Over the course of 8 seasons and 200 episodes, That ‘70s Show offered a unique and hilarious look at the American teenager by filtering the experience through the lens of the midwest in the 1970s. Premiering on Fox in 1998, the show successfully managed to weave pop culture references and multiple coming-of-age stories into a comedic narrative about a bunch of high school friends hanging out and getting high in their small Wisconsin town.
As with any long-running show, the series built up an impressive roster of guest stars and acted as a launching point for a number of up-and-coming actors. Given its setting, the show was also able to pay tribute to many of the actors and musicians with plenty of meta-cameos by a number of stars from bygone eras. Like we’ve recently done with Star Wars, Smallville, and Power Rangers, here are 15 Stars You Forgot Appeared On That ’70s Show.
15. Eliza Dushku
In appearing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse, Eliza Dushku made a late-series appearance on That ‘70s Show. During season 7, Dushku arrived in Point Place, WI for the episode “It’s All Over Now” as Sarah, the latest addition to the local radio station where Donna worked. Upon her arrival, she immediately wins over the guys in the gang and starts causing Donna trouble at her job. Given that the show takes place in a small, midwest town in the ‘70s, Donna’s manager naturally decides to promote the station by having his two female employees pose in bikinis. Sarah’s game, but when Donna refuses the odious idea, and she’s fired.
Since it’s a comedy, they don’t delve too much into how despicable of an act this was by the manager. It’s also not the best role for Dushku, as she’s more or less relegated to the role of an attractive person who’s willing to cash in her dignity to get ahead at her new job. Considering how strong many of Dushku’s most well-known roles are, the guest spot is an odd choice for both her and the writers. Then again, it does highlight just how awesome Donna is.
14. Billy Dee Williams
Considering how obsessed Eric Forman is with Star Wars, and given the show’s regular roster of ‘70s celebrities, it was only a matter of time before one of the cast members from a galaxy far, far away popped up on the series. Interestingly enough, the one guest star they get is Billy Dee Williams, who wouldn’t join the franchise until 1980’s Empire Strikes Back. Of course, that didn’t stop the writers from throwing in tons of Star Wars references.
The Once and Future Lando Calrissian (and former Colt 45 spokesperson) appears in season 6’s “Baby Don’t You Do It” as a pastor that Donna and Eric are forced to go see after a pregnancy scare. Sadly, Williams never makes a return to the series. It would have been wonderful to see him bounce off of Pastor Dave, played by Kevin McDonald from Kids in the Hall. Still, the actor makes the most of his screen time, hamming it up the way you’d expect for such a fun fanservice cameo.
13. Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson
It wasn’t just stars of years gone by who made appearances on That ‘70s Show, as the series was also keen on bringing in contemporary celebrities. During the penultimate season, actor and pop star Lindsay Lohan guest-starred as a new client at the salon where Fez worked. Mimicking the real-life relationship between Lohan and Wilmer Valderrama, the two flirt heavily. Unfortunately for Fez, Kelso is also interested in Lohan’s character Danielle, and the two friends compete for her affection.
Before Lohan’s guest spot, another pop star briefly joined the cast of the show. Jessica Simpson debuted in 2002 for the season 5 episode “Going to California.” Following Kelso and Donna running off to the Golden State in the finale of season 4, the episode opens with Michael in a relationship with local beachgoer Annette. He eventually brings her back to Wisconsin with him, adding to the drama between him and Jackie. Simpson played the role in another two episodes before the character grew bored of the chilly midwest town and Kelso’s continued obsession with his ex-girlfriend.
12. Amy Adams
Though much more recognizable here than in her appearance from Smallville, it’s pretty easy to forget that Amy Adams briefly appeared on That ‘70s Show. Long before her star had risen, Adams guest starred in the 2000 episode “Burning Down the House” from season 2. In it, she plays Kat Peterson, a classmate of the gang and one of Jackie’s popular friends. As with virtually every small role by a young female actor on the show, she spends much of the episode watching the various male characters compete over her.
Of course, she’s not having it at first, throwing plenty of shade at Hyde when he offers her a drink. Once her friends leave (after the gang starts the titular fire), she seems much more willing to slum it and heads off with Hyde, leaving Fez alone as usual. It’s hardly a weighty role, but it kicked off a series of guest spots on Buffy, Smallville, and Charmed that would eventually led Adams to her breakout role in Catch Me If You Can.
11. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Back in 1998, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was making a name for himself thanks to the success of NBC’s 3rd Rock from the Sun. It’s no surprise, then, that he was pulled in for a guest spot on That ‘70s Show during season 1 of the series, as both shows shared a production company in Carsey-Werner. Starring in “Eric’s Buddy”, Levitt played, you guessed it, Eric’s new friend, Buddy. Despite Jackie finding Eric’s friendship with a rich, popular kid to be anathema, the two hit it off as lab partners and after-school pals.
The relationship infamously dissolves, however, when Buddy kisses Eric, revealing that he’s had to a desire to be more than friends the entire time. On the one hand, it’s impressive for a Fox show in the late ‘90s to tackle this subject. While Buddy is dismissed, Eric certainly seems like the one who’s overreacting and Buddy is always shown as a complete person and not a stereotype. Even more interesting is the fact that it’s one of the earliest examples of a gay male kiss to appear on primetime television in North America. It actually beat Will & Grace to the punch, much to that show’s chagrin. Unfortunately, Buddy is never seen or heard from again, and marks the show’s sole attempt at introducing an LGBTQ character.
10. Shannon Elizabeth
While That ‘70s Show mostly focused on its core cast and a rotating roster of guest stars and cameos, they occasionally pulled in bigger names for longer arcs. Back in 2003, Shannon Elizabeth featured in a lengthy arc on the series during seasons 6 and 7. During the height of her career, Elizabeth premiered as Brooke in the episode “Acid Queen,” a star student and librarian Kelso swears he hooked up with in the bathroom during a Molly Hatchet concert. This story convinces nobody, including Brooke, who has no recollection of the event.
During her 9 episodes on the show, we learn that she does in fact remember her night of passion with Kelso, but would sooner forget it. Eventually, the two hook up again, however, and Brooke becomes pregnant. Surprising everyone, Kelso finally decides to be a part of the baby’s life and kicks off his most bizarre arc yet. While navigating fatherhood, he’s also trying to be a cop (that’s what happens when you get that deep into a sitcom). The two never quite rekindle their relationship, however, and both Brooke and baby Betsy slowly fade out of the story in season 7.
9. Megalyn Echikunwoke
Following Kelso’s relationship with Brooke, he soon starts seeing Megalyn Echikunwoke, the woman who would one day be Vixen in the Arrowverse. Not to be confused with Maisie Richardson-Sellers who plays Justice Society member Vixen on Legends of Tomorrow, Echikunwoke voiced the modern day Vixen on the self-titled digital miniseries and appeared as the character during season 4 on Arrow. A decade earlier, however, she was still making a name for herself when she showed up as Angie Barnett for 8 episodes of That ‘70s Show. Not only did she serve as a fling for Kelso, but Angie was also Hyde’s long-lost half-sister.
That’s right, part of the plot of season 7 revolves around Hyde finally meeting his estranged father, William Barnett, and learning that he also has a sister thanks to William’s second marriage. Hyde and Angie have a number of issues to work out, as do the young man and his father. Eventually, they all learn to accept each other, helped along by the fact that the elder Barnett is rich and owns a hip record shop at which he offers Hyde a cushy job. For her part, Angie ends up moving to a corporate position in her father’s company toward the end of the season, leaving both Point Place and the show.
8. Luke Wilson
Long before we met Hyde’s sibling, we were introduced to Luke Wilson as Casey Kelso, the older brother of Michael who’d been long-teased on the series. First popping up in season 4’s “Donna Dates a Kelso,” Casey proves to be as smooth as his younger brother is inept. He’s so charming and handsome, in fact, that Donna joins her friend Jackie in the decision to go out with a Kelso boy. In the end, Casey’s somewhat selfish nature doesn’t sit well with Donna. In the meantime, however, Eric is none too happy about the new guy in her life.
With their relationship on the outs, Casey is also presented as a bit of the opposite of Forman. He’s mature, has a cool car, and always knows the right thing to say. But Eric is also caring and empathetic, and Casey has no interest in those finer points of humanity. That doesn’t stop him from showing up here and there over the years, however, with 6 appearances in total. His last was an odd season 7 entry where Eric has to retake a gym class in order to finish his high school degree, and Casey is the taskmaster teacher in charge of the grade. Once again, Eric eventually prevails, and Wilson leaves the show to go travel through India with his other brothers.
7. Jim Rash and Yvette Nicole Brown
Before Jim Rash and Yvette Nicole Brown played the Dean and Shirley respectively on NBC’s Community, they had small roles on That ‘70s Show. Brown’s was especially small, showing up as a desk sergeant in the season 8 episode “You’re My Best Friend.” In it, Kelso, Fez, and Randy all wind up in jail, and Fez continues his streak of disrespecting the police by sexually harassing Brown’s character.
Rash’s role is more noteworthy, as it constitutes one of the show’s running gags. Showing up in Season 7 as Fenton, the owner of a jewelry store where Eric is hoping to get a ring for Donna, we learn that Fez actually has a long-standing rivalry with the proprietor. According to Fez, it all started with “a half-off sale, a crowded parking lot, and a pair of pants that made my ass look like an oil painting.”
Over his six appearance, which saw him briefly become the landlord for Kelso and Fez, he serves as a foil for both Fez and Eric. Jackie, however, impresses him greatly, and seems to be the only person Fenton truly gets along with. Many of the traits present in the Dean get developed by Rash during his time as Fenton, making it fun to go back and see where the beloved persona started.
6. Alyson Hannigan
Fresh off the heels of Buffy ending, Willow actor Alyson Hannigan made a brief appearance on That ‘70s Show as police cadet Suzy Simpson. Over the course of two sixth season episodes, Suzy is introduced as a fellow cadet alongside Kelso at the Point Place Police Department. She quickly develops a thing for him, but he doesn’t return her affections. Fez, on the other hand, is more than smitten with the young woman.
After an awkward sitcom-style scheme to get Fez and Suzy on a date while the latter thought she was out with Kelso, the two friends come to blows over the situation. Suzy is able to calm them down, but then learns the shocking truth: Fez is in a green card marriage and Kelso has a kid. The two-episode arc ends with Suzy exiting the show, once again failing to give a talented young, female guest star anything to do besides be the object of the boy’s desires.
5. Jim Gaffigan
Growing up with a deadbeat mother and an absentee father, Hyde has always lacked role models. In season 5, though, we learn that he once had a Big Brother. Played by Jim Gaffigan, Roy Keene is now the meek proprietor of a restaurant. He’s desperate not only for a new cook, but any form of human interaction. Across 7 episodes, Hyde, Forman, and a few of the other members of the Gang come into the employment of the sad sack and get to know him in hilarious fashion.
While the show never gets too deep into their past together, it does use Roy as a sort-of father figure to Hyde (or perhaps Hyde is the mentor to Roy). Either way, it offers some nice shading for the bad boy while also letting Gaffigan dive into the pathetic persona he crafted for Roy. As with most of the show’s plots, jobs, and guest stars, the restaurant and Roy eventually get left behind in season 6. Still, in his short time on the series, Gaffigan helps craft one of the best minor residents of Point Place.
4. Seth Green
Seth Green certainly doesn’t always play an obnoxious idiot, but he seems to get saddled with the role a lot. It’s odd, given his somewhat cooler vibe in Buffy, but Can’t Hardly Wait seems to have sealed his fate. Starting in season 6, Green showed up over the course of 5 episodes as an antagonist to Eric. He too loved Star Wars and Donna, but replaced all of Eric’s likeability with a bratty sense of entitlement.
We first encounter him when he and Eric decide to fight after school. The fight never manifests, but Green’s character Mitch Miller continues to pop up and annoy both Eric and the audience. At one point, he’s even forced on the Gang as a new friend. His final appearance comes during “The Battle of Evermore,” where Mitch and his dad Charlie (played by Fred Willard) face off against Eric and Red in the Point Place Paul Bunyan father-son event. Willard helps balance Green’s extremes and the episode offers Red and Eric with one of their rare bonding moments as they attempt to defeat Charlie and Mitch. Luckily, the competition ends with the character exiting the series. We love you Seth, but Mitch Miller is a chore.
3. Betty White, Mary Tyler Moore, Danny Bonaduce, Morgan Fairchild, and Isaac Hayes
Over its 200 episode run, That ‘70s Show pulled in a whole bunch of stars from the world of variety television, music, and sitcoms. Former ‘70s soap opera star Morgan Fairchild showed up as Brooke’s mother and the bane of Kelso’s existence during his struggles to be a father. Singer Isaac Hayes appears as himself during a musical fantasy sequence Fez has while trying to make himself cooler. And Partridge Family star Danny Bonaduce appears as Ricky, the manager of a burger joint Eric works at for two episodes.
While Bonaduce gets a bit more to do than either Hayes or Fairchild, sitcom stars Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White got the biggest arcs. Over the years, White showed up in 4 episodes as Bea Sigurdson, grandmother to Eric and mother to Kitty. Her appearances allow us insight into Kitty’s neuroses, as we learn than her mother is insanely passive-aggressive and never satisfied with anything Kitty does. Sadly, she disappears from the cast suddenly after her husband dies in the series.
Mary Tyler Moore, meanwhile, arrives for four episodes in the final season of the series. In the show, she plays Christine St. George, the arrogant and demanding host of What’s Up Wisconsin. Fittingly, she’s paired mostly with Jackie, whose style and look borrows heavily from Moore’s ‘60s and ‘70s attire. Thanks to this ability to weave in well-known names from its titular decade into the story, That ‘70s Show was able to elevate itself over mere homage.
2. Dan Castellaneta
You may not recognize his face, but your ears will surely perk up when you hear him speak. Though he’s best known for playing Homer on The Simpsons, Dan Castellaneta shows up in the flesh from time to time on TV as well. During season 6 of That ‘70s Show, he featured in an episode revolving around Fez’s immigration status and his green card marriage to Eric’s sister Laurie.
Playing Agent Armstrong, Castellaneta comes to the Forman household to individually interview and interrogate the family and the Gang to discern whether Fez’s marriage is legitimate or just a ruse to keep him in the States. Given his strengths for comedy, it’s no surprise that Castellaneta plays off each character exceptionally well. Though there’s hardly any doubt about whether Fez will be kicked out of the country, Castellaneta still brings a sternness and authority to the proceedings that Homer could never quite manage.
1. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
The sole appearance in 1999 of Dwayne Johnson, then still known as The Rock, is one of the more meta guest star spots the series has done. Rather than feature a classic celebrity, the series brought in the wrestler at the height of his career. The season 1 episode dubbed “That Wrestling Show,” revolves around Red going to see a local wrestling match with Eric, Donna, Kelso, and Bob, much to the elder Forman’s chagrin. Eventually, the curmudgeon gets into it and he and his son have another rare bonding moment.
Johnson, along with Ken Shamrock and the Hardy brothers, naturally plays a wrestler, and the writers pack his dialogue full of awkward references to his character from the WWF. Interestingly enough, the cameo marked Johnson’s first acting gig outside of wrestling, providing him with a modest start to what’s now one of the biggest careers in show business. Considering he’s the biggest star to ever make an appearance on the series and the role served as his acting debut, it’s not hard to see why the People’s Champion is our number one entry.
Which That ‘70s Show cameo was your favorite? Any you wish we’d included? Let us know in the comments.
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