‘Deadwood’: Kristen Bell, Sarah Paulson and More Stars You Forgot Appeared on the HBO Series
By Stacy Lambe
Deadwood was an HBO Western drama created by David Milch exploring the many characters that lived in the titular lawless South Dakota camp in the 1870s. Featuring an ensemble cast, the show made stars out of Anna Gunn, Dayton Callie, Ian McShane, John Hawkes, Kim Dickens, Molly Parker, Robin Weigert, Paula Malcomson and Timothy Olyphant -- many of whom have gone on lead hit series and pick up a number of acting accolades in the 13 years since the show was abruptly canceled in 2006. Meanwhile, veteran actors -- Brad Dourif, Gerald McRaney, Ian McShane and the late Powers Boothe -- brought even more pedigree to the series, which was nominated for 28 Emmys and won eight during its run.
While Deadwood only lasted three seasons, it was a series many young actors passed through on their way to stardom, and seasoned actors elevated the smallest of supporting roles. With Deadwood returning as a new HBO film to provide a final chapter to the franchise, ET looks back on some of the most notable names to breeze through camp.
Character: Miss Isringhausen
Appearing in nine episodes during season two, Paulson played a private tutor for Alma Garret’s (Parker) steward, Sofia. Very much a rising star at the time, the actress followed Deadwood with a role on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip before eventually becoming a fixture on American Horror Story and winning an Emmy for portraying Marcia Clark on The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
Character: Flora Anderson
Appearing in two episodes of the first season, Bell played a young grifter who takes advantage of Joanie Stubbs' (Dickens) good graces before being discovered and brutally beaten for her crimes. Still early in her career, the part came right before Bell would become known for her starring role on Veronica Mars, which returns with a new season on Hulu this summer, or more recent TV hits like House of Lies and The Good Place .
Character: Tom Mason
Long before playing Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation, Offerman appeared on everything from The West Wing to Will & Grace. Deadwood was no different. The actor was in one episode, playing a man disgruntled by Wild Bill Hickok’s (see below) arrival at the camp. But like many guest players on this HBO series, he doesn't for very long.
Character: Jack Langrishe
Joining the series in season three, Cox portrayed the real-life entertainer known as the Comedian of the Frontier. While only recurring at the time, he and McRaney, who plays George Hearst, were big additions to the cast just as the show was growing larger in terms of character drama and political intrigue.
Character: Wild Bill Hickok
The longtime actor and member of the Carradine acting dynasty played Wild Bill Hickok, the famed gunslinger whose death by Jack McCall (see below) is a storyline through most of the first season. While the character had a large presence early in the show, he only appeared in five episodes in total.
Appearing on 12 episodes over seasons two and three, Harney played Steve, a drunken bigot who clashed with Hostetler (see below) and many other characters in camp. Steve also had a questionable relationship with a horse before getting kicked in the head by the animal. While a longtime player on TV, Harney’s biggest roles followed Deadwood, with recurring parts on Weeds and Vegas before playing corrections officer Sam Healy on Orange Is the New Black.
Character: Silas Adams
Welliver, a working actor who had had a number of recurring TV roles at the time, joined Deadwood partway through season one as an emissary of a nearby magistrate before switching sides to become one of Al Swearengen’s (McShane) cronies. Following Deadwood, Welliver famously played the Man in Black on Lost and prosecutor Glenn Childs on The Good Wife before taking on the titular role of Bosch on Amazon.
Character: Andy Cramed
Grenier, a seasoned TV actor who has worked on 24, Law & Order and The Practice, appeared in a total of nine episodes throughout all three seasons of Deadwood as a hired hand working for Cy Tolliver (Boothe) who brings smallpox into the camp. Later, after Calamity Jane (Weigert) helped him survive the plague, he became a priest. Following Deadwood, Grenier played the adversarial David Lee on The Good Wife, Ed Feratti on Ray Donovan and will next be seen on Alex Garland’s new FX series Devs.
Character: Jack McCall/Francis Wolcott
One of TV’s most reliable supporting players, Dillahunt got the rare opportunity to play two different characters on Deadwood. The first was the famous Jack McCall, who killed Wild Bill Hickok. After the character’s demise, Dillahunt returned as Francis Wolcott, who had a violent sexual appetite and troubling encounters at Joanie’s brothel. Dillahunt has since gone on to star on Raising Hope, The Mindy Project and Fear the Walking Dead.
Character: Brom Garret
Before joining Deadwood as Alma Garret's husband, Brom, the actor most famously appeared on Xena: Warrior Princess. Following his stint as a would-be prospector who soon dies out on a claim on the HBO series, Omundson went on to play Sean Potter on Judging Amy and Carlton Lassiter on Psych, the latter of which has returned for two TV movies.
Character: Wyatt Earp
Largely known for playing Brian Kinney on the U.S. version of Queer as Folk, Harold briefly appeared as the real-life lawman Wyatt Earp in two episodes of season three. The actor followed the appearance with recurring roles on Desperate Housewives and a couple of short-lived CW dramas.
Character: Morgan Earp
Still largely unknown at the time, Nichols played Morgan Earp, the brother and fellow lawman to Wyatt, in two episodes before going on to land the titular role in Milch’s Deadwood followup, John From Cincinnati. The actor went on to star on One Tree Hill, Ray Donovan, The Walking Dead and Bates Motel.
Making a brief, one-episode appearance in season three after recurring on Alias, Anders went on to star as Adam Monroe on Heroes and recur on The Vampire Diaries and Once Upon a Time. Now, he stars as Blaine on The CW’s iZombie, which debuted its fifth and final season in May.
Character: Odell Marchbanks
Brother of Cuba Gooding Jr. and a budding actor at the time, Gooding played Odell Marchbanks, son of George Hearst’s personal cook Aunt Lou (Cleo King). His brief appearance on Deadwood was followed by more substantial TV roles on Barbershop, Family Time and Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.
Longtime rockers Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill put their famed beards to good use as background players in one episode of Deadwood.