Besides being popular shows about vampires, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood also shared several cast members, from Adina Porter to Courtney Ford.
Besides being shows about vampires and romance, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood featured a lot of actors who appeared in both series. Spanning over eight seasons and two spinoffs called The Originals and Legacies, The Vampire Diaries followed the denizens of Mystic Falls and the eternal struggles between vampires and various other magical folks. Because the show was known for its romance and visual appeal, it utilized a host of young stars whose work on the series landed them roles elsewhere. Even the smallest role in The Vampire Diaries was a mark of success for an up-and-coming actor.
Airing at around the same time in the late 2000s, the HBO original series True Blood was quite similar to The Vampire Diaries though it wasn’t constrained by basic cable censorship. TV shows like True Blood also needed a large cast of guest stars, and the crossover appeal between the two audiences was quite natural. True Blood was raunchier and of a more overtly sexual nature than TVD, but it also told tales of ancient vampires and their struggles against other mythical monsters. Even if their vampire mythos was wildly different, the two series both had long-lasting appeal that comes through in TVD’s spinoffs, and True Blood’s possible reboot.
Dawn Olivieri – Andie Star/Janice Herveaux
Remembered by TVD fans as Andie Star in seasons 2 and 3 of the show, Dawn Olivieri played a similar-sized role when she appeared in True Blood. As Andie, Olivieri was Damon’s very brief love interest following Rose’s heartbreaking TVD death, but she was mostly being used by him. As Janice Herveaux in True Blood, she was a much more independent character as the spunky werewolf, but her character mostly took a back seat to her younger brother Alcide, and her two-episode stint didn’t give her much of a chance to leave a mark on the series.
James Harvey Ward – Cody Webber/Felton Norris
James Harvey Ward’s appearance in TVD was brief, and it was his time on True Blood that was more noticeable. Ward’s sole TVD outing came in season 2, episode 10, “The Sacrifice” where he played vampire henchman Cody Webber, who was killed by Elijah while trying to kidnap Elena. Though his violent and permanent death in The Vampire Diaries was memorable in its own right, it paled in comparison to his role as Felton Norris in True Blood. Ward’s turn as Felton saw him lust after his sister Crystal in hopes of keeping the werepanther lineage strong, and his season 3 and 4 arc was a creepy display of his talents.
Daniel Gillies – Elijah Mikaelson/Jon
Daniel Gillies’ role as Elijah Mikaelson in TVD was an integral part of the franchise and, he had a fascinating arc that saw him grow from a villain to one of the show’s antiheroes. Exemplary at portraying the suave and sinister sides of the Original vampire, Gillies took a much larger role in the spinoff The Originals, set in the Vampire Diaries timeline. His part in True Blood as the thief Jon who was killed by Sam Merlotte in season 3, episode 10, “I Smell A Rat” was tiny, but his turn as the cagey conman was the polar opposite of his take on Elijah in TVD.
Arielle Kebbel – Lexi Branson/Charlene
Played by Arielle Kebbel in TVD season 1, Lexi Branson was a 300-year-old vampire who met her end in season 1, episode 8, “162 Candles”. Though she would make sporadic appearances throughout the rest of the series, in flashbacks and as a spirit, she was killed in her first episode by Damon to cover up the creepy vampire murders in Mystic Falls. Kebbel’s turn in True Blood was in season 3, episode 10, “I Smell A Rat”, as Charlene, Sam Merlotte’s old girlfriend who tried to rob him along with Jon, played by fellow TVD actor Gillies.
Courtney Ford – Vanessa Monroe/Portia Bellefleur
While visiting Duke University on the hunt for information about werewolves in season 2, episode 3, “Bad Moon Rising”, Elena, Damon, and Alaric teamed up with Vanessa Monroe played by Courtney Ford. Though it was only a one-episode appearance, Ford breathed life into the grad student, and her crossbow confrontation with Elena was an episode highlight. Ford played an even larger role in True Blood when she stepped into the part of Portia Bellefleur in seasons 4 and 6. Though her character was peripheral, her defining moment came when she pursued Bill despite knowing he was her ancestor.
Adina Porter – Nandi LaMarche/Lettie Mae Thornton
Before starring in some of American Horror Story’s best seasons, Adina Porter had already made a name for herself in horror roles in shows like TVD and True Blood. In TVD season 4, episode 8, “We’ll Always Have Bourbon Street”, Porter played Nandi LaMarche, a powerful witch whom the Salvatore brothers met in New Orleans. In contrast to her earnest one-off role on TVD, Porter appeared in every season of True Blood as Lettie Mae Thornton, Tara’s abusive mother who rejected her when she became a vampire. Porter’s characters on TV were always complex, but as Lettie Mae, she showed off her talents by playing a true villain.
Janina Gavankar – Qetsiyah/Luna Garza
Tasked with playing one of the most powerful witches in the Vampire Diaries universe, Janina Gavankar was perfectly cast as the ancient and stately Qetsiyah. Discussed throughout season 4, she eventually appeared in season 5 and sought her revenge against Silas in the modern day. Meanwhile, on True Blood seasons 4 and 5, Gavankar portrayed Luna Garza, the shapeshifter who had a brief fling with Sam Merlotte but was mostly committed to the welfare of her daughter. Unlike her Qetsiyah role, Gavankar’s Luna character was powerful and yet emotionally vulnerable, and she constantly fought against her raging temper.
Cherilyn Wilson – Samara/Cammy
Though most alumni of The Vampire Diaries played much different parts in True Blood, Cherilyn Wilson’s two roles were actually quite similar. First, in TVD season 3, episode 1, “The Birthday”, Wilson played the kind but gullible Samara whose death was one of the worst things Stefan ever did. In True Blood, Wilson played a sorority girl named Cammy who made advances on Jason Stackhouse but was rebuffed, despite his reputation as a notorious lady’s man. Though Cammy’s fate was much less grim, Wilson’s performances were consistent across both shows and showcased her ability to play an open and naive character.