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->''"Everyone said I was an overnight success, but it was ten years leading up to that."''
-->-- '''Creator/NaomiWatts''', in relation to her success with ''Film/MulhollandDrive''

Every A-List star starts somewhere. They do bit parts and walk-on roles, sometimes even becoming "[[HeyItsThatGuy that guy]]". They may be a lesser part of an EnsembleCast who becomes an EnsembleDarkhorse. They may even wind up doing [[OldShame something they may not be proud of later]]. Either way, when their memoirs are written or they sit down with James Lipton, ''this'' will be the role that they point to and say "that's where it ''really'' started for me" -- the rise from obscurity to getting first billing. The role may have been written for the specific purpose of making this specific person a star by showcasing their talents. More often than not, it's a case of taking the right part and running with it. This is the role they earn their name with.

This isn't always a star's first role. It's not even their first film or series to be a major success. It might even become completely overshadowed by the parts it helped give them in bigger-budget productions. It's the first role where they stop being "[[HeyItsThatGuy that guy]]" and become known by their name alone.

See also RetroactiveRecognition for reactions to roles the actor had before his SMR (think Creator/HarrisonFord as a bellhop in ''Dead Heat On A Merry Go Round'', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-NehUB_7l0 here]]). Contrast StarDerailingRole for when the star goes in the opposite direction. Compare BreakthroughHit (equivalent for creators).

!Pages with their own sets of examples:
* [[StarMakingRole/AnimeAndManga Anime]]
* [[StarMakingRole/AnimatedFilm Animated Films]]
* StarMakingRole/{{Film}}
* StarMakingRole/LiveActionTV
* StarMakingRole/ProfessionalWrestling
* StarMakingRole/{{Theatre}}
* StarMakingRole/VideoGames (voice acting)
* StarMakingRole/WesternAnimation (excluding animated films)
!Other examples:
* ''Magazine/{{Playboy}}'' Magazine has a habit of turning its centerfolds into stars (albeit usually as [[MsFanservice sex symbols]] who have difficulty being taken seriously as actresses). Several of them have gone on to bigger and better things after posing nude for the infamous men's magazine; some become so famous that it's easy to forget they got their start as one of Hef's girls.
** Marilyn Monroe, the magazine's first ever nude model, gracing the cover of the very first issue.
** Jayne Mansfield
** Bettie Page
** Shannon Tweed
** Pamela Anderson
** Anna Nicole Smith
** Kelly Monaco
** Kendra Wilkinson
** Jenny [=McCarthy=]
** Brande Roderick
** Donna D’Errico
** Sara Jean Underwood
** Dorothy Stratten
** Carmen Electra
** Erika Eleniak
* Japanese voice actress Creator/SakiFujita has had plenty of roles in popular anime, including ''Anime/YuruYuri'' and ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', but what won her worldwide fame was lending her voice to the creation of the second Character Vocal Series software program - for some character called [[Music/{{Vocaloid}} Miku Hatsune]].