Law & Order gave these 35 actors their big break

Had to have had no major roles before L&O so Samuel l Jackson is not on the list.
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1.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Actor, Capote
Film and stage actor and theater director Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in the Rochester, New York, suburb of Fairport on July 23, 1967. He was the son of Marilyn (Loucks), a lawyer and judge, and Gordon Stowell Hoffman, a Xerox employee, and was mostly of German, Irish, English and Dutch ancestry...
“ played young frat boy on L&O 1.1 ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
2.
Cynthia Nixon
Cynthia Nixon was born in New York City on April 9, 1966, to Anne Elizabeth Knoll, an actress, and Walter E. Nixon, Jr., a radio journalist. She has German and English ancestry. Nixon made a memorable film debut in Little Darlings. Her Broadway credits include "The Last Night of Ballyhoo," "Indiscretions,"...
“ shoots two black kids on the subway ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
3.
Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner, who catapulted into stardom with her lead role on the television series Alias, has come a long way from her birthplace of Houston, Texas. Raised in Charleston, West Virginia by her mother, Patricia Ann (née English), a retired teacher of English, and her father, William John Garner...
“ The girl in the Park ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
6.
Maura Tierney
Actress, ER
On the viewing horizon since the late 1980s, actress Maura Tierney has been a steady product of independent features, some hits and some misses, for close to a decade and a half. An odd and compelling beauty, she came from an upperscale Bostonian family and was raised in the Hyde Park district. Born February 3...
“ first dramatic role ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
7.
“ although an accomplish tv actor she made a permanent name on l&O ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
8.
“ who'd of thunk ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
9.
Stephen Colbert
Stephen Tyrone Colbert (pronounced "col-BEAR") was born on May 13, 1964 in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. He is the son of Lorna Elizabeth (Tuck) and James William Colbert, Jr., a doctor and medical school dean at Yale, Saint Louis University, and MUSC. He is the youngest of eleven children, and is of Irish Catholic background...
“ people you never would have guessed played a serious role ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
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13.
Edie Falco
Actress, The Sopranos
Edith Falco, called Edie, was born on July 5, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York, to Judith Anderson, an actress, and Frank Falco, a jazz drummer. She is of Italian (father) and Swedish, English, and Cornish (mother) descent. Edie grew up on Long Island and attended SUNY Purchase, where she was trained in acting at the prestigious Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film...
“ Played Sally Bell 4 times ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
14.
Camryn Manheim
Actress, The Practice
Camryn grew up in Peoria, Illinois. Her mother, Sylvia, was a schoolteacher and her father, Jerry, was a math professor. She developed an interest in acting after working at a Renaissance Fair at age 16. She earned a Master's Degree in Fine Arts from New York University in 1987. She studied acting at the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School in Chelsea...
 
15.
Allison Janney
Actress, The West Wing
Allison Janney is an award-winning actress who has earned a solid reputation in stage productions and in many supporting roles on screen, and who more recently has become prominent by portraying one of the major characters in the popular TV series The West Wing. Entertainment Weekly magazine describes Janney's screen presence as "uncommonly beautiful and infinitely expressive"...
 
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“ in 2004 ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
18.
“ Has done more than sapranos ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
19.
Alexis Dziena
Actress, Fool's Gold
Dziena studied theatre in New York at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she wrote and acted in plays and was cast in her first role on television at the age of 17. From 'E's' crazy, jealous girlfriend on HBO's Entourage to 'Lolita' parading around in the buff for Bill Murray in Jim Jarmusch's film Broken Flowers...
“ 19 when she apppeared ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
20.
“ played megan camp in five seperate episodes ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
21.
Ty Burrell
Tyler Gerald Burrell was born on August 22, 1967 in Grants Pass, Oregon, where his family owned a business. He is the son of Sheri Rose (Hauck), a teacher, and Gary Gerald Burrell, a family therapist, and is primarily of English and German ancestry. He earned a BA from Southern Oregon University and...
“ long trek to modern Family ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
22.
Ellen Muth
Actress, Dead Like Me
Not only is Ellen an actress but she is a member of Mensa, a student at the Lee Strasberg School, drives and races a six speed SS and collects Burmese cats. Her awards include Best Actress at the AFI for The Young Girl and the Monsoon and best supporting actress at the Japanese Film Festival for Dolores Claiborne. Her father...
“ Dead like Me ingenue starred in Law and Order in 1997 ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
23.
Harriet Sansom Harris
Actress, Memento
Born in Texas, Harriet Sansom Harris got involved in acting as a youngster. At seventeen, Harris was accepted at New York's famed Juilliard School. Upon graduation, Harris joined The Acting Company, a repertory group formed by the first alumni of John Houseman's Drama Division of The Juilliard School...
“ Became totally remembered as the funniest agent on TV ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
24.
Gareth Williams
Actor, The Cell
Gareth Williams is an American actor. He is probably best known from his role as Mike Potter, a recurring character on the television drama Dawson's Creek. He played astronaut James Irwin in the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, and was in such films as Malcolm X, Volcano, and The Cell. He has a long list of television credits including Time of Your Life...
“ Before there was Dawson Creek there was L&O ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
26.
Tom Everett Scott
Tom Everett Scott was born and raised in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, the 3rd of 4 children of Cynthia (Pierce), an insurance saleswoman, and William Joseph Scott, who was a civil engineer. Tom spent his childhood in a "nice house in the woods", with a pond nearby, canoeing and camping. He acted in high school plays...
“ His first TV role in 1996 ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
27.
Madeline Zima
Madeline Zima began her acting career at the age of seven and has developed into a seasoned and diverse actress. Equally skilled at comedy and drama, she has worked continuously for several decades, in critically-acclaimed projects. She was born in New Haven, Connecticut, to parents Dennis and Marie...
“ appeared as a 7 year old, then never stopped working ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
28.
Ellen Pompeo
Ellen Kathleen Pompeo was born in Everett, Massachusetts, to Kathleen B. (O'Keefe) and Joseph E. Pompeo, a salesman. She is of Italian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, and some English, ancestry. Pompeo made her major studio screen debut in Brad Silberling's Moonlight Mile, starring alongside Susan Sarandon...
“ before there was Grey;s Antomy there was L&O ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
29.
Jennifer Esposito
Actress, Crash
Jennifer Esposito was born on April 19, 1973 in Brooklyn, New York, to Phyllis, an interior decorator, and Robert Esposito, a computer consultant and music producer. Esposito launched her career with an appearance on Law & Order in 1996. She went on to play the character of "Stacey Paterno" in 36 episodes on the hit TV series, Spin City, starring alongside Michael J. Fox...
“ Even in 1996, she played the typical New York Italian ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
30.
“ Mr. Burn Notice got his break in 1995 ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
31.
“ Worked 19 0f the 20 seasons of L&O ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
32.
Sebastian Stan
Sebastian Stan was born on August 13, 1982, in Constanta, Romania. He moved with his mother to Vienna, Austria, when he was eight, and then to New York when he was twelve. Stan studied at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts and spent a year at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. When he went back to New York he started working in some projects like Law & Order...
“ From kidnapped to Bucky Barnes ( a tip of the hat to Bruce Kagan) ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
33.
“ appeared on second last show ” - abwetman-1-817328
 
34.
“ Played a cashier in 98 on L&O ” - abwetman-1-817328