Seinfeld is one of the most beloved and highly-rated TV shows of all times, spanning 9 seasons across 10 years. It absolutely launched the careers of many of its main actors including Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards – but it also was the first stepping stone for an absurd amount of now-famous actors, actresses, comedians, and more. Not only has Seinfeld given hours of laughter and classic quotes, but it’s also provided some very talented entertainers with their start. Many of these actors and actresses were starting off their professional careers and appear in Seinfeld as background or recurring characters you may have not even recognized! That’s why we wanted to count down our Top 10 Most Famous Actors That Got Their Start On Seinfeld!
#10 – Megan Mullaly
You probably recognize Megan Mullaly from her role as Karen Walker in NBC’s long-running series Will and Grace, but one of her first on-screen appearances was on Seinfeld. After auditioning for the role of Elaine, she was brought back as George’s girlfriend Betsy in the 1993 episode “The Implant.” Megan went on to have a very successful career, mainly focusing on comedic TV roles. She even broke into the talk show space with the Megan Mullaly show in 2006!
#9 – Christine Taylor
Christine Taylor is an actor that pops up in a ton of movies and TV shows, but she got one of her first “big breaks” with guest appearances on Seinfeld and Friends. The now wife of Ben Stiller began her career as a young actress on Hey Dude, a Nickelodeon show, but became better known for her work on The Brady Bunch Movie and Party Girl television series. Around the same time she appeared on Seinfeld, her career really took off – with a recurring spot on the Ellen Show, leading roles in a number of comedic films, and more!
#8 – Lauren Graham
When you see Lauren Graham, it’s impossible to not think about The Gilmore Girls series, but she began her career from some very humble roots. Her first foray into the entertainment industry was mainly commercials and ad work, but between 1996 and 1997 she began to be featured in a few small roles in shows. This included her role in season 8 of Seinfeld, where she played Valerie, one of Jerry’s many girlfriends!
#7 – Patrick Warburton
If you don’t recognize Patrick Warburton’s face, you will certainly recognize his voice. He has played some fairly significant film and TV roles, but has made his biggest impacts in the voice acting industry – playing roles such as Kronk in Emperor’s New Groove and Joe Swanson on Family Guy. In Seinfeld, Patrick was cast as Elaine’s recurring boyfriend David Puddy, who had multiple appearances throughout the show’s run, and has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s most recognizable voices.
#6 – Jennifer Coolidge
Jennifer Coolidge has had a long and impressive career, spanning film, television, voice acting work, and beyond! While originally wanting to be a dramatic actor, she quickly found herself featured in more comedic roles. Her appearance on Seinfeld was actually her first TV appearance ever, as she played Jodi – Jerry’s newest masseuse girlfriend who refuses to give him a massage. Jennifer has gone on to have many iconic roles that today’s entertainment-lovers adore, but her TV career truly did begin with Seinfeld!
#5 – Daniel Dae Kim
While he is most certainly known for his major roles in Lost and Hawaii Five-O, Daniel Dae Kim began his career with a multitude of appearances on television programming including Seinfeld. As he was just beginning his career after graduating acting school, his roles were fairly minor. His Seinfeld character, Student #1 is only featured for a few seconds on screen. Needless to say, Daniel went on to have a very successful film and TV career that can trace some of its roots back to Seinfeld.
#4 – Mariska Hargitay
Once considered for the main role of Elaine, Mariska Hargitay ironically made her Seinfeld debut as a character reading for the role of Elaine in “The Pilot” episode of Seinfeld. It provides an extra laugh for those who know the backstory between the popular actress and the show itself. Propelled by her role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Marishka went on to become a true television star, who continues to be in high demand.
#3 – Jon Favreau
With the massive success of Iron Man, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jon Favreau has been thrust into the spotlight as a director and actor. He began his career playing a few minor parts in films, and made his television debut as “Eric the Clown” in an episode of Seinfeld’s 5th Season. After the episode aired, he moved to Los Angeles, and quickly began rising the Hollywood ranks to become the juggernaut he is now.
#2 – Courteney Cox
When you think of American television shows, you can’t help but think of Friends and Seinfeld, and Courteney Cox is forever tied to both! Widely known for her role as Monica Geller in Friends, just a few months before the show aired – she was featured as one of Jerry Seinfeld’s girlfriends Meryl; who goes along with Jerry’s scheme to pretend to be married in order to receive a family discount on drycleaning. Courtney went on to be one of TV’s most beloved stars for years, and endures as an American television icon.
#1 – Bryan Cranston
Now one of the most recognizable TV and film stars, Bryan Cranston started his career with some smaller recurring roles in TV shows and soap operas. His character in Seinfeld, Dr. Tim Whatley, provides some of the series’ most absurd and funny moments and also garnered him great exposure that helped launch his career. Cranston was featured 5 times in the role, and certainly left his mark on the entertainment industry and Seinfeld alike!