The all-time greatest doctors in pop culture

The fourth season of “The Resident” debuts on FOX on Jan. 12, 2021. In honor of the medical drama — which centers around Matt Czuchry’s Dr. Conrad Hawkins, the newly instated chief resident at the fictional Chastain Park Memorial Hospital in Atlanta — is taking a look back at some of the greatest doctors in pop culture history. Keep reading to see if your favorite made the list…

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Is there any TV doctor more beloved than Ellen Pompeo’s Dr. Meredith Grey? We think not! The actress-producer has starred on the hit ABC medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” — which will likely enter its 18th season later in 2021 — since 2005. In 2007, she earned a Golden Globe nomination for her efforts.

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Long before McDreamy featured on “Grey’s Anatomy,” there was George Clooney’s Dr. Doug Ross on “ER.” The handsome pediatrician appeared on the first five seasons of the long-running medical drama, which aired from 1994 to 2009. The actor scored two Emmy nominations and three Golden Globe nominations for his work on the NBC series.

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Unless you were living under a rock in 2020, you know Dr. Anthony Fauci — now arguably the most popular man in American medicine thanks to his gig as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a position he’s held since 1984. The physician and immunologist shot into the spotlight amid the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly became a leading voice of reason during the national crisis. (Brad Pitt even scored an Emmy nomination for portraying the doctor on “Saturday Night Live” in May 2020!)

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as gifted surgeon Dr. Stephen Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He made his big debut as the Sorcerer Supreme in 2016’s “Doctor Strange” and has since appeared in “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” His next stand-alone film, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” will open in theaters in early 2022.


Jane Seymour won a Golden Globe and scored two Emmy nominations for her work as Dr. Michaela Quinn — a Colorado-based physician during the late 1800s — on the CBS Western “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” which aired for six seasons between 1993 and 1998 and spawned two made-for-TV movies.

Neil Patrick Harris shot into the spotlight portraying the titular teenage physician on “Doogie Howser, M.D.” He even scored a Golden Globe nomination for his work on the medical drama, which ran for four seasons on ABC between 1989 and 1993.

Andre Romelle Young doesn’t have a medical degree, but he’s definitely one of pop culture’s most beloved doctors. You know him as Dr. Dre! Sadly, he became more familiar with hospitals in early 2021 than he probably would’ve liked: On Jan. 4, the hip-hop mogul suffered a brain aneurysm and was rushed via ambulance to Los Angeles’s famed Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he spent time in the ICU.

Zach Braff went from being a relatively unknown actor to a bona fide star thanks to his work as Dr. John Michael “J.D.” Dorian — a quirky but skilled physician at the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital — on “Scrubs,” which aired on NBC and ABC from 2001 to 2010. He earned an Emmy nomination and three Golden Globe nominations for his work on the medical comedy.

“Lost” may not have been a medical show, but it still featured one of our all-time favorite TV doctors: Dr. Jack Shephard. Matthew Fox portrayed the spinal surgeon on the supernatural adventure-drama, which aired on ABC from 2004 to 2010. He scored an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for his efforts.

After small roles in “Knocked Up,” “Step Brothers” and “Pineapple Express,” Ken Jeong scored a major breakthrough when he starred as Mr. Chow in “The Hangover.” New fans were shocked to discover the funnyman isn’t just a comedian — he’s also a licensed physician. (He gave up practicing medicine when his acting career took off, though he still retains his medical license.) The multi-hyphenate later created, wrote, executive produced and starred on the ABC sitcom “Dr. Ken.” He portrayed arrogant general practitioner Dr. Kendrick Park on the short-lived comedy, which aired for two seasons between 2015 and 2017.


Alan Alda won five Emmys (across multiple categories) for his work as an actor, a writer and a director on the lauded medical dramedy “M*A*S*H” as well as six Golden Globes for his performance as Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, a doctor serving at the titular American mobile Army surgical hospital during the Korean War. The hit series aired for 11 seasons on CBS between 1972 and 1983. (Alan has portrayed doctors on three more notable series since then: Dr. Gabriel Lawrence during a five-episode stint on “ER” in 1999, oncologist Dr. Atticus Sherman on “The Big C” from 2011 to 2013 and therapist Dr. Arthur Amiot on “Ray Donovan” from 2018 to 2020.)

Eddie Murphy brought the funny as surgeon Dr. John Dolittle — who becomes a veterinarian when he’s no longer able to deny his ability to communicate with animals — in the 1998 family comedy “Doctor Dolittle,” which is based on a series of children’s stories of the same name. He returned to the role in a 2001 sequel, which launched a franchise — three additional sequels center around John’s daughter, Maya (Kyla Pratt).

We wouldn’t dream of choosing an all-time favorite Doctor considering the “Doctor Who” franchise is still going strong after nearly 60 years… But we have to give special props to the Thirteenth Doctor — the first time ever the ancient alien Time Lord has appeared in the form of a woman. Jodie Whittaker has portrayed the current iteration of the Doctor on the British sci-fi series since 2018. Season 13 of “Doctor Who” is set to debut later in 2021, though there are reports Jodie will retire from the role after that. In recent years, Matt Smith, David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston and Peter Capaldi have also taken on the part.

Kelsey Grammer won four Emmys and two Golden Globes for his work as Dr. Frasier Crane on “Frasier,” which aired on NBC for 11 seasons between 1993 and 2004. The character — a psychiatrist and radio host — initially appeared on “Cheers” between 1984 and 1993.


The “Star Trek” franchise has featured many memorable medical professionals, but only one forever holds our heart… Gates McFadden portrayed the Enterprise’s chief medical officer, Dr. Beverly Crusher, on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which aired in syndication from 1987 to 1994. She returned to the role in four films: “Star Trek Generations,” “Star Trek: First Contact,” “Star Trek: Insurrection” and “Star Trek: Nemesis.”


Of all the real-life doctors who’ve gotten famous on TV over the years, our favorite is Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The handsome neurosurgeon serves as CNN’s chief medical correspondent. (Dr. Phil’s got nothing on him!)

Gillian Anderson starred as Dr. Dana Scully — an FBI special agent and medical doctor — in the “X-Files” franchise. The original series aired for nine season on FOX between 1993 and 2002. It spawned two films and a 2016 two-season reboot that came to an end in 2018. The actress won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her efforts.

Hugh Laurie earned six Emmy nominations and won two Golden Globes for his performance as Dr. Gregory House — the curmudgeon who runs a team of diagnosticians at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey — on the FOX series “House.” The medical drama ran for eight seasons between 2004 and 2012.

He may not be a medical doctor, but physicist Emmett “Doc” Brown is certainly one of pop culture’s most beloved doctors! Christopher Lloyd portrayed the inventor in the “Back to the Future” trilogy.

There were many eerie parallels between Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 thriller “Contagion” and the COVID-19 pandemic. In the all-star drama, which centers around the outbreak of an extremely deadly novel virus, Kate Winslet portrays epidemiologist Dr. Erin Mears, an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer with the CDC. Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard and John Hawkes round out the cast.

Omar Sharif portrayed the titular doctor and poet in the lauded 1965 adaptation of “Doctor Zhivago.” The epic romantic drama, which is set during the Russian Revolution, won five Academy Awards — including best adapted screenplay — and scored another five Oscar nominations, including best picture and best director.


Torrey DeVitto has stared as widowed emergency pediatrics specialist Dr. Natalie Manning on “Chicago Med” since 2015. The medical drama, which is part of NBC’s “Chicago” franchise, is currently in its sixth season.

Julian McMahon starred as bad boy plastic surgeon Dr. Christian Troy on the hit Ryan Murphy series “Nip/Tuck,” which aired on FX from 2003 to 2010. He scored a Golden Globe nomination for his efforts.

Former “90210” heartthrob Ryan Eggold stars as Dr. Max Goodwin, the medical director at the titular hospital on the NBC drama “New Amsterdam” — which is based on New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, one of the oldest public hospitals in the United States. The medical drama, which NBC renewed for three additional seasons in early 2020, is set to enter its third season in late 2021.

Dr. Sandra Lee went viral around 2015 when videos of her performing skin extractions on a wide array of patients suddenly gained a loyal following on Instagram. Three years later, the dermatologist scored her own TLC reality show, “Dr. Pimple Popper,” which entered its fifth season in late 2020.

Former child star Freddie Highmore earned his first Golden Globe nomination in 2018 for his work as Dr. Shaun Murphy — a young autistic surgeon with savant syndrome — on ABC’s “The Good Doctor.” The medical drama entered its fourth season in late 2020.


Gene Wilder starred as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein — a lecturing physician and the grandson of mad scientist Victor Frankenstein — in the hysterical 1974 Mel Brooks comedy “Young Frankenstein,” which scored two Oscar nominations, including best adapted screenplay.

There have been many noteworthy portrayals of Sherlock Holmes’ right-hand man, Dr. John Watson, over the years. But out favorite is Jude Law’s. The English actor portrayed the surgeon in Guy Ritchie’s 2009 box office hit “Sherlock Holmes” and its 2011 sequel, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.”

It’s only been around for a single season, but the Canadian series “Transplant” is already a huge hit in the United States. (NBC ordered a second season in late 2020, just months after “Transplant” started making waves with American audiences.) The medical drama centers around Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq), a refugee who rebuilds his medical career in Toronto after fleeing the Syrian Civil War.

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