17 Celebrities You Forgot Were In Disney Channel Movies

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Everyone knows that Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens got their starts on the Disney Channel, but they were definitely not the only ones!

Two future Oscar nominees? On the list. A Supernatural brother? On the list. A Grey’s Anatomy doctor? On the list. An *NYSYNC member? Definitely on the list.

Check out all the celebrities you totally forgot starred in Disney Channel movies, below!

1. Katherine Heigl (Wish Upon a Star)

She may have become famous as the beautiful doctor Izzie Stevens on Grey’s Anatomy from 2005-2010, but she got her big start at 18-years-old as the lead in the body-switching movie Wish Upon a Star, one of the last movies on the Disney Channel called a “Disney Channel Premiere Film.”

2. Diane Keaton (Northern Lights

In 1997, the Disney Channel changed the name of its movies from “premiere films” to “original movies” — and they got none other than Academy Award winner Diane Keaton to help usher in the change. Yes, that’s right — an Academy Award winner for Best Actress starred in the first-ever DCOM. Let that sink in for a second. Okay, now finish reading this list and then proceed to watch Keaton as the childless Roberta who becomes the new guardian of her nephew in this 1997 flick.

3. Jared Padalecki (A Ring of Endless Light)

A Winchester…in a DCOM? Yup! You may know him from a little show called Supernatural, but before he started fighting ghosts and ghouls, Padalecki played a rich kid in this dolphin-centric book adaptation. The role turned out to be a fitting precursor to his future part, as the female lead had telepathic abilities.

4. Mischa Barton (A Ring of Endless Light)

The aforementioned telepathic female lead in the DCOM with Padalecki just happened to be Mischa Barton, who went on to become The O.C.’s resident girl next door.

5. Bryan Cranston (‘Twas the Night)

Seven years before Bryan Cranston transformed into the legendary Walter White on Breaking Bad, and 14 years before he earned an Oscar nomination, Cranston starred as an irresponsible uncle who just might ruin Christmas in Twas the Night.

6. Erika Christensen (Can of Worms)

The former Parenthood star got a big breakout role in Can of Worms, where she helped save the world from aliens. Naturally.

7. Emmy Rossum (Genius)

She hasn’t always had to deal with a problematic father as part of the Gallagher gang on Shameless. Rossum used to deal with ordinary things, like boy geniuses, in 1999’s Genius.

8. Kaley Cuoco (Alley Cats Strike)

She currently plays the non-geek Penny in The Big Bang Theory, but deep down she has a little nerdy secret: She was part of a bowling league, as Elisa Bowers in Alley Cats Strike.

9. Justin Timberlake (Model Behavior)

This TV movie was a big turning point for the singer (and the world), as it came out towards the end of the era of *NSYNC and the beginning of the era of Justin Timberlake, the solo act. JT can do no wrong, especially as Jason Sharpe, a male model in this fun movie!

10. Maggie Lawson (Model Behavior)

Lawson played two look-alike characters, opposite JT, in Model Behavior before solving crimes on the comedy series, Psych.

11. Camilla Belle (Rip Girls)

Camilla Belle has starred opposite Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning in Push, and opposite Chad Michael Murary and Skylar Astin in Cavemen, but she moved to Hawaii and became a Rip Girl before all of that ever came to be.

12. Timothy Omundson (The Luck of the Irish)

Lawson isn’t the only Psych star to act in a DCOM, her partner on the series, Omundson, is also part of the Mickey Mouse family. He played the thieving Seamus in everyone’s favorite St. Patrick’s Day movie, The Luck of the Irish.

13. America Ferrera (Gotta Kick It Up!)

Before she traveled with pants, wore ponchos as Betty, and worked retail in a superstore, Ferrera danced her heart out as Yolanda in Gotta Kick It Up! Ya know, the movie where you learned your new life motto: “Si, se puede!”

14. Kat Dennings (The Scream Team)

Now a part of the 2 Broke Girls team, Dennings played the bratty daughter in The Scream Team way back when.

15. Brie Larson (Right on Track)

Playing the drag-racing role of the younger Enders sister, Courtney, definitely put Larson on the right track. Since she’s now, 13 years later, nominated for an Academy Award.

16. Hayden Panettiere (Tiger Cruise)

Before settling into Nashville, Panettiere used to spend her time cruising around as a Navy brat in the DCOM Tiger Cruise.

17. Sarah Hyland (Geek Charming)


In the middle of filming ABC’s Modern Family, Hyland took a break in 2011 to shoot a movie for the network’s sister channel, The Disney Channel. She played a teen girl in high school who was totally rude and not very smart (familiar?), but it turned out that she was just hiding her big brain the whole time!


We know it’s not fair to play favorites, but which of these DCOMs do you like best? Did you know all of these celebs were in Disney Channel movies? Let us know in the comments!

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