15 of Meghan Markle's Movie & TV Roles That Helped Define Her Career

Martha Sorren | Jan 14, 2020 Celebrities
15 of Meghan Markle's Movie & TV Roles That Helped Define Her Career
Image: Frank Ockenfels/USA/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Meghan Markle in Suits
Frank Ockenfels/USA/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Now that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are leaving their roles as senior members of the royal family to become "financially independent," some people are wondering just how the couple plans to make money now. They're reportedly starting up a charity, but to make an income could we see Meghan returning to acting? It may seem like she left that behind a lifetime ago, but it wasn't really that long ago that acting was her full-time profession. In fact, episodes of Suits aired into 2018, meaning she's only been away from our TV screens (in an acting capacity) for fewer than two years.

Meghan's life has changed a lot since then, so she may want to focus more on her charity efforts than her acting skills. But her leaving of the royal family is at least worth a walk down memory lane of some of her best roles.

Harry's wife has been on TV since 1995. Over the years, she grew her craft and started landing larger roles on major TV shows. Soon she was the lead of her own Hallmark movie. As she worked her way up, she sometimes took jobs she wasn't always thrilled about (a certain game show comes to mind), but it all got her to where she is today -- or, rather, where she was before she left the acting game for good. 

Suits is a genuinely great show, and her character helped make it what it was. It's unsurprising that the show only lasted two seasons without her. Before that role were dozens of others that Meghan Markle used as a stepladder to climb through the Hollywood ranks. She tackled every role head on (even the small parts), just like her Suits character Rachel Zane would every case.

It helped that Meghan grew up on film sets with her father, but she would likely have been a natural-born actor either way. Here are 15 of her most career-defining roles.

  • 'Married... With Children'

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    Married With Children cast
    Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images

    Meghan's father, Thomas Markle, used to be a television lighting director, as well as a director of photography. He worked on Married... With Children when Meghan was young, and she would often visit the set. One day, she even got to appear in an episode, playing "Student Sitting on Stage" in the 1995 episode "The Undergraduate."

  • 'General Hospital'

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    After Meghan appeared on Married... With Children, her first real acting role came in 2002 on General Hospital. In the November 14, 2002, episode, she played a nurse named Jill. Watch a clip of her performance above.

  • 'A Lot Like Love'

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    The duchess had two more small TV roles before landing her first movie in 2005. The part wasn't big; she played "Hot Girl" on a flight where she sat next to Ashton Kutcher's character. But having a movie gig at all was a sign that Meghan was moving up in the industry.

  • 'Deal or No Deal'

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    Meghan Markle on Deal or No Deal
    Trae Patton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

    From 2006 to 2007, Meghan was one of the briefcase models on the game show Deal or No Deal. Everything she's ever said about the job makes it sound like it wasn't the most pleasant experience. "I would end up standing up there forever in these terribly uncomfortable and inexpensive five-inch heels just waiting for someone to pick my number so I could go and sit down," she told Esquire about the gig in 2013. 

  • '90210'

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    Meghan had bit roles on many TV shows over the years, but not always on super popular shows. Scoring a part on 90210 in 2008 must have been a big deal for the then-27-year-old. On the series, Meghan played Wendy in two episodes ("We're Not in Kansas Anymore" and "The Jet Set") where she found herself entangled in some romantic drama with Ethan.

  • 'Fringe'

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    After her two-episode arc on 90210, Meghan got another two-episode arc in 2009. This time, it was on the show Fringe, where she played Amy Jessup in the episodes "A New Day in the Old Town" and "Night of Desirable Objects." She was a Junior FBI Agent helping the team solve crimes.

  • 'CSI: Miami'

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    In 2010, Meghan was a true hero as Officer Leah Montoya on CSI: Miami. In the "Backfire" episode, she rushed into a burning building to save a child. Unfortunately, the smoke was too much for her, and she ended up needing to be rescued by paramedics. 

    But, hey, it's the thought that counts, right?

  • 'Remember Me'

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    Meghan got to keep her name for this 2010 film titled Remember Me. She played a bartender named Megan who got to interact with Robert Pattinson's character. She later said of Pattinson, "He's a really lovely guy and a really great example to be able to watch someone who is young, whose stardom has really taken over his life in such a huge way, and yet he's still gracious, humble and cool. I think that is really endearing."

    This may not have been the biggest acting roles for Meghan, but one big takeaway from it is that Meghan married a producer on the film, Trevor Engelson. They divorced in 2013.

  • 'Horrible Bosses'

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    Horrible Bosses is another big budget movie that Meghan managed to snag a role on. She played a FedEx delivery person named Jamie who had a scene with Jason Sudeikis. In the scene, he told Jamie that she was "way too cute to be just a FedEx girl." 

    Hey, attractive women can be anything they want!

  • 'Castle'

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    Meghan's role on the 2012 "Once Upon a Crime" episode of Castle is notable ... because she plays a princess! 

    A killer was on the prowl in the episode, preying on women dressed as different fairy tale characters. Meghan's character was dressed as Sleeping Beauty, and she was narrowly saved by the Castle team before her would-be murder.

    If only Meghan Markle had known then that she'd be a real princess soon enough.

  • 'Random Encounters' 

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    After working her way up through small movie and TV roles, Meghan finally scored a big role in the 2013 movie Random Encounters. In it, she played Mindy who, along with her best girl friend, gives online dating a try to see what kind of men are out there.

  • 'When Sparks Fly'

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    Meghan Markle in When Sparks Fly
    Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: David Owen Strongman

    Perhaps Random Encounters captured the right audience, because a year later, Meghan was starring in her very first Hallmark movie. When Sparks Fly came out in 2014 and followed Amy, a big city reporter who goes home to her small town to write about its Independence Day celebrations. Soon, she sees everything she's left behind in a whole new light -- including one of the town's charming young bachelors.

  • 'Anti-Social'

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    In this 2015 film, Meghan played Kirsten, the main character's girlfriend. She thinks she's dating an edgy street artist, but underneath that exterior he's also involved in a dangerous world of criminal gang activity. 

    Yikes.

  • 'Dater's Handbook'

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    Meghan Markle, Kristoffer Polaha in Dater's Handbook
    Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Liane Hentscher

    Meghan's second (and final) Hallmark movie aired in 2016. In Dater's Handbook, she played Cass, a businesswoman who has her career on lock but a little less of a grip on her dating life. At the suggestion of her sister, Cass tries a self-help book called The Daters Handbook, and follows its guidelines to date several men at once. Could she find herself falling for more than one of them?

    What a conundrum, indeed.

  • 'Suits'

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    Meghan Markle in Suits
    Robert Ascroft/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

    Meghan's final and perhaps most notable and well-known role was in the USA show Suits. From 2011 to 2018 (when she left to marry Prince Harry) Meghan played Rachel Zane. She started the show as a paralegal and worked her way up to be a big-shot lawyer -- much the way Meghan worked her way up in Hollywood. 

    The show continued on for two more seasons after Meghan left, but it was never the same without her presence.

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