The Walking Dead has helped to launch the careers of several previously unknown names. However, just as many of its cast would likely have already been familiar to viewers before they signed on to AMC’s zombie smash hit. Here’s a look at 20 actors – from Andrew Lincoln to Alexandra Breckenridge – who tasted fame prior to their time battling the undead.
20. Andrew Lincoln
Born with the rather Hollywood-unfriendly surname of Clutterbuck, Andrew Lincoln first found fame in his U.K. homeland as law graduate Egg in zeitgeist-defining BBC drama This Life. Then, after taking the leading role in British dramedy Teachers, Lincoln caught international attention when he played Keira Knightley’s secret admirer in Love Actually. However, the actor’s ticket to international stardom truly came when he was cast as The Walking Dead’s protagonist, Rick Grimes.
19. Steven Yeun
Korean-American Steven Yeun’s TV experience was rather limited before he landed the role of resourceful one-time pizza delivery guy Glenn Rhee. In fact, he had had just one TV credit to his name: a guest spot in long-running sitcom The Big Bang Theory. And although he’d appeared in several shorts, his feature-length filmography consisted of just My Name is Jerry, an indie drama about a middle-aged salesman’s mid-life crisis.