"Hey, do you remember the 1999 teen comedy She's All That? Shyamalan had a serious hand in writing it... Surprised? You shouldn't be. You do recall that Shyamalan wrote Stuart Little, right? Turns out that's the secret twist M. Night's career has been setting us up for all this time: He doesn't write very good movies. Oh, you saw that twist coming? "
As time goes by, we often stereotype writers and creators as filling certain niches
. Stan Lee
is Marvel Universe
, Stephen King
is horror (or at the very least supernatural), Arthur Conan Doyle
is Sherlock Holmes
... as a result, there are some times where we see somebody's name on something and go "Wait, WHAT? Are you sure it isn't just a guy with the same name
These are examples of well-known works (not obscure experiments) of creators that are so far out of their perceived niche that often times people don't immediately realize the person behind it.
Related to Playing Against Type
, I Am Not Spock
, Genre Adultery
and What The Hell, Casting Agency?
. Compare Same Face, Different Name
, where the creator hides the fact that he's doing something different under a new name. In music, Black Sheep Hit
is a special case in which the aberration
becomes famous. Compare Hey, It's That Guy!
and Hey, It's That Voice!
, which are often this trope but for actors.
open/close all folders
- Michael J. Anderson, best known as the Man from Another Place in Twin Peaks, also was a programmer for NASA.
- Julie Andrews also writes children's fantasy novels, and has been doing so for some time.
- Rowan Atkinson is an electrical engineer.
- Richard Ayoade— Moss from The IT Crowd, Dean Learner from Garth Marenghis Darkplace— also directed quite a few music videos.
- Mayim Bialik, the titular character actress in Blossom, temporarily left acting and obtained a PHD in neuroscience. When she returned to acting with a role on The Big Bang Theory, her character Amy Farrah Fowler was also a neuroscientist.
- Fans of Borat may be surprised to see Sacha Baron Cohen playing supporting roles in stylized period pieces like Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables or even Hugo (albeit typically in roles that still allow for a certain amount of comic relief).
- Steve Burns, the original host of Blues Clues, is also an indie rocker. Here he is covering a They Might Be Giants song.
- Ardwight Chamberlain was known as the actor who played Ambassador Kosh in Babylon 5, but before that he was also one of the Gag Dub writers for Samurai Pizza Cats.
- Jackie Chan is known worldwide for his action movies, combining martial arts with slapstick choreography. While some fans outside of southeast Asia know he's also a director and producer, very few know that he's also an accomplished singer. In fact, he did his own singing when he voiced Shang in the Chinese dub of Mulan!
- Charlie Chaplin is certainly known best for his classic Mutual shorts and films like The Great Dictator and City Lights. Perhaps that's why so many are surprised by his very dark comedy Monsieur Verdoux, which is about a Bluebeard. No slapstick, no bittersweet limerence, no parody, just humour centered around a man who robs his many wives of their money, and collects the rest when he kills them. Another way of looking at this film: Did you know Orson Welles wrote a Chaplin movie?
- Cam Clarke is a prolific voice actor of cartoons and video games. But he's also a singer, and in 1999 released the album Inside Out, a collection of Cover Versions of love songs sung from a Straight Gay man's prospective.
- Misha Collins is known for being an actor, but he also did a stint in politics, set up The Random Act charity, published poems, worked as a carpenter and woodworker, and worked in construction.
- Michael Crawford, who originated the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera and went on to a successful recording and concert career, was first famous as a light comedy actor, with appearances in several of Richard Lester's films (The Knack...and How to Get It, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, etc.) and a popular BBC sitcom (Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em). He also played Cornelius in the movie of Hello, Dolly!, and it's two of his musical numbers that figure prominently in WALL•E.
- Patrick Dempsey, of Grey's Anatomy fame, is a race car driver in his spare time, having competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona among other events. InTransformers: Dark Of The Moon, his character is a collector, restorer and racer of vintage racing cars.
- Jerry Doyle (Michael Garabaldi on Babylon 5) was a stockbroker and now is a radio talk show host.
- Adrian Edmondson, best known for causing trails of destruction in The Young Ones and Bottom is also a well-known video director (for The Pogues among others) and musician with The Bad Shepherds.
- Clark Gable served during World War II as a squadron commander, though he was only able to fly a few missions before his employers at MGM pulled strings to have him rotated stateside due to an incident where a piece of flak narrowly missed hitting him in the head (Gable was the A-list actor at the time). After it became clear that he was not going to be sent back into combat, he requested and received a discharge based on his being too old to serve in combat (he was 41 when the US entered the war). As it happens, his discharge papers were signed by Captain Ronald Reagan.
- Natalia Guseva played Alisa in Guest from the Future, and is a biochemist.
- Mark Hamill is best known as Luke Skywalker from Star Wars. He has done a lot more voice work, most famously as The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, but he also appeared in Avatar: The Last Airbender and the English dub of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. He also cameoed in an episode of The Simpsons as himself, and played the southern Drill Sergeant Nasty who trains Homer in the same episode.
- Phil Hartman was a renowned graphic designer who came up with the Crosby, Stills & Nash logo and designed album covers for bands like Poco and REO Speedwagon. He also co-wrote the screenplay to Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, having worked with Paul Reubens in the Groundlings comedy troupe.
- Everyone loves how David Hayter, Solid Snake himself, is a successful screenwriter who wrote the screenplay for the first two X-Men films. He also did a draft of Watchmen and ended up being one of the credited screenwriters for that too.
- David Hemmings, the star of Antonioni's Blowup, began as a boy soprano and originated the role of Miles in Britten's opera version of The Turn of the Screw. Later in his career, he directed films and many episodes of television shows.
- Audrey Hepburn lived in the Netherlands as a teenager during World War II, where she supported the Dutch Resistance as a courier and raising funds for them by performing ballet. Later in life she worked extensively with UNICEF.
- Mickey Jones, the go-to character actor for big, menacing biker/redneck-types (such as the mechanic in ''National Lampoon's Vacation'') was a drummer in the 60s and 70s, working with Johnny Rivers, Kenny Rogers and most famously Bob Dylan on his chaotic 1966 European tour.
- Sam Jones, best known for his portrayal of Flash Gordon in the 1980 film these days has his own private security firm, which provides bodyguard services for traveling in high-risk regions around the world. He served in the marines before his acting career, which probably helps.
- Brad Kane, most famous as the singing voice of Aladdin, is now a writer and producer and co-wrote and co-produced several episodes of Fringe. He is currently writing the screenplay for the Daredevil film reboot, based on the "Born Again" story arc by Frank Miller. He will be credited as Brad Caleb Kane.
- Boris Karloff started out as a stage-trained character in silent movies, then graduated to playing Fu Manchu, Frankenstein's monster, the Mummy, and associated mad scientists and crazy people in horror films. He was also the voice actor for the narration and the Grinch in the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. He also played the titular police detective, specializing in the Locked Room Mystery, in the 1950s TV series Colonel March of Scotland Yard.
- Hedy Lamarr (no, not Hedley) was best known as MGM's biggest star. She also had a patent for frequency-hopping spread spectrum, which would eventually lay the groundwork for communications technology that's currently used in wi-fi networks.
- Hugh Laurie, an actor known for his roles on Blackadder, House, and Jeeves and Wooster, also wrote The Gun Seller, a novel which parodies the spy genre, and has released a musical CD. He both wrote for and appeared in A Bit of Fry and Laurie.
- Granted, this is likely to happen regardless of how you get to know him. Fans of House may be surprised to find out about his earlier comedy work (or even the fact that he's actually British), while fans who got to know his hilarious performances and strange characters in Blackadder and A Bit of Fry and Laurie'' will likely be surprised to learn he played the lead in an American medical drama.
- Christopher Lee: Most prolific actor alive, Opera aficionado, expert fencer, master of languages, occult buff, former WWII commando, and sometime Heavy Metal singer.
- Jason Lee was a prominent professional skateboarder before becoming a full-time actor.
- Many people don't realize that actress Lindsay Lohan has her own fashion company called 6126; she also has a brand of tanning lotion called Seven9ine.
- Dolph Lundgren is a trained chemical engineer. And he does actually put it to good use.
- Mako is best known for his voice acting turns as Aku, Uncle Iroh, and Master Splinter but he was also known as being quite the actor in front of the camera, having been nominated for an Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1966 for The Sand Pebbles.
- Steve Martin, the Wild and Crazy Guy? He's also an accomplished banjo player who's performed with Earl Scruggs. He also wrote the serious novella Shopgirl, which he starred in the movie adaptation of. He also did writing on the thriller Traitor and also pens editorial pieces for The New Yorker, many of which were collected in the book Pure Drivel.
- Herbert "Zeppo" Marx of the Marx Brothers invented a type of watch with a built-in heart-rate monitor, as well as a new kind of heating pad. His engineering company also popularized the Marman Clamp, which is still widely used for aerospace applications.
- David McCallum, most famous as Ilya Kuryakin on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and "Ducky" Mallard on NCIS is also an orchestral conductor (following in the footsteps of his father - cf. the Music section).
- Gates McFadden — Doctor Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation — was also a choreographer for the Jim Henson Workshop, working on such films as The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. For the latter, she was credited with her first name as Cheryl McFadden.
- Julianne Moore wrote several successful books for children.
- Frankie Muniz of Malcolm in the Middle fame is also a race car driver, and more recently, drummer for the band Kingsfoil.
- George Nader (a.k.a. the guy from Robot Monster) wrote a science fiction novel.
- Leonard Nimoy directed Three Men And A Baby (the highest-grossing film of 1987) and The Good Mother (as well as the less-surprising Star Trek III). He has also released five albums, directed music videos, acted in many non-Star Trek-related roles, and (most notably) he is a succesful photographer.
- Conan O'Brien started out as a writer for The Simpsons.
- Before his breakout role in Heroes, Masi Oka was a CG animator for Industrial Light & Magic who worked on all three Star Wars prequels.
- Frank Oz is known as the voice of several Muppets, including Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Grover, and Yoda. (He was also the Hands of the Swedish Chef while Jim Henson did the head and voice.) However, he also directed Little Shop of Horrors (which, after all, uses puppetry to portray a major character), The Stepford Wives remake, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the original British version of Death at a Funeral.
- Pauley Perrette has earned a cult following for her role as Perky Goth forensics expert Abby Sciuto on NCIS. Many people don't know that she (the actress, Perrette) actually holds a Master's Degree in Forensic Science. Play what you know, I suppose.
- Vincent Price is best known for his horror roles, but most of his early work was dramatic, and he also took a few voice acting roles, notably in The Thirteen Ghosts Of Scooby Doo and The Great Mouse Detective. He was also well-known as an art collector (he donated 90 pieces of art to a community college, making it the first community college to have such a collection), and as a noted gourmet cook (authoring several cookbooks, and once giving a demonstration on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson of how to poach a fish in the dishwasher). He also spoke several languages and was an opera-grade singer. During a segment on What's My Line where the blindfolded regulars were supposed to guess his identity by listening to his voice and his answers to their questions, he sang all his answers in French to keep them from recognizing his distinctive voice.
- Ariana Richards, most famous as Lex in Jurassic Park, is an accomplished professional oil painter.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger - the Terminator, Conan the Barbarian (1982), Hercules, the Kindergarten Cop - was Governor of California. He also was a competitive bodybuilder.
- Many Star Trek alumni have made the jump to the director's chair. Jonathan Frakes has directed episodes of Burn Notice, Leverage, Persons Unknown, and most recently Covert Affairs, as well as a couple of episodes of Castle (including the sci-fi themed ep named, "The Final Frontier"); Robert McNeill has directed many episodes of Chuck; and Roxann Dawson has directed The Closer. Dawson also has an incredibly prolific career as a TV Producer.
- Jimmy Stewart: In addition to being an accomplished movie star (famous in particular for It's a Wonderful Life), he was also a private pilot, which lead to him serving in World War II, rising to the rank of Colonel and serving as a Wing Commander by war's end. He went on to serve in the Reserves during the Cold War and retired as a Brigadier General in 1968. In fact, more than a few celebrities who were eligible to serve during World War II did so.
- While known for the voice of Monkey D. Luffy nowadays, in Japan, Mayumi Tanaka had also been well known for her role in the Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru franchise note as the title character.
- Later in life, Shirley Temple was an ambassador to the UN, chief of protocol for the State Department, and Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
- Jennifer Tilly, she of the big-boobed bimbo roles, has also won a bracelet in the World Series of Poker. In fact, this is a subgenre, as many actors are at least passable in poker (notably Gabe Kaplan, Dick Van Patten (whose son Vince calls the World Poker Tour), and Lou Diamond Phillips, just to name a few).
- Dick Van Dyke is well-known for his acting. He's also done 3D computer animation for years, even doing special effects for an episode of Diagnosis: Murder when there was no budget for a motorcycle crash.
- Jesse "The Body" Ventura, who appeared alongside Arnie in Predator is also a bodybuilder-turned-governor, also known for his time in Professional Wrestling.
- Nancy Walker played Ida Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (and its spinoff Rhoda), and appeared in Bounty paper towel commercials. Much of her earlier career was in Broadway musicals, and it was perhaps for this reason that she was chosen to direct the infamous movie musical Can't Stop the Music.
- Amusingly (since he played Buckaroo Banzai as mentioned below), Peter Weller has a Master's in art history and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University. He's currently working on getting his Ph.D.
- In addition to voice acting (most famously, he was the original voice of Tigger in the Disney Winnie-the-Pooh adaptations), Paul Winchell was also a puppeteer, an acupuncturist, and an inventor — his most famous inventions being the artificial heart and the blood plasma defroster.
- Ian Ziering, aka Steve Sanders from Beverly Hills 90210, played Edison Trent from Freelancer. Same goes for John Rhys-Davies, who played Gimli in Lord of the Rings and Tobias from said game.
- Moe Berg, a journeyman catcher, spoke seven languages, and, as the joke went, could not hit in any of them. During the Second World War, he was a spy for the OSS, investigating the Axis nuclear projects. He was the original spy catcher.
- England cricketer Ian Botham is well-known among fans of the sport for his rollercoaster professional career (the high point of which was leading England to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at Headingley in the 1981 Ashes against Australia) and colourful personal life, but his football/soccer career is not as well-known - he made 17 appearances (and scored one goal) for Yeovil Town FC and 11 apppearances for Scunthorpe United FC between 1978 and 1985, at the same time as his heroics on the cricket pitch.
- The list of athletes and coaches who have gone on to politics is pretty long. Most notable in this category is Bill Bradley, who made a run for President of the United States in 2000. He played for the New York Knicks in the '60s and '70s.
- Jim Brown is an NFL Hall of Famer and is routinely mentioned in every "Who is the greatest football player of all time" debate. He is also a Hall of Famer in Lacrosse, which many of his contemporaries thought was actually his best sport, and after he retired from athletics he established a successful acting career that has spanned more than four decades.
- Wilt Chamberlain, in addition to his Hall of Fame basketball career, was an excellent track and field athlete; while in college he won three straight conference championships in the high jump. After retiring from basketball he turned to professional volleyball, playing that sport for several years and earning a ticket to the Volleyball Hall of Fame as well.
- Denis Compton was a fixture of the England cricket team throughout the 1940s and 1950s, excelling as both a batsman and a bowler. However, he also played football for Arsenal FC, scoring 15 goals in 54 matches between 1936 and 1950. Conversely, his brother Leslie Compton is more well-remembered as a footballer, having played 253 matches for Arsenal from 1930-52 and being capped twice by England, but he also played cricket at the county level for Middlesex.note
- Jacques Demers was an hockey coach in the World Hockey Association and the National Hockey League coaching the Quebec Nordiques from 1979-80, the Saint Louis Blues from 1983-86, the Detroit Red Wings from 1986-90 (winning an unheard of two consecutive Jack Adams awards in 1987 and 1988) and the Montreal Canadiens from 1992-96 (winning the team's most recent Stanley Cup in 1993), and the Tampa Bay Lightning from 1997-99. Later, he served as a hockey commentator. Currently, he is serving as a Canadian senator.
- Before he was a trailblazing sports broadcaster Marty Glickman was a star track and field athlete and an All-American football player. He was most famous for the game he did not play. During the 1936 Olympics, held in Nazi Germany, Glickman and fellow Jewish athlete Sam Stoller were withdrawn from the 4 x 100 relay and replaced with two African-American athletes (one of whom was Jessie Owens). The head of the US delegation, Avery Brundage, lobbied against any boycott, and had financial and possible ideological ties to the Nazi regime and likely wanted to spare the host embarrassment of Jews being awarded medals in front of Hitler.
- Sam Stoller, the other snubbed sprinter, appeared in bit parts in various movies and had a singing career as well.
- In 1968 the Houston Cougars defeated the Tulsa Golden Hurricane 100-6 in the most lopsided game ever between two major college football teams. Houston's second-to-last touchdown was scored by receiver (and future country music star) Larry Gatlin. The middle linebacker for Tulsa's hapless defense was a guy named Phil McGraw.
- Magic Johnson, prominent basketball player is a minority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- Pitcher Randy Johnson was a drummer for Soundgarden at one point.
- John Kitna played 16 years in the NFL as a journeyman quarterback. Had he not gotten the call from Dennis Ericson, he would have gone to his first calling: teaching algebra. Now, 15 years later, he is the algebra teacher and football coach at his old high school. And he didn't just teach: he asked for the hopeless cases, and turned many of them around in less than two years.
- Jackie Robinson is known for breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947 and being landmark figure in the history of African-American Civil Rights. However, before that, he won four varsity letters at UCLA (in baseball, basketball, football, and track), played backfield on the school's football team, and won the 1940 NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the Long Jump. Oddly enough, baseball was supposedly the sport he was weakest in.
- Babe Ruth's career as a pitcher. While Baseball fans know this very well, it is not as well known outside of Baseball fandom.
- Bake Turner spent 9 seasons as a pro football wide receiver (mainly with the New York Jets). He also took a few stabs at a country music career and in 1969 was the first singer to record "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone?", which became a #1 country hit for Charley Pride the next year.
- Former Australian Cricket Captain Steve Waugh got an early start be being Captain for Australia's Under 18's Cricket Captain. Not too surprising, but more surprising is that the same year he was also the Captain for Australia's under 18's soccer (or football to Europeans) team.
- Ted Williams is widely known as one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball: but he was also an excellent pilot (John Glenn's wingman), and a master fisherman: he was inducted into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame (yes, there is a fishing hall of fame).
- Walter Ray Williams, Jr. is a legendary champion in two sports. He's well known for being a great bowler, but he's also a champion horseshoe thrower. His nickname "Dead-Eye" comes from horseshoes, not bowling.
Comic Books and Manga
- Japanese cartoonist Fujio Akatsuka is famous in his home country for pioneering in gag manga such as Bakabon the Genius Idiot and Little Osomatsu. He also popularized the Magical Girl genre with Himitsu no Akko-chan. Both Akko and Osomatsu both debuted at the same time on different magazines and despite having very different styles they made Akatsuka a house-hold name in Japan.
- Wilhelm Busch of Max Und Moritz fame did more (like oil paintings, novels and serious poems) than pictured stories. But even most Germans wouldn't know that, or all of his stories.
- Tokyo Babylon and X1999 is by CLAMP, the very same women that did Angelic Layer and Cardcaptor Sakura. And then along came Chobits...
- Geoff Johns, known for writing comics and who co-wrote the Action Comics run with Richard Donner, used to be Donner's assistant.
- Francesco Marciuliano, the writer of the widely lambasted family-friendly syndicated comic strip Sally Forth, is also the author of Medium Large, a significantly more off-beat comic that is surprisingly funny. Although Sally Forth got rather more clever when he took it over too.
- William Moulton Marston created a lie detector (but not, as is often reported, the polygraph). And Wonder Woman.
- Dave Sim, author of Cerebus the Aardvark, also signed the Bill of Rights for Comics Creators, together with Richard Pini and the artists of Mirage Studios.
- Art Spiegelman, author of Holocaust comic Maus, invented the Ring Pop and The Garbage Pail Kids.
- Ursula Vernon: creator of both the webcomic Digger and The Biting Pear of Salamanca.
- In what could be a trope all its own, the list of people not normally identified with the Comic industry who have done comics is long:
- Alfred Bester worked for DC Comics in the 40s and 50s. He is, in fact, credited with creating the Green Lantern Oath.
- Richard Donner did a stint co-writing (there are arguments as to whether he actually wrote any of it, or just came up with ideas) on Action Comics.
- Harlan Ellison wrote an Avengers/Hulk crossover in the early 1970's. It introduced the (fairly) popular character of Jarella into the Hulk's life.
- Mark Hamill did some work. Damn he's everywhere.
- Going a bit further back, there was a lady by the name of Patricia Highsmith who wrote for two different comic companies (Fawcett and Western Comics) between 1943 and 1947. Certainly not the work she's remembered for these days.
- Anthrax guitarist, Scott Ian, has written a Lobo comic.
- Successful romance novelist Marjorie Liu wrote an X-Men novel in 2005, and soon started writing comics for Marvel as well.
- Subversion: Contrary to the running gag at Marvel, the Ralph Macchio who works there is not the same person who appeared in The Karate Kid movies.
- Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt has written quite a few comic books, including a one-shot Firefly comic featuring Wash.
- Jodi Picoult, a writer of romance and family drama novels, did a stint on Wonder Woman.
- Brian Posehn, standup comedian and actor, has written several issues of Deadpool.
- Kevin Smith and Brad Meltzer are subversions as, unlike other "celebrity" Comic writers, they have done it more-or-less regularly (enough where it isn't that much of news if they are doing something), as opposed to many of the above examples which were either "publicity stunts" or comics they themselves created (and, in some examples, published).
- Joss Whedon, although in many cases he is writing properties that he already did on TV. Whedon also directed a episode of The Office (US) and did script doctoring work on the movies Toy Story and X-Men. He's also credited as a writer for Atlantis The Lost Empire, Titan A.E. and (of course) Alien: Resurrection.
Directors and Producers
- Woody Allen plays the clarinet, and wrote several humorous essays and short stories.
- Roger Allers, the director of the epic Disney Magnum Opus The Lion King, also directed the zany animated comedy Open Season.
- Before becoming a director, Tim Burton was an animator and worked on such films as the Ralph Bakshi Lord of the Rings, TRON, The Black Cauldron (though many of his contributions were cut), and The Fox and the Hound. He was also a puppeteer for The Muppet Movie.
- Ralph Bakshi is known for directing Deranged Animation set primarily on the streets of New York, like Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, Coonskin and Hey Good Lookin as well as the fantasy films Wizards, The Lord of the Rings, and Fire and Ice, and the fairly realistically grounded American Pop. Before Bakshi did the films that made him famous, he was an animator and director at Terrytoons studio. He even created a show for them called The Mighty Heroes.
- Chuck Barris, most famous for creating The Dating Game, producing The Newlywed Game, and creating and hosting The Gong Show, also wrote the hit song "Palisades Park" for Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon. However, he probably wasn't a CIA agent as he so claims in his book (later a movie) Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind.
- Mel Brooks produced the movie The Elephant Man, as well as the remake of The Fly. He deliberately didn't use his name in the marketing of The Elephant Man because he didn't want people to think it was a comedy.
- James Cameron is also a deep-sea explorer. In 2012, he became the third person to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, and the first to accomplish the trip solo.
- Bob Clark started out directing horror movies, most notably Black Christmas (1974). Then he did Murder by Decree, a period piece about Sherlock Holmes fighting Jack the Ripper. Then he made the first two entries in the teen comedy film series Porky's. Then he made the family comedy A Christmas Story. He mostly directed family-oriented flicks until his death. Fans note that it is unfortunate that the director of A Christmas Story ended up making Baby Geniuses and its sequel.
- Larry Cohen is known for writing and directing low-budget independent horror and Blaxploitation movies, and scripting big-budget action-thrillers.
- Besides all those horror films, Wes Craven directed Music of the Heart.
- Roland Emmerich, famous for his large-scale sci-fi disaster movies like Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, also made Anonymous, a historical mystery thriller about who actually wrote the plays attributed to William Shakespeare.
- Marc Forster not only directed Monster's Ball and Finding Neverland but Stay, The Kite Runner, Quantum of Solace, Machine Gun Preacher and the forthcoming World War Z as well.
- Donald F. Glut is a screenwriter (children's television) and director (exploitation films), but is best known for having written the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back. He does this apparently to support his amateur paleontology habit. He has written many books about dinosaurs, including the seven (so far) volumes of the award-winning reference series, Dinosaurs: An Encyclopedia, which are NOT for the casual dinophile, being intended for folk who know the difference between the quadrate, squamosal, occipital and jugal.
- Jim Henson, the creator of The Muppets, did a surrealistic teleplay called The Cube in the 1960s about a man trapped in a small cube who's visited by various strange people as he tries to find his way out. Henson also wrote a screenplay for a surrealist movie titled 'Tale of Sand' (imagine a Looney Tunes episode performed live by humans and you'd basically have this movie). It was never produced in his lifetime, but it was turned into a graphic novel posthumously, with art done by Ramon Perez.
- Ishiro Honda directed both the classic film Gojira and the unpopular Godzilla's Revenge.
- Peter Jackson, director of gore comedies like Meet the Feebles, Bad Taste and Braindead, as well as the live action The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
- Spike Jonze, the director of Where the Wild Things Are and Being John Malkovich? He plays the dirty old lady in skits in the Jackass movies.
- Neil Jordan, director of Oscar winning dramas like The Crying Game and Interview with the Vampire, made the comedies High Spirits and We're No Angels in The Eighties.
- Shusuke Kaneko directed not only the 90s Gamera trilogy, but also the live-action Death Note films and Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!.
- David Kirschner is responsible for creating and producing several animated childhood classics; An American Tail, Once Upon a Forest, The Pagemaster, Cats Don't Dance. And...he also created Childs Play. It's like if Don Bluth created A Nightmare on Elm Street!
- Fairly well known, but Ang Lee directed: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain, Hulk (the 2003 movie), Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm and Ride With The Devil.
- David Lynch is best known for directing Mind Screw films like Eraserhead, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. Another one of his best-known films is The Elephant Man, which is for the most part a straight forward and extremely emotional drama. He also directed the contested 1984 adaptation of Dune and The Straight Story, the latter of which is a G-rated Disney film. He has also done a number of shorts and directed a few documentaries. Oh, and he started as a painter. He's also done some rather bizarre web shorts, such as the crudely animated series Dumbland, which is... just... well... just watch it.
- Seth MacFarlane is also a jazz/swing singer. He has a particularly strong reputation for it in the UK, where he's not only toured but performed several times at the very prestigious BBC Proms and had his own TV and radio specials.
- Before becoming a celebrated director, Terrence Malick studied philosophy and published his own translation of one of the works of Martin Heidegger; after that he was a journalist, whose published works included an extensive obituary for Che Guevara in The New Yorker. After entering Hollywood as a screenwriter but before becoming a director with Badlands, his work included a rewrite of the script for Dirty Harry.
- Sam Mendes is known to film fans for directing such varied works as American Beauty and Skyfall, but he's been directing live theatre for even longer, with a revival of Cabaret in The Nineties perhaps his most famous effort in that field. He went straight from directing Skyfall — a James Bond flick — to helming a new stage musical adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!
- Cult film director Russ Meyer was also a prolific photographer for Playboy and other girlie magazines.
- Mad Max director George Miller was also responsible for producing Babe, going on to direct its sequel and from there the Happy Feet films. He's also a medical doctor.
- Acclaimed auteur Alexander Payne, who wrote and directed films such as Sideways, About Schmidt, and Election, is also credited on the screenplays of Jurassic Park III and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, though little of his work on the latter film made it into the finished product.
- Oren Peli, notable for writing/producing/directing the smash hit Paranormal Activity is also a video game programmer, having notably worked on the PC version of Mortal Kombat 3 and the 2007 and 2008 editions of Sony's best-selling MLB The Show. In the latter games, Peli has his own player named after him, as MLB players who are not part of the player's union cannot be represented in a MLBPA-licensed game, so the developers have fictional stand-ins using the names of various members of the programming team, Peli among them.
- Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery) wrote Requiem For A Heavyweight, which some have said was the point where televised drama Grew the Beard. He also co-wrote the original Planet of the Apes Film of the Book, which, while easily falling within the niche people think of him as being in, is often neglected, possibly because he only co-wrote it. He was also a noted boxer and the host for the game show Liar's Club.
- M. Night Shyamalan, (in)famous for films with supernatural slants and shocking plot twists, co-wrote the screenplay for the first Stuart Little movie. He also made the relatively obscure Miramax film Wide Awake. He also stated in a 2013 interview that he ghost-wrote She's All That.
- J. Michael Straczynski, producer/writer/director of Babylon 5 was also a writer on Murder, She Wrote, as well as the screenwriter for Changeling. He was also the head writer for the first two seasons of The Real Ghostbusters and the first season of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. He's also done substantial work in comics, most notably on Spider-Man and Thor, and he's recently moved to Superman and Wonder Woman.
- Quentin Tarantino directed episodes of ER and a CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode that featured direct dialogue references to his earlier films, and a character even suffers the same fate as The Bride. He's also an actor as has appeared several movies he's directed. He also co-starred in From Dusk Till Dawn with George Clooney.
- François Truffaut, the legendary French film director, played the French scientist Claude Lacombe in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This was one of his few acting roles, and his only one in a movie he didn't direct.
- The Wachowskis creating the Speed Racer film. Their screenplays for Assassins and Bound would also count. According to The Art of The Matrix, it was hard to get funding for the trilogy because everyone thought of them as "those guys who did the movie with the lesbians" (Bound).
- Rob Zombie's first professional job in the entertainment business was a set and prop designer for Pee-Wee's Playhouse. He's also an Industrial Metal musician and successful director of horror films.
- Ghost was directed by Jerry Zucker. Yes, as in Jerry Zucker of the ZAZ team that wrote and directed Airplane!. The advertising for the third The Naked Gun included the following tagline: "From the brother of the director of Ghost".
- Edward Zwick, best known for Oscar-baiting historical epics such as Glory, The Last Samurai and Defiance as well as dramatic thrillers like The Siege and Blood Diamond, began his career directing the romantic comedy About Last Night, and returned to the genre with Love and Other Drugs.
Musicians / Composers
- Bill Anderson, a Country Music singer known as "Whisperin' Bill" for his soft, often spoken-word delivery, has written songs for several artists from the 1960s to the present. He also hosted the game shows The Better Sex and Fandago (the former with Sarah Purcell), and owned a stake in the Po' Folks restaurant chain.
- W. H. Auden wrote librettos for Benjamin Britten's opera Paul Bunyan and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, the latter in collaboration with Chester Kallman. Auden and Kallman later wrote an English translation of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.
- The B-52s did "Revolution Earth." You know, that slow, vaguely Celtic-sounding, completely sober hope-for-the-future song with a single, female vocalist throughout?
- Tony Banks, better known as a founding member of/keyboard player in the prog rock band Genesis, also did Seven: A Suite For Orchestra, an album of original classical music performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Leonard Bernstein's Candide and Mass contain minor lyrical contributions from Dorothy Parker and Paul Simon, respectively. Bernstein spent most of his career conducting symphony orchestras, but many people remember him mainly as the composer of West Side Story.
- Aleksander Borodin, the Russian 19th-century composer most famous for his opera Prince Igor, was also a notable chemist.
- David Allan Coe, a country singer best known among mainstream audiences for the popular hit "Take This Job And Shove It", also did a couple of dirty comedy albums in 1978 and 1982.
- Jill Colucci, writer of "I'm Gonna Be Somebody" by Travis Tritt and "No One Else on Earth" by Wynonna, also co-wrote and sang "The Funny Things You Do", the original theme to America's Funniest Home Videos.
- Alexander Courage, whose best remembered composition is the Theme Tune for Star Trek: The Original Series, had worked as an orchestrator on MGM musicals such as Annie Get Your Gun, The Band Wagon and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
- Devo is best known for "Whip It" and their "energy dome" hats. However, most people have heard a few works by lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh: all of the music on Rugrats, most Wes Anderson movies, and even the jingle from the "Get A Mac" commercials. Several members of Devo have been composing under the company Mutato Muzika since the mid-90's; Mutato Muzika is best known as the musical talent behind the Naughty Dog Crash Bandicoot series.
- Howard Dietz was a songwriter who often worked with Arthur Schwartz, and many of their songs were featured in the Jukebox Musical movie The Band Wagon. But before he started writing songs for musicals, as a Hollywood advertising man he created the world-famous trademark of Leo the Lion. No wonder Dietz revised the lyrics of "Triplets" for the movie The Band Wagon to include the line "MGM has got a Leo."
- Sure, you've heard "Hotel California" and "Take It Easy" dozens of times. But did you know that the Eagles also did the theme song from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Yep, that's "Journey of the Sorcerer", from the album One of These Nights, the same album that gave us "Lyin' Eyes".
- Musician Yamantaka Eye, best known as the frontman of the avant-garde band Boredoms, has done many art, most famously designing the cover for BECK's Midnite Vultures.
- Singer-songwriter Amelia Fletcher, besides being effectively the mother and Trope Codifier of the twee pop genre, is also an economics professor noted for her work on competition theory, and her OBE is for services to economics.
- Peter Garrett, the lead singer of the band Midnight Oil, was elected to the Australian parliament and now serves as a cabinet minister.
- Leroy Gomez, lead singer of the 70s Latin-Disco band Santa Esmeralda ("Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood") played saxophone on the Elton John album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
- George Harrison (you know, of The Beatles) also was the executive producer for Monty Python's Life of Brian after the original producers ran off scared. He also had a cameo role in the movie. The production company he formed for this, Handmade Films, made other movies in The Eighties.
- Victor Herbert is best remembered as an operetta composer, but he also wrote a concerto for the cello (which he played) and put his musical theatre career on hold for a few years while leading the Pittsburgh Symphony.
- Frederick Hollander composed the Marlene Dietrich songs in The Blue Angel, and went on to write music for the Dr. Seuss songs in The 5000 Fingersof Dr T.
- Yes, the same James Newton Howard who played keyboards with Elton John on his albums and tours from 1975 through 1981 (he also played with Elton during his 1980 Central Park concert, and scored Elton's Gnomeo and Juliet film project years later) and scored Elton's 1987 Live In Australia album went on to score Batman Begins, The Sixth Sense, The Hunger Games and The Prince Of Tides. He also wrote and conducted the orchestral score to Toto's 1982 hit, "I Won't Hold You Back".
- Charles Ives is famous now for his innovative musical works, but had the habit of not trying hard to have his stuff performed or published in his lifetime. He was known in his day for his innovative business practices as the head of an insurance company, where he wrote such books as Life Insurance with Relation to Inheritance Tax.
- Fusion/smooth jazz keyboardist Bob James produced the first two solo albums by Kenny Loggins.
- Sidemen for Joey Dee and the Starlighters ("The Peppermint Twist") included, at one time or another, Joe Pesci (on guitar!), Jimi Hendrix, Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers and members of The Young Rascals. Often the Ronettes would dance and sing back-up at the Peppermint Lounge.
- Elton John had, prior to making it as a singer-songwriter, worked as a session musician (he played piano on the Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", and sang on low-budget soundalike covers of famous songs, which were sold in local department stores; he was basically Drew's Famous before the fact. This is the source material for the unofficial covers album, "Elton John: Chartbusters Go Pop!" Some of these covers include "In The Summertime" by Mungo Jerry, "Spirit In The Sky" by Norman Greenbaum and..."Young, Gifted And Black" by Aretha Franklin. He also came up with the story for and produced Gnomeo and Juliet.
- Before becoming the lead guitarist for Tool, Adam Jones was a special effects artist for several feature films such as Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Predator 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master and 5: The Dream Child, Ghost Busters, Dances with Wolves and Jurassic Park. Not as overtly surprising as many examples, as his talents are on display in several of the band's music videos.
- Avril Lavigne is credited with co-writing hits for Kelly Clarkson ("Breakaway") and Miranda Cosgrove ("Dancing Crazy").
- Led Zeppelin could qualify for this trope. While casual listeners may know them strictly for their rock songs, the band has done other songs (especially folk) that are so far removed from rock they cannot even be properly classified as the genre. Especially "That's The Way".
- Jimmy Page was a respected session guitarist and John Paul Jones a respected arranger in The Sixties. They were instrumental in helping to create the Herman's Hermits sound, and worked on Donovan hits. John Bonham was, in fact, the drummer on Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man", and Jimmy Page played rhythm guitar on The Kinks' debut album. Page did not, however, play lead guitar on "You Really Got Me", according to interviews given to Dave Davies despite claims to the contrary.
- David McCallum Sr. (father of the actor of the same name) was, for many years, the concertmaster (first chair of the first violin section) of the London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. He was also the leader of Mantovani's orchestra throughout the 1960snote , was part of the orchestra that performed on The Beatles' songs "A Day in the Life" and "All You Need is Love", and gave Jimmy Page the idea to play his guitar with a cello bow during live performances of "Dazed and Confused".
- Yoshikazu Mera is a countertenor who has recorded Bach cantatas and other Baroque music with the Bach Collegium Japan. He also did the Princess Mononoke Theme Tune.
- John Morris, Mel Brooks' Associated Composer, was also the dance arranger for a number of musicals, including Peter Pan, Bells Are Ringing, Bye Bye Birdie, Mack & Mabel, and two flops on which Brooks worked as a librettist.
- Elvis Presley sang a lot of gospel. Listen to a satellite radio station that is all-Elvis, all-the-time and you will realize this. In fact, all three of Elvis' competitive Grammy wins were in the Gospel category. More generally, Elvis sang a lot of many different things. Besides rock 'n' roll and variety, he also sang gospel, yes, but also country, jazz, soul (listen to his Ray Charles covers), funk (If You Talk In Your Sleep), blues and many other genres. Many, many of Elvis' first singles would have Country on one side and R&B on the other, partially as a way to get white folks to listen to 'black' music.
- Music/Video game related, Turbo Lover of The Protomen (who voices Dr. Wily) has another band called Cheer Up, Charlie Daniels which can only be described as innocent, happy sounding rockabilly as opposed to Orwellian and villainous (albeit laced with Double Entendres). Female lead The Gambler (the voice of Emily, Light's love interest) and lead guitarist Sir Robert Bakker (who are married in real life) form the center (or formed, as the group recently disbanded) of the Nashville-based, dinosaur-centric band 'Happy Birthday Amy'. Before that, The Gambler and lead singer Panther were also in yet another band together. Not to mention current drummer (they've had four) The Reanimator and second guitarist Cobra T. Washington, who also perform as part of Nashville metal band 'Destroy Destroy Destroy'... The band is like a supergroup composed of members from all across the Nashville indie music scene, fighting in an all-out last-ditch effort to save music from itself.
- Queen provides two examples:
- Guitarist Brian May is also an astrophysicist. At the Turn of the Millennium, he returned to his studies after a break and got his PhD. He is now chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University in England.
- Bassist John Deacon is an electrical engineer who built an amplifier good enough for Brian to record with it.
- The same Yes guitarist/keyboardist/singer Trevor Rabin from their 1980s "YesWest" lineup who co-wrote their first and only number one hit "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" wrote the scores to Remember the Titans, Snakes on a Plane, Con Air and ''Armageddon".
- Gerry Rafferty, best known as the singer and guitarist from Stealers Wheel, was formerly (during The Sixties) in a folk music duo called The Humblebums. The other person in the group was Billy Connolly, who's better known as a comedian and actor.
- Sid Ramin did orchestrations for Broadway musicals such as West Side Story, Gypsy and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, usually working in collaboration with Irwin Kostal or Robert Ginzler (all three also worked as uncredited assistants to Don Walker). He also composed the Theme Song for The Patty Duke Show, and the Top Ten Jingle that became "Music to Watch Girls By."
- Ramin's lyricist for the Patty Duke theme, Bob Wells, is better known for writing the words of "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire)". Two other classic Christmas songs were written by composers who went on to write classic TV themes: "Silver Bells" by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans (Mister Ed), and "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year", co-written by George Wyle (Gilligan's Island).
- Tapio Rautavaara, one of the most beloved singers in Finland, also won the Olympic gold in javelin at the 1948 London Olympics.
- Mary Rodgers, like her father Richard, was once a composer for Broadway musicals, one of which was Once Upon a Mattress. Then she retired from musical theatre and wrote a book called Freaky Friday.
- The classic hit "Come On a-My House" was written by two cousins who were much better known for their other work: Pulitzer-winning writer William Saroyan and Chipmunks creator (and the original David Seville) Ross Bagdasarian.
- Paul Shaffer, besides being the longtime bandleader/sidekick for David Letterman, was a mainstay during the first five seasons of Saturday Night Live as musician and featured player in sketches, starred in a short-lived 1977 sitcom called A Year at The Top, played Artie Fufkin note in This Is Spinal Tap, and co-wrote the campy dance anthem "It's Raining Men".
- Slash, musician and songwriter of Guns N' Roses, is a pinball player and collector, who owned over twenty tables at one point. He designed the Guns N' Roses pinball game (produced by Data East) because he realized there hadn't been a music-based table in a while and decided to remedy that.
- Stephen Sondheim was a writer for the series Topper. He wrote the screenplay to The Last of Sheila with Anthony Perkins, and wrote the non-musical play Getting Away With Murder with George Furth.
- Jeremy Soule - best known for his work on the soundtracks for Baldur's Gate, The Elder Scrolls, Knights of the Old Republic, Guild Wars and Secret of Evermore also did the music for... many Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, and Pajama Sam games.
- Voice actor Stephen Stanton was also a special effects artist on (amongst others) Last Action Hero, Starship Troopers and Armageddon.
- Sir Arthur Sullivan would be disappointed to learn that he's now mostly known as "Gilbert and" (although probably not surprised, as it had already started in his lifetime). He wanted to be known more for his serious music and wrote a large number of hymns including "Onward Christian Soldiers".
- One of the first credits for Country Music artist Keith Urban was singing backup on a live album... by INXS. He also had a cameo in the video for Alan Jackson's 1994 song "Summertime Blues", wrote a few songs (including one for Toby Keith), and played guitar on several artists' albums. He did one album in 1997 as one-third of The Ranch, and one of his last "he also did" gigs was playing guitar on Garth Brooks' Double Live, recorded at Central Park in 1998.
- Voltaire is most well known for his gallows-humor music, but prior to becoming a musician in the late 1990s, he was an award-winning stop-motion animator who did commercials for IKEA, Wendy's, MTV, Nickelodeon and even a Super Bowl commercial for Budweiser. He's also published two non-fiction books and three graphic novels, as well as being a college professor at the School of Visual Arts (New York), and designing toys.
- Hank Williams III is a Country Music singer...who also plays Hardcore Punk and Death Metal from time to time. He's made his punk influences blatantly obvious by using a modified Black Flag logo, but his albums usually fell under the line of Country Music, until his label put out his Country Metal album Hillbilly Joker without his permission, not even bothering to advertise the fact that it was a metal album. His independently-released metal albums under his own name escaped the confusion, as did his band Assjack.
- John Williams, before becoming a film composer, played the piano in Henry Mancini's band, including the famous Peter Gunn riff.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic compiled an album of Desi Arnaz's best musical numbers from I Love Lucy (Babalu Music) and has directed a number of music videos, both his own and others. He also has a degree in architecture.
- Tarn "Toady One" Adams, creator of Dwarf Fortress and Liberal Crime Squad, has a Master's degree in Mathematics and was working on his PHD before going into software development full-time.
- John Carmack is also an aerospace engineer.
- YouTube Pooper Electricthecheese helped develop LEGO City Undercover.
- Steven Frank, the creator of Spamusement, is also one of the developers of Macintosh FTP app Transmit.
- Stefan Gagne, best known by us as the author of Sailor Nothing, best known to the Internets at large as the creator of The Really Big Button That Doesn't Do Anything. Or as the creator of a bunch of popular Neverwinter Nights modules. Or as the creator of the gaming parody, Pong Kombat. Or for his epic Slayer Reflect/Chaos/Rebirth trilogy or for the creation of MTCFF Ultra. More recently he's gone into original fiction released for free online with Unreal Estate and Anachronauts.
- The writers of Happy Tree Friends wrote the script for the bloody Wii game MadWorld...as well as the E-rated Sonic Colors. Another designer contributing to MadWorld was Yasumi Matsuno, better known for the dark fantasy worlds of Tactics Ogre and Vagrant Story.
- Koji Igarashi alias "IGA", and Mikio Saito alias "Metal Yuhki", both big names in the Castlevania series (the first as the man in charge of the series, and the second as the music composer of popular entry Castlevania: Rondo of Blood), are respectively the scenario writer of Tokimeki Memorial 1, and the music producer and composer of the Tokimeki Memorial series.
- Hideki Kamiya is the game designer responsible for Resident Evil 2, the Viewtiful Joe series, Devil May Cry, Ōkami and Bayonetta. He also voiced Godot.
- Hideo Kojima, the creative mind behind the Metal Gear series, Snatcher, Policenauts, Zone of the Enders and Boktai, was also the drama director and producer of the "Drama Series" games of the Dating Sim Tokimeki Memorial.
- Michael Land who composed the wacky music of Monkey Island also made the soulful and beautiful music for The Dig.
- Al Lowe, he of Leisure Suit Larry fame, started off developing Disney licensed games. After he became famous for LSL, he then did...the kid-friendly Torin's Passage.
- Much like Konami and their obscure gem Noah's Ark, famed developer Treasure (Gunstar Heroes, Dynamite Headdy) was responsible for Ronald McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure. For a game based on fast food, it's a solid platformer, and not at all a cakewalk.
- Toys for Bob, best known for developing Star Control were also a developer for the first two Skylanders games.
- Yoko Shimomura is known for composing the awesome soundtracks of games series like Kingdom Hearts and the Mario & Luigi games, as well as Live A Live and the first Parasite Eve game. However, most people don't know that she also composed most of the Street Fighter II soundtrack (Sagat's theme and the Round Start and New Challenge jingles were composed by Isao Abe). This is a double subversion though, as while both the game and its soundtrack are memorable, they are usually not associated with Yoko Shimomura.
- Roberta Williams is known mostly for directing a bunch of kid-friendly -Quest games. However, she's allegedly said her favourite project to work on was the not-so-kid-friendly Phantasmagoria.
Writers / Poets
- Maxwell Anderson mostly wrote serious dramas like Anne Of The Thousand Days, but he also wrote the musical Knickerbocker Holiday, including the lyrics of its Breakaway Pop Hit "September Song."
- Isaac Asimov is known as a sci-fi writer, but also dabbled in lots of other genres, and published books on history, The Bible, William Shakespeare, Gilbert and Sullivan, and several collections of dirty Limericks. His work can be found in nine of the ten categories of the Dewey Decimal System — all ten, if forewords count.
- Dave Barry is known most for his humorous books and newspaper columns, and Ridley Pearson is known very well for his thriller and suspense novels. You wouldn't expect these two to overlap in any way, right? Well, not only has Ridley Pearson written several children's books by himself (namely The Kingdom Keepers series and Steel Trapp), but he and Barry have actually written books together, including the popular Peter and the Starcatchers series and Science Fair.
- Lewis Black, he of the foul-mouthed, politically-bent standup comedy routine, is an accomplished playwright, having written over 40 plays.
- Pierre Boulle, the French novelist most famous for writing The Bridge Over The River Kwai, also wrote Planet of the Apes.
- Ray Bradbury wrote a great deal of non-SF in addition to his famous SF works. He also wrote and narrated The Halloween Tree, and adapted Moby-Dick into a screenplay for John Huston's film.
- Anthony Burgess, the writer of A Clockwork Orange, is described by The Other Wiki as a "novelist, critic, composer, librettist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, travel writer, broadcaster, translator, linguist, [and] educationalist"; he wrote one of the most popular English translations of Cyrano de Bergerac. (In fact, he didn't like A Clockwork Orange very much - he once described as "something I knocked off for money in three weeks.")
- Orson Scott Card wrote the famous Insult Fights from the Monkey Island games, as well as the script for The Dig. He also wrote for Marvel Comics. He was also a conservative political columnist before he became well-known for his science fiction novels.
- Anton Chekhov was a famous doctor and considered literature something more of a hobby.
- G. K. Chesterton, the famous detective story author, wrote books and articles on religion, mysticism...and just about every other literary genre. Including plays and poetry.
- Agatha Christie wrote romance novels under the Pen Name Mary Westmacott. She also wrote a handful of supernatural horror stories.
- Noam Chomsky, known to the world at large as a superstar of radical leftist politics, made his name and academic reputation as a linguist, a field in which his theories are considered to be among the most influential of the 20th century.
- John D. Clark wrote two short science fiction stories in the 1930s, one of which may hold the minor distinction of being the first hard-SF (for Astounding Stories) story to feature Anti Matter, and collaborated with Robert E. Howard to create a world map and timeline for Conan the Barbarian's career to date. He was also on friendly terms with Isaac Asimov, L. Ron Hubbard and other members of the Trapdoor Spiders. His day job? A chemist specialising in rocket propellants.
- Suzanne Collins, before striking it big with The Hunger Games, was a writer on Clarissa Explains It All, The Mystery Files Of Shelby Woo, and Generation O! among others.
- Ray Comfort, author of The Way Of The Master Christian book series, also wrote a humor book on plane travel.
- Michael Crichton, of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain fame, also created ER. Of course, he had a medical degree, he just never practiced due to publishing a runaway bestseller novel when he was barely out of medical school.
- Roald Dahl, today best-known for his children's books, was chosen to write the screenplay to You Only Live Twice on the basis of his skill as a writer of war stories and his friendship with Ian Fleming. Dahl also wrote the screenplay for the film version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and helped devise a therapy regimen for his then-wife Patricia Neal after she was debilitated by a stroke. He also helped to invent the Wade-Dahl-Till valve: a medical device used to treat hydrocephalus ("water in the brain") by draining the excess fluid out of the skull.
- Richard Dawkins, a British zoologist who is now probably most known for his outspoken atheism and criticism of religion, is also known in the scientific community for his contributions to the gene-centered view of evolution. He also coined the term "meme".
- August Derleth is best known for founding Arkham House and writing various Lovecraft Lite short stories with a controversial Alternate Character Interpretation of the denizens of the Cthulhu Mythos. He also penned several volumes of detective stories starring Solar Pons, a Captain Ersatz of Sherlock Holmes.
- Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a famous Victorian British mathematician, author of some prominent works on logic, is also known under his pen name Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland and several other children's books.
- Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger series of books, most notably The Lost World. (His historical novels, which he thought of as being his "real" work, are an even greater departure from Sherlock Holmes, but nobody ever reads them and goes "Wait, what?" because nobody ever reads them.)
- Ian Fleming also did a travelogue book, entitled Thrilling Cities. To enhance sales, he put a James Bond short story at the end of it. James Bond's gadget-filled Aston-Martin was the literary cousin of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a children's book also authored by Fleming.
- C. S. Forester wrote both the Horatio Hornblower books and The African Queen. He also wrote Payment Deferred, a crime novel that was adapted into a play and movie.
- E. M. Forster, author of Howards End and A Passage to India, also co-authored the libretto of Billy Budd.
- Nikolai Gogol also wrote books on religion and mysticism.
- Alexander Griboyedov, a Russian 19th century playwright, was more famous at the time as a brilliant diplomat. And also wrote music.
- L. Ron Hubbard, the sci-fi author who wrote Battlefield Earth, is the same author of Dianetics, a self-help book, and is the founder of a certain religion associated with Dianetics.
- Brain Jacques, best known for authoring the Young Adult Fantasy Series Redwall, wrote a lot of and portraits about his hometown Liverpool and Merseyside and a couple of autobiographical pieces about his life there, in which he worked as a police constable, a lorry driver, a merchant sailor, a bus driver, a longshoreman, a boxer, a postmaster, a milkman, a railway fireman, a stand-up comedian, a folk singer, a radio host and as a writer of humorous short stories.
- Stephen King wrote The Shawshank Redemption and the story that inspired the movie Stand by Me. He also wrote Hearts in Atlantis, a compilation of novellas one of which was adapted into the movie of that name. Stephen King also wrote The Green Mile, and is a regular columnist for Entertainment Weekly and wrote a few non-fiction books, one about writing, one about the Boston Red Sox.
- Thriller novelist Dean Koontz has scripted (but not drawn) In Odd We Trust, a manga-style comic book prequel to his Odd Thomas series.
- Mikhail Lermontov, a Russian 19th-century poet, was also a talented landscape painter.
- H.P. Lovecraft wrote a few travelogues, despite usually being considered a recluse who rarely left his home (which isn't true. While he did spend most of his life in Providence and didn't socialise much, he did often travel to meet his friends in other parts of the country). He also wrote the comic short story Sweet Ermengarde, a parody of romantic melodrama, and Waste Paper, a painfully spot-on parody of "The Waste Land." In a vaguely related vein, he responded to a friend's teasing about his teetotaling by writing "Old Bugs", a parodically exaggerated Scare 'Em Straight story about alcohol.
- Tim Maki is both a writer of science fiction/fantasy and a professional silversmith.
- Vladimir Mayakovskiy, a famous Soviet poet, was also a futuristic artist when he was young.
- Vladimir Nabokov was also an entomologist, and he extensively studied a boring butterfly tribe, the Polyommatini.
- Friedrich Nietzsche is a very famous writer and philosopher, but fewer people know that he was also a composer (although aspects of music do figure prominently in some of his philosophical texts), mostly writing songs for voice and piano.
- Naomi Novik, author of the Temeraire series of novels, was originally a prolific writer of Transformers Generation 1 Fan Fiction.
- Mystery novelist Anne Perry's real name is Juliet Hulme. That's right, she's the same Juliet Hulme of Parke-Hulme murder case fame, which was the basis of the film Heavenly Creatures. She has also written a religious-themed fantasy novel.
- Edgar Allan Poe helped invent detective fiction. He also wrote a lot of satirical/parodic short stories (leading some to wonder how serious some of his serious writing really was) and a long philosophical-scientific treatise. He was a pretty versatile guy
- Mario Puzo wrote The Godfather and also co-wrote the screenplay for Superman II
- Arthur Ransome wrote the famous British children's adventure series Swallows and Amazons, as well as its Expanded Universe cousins; meanwhile he was a spy and Double Agent, and wrote several instructional manuals of fighting and survival skills.
- The Philip Reeve who wrote the Mortal Engines quartet (a cynical, Black and Grey Morality-laden Used Future set After the End) and Here Lies Arthur, a Demythtification that deconstructs Arthurian legend, also wrote Larklight and sequels, a hilarious and absurd Affectionate Parody of things like Treasure Island which runs on British Stuffiness, Rule of Funny, and occasional Rule of Cool. And good always wins. Yes...yes, they are by the same person.
- Morrie Ryskind, the co-librettist of Animal Crackers and Of Thee I Sing, also helped found the conservative magazine National Review.
- Dorothy L. Sayers, most famous for writing the Lord Peter Wimsey series of detective novels, also oversaw one of the most widely used English translations of Dante's Divine Comedy (in fact, she considered the translation her best work as a writer) and provided the accompanying jingles to John Gilroy's famous "zoo" series of Guinness advertisements.
- Dr. Seuss used to be a political cartoonist during World War II, creating many hilarious cartoons about the defeat of Hitler and more than a few horrifying caricatures of Japanese people. Because of his job in the war, he held the rank of Captain.
- He was also the co-creator of the Private Snafu shorts in collaboration with the Warner Bros. crew.
- Shel Silverstein wrote children's poetry and picture books such as The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends. He also wrote novelty songs such as: "The Great Smoke Off", "The Cover of Rolling Stone", "A Boy Named Sue" and its sequel "The Father of a Boy Named Sue". He was also a regular at the Playboy Mansion.
- In addition to writing The Jungle, Upton Sinclair also wrote the Children's book The Gnome-Mobile.
- R.L. Stine, well known for his horror books such as the Fear Street and Goosebumps series, also published various humor books (such as the novelization of Spaceballs) and was the creator and writer for Nickelodeon show Eureeka's Castle.
- Science Fiction author Charles Stross also did work on Dungeons & Dragons, most notably creating the "Gith" races.
- Walter Tevis, author of The Hustler and The Color of Money, also wrote well-regarded science fiction novels with The Man Who Fell to Earth and Mockingbird.
- J. R. R. Tolkien is most famous for his fantasy novels, but his day job was as a philologist, translator, and university professor; he wrote one of the seminal articles on the subject of the Old English poem Beowulf, translated part of the Jerusalem Bible, did one of the best-known translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and contributed to the Oxford English Dictionary. He also wrote non-Lord of the Rings fantasy stories such as Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham. On the side, he was also an amateur philosopher and Catholic apologist.
- Mark Twain was probably diverse enough where nothing would surprise those familiar with him, but those not familiar would probably be surprised to hear about how he wrote travelogues. His first two books were travelogues (The Innocents Abroad, Roughing It) and The Innocents Abroad was his best-selling book while he was alive.
- Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, majored in political science and started his career as a political cartoonist.
- E.B. White, author of beloved children's books Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web, is also the "White" of "Strunk and White", the handbook more formally known as The Elements of Style.
- P. G. Wodehouse is nowadays better known for his light novels than for his work on musical comedies; the song lyrics he wrote for these shows received considerable praise.
- Aside from writing acclaimed speculative fiction novels such as the Book of the New Sun and Book of the Long Sun, Gene Wolfe also developed the machine that cooks Pringles potato chips.
- Apparently, the Paul Zindel who won a Pulitzer Prize for the play The Effects Of Gamma Rays On Man In The Moon Marigolds is the same one who wrote such horror novels as The Doom Stone and Reef of Death.
- Bee Train, the animators for Noir and the animated scenes in Xenogears also did the animation for the Animated Adaptation of Po Po Lo Crois, a Widget Series with a drastically different artstyle.
- George W. Bush was once a part owner of the Texas Rangers, and a pilot in the Air National Guard.
- Whittaker Chambers, the ex-Communist-turned-conservative intellectual who was the famed star witness against accused spy Alger Hiss at his 1950 trial, was also responsible for the original English translation of Felix Salten's novel Bambi.
- Journalist and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson was a voice actor in the BBC Children's Hour radio adaptations of Anthony Buckeridge's Jennings novels in the early 1970s, before his voice broke.note
- Miley Cyrus' late grandfather, Ron Cyrus, could count as this. United States Senator for 21 years, Little League coach, Armco steel rigger, Kentucky Colonel, executive secretary and treasurer of the Kentucky AFL-CIO, served in the U.S. Air Force in Japan, worked as a regional representative for Alan Greenspan of the Federal Reserve Board, sang bluegrass with the Crownsmen Quartet, and was a member of the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association.
- Charles G. Dawes would fit under this trope if it weren't for the fact that, as Calvin Coolidge's Vice President, no one knows who he is anyway. But he wrote a tune he called 'Melody in A Major,' which later was given lyrics by Carl Sigman and became a No. 1 hit for Tommy Edwards in 1958. Yes, a No. 1 hit song was basically co-written by a US Vice President.
- Noted film critic Roger Ebert co-wrote the screenplay for notorious shlock-fest Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Even more jarringly, among his bibliography of film guides, criticism and collections of reviews is a cookbook for electric rice-cookers.
- Louis Farrakhan: leader of the Nation of Islam religious group, political activist...former calypso singer?. In fact, Louis Wolcott (as he was known in his calypso days) was the first American to record "Zombie Jamboree" (aka "Jumbie Jamboree").
- Árpád Göncz, the first president of post-Communist Hungary, was previously a writer who translated many books into Hungarian, including The Lord of the Rings.
- Ben Hecht, best remembered as co-author of the plays The Front Page and Twentieth Century, wrote the story outline that became Queen Of Outer Space of Mystery Science Theater 3000 infamy.
- Shigesato Itoi, the man responsible for the MOTHER/EarthBound series, is ridiculously versatile and has dabbled in pretty much everything in the past thirty years, MOTHER being just another dabbling. He's also known for his fishing games, doing guest-judging on Iron Chef, and for voicing the father on My Neighbor Totoro. His actual profession is writing essays and copywriting, in his signature writing style and idiosyncrasies. In Japan, that's what you think when you hear the name Shigesato Itoi, but in America, (if at all), it's EarthBound. MOTHER was just Itoi experimenting into a new medium after being inspired by playing Dragon Quest, and its sales in Japan are largely based on the fact that he made it, and it and its sequels' slogans were also a factor, of course. The TV commercial even specifically says that it was by him, invoking In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It without actually using it. Its sequels' sales were also boosted by the fact that they were sequels to the games before them.
- Tom Kneitel was a well-known figure among radio hobbyists, mostly for being the editor of the magazines S9 (about CB radio) and Popular Communications (mainly about shortwave radio). But he and his wife were also extremely influential figures in the establishment of Wicca in America. Since he used a "craft name" (Phoenix) for his Wiccan activities, hardly anyone in either camp was aware of his prominence elsewhere.
- Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, is not only a respected long-serving (now retiring) United States Senator and, before that, president of the retail chain Kohl’s, he is also the owner of an NBA Basketball team: the Milwaukee Bucks.
- James Lipton of Inside the Actor's Studio wrote the opening theme for Thundercats.
- Pioneering goresploitation film director Herschell Gordon Lewis leads a double-life as an advertising copywriter and has written dozens of books about direct-market advertising (don't you dare call it "junk mail" in his presence).
- Former United States Senate Majority Leader and current special envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell, a Maine Democrat. Between holding those jobs, he became the Chairman of Walt Disney, Chancellor of Queen's University in Belfast Northern Ireland, lead the Baseball steroid investigation, was president of the international law firm DLA Piper, helped negotiate peace in Ireland, and was a board member of several companies including the Boston Red Sox, and held several diplomatic posts.
- Audie Murphy is probably best known as a highly decorated WWII veteran who earned most of his medals by doing Crazy Awesome things in combat. But he also cowrote (with the help of an uncredited journalist friend) a best-selling war memoir, To Hell And Back, which he parlayed into an acting career that spanned 44 movies in 20 years, mostly lead roles in b-westerns. During the Korean War, he served stateside as a training instructor in the Texas National Guard. He also became a breeder of racing Quarter Horses, and contributed significantly to the development of the breed. He also occasionally rode as a jockey and won two novelty races. He sought catharsis for his war experiences by writing poetry, and from there he branched out into writing lyrics for Country Music songs. In addition, he occasionally worked as an undercover agent for the police, investigating drug dealers and possibly the mafia. And this was a guy who didn't live to see retirement age!
- Isaac Newton is famous as the discoverer of gravity, the laws of motion, and calculus, but throughout his life he mostly practiced alchemy. He was also the Master of the Royal Mint, and successfully prosecuted counterfeiters.
- Alfred Nobel (yes, that Nobel) invented dynamite and owned huge weapons factories. He created the Nobel prizes after a scathing obituary was written about him being a "merchant of death" (after a mix-up where his brother died and that paper thought it was Alfred). He willed the bulk of his estate to awarding the prizes so he wouldn't be remembered that way.
- Keith Olbermann, the famous American Liberal talk show pundit, is also one of the country's foremost experts on the subject of baseball cards. He's written columns for various sports websites about his love of baseball and is a member of the Society Of American Baseball Research. He used to be one of the anchors for ESPN's Sportscenter.
- Pablo Picasso was most famous for his cubist work, but he was also a major player amongst futurists, expressionists, surrealists, neoclassicists, artists of New Objectivity, dadaists and Art Brut. Many people don't realize that most members of these movements hated all the other movements, so Picasso's involvement with them all (and the fact that he was idolized by them all) is astounding. He was also a successful impressionist, and one of the earliest known comic artists.
- Mark Rosewater, current head of design for Magic: The Gathering, was a staff writer on Roseanne.
- Albert Schweitzer is remembered by most people as a physician and humanitarian, but he was also a musician (organist), musicologist (who wrote studies of the works of J.S. Bach), theologian, Lutheran minister, and philosopher.
- Albert Speer, the architect responsible of the Nazi monumental architecture, was also the creator of the Volkswagen (ironically known as a hippie-culture icon).
- Dr. Benjamin Spock, the famous child care specialist also won an Olympic gold medal in rowing back in 1924.
- Henry Agard Wallace was FDR's Agriculture Secretary, Vice President and Commerce Secretary, in that order. While he is remembered more for his political work, he was among the first to breed hybrid corn (and other things from strawberries to chickens), and wrote a number of works on agriculture. In addition, he edited both The New Republic (after he left government) and Wallaces' Farmer (before he went into government).
- Chaim Weizmann was a Zionist leader and the first President of Israel. He was also a notable chemist, "who developed the ABE-process which produces acetone through bacterial fermentation" (Wikipedia).
- Most of the people associated with Wheel of Fortune qualify.
- Original host Chuck Woolery, who quit in 1981, later went on to host of such popular shows as Love Connection, Scrabble, and Lingo. He was originally one-half of the psychedelic rock duo The Avant-Garde, and a solo country music artist while he hosted Wheel. Woolery has also hosted several infomercials, and a conservative video series on YouTube.
- Current host Pat Sajak (1981-present) he has written essays and blog entries for several conservative publications, and owns two AM radio stations in Maryland.
- Also from Wheel, co-host Vanna White (1982-present) has written several books on crocheting and sells her own line of yarn when she's not lighting up letters.
- History has seen a lot of Warrior Poets, along with Warrior Philosophers, and Warrior Artists. Socrates fought against the invading Persians, Xenophon was a Greek mercenary, Thucydides experienced first-handedly the Peloponnesian Wars, Horace fought in the Roman Civil Wars, a sharp decrease can be seen during the Dark Ages (where the ruling caste were often barbarian invaders) and the Middle Ages (where the feudal lords were sometimes literate and sometimes not and usually had enough on their plates politically to keep them busy). Things go booming during the last years of the High Middle Ages, where knights were supposed to be poets as well, while still being actually efficient and ruthless iron-clad warriors. The heyday of the Warrior Poet, some examples includes Chrétien de Troyes, Sir Thomas Mallory, and very notably Dante Alighieri, who incidentally had to exiled from Florence and became a rogue knight who fought for many different lords, Leonardo da Vinci was contracted as a military engineer in Venice, Miguel De Cervantes was a young officer and war hero at Lepanto, and so it goes.
- Both World Wars pretty much ensured that a large number of famous people from two generations also served in the military or related fields in addition to the main source of their fame. Among these can be cited of note (takes breath) Christopher Lee (Commando in WWII), Kurt Vonnegut (WWII private and Dresden flattening survivor), William Butler Yeats (volunteer in WWI), Ernest Hemingway (volunteered as paramedic in WWI and spy in WWII), bogus director and crossdresser extraordinaire Ed Wood (war hero in Guadalcanal... in panties), Ian Fleming (WWII), Jon Pertwee (known to have been in the Royal Navy, but only recently revealed to have been an intelligence agent) painters Otto Dix, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and lots of other Germans/Austrian young poor artists (drafted in WWI), Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (tank commander in the Great Patriotic War, decorated twice), B-25 bomber gunner Charlton Heston (WWII), machine gun squadron staff sergeant Charles Schulz, a whole lot of French enlisted in La Résistance (mime Marcel Marceau; philosopher Simone Weil; writers Marguerite Duras, Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, Paul Eluard, Louis Aragon, André Malraux, Tristan Tzara, etc.). Technically, Queen Elizabeth II also served in WWII, though not in a fighting capacity - she volunteered for the British women's auxiliary force, thus making her the only current head of state who's a veteran of that war. (A fact which caused some controversy when she wasn't invited to the D-Day commemoration in 2010.)
- Adolf Hitler, known as a dictator responsible for the deaths of millions, started as an artist. Some of his paintings are actually pretty good.
- As you might have gathered from reading this list, this is true of many politicians, who transitioned into that occupation after gaining some degree of recognition elsewhere. Examples include military service, acting, business, and of course, many many lawyers.
- And in the course of politics, some politicians have a surprising history of policies they supported in the past. Often ripe fodder for discussion during election campaigns.
- Probably half of the United States Presidents fought in some war. Even if one limited it to the ones who held the rank of General, it would take some time to list them all. The most famous are, of course, George Washington, Andrew Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant, whose pictures appear on the currency. But Zachary Taylor, Dwight D. Eisenhower and William Henry Harrison (the one who died of pneumonia) also had very successful military careers before going into politics.
- The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension: Buckaroo Banzai is a world-famous scientist, neurosurgeon, presidential advisor, rock and roll musician, and explorer of the unknown.
- In Jon Sable, Freelance mercenary Jon Sable is also writes children's books. Of course, he goes to great length to keep that a secret since who would hire a mercenary that writes children's books. He also was an Olympic Athlete.
- Zal of Quantum Gravity primarily does Mode X (think rock/alternative) stuff, but when he was starting out, he did a lot of different stuff. Naming it all is a task better put to a page detailing music genres.