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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Take Advantage of Amazon's Early Black Friday Deals on Tech, Kitchen Appliances, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Even though Black Friday is still a few days away, Amazon is offering early deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.

Kitchen

Instant Pot/Amazon

- Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-115 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker; $90 (save $40) 

- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Sauteuse 3.5 Quarts; $180 (save $120)

- KitchenAid KSMSFTA Sifter with Scale Attachment; $95 (save $75) 

- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

- Cuisinart Bread Maker; $88 (save $97)

- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker; $139 (save $60)

- Aicook Juicer Machine; $35 (save $15)

- JoyJolt Double Wall Insulated Espresso Mugs - Set of Two; $14 (save $10) 

- Longzon Silicone Stretch Lids - Set of 14; $13 (save $14)

HadinEEon Milk Frother; $37 (save $33)

Home Appliances

Roomba/Amazon

- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity; $179 (save $101)

- Fairywill Electric Toothbrush with Four Brush Heads; $19 (save $9)

- ASAKUKI 500ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser; $22 (save $4)

- Facebook Portal Smart Video Calling 10 inch Touch Screen Display with Alexa; $129 (save $50)

- Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters; $280 (save $50)

Oscillating Quiet Cooling Fan Tower; $59 (save $31) 

TaoTronics PTC 1500W Fast Quiet Heating Ceramic Tower; $55 (save $10)

Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler 2 Liter Capacity; $300 (save $100)

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Home Office Shredder; $33 (save $7)

Ring Video Doorbell; $70 (save $30) 

Video games

Sony

- Marvel's Spider-Man: Game of The Year Edition for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $20)

- Marvel's Avengers; $27 (save $33)

- Minecraft Dungeons Hero Edition for Nintendo Switch; $20 (save $10)

- The Last of Us Part II for PlayStation 4; $30 (save $30)

- LEGO Harry Potter: Collection; $15 (save $15)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

BioShock: The Collection; $20 (save $30)

The Sims 4; $20 (save $20)

God of War for PlayStation 4; $10 (save $10)

Days Gone for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $6)

Luigi's Mansion 3 for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

Computers and tablets

Microsoft/Amazon

- Apple MacBook Air 13 inches with 256 GB; $899 (save $100)

- New Apple MacBook Pro 16 inches with 512 GB; $2149 (save $250) 

- Samsung Chromebook 4 Chrome OS 11.6 inches with 32 GB; $210 (save $20) 

- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5 inch Touch-Screen; $1200 (save $400)

- Lenovo ThinkPad T490 Laptop; $889 (save $111)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (64GB); $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet (32 GB); $130 (save $70)

- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 inches with 32 GB; $100 (save $50)

Apple iPad Mini (64 GB); $379 (save $20)

- Apple iMac 27 inches with 256 GB; $1649 (save $150)

- Vankyo MatrixPad S2 Tablet; $120 (save $10)

Tech, gadgets, and TVs

Apple/Amazon

- Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS; $179 (save $20) 

- SAMSUNG 75-inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $998 (save $200)

- Apple AirPods Pro; $169 (save $50)

- Nixplay 2K Smart Digital Picture Frame 9.7 Inch Silver; $238 (save $92)

- All-New Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Alexa (4th Gen); $39 (save $21)

- MACTREM LED Ring Light 6" with Tripod Stand; $16 (save $3)

- Anker Soundcore Upgraded Bluetooth Speaker; $22 (save $8)

- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote; $28 (save $12)

Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera with EF-M 15-45mm Lens; $549 (save $100)

DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector; $93 (save $37)

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

Boldly Celebrate the Holidays With This Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise Christmas Tree Topper

Hallmark, Amazon
Hallmark, Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

From Baby Yoda Christmas ornaments to TARDIS string lights, there are plenty of geeky holiday decorations you can use to celebrate the season. If you're a Star Trek fan, this U.S.S. Enterprise tree topper, complete with lights and sound effects, could be the perfect addition to your Christmas tree.

This 10-inch-tall ornament from Hallmark looks like it flew straight out of an episode of the classic sci-fi series. The ship stays lit up when you plug it in, and you can press a button on the topper's base or on the included remote control to watch it put on a dazzling light show display set to the Star Trek theme.

Hallmark, Amazon

Whether you have a real tree, an artificial tree, or a Chris Pine tree, the Star Trek topper will add a delightfully geeky layer to your decor. You can purchase it for this year's tree, or leave it in its keepsake box and give it to a fellow Trekkie.

The Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise tree topper is now available from Amazon for $150. Here are more gifts to give the space-lover in your life this holiday season.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!