TV Episodes where two actors who later hit it big guest starred

As a fan of Breaking Bad, I listened to a lot of interviews people gave surrounding the show. While listening to one interview, Bryan Cranston mentioned that he had guest starred three different times on Murder, She Wrote. Since the show was on Netflix, I thought it would be fun to see what he looked like way back then, and while watching the episode I thought it was funny that the woman playing his girlfriend was Linda Hamilton (from Terminator fame) This was right around the the first Terminator came out.

At the time I thought it was funny, but maybe just a rare occurrence. So FFWD to last weekend, and I’m watching the X Files, and an episode comes on and I immediately recognize a young** Jack Black** and Giovanni Ribisi, so maybe it isn’t as rare as I first thought?

What other shows have featured two or more actors early in their career as guest starts (So Facts of Life with George Clooney, Growning Pains with Leo and Golden Palace with Don Cheadle don’t count)

I’m assuming there will be a lot of Twilight Zone’s listed. Thanks!

A pretty famous case is “The Project Strigas Affair” from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964) that guest starred William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, well before *Star Trek *

Another is the 1961 episode “Two” of The Twilight Zone, starring Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson.

Seinfeld had a ton of these (including Bryan Cranston).

I’m sure there were plenty on Miami Vice.

The other day I watched a “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” episode “The Hot Line” where two of the minor guests later made it big. John Banner was the Russian Prime Minister and James Doohan was an aide to the U.S. President. Rather interesting, they do call it the Soviet Union, not a fictitious country. The main guest stars were Michael Ansara and Everett Sloane, who probably peaked with “Citizen Kane” (although he did write lyrics for the Andy Griffith show).

Lots of shows in the 50s and early 60s did this, especially anthology shows. The Twilight Zone did it often. So did the original Outer Limits.

From the latter:
“The Sixth Finger”: David McCallum, David Mulhare, Jill Haworth as a bonus
“Controlled Experiment”: Ed Asner, Barry Morse, Grace Lee Whitney
“The Invisibles”: Richard Dawson and Neil “Commissioner Gordon” Hamilton
“The Bellero Shield”: Martin Landau, Sally Kellerman, and Chita Rivera (her first TV role, though she was big on Broadway).
“The Invisible Enemy”: Adam West and Ted Knight.

Okay, but on which of his episodes was another future-famous person also guest starring? I found “The Mom and Pop Store” with Bryan Cranston and Debra Messing, but Ms. Messing had already starred as a lead in her own failed sitcom before later becoming a big star in Will and Grace. Maybe she was already so famous before her Seinfeld appearance that she doesn’t count.

I can’t actually think of any others right now.

I recently saw a 1962 episode of The Naked City which costarred Martin Sheen and Peter Fonda.

Not a TV show, but in 1955, Alfred Hitchcock cast an unknown actress named Shirley MacLaine in her first role, which was a huge role for a new actress-- she played the lead across from John Forsythe in The Trouble with Harry. Her son was played by a little boy about six named Jerry Mathers, two years before he became Beaver Cleaver.

Also interesting, along the same lines, Michael Moriarty and Sam Waterston appeared together in a stage production of The Glass Menagerie, with Katharine Hepburn as Amanda. There’s a video of it which at one point was available on Netflix. They were both very young.

“MAS*H”: Andrew Dice Clay as a wounded soldier and George Wendt as a Marine with a pool ball in his mouth.

Oh, MASH has a lot. Patrick Swayze played a soldier with leukemia.

Yeah, but no other famous names were with him in that episode. :wink:

All right, I’ll bite. Who did I miss?

The OP appears to be looking for guest actors appearing in the same episode and became famous later. :slight_smile:

I just found out that pre-fame Michael Keaton was on a couple of episodes of Mister Rogers Neighborhood

I just saw a biography of Mary Tyler Moore on TV last night.

In one of her two post-Mary Tyler Moore Show variety shows* two of her co-stars were Tom Hanks and David Letterman. It was 1979, and neither had yet achieved wide fame.

They weren’t guest stars, though – they were regulars. Even so.

*I have to admit, I don’t recall either of these.

Nice! This one I’m looking for tonight after work!

Billy Mumy and Marta Kristen appeared in a 1962 episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, three years before being cast as Will and Judy Robinson in Lost in Space.

Big names as far as pop culture is concerned.


I can help you there - it’s in the final season, I think the second episode. Winchester gets in some really choice lines with Wendt as his victim.

My guess would be the Law & Order franchise has lots of this. Idris Elba was saying at the SAG awards that he got his SAG card to guest on L&O.