Check out my TV’s Top 10 favourite twins on tvguide.ca!
You may or may not know this, but many young characters on TV are portrayed by twins — not only to share the acting load, but because of child labour laws, too. In some instances, twins are even used to fill the roles of identical siblings rather than having one actor pull double duty.
June 13, 2011 marks the 25th birthday of arguably the most famous twins in the entertainment biz: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. To celebrate their quarter-century milestone, we’ve compiled a list of the best twins on television. Some very popular characters have been portrayed by identical siblings and may surprise you.
Who made the cut for our favourite twosomes? Click here to find out.
Thoughts? Comment below.
1. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
The top spot on the list has to go to the birthday girls themselves, who are actually fraternal twins. Both girls started acting at the tender age of nine months, famously sharing the role of Michelle Tanner on Full House from 1987 until the show’s demise in 1995. They were credited jointly as Mary-Kate Ashley Olsen to keep viewers from catching on that it was two girls who were delivering Michelle’s favourite (and adorable) one-liners, such as “You got it, dude!” and “You’re in big trouble, mister!” The girls got to act side-by-side in four different episodes of Full House, though, including the series finale where one played an amnesia-riddled Michelle and the other, her conscience.
The Olsens’ careers did not stop at Full House, however, despite some unfruitful projects. Mary-Kate and Ashley also played twins on the short-lived shows Two of a Kind and So Little Time, as well as in films like It Takes Two, Passport to Paris and New York Minute. In addition to acting, the girls also became the face of a mystery book series, multiple clothing lines and Barbie dolls, among other things.
2. Dylan and Cole Sprouse
After the Olsens, the path was paved for young twins. These fraternal doubles landed their first shared TV role when they were just eight months old, playing Patrick Kelly on Grace Under Fire for five years. Afterwards, Dylan and Cole shared roles in films as well — their breakout movie was Big Daddy, which co-starred Adam Sandler.
What some people may not know is that Cole alone played Ross’ son Ben on Friends, but the two brothers worked together again when they landed what grew to be a smash-hit TV show for kids and pre-teens: The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (2005-2008), which then nabbed a sequel titled The Suite Life on Deck (2008-2011). The boys continued to portray brothers Zack and Cody in The Suite Life Movie, too, which was released in 2011.
Last year, both Dylan and Cole were accepted to New York University and plan to begin studying there soon.
3. Cynthia and Brittany Daniel
Cynthia and Brittany made their acting debut in an episode of The New Leave It To Beaver after modelling for teen magazines. Following this, Brittany scored a lead part in a lesser-known Sarah Michelle Gellar show called Swans Crossing. Finally, the girls landed their breakout roles (the only well-known ones, too) as opposing twin sisters Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield on Sweet Valley High, a teen drama that aired for four seasons before being cancelled due to low ratings.
Since then, Cynthia has given up acting in lieu of photography, while Brittany has carried out her Tinseltown career, starring in The Game for the past four years.
4. Tia and Tamera Mowry
Tia and Tamera Mowry are best known for playing twin sisters of the same names on Sister, Sister. From 1994-99, these identical twins portrayed the Landry sisters who were separated at birth and reunited as teenagers. The Mowrys also have a connection to the Olsens as Sister, Sister was developed specifically for them after a producer spotted them on the set of Full House with their brother, Tahj, who had a recurring guest role on the family show as Teddy, one of Michelle’s best friends.
Currently, Tia plays Melanie Barnett Davis on The Game, starring alongside Tahj and Sweet Valley High twin Brittany Daniel. Tamera was last seen in the ABC Family series Roommates. Both of the twins are now married.
5. Sullivan and Sawyer Sweeten
It might be hard to believe, but Ray Barone’s adorable twin boys are now 16 years old! Sullivan and Sawyer started playing Michael and Geoffrey Barone, respectively, on Everybody Loves Raymond at the age of one. They were joined by their real-life older sister Madylin, who portrayed Barone sibling Ally. During their 10 years growing up on Raymond, the boys also shared the role of Milton on Even Stevens.
6. Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit
Yet another connection to the Olsen twins: Blake and Dylan played Michelle Tanner’s younger cousins, Nicky and Alex Katsopolis, on Full House. The twins were introduced in 1992 as the children of Uncle Jessie (John Stamos) and Aunt Becky (Lori Loughlin), and continued to star on the series until its final bow in 1995. Both Blake and Dylan quit acting after Full House and lead the lives of average 20-year-olds today.
7. Max and Charlie Carver
Max and Charlie Carver are 22, but have only been acting since 2008, when they landed the roles of Porter and Preston Scavo on ABC’s Desperate Housewives. The twins have played Lynette’s oldest sons since Season 5. Previously, the roles were filled by other famous acting twins Brent and Shane Kinsman (Cheaper by the Dozen), who portrayed their characters at a younger age. Since he began appearing on Housewives, Max has also guest-starred on The Office and Good Luck Charlie.
8. Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush
From 1974-82, NBC primetime drama Little House on the Prairie delighted audiences with stories based on the novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Like the Olsens, the Greenbush twins were credited as one person, Lindsay Sidney Greenbush, for their shared role as little Carrie Ingalls.
A couple of years and some small cameo roles later, the twins put acting behind them. Today, they are 41 years old with interests that include horses and boxing.
9. Diane and Erin Murphy
These fraternal twins shared the role of Tabitha Stephens on Bewitched for just one season. As they grew, the girls began to physically differentiate, so Erin took over for the remaining six seasons of the show. Diane left the industry at the age of 13, while Erin continued to act in over 100 commercials and in TV shows like Lassie. She’s since gone on to become a makeup artist, a fashion stylist, an acting teacher, a game show host and a stunt double.
10. Ella and Jaden Hiller
Many people may not realize that Mitchell and Cameron’s adopted baby girl, Lily, is actually portrayed by twin girls Ella and Jaden Hiller. The girls are still small toddlers, but if Modern Family has as long of a TV run as Full House did, these twins could potentially become the next Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.