CLOSE
Original image
fanpop

27 Future Stars Who Appeared on ER

Original image
fanpop

Hollywood changed forever in 1994 when ER made its premiere on NBC and transformed George Clooney from Working Actor You Might Recognize from Roseanne, The Facts of Life, and/or Return of the Killer Tomatoes! to, well, George Clooney. And though The Cloons hung up his scrubs in order to pursue big-screen opportunities in 1999, the long-running medical drama—created by novelist Michael Crichton—did just fine without Dr. Doug Ross.

The series ran for an impressive 15 seasons, racking up 124 Emmy nominations in the process. While it maintained an impressive roster of super talented series regulars (including William H. Macy and Ving Rhames) and guest stars (including Ewan McGregor and Susan Sarandon) and even managed to get Quentin Tarantino to direct an episode, ER also gave a jump start to the careers of dozens of then-newbie actors who would go on to rise up the Hollywood ladder.

1. Christina Hendricks

Three years after landing her first role with a four-episode arc on MTV’s Undressed, Christina Hendricks starred in four episodes of ER, as Dr. Abby Lockhart’s (Maura Tierney) neighbor with bad taste in men. 

2. Matthew Settle

The object of Christina Hendricks’ affection? Matthew Settle, who’s best known as Rufus Humphrey, aka “The Dad,” on Gossip Girl.

3. Zac Efron

Not even one of those upbeat song-and-dance numbers from High School Musical could have changed the fate of Bobby Neville, the role Zac Efron played in ER’s 10th season (and his second-ever). He came in a gunshot victim and never went home. 

4. Eva Mendes

Long before she and Ryan Gosling became parents in real life, Eva Mendes got practice by playing one on television. Her first credited role (we’re not counting her role in Will Smith’s “Miami” video) came in ER’s fourth season, when she spelled her name with an “z” instead of an “s.”

5. Nick Offerman

Before he was whittling things and keeping order in Pawnee, Nick Offerman played a badass rocker in ER’s fourth season premiere, which was also his television debut. Appearing in the same episode was future Oscar nominee John Hawkes (who, while not a household name yet, was certainly a veteran actor, having landed his first role in 1985).

6. Adam Scott

Offerman’s Parks and Recreation co-star Adam Scott also found an early paycheck on the set of ER during its first season, as a pedestrian who was hit by a car. “It was the first season of ER, so it was a pretty big,” Scott recalled to TVLine. “Everyone was discovering it, and George Clooney was on the cover of TV Guide as this new star. I was sitting outside waiting to work and he was playing basketball with a bunch of dudes. I remember just thinking, 'God, this dude is on the cover of TV Guide! He just looks like he doesn't care.’ If I was on the cover of a magazine, I’d be celebrating.”

7. Amy Ryan

In the same year she landed a starring role on the short-lived series The Naked Truth, and 12 years before she scored an Oscar nomination for Gone Baby Gone, Amy Ryan played a nun from a nearby Catholic school in the midst of a meningitis outbreak. 

8. Emile Hirsch

Emile Hirsch made two appearances during ER’s sixth season as Chad Kottmeir, a teenaged alcoholic.

9. Chris Pine

Chris Pine’s ER gig didn’t require a whole lot of range—he played a drunk teenager recovering from a five-day bender of a Valentine’s Day party—but it did land him his first credited role.

10. Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning was just six years old when she made her onscreen debut as Delia Chandler, a little girl—and leukemia survivor—injured in a car accident who, it turns out, is not leukemia-free. Much of the episode revolves around Dr. Abby Lockhart’s (Maura Tierney) attempts to save Fanning’s life.

11. Shia LaBeouf

Before he was “not famous anymore,” Shia LaBeouf was not famous at all when he played Darnel Smith, a wheelchair-bound kid with muscular dystrophy, in a 2000 episode of ER.

12. Josh Radnor

After a couple of uncredited roles and the obligatory part on Law & Order, Josh Radnor played the syphilis-suffering gay lover of a Chicago alderman in ER’s ninth season. Two years later, he began filming How I Met Your Mother.

*

25 Future Stars Who Appeared on Seinfeld

*

13. Lucy Liu

Three years before her breakout role on Ally McBeal, Lucy Liu spent three episodes on ER as Mei-Sun Leow, the mother of a young boy with AIDS.

14. Aaron Paul

He may be just 35 years old, but Aaron Paul has gotten around with a series of one-off roles on shows like Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, 3rd Rock from the Sun, The X-Files, and NYPD Blue. In 2003, the future Golden Globe nominee added ER to his growing resume.

15. Josh Hutcherson

Josh Hutcherson was just 11 years old and already on his third professional gig in 2002, when he appeared in an episode titled “First Snowfall,” as part of a family run down by a drunk driver while building a snowman. Yes, a snowman.

16. Lake Bell

Lake Bell lucked out with her first credited role, which ended up being a two-episode deal during ER’s ninth season.

17. Wentworth Miller

Two years after making his on-screen debut in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but five years before Prison Break made him a star, Wentworth Miller played Mike Palmieri, a high school wide receiver who got caught up in a football game riot.

18. Eric Stonestreet

A year after landing his first credited role on Dharma & Greg, Eric Stonestreet found himself in the ER—and on ER—after a failed attempt to give his ears a Spock-like makeover.

19. Octavia Spencer

Fourteen years before winning an Oscar for The Help, and just two years after beginning her professional career, Octavia Spencer appeared in a single 1998 episode of ER

20. Anton Yelchin

Before he was starring in blockbusters like Star Trek, Anton Yelchin scored his first job—at the tender age of 11—as Robbie Edelstein, a kid who learns that his parents have been killed in a car accident.

21. Taraji P. Henson

More than a decade before she earned an Oscar nomination for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Taraji P. Henson impressed ER’s producers enough that they hired her for two episodes in 1998. As two different characters.

22. Jake Lloyd

Three years before he played Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace, Jake Lloyd scored a four-episode run on ER (his first role) as Jimmy Sweet, the son of a prostitute.

23. Mena Suvari

Three years before she starred in American Pie and American Beauty, Mena Suvari played Laura-Lee Armitage, a reluctant teenage patient, in ER’s third season.

24. Gabrielle Union

In the same year that she starred in Bring It On, Gabrielle Union was beefing up her resume with an appearance on ER.

25. Kristin Davis

One month before moving into Melrose Place as the nutty Brooke Armstrong, Kristin Davis played the mom of an ER patient in 1995.

26. George Eads

Future CSI George Eads played paramedic Greg Powell in a few episodes between 1997 and 1998 (at the same time his future CSI co-star Jorja Fox played a doctor).

27. Janel Moloney

Four years before her star-making turn as Donna on The West Wing, Janel Moloney appeared in a 1995 episode, “The Birthday Party.” Her West Wing boss Bradley Whitford appeared in two episodes in the same year.

*

35 Future Stars Who Appeared on The West Wing

All photos courtesy of Getty Images.

Original image
CBS
arrow
entertainment
12 Fast Facts About Magnum, P.I.
Original image
CBS

Magnum, P.I. was appointment television in a world before peak TV made that sort of thing commonplace. Starring Tom Selleck and set against a lush Hawaiian backdrop, the series was a triumph thanks to its tense action, humor, and eclectic cast of characters. Selleck’s Thomas Magnum shed the typical action hero mold for something far more relatable, and for eight seasons, the series was among the most popular on the air. To bring you back to a time when all you needed was a Hawaiian shirt and a Detroit Tigers cap to be a star, here are 12 facts about Magnum, P.I.

1. THERE'S A STRONG HAWAII FIVE-0 CONNECTION.

Magnum, P.I. made its premiere on CBS in 1980, the same year the network’s long-running Hawaii Five-0 was taking its final bow. Magnum’s location was picked because the network didn't want to let its Hawaiian production facilities go to waste, so the Tom Selleck-led show filmed many of its indoor scenes on the old Hawaii Five-0 soundstage.

The two shows are even set in the same universe, as Thomas Magnum would make references to Detective Steve McGarrett, who was famously played by Jack Lord on Hawaii Five-0. Though Lord never did accept the offer to make a cameo, the link between the two shows was never broken.

2. PLAYING MAGNUM COST TOM SELLECK THE ROLE OF INDIANA JONES.

Can you imagine Indiana Jones with a mustache? Or Tom Selleck without one? Well one of those almost became a reality as Selleck was the top choice for the swashbuckling archaeologist when production on Raiders of the Lost Ark began. Unfortunately, the actor’s contractual commitment to Magnum, P.I. prevented him from taking the role.

In a cruel twist of fate, a writers strike subsequently delayed filming on the first season of Magnum, theoretically freeing up Selleck for the role—if he hadn’t already dropped out of consideration. Though the part will forever be linked to Harrison Ford, the ever-excitable George Lucas described Selleck’s screentest as “really, really good.”

3. THE THEME SONG MADE THE BILLBOARD CHARTS.

If you think the Magnum, P.I. theme is a miracle of network television, you’re not alone. The song, composed by Mike Post, reached number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1982—a rare feat for a TV theme. Post is also the man behind hit TV songs like The A-Team, The Rockford Files, Quantum Leap, The Greatest American Hero, and plenty of other ‘80s and ‘90s staples. He’s probably best known as the man behind the ubiquitous “dun, dun” sting from Law & Order. (The Who's Pete Townshend actually wrote a song about Post's theme work, title "Mike Post Theme," which was released on the band's 2006 album, Endless Wire.)

The Magnum, P.I. tune you’re bopping your head to right now wasn’t the original opening song, though. For the first handful of episodes, including the pilot, the series had a much less memorable intro song.

4. THE SHOW FEATURED SOME OF ORSON WELLES’S LAST PERFORMANCES.

Orson Welles’s final years were a blur of voiceover work and jug-o’-wine commercials, and one of his last jobs was acting as the voice of Robin Masters—the mysterious author who lends Magnum his guesthouse in exchange for security services. Masters is only heard, never fully seen, in the show, leading to plenty of conspiracy theories over his actual identity (some fans still think he was Higgins all along).

Occasionally Masters would be seen only briefly and from behind. For those rare moments, actor Bruce Atkinson would provide the necessary body parts for filming. Though his voice was only heard rarely during the series’ first five seasons, Welles was scheduled to play the role for as long as the show was on the air, but the actor’s death in 1985 brought a premature end to his tenure.

5. THERE WAS ALMOST A QUANTUM LEAP CROSSOVER.

Donald Bellisario’s TV empire is one of the industry’s most impressive feats, resulting in multiple top-rated shows and critical favorites. But getting two of his most popular series to cross over proved to be more trouble than anyone would have anticipated.

In order to secure a fifth season for Quantum Leap, Bellisario suggested that Scott Bakula’s Dr. Sam Beckett character “leap” into the body of Thomas Magnum in the final moments of season four, leading to the following year’s premiere. But there was a snag with securing Selleck; his publicist even claimed he was never formally approached about the subject, saying, "We’re hoping. It’s on hold. We don’t have an answer.” The idea was soon dropped, and a fifth season of Quantum Leap went on without any help from Magnum.

Magnum, P.I. was off the air at this point, so Selleck was already on different projects. Some test footage of Bakula as Thomas Magnum was shot and shown at a Quantum Leap fan convention, but that’s as far as viewers got.

6. CROSSOVERS WITH MURDER, SHE WROTE AND SIMON & SIMON DID HAPPEN.

VINCE BUCCI/AFP/Getty Images

A crossover between Magnum and Murder, She Wrote? That did happen, oddly enough. The event took place in the Magnum, P.I. episode "Novel Connection" during season seven and Murder, She Wrote’s “Magnum on Ice.” In the story, Magnum is arrested for murder, and the only person who can clear his name is Jessica Fletcher, played as always by Dame Angela Lansbury.

During its third season, Magnum also crossed over with his fellow CBS private investigators on the show Simon & Simon. Both series ran simultaneously on CBS for almost the entirety of the ‘80s, and in this episode the trio banded together to secure a Hawaiian artifact that supposedly had a death curse attached to it.

7. THE SMITHSONIAN PRESERVED MAGNUM’S SIGNATURE HAWAIIAN SHIRT.

If you’re not old enough to appreciate what a phenomenon Magnum, P.I. was, consider this: Selleck’s iconic Hawaiian shirt, Detroit Tigers hat, and insignia ring from the show were all donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The objects joined other culturally significant TV relics from over the years, including Archie Bunker’s chair from All in the Family, the Lone Ranger’s mask, and a Kermit the Frog puppet. Perhaps just as big of an honor, Selleck found himself in the Mustache Hall of Fame for the memorable lip fuzz he sported throughout the series. His digital plaque reads:

“Throughout his acting career, Selleck’s charismatic grin, unflinching masculinity and robust, stocky lipholstery have made him the stuff of legend.”

8. IT PRODUCED A FAILED BACKDOOR PILOT.

The first season of Magnum, P.I. was about more than just establishing Tom Selleck as a household name; CBS executives also wanted an episode to act as a backdoor pilot for an action series starring Erin Gray. In the episode “J. ‘Digger’ Doyle,” viewers meet Gray as the titular Doyle, a security expert that Magnum calls on to help thwart a potential assassination attempt against Robin Masters.

Though the episode went off without a hitch, the spinoff never materialized. In fact, Gray never reappeared on the series after that.

9. MAGNUM DIES IN THE PREMATURE SERIES FINALE “LIMBO.”

By the time season seven rolled around, it seemed that Magnum, P.I. had run its course—so much so that the network had planned for that to be the show’s sendoff.

In the season’s final episode, “Limbo,” Magnum winds up in critical condition after taking a bullet during a warehouse shootout. The episode gets Dickensian as Magnum, caught between life and death, drops in on all his closest friends (and supporting cast) as a specter no one can see or hear. He makes peace with everyone around him before he apparently walks off into heaven, punctuated by the John Denver song “Looking For Space.”

To the surprise of the cast, crew, and fans, the series was renewed for a shortened eighth season, meaning Magnum had to come back from the beyond and continue his adventures for another 13 episodes.

10. THE REAL SERIES FINALE IS ONE OF THE MOST-WATCHED OF ALL TIME.

When Magnum, P.I. actually ended, it ended with one of the most-watched finales of all time. It currently sits as the fifth most-watched series finale, not far behind the likes of Cheers, M*A*S*H, Friends, and Seinfeld. The grand total of viewers? 50.7 million.

11. SELLECK AND TOM CLANCY FAILED TO GET A MAGNUM MOVIE OFF THE GROUND IN THE ‘90s.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Rumors of a Magnum, P.I. movie have been rumbling since shortly after the credits rolled on the series' final episode (and likely well before that). It got close in the ‘90s when Selleck teamed with famed novelist Tom Clancy to pitch a Magnum movie to Universal.

Clancy was a big fan of the show and was ready to crack the story with Selleck, but nothing ever came of it. Selleck later recounted:

"We got together, and I went to Universal, and I said ‘It's time we could do a series of feature films.’ They were very interested, and I had Tom, who wanted to do the story, and I had this package put together, but Universal's the only studio that could make it, and they went through three ownership changes in the '90s, and I think that was the real window for Magnum."

12. WE MIGHT SEE A SEQUEL SERIES FOCUSING ON MAGNUM’S DAUGHTER.

The time for a Selleck-led Magnum, P.I. movie may have passed, but there’s still hope for the franchise. In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that ABC had a pilot in the works for a Magnum sequel, which would put an end to the constant reports of a full-fledged reboot or movie adaptation of the show.

According to the site, the show would follow Magnum's daughter, Lily, "who returns to Hawaii to take up the mantle of her father's PI firm.” It remains to be seen whether or not the project will ever come to fruition.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Pop Culture
5 Bizarre Comic-Con News Stories from Years Past
Original image
iStock

At its best, Comic-Con is a friendly place where like-minded people can celebrate their pop culture obsessions, and each other. And no one can make fun of you, no matter how lazy your cosplaying might be. You might think that at its worst, it’s just a series of long lines of costumed fans and small stores crammed into a convention center. But sometimes, throwing together 100,000-plus people from around the world in what feels like a carnival-type atmosphere where anything goes can have less than stellar results. Here are some highlights from past Comic-Con-tastrophes.

1. MAN IN HARRY POTTER T-SHIRT STABS ANOTHER MAN IN THE FACE—WITH A PEN

In 2010, two men waiting for a Comic-Con screening of the Seth Rogen alien comedy Paul got into a very adult argument about whether one of them was sitting too close to the other. Unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion with words, one man stabbed the other in the face with a pen. According to CNN, the attacker was led away wearing handcuffs and a Harry Potter T-shirt. In the aftermath, some Comic-Con attendees dealt with the attack in an oddly fitting way: They cosplayed as the victim, with pens protruding from bloody eye sockets.

2. MEMORABILIA THIEVES INVADE NEW YORK

Since its founding in 2006, New York Comic Con has attracted a few sticky-fingered attendees. In 2010, a man stole several rare comics from vendor Matt Nelson, co-founder of Texas’ Worldwide Comics. Just one of those, Whiz Comics No. 1, was worth $11,000, according to the New York Post. A few years later, in 2014, someone stole a $2000 “Dunny” action figure, which artist Jon-Paul Kaiser had painted during the event for Clutter magazine. And those are just the incidents that involved police; lower-scale cases of toys and comics disappearing from booths are an increasingly frustrating epidemic, according to some. “Comic Con theft is an issue we all sort of ignore,” collector Tracy Isenhour wrote on the blog of his company, Needless Essentials, in 2015. “I am here to tell you no more. It’s time for this garbage to stop."

3. CATWOMAN SAVES THE DAY

John Sciulli/Getty Images for Xbox

Adrianne Curry, winner of the first cycle of America’s Next Top Model, has made a career of chasing viral fame. Ironically, it was at Comic-Con in 2014 that Curry did something truly worthy of attention—though there wasn’t a camera in sight. Dressed as Catwoman, she was posing with fans alongside her friend Alicia Marie, who was dressed as Tigra. According to a Facebook post Marie wrote at the time, a fan tried to shove his hands into her bikini bottoms. She screamed, the man ran off, and Curry jumped to action. She “literally took off after dude WITH her Catwoman whip and chased him down, beat his a**,” Marie wrote. “Punched him across the face with the butt of her whip—he had zombie blood on his face—got on her costume.”

4. MAN POSES AS FUGITIVE-SEEKING INVESTIGATOR TO GET INTO VIP ROOM

The lines at Comic-Con are legendary, so one Utah man came up with a novel way to try and skip them altogether. In 2015, Jonathon M. Wall tried to get into Salt Lake Comic Con’s exclusive VIP enclave (normally a $10,000 ticket) by claiming he was an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and needed to get into the VIP room “to catch a fugitive,” according to The San Diego Union Tribune. Not only does that story not even come close to making sense, it also adds up to impersonating a federal agent, a crime to which Wall pleaded guilty in April of this year and which carried a sentence of up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In June, prosecutors announced that they were planning to reduce his crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

5. MAN WALKS 645 MILES TO COMIC-CON, DRESSED AS A STORMTROOPER, TO HONOR HIS LATE WIFE

Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Disney

In 2015, Kevin Doyle walked 645 miles along the California coast to honor his late wife, Eileen. Doyle had met Eileen relatively late in life, when he was in his 50s, and they bonded over their shared love of Star Wars (he even proposed to her while dressed as Darth Vader). However, she died of cancer barely a year after they were married. Adrift and lonely, Doyle decided to honor her memory and their love of Star Wars by walking to Comic-Con—from San Francisco. “I feel like I’m so much better in the healing process than if I’d stayed home,” he told The San Diego Union Tribune.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios