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The Shameless Character You Probably Didn't Realize Was Played By Five Different Actors

Eleven seasons, 134 episodes, four Emmy Awards, and a legion of fans as fiercely devoted to the show as the Gallaghers are to each other. This is the legacy of Showtime's fearlessly dysfunctional family dramedy "Shameless." Well, that's part of its legacy, at least. As most "Shameless" fans will no doubt agree, the series is a boundary-pushing drama that never met a dastardly character, controversial topic, or politically incorrect opinion it didn't like. 

During its lengthy run, the series ran the gamut of zany narratives to an extent that few series have ever attempted. It's a credit to the cast of "Shameless" that most of the central players (save for Emmy Rossum) were able to stick around from its pilot episode to its series finale as their storylines undoubtedly pushed them well out of their comfort zones. Which is all the more impressive since the series largely revolves around the younger members of the Gallagher family, with most of the cast personally coming of age on the set of "Shameless."

In fact, as Vulture explains, one of the Gallagher children was recast during the show's 11 season tenure. And it may surprise you to know that said "Shameless" character was actually played by five different actors.  

A revolving door of young actors played little Liam Gallagher over the years

The Gallagher character played by five different actors was little Liam, the youngest of the rambunctious South Side clan. And if you're wondering why the character was played by so many different actors, it's not because of poor acting or any behind the scenes kerfuffles with producers. Rather, the character was aged-up at different points in the series' run for narrative purposes. This is, of course, a regular occurrence in television, particularly on a long-running series where a character is introduced as an infant or younger. 

Such was the case with Liam Gallagher who, as Vulture explains, was but a toddler of questionable paternity when "Shameless" premiered back in 2011. During the early days of "Shameless," the series' casting team wisely did what many shows have done before with young characters. They gave the gig to twins Brennan Kane Johnson and Blake Alexander Johnson. Those two actors traded turns as Liam for the first two seasons of "Shameless' before ceding the role to another pair of twins in Brenden and Brandon Sims, who would go on to play Liam for the next five seasons of "Shameless."

As any fan can tell you, Liam did some serious growing up in those five seasons too. Apparently not quite enough, as the slightly older Christian Isiah was brought in to handle Liam's significantly beefed-up role in the show's final four seasons. And yes, kudos are clearly due to the "Shameless" casting team for making those Liam transitions all but unnoticeable even to diehard fans.