Degrassi: The Next Generation has launched the careers of Nina Dobrev, Shenae Grimes, Drake, and more over its many seasons on air, giving actors a chance to stretch their early dramatic muscles before moving on to appear on bigger shows. Many of the stars who got their start on Degrassi have spoken fondly of the series over the years, showing how deeply the dramatic high school show can touch both actors and fans.
Having been on for so many seasons, the show has also racked up a lot of famous guest stars, some of whom appeared before they had hit it big and others who stopped by after they became well-known because they were fans of the series. With many of these stars appearing in early seasons and some appearing in only small roles, its easy to not realize that they ever showed up. Here are 17 Stars You Forgot Appeared On Degrassi: The Next Generation.
17. Stephen Amell
Stephen Amell is best known for his starring role as the titular superhero on Arrow, but the Canadian actor got his start on a very different teen show. That’s right, Stephen Amell had a very, very small appearance on Degrassi before he made it big, playing a frat bro responsible for guarding the door at a party. After a very brief interaction with Paige (Lauren Collins), he lets her into the party before disappearing from the Degrassi universe forever. Although we’ll never even know his name (he is just credited as “doorman”), Amell’s appearance will live on in our hearts forever.
The star has gone on to bigger and better things now, though. Outside of his starring role on the first of Greg Berlanti’s CW superhero shows, Amell has also appeared on Hung, Private Practice, and starred in a Canadian series called Rent-a-Goalie that we probably all need to go watch immediately. He also recently starred in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
16. Shay Mitchell
Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell made a blink and you’ll miss it appearance on Degrassi before moving to the ABC Family/Freeform drama. She starred in the episode “Up Where You Belong,” which features Dobrev’s Mia deciding whether or not she is going to stay in school or quit to further pursue her modeling career. Mitchell’s character (just credited as “model”) chose to drop out of school to go after her career and is able to give Mia advice on what to do decide.
Mitchell has since moved on to bigger, actually named roles, appearing on Rookie Blue and Aaron Stone and in films like Dreamland and Mother’s Day. Mitchell is best known, though, for her role as Emily Fields on the probably too-long-running Pretty Little Liars. The role has made her famous with teen girls everywhere, with Mitchell covering magazines like Cosmo, Glamour, Nylon, Maxim, and Seventeen and frequently publishing updates for her 14 million Instagram followers and 3.38 million Twitter followers.
15. Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith has appeared as himself in a number of different TV series and movies, including Degrassi. Smith appeared as himself in a few different episodes, filming a fictional version of one of his Jay and Silent Bob movies called Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh!. Although the film was unfortunately never a reality, Smith’s multiple appears on the show and in the film Degrassi Goes Hollywood are remembered by many old-school Degrassi fans. Smith hasn’t appeared on the show since 2009, though, which has left many newer fans of the show unaware of his guest appearances.
Outside of Degrassi, Smith is well known for writing, directing and starring in 1994’s Clerks, as well as the subsequent Jay and Silent Bob movies. He has also written Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Dogma, Chasing Amy, and Mallrats, and has directed episodes of The Flash and Reaper. Smith is also known for making cameos on TV series, appearing on The Mindy Project, The Big Bang Theory and more. In non-Silent Bob-related film acting roles, he has appeared in Southland Tales, Live Free or Die Hard, and Yoga Hosers.
14. Billy Ray Cyrus
Singer and Miley Cyrus’ dad Billy Ray appeared on Degrassi way back in season three, playing a limo driver who Drake’s Jimmy Brooks hires to take him and his friends to the school’s Bollywood-themed dance. Cyrus’ Duke ends up bringing a beat-up, gross limo to pick up the kids, which isn’t what they expected for their big night. Cyrus ends up in jail for unpaid parking tickets, but makes sure that the kids make it to the big dance, since that’s the kind of guy he is (presumably; he didn’t ever appear again after that episode).
Cyrus is best known for his hit song “Achy Breaky Heart,” his debut single which became a worldwide hit and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. Cyrus has also starred in the television series Doc before appearing on Disney’s Hannah Montana series and in the feature film along with his daughter Miley. Currently, he is starring on the CMT series Still the King.
13. Jordan Gavaris
Many Canadian actors made the stop by Degrassi High before making it big, including Orphan Black star Jordan Gavaris. Gavaris’ Nathan was a love interest for Degrassi student Riley Stavros (Argiris Karras), who came out as gay later in the show. Nathan and Riley met online and ended up hooking up, but their relationship didn’t pan out because Riley started dating Fiona (Annie Clarke).
Gavaris’ two appearances in season eight and nine of the show were among his first roles. After that, he had a role on the Canadian series Unnatural History, also starring Italia Ricci and Martin Donovan, but the series was cancelled after one season. After a small role in Curse of Chucky and an appearance on TV series Cracked, Gavaris landed the lead role of Sarah’s adopted brother Felix on the BBC America SyFy series Orphan Black. He has been a fan favorite for the show’s four seasons, winning a Canadian Screen Award and a Gemini Award for his portrayal, and is set to appear again in the upcoming fifth and final season.
12. Natasha Bedingfield
Degrassi High is able to attract quite a lot of famous musicians for a small time Canadian high school, and “Unwritten” singer Natasha Bedingfield is one of them. The singer played herself, performing at the Degrassi prom way back in 2007 when the likes of Liberty, Manny and Emma were getting ready to graduate. Bedingfield was there because Liberty, smart girl that she was, won an essay contest for a local radio station which warranted an international pop star playing at prom (because things like that happen).
Bedingfield was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Unwritten,” which came off of her debut album and sold more than 2.3 million copies worldwide. Her other popular single is “Pocketful of Sunshine,” which was featured in the really great lazy weekend scene in Easy A. The song peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. In acting, Bedingfield has appeared on Lipstick Jungle, The Naked Brothers Band, True Jackson, VP and, most recently, in an episode of Lisa Kudrow’s Web Therapy.
11. Chaz Bono
Chaz Bono, son of famous singers Sonny and Cher, appeared on Degrassi‘s twelfth season as himself. He was there to be a celebrity guest judge for a Battle of the Bands contest that Adam, Imogen, Zig, Maya and Mo’s band WhisperHug performed in. Adam, who is transgender, spoke to Chaz about his struggles and told him he was his idol.
Bono is well known for speaking out about his experience transitioning from female-to-male, documenting his experience in an Entertainment Tonight feature in 2009. A documentary on his transition, Becoming Chaz, was released at Sundance in 2011 and premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network later that year, earning an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Nonfiction Special. Bono also published a book on his experience called Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man in 2012.
He has also appeared on Dancing with the Stars, The Secret Life of the American Teenager and The Bold and the Beautiful. Most recently, he had made multiple appearances as Lot Polk on American Horror Story: Roanoke.
10. Kris Holden-Ried
Lost Girl actor Kris Holden-Ried had a meaty role in Degrassi‘s earlier seasons, playing the older brother and guardian of troubled teen Sean Cameron (Daniel Clark). Sean eventually emancipates himself from Holden-Ried’s Tracker after Tracker prepares to move away, but, during his time on the show, Tracker made quite the impression, always struggling to keep his wild younger brother out of trouble. He often had run-ins with Sean’s love interest Emma, which resulted in tension between the two brothers.
Outside of his appearance on the Canadian sci-fi series Lost Girl, Holden-Ried has also appeared on Paradise Falls, Niagara Motel, Murdoch Mysteries, Ben Hur, The Bridge, Underworld: Awakening, The Listening, Captain Canuck and, most recently, Dark Matter. He also had a recurring role on Showtime’s The Tudors starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and future Superman Henry Cavill and lent his voice to the Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate video game. He can next be seen in drama Another You with Ksenia Solo and Diego Boneta.
9. Devon Bostick
Before being very angsty on The 100, Devon Bostick was very angsty on Degrassi. Bostick played the ex-boyfriend on Nina Dobrev’s Mia, who dated the beautiful cheerleader before she got pregnant with Lucas’ baby at age 13. Bostick’s Nic was an angry, violent high school-er from Degrassi’s rival school Lakehurst, who some believe was responsible for igniting the flames of the rivalry between the two overly dramatic high schools.
Bostick only appeared in three episodes of the series before landing the role of Rodrick, older brother of the titular wimpy kid in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise. He even got to star in a sequel named after his character, called Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. He has also appeared on Being Erica and Aim High before landing his most famous role as Jasper on The 100. He is also set to appear in the upcoming Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton film Okja, set to be released in 2017.
8. Perez Hilton
It makes total sense that gossip king Perez Hilton stopped by gossip central Degrassi High, considering how well his exaggerated persona works with the high drama of the fictional high school. The star appeared in Degrassi Goes Hollywood, teaching Paige a lesson about whether or not all press is good press.
Hilton is best known for his blog site, PerezHilton.com, which is popular and well-known for its inside knowledge of celebrity lives and for its snarky commentary. He is also very popular on social media, with over six million followers on his website’s Twitter and 61,000 on his personal Twitter, along with 488,000 on his personal Instagram. Hilton has also made appearances as himself on shows like TRL, MADtv, Paris Hilton’s My New BFF, Extra, Privileged, Bad Girls Club, America’s Next Top Model, Tosh.0, Victorious, Perez Hilton: Superfan, Glee and Hot in Cleveland. In 2015, he competed on Celebrity Big Brother, finishing in sixth place.
7. Alan Van Sprang
You probably won’t recognize Alan Van Sprang when he’s not in medieval garb, as the actor is best known for his roles on The CW’s Reign and Showtime’s The Tudors. The actor stopped by Degrassi in regular clothing, though, playing Craig’s band manager Leo. Leo tries to convince Craig to ditch his band, calling them basic and encouraging Craig to go solo. He eventually succeeded in corrupting him, leading the musician to ditch Marco, Jimmy and Ellie and head to Vancouver for the summer.
Van Sprang has a history of playing corrupting characters, playing mercenary Sir Francis Bryan on The Tudors and later playing the insane, adultering King Henry II on Reign. Van Sprang has also appeared on Earth: Final Conflict, Paradise Falls, The Best Years, Survival of the Dead, Flashpoint, Being Erica, Rookie Blue, King, The L.A. Complex, Beauty and the Beast and the (unfortunately) failed CW pilot Cheerleader Death Squad. Van Sprang also had a role in Henry Cavill’s Immortals in 2011 and is currently appearing on Freeform’s Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments.
6. Andrew Gillies
12 Monkeys star Andrew Gillies appeared early on in Degrassi as the father of Melissa McIntyre’s Ashley Kerwin. Gillies’ Robert divorces his wife after she finds him cheating on her with another man, who he ends up marrying in the fourth season of the series. Robert is also known for having conflicts with his daughter’s boyfriend Craig.
Gillies is known mostly for his roles in sci-fi films and TV series. The actor portray’s Dr. Adler on SyFy’s 12 Monkeys and also played Rachel’s father Ethan Duncan on BBC America’s Orphan Black. Other sci-fi and fantasy appearances include Redwall, Code Name: Eternity, Relic Hunter, Dracula: The Series, Flashpoint, Dark Realm, Mutant X, Nova, Reign and, most recently, Killjoys. Gillies has also notably had appearances in Canadian drama Paradise Falls, Trailer Park Boys, Murdoch Mysteries, Flash of Genius, Warriors of Terra, Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, The Associates, As You Like It and Monk. He lent his voice to the Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate video game in 2015.
5. Keke Palmer
Keke Palmer is known for her appearances on Nickelodeon shows, and she made the stop by the Teen Nick export in its eleventh season. Palmer played a love interest for Sav (Raymond Ablack), meeting him while she is in town to perform a concert during spring break. Sav doesn’t recognize her right away, and she introduces herself by a fake name, allowing the two to develop a true romance without her fame getting in the way. She eventually brings him on stage with her at her concert, a fitting peak for a super adorable but short-lived romance.
Palmer is best known as an actress, appearing in shows like True Jackson, VP, Masters of Sex and Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens, as well as films like Akeelah and the Bee, Shrink, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Jump In!, Rags, Knights of the South Bronx and Madea’s Family Reunion. However, she had also dabbled in music, releasing a debut album “So Uncool” in 2007. She has also merged her music and acting, playing Ella in Broadway’s Cinderella and appearing in Grease: Live.
4. Pete Wentz
Fall Out Boy member Pete Wentz appeared in Degrassi Goes Hollywood along with Hey Monday lead singer and winner of the third season of the NBC singing competition The Voice Cassadee Pope. Wentz and Pope are hanging out with Degrassi’s resident musician Craig Manning (Jake Epstein), who is apparently responsible for introducing them to the glory that is ketchup chips.
Wentz’s band fall out boy is known for their songs “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” “Uma Thurman,” “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” “Thnks fr th Mmrs” and more, with the band launching a new pop punk movement and having multiple albums peak at number one on the charts. Wentz has had songs featured in The DUFF, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, I Love You Beth Cooper, Sex Drive, Stick It and more. As an actor, he has appeared in 90210, Robot Chicken, Friends with Benefits, CSI: NY, Winter Tales and, most recently, Nickelodeon’s School of Rock.
3. Jason Mewes
Kevin Smith’s frequent collaborator Jason Mewes also appeared on Degrassi alongside his friend and colleague, playing himself while stopping by Degrassi to work on filming the fictional Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh!
Mewes is known for appearing as Jay in Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Scream 3, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Clerks: The Animated Series, Clerks 2 and Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. He has also had many other roles, though, appearing in My Big Fat Independent Movie, Feast, National Lampoon’s TV: The Movie, Gone Baby Gone, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Noah’s Ark: The Beginning, Silent But Deadly, Noobz, Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery, Hawaii Five-0, Triptank and Yoga Hosers. He also had a cameo in a season two episode of The Flash which was directed by Smith and can be seen in the upcoming Vigilante Diaries, an action film based on the web series that he also starred in.
2. Alanis Morissette
Famous Canadian Alanis Morissette also appeared alongside Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, ready to star in the fictional Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh! The singer was set to play a fuzzy hat wearing high school principal in the film, which makes sense, considering her past appearances as God in Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
Morisette has two Grammy nominations, for best new artist and best song for a motion picture or television for “Uninvited,” featured in 1998’s City of Angels. She also has one Grammy win for her music video for “Jagged Little Pill,” along with Golden Globe nominations best original song for “Uninvited” and “Wunderkind,” featured in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Aside from not knowing what “Ironic” means, Morisette is also known for her appearances as herself in Curb Your Enthusiasm, as anesthesiologist Poppy on Nip/Tuck and as Andy’s girlfriend/fiancée Audra on Weeds.
1. Vivica A. Fox
Vivica A. Fox appeared as herself briefly, along with Nip/Tuck actress Kelly Carlson. The two have a very short interaction with Marco (Adamo Ruggiero) in the season eight finale movie Paradise City. Fox and Carlson talk to Marco on Hollywood Boulevard after he briefly thinks a woman with long hair is actually superstar Ashton Kutcher (an easy mistake), before running off to go find Jean Harlow’s star on the Walk of Fame.
Fox, who started out on soaps like Days of Our Lives and Generations, is well known for playing Will Smith’s wife in Independence Day, earning her a Saturn Award nomination. She reprised the role in the 2016 sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence. Fox is also known for appearing in the Patti LaBelle-starring NBC comedy Out All Night and the short-lived CBS medical drama City of Angels with Blair Underwood before she landed the role of Vernita Green, a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, in the Kill Bill movies. Fox also appeared in the much derided 1997 film Batman & Robin, starring George Clooney as the brooding hero.