With such a long-running show, there have been many opportunities for actors and actresses to get their start in showbiz in the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial. Take a look to see if you can remember all of these amazing cameo performances!
1. Jessica Stroup as Jillian Miller
Before her glamorous 90210 days, Stroup played an Amish girl who had run away from home at 16. We met her following her diagnosis of Stage 4 cervical cancer and watched her agonizing choice between her best friend, and her support network.
2. Matt Lanter as Adam Singer
It seems like 90210 had its fair share of Grey's actors, with Lanter playing a high school footballer who was paralyzed in a game.
3. Theo Rossi as Stan Giamatti
This Sons of Anarchy star portrays Stan, a paramedic who is crushed in an ambulance crash. This was one of those classic 'edge-of-your-seat' Grey's episodes, and though we had only just met his character, we TOTALLY bawled when he died.
4. Lesli Odom Jr. as P.J. Walling
Now famed for his Tony-nominated role as Aaron Burr in Broadway hit Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. also appeared in a 2008 episode of Grey's! Odom played the role of P.J. Walling, a young man who reluctantly participates in the domino surgery of kidney surgeries to save the life of his estranged father.
5. Sarah Paulson as Young Ellis Grey
Now she's a Golden Globe and Emmy nominee, but years before Sarah Paulson hit our screens in Grey's Anatomy! Paulson played Dr. Ellis Grey in the flashback episode, giving a glimpse of the formidable surgeon back in her glory days!
6. Bernadette Peters as Sarabeth Breyers
Peters has received nominations for seven Tony Awards, winning two, and eight Drama Desk Awards, winning three, showing that even the veteran performers know a good thing (aka Grey's Anatomy) when they see it. In Grey's, we met her character Sarabeth after she had been in a car accident, and watched her learn that not only was her husband fired from his job eight months ago, but he was also cheating on her with her friend. Nice.
7. Mae Whitman as Heather Douglas
It seems that Mae developed her moody teenager character that we loved in Parenthood whilst on the set of Grey's. Here she played a patient with a severe case of VATER syndrome, which caused a massive spinal deformity (we'd be pretty grumpy too). When it turned out that her insurance company wouldn't pay for the surgery, Izzie used part of her $8.7 million inheritance from Denny to pay for it herself.
8. Constance Zimmer as Alana Cahill
Now a well-known name in the industry thanks to her roles in House of Cards, Entourage and UnREAL, Zimmer earned her stripes as the physicians assistant tasked with trying to Seattle Grace following the plane crash insurance payout.
9. Keke Palmer as Sheryll Jeffries
Recently we've been enjoying her role on Scream Queens, but she actually popped up in Grey's not too long ago. Despite failing to meet the criteria, we saw Palmer play the role of a pregnant teenager with a heart condition battling to get accepted onto Cristina's HLHS trial.
10. Christina Ricci as Hannah Davies
Wednesday Adams no more, as Christina Ricci played a paramedic who stuck her hand in a body cavity in her second week on the job. Little did she know that she was actually touching a bomb... we're not sure she stayed working in medicine for long after that experience!
11. Abigail Breslin as Megan Clover
Cutie pie Breslin played Megan in the same year as her breakout film Little Miss Sunshine. In a similarly spunky role, we saw Abigail playing the role of a girl with an insensitivity to pain. It was super cute that she thought she had super powers, but we'll pass on watching her pull staples out of her arm with her teeth, that was nasty.
12. Scott Foley as Henry Burton
Before his role as super hot spy on Scandal, Foley played the lovable Henry on Grey's. We're honestly still not over his sudden death, or the absolute meltdown we had over the fact that Christina had no idea she was operating on him until after he died. That was so uncool Shonda.
13. Bellamy Young as Kathy
Another one! Years before she made her debut as Mellie Grant on Scandal, Bellamy Young appeared in two 2007 episodes of Grey's Anatomy. She played Kathy, a patient who came in with a sports injury but ends up working through her relationship problems.
14. Josh Malina as Seth Hammer
Scandal part 2! Future US Attorney David Rosen is played by the same guy who came in with his hypochondriac wife in Grey's. Small world!
15. Katie Lowes as a blood donor
Yes seriously, another Scandal star! Before she played Quinn, Katie graced our screens as a very forgetful blood donor. It was a minor role, but clearly, she left an impression on Shonda who later cast her in another Shondaland production!
16. Liza Weil as Alison Clark
Another Shondaland crossover comes in the form of Liza Weil! Whilst we grew up loving/loathing her as Paris Geller on Gilmore Girls, Liza also played Izzie's dying cancer friend before she took on the role of Annalise's assistant in How To Get Away With Murder.
17. Rose Abdoo as Dr Kim Dawson
After playing Gypsy on Gilmore Girls and Gwen Chambers on Parenthood, Rose Abdoo graced our screens in Grey's Anatomy, too! We are low key sad though because her role was as Dr. Kim Dawson, the therapist who works with Callie and Arizona, and we're still not over that break-up.
18. Demi Lovato as Hayley May
Back in her Sonny with a Chance days (TBT), Demi Lovato also appeared in a 2010 episode of *Grey's Anatomy. She played Hayley May, a patient whose symptoms meant she was given the wrong diagnosis of schizophrenia. Luckily Alex was able to step in and correctly diagnosis because he knows crazy, and that wasn't it.
19. Sarah Chalke as Casey Hedges
Although she's better known for her role on another hospital show (Hi there, Scrubs), Chalke ended up at Seattle Grace when she played the role of Casey, a mother desperate for a doctor to figure out what was wrong with her son.
20. Jesse Plemons as Jake Burton
Here's another show that apparently is a feeder for Grey's! Just after making his debut as Landry Clarke in Friday Night Lights, Jesse Plemons appeared in a 2006 episode of Grey's Anatomy! He played Jake Burton, a patient with a unique condition that makes him look like a lion, and we all bawled when he died but Mark fixed his face for him anyway - ugh all the feels.
21. Jurnee Smollett as Beth Monore
Friday Night Lights (and True Blood) strikes again in the form of Jurnee Smollett, who played Beth Monroe, a patient participating in Mer and Derek's clinical trial. Despite falling in love with another trial patient who dies, Smollett's character was the first to survive the trial which Derek had nearly given up on.
22. Zach Gilford as Charlie Lowell
Another one! Gilford played Friday Night Lights' main character Matt Saracen, but during his time he also played a character called Charlie Lowell in an episode of Grey's Anatomy! He played a soldier with unexplained leg pain, wanting an amputation so he could go back to active service.
23. Kyle Chandler as Dylan Young
And here's the FNL motherload! Chandler is renowned for his role as Coach Eric Taylor, but he also came into our lives on Grey's as an ill-fated bomb squad leader named Dylan. Shonda liked him so much that she brought him back for one of Mer's hallucinations!
24. Mandy Moore as Mary Portman
Mandy Moore did a four-episode stint on Grey's Anatomy in 2010. She had got our tears flowing years before in A Walk to Remember, but she didn't stop there because her storyline on Grey's was nearly as heartbreaking, living thought the terror of the hospital shooting only to die with no explanation months later.
25. Dylan Minnette as Ryan
Dylan might be a household name right now due to his starring role in Netflix cult hit 13 Reason's Why, but every true Grey's fan remembers him as the boy who went trick-or-treating for ears around the hospital. This one is especially weird because the same actress who plays Addison is also the actress for Hannah Baker's mom in 13RW.
So we've learned that if you want a role on a Shondaland show, you just need to get a part on one and you can wangle your way into one of the others! This show has had famous faces from all over make appearances (and this list is not exhaustive by any means!), and we can't wait to see what future stars will cameo, and which previous characters will go on to super-stardom!
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