'The Walking Dead' cast: Where you've seen them before

Kelly Woo
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

To celebrate the Oct. 22 Season 8 premiere of  The Walking Dead — the series’ 100th episode — Yahoo TV will be posting a new TWD-related story every day through the season opener. 

Everybody loves zombies. But The Walking Dead wouldn’t be the mega-success it is if the audience didn’t care about who the zombies were chasing. The AMC drama debuted without big-name stars; instead, it featured an ensemble cast of both veteran and newbie actors. Led by Andrew Lincoln (best known as the guy who held up the cue cards in Love Actually), the once-unknown cast is now full of bona fide stars. But they all started out as most actors do: in bit roles, commercials, and soaps.

Here’s a rundown of what the Walking Dead stars did before they were famous.

The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Masterson comes from an acting family — three of her brothers (Danny, Chris, and Jordan) are all actors. She started out as a kid on Young and the Restless and on her brother Christopher’s show Malcolm in the Middle (right) and before moving on to small roles in Definitely, Maybe, Greek, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

(Photo: AMC/Fox Television Series)

Norman Reedus (Daryl)

An artist, photographer, and model, Reedus appeared in a lot of designer ads before a star turn in 1999’s vigilante thriller The Boondock Saints (right). He also made appearances in Deuces Wild, Blade II, and the WB’s Charmed.

(Photo: AMC/Everett Collection)

Lauren Cohan (Maggie)

The actress studied drama in England (she moved there as a teen), and afterward she got a part in Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj (right). She later moved on to supporting roles in the CW shows Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries.

(Photo: AMC/Everett Collection)

Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes)

Lincoln appeared in several British comedies, including Teachers and Drop the Dead Donkey, but he really broke out as the lovelorn admirer of Keira Knightley in Love Actually (right).

(Photo: AMC/Everett Collection)

Josh McDermitt (Eugene)

As a kid, McDermitt called in to his local Phoenix radio station, entertaining listeners with different voices. He took his comedic talents to the fourth season of Last Comic Standing and then the TV Land sitcom Retired at 35 (right).

(Photo: AMC/TV Land Original Productions)

Lennie James (Morgan)

The veteran English actor has a long list of credits, starting with 1991’s Les Miserables and 2000’s Snatch, as diamond heist-er Sol (right).

(Photo: AMC/Everett Collection)

Christian Serratos (Rosita)

A figure skater and model as a child, Serratos began acting on the Nickelodeon series Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, but she really broke out as Angela Weber in the Twilight film franchise (right).

(Photo: AMC/Summit Entertainment)

Danai Gurira (Michonne)

After studying at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Gurira wrote and starred in her own plays before moving to screen work. She started out in Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, as well as the 2007 film The Visitor (right).

(Photo: AMC/Everett Collection)

Melissa McBride (Carol)

McBride worked as a casting director and at the same time landed small acting roles on commercials (including Nexus hair care) and shows like Matlock; Walker, Texas Ranger; and Dawson’s Creek (right).

(Photo: AMC/The WB)

David Morrissey (The Governor)

Morrissey broke out in the British drama One Summer but went back to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Afterward, he began working steadily in movies, starting with 1991’s Robin Hood (right). Unfortunately, that movie was overshadowed by the blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

(Photo: AMC/20th Century Fox)

Laurie Holden (Andrea)

Holden started her acting career by being in the right place at the right time. As a child, she was visiting stepfather Michael Anderson on the set of The Martian Chronicles when she was called upon to fill in for a kid actress who was a no-show (right).

(Photo: AMC/NBC)

Scott Wilson (Hershel)

Wilson began his illustrious career playing murder suspects and received much acclaim for In the Heat of the Night and In Cold Blood (right).

(Photo: AMC/Everett Collection)

Steven Yeun (Glenn)

Yeun appeared in several small roles, including one as Sheldon’s former roommate (who tries to warn Leonard about the persnickety nerd) on The Big Bang Theory (right).

(Photo: AMC/CBS)

Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha)

The actress had bit parts in various movies and TV shows before landing recurring roles in Army Wives and The Good Wife (right).

(Photo: AMC/CBS)

Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori)

After appearing on CBS’s short-lived Queens Supreme, Callies got her first starring gig in the WB’s Tarzan as Detective Jane Porter (right).

(Photo: AMC/Alamy)

Michael Cudlitz (Abraham)

As a crew member, Cudlitz worked on various sets until he began landing acting roles. He appeared in Beverly Hills, 90210, A River Runs Through It, and D3: The Mighty Ducks (pictured) before breaking out in HBO’s Band of Brothers.

(Photo: AMC/Walt Disney Pictures)

Alanna Masterson (Tara)

Masterson comes from an acting family — three of her brothers (Danny, Chris, and Jordan) are all actors. She started out as a kid on Young and the Restless and on her brother Christopher’s show Malcolm in the Middle (right) and before moving on to small roles in Definitely, Maybe, Greek, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

(Photo: AMC/Fox Television Series)