You work as a dustman or in a shoe shop for a while, you move on and everyone forgets about it. You work as an actor in a single role, and everyone refers to you as "an actor" for ever afterward.
- Galaxy Quest is very largely composed of variations of, lampshades hung on, and aversions of this trope.
- Sunset Boulevard is a tragic variation.
- The banjo-playing boy in Deliverance is so described in "the other wiki".
- The various nonentities and Z-listers who attempt to cross over from Big Brother and related shows.
- Ann Marie in That Girl, far too obviously.
- Played With in Arrested Development; Tobias uses this as a reason to refuse any other work. Given that he is trained and licensed as a psychiatrist (and therefore, a medical doctor) and has had no success as an actor, this is an expensive self-indulgence.