The path of becoming a successful actor is not an easy one, it is full of obstacles and requires a lot of hard work. Many famous actors we know today went through hardships and took many small roles that eventually paved their way towards success. Here we have listed 30 actors who did small roles way before they were famous that viewers might have overlooked.

1) Ashley Tisdale was a student in Donnie Darko (2001):

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Ashley Tisdale is known for her work in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, the High School Musical series, and Merry Happy Whatever.

2) Scarlett Johansson was Alex’s older sister in Home Alone 3 (1997):

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Scarlett Johansson is known for her work in Jojo Rabbit, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Lost in Translation, and Marriage Story.

3) Octavia Spencer was the check-in lady at the wrestling arena in Spider-Man (2002):

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Octavia Spencer is known for her work in Hidden Figures, Fruitvale Station, The Help, and The Shape of Water.

4) Leonardo DiCaprio was an extra as one of Darlene’s classmates in Roseanne (1988):

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Leonardo DiCaprio is known for his work in TitanicThe RevenantThe Great Gatsby, and Inception.

5) Zachary Quinto played a TV commercial director in an episode of Lizzie McGuire (2001):

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Zachary Quinto is known for his work in Heroes, the Star Trek series, American Horror Story, and The Boys in the Band.

6) Ryan Gosling was in an episode of both Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? in the ’90s:

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Ryan Gosling is known for his work in La La Land, Half Nelson, The Notebook, Drive, and Blue Valentine.

7) Aubrey Plaza had one line as an NBC page on 30 Rock (2006):

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Aubrey Plaza is known for her work in Parks and Rec, Happiest Season, Ingrid Goes West, and The To Do List.

8) Kaley Cuoco played Elisa in the Disney Channel movie Alley Cats Strike! (2000):

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Kaley Cuoco is known for her work in 8 Simple Rules, The Flight Attendant, and The Big Bang Theory.

9) Kevin McHale was a student at PCA in two episodes of Zoey 101 (2005):

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Kevin McHale is known for his work in Glee, The Office, and The X Factor: Celebrity.

10) Ben Affleck played an uncredited basketball player in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (1992):

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Ben Affleck is known for his work in Gone Girl, Argo, Good Will Hunting, and The Town.

11) Jennifer Lawrence’s first acting role was as a school mascot in one episode of Monk (2002):

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Jennifer Lawrence is known for her work in Joy, the Hunger Games series, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle.

12) James Marsden was in two episodes of The Nanny (1993):

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James Marsden is known for his work in 30 Rock, the X-Men series, Westworld, and Hairspray.

13) Jon Huertas was Brad, a witch hunter, in Sabrina The Teenage Witch (1996):

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Jon Huertas is known for his work in This Is Us and Castle.

14) Adam Scott was Griff Hawkins, the new kid/bully, in a few episodes of Boy Meets World (1993):

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Adam Scott is known for his work in Parks and Rec, Big Little Lies, and Party Down.

Also read: 10 Actors Who Disappeared After Killed Off on Hit TV Shows

15) Dianna Agron played a girl who could fit her whole fist in her mouth on Drake & Josh (2004):

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Dianna Agron is known for her work in Glee, I Am Number Four, and The Family.

16) Amy Adams was on a single episode of Charmed (1998) in one of her very first acting credits:

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Amy Adams is known for her work in Enchanted, Sharp Objects, Arrival, and Doubt.

17) John Cho played a parking valet in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000):

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John Cho is known for his work in Searching, the Star Trek series, Harold and Kumar, and Selfie.

18) Rachel McAdams played Riley’s sister in a single episode of Disney Channel’s The Famous Jett Jackson (1998):


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Rachel McAdams is known for her work in Game Night, Mean Girls, Red Eye, The Notebook, and Spotlight.

19) Kevin Hart played a cameraman in Along Came Polly (2004):

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Kevin Hart is known for his work in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Ride Along, Central Intelligence, and Get Hard.

20) Jessica Alba was a school bully in The Secret World of Alex Mack (1994):

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Jessica Alba is known for her work in Never Been Kissed, the Fantastic Four series, and Sin City.

21) Sara Ramírez was the cashier in You’ve Got Mail (1998):

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Sara Ramírez is known for their work in Grey’s Anatomy, Sofia the First, and Madam Secretary.

22) Elijah Wood is credited as “video game boy” in Back to the Future Part II (1989):

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Elijah Wood is known for his work in Wilfred, the Lord of the Rings series, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.

23) Simon Helberg was a nerd in A Cinderella Story (2004):

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Simon Helberg is known for his work in The Big Bang Theory, Florence Foster Jenkins, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

24) Julie Bowen played Virginia in Happy Gilmore (1996):

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Julie Bowen is known for her work in Modern Family, Horrible Bosses, Boston Legal, and Hubie Halloween.

25) Don Cheadle was in a single episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990):

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Don Cheadle is known for his work in Hotel Rwanda, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, House of Lies, and Crash.

26) Hugh Laurie was actually in Spice World (1997):

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Hugh Laurie is known for his work in House, Veep, and Stuart Little.

27) Laurence Fishburne played a soldier in Apocalypse Now (1979), even though he was only 14 and lied about his age to get the part:

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Laurence Fishburne is known for his work in Black-ish, the Matrix series, What’s Love Got to Do With It, and 21.

28) Taran Killam was Frankie Muniz’s bully in Big Fat Liar (2002):

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Taran Killam is known for work in Saturday Night Live, 12 Years a Slave, and Stuck in the Suburbs.

29) Michael Cera was in Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s iconic movie called Switching Goals (1999):

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Michael Cera is known for his work in Molly’s Game, Superbad, Juno, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

30) Maggie Wheeler was the camp counselor in The Parent Trap (1998):

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Maggie Wheeler is known for her work in Friends, Archer, and Everybody Loves Raymond.


Source: BuzzFeed

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