With Modern Family soon to be entering its twelfth and final season, it's hard not to get nostalgic about everything the beloved, award-winning sitcom has accomplished in its over 250 episodes. We've watched the eccentric Pritchett-Dunphy-Delgado-Tucker family grow and mature over time, from the new addition of Fulgencio Joe Delgado-Pritchett to multiple high school graduations and college acceptances to the reveal that Haley was pregnant via her high school sweetheart Dylan.
Relationships have come and gone, characters have passed away, and guest stars - ranging from current A-listers to previously unknown talent - have contributed in large part to what has made the series so great. While the series has stumbled in recent years, with some characters and plots almost unbearable to watch anymore, the caliber of guest talent that Modern Family continue to pull in is nothing short of impressive.
Sometimes, the main family members can be a little too much. That's where the endless list of guest stars come in to shake things up, and make the series all the better as a result.
10 Winston Duke (Dwight)
Before he was stealing scenes as M'Baku in Black Panther, or leading a family against doppelgangers in Us, Winston Duke appeared in a few episodes of Modern Family's eighth season as Dwight. The star football player on the team that Cameron coached, Dwight stayed with Mitchell and Cameron for a while after his home life became unstable and would have required him moving before the end of the football season.
In addition, Dwight also briefly dated younger Dunphy daughter, Alex. He was an adorable addition to the series, gelling well with both storylines he took part in. But after only a few episodes, Dwight disappeared without another word - and Winston Duke would go on to become the rising star in Hollywood that he is now.
9 Chris Geere (Professor Arvin Fennerman)
Chris Geere is perhaps best known for his role of Jimmy in the cult hit cable comedy You're The Worst. But for seven episodes across seasons nine and ten, Geere recurred on Modern Family as Dr. Arvin Fennerman. An esteemed professor of astrophysics at Caltech, Arvin is adorably geeky and awkward, and amazingly humble despite his impressive achievements. Alex Dunphy also has a clear crush on her instructor, and Dr. Fennerman does wind up becoming romantically involved with one of the Dunphy sisters...
...but not Alex. He dates dim-witted Haley on and off throughout the tenth season, and seems really invested in their relationship, despite the intelligence deficit between the two of them. Eventually, Haley chooses to once again date her former high school love, Dylan, and after she and Arvin break up, he's never seen again.
8 Stephanie Beatriz (Sonia Delgado)
Before she was winning hearts with her badass performance as Detective Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Stephanie Beatriz briefly appeared on Modern Family as Gloria Delgado Pritchett's younger sister, Sonia. Visiting from Colombia, Sonia was initially quiet, mousy, and withdrawn, totally the opposite of her vibrant older sister. But all of that changed when it was revealed that Sonia was the woman Jay Pritchett was initially interested in.
Learning that her sister got the life that should have been hers, Sonia turns vindictive and vengeful, attempting to kill her sister and seduce her brother in law. Every performance that Beatriz turns in is over the top and hilarious, showing off her impressive comic range along the way.
7 Jon Polito (Earl Chambers)
For most of the series, Jay Pritchett and daughter Claire Dunphy have helped a closet sales business, Pritchett Closets. Apparently, the closet industry is a pretty cutthroat one, as Pritchett Closets has always been at war with fellow sales company Closets, Closets, Closests, Closets. And for Jay, this rivalry was truly personal, as Closets, Closets, Closets, Closets was run by his traitorous former partner, Earl Chambers, played by the character actor legend Jon Polito.
Prior to Polito's tragic passing in 2016, Earl was a force to be reckoned with in the series, though his appearances were few and far between. He and Jay often went head to head and toe to toe, with even Jay's children getting sucked into the middle of their fights on more than one occasion. After Polito's death, Earl Chambers was briefly recast with another actor, but it just wasn't the same.
6 Kevin Hart (Andre)
Long before Kevin Hart was one of the world's most famous comedians, and even longer before the Oscars controversy involving him, he had a brief guest-starring role in the third season of Modern Family as Andre, the Dunphy family's neighbor and Phil's new friend. Phil and Andre bonded over their likewise quirky senses of humor, with one particular scene finding them trying to make a song out of the phrase "brother from another mother" in order to describe the sudden closeness of their friendship.
Andre wasn't around very much, only appearing in the episodes "Treehouse" and "Planes, Trains, and Cars," but his friendship with Phil led to some truly hilarious adventures, such as when he managed to convince the impulsive Phil to buy a much fancier car than he needed.
5 Kevin Daniels (Longinus)
In the early seasons of the series, Cam and Mitch's circle of close gay friends provided some of the show's most hilarious and instantly iconic moments. One of the best of these beloved characters was Kevin Daniels' Longinus, a larger than life character who would have been promoted to sitcom icon status based on his name alone. Longinus worked as a cologne salesman in the early season, resulting in various hilarious mall mishaps, including when he and Phil got into a spraying war, spraying each other with cologne directly in the face.
Longinus hasn't been used much in the later seasons of the series, which is a real shame, considering his contributions of dry witty remarks and larger than life physical humor made the early seasons really special. He has appeared occasionally at events that Cam and Mitch have thrown, including their wedding, but nothing has compared to the early years.
4 Shelley Long (DeDe Pritchett)
With a sitcom icon like Married... with Children's Ed O'Neill assuming the role of family patriarch Jay Pritchett, Modern Family really needed to deliver someone of the same caliber when they chose the actress to play the Pritchett matriarch - and boy, did they deliver. Over the course of the series' first ten seasons, sitcom legend Shelley Long, best known as Cheers' Diane, recurred as the bohemian, loudly opinionated DeDe Pritchett.
Although she only appeared in eight episodes of Modern Family, Long's DeDe was always guaranteed to inject some drama and hilarity into each and every episode she took part in. Whether physically fighting with Gloria, engaging in a screaming match with ex-husband Jay, or sarcastically commenting on the lives of her children, DeDe was unarguably one of the series' secret weapons.
3 Fred Willard (Frank Dunphy)
The Pritchett children aren't the only ones who have comedy icons for parents, however. Phil Dunphy's lovably loony and optimistic father, Frank Dunphy, is played by comedy legend Fred Willard, known for his appearances in works such as This Is Spinal Tap and Everybody Loves Raymond. Phil is often thought of as a total nerd, with pie in the sky dreams - and as soon as you see his father, it's not hard to see how the apple didn't fall very far from the tree at all.
Most of Frank's appearances in the series consist of him showing up unexpectedly, which forces the Dunphy clan to figure out how to deal with him and his frankness - both literal and metaphorical. Later in the series, he remarries, and it just so happens to be to a woman that was once Phil's babysitter - and Phil's first crush. Occasionally, Frank also Skypes in for family events, via a rolling tablet.
2 Reid Ewing (Dylan Marshall)
From the moment that Dylan Stardust Marshall appeared in the Modern Family pilot, it was clear that the series had found something truly special in his adorable portrayer, Reid Ewing. Over the years, Dylan has remained just as adorably dimwitted as ever, proving time and again that he's the only man to have ever really understood Haley. While they were once ditzy high school sweethearts, who got into trouble more than they ever got out of it, Dylan and Haley have both grown up over time.
And now, in the series' eleventh season, they're married, with twin babies on the way. And all the while, Ewing's performance has been one of the few constantly hilarious parts of the series. He never misses a comedic beat, whether in line delivery or in the sheer amount of physical humor the series requires his lanky self to endure. Dylan is one of Modern Family's best, and most unique, creations - but none of it would have been possible without Reid Ewing.
1 Nathan Lane (Pepper Saltzman)
It's truly impossible to think of any other guest star topping this list. You almost don't need to know anything about Pepper Saltzman. Once Nathan Lane is guest starring in a comedy series, it's clear that no other guest actor could ever top his performance. It certainly doesn't hurt that Pepper is far and away the most hilarious character in the entire series. Larger than life, despite his diminutive stature, Sherman "Pepper" Saltzman is one of Cameron and Mitchell's oldest - and gayest - friends, a wedding planner with a flair for all aspects of life.
Given his line of work, he's far more dramatic than any of the other characters in the series - even the overly wrought Cameron. But not once are his dramatics tiring, or eyeroll inducing. If anything, his histrionics are infectious, leading viewers to give into fits of hysterical laughter as he moves from one zany moment to the next. His relationships with his husband Ronaldo, as well as Jay and Phil, have especially been highlights of Lane's tenure on the series.