TV & Movies

The Original Unsolved Mysteries Had So Many Celebrity Cameos

Yes, that really was Matthew McConaughey.

Courtesy CBS

Long before Netflix introduced viewers to the cold cases of Alonzo Brooks and Rey Rivera, Unsolved Mysteries was revered among armchair detectives for bringing attention to mysterious disappearances and unexplained phenomenon. In bringing those cases to life, the original Unsolved Mysteries also featured several celebrity cameos from now-A-list actors.

The show's nearly 600 episodes all featured the same format, with host Robert Stack narrating the mystery while witnesses and loved ones spoke about the crime or phenomenon in question between scenes reenacting its events. Over the course of its 14-year run, Unsolved Mysteries recruited plenty of aspiring actors to play the criminals, victims, or witnesses in those reenactments, many of whom were enjoying their first brush with the limelight.

Matthew McConaughey, for example, told Entertainment Weekly in 2014 that playing a murder victim on Unsolved Mysteries in 1992 was his first-ever professional role. "And guess what? They got the guy," the Oscar winner revealed. "They found him around Bryan, Texas, about two weeks after that show [aired]." Not all of the actors who appeared on the original series have since won an Oscar — or helped to catch a killer on the loose — but all of them managed to make a memorable impression on the show's fans, even decades later.

Matthew McConaughey

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In a Season 5 episode, McConaughey played Larry Dickens, a 26-year-old former Marine who was killed by Edward Bell in 1978. In true McConaughey fashion, the actor spent most of his time onscreen shirtless and sweaty before being shot during a confrontation in front of Dickens' house.

Daniel Dae Kim

In 1993, Kim made a brief cameo on Unsolved Mysteries as one of the family members of Su-ya Kim, who was murdered in a random act of violence in 1991. He played the victim's brother-in-law, though that particular episode of the show is difficult to find online.

Taran Killam

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A very young Killam appeared in a 1995 episode of Unsolved Mysteries as a young German boy named Fritz. He revealed on Live With Kelly and Ryan in 2017 that he actually got the gig because the legendary Stack was his great uncle. "Unsolved Mysteries was always aliens or something spooky," he recounted. "But this [episode] was a sweet one."

Cheryl Hines

The Curb Your Enthusiasm star appeared in a 1997 episode, playing Sharon Berman, the grieving mother of 4-year-old Ashley Berman, who was murdered by her nanny. In 2014, Hines acknowledged the episode on Twitter, writing, "YES! And btw, The mystery was solved!"

Jon Bon Jovi

Unlike the other celebrities on this list, Bon Jovi wasn't a reenactor on Unsolved Mysteries — he was interviewed about the mysterious death of Katherine Korzilius, his manager's daughter.

David Ramsey

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The Arrow star appeared in a 1994 episode as Alexander, an American soldier who befriended a young German boy during World War II.

The Netflix reboot may be just as creepy and mysterious as the original Unsolved Mysteries, but only the classic version allows fans to see some of their favorite stars way before they were famous.