Guest Appearances in 3rd Rock

A number of famous, infamous or otherwise noteworthy actors and comedians appeared on Third Rock from the Sun (aka 3rd Rock) during the course of its six season, 139 episode run. A few even had recurring roles. Listed below, in descending order of ego size are celebrities and stars who guested.

If you think we've missed anyone (and we probably have) please let us know. Use the Visitors Gallery or Contact Us privately.

William Shatner - had a recurring role as the Big Giant Head - well who else could play such a part?

John Cleese - as the brilliant professor Dr Liam Neesam whose intellect and charm disguised an altogether more sinister purpose.

Roseanne Barr - when the Big Giant Head learns of Dick's attraction/distraction for a certain Mary Albright he assigns his niece to act as Dick's 'wife' in order to keep his focus on the mission - see Fun with Dick and Janet. To brush up for her role she spends an entire inter-galactic trip reading only The Joy of Cooking and The Joy of Sex. Mail order brides don't come this good - according to the people who've tried this sort of thing.

Ed Begley, Jr - when an old flame of Mary's who shows up it sends Dick into paroxysms of jealousy - which for Dick is just another journey into self-discovery; for everyone else it's a nightmare.

John Mahoney - best known as the Dad from Frasier, here he plays an obnoxious, but apparently successful member of the Pendleton faculty whose effect is to make people wish he would drop dead. Suddenly he obliges everyone by doing just that at a party in his honour. His last will and testament is for Dick to read the eulogy at his funeral.

Bronson Pinchot - best known for playing dumb but likeable foreign characters in 80's sitcoms, here he appears as Mary's difficult brother Roy. The aliens are thrown into a quandary of a dilemma when he reveals that he had been the subject of an alien abduction.

Harry Morgan - best remembered as the Colonel from MASH, he had a recurring role as Professor Suter. Eventually he is forced to step down after it is revealed, (thanks to Dick) that he is well past retirement age and hasn't taught a class in years. In one episode he appears as an adjudicator on a disciplinary committee that Dick is brought before, following complaints by his students. His opening remarks are: 'Ok Dick, where did you touch her and how many times?'

Al Franken (Senator if you will!) - In what must be one of those rare cases of life imitating art, Al Franken's 2008 campaign for the US Senate was not the first time he dabbled in politics. He appeared in 3rd Rock as a crooked politician (but you've cleaned up your act since, right Al?) whom Harry challenges in an election for City Council. Introducing himself as Harry S. Solomon, Harry explains: "The 'S' is for 'know-how', ... I mean 'snow-how.'"

George Takei - appeared as himself in an episode where the aliens head off to a Sci-Fi convention. Where else do you go when you want to meet people as weird as yourself? He ends up footing the bill when the Sally, Tommy and Harry discover room service. 'Do I look like I've had twelve massages?' he declares to a disbelieving hotel receptionist.

Mark Hamill - appeared as himself in an episode where Sally stands up for the little people. 'Just because you're nobody doesn't mean you're not somebody'.

Cindy Crawford, Angie Everhart and Beverly Johnson - appeared in a double episode based around the Superbowl. They played the Venusians, evil albeit stunningly beautiful, all-female band of aliens who arrive on Earth with a plan for global domination.

Phil Hartman - you may remember him as the voice of Troy McClure (as well as Lionel Hutz) in The Simpsons before his tragic death in 1998. His role as Randy, Vicki Dubcek's deranged ex in the Season 3 cliffhanger would be one of his last ever TV appearances. Phil Hartman actually had two guest roles in 3rd Rock. In an episode from season one entitled Lonely Dick, Hartman played a somewhat gay cosmetics sales attendant, who appears to takes a shine to Harry. For his role as Randy however he plays the jealous ex-boyfriend out to kill poor Harry and ends up abducting him. His death occurred before filming of the concluding episode could take place.

Interesting Aside - if you watch the episodes enough times, especially if you watch them back to back (which is sad, yes but TV comedy is so poor these days that we're all forced to watch re-runs), you might begin to notice that several of the extras and bit-part members of the cast are replicated and recycled throughout the course of the series.

Take for example the episode from Season 3 The Great Dickdater. Sally tests out her hypothesis that she can make men do anything using a character known only as 'Paul' (played by Patrick Finn) as her guinea pig. The same actor has a somewhat larger role in season six when Sally becomes a weather girl. On this occasion he suffers more humiliation at the hands of Sally, but this time in his role as Chaz, the station's newscaster.

In the episode from Season 3 entitled Pickles and Ice Cream Pickles (Harry's pet from the home planet) runs away but is later found in a bar in the company of a patron who has a lot to get off his chest. The same actor (anybody know his name?) crops up again in an almost identical role in The Physics of Being Dick. This time it's Harry's turn to lent a sympathetic ear.

Or have a look at the guy who plays the video pirate in the episode Youth is Wasted on Dick. He shows up again as the mugger in the park in There's No Business Like Dick Business. Must be a real badass!

In My Mother, My Dick and Glengarry Glen Dick we see the same actor showing up in the role of a doctor.

Laurie Metcalf - Also memorable for her role as Sheldon Cooper's mother in The Big Bang Theory. when Mary is promoted and moves into her new office as Dean, her old desk is given to professor of English Literature, Jennifer Ravelli. Dick struggles with his feelings towards her; first hating her, then embarking on a passionate affair with her under Mary's nose; then hating her again when he realises that she is annoying and he wants Mary back.

Kathy Bates - played Dick's number one fan in an episode that reprises her Misery role.

Billy Connolly - the Solomons and Mary go off on a 'Murder Weekend' (Dial M for Dick). The mystery however quickly evaporates with Scotland Yard's finest forced to declare: 'You sir are the reason why I am considering giving up acting to return to my first love - drinking!'

David Hasselhoff - played a plastic surgeon in an episode entitled Dick and Tuck from Season 5. Causes friction when he suggests that Harry is picture of perfection in the looks department.

Martha Stewart - appeared in one of Harry's dream-like hallucination in what was just the second episode - the aliens discover influenza.

Miguel Ferrer - Sally's fidelity to Don is severely strained when she meets another 'man in uniform' and authority figure who outranks him. In the end she keeps her clothes on ... just about.

Megan Mullally - the TV sitcom Will and Grace ran around the same time as 3rd Rock (no, we never watched it either) and is frequently mentioned, particularly by Harry. The show's female co-star has an appearance as Mary's wealthy and successful sister who Dick plans to seduce as part of an intricate scheme he hatches with Mary. Dick gets carried away as always and loses the plot.

This is one of those episodes where the plot is a bit out of sync with the rest of the show and appears almost entirely flippant. Previously we were never told that Mary has a sister, only that she has a brother named Roy. At the end everything goes back to the way it was before and the episode is never mentioned again - this despite the fact that Dick ends up marrying Mary's sister and spending a honeymoon with her on the Greek island of Mykanos.

Elvis Costello - appears as himself in the very last episode, when he is hired to perform at the Solomon's going away party, as the warm up act for 'the guy who plays on the paint cans down at the local service station.' We only get to see Costello however; we never do get to find out what the paint cans guy is like.

Dennis Rodman - our thanks to an observant 3rd Rock Fan who brought this guest appearance to our attention - see Visitor Gallery. The Solomons instantly recognise him as an alien. He dutifully informs us that Madonna is 'Earth' but that Michael Jordan is a robot. It's worth remembering that the original run of Third Rock from the Sun (aka 3rd Rock) took place at a time when there seems to have been a certain public fascination with the idea of 'aliens among us'. The X Files was another popular series running about the same time. Plus there was the Men in Black franchise. Curiously Dennis Rodman is also referred to in MIB as being an 'alien'. Truth is out there? Think that there's something that they're not telling us? Or maybe, in keeping with style of 3rd Rock, truth is staring us in the face - our minds are just not conditioned to see it.

Chyna - former professional wrestler, actress and bodybuilder whose current occupation is described as 'pornographic film actor' by Wikipedia. As everyone intelligent persons knows, if Wikipedia says it, it has to be true - unless of course, it's a big fat lie. The normal progression is for actors to dabble in porn while waiting to make it into the mainstream, but this girl seems to have gone in the opposite direction. Well, before taking her clothes off and having sex in front of a camera, Chyna had a memorable appearance in Third Rock from the Sun (aka 3rd Rock) as Janice, a police officer who briefly dated Harry. Janice was introduced as a new love interest for Harry, after Vicki ditched him to become Queen of the Universe. We don't really know how the Harry-Janice love angle would have developed, as the show ended before it had a chance to play itself out. Vicki did return to find that Harry had indeed moved on. That she still had feelings for Harry are clearly illustrated by the fact that she sought to have Janice killed. Luckily for her faith intervened, in the form of among other things.

Mike Ditka - former American football player, coach, and television commentator. He appeared in two episodes in the role as Coach Mafferty. The first in episode 7 from season 2 ("Fourth and Dick"), as coach (obviously) of the Pendleton Badgers in their homecoming encounter with an opposing college team. He shows up again later in the season - episode 14 to be precise - Romeo & Juliet & Dick. He takes over as director of the school play from Dick, after it is reported that "a lot of the kids are coming home with low self-esteem and wetting their beds."

Know anyone else who who should be listed here? Leave a comment at the Visitors Gallery or e-mail us.

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