The Gilmore Girls series dominated television screens as one of the early hits of the new millennium from 2000 to 2007. Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel played the sharp-witted Lorelai and Rory, a mother and sister duo that enjoyed life in the charming Stars Hollow town. Viewers couldn’t get enough of the witty repertoire and heart-wrenching stories in the series. They knew how to make you laugh, smile and cry to the fullest extent of the entertainment world. The series lived on years after the final episode in 2007 through the power of the internet and syndication.
Things progressed to the point where Netflix has actually picked up the show for a four episode mini-series scheduled to premiere in November. This has led to even more fans giving the show a try, by binge watching all of the old seasons on Netflix, before the new season is released. Viewers are shocked to realize just how many familiar faces are in the show. In fact, fans that enjoyed the series on television weren’t aware of some of the names that were cast. Between the future stars, underrated actors and odd cameos, the show gave us many celebrity memories. We’ll look at some of the shocking ones with fifteen actors you didn’t realize actually appeared on Gilmore Girls.
15 Seth MacFarlane
Everyone knows Seth MacFarlane for creating Family Guy and various other successful projects. The majority of MacFarlane’s success has come from work behind the scenes, but he is an actor as well. We have seen him in quite a few movies and television shows with Gilmore Girls being one of them. MacFarlane played the character Zach in the episode “Lorelai’s Graduation Day” as a fellow graduate of Lorelai at her business school. Naturally, the character was a complete jerk to her.
14 Krysten Ritter
Krysten Ritter has become a huge star in recent years thanks to her work in the Netflix hit Marvel show Jessica Jones. Before she was the lead superhero, Ritter held a thriving career in Hollywood for many years. One of her less heralded roles was playing the recurring character of Lucy in season seven of Gilmore Girls. Lucy was a friend of Rory at Yale and appeared in quite a few episodes in the show’s final season.
13 Masi Oka
The career of Masi Oka is defined by his role as Hiro on the cult hit series Heroes. Before he landed the dream role, the acting career was a struggling to find work on any project people would actually get to see him in. Gilmore Girls gave Oka a pretty good opportunity in the season two episode “The Road Trip to Harvard.” Lorelai and Rory crash the Harvard campus to get a glimpse into Rory’s hopeful future.
12 Billy Burke
Another successful actor to land a role on Gilmore Girls was Billy Burke. Most fans know Burke for his work as Charlie Swan in the Twilight series or, currently, for his role on CBS’ Zoo. The talented actor found a recurring role on the WB series in season two as Lorelai’s love interest. As the character of Alex Lesman, Burke had a pivotal role on the show before the relationship ended - much like any story with someone dating Lorelai.
11 Melora Hardin
The career of Melora Hardin is quite underrated, with various roles showing her great talent. Hardin had standout performances specifically in television series like Monk and The Office. We saw her in Gilmore Girls as a date of Christopher at the Gilmore family Friday night dinner. The awkward moments were aplenty and Hardin’s acting chops provided fun to add to the scenes. It is funny to realize the details of the scene of Hardin in Gilmore Girls, considering that one of her best performances on The Office also came in an episode about an awkward dinner party.
10 Danny Pudi
Danny Pudi’s career didn’t take off until he landed the role of Abed on Community and did excellent work. The pivotal role on the hit show allowed him to showcase his comedic skills. Pudi never had the chance to do that in his previous roles, as he struggled to get relevancy in Hollywood. Gilmore Girls were one of the shows to find him endearing enough to have on in a guest spot.
9 Paul Anka
Paul Anka had one of the best guest roles in Gilmore Girls history. Naturally, Lorelai names a dog she adopts after the legendary singer and the dog becomes a beloved figure in the Gilmore household. The real Paul Anka fittingly appears in the episode titled “The Real Paul Anka” in a dream sequence of Lorelai. Anka makes a hilarious cameo in the dream, playing the role of the dog named after him and acts like the canine every step of the way.
8 Chauncey Leopardi
The name Chauncey Leopardi won’t stand out to most readers, but the actor is one of those faces that you recognize once you see him. Leopardi is still most famous for his childhood role of the nerdy character Squints in The Sandlot. His movie-stealing scenes in the film followed him into adulthood and have earned a respectable career. Leopardi had a funny role in Gilmore Girls as Dean’s high school friend Kyle.
7 Madeleine Albright
The power of Gilmore Girls somehow attracted the first ever female United States Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, to make an appearance playing herself on the show. Rory had a dream featuring Albright as her mother. The show reached out to Albright asking, out of respect, if she would be okay with them casting someone to play her. Shockingly enough, Albright was a fan of Gilmore Girls and said she would make the appearance herself if they wanted her.
6 Max Greenfield
Max Greenfield has become one of the more popular comedic actors in the acting world these days. The role of Schmidt in New Girl earned him notoriety and he is widely viewed as the most entertaining part of that sitcom. One of the earlier roles in Greenfield’s acting career came on Gilmore Girls. You have to be a big fan of Greenfield to even spot him in his surprising appearance as one of Dean’s friends attending his bachelor party.
5 Victoria Justice
One of the most successful child actors in recent memory actually had her acting debut take place on Gilmore Girls. Victoria Justice became a massive star for Nickelodeon during her teen years and still holds a great bit of fame today. Not many are aware the future star saw her first credited actor role come as a young child attending one of Sookie’s catered parties. Sookie makes an over-the-top menu in the theme of Lord of the Rings.
4 Adam Brody
Gilmore Girls saw the brilliance of Adam Brody early on in his acting career, but unfortunate luck cut his time on the show short. Brody played the hilarious Dave Rygalski as the first love interest of Rory’s BFF Lane. The endearing nerd added a great presence and seemed perfect for the long run as Lane’s boyfriend. Sadly for Gilmore Girl fans, Brody would leave the show to join Fox’s The OC.
3 Jon Hamm
The role of Don Draper on Mad Men has made Jon Hamm among the most popular television actors of the past decade. Hamm appears in various roles in many projects these days, but one of his forgotten cameos came on Gilmore Girls. His appearance came in the most fitting way possible, as he flirted with Lorelai at an auction. The romance didn’t match his Mad Men love life, as the date with Lorelai turned out to flop.
2 Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch is one of the feel good stories of an actress reaching her peak later in her career. The comedic work of Lynch always delivers and she's had a good career to date, but she didn’t hit her full potential until recent years. Lynch was a breakout star on Glee and in various films like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Role Models. Gilmore Girls fans can find her playing a nurse having to deal with the wrath of Emily Gilmore.
1 Nick Offerman
The most shocking celebrity to appear on Gilmore Girls has to be Nick Offerman. Today, Offerman is an internet meme legend for his work on Parks & Recreation as the iconic Ron Swanson. Before getting his big break, Offerman had small roles on many television shows. The role on Gilmore Girls saw him play Beau Belleville, the brother of Jackson and brother-in-law of Sookie. Offerman showed his comedic chops on the show in two episodes.
Beau arrived to Stars Hollow to help Jackson and Sookie prepare for the birth of their first child. He would return again in another episode for the baptizing of the kids. The role wasn’t anything special, but Offerman stood out. As a talented actor, he did that many times on various shows before landing the dream role of Ron Swanson. The work on Gilmore Girls provided laughs but, more importantly, helped add another notch on his resume to help him make it big in the future.
Sources: Gilmorepedia, Twitter, Mental Floss.
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