George Clooney turns 54 today, and to celebrate, we’re looking at some of his early television roles. Before he became a huge star on ER, and eventually landed roles in The Perfect Storm, Three Kings, and the Ocean’s trilogy, he was just another struggling actor hoping to catch his big — non-Return of the Killer Tomatoes — break. Here are five shows where you might have seen George Clooney in the 80s and early 90s.
E/R – (1984-85)
That’s right, 10 years before George Clooney became a star on ER, he was a cast member on a medical sitcom called E/R. In this show, he plays Mark, aka Ace, a hotshot EMT who is the nephew of one of the doctors at the hospital. As you can see in the above clip, his legendary charm was evident back then, too, as his character quickly starts flirting with the receptionist. E/R starred Elliott Gould and Conchata Farrell, along with Mary McDonnell (who later had a lengthy arc on ER before Battlestar Galactica) and Seinfeld star Jason Alexander. The show would last one season on CBS before getting canceled in the summer of ’85.
The Facts Of Life (1985-87)
Arguably Clooney’s most famous pre-fame role, he was a full-time cast member on The Facts Of Life towards the end of the show’s run. He played Bobby, a handyman who lived next door to Edna’s Edibles, the gourmet shop Mrs. Garrett ran after the girls graduated from high school. He appeared on the show regularly in the 1985-86 season, and in the following season, he became a less prominent part of the show, but still had a recurring presence.
The Golden Girls (1987)
In a Season 2 episode of The Golden Girls, Clooney guest starred as a detective named Bobby, who shows up along with two other detectives who are on a stakeout. It turns out, the Girls’ new neighbors, who seemed perfectly lovely, are actually international jewel thieves. As you might guess, the Girls get a bit flirty with him. He also guest starred on an episode of Murder, She Wrote as a man named Kip. Unfortunately, Angela Lansbury didn’t take a shot at him.
Clooney appeared in 11 episodes of Roseanne as the title character’s supervisor at the plastic factory where she worked. For a brief time, his character, Booker Brooks, was romantically involved with Roseanne’s sister, Jackie. As we see in the above clips, Clooney’s looks were played up on the show, as the female characters ogle him when he bends down to pick up a dead cockroach. But the most interesting part of Clooney’s time on Roseanne was how he left the show. According to Roseanne Barr, Clooney left a picture of his genitals on refrigerator of the Roseanne set. Talk about going out with a bang.
Bodies Of Evidence (1992-93)
Lee Horsley and Lee Horsley’s mustache starred with Clooney in this police drama from David Jacobs, the creator of Dallas and Knots Landing. The show lasted 16 episodes, but by 1993, NYPD Blue and Homicide: Life on the Street debuted to acclaim, joining Law and Order to signal a sea change toward gritty procedurals.
On the early 90s drama, Sisters, Clooney had a recurring role as Detective James Falconer (yes, that really was his name), who dated Teddy (Sela Ward), one of the four sisters whose relationship the show was based on. The two shared a common bond as they were both recovering alcoholics. Falconer had a troubled past, as his six-year-old accidentally killed himself when he found his revolver. The pair eventually married, but unfortunately, Falconer was killed by a criminal who he was going to testify against in court. Boy, this show sure was a barrel of laughs, huh?
By the way, besides playing an Ace, a Booker, a Falconer, and a Kip, Clooney also played characters named Chic, Remar, Biff, and Rollo in his early career.