From a top-rated show to Billboard charting singles, it seems like the cast of Glee can do no wrong. Until you look at some of their previous body of work!
The Season 4 premiere of the show kicks off tonight and the stars of the show have taken a long and winding road to get there. From being on reality shows to acting as kids in campy and comically bad shows on the big and small screen, take a look at what some of the cast were doing before they came gleeks!
1. Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester)
The photo on the left is from way back in 1994, when Jane acted in another FOX sitcom called Married With Children. So basically, we can conclude that Jane has aged VERY well! She appeared periodically on several other big-name shows throughout the '90s and early 2000s including Frasier (1996), Gilmore Girls (2000) and Dawson's Creek (2001), as well as on the big screen in comedic roles such as her small part in The 40 Year Old Virgin.
2. Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester)
It's safe to say that Matthew's previous acting experience prepared him well for a musical role on this show. He appeared in a Broadway production of Footloose from 2002-2004, and also had a 16-episode acting stint on As The World Turns in 2006. He also performed in 2002 at the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
3. Dot Jones (Shannon Beiste)
Dot has been a tough lady long before she ever arrived on Glee. She appeared as Skittlez on the 2009 TV series Prison Break, but had tough chick roles as far back as 1994 on Married With Children. Suiting up as a coach isn't anything new for Dot either. She played Coach Kelly on Disney Channel show Lizzie McGuire from 2001-2003.
4. NeNe Leakes (Roz Washington)
We all know as the tough, loud-mouthed girl from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, but she'll be making her acting debut tonight on Glee as a...tough, loud-mouthed swim coach. Way to stretch your acting chops! Either way, she looks like a completely different from when she first came on our screens back in 2008.
5. Lea Michelle (Rachel Berry)
Rachel Berry is one of the hottest girls on the Glee campus, but it wasn't always that way for Lea. As a child actress, she played the homely Young Cosette in a 1996 Broadway production of Les Miserables. She continued to get steady stage work for the next several years including Broadway stints with Fiddler on the Roof (2004-2006) and Spring Awakening (2006-2008).
6. Mark Salling (Noah Puckerman)
Before Mark suited up as the studly Noah Puckerman on Glee, he was a child actor in some craptacular horror movies like the 1996 flick Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering. He even released a 2008 album Smoke Signals under the name Jericho before he was sent back to Glee's class for some instruction.
7. Vanessa Lengies (Sugar Motta)
This show was our childhood! Vanessa starred as Vange for 23 episodes of Nickelodeon show Are You Afraid of the Dark from 1999-2000 and then parlayed that into a four-year run as Roxanne Bojarski on American Dreams. It didn't take long before she spent three more years on a major show, playing the role of Kelly Epson on Hawthorne (2009-2011).
8. Naya Rivera (Santana Lopez)
Back in the early '90s, Naya was the cutest child actress on the planet when she appeared for 15 episodes on CBS show Royal Family and then in periodic cameo roles as Gwendolyn on Family Matters (see above). She even appeared in the B2K (remember them?!) music video for Why I Love You in 2002.
9. Dean Geyer (Brody Weston)
Dean's career could have gone in a completely different direction had he done a few places better on a certain TV show. He finished in third place on Australian Idol in 2006 and then released a solo album which reached No. 10 on the charts Down Under. He was dropped by his label just two years later and then made an acting cameo in the notoriously cheesy Aussie soap Neighbours that same year. He has managed to grab bit parts in films since then, but his appearance in Season 4 tonight will be by far the biggest gig of his career.
10. Mike O'Malley (Burt Hummel)
Remember Global Guts?! The Nickelodeon sports show with the Aggro Crag mountain that exploded glitter for no reason whatsoever? Mike hosted that piece of mastery from 1992-1993 before moving on to a six-year run as Jimmy Hughes on CBS sitcom Yes, Dear. He's also appeared in a ton of commercials since then for just about every product known to man.
Which Gleek are you most excited to see tonight?
Photos courtesy of FOX, ABC, Nickelodeon, Orion Pictures and Getty Images