In {{Biopic}}s and dramatizations of true events where the principal figure, though portrayed in the show by some Hollywood star, is still alive in RealLife, it's a traditional CastingGag to assign this non-actor some bit part (not AsHimself).

A subtrope of TheCameo. Compare CelebrityParadox, AutobiographicalRole.



[[folder: Films ]]

* Cleverly used in ''Film/ErinBrockovich''. When Erin is in a restaurant, one of the waitresses is being played by the ''real'' Erin Brockovich. She even has a nametag that reads "Julia", as Brockovich is played by Julia Roberts. At the table behind her is the real Ed Masry, the lawyer who represented Erin.
* The film adaptation of ''Film/TheRightStuff'' had a couple of [[UsefulNotes/{{NASA}} NACA]] recruiters visiting Pancho's Happy Bottom Riding Club outside of Edwards AFB, sizing up the test pilots present. The old man who interrupts them to ask if they want any whiskey is the real Chuck Yeager, whom they were discussing.
* The real Baroness Maria von Trapp, her daughter and granddaughter appear briefly as extras in the movie version of ''Theatre/TheSoundOfMusic''. They are in the background during the song "I Have Confidence", at the line, "I must stop these doubts, all these worries/If I don't, I just know I'll turn back."
* In ''Film/ThePursuitOfHappyness'', the real Chris Gardner (Will Smith's character) is the very well-dressed black man crossing the street behind Will Smith and his son at the end of the movie.
* Jim Garrison played Earl Warren in ''Film/{{JFK}}'' (Creator/KevinCostner played Garrison).
* In ''Film/ThePeopleVsLarryFlynt'', Woody Harrelson, playing Flynt, has a really nasty judge hearing one of his obscenity trials. The judge is played by Larry Flynt.
* ''Film/{{Apollo 13}}'' features a cameo by astronaut Jim Lovell (who flew on the actual Apollo 13 mission) as the captain of the aircraft carrier that recovers the crew after splashdown. Lovell is, of course, being played by Tom Hanks. The cameo is doubly appropriate, given that Lovell is a retired Navy captain. (The plan was for him to be an admiral for the part, but he declared, 'I retired a captain, and I'll be a captain.')
* The real Frank Abagnale Jr. was an extra in ''Film/CatchMeIfYouCan''. He played one of the French police officers.
* Tony Wilson himself appears as a TV studio technician in ''Film/TwentyFourHourPartyPeople''. After his cameo, it is immediately pointed out by the [[BreakingTheFourthWall actor playing Tony Wilson]] (the film has NoFourthWall, at least when dealing with the main character) who then also mentions several other cameos by actual musicians from throughout the film to that point. One notable example features Howard Devoto, the lead singer for the bands the Music/{{Buzzcocks}} and Music/{{Magazine}}, appearing in a scene featuring the actor playing him, only to turn around and bluntly state that he doesn't remember this happening at all. It's ''that'' kind of [=Biopic=].
* In ''Film/FearAndLoathingInLasVegas'', Hunter S. Thompson's alter ego Raoul Duke (played by Johnny Depp) has a flashback in a nightclub where he hallucinates that he sees himself sitting at a table. The man at the table is the real Hunter S. Thompson.
-->"There I was... holy shit, ''there I am!''
* In ''Film/TheSugarlandExpress'', Officer Kenneth Crone, the patrolman whose kidnapping loosely inspired the film, appears as a deputy.
* Creator/SpikeMilligan plays his own father in the film version of ''Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall''.
* ''Film/{{Milk}}'' has the real Cleve Jones as Don Amador. (Jones is played by Emile Hirsch in the film.)
* At the end of ''Film/SchindlersList'', the actors portraying the major characters walk hand-in-hand with the people they portrayed, placing stones on Schindler's grave.
* Alice Brock, the "Alice" in "Music/AlicesRestaurant" (remember Alice? It's a song about Alice), has a cameo in [[Film/AlicesRestaurant the movie adaptation of the song]].
* Ryan White had a small part in ''The Ryan White Story'' as another boy with AIDS.
* In ''[[ Falling from the Sky: Flight 174]]'', when two guys just out of a flight simulator complain to an examiner that it's impossible for both engines to fail because of a pump failure, the examiner tells them that this exact scenario has actually happened. The examiner is played by Robert Pearson, the Captain of [[ The Gimli Glider]], a Boeing 767 which ran out of fuel in mid-air.
* ''Film/SomeCameRunning'' is a 1958 film starring Music/FrankSinatra and Music/DeanMartin, in which a number of poker games are portrayed. In one such game, Frank and Dino are playing against Creator/JamesJones, who wrote the autobiographical novel upon which the movie is based. (For you ultimate trivia buffs, another person at the same table is [[Series/{{Seinfeld}} Uncle Leo]].)
* Creator/DavidFincher 's 2007 movie ''Film/{{Zodiac}}'' features a brief appearance of Zodiac survivor Bryan C. Hartnell. Hartnell also consulted for the film.
* Author J.G. Ballard cameos as a party guest in ''Film/EmpireOfTheSun'', adapted from his semi-autobiographical novel of the same name.
* ''Film/TheManWhoNeverWas'' featured Ewen Montagu, who wrote the book, playing a senior officer who expresses skepticism about Montagu's plan. They had to reshoot the scene several times because actor Clifton Webb, playing Montagu, kept breaking up laughing.
* The film ''[[ Ernie Kovacs: Between The Laughter]]'' features a scene where Edie Adams (portrayed by Melody Anderson) has a chance to see ''Creator/MaeWest''. Mae West is portrayed by the real [[ Edie Adams]].
* ''Film/ManOnTheMoon'' features a number of these - for example, the real Bob Zmuda (played by Paul Giamatti in the film) appears as the producer of ABC's "Fridays."
* George Harrison, one of the biggest supporters of ''Music/TheRutles'', appears in the film as a grey-wigged reporter.
* Aside from being portrayed by an actor as part of the Rolling Stone staff, the actual Jann Wenner has a cameo in ''Film/AlmostFamous'', reading a newspaper in the back of a taxi.
* ''Film/TheFrenchConnection'' has appearances by Eddie "Popeye" Egan and Sonny "Cloudy" Grosso, real-life NYC cops and the inspirations for the movie's Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo.
* In ''Film/{{Casino}}'', Frank Cullotta, the inspiration for Frank Vincent's character, appears at the end of the film as a hit man dispatched to eliminate those who [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness have outlived their usefulness]].
* In ''Film/{{Secretariat}}'', Penny Chenery, owner of the all-time great [[UsefulNotes/HorseRacing racehorse]], is played by Creator/DianeLane. The real Chenery, in her mid-80s at the time of filming (more than 35 years after Secretariat's Triple Crown run in 1973), appears in a crowd scene at the Belmont Stakes, not far from Secretariat's cinematic connections.
* In ''Film/TheWolfOfWallStreet'', Jordan Belfort (the person played by Creator/LeonardoDiCaprio) is seen at the end introducing [=DiCaprio=]'s Belfort to a crowd after he reinvents himself as a motivational speaker.
* While it's not based on real events, in ''Film/{{Pixels}}'', Toru Iwatani (the creator of ''VideoGame/PacMan'') is played by Denis Akiyama. The real Iwatani appears as a random technician.
* Arguably, Danny Wallace's cameo in a bar in ''Film/YesMan'', although the film is only loosely based on his memoir, and the main character isn't even called Danny.
* The real Edward Snowden appears at the end of the political thriller ''Film/{{Snowden}}'' addressing the audience with some final lines of his own.
* At the beginning of ''Film/{{Wild}}'', Cheryl Strayed, played by Creator/ReeseWitherspoon, is dropped off by a truck driver played by the real Cheryl Strayed.
* In-Universe example happens during the climax of ''Film/PeeWeesBigAdventure'', where his traveling all over the country to find his bike is made into an over the top action film. Peewee appears as a hotel check in clerk.
* PlayedWith in ''TheTheoryOfEverything''; after previewing the movie, Stephen Hawking gave permission for the filmmakers to use a version of his synthesized voice to replace the simulation they used.
* In ''Film/HoldingTheMan'', Tim Conigrave's real mother Mary Gert Conigrave, Tim's real sister Anna Davison, and one of her daughters appear briefly sitting on a table acting as one of the guests during Anna's wedding reception scene.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* In ''Toast'', Creator/TheBBC's dramatisation of celebrity chef Nigel Slater's autobiography, Slater plays the chef who gives young Nigel his first job.
* Happens [[ more than once]] on ''Series/TheWire'', as several characters are loosely based on real Balitmore cops and criminals who are given cameos on the show.
** The real Jay Landsman appears in the show as Major Colvin's NumberTwo, Lt. Dennis Mello.
** Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich plays a security guard at the governor's office.
** Donnie Andrews, the real-life inspiration for Omar Little, who appears as his sidekick a few times and is [[spoiler:ultimately killed when Omar makes his SuperWindowJump]]. That scene was based on an incident in Andrews' real life.
** Guess which character is played by [[RetiredBadass notorious former crimelord]] Little Melvin, the inspiration for Avon Barksdale? Give up? [[BewareTheNiceOnes The Deacon.]]
** Felicia Pearson basically plays a fictionalized version of herself. [[spoiler: Somewhat. Pearson is alive and well in real life, while her fictional version was killed by Michael Lee in season 5.]]
** The woman playing the principal of the local school? Actually the principal of the real high school. No wonder you sat up straight when she raised her voice.
* Sue Thomas appears in three episodes of ''Series/SueThomasFBEye''. In two of them, she plays a character called Deanne Bray!
* In ''Series/MicroMen'' Sophie (née Roger) Wilson, as well as being a major character played by actor Stefan Butler, has a cameo right at the end of the programme as a pub landlady.
* Creator/SkyOne's ''Little Crackers'' series comprises biographical skits about (and usually written by) comedians and comedy actors, who always appear as a secondary character. For instance, Alison Steadman as her own mum, or Creator/StephenFry playing his headmaster.
* Creator/DaveBarry guest-starred in one episode of ''Dave's World'', the sitcom based on his column. He was a disgruntled character who got into a bidding war with Dave over an air conditioner during a heatwave. The end credits featured real Dave Barry and screen Dave Barry (Harry Anderson) jamming together on guitars. To take things full-circle, the real Dave then wrote a column about his experience on the show, which was published in the book ''Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up''.
* In ''Film/AnAdventureInSpaceAndTime'', a docudrama about the making of early ''Series/DoctorWho'', William Russell (Ian Chesterton) plays Harry, Creator/TheBBC commissionaire, and Creator/CaroleAnnFord (Susan) plays Joyce, a grandmother whose grandsons are ''Doctor Who'' fans. A few other actors from the early years appear at various points, most notably in the crowd at Verity Lambert's leaving do.
* A sort of cross between this and RealLifeRelative: in the final episode of ''Series/TheEnfieldHaunting'', Janet Grosse's siblings, Richard and Marilyn, are played by Richard Grosse's children, Nick and Antonia Grosse.
* In the fourth episode of ''Series/BandOfBrothers'', the real Babe Heffron is seen sitting at a table and waving a flag during the scene where Easy Company liberates Eindhoven, Holland from the German army.
* ''Series/LadyDynamite'': Maria Bamford's actual parents appear in the congregation for Chad's funeral.


[[folder: Miscellaneous ]]

* In Funny or Die's spoof trailer for ''Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,'' the faux Al's goatee'd manager is played by Al himself.


[[folder: Music Video ]]

* Music/GeorgeHarrison's 1988 video for "When We Was Fab", a nostalgic look back at [[Music/TheBeatles Beatlemania]], features his former bandmate Music/RingoStarr, first as a personal assistant and then as a drummer (the latter being Starr's real-life role in The Beatles), and also former Beatles road manager Neil Aspinall holding up a copy of Music/JohnLennon's 1971 album ''Music/{{Imagine}}''. Rumors that Music/PaulMcCartney also appeared in the video have never been confirmed. The video features several other cameos from music celebrities that don't fit this trope.
* In Music/EltonJohn's 2001 video for "Original Sin", Music/MandyMoore plays a bespectacled, ShrinkingViolet Elton fan in TheSeventies who shuts herself in her room as her father is setting up a camera for a family portrait in her living room. She falls asleep and dreams she is following the [[Music/GoodbyeYellowBrickRoad Yellow Brick]] [[Film/TheWizardOfOz Road]] to attend an Elton concert from the time period at the height of his success and flamboyance); though "Elton" is never seen, many celebrities (played by lookalikes) are in the audience. Mandy's character's father is played by Elton himself.