Creating new characters and describing them in detail so the reader has a quick and easy understanding of what they look and sound like is tough. Much easier? Describing them as looking or sounding like a famous celebrity! If the reader knows the celebrity (and that might be a big ''if'', depending on target audience and the amount of time that passed since the work was published), it allows for a quick reference and something the reader can picture quickly. If not, then the reader is cheated out of a description in what might seem like lazy shorthand.

Common in {{fanfiction}} by less ambitious authors. Why bother wasting words on descriptions when you can just say your heroine looks just like Creator/CameronDiaz or Creator/AudreyHepburn? Bonus points for combining this with DescriptionInTheMirror: "MarySue glanced up from brushing her teeth and was struck, not for the first time, by how much she looked like a young Creator/SteveBuscemi..."

Also frequently used in-universe specifically for the purpose of "dating" a work, where one character (or the first-person narrator) describes another using intentionally outdated (contemporary) references in line with the date and location of the setting in order to build atmosphere.

Note: This is a narration in literature trope. '''Please don't add any examples that exclusively involve dialogue or internal monologue.''' This refers only to when the narration of the story itself describes characters' appearance by making a celebrity comparison, not when characters do.

Contrast with plain ol' CelebrityResemblance. Compare ComicBookFantasyCasting.
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!!Examples:

* ''LeftBehind'' describes its villain, Nicolae Carpathia, as looking like a young Creator/RobertRedford. This is meant to give an idea of the charm he evokes. In one book, the female lead was established as having a crush on Robert Redford, and the male lead was described as looking a bit like him "if he was a rummy and a drunk." This is clarified within the same paragraph as like "two people had constructed a model human from identical parts, but one had followed the instructions and the other had just bashed it together."
** Another character's description, in its entirety, is that "he had a Creator/HenryFonda-ish quality to him".
* In ''ComicBook/{{X-Men}}'' novels, {{Storm}} is now [[CelebrityParadox described as resembling]] HalleBerry.
* Ebony opens the notoriously bad Harry Potter fanfiction ''MyImmortal'' by describing herself as looking like [[{{Evanescence}} Amy Lee]], and states that anyone who doesn't know who she is should GTFO. Other characters (despite them, being featured in a hit movie, having their actors be celebrities) also are described as resembling celebrities, such as [[DanielRadcliffe Vampire Potter]] and [[GoodCharlotte Joel Madden]], or [[TomFelton Draco Malfoy]] and [[MyChemicalRomance Gerard Way]].
* In the ''SweetValleyHigh'' books, Mr. Collins was described as looking like Robert Redford. In the new, updated editions he's just described as looking like "a movie star".
* Parodied in ''Literature/SoLongAndThanksForAllTheFish'':
-->If you took a couple of David Bowies and stuck one of the David Bowies on the top of the other David Bowie, then attached another David Bowie to the end of each of the arms of the upper of the first two David Bowies and wrapped the whole business up in a dirty beach robe you would then have something which didn't exactly look like John Watson, but which those who knew him would find hauntingly familiar.
* Major Major Major Major in ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'' is described as looking so much like Creator/HenryFonda that some of the other characters even start to suspect that he ''is'' Henry Fonda. In an interview, Joseph Heller said that, in a movie version, he would want Major to be played by either "[[CastingGag Henry Fonda or by somebody who looks nothing like Henry Fonda.]]" (In the 1970 film adaptation, he was played by Bob Newhart).
* The ''Catch-22'' example was itself a reference to ''Literature/TheGrapesOfWrath'', where the main character Tom Joad is described as looking exactly like Creator/HenryFonda. [[CastingGag Guess who played Tom in the film adaptation]]...
* ''Literature/HowNotToWriteANovel'' marks this as a lazy and ineffective storytelling device.
* ''JohnDiesAtTheEnd'' has a lot of fun with this. For example, there's a cop the narrator says reminds him of Morgan Freeman, despite looking nothing like him. He then refers to him as Morgan Freeman for the rest of the novel. It then subverts this by having a character named Jennifer Lopez who looks nothing like the singer. The narrator has to actually make the distinction for the reader, saying it's not ''the'' Jennifer Lopez, just a girl with the same name.
* Done in an unusual way in ''Mike Nelson's Death Rat!'', where antagonist Gus Bromstad is described as having "trim, Roger Whittaker-like good looks," but those familiar with Roger Whittaker know that's not really the most glamorous of descriptions. The protagonist also considers himself to look like "a sloppy caricature of Gorbachev without the wine stain," which is far less flattering.
* In Creator/IanFleming's first ''Literature/JamesBond'' novel ''Literature/CasinoRoyale'', 007 is described as looking like Hoagy Carmichael.
* Mark Renton of ''Literature/{{Trainspotting}}'' (the book, not the film) is said to resemble Alex Mcleish.
* Many {{MUSH}}es will allow players to set actors for their characters (often referred to as [=PBs=], for "played by").
* EccentricMillionaire Hubertus Bigend, the titular character of Creator/WilliamGibson's ''Literature/BigendBooks'', is described as looking "like TomCruise on a diet of virgins' blood and truffled chocolates".
* Parodied by a DaveBarry column in which he writes a fake suspense novel, clearly hoping for a film adaptation. "Carter Crater strode into the office. He looked like Creator/TomCruise, or, if he's available, Creator/AlPacino."
* In ''Theatre/ArsenicAndOldLace'', Jonathan Brewster's uncanny resemblance to Creator/BorisKarloff is frequently commented on by the other characters, as well as being mentioned in the script when he first enters. It's Jonathan's BerserkButton, and in the original production was also an ActorAllusion.
* The novelization of ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' ''Code Veronica'' has Claire Redfield note that Steve Burnside greatly resembles Creator/LeonardoDiCaprio. This was meant as an affectionate StealthInsult to the franchise, as this was such a common complaint about the game that the developers actually ''changed Steve's appearance'' before re-releasing it on PS2. Of course, this was back in Leo's cutsey-boy early years, but... ouch.
* The first volume of ''Literature/LabyrinthsOfEcho'' establishes that Juffin Hally looks like an aging Creator/RutgerHauer; Shurf Lonli-Lokli, like a young [[Music/TheRollingStones Charlie Watts]]; and Melamori Blimm, like Diana Rigg in [[Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService her Bond Girl days]]. Also, Kofa Yokh's appearance is compared to GeorgesSimenon' Inspector Maigret. This becomes a plot point late in the second volume, where Max almost lets himself be convinced that [[AllJustADream all of them were just figments of his imagination]], based on his favorite movies--a possible instance of the author admitting to lazy writing, as this technique is never used again throughout rest of the series.
* DaveBarry made fun of this in one of his columns in which he tried to write a techno-thriller that would be turned into a SummerBlockbuster. He wrote "[the main character] looked like TomCruise or, if he is available, AlPacino."
* Spoofed in RobertRankin's ''Armageddon: The Musical'' series: The main character resembles Creator/HarrisonFord to such an extent that [[CelebrityParadox people ask him for his autograph]] and think he's being a jerk when he signs his own name. One of the books has a subplot where a group of minor characters gain MediumAwareness and try to get the narrator to describe them as resembling various Hollywood stars;[[note]]Well, two, really, which led to confusion about which Julia Roberts was which character.[[/note]] the ButtMonkey wants to be played by TomCruise but ends up as [=Danny DeVito=] instead. There's a full cast list at the end.[[note]]Which reveals that the ButtMonkey was somehow able to recast himself with Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger.[[/note]]
** In ''The Brentford Chainstore Massacre'', MadScientist Dr. Steven Malone looks exactly like a Sidney Paget illustration of SherlockHolmes. Which means he's in black and white and generally in profile, pointing at something off the edge of the page.
* Creator/WilliamGibson's Berry Rydell, the protagonist of the ''Literature/BridgeTrilogy'', is at one point described as being the spitting image of "a young Creator/TommyLeeJones" by a cult of TV-worshipping religious nuts. He, of course, doesn't even know who that is.
* [[http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/scarlett-johansson-sues-bestselling-author-for-using-name-in-novel-tribute-8650285.html Scarlett Johansson actually is suing a French author for doing this with her in one of his books.]]
* In Fanfic/MoonDaughter, the narrator describes [[PercyJackson Hades]] as looking "kind of like JohnnyDepp super pale, but he had black hair in a ponytail and a little eyeliner but not too much cause he isn't gay."
* Overlaps with CelebrityParadox in the HarryPotter fanfiction ''Fanfic/HappyEndings'', where Severus Snape has been given a makeover by a ParodySue and thinks he now looks like a young Creator/AlanRickman.
* Hugo Drax's [[TheDragon right-hand man]] Willy "The Persuader" Krebbs in ''Literature/{{Moonraker}}'' is describred to look like a young Creator/PeterLorre. Since the actor himself had been typecast as slimy villains, this helps to describe the character's role in the story.
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