5 Hollywood stars you probably didn't know were once 'SNL' cast members

Posted January 15

LAND OF ENTERTAINMENT — Love it or hate it, "Saturday Night Live" has been an iconic show on television for the past 40 years. It has been a springboard for some of the biggest actors in the business.

When many people think of past "SNL" alum that made it big, they think of people like Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig to name just a few. All of them had memorable characters on the show and were able to prove their star power before leaving for the big screen.

Others however, had short-lived careers on "SNL." They failed to find their niche on the show, but it doesn’t mean their chance at stardom was over. Here are five Hollywood stars that were very forgettable on "SNL,” but were able to find fame afterwards.

Robert Downey Jr.

That’s right, Mr. Ironman himself was once a member of "SNL." Downey was brought on "SNL" in 1985. There was a major overhaul that year to replace a lot of the members that left from the prior year. Downey was only 20 years old at the time, and the 1985-86 year of "SNL" is kind of known as the worst year in its history with much of the cast being let go after that season.

Luckily, Downey didn’t let that stop him. He is now one of the most sought out and highest paid actors in Hollywood. He has great comedic timing, so it's not hard to believe he was once on "SNL."

Ben Stiller

Before he was Zoolander and starring and directing in films like “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Ben Stiller was a featured player on "SNL" in 1989.

Stiller was mostly brought on to be a writer and appeared in a few skits before he quit the show just after four episodes so he could focus on his film career. Stiller later went on to have his own comedy sketch show called ‘The Ben Stiller Show’ a few years later and is now one of the leading comedic actors in Hollywood, as well as an accomplished director.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

It's true— Elaine from ‘Seinfeld’ was an “SNL" cast member in the early '80s. Dreyfus was actually in college when she landed a spot on the show.

Dreyfus was only on "SNL" for three years, but didn’t really enjoy her time on the show. It was there, however, that she met "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David, who was a writer for "SNL" but was also not happy. Luckily for everyone, he saw her comedic acting chops and cast her for Elaine a few years later.

Anthony Michael Hall

Anthony Michael Hall had a different journey than most to get on "SNL." He already had an established movie career with films like “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club.” At the age of 17, he became the youngest cast member in the show's history.

Hall was part of that 1985-86 cast that was mostly let go after one year. Luckily, that was not the end of the road for him. Hall went on to star in television shows like “The Dead Zone” and can be seen in the new movie “Live by Night.” But let's be honest, we will always remember him as the awkward teenager from some of the best '80s comedies.

Damon Wayans

Most might remember Damon Wayans’ early days as being one of the stars of the sketch show, “In Living Color.” Before he landed that gig, he was a cast member of "SNL."

Wayans was fired from the show only after only seven episodes. Allegedly, he was improvising lines too much and Lorne Michaels did not appreciate it. Since then, Wayans has appeared and starred in several movies and has had his own sitcom as well. He is currently on the television show, "Lethal Weapon."

Who were your favorite "SNL" actors? Let us know in the comments.

Curtis Linnell is a movie fanatic/critic that use to frequent the movie theaters on a regular basis. Due to a busy schedule and a family, he now just streams them at home. You can follow him on Twitter @curtislinnell.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all