Famous Actors You Didn't Realize Were in Hallmark Christmas Movies
You know the actors who show up in at least one a year, but did you know about these stars?
The Hallmark Channel isn't all holiday movies, but let's be real: that's what you go to them for. This year alone, a whopping 40 new movies will be airing in the lead up to December 25. And as fans of the network know, there are a lot of repeat Hallmark Christmas movie actors who give us their most festive performances, over and over. Full House’s Candace Cameron-Bure, Mean Girls’ Lacey Chabert, and The Wonder Years’ Danica McKellar are just a few actors who have starred in multiple Hallmark Christmas films. There are also some actors who are known specifically for Hallmark. Take Andrew Walker, who has been in over a dozen Hallmark movies, Christmas-themed and not.
But, there are also some well-known actors who aren't major repeat offenders, but have made their way into the channel’s holiday lineup over the years. From The Fonz and James Bond to two Grammy-winning singers and a long list of ‘90s TV stars, read on to find out about 29 actors you had no idea starred in Hallmark Christmas movies. And for the crowning jewels of their slate, check out The Best Hallmark Movies of All Time.
Sam Heughan, who's a bonafide heartthrob thanks to his leading role in Outlander, starred in A Princess for Christmas prior to that historical romance. This one is about a woman, Jules (Katie McGrath), who takes in her sister and brother-in-law’s children after they die in a car accident. He plays a prince who Jules meets when she spends Christmas with a royal sorta/kinda in-law. If you're curious which series audiences love the most, check out This Is the Most Popular TV Show of All Time.
Beloved singer Patti LaBelle has been in not one, but two Hallmark Christmas movies. She has a role in Christmas Everlasting with another woman on this list, and she is also in 2019’s A Family Christmas Gift. It’s about a woman (Holly Robinson Peete), who forms a close bond with her aunt (LaBelle) as they plan a fundraising concert together. She also finds love, of course.
Jaime King started out her career as a high fashion model before becoming an actor and appearing in movies and shows including Pearl Harbor, Sin City, and Hart of Dixie. But, in 2016, she also starred in a Hallmark movie. King was the co-lead in The Mistletoe Promise, which is about two people who pretend to be a couple during the holidays. Bet you can guess how that one turns out.
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You probably know Judd Nelson best for his time in the Brat Pack in the '80s. (He starred in The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire along with all the other hottest young actors of that decade.) He's had many other TV and film roles over the years, and his resume includes 2010’s Cancel Christmas, in which he plays a Santa Claus ordered to make the holiday less commercial.
Tori Spelling is known for playing Donna Martin on Beverly Hills, 90210 and for having possibly the best celebrity memoir title ever, Stori Telling. But also on her resume is the 2003 Hallmark movie A Carol Christmas. Obviously, it’s a version of A Christmas Carol, but this time it’s centered around a self-centered talk show host named Carol.
To see what Spelling's contemporaries are up to these days, check out The Biggest '90s TV Teen Idols, Then and Now.
Gary Coleman also stars alongside Spelling in A Carol Christmas. He plays the Ghost of Christmas Past. While Coleman will always be best remembered for starring in Diff’rent Strokes, he’s on the long list of Hallmark movie stars, too.
A Carol Christmas is full of unexpected celebs, including William Shatner. The man behind Star Trek’s Captain Kirk plays the dual roles of the Ghost of Christmas Present and Dr. Bob.
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Fonzie made his way over to the Hallmark Channel, too. Henry Winkler has had a varied career, from Happy Days to Arrested Development to Barry, and in 2008 he starred in Hallmark’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Winkler plays the uncle of a single mom, who tries to set her up with a man he met on a plane. At Christmastime, of course.
Rhea Perlman, aka Cheers’ Carla Tortelli, starred in 2008’s The Christmas Choir, which is based on a true story. It’s about a man (Jason Gedrick) who begins volunteering at a homeless shelter and helps organize some of the residents into a successful choir. Perlman plays the woman who runs the shelter.
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Billy Ray Cyrus
Not only did Billy Ray Cyrus star in a Hallmark Christmas movie, he starred in one about a surprisingly serious topic. Set during the Civil Rights Movement, 2009’s Christmas in Canaan is about a father (Cyrus), who encourages his son (Zak Ludwig, Jacob Blair) to hang out with a Black classmate (Jaishon Fisher, Matt Ward) after they get in a fight. The boys end up bonding as they grow up. In another unexpected twist, the movie is based on a novel co-written by country singer Kenny Rogers.
Christine Taylor, who you may know from Dodgeball, Zoolander, and The Wedding Singer, starred in a Hallmark movie in 2010 titled Farewell Mr. Kringle. She plays a journalist sent to a small town called Mistletoe to interview a man (William Morgan Sheppard) who lives life as though he’s really Santa Claus. While on assignment, she opens herself back up to love again. Not with Santa Claus, don’t worry.
Vivica A. Fox
One of Taylor’s co-stars in Farewell Mr. Kringle is Vivica A. Fox, who plays her boss. You’re more likely to know Fox for her roles in Kill Bill, Independence Day, and Set It Off.
Yes, James Bond himself was in a Hallmark Christmas movie. In 2011, Roger Moore starred in A Princess for Christmas with Heughan, playing the children’s grandfather, a Duke, who invites them to spend a royal Christmas with him.
Tori Spelling isn’t the only Beverly Hills, 90210 star to show up on the Hallmark Channel. In 2011, Jennie Garth was in A Christmas Wedding Tail, a kids movie about two dogs who work to get their owners (Garth and Brad Rowe) to fall in love. Hey, don't complain about spoilers—the title basically gives it all away.
Desperate Housewives actor Nicollette Sheridan starred in The Christmas Spirit in 2013, and it has the sort of outlandish plot you can only get from a made-for-TV Christmas movie. Sheridan plays a journalist who tries to get the scoop on a greedy real estate developer (Bart Johnson) who has arrived in her town, but when she and the developer get in a car accident that sends them both into a coma, only their spirits can communicate with each other.
Anne Heche starred in One Christmas Eve, a 2014 comedy about a mom who deals with a series of mishaps when trying to spend her first Christmas as a single woman with her two children. The Six Days Seven Nights actor previously appeared in a 2005 Hallmark Hall of Fame Christmas movie titled Silver Bells that aired on CBS.
Saved by the Bell and White Collar star Tiffani Thiessen was in the 2014 Hallmark movie Northpole. The family film is about a woman who lives in a small town that is full of actual Christmas magic. She doesn’t believe it at first, but her young son (Max Charles) convinces her after he starts going on adventures with an elf (Bailee Madison).
In 2016, Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis starred in A Heavenly Christmas, which has a surprisingly recognizable cast to even non-Hallmark fans. Davis plays a recently deceased woman who is selected to be a Christmas angel when she arrives in heaven. She’s assigned to help a man on Earth, who is played by…
Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack plays the man Davis’s angel character has to connect with on Earth in A Heavenly Christmas.
Last but not least, the third famous star of A Heavenly Christmas is Shirley MacLaine. She plays the angel who guides Davis’s character through her new afterlife journey. MacLaine is better known for classic films like The Apartment, Terms of Endearment, and Steel Magnolias, however.
Sister, Sister star Tia Mowry-Hardrict made the move to Hallmark with A Gingerbread Romance. The 2018 movie is about an architect who pairs up with a baker (Duane Henry) in a contest to build a life-size gingerbread house. Romance is baked up along with the Christmas treats.
Tamera Mowry-Housley followed in her twin sister’s footsteps and starred in the 2019 Hallmark movie A Christmas Miracle. It’s about a magazine writer who falls in love with a photographer colleague (Brooks Darnell) as they work on a story together.
Hallmark loves a ‘90s sitcom star, and that includes the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Tatyana Ali. She starred in Christmas Everlasting in 2018. It’s about a successful lawyer who has to return home after her sister passes away only to find out the surprising terms of her will.
LeAnn Rimes is another unexpected singer-turned-Hallmark-actor. She starred in It’s Christmas, Eve in 2018. (As you've probably guessed, she plays Eve.) Eve is a school superintendent who wants to cut the budget for the music program run by her neighbor (Tyler Hynes). Will she change her mind? Will they fall in love? You’ll have to watch to find out.
First Hallmark made Christmas at Graceland, then came Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays, which doesn’t star the same actors or follow the same storyline, but is still set in Memphis, Tennessee. Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays stars Adrian Grenier (The Devil Wears Prada, Entourage) as a rich widower, who falls for his children’s temporary nanny (Kaitlin Doubleday).
Twilight’s Ashley Greene stars in 2019’s Christmas on My Mind about a woman who suffers short-term amnesia and doesn’t remember why she broke up with her ex (Andrew Walker, Hallmark Christmas movie king). This uncomfortable scenario does give them a second shot at love, though.
Broadway actor Aaron Tveit will star in his first Hallmark movie this year with One Royal Holiday, which premieres November 13. It’s about a prince who ends up stranded in a small town with his mother. They’re shown how non-royals celebrate Christmas after a woman named Anna (Laura Osnes) takes them in.
Another new addition for 2020 is Pretty Little Liars star Janel Parrish, who plays the lead role in Holly & Ivy (premiering November 12). It’s about a woman who takes in her sick neighbor’s children, Holly and Ivy. Naturally, there’s also a romantic aspect in the form of a contractor (Jeremy Jordan) who helps her fix up her home for the kids.
Ben Savage became famous thanks to Boy Meets World, but this year he’s starring in a Hallmark Christmas/Hanukkah movie. Love, Lights, Hanukkah! is about a woman (Mia Kirshner) who has always celebrated Christmas, but who finds out she’s Jewish after taking a DNA test. This leads her to discover new family members—and a new romance.