Whenever a television series reaches a certain level of popularity, many celebrities will end up being featured in guest roles in an attempt to draw new eyes to the series. This usually bodes well for shows getting a brand-new audience, and it’s a practice that’s dated back longer than most will actually realize. Small roles on TV shows also go to completely unknown performers who are looking to make a name for themselves in the entertainment industry. They’re forgetful, to say the least, and most of these appearances can end up being a blink-and-you-miss-it type of role. Everyone’s looking to make a name for himself or herself in Hollywood, and you never know when a role can give way to your big break.
Despite being relative nobodies when they ended up getting a role on Saved by the Bell, a number of performers on this list ended up having wildly successful careers in Hollywood. Fans didn’t realize at the time that these individuals would become the names that they are today. Whether they were just kids trying to establish their resume or they were an already established name, the names that you’ll see on this list all made their way through the streets of Bayside, and fans of the series have spotted them out while rewatching the show. Saved by the Bell had tons of roles that went to no-name actors during the 1990’s, but these 15 people have proven to be the biggest guest stars that the series ever had.
15. Tori Spelling
When your father is Aaron Spelling, opportunities in the entertainment industry are bound to arise in an attempt to capitalize on your famous name. Tori Spelling‘s acting career began by having an appearance on the series Vega$ all the way back in 1981. Few people realize that her acting career stretches back this far, and she appeared on a number of hit 1980 shows, including Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, and TJ Hooker. After nearly a decade in the entertainment industry, Tori Spelling landed the role of Violet Bickerstaff for several episodes on the series Saved by the Bell. That same year, she landed the role of Donna Martin on the series Beverly Hills, 90210, and her time on the series made her a household name.
Outside of Beverly Hills, 90210, Tori Spelling continued to make appearances in a number of hit series during the 1990’s, including some time on Melrose Place. Her most notable film appearances have come in Troop Beverly Hills, Scream 2, and Scary Movie 2.
14. Carla Gugino
Few people realize that Saved by the Bell ended up becoming a television series, thanks to it being a reboot of a show called Good Morning, Miss Bliss. Because it’s a reboot, many people consider the series Good Morning, Miss Bliss as part of the Saved by the Bell canon. Before she landed starring roles in feature films and television shows, Carla Gugino appeared in the episode “Summer Love” of the series Good Morning, Miss Bliss back in 1988. Much of her early work came by way of television, although she landed some notable film roles in the late 1980’s, most notably, Troop Beverly Hills.
Carla Gugino has had an incredibly successful career in the entertainment industry, and some of her biggest credits include Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Sin City, and Chicago Hope. The talented actress has had a career that’s spanned three separate decades, and she’s perhaps the most underrated beauty in Hollywood.
13. James Marsden
Even though many consider it to be far less entertaining than the original series, Saved by the Bell: The New Class was a show that was greenlit in 1993. Even though most people would like to forget that this show actually happened, it wound up airing a total of 143 episodes over the course of 7 successful seasons. Years before he rose to fame as the character Cyclops in the X-Men film franchise, actor James Marsden appeared in one episode of Saved by the Bell: The New Class as the character Chad Westerfield. James Marsden was also a model growing up, and this aided him in getting roles in film and television.
While he’s best known for appearing as Cyclops, James Marsden has had a very successful career that’s mainly flown under the radar. Some of his most notable appearances have come in the films Hairspray, Enchanted, and 27 Dresses. He’s also been featured in a number of hit television shows, including 30 Rock, Modern Family, and Ally McBeal.
12. Leah Remini
Three years before she landed a six-episode role on Saved by the Bell, Leah Remini had begun making appearances on television shows. Her first credited appearance came on an episode of Head of the Class, and she followed this up by appearing on the smash hit series Who’s the Boss?. 1991 was the year that saw her land recurring roles on both Saved by the Bell and The Man in the family, and this helped kick-start what’s become an incredibly successful career for Leah Remini. Her character, Stacey, on Saved by the Bell was one of the many women who ended up being a love interest of lead character Zack Morris on the series.
Leah Remini continued to find steady work throughout her career before landing the role of Carrie Heffernan on the smash hit series The King of Queens. Remini appeared in all 207 episodes of the beloved series, and the show helped make her a household name. She’s currently in a war of words against the Church of Scientology, exposing them for being nothing more than a cult.
11. Tara Reid
Much like James Marsden, Tara Reid‘s time on Saved by the Bell came by way of appearing on the series Saved by the Bell: The New Class. Reid appeared in the episode “Squash It” as the character Sandy. Although this was her first role on a television series, Reid had begun working in films seven years prior. Her first film appearance came in 1987 on the movie A Return to Salem’s Lot, and she had a seven-year hiatus from acting, in general, before appearing on Saved by the Bell: The New Class. Toward the tail end of the decade, Tara Reid exploded onto the scene after appearing in several hit films, including The Big Lebowski, American Pie, and Van Wilder.
Much has been made about her downfall after becoming a household name, but no one can take away the fact that Tara Reid was a red-hot commodity in the late ’90s and early 2000’s. Despite all of the personal strife that she’s dealt with, her career was reinvigorated in 2013 by appearing in the cult hit film Sharknado.
10. Michael Jai White
Several years before he appeared on Saved by the Bell as a police officer, actor Michael Jai White had already appeared in several films, including Universal Soldier and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Michael Jai White is a legitimate martial artist who holds an 8th dan black belt in Kickboxing and a 3rd dan black belt in Shotokan Karate. Because of his extensive martial arts background, he was initially typecast in roles that played to his strengths. His role on Saved by the Bell was so minuscule that he didn’t even receive a proper credit for it. This didn’t stop him from achieving an impressive amount of success in his career, though. He portrayed Mike Tyson in the television film Tyson, and he ended up being cast as the character Spawn in the 1997 cult classic.
Considering all that he’s accomplished, it should come as no surprise that Michael Jai White continues to act to this day. In 2013, he appeared on the series Arrow as the character Bronze Tiger, and one of his most recognizable film roles came as the character Gambol in the film The Dark Knight.
9. Denise Richards
For those of you who’ve had the pleasure of watching the infamous pool scene in the film Wild Things, you’re aware that Denise Richards was one of the hottest women in Hollywood in her prime. She appeared in one episode of Saved by the Bell as the character Cynthia all the way back in 1991, and she ended up landing small roles on a ton of hit television shows throughout the ’90s. Richards appeared in the series Beverly Hills, 90210, Seinfeld, and In Living Color. She used her success on television to propel a film career that really took off after appearing in the film Starship Troopers. She appeared in Wild Things the following year, and she quickly became a s*x symbol in Hollywood.
Her career has been filled with a ton of ups and downs throughout the years, and she’s been involved in a number of high-profile relationships as well. In recent years, Richards appeared on the series Jane the Virgin, and she also appeared in the 2012 film Madea’s Witness Protection.
8. Eric Dane
When your first credited role in your acting career comes on a hit television series, you must be doing something right. Actor Eric Dane got his first credited role on Saved by the Bell as the character Tad Pogue, and this seemingly small role helped kick-start what became a very successful television acting career. After appearing on his lone episode of Saved by the Bell, Eric Dane appeared in a 1993 episode of The Wonder Years and a 1995 episode of Married…With Children. He continued to find success on television before landing the role of Dr. Mark Sloan on the hit series Grey’s Anatomy. Dane’s tenure on the show lasted from 2006 to 2012, and he appeared in a total of 138 episodes.
Outside of Grey’s Anatomy, actor Eric Dane has also appeared in the film X-Men: The Last Stand, Marley & Me, and Valentine’s Day. His success on television has continued, and he’s appeared in 36 episodes of the hit series The Last Ship.
7. Bridgette Wilson-Sampras
For 9 seasons and 2,137 episodes, the soap opera Santa Barbara was a mainstay on television throughout the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Actress Bridgette Wilson-Sampras landed a recurring role that spanned 20 episodes from 1992 to 1993. She followed this up by appearing in five episodes of Saved by the Bell as the character Ginger in 1992. Once Sampras had her breakout role in The Last Action Hero, she turned her attention to appearing in a number of hit films. Some of her most notable roles came in the films Billy Madison, Mortal Kombat, and I Know What You Did Last Summer. She’s continued to act steadily throughout her career, although this all came to an end in 2008.
Bridgette Wilson-Sampras is currently married to tennis legend Pete Sampras, and she’s elected to stay away from Hollywood in order to focus on her family. Despite the fact that she doesn’t work in the entertainment industry, you can’t deny the amount of success that she had during the 1990’s.
6. Scott Wolf
Before becoming a seminal part of the 1990’s by appearing as the character Bailey Salinger in the hit series Party of Five, actor Scott Wolf was appearing in smaller television and film projects. 1990 was his first year in the entertainment industry, and it proved to be a successful year for the actor. He first landed an uncredited role in the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and he pulled down an eight-episode run on the series Saved by the Bell. He spent the next several years appearing in other projects, including All I Want for Christmas, Kids Incorporated, and Blossom before appearing on Party of Five. Once he was cast as Bailey Salinger, Scott Wolf became a prominent and recognizable face in the 1990’s.
Wolf has also appeared on a number of other projects, including 27 episodes of Perception, 22 episodes of V, and 25 episodes of The Night Shift. While he’s appeared in a number of film projects, his biggest career triumphs have come on television.
5. Christine Taylor
Back when she was just 18 years old, Christine Taylor landed the role of the character Melody Hanson on the hit series Hey Dude, and she went on to appear in 62 episodes of the series. She was already an established name who was looking to bolster her resume once Hey Dude concluded, and in 1991, she had several prominent television appearances. That year, she went on to appear in the series Dallas and Saved by the Bell, each for just one episode. She began her career in film several years later, and her first hit came by appearing as the character Marcia Brady in the hit film The Brady Bunch Movie.
Taylor has had an incredibly successful career in Hollywood, and some of her biggest career movies have been The Wedding Singer, Zoolander, and Dodgeball. Her work on television has been impressive as well, and she’s had appearances on hit shows, including Caroline in the City, Spin City, and Arrested Development.
4. Bianca Lawson
Because it was such an utterly forgettable show that rode the coattails of its predecessor, most people couldn’t pinpoint a single actor or actress who starred on Saved by the Bell: The New Class. Such is the case with talented actress Bianca Lawson, who portrayed the character Megan Jones for 39 episodes on the series. This was Lawson’s first foray into acting, and she used her newfound fame from the series to kick-start what’s been a successful acting career. Once she left Saved by the Bell: The New Class in 1994, she made appearances on other series, including Sister, Sister, Smart Guy, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Lawson has had a successful career on television, and she’s even found some success in film as well. Her most notable film appearances have come in Save the Last Dance and Jeepers Creepers 2, both of which were released in the early 2000’s. Lawson’s most recent endeavors include a role on the hit series Queen Sugar, which has been renewed for a third season.
3. Emma Caulfield
Actress Emma Caulfield may not be one of the most recognizable names on our list, but she’s maintained a rather successful career in Hollywood, appearing in a plethora of hit television shows. Her first foray into acting came in 1994 when she landed roles on Burke’s Law, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and Renegade. Her appearances on the shows landed her the role of Susan Keats on the series Beverly Hills, 90210 from 1995 to 1996. She spent a total of 30 episodes on the series, and her biggest career success came two years later in 1998. She was cast as the character Anya for 81 episodes on the hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Caulfield has continued to act on television, and she’s appeared in shows like Monk, Private Practice, and Leverage. She’s acted in several films, but few of them are recognizable. In 2017, Caulfield appeared in one episode of the series Fear The Walking Dead.
2. Gabrielle Union
It’s not uncommon to see performers get their start in Hollywood by appearing in a number of guest roles on television series before launching into a successful film career, and this is exactly how actress Gabrielle Union went about her career. She appeared on several hit series in the early ’90s, including Family Matters, Saved by the Bell: The New Cast, and Moesha before taking a stab at film acting. Her film career got off to a hot start when she appeared in the films She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You in 1999. From there, Union put together an immensely successful career that saw her become a prominent player in Hollywood. Union has appeared in such hit films as Bring It On, Deliver Us from Eva, and Bad Boys II.
Despite all of the success that she’s found on the big screen, her appearances on television shows have been equally impressive. Union has landed roles on series such as The Proud Family, The West Wing, and Being Mary Jane. She recently lent her voice acting talent to the series The Lion Guard as the character Nala.
1. Soleil Moon Frye
Soleil Moon Frye represents one of the few people on this list who was an already-established name before appearing on the hit series Saved by the Bell. As one of the most famous child actors of her era, Soleil Moon Frye initially rose to fame by starring in the series Punky Brewster back in 1984. Punky Brewster was a hit television series that lasted for a total of 88 episodes. She used the success of the series to find roles and guest appearances on other shows, including Diff’rent Strokes and The Wonder Years. Her appearance on Saved by the Bell came in 1992, when she portrayed the character Robin.
Despite the steady amount of work that she’s found over the years, Soleil Moon Frye will forever be remembered as the child star she was in the 1980’s. She’s appeared in a number of projects over the years, including Robot Chicken and 66 episodes of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, which gave her career a fresh breath of life.
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