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'Scandal' Stars Lit Up Your Small Screen Before They Were Famous

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Before the stars of "Scandal" were gladiators -- and philandering presidents -- they cut their teeth acting all over Hollywood. Several got experience on Shonda Rhimes' shows, with cameos and story arcs on "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice." (A true "Grey's" fan will never get over the fact that Cyrus Beene and Sally Langston were married in a different universe.)

More than a few appeared in Aaron Sorkin's shows, and as Vulture pointed out, they all overlapped in their pre-"Scandal" career. When you combine their previous lives on "Gilmore Girls," "West Wing" and "The Good Wife," these stars provide fodder for some pretty excellent fan fiction.

Here's what the "Scandal" stars were up to before B613, teeth pulling and those symbolic white hats:

  • Kerry Washington
    "Save The Last Dance"/ Paramount
    NOW: Olivia Pope

    THEN: How could you forget Kerry Washington's Chenille in "Save The Last Dance"? Washington played Sean Patrick Thomas' character's sister and taught Julia Stiles how to get low in the club. Other notable roles include stints in "Fantastic Four" and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."
  • Tony Goldwyn
    "Ghost"/ Paramount Pictures
    NOW: President Fitzgerald Grant

    THEN: Remember "Ghost"? Yup, good ole' Fitz played villain Carl Bruner in "Ghost." He also voiced Tarzan in "Tarzan," and had small roles in "St. Elsewhere," "Murphy Brown," "The Pelican Brief" and "Dexter." He's also been a famed director for years with credits like "The Last Kiss," "A Walk On The Moon" and "Someone Like You..."
  • Katie Lowes
    The CW
    NOW: Quinn Perkins

    THEN: It's her first big role, but Katie Lowes had minor arcs in Shonda Rhimes' other hits, "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice." Oh yeah, and she was Connie Britton's son's babysitter. Lowes and husband, Adam Shapiro, also had the coolest summer camp-themed wedding.
  • Bellamy Young
    "Scrubs"/ Danny Feld/ABC via Getty Images
    NOW: Mellie Grant

    THEN: Before she became the First Lady, Bellamy Young had recurring roles on "Scrubs," "Dirty Sexy Money," "CSI: Miami" and "United States of Tara." But we fell in love when she played Diane Shaw on the cut-too-short "American Dreams."
  • Guillermo Díaz
    NOW: Huck

    THEN: Everybody remembers Guillermo Díaz for his role in "Half Baked" and "Weeds," but it's his cameo in the Reese Witherspoon-fronted camp flick, "Freeway," that really gets us.
  • Columbus Short
    "Stomp The Yard"/ Alfeo Dixon via Screen Gems, Inc.
    NOW: Harrison Wright

    THEN: Before he played a fast-talking lawyer at Pope and Associates, Columbus Short had roles in "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," "Stomp The Yard" and "Save The Last Dance 2," but his claim to nostalgia fame was as boy band member Trey in "That's So Raven." Boyz N Motion foreva.
  • Jeff Perry
    "Grey's Anatomy"/ Michael Desmond via Getty Images
    NOW: Cyrus Beene

    THEN: Hollywood vet Jeff Perry made a name for himself in "Nash Bridges" and "Wild Things." But he's no stranger to Shondaland. Perry played Meredith Grey's drunk father Thatcher on "Grey's Anatomy."
  • Joshua Malina
    "A Few Good Men"/ Castle Rock Entertainment
    NOW: David Rosen

    THEN: Joshua Malina's list of acting credits go on and on, from "The West Wing" to "The Big Bang Theory." Little known fact, though, he appeared in two seconds of the film version of "A Few Good Men," after being in the play's national tour.
  • Darby Stanchfield
    "How I Met Your Mother"/ CBS
    NOW: Abby Whelan

    THEN: Yes, she had that great role in "Waitress," but remember that time she played an intellectual snob who used to live in Ted Mosby's apartment on the "How I Met Your Mother" episode, "Robots Versus Wrestlers"? That was pretty damn great. (Editor's Note: The editor-in-chief of this site, Arianna Huffington, also made a cameo in that episode.)
  • Scott Foley
    "Felicity"/ Touchstone Television
    NOW: Captain Jake Ballard

    THEN: It's impossible to talk about Scott Foley without mentioning "Felicity." He's Noel, guys! But Foley also struck gold on "Dawson's Creek" as a jock with a crush on Jen. Oh, and he played Elliot's whale-training boyfriend on "Scrubs." Good thing he made it past his early-2000s heartthrob status.
  • Dan Bucatinsky
    "Web Therapy"/ Is or Isn't Entertainment
    NOW: James Novack

    THEN: Dan Bucatinsky is Lisa Kudrow's longtime writing partner and appeared with her on "Web Therapy." Like lots of other "Scandal" stars, he made a cameo on "Grey's Anatomy," but we prefer to remember him from his three-episode arc on "Lipstick Jungle."
  • George Newbern
    "Father Of The Bride"/ Touchstone
    NOW: Charlie

    THEN: George Newbern is one of those guys who seems to have been in everything. He had gigs on "Private Practice," "Nip/ Tuck" and "Justice League." But two '90s roles stand out: Danny, the yeti who has an inappropriate relationship with his sister on "Friends," and Bryan MacKenzie in "Father of the Bride."
  • Kate Burton
    "Grey's Anatomy"/ Michael Desmond via Getty Images
    NOW: Vice President Sally Langston

    THEN: Burton's also a Hollywood vet and has been in everything from "Veep" to "All My Children," but it's bonkers that she's Meredith Grey's mother, Ellis, in "Grey's Anatomy." To think Sally Langston and Cyrus Beene were married in another Shonda universe is madness.
  • Liza Weil
    "Gilmore Girls"/ The WB
    NOW: Amanda Tanner

    THEN: Two words: Paris Geller. Liza Weil played the pretentious overachiever on "Gilmore Girls." Her Yale-bound character competed with Rory in just about everything and viewers hated her for it. Other than that, Weil's had cameos on "Grey's Anatomy," "Private Practice," "Law & Order: SVU" and, memorably, "The Adventures of Pete & Pete." Oh, and "West Wing," of course.

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Scandal Stars Before They Were Famous | Celebrities | BET

Everyone on Scandal Comes From Six Other Places -- Vulture