Friends was on the air for a decade and, as one of the top shows of its time, if not the top show, it’s no surprise that actors were flocking to make guest appearances. Meanwhile, some actors appeared on the series in guest roles before they were famous or had their breakout roles.
Some of the most notable actors who appeared on the series include Hugh Laurie, George Clooney, Bruce Willis, Jason Alexander, and, of course, Brad Pitt.
But there were many other big names who appeared on the series through its 10-year run from 1994 to 2004, including many who played minor roles in early seasons. Here are 10 you probably forgot about.
11 Cole Sprouse
While you probably know of Cole Sprouse nowadays for his role in The CW teen drama Riverdale, when he was a wee young lad, he played Ross’ son Ben on Friends.
While Ben only appeared in a total of eight episodes, he was mentioned often and sparked many fan theories about what happened to him and why Ross never saw more of him. Nonetheless, that adorable boy has become a teen heartthrob. After Friends, he and his twin brother Dylan went on to appear on the successful Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody before he became Jughead.
10 Paget Brewster
Appearing in six episodes of the fourth season, Brewster played a woman named Kathy who Chandler happened upon in the coffee shop and decided to ask out, then discovered that she was there waiting for a date with none other than Joey.
Chandler developed strong feelings for her, as she did for him, despite her dating Joey. They began dating at Joey’s approval but broke up shortly after when Chandler discovered she cheated on him. Brewster wasn’t famous at the time but went on to score roles on series like Criminal Minds, Community, and Grandfathered.
9 Debra Jo Rupp
We know Rupp best as Kitty Forman on That ‘70s Show, but did you know she also appeared in six episodes of Friends? Yes, she played Alice, the much older wife of Phoebe’s half-brother Frank, and previously his high school home economics teacher.
In fact, it’s her age that led Phoebe to agree to carry a child for the couple and ended up having triplets. That appearance came right before Rupp’s most successful role to date on That ‘70s Show.
8 Anna Faris
Appearing in five episodes in 2004 during the 10th and final season, Faris played Erica, the young woman who gave birth to twins that Chandler and Monica adopted. After Erica mistakenly thought they were another couple, Chandler and Monica had to convince her that they were worthy of her babies and would be good parents.
Faris, of course, went on to appear in a number of successful comedy films and do voiceover work. But her most successful role since has been as a lead in the CBS sitcom Mom, which started in 2013.
7 Michael Rapaport
Rapaport played Gary in four episodes in 1999. He was Phoebe’s boyfriend and a police officer, who she met, ironically, when impersonating a police officer to try and “defend nature.” While they had physical chemistry, Gary wanted to move more quickly than Phoebe was ready to do, and though they briefly moved in together, him killing a bird for chirping too loudly put the nail in the coffin of their relationship.
Acting since the ‘90s, Rapaport went on to appear in a number of films including Dr. Dolittle 2 and The Heat, as well as directing. He can most recently be seen in the series Atypical, and he was previously a regular on the FOX drama Boston Public for three seasons.
6 Christine Taylor
In 1997, Taylor appeared in three episodes as Bonnie, a friend of Phoebe’s who Rachel agreed to set up with Ross believing that she was bald and unattractive when, in actuality, she was a beautiful young woman. The two dated for a time, causing Rachel to get jealous.
Taylor, who was married to Ben Stiller for 17 years, later gained notoriety for appearing in movies like The Brady Bunch and its sequel, The Wedding Singer, Zoolander, and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, along with TV series like Search Party, and, most recently, Arrested Development.
5 Dermot Mulroney
Gavin Mitchell was the name of the character that Mulroney played for three episodes way back in 2003. He was an arrogant co-worker of Rachel’s who she felt threatened by after returning from maternity leave. He later admitted he had feelings for her, and they engaged in a passionate kiss. But in the end, they didn’t pursue anything because of Rachel’s complicated relationship with Ross.
Mulroney was already well-known for roles in the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding, and he went on to appear in a number of other hit TV series and movies, including New Girl, Mozart in the Jungle, American Horror Story, Shameless, The Righteous Gemstones, and The Purge, among many other credits.
4 Reese Witherspoon
While you might love seeing Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston together on Apple TV+ original series The Morning Show, you might have forgotten that this isn’t the first time they’ve shared the small screen. Witherspoon played Rachel’s younger sister Jill on three episodes in 2000.
Today, she’s one of the highest paid female actors and works tirelessly as a producer and entrepreneur as well. In addition to The Morning Show, she can also be seen in HBO’s Big Little Lies and continues to star in films as well.
3 Alec Baldwin
Yes, the Alec Baldwin appeared on Friends. Can’t remember? He was Parker in two episodes back in 2002, Phoebe’s cheerful and wacky boyfriend who was over-the-top positive and complimentary. So much so that she finally couldn’t take it anymore and broke it off with him.
Known to a new generation for his recurring Donald Trump impersonation on Saturday Night Live, Baldwin had a successful career prior to Friends, and continues to do so today. His most notable roles since 2002 include 30 Rock, The Boss Baby, Will & Grace, and the Oscar-winning film BlacKkKlansman.
1 Jennifer Grey
Blink and you might have missed her single episode appearance back in the series’ early days in 1995. Grey played Mindy, Rachel’s old best friend and maid of honor at the cancelled wedding to Barry.
While the character appeared more than once, she was actually played by two people: first Grey and then Jana Marie Hupp. Grey was already a household name at that time, known for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Dirty Dancing. Her most recent roles include Amazon series Red Oaks and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy; she also won the 11th season of Dancing with the Stars.