‘This Is Us’: 11 Memorable Guest Stars Over the Years

This Is Us

This Is Us has continued to deliver strong stories season after season about the Pearson family at the center of it all.

While fans of the NBC drama know that the show’s regular cast are a talented bunch, it must be recognized that it also has one hell of a guest star roster. Since the show’s debut in 2016, fans have been admiring the performances by recurring and one-time guest stars that include character actors, A-list directors and more.

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Whether you’re a sucker for Dr. K or a fan of William, there’s no denying This Is Us‘s guest star power which is constantly validated by its awards recognition. Once more, former Emmy winners Ron Cephas Jones and Phylicia Rashad are nominated for the show’s most recent fourth season.

Below, we take a look at some of the show’s best guest stars over the years including the three mentioned above.

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This Is Us, Season 5, TBA, NBC

This Is Us Season 3 Ron Cephas Jones
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Ron Cephas Jones (William Hill)

Introduced in the show’s premiere episode, Cephas Jones’s character became a fan favorite right away as he reconnected with his biological son, Randall (Sterling K. Brown). The revelation of his terminal cancer led to some of the show’s most poignant moments, not just between father and son, but also between William and daughter-in-law Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson). Despite dying in Season 1, the show’s non-linear format allows for his occasional reappearance for some always-welcome words of wisdom.

Phylicia Rashad This Is Us
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Phylicia Rashad (Carol Clarke)

As Carol, Rashad offers plenty of parental tension between her and daughter Beth. But her arrival in Season 3 during Beth’s origin episode really helped viewers understand Kelechi Watson’s character better and also see just how different the Clarke women are. But they have the same drive as viewers saw Carol struggle with her physical restrictions while working her job at a local school. Beth has a similar motivation which is seen in her new dance studio and other areas of her life. Needless to say, the more Clarkes the better.

Dr. K This Is Us
Mitchell Haddad/NBC

Gerald McRaney (Dr. K)

Another quick fan favorite, McRaney’s Dr. K helped Pearsons Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) through one of the toughest times in their lives as they lost one of their triplets in childbirth. The doctor offered some words of hope that stuck with the Pearsons for years to come in which he said he hoped they “took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade.” The doctor’s occasional reappearances throughout the seasons always feels like a little boost to the system.

This Is Us Season 1 Ryan Michelle Bathe

Ryan Michelle Bathe (Yvette)

The actress and star Sterling K. Brown’s real-life wife guested as Yvette in four episodes over the years in the show’s past timeline. Meeting the Pearsons at the pool in Season 1, she connected with Jack and Rebecca, noting that Randall should have some Black presence in his life which is predominantly overtaken by white family. Becoming family friends, her role was a valuable part of Randall’s childhood as he played with her children.

Ron Howard This Is Us

Ron Howard (Himself)

Ron Howard was one of the first guest stars in the series as he expressed interest in Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) acting after seeing his play in New York City. Since Kevin’s an actor, it makes it easy to fold in big guest stars who play themselves, and we can’t help but acknowledge one of the first (Robin Thicke played himself in the pilot as a costar on Kevin’s sitcom The Manny).

Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone (Himself)

Appearing alongside Kevin in the Ron Howard film he was recruited for, Sylvester Stallone’s presence was more than just a shot at some star power. Kevin was dealing with unresolved feelings about his father Jack’s death and due to his love for Rocky, Kevin felt thrown off by the actor’s presence at times. But in a way, Stallone offered support that Kevin needed at the time.

This Is Us Darnell Kelly
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Marsha Stephanie Blake & Omar Epps (The Hodges)

While Asante Blackk’s Malik isn’t exactly considered a guest star, his onscreen parents Marsha Stephanie Blake and Omar Epps who play Kelly and Darnell have appeared briefly since Season 4’s premiere. Hopefully their roles will expand as Malik becomes more attached to Randall and Beth’s daughter Deja (Lyric Ross). Perhaps a Hodges origin episode could be on the horizon? If we’ve learned anything from watching, anything’s possible on This Is Us.

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Pamela Adlon (Dr. Leigh)

Arriving in Season 4, Pamela Adlon appeared as Randall’s psychiatrist Dr. Leigh. Her confronting role against Randall was certainly unique as no one really forces him to look at himself, but he agreed to see her at Beth’s insistence following tension stemming from a home burglary. Hopefully we’ll see the Better Things actress return for more therapy in Season 5.

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M. Night Shyamalan (Himself)

Similar to Ron Howard, seeing M. Night Shyamalan play himself directing Kevin was a thrill and much needed distraction from some of the show’s heavier plots. Throughout Season 4 the director popped up as Kevin returned to filming on their movie.

This Is Us Jane Kaczmarek

Jane Kaczmarek (Mrs. Philips)

Playing the mother of Rebecca’s boyfriend Alan, Kaczmarek’s Mrs. Philips wasn’t shy about expressing her extremely progressive views when it came to Rebecca’s refusal to travel to Europe with Alan in exchange for finding her own way. Despite only appearing in one episode, this character certainly stood out as a part of the Pearson storyline.