See The Cast of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Before They Were Famous

If you’re a Grey’s Anatomy fan, chances are you can’t even watch anything that Sandra Oh, Eric Dane, or T.R. Knight are up to these days. Don’t even get us started on Patrick Dempsey. These actors will forever be their Grey’s characters to us. But, like most actors, long before they became famous, they had to work their way up in Hollywood. Find out which actor on this list was actually on Saved By the Bell and The Wonder Years, years before becoming a household name to ABC fans.

1
Ellen Pompeo - Dr. Meredith Grey
Ellen Pompeo, Strangers With Candy, Grey's Anatomy
Comedy Central/ABC
10 years before she was the leading character on Grey's Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo was in the short film Do You Have The Time.  If you never saw it, perhaps you remember her small cameo in the short-lived TV series, Stangers With Candy, in the episode "Feather in the Storm". She also played two different characters on Law & Order.
2
Sandra Oh - Dr. Cristina Yang
Sandra Oh, Double Happiness, Grey's Anatomy
New Line Features via Everett Collection/ABC

Back before she was Meredith’s “person”, Sandra Oh got started in Hollywood with small roles in the films Denim Blues and Prey. She played Jade Li, the lead character in the film Double Happiness in 1994. A lot of you may recognize her from the 2001 film The Princess Diaries, as the principal at Mia’s high school.

3
Patrick Dempsey - Dr. Derek Shepherd 
Patrick Dempsey, Greys Anatomy
Getty Images/ABC

As you probably all know, Patrick Dempsey got his start with the film Can’t Buy Me Love back in the 80’s, but did you know then that he would be so famous now? Just around that same time he was also on Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. He played Mike Damone on the short-lived Fast Times TV series, based on the film Fast Times of Ridgemont High.

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4
Chandra Wilson - Dr. Miranda Bailey
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy
Getty Images/ABC
Way before she was "The Nazi" on Grey's Anatomy, Chandra Wilson was on The Cosby Show. She played Dina in the episode "The Lost Weekend", where when Theo's parents leave town, he decides to invite some girls over and the small get together spirls into a huge party.
5
James Pickens Jr. - Dr. Richard Webber
James Pickens Jr, Greys Anatomy, Beverly Hills 90210
FOX/ABC
All Grey's Anatomy fans know James Pickens Jr. as Chief of Staff at Seatle Grace (though like everyone - even the hospital - on this show, his title has changed over the years). But did you know that one of his first bigger acting credits was Henry Thomas on Beverly Hills, 90210. He played the general manager of the Beverly Hills Beach Club that Brandon Walsh worked at.
6
Sara Ramirez - Dr. Callie Torres
Sara Ramirez, You've Got Mail, Greys Anatomy
Warner Bros. Pictures/ABC
Remember You've Got Mail? That adorable rom-com where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fall in love online, without realizing they know each other in person. You're probably like us and totally forgot that Sara Ramirez was in that movie. She was the annoyed cashier at Zabars, as you can see from her expression here.
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7
Justin Chambers - Dr. Alex Karev
Justin Chambers, The Wedding Planner, Grey's Anatomy
Columbia Pictures/ABC

Who remembers the Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey rom-com The Wedding Planner? We sure do. And the best part of the entire movie was Justin Chambers accent. And his obsession with Jennifer Lopez’s character. We didn’t even realize that was him until we had a J.Lo binge-watching spree and then the recognition set in and we couldn’t believe we hadn’t pieced it together sooner.

8
Eric Dane - Dr. Mark Sloan
Eric Dane, The Wonder Years, Grey's Anatomy
ABC/ABC
If you can believe it, Eric Dane's very first acting credit is from a 1991 episode of Saved By The Bell. He also was in a 1993 episode of The Wonder Years, as Brett in "Nose", where Kevin's friend Ricky thinks he's found the girl for him, but everyone can't help but make fun of her nose.
9
Chyler Leigh - Dr. Lexie Grey
Chyler Leigh, 7th Heaven, Grey's Anatomy
The WB/ABC
Maybe you're like us, and you'll always remember Chyler Leigh for her role a Janey Briggs in Not Another Teen Movie. But who can forget that scene when she went to Chris Evans' house and he had the whipped cream thong on? Right before that, she played Frankie, the teenager mother that Mary meets, on 7th Heaven.
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10
Kevin McKidd - Dr. Owen Hunt
Kevin McKidd, Trainspotting, Grey's Anatomy
Miramax Films/ABC
Recognize this face? If you've seen the 1996 film Trainspotting, then you might recall that Kevin McKidd played Tommy in the film about a man trying to clean up his act and get out of the drug scene.
11
Jessica Capshaw - Dr. Arizona Robbins
Jessica Capshaw, Odd Man Out, Grey's Anatomy
ABC/ABC
Before she was Arizona, and even before she starred in Minority Report with Tom Cruise, Jessica Capshaw was on the show Odd Man Out. On the short-lived series, starring former Disney Channel star Erik von Detten, Capshaw played Jordan.
12
Jesse Williams - Dr. Jackson Avery
Jesse Williams, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, Grey's Anatomy
Warner Bros/ABC
When Jesse Williams first appeared on Grey's Anatomy in 2009, we personally freaked out. One of his first acting credits was as Leo in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. He played the model that Lena went out with.
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13
Sarah Drew - Dr. April Kepner
Sarah Drew, Grey's Anatomy
Getty Images/ABC
If you didn't know Sarah Drew from Grey's Anatomy, we're sure you might have recognized her from her role as Hannah Rogers on Everwood.  But even before that, she gave her voice to the popular TV show Daria, as Stacy Rowe, A.K.A. the secretary of the fashion club.
14
Katherine Heigl - Dr. Izzie Stevens
Katherine Heigl, Wish Upon a Star, Grey's Anatomy
Disney Channel/ABC
Long before she was Izzie, Katherine Heigl starred in the amazing (and super underrated) Disney Channel Original Film, Wish Upon A Star. She played older sister Alexia, the pretty and popular sister in the Wheaton family. As you may recall, the sisters are basically polar opposites and wind up switching places, and spend the whole film as the other, until they realize that their love for each other will help them switch back. It’s a perfect movie to start you career, but apparently Heigl doesn’t have the fondest memories, as someone made nasty comments about her body.
15
T.R. Knight - Dr. George O'Malley
T.R. Knight, Grey's Anatomy
Getty Images/ABC
It's already been 6 years since we lost George and we still aren't over it. But, before he was our 007, he was Ryan Lemming on the TV series Charlie Lawrence. He also had guest spots on the shows Frasier, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

How many of these first acting credits did you know? We were pretty mind blown when we found that picture of Eric Dane from his days on The Wonder Years.

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