When One Tree Hill premiered on the WB in 2003, it was seen as the successor to Dawson’s Creek, which launched the careers of so many young actors. One Tree Hill did the same.
The series filmed in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, like Dawson’s Creek before it. It featured the fictional small town of Tree Hill, centering on Tree Hill High School and the rivalry between two half-brothers who vied for the same spot on their basketball team. The rivalry between Nathan (James Lafferty) and Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) eventually quelled and the story expanded to their friends and found family.
Moving from high school to post-college days with a four year time jump, the series was able to capture the feelings of isolation teens experience while growing up, and then uncertainty adults face when first navigating the world on their own. The show also featured a ton of now familiar faces as the result of that long run.
While many up and coming actors appeared in the early days of the show, the later seasons of One Tree Hill brought in plenty of new faces to replace those who left the show behind. Some of those new faces are the most recognizable from One Tree Hill’s nine seasons on the air.
Here are the 15 Famous Actor You Forgot Appeared On One Tree Hill.
15 Candice Patton
Before she helped save the lives of superheroes, Candice Patton guest starred all over TV, and one of those roles was a young woman named Tanesha on One Tree Hill.
Tanesha only appeared in two episodes while Patton was busy auditioning for bigger roles. She was the roommate of Amanda Schull’s character Katie, who went on to stalk and attempt to kill a pair of main characters in later seasons.
Patton followed up One Tree Hill with episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, CSI: Miami, and The Game.
These days, Candice Patton anchors a team of superheroes in The Flash as reporter Iris West. The character is more than just a love interest as she’s often the emotional center of the group, integral to unraveling the show’s mysteries, and always willing to pursue a problem on her own.
14 Jana Kramer
When Jana Kramer joined the cast of One Tree Hill, her character blew through small town as an actress with quite a few skeletons in her closet.
Kramer debuted as Alex Dupre in the seventh season of the show as a way to shake things up. Alex was a bit of a schemer with a dark past, but all she really wanted was to be successful.
She worked as an actress and a model when originally introduced before trying her hand at penning her own movie script and launching a career as a country singer.
Art imitates life for Kramer. Though she does still audition for roles here and there, Kramer’s primary focus has become her country music career. Since the end of One Tree Hill, she’s released two full length albums and an EP as well as made it to the finals on Dancing With The Stars.
13 James Van Der Beek
In a funny twist, James Van Der Beek returned to the area that made him a household name for One Tree Hill. The series filmed in the same area as Van Der Beek’s Dawson’s Creek.
Van Der Beek played a tyrannical director interested in turning Lucas Scott’s novel into a movie. It was a fitting role for someone who played budding film student Dawson Leery in the same location.
Van Der Beek hasn’t found the huge movie success the spotlight of Dawson’s Creek might have suggested, but he became a television staple.
In addition to frequent guest arcs across TV, he also played a satirical version of himself in Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23 and a Power Ranger in a short film. Recently, he also took on the role of musician Diplo for a spoof.
12 Ashley Rickards
Before things got Awkward. for Ashley Rickards, she played a high school student at Tree Hill High looking for a place to belong.
Rickards appeared in season six of One Tree Hill after the series made its time jump. She was a fifteen-year-old in the foster system named Sam who shoplifted from Brooke’s store.
Brooke ended up taking the young woman in. Sam opened up a dialogue about adoption for Brooke, who wanted to start a family, and even thought of her foster mother as her “first mom.” Sam left the series when she decided to give a relationship with her biological mother a shot.
Since One Tree Hill, Rickards took the lead in MTV’s Awkward., appeared in American Horror Story, and recently guest starred on The Flash. Rickards also tried her hand at directing, stepping behind the camera for two episodes of Awkward.
11 Kate Voegele
Most people don’t know Kate Voegele for her acting chops since much of her career has been devoted to music, but she spent four seasons recurring on One Tree Hill.
Voegele began acting as aspiring singer Mia on One Tree Hill not long after her first full length album dropped. In a bit of synergy for the show that prided itself on discovering new artists, Mia worked on an album while Voegele worked on her second. Music that made it into her second album also appeared in the show.
Voegele’s most recent release is a single called Shoot This Arrow. The song addresses harassment in the wake of One Tree Hill’s showrunner Mark Schwahn being accused of inappropriate behavior by actresses and writers who worked with him.
Since working on One Tree Hill, Voegele has been focusing on music full time.
10 B.J. Britt
Superhero fans will recognize B.J. Britt as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Antoine Triplett, but before that, he wanted to play professional basketball on One Tree Hill.
Britt appeared for the first time on the show early in season one as a referee. In season six, he returned as a rival for Nathan, and someone who wanted to make it as a pro. His appearance was brief as he was initially kicked off his basketball team before heading to a European team.
Britt has become one of the most prolific television actors. In addition to a stint on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., he also appeared in The Vampire Diaries, Nikita, and Grimm. He also filmed pilots for Wonder Woman and Behind Enemy Lines.
Most recently, he starred in Being Mary Jane and UnREAL, as well as The Passage, which is aiming for a 2018 season.
9 Leven Rambin
Rambin has been all over television and movies for the last decade, but when she was starting out, she appeared as a young mother on One Tree Hill.
Her character Chloe appeared in a handful of episodes as a university student who discovered she was pregnant. Intent on placing her child in a family who could give her a better life, Chloe was going to allow Brooke to adopt her baby, but when she went into labor plans changed. She and her boyfriend decided to raise the baby, breaking Brooke’s heart.
Rambin also played a young mother on Grey’s Anatomy before gaining more recognition for roles in Wizards of Waverly Place and the Percy Jackson movies. She was cast in The Hunger Games as well, giving her career a boost.
Since then, she’s been making a name for herself on TV with roles in True Detective, The Path, and Gone.
8 Quinton Aaron
Audiences knew Quinton Aaron for the role of a real life football player in The Blind Side. That role that helped him get work on One Tree Hill.
Aaron played another student athlete on the series. While only appearing in a pair of episodes, his character Tommy was a student following the time jump. Nathan became a mentor of sorts for Tommy during his short time on the show.
Aaron snagged a slew of other guest starring spots on TV, including shows like Drop Dead Diva, Harry’s Law, and more. It’s movies though where Aaron steadily finds roles. He’s appeared in at least two movies a year since One Tree Hill.
He most recently appeared in An American In Texas and Justice, and has another 16 projects in various stages of development!
7 Torrey Devitto
It’s hard for fans of One Tree Hill to forget Nanny Carrie, but they might not realize just who played the role.
Torrey Devitto’s arc on the series involved an obsession with the Scott family, kidnapping their kid, and regularly wielding a knife. She was one of the show’s most interesting villains, and it wasn’t her only stop for teen dramas.
Since the show, Devitto made a slew of series appearances for both the CW and Freeform, most memorably as big sister Melissa Hastings on Pretty Little Liars and a doctor using vampire blood as a treatment on The Vampire Diaries.
She recently graduated from the teen set to appear on the drama Chicago Med.
6 Sharon Lawrence
A veteran of TV and film, fans know Sharon Lawrence for her role on the long-running N.Y.P.D. Blue. On One Tree Hill, she recurred as the mother of Brooke’s husband Julian in the final season.
Sylvia Baker entered as an antagonist for Brooke, not seeing eye to eye with her future daughter-in-law. Accused of coddling her son too much, Sylvia was quick to lash out. She and Brooke eventually bonded though, and she even befriended Brooke’s own mother.
Since One Tree Hill, Lawrence is one of the steadiest actors in Hollywood. She’s had a slew of guest starring and recurring roles on TV, including Rizzoli & Isles and Shameless. Most recently, she’s appeared in Queen Sugar, The Last Tycoon, and Netflix’s The Ranch.
5 Mekia Cox
Mekia Cox might be a recognizable name in television now, but ten years ago, she was just getting started. She appeared in a single episode of One Tree Hill for season three.
Cox guest starred as Faith, an old friend of Lucas’ who was no longer attending Tree Hill High. Her appearance came as part of several anti-bullying episodes the show featured.
The previous cheerleading captain bullied her so much, she opted to leave school. She got to tell Lucas her story during a surprise visit.
Since a stop in Tree Hill, Cox appeared in 90210, Key and Peele, Gotham, and Chicago Med. She is also the latest actress to become a Disney princess. She currently stars as Tiana in ABC’s Once Upon A Time.
4 Nick Lachey
Known more for being a member of 98 Degrees and appearing in an MTV reality show with Jessica Simpson, some might forget that Nick Lachey also dabbled in the acting world.
Before he landed his One Tree Hill role, Lachey appeared in several episodes of Charmed on the WB and even landed spots in a few movies. For One Tree Hill though, he nabbed a pretty familiar role-- himself. Lachey wasn’t on the show to perform, but instead as someone interested in purchasing a song.
Following his episodes of the show, Lachey guest starred in a few other series and tried his hand at a solo music career. Hosting gigs and reality TV seem to be his bread and butter though. He even competed on Dancing With The Stars.
3 Evan Peters
Before he was in regular rotation on American Horror Story, Evan Peters was a teen actor in shows like Phil of the Future, Invasion, and One Tree Hill.
Peters was Jack Daniels, a teen with a crush on Rickards’ Sam, when he was introduced on the show. Like Sam, he had a troubled home life, and his story arc actually revealed it was his brother who attacked Brooke in an earlier episode. Once Sam left the series though, so did Jack.
Following One Tree Hill, he actually reunited (briefly) with Ashley Rickards in American Horror Story. In season one, she was one of his characters’ victims.
He’s appeared in every season of Ryan Murphy’s horror series, and he’ll also be part of Murphy’s upcoming series Pose. He also made it to the big screen as Quicksilver in the X-Men films.
2 Kristy Swanson
To an entire generation, Kristy Swanson will always be Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she also appeared in two John Hughes movies: Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s the latter roles that earned her a One Tree Hill cameo.
Swanson appeared in the episode “Don’t You Forget About Me,” which homaged the legacy of Hughes. The episode provided nods to many of his famous films. Swanson played a woman who gave Nathan a ride back to Tree Hill after being stranded in the woods.
Since then, Swanson has been all over television in made-for-tv holiday movies and a recurring role in Psych. She’s also attached to the movie Jessica Frost, a sci-fi thriller that reunites her with Psych co-star Corbin Bernsen.
1 Joe Manganiello
Manganiello already played Flash Thompson in a Spider-Man movie before he landed a recurring role on One Tree Hill. A household name now, fans might not remember he was once a Tree Hill bartender.
Manganiello recurred as Owen, a man who caught Brooke’s eye. The two dated for a string of episodes, but Brooke’s desire to start a family conflicted with his own desires, and they parted ways.
Of course, the actor has come a long way since his bartender days. He’s stripped in Magic Mike, lived in a town of vampires in True Blood, voiced a Smurf, and become another comic book character.
Manganiello recently became the DC Extended Universe’s live action version of Deathstroke. He’s rumored to be appearing in several upcoming films for the DCEU along with the character’ solo film.
Who was your favorite One Tree Hill guest star? Did we miss them? Let us know in the comments!