‘Scrubs’ Star Sarah Chalke Also Starred in Another Popular ABC Show

Sarah Chalke is best known for her role as Dr. Elliot in the hit TV show Scrubs. But before she donned her stethoscope at Sacred Heart Hospital, Chalke had already appeared in another popular sitcom. Yet, although she was a member of the cast of that show for three years, viewers never quite accepted her in the role.

Thankfully, her career didn’t end there, and she went on to play a number of characters that belonged to nobody but her. 

How she became “Second Becky”

Sarah Chalke
Sarah Chalke | Jordin Althaus/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank

According to Closer Weekly, when the sitcom Roseanne debuted in 1988, the part of Roseanne’s daughter Becky was played by Lecy Goranson. But by the end of Season 5, Goranson had started college. She stuck with the show for a while, but soon she found that her academic life was too demanding for her to keep up with filming. She bowed out of the series, and Chalke was given the role. 

Season 6 started with Chalke as Becky, with a few jokes, but no real explanation about the change. To add to the confusion, she played Becky for Seasons 6 and 7, then Goranson came back for Season 8. Chalke took over the part again the next year for the final season. 

Understandably, this back-and-forth caused some upheaval among the viewers, and for years Chalk was known as “Second Becky.” But Chalke’s career spans much more than her years on Roseanne, and her biggest role came after her time as Becky. 

Sarah Chalke’s career

RELATED: ‘Scrubs’: J.D. and Elliot’s Stunt Doubles Fell in Love on Set

According to TV Guide, Chalke began her love of acting at eight years old, when she appeared in musical theater shows in her hometown of Vancouver. She broke into TV at 12 years old, as an environmental reporter on the kids’ series KidZone. She was 16 when she got the part on Roseanne, and when that show ended in 1997, she went on to appear in a handful of made-for-TV movies. 

In 2001, she landed her true breakthrough role, as Dr. Elliot Reid in the sitcom Scrubs. For the next nine seasons, she captured viewers’ hearts as the awkward doctor in an on-and-off-again romance with fellow doctor JD. 

Although it was a comedy, Scrubs was surprisingly accurate when it came to medical details. It turned out that having some background in medical acting would come in handy for Chalke later, when she pitched a storyline for a famous medical drama. She not only landed a guest role on the show, but she was able to bring attention to a rare disease that had hit too close to home. 

After the ‘Scrubs’ years

Nicki Swift reports that in 2013, Chalke contacted Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes, asking to play a single mother whose child is sick. It turns out that the child is suffering from a rare and potentially fatal autoimmune condition, Kawasaki Disease (KD).

She was given the storyline and the role, which meant a great deal to her because it brought light to the condition. Chalke’s son, Charlie, had suffered from KD, and she wanted to get information out to other parents about how important it is to recognize it and get treatment immediately. 

On top of that, Chalke has also appeared in other popular TV series, including How I Met Your Mother and Cougar Town. Currently, she voices the character Beth Smith on the hit Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty

Chalke may have been considered a mere stand-in for the real Becky early in her career, but these days, it’s clear that she’s one of a kind.