In January of 2000, the television show Malcolm in the Middle was born. Unlike typically sweet and wholesome sitcoms, such as Full House or Sister Sister, Malcolm in the Middle took a different approach to the American family.
In a crass, uncompromising world, we follow a young genius, Malcolm, the middle son of a lower-middle-class family, struggle to work through teenage obstacles, as well as navigate his un-orthodox home life with his parents Lois and Hal and siblings Francis, Reese, Dewey, and Jamie. Throughout the series, many hilarious guest stars came through to highlight the show’s outrageous comedy style. Here are 10 of the best guest stars from the sitcom.
10 Cloris Leachman
Before she was an actress, Cloris Leachman was crowned Miss Chicago in the Miss America Pageant. Just some of her iconic roles include Frau Blucher, in Young Frankenstein, Beverly Ann Stickle on The Facts of Life, and most famously, Phyllis, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
On Malcolm In The Middle, Leachman played the reoccurring role of Lois’s mother, Ida, Malcolm’s grandmother, who is considered one of the main antagonists of the show. Vindictive and unimpressed by anything, Ida is not to be trifled with, but this is Cloris Leachman we’re talking about here, so we’re still a fan.
9 Dakota Fanning
Famous child actress, Dakota Fanning, is known for her numerous roles in films such as Sweet Home Alabama, Uptown Girls, Hounddog, Charlotte’s Webb, Coraline, The Secret Life of Bees, The Runaways, and The Twilight Saga. Fanning made her one and only Malcolm In The Middle appearance in the middle of season two, episode thirteen, as Emily, the four-year-old child of their new neighbors moving in next door.
Although she appeared friendly, cute and small, she really didn’t make a very good lasting impression when she decided to take a bite out of Reese’s leg. Ouch! Don’t mess with Dakota, ahem, we mean Emily…
8 Jason Alexander
Jason Alexander is a talented actor, writer, and director, but I’m sure to many, his career can be summed up in one word – Seinfeld. However, something you may not know is that while Alexander guest-starred on an episode of Malcolm In The Middle, Bryan Cranston (aka Hal) had a reoccurring role on Seinfeld! It’s a small world.
On Malcolm, Alexander played the role of Leonard, a master chess player who will only play in the park. Malcolm feels he is looking in the mirror when he meets Leonard, but honestly, who wouldn’t want to be compared to Jason Alexander?
7 Hayden Panettiere
Hayden Panettiere is best known for her roles as Julliette Barns on Nashville, Claire Bennet on Heroes, Brittany in Bring It On: All Or Nothing and Beth Cooper in I Love You Beth Cooper. On Malcolm in the Middle, she played the reoccurring role of Jessica, Reese and Malcolm’s sassy classmate.
Although she only appears in four episodes of the series, Jessica is very inventive when it comes to new ways to mess with the boys. Fun Fact: when preparing to play Jessica, Panettiere would actually not brush her hair in order to attain her character’s big and frizzy look! Now that is called dedication.
6 George Takei
George Takei is a well-known face, specifically for his legendary role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek. In addition to his successful career as an actor, Takei is an avid activist and writer. On Malcolm in the Middle, George Takei appears at the end of an episode as himself, making it perhaps one of the funniest guest appearances on the show!
In an attempt to help Hal grieve for his newly departed father, Lois tries to get a different cast member of Star Trek to call up Hal but hears from George Takai instead. I still think that’s a pretty fair trade.
5 Emma Stone
You don’t have to be interested in film or entertainment to know who Emma Stone is. An Academy Award-winning actress, Emma Stone has been in various popular films, like Easy A, The Amazing Spiderman, Superbad, The Favourite and most famously, La La Land. In the first episode of the final season, Stone made her Malcolm guest appearance as Diane, the leader of a group of mean girls from school.
She and her friends humiliate Reese, and in retaliation, Lois beheads all of her dolls. This guest appearance was one of the first significant steps in Stone’s very successful career!
4 Bea Arthur
Bea Arthur is a legend. Though most of us know her as Dorothy from The Golden Girls, Arthur’s credits span from television all the way to Broadway. Some of her best roles include Maude on All In The Family, Maude on Maude, Femputer on Futurama, Vera Charles in the original production of Mame and Enid Pollack in the original production of The Floating Light Bulb.
On Malcolm in the Middle, Arthur played the role of Mrs. White, Dewey’s new babysitter. They don’t get off to an easy start, but soon become best of friends over their shared like of buttons.
3 Christopher Lloyd
What’s up doc! Best known for his role as Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown in Back To The Future, Christopher Lloyd is an accomplished film actor, as well as stage actor. He’s starred in many classic hits such as, The Addams Family, Angels In The Outfield, Clue, Who Framed Rodger Rabbit, and One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, along with over 200 hundred plays. In Malcolm in the Middle, Lloyd plays the role of Hal’s father, Walter.
Their relationship can be described as complicated, and even a bit tumultuous. Midway through the series, Walter actually passes away, leaving Hal feeling oddly indifferent.
2 David Cassidy
We’re talking about David Cassidy! Best known for his iconic role as Keith Partridge, on the hit television series, The Partridge Family, Cassidy was a young heartthrob and talented singer and performer. In Malcolm in the Middle, Cassidy appears in the first episode of season five, Vegas, when the family takes a trip to Las Vegas. He plays Boone Vincent, a fictitious, out of date popstar that makes the moms go crazy.
He's very egotistical but still manages to impress his biggest fan, Lois. But seriously, David Cassidy could have watched grass grow and I would have been impressed!
1 Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon has starred in many popular films including Little Women, The Witches of Eastwick, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Enchanted, Dead Man Walking, The Great Waldo Pepper, The Lovely Bones, and of course Thelma and Louise. Sarandon appears in season three, episode eleven of MINM, Company Picnic: Part One.
Lois meets Sarandon’s character, Meg, at the picnic and can’t get out of a conversation with her. She begins talking about the disconnect between her and her husband and won’t stop, leaving Lois annoyed. Although Sarandon’s appearance is brief, she is legendary and the episode benefited just by her mere presence.