12 Actors Who Played Two TV Characters at Once


As we recently learned via an interview with Mindy Kaling at Entertainment Weekly , the return of Kelly Kapoor to The Office before the end of the final season isn’t out of the realm of possibility, which would be nice considering her rather anti-climatic departure from the show in the premiere. (Then again, her abrupt “See ya suckers! Exeunt KELLY” is totally in line with the character.) Needless to say, the interview got us thinking about other actors and actresses who played two TV roles at the same time. Some couldn’t be more different, while others are clearly cut from the same cloth — but all of them warped our brains a bit. We’ve rounded up 12 examples below; leave your additions in the comments.

Armin Shimerman

Shimerman has the distinction of being on not one, but two of the all-time greatest cult shows at the same time. As you might recall he appeared on both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Buffy from 1997-99, as Quark and Principal Snyder, respectively.

Heather Locklear

Throughout the ’80s Locklear’s blonde blowout remained immaculate in her roles as Sammy Jo Carrington on Dynasty and Officer Stacy Sheridan on T.J Hooker.

Ben Schwartz

Making a name as one of TV’s most highly regarded douche bags, Ben Schwartz won over our hearts as the inimitable Jean-Ralphio before joining Don Cheadle on House of Lies, epitomizing every stereotype to do with an arrogant guy in a suit. And we can all rejoice, because as you’ve surely heard, Jean-Ralphio will be gracing Pawnee with his entrepreneurial skills at least once more.

Ian Gomez

For a period of time Cougar Town’s Ian Gomez was TV’s favorite co-worker, appearing on The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004), the short-lived Norm (1999-2001), and of course Felicity (1998-2002) as the titular heroine’s much-loved crazy boss and life-mentor fill-in, Javier.

Jim Backus

He may be most widely known as “The Millionaire,” but Jim Backus also voiced the eponymous Quincy Magoo while playing Thurston Howell III on Gilligan’s Island in the ’60s.

Chris Meloni

We only got a small dose of him on True Blood this summer, but this guy is notorious for double-dipping shows — most famously as the originator of two pretty iconic roles on opposite sides of the law in HBO’s landmark Oz and NBC staple Law & Order.

Pamela Aldon

You can almost always find Aldon on any number of animated shows, but her last season voicing Bobby on King of the Hill was an especially eccentric year for the actress. The same fall she was on Californication as Marcy Runkle and then Louie that summer as a fellow school-parent pal/crush. Aldon will be back on Californication for Season 6 in 2013, and here’s hoping we’ll see her reprise her role as Louie’s “one” the same year, after no sign of her in Season 3.

Ted Danson

The Cheers mega-star has re-emerged as a silver fox this past decade, with overlapping roles on Curb Your Enthusiasm (technically as himself, but we’re counting it), Damages, Bored to Death, and now CSI.

Lisa Kudrow

As any devotee of ’90s NBC sitcoms knows, Lisa Kudrow could also be seen as Ursula Buffet on Mad About You the first season of Friends. Since the shows had back-to-back time slots, the Friends writers cooked up a fun backstory: they’d make Phoebe and Ursula twin sisters. The idea got approved by Mad About You co-creator Danny Jacobson, and Ursula even ended up crossing over on several occasions.

Paul Scheer

If you don’t know this guy already, you should. Scheer created and stars in NTSF:SD:SUV:: as Trent Hauser, who he describes as “if Jack Bauer and David Caruso had a baby while Michael Bay was in the corner, watching it, perhaps touching himself.” He has shown up in a few episodes of Happy Endings as well, playing Kimono-wearing Avi. And you can also catch him making some dangerous fashion statements as Dr. Andre Nowzick on The League(or hear him on his bi-weekly film podcast How Did This Get Made? , which is exactly what you think it’ll be).

Zosia Mamet

Before Girls, Mamet had reoccurring roles on United States of Tara, Parenthood, and of course Mad Men. But she really made waves last spring, as the scene-stealing, SATC-obsessed virgin Shoshanna Shapiro, who couldn’t be more polar opposite to her concurrent role on Mad Men as the as the über-cool Time editor who befriends Peggy Olson and shows her the way to the counterculture.

Alison Brie

We’d be completely remiss not to mention this other fine Mad Men actress, who can be seen as the neurotic yet integral member of the Greendale 7 on Community when she’s not playing the supportive wife with a surprisingly good sense of humor to Pete Campbell.