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18 of the Most Memorable Grey’s Anatomy Cast Members Then and Now

What they did before and after saving lives on the show

Running for 20 seasons and counting, the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy caught viewers’ attention in 2005 and kept it. With high-stakes storylines, swoon-worthy romances, and lovable characters, it’s clear why this show has broken so many records. But with over 430 episodes, it can be hard to remember who starred on the show and when, which is why we have rounded up some of the most memorable members of The Grey’s Anatomy cast here. 

Keep scrolling to find out what the doctors of drama-filled, Seattle-based, Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital are up to today. (Watch new episodes on ABC Thursdays at 9/8c, or stream prior season on Netflix!)

Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey 

Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey 
2005/2024; Neilson Barnard / Staff/Getty

Ellen Pompeo takes on the titular role of Dr. Meredith Grey, an intern turned award-winning general surgeon in Grey’s Anatomy. Pompeo has been on the show from the beginning and is one of the highest-paid television actors in history. She can still be seen on the show today, and has brought Meredith over to three crossover episodes of Station 19. Prior to Grey’s Anatomy, she could be found on an episode of Friends in 2004, the 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can, and two episodes of Law & Order in 1996 and 2000. She also starred in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video in 2015 as Luna.

MUST READ: Ellen Pompeo Relies on This Facial Instead of Botox — How You Can Try It at Home for Smoother Skin

Patrick Dempsey as Dr. Derek Shephard: Grey’s Anatomy cast

Patrick Dempsey as Dr. Derek Shephard Grey's Anatomy cast
2005/2024; James Gourley / Stringer/Getty

Dr. Mcdreamy was played by the handsome Patrick Dempsey. He appeared on the show from season 1 to season 12 and is best known for his neurosurgery skills and epic love story with Meredith (Pompeo). Coming into the filming, Dempsey had the most TV and movie credits to his name, starring in films like Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Scream 3 (2000) and Will & Grace (2000-2001). He recently returned to the show for a few episodes in 2021 and can also be seen in the Disney films Enchanted (2007) and Disenchanted (2022), as well as Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016), Ferrari (2023) and Thanksgiving (2023).

MUST READ: The Movies and TV Shows That Prove Patrick Dempsey Has Always Been Dreamy

Sandra Oh as Dr. Crisitina Yang 

Sandra Oh as Dr. Crisitina Yang 
2005/2024; Steve Granitz / Contributor/Getty

One of Meredith’s “persons” throughout the show’s run was cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Cristina Yang, played by Emmy-nominated actress Sandra Oh. Oh saved people’s lives for the show’s first ten seasons before leaving to do other things. Her character has yet to return to the show but is regularly talked about. Before booking the role as Dr.Yang, Oh was in The Princess Diaries (2001) and Under the Tuscan Sun (2003). Post-Grey’s she can be found in Raya and The Last Dragon (2021), Turning Red (2022), Quiz lady (2023) and Killing Eve (2018-2022) — the latter of which earned her two Emmy awards in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category in 2020 and 2022.

Justin Chambers as Dr. Alex Karev: Grey’s Anatomy cast

Justin Chambers as Dr. Alex Karev Grey's Anatomy cast
2005/2024; Unique Nicole / Stringer/Getty

Meredith’s other “person” was none other than bad-boy turned softie Dr. Alex Karev (Justin Chambers). Chambers’ character was best known for his quick wit, his love for kids and pediatric surgery, and an incomparable character arc. He departed the show in season 16, leaving fans no choice but to bawl their eyes out. His other credits include The Wedding Planner (2001), Broken City (2013) and The Offer (2022).

Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey 

Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey 
2005/2024; Michael Tullberg / Stringer/Getty

Chandra Wilson has been playing Dr. Miranda Bailey since day one. Bailey is one of the most beloved characters on the show, appearing in the most episodes out of anyone and even directing some. Wilson is still on the show today and currently serving as a general surgeon and mentor to the new interns. Before Grey’s Anatomy, she had a one episode stint on Sex and the City in 2002 and The Sopranos in 2004.

MUST READ: ‘Chicago Hope’ Cast: Where Are They Now?

James Pickens Jr. as Dr. Richard Webber: Grey’s Anatomy cast

James Pickens Jr. as Dr. Richard Webber Grey's Anatomy cast
2005/2024; Monica Schipper / Staff/Getty

Chief Richard Webber was taken on by James Pickens Jr. He is the second-longest-starring actor on the show and has appeared in the spin-off series Private Practice and Station 19. His other credits include a 10-episode run on Beverly Hills, 90210 (1991-1992), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998), 15 episodes on The Practice (1997-2000), 42 (2013) and The Conners (2018-2022). Pickens is still on the show today and spends his free time participating in rodeos. 

MUST READ: ‘The Practice’ Cast Then and Now: Catch Up With Dylan McDermott, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kelli Williams and More

Jesse Williams as Dr. Jackson Avery 

Jesse Williams as Dr. Jackson Avery 
2010/2024;Unique Nicole / Stringer/Getty

Known for his pretty eyes, Jesse Williams first appeared on our screens in season 6, serving as a guest star before joining the cast full-time in season 7. He left the show in season 17, but has special guest-starred in a few episodes since then, with his most recent appearance being in 2023. That same year he was also in Only Murders in the Building in 2023, and in 2022 made his Broadway debut in the revival of Take Me Out, which earned him a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor In a Play.

Jessica Capshaw as Dr. Arizona Robbins: Grey’s Anatomy cast

Jessica Capshaw as Dr. Arizona Robbins Grey's Anatomy cast
2010/2021; Roy Rochlin / Stringer/Getty

Jessica Capshaw rolled in on her wheelie sneakers as a pediatric turned neonatal surgeon in season 5, and stayed for seven more seasons after that. Her character is best known for her mentee/mentor relationship with Dr. Alex Karev and her love story with Dr. Callie Torres. She is expected to return to the show this season, and was in movies like Holidate (2020) and Dear Zoe (2022) during her time away from Grey’s Anatomy. She is also well known for being the stepdaughter of famous director Steven Spielberg.

Sara Ramirez as Dr. Callie Torres 

Sara Ramirez as Dr. Callie Torres 
2006/; Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff/Getty

Sara Ramirez played the hospital’s resident ortho doctor. They joined the show in season 2 and remained on it until the season 12 finale in 2012. They were recently in Sofia the First (2012-2018) and the Sex and the City revival, And Just Like That...(2021-2023). They have yet to return to Grey’s Anatomy

MUST READ: 20 ‘Sex and the City’ Facts Even the Most Devoted Fan Wouldn’t Know

Sarah Drew as Dr. April Kepner: Grey’s Anatomy cast

Sarah Drew as Dr. April Kepner Grey's Anatomy cast
2010/2024; Dia Dipasupil / Staff/Getty

The perky and overly organized trauma surgeon Dr. April Kepner was taken on by Sarah Drew, who had a recurring role in season 6 and became a regular from seasons 7 to 14. Leaving the show in 2018, she returned for one episode in 2021 and another in 2022, continuing to show her love for the show and her cast mates.  Since leaving, she is has become a Lifetime and Hallmark star. Drew’s most recent title was the western epic Birthright Outlaw, which released in 2023.

MUST-READ: Actress Sarah Drew Went From Saving Lives on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to Hallmark Channel Sweetheart — Here’s Her Story

Eric Dane as Dr. Mark Sloan 

Eric Dane as Dr. Mark Sloan 
2007/2022; Thomas Cooper / Stringer/Getty

Dr. Mcsteamy could not have been played by anyone other than Eric Dane. The plastic surgeon and playboy turned devoted father first appeared in season 2 and remained until season 9 before returning for one episode in 2021. Danes’s character is best remembered for his friendship with Callie and his relationship with Dr. Lexie Grey. While he was on Grey’s, Dane also starred in Marley & Me (2008), Valentine’s Day (2010) and Burlesque (2010). After leaving, he starred in The Last Ship (2014-2018), Euphoria (2019-2022) and Dangerous Waters (2023).

Chyler Leigh as Dr. Lexie Grey: Grey’s Anatomy cast

Chyler Leigh as Dr. Lexie Grey Grey's Anatomy cast
2008/2024; Dia Dipasupil / Staff/Getty

Current Hallmark star Chyler Leigh played Meredith’s half-sister, Dr. Lexie Grey. Appearing in the show for five seasons, Leigh remains a fan favorite to this day, and many fans are still not over her seemingly untimely death from that (spoiler alert) plane crash. Before picking up her stethoscope, Leigh was in things like Not Another Teen Movie (2001) and That ’80’s Show (2002). And after putting that stethoscope away, she starred in Supergirl (2015-2021) and The Way Home (2023-2024). Leigh also came back to Grey’s Anatomy with Dane in 2021.

MUST READ: ‘The Way Home’ Season 2: Stars Chyler Leigh and Sadie Laflamme-Snow Tell All! (EXCLUSIVE)

Caterina Scorsone as Dr. Ameila Shephard 

Caterina Scorsone as Dr. Ameila Shephard 
2010/2024; Daniele Venturelli / Contributor/Getty

Dr. Derek Sheppard’s little sister and fellow neurosurgeon, Dr. Amelia Shepard (Caterina Scoresone), was first seen in one episode before leaving Grey’s and joining its spin-off, Private Practice in 2010. But after filming for that wrapped in 2014, she headed back to Seattle and has remained on the show ever since. Her other titles include 1-800-Missing (2003 to2006) and Edge of Darkness (2010).

Camilla Luddington as Dr. Jo Wilson: Grey’s Anatomy cast

Camilla Luddington as Dr. Jo Wilson Grey's Anatomy cast
2013/; Monica Schipper / Staff/Getty

Dr. Joespehine “Jo” Wilson (Camilla Luddington), best known for her tragic backstory and love story with Dr.Alex Karev, could not be played by anyone other than the actress. Appearing in 251 episodes and counting, Luddington remains a starring cast member on the show and her character has recently become an OBGYN.  Pre Grey’s Anatomy, she was in the 2011 TV movie William & Kate, and the Tomb Raider video game (2013).

Kevin McKidd as Dr. Owen Hunt

Kevin McKidd as Dr. Owen Hunt
2009/2024; Monica Schipper / Staff/Getty

Irish actor Kevin McKidd took on the war veteran turned trauma surgeon and eventual chief of surgery in 2008. He has appeared in 246 episodes thus far, directed 40 of them and set to direct and star in even more in this show’s upcoming season. McKidd is known for his work in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010), Brave (2012) and Made of Honor (2008).

Katherine Heigl as Dr. Isobel Stevens: Grey’s Anatomy cast

Katherine Heigl as Dr. Isobel Stevens Grey's Anatomy cast
2005/2024; Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty

For five years, award-winning actress Katherine Heigl played the LVAD wire, cancer-ridden doctor Isobel “Izzie” Stevens. She earned an Emmy nomination for her work and recently appeared onstage at the 2024 Emmys with a few of her former Grey’s Anatomy castmates.  Before Grey’s Anatomy, she was in 61 episodes of Roswell (1999-2002) and after, her most notable titles include 27 Dresses (2009), Life as We Know it (2010), Suits (2018-2019) and Firefly Lane (2021-2023).

MUST READ: Cast of ‘Suits’: Catch Up With the Stars of the Binge-Worthy Legal Drama

T.R Knight as Dr. George O’Malley 

T.R Knight as Dr. George O'Malley 
2005/2022; Phillip Faraone / Stringer/Getty

Dr. George O’Malley (Knight) captured everyone’s hearts for the show’s first five seasons. He was lovable and a bit of a dark horse in his intern class. Sadly, though, O’Malley never became an attending because he was hit by a bus at the end of season 5. Knight did come back, though, for an episode in 2020 after working on things like A Year and Change in 2015 and The Flight Attendant from 2020-2022.

Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd Grey’s Anatomy cast

Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd Grey's Anatomy cast
2006/2022; Marc Piasecki / Contributor/Getty

Best known for her iconic “and you must be the woman who has been screwing my husband” line at the end of season one, the iconic neonatal surgeon Addison Montgomery-Shepherd was played by none other than Kate Walsh. She appeared on the show for two seasons before leaving to star in the hit spin-off, Private Practice. Walsh returned to Grey’s Anatomy in 2021 and in 2023. She has also appeared in Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), 13 Reasons Why (2017-2019), The Umbrella Academy (2019-2022) and Emily in Paris (2020-2022).

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