Those who grew up with the show claim that it’s the greatest comedy ever. Who can argue with that? Seinfeld gave us the most memorable lines ever; “Yada yada yada”, “…not that there’s anything wrong with that!”, “Double dipping”, “Hello… Newman”, “I was in the pool! (Shrinkage)”, “No soup for you!”, “Sponge-worthy”, “Master of my domain” and of course, “They’re real, and they’re spectacular.” The last quote coming from an actress on this list. One would be surprised how many Hollywood A-Listers showed up on Seinfeld, before becoming superstars of their own. Can you guess which show has more actors that had a guest appearance on Seinfeld? For those who haven’t seen Seinfeld in a long time, it’s hard to tell which recurring character Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame played. Take away the beard and add some hair and maybe you’ll remember.
Want to know what other famous lines guest stars on the show brought into pop culture after appearing on Seinfeld? Read on and find out. One thing is for sure, after reading this article you’ll be taking out the old VHS tapes, DVDs, Blu Rays or whatever you have in order to revisit these great moments where Seinfeld not only brought laughs to everyone, but also introduced the world to some great actors.
18. Denise Richards – Molly Dalrymple In “The Shoes” (February 4, 1993)
George and Jerry are at Russell Dalrymple’s house getting his input on the script for their pilot. In walks his 15 year old daughter, Molly (left – the actress was 22 years old at the time). Russell sees George staring at her cleavage and angrily asks the duo to leave his house without providing feedback on the script. George and Jerry defend themselves by claiming that any man would stare at cleavage that enters his field of vision. They try to prove their point by asking Elaine to wear a low cut dress in front of Russell. Russell sees Elaine’s cleavage and agrees with Seinfeld’s cleavage theory, and all is well.
Denise moved on to bigger and better things, with her most notable acting job coming in 1997 in Starship Troopers, where she had a lead role as Dina Meyer (right). She was a critical bomb as a Bond Girl in The World Is Not Enough. In the ensuing decade her most famous act was marrying Charlie Sheen, between 2002 and 2006. In 2011, she reportedly turned down 6 figures for a single episode, as she was unwilling to appear as one of Charlie Sheen’s ex-girlfriends on the Two and a Half Men episode where his character dies.
17. Sarah Silverman – Emily In “The Money” (January 16, 1997)
If you blinked long enough, you may have noticed her debut on Saturday Night Live in 1993, but she got fired after one season and did not perform in too many skits during her stint there. In 1997 she appeared as Kramer’s girlfriend where her Jimmy Legs kept Kramer up all night forcing them to sleep in separate beds. Since then, Sarah has had a very successful career as a stand-up comic. Her acting career consists of guest appearance after guest appearance in everything from Monk to Star Trek: Voyager. Eventually in 2007, she got her own show The Sarah Silverman Program, which lasted 3 years and at one point garnered almost 2 million viewers. She recently became a woman of interest when she joked about the ‘v*gina tax’. She showed off her s*x appeal by playing a prostitute in A Million Ways To Die In The West (2014).
16. Jennifer Coolidge – Jodi In “The Masseuse” (November 18, 1993)
Jerry is dating Jodi, a professional masseuse. He starts to get annoyed and frustrated when she refuses to give him a massage. Eventually Jerry goes insane and forces her to give him a massage at which point she says that she doesn’t give forced massages and leaves him. George, meanwhile, is obsessed with the fact that Jodi hates him, making him so paranoid and neurotic, that he loses his own girlfriend trying to find out what Jodi’s problem with him is. Jennifer later had a more iconic role, as she helped invent a particular word (MILF), portraying Stifler’s mom in American Pie (1999). These days one can see her on 2 Broke Girls. At one point she nearly received the role of Lynette Scavo, on Desperate Housewives.
15. Marcia Cross – Dr. Sara Sitarides In “The Slicer” (November 13, 1997)
The main plot of “The Slicer”, centers around Kramer who complains about the “misshaped, shoddy meats” in his sandwiches, saying that he “hasn’t had a decent sandwich in 13 years.” He solves his problem by getting a meat slicer. Meanwhile Jerry starts dating a doctor, Dr. Sara Sitarides. His date makes him feel worthless, because Jerry feels that if he doesn’t “save lives”, he just can’t match up to her. Eventually he finds out that she’s a dermatologist, and in Jerry’s mind this pimple popper is a fake doctor who doesn’t save lives. George convinces him to go on a revenge date in order to tell her off, which he promptly does. Nothing goes as planned during the revenge date when a former patient comes up to them while they are eating and thanks Dr. Sara for saving his life from skin cancer. Jerry apologizes and gets one more chance at the doctor until he blows it later, claiming that Dr. Sara gave him hives, when in fact it was Kramer who gave him his skin disease by using Jerry’s hand towel to clean the meat slicer. Marcia of course, went on to have a memorable role as the stuck up, ultra conservative yet, thoroughly dependable (unless you were her husband) Bree Van De Kamp on Desperate Housewives (2004-2012). She is not the only Seinfeld actress to appear on Desperate Housewives as we will see later.
14. Lauren Graham – Valerie In “The Millennium” (May 1, 1997)
Lauren played Valerie, Jerry’s speed dialing girlfriend. Jerry gets caught up in a speed-dial war with her domineering step-mom in order to see who gets the higher rank on Valerie’s speed-dial. Eventually the step-mom hides Jerry’s number on the phone’s emergency button. When Valerie gets poisoned she calls poison control using her speed-dial, only to have Jerry answer the phone, to which Jerry replies, “Wow! Poison control? That’s even higher than number one!” Jerry won the war, but lost Valerie for good when she hung up the phone in disgust.
Lauren did pretty well for herself, starring as Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls (2000-2008), where she was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actress. She also produced the show. Her career did not end there though. In 2009, she replaced Maura Tierney in the television series Parenthood, as single mother Sarah Braverman. Tierney unfortunately had cancer and had to drop out. Want more? In 2013, her book Someday, Someday, Maybe: A Novel made the New York Times Bestseller List. She had a pretty damn good career.
13. Peter Krause – Tim In “The Limo” (February 26, 1992)
You know things are going to go wrong when George and Jerry have a plan, but in this case the results are rather creepy. Jerry flies in from Chicago, and George is at the airport to give him a ride home. Problem is that George’s car breaks down and neither of them have a way of getting back home. The duo overhear a limo driver asking for “O’Brien”. Jerry remembers hearing an ‘O’Brien’ complaining back in Chicago about how he needed to go to Madison Square Garden. Since both of them think that O’Brien will not show up, Jerry pretends to be O’Brien and takes the limo. In the limo they are greeted by Tim and Eva (who have never physically seen O’Brien). The passengers tell Jerry what big fans they are of O’Brien. Turns out O’Brien was a white supremacist staging a rally at MSG.
From this one small role, Peter Krause created a brilliant career as a bona-fide leading man. His first major role was as Cybill Shephard’s son in law on Cybill (1996-2000). His role as funeral director Nate Fisher, on the HBO drama Six Feet Under (2001-2005) earned him seven award nominations. Then there was Dirty Sexy Money (2007-2009), and Parenthood (2009), where he played Adam Braverman. It seems Parenthood grabbed a few Seinfeld Alumni.
12. Jeremy Piven – Michael Barth In “The Pilot” (May 20, 1993)
Michael Barth was auditioning to play George in the TV show that George and Jerry co-wrote. Michael just nailed the role of George, making everyone in the room laugh while George gets upset at what he deems to be Michael’s inaccurate portrayal of him. Where do we see Piven now? He went from playing a neurotic freak to a mean go-getter as the irate Hollywood agent Ari Gold in HBO’s Entourage. He was so good that he won three consecutive Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actor for this role between 2006 and 2008. People might also remember the actor from the movie Black Hawk Down.
11. Brad Garrett – Tony In “The Bottle Deposit” (May 2, 1996)
He was a successful stand up comedian before his appearance on Seinfeld, but he was not a mainstream television persona. In this episode, Tony is Jerry’s overly dedicated mechanic. Jerry hears a clunking noise in his car and asks Tony for an estimate. Tony wants to replace everything at which point Jerry asks for his car back in order to get a second opinion. Tony, in disgust, drives off with Jerry’s car claiming that the comedian is not good enough to own such a fine car.
Looking at the picture it is not hard to tell where we all know Brad from. He spent nine years playing Ray Barone’s older, insecure brother on the television show Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005), where he won multiple awards. Apparently everybody did love Raymond, because Brad’s next TV show was a critical and ratings flop, nevertheless lasting for four seasons. He has also made his mark as a voice actor and professional poker player, having won the 5th season of Celebrity Poker Showdown. He stuck around Vegas opening his own comedy club in the Tropicana Casino back in 2010.
10. Michael Chiklis – Steve In “The Stranded” (November 27, 1991)
In this episode, George gets invited to a party in Long Island at Steve’s house. Jerry and Elaine tag along. George leaves the party after hooking up with one of the guests, stranding Elaine and Jerry there. They end up waiting for a very tardy Kramer to give them a lift home. As a token of gratitude, Jerry invites Steve and his wife to his apartment. Steve takes Jerry up on his offer and later arrives at his apartment without prior notice, just as Jerry is leaving. Jerry lets Steve stay at his apartment where he hooks up with Kramer. After a few drinks he hires a prostitute to come over. Just as Jerry returns, Steve leaves the apartment without paying the hooker who refuses to leave without getting paid. Just as Jerry is paying her, the cops arrive and arrest Jerry.
Michael is another guy who went on to have a brilliant career after Seinfeld. He won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor portraying detective Vic Mackey, on the FX drama The Shield. He also starred in the TV series The Commish, portrayed The Thing in the Fantastic Four movies, and he now stars as Nathaniel Barnes in the TV series Gotham.
9. Jane Leeves – Marla In “The Virgin” and ”The Contest” (November 11, 1992)
Jerry starts dating Marla, who is a virgin. She was the longest relationship the character ever had on the show. She started dating Jerry in the episode “The Virgin”, finally leaving him in the most famous of all episodes, “The Contest”. During this last episode, Marla is about to give it up, but Jerry can’t participate because he wants to remain “The Master of his Domain”, thus winning the contest. So he ends up explaining the contest to her, at which point she leaves him in disgust, only to land in the arms of JFK junior and losing her virginity to him.
Executives at NBC must have been impressed with Jane, because right after she left Seinfeld they gave her the character of Daphne Moon, on Frasier. She was a major character for the entire 12 year run of the show having received several award nominations. We are cheating a little here because unlike most of the other people on this list, she did have some decent roles before Seinfeld, in shows like Murphy Brown and The Benny Hill Show. Nevertheless it was Frasier that put her on the map forever.
8. Jon Favreau – Eric The Clown In “The Fire” (May 5, 1994)
No one actually sees Jon’s face in this hilarious episode where George proves to the world how brave he is. While at a children’s party for his girlfriend’s son, George gets into an argument with the clown because the clown has no idea who Bozo is. Later a fire breaks out in the kitchen and George starts to panic. He rushes to the front door pushing everyone out of the way, including his girlfriend’s mother, her son, a handicapped elderly woman and the clown. The clown puts out the fire with his clown shoe while everyone stares at George.
Jon Favreau now does everything. He is an actor, having appeared in the movie Swingers (which he also wrote) and he directed Iron Man 1 and 2, while acting as the executive producer for The Avengers movies.
7. Debra Messing – Beth In “The Yada Yada” (April 24, 1997)
In this one, Jerry’s dentist, Tim Whatley (who will be shown later) converts to Judaism. He immediately starts blurting Jewish-themed jokes prompting Jerry to think that he only converted to Judaism for the jokes. Jerry, as a comedian, becomes offended. Later Jerry visits a priest who laughs at Tim’s Catholic jokes but scoffs at Jerry’s dentist jokes. Later Jerry tries the dentist joke on his girlfriend Beth, in order to see if it offends her. Beth laughs at the dentist joke but offends Jerry with her anti-Semitic comments. Jerry dumps her and tells Elaine that she left the apartment “to get her head shaved.”
Debra moved on and became her own star in the television series Will and Grace, where she wowed audiences for years. She even won five Crown Awards from voters for her character’s (Grace Adler) trademark curly hair. During the course of the series she won 5 acting awards (but never an Emmy) and was nominated for at least 20 other acting awards. Debra was nominated for 10 Emmy Awards, including outstanding lead actress in a miniseries for The Starter Wife (2007).
6. Courteney Cox – Meryl In “The Wife” (March 17, 1994)
Her career started in 1984 when she appeared in Bruce Springsteen‘s Dancing In The Dark video, and she did have a 3 year stint as Alex P. Keaton’s girlfriend on Family Ties in the late 80s. So she was already famous before this Seinfeld episode where Jerry pretends she’s his wife in order to get a dry cleaning discount. Eventually Jerry loves the sound of having a wife until he cheats on Meryl in order to give his discount to someone else. No one needs a refresher on where Courteney became famous, as she was the only cast member of Friends to have some sort of star power before the show started. Last year she wrapped up her latest TV series, Cougar Town, after a six year run.
5. Teri Hatcher – Sidra In “The Implant” (February 25, 1993)
All one needs to remember from this episode is one line; “And by the way, they’re real and they’re spectacular.” Jerry may have never seen how wonderful those things were, but audiences were treated to them for decades to come. First off there was Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, from 1993 to 1997. A picture of Teri playing Lois wrapped in a Superman cape was the most downloaded picture for a six month period in 1995. Ever so humble, she told Entertainment Weekly that her picture’s success had little to do with her and more to do with the fact that it was a “great shot.” After starring in multiple movies, she finally landed her biggest role on Desperate Housewives, where audiences got to see if they were real for eight seasons. Teri, who was naturally shy, was rather reclusive on set leading to speculation that she could not get along with anyone on the show.
4. Rob Schneider – Bob Grossberg In “The Friar’s Club” (March 7, 1996)
In this episode Rob Schneider plays a partially deaf co-worker where Elaine works. When her boss, J. Peterman hires him, Elaine gets stuck with most of his workload, due to his poor hearing. Elaine, determined to find out if he is faking his hearing loss, has a little fun with Bob, proclaiming her love for him. Of course her boss overhears this, and full well knowing that her comments are insincere, gives Elaine a little payback of his own. Prior to this episode Rob was somewhat well known for his stint on Saturday Night Live. It was in 1999, with the release of Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo that Rob hit the big time. Since then he has been riding the coattails of Adam Sandler.
3. Anna Gunn – Amy In “The Glasses” (September 30, 1993)
We end this article with three actors from Breaking Bad that appeared on Seinfeld, tying Desperate Housewives with the most Seinfeld actors on this list. There were actually three more Seinfeld guest stars who appeared on the hit TV show about a high school teacher turned drug kingpin. Anna plays Amy, another one of Jerry’s girlfriends. When George loses his glasses he mistakenly sees Amy kissing Jerry’s cousin Jeffrey, who apparently has a “horse face”. Jerry doesn’t know what to do with this information, especially considering George’s uncanny ability to see fine details while ‘squinting’. So he confronts his girlfriend. When George finally gets new glasses, he realizes that what he saw was a mounted police woman affectionately petting her horse.
Can anyone not know what Anna is famous for at this point? She played Skyler White, the wife of anti-hero Walter White, for five seasons winning an Emmy Award twice (and deservedly so). Unfortunately the actress got a little too much hate mail for her character who did what any sane mother would do once she found out that her husband was a drug lord. Anna has also appeared in quite a few movies, including Enemy Of The State (1998). She also starred in the film Equity (2016), billed as the first female-driven Wall Street movie. The movie received critical praise at the Sundance Festival, but so far not a lot of people have seen it.
2. Bob Odenkirk – Ben In “The Abstinence” (November 21, 1996)
In this one George contracts mono and is forced to stop having s*x, which makes his mind much sharper. Elaine has to abstain, because her boyfriend has to study for his medical exam. Unlike George, Elaine’s abstinence makes her dumb as nails. In the end, Ben dumps her once he gets his medical license, figuring that he could get a better girl now that he’s a doctor, leaving Elaine extremely s*xually frustrated. Bob of course became the conflicted lawyer, Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad. The character was so brilliantly played that he required his own spinoff show, which has been on for a couple of seasons now.
1. Bryan Cranston – Tim Whatley In “The Mom And Pop Store” (November 17, 1994)
The greatest of anti-heroes was anything but on Seinfeld. The only similarities between the two characters is that Bryan played a scientist in both shows; a chemist in one and a dentist in this comedy. Tim Whatley was a recurring character on Seinfeld as Jerry’s dentist. George called him the “Dentist to The Stars”. The first time he appears, Tim invites Jerry to his house party. George, who thinks he has just bought Jon Voight’s car, invites himself to the party, as he wants see if any of Tim’s dentist friends can determine if the teeth marks on a pencil he found in Jon Voight’s car actually belong to the actor.
What is there to say about Walter White in Breaking Bad that hasn’t already been said a million times before? It’s interesting to think that many of the main actors from the greatest drama during its five year run got their start from the greatest comedy of its time.