Best Guest Appearances on TV Dramas

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1.
John Lithgow
If "born to the theater" has meaning in determining a person's life path, then John Lithgow is a prime example of this truth. He was born in Rochester, New York, to Sarah Jane (Price), an actress, and Arthur Washington Lithgow III, who was both a theatrical producer and director. John's father was born in Puerto Plata...
“ In Dexter, as the Trinity Killer. Of all the many good decisions evident on that show, casting Lithgow as this chillingly unforgettable character was one of the very best. Not surprisingly, he swept the awards' circuit that year. ” - rubyfruit76
 
2.
Peter Sarsgaard
Actor, Jarhead
Peter Sarsgaard was born at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to Judy Lea (Reinhardt) and John Dale Sarsgaard, an engineer who worked for the Air Force and later Monsanto and IBM. He is a graduate of St. Louis' Washington University, where he majored in history and literature. He was a co-founder of the...
“ The Killing ” - rubyfruit76
 
3.
Carrie Preston
Actress, True Blood
Born and raised in Macon, Georgia, where her mother was an artist and art therapist while her dad was a geotechnical engineer, a young Carrie Preston discovered her true calling in life lay in performing arts. At the age of 12, she became the impresario of her own front-yard theater company as producer...
“ On The Good Wife. Wow. She deserved the Emmy she received. ” - rubyfruit76
 
4.
“ He's done so much fine work in both films and tv, but his several turns as Colin Sweeney on The Good Wife eclipse almost anything else on tv. ” - rubyfruit76
 
5.
T.R. Knight
T.R. Knight was a member of the acting company of Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater. Roles there included Richard Miller in Eugene O'Neill's "Ah, Wilderness!" and Amadeus in Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus". On the New York stage, he portrayed Tim Allgood in "Noises Off", Damis in "Tartuffe", Joe in "This Lime Tree Bower" and Brendan Hilliard in "Anto Scattergood"...
“ On Law & Order SVU, a mediocre show that was given a stellar performance by Knight. The episode in which he guest-starred is the one episode I'd recommend, and I'd recommend it highly, mostly to see Knight. ” - rubyfruit76
 
6.
Joe Seneca
Actor, Crossroads
Prior to his illustrious Hollywood and television careers, Joe Seneca (nee Joel McGhee) belonged to a top flight singing group - The Three Riffs - that worked the better supper clubs in New York City. He was also a fine songwriter and had a big hit with "Talk to Me" sung by Little Willie John.
“ On Law & Order. Seneca, who has passed away since then, was a fine actor who will be missed. ” - rubyfruit76
 
7.
“ For virtuoso performances on The Good Wife, True Blood, and his several appearances on Law & Order, including a heartbreakingly believable depiction in season 6, episode 21. Also, as Jimmy Walp in season 1, episode 16 of Law & Order SVU. Everything this guy does is exquisite. ” - rubyfruit76
 
8.
Elias Koteas
Elias Koteas was born on March 11, 1961, in Montreal, Canada. Both his parents are of Greek descent. Elias attended Vanier College in Montreal before leaving to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City in 1981, of which he is a graduate. He also attended the Actors Studio in New York City...
“ The Killing ” - rubyfruit76
 
9.
Bruklin Harris
Bruklin Harris was born in Brooklyn, New York. She was born on September 20th and began acting in films in 1992. She co-starred in the controversial film "Zebrahead" as the character Nadine. She is well-known for her excellent characterizations and distinctive features. Her name is a unique phonic play on the city of her birth.
“ On Law & Order. I hope she's still acting, and I hope to see her work again: she's a natural. ” - rubyfruit76
 
10.
Vincent D'Onofrio
Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio was born on June 30, 1959 in Brooklyn, New York, to Phyllis, a restaurant manager and server, and Gene D'Onofrio, a theater production assistant and interior designer. He is of Italian descent and has two older sisters. He studied at the Actors Studio and the American Stanislavski Theatre...
“ On Homicide: Life on the Streets. ” - rubyfruit76
 
11.
Marlee Matlin
Marlee Beth Matlin was in Morton Grove, Illinois, to Libby (Hammer) and Donald Matlin, an automobile dealer. She has two older brothers. Her family is of Russian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent. Marlee lost much of her hearing at the age of eighteen months. That did not stop her from acting in a children's...
“ Her performance on The Practice is incredibly powerful: be ready to be heartbroken. ” - rubyfruit76
 
12.
“ The Practice ” - rubyfruit76
 
13.
“ L&O SVU ” - rubyfruit76
 
14.
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox was born Michael Andrew Fox on June 9, 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Phyllis Fox (née Piper), a payroll clerk, and William Fox. His parents moved their ten-year-old son, his three sisters, Kelli Fox, Karen, and Jacki, and his brother, Steven, to Vancouver, British Columbia...
“ The Good Wife ” - rubyfruit76
 
15.
Anton Yelchin
Actor, Star Trek
Anton Yelchin was an American actor, known for playing Bobby in Hearts in Atlantis, Chekov in the Star Trek reboot, Charlie Brewster in the Fright Night remake, and Jacob in Like Crazy. He was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia, USSR, to a Jewish family. His parents, Irina Korina and Viktor Yelchin...
“ Without a Trace and Criminal Minds ” - rubyfruit76
 
16.
Eli Wallach
One of Hollywood's finest character / "Method" actors, Eli Wallach was in demand for over 60 years (first film/TV role was 1949) on stage and screen, and has worked alongside the world's biggest stars, including Clark Gable, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, Yul Brynner, Peter O'Toole, and Al Pacino, to name but a few...
“ Law & Order ” - rubyfruit76
 
17.
Alexander Chaplin
Actor, Spin City
Alexander "Sandy" Chaplin was known as Alexander Gaberman and decided to change his professional name when he got married. He and his wife, Daisy, both changed their surnames to Chaplin, a name in Daisy's family. A native New Yorker, at age six, performed in a local production of "The King and I." With the encouragement of his parents...
“ Law and Order ” - rubyfruit76
 
18.
“ Law and Order, as Ben Stone's nemesis. ” - rubyfruit76
 
19.
“ Law&Order ” - rubyfruit76
 
20.
Michael Pitt
Michael Carmen Pitt (born April 10, 1981) is an American actor, model and musician. A casting agent, whom Pitt mistook as a police officer attempting to arrest him, noticed him and recommended him for a guest role on the television series Dawson's Creek (he played Henry Parker in 15 episodes between 1999 and 2000)...
“ L&O SVU ” - rubyfruit76
 
21.
“ The Practice ” - rubyfruit76
 
22.
Alan Arkin
Actor, Argo
Alan Arkin is an Academy Award-winning American actor who is also an acclaimed director, producer, author, singer and composer. He was born Alan Wolf Arkin on March 26, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York. His family were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Germany. In 1946 the Arkins moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles...
 
23.
“ Law & Order ” - rubyfruit76
 
24.
James Rebhorn
James Robert Rebhorn (September 1, 1948 - March 21, 2014) was an American actor who appeared in over 100 films, television series, and plays. At the time of his death, he had recurring roles in the current series White Collar and Homeland. An early performance was in Butterflies are Free at the Peterborough Players in New Hampshire in 1974...
“ Law&Order ” - rubyfruit76
 
25.
Jimmi Simpson
Actor, Westworld
Jimmi Simpson is an American actor. He was born in Hackettstown, New Jersey, the youngest of three brothers. After graduating from Bloomsburg University with a Bachelor of Arts in theater, he acted for four seasons at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. Simpson made his film debut in the teen comedy Loser...
“ House ” - rubyfruit76
 
26.
Matt Craven
Canadian-born actor Matt Craven is among the most sought after character actors of film and television today, starring in such blockbuster critically acclaimed films as the Academy-Award-nominated "Crimson Tide" and "A Few Good Men" and SAG Award nominated "X-Men: First Class." Craven has starred opposite great Hollywood actors such as Denzel Washington...
“ Without a Trace ” - rubyfruit76
 
27.
Matthew Perry
Actor, Friends
Matthew Perry was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, to Suzanne Marie (Langford), a Canadian journalist, and John Bennett Perry, an American actor. His ancestry includes English, Irish, German, Swiss-German, and French-Canadian. Perry was raised in Ottawa, Ontario, where he became a top-ranked junior tennis player in Canada...
“ The Good Wife ” - rubyfruit76
 
28.
Dallas Roberts
A native of Houston, Texas, Roberts, who attended Juilliard, has lived in New York City for 14 years. He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his role in the Off-Broadway play, "Nocturne," by Adam Rapp. He is married to Christine Jones, who is the Set Designer for Spring Awakening and a professor at NYU. They have two sons, one of whom is named Ever Reverend Jones.
“ Law & Order ” - rubyfruit76
 
29.
John Hawkes
John Hawkes was born John Marvin Perkins in Alexandria, Minnesota, to Patricia Jeanne (Olson) and Peter John Perkins, a farmer. He is of British and Scandinavian descent. John moved to Austin, Texas to begin his career as an actor and musician. He co-founded the Big State Productions Theatre Company and appeared in the group's original play...
“ On The Practice. ” - rubyfruit76
 
30.
“ As Willie Tivnan on Law&Order, season one, episode five. ” - rubyfruit76
 
31.
“ The Practice. ” - rubyfruit76
 
32.
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"...
 
33.
Laura Linney
Laura Leggett Linney was born in New York City on February 5, 1964, into a theatre family. Her father was prominent playwright Romulus Linney, whose own great-grandfather was a congressman from North Carolina. Her mother, Miriam Anderson (Leggett), is a nurse. Although she did not live in her father's house (her parents having divorced when she was an infant)...
 
34.
Regina Taylor
Actress, The Unit
While TV audiences best remember Regina Taylor for her empathic portrayal of housekeeper Lilly Harper in the critically lauded series I'll Fly Away, which rewarded her with a Golden Globe for best actress, an NAACP Image Award, and two Emmy nominations, this Dallas-born talent has made even greater strides in recent years as a playwright...
 
35.
“ Law&Order ” - rubyfruit76
 
36.
Victor Slezak
A staple of American stage, screen, and television for over 30 years, Victor Slezak hails from Youngstown, Ohio. Victor's earliest influences in entertainment came through the screen of Jack and Sam's Warner Brothers Theater, where his mother was a box office girl. So, too, was the black and white TV set in his parents' living room an early influence...
 
38.
Cullen Douglas
A theatre actor for many years, Douglas is now leaving his mark in television; creating such fan favorites as "Louis Keating" on CBS' Pure Genius, "The Bird Man" on ABC's Grey's Anatomy and "Edison Po" on ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As a writer, he was the first recipient of the Humanitas Prizes' "New Voices", which put him under the tutelage of Shonda Rhimes.
“ The bird watcher on Grey's Anatomy. ” - rubyfruit76
 
39.
Bradley Whitford
Bradley Whitford's credits in film, television and theater include work with some of the most noted writers, directors and playwrights in the arts, and constitute a career worthy of a Juilliard-trained actor -- which he is. But stardom is something else altogether, and it remained elusive, at least until 1999 and his appearance on NBC's acclaimed political drama, The West Wing...
“ The Mentalist. ” - rubyfruit76
 
40.
Becca Gardner
Born in Bellevue Washington in 1990, Becca was raised in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where she moved with her family at age 2. She began acting at age four in Musicals with the Missoula Childrens Theatre Group, which toured through Lake Tahoe. After experience in regional theatre productions ranging from "Scrooge" to "Midsummer Nights Dream" she started commuting from Lake Tahoe to LA for auditions...
“ The Practice. ” - rubyfruit76
 
41.
Meredith Eaton
Meredith Eaton is well known for her breakout recurring role as feisty attorney Bethany Horowitz, on the ABC hit series Boston Legal. Meredith has also guest starred on several critically acclaimed prime time shows, such as House M.D., Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Without a Trace. Prior to her role on Boston Legal...
“ Boston Legal ” - rubyfruit76
 
42.
“ The Practice, as well as on Dexter. ” - rubyfruit76
 
43.
Julia Stiles
Julia O'Hara Stiles was born on March 28, 1981 in New York City, the outgoing daughter of a Greenwich Village artist mother, Judith Newcomb Stiles, and an elementary school teacher father, John O'Hara. She is the eldest of three children, and has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Encouraged to take modern dance lessons at an early age...
“ Dexter ” - rubyfruit76
 
44.
Jonny Lee Miller
Actor, Elementary
Jonny Lee Miller (sometimes credited with an H) was born on November 15, 1972, in Kingston, England, UK, to actors Anna Lee and Alan Miller, and the grandson of actor Bernard Lee. After appearing in many high school plays at his selective state grammar school, Johnny dropped out at 17, to pursue acting full time...
“ Dexter ” - rubyfruit76
 
45.
Don Cheadle
Donald Frank Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 29, 1964. His childhood found him moving from city to city with his family: mother Bettye (North), a teacher, father Donald Frank Cheadle, Sr., a clinical psychologist, sister Dawn, and brother Colin. After graduating high school in Denver...
 
46.
David Morse
David Morse, a 6' 4" tall blue-eyed blond who performed on stage for 10 years before breaking into film, became established as a respected supporting, character actor and second lead. He was born the first of four children of Charles, a sales manager, and Jacquelyn Morse, a schoolteacher, on October 11...
 
47.
Christina Ricci
Actress, Sleepy Hollow
Precocious, outspoken child-teen starlet of the 1990s, Christina Ricci was born in 1980 in Santa Monica, California, the youngest of four children of Sarah (Murdoch), a realtor, and Ralph Ricci, a lawyer and therapist. She is of Italian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, and Scots-Irish descent...
“ Grey's Anatomy ” - rubyfruit76
 
48.
Julia Ormond
The dark and classically beautiful British actress Julia Ormond was born into privileged surroundings as the daughter of a well-to-do laboratory technician. Her parents divorced when she was young; she was the second of five children. She attended Cranleigh, a private school, and showed interest in theatrics way back then...
“ Mad Men ” - rubyfruit76
 
49.
Kathy Bates
Actress, Titanic
Multi-talented Kathleen Doyle Bates was born on June 28, 1948, and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls born to Bertye Kathleen (Talbot), a homemaker, and Langdon Doyle Bates, a mechanical engineer. Her grandfather was author Finis L. Bates. Kathy has English, as well as Irish...
“ Six Feet Under ” - rubyfruit76
 
50.
Patricia Clarkson
This remarkable, one-of-a-kind actress has, since the early 1990s, intrigued film and TV audiences with her glowing, yet careworn eccentricity and old world-styled glamour. Very much in demand these days as a character player, Patricia Clarkson nevertheless continues to avoid the temptation of money-making mainstream filming while reaping kudos and acting awards in out-of-the-way projects...
“ Six Feet Under ” - rubyfruit76
 
51.
Sharon Lawrence
Actress, NYPD Blue
You may know her from multiple nominated and SAG Award winning portrayal of ADA Sylvia Costas Sipowitz in NYPD Blue, as a stay-at-home prostitute in Desperate Housewives and a murderous realtor on Monk, as a serial killer on Law and Order:SVU, coming to terms with her long lost daughter on Rizzoli & Isles...
“ L&O SVU ” - rubyfruit76
 
52.
Joanna Cassidy
Actress, Blade Runner
The very lovely, vivacious and smart-looking Joanna Cassidy was born in Camden, New Jersey, and raised in nearby Haddonfield, a borough located in Camden County. She grew up in a creative environment as the daughter and granddaughter of artists. At an early age she engaged in painting and sculpture and went on to major in art at Syracuse University in New York...
“ Six Feet Under ” - rubyfruit76
 
53.
“ Grey's Anatomy ” - rubyfruit76
 
54.
Betty White
Betty White was born in Oak Park, Illinois, to Christine Tess (Cachikis), a homemaker, and Horace Logan White, a lighting company executive. She is of Danish, Greek, English, and Welsh descent. Although best known as the devious Sue Ann Nivens on the classic sitcom Mary Tyler Moore and the ditzy Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls...
 
55.
“ On Without a Trace. ” - rubyfruit76
 
56.
James Whitmore
Born on October 1, 1921, in White Plains, New York, gruff veteran character actor James Whitmore earned early and widespread respect with his award-winning dramatic capabilities on Broadway and in films. He would later conquer TV with the same trophy-winning results. The son of James Allen Whitmore and Florence Crane...
 
58.
Bruce Davison
Actor, X-Men
With his blond, clean-cut, Ivy League handsomeness and ready-whipped smile reminiscent of Kennedyesque times, actor Bruce Davison fits the prototype of today's more current crop of fresh-faced, likable blonds such as Brian Kerwin and Aaron Eckhart. While it proved difficult at times for the actor to get past those perfect features and find meatier roles...
“ The Practice ” - rubyfruit76
 
59.
Wentworth Miller
Wentworth Miller is a compelling and critically acclaimed actor whose credits span both television and feature film. Wentworth Earl Miller III was born June 2, 1972 in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England, to American parents, Joy Marie (Palm), a special education teacher, and Wentworth Earl Miller II...
“ On Joan of Arcadia. ” - rubyfruit76
 
60.
“ The Practice ” - rubyfruit76
 
61.
Alfre Woodard
Actress, Primal Fear
Alfre Woodard was born on November 8, 1952 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the youngest of three children of Constance, a homemaker, and Marion H. Woodard, an interior designer. She was named by her godmother, who claimed she saw a vision of Alfre's name written out in gold letters. A former high school cheerleader and track star...
 
62.
“ Homeland ” - rubyfruit76
 
63.
“ L&O SVU ” - rubyfruit76
 
64.
Erik Jensen
Actor, Mr. Robot
Erik Jensen was born and raised in northern Minnesota. He graduated, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting, from Carnegie Mellon University in 1992. His performance in The Bronx Is Burning, as legendary New York Yankee, Thurman Munson, opposite John Turturro, won critical praise. Notable film credits include The House Is Burning...
“ Law & Order (as Joey; season 5, episode 2) ” - rubyfruit76
 
65.
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...
“ On Law & Order (in "The Violence of Summer," 1991) ” - rubyfruit76