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Autobiographical Role
When someone plays himself in a Docudrama, Biopic, or other dramatization of a true story.

This is not a celebrity or public figure appearing "as himself" in an entirely fictional work. Those examples should go under As Himself. This is when events are being re-enacted by the person who enacted them in the first place.

If a starring role, may overlap with Non-Actor Vehicle. Compare Real Person Cameo. Contrast Character as Himself, in which a fictional character is given a real-world screen credit. Also contrast Adam Westing, where an actor plays his public persona.


Examples:

Real Life Examples:

Film
  • Audie Murphy in To Hell and Back. The film was based on his autobiographical account of the European Theater of World War 2.
  • Various police officers, bank employees and bystanders in The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery.
  • Frank Wills, the security guard, in All The Presidents Men.
  • Alices Restaurant recounts a true but comically exaggerated Thanksgiving adventure. Arlo Guthrie played himself and Stockbridge police chief William Obanhein ("Officer Obie") played himself in the film version, explaining to Newsweek magazine that making himself look like a fool was preferable to having somebody else make him look like a fool. Singer Pete Seeger also played himself.
  • United 93: several of those involved in the events surrounding the hijacking played themselves, most notably Ben Sliney.
  • Muhammad Ali starred in The Greatest, a biopic about himself.
  • Fantasia Barrino of American Idol played herself in the Made-for-TV Movie Life Is Not a Fairytale, based on her memoir.
  • Jerry Lawler, David Letterman, Lorne Michaels, and most of the cast of Taxi played themselves in Man on the Moon (a Biopic of Andy Kaufman).
  • Howard Stern played himself in the film version of Private Parts.
  • The Iranian film Close-Up has this for essentially all of the people who were involved.
  • Dee Snider had a particularly shameless film called Warning: Parental Advisory, a made-for-TV movie about how he stuck it to the PMRC.
  • Who better to play Jackie Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story than Jackie Robinson?
  • Ann Jillian played herself in the 1988 Made-for-TV Movie The Ann Jillian Story, about her struggle with breast cancer.
  • Eminem in 8 Mile, where the story was basically his life with the names slightly changed.
  • While Purple Rain may not exactly have been The Real True Prince Story, it did touch on elements of his life, feature him playing with his band, and film on location in his hometown.
  • The Jazz Singer was based on Al Jolson's life, although originally he wasn't supposed to star in it.
  • Shirley Maclaine in Out On A Limb, the movie.
  • Babe Ruth played himself in the Lou Gehrig biopic Pride of the Yankees.
  • Coral Browne played herself in An Englishman Abroad, about her encounter with exiled spy Guy Burgess.
  • Attorney/politician Fred Thompson started a side career as an actor when he played himself in Marie.
  • Dolphin Tale has Winter (the dolphin whose story the film is based on) playing herself.
  • Iron & Silk is a drama that tells the story of an American teacher who traveled to China to learn from a kung-fu master. Both lead roles are played by the actual individuals.

Live-Action TV

In-Universe Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Played for Laughs towards the end of Dragon Ball Z, as Great Saiyaman accidentally crashes a set for a movie being made about him. He's called to act a few scenes as a stunt double and acts how he normally does in that persona, but the directors scolded him for being too unrealistic. They realize their mistake when he finds himself having to fly away.

Film
  • And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself is in fact about a film being made about the Mexican revolutionary who sold the rights to film one of his battles which resulted in The Life Of General Villa, which did indeed star Pancho Villa portraying himself.
  • In Inglourious Basterds, Fredrick Zoller plays himself in the propaganda film Nation's Pride, which chronicles his exploits fighting on the front in Italy.

Newspaper Comics
  • In the newspaper version of Spider-Man, Spidey hears they're making a movie about him and auditions for the lead role. He is initially snubbed because he's too short, but gets the role after doing some webswinging to prove he's the real deal.


Very Loosely Based on a True StoryConsistencyUnintentional Period Piece
As HimselfCharacters and CastingAward Category Fraud

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