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One Oscar-Winning Actor Only Agreed to TBBT Cameo Because of His Mom

The Big Bang Theory was one of the most popular sitcoms ever screened, peaking at around 20 million viewers per episode in the US during season 7 – 9.

Nonetheless, an appearance from an Oscar-winning Hollywood star is no easy task for a comedy show. So, booking Billy Bob Thornton was a massive coup for the producers of TBBT.

With an Oscar in the bank for his role in Sling Blade, 2 Golden Globes for appearances in Goliath and Fargo, and dozens of other nominations and award-winning performances, Thornton was an unlikely casting decision – particularly as his TV work has been somewhat limited throughout his career. But that feat was helped along the way by the fact that the actor's mum is a huge fan of the show.

Thornton, himself was also a fan, but it was his mum's obsession with it that made his appearance something that the showrunners thought might genuinely happen.

It was an innocuous comment in an interview that set the ball rolling. Thornton just happened to mention that was his mum's favourite show. Upon hearing this, TBBTs executive producer, Chuck Lorre's ears pricked up. And he began to form a plan to get a Hollywood legend to make a guest appearance.

Lorre got in touch with Thornton's manager and pitched the idea, asking whether the star would make an appearance for his mum. And that swung it. When it was put to him a suggestion, Thornton said he'd "do anything" for his mum.

And so it was that, all of a sudden, a character was being created that would see Billy Bob appear on-screen alongside the usual cast members. When the idea of playing a socially awkward doctor was put forward, Thornton thought it was a great suggestion, and one he could have loads of fun with.

And his cameo was made even better by the fact that it was kept secret. Fans had no idea Billy Bob was about to appear – but they loved it when he did, and his appearance was a massive hit.

And it wasn't just fans of the show who enjoyed it. The cast also loved Billy Bob and connected well with him on set. Indeed, Kaley Cuoco described it as a "magical week". She also said they'd love to have him back.

But, alas, the show came to an end before a second cameo could be arranged. But there will always be that one appearance in The Big Bang Theory by Billy Bob Thornton. And we now know it was all thanks to his mum.

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