Over the years, cameos have become such an integral part of movies and TV shows that you can hardly watch anything without expecting a celebrity or director to pop up briefly in one of the scenes. Sometimes cameos are meant for pure comic relief, and at other times they serve as Easter eggs to be discovered while watching. On this list are some of the most awesome movie and TV cameos from the past 30 years. Possible spoilers ahead!
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10 Tony Stank
A list like this would seem incomplete without at least one Stan Lee entry. The late producer starred in 60 Marvel movie cameos, each of them awesome in their own way. He saves a woman from falling debris in Spider-Man 2, gets mistaken for Hugh Hefner in Iron Man and appears as a mental patient in Thor: The Dark World. Lee even has a cameo as Fred’s dad in the animation film, Big Hero Six.
One of his funniest cameos, however, is in Captain America: Civil War in which Lee appears as a FedEx worker. He brings Tony Stark a package and hilariously asks him: “Are you Tony Stank?”
Rhodey’s reaction, “Yes this is, this is Tony Stank” makes the scene even funnier.
9 King of horror calls Frasier
Frasier, a spin-off of the hugely popular Cheers TV show, ran for 11 seasons and cemented its place in history as one of the most iconic sitcoms of all time. The show wrapped in 2004 and there is talk of a reboot airing later in 2020.
Frasier Crane, psychiatrist-turned-radio-host, has taken many on-air calls from well-known celebrities playing a host of characters. These celebs include Kevin Bacon, James Spader, John Lithgow, and Gary Sinise.
In a blink-and-you’ll-miss it scene, Stephen King also makes a very brief appearance via telephone call. He plays a character named Brian and tells Frasier that he doesn’t want to be limited to “30 seconds” of airtime and will wait until the upcoming commercial break is over.
8 Wes Craven the janitor
Scream was a big deal in 1996 and starred a host of big names including Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Skeet Ulrich and many more. The movie, and particularly the character of Ghostface, was so popular that it became a franchise of four movies which grossed over 600 million worldwide.
Director, Wes Craven, was involved in directing all four films and passed away on 30 August 2015. In the first Scream movie, Craven had an awesome cameo as a janitor dressed in a red and green striped jersey and a very familiar-looking hat. The kicker? The janitor’s name is Fred.
(Another awesome Scream cameo comes in the form of Linda Blair who plays a reporter.)
7 Candyman comes to Riverdale
Riverdale is an over-the-top teen drama series based on the characters of the Archie Comics. The teens in the show do weird things like join illegal fight clubs in prison, plan a siblings’ fake death, own a speakeasy, and catch serial killers. The show is also well-known for making up their own terminology such as The Matchelorette, Shankshaw Prison, American Excess, Vanity Flair, Glamazon.com and ShareBNB.
It is also stuffed full of pop culture references such as Montgomery Clift, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Lolita, Grease, Psycho and Carrie to mention but a few. In season 2, Riverdale takes things to the next level with a great cameo featuring none other than Tony Todd, aka Candyman. Todd plays Farmer McGinty who offers Jughead a ride after his ride breaks down.
6 Fire Marshall Bill
Liar Liar is classic Jim Carrey. There are a lot of exaggerated facial expressions and strange movements. Not to mention deeply cringey situations. The plot revolves around Fletcher Reede, played by Carrey, who is a terrible father and compulsive liar. He almost loses his son because of this and does everything in his power to prevent this from happening. For a large part of the film he is unable to lie after his son’s birthday wish comes true, and hijinks ensue.
Towards the end of the film, there is a barely noticeable cameo by Jim Carrey himself. He appears as his SNL character, Fire Marshall Bill, in the background of one of the airport scenes.
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5 Princess Leia on The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory was never short on guest appearances and cameos. Throughout its 12-season run, the characters run into a host of famous people including James Earl Jones, Stan Lee, Mark Hamill, Stephen Hawking, Charlie Sheen, Octavia Spencer, Rick Fox, Buzz Aldrin and many more.
One of the cameos that TBBT fans seemed to enjoy the most features both James Earl Jones and the late Carrie Fisher. Sheldon Cooper spends the episode with Jones, and they end up pranking Fisher by ringing her doorbell and running away. Fisher appears in a robe holding a baseball bat in a short but iconic scene.
4 It’s raining purple
New Girl ran for 7 seasons and had some great guest stars in the form of Josh Gad, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lizzy Caplan and Justin Long. The cameo to beat all cameos, however, happened in the 14th episode of the 3rd season which saw the legendary Prince playing himself and causing a freak-out amongst the loft mates. The world freaked out too and the show’s audience numbers jumped from an average 4 million to 26 million for that one episode.
It turned out that Prince loved the show and had his manager email Zooey Deschanel to request a guest appearance. He also requested that the previously arranged line-up of Kardashians don’t appear in the same episode.
3 Backstreet Boys in Heaven
Apocalyptic comedy film, This Is The End, was a massive hit. There are several hilarious cameo scenes and at the end of the film, two characters end up in heaven and are told that any and all wishes come true here. One of the characters then wishes for the Backstreet Boys which leads to a funny cameo by the band itself as they perform “Backstreet’s Back” while everyone in heaven dances.
2 The cameo that almost wasn’t
Some cameos are hard to come by. Eddie Van Halen declined a cameo role but did provide the music that can be heard on the cassette Marty McFly scares his father with in Back To The Future. The movie almost lost out on another cameo when Huey Lewis turned down a request to write a song for the soundtrack. Lewis even said that he “didn’t fancy writing a song called Back to the Future.”
Director, Robert Zemeckis, assured Lewis that the song didn’t have to be called “Back to the Future” and Lewis then changed his mind. Lewis wrote Power of Love without ever reading the script or seeing the film. He also went on to write “Back In Time” for the film.
Lewis himself appears in the film as a nerdy school administrator who tells McFly and his band that they are playing Power of Love “just too darn loud.”
1 Venkman in Zombieland
Bill Murray and his deadpan delivery of hilarious lines assures him a place in the long line of most-beloved actors. He has a host of films behind his name with some of his most famous roles including Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters, Phil in Groundhog Day and John in Stripes.
Zombieland is a crazy zombie comedy film that includes a running gag in the form of a list of rules for surviving a zombie-infested planet. A cameo role was created for the late Patrick Swayze, but unfortunately the actor was battling pancreatic cancer and was too ill to film any scenes. The cameo then went to Bill Murray who plays a fictionalized version of himself.
Some movie buffs have called the Murray cameo one of the best in movie history.
+ 007 in That Star Wars Flop
There are a host of cameos in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, including composer John Williams playing a bar tender, Hayden Christensen reprising his role as Anakin Skywalker, Samuel L. Jackson as Jedi Master Mace Windu, and director J.J. Abrams who voiced the new droid D-O.
Many Star Wars films also feature celebrity Stormtroopers of which arguably the most surprising one turned out to be Daniel Craig in one of the worst star films ever to appear on the silver screen: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Craig is most well-known for playing 007 in several Bond movies. The clip is above so you can avoid paying any money to see this travesty of a film in its entirety.
++ Pretty fly for a white guy
Idle Hands is a black comedy that pretty much bombed at the box office in spectacular fashion. The movie grossed just over 4 million on a budget of 25 million and received a slew of bad reviews. However, as the years passed, the movie garnered somewhat of a cult classic status.
Watching the movie now, you might be surprised to see American punk rock band, The Offspring, playing a Ramones classic during a high school Halloween dance. A possessed hand wreaks havoc at the dance and scalps frontman Dexter Holland.
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