Very few actors break big in their first starring role — but their years of slogging through small TV parts can be a huge boon for fans, who get to enjoy watching them before they were stars!
COZI TV understands this mentality perfectly, and this Thanksgiving is giving us a few dozen reasons to be thankful — with a four-day back-to-back marathon of classic TV episodes showing some of our favorite actors in their earliest roles.
Kicking off Thursday, Nov. 22, at 9 a.m. and running through Sunday, Nov. 25, at midnight, the channel's "Unexpected Guests" marathon is one sure way to bring out the holiday spirit. And as a special treat, here are 10 of the faces you can expect to find!
Robert Redford ("The Virginian," originally aired Oct. 16, 1963)
The future heartthrob plays a young prisoner in "The Evil That Men Do." He tries to escape while on work duty, but the Virginian asks the warden to give him a second chance.
Harrison Ford ("The Virginian," originally aired Feb. 1, 1966)
As a member of a five-man crew who botch a bank robbery in "The Modoc Kid," Harrison escapes with another member of his gang and takes a family hostage. But who shot first?
Sylvester Stallone ("Kojak," originally aired Sept. 21, 1975)
Before he was "Rocky," Sylvester Stallone paid the bills in "My Brother, My Enemy" as a young cop who kills a young boy after responding to a crime. Kojak doesn't think Stallone's character is on the up-and-up, though ...
Richard Gere ("Kojak," originally aired Sept. 26, 1976)
In "Birthday Party," Gere plays a lookout for a liquor store robbery that goes very wrong. (Hey, he should get some notes from Ford.)
Lauren Bacall ("The Rockford Files," originally aired Oct. 12, 1979)
OK, Bacall was already a legend before she signed on to hang out with James Garner, but what a treat! She plays the best friend of a princess in "Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs: Parts 1 and 2" who believes someone is trying to kill her BFF.
Boy George ("The A-Team," originally aired Feb. 11, 1986)
Boy George was hardly looking to make it big in acting, but he was already a major pop music celebrity when he played himself in "Cowboy George." After a country performer named Cowboy George fails to show for a performance in a honky-tonk, the Culture Club lead singer takes his place — and wins everybody over! (Nevertheless, we're quite sure fisticuffs occurred at some point.)
Bryan Cranston ("Murder, She Wrote," originally aired April 6, 1986)
Before he was "Breaking Bad," Cranston appeared in "Menace, Anyone?" as the charming boyfriend of a tennis tournament director. Bonus: "Terminator's" Linda Hamilton also stars!
Courteney Cox ("Murder, She Wrote," originally aired Sept. 28, 1986)
Cox, who would go on to become one of our best "Friends," plays Jessica Fletcher's niece in "Death Stalks the Big Top: Parts 1 and 2." Just before her wedding, Cox receives a gift and letter from her grandfather ... who everyone thought was dead!
George Clooney ("Murder, She Wrote," originally aired March 15, 1987)
As the newly engaged son of a comic in "No Laughing Murder," Clooney enjoys a dinner to celebrate his good fortune ... but shortly thereafter, someone is found dead.
Julia Roberts ("Miami Vice," originally aired May 6, 1988)
Roberts is an art gallery manager by day and assistant to a drug lord at night (hey, art won't pay those bills) in "Mirror Image." She gets to have a romance with Don Johnson (playing his alter ego, "Sonny Burnett") that we sense won't end well.