Seeing Double: 7 TV Actors Who Have Played Dual (or More) Roles on the Same Show

arrow - left
arrow - right
The Deuce - Jame Franco
Paul Schiraldi/HBO

James Franco (Vincent and Frankie Martino) – The Deuce

James Franco adds the role of twins to his long list of actor credits in this critically acclaimed HBO series. Franco plays Vincent and Frankie Martino, twin brothers who become fronts for the mafia in 1970s New York just as the porn industry became legal and was booming. The Martino brothers are based on real-life twins who were mob fronts for bars and prostitution massage parlors in Times Square during the 70s. If you love James Franco, you can love him twice as much as twins in the hour-long episodes, available for streaming now.

Friends - Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow(Ursula and Phoebe Buffay) –

For ten years, Lisa Kudrow played the witty and silly Phoebe Buffay and occasionally her “evil” twin sister Ursula. But Ursula wasn’t always the evil twin: first she was a ditzy waitress in the NBC sitcom Mad About You (1992-1999) and later crossed over to Friends as Phoebe’s sister. For a time, both Friends and Mad About You aired in the Thursday night lineup, so you could say that Lisa Kudrow was in a lot of places at once.

Family Matters - Jaleel White

Jaleel White(Steve Urkel and Stefan Urquelle) – Family Matters

Talk about changing yourself for the person you love! When Steve Urkel realizes his longtime love Laura Winslow will love him when he’s “a-cool,” he invents a “cool juice” that transforms him into the smooth and charismatic Stefan Urquelle. Steve transforms into Stefan in several episodes throughout the series’ run, but in the Season 7 episode “Send in the Clone,” Steve clones himself and transforms the clone into Stefan, creating a permanent Stefan Urquelle. White’s dexterity as an actor demonstrates itself in his portrayal of these polar opposites versions of Steve Urkel.

Jane the Virgin - Yael Grobglas
Michael Desmond/The CW; Greg Gayne/The CW

Yael Grobglas (Anezka Archulette and Petra Solano) – Jane the Virgin

Yael Grobglas plays Petra Solano, the former villain turned HBIC that we love. In Season 2, we were introduced to Petra’s clumsy, yet sinister twin sister Anezka, who grew up in a Czech orphanage. Not only does Grobglas play each sister, but at one point she plays Petra who is pretending to be Anezka who is pretending to Petra—confusing right? Seems straight out of a Telenovela.

How I Met Your Mother - Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris (Barney Stinson and many more) – How I Met Your Mother

Neil Patrick Harris wears many hats (and mustaches, beards, wigs and shiny vests) as other characters in addition to Barney on How I Met Your Mother. We encounter four of Barney’s look-a-likes throughout the series: cab driver Barney, Kristoff Doppelgänger (an Estonian street performer), pretzel vendor Barney and Dr. John Stangel. Whereas some of these duplicates are Barney in disguise, the bearded Dr. John Stangel is Barney’s true doppelgänger. We’re used to the shaven, clean-cut Barney, but Neil Patrick Harris could definitely pull off a beard.

Fargo - Ewan McGregor
Chris Large/FX

Ewan McGregor (Emmit and Ray Stussy) –

Ewan McGregor had his hands full playing the Stussy brothers in Season 3 of Fargo. Because they’re two years apart, Emmit and Ray aren’t twins in the slightest bit, which required McGregor to adapt to completely different looks and personalities. McGregor also had to exchange his British accent for a Minnesota twangto play the duo. Like most brothers, Emmit and Ray butt heads, which means McGregor fights with himself—quite the internal and external conflict.

Orphan Black collage - TATIANA MASLANY
BBC America

Tatiana Maslany (Helena, Sarah Manning, Cosima Niehaus, Rachel Duncan, Alison Hendrix and others) – Orphan Black

Perhaps the winner of playing the most characters in one TV show, Tatiana Maslany portrays five clone characters in Orphan Black. The show starts off with Maslany as Sarah Manning, who finds out she has many “sister” clones thanks to a scientific project called Neolution. Maslany takes on different jobs (con-artist, cop, housewife, biologist, CEO and more), ethnicities, and accents for each clone. Maslany deservingly won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award at the 2016 Emmy Awards.

1 of

Not every actor is as lucky to have a twin on TV like the Sprouses or the Mowrys. But thanks to split screens and body doubles, there are several actors who have portrayed two or more roles on a show either as siblings, twins, doppelgängers or clones.

Flip through the gallery above to see who’s played a double in their TV career.