The Most Underappreciated Actors on Primetime TV

This is the list of primetime actors who are all great and talented but should have got as much recognition they deserved.
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1.
“ Grey's Anatomy ” - tbell1826
 
2.
Andrew Lincoln
Andrew Lincoln is a British actor. Lincoln spent his early childhood in Hull, Yorkshire before his family relocated to Bath, Somerset when he was age 10. He was educated at Beechen Cliff School in Bath, and then the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. His father is a civil engineer...
“ The Walking Dead ” - tbell1826
 
3.
“ 30 Rock ” - tbell1826
 
4.
Garret Dillahunt
Garret grew up in the state of Washington and attended the University of Washington where he studied journalism. He received his MFA from New York University's Graduate Acting Program. He has appeared on and off Broadway and in theaters around the country before he began pursuing film and television roles. He has two brothers: Brett, a teacher; and Eric, deceased.
“ Raising Hope ” - tbell1826
 
5.
Aubrey Plaza
Aubrey Christina Plaza (born June 26, 1984) is an American actress and comedian known for her deadpan style. She portrayed April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation, and after appearing in supporting roles in several films, had her first leading role in the 2012 comedy Safety Not Guaranteed. Plaza began her career as an intern...
“ Parks and Recreation ” - tbell1826
 
6.
“ Law & Order: SVU ” - tbell1826
 
7.
Josh Radnor
Josh Radnor was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Carol Radnor, a high school guidance counselor, and Alan Radnor, a medical malpractice lawyer. Radnor has two sisters, Melanie Radnor and Joanna Radnor Vilensky. He grew up in Bexley, Ohio, a small city nested inside Columbus. Radnor attended Orthodox Jewish day schools (including the Columbus Torah Academy) and was raised in Conservative Judaism...
“ How I Met Your Mother ” - tbell1826
 
8.
Pauley Perrette
Actress, NCIS
Pauley Perrette is known to millions around the world as "Abby Sciuto", the brilliant but offbeat forensic scientist on CBS' NCIS, the #1-rated drama in the world. Her additional credits include appearances on such shows as Almost Famous, The Ring, 24, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation...
“ NCIS ” - tbell1826
 
9.
“ The League ” - tbell1826
 
10.
Paul Scheer
Actor, The League
Scheer is an American actor, comedian, writer, director, and producer. Scheer was born in Huntington, New York and graduated from New York University where he majored in Communication and Education. He stars on the FX series The League, the ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, and Hulu comedy series The Hotwives of Orlando...
“ The League/NTSF:SD:SUV:: ” - tbell1826
 
11.
“ The League ” - tbell1826
 
12.
Matthew Gray Gubler
Matthew Gray Gubler is an Emmy award winning actor, director, producer, painter, and voice over actor from Las Vegas Nevada. While studying film directing at NYU he interned for Wes Anderson who gave him his first feature film role as Bill Murray's loyal intern "Nico" in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. For the past eleven years Gubler has starred as the lovable genius Dr...
“ Criminal Minds ” - tbell1826
 
13.
Cobie Smulders
Amazingly, newcomer Cobie Smulders never gave much thought to acting. She was born on April 3, 1982, in Vancouver, British Columbia, to a Dutch father and an English mother. As a girl, Cobie had set her sights on becoming a doctor or a marine biologist. In fact, it wasn't until high school that Cobie started to explore acting after appearing in several school productions...
“ How I Met Your Mother ” - tbell1826
 
14.
Jon Bernthal
Jon Bernthal was born and raised in Washington D.C., the son of Joan (Marx) and Eric Bernthal, a lawyer. His grandfather was musician Murray Bernthal. Jon went to study at The Moscow Art Theatre School, in Moscow, Russia, where he also played professional baseball in the European professional baseball federation...
“ The Walking Dead ” - tbell1826
 
15.
Chris Pratt
Christopher Michael Pratt is an American film and television actor. He came to prominence from his television roles, including Bright Abbott in Everwood, Ché in The O.C., and Andy Dwyer and Parks and Recreation, and notable film roles in Moneyball, The Five-Year Engagement, Zero Dark Thirty, Delivery Man...
“ Parks and Recreation ” - tbell1826
 
16.
Rich Sommer
Actor, Mad Men
Sommer returned to Cleveland in 2008 to teach a master class at the Case Western Reserve University / Cleveland Play House graduate program. He earned an MFA in the program in 2004. Sommer planned his future in improv comedy during his Play House days. He has performed with the Upright Citizens Brigade improv troupe, but the bulk of his career has been in television and film...
“ Mad Men ” - tbell1826
 
17.
“ Childrens Hospital ” - tbell1826
 
18.
“ Hung ” - tbell1826
 
19.
“ The Office ” - tbell1826
 
20.
“ Whitney ” - tbell1826
 
21.
Jayma Mays
Actress, Glee
Jayma was born Jamia Suzette Mays. She was raised in Grundy, Virginia, with her older brother and sister. Her father was a high school teacher at Grundy Senior High School for 7 years, before spending 25 years working in the coal-mining industry. He is now retired and lives with Jayma's mother in Bristol...
“ Glee ” - tbell1826
 
22.
“ Parks and Recreation ” - tbell1826
 
23.
Kat Graham
Kat Graham is a music artist, actress and producer, best known for her starring role in the hit TV show "The Vampire Diaries." Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Kat speaks four languages - English, Spanish, French and Hebrew - and is the daughter of a Liberian father and a Russian Jewish mother. At the age of 6...
“ The Vampire Diaries ” - tbell1826
 
24.
Zach Roerig
Zachary George Roerig plays Matt Donovan on The Vampire Diaries, and is also known for his roles on TV series As The World Turns and One Life To Live. Roerig was born in Montpelier, Ohio to Daniel and Andrea Roerig in 1985. He attended Montpelier High school where he played both football and was also a wrestler...
“ The Vampire Diaries ” - tbell1826
 
25.
“ Mike & Molly ” - tbell1826
 
26.
Kirsten Vangsness
While Kirsten is best known as the bespectacled-brainiac-tech-kitten Penelope Garcia on the CBS hit drama Criminal Minds(and its spin-off Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior), she has had a long and varied career prior to joining the cast of the hit CBS series. Stage appearances include Perfuct, The Book...
“ Criminal Minds ” - tbell1826
 
27.
“ Happy Endings ” - tbell1826
 
28.
Alison Brie
Actress, Community
Alison Brie was born in Hollywood, California, to Joanne (Brenner), who worked at a non-profit child care agency, and Charles Terry Schermerhorn, a musician and entertainment reporter. Her mother is Jewish and her father has Scottish, Dutch, English, German, and Norwegian ancestry. Brie grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of South Pasadena...
“ Community/Mad Men ” - tbell1826
 
29.
“ The League ” - tbell1826
 
30.
“ The Killing ” - tbell1826
 
31.
Marshall Allman
Marshall Allman, born April 5th, 1984 in Austin, Texas, realized his talent for acting at the age of seventeen when he was given his first role in a summer production of Clive Barker's "The History of the Devil". Giving up his pursuits in art and athletics, he moved to Hollywood weeks after graduating from Austin High School to focus his pursuits in acting...
“ True Blood ” - tbell1826
 
32.
“ True Blood ” - tbell1826
 
33.
“ Dexter ” - tbell1826
 
34.
“ Happy Endings ” - tbell1826
 
35.
Misha Collins
Misha Collins is an American actor best known for his role as the angel Castiel on the TV series Supernatural (2005). He has had recurring roles on ER and 24, and has guest-starred on NCIS, Nip/Tuck, NYPD Blue, CSI, CSI:NY, Monk and Charmed. On the big screen, Misha is most known for his role in a film called "Karla" about a real life serial killer named Paul Bernardo...
“ Supernatural ” - tbell1826
 
36.
Iqbal Theba
Actor, Glee
Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, Iqbal Theba came to the US as a college Freshman at the University of Oklahoma, Norman. While in college in Oklahoma, Iqbal studied Civil Engineering and eventually obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Engineering Management. After realizing his true passion was acting...
“ Glee ” - tbell1826
 
37.
Rutina Wesley
Actress, True Blood
Rutina Wesley is known for the character Tara Thorton, on the gritty Southern vampire drama, True Blood. She was born in the city most renowned for glitz and glamour, Las Vegas, Nevada and was exposed to the arts at a very early age; in fact entertainment runs through her veins. Her father, Ivery Wheeler...
“ True Blood ” - tbell1826
 
38.
Dann Florek
Raised in Flat Rock, Michigan, character actor Dann Florek majored in math and physics at Eastern Michigan University until a drama scholarship changed the course of his career direction. Trained at Juilliard, he appeared frequently on stage ranging from the classics ("Love's Labour's Lost," "A Midsummer Night's Dream") to contemporary pieces ("Strange Snow...
“ Law & Order: SVU ” - tbell1826
 
39.
Eliza Coupe
Actress, Happy Endings
Eliza grew up in Plymouth, New Hampshire and graduated from Plymouth Regional High School. She has suffered from dyslexia since childhood. In 2003, she toured France playing a soldier in an all-female version of King Lear. She married Randall Whittinghill an Acting Coach in L.A. She performed as...
“ Happy Endings ” - tbell1826
 
40.
Anna Gunn
Actress, Breaking Bad
An actress on both stage and screen, Anna Gunn has portrayed a vast array of complex and powerful characters throughout her career. Anna grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico after her parents transplanted the family from Cleveland, Ohio to the Southwest in the late seventies. She discovered acting in a...
“ Breaking Bad ” - tbell1826
 
41.
“ Breaking Bad ” - tbell1826
 
42.
Kiernan Shipka
Actress, Mad Men
Kiernan Shipka was born in Chicago, Illinois, to John Young Shipka, a real estate developer, and his wife, Erin Ann, a one-time queen of Chicago's St. Patrick's Day parade. The family relocated to Los Angeles when she was six to support her acting career. Kiernan got her black belt in taekwondo in June...
“ Mad Men ” - tbell1826
 
43.
Neil Flynn
Actor, The Middle
Neil Richard Flynn is an American actor and comedian, known for his role as "The Janitor", in the medical comedy-drama, Scrubs. He currently portrays "Mike Heck" in the ABC sitcom, The Middle. Neil was born in the south-side of Chicago. He is of Irish descent and was raised Catholic. He moved to Waukegan...
“ The Middle. ” - tbell1826
 
44.
“ The League ” - tbell1826
 
45.
Giancarlo Esposito
Music Department, The Electric Company
Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, to an Italian carpenter/stagehand father from Naples and an opera-singing African-American mother from Alabama. His parents, working in Europe at the time of his birth, settled in Manhattan by the time he was six, and that's where he grew up...
“ Breaking Bad ” - tbell1826
 
46.
“ Breaking Bad ” - tbell1826
 
47.
Alyson Hannigan
Alyson Hannigan was born in Washington, D.C., to Emilie (Posner), a real estate agent, and Al Hannigan, a truck driver. She began her acting career in Atlanta at the young age of 4 in commercials sponsoring such companies as McDonald's, Six Flags, and Oreos. She is a seasoned television actress veteran...
“ How I Met Your Mother ” - tbell1826
 
48.
Kat Dennings
Actress, 2 Broke Girls
Kat Dennings was born Katherine Victoria Litwack in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, to Ellen (Schatz), a speech therapist and poet, and Gerald Litwack, a molecular pharmacologist. She is the youngest of five children. Her family is of Russian Jewish descent. Kat was predominantly home-schooled...
“ 2 Broke Girls ” - tbell1826
 
49.
Kristin Bauer van Straten
Actress, True Blood
Kristin grew up in Wisconsin playing sports, riding horses, and shooting guns. Her father was an avid horseman and gun collector and her mother a housewife involved in charities. Kristin moved to Los Angeles and began acting in 1994 after studying fine arts in St. Louis, Boston and New York. She still studies drawing and painting...
“ True Blood ” - tbell1826
 
50.
“ Southland ” - tbell1826
 
51.
“ Southland ” - tbell1826
 
52.
“ Raising Hope ” - tbell1826
 
53.
T.J. Thyne
Actor, Bones
TJ was born in Boston, Massachusetts, attended high school in Plano, Texas, graduated high school in 1993, and moved to Los Angeles to attend college. He attended the University of Southern California's theatre program, graduating in 1997. Through college, he worked as an extra in films (including "Forrest Gump", which filmed at USC) and in student produced plays.
“ Bones ” - tbell1826
 
54.
“ NCIS: Los Angeles ” - tbell1826
 
55.
“ Community ” - tbell1826
 
56.
Mae Whitman
Mae was born in Los Angeles, California to Pat Musick, a voice artist, and Jeffrey Whitman, a personal manager and set construction coordinator. She began her career with a voice-over for a Tyson Chicken commercial. Whitman attended Ribét Academy, a private preparatory school in Los Angeles. She was later transferred to Whitefish Bay High School, where she graduated...
“ Parenthood ” - tbell1826
 
57.
Dax Shepard
Actor, Parenthood
Dax Randall Shepard was born in 1975 in Milford, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, to Laura (LaBo), who worked at GM, and Dave Robert Shepard, Sr., a car salesman. His mother is of French-Canadian and Belgian descent. With both his parents working in the automotive industry, Dax's first love was cars. Shepard graduated from Walled Lake High School in 1993...
“ Parenthood ” - tbell1826
 
58.
“ Community ” - tbell1826
 
59.
Katy Mixon
Katy Mixon was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. She was one of seven children. She graduated from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. Mixon's first acting job came in 2001, playing "Calpurnia" in the Utah Shakespearean Festival's presentation of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar". Mixon moved to Los Angeles...
“ Mike & Molly ” - tbell1826
 
60.
“ Community ” - tbell1826
 
61.
Donald Glover
Actor, Community
Donald McKinley Glover was born at the Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia. His mother, Beverly (Smith), ran a daycare center, and his father, Donald Glover, was a postal worker. He is not, despite rumors, related to actor Danny Glover. Donald graduated from New York University with a degree in Dramatic Writing in 2006...
“ Community ” - tbell1826
 
62.
“ Parks and Recreation ” - tbell1826
 
63.
Adam Scott
Adam Scott was born in Santa Cruz, California, the son of Anne and Douglas Scott. He has two older siblings, Shannon and David. Scott has said that his brother David "looks like me but is far more cerebral and inherited the intellect of our parents," both of whom are retired teachers. He graduated from Harbor High School and he is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles...
“ Parks and Recreation ” - tbell1826
 
64.
Rashida Jones
Rashida Jones was born in Los Angeles, the younger daughter of media mogul, producer, and musician Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton. She has an older sister, Kidada Jones, and five half-siblings by her father's other relationships. Her father is African-American, and also has Welsh ancestry...
“ Parks and Recreation ” - tbell1826
 
65.
“ Community ” - tbell1826
 
66.
Jim Beaver
Actor, Deadwood
Jim Beaver is an American character actor, best known for his leading roles on the TV series Deadwood and Supernatural. Born in Laramie, Wyoming a minister's son, he was raised in and around Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Following high school and a year of college, he joined the Marines and served as a radioman with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam...
“ Supernatural ” - tbell1826
 
67.
Sarah Drew
Sarah Drew grew up on Long Island in Stony Brook, New York, the daughter of Jeannie Drew, a teacher, and Charles Drew, a pastor at Emanuel Presbyterian Church in New York City. While attending the University of Virginia, Drew began acting in plays and community theater, and received a bachelor's degree in drama...
“ Grey's Anatomy ” - tbell1826
 
68.
“ Modern Family ” - tbell1826
 
69.
Atticus Shaffer
Actor, The Middle
Atticus Ronald Shaffer was born on June 19, 1998 to Ron and Debbie Shaffer, with whom he resides in Acton, California. Atticus was discovered by his manager in 2006 and soon landed a guest starring role in the series The Class. That role led him to the role of Brick in the original ABC pilot,The Middle...
“ The Middle. ” - tbell1826
 
70.
Sarah Hyland
Actress, Modern Family
Sarah Hyland was born in New York City to actors Melissa D. Canaday and Edward James Hyland. She began in the business at the age of 4 with commercial work and voice overs. Her first film was Private Parts. She then moved on to The Object of My Affection and then spent time on Another World as "Rain Wolfe", a child found in the park...
“ Modern Family ” - tbell1826
 
71.
Ellie Kemper
Ellie Kemper, born Elizabeth Claire Kemper on May 2, 1980, is an American actress, comedian, and writer. She is best-known for her role as "Erin Hannon" in the NBC series, The Office, as well as her supporting roles in the films, Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street). She plays the title role in the Netflix comedy series...
“ The Office ” - tbell1826
 
72.
Tony Denison
Award-winning actor Tony Denison joined the cast of The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick, as Det. Andy Flynn in 2005, which quickly became TNT's # 1 Drama. Transitioning his role onto the spin-off series Major Crimes, Lt. Flynn is a consistent fan-favorite known for his antics opposite GW Bailey's Lt...
“ The Closer ” - tbell1826
 
73.
Timothy Omundson
Actor, Galavant
Timothy Omundson was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, on July 29, 1969, the youngest of four children. He grew up in Seattle, Washington, where his family moved when he was one. His father is a former railroad man and his mother was a teacher. Tim started to study theatre at the age of 12 at the Seattle Children's Theater...
“ Psych ” - tbell1826
 
74.
“ Covert Affairs ” - tbell1826
 
75.
“ The Office ” - tbell1826
 
76.
Kate Flannery
Actress, The Office
KATE FLANNERY is best known for her 9 seasons as Meredith the drunk on NBC's THE OFFICE. She toured the country as Jane Lynch's sidekick in her anti cabaret act, SEE JANE SING in over 30 cities including Joe's Pub in NYC. Her original cult comedy lounge act, the Lampshades plays all over the country and Hollywood regularly...
“ The Office ” - tbell1826
 
77.
“ Happy Endings ” - tbell1826
 
78.
“ New Girl ” - tbell1826
 
79.
Jason O'Mara
Jason was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Soon after graduating from Trinity College Dublin with a BA in Drama and Theatre he moved to London, England, to further pursue his acting career. Time spent in British repertory theater led to major roles in some of Britain and Ireland's great theaters...
“ Terra Nova ” - tbell1826
 
80.
Allison Miller
Actress, 17 Again
Allison Miller was born in Rome, Italy, to American parents, Margo and John Winn Miller. She grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, where her father worked as a journalist. The family eventually settled in Tallahassee, Florida, where she studied dance, piano, acting and singing while still at high school before briefly attending the University of Florida at Gainesville...
“ Terra Nova ” - tbell1826
 
81.
“ Necessary Roughness ” - tbell1826
 
82.
Jennifer Carpenter
Actress, Dexter
Jennifer was born in Kentucky. Her mother is Catherine Mitchell and her father is Robert Carpenter. She attended St. Raphael the Archangel and then Sacred Heart Academy. During her last two years of high school, she studied drama at the Walden Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky. She then trained at the Juilliard School in New York City...
“ Dexter ” - tbell1826
 
83.
Lucas Neff
Lucas Neff was born in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, IL in 1985. The start of his acting career came about by mistake after he was assigned to the performing arts department at the University of Illinois. It was there that he graduated with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Theatre in 2008....
“ Raising Hope ” - tbell1826
 
84.
Angela Kinsey
Actress, The Office
Angela is an American actress. She was born in Louisiana, but raised from the age of 2 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Her father was working as a drilling engineer. During her time there, she attended the Jakarta International English School and learned to speak Indonesian. When she was age 14, her family returned to America and settled in Texas; where her parents were originally from...
“ The Office ” - tbell1826
 
85.
“ The Office ” - tbell1826
 
86.
“ Parks and Recreation ” - tbell1826
 
87.
“ Whitney ” - tbell1826
 
88.
Brian Benben
Actor, Dream On
Charming, compactly built, extremely affable American actor Brian Edward Benben was born on June 18, 1956 in Winchester, Virginia, to Gloria Patricia (Coffman) and Peter Michael Benben, Sr., a produce buyer. His paternal grandparents were Polish. Deciding on an acting career while quite young, he started things out at age 17 performing in off-off-Broadway shows in New York...
“ Private Practice ” - tbell1826
 
89.
“ Desperate Housewives ” - tbell1826
 
90.
Bryan Greenberg
Bryan Greenberg was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Denise "Denny" and Carl Greenberg, who are both psychologists. He has a sister, Becca. His family is Jewish. At the age of twelve, Greenberg moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield, MO. Having starring in summer camp productions, he moved to New York City to pursue an acting career...
“ How to Make It in America ” - tbell1826
 
91.
“ Childrens Hospital/How to Make It in America ” - tbell1826
 
92.
“ Modern Family ” - tbell1826
 
93.
Ariel Winter
Actress, Modern Family
Ariel Winter is one of Hollywood's most promising young talents with notable roles both in both television and film. Ariel stars on ABC's critically acclaimed and Emmy® winning hit series, "Modern Family." Winter plays 'Alex Dunphy,' the brainy middle child in the Dunphy family, opposite Ty Burrell...
“ Modern Family ” - tbell1826
 
94.
Sam Trammell
Actor, True Blood
Tony nominee Sam Trammell is most widely recognized for his starring role of Sam Merlotte in HBO's AFI award-winning series TRUE BLOOD. The Alan Ball created fantasy drama set ratings records for the network over its seven year run. Trammell currently guest stars on NBC's Golden Globe nominated dramedy...
“ True Blood ” - tbell1826
 
95.
Simon Helberg
Simon Helberg was born and raised in Los Angeles but despite this, and the fact that his father is the actor Sandy Helberg and his mother the casting director Harriet B. Helberg, his main interest as a young boy was karate. In his teens, though, he discovered acting and went on to study at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he trained at the Atlantic Theater Company...
“ The Big Bang Theory ” - tbell1826
 
96.
Kunal Nayyar
Kunal Nayyar is an Indian actor. He moved from India to the US in 1999. He first moved to Portland, Oregon, to study business. He started acting in plays as a way of making new friends. He took acting classes, but he went on to graduate from the University of Portland with a degree in business, as something to fall back on...
“ The Big Bang Theory ” - tbell1826
 
97.
Melissa Rauch
Melissa Ivy Rauch was born in Marlboro, New Jersey, to Susan and David Rauch. She has a brother, Ben, and was raised in a Jewish household. Rauch attended Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, where she received a BFA degree. While going to school, Melissa performed stand-up comedy around Manhattan...
“ The Big Bang Theory ” - tbell1826
 
98.
“ Bones ” - tbell1826
 
99.
John Francis Daley
Actor, Bones
John Francis Daley began acting in the national and international tour of The Who's Tommy, playing young Tommy - and coming to national prominence in the critically acclaimed, cult classic series, Freaks and Geeks. Formerly a regular on the Fox hit, Bones, John can also be seen in the Lions Gate comedy...
“ Bones ” - tbell1826
 
100.
Tamara Taylor
Actress, Bones
Tamara Taylor's career took off when she landed a series regular role on Fox's Party of Five. Since then she has appeared in Steven Bochco's City of Angels, Hidden Hills, Lost, Numb3rs, CSI: Miami, NCIS, and Fox's hit Bones. She also had a role in Serenity...
“ Bones ” - tbell1826