Boy Meets World is one of the most revered and celebrated sitcoms from the ’90s. A staple of ABC’s TGIF primetime television block, Boy Meets World ran for seven seasons from 1993 all the way up until 2000. The show managed to maintain such an enduring legacy and a loyal fan base over the years that the series manifested a recent sequel/spinoff/reboot launched in 2014, which focused on the children of the prior show’s main characters. Even though Girl Meets World was canceled earlier this year in 2017, seeing the old gang all over again really opened up the eyes of fans when it came to just how many stars emerged from the cast. Actors like Rider Strong and Will Friedle, just to name a couple, went on to appear in big box office productions (when it comes to these actors, Cabin Fever and Batman Beyond are some examples). The future star power of actors from the series isn’t limited to just the main cast. It goes for the guest stars, too.
It happens all the time in old-school sitcoms. Many of the guest actors acquired just for a one-off cameo appearance wind up going on to become huge stars in Hollywood. When that happens, it always ends up being a bizarre sight when a face that was unknown when you first saw them is suddenly a major Hollywood player in modern day times. This happened a lot on Boy Meets World, and here are just a few examples.
15. Linda Cardellini
A year prior to her acquiring a star-making turn on Freaks and Geeks, Linda Cardellini earned some early infamy for playing Lauren in a handful of Boy Meets World episodes. Lauren was a girl who was smitten with Cory and tries to pry his love away from Topanga and onto her. Her infatuation with Cory eventually led to Topanga and Cory breaking up. The role that the character played in splitting up Cory and Topanga (albeit briefly) inspired a hoard of hatred from the fans toward the actress who played Lauren, so much so that Cardellini was reluctant to play Sylvia, another mistress, on Mad Men due to the bad flashback vibes she had to playing Lauren so many years ago. Before accepting the part, she was worried about what newfound backlash she could receive for playing another home wrecker.
14. Chris Hardwick
Over the past couple decades, Chris Hardwick has molded into something akin to the ideal television host. Whether it happens to be nerd-related or zombie-related, you can always count on Chris Hardwick to be the host of it, which is why it’s somewhat fitting that most of our first introductions to Hardwick on our television screens were where he was a host during an episode of Boy Meets World. In fact, Hardwick literally played himself in a crossover with MTV’s Singled Out game show. Back when he was still hosting the game show, he appeared in the Boy Meets World episode “Singled Out,” where Eric was a contestant on the show. To this day, Hardwick remains the go-to host of the entertainment industry, especially when it comes to moderating post-show panels for AMC shows.
13. Brittany Murphy
The late Brittany Murphy is best remembered as Alicia Silverstone‘s best friend in the 1995 hit Clueless. That same year, she played best friend to Topanga on Boy Meets World. In the few episodes that she does appear as Trini during Season Three of the show, she teams up with Cory’s best friend, Shawn, to hook Cory and Topanga up with each other. Eventually, their plan works and Cory/Topanga became everybody’s favorite ’90s pairing. The timing of Murphy’s winning performances in both Clueless and Boy Meets World helped win over critics and audiences alike, and her career took off from there. In the coming years, we would see Murphy make memorable appearances in films like 8 Mile and Sin City until her unfortunate death in 2009.
12. Jennifer Love Hewitt
Shortly after hitting the big time with her starring role in I Know What You Did Last Summer, Jennifer Love Hewitt made a memorable cameo in the Season 5 episode of Boy Meets World titled “And Then There Was Shawn,” which parodied horror flicks like Scream and Hewitt’s own Scary Movie. According to the episode’s director, Jeff McCracken, Hewitt snagged the role of Jennifer Love Fefferman (yes, that’s actually her character’s name in the episode) because, at the time, Hewitt was dating Will Friedle, who regularly played Eric on the show. The episode is often praised by many (even most of the actors from the cast) as the best episode of the series. Hewitt’s star continued to rise afterward, and she eventually saw herself nominated for a Golden Globe due to her role on The Client List.
11. Shane West
Shane West spent much of the late ’90s and early 2000s as a heartthrob for teen audiences with his breakout roles coming along with his 1999-2002 role on the television series Once and Again, as well as his lead role in the 2002 dramedy A Walk to Remember. Long before either hit the big or small screen, West made a small appearance in 1996 for Boy Meets World. In the episode “A Kiss is More Than a Kiss” from Season Three, West plays Nick, the guy whom Topanga decides to start dating after her first breakup with Cory. On the surface, while the character is significant to the story, it wasn’t a role substantial enough to allow West to show audiences his impressive chops, though it’s funny to see West play Nick, knowing the kind of Hollywood star that he would become in the future.
10. Keri Russell
Keri Russell is one of the more accomplished and respected actresses in Hollywood today. Over the years, we’ve seen her in a plethora of movies (like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Mission Impossible III, and Free State of Jones) and even more television shows (like The Americans, Scrubs, and her Golden Globe-winning role on Felicity). Before any of that, she had a one-off guest spot on Boy Meets World during the show’s very first season. In the episode “Grandma Was A Rolling Stone,” Russell shows up as Mr. Feeny’s niece, whom Eric happens to have the hots for. At the time, it was only her second acting role, with her first coming a year earlier from an appearance in the film Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
9. Danielle Harris
Back when she was known as nothing more than Michael Myers‘s little niece from Halloween 4 and 5, Danielle Harris grew up to appear in guest spots in numerous sit-coms throughout the mid-’90s in order to make a name for herself as a teen actress. One of those sitcoms happened to be Boy Meets World. In the Season 2 episode “Sister Theresa,” Harris plays Theresa “T.K” Keiner, the sister of local bully Harley Keiner. She suddenly becomes infatuated with Cory, despite him being too terrified of Harley to pursue her. It’s one of the more entertaining episodes of the show, and despite this being her sole appearance, Harris is one of the more memorable guests from the show. She went on to become something of a horror scream queen with appearances in both the Hatchet franchise and the Halloween remakes.
8. Willie Garson
Willie Garson may not be very memorable by name, but White Collar fans should remember him as the character, Mozzie, who appeared on every episode of the USA Network hit series for six seasons straight. Garson has the distinction of playing four different characters across both Boy Meets World and the show’s spin-off, Girl Meets World. In Season One’s “Father Knows Less” and “The Father/Son Game,” he plays the manager of Cory’s dad, Alan, named Leonard “Lenny” Spinelli. For Season 4’s “Janitor Dad,” he plays Mervyn, a guy who applies for a job at the Matthews store. In Season Seven, he was The Minister in “It’s About Time.” Finally, on Girl Meets World, he played Harrison Miller, the senior partner lawyer to Topanga’s junior partner lawyer.
7. Marcia Cross
Most of us should know Marcia Cross best for her recurring roles on shows like Melrose Place, Desperate Housewives, and Quantico, but back when she was still more of a recognizable face than a recognizable name to mainstream audiences, she made a few appearances on Boy Meets World as Topanga’s mom, Rhiannon. In Season Six, Rhiannon was originally portrayed by Annette O’Toole (best remembered as Clark Kent’s mom on Smallville), but for unknown reasons, she was replaced by Cross when Season Seven approached. Cross would continue to play Topanga’s mother for the remainder of the season. When the show ended, Cross worked toward making herself more of a household name, and upon being nominated for both an Emmy and three Golden Globes, she gained wide popularity.
6. Adam Scott
Adam Scott is arguably one of the busiest bees in Hollywood today. In addition to acting, Scott happens to also spend his days as a screenwriter, director, comedian, producer, and podcaster. Scott is perhaps best remembered for his performances on Parks and Recreation, Party Down, Step Brothers, and other hilarious films and TV shows. Scott’s fame all began with his role as high school bully Griff Hawkins during Season Three of Boy Meets World. When the regular local bully Harley Keiner left John Adams High to attend reform school, his cronies Joey and Frankie confided in Griff to be their new leader. Despite only appearing in four episodes altogether, Scott’s too-cool-for-school demeanor instantly latched onto audiences and provided enough of a good impression to earn him bigger roles in Hollywood.
5. Lindsey McKeon
Lindsey McKeon is perhaps best known and recognized for her appearances on The CW network in recurring roles for the shows One Tree Hill and Supernatural. Long before either of those shows came to fruition, she made a few appearances on Boy Meets World. She played Libby Harper, who first appeared in the Season Three episode The Last Temptation of Cory where she seduced Shawn to allow her friend Missy to hook up with Cory. Then, Libby returned in the Season Five episode “First Girlfriends Club” by teaming up with some of Shawn’s other exes to kidnap him in order to prevent him from breaking the heart of his current girlfriend, Angela, just like how he broke all of their hearts back in the day.
4. Mena Suvari
Mena Suvari spent much of the late ’90s as something of a teen sex symbol due in part to her rather explicit roles in American Pie and American Beauty. There’s something provocative about the word “American” when it comes to Suvari’s resume, apparently. Anyway, the mid-’90s were a different story as Suvari appeared in a couple family friendly episodes of Boy Meets World. In both episodes, she played two completely different characters. First, in Season Two, she played Laura, who double-dates with her cousin, Kim, for Shawn and Eric. The next season, she plays Hilary, whom Cory met at a party while masquerading as Shawn. Suvari remains a recognizable name and face to this day, but at the time of her episode appearances, all it took was having two different hairstyles for audiences to believe she was two different people.
3. Kristanna Loken
Among the long list of shows and movies that she’s appeared in over the years, Kristanna Loken is most memorable for her roles in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Bloodrayne. One of her first appearances came on the small screen as Jennifer on Boy Meets World. She first appeared in Season Four for the episode “An Affair to Forget,” where she dated Shawn and tried to convince him to stop being best friends with Cory. She returned to the show in Season Five as a member of a team of Shawn’s ex-girlfriends who kidnap him to prevent him from hurting his new girlfriend, Angela, just like he hurt them. Loken reprised her role for the spinoff series, Girl Meets World, and we find out that in more recent years, she’s been married to fellow Boy Meets World alum, Minkus.
2. Nia Vardalos
We should all be able to remember Nia Vardalos‘s face by now for her starring role in the surprise hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but she was such an unknown face in the late ’90s that none of us thought twice when she appeared on Boy Meets World in two completely different roles. First, in the Season Six episode “You’re Married, You’re Dead,” she played an unnamed waitress at a diner. Vardalos didn’t even receive a credit for her role. Then, ten episodes later, in the episode “Can I Help to Cheer You?,” Vardalos played an adoption agency worker named Mrs. Gallagher, who convinces Eric that he would not be the best fit to adopt a little orphaned boy named Tommy.
1. Julie Benz
In 1996, Julie Benz had appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a few recurring guest spots as Darla, the sire to the male vampire character Angel. This role would prove to be the catalyst for Benz’s ongoing success as an actor, as shortly after, her career was catapulted in a big way. Slightly before the Buffy role hit television screens, she appeared on Boy Meets World that same year. For the Season Three episode “City Slickers,” Benz plays Bianca, who goes on a date with Eric — a date that quickly turns into a game of pool between Eric and Frankie. In the coming years, Benz would become even more of a familiar face thanks to her roles on Dexter and the Buffy spinoff, Angel.
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