The New York-born actress Hayden Panettiere actually did get her start the traditional way, in not just one but two soap operas ("Guiding Light," "One Life to Live") -- which makes sense considering her mother, Lesley Vogel, also worked in the soaps. She paid her dues on "L&O" before cracking household-name fame as the cheerleader in "Heroes." Since then, she scored the titular role in a TV flick about the Amanda Knox murder trial and came under threat in "Scream 4" -- a different kind of Hollywood tradition.
Who else made it big after their "L&O" appearance? Let us know in the comments below.
Stars on 'Law & Order' Before Their Big Break
See a few of the now-famous alumni who did their time on "Law & Order." — Vera H-C Chan