%%Look at the first line of the description before you put an example.

[[quoteright:350:[[Film/SnowWhiteAndTheThreeStooges http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/snow_white_stooges_poster_1286.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Starring Carol Heiss, a trained skater, not an actor.]]

->''"Apparently back in the '90s, people thought if you could look in the camera and say "Drink Pepsi," you were considered a good actor."''
-->-- '''[[WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic Nostalgia Critic]]''', ''Film/{{Kazaam}}'' Review

Hiring of a big celebrity in a '''starring role''' (''not'' a supporting or minor one), even if it's not the sole major role, in a movie, play, or TV show. Only, this celebrity isn't known for acting. In fact, this may be the celebrity's first acting job. A close cousin of StuntCasting, only with a bit more risk, since the stunt castee doesn't have much experience (if any), and is practically carrying the project despite that inexperience.

So why is it done with such risks? Well, the fact is that [[Creator/WillSmith this]] [[Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger sometimes]] [[Music/DavidBowie works]] (it tends to work better for stand-up comedians, singers, and [[{{Kayfabe}} pro wrestlers]], being close to what they normally do for a living anyway). Also, even if the vehicle is a failure, the new actor may still have a career afterwards.

You are most likely to see IAmNotLeonardNimoy play throughout the movie. If the work is about the celebrity in RealLife, it overlaps with AutobiographicalRole. If the celebrity's role is doing what they're famous for, it overlaps with CastTheExpert.

* Creator/CindyCrawford in ''Film/FairGame1995''.
* It was only a TV movie, but Vanna White of ''Series/WheelOfFortune'' fame starred in ''Goddess of Love'' on NBC. At that point in her career, the only other TV experience she had was… as a contestant on ''Series/ThePriceIsRight'' in 1980 (two years before she took over the ''Wheel'' role she holds to this day).
* Antonio Sabato Jr. (a former underwear model) in ''Film/TheBigHit''.
* ''Galaxina'' had Dorothy R. Stratten, Playboy Playmate of the Year 1980, prominently cast as the title character, in her only film appearance.
* Professional cosplayer Creator/JessicaNigri was given the starring role in the English dub of the ''Anime/SuperSonico'' anime.
* Monica Bellucci in ''{{Film/Malena}}''. She was still primarily a model at the time, and this marked her StarMakingRole as an actress.

* Creator/WillSmith in ''Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir'', which saved him from bankruptcy and [[StarMakingRole launched his blockbuster acting career]]. The show hung a lampshade on it here and there.
* Music/BritneySpears in ''Crossroads''.
* Music/DavidBowie in ''Film/TheManWhoFellToEarth''. Although he didn't really act before this, he studied mime and acting in TheSixties as his recording career slowly gained ground and incorporated his new skills into his stage act. He went on to appear in a number of films in both lead and supporting roles, such as ''Film/MerryChristmasMrLawrence'' and ''Film/{{Labyrinth}}'', and performed on Broadway as the title character in ''The Elephant Man'' in 1980.
* Neil Diamond in ''Film/TheJazzSinger'' (1980). He won a Worst Actor Razzie for his performance, but this is a good example of a performer who managed to retain their original career after trying their hand at this trope; in fact, three of his biggest hits -- "America", "Love on the Rocks", and "Hello Again" -- were written for this film.
* Luciano Pavarotti in ''Yes, Giorgio''.
* {{Music/Madonna}} in ''Film/DesperatelySeekingSusan'', where she played a pop musician. Led to an almost two-decades-long acting career, in which she generally did well if she was part of an ensemble (as in ''Film/DickTracy'', ''Film/ALeagueOfTheirOwn'', and ''Film/{{Evita}}''), and usually didn't fare so well if she was appearing in a star vehicle (as in ''Film/SweptAway'').
* Music/MariahCarey in ''Film/{{Glitter}}''.
* Music/MickJagger in ''Film/{{Performance}}'' and ''Film/NedKelly''
* Music/VanillaIce in ''Film/CoolAsIce''. Since then, he's mostly appeared in cameos and non-major roles.
* Music/{{Eminem}} in ''Film/EightMile''. Though considering he was basically playing himself in the film, how much actual acting was involved is open for debate.
* Music/WhitneyHouston in ''Film/TheBodyguard''.
* Music/{{Bjork}} in ''Film/DancerInTheDark''. It was such a bad experience for her that she swore she'll never act again.
* Olivia Newton-John in ''Film/{{Grease}}''.
* Creator/DorisDay, before starring in ''Romance on the High Seas'', was known only as a singer.
* [[Music/FiftyCent 50 Cent]] in ''Get Rich Or Die Tryin''.
* Cellist Yo-Yo Ma in the Creator/AtomEgoyan film ''[[http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/sara.html Sarabande]]''.
* ''Film/PurpleRain'', created as a showcase for the singer Music/{{Prince}} and based on his album of the same name. It won an award for Best Original Song Score.
** Also for the members of the Revolution and the Time. Subverted with Apollonia, who actually had some B-movie credits prior to ''Purple Rain''.
* Music/TheBeatles in: ''Film/AHardDaysNight'', ''Film/{{Help}}!'', ''Film/MagicalMysteryTour'', ''[[InkSuitActor Yellow]] [[WesternAnimation/YellowSubmarine Submarine]]''... In fact, it was because of these movies that Music/RingoStarr got his taste for acting.
** Paul [=McCartney=] starred in ''Film/GiveMyRegardsToBroadStreet'' and that's pretty much it.
* Outside of ''Film/{{Moonwalker}}'', that was all about him anyway, Creator/MichaelJackson only ever played the Scarecrow in ''Film/TheWiz''.
* ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'' '''[[WhatCouldHaveBeen almost]]''' did this for Music/BillyIdol. He was originally picked to play the T-1000, but had to turn down the role because of a motorcycle accident. Music/{{WASP}} frontman Blackie Lawless was also considered for the role at one point but got turned down for being too tall.
* Music/WeirdAlYankovic in ''Film/{{UHF}}'', but it was not as much a leap for him, as he was already accustomed to delivering comic performances and the movie was basically "what would TV be like if Weird Al did that instead of music parodies?"
** Subverted with ''WesternAnimation/MiloMurphysLaw''. By that point, Weird Al had done quite a bit of acting (mostly voiceover roles), so he could barely qualify as a "non-actor" anymore.
* Creator/BetteMidler in ''Film/TheRose''; though she had dabbled in the theatre in her early career, it was her first movie role. She went on to have a long and fairly successful career as an actress, reaching her peak in both fields at about the same time (the late [[TheEighties 1980s]] and early [[TheNineties 1990s]]).
* John Denver in ''Film/OhGod''.
* The 1956 Broadway musical ''Mr. Wonderful'' gave Creator/SammyDavisJr his first starring role; it incorporated a large portion of his nightclub act wholesale.
* Several members of Music/AKB48 took part in the anime ''Anime/AKB0048''. Quite a few of them had no acting experience up until then.
* Korean Television Stations are frequently used as places where singing idols try to diversify their entertainment value:
** The DoggedNiceGuy in ''Series/BoysBeforeFlowers'' is Kim Hyun Joon from the group Music/{{SS501}}. He shows up again in ''Series/PlayfulKiss''.
** Almost every lead character in ''Series/DreamHigh'' has a RealLife career in a singing group. This is not surprising, though, as the premise of the KoreanDrama is a bunch of kids at a high school which specializes in the entertainment business (sort of like ''Film/{{Fame}}'').
** ''Series/OhMyLady'' stars Si Won, one of the singers in the BoyBand Music/SuperJunior. His character is lampshaded as having the worst acting skills ever.
** Mickey Yoochun, from the music groups TVXQ and JYJ, played the LonelyRichKid in ''Series/SungkyunkwanScandal''.
** ''Series/YouAreBeautiful'' has several, including Lee Hong Ki (a former child actor) from the group Music/FTIsland and Jung Yong Hwa from Music/CNBlue. In a non-musical reversal, Jang G'suen Suk started as a model before the show, and just released his first music album in April 2011.
** Though not a TV show, Jessica Jung of Music/GirlsGeneration appeared in the Korean production of ''Theatre/LegallyBlondeTheMusical''.
** Suzy of miss A in ''Series/TheGuFamilyBook''.
* Music/TheVillagePeople and Olympic gold medalist Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner in ''Film/CantStopTheMusic''; the former also overlaps with AutobiographicalRole.
* [[Music/TwistedSister Dee Snider]] in the horror movie ''Strangeland'', which he wrote himself.
* [[Music/ThePolice Sting]] starred in the 1982 adaptation of ''Brimstone and Treacle'' (The Police recorded three songs for its soundtrack, and Sting contributed two solo ones) and 1985's ''The Bride'', and had supporting roles or cameos in ''Film/{{Quadrophenia}}'', ''Film/{{Dune}}'', ''Film/TheAdventuresOfBaronMunchausen'' and ''Film/LockStockAndTwoSmokingBarrels''.
* ''Film/TwoLaneBlacktop'', starring a young James Taylor and Music/TheBeachBoys drummer Dennis Wilson.
* Music/GeorgeStrait in ''Pure Country''. The movie didn't do too well, but Strait's soundtrack is the best-selling album of his career.
* The 1988 Broadway musical flop ''Legs Diamond'' was this for singer-songwriter Peter Allen, who wrote the songs and played the title character.
* Music/TomWaits in Creator/JimJarmusch's ''Film/DownByLaw''. He's had many supporting actor credits to his name, to the point that he's not really a non-actor anymore, but this was one of his first roles and his only lead role to date.
* Arlo Guthrie, AsHimself in ''Film/AlicesRestaurant''.
* ''Film/TheOscar'' gave singer Tony Bennett a significant [[AndStarring "introducing/as"]] credit. He never appeared in another feature film.
* In France, ''AB Productions'' was specialized on this ([[{{Macekre}} among other things]]): Most "actors" in AB-produced sitcoms were new singers trying to get notoriety. It worked at the time, but became a stain on their reputation after AB shows fell out of favor.
* Kid/Teen salsa group Salserín starred on several of these in the late 1990's: the first one was "''La primera vez''" (which was more known as "Salserín: [[TheMovie La Película]]"), where the kids and their producer were more or less on {{Autobiographical Role}}s; then the soaps "''De sol a sol''", "''Yo sin ti''", "''Entre tú y yo''" and "''Dónde está el amor''". After several changes in the singers rooster, they got at it again in the late Noughties, first with a radio soap (''Envíame Mensajes'') and then the soaps "''Mi niña amada''", "''Mi otra mitad del sol''" and "''Robando Corazones''" on tv.
* When the singers from the first generation of Salserín, the brothers Servando and Florentino Primera, went solo, they starred in a movie, "''Muchacho solitario''". It was cynically made for two reasons: exploit their TeenIdol popularity, and give ProductPlacement to Golden brand soda. The guys ''did'' had some acting experience from their Salserín era, and Servando was a child actor before joining the band as a singer, but that couldn't be seen on screen, and despite their popularity at the time the film bombed
* In 2013, singer Music/CarrieUnderwood starred in a live TV version of ''Theatre/TheSoundOfMusic'' for Creator/{{NBC}}.
* CountryMusic singer Doug Stone had a starring role in the 1995 film ''Film/{{Gordy}}''.
* Alex Cox (of ''Film/RepoMan'') made ''Straight To Hell'' when a musical tour of Nicaragua was canceled and a bunch of 1980s musicians and other oddballs were stuck in the country with nothing to do. He threw together a weird and wacky SpaghettiWestern parody starring, among others, Music/ElvisCostello, The Circle Jerks, Music/ThePogues, Amazulu, Creator/JimJarmusch, Grace Jones and a very young Music/CourtneyLove.
** Also featured in ''Straight to Hell'' was Joe Strummer, frontman for Music/TheClash (and, for a time, the Pogues). Strummer actually appeared in several films, including a cameo (alongside Clash bandmate Mick Jones) in Martin Scorcese's ''Film/TheKingsOfComedy.''
* Music/IconaPop in ''WesternAnimation/{{Trolls}}''.
* Billie Joe Armstrong of Music/GreenDay in ''Ordinary World''.
* Music/RebaMcEntire did have some acting chops before starring in the TV Movie ''Is There Life Out There?'' (inspired by her hit single at the time.) She had a few more before starring in the WB sitcom ''Series/{{Reba}}''. The much-shorter lived ''Series/MalibuCountry'' also qualifies, but by now she's practically made acting a second career.
* [[TransparentCloset Camp pianist]] Liberace in ''Sincerely Yours'', in which he played... a camp pianist.

[[folder:Pro Wrestlers]]
* Wrestling/DwayneJohnson just had a small part in ''Film/TheMummyReturns'', but was then given the main role in ''Film/TheScorpionKing''. He's had a successful acting career since then, to the point that he's not even credited as "The Rock" anymore.
* Wrestling/HulkHogan in ''Film/NoHoldsBarred'', leading to other films: ''Film/SuburbanCommando'', ''Mr Nanny'', and ''Film/SantaWithMuscles''.
* Wrestling/RoddyPiper in ''Film/TheyLive''. He [[ThrowItIn ad-libbed]] one of the [[ChewBubblegum most memorable lines]] in the film and helped choreograph its [[FightScene famous fistfight]].
* Anime example: woman pro-wrestler Cutey Suzuki as the voice of Anime/{{Iczer}}-3.
* Whichever wrestler is starring in any given [[Wrestling/{{WWE}} WWE Films]] project:
** The Rock, as mentioned above.
** ''Film/SeeNoEvil'' and ''Film/SeeNoEvil2'', starring Kane.
** ''Film/TheMarine'', then ''Film/TwelveRounds'', and ''Legendary'', starring Wrestling/JohnCena.
** ''Film/TheCondemned'', starring Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin.
** And direct-to-DVD films starring The Big Show, Triple H, Mr. Kennedy, Randy Orton, The Miz, Summer Rae and Ted Dibiase, Jr.
** Wrestling/TripleH also played one of the lead vampires in ''Film/BladeTrinity'', while StoneColdSteveAustin was part of the [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters giant ensemble of action heroes]] in ''Film/TheExpendables'', more because of their physically intimidating presence than any particular acting chops and experience.
* Wrestling/{{Batista}} in ''Film/TheManWithTheIronFists'', and after he retired from wrestling he became and actor full time.

[[folder:Sports Stars]]
* Creator/SonjaHenie in ''One in a Million''. She made quite a few films after that.
* Swimmer Esther Williams started a similar screen career with a supporting part in ''Film/AndyHardy's Double Life''. A series of star vehicles followed, starting with ''Bathing Beauty''.
* Pictured: Carol Heiss in ''Film/SnowWhiteAndTheThreeStooges'' was an attempt to make her the next Sonja Henie. It unfortunately didn't work out that well; Film/TheThreeStooges weren't even brought in until the studio realized Heiss couldn't carry the movie.
* Two big vehicles for Shaquille O'Neal: ''Film/{{Kazaam}}'' and ''Film/{{Steel}}''. His first film, ''Blue Chips'', had him in a supporting role (along with Penny Hardaway).
* Creator/RandyCouture in the [[DirectToVideo straight to DVD]] sequel to ''The Scorpion King'', subtitled "Rise Of A Warrior".
* Howie Long in ''Film/{{Firestorm}}''.
* UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan in ''Film/SpaceJam''.
* Dennis Rodman in ''Film/DoubleTeam'' (second-billed to Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme) and later ''Film/SimonSez''.
* Two US Olympic male gymnasts attempted this trope back in the 1980s: Kurt Thomas in ''Film/{{Gymkata}}'' and Mitch Gaylord in ''American Anthem''[[note]]his co-star was Janet Jones, who went on to become Mrs. Wayne Gretzky[[/note]].
* Ray Allen in ''Film/HeGotGame''.
* UsefulNotes/CollegiateAmericanFootball star (and high-profile NFL flop) Brian Bosworth in ''Film/StoneCold''. He's done a fair amount of supporting roles since then.
* Brazilian soccer star Breno Mello and track & field athlete Adhemar da Silvain in ''Orfeu Negro (Film/BlackOrpheus)''.
* Olympic Swimming champion and male model Johnny Weissmuller as ''{{Tarzan}}: the Ape Man''. His performance proved so successful that [[TypeCasting he was cast in the same role eleven more times]].
* Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby took a turn playing the title character in the ''PeterPan'' stage musical in 1974 -- and did so well that she's ''still'' playing the role in TheNewTens!
* Jackie Robinson in ''The Jackie Robinson Story''.
* Taylor Firth in the 2010 remake of ''Ice Castles''.
* Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger was a professional bodybuilder when he starred in ''Film/HerculesInNewYork''.
* ''Film/{{Haywire}}'' stars UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts covergirl Gina Carano.
* The 2010 ''Film/TheATeam'' film cast [[UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts former UFC champion]] Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as B.A. Baracus, filling the shoes of Mr. T, who was also known for his tough-guy exploits before getting into acting. Jackson had done a few films before, such as a memorable cameo in ''Film/TheMidnightMeatTrain''.
* Rudolf Nureyev (ballet dancer) as Rudolph Valentino (silent movie star) in ''Valentino''.
* Alexander Godunov (ballet dancer) as Daniel Hochleitner (Amish farmer and romantic rival of Harrison Ford's character, John Book) in ''Film/{{Witness}}''.
* Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in ''Safe at Home!''
* Italian alpine ski racer and former [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carabinieri carabiniere]] Alberto Tomba began, and ended, his film career with "Alex l'ariete" (''Alex the Ram''), where he played the eponymous "badass" cop. Predictably, his acting was beyond wooden, the film was a total mess and an abysmal failure at the box office. The film would be totally forgotten, if not for its SnarkBait status and the countless WebAnimation/{{YouTube Poop}}s made out of it by Italian "enthusiasts".
* This trope is attacked by Creator/GaryOldman in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIaWo-BlBjs this scene]] from a ''Series/JimmyKimmelLive'' episode.
* Not really "acting", but in 1989, Rolf Benirschke of the San Diego Chargers was picked to host the daytime network version of ''Series/WheelOfFortune'' while Pat Sajak continued to host the nighttime syndicated version (which he does to this day). It remains, to date, [[OneBookAuthor Rolf's only TV role]].
* Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao did a string of movies since 2000 and usually played, well, a boxer. There were movies where he didn't play a boxer (or himself), such as ''Anak ng Kumander'' and ''Wapakman'', but they weren't well-received.
* UsefulNotes/EfrenBataReyes appeared alongside Creator/FernandoPoeJr in the 2003 film ''Pakners'', which turned out to be Poe's final film project before his presidential candidacy and eventual death. Needless to say, Reyes is definitely no actor, with his lines sounding like as if he merely read it from the script. It did show him in [[UsefulNotes/{{Billiards}} what he does best]] though.
* UsefulNotes/LewisHamilton and UsefulNotes/JensonButton, amongst other [=McLaren=] drivers, starred in ''WesternAnimation/{{Tooned}}'' in 2013 to promote their racing team. The drivers' voice acting is passable more or less, but they sure had fun with their parts. And F1 fans appear to like it as well, with some wishing for similar productions starring drivers from other teams.
* VideoGame example: Creator/ColinMcRae and his co-driver Nicky Grist gained mainstream popularity in the ''VideoGame/ColinMcRaeRally'' series of games. Whilst the game received some positive critical reception, Colin's voice acting left a lot to be desired for his near-monotone delivery in the Rally School levels. Grist's pace notes were a wee less so, but not to the level that he does in RealLife. Their voice acting became less of an issue over time though, especially in ''[[VideoGame/DiRT [=DiRT 4=]]]'' where Nicky and the other co-driver actors had to sit in a simulator chair whilst recording their lines on an actual rally intercom for added authenticity.
* Arian Foster in ''Film/DraftDay''.
* ''Ice Girls'', a MadeForTVMovie, was one for Michaela Du Toit and Taylor Hunsley, two teenage Canadian figure skaters. Elvis Stojko, a dedicated Olympic skater and silver medalist, also had a supporting role.

* Creator/HarryHoudini in ''Film/TheMasterMystery''.
* Creator/StevenSoderbergh likes this trope.
** His first foray was hiring an entire cast of nonprofessional actors for ''Film/{{Bubble}}'', recruiting from the local town. Notably, the star of the film was discovered working the drive-through window at KFC.
** ''Film/TheGirlfriendExperience'' stars porn actress Sasha Grey as a high-class callgirl.
** ''Film/{{Haywire}}'', starring UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts fighter Gina Carano
** Sodebergh did this for himself in his surreal 1996 comedy ''Film/{{Schizopolis}}'', which stars the man himself in not one but two roles. Underneath all its weird and surreal humor, it's really about Soderbergh examining the crumbling of his marriage (his real life ex-wife appears as his characters wife) as well as his anxieties about the future of his directing career in the wake of a series of flops following his debut ''Film/SexLiesAndVideotape''
* Creator/MickeySpillane in ''Ring of Fire''.
* John Wayne Bobbitt: ''Uncut''.
%%* Creator/DisneyChannel sitcoms like to do this a lot.
%%* Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} also seems fond of this. Maybe not as fond of it as Disney, since most of the cast of ''Series/ICarly'' and ''Series/{{Victorious}}'' have acted before, one might say they invert it by taking moderately experienced actresses and using that to help launch their singing careers.
* Creator/AudieMurphy as himself in ''To Hell And Back''.
* StageMagician Doug Henning had two Broadway Musicals written around him, despite not being a singer:
** The first was ''The Magic Show'' in 1974, with music by Creator/StephenSchwartz, which was a huge success and ran for four years. It was based around Henning's unusal stage persona; set in a nightclub where a new scruffy magician goes up against a more traditional top-hat magician (played by David Ogden Stiers).
** The other was ''Merlin'' in 1983, based around the character from Arthurian Legend, but young and inexperienced. It also featured Chita Rivera as an evil sorceress and was the Broadway debut of Nathan Lane. It was a critical and commercial flop, notorious for having an exceptionally long preview period without officially opening, and while still charging full ticket prices (much like ''Theatre/SpiderManTurnOffTheDark'' did, years later).
* Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse had a short-lived sitcom on NBC.
* Creator/SegaPinball attempted to invoke this by having Kelly Packard (of ''Series/{{Baywatch}}'' fame) as the star of ''Pinball/GoldenCue,'' a billiards-themed pinball game, even though she had no connection to either billiards or pinball. This trope was ultimately averted when Sega Pinball went out of business and ''Kelly Packard's Golden Cue'' was redesigned and released as ''Pinball/SharkeysShootout''.
* The DirectToVideo film ''Sophia Grace and Rosie's Royal Adventure'' is one, where the titular girls are assigned by their mentor Creator/EllenDeGeneres to cover a coronation in a fictional kingdom and help the soon-to-be-coronated princess believe in herself.
* ''Film/GrumpyCatsWorstChristmasEver'' seems to fit.