The most memorable guest stars of Lizzie McGuire
The original Lizzie McGuire made Hilary Duff a star, propelling her into a Lizzie McGuire movie, a record deal, and more. Now, Duff (and much of the original cast) is returning to the beloved tween role, one essential to the development of any millennial girl with a cable package. But she wasn’t the only breakout star to spend some time in the world of Hillridge Junior High. With plenty of buzzy guest star appearances (Frankie Muniz! Steven Tyler!) to small roles that preceded greater fame (Kat Graham, Zachary Quinto), there were lots of familiar faces on Lizzie McGuire. Here are some of the most memorable ones you might have forgotten.
Dot-Marie Jones as Coach Kelly
Before Dot-Marie Jones played the groundbreaking Coach Beiste on Glee, she played another gym coach that left a big impression. As Coach Kelly, Lizzie’s junior high P.E. teacher, Jones appeared on five episodes. From being the bane of Lizzie’s existence to overseeing her attempts to succeed at a rhythmic gymnastics competition, Coach Kelly exemplified the middle school P.E. experience for countless millennials -- and proved that Jones could rock the gym shorts look.
Haylie Duff as Cousin Amy
While Hilary has always been the more recognizable Duff sister, early 2000s Disney Channel excelled at packaging siblings together. Haylie got to add some humor to the mix, guest-starring as the cousin of Kate (Ashlie Brillault), Lizzie’s mean girl rival. As something of a narcissistic wild child, Amy made her debut as an unreliable party chaperone and recurred in two more episodes, always bringing trouble in her wake.
Orlando Brown as Travis Elliot
Orlando Brown had already won over family audiences with roles on shows like Family Matters by the time he appeared on a single episode of Lizzie McGuire as fellow student Travis Elliot. He would go on to much bigger Disney Channel fame on beloved series The Proud Family and That’s So Raven, but this was a precursor to all that -- a fun bit part as a student actor in Miranda’s (Lalaine) ill-fated stab at amateur theatrics.
David Carradine as Himself
The Carradines are a Hollywood acting family with serious roots, and that includes Robert Carradine, who played Lizzie’s father on the series. It made for a fun in-joke then when Robert's half-brother David Carradine guest-starred as himself, sending up his superstardom for his role in Kung Fu, as an advisor to Lizzie’s brother Matt (Jake Thomas) when he tries to direct a martial arts film for a contest. The moment would become even more meta a few more years down the line when Carradine doubled down on that image playing Bill in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films.
Aaron Carter as Himself
Carter has had numerous public struggles of late, but at the height of his pop career, he was the perfect special guest star playing a heightened version of himself as a heartthrob teen singer. When he’s in town shooting a music video, Lizzie, Miranda, and Gordo try to sneak onto the set. They eventually end up in the music video, a fun holiday take on “I Want Candy,” and Lizzie even gets a breakout moment dancing with him.
Erik Estrada as Alejandro
Parents watching likely already knew Erik Estrada from his career-making role on CHiPs as Officer Frank "Ponch" Poncherello. But he had a fun guest-starring moment as Alejandro, the host of El Oro de Montezuma (The Gold of Montezuma), a Mexican game show that Lizzie, Miranda, and Gordo are obsessed with. When Miranda's cousin visits from Mexico, they join him on the show -- to comedic results given their general lack of knowledge of the Spanish language.
Kat Graham as Posse Member #2
Everyone starts somewhere, and Lizzie McGuire was where Kat Graham made her television debut. Before she rose to fame as teenage witch Bonnie Bennett on The CW’s The Vampire Diaries, she made guest appearances on numerous shows. Lizzie McGuire marked her very first, appearing in one episode as a member of mean girl Kate’s posse. When Kate accidentally knocks over the bust of the former school principal, the current principal cancels the Spring Fling until the perpetrator comes forward -- so Lizzie takes the blame and ends up with the dance at her house instead.
Frankie Muniz as Himself
While many girls of this generation were obsessed with Lizzie McGuire, their male counterparts were likely intrigued by the star of Malcolm in the Middle, Frankie Muniz. Muniz played with that, portraying himself in an episode titled “Lizzie in the Middle.” When he comes to town to shoot a new movie, he befriends Lizzie and teaches her about some of the perils of teen stardom. Duff and Muniz went on to star opposite each other in Agent Cody Banks a year later.
Zachary Quinto as Director
Yep, that’s right, (new) Spock was on Lizzie McGuire. In a blink and you’ll miss it role, Quinto portrays the pretentious director of a commercial for Cardio Punch Sports Drink. When a talent scout selects Lizzie’s dad and brother for the ad, they show up ready for their shot at stardom -- only to be disappointed in the experience and the director’s vision for the shoot.
Steven Tyler as Himself
If the first Christmas episode had Aaron Carter, the second needed to ramp up the star power even further, bringing Steven Tyler in to play himself (and Santa Claus). The Aerosmith rocker kicks things off as an unlikely Santa Claus before closing out the episode as the centerpiece of a Christmas parade Lizzie is building a float for. Lizzie succeeds in spades when Tyler performs “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” on her float. Could the show ever top this? Dream on.
Shelley Berman as Nobby Frostybump
This comedic character actor had memorable stints on everything from L.A. Law to Boston Legal to Curb Your Enthusiasm, but he was also a fun guest star in the “Xtreme Xmas” of Lizzie McGuire. Berman played “Nobby Frostybump,” a senior citizen playing one of Santa’s elves who also truly believes himself to be an elf. He also appears to Lizzie in a dream as the elf, helping her learn the true meaning of Christmas.
Eileen Brennan as Marge
This Oscar nominee played a memorable role in one of the series’ final episodes. Brennan was nominated for supporting actress for her work in Private Benjamin and had notable turns in countless projects, including Clue and The Sting. When Matt and his friend Melina are assigned to befriend an elderly couple, they surprisingly make friends with the two senior pranksters. Brennan is half of the curmudgeonly couple, Marge.
Doris Roberts as Grandma Ruth
Doris Roberts endeared herself to audiences and won four Emmys for her portrayal of another matriarch, Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond. So, when it came to other projects, why mess with a good thing? On Lizzie McGuire, she played Gordo’s grandma in one episode, “Good ‘Ol Grandma,” surprising her grandson with her sudden, more free-wheeling lifestyle.