30 Stars You Forgot Were on 'The West Wing'
Nick Offerman (Jerry)
Long before he became Ron Swanson, Nick Offerman was playing Jerry in one 1999 episode of The West Wing. Appearing in season 1's "The Crackpots and These Women," Offerman plays a man who gets face time with C.J. Cregg thanks to Big Block of Cheese Day, and uses it to advocate for a wolves-only highway.
J.K. Simmons (Harry Ravitch)
J.K. Simmons found a spot in The West Wing's final season. The future Oscar winner played Harry Ravitch, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman who becomes involved with the White House as a nuclear reactor becomes a problem.
Liza Weil (Karen Larson)
Liza Weil picked up one of her first gigs as Karen Larson on The West Wing. Joining the drama the same year that she started her turn as Paris Gellar on Gilmore Girls and more than a decade before she became How to Get Away With Murder's Bonnie, Weil was a trouble-making intern who worked in the White House. She gets Leo in trouble when she leaks sordid details about his past struggles with addiction.
Danny Pudi (Unnamed Aide to Matthew Santos)
Danny Pudi picked up his very first on-screen role thanks to The West Wing. The future Community star made his debut in the drama's final season in 2006, playing an unnamed aide to presidential candidate Matt Santos.
Amy Adams (Cathy)
Amy Adams joined The West Wing in the show's fourth season. Adams, who would go on to pick up five Oscar nominations for her film work, played Cathy, a farmer who supports the Democrats but takes Toby and Josh to task over the administration's work with agriculture.
Dennis Haskins (C.E.O. Donor #2)
Shortly after he hung up his hat as Mr. Belding on Saved by the Bell, Dennis Haskins picked up a small role in The West Wing's third season. He played an unnamed businessman who could've been a potential donor for the Bartlet campaign, and one who witnessed a low point in Leo's past.
Gabrielle Union (Meeshel Anders)
After becoming a big-screen darling with gigs in She's All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, Love & Basketball, Bring It On, and Deliver Us from Eva, Gabrielle Union joined The West Wing's fifth season for a one-episode turn as Meeshel Anders. She plays a date of Charlie's who gets into a spat with him in the White House.
James Taylor (James Taylor)
Acclaimed musician James Taylor played himself in "A Change Is Gonna Come," an episode in The West Wing's sixth season. He dropped by the show to perform at the drama's depiction of the National Medal for the Arts reception.
Connie Britton (Connie Tate)
Long before she Tami Taylor or Rayna Jaymes, Connie Britton was Connie Tate for four 2001 episodes of The West Wing. The future Emmy nominee played a woman who works on President Barlet's reelection campaign and often helps her coworkers understand her polarizing boss, Doug.
Bellamy Young (MaryLou Meriwether)
Bellamy Young found her way to the White House a few years before she started playing Scandal's Mellie Grant. In 2004, Young appeared on one episode of The West Wing as MaryLou Meriwether, a lawyer from North Carolina who meets with Josh about a copy of the Bill of Rights.
Jane Lynch (Unnamed Reporter)
Jane Lynch spent the early 2000s popping up on every show from Gilmore Girls to Dawson's Creek to The X-Files and The West Wing. She found her way to the NBC drama as an unnamed reporter who appears in the briefing room in two episodes.
David Burtka (Intern Bruce)
Actor and chef David Burtka played an intern named Bruce in The West Wing's third season. He gets into hot water with Donna when she finds out that the moose meat she gifted him found its way to eBay in an attempt for Bruce to make some extra money.
Glenn Close (Chief Justice Evelyn Baker Lang)
Glenn Close graced The West Wing with her Oscar-nominated presence in the show's fifth season. She played Chief Justice Evelyn Baker Lang, a judge who is considered for the Supreme Court.
Yo-Yo Ma (Yo-Yo Ma)
Yo-Yo Ma made a rare TV appearance in 2000, when he played himself in the season 2 episode "Noël." The famed musician is shown performing at the Congressional Christmas Party.
Jon Bon Jovi (Jon Bon Jovi)
Jon Bon Jovi joined the list of musicians who played themselves on The West Wing, appearing in the drama's final season in 2006. Referencing Bon Jovi's song with the title "Welcome to Wherever You Are," the episode features the musician as a celebrity supporter for Matt Santos.
Laura Dern (U.S. Poet Laureate Tabatha Fortis)
Laura Dern joined The West Wing's third season as U.S. Poet Laureate Tabatha Fortis. She spends time with Toby, who tries to convince her that she shouldn't use her platform to speak out on the issue of land-mines.
Evan Rachel Wood (Hogan Cregg)
Early in her career, Evan Rachel Wood played Hogan Cregg for one episode in the show's third season. She portray's C.J. Cregg's niece, whom the Press Secretary takes shopping for a prom dress.
Rachael Harris (Corinne McKenna)
Rachael Harris joined The West Wing's sixth season as Corinne McKenna. She played a representative from Wind Now, who participates in Josh's Alternative Energy Summit at the White House.
Evan Handler (Douglas Wegland)
Before he made a name for himself as Sex and the City's Harry Goldenblatt, Californication's Charlie Runkle, or The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story's Alan Dershowitz, Evan Handler played Douglas Wegland in three episodes of The West Wing. Appearing in the show's third season, he plays a member of Bartlet's reelection team who butts heads with Toby.
Taye Diggs (Secret Service Agent Wesley Davis)
Joining The West Wing's fourth season, Taye Diggs played Secret Service Agent Wesley Davis. He finds himself in the midst of a crisis when Zoey Bartlet is kidnapped.
Eric Stonestreet (Staffer #1)
In one of his first TV roles, Eric Stonestreet played an unnamed White House staffer in The West Wing's second season. The star, who would go on to pick up an Emmy for his role in Modern Family, is seen briefly as President Bartlet meets with Oliver Babish.
Felicity Huffman (Ann Stark)
After wrapping her run as Dana Whitaker on Sports Night, Felicity Huffman reunited with Aaron Sorkin for a season 2 episode of The West Wing. She played Ann Stark, the Senate Majority leader's chief of staff who find herself in a bit of a battle with Toby.
James Brolin (Governor Robert Ritchie)
James Brolin played Robert Ritchie, the Republican Governor of Florida, in The West Wing's fourth season. He becomes the Republican nominee for president, running against President Bartlet.
Penn and Teller (Penn and Teller)
Penn and Teller played themselves in The West Wing sixth season. The magicians perform at the White House and burn an American flag as a part of their act, causing controversy.
Christian Slater (Lieutenant Commander Jack Reese)
More than 10 years before he earned a Golden Globe for his work on Mr. Robot, Christian Slater appeared in three episodes of The West Wing. He joined the fourth season as Lieutenant Commander Jack Reese, a military aide who becomes briefly involved with Donna.
Ty Burrell (Tom Starks)
In the second on-screen role of his career, Ty Burrell played Tom Starks in one episode of The West Wing. He played a Rotarian who meets with Sam about a national seat belt law.
Christopher Lloyd (Professor Lawrence Lessig)
After he went back to the future, Christopher Lloyd played Professor Lawrence Lessig on The West Wing. He portrayed the real-life Constitution expert, who comes in to help the White House.
Hector Elizondo (Dr. Dalton Millgate)
Hector Elizondo appeared on The West Wing's third season as Dr. Dalton Millgate. He played a college professor of Sam's, who comes to speak to Sam about supercolliders.
Kate Burton (Sarah Brainerd)
Years before she got into the political TV game as Scandal's Sally Langston, Kate Burton played Senator Sarah Brainerd on The West Wing. She meets with Toby to discuss Social Security and the retirement age.
Jeff Perry (Burt Ganz)
Jeff Perry also made his way to the White House long before his Scandal days, playing Burt Ganz. An old friend of Toby's, Burt pops into Toby's office and ends up seeking protection under whistleblower laws for transgressions by his chemical company.