Before she was the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle was an up-and-coming actress. She’s primarily known for her years on USA’s Suits, and as “Briefcase Model #24” on Deal or No Deal. This is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Markle appeared in many different projects before she met Prince Harry. Gossip Cop is taking a closer look at Markle’s pre-royal career.
Married… with Children
Markle grew up on the set of Married… with Children. She told Esquire, “every day after school for 10 years, I was on the set of Married… with Children, which is a really funny and perverse place for a little girl in a Catholic school uniform to grow up.” Thomas Markle, her now-estranged father, worked on the shpw for ten seasons. Meghan made a cameo appearance of sorts as a student sitting on stage, although her role was uncredited. She left a big enough impression on the cast and crew that Ed O’ Neill would still recognize her decades later.
It’s pretty common for actors just starting out to appear in single episodes of soap operas and police procedurals. Markle was no exception, for her first credited appearance was on General Hospital. She had a bit role as the nurse “Jill.” Markle survived as a calligrapher, taking bit roles in a slew of shows like CSI: NY and little-known series Century City. While it only ran for nine episodes, Century City did help bring Viola Davis a step closer to Oscar-winning glory.
A Lot Like Love
Markle was very proud of her work as Rachel Zane in Suits. In a 2013 interview with Marie Claire, she explained that she really appreciated the character’s intelligence. She said, “Look, my very first audition was for ‘Hot Girl #1’ in some movie. It’s the ultimate for me that the writers are able to go ‘Sure, you can be a pretty girl, but there’s so much more to her.'”
That “some movie” was probably 2005’s A Lot Like Love, where Markle is credited as “Hot Girl.” This Ashton Kutcher-led romantic comedy was a flop both critically and commercially, but it does stand as Markle’s first film role. Kutcher and Markle shared only a few minutes of screen time.
2008 was a big year for Markle. She earned roles in TV movies Good Behavior and The Apostles and shared the stage with Brad Garrett on an episode of ‘Til Death. These are all small roles, the exact kind of positions you’d expect an up-and-coming actress to latch onto. One potentially promising role was in 90210.
Markle worked on many pilots that did not get picked up during this time, including the pilot for this reboot. While 90210 would go on to run for over 100 episodes, it did so without the Duchess of Sussex. She only received a few seconds of screen time as “Wendy,” and was never heard from again.
The JJ Abrams series gave Markle one of her first post Deal or No Deal recurring roles. Markle played Junior FBI Agent Amy Jessup in two episodes of the series. She would look back fondly on the series and said she enjoyed the combat training that came with the part. While Markle got to suit up for a few episodes, her character disappeared without mention, as many Fringe characters were wont to do.
This Robert Pattinson romantic drama is best remembered today for having quite a twist ending. Markle played “Megan” as part of a talented supporting cast including Pierce Brosnan and Chris Cooper. Markle’s husband at the time, Trevor Engelson, was a producer on the film.
Markle and Pattinson would later speak highly of each other. When Markle got engaged to Prince Harry, Pattinson said of working with her, “it’s my claim to fame!”
Get Him To The Greek
Did you know that Markle once made out with Russell Brand? She had an uncredited role in 2010’s Get Him to the Greek where she kissed the comedian. The role was so small that Brand didn’t remember that this happened until watching a clip years later.
Markle played FedEx girl Jamie, sharing about one minute of screentime with Jason Sudeikis in 2011’s Horrible Bosses. The Ted Lasso star later joked, “She was regal in that moment, and it seemed like she’s only gotten better at it.” Markle was a small part of a star-studded cast that also included Jennifer Aniston and Donald Sutherland.
As it currently stands, 2016’s Dater’s Handbook is Markle’s final acting role. The Hallmark romantic comedy ended up being her final non-Suits role before moving to England. She shared the screen with future Jurassic World: Dominion star Kristogger Polaha.
Tabloids continue to speculate that Markle is planning a grand return to Hollywood. One story even said she would return to Suits, which is pretty hard considering the show has concluded its run. There’s no sign that Markle has any interest in going back in front of the camera, but her job as a producer will keep her in Tinseltown for years to come.