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21 Movie Stars You Probably Didn’t Know Were TV Stars Before The Big Screen

13. Ryan Renolds was on 2 Guys, A Girl, and A Pizza Place.

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Deadpool made us all finally accept this man, but it took years and multiple superhero movies to get there. His big break was on a sitcom about young roommates in Boston who own a pizza place. Before that, he had a role in the TV adaptation of Capote’s In Cold Blood.

14. Melissa McCarthy got her big break on Gilmore Girls.

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Mellissa McCarthy makes us laugh now, but any fan of Gilmore Girls had already welcomed her into their homes and hearts long before Bridesmaids. Now she’s already in the phase of her career where she switches from comedy back to dramatic roles. We’re here for it, as the kids say.

15. Sarah Jessica Parker was on a little-known show called Square Pegs.

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Sex and the City is great, but have you ever tried watching LA Story? Whoo boy. She killing it in 1991. Long before that movie was made, however, SJP played a teenager trying to fit in on a sitcom called Square Pegs. This was in 1982.

16. Denzel Washington was a lead on Saint Elsewhere.

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Just another show about doctors? Think again. It ended with the weirdest finale in TV history, where the audience was told the entire 400-episode run was an autistic child’s dream. For real. It also launched the career of Denzel, one of the greatest living actors.

17. Sally Field was The Flying Nun

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Before she was able to give the “You like me!” speech at the Oscars, Sally Field was convinced she would never win the respect of her peers because her big break was on a show called The Flying Nun. The show was about a young nun who, when the wind would blow, could fly. They made 82 episodes, a comic book, and a novel. The 60s were a different time, y’all.

18. Tom Hanks got his big break on Bosom Buddies.

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Tom Hanks was a Shakespearean actor who participated in Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s where he discovered his love of typewriters. He was a phenomenal actor, and it brings me no joy to say Bosom Buddies, a show where he pretends to be a woman so he can live in a female-only building, was his big break. 

19. Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg were on a show called Get Real.

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This shortlived drama series about a family… and their dramas. I’ve never seen it and neither have you. It aired on FOX in 1999 and was gone shortly after. 

20. Will Smith started on his own show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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One of the biggest success stories in TV and film, Will Smith booked a show where he essentially played himself in his rich extended family’s house. Now, he’s one of the richest actors on the planet. That’s right. It’s called The Secret. Look it up. Wait- actually, it’s The 48 Laws of Power. A book that Will Smith swears by! If it worked for him, I’m willing to try it. He’s great!

21. Woody Harrelson got his big break on the 4th season of Cheers.

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After the actor who played Coach died, the writers of Cheers did not wish to resurrect the character by simply recasting him, so the lovable buffoon character became Woody in season 4. Cheers was such a big hit, most of the actors went on to become household names, including Ted Danson, Kelsey Grammer, and Shelley Long.