Tony Shalhoub was also terrific as a persnickety Italian-American chef in the foodie extravaganza Big Night.
I’ve mentioned elsewhere that Kenneth Tobey, aka “Chuck” on Whirlybirds, was one of the ground controllers in Airplane!
The most interesting example was Captain of the Guard in I, Claudius. Later, Patrick Stewart played a Starship Captain in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The film UHF featured Michael Richards before he was on Seinfeld.
Stewart was Russian spymaster “Karla” in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People opposite Alec Guiness.
I recently rewatched the 1984 Eddie Murphy movie Beverly Hills Cop, and Jonathan Banks plays the bad guy’s top mook.
There’s a 1978 movie called The Fury that’s a bit of a goldmine for this sort of thing. It has very early roles for Daryl Hannah, Dennis Franz, and Laura Innes, and apparently Jim Belushi is visible as an extra in a crowd scene.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a scene where Kirk Douglas is staying at a flophouse hotel in Chicago, and it’s the same room Elwood Blues lived in two years later in The Blues Brothers.