May 102012

It’s time for a Last Man Standing contest. You know how it works: if you have a submission, post it as a response. One submission per post, please. You may not respond twice in a row. The last man standing when all answers have been exhausted or time is up wins the RTH no-prize!

The rules:

  1. Present a rock video with an acting appearance by someone who was not yet well-known as an actor but would become one later.
  2. We’ll take off the table Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” featuring an unknown Courteney Cox, as the obvious example.
  3. The Sting Rule: Band members or other already-well-known non-actors or celebrities who later turned to acting are ineligible.
  4. The Liv Tyler Rule: Band members’ immediate family are ineligible. And while we’re on the subject of Aerosmith, let’s just make all Bon Jovi videos ineligible.

To start things off, I give you  the video for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Swingin,'” from their 1999 album Echo, featuring Robin Tunney, now a lead actor in the popular TV show The Mentalist.


  44 Responses to “Last Man Standing: Before They Were Stars, in Rock Video”

  1. Great topic! I’ll kick things off with the woman in sunglasses, spanking a baby at the 38-second mark of this video:

    It’s Jane Leeves, Daphne of Frasier fame (and probably before that, Jerry Seinfeld’s virgin girlfriend).

  2. Now that I think of it, Leeves now stars in some show with Eddie Van Halen’s ex-wife.

  3. tonyola

    Future actor Alexis Arquette was the kid on the ride in the 1983 Tubes “She’s a Beauty” video.

  4. BigSteve

    Weird, because I just came across one of these by accident the other day. Graham Parker’s Don’t Bother with the Local Girls: I believe that’s a very young Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) at 1:34 and 2:55.

  5. GREAT catch.

    If the director told her to lick her lips seductively at the 2:55 mark, and that’s what she came up with, I’m sure glad she went into comedy.

  6. I can’t wait to see this, although I will steel myself for some disappointment based on chick’s comment. I always thought Saunders was slightly hotter than Patsy

  7. tonyola

    Actor Bill Paxton directed an co-starred in the famous 1982 video “Fish Heads” by Barnes & Barnes. By the way, the wino in the opening sequence is Dr. Demento (Barret Hansen).

  8. cliff sovinsanity

    80’s pop music (a la Debbie Gibson, Tifanny) didn’t come to Canada until the early 90’s. The reigning pop princess of the time was Alanis. This video features a then unknown Matt Leblanc. This awesome stuff.

  9. tonyola

    John Goodman in Talking Heads’ “Wild Wild Life” – this was in 1986, before Roseanne or Raising Arizona.

  10. BigSteve

    Well yes, but he was one of the stars of True Stories.

  11. I’ve got someone who appeared in a bunch of videos all in the same year, just a couple of years before becoming a big movie star. Can I post them all at once, and take this actor off the board, or should I just put up one at a time, risking someone else just looking up this person’s other pre-fame appearances?

  12. trigmogigmo

    I would say post a single entry for the person’s appearances, and take ’em off the board. (Though I think the WordPress software requires Mr. Moderator to approve any post with more than 2 or 3 links before it will appear, so caveat emptor.)

  13. trigmogigmo

    Not to make this a Tom Petty thread, but my follow-up is the video for “Into the Great Wide Open”, in which “Eddie”‘s (Johnny Depp’s) girlfriend teaching him guitar chords is played by Gabrielle Anwar, who now plays the character Fiona, always eager to get out the guns and explosives on Burn Notice.

  14. trigmogigmo

    Haha! 80’s dance pop all the way! Thank you, India Canada.

  15. You beat me to the answer, trigmo. For the record, it’s important that all examples make it into the competition. For the sake of the rules, it’s best to post one at a time (even 6 in a row – we’ll give you a break on that rule). For the limitations we’ve set on links (as a spam-prevention technique), I think our limit is 3 links. Any more than that and I need to approve a post. Thanks.

    Finally, for the record, if you post one video with this person, you can claim a victory for the run that follows, even if others chip in from your initial post.

  16. Nice, and just a year before her first big movie role, in Scent of a Woman. Hoo hah!

  17. I didn’t realize that crap movie was probably the first time I tuned into Goodman.

  18. And just how many people actually went to see True Stories? Goodman had a few minor movie parts up to that time but he was still far from being a well-known name or face, so he qualifies.

  19. I finally got a chance to watch this and look for her. Amazing. I can’t find confirmation of this on the Web, not even Wikipedia. Is it possible, BigSteve, your possible spot is a first? Groundbreaking!

  20. Okey doke. Actuallyl, it was a two year, ’91-’93, stretch for pre-fame Angelina Jolie as music video hottie. Here’s one of the more amusing and goofy of the four or five vids I found in which Angie was featured – As a teenage runaway in this one by the ever-overwrought Mr. Loaf (here playing some kind of fat, benevolent, rock & roll demon-elf and/or age-inappropriate love interest…it’s kind of hard to tell for sure) and directed by the ever-hacky and bombastic Michael Bay:

  21. When it comes right down to it, it’s really all about the hoo hah.

  22. Benicio del Toro made a brief appearance in Madonna’s 1987 “La Isla Bonita” video.

  23. The Cabin in the Woods surely missed an opportunity by not including Zombie Meatloaf as one of it’s archetype monsters.

  24. Young Wesley Snipes can be seen acting tough and evading taxes in MJ’s Bad video. Directed by Scorsese!

  25. misterioso

    Wow. No idea. Still hard to believe GP & the never became a big star in the MTV era, what with the great look he and the band cultivated.

  26. misterioso

    Am I wrong in assuming that there is some widespread idea that Alanis’ later, “serious” work is any less shitty than this?

  27. Not a household name these days, but before becoming a regular as the “hippie” girl on A Different World Cree Summer appears in MJ’s “Black or White” video. Fans of USA’s brilliant bad tv series La Femme Nikita (ie, the original TV 3rd-generation remake) will note that Summer is the daughter of Don Francks, who played Walter, the hippie weapons expert on that series.

  28. I only listened to about a minute of this and I already like it better than her pre fab angry alt chick schtick from Jagged Little Pill.

  29. He really IS bad! Cripes, I forgot Scorsese directed that one. He should have included a scene of Michael savagely beating some mook’s head in with a tire iron.

  30. Angie baby again, this time as Lemonhead Evan Dild…I mean, Dando’s gf (could this have been the start of her storied heroin dalliance? The two seem to fit like chocolate & peanut butter):

    These guys actually sound a lot better to me now. At the time, if you showed me one more mopey-looking guy with long straight hair and a drug problem, I’d be ready to head out on the interstate killing spree I always threatened but somehow never found the time to make a reality.

  31. He’s certainly haunted my nightmares for years.

    I thought that movie was pretty entertaining…surprisingly so, in fact.

  32. misterioso

    Sad when youthful dreams go unfulfilled. But I think your first take on the Melonheads was the right one.

  33. misterioso

    I cannot believe no one has mentioned the chick in the A-Ha “Take on Me” video who went on to be a huge star as one of the chicks in Billy Idol’s “To Be a Lover” video

  34. tonyola

    Here’s a 15-year-old Nicole Kidman in a 1984 video “Bop Girl” by Australian singer Pat Wilson.

  35. Good find, and wow, that’s a song I want to hate but can’t. It was actually as catchy as he intended it to be. Bravo to Pat Wilson for getting that thing through my bullshit detector.

  36. I can’t recognize Jolie without the creepy sculpted Look she’s got these days. I know what you mean about this band. This song’s pretty good, but we opened for them at TT the Bears in 1987 or so, and they were so wasted their songs were completely incoherent. You could have thrown the band down a stairwell with their instruments and gotten a more coherent sound. I hated them from that point forward.

  37. I’m glad you came clean on this, Mod. I am embarrassed by how catchy I find it (and I just copped to being a Hanson fan).

  38. By the way, this version of the video looks like it could have been directed by Darren Finizio.

  39. cliff sovinsanity

    Before appearing in movies like Goodfellas and Bullets Over Broadway as well as TV shows like Entourage, Debi Mazar turned up in a few Madonna videos such as Papa Don’t Preach and True Love.
    Apparently she was Madonna’s makeup artist.

  40. ladymisskirroyale

    What! All that LaCroix was enough to drive all of us mad!

  41. I always picture Jolie from the time I first became aware of her, circa ’95 (when she was running around naked in that “Gia” movie). She doesn’t even register with me nowadays.

    Well, I guess my reasons for disliking The Lemonguys were valid. Still, that song’s pretty good, divorced from all the nonsense.

  42. Angelina is supposed to be in this rip-off of “Jealous Guy” and something else I can’t place at the moment, as part of Lenny Kravitz’s harem, but I can’t spot her…can you?

  43. cliff sovinsanity

    Among members of Andy Wahol’s entourage and associated weirdos, you’ll find a pre-fame Gina Gershon in the video for Hello Again by The Cars.

  44. cliff sovinsanity

    I swear there was an R in Wahol when I hit post.

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