->''"I'll have my tailor shorten those legs for you," he'd say, and carry them into the back room. "Take about twelve inches off the legs, Pierre." ''Whack! Whack!'' "Ah, thank you, Pierre!" Pierre himself was never seen or heard, but for a Frenchman he was pretty handy with a machete.''
-->-- '''Creator/PatrickMcManus''', ''The Grogan Look''

A character who is often referred to, but never quite makes it onto the screen. Sometimes just casually mentioned, but eventually played for comic effect as the camera (or lead character) just fails to catch them.

Sometimes the character is never seen because the viewer is, in essence, this character (and thus share viewpoints). In this case the viewers are probably being used as TheWatson.

If a disembodied voice--"Yes Ma, I'm coming!"--they're TheVoice.

Not the GreatGazoo, but occurs in similar range of plot devices. See also HeWhoMustNotBeSeen and NothingIsScarier (for when a character remains unseen for the RuleOfScary). For a concept, item, or location, rather than a person, see CrypticBackgroundReference. If it's an event, you can check out NoodleIncident. Often overlaps with NoOneSeesTheBoss.

For a character who is frequently mentioned but never seen because they died before the story began, see PosthumousCharacter and DeathByOriginStory. For a character whose existence can only be inferred see UnknownCharacter.

Sometimes related to GreaterScopeVillain when dealing with villains; compare TheDreaded.

For actual ghosts and spirits, see OurGhostsAreDifferent. Not to be confused with the radio character [[Radio/TrueCapitalist known as the Ghost]], the industrial saboteur of the same name from ''ComicBook/IronMan'' comics, or the film/Broadway musical ''{{Film/Ghost}}''.


* ErnestPWorrell, an advertising icon who later starred in a television show called ''Hey Vern, It's Ernest!'' and a series of films, often addressed someone named Vern who was (presumably) behind the camera and never spoke or was seen on screen. In fact, Ernest was famous for the CatchPhrase "Knowhutimean, Vern?" This would be one of the cases where TheWatson is simultaneously invoked.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The Shinigami King on ''Manga/DeathNote''. At least until the one shot sequel was released.
* ''Anime/{{FLCL}}'':
** Naota's older brother Tasuku, only appearing as a silhouette in an episode 2 flashback and as a picture with his American girlfriend in a later episode, which is of course obscured by glare.
** [[EvilInc Medical Mechanica]] remains a near-complete mystery throughout the series. We never see anything of them other than the giant clothing iron in the center of the city, and the occasional killer robot that pops out of Naota's head.
* ''LightNovel/KyoKaraMaoh'': Shinou ('The Great One') up to the end of Season 2.
* ''Manga/MaisonIkkoku'' has several ghosts:
** Mr. Ichinose started out like this, but he did eventually appear (in a story where his appearance was the main focus). Oddly enough, he recognized everyone from Maison Ikkoku on sight, and knew many things about them. However, none of the tenants recognized him. He continued to make appearances in expected places for the rest of the manga's run.
** Kyoko's deceased husband, Soichiro. While ''partly'' a PosthumousCharacter, even when he IS shown in flashback any exposed skin (face, hands) is blacked out. In universe, Godai, Kyoko's new love interest, never even gets to see a picture of him [[spoiler:until nearly the end of the series when he sees a picture from Kyoko's first wedding. Even then the READER only gets to see a part of Soichiro's hand.]]
* Toji's sister in ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' started out as this. [[http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa305/secondgryphon/Sketches/EVA/Screencaps/r2-19-Sister.jpg She finally appeared]] in ''Rebuild 2.0''.
** The sensei who Shinji lived with before the series began; we don't even know their ''gender''.
* Lina's older sister Luna in ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}''. She's mentioned several times (especially in TRY), but we never do see her on screen, or in the novels that the anime was based on. WordOfGod says that she'll never appear in canon outside of the opening sequences, because she's so ''ridiculously powerful'' that she would unbalance the rest of the cast.
* Maka's mother from ''Manga/SoulEater''.
* Himeko from ''Manga/SKETDance'' will occasionally make a passing reference to "Nakatai-san from Class A". Late in the series, Bossun finally points out that he has no idea who that person is. This leads to an entire chapter where he tries to meet the character, only to keep missing her due to increasingly improbable events. [[spoiler:He does manage to catch a partial glimpse of her at one point.]]
* Contrary to popular belief, Yugi Mouto from the original ''Anime/YuGiOh'' ''did'' have a mother, and she ''wasn't'' dead. She was seen in one brief scene in the manga, and one scene in one episode after the Duelist Kingdom arc (which was cut from the dub) but that was it. Exactly why she kept herself hidden all the time wasn't clear.
** Jonouchi's father was someone who was never seen, except in one panel in the manga, but he was talked about often. Apparently, he was an alcoholic whose illness had caused his marriage to end in divorce. Jonouchi's mother got a small amount of screen time; she kept custody of his sister Shizuka, and was very reluctant to talk to Jonouchi until Shizuka's surgery.
* [[Anime/QueensBlade Leina's parents, Owen and The Head Archangel]] are only mentioned in all the adaptations of the franchise, except in the animated ones when they physically appear for first time, albeit Leina's mother previously appeared in a non-canonical light novel side-story.
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' has the #6 Level 5 Esper. Known only by process of elimination for most of the story, it's eventually mentioned that they do not appear in public, meaning their gender, appearance and presumably even ability are not known by anyone. Thirty volumes into the story, their name was finally revealed to be the GenderBlenderName Aihana Etsu, but even that wasn't confirmed to be their real name for another half a dozen volumes. Multiple people have impersonated them, a process that Etsu actually encourages for unknown reasons.
* Mahiro's father in ''LightNovel/HaiyoreNyarkoSan''; when his mother Yoriko first shows up, she implies that Dad'll be stuck at the office for a while making up the time they took off for [[HappilyMarried their most recent honeymoon]]. As of the end of the series, his only appearance is in the second anime season during a FlashBack to his and Yoriko's courtship, and even then his face is obscured.
* {{Anime/Pokemon}} - In the first episode, Ash winds up with Pikachu because three other trainers beat him to Professor Oak's lab. One was Gary, the other two are never seen or even given names. However, through the start of season one trainers and gym leaders Ash meets tell him he doesn't measure up to the three trainers from Pallet Town ahead of him. Oak eventually tells Ash and Gary that the other two weren't successful in getting the required badges.
* Fittingly for the adaptation version of a faceless PlayerCharacter, the [[ACommanderIsYou Admiral]] in ''Anime/KantaiCollection'' is never shown on-screen. The most the audience gets to see of them is their shadow, and [[HeWhoMustNotBeHeard their voice is never heard]]. [[NumberTwo Secretary Ship Nagato]] tends to be the one relaying their orders to the girls.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Lawrence and Mobile of ''Comicbook/ScottPilgrim'', [[spoiler:until they both appear near the end of volume five.]]
* ''ComicStrip/KnightsOfTheDinnerTable'' has several:
** Bob's sister (who is the mother of Croix and Hunter)
** B.A.'s mother (although she does become TheVoice occasionally)
** Crutch's 'old lady', Casey Mae
** Crowbar, Switch's partner-in-crime was this for years until he finally appeared on-panel in Hawg Waller's.
** Brian's uncle (and former guardian)
** Dave's father and brother.
* Little Ego's therapist.
* Believe it or not, Mary Jane Watson was this until her first appearance in ''Amazing Spider Man #42''. Before that, she was sort of a RunningGag by the writers, someone who Aunt May and Mary Jane's own aunt were trying to have Peter meet, but never succeeding. The first time she appeared, her face was hidden. When she and Peter finally met, it came as quite a shock to Peter.
* [[Comicbook/{{Empowered}} Empowered's]] mother. (They sometimes talk on the telephone, but we never hear what she says.)
* ''ComicBook/TheCartoonHistoryOfTheUniverse'' portrays Mohammed this way, out of respect for mainstream Islam's prohibition on visual representations of historic Muslim figures.
* Traditionally, this is true for the original members of the Yancy Street Gang, the ones that [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Ben Grimm]] knew when he was a member; they are never fully seen in the comics, only heard from the shadows, from the windows of buildings, or shown with hardhats or other headwear covering their faces. However, the younger "new generation" of the Gang was seen in full.
* The "Enemy" in ''ComicBook/{{Sturmtruppen}}'' is never ever shown, except for one single strip (which is still pitch black).
* SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker was given this treatment in the ''ComicBook/{{New 52}}''. After the events of Batman: Detective Comics #1, he ''apparently'' "retired", and the only thing left of him is his ''face'' after he had another psychotic criminal surgically remove it for some reason. He still manages to cause trouble for Gotham -- in the wake of his disappearance, he gets in-universe DracoInLeatherPants treatment from a bunch of idiots who dress up like him to form angry mobs that accuse Batman of murdering the Joker. His face (which is currently being held by Gotham police) is also being treated as an object of worship by the Joker's crazier fans. The few times Joker appeared, it was either in a flashback or an impostor. He finally returns in Batman #13, where he retrieves his face. This leads to [[BatFamilyCrossover an event]] called ''ComicBook/DeathOfTheFamily'', in which he goes after every member of the Bat-Family.
** As of Batman 36 [[spoiler: Joker has made his official return with a new, albeit tight to the point of looking UncannyValley, layer of skin on his face]]
* [[ComicBook/GastonLagaffe Gaston Lagaffe's]] aunt Hortense.
* Boneville from ''ComicBook/{{Bone}}'' is a whole ghost '''town'''. Despite all the references the Bone cousins make to it, creator Jeff Smith has never actually depicted it, saying because Boneville isn't the focus of the story. Whatever Boneville looks like is up to the reader's imagination.
** Kind of averted in the Spin-off novels "Quest for the Spark" which was written by Tom Sniegoski (Jeff Smith still illustrated it) starts off at the Boneville adventurer's guild. Yet true to the original story, it still doesn't describe anything of what Boneville actually looks like.
* The Director General in ''ComicBook/UnionJack'' is never seen, even though she's being scapegoated for British government's lackluster response to the R.A.I.D. attack.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* Rafiki in ''Fanfic/TheLionKingAdventures''. He is mentioned a few times in the series, but was never seen. He presented Simba at his birth, and also confirmed that he had the Kulaani illness in ''Sick Simba''. WordOfGod claims he died after Series Three.
* Not only is Hayate never shown in ''Fanfic/PerfectionIsOverrated'', but nothing is revealed about this person apart from being Toki's most important person, someone for whom she'd risk a temporal paradox- not even Hayate's gender is revealed. The Usurper wonders what Toki sees in Hayate, but she refuses to elaborate, a reference to the shallow and hastily established romances some MarySue characters have.
* Crime king Felix Drachner from ''Fanfic/WhatAboutWitchQueen'' has never been seen by any POV, only heard once. He apparently "dropped off the surface of Earth" about ten years before and remained free despite being chased by three governments, many guilds and countless criminals. Despite not appearing, he's likely the biggest player in the fic, causing [[spoiler:among others, Anna's kidnapping, Weselton attacking Arendelle and Elsa's assassination attempt.]]
* Enforced in ''Fanfic/TheUniversiad'' with regards to the Moderators. Due to Gideon (the author)'s insistence that only the appropriate users can "play" the characters representing themselves, and none of the actual mods deigning to join in, they will remain offscreen for the foreseeable future.
* The character Hope from ''FanFic/JusticeSocietyOfJapan'' is a huge fan of [[TigerAndBunny Wild Tiger]], but said character never appears on-screen (not counting a dream sequence).
* ''FanFic/BadFutureCrusaders'' has [[FallenHero Queen Twilight Sparkle]]. It was her FaceHeelTurn and transformation into a despotic tyrant that instigated the plot, but as of this writing, she's yet to appear personally.
* ''FanFic/WeissReacts'' has Weiss' grandfather. He set in motion most of the tragedies that befall the characters in the backstory but isn't actually seen during the present as of this writing.
* ''Fanfic/TheBridge'' has Queen Chrysalis. The pony characters speak of her with dread frequently, and it's a plot point that Mothra Lea's Equestrian form slightly resembles her, forcing her to hide her appearance to prevent a panic. At one point, Destroyah nearly kills a Changeling and it escapes and decides to report to Chrysalis what happened. Yet Chrysalis hasn't appeared as of this writing.

* ''Film/SinceYouWentAway'' is a film about life on the American home front during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, with Anne Hilton and her two daughters getting along after Anne's husband Tim goes away to the army. Tim Hilton is a presence throughout the film, via his pictures, messages from him, and constant talking about him, but he never appears onscreen.
* ''Franchise/StarWars: Film/ANewHope'' had two Ghosts: the Emperor and Jabba the Hutt. Jabba was originally supposed to appear in the film, but his scene was cut, and his character was reimagined as a giant, slug-like alien. His scene was restored in the [[ReCut Special Edition]] with a CGI version of Jabba inserted over the original actor and his dialogue dubbed over with Huttese. Though Emperor Palpatine briefly appeared in [[Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack the following film]], it wasn't until ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' that Jabba finally appeared onscreen. A variant for Palpatine is that Darth Sidious only appears to the Trade Federation he's commanding in ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'' as a {{hologram}} - a [[VirtualGhost Phantom]] [[AntagonistTitle Menace]].
* In the ''Film/JamesBond'' movies, most of the other 00 agents qualify, with [[Film/{{Goldeneye}} one notable exception]]. Not counting ''Film/{{Thunderball}}'', where they're all seen in the background, at best they're only seen when dead or three seconds from dying. 008 in particular is never seen onscreen, though M always threatens to replace Bond with him if he keeps disobeying orders.
* In ''Film/WaitingForGuffman'', the characters spend the entire movie preparing for the arrival of Broadway talent scout Guffman. During their performance, [[spoiler:a distinguished man arrives late and takes Guffman's seat, but we later find out that he's just a random guy. Guffman never appears]].
* Dagmar Geech in ''Art House''.
* General Kemidov and Floyd Thursby in ''Film/TheMalteseFalcon''.
* The title character of ''Theatre/{{Oscar}}'' appears only for a moment in the very last scene.
* The title character in ''Edward, My Son'' is never seen or even pictured.
* Lord and Lady Ferncliffe in the George Cukor classic ''Dinner at Eight''.
* Claude Daigle, the boy Rhoada murdered from ''TheBadSeed'', is only referred to in past tense, though he may have been glimpsed at the school picnic.
* Al Capone in ''Film/RoadToPerdition'' is referred to a number of times, but he never appears. A scene was shot with him, but it was cut out to make his presence more abstract and ominous.
* In ''Film/TheBadSleepWell'', Iwabuchi has a superior at the Unexploited Land Development Corporation with whom he talks on the phone sometimes. The superior is never seen.
* ''Film/{{Patton}}'' does this with General Eisenhower, both on purpose and by accident. They couldn't find an actor that looked enough like Eisenhower, so they decided to have Eisenhower be an unseen, ominous figure.
* ''MyDinnerWithAndre'' is full of them. The cast literally conists of two guys, a waiter, and a few extras. Throughout the film, Wallace talks about his girlfriend Debbie, and Andre talks about quite a few people. The closest we ever get to seeing any of them is a single black and white photograph of a Polish woman Andre worked with one time.
* ''Film/TheBigLebowski'': Walter's ex-wife, Cynthia. She is mentioned a few times, Walter even takes care of her dog, but she is never seen or heard.
* Norman Osborn gets this treatment in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan''. We never get a clear look at him and all we hear about is that he founded Oscorp, [[spoiler: he's dying from an unknown disease, and he is linked to Peter's parents somehow. TheStinger suggests that he may know more about Spider-Man and everything else going on than he lets on...]]
* ''Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff'' has a few Ghosts, the most prominent one being Morris Frye, Cameron's father. All we know of him is related or implied by Cameron or Ferris, and none of it is pretty. Some film scholars have argued that he, not [[DesignatedVillain Rooney]] or [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation Ferris]], is the [[BiggerBad true villain]] of the film despite never physically appearing.
* Despite having the film named after him, Mohammad never appears in ''Film/MohammadMessengerOfGod'', for very [[AgainstMyReligion obvious]] [[UsefulNotes/{{Islam}} reasons]]. While the film does show his point of view a few times, the closest the viewer ever gets to seeing him is getting glimpses of his sword, staff, and camel, respectively.
* ''Yield to the Night'', a British crime drama, was about Mary Hilton (played by Diana Dors), a woman sentenced to die for murdering her boyfriend's other lover. The victim shows up in the opening scene, when the murder is shown, and a few other times in flashback, but her face is never completely visible to the camera. (The movie was loosely based on the case of Ruth Ellis, and in an odd coincidence Ellis had actually been in another Diana Dors movie, ''Lady Godiva Rides Again'', as a beauty pageant contestant.)
* We never see (or even hear) Dwight Eisenhower in ''Film/IntoTheStorm2009'', despite him having some bearing in the plot. The same also goes for Adolf Hitler and Mussolini, neither of which ever appears in the movie, but bear heavily in the plot.
* In ''Film/ImperiumAugustus'', Augustus' wife Scribonia was never shown onscreen. His marriage and divorce with her was only briefly mentioned in the aging Augustus' narration. This is despite the fact that one of the movie's main plot point was Augustus' attempt to rise to power by marrying her for money and later leaving her for [[LoveInterest Livia]].
* In the 1997 informative video ''Film/TheKidsGuideToTheInternet'', Lisa and Andrew's mother dropped them off and is heard honking to pick them up, but doesn't come in and talk to the Mom and Dad.
* ''Film/ZeroDarkThirty'''s UsefulNotes/OsamaBinLaden. He's never seen, as well as his TheDragon, Abu Ahmed. At the end, both are shot and killed in a raid, [[spoiler:though the audience only sees brief glimpses of Bin Laden's face, leaving all up to them to think if that was the real man.]]
* The title character in ''Salvatore Giuliano'' only appears onscreen as a corpse. The film nonetheless covers Giuliano's life and exploits in considerable detail.
* This was the general idea for the Mandarin in ''Film/IronMan''. He's alluded to as the leader of the Ten Rings terrorist cell, and through them has a hand in the plots of the first two movies before appearing in the third. [[spoiler: Except that ''that'' Mandarin is just an actor hired by Aldrich Killian, who claims to be the real Mandarin. However, according to the One-Shot ''All Hail the King'', the real Mandarin is still out there, so this trope is still in effect.]]

* ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'' has a wide backstory and several characters are only ever referred to. The most notable example is probably R., the Duchess of Winnipeg.
* Galbatorix from the ''Literature/InheritanceCycle''. Somewhat unusual in that he is the BigBad of the series, at least as of the third book. He finally appears in the last book, ''Inheritance''.
* Inversion in ''[[Literature/ThursdayNext Thursday Next: First Among Sequels]]'': [[spoiler:Jenny never appears because she's actually a mindworm implanted in the first-person narrator's mind. This was revealed when her family explained it to her to stop her freaking out over an abandoned Jenny - only to have the mindworm blank out her memory of the conversation afterwards.]]
* OlderThanSteam example besides Creator/WilliamShakespeare: In the novel ''Literature/DonQuixote'', [[TheDulcineaEffect Dulcinea]] -- or, to be more precise, the peasant woman whom Quixote apparently renames "Dulcinea" -- never appears.
* Not really literature, but who exactly ''is'' Uncle John of ''UncleJohnsBathroomReader''? He's referenced countless times in the series. Its not the person on the back of the books either, they've pointed out multiple times his name is Larry Kelp and he's merely a technician for the Bathroom Readers Institute.
** Uncle John just seems to be an alias for whatever persona happens to be convenient for the remarks prefacing an article--in the article on microwaves it makes comments about how he once swore he'd never have anything to do with the device, but now he thanks the appliance gods every time he pulls a pizza out of the freezer to keep the kids from killing each other.
** Uncle John ''might'' be humorist John Javna, who was one of the co-creators of the series and who contributes to every book, but Javna nor the BRI have ever confirmed it's supposed to be him
* The Hittite king [[InherentlyFunnyWords Suppiluliuma]] I is a constant presence throughout ''TheEgyptian'' -- we hear of his plans, we see his armies and what he does, but he never appears on-stage himself.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter''
** Eloise Midgen. We know that she has unfortunate acne, that Ron doesn't want to go with her to the Yule Ball, and that she's one of the first to go home in the sixth book during Voldemort's reign of terror, but we never see her. (She does appear in one of [[Film/HarryPotter the films]], however.)
** Nicholas Flamel, from the [[Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone first book]]. Very important to the plot, but never actually appeared in person.
** Professor Aurora Sinistra, the Astronomy teacher, is mentioned but never shown, except for one brief mention of her dancing with Moody at the Yule Ball.
** Aside from a tiny mention where she's almost concussed by Hagrid, Professor Vector, the Arithmancy Teacher, is the same.
** Ron's Great Auntie Muriel is this until Book 7.
** Going to be averted with Newt Scamander, the writer of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He's getting his own spin-off movie, written by Rowling herself.
* ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' is brimming full of ghosts. There's ex-president of the galaxy Yooden Vranx, acclaimed writer Oolong Colluphid, the long-lost Guide editor Lig Lury Junior, and of course, Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon VI.
* In ''The Ambassadors'' by Creator/HenryJames, the mother of Chad Newsome, who guides much of the novel's action by sending her fiancee Strether to Europe, never appears in the book.
* Margaret, the mother of Alison in [[Creator/AlanGarner Alan Garner's]] ''The Owl Service''. Many of the events pan out as the characters try desperately to keep her happy, but she never appears in the book. Similarly occurs in the TV series, to the extent that you see parts of her clothing and even hear her play piano in the same room, but never actually hear or see her.
* Arianllyn, Adaon's betrothed in ''[[Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain The Black Cauldron]]''. He references her repeatedly, but [[spoiler: since he dies two-thirds of the way through the book,]] the reader never gets to meet her.
* The eponymous character of ''Literature/DaddyLongLegs'', by Jean Webster. Since almost the entire EpistolaryNovel consists of protagonist Judy's letters to her [[AnonymousBenefactor unknown benefactor]], this makes sense. Subverted in the end, however, when [[spoiler: it's revealed that "Daddy" is Jervis, the man she's in love with and has written about extensively.]]
* ''Literature/{{Emma}}'':
** Augusta Elton is expecting a visit from her fashionable sister Selina and her husband, and she never hesitates to mention them, but they never arrive.
** Frank Churchill's aunt and uncle are mentioned frequently but never seen.
** Frank ''himself'' had been The Ghost in Highbury for several years prior to the events of the novel.
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'':
** Howland Reed of Greywater Watch is a longtime friend of Eddard Stark, and is mentioned a number of times throughout the story, but he has yet to appear himself. [[spoiler: What's more, he's the only surviving member of Eddard's group of men that went to the Tower of Joy, and he is probably the only person who knows exactly what promise Eddard made to his dead sister, Lyanna.]]
** Stannis Baratheon in the first book.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Bergholt Stuttley "Bloody Stupid" Johnson, the most [[BunglingInventor infamous inventor]]. His works are present throughout the series, but Johnson himself never makes an appearance. It's pretty strongly implied that he's been [[PosthumousCharacter dead for decades]].
** It's mentioned that Sybil Ramkin's father shot the man when he started to work his particular landscaping genius on their estate, although whether this is what killed him is unclear.
** Mrs. Colon was The Ghost up to ''Discworld/{{Snuff}}''; often mentioned, but part of the joke was that she and Fred barely saw each other, and the two communicated almost exclusively through notes left about the house. Vimes at one point wondered how they managed to have kids, eventually chalking it up to some very persuasive notes.
** Gravid Rust is mentioned several times, and has a major role in ''Discworld/{{Snuff}}'', but is never seen.
* The letters that ''Literature/LastDragon'' consists of are addressed to Esumi, a character we never meet in the story and about whom we learn very little.
* In ''Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye'', Jane Gallagher is one of the few people Holden respects and admires. Thinking she might have had sex with Holden's boorish roommate sparks the fight that sets the plot in motion. Holden considers or tries to call her at various points during the novel, but never reaches her.
* Sauron of ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''. Not so much in TheFilmOfTheBook.
** Many mistakenly believe that Sauron either has no visible form at all, or that his visible form is the Eye of Barad-dur (the films in particular encourage the latter interpretation). However, a couple of passages in the books make it clear that the Eye existed ''before'' Isildur cut the ring from Sauron's finger, and Gollum says that while he was tortured in Mordor, Sauron personally tortured him, and confirms he has a physical body.
** Same with Radagast, whom we only knew from Gandalf's words. As with Sauron in [[Film/TheLordOfTheRings the previous film trilogy]], he is rescued from this status in ''Film/TheHobbitAnUnexpectedJourney'', where he appears onscreen and has a fairly prominent role.
* The "GA" (Great Aunt) of Nancy and Peggy in ''Literature/SwallowsAndAmazons.'' [[spoiler: She does make a brief appearance at the end of ''The Picts and the Martyrs'', though.]]
* The Raven King in ''Literature/JonathanStrangeAndMrNorrell''. [[spoiler: Although he has a {{cameo}} near the end of the book.]]
* ''Literature/TheMalteseFalcon'': Floyd Thursby and General Kemidov, the ''real'' MagnificentBastard of the story.
* Professor Angus MacGuffin in [[Creator/JasperFforde Jasper Fforde's]] ''[[Literature/NurseryCrime The Fourth Bear]]''. He almost appears near the end, but has vanished when someone turns to introduce him - because, [[MeaningfulName of course]], he's just a [[MacGuffin plot device]] and doesn't have to actually exist.
* The Emperor Over The Sea in ''TheChroniclesOfNarnia''.
* ShowWithinAShow example: In ''[[{{Dragaera}} The Phoenix Guards]]'', Paarfi compares one of his own characters to the Marquis of Havenwood, The Ghost from the in-universe play ''The Return of Duke Highwater''.
* Silver's [[NoNameGiven unnamed]] wife in ''Literature/TreasureIsland''. All we know is that she's "a woman of colour" and is trusted with Silver's finances while he's on the ''Hispanola'' (specifically, to sell everything, clear the account, and meet up with him somewhere).
* ''Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy'':
** Lord Hasting, a powerful noble, is never met by the main characters. He was originally going to have a one-shot appearance when Kelsier was posing as an informant, but his role was given to the much more important Straff Venture.
** Crews Geffenry a Mistborn and and knife fighter, who Kelsier frames for an assassination. He never actually appears in the story, unless he was the Mistborn aiding Lady Shan Elariel when she [[spoiler:tried to assassinate Lord Elend Venture]] near the end of ''Mistborn: The Final Empire''.
* ''Literature/RedwallSeries'': There are many characters mentioned from long ago that never appeared. "King Mortspear" "The First Reguba" "Almost all the Badger Lords/Ladies before Stonepaw" whom if Brian Jacques hadn't passed away, they may have likely got a chance for a story. But then again, he seemed to have made it clear he was finished with prequels.
* In ''Literature/PinkiePieAndTheRockinPonypaloozaParty'', Pinkie's third sister, Maud Pie, is only mentioned ([[NoNameGiven and not by name]]). She's running the rock farm while her relatives are visiting Ponyville.
* Prismia is only mentioned in a flashback and does not make any sort of present day appearance in ''Literature/TwilightSparkleAndTheCrystalHeartSpell''.
* In ''[[Literature/TheMazeRunner The Maze Runner Trilogy]]'', Chancellor Paige is never seen or interacts with anyone, only having her memoirs at the end of each book. This is {{averted|trope}} in [[FilmOfTheBook the movie]].
* Regular ''Literature/{{Barkwire}}'' contributor [=BiGDOG=] can't get through one post without praising Panzer, but never provides any detail. The only image ever posted of Panzer only shows as an error symbol.
* Erzo Gwyn-Raven from the ''Literature/TowerAndTheHive'' series. The youngest of The Rowan and Jeff Raven's kids, he's only ever mentioned in passing or in context to events that happened off screen.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Lothos is one in the series; he and his minions are vaguely referenced in the first episode. (For context, Lothos was Buffy's arch-nemesis in TheMovie, and there he was indeed seen on screen.)
** Hank became this after Season Two, the exceptions being "The Weight of the World" (in a flashback) and "Normal Again" (in the CuckooNest).
* ''Series/TheSopranos'': Ercole "Ecky" [=DiMeo=], the boss of the crime family, was sent to prison years before the events of the show. Though the crime family still bears his name, it's actually run by his underlings.
* In ''Series/BroadCity'', Abbi's roommate is often mentioned but never seen. (In one episode, she appears in a couple of photos with her face obscured). Her freeloading boyfriend, meanwhile, is a constant nuisance in Abbi's life.
* ''Series/DegrassiTheNextGeneration'': Heather Sinclair is a ghost. She's a running joke between the writers and is basically only brought up when there needs to be drama in an episode but it's not between the main characters. Curiously enough, Heather's younger sister [[AlphaBitch Holly J]] was brought onto the show [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks in later seasons.]]
* ''Series/{{Minder}}'': One of the earliest would be "'Er Indoors", Arthur's wife.
* ''Series/DadsArmy'': Captain Mainwaring's wife Elizabeth. The closest we come to seeing her is the disturbingly large bulge she makes in the top matress of a bunk bed, while Mainwaring himself is on the bottom bunk.
* ''Series/{{Frasier}}'': Vera (A ghost character in ''Series/{{Cheers}}'') was reincarnated in Niles's wife Maris in this show. She wasn't originally meant to be a ghost, but by the time they would otherwise have showed her the makers of the show realized that they'd built up such an inhuman woman with their imagery that no actress could play her. You ''do'' see a silhouette in one episode and (in a flashback) a bandage-covered woman in another.
** The trope and character were referenced in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', where Bart covers Cecil Terwilliger's eyes and says "guess who", to distract him. Cecil, [[RelationshipVoiceActor voiced by]] David Hyde Pierce, Niles's actor, guesses "Maris?"
* ''Series/HomeImprovement'': Al's Mom. Similarly, they built up Al's mother's weight so long that there was no way they'd actually get anybody to play her. There'd need to be unimaginable amounts of padding. After she dies, we get to see her casket, which is the size of a station wagon and requires no less than ''seventeen'' pallbearers.
* Similarly (and predating Al's mother) is Peg's mother from ''Series/MarriedWithChildren''. She was audible in several cases, and a few times ''parts'' of her massive bulk were shown, but she was never seen fully.
* ''Series/MenBehavingBadly'': Gary repeatedly mentions his friend Clive in conversation, but Clive is never seen. (This was a HandWave of sorts, to tell the audience the cast did have [[LimitedSocialCircle friends other than each other]].) Clive appears in the episode dealing with Gary's non-wedding, as the one to whom the task of filming the whole shebang falls. Needless to say, the only thing you see is his legs, although you do occasionally hear his leering comments.
* ''Series/{{Becker}}'': Margaret's husband Lewis.
* ''Series/DiffrentStrokes'': "The Gooch", a bully Arnold feared (and judging by the descriptions of him, downright freakish).
* ''Series/JustShootMe'':
** Both Allie, Jack Gallo's young wife and Binnie, Nina's best friend.
** Both characters eventually appeared onscreen. Jack's wife Allie made her first appearance in the fourth season finale, a CliffHanger that ends with her [[spoiler: sleeping with Finch.]] Binnie appeared both in a HalloweenEpisode and as a ghost in one of the final episodes; in both she was TheFaceless (covered in bandages in the former, seen only from the back in the latter).
** Donald Trump, Jack's friendly rival, also qualifies.
** And in early episodes there are mentions of one [[BobFromAccounting Baxter from accounting]].
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** The Powers That Be.
*** Although Jasmine, the BigBad of Season 4, refers to herself as a "Power That Was", implying that she was [[FallenHero one who had fallen from grace]].
** The Season 5 episode "The Girl in Question" revolves around an entity known only as "The Immortal", who only appears on camera once barely visible through the crowd on a dance floor, and Buffy herself, who fills a similar role throughout the season.
* ''Series/HogansHeroes'': A dubbed example is Klink's housekeeper/possible mistress. Never heard of her? You weren't watching the dub, where dialogue relating to Hitler or other topics verboten on German television were replaced by more innocent dialogue about Klink's housekeeper. She was never seen because originally she never existed.
** This was also featured prominently in the non-dubbed version with regards to historical figures associated with World War II. The best example would be Hitler himself, whose appearances outside of background pictures and paintings only occur in the form of being on the other end of a telephone conversation or the heroes impersonating him.
* ''Series/WillAndGrace'': Stan (occasionally TheFaceless).
* ''Series/HappyDays'': Jenny Piccalo for the first few seasons. Her character became noticeably LighterAndSofter once she was brought onscreen.
* ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'': Bob Saccamano & Lomez, Kramer's friends:
-->'''Jerry:''' You sure have a lot of friends. [[LampshadeHanging How come I've never met any of these people]]?
-->'''Kramer:''' They ask why they've never met you.
* ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'': Sheldon's "Meemaw" until she visited in Season 9.
* ''Series/TheFactsOfLife'': Snake, Natalie's boyfriend in the later seasons. He does show up in the latter half of the final season, just in time for a VerySpecialEpisode about Natalie being the first of the girls to "get her V-Card punched".
* ''The Children's Corner'': Mister Rogers (see the entry for TheUnintelligible for more details on this show).
* ''Marion and Geoff'': The title characters in the British BlackComedy named after them. Despite the title, the show is all about chauffeur Rob Brydon talking about them and other people. The events are entirely SecondHandStorytelling. They did eventually appear in the prequel, ''A Small Summer Party''.
* ''That Beryl Marston...'': The title character is not actually in the ITV sitcom of that title (it's about a couple played by Julia [=McKenzie=] and Gareth Hunt, and the effect of Hunt's affair with Marston on their marriage)
* ''Series/{{Tweenies}}'': Honorable mention: Bella's Gran. She did make one appearance though, in "Jake and the Beanstalk" (she's watching the Tweenies doing a Christmas pantomime of Jack and the Beanstalk, starring Jake).
* ''Series/{{Columbo}}'': Mrs. Columbo is a prime example of the phenomenon. Though she never appeared in the series, a {{spinoff}} which ran under several titles featured as its lead a character purported to be the detective's wife, in which Columbo himself was likewise a Ghost. "Kate Columbo" is generally considered by the makers of the ''Columbo'' series to not, in fact, be the same person, but either the wife of an entirely different detective of the same name, or (in a line cut from an actual ''Columbo'' episode) an imposter.
** There are fan theories that the missus does not even exist, and is perhaps just something Columbo uses as an conversational technique to get people to open up. However, there has been at least one instance of another character saying he had just met Mrs. Columbo, indicating she does exist.
* ''Series/TwinPeaks'': Diane, Cooper's secretary.
* "Series/FreshMeat": Paul Lamb, the "Invisible Man", the seventh housemate of the first season. The only time he shows up "in person" is when he throws the gym equipment JP set up in his room out the window; the audience only sees the equipment fly out as JP pleads with him to stop. His mother appears in the season finale, saying that he's been out of school, having suffered a mental breakdown from feeling unnoticed. The main characters never even noticed he left.
* ''Series/{{Chucklevision}}'': Dan the Van. Often mentioned by the Chuckle Brothers or spoken to on the phone. Appeared in one episode, covered entirely in bandages.
* ''Series/TouchedByAnAngel'': And indeed in most non-comedy programs in which He is a character, {{God}}. He finally appears in the last episode as part of Monica's promotion test.
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'':
** Enid, Dr. Kelso's wife. Also, his son Harrison.
** Enid is seen at least once from behind (without her face showing) in a flashback. Harrison is also (just) seen in a photo that Kelso is holding.
** R.N. Laverne Roberts' husband and son.
** Possible parody in most/all of the Janitor's anecdotes. He's constantly referencing Ghost characters who never appear, with the reality of those Ghosts being called into question constantly. Even once when his Father made an actual appearance, he later mentions his father having died years ago, when J.D. responds with the fact that he'd met the Janitor's father, the Janitor replies "You met a Man". This also builds up to a subversion of the trope. After an entire series of the Janitor making up people, he mentions a girlfriend named "Lady". You're led to believe she's another made up Ghost for a while until she actually appears and the two get married.
* ''Series/MySoCalledLife'': Tino. He got a ShoutOut in ''Film/{{Juno}}''.
* ''Series/FullHouse'': Kimmy's parents.
** ''Series/FullerHouse'': Michelle, due to the Olsen Twins declining to return.
* ''Series/TheMightyBoosh'': In the first season, Vince and Howard mention their friend Leroy, who apparently has influence on the show. His face is actually seen in one scene, but only for a few seconds, and covered completely by KISS-style make-up.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'':
** Major Atumbe, the third-in-command. Mentioned several times, but never appears because, according to the creator, they didn't want yet another on-screen recurring character. David Corwin, who started off as a bit part, would eventually assume the 3iC role.
** Another important faceless is David Sheridan, son of John Sheridan and Delenn. In all flash-forwards, David is never seen, even when [[spoiler:John Sheridan dies. David is off training with the rangers, and they didn't want to call him back]].
*** This, interestingly, is because David is too important to the arc. They wanted to keep it open to eventually cast him, and there is a lot of stuff that happened with him. Revealed in the novels, of course.
** Dr Benjamin Kyle left after the PilotMovie, becoming Earthdome's new Head of Xenobiological Research, after which he is mentioned several times but never seen. At the end of the series he is said to be retiring, and his replacement Dr Stephen Franklin departs the station to succeed him again in his job at Earthdome.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** Has quite a few examples:
** The Chef on ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise''. May be a ShoutOut to an episode of the original ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' (where the Chef over the comm system was voiced by GeneRoddenberry), though in the series finale, it's Riker from ''[[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration TNG]]'' standing in for the Chef. He makes a [[TheFaceless Faceless]] appearance in a second season episode, where the lower half of his body can be seen as he passes food down.
** ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'':
*** Throughout the series, there were many offscreen ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' aliens constantly being mentioned, but never being shown. The Orions ([[GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe yeah, them]]) were the villains of one episode...by way of non-Orion enforcers, with no actual Orions ever showing up. ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' would return them to the television screen for the first time in 35-ish years...and also threw in the Tarkaleans, whose ''only'' presence at the time had been their getting mentioned (especially by way of "Tarkalean tea") but not seen in ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]''.
*** Lt. Vilix'Pran and his ever-growing brood of budlings were sometimes mentioned. Jake is even supposed to have baby-sat some, which involved keeping their wings untangled.
*** Jadzia has an ex-boyfriend with a transparent skull who fits this trope nicely.
*** Bashir's friend Felix is mentioned a few times but never seen. Felix designs holodeck programs which occasionally fuel the plotlines of some ''Deep Space Nine'' episodes; notably a TuxedoAndMartini spy caper in "Our Man Bashir" and a '50s era Vegas nightclub, hosted by Vic Fontaine, a [[ArtificialIntelligence self-aware holographic crooner]].
** The Breen on ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' were something of a running in-joke. They were never shown on screen but were supposedly a dangerous empire and enemy of the Federation. Characters would often wrongly suspect their involvement in the conflict of the week but they were always {{red herring}}s. They were eventually revealed on ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'', but it turned out Breen wear body suits (which [[ShoutOut look very much like the bounty hunter disguise Leia wore in]] ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'') at all times as they breathe differently, so their actual bodies are covered. The never-seen Tzenkethi filled a similar role thereafter.
** ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' had the Delaney twins from Stellar Cartography, pursued by Tom Paris and Harry Kim in the early seasons but never seen. Tom eventually hooks up with B'Elanna Torres [[LadykillerInLove putting an end to his womanising]] while Kim became a FatalAttractor, so the tempting twins were seldom mentioned until they made a surprise one-off appearance in the [[ShowWithinAShow Captain Proton holodeck program]], playing "The Twin Mistresses of Evil" opposing Tom and Harry's hero and sidekick parts.
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'': Ugly Naked Guy. He ''is'' seen twice, [[UnrevealAngle though not completely]]: his rear end and his hand in "The One With the Giant Poking Device", and also from behind in the episode where Ross is trying to get his apartment.
** An in-universe example: Phoebe's roommate Denise. She's mentioned a few times, but the rest of the friends have never seen her. It's left ambiguous as to whether she ever existed.
-->'''Phoebe:''' I talk about her all the time, DENISE!".
* ''Series/DreamOn'': Martin's ex-wife's husband Richard, who is portrayed as AlwaysSomeoneBetter compared to Martin.
* ''Series/LifeIsWorthLiving'': In this inspirational television series, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen would refer to an Angel who erased a blackboard used on the program. The Angel is never seen, since the host would move away so the blackboard and whoever erased it was off-screen. When transcripts of the series were published, illustrations would show an angel along with recreated diagrams.
* ''Series/DropTheDeadDonkey'':
** Jerry the cameraman. He is never seen as he is always behind the camera. Due to the situations that Damien places him in he is always the FallGuy.
** He does show up at least once, at a Christmas party covered head to toe in bandages.
** Sir Royston Merchant, the media mogul who owns Globelink News (until a brief appearance in the final episode).
* ''Series/KeepingUpAppearances'':
** Hyacinth's sister Violet and son Sheridan, though only in the first season. Violet does fully appear in the second while Sheridan makes one appearance as TheVoiceless.
** Liz's husband was mentioned from time to time, but his job required a lot of travel, so we never got to see him.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': Linderman was mentioned in just about every episode without being seen until he was finally revealed near the end of season 1.
* ''Series/LifeOnMars2006'': "The Missus" Hunt, who spends quite a bit of time out of town at her mother's; an inexplicably deleted line from the ''Series/AshesToAshes'' pilot has her leaving Gene for another woman.
* ''Series/FatherTed'': The priests would occasionally list another attribute of "Father Bigley", (he wears perfume, has lips like a fish) but the character never appeared on-screen.
* ''Series/BirdsOfAFeather'': Marcus, Dorian's husband. He eventually makes three appearances. (He also appears in a Christmas special, played by [[TheOtherDarrin a different actor]].)
* ''Series/TheRedGreenShow'': Half the cast were ghosts, including Moose Thompson, Stinky Peterson, Buster Hadfield, Old Man Sedgewick, Junior Singleton, Harold's parents, and Red's wife Bernice. Even more ironic is that quite often one or more of these ghost characters (or sometimes a one-off ghost) would play crucial roles in the plot of the episode. This actually becomes funnier because we usually only see the characters' reactions to what happens, and just what sort of shenanigans they got into with Moose Thomson or Old Man Sedgewick left to our imaginations. What the audience pictures in their head based on what is described is probably a lot funnier than anything the writing team could come up with.
* ''Series/DrakeAndJosh'': Bruce Winchill, although often talked about, doesn't even make a cameo appearance. This is probably the one character that should not have been a hidden character.
* ''Series/{{Blossom}}'': Six's parents. Six's mother was seen in one episode.
* ''Series/CornerGas'': Wanda's son, Tanner.
* ''Series/{{Wings}}'': Lowell's cousin Beavo.
* ''Series/GoodEats'': Alton Brown uses the viewer as TheWatson, much like Ernest P. Worrell example.
* ''Series/KenanAndKel'': Chris's mother. This gets lampshaded in the episode where the boys are housesitting for him, and all the pictures with his mother in them just happen to have her blocked, causing Kenan to realize he's never actually seen Chris's mom.
* ''Series/{{Fringe}}'': William Bell. In the Season 1 finale, he's finally seen, [[spoiler:played by Creator/LeonardNimoy]].
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'': Jacob until near the end of Season 5.
* ''Series/TheMaryTylerMooreShow'': Phyllis's husband, Lars.
* ''Series/TheBobNewhartShow'': Mr. Peterson's domineering wife, Doris. Unfortunately, she was shown once, which made all the jokes about her much less funny.
* ''Series/AreYouBeingServed'': Mrs. Slocombe mentions her friend Mrs. Axelby several times, but Mrs. Axelby never makes any on-screen appearances.
* ''Series/TheSteveHarveyShow'': Makes many references to characters' family members that are never seen: Regina (has a brother who married a white woman and moved to Arizona), Steve (has a sister who is a dentist and whose dental school tuition was paid by Steve writing jingles, also has a brother who married a white woman), Ced (mother), Lovita (many, many family members named for products, but brother Duracell is most talked about along with her mother).
* ''Series/TheGoldenGirls'': All of the girls mention relatives who are never seen.
** Dorothy's brother Phil, a cross-dresser who is married to Angela, a welder.
** Blanche's daughters, Janet and Rebecca, are each featured at least once, but her sons Biff, Doug, Skippy, and Matthew are never seen.
** Sophia's sister Angela and brother Angelo make several appearances, but her sister Regina and brother Vito are only ever mentioned.
** Only two of Rose's five children, Kirsten and Bridget, ever appear; we do not meet Adam, Gunilla (pronounced "Jenella"), or Charlie Jr. And most of her family and friends from St. Olaf live on only in legend.
* ''Series/TheParkers'': Kim's friend Shaquan was frequently talked about throughout the series but was never seen until the final episode when it was revealed that Shaquan is Asian.
* ''Series/FawltyTowers'': Audrey. She did end up appearing in the episode "The Anniversary".
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'':
** Starbuck's Mom was mentioned now and then through the series and was finally seen in Season 3. Starbuck's Dad, who was also mentioned a few times, was seen [[spoiler:towards the end of Season 4]]. President Adar was mentioned throughout Season 1 and 2 and seen in flashbacks midway through Season 2. In addition, Admiral William Adama and his son Lee often talk about (Adama's father and Lee's grandfather) Joseph Adama and Lee uses his books during Baltar's trial. Joseph isn't seen in the show itself but is a protagonist in the series spinoff, ''Series/{{Caprica}}''.
** An honorary mention goes to the Cylon Number 7, Daniel. He was mentioned only in one episode and never seen. Thanks to EpilepticTrees, however, speculation regarding his identity and nature of involvement has persisted through the ending of the series and turned him to a near-mythical figure. [[WordOfGod Ronald D. Moore]] actually referred to that portion of the fandom as the "Cult of Daniel".
* ''Series/TheLatestBuzz'': [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep "Daddy's Assistant"]], whom Amanda was constantly harassing on the phone. He finally appears on screen in the GrandFinale. Also Rebecca's grandmother 'Baba', and DJ's mother.
* ''Series/KathAndKim'': Kim constantly refers to Sharon as her second best friend. Her alleged best friend, Tina, has never appeared.
* ''Series/HannahMontana'': Uncle Earl and Aunt Pearl. Aunt Pearl continues to be this; Uncle Earl was until mid season two, when he was portrayed in all his larger-than-life glory by David Koechner.
* ''Series/{{Outnumbered}}'': A running gag is that Sue's boss is never seen: Veronica in the first series, Tyson in the second.
* ''Series/TheColbertReport'': Parodied in one episode, when Stephen Colbert says that an imaginary state district's residents include Vera from ''Series/{{Cheers}}'', [[ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}} Charlie Brown's]] teacher, and the smoke monster from ''Series/{{Lost}}''.
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'': Cambot. Which makes sense as he is the camera taping the show. However, you do see him in the opening credits (looking into a mirror), though his appearance changes between theme-song updates.
* ''Series/ICarly'': Sam's mom - until the episode ''iSam's Mom'' - Carly's dad - until the series finale ''iGoodbye'' - and Spencer's friend Socko, as well as many of his relatives.
* ''Series/GilmoreGirls'':
** Allegedly, Lane Kim's dad is this. It is a rather strange case because not only is he never seen onscreen, he also is never really referred to, except in cases when Lane would say "my parent'''s'''" instead of "my mum". WordOfGod has it he not only exists but also lives together with his wife, Mrs. Kim, who appears quite frequently.
** Al of Al's Pancake World is never seen onscreen even though the girls frequent the establishment often, almost as much as Luke's Diner.
* ''Series/TheNanny'': Morty, Fran Fine's dad was pretty much this until he finally appeared for real in one of the last episodes. Up to that point he had only had a couple of appearances as TheFaceless, even in an episode that was set almost entirely in Morty and Sylvia's apartment. (In the episode where he finally did appear, Max half-jokingly said that he wasn't even sure the man existed.)
* ''Series/TheFastShow'': Mareen, the barman's wife in one [[BlackComedy darkly comedic]] sketch. The barman would chat to his regulars about her, call up the stairs to her--usually "Mareen? It's getting busy down here!"--and when she didn't respond, he did whatever he'd asked her for himself. No one reminds him that she died several years ago and he's in denial.
* ''Series/{{Glee}}'': Rachel's gay dads on the show, though they're seen with her in a photo booth picture strip in the pilot episode. They've been introduced and had almost a whole episode dedicated to them as of season three.
* ''Series/TheGoodLife'': A number of Margo's acquaintances including Miss Mountshaft of the music society are talked about regularly but are never seen.
* ''Series/FamilyMatters'': Steve Urkel's parents. In one episode, we see a baby picture of Steve with his mother holding him. The glare partially obscures her face, however.
* ''George Smiley'': In the BBC serial adaptations of John Le Carre's ''George Smiley'' novels, [[Literature/TheQuestForKarla Karla]] is almost entirely invisible. He appears once in flashback in ''Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'', and once in ''Smiley's People'' for just ten seconds during his defection. He doesn't speak in either appearance. Despite this he drives the entire plot of both series.
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'': Cerie's fiancé Aeris never makes it onto the screen, even at their wedding.
* ''Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger'': Episode 38 builds up to a visit from Nozomu's mother, with the Goseigers fighting to save the train she is supposed to be on, only to find out at the end that she missed the train and will not be coming. Her voice is heard in a telephone conversation, and the Goseigers look at a photo of her (which the viewer doesn't see) but she never appears on screen.
* ''Abigail's Party'': The title character in Creator/TheBBC ''Play For Today'' "Abigail's Party". The play is about a middle-class dinner party with two married couples and one divorced woman. Abigail is the divorcée's teenaged daughter, who is having her own party at the same time.
* ''Series/{{Martin}}'': Big Shirley is a woman whose reputed size and appetite make it nigh impossible for her to be portrayed by a real person on screen. However, [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness before her legend grows]], she is briefly seen in the Season 2 episode "Got to Be There." Her body is shown while she is asleep on Martin's couch after a party. Martin names her Big Shirley as he is telling Cole she has to leave.
* ''Series/ThatsSoRaven'': In one episode, Chelsie and Eddie win a prize from a radio contest that is never actually seen but viewers are given clues as to what it is. [[spoiler:It's implied that it's a toy robot dog]].
* ''Series/TheXFiles'':
** Danny, especially in the early seasons. Danny was another FBIAgent whom primarily Mulder would occasionally call upon for information. One writer for the show joked that he was "a gnome that lives in Mulder's desk drawer." He was never seen or heard throughout the run of the show.
** Scully's younger brother Charlie is often mentioned but never seen, except briefly in a flashback to Scully's childhood.
* ''Dear Ladies'': In the 1980s British sitcom starring the female impersonators Hinge and Bracket many unseen characters were mentioned most notably Teddy and Peggy Tranter although Teddy and Dame Hilda would talk on the phone in most episodes.
* ''Series/OnlyFoolsAndHorses'': Marlene Boyce for the first three seasons. She was frequently mentioned by the characters, usually to wind up her husband Boycie by implying she'd [[ReallyGetsAround really got around]], but made her first appearance in Season 4, episode 5. Luckily they hadn't ''quite'' built her up to the point where no-one could play her.
** Del's friend Monkey Harris was also this, as were their oft-mentioned but never seen business associates Sunglasses Ron and Paddy the Greek.
* ''Series/TheSecretLifeOfTheAmericanTeenager'': Mike, Leo's chauffeur. He's gotten several mentions and has driven several of the characters around (off-screen, of course), but he's never put in an appearance.
* ''Series/SeaChange'': A man known only as Bucket is mentioned ''constantly'', usually in humorous circumstances, but we never get to see him. (One time we see a boat he is driving, packed with fireworks, crash into the newly-repaired bridge.) If you piece together all the throwaway remarks people make about him in the show, he becomes a man of very strange appearance and habits: he apparently has no arms, legs or teeth, and he enjoys stealing people's ride-on lawnmowers and drinking out of his dog's bowl when he gets drunk.
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'': The Mother, the woman who Ted will marry and have the children that he's telling his story to. The reason none of the characters in the present day ever talk about her is because they haven't met her yet, but since the show is told in a flashback, Future!Ted's narration refers to her many, many, many times, yet her face is never seen and her voice is never heard. Her ankle is briefly glimpsed in "Girls vs. Suits", and a dark figure carrying a yellow umbrella (which signifies the Mother, whose yellow umbrella connected her and Ted without either of them knowing it, and will somehow be a part of their first meeting) is seen in "Wait for It" and "No Tomorrow". Even in flash forwards to times after Ted met her, she is conveniently never seen. For example, in "How I Met Everyone Else", when Ted, Marshall, and Lilly are shown hiding in the hall and smoking confiscated weed during their college class reunion in the year 2020, the scene ends with Ted giggling "Dude, where's my wife?"
** She is finally revealed in season 8.
* ''Series/AccordingToJim'': Jim has a friend no one else ever meets or sees. His wife Cheryl suspects he made the friend up, since it always seems he's in town and they have to go out whenever Jim wants to get out of something. She's right, Jim made him up, and he then "kills off" this friend so Cheryl doesn't expose it.
* Many {{Game Show}}s have offscreen judges who are sometimes heard, but never seen. Their job is to determine on the spot if an answer is acceptable (e.g., if the contestant gives an answer on the buzzer, or gives an alternate answer that isn't on the host's card).
** ''The $25,000 {{Pyramid}}'' carried this a step further, as their judge liked to communicate with bells and buzzers for yes and no, respectively (e.g. "Did he get in before the buzzer?" [''ding'']). Other times, he would jump in with the bell or buzzer if Dick or one of the panelists said something funny.
** ''Series/DealOrNoDeal'' has the Banker, who calls host Noel Edmonds on a large prop telephone to make deals with the contestants. Noel appears to talk to him, but nothing is heard in the studio. (Critic CharlieBrooker suggested he's just listening to [[HearingVoices voices in his head]].) In the US version, The Banker is a silhouette sitting in a booth above the stage.
* ''Series/GavinAndStacey'': Smithy's girlfriend Lucy.
* ''Mathnet'': There's George Frankly's wife Martha who's never seen even when there's a party at her and George's house. She was behind the camera.
* ''Series/{{Heartbeat}}'': Mrs. Ventress.
* ''Series/{{Raw}}'': Shane's wife Anna. She appears in episode 5 and that's it.
* ''Series/PartyOfFive'': In a WhatIf episode where the parents had never died, the parents themselves are not seen in the episode apart from a blurry scene at the end and the mother's voice on the answering machine.
* ''Series/HiDeHi'': Holiday camp supremo Joe Maplin. He was intended to be played by Bob Monkhouse, who in the end was unavailable for filming, so it was decided to make him a Ghost.
* ''Series/{{Pixelface}}'': The boy who owns and plays the games. The characters inside the console just refer to him as 'the boy'.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': Several characters are this--Stannis Baratheon in Season 1, and Mance Rayder and Roose Bolton's bastard in Season 2.
* ''Series/{{Castle}}'': Martha's OldFlame/boyfriend Chet never appears onscreen, even after she (sort of) moves in with him.
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'': Played hilariously in one final season episode. An ordinary man walks into [[ItMakesAsMuchSenseInContext an ant shop]] and gets mistaken for someone named "Michael Ellis"--whom we never see (though apparently he's done something that warrants the store's clerks greeting him by wearing a creepy mask and slowly emerging from behind the counter). Throughout the whole episode this guy keeps getting brought up at random intervals, and just to make things even more frustrating, the protagonist's mother angrily turns off (one of) the televisions just as a newsman is about to explain everything. It also certainly does not help that while Michael Ellis himself never appears, we see a random man who fits the physical description (the manager of the ant shop says he's extremely short).
** The name of that episode is, fittingly enough, "Michael Ellis."
* ''Series/MyHero'': Mrs. Raven's triplets.
* ''Series/KnowingMeKnowingYouWithAlanPartridge'': Creator/RogerMoore in one episode. Alan keeps expecting Roger to show up for the entire episode, and valiantly attempts to host a segment called "An Audience with Roger Moore", despite Roger's absence.
* ''Series/LoisAndClark'': Alice, Perry White's wife. We see her from the neck down in one late-season episode.
* ''Series/PowerRangersZeo'': It is mentioned that [[BigBad King Mondo's]] ArchEnemy is someone named King Aradon. Mondo's first-built son Prince Gasket fell in love with Aradon's daughter Princess Archerina, and the two eloped, knowing their parents would never approve of their relationship. Although both Gasket and Archerina are valid threats to heroes during the brief period that Mondo is believed to be dead, Aradon himself is never seen.
* ''Series/{{Veep}}'': The [[spoiler:previous]] President of the United States. WordOfGod has already confirmed he will never appear on screen. He doesn't even have a name.
* ''Series/WelcomeBackKotter'': Principal Lazarus is frequently referred to but never seen. Wise guy Juan Epstein has a friendly personal relationship with Lazarus, referring to him by his first name, "Jack."
* ''Series/OrangeIsTheNewBlack'': The Warden.
* ''Series/AlloAllo'': Clarence, who drives Lieutenant Gruber's little tank or presses his uniforms.
** Also Madame Lenard, the attractive local dressmaker.
* ''Series/ModernFamily'' has Phil's mother, who is never shown despite it being implied on a number of occasions that she's just out of shot during webcam conversations with the family. [[spoiler:Her death is the central plot point for the Season 4 finale; she dies before the start of the episode, without ever appearing onscreen]].
* ''Series/{{Portlandia}}'': Royce from the Portland Milk Advisory Board mentions his girlfriend Tanya a few times, once describing her as 'Frankenstein-esque'. Tanya shows up in one skit but is not visible to the audience.
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' has Season 1 BigBad The Clairvoyant, the enigmatic leader of [[NebulousEvilOrganization Centipede]], whose own subordinates have never even met him. He doesn't finally appear until the "Uprising" ReTool arc that composes the final episodes of the season, where he's revealed to be [[spoiler: Agent [[BigBadFriend John Garrett]], one of [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier [=HYDRA=]'s moles inside SHIELD]]]].
* ''Series/{{Psych}}'': Shawn and the rest of the crew frequently refer to Dobson, an SBPD officer, for eight years, but never actually interact with him.
** This is finally averted, appropriately enough, in the series finale. Dobson is seen for the first and last time for less than a minute, in which time he [[ShoutOut gets a friendship bracelet from Mira Sorvino]], and Shawn leaves him a farewell message, saying he heard Dobson was heroic, and the kind of man he would've admired. Of course, knowing the kind of guy Shawn was, he'd have admired Dobson even more if he'd known Dobson looked just like [[spoiler:ValKilmer]].
* ''Series/TeenWolf'': Greenberg is on the lacrosse team at Beacon Hills High. Despite never appearing onscreen, he is continuously mocked in class and blamed for the team's failures by Coach Finstock. It is entirely possible that Greenberg is in fact a delusion or figment of Coach's imagination.
* ''Series/CoronationStreet'' has "Fat" Brenda, who works for Street Cars. She once appeared briefly in an online spin-off but was only seen from the ankles down.
* {{Superman}} is going to be this in ''[[Series/{{Supergirl2015}} Supergirl]]'', only ever referenced as Kara's cousin, with "Kal-El" being the only name spoken. Most characters actively avoid using the superhero name or even his secret identity (those who know it). Just "him" or "my cousin". When he appears in a flashback to give young Kara to her Earth foster parents, his face is obscured by the sun right behind him, and the picture Kara finds in James Olsen's stuff is extremely blurry.
* Sarah Jane's Aunt Lavinia in ''Series/DoctorWho'', whom she frequently referred to during her time as the Doctor's companion, but who only appeared in the later SpinOff ''Series/K9AndCompany''. Sarah Jane continues to reference her in ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'', where she's become a PosthumousCharacter.
* ''Series/{{Victorious}}'': Cat's brother.
* ''Series/{{House}}'': Wilson's third wife, Julie. (His first two wives did appear on the show.)

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'':
** All adults, the cat next door who hates Snoopy...and that little red-haired girl. The TV specials adapt the fact that adult dialogue is never presented as speech bubbles in the comic by making the adults TheUnintelligible (Waa Waa wa Wa wa wa Waa).
** The Little Red-Haired Girl was seen in full in both ''It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown'' and ''Happy New Year, Charlie Brown'' (which also claimed her name was Heather). However, despite the fact that [[WordOfGod Charles Schulz]] wrote the scripts for both specials, he claimed both were non-canonical.
** There's also the Head Beagle, the dog who rules over all dogs in the world and has the respect of humans. Other than Snoopy's brief reign, no dog who ever held the title has ever been seen.
** Also, the "Girl in the Red Truck", who Snoopy's desert-dwelling brother Spike had a crush on. She was eventually fleshed out for a special ''It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown'' that combined animation and live action, where she was named Jenny and portrayed by Charles Schulz's daughter Jill. (Again, the special, which wasn't as well-received as most ''Peanuts'' specials, is considered non-canonical.)
** Though the not showing adults in any form, is averted in the fourth movie, ''[[WesternAnimation/BonVoyageCharlieBrown Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!)]]'' in which it shows a female voice speaking through the airport intercom, Charlie Brown's grandfather in a war photo (Looks exactly like Charlie Brown except taller), and a girl's uncle (The main antagonist) who is fully voiced (But granted you only see him as a silhouette), among others.
* Roger, Juliette's [[InformedAbility loud, boorish]] brother in ''ComicStrip/NineChickweedLane''. Mentioned infrequently at best. And it had been so long since anyone had mentioned him in the comic, that when Edna mentioned him at the end of the [[WholeEpisodeFlashback WWII flashback]], many thought Brooke [=McEldowney=] had made him up on the spot. When he eventually appears in the flesh, he's mild-mannered and soft-spoken; pretty much the opposite of his passionate, outspoken sister and niece.
* In ''Comicstrip/{{Garfield}}'', Ellen was a woman Jon regularly phoned to get a date, and always failed. We never heard her actual answers, only his reactions to them. She eventually appeared in a storyline where she has amnesia, and therefore agreed to a date with Jon. Also, Jon's neighbor Mrs. Feeny, often the target of Garfield's pranks, was never seen in the comic.
** Many of Jon's dates count. Such as Ruby the violent convict who had YBUR tattooed on her forehead. But many we do see as well, such as Bertha (A large woman who loved to eat) and Kimmy (A woman raised by wolves)
* In ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'', Calvin's grandmother and grandfather are mentioned on several occasions, but are never seen.

* In both of Creator/MikeDuncan's podcasts, ''Podcast/TheHistoryOfRome'' and ''Podcast/{{Revolutions}}'', Duncan occasionally mentions his wife Brandi, but she never actually shows up in the podcast (well, ''nobody'' except for Duncan ever shows up, actually). He never mentions his wife by name, either, instead referring to her as "Mrs. ''The History of Rome''" or "Mrs. ''Revolutions''" (as the case may be). His children get the same treatment; his son is consistently called "the boy" and nothing else.

[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/MontelVontaviousPorter had {{the gimmick}} of being "the highest paid free agent in [[InsistentTerminology sports entertainment]]" and [[Wrestling/WWESmackdown general manager]] Theodore Long had a hard time dealing with his unseen contract negotiator.
* During the Wrestling/{{TNA}} Wrestling/AcesAndEights angle, Wrestling/DLoBrown and [[Wrestling/TheDudleyBoys Bully Ray]] would make frequent reference to other chapters of the group. For obvious reasons(Aces And Eights being a real motor cycle gang) these were never shown.
* [[Wrestling/BrayWyatt Bray Wyatt's]] beloved "Sister Abigail," whom he refers to often in his promos and has even named his FinishingMove after, but who has yet to actually appear. (Assuming that she is a person, not a disembodied entity. [[UnreliableNarrator Also assuming she even exists.]] For what it's worth, what Bray's said about her heavily implies that she is a real person, but she died some time ago.) From what he has said of her, she is responsible for making him into what he is today (so she's either evil herself or [[CreateYourOwnVillain just plain]] [[NiceJobBreakingItHero messed up bad]]) and possesses the power to save the world with a touch or destroy it with a kiss.

* Sabrina Thwaite (and husband Richard) in ''TheArchers'' are often "just missed" on-air, pulling out of Christmas pantos at the last moment and so forth, usually explained by tutting disapproval from the regular characters.
** A long-standing trope in ''TheArchers''. Mr Pullen, whose troublesome prostate has been a RunningGag for many years, is never heard. Freda the Middle White sow used to be heard sometime but not Freda Fry, cook at The Bull and long-suffering wife of Bert Fry. Most notoriously, the late Pru Forrest went unheard for years only to be {{lampshaded}} in a special anniversary episode by being voiced by Creator/JudiDench.
* Duffy, the owner of the eponymous eatery in the the 1940s radio show ''Duffy's Tavern''. Every episode opened with the manager Archie answering the phone with the words "Hello, Duffy's Tavern, where the elite meet to eat. Archie the manager speakin'. Duffy ain't here -- oh, hello, Duffy."
* Samantha, the scorekeeper for the panel game ''[[Radio/ImSorryIHaventAClue I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue]]''. Since ThePointsMeanNothing, the game doesn't need a scorekeeper; she only exists as the focus of elaborate {{double entendre}}s.
** Colin Sell, the pianist, has sometimes been assumed by listeners to be fictional too (if you decided they were just playing prerecorded piano music, then Colin would be in a similar position of only existing [[ButtMonkey to be abused]] in elaborate wordplay). Humphrey Lyttelton once claimed that someone had come up to him to ask whether Samantha and Colin were real and he told them that Samantha was but Colin wasn't.
* Mrs. Bradby, Mr. Lamb's landlady in ''Radio/TheMenFromTheMinistry'' is often mentioned in great detail, but never actually appears in the show.
** There's also Mr. Rudge and Fatty Scott, two civil servants who are often subjects of various [[NoodleIncident Noodle Incidents]].

[[folder:Stand Up Comedy]]
* A [[RunningGag running joke]] for the surrealist comedy group Series/{{Stella|US}} is for one member to refer to someone named "Marcus." Another member responds, "Who the fuck is Marcus?" The original member just shakes his head in equal bewilderment, saying, "I know, I know!"

* ''WaitingForGodot''; It's not a spoiler to say that [[ItWasHisSled he never shows up]].
** The first exchange of words in the play imply that Gogo has slept in a ditch during the night, and Didi asks if "they" beat him. "Of course they did", is the answer. Who or what "they" are, is never explained or elaborated further. They also never show up.
* For ''Theatre/TheGlassMenagerie'', Tom and Laura's father is frequently mentioned, but never seen. His ''absence,'' in fact, leaves a greater impact on all their lives than his presence likely would have.
* OlderThanSteam: Creator/WilliamShakespeare does these all the time.
** In the beginning of ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'', Romeo spends his time indulging in {{Wangst}} over his former flame Rosaline. She never appears in the play, and Romeo quickly turns his sights on Juliet. Mercutio's brother Valentine is included with Mercutio in the invitation to the Capulet ball, but never appears or gets a second mention.
** In ''Theatre/TheTempest'', the witch Sycorax is the island's original owner. She is referred to many times throughout the play, but has died before the play begins.
** In Act I Scene III of ''Theatre/{{Othello}}'', two characters are mentioned as though significant, but never introduced or mentioned again (this has naturally baffled many scholars). The characters' names are "Signior Angelo" and "Marcus Luccios."
** Princess Elizabeth of York in ''Theatre/RichardIII''.
* None of the husbands ever appear in Clare Boothe's play ''TheWomen'' or its black and white film adaptation (which had the TagLine "It's all about the men!").
* Lisa in ''Theatre/WaitUntilDark''.
* George Washington in ''Theatre/SeventeenSeventySix''.
* Matthew Shepard in ''Theatre/TheLaramieProject'', as the play is all about the aftermath of his murder.
* Mr. Stroheim in Neil Simon's ''Brighton Beach Memoirs''.
* Babe's husband Zachary in ''Crimes of the Heart''.
* Mary and the late Old Man Meeks from ''Theatre/TheForeigner'' both qualify.
* The unseen Mrs. Grundy, in Thomas Morton's ''Speed the Plough'' (1798), in which Dame Ashfield continually worries, "What ''will'' Mrs. Grundy say?" of each development. Since then the term "Mrs. Grundy" has passed into everyday speech as the embodiment of [[MoralGuardians prudery and censorship]].
* ''Theatre/{{Arcadia}}'' has a bunch, the most prominent of which are Lord Byron and Mrs. Chater. There are several other characters who are mentioned repeatedly but never appear; this is somewhat inevitable given that the play takes place in a single room.
* The title character of the opera ''Theatre/TheConsul'', who appears only as a distant, inaudible shadow. As with [[WaitingForGodot Godot]], the protagonist waits for him in vain.
* God in ''JesusChristSuperstar'', although he is addressed - indeed, harangued - by Jesus in the scene at Gethsemane.
* The person(s) operating the eponymous device and sending bizarre messages in [[Creator/HaroldPinter Harold Pinter's]] ''The Dumb Waiter''. It may be Wilson, the unseen superior of protagonists Gus and Ben, but this is never made clear.
* This is the main joke of Tom Jacobsen's ''Bunbury: [[TheImportanceOfBeingEarnest A Serious Play for Trivial People]]''. It features-- you guessed it!-- Wilde's Bunbury and Shakespeare's Rosaline teaming up and roaming through the Western canon meeting or becoming other Ghosts or imagined characters and changing ends as they go. Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet gets a happy ending; we meet [[AStreetcarNamedDesire Blanche DuBois's]] dead husband, [[WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf Martha's]] blond-eyed blue-haired son, and a whole slew of unseen characters from ''[[Creator/AntonChekhov Three Sisters]]''; and Bunbury himself becomes or is mistaken for [[Theatre/WaitingForGodot Godot]].
* ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'': Act I Scene III: Cardenal Richelieu, [[TheManBehindTheMan the most powerful man in France]] arrives to the Burgundy Theater to a box with the bars in frontů or at least the public [[ShowWithinAShow (in the play)]] murmurs it so, because he is never shown. Anyway, the simple rumor of his presence is enough to command respect from the public, impose silence, and even makes [[ScrewySquirrel the Pages]] behave. He will be mentioned again at Act IV, but never seen.
* Ted, Joanne's husband in ''Vanities'', whom she finds out has been cheating.
* Father Reilly in ''Theatre/ThePlayboyOfTheWesternWorld'' by John Millington Synge. Characters worry about how he will react to events, and relay conversations they've had with him since they last appeared onstage, but he himself is never seen.
* In ''Theatre/TheMoonIsBlue'', Cynthia, David's SouthernBelle daughter and Don's ex-girlfriend, never appears onstage, nor is her voice heard when she phones him; she does appear in the film version. Vicki, Patty's slightly older roommate, appears in neither play nor film.
* Lots of characters in ''Theatre/{{Betrayal}}'', since only three real characters actually appear onstage. The most important are Jerry's wife Judith, Emma's lover Casey, and all the children of the main couples.
* In ''Theatre/BellBookAndCandle'', [[GrandeDame Mrs. de Pass]] and [[DisposableFiancee Merle Kittredge]] are characters who figure in the plot but only appear in the film version.
* ''Theatre/PokemonLive'' has Ash's father and Professor Xalrons; both are mentioned but never seen.
* French play ''L'Arlésienne'' by Alphonse Daudet (adapted from one short story ''Letters From My Windmill''). Young man named Frederic falls in love in the titular girl from Arles who never appears nor [[NoNameGiven do we learn her name]]. He finds out that she has been unfaithful and decides to renonce the wedding. To please his parents, he tries to act happy and marries another girl but after a while unable to forget his first love, he kills himself by jumping off a balcony. In french "Arlésienne" is also the TropeNamer.
* The plot of ''Theatre/MissJulie'' revolves around the titular character's father, who is never seen but whose boots and gloves are on stage throughout the play.
* In ''Theatre/{{Follies}}'', Margie, Buddy's mistress, isn't invited to the reunion, but that doesn't stop Buddy from make-believe dancing with her in "The Right Girl." A ditz addressed as "Margie" does appear in "Buddy's Blues," but so does one named "Sally" who isn't played by the actual character.
* In ''Theatre/TheGreenPastures'', {{Jesus}} doesn't appear, but is sighted offstage in the final scene carrying a cross up a hill.
* In ''Theatre/ThatChampionshipSeason'', the annual reunion of the Fillmore High 1952 Pennsylvania state basketball champions only includes four of the five winning players and their coach. The fifth player, the star of the team, is conspicuous by his absence; the reason for said absence, revealed near the end of the play, emphasises how rotten the foundation of overreliance on the coach's advice upon which the other players have built their lives really is.
* [[Creator/GilbertAndSullivan Gilbert and Sullivan]]'s operettas include several of these. For example, ''Theatre/TheGrandDuke'' has the awesome offstage character of Grand Duke Rudolph's private detective. When [[MilkmanConspiracy the regicidal theatrical conspirators]] accidentally confiding [[TakeOverTheCity their plot]] to their opponent's own detective, the detective was so overtaken with laughter that he doubled over in hysterics, and wasn't able to arrest the conspirator.
--> "This comes of engaging a detective with a keen sense of the ridiculous! For the future I'll [[NoSenseOfHumor employ none]] [[NationalStereotypingTropes but Scotchmen]]."
* In Creator/LarryGelbart's ''Mastergate: A Play on Words'', the hearing's stated purpose is to find out "What did the President know, and does he have any idea that he knew it?" The President is constantly being referred to in the testimony of various government figures, but never makes an appearance himself.
* ''Theatre/SheLovesMe'' has Paul, the optometrist Miss Ritter falls for. She, Arpad and Sipos catch sight of him at the shop window on Christmas Eve, though he never actually appears on the scene. However, the original production did cast an actor as Paul (last in order of appearance on the cast list).
* Every character in ''Theatre/ShirleyValentine'' except Shirley herself, since it's a one-woman show.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the Zork games, whenever the lights go out you are warned that you might be eaten by a grue. Although you never see what a grue actually looks like (and in fact no one alive has ''ever'' seen one) if you stay in the dark for too long (2-3 turns) you will, invariably, be eaten by one.
** Not only that, but eating careless wanderers is literally the ONLY thing anyone knows about them. Where did they come from? Why are they afraid of light? Are they natural creatures? How do they enter spaces like attics which are completely surrounded by lit areas? How do they reproduce? How do they get adequate ''water''? How did they avoid falling into those bottomless pits that were all over the place until very recently? If Infocom has the answers, they're not interested in sharing them.
** In ZorkZero, it's slightly averted as you have to play a card game against the Jester, one of the cards is a the "Grue" card, and shows nothing but ominous glowing eyes.
** In ZorkGrandInquisitor, you actually hear it. At the start of the game, if you go down the well without the Lantern, you do not get a warning of the Grue. But wait long enough, you hear a slobbering, chewing, gnawing and then belch. The death text playfully criticizes you for not expecting it. "Going into a dark area in a Zork game? What were you thinking?!"
* Ellis' good buddy Keith of ''VideoGame/Left4Dead2'', who must look like a pile of ground hamburger given the outrageous stories he shares at inopportune times.
** Oddly, characters like Keith have small, but dedicated fan-followings and {{Rule 34}} dedicated to them, based entirely on {{Fanon}} speculations of {{backstory}} and appearance, none of which is backed up in-game.
* The Batarians in ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'' are referenced numerous times in text and dialog, but, are never actually seen in the game. A DLC module, ''Bring Down the Sky'' later adds them to a single mission. In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' they appear as often as the other major races.
** The Shadow Broker was the Ghost for some time, until the aptly named DLC ''Lair of the Shadow Broker''. He's also a Ghost in universe, as nobody has ever seen him or talked to him in person. [[spoiler:Turns out the one in the game is not the first one, or the last. Since nobody ever sees or hears him, everyone who can hack into his private terminal can become the new Shadow Broker, with none of the hundreds or even thousands of agents and informants being the wiser.]]
** Many of the characters and races from the Cerberus Daily News "reports" are considered to be ghosts. The only one who ever showed up on screen was Tela Vasir, while two turians from a long-running storyline were briefly mentioned -but not seen- in the aforementioned DLC.
* The Sign Painter of ''VideoGame/WorldOfGoo'' is only known to exist based on his or her messages left on various... signs. In the final level, the Sign Painter is supposedly there [[spoiler:at the telescope]], but nothing can be seen of him [[spoiler:but his eye]].
* ''RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy'' has Takeshi Daidouji, the ill and bedridden father of the game's DamselInDistress. He is only mentioned by his brother and [[OldRetainer butler]], and never seen.
* The "Rat Man" from ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'', of whom you find only stashes, hidden cubby-holes, and scrawled graffiti that either gives you hints, slightly illuminates the plot, gives you an insight into his [[SanitySlippage increasing insanity]], or all of the above. Until the ''Lab Rat'' digital comic, that is, which completely centers around him and gives more insight into his {{backstory}}. His name is Doug Rattmann, and his schizophrenia actually helped him escape [=GLaDOS=] - he always suspected she'd try to kill them, so when she did, [[CrazyPrepared he was prepared]]. His scrawlings serve as art therapy, and his only companion is the "spirit" (really a hallucinated voice) of his "dead" [[CompanionCube Weighted Companion Cube]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Wizardry}}: Tale of the Forsaken Land'' features 'The Great Warrior Otto' who leaves many rather helpful messages throughout the dungeon in poor handwriting, but you never actually meet him.
* The ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' games:
** The Night Gaunts, who were never seen but supposedly might kill you. Oh, they ''will'' kill you, but you [[NightmareFuel still won't see them]]. '''''Don't sleep in the forest!'''''
** Though we do get an image of them on the death screen. They seem to resemble [[LordOfTheRings RingWraiths]]
** The sorceress Erana is a more prominent example. She didn't appear at all for the first three games, but the player could find various sanctuaries created and protected by her magic. In the fourth game, when she finally makes a direct appearance, the player finds out that [[spoiler: she's been dead for a long time, but is able to communicate with her spirit and help her find peace in death]], and in the fifth game [[spoiler: the player has the option to resurrect and marry her depending on their class.]]
%%** The Purple Giraffes in QuestForGlory3
* King Minos is the villain of ''VideoGame/TheLabyrinthOfTime'', but the most you actually hear about him comes from a computer message left by a future librarian.
* According to the {{backstory}} of ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaJudgment'', the entity responsible for sending the Time Reaper back in time [[MakeWrongWhatOnceWentRight to change history]] is Galamoth, better known as the main villain of ''VideoGame/KidDracula'' and ThatOneBoss in ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight Symphony of the Night]]''. He never appears in the game, and aside from one of the Time Reaper's death screams, his identity is never revealed.
* Phoenix Wright is this in ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigationsMilesEdgeworth'', or almost - He can be seen rowing just off the bridge in the third case, along with Maya and Pearl. He makes a similar cameo in the game's sequel.
* In the ''VideoGame/NancyDrew'' game series, a minor character named Sonny Joon is used as TheUnseen in a RunningGag, as Nancy keeps finding out he'd just been working, living, or visiting whichever place she's solving a mystery today. Sonny has never been seen or even heard on the telephone, but his habit of leaving notes and doodles everywhere means that a fair bit is known about him.
* Vercci from the ''VideoGame/SoulSeries'' -- he's involved in both the stories of Voldo and Cervantes and by accounts is pretty important in the story. He may have been intended to be a guest character in Soul Blade, but he never made it.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' has several of these, such as Youmu's former instructor Youki, Byakuren's Dead Little Brother Myouren, Marisa's unnamed father, the immortal lunar goddess Chang'e, and the Dragon, [[InformedAttribute the single most powerful being in Gensokyo]].
* ''[[VideoGame/TheBizarreAdventuresOfWoodruffAndTheSchnibble Woodruff and The Schnibble of Azimuth]]'' has the eponymous Schnibble, the savior of the city, who everybody the player meets says is just around the corner. Near the end, it's revealed that [[spoiler: the Schnibble was a fictional person invented by Professor Azimuth to give the people hope, and inspire people to action, helping the less fortunate. Since the player has done exactly that, he has effectively become the Schnibble.]]
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' plays with this trope in regard to its BigBad, Xehanort:
** The apprentice of [[BigGood Ansem the Wise]], Xehanort, is responsible for the creation of TheHeartless and almost everything bad that happens to the protagonists across the franchise, but only appears in the flesh in a few brief cutscenes and a single portrait. Instead, his [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts heartless]], [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII nobody]] and [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep original self]] play the role of BigBad in the games themselves.
** In the original ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'', the heroes are searching for Ansem ({{retcon}}ned into Xehanort ''calling'' himself Ansem), who created the Heartless. He remains The Ghost until the end of the game when [[spoiler: he is revealed to have become a Heartless himself, and has been TheManBehindTheMan to [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Maleficent]] all along]].
** This also applies for certain Disney characters. [[Disney/{{Hercules}} Zeus]], [[Disney/{{Aladdin}} The Sultan]], and many others are mentioned, but never appear in the game. Subverted in that we've already seen them in their source material
* ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'':
** In the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, you travel back in time and can personally meet the other three knights (and even kill them). Nothing of the Furtive Pygmy, though. [[spoiler: Although it's implied that he became Manus, Father of the Abyss and BigBad of the DLC.]]
** On a similar note, several of the mentioned gods, kings, and warriors, such as Velka and Allfather Lloyd [[spoiler: and technically Gwynevere, as the one you see in Anor Londo is an illusion by her brother.]]
* Tachibana Muneshige from ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'' has a frightening and bad-tempered wife (for some reason he loves her dearly) who is constantly mentioned during his InnerMonologue and his letters, but never anywhere else. The reason she's absent is because she grew tired of their lord's religious fanaticism and took off. Historically her name was Ginchiyo, but Muneshige always calls her "[[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep my wife]]".
* Ulysses acts as this in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas''. When you first hear about him, you never even learn his name, he just sounds like some guy that used to know the Courier somehow. Throughout the game and the various DLC's we slowly hear more and more about him but never see or hear him while everything is built up about how the final battle between him and the Courier will essentially change the fates of ''everyone''. He's finally revealed in the ''Lonesome Road'' DLC which is all about the final confrontation between him and the Courier.
* Neo is mentioned numerous times in ''VideoGame/EnterTheMatrix'', but only appears once, in a film clip of him saving Morpheus and the Keymaker. Interestingly, he is seemingly aware of your existence, as Trinity passes a message from him to you in the hacking minigame.
* Ultimately averted twice in excellent fashion in ''VideoGame/CaveStory.'' After Grasstown/Bushlands, Jack, if you talk to him, will tell you about how [[PosthumousCharacter Arthur]] drove away a red demon. Later, after defeating the Core, you're told about [[spoiler: Jenka, a woman met earlier in the Sand Zone, having a younger brother named Ballos.]] If you don't get the [[spoiler: Booster 2.0]], both of these people will never be seen. If you at least get [[spoiler: the Booster 2.0]], you'll be able to finish what Arthur started and fight the Red Demon/Ogre. If you go for the True Ending, which requires a second item in addition to the spoiler-covered item, [[spoiler: then you learn more of Ballos's backstory. The second through fifth parts of the True Final Boss battle is against Ballos, the man who created the Demon Crown.]]
* In the ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series through the ''VideoGame/MegaManZero'' series, the ''human race as a whole'' becomes this. Besides Doctors Light[[note]]An exception[[/note]], Cain[[note]]Who becomes the ghost in ''VideoGame/MegaManX4''[[/note]], Wily[[note]]the ghost for most of the ''X'' series, outside of Zero's dreams[[/note]], [[spoiler:[[BigBad Weil]]]] and the [[BigGood scientist Ciel]], no humans have any appearance. They are repeatedly mentioned as whole throughout both series, but none make an appearance unless they are the aforementioned main characters. ''Mega Man Zero 4'' finally breaks this to a degree by introducing an entire convoy of humans fleeing from Neo Arcadia and showcasing just how bitter and distrustful of reploids they've become after the ravaging of the entire planet during the Maverick and Elf Wars.
* Hilbert or Hilda, the main protagonists of ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite,'' become this in ''VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2''. They are mentioned by numerous [=NPCs=] across the game, and are even talked about by their names if Memory Link is activated. There's even a random Trainer in Victory Road who fought against them in the first games that ponder on where they are now. Their mother says that they took their respective dragon and went off to search for N.
* In ''{{VideoGame/Fable II}}'' there is Nicky "the Nickname" Chalmers, who appears to be a crimelord in Bowerstone oldtown, occasionally mentioned by Afur, but never seen ingame.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Suikoden}}'' games:
** There is an ancient hero named Hikusaak who is supposed to be ageless. Although he/she has been mentioned in most of the games, they have never been seen. It is unknown if Hikusaak is still alive during any of the games, no one even knows Hikusaak's gender.
** Another notable character is Schtolteheim Reinbach III, who was mentioned in the early games but finally appears in ''VideoGame/SuikodenIV''.
* VideoGame/PajamaSam mentions his big brother Mark sometimes, but with the exception of his mom (who is TheFaceless), we never see any members of his family.
* Mental, the EvilOverlord and BigBad of the ''VideoGame/SeriousSam'' games, has never been seen or in ''over ten'' years of existance of the franchise. Technically, he ''has'' been heard, but at best he'll only get at least one or two [[TheUnintelligible incomprehensible]] lines at the end of the game.
* ''VideoGame/NewSuperLuigiU'' does this with [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]], as he is replaced in multiplayer by Nabbit, and his cap rests where he normally would be in the opening cutscene. [[spoiler:Also, the M blocks that appear after beating the game that restore normal physics to Luigi.]]
* An unseen sharpshooter helps out the VideoGame/DuckHunt team in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros''. His hand, armed with the NES Zapper, is the only thing seen of him in the trailer. But during the actual game, he never makes an appearance, and if one is playing the European version of the game, one might not even be aware he's there at all![[note]]This is because the characters are known as "Duck Hunt Duo" in said version, and their trophy descriptions make no mention of there ever being anyone there alongside the dog and the duck.[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'' has Tom, a second DJ for the Creator/AdultSwim-themed radio station, alongside Jon from ''Series/{{Delocated}}''. We never hear what he says, but thanks to Jon [[RepeatingSoTheAudienceCanHear repeating what he apparently says and describing what he does]], we can tell he's... [[TheMentallyDisturbed a bit off his rocker]].
* Until the [=iOS=] game, ''Batman: Arkham Underworld'', the ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries'' version of [[TheDon Carmine Falcone]] was this, he never put in a physical appaearance until ''Underworld'' (in part in ''City'' and ''Knight'' due to Hugo Strange forcing him out of the city, according to the [[AllThereInTheManual Arkham City Stories]]). According to [[AllThereInTheManual the interview tapes]] in ''Arkham City'', he's the one who caused Harvey Dent to become Two-Face ([[CompositeCharacter taking Sal Maroni's role]]) and was the true power [[AdaptationOriginConnection behind the Red Hood Gang that'd spawn the future Joker]], as well as one of his businesses, Falcone Shipping, being seen in the Joker's turf and a SequelHook to ''Arkham Knight''. In ''Origins'', the Penguin tries to use [[ComicBook/TheLongHalloween his son, Alberto,]] to force Falcone out of the weapons business and in ''Knight'', there's another Falcone warehouse.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Kako in ''VisualNovel/AProfile'' never makes it onscreen, though she does have a line or two. Maybe. She sounds exactly the same as her sister, you see. Apparently, by the end, even Masayuki has never met her.
* In ''VisualNovel/SayaNoUta'', Doctor Masahiko Ogai, Saya's "father", never appears in the story because [[spoiler:he's DeadAllAlong]].
* There are multiple cases in ''VisualNovel/ShikkokuNoSharnoth''. The most obvious being that Watson, Mycroft Holmes, Queen Victoria and Moriarty. [[spoiler:Except that in the end it's revealed that Moriarty was the old professor that everyone has been meeting and who may or may not be the BigBad, depending on how you look at it.]]
* [[VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry Asumu Ushiromiya]], Battler's [[spoiler:[[SwitchedAtBirth not quite]]]] mother, is often talked about but she is never shown, not even in flashbacks.
%%* Akira's unnamed boyfriend in ''VisualNovel/KatawaShoujo''.

* ''Webcomic/AbeKroenen'' has this happen a lot, often with female characters like Ilsa or Liz (until recently). This is not so much because of gender bias in the comic as it is the fact that it's a Toy Comic and the Hellboy merchandising brigade is less than helpful.
%%* Blossom's friends Bert and Hilda in ''Webcomic/{{Rhapsodies}}''
* All of the characters from ''Webcomic/DinosaurComics'' that aren't the main characters, bar maybe the flea that lives on the end of T-Rex's nose, but he's so small you can't see him.
%%* Frank's sister in ''Webcomic/FullFrontalNerdity''.
%%* Old Cobbley from ''[[http://www.agameoffools.com A Game of Fools]]''.
%%* Skibble in ''Webcomic/TheMansionOfE''.
* ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' has Bob's neighbors [[Radio/BobAndRay Ray]] and Mr. Fluffinougat; the Spitoonellis, named HaroldAndMaude; and Voluptua's dad the Nemesite Emperor.
* ''Webcomic/FarOutThere'' had Tabitha's Mother in [[http://faroutthere.smackjeeves.com/comics/1090127/page-297-as-far-as-she-knows-we-just-came-home-early/ this]] [[http://faroutthere.smackjeeves.com/comics/1090325/happy-non-fatal-thanksgiving/ role]] before eventually upgrading her to TheVoice.
* ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'': King Zahard, the ruler of the Tower. Furthermore the [[TheDreaded Irregulars]] Phantaminum, and Enryu. And finally the Director of the 2nd Floor, Evankell.
* Invoked by WordOfGod in ''Webcomic/AliceAndTheNightmare'' when it comes to President Spade.
-->''President Spade is usually cooped up in his office and only makes brief appearances as formalities, but otherwise he's a rarely-seen dude.''
* Webcomic/{{Precocious}} has Ursula's parents. We know more about what their car looks like and that hasn't been shown either.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Karlova, is she a real person or does [[AitorMolinaVs Aitor Molina]] love the caramel vodka too much?
* Edward James Olmos in the ''WebVideo/LoadingReadyRun'' videos, who is mentioned all the time but is never seen. Possibly because it's a small production in ''Victoria, BC,'' and he's '''Edward James Olmos'''.
* [=OpAphid=], Tachyon and Brother in ''{{lonelygirl15}}'' are implied to be present in several scenes, but never shown. [=OpAphid=] and Tachyon do appear onscreen in their own series, however. Additionally, a character named Cassie is mentioned in several episodes, but never appears. She did spawn a series of EpilepticTrees theories, however.
* ''WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment'': Dr. Insano's nurse is often referred to (and even threatened to be killed) but is never actually seen or heard from by the audience.
* Dr. Kyle from ''[[Roleplay/DarwinsSoldiers Darwin's Soldiers'']] has been mentioned in every RP but has never been seen.
* ''Creator/{{Tobuscus}}'': Toby Turner's possibly fictional partner Steven.
* In ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'', Strong Badman is created when Strong Bad gets an e-mail from one "Stiny". Within the email, and in several future Strong Badman appearances, Strong Bad imagines Stiny being Strong Badman's sidekick, who he constantly shouts orders or insults toward, but he never appears.
* Also in Homestar Runner, the Strong brothers' parents have been mentioned a few times, including an old birthday card that their mother made Strong Bad write for Strong Sad (the only physical evidence). We never see either, and in fact the Brothers Chaps themselves stated point-blank that they had '''no''' interest in resolving the mystery. ("Nice try, dodongo!")
* In the ''Film/{{Downfall}}'' [[MemeticMutation Parodies]] on Website/YouTube:
** There are a few characters who serve this role (mainly ones who were mentioned in ''Downfall'' but never seen). The most frequently mentioned character is Steiner, who is often responsible for providing Hitler's generals with bad news (resulting in a lengthy rant from Hitler) and is often involved with his latest plan in some manner. Also Wenck to a lesser extent, although his name is frequently mistranslated as "fine".
** Fegelin serves as this to a lesser degree. There are ''some'' videos where he appears, but most just use him as an unseen nemesis for Hitler. There's one video where he ''finally'' arrives in Hitler's office and Hitler at last gets the chance to talk to him. [[spoiler: [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Too bad Hitler forgot what he wanted to talk to Fegelin about]].]]
* Stan, the camera man from WebVideo/CrashCourse. John assures us that he really does exist.
* On WebVideo/VlogBrothers, Sarah Urist Green, Creator/{{John|Green}}'s wife, was often referred to but has yet to appear in person. In an early video, John Green referred to her as "the Yeti", because she was an important part of vlogbrothers "folklore" but was never seen, and the name stuck.
* All characters in ''WebVideo/PittsburghDad'', save for the title character, are neither seen nor heard, but only reacted to.
* One ''College Humor'' video is about "five monsters who will be your roommate." (They're not literal monsters, but people who act rather oddly like movie monsters; the neat freak is compared to The Terminator, the slob who steals your homework is a zombie). One of these is "The Ghost," the roommate you ''never'' see, but who ''has'' to be there because there's evidence of someone else living in the apartment. "He may be trying to communicate with you, but you'll never know for sure."
%%* Amir's dad in ''WebVideo/JakeAndAmir''. "Mickey, my friend!"
* ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'' is an AbridgedSeries, so it's forced to keep important characters off-screen when it deviates too far from the original episodes' plots. So, in "Mob Wars", a CanonForeigner named Snuggle Berry wins an award for being an upstanding, much-loved member of the community, then dies in a rabbit stampede, all without appearing on screen once. And Princess Luna, in spite of having a lot of screen time in the first two episodes, is shoved off-screen for the rest of season one. There are several references to Luna being the royal court's ButtMonkey, and a several-episode-spanning subplot in which she gets kidnapped--all without her putting in a single appearance.
* Cazo! was this for TheSharkasmCrew before finally showing up at Paranormal Activity X.
* Cecil Trachenburg from Webvideo/GoodBadFlicks hosts his show without a face.
* The hosts of ''LetsPlay/AnalogControl'' occasionally refer to someone named "Mark", who is their cameraman, and less frequently to "Mike" who is their sound guy. [[spoiler: "Mark" is actually the phrase their recording VHS flashes just before recording starts, while "Mike" refers to their microphone.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** Fire Lord Sozin, the Fire Lord who started the war was initially this, but he made later made an appearance in a season 3 backstory episode
** Aang's old friend Kuzon was another example until he appeared in the comicbook "Dragon Days".
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTrapDoor'' has 'Im Upstairs who is the patron saint of this trope. Spoken about often, shouts from upstairs... Until he appears in one episode as an EldritchAbomination.
* Several examples in ''WesternAnimation/{{Reboot}}'':
** The Users only appear as the {{Player Character}}s in games -- though the User's (slow) keystrokes are heard during [[spoiler:the system restore]].
** Mouse was a Ghost for a few episodes after first being mentioned.
** Al of Al's Diner appears on-screen all of once, in "The Great Brain Robbery" -- completely tied up in rope except for his feet. All the viewer can deduce from this is that he's a "one" binome. The rest of the time Al is TheVoice - a voice that only ever says "WHAT?!"
%%* Chloe Montez, ''WesternAnimation/TheWeekenders''.
* The parents, Eddy's brother, and Rolf's Nana on ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy''. In fact, everyone outside of the core characters. [[spoiler:Eddy's brother]] finally showed up in TheMovie.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'':
** Principal Buttsavage, Doug never met the principal in the original series, and spent most of the series finale trying to find out what he looked like. (The Disney version had ex-Mayor White serve as principal, and he appeared on camera frequently.)
** Skunky Beaumont. Often spoken about, never seen, he eventually had one line in one episode. Doug walks by the guidance office and says hi to him, and he replies "Hey Doug". In the Disney series, he made his first on-screen appearance in an early episode and remained a recurring character throughout.
* Randy Beaman on ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'', who is always being talked about by his friend (originally listed in the credits as Colin, later Randy Beaman's Friend) as the "Friend of a Friend" in some bizarre urban legend (one example being the infamous Pop Rocks/Soda one). May also be an example of SecondHandStorytelling.
* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'' had Dr. Slug, who is reputed as being Darkwing's archenemy as well as the #1 most wanted criminal in St. Canard. Despite this, we never actually see him (with one exception) or know anything about him; the only times he is mentioned is when other villains bring him up, usually to admire his (always unspecified) villainous deeds, sadly wish they could be more like him, or (in Negaduck's case) grouse about being bumped down to #2 criminal. Eventually this was lampshaded by having Dr. Slug actually show up at the start of an episode, only to have Darkwing pause the action two seconds in, and then inform the viewer that they weren't going to show that story and proceed to tell an entirely unrelated one.
* Colonel K's secretary, Miss Boathook, in ''WesternAnimation/DangerMouse''.
* Von Goosewing's assistant, Heinrich, in ''WesternAnimation/CountDuckula''. It is entirely possible that Heinrich has, in fact, quit and that Von Goosewing has just failed to notice his absence.
* The oft-randomly-mentioned Muffy Jenkins of ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor''. In "Operation: MESSAGE" we actually ''do'' see Muffy at the end of the episode, receiving a message Numbuh 2 spent the whole episode trying to deliver to her at lunch. The note mentions the [[OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness Splinter Cell]], the main focus of season six...which Muffy had nothing to do with.
* Mateo, the bus driver, from ''EllensAcres''. Ellen waves goodbye to him at the start of every episode, but we never actually see him.
* Moltar's beloved wife Linda on ''WesternAnimation/SpaceGhostCoastToCoast''.
* Gazpacho's mother in ''WesternAnimation/{{Chowder}}''. In one episode, it is revealed that [[spoiler: Gazpacho is ''his own mother'']]. But that wasn't real. ''[[spoiler: OR WAS IT?]]''
* Trudy Beekman, Mallory Archer's nemesis on ''{{Archer}}''. [[ThinkingOutLoud "MEH MEH MEH, I'm Trudy Beekman. I'm on the co-op board and I'm going on a blimp! MEHHH!"]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButthead'''s moms, they are implied to live with them and they sometimes talk about them or call out to them but they are never seen. In a book, "This Book Sucks", they shown pictures of them in a Family Tree page. Beavis's mom looks like a female version of Butthead and visa-versa.
* {{Lampshaded}} with boarder Mr. Smith on ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold''. An entire episode was dedicated to Arnold and Gerald trying to track him down to deliver a package (apparently they had never seen him either). Of course, they were unsuccessful in their attempts.
* Sandy Plankton in ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'' is considered among his classmates to be the purveyor of great knowledge. His fun facts are ''almost'' right. He and the information he shares are only mentioned; he is never shown. [[FridgeBrilliance With a name like Plankton, it might require a microscope.]]
* Spinelli's older brothers, Joey and Vito, from ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}''. T.J.'s older sister, Becky, started out as one of these, but then made her physical appearance in ''WesternAnimation/RecessSchoolsOut''
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Starswirl the Bearded is a powerful unicorn wizard who lived at least one thousand years ago.[[note]] [[GodEmperor Princess]] [[TheSacredDarkness Luna]] knew him well enough to be able to praise the accuracy of a modern-day costume, and she just finished spending the past millenium [[SealedEvilInACan sealed away in the moon]].[[/note]] He's been referenced in no less than five episodes, but never actually seen, even in a flashback. All we know of what he may have looked like comes from [[RobeAndWizardHat Twilight's costume for Nightmare Night]] and an [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E11ThreesACrowd artistic travelling exhibition poster]]. He does appear on-screen during flashbacks in one arc of the [[ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW comic series]], however.
** [[spoiler: AJ's, Apple Bloom's, and Big Mac's Parents]] are this in the Season 5 episode ''Crusaders Of The Lost Mark''. [[spoiler: After spending the past five seasons with their whereabouts left completely ambiguous and facing numerous questions of whether or not they actually existed, turns out, they did. Where they are now, is still up in the air]].
* Leela from ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' periodically mentions relationship troubles she has with one of her unseen boyfriends (later ex-boyfriend) Sean. He eventually makes a full appearance in season 7, though.
* On ''Literature/{{Franklin}}'', Great Aunt Harriet is this. She's very important as she's known for giving great presents and serves as the inspiration for the name of the title character's little sister. Additionally, in the ''Franklin and Friends'' special "Polar Explorer," she provides a navigation bar that leads Franklin and his parents on an adventure to the North and South Poles. Despite all of this, she is never seen, even in pictures.
* In LeagueOfSuperEvil we have Voltar's ArchNemesis "Steve" a mild mannered yet seemingly crabby/annoyed neighbour. Whose catchphrase is "I DON'T CARE" when Voltar brags about his plans to humiliate him. We do see him in one episode, but we only see him with bucket fell his head as he walked around dazed.
* The General on ''WesternAnimation/DastardlyAndMuttleyInTheirFlyingMachines'' was always heard in inaudible gibberish (his name in a comic book story was in fact General Gibberish) but was never seen on the show.
* ''WesternAnimation/BewareTheBatman'' features The Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot as this. We see characters talk about him, and he is mentioned in newspapers and news casts, but is never seen. The closest we see of him is a detailed police sketch of him as a FreezeFrameBonus. However, considering the show foreshadowed characters like Tobias Whale and Harvey Dent like this, he would've likely appeared in season two.
* Dipper and Mabel's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Pines, in ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls''. They're home in Piedmont, California, and--according to WordOfGod--blissfully unaware of the bizarre summer their kids are having.
* Madame Foster doesn't appear for all of the last few minutes of the ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'' pilot movie, initially leading Bloo to believe she was dead.