With the release of the Saved By the Bell biopic, it’s hard to avoid Kelly Kapowski (although I’m not sure why you’d want to). Today marks the 25th anniversary of the series premiere–and in honor of it, we’re looking back at the 10 best celebrity cameos that you definitely missed growing up. In fact, you missed one celebrity who technically wasn’t even on an episode of Saved By the Bell.
While the actively awful Saved By the Bell: The New Class brought you a whole slew of celebrity cameos (Gabrielle Union, James Marsden, Milo Ventimiglia, Taraji P. Henson, and a pre-Sharknado Tara Reid are just the highlights), everyone knows that no one can rival the magic of the OG episodes. Here’s a power ranking of the best, and most unexpected, guest stars throughout the years…
1. Denise Richards
Before she was Mrs. Charlie Sheen, Denise Richards was almost Mrs. A.C. Slater (an even greater honor, obviously). Apparently, Denise’s love for d-bags started at a young age. I honestly never thought I’d see Denise Richards looking that innocent, and I feel sure no one will ever see her look that way ever again. Casper Van Dien, her costar in Starship Troopers, also shows up uncredited in the background of some episodes in the final two seasons, along with Starship co-star Patrick Muldoon.
2. Christine Taylor
In another famous celebrity wife spotting, Mrs. Ben Stiller starred as one of Zack’s many love interests. Started from the bottom, now she’s at the middle. Zack spent his time taking the SATs staring at Christine Taylor, which sounds more enjoyable, but less useful. Maybe if Zack had focused a little more, he wouldn’t have had to room with Screech.
3. Soleil Moon Frye
Punky Brewster spent some screen time getting up close and personal with Screech in an episode dedicated to his special (spaghetti) sauce. Like most Saved By the Bell plot points that episode sounds fake, but I can personally promise that it’s as real as A.C. Slater’s Jheri curl.
4. Michael Jai White
Fans might think of White as a superhero now, but he started his career scaring Slater into obeying his father when A.C almost went rogue. After Slater decided that he didn’t want to follow in his father’s military footsteps, White showed up to make him re-think his antics. Sounds like all of White’s roles are equally heroic.
5. Leah Remini
In one of the greatest guest arcs ever, Leah Remini played one of the first women to ever stand up to Zack Morris and his charming douchery (sorry, Kelly Kapowski). For a quick refresher: Leah played Stacey Carosi, the tough-as-nails daughter of the boss when the gang staffed the Malibu Sands Beach Resort. It was a summer love affair that was over before it started, as Zack couldn’t stray too far from Kelly without the viewers revolting.
6. Tori Spelling
You really can’t have a cheesy 90s comedy without Tori Spelling’s involvement. She played Violet Bickerstaff, Screech’s love interest once he realizes that Lisa Turtle won’t come near him. Unfortunately, she and Samuel don’t last. Maybe if they had, they would’ve gotten together in real life eventually. After all, that’s a Tori reality show I think everyone would like to see.
7. Eric Dane
Before he was McSteamy (and steaming up his own personal videos), Dane was killing it in neon on Saved by the Bell. Like Leah Remini, he got his start at the Malibu Sands Resort, which was pretty star-studded for its time, apparently.
8. Bridgette Wilson-Sampras
Like most of the show’s celebrity guest stars, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (then just billed as Bridgette Wilson) dated Zack briefly. Also like most of the guest stars, this former Miss Teen USA later became famous for who she married — in her case, Pete Sampras. She played Ginger Baldwin (natch), a waitress at the Max.
9. Scott Wolf
This Party of Five-er got his start in a wide variety of extra roles on the show. You can catch him as a waiter at the Max, going to the movies, or as an original Glee Clubber next to the ladies. Like the other extras, Scott mostly sticks out because of his propensity for neon fabrics.
10. Carla Gugino
You might not remember seeing Carla Gugino on the show– and that’s because her appearance dates all the way back to when Saved By the Bell was called Good Morning Miss Bliss (remember her?). She guest starred as (you guessed it!) yet another love interest for the insatiable Zack Morris, playing a ninth grader he had a crush on. Unfortunately, once she found out that Zack lied and was actually an 8th grader, it was over for them both. Luckily, Carla had a second (failed) attempt at love in Entourage with Vincent Chase.