrists, but I wouldn't have been surprised had it happened.”

2. THEY’RE NOT JUST THERE TO SHOW THEIR BUTTS.

Yes, body doubles are often brought in if an actor doesn’t want to bare it all on camera. But they are hired for other reasons, too. For one thing, union rules mandate the actors get 12 hours off between when they leave set for the day and their next call time, so if the shoots are running long, the crew might employ someone else to stand in. Other times, it's a matter of particular talents. Most actors may be able to sing, dance, and cry on camera, but few also have the athletic skills to allow them to pass as a sports legend. In Battle of the Sexes (2017), Emma Stone plays Billie Jean King, one of the best tennis players of all time. To realistically represent King’s skills on the court, the movie makers brought in tennis doubles to play in place of Stone and her co-star, Steve Carell. Stone’s double was chosen for her playing style, which resembled King’s, and worked with King on-set to perfect her imitation. The effort was, according to The Wall Street Journal, a huge success. “Not only is the tennis believable, it’s a meticulous representation of the type of tennis played in that era: serve and volley, chipping and charging to the net, touch volleys and soft hands.”

3. ACTORS CAN GET TOUCHY ABOUT WHO PLAYS THEM.

When you are tasked with choosing a celebrity doppelgänger, you’ve got to keep egos in mind. “The choice reflects on the principal actor,” DeeDee Ricketts, the casting director for Titanic, told Vanity Fair in 2016. “We have to take into consideration that they can’t be too thin, or more beautiful, or too heavy, or too old, or else the principal actor will think, That’s how they see me?” Actors often get to give input on who will be their double, and sometimes have final approval rights written into their contracts. When she was being considered for the job of Janet Leigh's body double in Psycho's iconic shower scene, model and Playboy covergirl Marli Renfro had to strip down for both Alfred Hitchcock and Leigh herself so that they could make sure her body looked enough like Leigh's, as Renfro recently revealed at a Brooklyn screening of the documentary 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene. In the case of nude scenes, actors might even have final approval on what physical moves their doubles are allowed to make.

4. THEY MIGHT NEVER MEET THEIR DOUBLE ...

If you’re working as an actor’s double, by definition, you’re not going to have scenes with them, and so some body doubles never meet the stars they’re pretending to be. Danish actor Elvira Friis, who worked as a body double for Charlotte Gainsbourg (and her character’s younger self, played by Stacy Martin) during the racier scenes of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (2013), never met the actor. “The closest I got to Charlotte Gainsbourg was that I was wearing her dress,” Friis told The Wall Street Journal.

5. OR THEY MIGHT SPEND A LOT OF TIME WITH THE PEOPLE THEY'RE PORTRAYING.

But how much time an actor spends with their doppelgänger really depends on the role. Some actors spend plenty of time with their doubles on set helping them get into the role. In What Happened to Monday (2017), Noomi Rapace plays the roles of seven identical sisters, making body doubles a necessity on set. Rapace helped direct her doubles during filming, “as they needed to know how the star would play the scene for each character so that it would sync up when she performed the part herself,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Game of Thrones star Lena Headey (who plays Cersei) worked closely with her double Rebecca Van Cleave for a nude scene in the show’s fifth season finale. Headey walked Van Cleave through her character’s thinking and movements for each shot. Then, Headey did the same performance herself, wearing a beige dress that could later be edited out. In the final product, Headey’s facial expressions were merged with Van Cleave’s nude body.

6. THEY DON’T ALWAYS LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THEIR COUNTERPARTS.

Because body doubles are often only seen from the back or side, they may not look quite as much like their acting counterpart as you’d think. Brett Baker, who worked as Leonardo DiCaprio’s body double for Titanic, is several inches shorter than DiCaprio and seven years older. From the front, you wouldn’t peg him as a Jack Dawson lookalike. But with the same clothes and haircut, shot from above and behind, he passed easily as DiCaprio. Once Leo’s closeups were done, according to Vanity Fair, Baker was often brought in to stand opposite Kate Winslet as she played through her half of the scene. In some cases, he didn’t make it into the final shot at all, but still had to be on set for those 14-hour days.

7. THESE DAYS, THEY GET A BOOST FROM CGI.

With the help of technology, filmmakers can put their leading actor’s face on a body double’s torso, so they don’t have to limit their body doubles to just back-of-the-head or partial shots. This allows them to seamlessly meld both the main actor and the body double’s performances in post-production. That can allow directors to get exactly the scene they want in shows like Orphan Black, which features Tatiana Maslany playing multiple roles, or in cases where actors don't want to get totally naked on-camera. In rare cases, it can also be used to bring actors back from the dead. When Paul Walker died in a car crash midway through filming Furious 7 (2015), the filmmakers used his brothers and another actor as body doubles, superimposing computer-generated images of Walker’s face on their performances. Around 260 shots featuring Walker’s doubles appeared in the final cut.

8. IF AN ACTOR CAN’T ALTER THEIR WEIGHT FOR A ROLE, A BODY DOUBLE CAN FILL IN.

When Matt Damon was filming The Martian (2015), he wanted to lose 30 to 40 pounds to portray astronaut Mark Watney after he had been surviving on meager rations for years. But the filming schedule made that impossible, so a body double had to be brought in for some shots. “I was going to lose a bunch of weight in the third act of the movie, then put the weight back on,” Damon told Maclean’s. However, as the schedule shook out, they filmed the NASA interiors in Hungary, then immediately went to Jordan, which doubled as the Red Planet for the film’s purposes, and shot all the exterior shots from the beginning, middle, and end of the movie, with no time for Damon to lose a significant amount of weight. The skinny body double isn’t on screen for long. “It was, like, two shots,” Damon describes. (Still, fans noticed.)

9. SOMETIMES THEY NEVER MAKE IT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA AT ALL.

When it comes to nude scenes, sometimes body doubles are hired but never used. Veteran body double Laura Grady was cast as Robin Wright’s lookalike for State of Play (2009), but didn’t shoot a single scene. “I just sat in my trailer, ready to go, and then at the end, [Wright] decided to do her own scenes,” Grady told Vulture in 2014. “That happens sometimes. Sometimes they just get a body double because they think they might need one, and then all of a sudden the actress is comfortable and she’s like, ‘No, I’ll just do it.’ Or they change a scene and they don’t make it as risqué.” Don’t worry, though—the double still gets paid.

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