30 stars you totally forgot were on 'Cheers'

  • “Cheers” is one of the longest-running sitcoms of all time, with 275 episodes and 11 seasons.
  • Over those 11 years, many famous faces walked through the front door of “Cheers.”
  • Here are 30 of the most memorable celebrity guest stars and cameos.

Sometimes, you really do just want to go where everybody knows your name. And for 11 years, the Boston bar Cheers was that place for a cast of loveable misfits.

You had Sam, the owner of the bar and recovering alcoholic, and Diane, his love interest and a pretentious waitress. And when she left, you had the neurotic bar manager, Rebecca, take her place. There was Coach and Woody, both very dim but well-meaning bartenders, and Carla, the tough waitress who never held back her true feelings. And to round out the cast, there was Cliff, a trivia-spouting postman, Norm, who complained about his wife but loved her dearly, and Frasier, a therapist.

Besides your core cast, there were many people who walked through Cheers only once or twice, never to be heard from again. And some of those people were extremely famous, like Emma Thompson, Lisa Kudrow, and Dick Cavett.

Keep scrolling to see 30 celebs you totally forgot appeared on “Cheers.”

Thirteen years before starring in “Nanny McPhee,” Emma Thompson appeared in a season 10 episode as the children’s entertainer Nanny Gee.

NBCThompson in ‘One Hugs, the Other Doesn’t.’

Thompson’s character was Frasier’s heretofore unmentioned first wife – which was revealed when he went to one of Nanny Gee’s children’s shows with his current wife, Lillith, and their son Frederick. It became quite clear that Nanny Gee (real name Nanette) wasn’t fully over her ex-husband.

Frasier and Lillith’s off-and-on relationship ran through eight seasons of “Cheers,” and nine seasons of Frasier’s spin-off, “Frasier,” so it was always delightful to learn something about their lives before they wandered into Cheers, including never-before-mentioned first wives.

“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek appeared as himself when one of the bar’s most “knowledgeable” patrons appeared on the game show.

NBCTrebek in ‘What is … Cliff Clavin?’

Cliff, a postal worker, and his best friend, Norm, an oft-unemployed accountant, strolled into the bar every day, and hijinks ensued. While Norm was the more practical, street-smart one, Cliff was known for spouting off (mostly wrong) trivia and facts about any subject.

However, in a season eight episode, Cliff was able to show off his trivia expertise on an episode of “Jeopardy!” He almost won but answered the Final Jeopardy question incorrectly after wagering all his winnings, making him verbally attack the “Jeopardy!” host.

Trebek later stopped by Cheers and made amends with Cliff.

Marcia Cross played Rebecca’s sister in season seven.

NBCCross in ‘Sisterly Love.’

After Diane left the show, Rebecca, played by Kirstie Alley, was brought in to replace her in season six. As time went on and viewers became fond of Rebecca, more was revealed about her back story, including that she had a sister, Susan.

Susan proved to be the exact opposite of Rebecca, and the two sisters didn’t get along because Susan used to steal all of Rebecca’s boyfriends when they were younger.

Late night television legend Johnny Carson appeared as himself when Cliff, Norm, and Cliff’s mum attended a taping of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”

NBCCarson in ‘Heeeeeere’s … Cliffy!.’

Carson, one of the kings of late night TV, appeared as himself in this season 10 episode in which Cliff submitted a joke to “The Tonight Show,” and flew out to the taping with Norm and his mother to see Carson deliver it live.

Leah Remini guest-starred in two episodes as one of Carla’s many children.

NBCRemini in ‘Loathe and Marriage.’

Remini played Carla’s 18-year-old daughter, Serafina. Throughout the series, a running gag was how truly horrible Carla’s kids were, but Serafina didn’t appear to be as unpleasant as some of Carla’s other kids.

In her second episode, she revealed to her mother that she was pregnant, and ended up getting married to her boyfriend – a retired cop – in the restaurant upstairs from Cheers.

Then-Massachusetts Senator John Kerry stopped by “Cheers” for a cameo in an episode’s opening scene.

NBCKerry in ‘Bar Wars VI: This Time It’s for Real.’

Kerry was conveniently hanging around outside of Cheers when Norm and Cliff spotted him, but the two were convinced he was an anchor for the local news. They asked for his autograph, but once he revealed who he was, they immediately took back their request.

The future captain of the USS Voyager — and leader of Litchfield Prison — Kate Mulgrew played a local politician who dated Sam in the season four finale.

NBCMulgrew in ‘Strange Bedfellows.’

Mulgrew’s appearance as local politician Janet Eldridge is what prompted the first of many marriage proposals from Sam to Diane.

Over the course of the three-part finale, Sam and Janet began dating, got serious, and almost got engaged. But, of course, they ended things because Janet (correctly) thought Sam still had feelings for Diane.

After the break-up, the audience was left with a cliffhanger: Sam proposed to an unseen woman over the phone. It’s revealed in the season five premiere that the woman on the other end of the line was Diane.

TV icon Dick Cavett appeared as himself in season two, and encouraged Sam to write a book about his life story.

NBCCavett in ‘They Call Me Mayday.’

Cavett, a talk show legend, visited the bar while he was in Boston for a book signing. Originally, Diane was desperate for him to show her poetry to one of his publisher friends but instead, Cavett focused on Sam and his struggles as an alcoholic and professional baseball player. He even suggested Sam should write a book.

Diane, of course, took over and wrote the 50 pages Cavett asked for herself, but Cavett wasn’t a fan of her writing.

Before she was the star of her own iconic sitcom, Lisa Kudrow played Emily, who stars alongside Woody in a community theatre production.

NBCKudrow in ‘Two Girls for Every Boyd.’

Kudrow was almost unrecognizable without her signature Phoebe Buffay-blonde hair, but it’s really her in this season eight episode as Emily.

Emily and Woody are supposed to be love interests in a community theatre production of “Our Town.” However, the two have no chemistry because Woody was convinced that acting in romantic scenes with Emily would be considered cheating on his girlfriend, Kelly.

British comedic icon John Cleese stopped by the bar in season five, and plays a fellow psychiatrist and friend to Frasier.

NBCCleese in ‘Simon Says.’

One of Frasier’s old Rhodes Scholar buddies, Simon, met up with Frasier at Cheers so they could reconnect shortly before Sam and Diane’s wedding in season five.

Simon happened to be a marriage counselor, and Frasier agreed to pay for a counseling session for Sam and Diane as a wedding present. However, when the fee turned out to be $US1,500, Frasier encouraged the two to harass Simon, since he declared that the couple should never see each other again, much less get married.

After much yelling and screaming, Simon was finally bullied into telling Sam and Diane that they’re meant to be, even though he maintained their incompatibility.

Baseball player Wade Boggs played himself for a brief but memorable scene in season six.

NBCBoggs in ‘Bar Wars.’

“Cheers” notably takes place in Boston, and the characters are vocal supporters of all Boston sports teams, especially the Red Sox. So when Wade Boggs, one of the most beloved Red Sox players, strolled into the bar, the gang should have been elated.

Unfortunately, the baseball legend made the mistake of letting it slip that Gary, of Gary’s Old Towne Tavern, had sent him. Cheers and the Old Towne Tavern are longtime rivals, and the Cheers patrons were convinced that it wasn’t the real Wade Boggs, just a prank set up by Gary.

Instead of signing autographs, he was chased out of Cheers by Carla, Cliff, Norm, and the whole bar.

Conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s first on-screen role was as an uncredited extra in a season eight episode.

NBCBeck in ‘Severe Crane Damage.’

The bar was always packed on “Cheers,” so it shouldn’t be too shocking to find out that at least one of the random Cheers patrons is a familiar face.

Although Beck’s not known for his acting, he appeared as a customer in the season eight episode “Severe Crane Damage,” in which he participated in bar-wide sing along to “We Will Rock You.”

“Night Court” star Harry Anderson appeared in six episodes throughout the show’s 11 seasons as loveable con man Harry the Hat.

NBCAnderson in ‘Bar Wars VII: The Naked Prey.’

Harry frequently kept the patrons of Cheers entertained with his magic tricks, jokes, and mostly harmless scams, much to the chagrin of Sam, who attempted to ban him from the bar many times.

Even though Harry frequently conned Coach, Norm, Cliff, and Woody out of money and drinks, he proved he was a conman with a heart of gold when he helped Coach win his money back after a different scammer tricked him out of $US8,000 in season one.

A young Thomas Haden Church delivered the dying wish of Carla’s husband in season eight.

NBCChurch in ‘Death Takes a Holiday on Ice.’

Carla’s lovably Canadian husband Eddie was reportedly killed off of “Cheers” after the actor who played him allegedly made a derogatory comment about Rhea Perlman, who played Carla.

After his death, it was revealed that Eddie had been carrying on a second life, complete with another wife and kids. Carla and Eddie’s other wife Gloria competed over who he truly loved, until Eddie’s teammate Gordie, played by Church, revealed Carla was Eddie’s soul-mate once and for all.

Harry Connick Jr. was only 25 when he played Woody’s equally dimwitted cousin, Russell.

NBCConnick Jr. in ‘A Diminished Rebecca with a Suspended Cliff.’

Even though the people of Cheers thought it wasn’t possible, they encountered someone even dimmer than Woody – his cousin Russell. Russell rolled into the bar, played piano, and immediately became obsessed with Rebecca, who didn’t reciprocate his feelings. He even painted a mural of her on his motel room wall.

Christopher Lloyd of “Back to the Future” fame was in the last two episodes of season two as a painter that contributed to Sam and Diane’s first big break-up.

NBCLloyd in ‘I’ll Be Seeing You.’

After Sam and Diane finally kissed in the finale of season one, the two embarked on a doomed relationship for all of season two. Tension and resentment had been building for episodes when artist Phillip Semenko, played by Lloyd, walked into the bar in the season two finale.

Semenko did a painting of Diane, against Sam’s wishes, and the portrait snowballed into a giant, violent fight between the couple, who broke up at the end of the episode. Fortunately for fans, it was not for the last time.

TV star LaTanya Richardson Jackson played a debate moderator in season 11.

NBCJackson in ‘Woody Gets an Election.’

Jackson, who has appeared on shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Luke Cage,” appeared as an unnamed debate moderator who oversaw the City Councilman debate between Woody, the dimwitted bartender at Cheers, and the incumbent, Kevin Fogerty.

Peri Gilpin is best known for her role as Roz on the “Cheers” spin-off “Frasier,” but she played a different character on “Cheers” the year before “Frasier” debuted.

NBCGilpin in ‘Woody Gets an Election.’

Gilpin played Holly, a journalist interviewing Woody while he ran for City Council in season 11.

Ethel Kennedy of the Kennedy political dynasty took a photo for Norm and Cliff.

NBCKennedy in ‘Daddy’s Little Middle Aged Girl.’

Kennedy popped up in the first scene of a season 11 episode. Norm tried to take a photo of Cliff and Kennedy, but she mistakenly thought that they wanted a photo together, without her. She offered to take their photo, and they were excited until they realised that she was not actually in the photo with them.

Sam set Frasier up with one of his many former flings, Candi, played by horror movie icon Jennifer Tilly.

NBCTilly in ‘Second Time Around.’

Tilly, who made a name for herself playing the Bride of Chucky herself in the “Chucky” franchise, played Candi. Sam set up Candi and Frasier, and the two hit it off. They got along so well, in fact, that they announced their plans to get married only 16 hours after they first met.

By the end of the episode, they’d agreed to postpone the wedding and continued dating, though, viewers never saw Candi again.

Late night talk show host Arsenio Hall appeared as himself in a season nine episode.

NBCHall in ‘Where Nobody Knows Your Name.’

Hall, the host of “The Arsenio Hall Show,” appeared as himself on the TV screen at Cheers, where they were watching an episode of his show. Hall was interviewing the ex-girlfriend of Rebecca’s current boyfriend Robin, an uber-wealthy businessman.

Michael Dukakis had recently completed his last term as governor of Massachusetts when he popped up on “Cheers.”

NBCDukakis in ‘Sam Time Next Year.’

Dukakis, the longest-serving governor in Massachusetts history, was seen simply walking around the streets of Boston outside Cheers, when Norm and Sam spotted him on their way to the bar. The duo are immediately starstruck, and can barely say hello to him when he walks by.

Broadway icon Harvey Fierstein played Rebecca’s high school sweetheart, Mark, in season 10.

NBCFierstein in ‘Rebecca’s Lover … Not.’

Once Rebecca reunited with Mark, she decided that he is the one who got away, and she attempted to win him back. Unfortunately for her, Mark was very openly gay, and everyone at Cheers could tell except for her.

“Star Trek” star Brent Spiner played a man accused of murder — and Diane was the foreman of the jury at his trial.

NBCSpiner in ‘Never Love a Goalie.’

Diane serving at jury duty was one of a few plots going on during this two-part episode, but it’s a real showcase for her character. She served as the foreman of the jury at an attempted murder trial – and she was the only juror who believed the man was guilty.

The accused turned out to be Bill Grand, played by Spiner, who was charged with trying to murder his wife – but she later dropped the charges. The couple visited Cheers to celebrate, and Diane inadvertently convinces the wife to leave Bill.

Sherilyn Fenn’s second-ever credit is this episode of “Cheers,” where she played Gabrielle.

NBCFenn in ‘The Groom Wore Clearasil.’

“Twin Peaks” star Fenn appeared in the last scene of the episode. Carla’s teenage son Anthony and his girlfriend try to convince Carla to let them get married, but before she could sign the forms, Gabrielle – Annie’s cousin – walked through the door of Cheers and immediately distracts Anthony for good.

Child star Corey Feldman played one of the young kids on Coach’s youth baseball team.

NBCFeldman in ‘Manager Coach.’

Coach, a retired professional baseball coach, takes over for one of Sam’s old baseball buddies as the manager for a youth baseball team and quickly becomes a nightmare.

Feldman played Moose, one of the kids on the team who decides to tell Coach that they’re all quitting.

John Mahoney starred in the spin-off “Frasier” as Frasier’s dad, but before that he appeared in an episode of “Cheers.”

NBCMahoney in ‘Do Not Forsake Me, O’ My Postman.’

When the people of Cheers decided that the bar needs a jingle to attract more customers, Rebecca headed over to an ad agency, where she met Sy Flembeck, played by Mahoney. In true “Cheers” fashion, it did not go well.

Carol Kane played Amanda, one of Diane’s friends that Sam tried to date.

NBCKane in ‘A Ditch in Time.’

Amanda, as it turns out, had a bit of an obsessive streak. When Sam tried to break up with her, it didn’t take, and he eventually faked his own death to get away from her.

A very young Christopher McDonald played a baseball player going through a slump that seeks out advice from Sam.

NBCMcDonald in ‘Endless Slumper.’

Rick Walker, played by McDonald, is a relief pitcher for the Red Sox, the same team Sam used to play for. He comes to Cheers seeking advice from Sam on how to get out of his slump, since he was pitching terribly in games.

“Desperate Housewives” star Brenda Strong appeared in season five.

NBCStrong in ‘Cape Cad.’

Strong played one of Sam’s girlfriends that he was using to make Diane jealous – typical “Cheers” antics. She had to leave midway through their date due to a family emergency.


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