23 Actors Who Played Different Roles On The Same TV Show

Are you a true TV buff? Well, if you are, you probably noticed that many actors have played more than one role on the same TV show. But I’m not even talking about actors who play their own twins – like Lisa Kudrow in Friends – but actors who are recast for completely different roles. In fact, believe it or not, some stars have played up to 4 different roles on the same show! If I’ve sparked your curiosity, here’s a list of 23 actors who have played multiple roles on the same show. You’ll definitely be shocked by #7, #4, and #2!

Photo: Courtesy of Ww87

#23. Brent Spiner On ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’

The third series in the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek: The Next Generation aired from 1987 to 1994, and to be honest, its plot was pretty much the same as the first two. Fans probably remember Brent Spiner‘s portrayal of Commander Data, the weird android with superhuman abilities, but did you ever realize the same actor played another role too?

Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Domestic Television

Spiner also played the role of Lore, Data’s cruel brother. But this doesn’t end here! Apart from playing those android brothers, he was also in the character of Dr. Noonien Soong, Data’s creator. How crazy is that?

#22. Queen Latifah On ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’

The comedy TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air told the story of a young man from Philadelphia who was sent to live with his aunt and uncle in their lavish mansion. The series wasn’t the best, but we’ll always remember it as the show where Will Smith rose to fame.

Photo: Courtesy of NBC

Many A-list stars appeared on the show, and Queen Latifah was one of them, but it happens to be that she appeared twice! In the first season, she plays Hilary’s annoying boss, while in the second season, she plays Will’s silly love interest, whom he rejects for being too fat.

#21. Amanda Schull On ‘One Tree Hill’

One Tree Hill is a drama TV show about two half-brothers and their rivalries both on the basketball court as well as in their love lives. Amanda Schull portrayed Clay Evan’s late wife, whom he often dreamed or hallucinated about, but did you ever notice she played another character too?

Photo: Courtesy of The CW

During the fourth season, Schull returns as Katie Ryan, Clay’s potential client. Tension begins to arise when Clay rejects Katie because she looked too much like his late wife. This seems to trigger Kate’s crazy obsession over Clay, as she begins to stalk him non-stop and dress up as his ex-wife. We won’t tell you how this drama ends, you should watch it for yourself!

#20. Sharon Epatha Merkerson On ‘Law & Order’

1990 was a turning point for the police genre, as that’s when the legendary show Law & Order was first released. On the show’s first season, talented actress Sharon Epatha made a minor appearance, portraying Denise Winters, the grieving mother of two victims.

Photo: Courtesy of NBC

But 3 years later, on season 4, she landed a more permanent role as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren, which she played for 7 years. In case you forgot, her character replaced the beloved Captain Don Cragen once he was transferred to a different task force.

#19. Samantha Smith On ‘Supernatural’

If you’re a sci-fi nerd, then you must’ve watched Supernatural! This show follows the steps of two young brothers who must fight off different sorts of supernatural creatures. Can you guess which actor played more than one role in the show?

Photo: Courtesy of The CW

In case you didn’t notice, American actress Samantha Smith played Mary Winchester, Sam and Dean’s Mom, during the pilot and several episodes of the first seasons. But later, she took on the role of Eve, a.k.a. “Mother of All”.

#18. Harry Morgan On ‘M*A*S*H’

M*A*S*H is a comedy-war show about the staff of a military hospital who resort to laughter as a way of dealing with the horrors of the Korean War. I bet you all remember Harry Morgan‘s portrayal of the stern and intimidating Colonel Sherman T. Potter.

Photo: Courtesy of CBS

But here’s something you never knew: on the third season’s premiere, Morgan played the role of a visiting General who threatens to send Hawkeye to court. It seems that his acting was so good, that he got to portray two characters at once!

#17. Phil Morris On ‘Seinfeld’

Only rivaled by FriendsSeinfeld is without a doubt one of the greatest sitcoms in history, if not the greatest. The series shows the misadventures of a neurotic stand-up comedian and his neurotic friends. I’d say that all the characters are hilarious, and Jackie Chiles is no exception.

Photo: Courtesy of NBC

Jacki Chiles appeared from season 7 to 9 as Kramer’s lawyer, which is meant as a parody of OJ Simpson’s real-life lawyer Johnnie Cochran. But did you ever notice that Morris also appeared on season 5 as David Dinkin’s aide? It as a one-time appearance, so it’s OK if you never noticed.

#16. Rose Abdoo On ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life’

Gilmore Girls is one of the best girl dramas ever, and that explains why its creators released the web series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life nearly one decade later. Set ten years later, the show follows the lives of Lorelai, Rory, and Emily Gilmore.

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

On both shows, Rose Abdoo played the role of the sarcastic mechanic, Gypsy, who has made us laugh our heads off for many years. But did you notice that she also took on the role of Berta, Emily’s happy-go-lucky maid?

#15. Diane Neal On ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’

9 years after Law & Order was first released, the same creators released Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which is about a well-trained group of detectives that investigates sexually related crimes. In the third season, Diane Neal landed a minor role as Amelia Chase, a young woman accused of rape, but guess what? She made an unexpected comeback two seasons later.

Photo: Courtesy of NBC

In season 5, Neal landed a permanent role replacing Alexandra Cabo as Casey Novak, New York City’s Assistant District Attorney. The funny part is that her new character was the same one who had prosecuted her former character on season three.

#14. Mark Lenard On ‘Star Trek’

Let’s go a few decades back in time and talk about one of the greatest sci-fi shows ever. Aired between 1966 and 1969, Star Trek told the story of Captain Kirk and his crew as they explored the galaxy and defended themselves from unexpected enemies.

Photo: Courtesy of NBC

Mark Lenard is most famous for playing Spock’s father, Vulcan Ambassador Sarek, from season two onwards. However, little do people know that he had also appeared in the first season’s chapter Balance of Terror as Romulan Commander. If you’re a major Star Trek fan, you should also know he played Klingon Captain in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

#13. Kevin James On ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’

Aired for the first time in 1996, Everybody Loves Raymond is a comedy TV show that follows the life of sports journalist Ray Barone and his dysfunctional family. In the first season, actor Kevin James played the role of Kevin Daniels, Ray’s coworker and close friend.

Photo: Courtesy of CBS

After that, James starred in the 1998 spin-off sitcom The King of Queens, but later in the same year, he returned to Everybody Loves Raymond as a guest star in the role of Ray’s friend, Doug Hefferman. The following year, Ray Romano returned the favor and appeared as a guest star on four episodes of King of Queens.

#12. Michael Mitz On ‘Seinfeld’

And we’re back to Seinfeld! Michael Mitz is one of the funniest comedy actors ever, but in spite of that, his appearances on this show went unnoticed. He first appeared in the season 2 episode The Chinese Restaurant, where he played Phone Guy George.

Photo: Courtesy of NBC

Three years later, on the season 5 episode The Puffy Shirt, he played the role of a photographer at a hand modeling firm. Can you think of a more random character? It happens to be that Mitz also played two very minor roles on the drama-fantasy show Highway to Heaven.

#11. Garret Dillahunt On ‘Deadwood’

Deadwood is a thrilling period crime-drama show set in the 1800s, and that focuses on the residents of Deadwood, South Dakota, a town doomed by corruption and violence. Actor Garret Dillahunt appeared twice on the show, but the two characters looked so different that you probably never noticed.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

His first appearance was in the show’s first season, where he played the role of the murderer Jack McCall, a.k.a. “Crooked Nose”. During the next season, he took the role of Francis Wolcott, the chief geologist who murdered sex workers. Villan roles sure suit him well!

#10. Jennifer Taylor On ‘Two And A Half Men’

Two and a Half Men is a comedy show about a 30-year-old womanizer whose life turns upside down when his brother and nephew move into his beach house. Jennifer Taylor appeared in several chapters as Chelsea, Charlie’s ex-girlfriend, but guess what?

Photo: Courtesy of CBS

Before taking the role of Chelsea, Taylor played three other minor roles. On the show’s pilot, she played Suzanne, the lady who runs into Charlie and Jake at the supermarket. On season 2, she played Tina, one of Charlie’s many ex-girlfriends. Finally, she played Nina, Charlie’s fling on the episode Last Chance to See Those Tattoos.

#9. Ted McGinley On ‘Married With Children’

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive one of our favorite shows from the 80s, Married with Children. The show revolved around shoe salesman Al Bundy and his miserable life and dysfunctional family. As to Ted McGinley, fans remember him as Marcy’s husband, Jefferson D’Arcy, but before that, he played two other secondary roles.

Photo: Courtesy of FOX

In the fourth season, he played Norman Jablonsky, Peggy’s hypothetical husband, on an episode that showed what would have happened if Al had never been born. Then, in season 7, in the episode Peggy and the Pirates, Peggy confesses her pirate fantasy, and McGinley is her savior Paco.

#8. Alex Borstein On ‘Gilmore Girls’

Alex Borstein played four roles in the comedy-drama Gilmore Girls, although the first doesn’t really count, as she appeared on the show’s pilot for just a few seconds. Her first major role was that of Sookie, Lorelai’s best friend.

Photo: Courtesy of The WB

Borstein eventually left the show and was replaced by Melissa McCarthy, but guess what? A few years later, she came back as a guest star twice, first as Drella the harpist, and then as Emily Gilmore’s stylist, Miss Celine.

#7. Tatiana Maslany On ‘Orphan Black’

Orphan Black is a sci-fi thriller show that follows the steps of Sarah Manning, a woman who assumes the identity of one of her clones after witnessing the suicide of a child who looks just like her. Lead actress Tatiana Maslany doesn’t really play different characters but different clones of the same character, but still, we thought she deserved to make it to our top 10.

Photo: Courtesy of BBC America

Maslany plays the role of Sarah Manning from the first chapter. However, as the first season goes by, her character gradually finds out she has several clones spread throughout the world and who are all engaged in an illegal cloning experiment. All in all, she played lead character Manning and her 6 clones! The clones have different looks and personalities, so Maslany really went to great lengths to prove the world her versatility as an actress.

#6. Donald Glover On ‘Atlanta’

Atlanta is a comedy-drama show that follows the life of cousins Earn and Alfred as they try to pursue a career in the rap world, facing different social and economic hardships on the way. Donald Glover portrays lead character Earn, but did you notice he played another character too?

Photo: Courtesy of FX

In the episode Teddy Perkins, Glover played the role of Teddy Perkins, Benny Hope’s creepy brother. There’s no way you could’ve noticed, as he played the role in whiteface. Many people believe this character was inspired by pop legend Michael Jackson, but the directors never commented on this rumor.

#5. Terry O’Quinn On ‘The X-Files’

The X-Files is a crime-drama series that follows the lives of two FBI agents as they try to investigate eerie events while hidden forces come in their way. You probably remember Terry O’Quinn’s portrayal of Brian Tillman, the Lieutenant who has an affair with detective Morrow.

Photo: Courtesy of The Whisp

However, very few people know that he also played two other minor roles on the show. In the first season,   he was FBI Special Agent Darius Michaud. However, in season 9, he played the role of the creepy red-faced creature, Shadow Man.

#4. Justin Theroux On ‘Sex And The City’

Sex and the City is one of the most awarded TV shows in history, so give me one good reason not to watch it. If you’ve already watched the series a million times as I have, then you probably remember Justin Theroux in the role of Stanford, one of Carrie’s friends who eventually hits on her.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

I literally can’t stop laughing every time I remember the reason why Carrie was turned off by Stanford: she just couldn’t bear his shark-tooth necklace! Well, a couple of seasons later, Theroux came back in the role of Vaughn Wysel, but this time he was way more successful with his flirting, as he became Carrie’s love interest for a while.

#3. Sheryl Lee On ‘Twin Peaks’

There is no doubt that Twin Peaks was a turning point in the history of TV shows. This thrilling crime-drama follows the life of an FBI inspector who must unveil the mystery behind the murder of a woman in the fictional town of Twin Peaks.

Photo: Courtesy of ABC

During the first season, Sheryl Lee played the role of Laura Palmer, a student whose death helped uncover several mysteries. But a few episodes later, she came back as Laura’s cousin, Maddy Ferguson. Instead of blonde wavy hear, her second character boasts curly locks and red hipster glasses, so her double appearance probably went unnoticed to most fans.

#2. Frank Nelson On ‘I Love Lucy’

The classic comedy show I Love Lucy was famous for recasting actors for multiple roles, but they took it too far with Frank Nelson! Believe it or not, he played seven different roles throughout the series’ six seasons.

Photo: Courtesy of CBS

Fans mostly remember him by his character Freddie Fillmore, the game show host who appeared in famous episodes such as The Quiz Show or Ricky’s Hawaiian Vacation. However, he also played Betty Ramsey’s husband during the last season, not to mention other minor roles like Henry the Waiter and the Customs Officer.

#1. Tucker Smallwood On ‘Seinfeld’

Winner of 3 Golden Globes and deemed as the funniest sitcom ever, Seinfeld definitely deserved to be at the top of our list. The famous actor and singer Tucker Smallwood appeared not once, not twice, but three times on the show. Can you name them all?

Photo: Courtesy of Ww87

He first played a photographer on the season 3 episode The Pen. Then, he came back as the owner of the Mercedes Benz that George carelessly spits on in The Parking Garage. Finally, in the eighth season, he played Malcolm in the episode The Summer of George. But guess what? Smallwood also portrayed multiple characters on the crime drama series Millenium and Reasonable Doubts. Amazing!

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    Hernán Tamargo

    Teacher. Political Scientist. Writer. Feminist... and much more!

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