You are on page 1of 5 As Himself There are all kinds of fun ways to cast and credit celebrities.

We've seen cases where a very famous actor plays an impossibly small part in a movie, either as themselves or as a character. We've seen cases when a fictional character is listed in the credits as Himself/Herself. We've seen an actor playing a character with the same name as themselves. We've seen a real celebrity appear as themselves on a show for a quick laugh or maybe they take over the entire episode. And we've seen a beloved actor parody themselves by playing the flanderized version of themselves of their most well-known character for laughs. This trope is when a real-life celebrity or famous figure is playing a fictionalized version of themselves, as a main character or recurring character. This is mostly a television trope, but there are film examples. For shows that take place in an alternate Hollywood, such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage and The Larry Sanders Show, this is the norm. It would be hard to believe it's Hollywood if you'd never heard of any of the "stars", would it? This real celebrity is playing themselves, but they are inserted into fictional circumstances, play alongside clearly fictitious characters and sometimes have fictional backstories in relation to those fictional characters. This differs from an Autobiographical Role, where the celebrity is playing themselves in the actual story of their life. As Himself is usually credited as, well: Alice as Herself. Though occasionally you will see Alice as Alice. An actor might request the latter if they want it to be clearer that this is a purely fictionalized version of themselves. Occasionally, there will be an example of this with a deceased star/famous figure. This will often be done using archive footage, but the trope still applies because they are still playing themselves in fictional circumstances (Forrest Gump didn't actually meet John F Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson, folks). Remember, if it's just a short gag, or one episode, that's either a Special Guest or a straight Cameo. What's the difference between this and The Danza? Ask yourself this... is Alice playing a character who just happens to be named Alice as well? Or is she actually playing Alice? The first one is The Danza. The latter is As Himself. Compare Celebrity Star, Character As Himself, Special Guest and Adam Westing.


A posthumous example with Good Night And Good Luck, where Senator Joe McCarthy is played by himself, using archive footage. His performance was deemed quite "over the top" by test audiences who didn't read all the promo material provided. Neil Patrick Harris as Neil Patrick Harris in both Harold And Kumar movies. He requested not to be credited "as Himself", to make it clear he's not a drug-sniffing, car-stealing womanizer in Real Life (he is in fact, the complete opposite an upstanding and gay gentleman). John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich. (Although it's worth noting that the fictional John Malkovich has a different middle name from the actor playing him.)

Forrest Gump meets many famous figures throughout his travels, some played by actors, but others played by archive footage. Both times he meets the president, it's done using archive footage. Obviously fictional circumstances, since Forrest Gump didn't really exist. Paul Giamatti plays Paul Giamatti in Cold Souls Bill Murray's appearance in Zombieland was widely promoted as a Cameo, but it actually falls into this territory, since he's in the movie for quite a bit of time (playing himself) and is actually the only other speaking character outside of the main four, before Columbus shoots him. The Beatles were playing themselves, but obviously inserted into fictional circumstances in A Hard Days Night and Help. o Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and others in Give My Regards To Broadstreet. Hamlet2 had 'Elizabeth Shue as Elizabeth Shue'. Bruce Campbell as Bruce Campbell in My Name is Bruce, though this example may skirt into Adam Westing territory. Peter Falk plays Peter Falk in Wings of Desire In Sunset Boulevard, film director Cecil B De Mille plays himself. The Blues Brothers plays with this, featuring the band members playing themselves. The majority of them were part of the original backing band, and are well known Blues legends, including Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn (both of whom played for Otis Redding, amongst others), and Matt "Guitar" Murphy. Paul Schaffer turns up in BB 2 K, but he's not actually playing himself he instead adopts a thick French accent, playing the role of Queen Mousette's aide, Marco. He later takes off the wig and performs with the band, though, for which he gets credited both as Marco and as himself on the end credits list. Every actor in Coffee and Cigarettes plays themself, although arguably some of the minor characters may be cases of The Danza. Funny People features several famous or once-famous comedians and entertainers as friends of the fictional George Simmons, whose career appears largely inspired by that of Adam Sandler, who plays him. Zoe Bell plays herself in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof. Jean-Claude Van Damme in JCVD. Stan Lee appears as himself in Mallrats.

Live Action TV

Pop star George Michael played himself in the first season of Eli Stone, appearing both in musical visions and in the real world. At the end of the season, it's heavily implied that he is God. A few Entourage examples: o Mandy Moore played herself as Vince's costar in Aquaman. They supposedly dated when they starred together in another (very real) movie years earlier. o Seth Green has shown up as himself several times, mostly to annoy Eric that he (maybe) dated Sloan before E did. o Jamie-Lynn Sigler is currently appearing as herself, dating Turtle. Even more bizarre, considering the two are now dating in Real Life. o Ed Burns plays himself as the producer of Drama's show.

Several directors have appeared as themselves as well, including James Cameron and Gus Van Sant. Loads in Doctor Who, among them Derek Acorah, Paul O'Grady and Alistair Appleton. Some Curb Your Enthusiasm examples: o Larry David himself at first glance this appears to be a case of Adam Westing, until you learn that the Larry David we see on the show is not very exagerrated at all from the real Larry David. o Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer and Mel Brooks appeared when they were putting on a revival of The Producers. o Richard Lewis and Ted Danson as Larry's friends, along with Mary Steenburgen and Rosie O'Donnell. o The entire cast of Seinfeld in the lastest season. Posthumous example - Adolf Hitler in Red Dwarf (using archive footage with Craig Charles superimposed next to him). Exists solely for a few Historical In Joke gags regarding his missing testicle and his briefcase. The Larry Sanders Show had several, including Jon Stewart as his rival and David Duchovny, who had a gay crush on Larry. Bill Nye The Science Guy and Neil De Grasse-Tyson both guest starred in an episode of Stargate Atlantis. Neil was little more than a cameo, but Bill Nye played a somewhat extensive part. Seinfeld had several throughout the years. Most memorably, Keith Hernandez (the former New York Met), shows up as himself several times, before and after he dates Elaine. Garry Shandling in Its Garry Shandlings Show. Creed Bratton on The Office falls between this and Adam Westing. Lou Ferrigno in The King Of Queens. Angela's father in Bones is Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Icelandic celebrity rn rnason was for quite a while the main star of a series titled "Waking up with Grandpa" or something like that. So as not to spoil the illusion for kids watching, Grandpa was always credited as himself. Summer Glau played herself in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Josh Groban played himself in the Glee episode "Acafellas." Baywatch - Lifeguard Michael "Newmie" Newman is played by Michael Newman, a real LA County lifeguard. Stephen Hawking appeared as a hologram of himself in Star Trek The Next Generation. He played poker with Data, Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Clete Roberts in two episodes of [[MASH]].


Stew, book writer and co-music writer of the semi-autobiographical show Passing Strange, starred in the original productions as The Narrator, who introduces himself in the first song as "Stew", which just adds to the strangeness because he's narrating a story based on the real Stew's life story, which is also strongly implied to be the character Stew's literal life story. It's a little confusing if you think about it too hard, so don't.

Web Original

Bill Murray plays himself in Fact Checkers Unit .

Western Animation

Stephen Hawking has appeared as himself in episodes of The Simpsons and Futurama. Autobiographical Role When someone plays himself in a Docudrama, Biopic, or other dramatization of a true story. This is not a celebrity or public figure appearing "as himself" in an entirely fictional work. Those examples should go under As Himself. This is when events are being re-enacted by the person who enacted them in the first place. Compare Real Person Cameo. Contrast Character As Himself, in which a fictional character is given a real-world screen credit.


Audie Murphy in To Hell and Back. Various police officers, bank employees and bystanders in The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery. Frank Wills, the security guard, in All the President's Men. The film Alice's Restaurant recounts a true but comically exaggerated Thanksgiving adventure. Arlo Guthrie played himself and Stockbridge police chief William Obanhein ("Officer Obie") played himself in the film version, explaining to Newsweek magazine that making himself look like a fool was preferable to having somebody else make him look like a fool. Singer Pete Seeger also played himself. Rudy Reyes plays himself in Generation Kill, because creators David Simon and Ed Burns couldn't find an actor who was both beautiful enough and hippie-ish enough to handle the mythical creature (David Simon: "He's like a unicorn!" ) that is Fruity Rudy. United 93: several of those involved in the events surrounding the hijacking played themselves, most notably Ben Sliney . Muhammad Ali starred in The Greatest, a biopic about himself. Fantasia Barrino played herself in the Made For TV Movie Life Is Not a Fairytale, based on her memoir. Jerry Lawler, David Letterman, and most of the cast of Taxi played themselves in Man On The Moon (a Biopic of Andy Kaufman). Howard Stern played himself in the film version of Private Parts. And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself is in fact about a film being made about the Mexican revolutionary who sold the rights to film one of his battles which resulted in The Life Of General Villa, which did indeed star Pancho Villa as himself. The Iranian film Close-Up has this for essentially all of the people who were involved. Dee Snider had a particularly shameless film called Warning: Parental Advisory, a madefor-TV movie about how he stuck it to the PMRC. Who better play to Jackie Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story than Jackie Robinson?

Ann Jillian played herself in the 1988 Made For TV Movie The Ann Jillian Story, about her struggle with breast cancer. Semi-Example: Eminem in Eight Mile, where the story was basically his life with the names slightly changed. o Similarly, while Purple Rain may not exactly have been The Real True Prince Story, it did touch on elements of his life, feature him playing with his band, and film on location in his hometown. Shirley Maclaine in Out On A Limb, the movie. Babe Ruth played himself in the Lou Gehrig biopic Pride of the Yankees. Coral Browne played herself in An Englishman Abroad, about her encounter with exiled spy Guy Burgess.

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