Friday 19 January 2018


Career-defining acting roles are very difficult to come by, yet some stars strike it lucky twice writes Declan Cashin

Declan Cashin

When Julianna Margulies collected her Emmy award last month for her performance in the sterling US drama 'The Good Wife', it marked the moment that the 45-year-old actress once and for all stepped out of the shadow of the role that had hitherto defined her career: that of nurse Carol Hathaway on medical drama 'ER'.

A decade after hanging up her scrubs for good, Margulies is the latest example of a TV star who has been lucky enough to land two signature roles in their career.

Most actors are blessed -- and only expect -- to get that one role of a lifetime, but that doesn't mean it's impossible for career lightning to strike twice.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, who immortalised 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' on the small screen, is hoping that her upcoming mystery series 'Ringer' will also become a classic role for her, in much the same way as the following actors have twice lucked out professionally:

Edie Falco

Her fantastic work as Carmela Soprano on 'The Sopranos' would have been enough to ensure Falco's place in the pantheon of great TV characters. However, Falco has accrued an almost equal amount of love and respect for playing the damaged title character on the multi-award-winning 'Nurse Jackie'.

Matthew Fox

He spent seven years playing reluctant head-of-the-household Charlie Salinger in sensitive 1990s drama 'Party of Five', but hunk Fox enjoyed his greatest career success to date in the mid-Noughties, playing tortured doc Jack Shepherd on 'Lost'.

Bryan Cranston

It's almost impossible to believe that the goofy dad Hal from childish sitcom 'Malcolm in the Middle' is now playing the desperate, crystal meth-dealing Walter White on the pitch-black smash hit thriller 'Breaking Bad', a role that has won Cranston three Emmys in a row.

Betty White

The 89-year-old sitcom legend is currently the only reason -- and we mean the only reason -- to watch the otherwise lame comedy 'Hot in Cleveland'. White, of course, is best known for playing Rose Nylund on the classic 1980s comedy 'The Golden Girls', but that role was her second plum job.

She'd also starred alongside Mary Tyler Moore as Sue Ann Nivens in 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' between 1973 and 1977.

Kyle Chandler

He has just won a surprise Emmy award for his role on football drama series 'Friday Night Lights', but Chandler was a familiar face to 1990s TV viewers thanks to his five-year stint in the 'get-tomorrow's-newspaper-today' drama 'Early Edition'.

Patricia Heaton

Having made her name as Ray Romano's long-suffering wife Debra -- and bagging two Emmy awards along the way -- in 'Everybody Loves Raymond', Heaton has since landed a terrific role as a put-upon mother in the underappreciated comedy 'The Middle' (in which she stars opposite Neil Flynn, who previously enjoyed scene-stealer status as the janitor in hospital-set sitcom 'Scrubs').

Ed O'Neill &

Katey sagal

Currently winning over a whole new generation of TV fans with his role as Jay Pritchett in the Emmy-laden 'Modern Family', for older viewers O'Neill will always be Al Bundy, the misanthropic shoe salesman from 1980s sitcom 'Married ... With Children'.

Likewise, O'Neill's 'Married' screen wife Katey Sagal has reinvented her telly persona, first on '8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter', and now as the tough biker matriarch in 'Sons of Anarchy'.

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