Duff rejoins long line of singers acting out in TV roles


They can carry a tune, but can they carry an acting role?

A number of music stars have tackled television series work, and Hilary Duff is joining their ranks again. After her Disney Channel run in "Lizzie McGuire," she gets back into home-screen work by joining the CW drama series "Gossip Girl" Monday, Oct. 5.

Whether Duff will sing in her new role remains to be seen, but it's possible. She plays movie star Olivia Burke, who tries to fit in at New York University – becoming the roommate of freshman Vanessa (Jessica Szohr). She's also destined to cross paths with Blair and Dan ( Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley) at the same school.

Over the years, other singers have staked claims as television actors. Here's a look at some.

Ricky Nelson, "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" (1952-66, ABC): The acting came first for Nelson in the sitcom about his family, but his eventual music success became wedded to his work on the show. Even when one of his songs wasn't a part of the given week's story, a segment with him singing would be added at the end.

Bing Crosby, "The Bing Crosby Show" (1964-65, ABC): Crosby was such a long-established singing talent by the time he launched this sitcom, giving him a series in which he couldn't croon a tune was inconceivable. Two things helped: He was cast as an ex-singer, and the character's name also happened to be Bing.

Ed Ames, "Daniel Boone" (1964-70, NBC): A 1950s singing success with his siblings, collectively known as the Ames Brothers, Ames struck out on his own and found television stardom as frontiersman Boone's ally Mingo. During that run, he found his way back to the heights of the music charts with "My Cup Runneth Over."

Robert Goulet, "Blue Light" (1966, ABC): Popular for singing on variety programs and in the original Broadway staging of "Camelot," Goulet went music-free in this drama series about a World War II double agent.

Burl Ives, "The Bold Ones" (1969-72, NBC): A music star since the 1940s – encompassing his part as Sam the Snowman on the soundtrack of the holiday staple "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" – Ives played the wealthy title character in the mid-1960s sitcom "O.K. Crackerby," but he had a longer run as a senior law firm partner in the "Lawyers" element of this anthology.

Sheena Easton, "Miami Vice" (1987-88, NBC): Easton still was a music force when she was signed to play a witness protected by Miami police detective Sonny Crockett ( Don Johnson), whom she ultimately married … and left a widower soon after.

Isaac Hayes, "South Park" ( Comedy Central, 1997-present): The unmistakably deep voice of the singer-composer who won an Oscar for the hit theme for the movie "Shaft" was an essential part of the character Chef, which Hayes furnished for this ever-irreverent animated comedy until 2005. He died in 2008 but continues to be heard in the show's repeats.

Josh Groban, "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 2001): Groban's rise to musical fame coincided with his guest role as a lovelorn young man.

Reba McEntire, "Reba" (2001-07, WB Network/The CW): One of the most successful female artists in country music history built acting cred in TV movies, miniseries and feature films. McEntire then played her approachable, down-home persona for laughs in this comedy about a single parent whose complicated family life involved her ex-husband's new love.

Chris Isaak, "The Chris Isaak Show" ( Showtime, 2001-04): The "Wicked Game" singer went the "Seinfeld" route by fictionalizing his life, loves and career. The members of his band also were featured prominently.

Billy Ray Cyrus ("Doc," Pax TV, 2001-04): Mr. "Achy Breaky Heart" found a role that suited his persona in this saga of a country doctor gone metropolitan, a fine prelude to his current, wildly popular teaming with real-life and on-screen daughter Miley in Disney Channel's " Hannah Montana."

Donnie Wahlberg, "Boomtown" (NBC, 2002-03): Once a New Kid on the Block musically, Wahlberg has reinvented himself as an actor in several series, perhaps most notably in this drama as a police detective whose personal life impacted his work.

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