Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer television series ran from 1997 to 2003, and it made household names out of the main cast. Okay, so maybe not household, but the show has enough of a cult following that the stars of the series have become well known in geek circles.
What sometimes gets forgotten is the number of amazing cameos and guest starring roles that happened during the show’s run. A number of big name actors made a stop in Sunnydale over the seven seasons, and some of them are a bit surprising.
Here are Screen Rant’s 12 Stars Who Appeared On Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
12. Clea Duvall
Season 1 Episode 11: “Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight”
Clea Duvall played Marcie Ross, a Sunnydale High student who was so ignored by her classmates that she actually turned invisible. Thought to be the work of the hellmouth manipulating reality, she used this new power to attack the popular students and teachers at the school. On her hit list was, of course, one Miss Cordelia Chase, who was the requisite mean girl at Sunnydale High. Buffy managed to defeat her of course, though Marcie did survive the encounter. Last we saw, she was being recruited by federal agents and taken to study assassination and infiltration techniques. Way to put her new life skills to good use.
Duvall is the epitome of the phrase “character actor,” and she’s probably best known for her role in HBO’s Carnivale. Although she is rarely the leading lady, she has had supporting roles in such films as Argo, The Astronaut’s Wife and Girl, Interrupted.
11. Wentworth Miller
Season 2 Episode 20: “Go Fish”
In his very first television role, Miller played Gage Petronzi, a member of the Sunnydale High swim team. When members of the swim team start to mysteriously be skinned alive, Buffy decides he’s the next victim and chooses to protect him. It doesn’t go well, and Gage is attacked by, and then turns into, a Gill monster. Seems that the team was actually being dosed with fish steroids by the coach in order to improve performance, and it had unexpected consequences. Gage and the rest of the team are turned into Gill monsters and are last seen swimming out into the ocean in hysterical fashion.
While his turn on Buffy was his small screen debut, Miller is most well-known for his TV star-making turn on Fox’s Prison Break. He also an accomplished screenwriter, and has had two feature films produced from his work, 2013’s Stoker and 2016’s The Disappointments Room. Miller brings a quiet intensity to his roles, but it’s his chemistry with his co-stars that really stands out. He can currently be seen as Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold on The CW’s Legends Of Tomorrow and will be reprising the role of Michael Scofield later this year in the revival of Prison Break.
10. Shane West
Season 2 Episode 20: “Go Fish”
Miller had a bit of company in his Buffy guest spot. Shane West was cast as Sean Dwyer, another member of the ill-fated Sunnydale High swim team. When Xander goes undercover to unmask the steroid scandal at the school, Sean is the one that tells him that the steroids are being distributed through the steam in the sauna. Like his teammates, Sean is transformed into a Gill monster and is last seen swimming out into the ocean in his new form.
Hollywood tried to make West a leading man by slotting him to star in such films as A Walk To Remember and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but it never really stuck. He has spent most of his career on television, with leading roles in shows such as Once And Again, ER and Nikita. His performances are not over the top, often understated in fact, but with conviction. He can currently be found playing John Alden on WGN’s Salem.
9. Pedro Pascal (as Pedro Balmaceda)
Season 4 Episode 1: “The Freshman”
Before he was a casualty of one of the most brutal small screen deaths in history, Pascal portrayed Eddie, a freshman at UC Sunnydale that befriends Buffy on the first day of school. He’s of course kidnapped and turned by a nest of vampires, who then stage it to look as if he decided to leave college due to the pressure on him. Feeling all powerful, he decided to tangle with the slayer and unfortunately, the outcome wasn’t what he had hoped. In the end, Buffy was forced to stake him.
It was a peaceful way to go in comparison to the role Pascal is best known for — Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper, on HBO’s Game Of Thrones. Over the span of his career, he has had a number of guest appearances in such shows as The Good Wife, Homeland and The Mentalist and was also part of the cast of the failed 2011 Wonder Woman television adaptation. Given his extensive stage experience, it’s not surprising that he brings such charisma and passion to his roles. He can currently be seen playing Javier Pena on Netflix’s Narcos, and is reportedly in talks to join the cast of the Kingsman sequel, The Golden Circle.
8. Kal Penn
Season 4 Episode 5: “Beer Bad”
The future world-renowned super-stoner Kumar Patel, Penn showed up on Buffy as a UC Sunnydale student named Hunt, who, along with Buffy and a number of other students, gets turned into a Neanderthal by drinking beer that had been tampered with. The effects are temporary and wear off within a day or two — after the cavemen run amok, of course. At the conclusion of what has to be one of the series’ worst episodes ever, Penn’s Hunt survived the encounter.
Penn is probably best known for his work with John Cho in the Harold and Kumar films. Along with a number of television guest appearances, he also had a starring role in Fox’s House (which he gave up to go and work for the Obama administration) and most recently had a recurring spot on CBS’s How I Met Your Mother. While Penn is usually thought of a comedian, he has serious acting chops and the ability to adapt to play more than just the token Indian-American guy. He also appeared in a season 3 episode of Angel entitled “That Vision Thing,” where he played a psychic with an exposed brain knows as Fez Boy. Sadly, he did not survive that encounter.
7. Ashanti Douglas
Season 7 Episode 14: “First Date”
Ashanti Douglas played Lissa, a demon who realized dark times were coming and allied herself with the First Evil. She tries to seduce Xander into becoming a ritual sacrifice and help her open the seal of Danzalthar and release Turok-Han Vampire. Poor Xander always seems to be the pawn in these things, but in the end, he does get saved, when Buffy rushes in and beheads Lissa, causing her to revert back to her demonic form, which Buffy then dispatches.
Ashanti is a Grammy award winning artist, better known as a singer/songwriter than an actor. She’s had bit parts in a number of television series and films, including Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, Law And Order: SVU and John Tucker Must Die. She took the lead in the 2005 film The Muppets’ Wizard Of Oz, and received not very stellar reviews in the lead role of Dorothy. She’s a beautiful woman with passable acting skills, but it’s probably best for everyone if she just sticks to making music at this point.
6. Amber Tamblyn
Season 6 Episode 6: “All The Way”
Amber Tamblyn was cast as Janice Penshaw, best friend to Buffy’s sister, Dawn. Although the character was mentioned in a number of episodes, this was the one and only time viewers actually got a chance to see her on the screen. In the episode, it’s Halloween and the two girls trick their guardians using the old sleepover trick and sneak out. They meet some boys, who turn out to be vampires. That’s what happens when you live on the Hellmouth. She was bitten by one of the boys, but survived the encounter.
After a six year stint playing Emily Quartermaine on ABC’s General Hospital, Tamblyn moved on to star in her own series, Joan Of Arcadia. Her breakout film role was in 2005’s Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants, where she played aspiring filmmaker, Tibby. It’s difficult for child actors — especially from the land of daytime television — to breakout into other things, but Tamblyn has managed to make a career out of playing interesting and out of the box characters. Although she continues to have smaller parts in various films, her biggest move came in the form of her moving back to TV, where she was last seen playing Charlie Sheen’s illegitimate lesbian daughter on Two And A Half Men.
5. Rachel Bilson
Season 7 Episode 18: “Dirty Girls”
Bilson had a blink and you might miss her turn playing Colleen, a potential slayer who came into her powers when Willow unlocked them in order for the gang to be able to defeat Glorificus. In a quick cameo, she and fellow slayer Caridad were the stars of Xander’s threesome dream. It is unknown whether she survived the apocalypse or not, although you can be sure that the threesome never happened.
Bilson got her big break playing Summer Roberts on Fox’s drama The O.C. Although she’s had a handful of film roles, she seems to be most comfortable on television. She guest starred on shows like That 70’s Show, Chuck and How I Met Your Mother before getting her own series in the form of The CW’s Hart Of Dixie, which ran for four seasons. She has excelled at playing the wide-eyed ingénue, although it would be nice to see her branch out a little and play a little more against type.
4. Felicia Day
Season 7 Episodes 11, 12, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22
Felicia Day was cast as Violet, another potential slayer whose powers were activated when Willow unlocked the essence of the Scythe ahead of the battle with the First. She eventually became a member of the Slayer Organization, appearing in recruitment commercials before ending up with the New York squad. Vi survived the apocalypse and was seen in the Buffy Season 8 comic book arc of the series.
Considered by many to be a geek goddess, Day has been on popular television and web series such as Eureka, Supernatural and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. She is also a fantastic screenwriter, and has starred in two of her own web series: The Guild and Dragon Age: Redemption. Day gives off the kind of geeky-girl-next-door vibe, and has used it to her advantage. But the characters she plays are rarely damsels in distress, however, and she can kick butt like nobody’s business. She can currently be seen in Alan Tudyk’s Con Man and will be in the newly updated Mystery Science Theatre 3000 when it premieres later this year.
3. Amy Adams
Season 5 Episode 6: “Family”
Five time (!) Academy Award nominee Amy Adams also made a stop in Sunnydale, playing Beth Maclay, the extremely traditional cousin of Tara Maclay. Tara’s family made the trip to town to convince Tara to return home before her 20th birthday, when, because of a family curse, Tara’s demonic half will take over. The myth turns out to be completely untrue and just an excuse for the Maclay men to keep their women subservient. Needless to say, the Maclays return home, alive and well, without Tara.
Considered an A-List movie star at this point, Adams had a number of television guest appearances after her turn in the film, Drop Dead Gorgeous, that included That 70’s Show, The Office and Charmed. The Golden Globe-winning actress is a bit of a chameleon, able to play both sweet and innocent or gritty and intense depending on the role. Right now, she can be seen playing Lois Lane, standing by Superman’s side in this year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
2. John Ritter
Season 2 Episode 11: “Ted”
John Ritter made his Sunnydale debut as Ted Buchanan, a beau of Buffy’s mother, Joyce. Unfortunately, it turns out that he’s actually a psychotic robot. The original Ted, who created the AI to be a better man, is long dead, with four dead wives to join him. The robot version of Ted meets a similar fate when Buffy smashes him in the face with a frying pan before being dismantled.
Ritter was a legendary comedian most remembered for the role of the lovable Jack Tripper on the sitcom Three’s Company. He has hundreds of film and TV credits to his name, although later in his career he took on darker, more serious roles outside his comic roots. Although he was a brilliant comedian, he was also a great actor and could do creepy really, really well. Sadly, Ritter passed away of an aortic dissection on September 11, 2003, just days before his 55th birthday.
1. Joel Grey
Season 5 Episodes 17, 21, 22
Joel Gray was cast as Doc, an eccentric old man who dabbled in black magic, and was introduced when Dawn went to him in order to try and bring her mother back from the dead. Unfortunately, he was actually a reptilian demon that worshipped Glory and threw Dawn to the proverbial wolves, in order to get the portal open. He is pushed off the tower at the end of episode 22 by Buffy and is thought to have perished, but his ultimate fate is never truly revealed.
Grey is an Oscar, Tony and Golden Globe-winning actor. He also originated a number of roles on Broadway, including Master Of Ceremonies in Cabaret and The Wizard Of Oz in Wicked. Over the years, he has also made guest appearances on a number of television dramas, including Grey’s Anatomy, Alias and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He brings a gravitas to everything he does, no matter what it is. He immerses himself in his roles and moves beyond being Joel Grey, and actually becomes the character. He is a legend of stage and screen who only needs a Grammy to place himself on the esteemed EGOT list.
Did we include your favorite cameo in our list? What’s your most memorable Buffy guest appearance? Let us know in the comments section!