When it comes to soap operas, there is one show that will forever reign supreme: Desperate Housewives. When the show originally aired in 2004, it was immediately a smash-hit and its pilot episode received over 21 million views, the most for an ABC show since Spin City in 1996. The show went on to win seven Primetime Emmy awards, two People’s Choice awards, and three Golden Globes over the span of its eight seasons. And its four main actors (Felicity Huffman, Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, and Eva Longoria) became household names.
Admittedly, I didn’t watch Desperate Housewives when it first aired. However, since the series has been added to Hulu, I have been awakened to the genius that is Desperate Housewives. This show is so wonderfully ridiculous and over-the-top, yet relatable and heartwarming. Needless to say, I’m addicted. And, while I’ve come to feel like the “core four” are now part of my extended family, I’ve also noticed quite a few famous faces that have made cameos throughout the show.
Yes, some of these actors were already in the primes of their careers when they appeared on Desperate Housewives while others were relatively unknown when they made their guest appearances. But, all of them contributed to what I would argue is the greatest soap opera ever to grace the small screen.
So, let’s take a walk down Wisteria Lane and look at 7 celebrity actors you probably forgot guest starred on ABC’s Desperate Housewives.
1. Armie Hammer
Armie Hammer may be most well-known for his role as both of the Winklevoss twins in the 2010 film The Social Network, based on Facebook’s origin story. Or perhaps you know him as Oliver from the 2017 film Call Me by Your Name, which made major waves due to its portrayal of the queer experience. Or maybe you know him as that actor who told his girlfriend that he would like to barbeque her ribs and eat them. It’s true. He got canceled pretty hard in 2021 when his ex-girlfriend told the world about his creepy cannibalistic fantasies.
Still, Armie Hammer is a famous actor and, before he was an outed wannabe cannibal, he appeared in Season 4 of Desperate Housewives. Armie played a guy named Barrett who served primarily as Mike Delfino’s drug dealer and has some memorable “jumpscare” moments. Perhaps the casting director noticed something creepy about Armie.
2. Gary Cole
Gary Cole is one of those actors who lacks name recognition but has a face that’s instantly recognizable. Personally, my favorite Gary Cole performance was as douchebag boss Bill Lumbergh in the 1999 classic film Office Space. You may also recognize him as Ricky Bobby’s father in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
However, on top of all of his other iconic roles, Gary Cole also appeared in Season 4 of Desperate Housewives as Wayne Davis, Katherine Mayfair’s ex-husband and one of the more notable villains throughout the series. Eventually, Wayne gets shot in the chest by his ex-wife Katherine and Gary Cole’s stint on the show ends abruptly.
3. Beau Mirchoff
You may recognize Canadian-American actor Beau Mirchoff from his role on the MTV teen comedy Awkward, from the 2014 thriller film Poker Night, or from his appearance in Scary Movie 4. Regardless, Beau Mirchoff has been all over Hollywood for the last decade. However, people tend to forget that he also appeared on Desperate Housewives in 2009.
Mirchoff played the overly emotional Danny Bolen, who appeared as if he was going to cry in nearly every scene. He’s also just one of many of the unwanted suitors that Julie Mayer has to deal with over the course of the show. Eventually, though, Danny ends up moving to New York and leaving his past behind, thus ending Beau Mirchoff’s time on Desperate Housewives.
4. Drea de Matteo
Another interesting guest appearance was the actress who played Danny Bolen’s mother Angie: Drea de Matteo, who’s best known for her role as Adriana La Cerva in the HBO television drama The Sopranos. In fact, seeing Drea de Matteo in any role other than Adriana La Cerva is slightly jarring. I was half-expecting to see Michael Imperioli or James Gandolfini walk on-screen any moment when I saw her in Desperate Housewives.
Angie Bolen is a strong Italian-American woman from New York who was born Angela de Luca. However, after marrying her husband Nick Bolen and taking her name, she moves into Mary Alice’s old house with her family, fully aware that a woman died in the living room. Angie Bolen only appears in Season 6; however, she definitely fits a whole lot of juicy drama into a single season.
5. Nathan Fillion
If you know the name Nathan Fillion, it’s probably either because you’re a fan of the ABC mystery series Castle or because you know him as Missy’s celebrity crush in the animated Netflix sitcom Big Mouth. However, Fillion has also appeared in films like The Suicide Squad, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Serenity.
When it comes to his role in Desperate Housewives, Fillion appeared as Adam Mayfair, doctor and husband of Katherine Mayfair. Adam also has the pleasure of breaking the news to Susan Mayer that she’s pregnant in front of her husband Mike Delfino. Unfortunately, Adam has to deal with his wife’s crazy ex-husband Wayne Davis, who we already discussed in this article.
6. Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson is probably most commonly known as Lana Winters, a character that’s been a staple on American Horror Story since 2011. Or you may recognize her as the Munchausen-by-proxy mom from the 2020 film Run. She’s also appeared in films like The Goldfinch, Ocean’s 8, What Women Want, and 12 Years a Slave.
However, if you peruse Sarah Paulson’s ultra-impressive discography, you’ll notice that she also made an appearance in Desperate Housewives as Lydia Lindquist, Lynette Scavo’s younger sister. Essentially, Lydia comes into the picture when Lynette tries to dump the responsibilities of taking care of their mother on her in Season 4. Lydia appears in one other episode in Season 8; however, those two episodes were the extent of Sarah Paulson’s involvement with Desperate Housewives.
7. Jax Taylor
Now, I’m not exactly sure that you could call Jax Taylor (whose real name is Jason Michael Cauchi) a celebrity actor. However, fans of the Bravo television network may recognize Jax Taylor from his starring role on Vanderpump Rules. In fact, he even got his own spin-off series in 2017 called Vanderpump Rules: Jax and Brittany Take Kentucky. Those aren’t his only accomplishments, though. He was also an uncredited extra in the television series Dexter and he played “Guardsman #2” in the 2016 film Sharknado: The 4th Awakens.
Before Jax Taylor was the star of Vanderpump Rules and before he ever acted in his other momentous roles, he was “Hot Guy 2 in Dance Club” in Season 5 of Desperate Housewives. He gets caught in the middle of a little friendly competition between Edie and Gabby and he ends up buying a drink for Edie. Even though his role only lasted a few seconds, Jax Taylor can still put Desperate Housewives on his resume.