Skip To Content

    15 Weird Roles Famous Actors Played Before They Blew Up

    So you mean...he wasn't always Ron Swanson?

    1. Ellen Pompeo in Strangers With Candy

    Comedy Central

    Debut episode: "Feather in the Storm" (Season 1, Episode 8)

    Who they played: Grey's Anatomy's namesake played Lizzie Abrams, Flatpoint High debate team member and nemesis of main character Jerri Blank.

    2. Leslie Odom Jr. on Gilmore Girls

    The CW

    Debut episode: "Bridesmaids Revisited" (Season 6, Episode 16)

    Who they played: The Hamilton star played Quentin Walsh, editor of the Daily Princetonian and Rory's fellow panelist at a college journalism-focused event.

    3. Chris Pratt on The O.C.


    Debut episode: "The Avengers" (Season 4, Episode 1)

    Who they played: The man now known as Andy Dwyer had a nine-episode ~streak~ on the teen drama as Ché, college friend of Summer and fan of going au naturel.

    4. Elizabeth Banks on Sex and the City


    Debut episode: "Politically Erect" (Season 2, Episode 3)

    Who they played: The 30 Rock and Hunger Games actor played Catherine, a woman who encourages Charlotte to have a party specifically for the purpose of meeting "unwanted" men.

    5. Kevin Hart on Undeclared


    Debut episode: "Parents' Weekend" (Season 1, Episode 11)

    Who they played: The comic entered Undeclared's California college campus as Luke, a devout Christian student who converts awkward protagonist Steven Karp — temporarily, at least.

    6. Max Greenfield on Veronica Mars


    Debut episode: "Silence of the Lamb" (Season 1, Episode 11)

    Who they played: Before he became New Girl's endearingly vain roommate Schmidt, Greenfield played Leo D'Amato, deputy to Sheriff Lamb.

    7. Sandra Oh on Popular

    The WB

    Debut episode: "Mo' Menace, Mo' Problems" (Season 1, Episode 2)

    Who they played: Prior to her days playing Grey's Anatomy's Cristina Yang, Oh was a nameless but nonetheless *extremely intense* Jacqueline Kennedy High School humanities teacher.

    8. Nick Offerman on Gilmore Girls

    The WB

    Debut episode: "The Festival of Living Art" (Season 4, Episode 7)

    Who they played: Offerman wasn't always everyone's favorite meat-guzzling Pawnee libertarian; he first spent some time as Beau Belleville, brother of Dragonfly Inn produce supplier Jackson Belleville.

    9. Adam Scott on Boy Meets World


    Debut episode: "Band on the Run" (Season 2, Episode 8)

    Who they played: The Parks and Recreation actor played Griff Hawkins, a transfer student who takes the place of Harley Keiner as head of the school bully brigade.

    10. Sara Ramirez on Law & Order: SVU


    Debut episode: "Baby Killer" (Season 2, Episode 5)

    Who they played: The Grey's Anatomy actor played Mrs. Barrera, whose young son is suspected in the murder of a peer. In "Chameleon," the first episode of SVU's fourth season, Ramirez plays a totally different character.

    11. Jessica Alba on The Secret World of Alex Mack


    Debut episode: "The Accident" (Season 1, Episode 1)

    Who they played: The Dark Angel and Fantastic Four star was a Paradise Valley mean girl named — wait for it — Jessica.

    12. Jon Hamm on Gilmore Girls

    The WB

    Debut episode: "Eight O'Clock at the Oasis" (Season 3, Episode 5)

    Who they played: The Mad Men actor was once Peyton Sanders, a man Lorelai meets at an auction and subsequently goes on a date with.

    13. Amy Adams on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    The WB

    Debut episode: "Family" (Season 5, Episode 6)

    Who they played: The Nocturnal Animals actor played Beth Maclay, nagging out-of-town cousin of Buffy's Tara Maclay.

    14. Kal Penn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    The WB

    Debut episode: "Beer Bad" (Season 4, Episode 5)

    Who they played: The House and Harold and Kumar star played Hunt — a UC Sunnydale student who, along with his comrades, gets turned into a caveman via bewitched beer. You know, obviously.

    15. Lucy Liu on Beverly Hills, 90210

    Debut episode: "Pass, Not Pass" (Season 2, Episode 6)

    Who they played: Before she was Dr. Watson on Elementary or even Alex in Charlie's Angels, Liu stole the show on 90210 as Courtney, an overly enthusiastic waitress.

    Nostalgia Trip

    Take a trip down memory lane that’ll make you feel nostalgia AF

    Newsletter signup form