From Patrick Swayze and Bradley Cooper to Linda Blair and Carrie Fisher: Ten surprise stars of Hallmark movies

There are certain stars you expect to see in Hallmark movies. Lacey Chabert is one. Candace Cameron Bure is another. But the Hallmark Channel has been around for a while, and every now and again it will air a movie starring an actor we completely forgot ever worked for the network.

Here are some of the actors you may be surprised to find out appeared in Hallmark movies:

Bradley Cooper in the 2003 Hallmark movie The Last Cowboy
Bradley Cooper in the 2003 Hallmark movie The Last Cowboy. (Image: Crown Media)

Bradley Cooper

Before he was an Academy Award-nominated actor, Cooper appeared in the Hallmark drama The Last Cowboy. The actor co-starred with Jennie Garth in the 2003 movie, which told the story of a woman who returns to her family’s Texas ranch following the death of her grandfather.

Patrick Swayze in the 2004 Hallmark mini-series King Solomon's Mines
Patrick Swayze in the 2004 Hallmark mini-series King Solomon's Mines. (Image: Crown Media)

Patrick Swayze

The Dirty Dancing star appeared in the 2004 Hallmark mini-series King Solomon’s Mines. A screen adaptation of the 1885 novel of the same name by British author H. Rider Haggard, the two-part series followed adventurer Allan Quatermain (played by Swayze), as he searches for the fabled mines of King Solomon.

Two film versions had been made of the story by the time it made it to the small screen on Hallmark. The 1950 version of King Solomon’s Mine starred Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger. A 1985 version of the story starred Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone.

Linda Blair in the 2003 Hallmark movie Monster Makers
Linda Blair in the 2003 Hallmark movie Monster Makers. (Image: Crown Media)

Linda Blair

Best known for her iconic role in the 1973 hit The Exorcist, animal rights activist and actress Linda Blair went on to star in number of horror movies in the 1980s. In 2003, she appeared in the Hallmark Channel film Monster Makers. Blair played the mother of a teenage boy who accidentally brings an old 1950s horror movie to life. Monster Makers also starred George Kennedy.

Carrie Fisher in the 2012 movie It's Christmas, Carol
Carrie Fisher in the 2012 movie It's Christmas, Carol. (Image: Crown Media)

Carrie Fisher

The actress who brought Princess Leia to life on the screen also starred in the 2012 movie It’s Christmas, Carol. Fisher played Eve, the ghost of a woman who was a driven, heartless magazine editor in life. Eve appears to her successor, Carol (played by Emmanuelle Vaugier), on Christmas Eve to tell her she has lost sight of what’s really important in life and that it’s time to change her ways.

Fun fact: This movie also starred When Calls the Heart’s Johannah Newmarch.

James Earl Jones in the 2005 Hallmark movie The Reading Room
James Earl Jones in the 2005 Hallmark movie The Reading Room. (Image: Crown Media)

James Earl Jones

Another Star Wars cast member who worked for Hallmark was James Earl Jones. The actor who voiced Darth Vader starred in the 2005 movie The Reading Room alongside Lynne Moody and Tim Reid. Jones played a widower who tries to honor his late wife’s memory by opening a reading room in an inner city neighborhood.

Katherine Heigl in the Hallmark movie Loce Comes Softly
Katherine Heigl in the Hallmark movie Love Comes Softly. (Image: Crown Media)

Katherine Heigl

Two years before Heigl shot to fame on the ABC series Grey’s Anatomy, she starred in the Hallmark movie Love Comes Softly. In the film, which was based on a novel by Janette Oke, Heigl played Marty Claridge, a young woman who moves out west with her husband to start a new life. Michael Landon Jr. directed the movie.

Billy Ray Cyrus in the 2009 Hallmark movie Christmas in Canaan
Billy Ray Cyrus in the 2009 Hallmark movie Christmas in Canaan. (Image: Crown Media)

Billy Ray Cyrus

In 2009, the country singer played a widowed farmer in the Hallmark movie Christmas in Canaan. Based on the book by the same name by Kenny Rogers and Donald Davenport, the movie co-starred Ben Cotton, Emily Tennant, and Jacob Blair.

Andrew McCarthy in the 2002 Hallmark movie Straight From the Heart
Andrew McCarthy in the 2002 Hallmark movie Straight From the Heart. (Image: Crown Media)

Andrew McCarthy

The Pretty in Pink star appeared in the 2002 movie Straight From the Heart alongside Teri Polo. McCarthy played Tyler Ross, a Wyoming rancher who connects with a New York City photographer through a personal ad.

Her worked with the network again in 2012, appearing in the romantic comedy Come Dance With Me.

Kristen Bell in the 2003 Hallmark movie The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay
Kristen Bell in the 2003 Hallmark movie The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay. (Image: Crown Media)

Kristen Bell

Before she played Anna in Frozen, Bell starred in the 2003 Hallmark movie The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay. She played a teenage girl who tries to reconnect with her father, played by West Wing star Tim Matheson.

Emily Kinney in the Hallmark movie Love on the Sidelines
Emily Kinney in the Hallmark movie Love on the Sidelines. (Image: Crown Media)

Emily Kinney

The Walking Dead star played an aspiring fashion designer in the 2015 Hallmark romantic comedy Love on the Sidelines. In the movie, she takes a job as an assistant for a famous football player.

William Shatner in the Hallmark movie Just in Time For Christmas
William Shatner in the Hallmark movie Just in Time For Christmas. (Image: Crown Media)

William Shatner

The Star Trek actor appeared in the 2015 Hallmark rom-com Just In Time For Christmas. He played a magical messenger who lets a young woman travel three years into the future to decide if she should take a prestigious job she has been offered.

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