12 Future Stars Who Appeared on Roseanne

ROBIN UTRECHT, AFP/Getty Images
ROBIN UTRECHT, AFP/Getty Images

Roseanne, a sitcom about a working-class family living in Lanford, Illinois, aired on ABC from October 18, 1988 until May 20, 1997. Following the trend of classic TV shows being rebooted, Roseanne Barr and company will return to ABC on March 27, for a 10th season of the show. The revival will ignore the fact that Dan Conner (John Goodman) died, and it’ll also resurrect the original Becky, played by Lecy Goranson. (The second Becky, Sarah Chalke, will also have a role.)

Throughout the series's original 222 episodes, scores of actors guest starred before they were famous (and/or Oscar winners), including regular cast member Johnny Galecki, who became even a bigger name while starring on The Big Bang Theory. Galecki will make an appearance on the new Roseanne. Here are 12 Roseanne actors who eventually found stardom. 

1. GEORGE CLOONEY

George Clooney had been in and out of sitcom purgatory by the time he spent 11 episodes on Roseanne, as Booker Brooks, Roseanne and Jackie’s (Laurie Metcalf) supervisor (and Jackie’s love interest) at Wellman Plastics. He made those appearances from 1988 to 1989, soon after he had done shows like Baby Talk, The Facts of Life, and the B-movie Return of the Killer Tomatoes!

While at the Telluride Film Festival, Clooney shared a story about a time Barr hit on him. “The first season of Roseanne was pretty fun,” he said. “The first time I met her she’s like, ‘You’re really good looking. Why don’t you take me behind the stage and make me stink?’” Insane fame wasn’t far off for the former lothario; in 1994 he became of star of ER, which made him a household name.

2. LEONARDO DICAPRIO

On the February 5, 1991 episode entitled “Home-Ec,” Leonardo DiCaprio played a classmate of Darlene’s. Much to her daughter’s chagrin, Roseanne visits the class and explains to them what a housewife does. DiCaprio doesn’t have any lines, but he can be clearly seen in the classroom, sitting near Darlene. He also had a recurring role on Growing Pains, and in 1993 he landed a star-turning role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, which garnered him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod. Of course the rest is history: In 1997 he hit Titanic-sized success. Besides Clooney, DiCaprio is the only before-they-were-famous Roseanne guest star to win an Oscar.

3. TOBEY MAGUIRE

One week after DiCaprio's episode aired, his longtime friend Tobey Maguire made a quick guest appearance on the show—albeit with a couple of lines.

4. JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT

Multi-hyphenate Joseph Gordon-Levitt was just a pre-teen when he appeared as George, D.J.’s (Michael Fishman) weird and intolerable friend, for four episodes between 1993 and 1995. Before Roseanne he had small roles on Family Ties and in the movie A River Runs Through It. A year after his last appearance on Roseanne, Gordon-Levitt got cast as one of the leads on the NBC show 3rd Rock from the Sun. He eventually transitioned to film, making a name for himself in the 2009 rom-com 500 Days of Summer, and starring alongside fellow Roseanne guest star DiCaprio in 2010’s Inception.

5. ELLEN DEGENERES

Though Ellen DeGeneres already had her namesake sitcom in 1994, she wasn’t quite on a first-name basis with the world. On a May 1995 Roseanne episode called “The Blaming of the Shrew,” Ellen played a therapist named Dr. Whitman, who comically counsels Jackie and her husband Fred (Michael O’Keefe). Dr. Whitman’s advice didn’t work, as the couple divorced.

6. BOB ODENKIRK

Since beginning his career in the 1980s, Bob Odenkirk has racked up more than 100 acting credits. In a 1993 season five episode called “Tooth or Consequences,” he played Jim, a friend of Dan’s who pretends to be a health inspector. At this point in his career, Odenkirk had already written for SNL and starred on the short-lived The Ben Stiller Show. Although in 1995 he and David Cross became well known for their HBO sketch show Mr. Show, it wasn’t until 2009 that Odenkirk became a household name by playing Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad. This led to him headlining the Emmy-nominated spinoff Better Call Saul.

7. BRAD GARRETT

Actor Brad Garrett of FX's 'Fargo' attends the Getty Images Portrait Studio powered by Samsung Galaxy at 2015 Summer TCA's at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 7, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California
Tommaso Boddi, Getty Images for Samsung

Actor and stand-up comedian Brad Garrett played a guy named Doug on a May 1991 episode entitled “The Pied Piper of Lanford.” Garrett had mainly worked behind the scenes, providing silly voices for animated movies and shows. But in 1996 he was cast as Robert Barone on the blockbuster show Everybody Loves Raymond; he won three Emmys for the role.

8. ALYSON HANNIGAN

Actress Alyson Hannigan attends the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation's 19th Annual 'Taste for a Cure' at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on April 25, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

On the season three episode “Like, A New Job” in 1990, Alyson Hannigan portrayed Becky’s friend, Jan. Becky, Jan, and their other friend (who didn’t become famous) visit Roseanne at her new waitressing job, and Roseanne makes a point to embarrass them. The future How I Met Your Mother celebrity wasn’t new to acting—she had a role in 1988’s My Stepmother is an Alien, and had started acting in commercials at the age of four. Seven years after the Roseanne cameo, Hannigan landed the role of Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Two years later she became infamous for her quotable “this one time at band camp” American Pie performance.

9. STEPHEN ROOT

Actor Stephen Root attends the 'Selma' New York Premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on December 14, 2014 in New York City
Ben Gabbe, Getty Images

Character actor Stephen Root played Roseanne’s lawyer, Peter, in a March 1990 episode. (The episode also featured Melora Walters, who would go on to star in Boogie Nights and Magnolia.) According to IMDb.com, this was Root’s seventh TV/film role. He became a ubiquitous TV actor, popping up in everything from Night Court to Seinfeld. In 1995, he finally became a series regular, on NewsRadio. In 1999 he reached cult status when he played the stapler-loving Milton in Office Space.

10. JENNA ELFMAN

Actor Jenna Elfman attends Larry King's 60th Broadcasting Anniversary Event at HYDE Sunset: Kitchen + Cocktails on May 1, 2017 in West Hollywood, California
Rich Fury, Getty Images

The effusive actress played a hitchhiker named Garland in the November 14, 1995 episode “The Getaway, Almost.” The description of the episode reads: “Roseanne and Jackie’s shopping trip turns into a road trip when they pick up a hitchhiking teenage girl.” At that time Elfman was just two years away from starring on another ABC show, Dharma & Greg, which put her on the map.

11. JAMES PICKENS JR.

Actor James Pickens Jr attends the People's Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Christopher Polk, Getty Images for People's Choice Awards

Between 1990 and 1996, James Pickens Jr. appeared on 19 episodes of Roseanne, playing Dan’s pal Chuck Mitchell (and one of the show’s only minority characters). It was Pickens’s first major part, but throughout those six years he also starred on Beverly Hills, 90210 and L.A. Law, and in 1998 he began a stint on the X-Files. He didn’t become famous until 2005, though, when Shonda Rhimes cast him as Dr. Webber on the long-running (300 episodes and counting!) Grey’s Anatomy. Pickens supposedly will reprise Chuck on the reboot.

12. ERIC DANE

Speaking of Grey’s Anatomy: When Eric Dane played a bellhop on a season eight episode in 1996—in which the Disney-owned ABC mandated that the Connor family visit Disney World—he was a decade away from playing Dr. Mark “McSteamy” Sloan on Grey’s. Previously, he had guest starred on The Wonder Years and Saved by the Bell.

HBO Is Offering Nearly 500 Hours of Free Content, From The Sopranos to Succession

Matthew Macfadyen and Nicholas Braun talk business and omelettes in Succession.
Matthew Macfadyen and Nicholas Braun talk business and omelettes in Succession.
Peter Kramer/HBO

If shelter-in-place orders have you burning through your streaming service selections, HBO might be able to help. The premium network has just announced nearly 500 hours of content will be made available for free beginning Friday, April 3. In a press release, the channel said that content would be unlocked via HBO NOW and HBO GO without a subscription. Viewers can expect a mix of HBO’s original series as well as documentaries and catalog movie titles. For original series, viewers can select these nine shows:

  1. Ballers
  2. Barry
  3. Silicon Valley
  4. Six Feet Under
  5. The Sopranos
  6. Succession
  7. True Blood
  8. Veep
  9. The Wire

Documentary and Docuseries titles include:

  1. The Apollo
  2. The Case Against Adnan Syed
  3. Elvis Presley: The Searcher
  4. I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter
  5. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley
  6. Jane Fonda in Five Acts
  7. McMillion$
  8. True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality
  9. United Skates
  10. We Are the Dream: The Kids of the MLK Oakland Oratorical Fest

Movies are from the Warner Bros. library and, unlike The Sopranos, are mostly family-friendly. They include:

  1. Arthur
  2. Arthur 2: On the Rocks
  3. Blinded By the Light
  4. The Bridges of Madison County
  5. Crazy, Stupid, Love
  6. Empire of the Sun
  7. Forget Paris
  8. Happy Feet Two
  9. Isn't It Romantic?
  10. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
  11. Midnight Special
  12. My Dog Skip
  13. Nancy Drew And The Hidden Staircase
  14. Pan
  15. Pokémon Detective Pikachu
  16. Red Riding Hood
  17. Smallfoot
  18. Storks
  19. Sucker Punch
  20. Unknown Title To Be Announced

The shows can be viewed directly without a sign-in on the HBO GO and HBO NOW websites or via their apps. (The services are nearly identical, but HBO GO is typically included with a cable subscription; HBO NOW is a standalone streaming service.) If you’d like to sample the full range of HBO series like Game of Thrones, The Outsider, or Curb Your Enthusiasm, the channel is offering a seven-day free trial.

According to the press release, the programming will be available to watch without subscribing through the end of April.

Which Fictional Character Are You? This Online Quiz Might Give You an Eerily Accurate Answer

Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister is the unofficial king of witty side comments. Are you, too?
Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister is the unofficial king of witty side comments. Are you, too?
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

While watching a TV show or movie, you might find yourself trying to draw parallels between you and a certain character you’d want to be. If you’re like many viewers, it’s probably one of the heroic ones—the handsome private investigator with a tortured past and an unerring moral compass or the fearless queen who builds her kingdom from nothing and defends it to the death, etc.

But which character would you actually be? Openpsychometrics.org, a site that develops personality tests, has a new online quiz that might give you an uncannily accurate answer. You’ll be confronted with a series of 28 questions that ask you to pinpoint where you fall between two traits on a percentage-based spectrum. For example, if you’re more playful than serious, slide the bar toward the word playful until you’ve reached your desired ratio. The ratio could be anything from 51 percent playful and 49 percent serious, to a full 100 percent playful and not a single iota of seriousness at all. Other spectrums include artistic versus scientific, dominant versus submissive, spiritual versus skeptical, and more.

Once you’ve completed the quiz, you’ll find out which fictional character your personality most closely matches from a database of around 500 television and film characters. To pinpoint the personalities of the characters themselves, the quiz creators asked survey participants to rate them on a series of traits, and those collective results are then compared to your own self-ratings.

If you scroll down below your top result, you’ll see an option to show your full match list, which will give you a much more comprehensive picture of what kind of character you’d be. My top two results—which, ironically, were the same as Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy’s—were The West Wing’s C.J. Cregg and Joey Lucas, suggesting that we both have a no-nonsense attitude, a perfectionist streak, and an apparent aptitude for national politics that (at least in our cases) will likely go unfulfilled.

The fictional twin of managing editor Jenn Wood, on the other hand, is Game of Thrones’s Tyrion Lannister, unofficial king of witty side comments and all-around fan favorite. This was not surprising. As runner-up, Jenn got her personal hero, Elizabeth Bennet, which, in her words “makes me feel better about myself.” (Jenn has Pride and Prejudice-themed “writing gloves,” which seems important to mention.)

Take the quiz here to find out just how much you have in common with your own personal (fictional) hero.

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