[[quoteright:200:[[Series/TheChoir http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_choir_uk_2_dvd_copy_copy_4948.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:200:[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Way Most convincing choirboy "act" ever.]]]]

->'''Mike:''' Did the actors do their own skydiving?\\
'''Tom Servo:''' No, the skydivers did their own acting.
-->-- '''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000''', ''[[Recap/MysteryScienceTheater3000S06E09TheSkydivers The Skydivers]]''

The thing about actors is that [[ShapedLikeItself most actors are actors]]. While they are expected to portray fictional characters engaged in a wide variety of occupations, they rarely have the experience to be truly skilled in everything that the character does in the story. Generally, this isn't a problem. Enough skills can be acquired to fake the job through training from an expert, and for particularly complex tasks a StuntDouble, TalentDouble, or [[NonSingingVoice Voice Double]] can be used.

However, on rare occasions, a person, sometimes even a non-actor, will be cast in a role partly because they already have skills from a non-acting work experience or a major hobby that are relevant to the role they are being asked to portray. Examples include both extras and main characters. If the extras are soldiers assigned to the production by the military, it is probably evidence that the film is BackedByThePentagon. Compare to TheCastShowoff, where scenes are added to an actor's role to give them a chance to show off a talent, and IronyAsSheIsCast, when actors are required to display StylisticSuck in a talent which they are actually quite skilled at.

This trope only refers to someone being cast as a fictional character or as a fictionalized portrayal of a real person. Reality TV, game shows and the like do not count. Neither do non-fictional informative shows hosted by experts in their field, as it is not only normal but pretty much required that, for example, someone that hosts a home improvement show should know something about home improvement.

This is one of the possible methods of using MetaCasting to give added depth to a production.

Compare NonActorVehicle and AutobiographicalRole. Related to DisabledCharacterDisabledActor and SuperTrope to NewscasterCameo.
!!Fictional examples:


* ''Film/TheLostSkeletonOfCadavra''--a parody of 1950's {{B Movie}}s--references this in a roundabout fashion. The various RealLife actors were given backstories for their characters--not just the characters in the film, but also for the fictional actors portraying them, to make everyone's flavor of BadBadActing very distinct. So Dan Conroy was cast as Ranger Brad, and played the character as though he were an actual park ranger who got talked into playing a role in the movie because he had his own costume.

* In a ''Series/MurderSheWrote'' episode, when the town is putting on a play about an infamous trial, they cast a real judge as the judge in the play.
* ''Series/SkippyTheBushKangaroo'': In one of the episodes, a movie director decides to cast Heroic Pet Skippy as a Heroic Pet, which results in Skippy saving an actor for real when something goes wrong.
* ''Series/FamilyMatters'': In "A Ham Is Born", Carl Winslow moonlights as a security guard at a movie studio where a police drama is being filmed. The movie director is annoyed at Carl's opinion of a film scene until Carl mentions his 20-year experience as a Chicago police officer. After Carl demonstrates the actual procedure for arresting criminals, the impressed director decides to cast Carl Winslow as the new leading protagonist of the film. Ultimately, Carl quits his career as a film star because he, as a married man, refuses to kiss the leading actress, even if it was only part of the movie storyline.
* On ''Series/{{Bones}}'' one of the actors in the FilmOfTheBook of one of Dr. Brennan's novels studied to be a scientist, and was hired because the TechnoBabble didn't scare him off. This becomes useful when it turns out a real murder had taken place on set, and they needed additional help examining the body.

!!Real-life examples:

* ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'' - The voice from mission control is played by Frank Miller, who was a RealLife air traffic controller. When the two astronauts are interviewed by the BBC, the interviewer is Kenneth Kendall, a BBC newsreader.
* ''Film/AlmostAngels'' - The Vienna Boys Choir provided many of the boys that played Vienna choirboys in the movie, though the lead parts were played by child actors with their [[NonSingingVoice singing voices dubbed]].
* ''Film/AnatomyOfAMurder'' - Judge Weaver was played by RealLife lawyer Joseph N. Welch.
* ''Film/BeverlyHillsCop''. The role of Detroit police inspector Douglas Todd was played by RealLife Detroit police detective Gilbert Hill.
* ''Film/BlackHawkDown'': In wide shots, those were actual Army Rangers fast-roping from UH-60s.
* ''Film/{{Bloodsport}}'' cast a lot of real-life martial artists as the tournament contestants. Notably, the Muay Thai fighter in the semifinals is Paulo Tocha, one of the first western Muay Thai experts.
* ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind'': You know how the dialogue between the pilots and the air traffic controllers sounded so realistic? Spielberg used the controllers from Los Angeles ARTCC, gave them the scenario, and they played it as if it were real.
** Also, the synthesizer player is Philip Dodds, one of the lead engineers for ARP Instruments. Dodds was brought in to install the ARP 2500, and when Spielberg saw his expert handling of the equipment, he offered Dodds the role on the spot.
** The "voice" of the mothership was performed by legendary tubist [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Self Jim Self]]. Spielberg cast him and his performance because the difficulty of playing the tuba added a "human" component to the alien communication.
* ''Film/TheExorcist'': Father Dyer is played by Reverend William O'Malley S.J., a real-life Jesuit priest. Director William Friedkin commented that instead of looking for another actor to play Fr. Dyer, he went looking for a real-life priest who knew how to act.
** The medical technicians who test Regan are also real medical technicians. Eerily, one of them committed the murders that inspired a later William Friedkin film, ''Film/{{Cruising}}''.
* ''Film/FullMetalJacket'', RLeeErmey was hired to advise on the film's portrayal of a [[DrillSergeantNasty US Marine Corps instructor]], but was eventually just given the role. Kubrick was hesitant at first, since Ermey's actually [[MeanCharacterNiceActor a very nice guy]]... until Ermey made a video of himself chewing out the camera for fifteen minutes ''without stopping or repeating himself'' '''while being pelted with rotten fruit and tennis balls'''.
* Retired Marine Captain Dale Dye has made a career for himself not only consulting on military films, but also playing military officers on screen.
* ''Film/GoingMyWay'' - The Robert Mitchel Boychoir provided the boys that played the part of the parish choir.
* ''Film/LesChoristes'' - All the boys in this film about the creation of a choir at a BoardingSchoolOfHorrors are members of the RealLife choir [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Petits_Chanteurs_de_Saint-Marc Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc]], including choir member [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Baptiste_Maunier Jean Baptise Maunier]] playing a Pierre Morhange, a boy with an exceptional singing voice.
* In ''Film/LittleMissSunshine'', all of the pageant contestants and mothers except for Olive and Sheryl were played by actual kiddie-pageant veterans. The costumes and makeup were the same as they wore to actual pageants.
* ''Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest'' - Dean R. Brooks, the real-life superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital, was cast as Dr. Spivey.
* ''Film/{{Secretariat}}'' - Ron Turcotte was played by a jockey named [[http://www.caballopress.com/AboutOttoThorwarth.html Otto Thorwarth]].
* In ''Film/{{Seabiscuit}}'', George "the Iceman" Woolf is played by real-life Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Gary Stevens.
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings''
** In addition to the lead actors who were trained on horses, and numerous digital extras, the Riders of Rohan were portrayed by regular horse riders from all across New Zealand who came with their own horses to act as extras.
** For ''The Return of the King'', The New Zealand Army provided extras for the final battle in front of the Black Gate. This was made necessary because the Black Gate scenes were filmed on an abandoned minefield. Behind the scenes commentary on the DVD's makes note of how good these extras were at following directions and setting up formations, and how much enthusiasm they brought to the combat scenes.
* ''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial'' - The doctors are real doctors. The commentary mentions that this was because actors wouldn't ''quite'' speak as if they had been using the proper terms for years because, well, they hadn't been.
* Eddie Bunker lived as a criminal and thief many years before becoming a writer. He was later cast as Mr Blue in ''Film/ReservoirDogs''.
* Audie Murphy, war hero and movie star, who played ''himself'' in the movie of his auto-biography ''To Hell And Back''. He also played a civil-war solider in ''Red Badge Of Courage''.
* For ''Film/IvanTheTerrible'', Creator/SergeiEisenstein used actual Soviet soldiers for the battle sequences, which kept them from going to actual combat during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Enemy_Below The Enemy Below]]''. Many of the sailors on the destroyer escort were RealLife U.S. sailors [[BackedByThePentagon provided by the Defense Department]]. Likewise, the person playing the ship's chief engineer was the ship's actual commanding officer.
* In ''Film/BlackSwan'', the man playing NataliePortman's dance partner was her RealLife dance instructor for the film, although he doesn't have many lines. He is also her husband and father of her child.
* In ''Film/GrossePointeBlank'' Benny the Jet, a legendary kickboxer as well as Cusak's personal trainer, has a role as an assassin.
* The guy Film/JamesBond pursues in the LeParkour scene at the beginning of ''Film/CasinoRoyale2006'' is actually one of the inventors of LeParkour.
* ''Film/{{Banlieue 13}}'' (re-dubbed as ''District 13'') features the other founder of LeParkour as the main protagonist.
* In ''Film/MillionDollarBaby'', Maggie's opponent in her final match was played by Lucia Rijker, a champion female boxer in RealLife.
* In the film ''Film/RequiemForAHeavyweight'' the eponymous heavyweight's final boxing match (at the start of the film) is against Cassius Clay, whom you might know better as Muhammad Ali. Ali's not just "the opponent," he actually has some in-character lines. At the end the heavyweight is forced into a humiliating wrestling match against the real life professional wrestler Wrestling/HaystacksCalhoun.
* As could be expected, the ''Franchise/{{Rocky}}'' series has cast several real-life boxers, usually in bit parts. The most prominent ones are the main opponents in ''Film/RockyV'' and ''Film/RockyBalboa'', played by Tommy Morrison and Antonio Tarver. Furthermore, in ''Film/RockyIII'' Rocky is in a boxer-vs-wrestler bout with "Thunderlips," played by Wrestling/HulkHogan. Hogan was a Monster {{Heel}} at the time, as is Thunderlips.
* When Disney did ''Disney/BrotherBear'', they went to Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley for advice on the Inuit language. They liked the way he spoke Inukituk so much, they created a narrator role for him.
* The film ''Film/ActOfValor'' takes this UpToEleven. Nearly every credited actor is enlisted in the United States Military, many of them actual Navy [=SEALs=] - who will ''go uncredited because they are, well, Navy [=SEAL=]s.''
* The paramedics attempting to resuscitate Murphy in ''Film/RoboCop1987'' were played by a real-life trauma team. They were allowed to improvise their lines, and on the DVD commentary the writers mention how it turned out better than what they ever could have thought up. One reason it worked so well is that the image of a trauma team working on a dying man in such a calm, emotionless, business-like manner feels incredibly creepy. Most people expect the ER team to [[RealityIsUnrealistic act like they do on TV.]]
* Many of the military extras in the ''Film/{{Transformers}}'' series are actual military. In several cases, they didn't even have a script beyond Creator/MichaelBay telling them to say and do what they'd do in the situation.
* Professional ice skater Lynn-Holly Johnson was cast in the lead role in ''Ice Castles'', which was her film debut. Presumably, it was easier to teach a skater to act than to teach an actress to skate at the level required for the character.
** In the Film/JamesBond film ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly'' Lynn-Holly Johnson plays an aspiring Olympic skater.
* In the Thai film ''Beautiful Boxer'' (based on the life of Parinya Charoenphol aka Nong Thoom) the title role was filled by real life Muay Thai fighter Asanee Suwan.
* ''{{Film/Miracle}}'' cast actual college hockey players as members of the 1980 US Olympic team. Special mention goes to Billy Schneider, who played his father, Buzz.
* ''Film/SlapShot'' had a number of minor league hockey players among its cast. The actors who played the (in)famous Hanson brothers were in the major league World Hockey Association, meaning the archetypal unskilled thugs of hockey cinema were visibly stronger players than any of their costars!
** As a bonus, the Hansons were based on the Carlson brothers, two of whom essentially [[AsHimself played themselves]] in the film as two of the Hansons.[[note]]The third brother had been called up by the Edmonton Oilers and was consequently unavailable for the film.[[/note]] The third brother was played by David Hanson, who also served as inspiration for "Killer" Carlson.
* ''Film/AnyGivenSunday'' featured NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor as one of the Sharks linebackers. And Terrell Owens AsHimself. Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown plays one of the Sharks coaches.
* Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin had a small role in ''Film/StickIt'', winning the uneven bars competition in the (rigged) final meet. Tricia Skilken was played by Tarah Paige, a former elite gymnast; meanwhile, Mina Hoyt, Haley's teammate, was played by Division 1 NCAA gymnast Maddy Curley. And the gymnasts who compete in the Classic and at Nationals are virtually all competitive gymnasts, including many notable NCAA gymnasts and Olympians Allana Slater and Mohini Bhardwaj.
* When the President's limousine is flipped over by a nuclear blast in ''Film/TheSumOfAllFears'', he is rescued by a squad of actual Marines. As with a number of the military examples, the Marines were simply given the situation and asked to respond as they would in RealLife.
* Richard Todd, who played Major John Howard in ''Film/TheLongestDay'', was a paratrooper and veteran of the actual D-Day landings.
** In fact, Todd was present at the actual landings at Pegasus Bridge depicted in the film. Todd, played by another actor and uncredited, actually shows up in the movie, exchanging a joke with Howard, played by Todd himself, about how "paras are always late."
** Also amusingly averted... Creator/ChristopherLee auditioned for the movie, but was turned down because the filmmakers didn't think he looked enough like a military man. Apparently, they weren't aware that he had, in fact, served in WWII as a member of the both the RAF and SAS (or, more accurately, the SAS's precursor, the Special Operations Executive).
* ''Film/DeathProof'' introduces stuntwoman Creator/ZoeBell, [[AsHimself As Herself]].
* Several films by Creator/RobertRodriguez, including ''Film/PlanetTerror'' and ''Film/{{Machete}}'', feature minor doctor characters played by Rodriguez's own real-life physician, Dr. Felix Sabates.
* ''Film/{{Ronin}}'' featured world-class figure skater Katarina Witt as a CaptainErsatz of herself - the championship count given for her character in the film is her actual championship total.
* Many of the SEAL team members in ''Film/TheRock'' were played by the (retired) [=SEALs=] who also advised on the film.
* A few of the players on both teams in the 2005 remake of ''Film/TheLongestYard'' are actual retired NFL players, such as Michael Irvin as a wide receiver for the inmates' team and Bill Romanowski as a linebacker for the guards' team.
* ''Film/{{Titanic 1997}}'': All the crew aboard the research ship and its submarine are, well, actual research-ship-and-submarine crewmembers. Cameron hired the ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akademik_Mstislav_Keldysh Akademic Mstislav Keldysh]]'' to visit the wreck, and kept them on payroll for use as set and extras once the production phase started.
* A minor example in ''Film/{{Airplane}}'': The screenwriters wrote lines for the two black characters who "only speak Jive". The actors who were cast in the roles pointed out that all the lines were ridiculous and were allowed to improvise their own dialogue.
* Creator/DannyTrejo spent his early years as an armed robber and heroin addict, before being sentenced to 15 years in prison. Upon his release, his friend Eddie Bunker was working on a movie set and mentioned they needed someone who could play a big, scary Mexican thug. Trejo got the part, and has played similar roles more than a few times since.
** A fellow actor once asked him where he'd gone to acting school. Trejo replied by naming the prison he'd been incarcerated in.
* Soviet comedy ''Striped Cruise'' is about a cargo of wild tigers that break free and wreak havoc on a ship, but are tamed by the ship's pantrywoman. Rather than using stunt doubles, professional tiger tamer Margarita Nazarova was cast as female lead, bringing her a USSR-wide superstar status.
* Several of the soldiers in the finale of ''Film/RockabillyZombieWeekend'' were played by active duty soldiers who had worked checkpoints in the Middle East; as such, they manned the airport checkpoint in the film and were told to simply do everything as they would do in reality. The protagonists in the truck were given a minimum of coaching for the scene and simply [[EnforcedMethodActing responded to the questions in character.]]
* Most of the Rebel soldiers at the Battle of Hoth in ''Franchise/StarWars Episode V: Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' were Norwegian soldiers.
* In ''Film/TheLastAirbender'', Noah Ringer, who played Aang, was cast for his martial arts ability (he has a black belt in Taekwondo), and had never acted before. He had to attend acting classes before shooting began.
* In ''Film/{{Performance}}'', some of the minor cast members appearing as {{London Gangster}}s were reputedly the real thing.
* ''Film/ItHappenedHere'', an AlternateHistory film about a Nazi-occupied Britain, cast British fascists as local collaborators. Unfortunately, this backfired and led to one of the scenes involved being cut by UK censors, for having actual fascists expounding their ideology.
* Actress Esther Williams (competitive swimmer) in ''Million Dollar Mermaid'', a {{biopic}} of famous swimmer Annette Kellerman.
* In ''Film/TheFrenchConnection'', Doyle and Russo's supervisor is played by Eddie Egan, the cop that Doyle's character is based on. Egan's real-life partner Sonny Grosso (on whom Russo's character was based) played Bill Klein. The mechanic who disassembles the car to find the drugs was played by the mechanic who did that job for the NYPD.
* Before becoming an actor, Creator/JasonStatham was training to be an Olympic diver (for which, presumably, he [[{{Permastubble}} shaved]]). To make money while he trained, he became a street seller (not entirely legal). When GuyRitchie was filming ''Film/LockStockAndTwoSmokingBarrels'', he needed a street-wise seller. Lo and behold, there's Statham. Strangely, he has yet to demonstrate his diving abilities.
* Spidey's wrestling opponent [[LargeHam Bonesaw]] in ''Film/SpiderMan1'' is, of course, played by real-life wrestler Macho Man Wrestling/RandySavage.
* In ''Film/Plan9FromOuterSpace'', the only remotely convincing performance was the minister who gives the eulogy for the policeman-turned-zombie (played by Tor Johnson). The minister was played by a minister Ed Wood knew.
* Uwe Boll cast real Romanian prostitutes as prostitutes in ''Film/{{Bloodrayne}}''...because they were cheaper than hiring extras, [[SubvertedTrope not because of verisimilitude]].
* Ricky Jay is a stage magician and a magic consultant as well as an actor -- so naturally, any time he appears in a movie or TV show, there's a good chance that sooner or later his character will perform some sort of sleight-of-hand or magic trick.
* In ''Film/TheIcePrincess'', Nikki Flether (the 'Jumping Shrimp') is played by real-life figure-skater Kirsten Olson.
* A number of the rugby players in ''Film/{{Invictus}}'' are, unsurprisingly, played by real-life rugby players.
* In ''Film/SayAnything'', [[Creator/JohnCusack Lloyd Dobler]]'s kickboxing opponent, who breaks Lloyd's nose when Lloyd is distracted by Diane's ill-timed declaration of love, was played by real-life kickboxing champion Don 'The Dragon' Wilson.
* Michael Mann's 1981 film ''Film/{{Thief}}'' has an interesting subversion of this trope. Chicago Cop/Consultant Dennis Farina made his film debut playing... a hired goon. Real life jewel thief John Santucci was cast as a police sergeant. The industrial tools used in the film were provided by actual thieves- lending a level of realism uncommon in the heist genre.
* Nearly all the footballers in ''Film/AShotAtGlory'' were real-life players at the time of filming. The staged football matches in the film all appear fairly realistic as a result.
* ''Film/{{Rush 2013}}'', in an effort to be as authentic as possible, scoured the globe for actual Formula 1 cars in use at the time. These cars were almost always driven in the film by their present owners - most of whom actually race their cars in historic competitions.
* ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome'' featured real-life naval and marine personnel aboard the aircraft carrier ''U.S.S. Ranger'', which was doubling for the actual ''U.S.S. Enterprise''.
* ''Film/TopGun'' had real-life fighter pilots (wearing darkened visors) as enemy MiG pilots.
* In ''Film/SearchingForBobbyFischer'', the rival chess prodigy in the chess tournament is played by an actual chess prodigy since "it was easier to teach a chess player how to act than it was to teach an child actor how to comfortbly play speed-chess"
* A lot of the extras recruited to play biker gang members for the original ''Film/MadMax'' were actual local bikers, whom the pocket-change-budget production paid in beer.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Baywatch}}'' was full of pretty actors pretending to be lifeguards... save for one man, Michael Newman, the only one to actually look like a lifeguard and perform complicated stunts (notably, he's the only one regularly shown swimming worth a damn). An actual lifeguard with 20 years of experience who'd saved dozens of lives, Newman played a fictionalized version of himself. He also served as a technical consultant for the show and many of the saves on the show are recreations of saves Newman himself participated in.
* ''Series/TheChoir'' - The BBC TV miniseries adaptation casts St Paul's Cathedral chorister [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Way Anthony Way]] as a chorister for the fictitious Aldminster Cathedral Choir.
* ''Series/LawAndOrder'': Attorney and politician Fred Thompson played the district attorney for several years, though it should be noted that he also had prior acting experience playing the roles of senior government officials, so this would be a cross between CastTheExpert and TypeCasting.
* Dennis Farina, an ex-cop, plays cops on ''CrimeStory'' and ''Series/LawAndOrder'' in addition to many film roles.
* ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet'' - Gary D'Addario, a retired police commander, inspired the character Al Giardello, and played a recurring role as QRT head Lt. Jasper.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'':
** The episode "The Amazing Maleeni" features two stage magicians, both played by actual stage magicians.
** Likewise, all the circus performers in "Humbug" are played by actual sideshow performers; the guy who pounds a nail into his nose ''is actually pounding a nail into his nose''.
* ''Series/GenerationKill'' Rudy Reyes of was attached to the project as an expert, but the actor playing him suddenly became ill, so he simply played himself. It helps that he already looks like a GQ model.
* ''Series/NYPDBlue'' consultant and former New York detective Bill Clark was seen a few times as a cop.
* Andy Buckley, who plays former-CFO David Wallace on the US version of ''Series/{{The Office|US}}'', is a RealLife stock-broker.
* Pauley Perrette studied sociology and criminal science before becoming an actress and playing forensic specialist Abby Sciuto on ''Series/{{NCIS}}''.
* ''Series/JohnFromCincinnati'': A TV show set in the surfing community. Keala Kennelly, who plays Kai, is a well-known professional surfer who set the record for riding the largest tow-in wave by a woman. Greyson Fletcher, who plays Shaun Yost, is a fourth-generation surfer whose drug-addicted father revolutionized the sport in the 80s with "aerial"-type tricks and whose grandfather was a defining legend of the previous-generation surf community. Greyson's character Shaun is a third-generation surfer whose drug-addicted father revolutionized the sport in the 80s with "aerial"-type tricks and whose grandfather was a defining legend of the previous-generation surf community.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** The show often had actual members of the military on screen, including two Air Force Chiefs of Staff playing themselves. Also the reason [[MauveShirt Sgt. Siler]] spends most of his appearances being [[ButtMonkey electrocuted, blown up and hurled around]] is because he's played by the show's stunt coordinator.
** The show cast actual capoeira practitioners as extras when they needed an exotic martial art for the Jaffa in "The Warrior".
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' regularly casts martial artists and gymnasts in the main roles (frequently, the audition sheets will say that martial arts, gymnastics, or dance is a ''huge'' advantage toward getting the part.) It also goes a long way in the other direction as well, [[TheCastShowOff often tailoring the character to the actress]]. Amy Jo Johnson was a gymnast, so was Kimberly. Nakia Burrise was a singer, so was Tanya. Catherine Sutherland was a dancer, so Kat was switched from a diver to a ballerina.
* A few episodes of ''Series/{{Numb3rs}}'' has BillNye play a scientist.
** He also does this in an episode of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', playing a key part in saving the day.
* [[http://www.myfoxdfw.com KDFW-TV]] news anchor Clarice Tinsley has played a TV reporter on ''Series/{{Wishbone}}'', ''Series/WalkerTexasRanger'', and ''Series/TheGoodGuys'', all shows set and/or filmed in the DFWMetroplex.
* ''Series/{{Glee}}'': Heather Morris is a professional dancer who appeared as a backup dancer in the "Single Ladies" music video. The show brought her in to teach the dance to the cast, and they liked her, so she was given a background role as a silent, nameless cheerleader. She took it from there, ad-libbing her way to making Brittany a main character.
* Mayim Bialik, who plays Amy Farrah Fowler on ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'', holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience, while her character is a neurobiologist.
* On ''Series/{{CSI}}'', assistant coroner David "Superdave" Phillips is played by [[TheDanza David]] Berman, who worked as a coroner for a time in real life. Berman is also a consultant on the series.
* The villainous magician in the ''Series/LoisAndClark'' episode "Illusions of Grandeur" is played by Penn Jillette, of Creator/PennAndTeller.
* In most of the large-scale incidents on ''Franchise/{{Emergency}}'' where units other than Engine/Squad 51 appear, the other firefighters are actually firefighters. Similarly, Engine 51's driver Mike Stoker was played by Los Angeles County firefighter Mike Stoker, the captain in the first season was an [=LACoFD=] captain, and the uncredited dispatcher was really a county dispatcher.
* The low-budget 80s action film ''Killpoint'' is mostly memorable for using real police officers in several scenes, including a S.W.A.T. team.
* RLeeErmey played another drill instructor in the sci-fi series ''Series/SpaceAboveAndBeyond.''
* Retired Marine Captain Dale Dye has played a number of soldiers, including Colonel Sink in ''Series/BandOfBrothers'', Colonel Wood in ''Series/TheRoughRiders'', a Marine officer in ''Series/SpaceAboveAndBeyond'' and a Resistance officer in ''Series/FallingSkies'' he plays an officer directing the resistance. He also ran the boot camp for the actors in ''Band of Brothers'', ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'', and ''Series/ThePacific''. He also reprised the role of Colonel Sink for ''VideoGame/BrothersInArms: Hell's Highway''.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'' that called for a musician in a major part, they came close to casting the series composer Music/BearMcCreary. They went with someone else after the audition, but it came very close to fulfilling this trope. Bear had a cameo later on as a piano player in the background.
* SummerGlau was actually discovered this way. Glau, who is a trained dancer, was originally cast as a ballerina in an episode of ''Series/{{Angel}}''.
** In the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode [[MusicalEpisode "Once More With Feeling"]] Hinton Battle (Broadway performer and choreographer) was cast as the demon Sweet.
* In the children's TV series ''Series/{{Brum}}'', Mike Cavanagh played the role of the motoring museum owner. In real life, he wasn't an actor but the actual owner of the museum. He didn't have to do much acting as for the most part he only appeared in the opening and closing of each episode, and in the 2001 {{revival}} the footage was cut so he was barely even seen at all.
* The PBS educational series ''Series/TheVoyageOfTheMimi'' gave the role of crusty Captain Granville to Peter Marston, who was a crusty MIT professor and the actual owner of the boat used in the show. Not to mention likely the first and only nuclear physicist with an Actor's Equity card.
* Both the History Channel and the Military Channel have had a number of shows hosted by either Richard ("Mack") Machowicz or Will ("[[PhoneticAlphabet Whiskey-Whiskey]]") Willis. Mack is a former [=SEAL=], while Will served in both the Army Rangers and Air Force Pararescue.
* ''Series/MrSelfridge'' cast Natalia Kremen, a former artist with the Bolshoi Ballet and English National Ballet, as famed ballerina Anna Pavlova.
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' speculated about this in the episode ''[[Recap/MysteryScienceTheater3000S06E09TheSkydivers Skydivers]]'', supplying the page quote.
* In the ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' episode ''The Two Live Crew Job'', rival thief [[TheDanza Apollo]] is played by former pickpocket and series consultant Apollo Robbins.
* ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise''. In Season 3 the ''Enterprise'' starts taking a regular hammering during the Xindi arc, so featured a lot of scenes where the main characters would walk down a corridor in the midst of being repaired. As this involved BuildingIsWelding, the Paramount set constructors (who were familiar with using welding equipment safely) were put in Starfleet uniforms as background extras.
* On ''Series/GameOfThrones'', many of the prostitutes are played by porn actresses, because they don't have any problem with doing the show's [[{{Sexposition}} trademark copious nudity]].
** WorldsStrongestMan Gregor Clegane was played ([[TheOtherDarrin in his third iteration]]) by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafth%C3%B3r_J%C3%BAl%C3%ADus_Bj%C3%B6rnsson Haf■ˇr Bj÷rnsson]], top contender for real life strongest man in the world.
** In "''The Lion and the Rose''" Icelandic band Sigur Ros make a brief cameo as minstrels performing a cover of the groom's family anthem, and reprise it for the credits.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'':
** Retired Marine Corps Master Sergeant Matt Sigloch, originally hired for a small part in the Pilot Movie, became the on-set military technical advisor for all the 227 episodes.
** Admiral Chegwiddenĺs replacement as Judge Advocate General in the final 10th season, General Cresswell, is played by actor Creator/DavidAndrews, who is a graduate of Stanford Law School and was a practicing attorney before becoming an actor.
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' had a weird example, where a one-episode agent named Agent Ray was being played by the real-life SECNAV, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Mabus Ray Mabus]].
* Some of the extras in ''Series/InvasionEarth'' in the scenes involving weapons were actually service personnel from RAF Leuchars, which served as the show's set for the air base.
* On one episode of ''LawAndOrderSVU'' Stabler's pregnant wife was involved in an automobile accident and a good portion of the episode involved her being extracted from the wrecked car. The NYFD firefighters who responded were real and, aside from a minor variations for drama purposes (such as allowing Benson to go into the car to assist instead of a firefighter or paramedic), did exactly what they would do in a real vehicle extraction.
* ''Series/MiamiVice'' cast their technical advisor, marksman Jim Zubiena, as a TriggerHappy hitman in "The Hit List."

* In both the original Broadway production and the film version of ''Theatre/TheMusicMan'', the school board who always disagreed about everything until Professor Hill tricked them into being a barbershop quartet were played by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Bills_%28quartet%29 The Buffalo Bills]], an award-winning barbershop quartet.

* During production of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'', Rockstar hired [[http://www.destructoid.com/actual-gang-members-bring-grand-theft-auto-v-to-life-261231.phtml actual gang members]] to voice some of the side characters, and they often rewrote the dialogue when it seemed unrealistic.