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Real-Life Relative
"These were actually animated by living legend Don Bluth, who is actually the half-second cousin of Mitt Romney!"
JonTron

When two or more characters in a show are played by actors who have some form of real-life relationship, be it familial or romantic, off-screen. The relationship is likely to be replicated on-screen: the actual family resemblance between real-life blood relatives can go a long way toward convincing the audience that their characters are family, and love scenes may well be more convincing if the participants are in a real-life relationship. On the other hand, there's no guarantee that real-life couples will necessarily have much on-screen chemistry.

Can lead to some very interesting scenarios, including Actor Allusions, or may lead to more Reality Subtext issues than the production was actually looking for. (In films, this element can often be played up by the promotional machine.) For a more Squick version there is Cast Incest, where the actors of characters who are blood related go out in real life. The even squickier inversion is Incestuous Casting, where actors who play romantic partners on screen are blood related in real life.

It is also not unheard for a couple to be on opposite sides of an on-screen divide, making for some interesting Foe Yay scenes.

Compare I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine, Couple Bomb and Actor Allusion. For cases where actors start a real-life relationship after being cast as characters with an on-screen relationship, see Romance on the Set.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Guys Sigourney Weaver's daughter is played by her real life daughter Charlotte Simpson.
  • Sylvester Stallone's son Sage played Rocky Balboa's son in 1990's Rocky V, but turned down the role for the 2006 sequel, Rocky Balboa, with Milo Ventimiglia taking over the role.
  • Will Smith and his son, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, played father and son in the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness, and in the 2013 After Earth.
  • Will Smith and his daughter, Willow Smith, played father and daughter in the 2007 film I Am Legend. Apparently Smith is a fair dad and wanted to give both his kids a movie.
  • Will Smith's two sons made cameo appearance in Men In Black 2 as two boys being neuralyzed in a climatic flying car chase scene.
  • All of the (many) movies that have starred real-life husband and wife Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss.
  • Both Malcolm McDowell and his nephew Alexander Siddig appear in Neil Marshall's 2009 film Doomsday.
  • Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar were married during the production of the two Scooby-Doo films.
  • In Carrie, Priscilla Pointer plays her daughter Amy Irving (Sue Snell)'s character's mother, something which Brian De Palma seems to have done in Sisters, too, with Jennifer Salt's mother playing her mother.
  • In "Manos" The Hands of Fate, the actress who played the daughter, Debbie, Jackie Neyman, was actually the real-life daughter of the actor who played The Master, Tom Neyman. Well, that just puts a whole new spin on the ending, now doesn't it?
  • The Chronicles of Narnia. Grown-up Lucy Pevensie at the end of the movie was actually played by Georgie Henley's older sister, Rachael Henley.
  • Luke and Owen Wilson, brothers in real life, were together in The Royal Tenenbaums, but not as brothers (Luke played Ritchie Tenenbaum, while Owen played Eli, a friend of the Tenenbaum kids). They were also in Disney's Around the World in Eighty Days — as the Wright Brothers.
    • Luke also appears with his other brother, Andrew, in Idiocracy. Andrew is Beef Supreme, one of the "corrections personnel" trying to kill Joe (Luke) in "Rehabilitation".
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: Richard Croft was played by Jon Voight, Angelina Jolie's father. However, Jolie and Voight weren't getting along. Clever editing and writing allowed for them both to appear in the movie without ever being on the same set at the same time.
  • In the movie Eegah, writer/director Arch Hall Sr. cast his son Arch Hall Jr. as the boyfriend of his character's daughter. There were probably some awkward moments on that set.
    • Not as much as the second Underworld, where Scott Speedman even joked that he didn't know how to ask the director "how do I make love to your wife?".
  • In Kickboxing Academy, characters played by a real-life brother and sister (Christopher Khayman Lee and Chyler Leigh, despite the spelling) kiss. Awkwardness not avoided for viewers who know about this. This would not be the siblings' only onscreen kiss, leading to some speculations about those two....
  • Martin Sheen and his sons Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen often appear in film together, though not always as relatives.
    • In Young Guns, Emilio's character is even more or less responsible for the death of Charlie's.
    • A very memorable scene from Hot Shots! 2: Part Deux featured Charlie's character writing a journal as a nod to his role in Platoon, which then fades into Martin Sheen parodying a monologue from Apocalypse Now. The two then stand up and give each other the thumbs up as their boats pass, both saying "I loved you in Wall Street" (another film they both starred in, where they played father and son).
    • Then there was the film Men At Work, written by and starring Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez. They're not related in the film, however.
    • Estevez and Sheen also share screentime together in Loaded Weapon 1.
    • Another movie Martin and Emilio star together as father and son is The Way.
    • Emilio and Martin also appeared in Charlie's sitcom Two and a Half Men.
  • Then-couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut. Apparently director Stanley Kubrick wanted a real couple for the scenes together. (He had thought about a different famous actor couple before; Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger.) We all know how that ended up.
  • In the lucha movie La Venganza de la Momia (The Vengeance of the Mummy), El Santo adopts a young boy after the monster of the title kills the boy's grandfather. The boy is played by one of Santo's sons.
  • Near the end of the last Lord of the Rings movie, there's a scene with Sam, Rosie, and their two children. The children seen are Sean Astin's (Sam) daughter and Sarah McLeod's (Rosie) baby daughter.
  • Donnie Darko, where the sister of the eponymous character (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) is played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jake's sister.
    • Jake also wound up co-starring with his eventual brother-in-law Peter Sarsgaard in Jarhead.
  • There is also Walter Hill's western The Long Riders, which starred James and Stacy Keach as Jesse and Franck James, David, Keith and Robert Carradine as Cole, Jim and Bob Younger, Dennis and Randy Quaid as Ed and Clell Miller, and Christopher and Nicholas Guest as Charley and Robert Ford.
  • Siblings John and Joan Cusack frequently appear together. In Say Anything... and Martian Child they played siblings. In High Fidelity they play siblings yet again, and their real life mother appears as the mother of their characters.
  • Jerry Stiller and his son Ben Stiller:
    • Zoolander is written by, directed by, and stars Ben Stiller. No wonder, then, that his father, Jerry Stiller, also gets a prominent role.
      • His mother, Anne Meara, also features in a cameo. Not to mention his wife, Christine Taylor, playing his love interest.
    • The two play opponents of each other in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
    • Also both star together in Heavyweights and The Heartbreak Kid.
  • In Run, Lola, Run, the blind woman who gives Manny a phone card is his mother in real life.
  • In the comedy Blades of Glory, Will Arnett and Amy Poehler (married in real life) play a pairs team of brother and sister. Towards the end of the movie, their real-life relationship is replicated, with disturbing results.
  • Real-life mother and daughter Diane Ladd and Laura Dern have played mother and daughter in at least six movies (cf Those Two Actors: Rambling Rose, White Lightning, Wild at Heart, Citizen Ruth, Daddy And Them and Inland Empire.
  • The Willis family:
    • In Striptease, mother and daughter Erin Grant and Angela Grant are played by real-life mother and daughter Demi Moore and Rumer Willis (her dad is Bruce Willis).
    • In the movie Mortal Thoughts, Bruce Willis played a vicious wife-beater who constantly sexually harassed his wife's best friend, played by his then-wife Demi Moore. Made all the more complicated when the two filmed a violent attempted rape scene.
    • Bruce and Demi also voice a criminal couple in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. Bruce's character starts the plot by hiring assassins to kill Demi's character.
    • Bruce Willis and Rumer Willis can be seen together in Hostage.
  • In Grizzly Mountain, Dan Haggerty stars in the show - as do his two children, Dylan Haggerty and Megan Haggerty. Dylan is one of the protagonists, while Megan is the other sister. They have no apparent relationship to Dan Haggerty's character. All three siblings also share names with their actor counterparts.
  • In the first scene of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back where we see the title characters as babies, Silent Bob is played by Kevin Smith's daughter. Smith's wife also appears as one of the villainous jewel thieves, who noticeably takes no part in the gang's big scene as she's getting the van ready. Smith says on the DVD Commentary, "A better husband probably would have given her more to do." He does make an Actor Allusion out of it though. She comments to the others, "The fat one is creeping me out."
    • She also appears as a receptionist in Jersey Girl and is finally given a more important role in Clerks II as Dante's fiancé. Smith's daughter also appears in Clerks II as the little girl who waves at Dante from her dining room window before the donkey show.
    • Kevin Smith's real-life mother plays the "Milkmaid" in Clerks; she reprises the role in Clerks II.
  • Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, then husband and wife, played Benedick and Beatrice in Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing. Now a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment.
  • No one knew that porn stars Amber Lynn and Buck Adams were brother and sister until they were cast in the same film and were scheduled to have sex with each other. They put a stop to that pretty damned quick by revealing their relationship to one another.
  • During their marriage, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton appeared in several films together; the most famous is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Not that there's any irony in that.
  • Paul Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward appeared in ten films together.
  • Henry Fonda and his daughter Jane played father and daughter in On Golden Pond.
  • Wah and Qiu Yuen trained under the same master at the China Drama Academy. They've appeared in quite a few martial arts films as a couple, most notably Kung Fu Hustle.
  • Siblings Spencer and Abigail Breslin played siblings in Raising Helen.
  • Judd Apatow often casts his wife and daughters in his films, such as Knocked Up and Funny People. His justification for using his own kids is that he doesn't like child actors and would rather not have to work with them.
  • Wings is not the only place where Amy Yasbeck and John Ritter have been on screen together. They also appear in both Problem Child movies, though Yasbeck inexplicably plays two different characters.
    • They were also on an episode of The Cosby Show as an expecting couple whose baby is being delivered by Dr. Huxtable.
      • Though, strangely enough, this was years and years before they were even dating.
  • The Great Buck Howard stars Colin Hanks; his more famous dad Tom shows up briefly as his character's father.
  • Denis Lawson, who played the Mauve Shirt pilot (and very successful Ascended Extra in the EU) Wedge Antilles in the Star Wars OT, is the uncle of Ewan McGregor, who played the young Obi-Wan in the prequel trilogy. Apparently Denis told his nephew not to take this gig.
    • Lawson was also offered the chance to play a walk-on role in Revenge of the Sith as Captain Antilles - the pilot who Vader strangles in A New Hope. Alas, he didn't take it.
  • Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel are married and have appeared as a couple in L'Appartement, Dobermann and Irreversible.
  • Father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O'Neal played two grifters (who are implied to be father and daughter) in Paper Moon.
  • In the film version of Danny, the Champion of the World, Jeremy Irons played Danny's father and his son Samuel Irons played Danny. Additionally, Jeremy Irons' father-in-law (Samuel's grandfather) Cyril Cusack played Doc Spencer.
    • The photograph of Danny's late mother was also in fact a photograph of Samuel Irons' actual mother (Jeremy Irons' wife, and Cyril Cusack's daughter, actress Sinéad Cusack).
  • In the 2003 film, It Runs in the Family, Kirk Douglas, his son, Michael and Michael's son, Cameron played three generations of a family. Michael's mother is played by his real-life mother, Kirk's former wife, Diana Dill.
    • Kirk also appeared with his son Eric Douglas in movies like A Gunfight.
  • Real-life siblings Matthew and Rebecca Pidgeon play Dickie and Catherine Winslow, respectively, in The Winslow Boy.
  • Humphrey Bogart and wife Lauren Bacall starred in three movies as a couple after their Romance on the Set in To Have and Have Not: The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo.
    • He also played along with Mary Phillips, his second wife, in Broadway's Like That as husband and wife.
  • In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Robert Downey Jr.'s son Indio plays RDJ's character as a young child.
  • John Mills and his daughter Haley Mills both starred in the movie Tiger Bay, he playing a police detective and she the lone witness to a murder he is investigating. The two made other movies together as well.
    • In The Family Way, they play a father- and daughter-in-law.
  • Then-couple Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis costarred in The Fly, Transylvania 6-5000 and Earth Girls Are Easy.
  • In the film Miracle, USA hockey player Buzz Schneider was played by his son Billy. Proof.
  • Kurt Russell and family:
    • Real-life couple Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn appear together as a couple in Overboard.
    • Russell's first wife, Season Hubley, makes an appearance in Escape from New York, and his son (with Goldie Hawn), Wyatt, has cameos in both Escape from L.A. and Soldier.
    • Father and son Bing and Kurt Russell play father and son in Elvis (1979). Oddly enough, Kurt's first wife Season Hubley plays Priscilla Presley in this one.
  • Real life husband and wife Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy as Joe and Alma Finley in Cocoon.
  • Janet Leigh and her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis in The Fog.
  • In The Good Son Macualay Culkin's real life sibling Quinn and Rory Culkin appear as Henry's siblings Connie and Richard whom Henry murders before the events of the film.
  • In the 1938 film of A Christmas Carol, Bob Cratchit, Mrs. Cratchit, and Belinda Cratchit were played by Gene, Kathleen, and June Lockhart.
  • Harry Potter
    • In the sixth movie, the 11-year-old Tom Riddle is played by Ralph Fiennes' nephew, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin.
    • And in the seventh, the death of Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson) is announced by Bill Weasley, who is played by Brendan Gleeson's son Domhnall Gleeson.
    • In the epilogue of the eighth movie, Draco Malfoy's future wife is played by Jade Olivia, Tom Felton's girlfriend.
    • Anna Friel apparently really wanted to play Nymphadora Tonks so that she could act alongside David Thewlis, her real-life partner. The role went to Natalia Tena.
  • In the film Barney's Version, Dustin Hoffman's son Jake plays his grandson.
  • In Daddy's Little Girls, the main character's three daughters are played by sisters China, Lauryn and Sierra McClain, and their names in the movie are China, Lauryn and Sierra.
  • In Eve's Bayou, Jurnee Smollett(Eve)'s real life brother Jake plays Eve's younger brother Poe.
  • In Bridesmaids, Melissa McCarthy's husband Ben Falcone has a small role as a man her character (Megan) hits on and later hooks up with.
  • Gigli was centered on this. As a vehicle for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez's relationship, it died along with public interest over their coupling, along with Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl which starred Affleck and had Lopez in a smaller role.
  • While filming Terminator 2: Judgment Day, James Cameron took advantage of the fact that Linda Hamilton has an identical twin sister in order to save on his special effects budget. In three scenes that required two "Sarah Connors" to be on screen at the same time (the playground scene where Conner is trying to warn everyone about the oncoming nuclear war, the CPU reprogramming scene, and the scene where the T-1000 had taken Sarah's form), Cameron used Hamilton's sister, Leslie Hamilton Gearren, as a double rather than using CGI to achieve the same effect. In addition, the toddler in the nightmare sequence is Hamilton's actual son.
  • In the Soviet film Teens in the Universe, the leader of the Human Aliens and his son Agapit are played by the Real Life father-and-son Igor and Vadim Ledogorov.
  • Tim Burton often casts his real life girlfriends (first Lisa Marie and then Helena Bonham-Carter) with the latter getting the more meatier parts than the former as Bonham Carter was already a well-respected Academy Award nominated actress before she and Burton hooked up.
  • In Disney's Hocus Pocus, "the Master" and his wife are played by (uncredited) real-life siblings Garry and Penny Marshall.
  • In The Shawshank Redemption, the old photo of Red, at the time of his incerceration, which is shown briefly when Red is up for parole, is not an old photo of Morgan Freeman, but rather a photo of Freeman's son.
  • The real parents of The Goonies were cast as their parents for the final reunion, save for Mikey and Brand's parents being played by established actors.
  • In Aliens, a scene which was cut and later reinstated for the DVD release shows Newt's parents and brother, Timmy. Timmy was played by Carrie Henn's brother Christopher, who had read the part to help Carrie out and was ultimately cast in the small role.
  • In Freaks, the romance between the male and female circus midgets is muted - they were actually brother and sister in Real Life.
  • Any Marx Brothers movie is of course an example, as Chico, Harpo, Groucho and Zeppo were brothers in real life. In the movie Horse Feathers, Zeppo actually plays Groucho's son.
  • Clint Eastwood and family:
    • Sudden Impact, fourth film of the Dirty Harry franchise, has Sondra Locke, who was in a domestic relationship with Clint Eastwood at the time, as the Rape and Revenge-driven serial killer antagonist, who eventually ends up sleeping with Harry.
    • Clint and daughter Alison Eastwood star together in Tightrope.
    • Clint and son Scott Eastwood can be seen together in Gran Torino and Trouble With The Curve.
    • Clint and daughter Francesca Eastwood in True Crime.
    • Clint and Kyle Eastwood in Honkytonk Man, as well as small roles in Bronco Billy, The Outlaw Josey Wales and The Bridges of Madison County.
  • Jake Busey and father Gary Busey star together in Straight Time.
  • Samantha Morton and her daughter Esme in Mister Lonely.
  • John Wayne and his son Patrick were in several movies together including The Searchers, McClintock and Big Jake.
  • Lloyd and son Jeff Bridges in Blown Away.
  • And brothers Jeff and Beau Bridges in The Fabulous Baker Boys
  • Paul Newman and son Scott in The Towering Inferno.
  • Priscilla Pointer and daughter Amy Irving in Carrie.
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army: Blake Perlman (daughter of Ron Perlman) can be seen as the reporter in the gray sweater interviewing Hellboy outside the auction house.
  • Cynthia Caylor, who plays Portia Leech in A Fish Called Wanda is actually Cynthia Cleese, the daughter of John Cleese, who plays Portia's father Archie.
  • In The Mighty Ducks movies, Elden Ratliff (Henson) and Garette Ratliff Henson are brothers who play fellow Ducks, Fulton and Guy.
  • In The Alternate, starring Eric Roberts and Bryan Genesse, both Roberts' wife Erica and Genesse's wife Brooke appear.
    • Eric and his sister Julia (in her film debut) played siblings in the long-forgotten Western Blood Red.
  • Some more obscure movies make family affairs out of the deal.
  • Matthew Macfayden and Keeley Hawes, who play Daniel and Jane in the original 2007 version of Death at a Funeral, are married in real life.
  • In The Hobbit film trilogy, James Nesbitt plays Bofur, and his daughters play Bard's daughters.
  • The Matrix movies have Laurence Fishburne playing Morpheus, while his wife Gina Torres plays Dozer's widow Cas—two characters who, oddly enough, never actually share a scene. In a notable What Could Have Been example, Will Smith was actually the Wachowskis' first choice for the lead role of Neo, but he had to turn down the role because of his commitment to The Wild Wild West; if he'd accepted it, he would have wound up sharing the screen with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who was cast as Niobe in the sequels.
  • Kate Beckinsale's daughter Lyly Mo Sheen has portrayed a child version of her (Kate) in the second Underworld and Everybodys Fine.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock has Bertram Geiss (Tony Torn) playing a son of Don Geiss (Rip Torn). Tony is Rip's son. Also, actor John Lutz who plays Lutz on the show is married to actress Sue Galloway who plays Sue LaRoche-Van der Hout, though they aren't married on-screen and rarely interact directly with each other.
  • Emilio Estevez and his daughter also have a brief appearance in an episode of The West Wing, in "archival video" of a younger Jed Bartlet and daughter Zoe.
    • Martin Sheen's daughter Renee has a small recurring role as staffer Nancy, who interacts with the President from time to time. When President Bartlet tells Nancy to 'say hello to your mother for me', that's actually a shout-out to his own wife.
  • An episode of Fantasy Island called "What's the Matter With Kids?" features Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows as husband and wife Child Psychologists.
  • One Highlander episode had an appearance of Adrian Paul's then-wife Melani as an escaped female con hired to seduce Duncan. (She played the character until the plastic surgery, then Alexandra Vandernoot took over)
  • Geraint Wyn Davies' real-life son guest starred in one season 3 episode of Forever Knight.
    • Another episode had the then-boyfriend of Catherine Disher, aka Natalie, as a guest star
  • Robert Reed's real life daughter appeared in one episode of The Brady Bunch.
  • Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who starred in several classic comedy films in addition to producing and starring in I Love Lucy. Unfortunately, they had Real Life marital trouble during the course of the series and divorced after the final episode had aired.
    • Their children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., starred in Lucille Ball's later shows.
  • In Smallville twins Shawn Ashmore and Aaron Ashmore both played parts—one an early Freak of the Week bit part and the other a cast regular good guy—nobody ever notices they look alike.
  • On The Odd Couple TV series, Jack Klugman played bitter divorcee Oscar Madison, and his wife, Brett Somers, played Blanche, Oscar's ex-wife. During the series' run, Klugman and Somers really did separate, though their marriage didn't officially end until Somers died in 2007.
  • Friends: Jennifer Aniston and Tate Donovan
    • Matthew Perry's father played Joshua's (Tate Donovan's character) father in one episode.
    • When Julia Roberts guest starred, her real life sister played her assistant.
      • Roberts guest starred in the first place because she was dating Matthew Perry at the time.
    • In one episode Ross's old friend from high school comes to visit. Turns out he is the president (and only current member) of the Anti-Rachel club. He was played by Jennifer Aniston's then real life husband Brad Pitt.
  • On Gilmore Girls, the chemistry between Rory and Jess was made a little more obvious due to the fact that Milo Ventimiglia was already Alexis Bledel's real-life boyfriend when he was cast as Jess. In an odd coincidence, they broke up roughly around the same time the episode where Rory and Jess see each other for the final time aired.
  • The new Battlestar Galactica has four minor characters played by real-life relatives of the main cast. Bodie Olmos ('Hotdog') is the son of Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama), Lymari Nadal (Giana) is Olmos's wife, Susan Hogan, the wife of Michael Hogan (Saul Tigh) plays the lead judge in Baltar's trial, and Kerry Norton, Jamie Bamber's ('Apollo') wife plays a medic.
    • In a behind the scenes example, the show's iconic cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" (and several other tracks) are preformed by Brendan McCreary, the brother of the show's composer, Bear McCreary.
    • In the episode Greetings from Earth in the original series, most of the children are played by children of the series creator Glen A. Larson or star Lorne Greene.
  • Babylon 5 had Bruce Boxleitner and Melissa Gilbert, husband and wife, playing husband and wife. As well, a photo from their real wedding is used in the show as one from the characters' wedding. On the show they don't work out.
    • Oddly, Melissa Gilbert was The Other Darrin in this example. An episode the previous season had featured a different actress as his wife, but she was unavailable for the second appearance.
      • Word of God is that Melissa Gilbert took the role for less money than she usually gets, as a favor to her husband.
  • Jeremiah: In the episode Moon in Gemini, cast regular Ingrid Kavelaars' character Erin has a twin sister named Lauren, played by... her real-life twin sister Monique Kavelaars.
  • Two of a Kind, So Little Time, Sister Sister, Double Trouble, and Sweet Valley High are all built around twin sisters being played by twin sisters (first two the Olsens, the other three the Mowrys, Sagals, and Daniels respectively).
  • Peter DeLuise, a director of Stargate SG-1, occasionally also made cameo appearances. His brother David played as a love interest to Carter.
    • His other brother Michael DeLuise appeared as "Colonel Danning" in Wormhole X-Treme! and father Dom De Luise as Urgo.
    • As well as his wife Anne Marie DeLuise (nee Loder) as Farrell in The Other Side and Cameron Mitchell's high school sweetheart Amy Vanderburg in Bounty.
    • Peter's brother Michael joined him on the 5th season of 21 Jump Street, playing Joey Penhall, the younger brother of Peter's character Doug.
    • In another episode, Michael played a younger Doug Penhall with Dom Deluise as his father.
  • Also on Stargate SG-1, actress Lexa Doig joined the cast in season 9 as Dr. Carolyn Lam, working alongside husband Michael Shanks, who played Dr. Daniel Jackson.
  • Real-life siblings David and Kate Hewlett also play brother and sister onscreen in Stargate Atlantis in the aptly named episode "McKay and Mrs. Miller". Fans loved her so much that TPTB brought her back for three more episodes.
    • This was actually Art Mimicking Life - in "The Siege" McKay was originally to have been composing the video to his brother. David Hewlett convinced them to shift it to sister, as he had no brothers, but did have a sister who was an actress, should they ever want to go that route later on in the series...
    • Hewlett said in an interview that in their first episode together the director instructed them to act like brother and sister, forgetting that they actually were.
      "I remember Martin [Gero] actually said to us once, 'Now remember you guys are supposed to be brother and sister.' And we were laughing because we were treating each other so horribly, we could only be brother and sister. ... He was like, 'Remember you're brother and sister,' and we were like, 'Yeah—? Thank you for reminding us?'"
  • Space: 1999, starring Martin Landau and his wife Barbara Bain, both also having starred before in the show Mission: Impossible.
  • Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, both regulars on All My Children, were married in 1996... and then their characters got married.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager, "Q2", father and son John and Keegan de Lancie play Q and "Q Junior". Also an instance of Plot-Relevant Age-Up-Q Junior is an adolescent, but the last time we saw him, three seasons earlier, he was an infant. Of course, since he's a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, he can look however he wants.
  • Kiefer and Donald Sutherland in A Time to Kill.
    • Donald Sutherland was to play the father of his son Kiefer's character, Jack Bauer, on 24, but was unavailable at the time of filming and was replaced by James Cromwell.
  • "Far Beyond The Stars", an Elseworld episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in which the regulars were writers for a 1950s science fiction magazine, had Nana (Kira) Visitor and Alexander (Bashir) Siddig, who were married at the time, as a married couple based on C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner.
  • In the Farscape trilogy Look at the Princess, the simulations of John Crichton's son and daughter are played by Ben Browder's children.
    • Additionally, Ben Browder's wife, Francesca Buller, has played multiple alien characters, notably War Minister Ahkna.
    • Browder's children show up again in Stargate SG-1 as a pair of random kids running past SG1 in a village.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, with the Sprouse brothers Dylan and Cole as the title characters.
    • And the same with any other Disney movie or television show with twins. Disney loves twins and uses them as much as possible.
  • Third Watch: Paramedics Carlos Nieto and Holly Levine dated and got married in the final season. They were played by real life husband and wife Anthony Ruivivar and Yvonne Jung.
  • Another extreme example was the two-part episode "Sandkings" in the 90's remake of The Outer Limits. Beau Bridges played the episode's main character, Dr. Simon Kress, his father Lloyd Bridges played Simon's father, and his son Dylan played Simon's son.
  • Little House on the Prairie sports a peculiar variation. Melissa Gilbert, playing Laura Ingalls, is of a different family than her real-life brother, Jonathan Gilbert, playing Willie Oleson. In reality, they were both adopted by the same family but are not blood related. It gets even better because Melissa Gilbert's in-show brother, Matthew Laborteaux, is the real-life brother of Patrick Labyorteaux (Matthew dropped the "y" from his surname), playing Matthew's friend on the show, Andrew Garvey, which are also both adopted! To top that, the role of Carrie Ingalls was played by twins Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush. While it's not rare for twins to play the same role, especially as a baby, there was an episode where both of them played side by side, when Carrie's character created an imaginary friend, played by her actual sister! Even more, the twins have a brother which also appeared as a guest star on the show!
  • The '80s Disney TV movie The Thanksgiving Promise features several members of the Bridges family: Beau, Lloyd, Lloyd's wife Dorothy, Beau's other son Jordan, and an uncredited Jeff.
  • In one episode of The Last Detective, Georgia Moffett guest-starred alongside her dad—star Peter Davison. The production team wanted the former's character to flirt with the latter's. One or both of them deep-sixed that idea pronto.
  • Peter Davison and Georgia Moffett, real-life father and daughter, played a father and daughter on Fear Stress And Anger.
  • (And for the hat-trick) A particularly unusual variant in Doctor Who: in 2008 Georgia Moffett played the daughter of David Tennant's (Tenth) Doctor — who is a regeneration of the same character played five "lifetimes" earlier (the Fifth Doctor) by her real-life father Peter Davison between 1981-84. The pair began dating after meeting on the set and are now married with a daughter.Meaning, drumroll, please... 
    • An Eighth Doctor Doctor Who audio titled "An Earthly Child" features Paul McGann's real life son as the Doctor's great-grandson (i.e. Susan's son).
    • In Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith's first episode, the production staff, looking for an actress to play a young version of new companion Amy Pond, asked Karen Gillan (the adult Amy) if she had any relatives. Karen mentioned a young cousin of hers, Caitlin Blackwood, and the production team decided to audition her. The two had never met before shooting started. Blackwood appeared again at Amy's wedding at the end of the series, presumably as one of Amy's cousins, even further driving this trope home.
    • David Troughton, son to Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, made an appearance in his father's final story "The War Games" in 1969. He returned as different characters in the 1972 Third Doctor adventure "The Curse of Peladon" and the 2008 Tenth Doctor adventure "Midnight"...not to mention various 21st century audio Doctor Who dramas.
    • Talking of Patrick Troughton, Jack Watling (Professor Travers in the Great Intelligence stories) was the father of Deborah Watling (the Doctor's companion Victoria).
    • In the original production of the stage play "Doctor Who and the Daleks: Seven Keys to Doomsday", the companion character is Jenny, played (oddly enough) by Wendy Padbury (Zoe Heriot). In the Big Finish version she's played by Padbury's daughter, Charlie Hayes; the two went on to play opposite each other in several "Companion Chronicles" audios.
    • In the Series 6 episode "The Impossible Astronaut", William Morgan Sheppard plays the character of Canton Everett Delaware as he appears in 2011, and his son Mark Sheppard plays a younger Canton in 1969. The story goes that they were going to use makeup to make Mark look like an old man before he mentioned his father who'd be a perfect older version of himself.
      • Incidentally this also happened in an NCIS episode, "Broken Bird", with Mark Sheppard playing a young version of his father's character in Ducky's flashbacks.
    • The little girl in Castrovalva is played by Souska John, the niece of Caroline John (Liz Shaw).
    • Mark Gatiss said he wrote "The Crimson Horror" specifically for the mother-daughter duo of Dame Diana Rigg and Rachel Stirling. Gatiss' real-life hubby, Ian Hallard, tends to pop up in this and his other productions, as well.
    Doc Oho: Mark Gatiss has gone on record to say that he doesn't find work for his husband, Ian Hallard, and that he gets the roles on his merits as an actor. That's all well and good (because he is a genuinely good actor) but it is a remarkable co-incidence that he has just happened to be the best actor for the roles in Gatiss' audio and TV Who and his Sherlock scripts too.
  • Diagnosis: Murder starred Dick Van Dyke as crime solving doctor Mark Sloan, and co-starred his own son Barry Van Dyke as his character's son, police detective Steve Sloan. Other members of the Van Dyke family appeared at various times during the show's run, including Dick's brother Jerry and daughter Stacy in one episode each as Dr. Mark's brother and daughter respectively. Barry's four children all appeared in multiple episodes, although not as Sloan family members: Carey as six different characters in as many episodes; Shane as four, the last of whom became a regular supporting role in the show's concluding months; Wes as three; and Taryn in three episodes. All four appeared together in two separate episodes, which therefore share the highest rating of 6.0 on the Van Dyke Scale...
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show also had a few episodes with Jerry Van Dyke as Stacey Petrie, Rob's sleepwalking brother.
  • The Wonder Years featured Danica McKellar as Kevin's main love interest, and her real-life sister Crystal McKellar in a recurring role as an unrelated character who was also Kevin's sometime girlfriend.
    • Ben Savage (brother of Fred) has a small part in one Wonder Years episode (see Boy Meets World example below).
  • Benjamin Bratt and Julia Roberts were dating when they starred in a memorable episode of Law & Order. Mostly notable for the fact that Roberts attempted to seduce Bratt's married character, leading to a venomous and hateful series of betrayals. One wonders if they might not have had some real-life problems to work out...
    • Probably, since they didn't stay together.
    • Another Law & Order example (sort of) derives from when Jill Hennessy was on Law & Order as Claire Kincaid. Jill was filming some scenes from a crossover with Homicide: Life on the Street and the filming coincided with the filming of Law & Order, so Jill's identical twin sister Jacqueline came in and filled in for Jill during some courtroom scenes.
  • House co-stars Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison were dating at the same time as their characters, Dr. Chase and Dr. Cameron, started their romantic relationship.
    • Inversely, a few months after Chase and Cameron made their relationship official in the third season's finale, Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison decided to call off their engagement.
  • Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter Miley play Hannah Montana's dad and the title character, respectively.
    • And his other daughter Noah is an extra.
    • Mateo Arias made a cameo appearance as Rico's brother. Rico is played by Moises Arias.
  • On iCarly Gibby (Noah Munck)'s brother Guppy is played by his little brother Ethan.
  • A pretty interesting one from The King of Queens: in a flashback to the childhood of Jerry Stiller's character Arthur Spooner, Arthur's father is played by Jerry's son Ben Stiller.
    • Jerry Stiller's wife, Anna Meara, plays Spence's mother, who is also Arthur's recurring love interest. Their real life daughter Amy also plays several different characters on the show.
    • Also Doug's cousin Danny is played by Kevin James' brother in Real Life, Gary Valentine.
  • Madylin Sweeten and her younger twin brothers, Sawyer and Sullivan, play Ally Barone and her younger twin brothers, Geoffery and Michael, respectively, on Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Simon Baker's wife appeared in an episode of her husband's hit show The Mentalist as the widow of that episode's victim.
    • Tim Kang's wife plays one of the women in the bar during Cho's Instant Seduction scene in "Crimson Casanova" (she's the one who walks off in disgust when he suggests a threeway), a Reality Subtext which makes the scene even more hilarious.
  • Grey's Anatomy's Derek Shepherd's mother is played by Tyne Daly; ironically, Daly is tied by parental roots to two actors from Private Practice, one fictional (she played Amy Brenneman (Violet)'s mother in Judging Amy) and one real (Tim Daly (Pete) is Tyne's baby brother).
  • In Private Practice, Idina Menzel plays a patient's mother and a potential love interest. Menzel is the real-life wife of Taye Diggs, who plays Dr. Sam Bennett.
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Charlie Day's character has an unrequited crush on a waitress played by his real-life wife, Mary Elizabeth Ellis. Also, Rob McElhenney (Mac) is married to Kaitlan Olson (Sweet Dee); they met when she auditioned for her part. In another episode with a Shout-Out to One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, the person who was playing the role of "Chief" was actually Will Sampson's son.
    • Additionally, in the episode "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom" Danny DeVito's daughter Lucy plays the waitress Frank lusts after in the restaurant (as his date talks about how wonderful it is to have children), as well as the young woman who compliments "DB" in "The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby".
    • And Glenn Howerton's wife plays the woman whom Dennis manipulates and torments in "The DENNIS System"
  • In Family Ties, Tracy Pollan played the girlfriend of Michael J. Fox's character. In Bright Lights Big City, Tracy Pollan played the cousin of Michael J. Fox's character. The two of them married later that year, and are still married to this day. Tracy Pollan has also made a guest appearance on Spin City, as the high school flame of Michael J. Fox's character.
    • Before Tracy Pollan, Michael J. Fox had dated Nancy McKeon. The two of them played love interests on two made-for-TV movies, High School USA and Poison Ivy.
    • In Life With Mikey, Michael J. Fox is the titular character. His sister, Kelli Fox, has a minor role.
  • On Heroes, the actors playing Ted Sprague and Sandra Bennet are married in real life. In one episode, Ted threatens to kill Sandra. In the episode commentary, the actor playing Ted observes, "Yeah, our kids aren't gonna be allowed to watch this one."
    • The fact that Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia were dating is going to make for some awkward television considering that Milo's Heroes character is her character's uncle.
    • If those two end up marrying, I doubt they'll let their kids watch the recent episode where Future Claire kills Future Peter. Assuming they let their kids watch the show at all.
  • On the last couple of seasons of Growing Pains, Chelsea Noble played the romantic interest of Kirk Cameron's character. They ended up getting married in the show, and then later married in Real Life.
    • And then even later, Noble played Cameron's love interest in the short-lived WB series Kirk.
    • They've since appeared together in the Left Behind movies. (Although Cameron plays the main character and Noble plays...the anti-Christ's girlfriend.) They're both now evangelical Christians.
    • ...and even worse than that, reportedly, Cameron won't even kiss anyone other than Noble now. She's supposedly in Fireproof (uncredited) in Cameron's kiss scenes with his movie wife (played otherwise by Erin Bethea).
  • In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV series, Melissa Joan Hart's real life sister Emily played Sabrina's cousin Amanda. She then played Sabrina on the animated series while Melissa Joan Hart played her aunts.
  • On the 1980s British TV series A Fine Romance, main characters Mike and Laura were played by real-life spouses Michael Williams and Judi Dench.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Inner Light", the son of Kamin, the person whose life Picard is experiencing, was played by Patrick Stewart's son Daniel.
    • Wil Wheaton's younger siblings Jeremy and Amy played Mason and Tara, two of the children who were abducted along with Wesley in "When the Bough Breaks".
  • Father-son example: in Romeo!, Master P makes occasional guest appearances as the father of the title character, played by his son Li'l Romeo.
  • Extreme example: Michael, Nat, and Alex Wolff (father and sons) play a father and his two sons in The Naked Brothers Band.
  • The character of Compo Simmonite died on Last of the Summer Wine following the death of the actor Bill Owen. Several episodes later and after the funeral, Compo's long-lost son moves into town and is played by Bill Owen's real-life son Tom Owen.
  • Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson, who played sisters Sharon and Tracy in Birds of a Feather, have been friends since primary school, enabling the opening credits to use genuine photos of them growing up together.
  • Another extreme example: a two-parter of The Bill features three generations of the Woodward acting dynasty. Edward (an old crook), his son Tim (as his love child) and Tim's son Sam (as the first character's grandchild, not via the second).
  • Kojak featured Telly Savalas and his brother George as Det. Stavros.
  • Power Rangers Zeo introduces us to David Trueheart, Tommy's long-lost brother... played by Eric Frank, actual brother to Tommy's actor, Jason Frank.
  • Mash star Alan Alda's father Robert Alda starred as a visiting/rival surgeon a couple times. One of the times, Alan Alda's brother also guest-starred as a medic.
    • The photograph on Col. Potter's desk, supposedly of Potter's wife Mildred, was actually a picture of Harry Morgan's real-life wife, Eileen Detchon.
  • In Due South Fraser's (Paul Gross' character) mother was played by Martha Burns ...who is Paul Gross' wife. They also starred together in the series Slings and Arrows, as former lovers.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer took advantage of the fact that Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris) has an identical twin, in an episode where there are two Xanders.
    • Kelly Donovan (Brendan's twin) stood in for Nicholas Brendon on multiple occasions during Buffy's production run. Besides the episode mentioned above, Donovan subbed for his brother during the fight scenes in the episode "Intervention", because Nicholas Brendon had pneumonia at the time.
    • Adam Busch (Warren) and Amber Benson (Tara), respectively, were dating, and Joss Whedon actually told Adam, "You're gonna kill your girlfriend," to which the reply was "Warren gets a girlfriend?" "No, I mean your real girlfriend." Eight years later, by the way, they're still together. This relationship was actually the inspiration somewhat for the Buffy fanfic Difficult to Fight Against Anger.
    • Alyson Hannigan crossed over to guest star on Angel alongside her now-husband Alexis Denisof
    • David Boreanaz' wife Jaime Bergman appeared in one season 5 Angel episode.
    • Dollhouse similarly took advantage of Enver Gjokaj (Victor) having an identical twin brother. He stood in as the second Victor in a dream sequence.
      • Dollhouse had another example of real-life relatives: the series finale has Eliza Dushku's younger brother Nate as Clive Ambrose's latest body. Her real-life boyfriend, Rick Fox, also cameoed.
      • Nate was also the gunman in one of Angel's flashbacks in Eliza's final appearance on that show.
  • Monk: A lot of Tony Shalhoub's real relatives appeared on the show at different points.
    • Brooke Adams, Tony Shalhoub's wife, has appeared as four different characters on the show:
      • In "Mr. Monk and the Airplane", Brooke plays Leigh Harrison, a flight attendant who is driven crazy by Monk's antics. She is later interviewed by James Novak in "Mr. Monk's 100th Case", where it is shown that she has developed a fear of flying and also was driven to drinking, which was also implied by her final appearance in the former episode.
      • In "Mr. Monk and the Kid", Brooke plays Abigail Carlyle, whom Monk and Natalie interview after her son, violinist Daniel Carlyle, is discovered to have been kidnapped and the kidnappers amputated one of his fingers to send back to them as a message.
      • In "Mr. Monk Visits a Farm", Brooke plays Sheriff Butterfield, a county sheriff. All of a sudden, the scene where Monk is roped into going square dancing very terribly with her (while looking visibly uncomfortable for the entire scene) becomes a thousand times funnier, especially since he brings up Trudy during the scene. In her first crossing paths with the leads (while Monk and Randy are looking at Randy's uncle's old pickup truck), she even winks at Monk, though it's hard to see if this is her quickly breaking character.
      • In "Mr. Monk and the Badge" as Edith Capriani, a Crazy Cat Lady that Monk gets fed up with for pulling him away from other cases.
    • Tony's brother Michael Shalhoub has played three characters throughout the series' run:
      • In "Mr. Monk and the Missing Granny," he plays Ron Abrash, a former radicalist who Monk and Captain Stottlemeyer question as a person of interest in a kidnapping. Which makes the part where Monk says, "I've been smoking THE TRUTH, man!" that much funnier when you consider just exactly who Tony is saying this line to.
      • In "Mr. Monk Bumps His Head," Michael plays Ned, the beekeeper whose farm Roger Zisk crashes his car into when trying to cover up bee stings that he'd received the night before when dumping Debbie Barnett's dead body on a roadside.
      • In "Mr. Monk Is the Best Man," Michael is the minister who presides over Leland and T.K.'s wedding ceremony.
    • Tony's sister Susan Shalhoub Larkin appears as Linda Kloster's housekeeper in "Mr. Monk and the Genius" (the one who drops the tray and discovers the body).
  • In addition to Monk, Brooke Adams also guest-starred on Wings as a nun who is helped by Shalhoub's character Antonio.
  • Speaking of Wings, in addition to Shalhoub and Adams, a handful of episodes featured guest spots by relatives of the cast.
    • Tim Daly's sister Tyne played a wealthy woman who attempts to make Brian a kept man.
    • Tim Daly's wife, Amy Van Nostrand, played a woman in a married couple who befriends the Hacketts.
    • Amy Yasbeck's husband John Ritter played Casey's estranged husband Stuart.
  • Emily, the estranged daughter of Gerry Standing in New Tricks is played by Dennis Waterman's daughter Hannah.
    • Subversion: but Emily's not actually his.
  • James Roday and Maggie Lawson, who are dating in real life, star in the Fear Itself episode "In Sickness and in Health" as a couple about to get married. The two are also castmates in Psych, and their characters officially entered a relationship in Season 5.
    • The episode "Bollywood Homicide" had a client of the week and his brother as the central part of the episode's plot. The brothers are played by real-life cousins Sendhil Ramamurthy and Jay Chandrasekhar.
  • Veronica Mars Logan Ecchols' parents are played by real-life husband and wife Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna.
  • The Office (US): Michael Scott's girlfriend Carol in seasons 2 & 3 is played by Steve Carell's wife, Nancy Walls.
  • Arrested Development: The woman Gob (Will Arnett) marries on a dare is played by Arnett's wife, Amy Poehler. The situation was reversed years later when Poehler got her own show, Parks and Recreation, and Arnett appeared in one episode as Leslie (Poehler)'s horrible blind date.
    • Arrested was fond of this trope. In a later episode, Michael (Jason Bateman) hires a woman, played by Bateman's real-life sister Justine, to work at the Bluth Company. He thinks she is his long-lost sister Nellie; she's actually a prostitute.
      Michael: Marry me! ... That's so wrong... on so many levels.
    • In season 4, it turns out that Tony Wonder and Sally Sitwell, played by married couple Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, are a couple. They both appeared in the show earlier, but as unrelated characters.
  • Tatort (NDR; Hannover): The actress Maria Furtwängler who plays KHK Charlotte Lindholm is the daughter of Kathrin Ackermann who portrays Charlottes mother Annemarie Lindholm.
  • Semi-example: Shirley Jones, who is/was David Cassidy's stepmother, played his mother in The Partridge Family. AIR neither was consulted on the casting of the other.
  • After he gained more creative control on Sliders, Jerry O'Connell got his real-life brother added to the regular cast, playing his long-lost brother. When Jerry departed the show, his brother went with him.
    • Charlie O'Connell would later make an appearance as the brother of Jerry O'Connell's character in Crossing Jordan.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Timeslides" Lister's younger self was played by Emile Charles, Craig Charles's younger brother. Baby Lister in "Oroboros" was played by Danny John-Jules's nephew, Alexander John-Jules.
    • The mechanoid and blob incarnations of Camille in "Camille" were played by Robert Llewellyn's then-girlfriend (now wife) Judy Pascoe. In his memoir The Man In The Rubber Mask Llewellyn claims that the publicity shot of Kryten and Camille is in his parents' photo album: "That's our elder son and his wife and children, that's our daughter and her children, and that's our middle son who's a robot and his girlfriend."
  • In St. Elsewhere, Dr. Craig and his wife were played by real-life husband and wife William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett.
    • Briefly reprised in Boy Meets World, where Mr. Feeney (Daniels) fell for the college's dean (Bartlett). In fact, Daniels and Bartlett have played a romantic couple on no less than four occasions: Killer on Board (1977), Touched By an Angel, Boy Meets World, and St. Elsewhere. Apparently, they are a living aversion to the Couple Bomb both in real life and onscreen (they've been married since 1951).
  • Another Boy Meets World example: Topanga's parents were played by the husband-and-wife Michael McKean and Annette O'Toole for one episode. Also, Ben Savage's brother Fred Savage appears in one episode as a creepy lecherous college teacher.
  • The first season The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episodes "The Quadripartite Affair" and "The Giuoco Piano Affair" were two of the relatively few episodes that gave Illya Kuryakin (played by David McCallum) the Girl of the Week. She was played in both episodes by Jill Ireland, who was at the time of filming married to McCallum.
  • On LOST, Benjamin Linus is played by Michael Emerson. His wife Carrie plays Ben's mother Emily. Thankfully, Squick is avoided because Emily dies in childbirth and thus only appears during baby Ben's birth and as a hallucination on the island to young Ben.
  • Father and son Rene Auberjonois and Remy-Luc Auberjonois played father and son in an episode of L.A. Law.
    • Speaking of LA Law, husband-wife actors Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry were both regulars on that show and also appeared together in several late '80s/early '90s TV movies that they produced.
  • How I Met Your Mother has several recurring characters played by relatives of the main cast. Sandy Rivers, Robin's co-anchor, is played by Alyson Hannigan's husband Alexis Denisof. Scooter, Lily's high school boyfriend and co-worker, is played by Neil Patrick Harris's husband David Burtka. Blauman, a GNB employee, is played by Cobie Smulder's fiancee (and the father of her child) Taran Killam. Josh Radnor also ended up dating Lindsay Price, who played one of his girls of the week.
  • The Heartwarming Orphans from The Colbert Report Christmas Special are Madeleine, Peter, and John Colbert. Madeleine also appeared aged eight in the Getty Oil segment on The Daily Show, producing some adorable outtakes.
    Stephen: How big was your profit margin last year?
    Madeleine: I don't know what that means, Daddy.
    • His brother Ed Colbert is a copyright lawyer, and appeared on the show during the Shepard Fairey 'Hope' poster fair use debate.
  • Jon Stewart's son, Nathan, has appeared on The Daily Show at least twice. The funniest moment being when he played a cheap Youtube version of his father. Jon's inability to hold his laughter when the camera cut back was priceless.
  • Gossip Girl stars Penn Badgley (Dan) and Blake Lively (Serena) date in real life as well as in the show.
    • Someone might say that the Gossip Girl one-episode Vanessa/Chuck hookup and kiss might be imputable to the two actors playing the characters, Jessica Szohr and Ed Westwick, dating, but given the fact that the writers of the show seem to be on crack most of the time, that's highly debatable. Also, the set brought Sebastian Stan (Carter Baizen) and series regular Leighton Meester (Blair Waldorf) together.
  • Toward the end of its run One Day at a Time had as regulars both Nanette Fabray and her niece, Shelley Fabares, providing an interesting side-by-side example of how anglicizing your name for the stage seemed less necessary from one generation to the next. Casual viewers didn't always know they were related, especially if they didn't realize their last names are pronounced the same.
  • Real-life couple Michael and Susan Hogan played the parents of Dana Fairbanks in The L Word, and the parents of Myka in Warehouse13
  • Most of the random characters on The Mighty Boosh are friends and family of Noel and Julian. The relative with the largest role would be Vince's girlfriend's nephew who plays the shaman Kirk. Or maybe Naboo, who is played by Noel's brother.
  • An interesting but slightly obscure example: Martin Sheen's daughter plays one of the secretaries of the Oval Office in The West Wing. In the season finale, the President asks about her mother, and then said, "Tell her I'm looking forward to seeing her again sometime soon, would you please?", which is actually a shout out to his own wife.
    • Martin Sheen also appeared on an episode of Two and a Half Men in which he played the father of Charlie's Stalker with a Crush. Charlie is, of course, played by Charlie Sheen. In the same episode, Martin Sheen's character gets in a relationship with the mens' mother, much to their horror.
    • And Emilio Estevez has also appeared on Two and a Half Men.
  • On Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus's half-sister Lauren Bowles made occasional appearances as a waitress in the coffee shop that the characters frequent.
    • Speaking of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, she and her future husband Brad Hall were cast mates on Saturday Night Live. Several years later, Julia guest-starred on an episode of The Single Guy, which was created and produced by Hall.
    • Lauren was also a main cast member on Julia's short-lived Watching Ellie.
  • Zooey Deschanel guest-starred in an episode of Bones, which stars her sister Emily, as Emily's character's cousin. The writers took the golden opportunity to lampshade the hell out of this during said episode.
    Everyone, upon seeing the two in the same room: You two could be sisters!
  • The French TV series Kaamelott seems to have been cast largely from creator (and lead actor) Alexandre Astier's family. Note they're all professional actors anyway, so it hardly hurts the show. Alexandre Astier plays King Arthur and:
    • his father plays Arthur's father-in-law, Léodagan;
    • his mother plays Arthur's mother-in-law, Séli;
    • his stepmother plays Arthur's mother, Ygerne;
    • his half-brother plays Arthur's brother-in-law, Yvain;
    • his children play Karadoc and Mevanwi's children;
    • his wife has a small cameo as the Lady of Flames.
  • On Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson's Femme Fatale ex-wife is played by Megan Mullally, who is married to Nick Offerman in real life.
  • In the first season of Get a Life, Chris Elliott's character's father was played by his real-life father Bob Elliott.
  • The second and third seasons of SeaQuest DSV has Peter and Michael DeLuise on the main cast, though their characters are not related. In one episode, Dom DeLuise appears as the father of Michael's character, and David DeLuise has a small cameo.
  • Troian Bellisario, who plays Sara , is a (step) sibling to Sean Murray, who plays Timothy McGee, her character's brother, in NCIS. A third sibling, Michael, had a recurring role on the show but shared no scenes with either sibling. All three actors also appeared on JAG, though in different roles, and producer Donald P. Bellisario is their father. a fourth sibling Chad W. Murray plays Seaman Mcdonald's corpse in NCIS episode the Immortals and the unnamed redhead that picks Gibbs up in the silver convertible is Sean Murray's real-life mother Vivienne Bellisario. Nepotism much?
    • Also in NCIS, Mark Harmon's son plays young Gibbs.
  • In Castle, Esposito and Castle (Jon Huertas and Nathan Fillion respectively) have been teasing Ryan (Seamus Dever) about his girlfriend, who up to this point has been The Ghost. At the end of "The Mistress Always Spanks Twice" she shows up, played by Dever's wife, Juliana Dever. The characters later marry.
  • In Oz, resident Manipulative Bastard Ryan O'Reily (played by Dean Winters) and his mentally retarded older brother Cyril O'Reily (Scott William Winters) are brothers in real life.
    • Their eldest brother, Bradford Winters, was series creator/head writer Tom Fontana's main collaborator for most of the series' run, as well.
  • On FlashForward, John Cho's wife Kerri had a small guest role as a waitress.
  • Skins has the obvious example of real life twins Kathryn and Megan Prescott playing the twins Emily and Katie, respectively.
    • And the significantly less obvious example of Effy's mum (Morwenna Banks) cheating on her screen husband (Harry Enfield) with her real one (David Baddiel).
  • Ian Lithgow, the son of John Lithgow, played one of Dick's students in 3rd Rock from the Sun.
  • Alton Brown frequently has members of his family make appearances on Good Eats. While most of his on-air family is portrayed by actors or members of the production crew, his late grandmother, mother, and daughter Zoey did make appearances as themselves. On a recent episode, Zoey Brown appeared as Alton's granddaughter which is humorous because she was effectively playing her own daughter (Zoey being Alton's only child).
  • Marlo Thomas' 1960s sitcom That Girl had Danny Thomas in a brief cameo as a priest, just so she could call him "father".
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000, at the end of its Laserblast episode, had Trace Bealieu's father in a brief cameo as an extremely-aged Dr. Forrester.
    • Additionally, Mike Nelson's real-life wife, Bridget Jones (no, not that Bridget Jones) appeared several times, including as Mr. B Natural, Lisa Loeb, Nuveena, Flavia, and Slicer the Nanite. She was also one of the actresses who portrayed Magic Voice before Mary Jo Pehl took over permanently. Bridget was also one of the show's writers, including a stint as a full-time member of the writing staff from season 4 onward.
  • Peter Barlow, the repeatedly Other Darrined son of William Roache's character Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, was briefly played by Roache's son Linus in the 1970s. Linus Roache returned to the Street in 2010, now playing a completely different son, long-lost Lawrence Cunningham. Lawrence's son is played by Linus's brother, James. And James Roache also appeared in the docudrama The Road To Coronation Street, as a young William Roache!
  • The Scrubs episode "My Unicorn" had John Bennett Perry as the Patient of the Week and his son Matthew Perry as the patient's son. Except it turned out Gregory wasn't really Murray's father. That episode also cameoed Matthew's cousin Anthony as "Old Murray".
    • Series creator Bill Lawrence is married to Christina Miller (Jordan), who also did voice-over work for his show Clone High. The wedding video that Cox watches in Miller's character's first appearance is actually Bill and Christina's, which is why only she can be seen. Lawrence also wrote both of their pregnancies into the series.
  • Thirtysomething had married couple Ken Olin and Patricia Wettig, playing the respective spouses of the other two central characters. They later play a couple in Brothers & Sisters.
  • In one episode of The Golden Girls, Bea Arthur's own adopted son plays a firefighter.
  • In Kulderzipken, King Jozef and his sister Saint-Lutgardis are played by real-life sibling Jan and Reinhilde Decleir.
  • On Terriers, Hank's sister Stephanie is played by Donal Logue's sister Karina.
  • Bud Bundy's little brother made several appearances on Married... with Children.
  • In the Dutch sitcom Het Zonnetje in Huis, father Piet Bovenkerk and son Eric Bovenkerk are played by real-life father and son John Kraaykamp and John Kraaykamp jr.
  • John Cleese and Connie Booth were married when they wrote and played in the first series of Fawlty Towers, in 1975. They were divorced by the time of the second series in 1979, but this doesn't appear to have hindered the quality of the show in any way.
  • A story arc in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger involved Jiraiya/Ninja Black, who is played by Kane Kosugi, being forced to challenge his sensei-turned-nemesis Gali, who was played by Kane's actual father Sho Kosugi.
  • Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter play brother and sister in Dexter, but were married in real life. They have since divorced.
  • Wil Wheaton's siblings Jeremy and Amy played a couple of the children in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "When the Bough Breaks". (Mason and Tara, respectively, if you were curious.)
  • The A-Team had an episode entitled "Bounty" in which Murdock fell in love with a vet named Kelly. Kelly was played by Wendy Fulton, who is still to this day married to Dwight Schultz and has been since 1983.
  • On The Closer, Brenda's niece Charlie was played in several episodes by Kyra Sedgewick's real-life daughter, Sosie Bacon.
  • On Primeval, Connor and Abby are played by actors who are currently engaged in real life. James Lester and Christine Johnson are also married in real life.
  • On Home Improvement, the actress who plays Jill's sister Carrie is married to Richard Karn, who plays Al.
  • In The X-Files episode "Hollywood A.D.", a movie is made based on Mulder and Scully's lives as paranormal FBI agents. Tea Leoni is cast as the movie version of Scully, and it is mentioned (jokingly) that she has a crush on Mulder. Tea Leoni being David Duchovny's wife, obviously. Of course, David Duchovny also wrote and directed that episode...
  • In the season 3 premiere of Leverage, Nate helps a young inmate escape from jail. The inmate is played by Edwin Hodge, brother of Aldis Hodge, who plays Hardison.
  • The 90s series Brotherly Love was pretty much contrived for brothers Joey, Matthew and Andrew Lawrence to play themselves.
  • In The Amazing Race's 13th season, Phil's father waited for the racers at the pit stop in New Zealand, which happened to be at his ranch.
  • In The Shield, Vic Mackey's daughter Cassidy is played by Michael Chiklis's real life daughter Autumn Chiklis.
  • Marg Helgenberger's now ex-husband appeared in two episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
  • Chris Masterson appeared on his brother Danny’s series That '70s Show as an unrelated character. They also played brothers on one episode of White Collar.
  • Ali Marsh plays a recurring role as a psychiatrist on In Plain Sight, which stars her husband Frederick Weller. Bonus points because their characters went on a date once, but she wasn't interested.
  • Gimme A Break: During the last three seasons, Matthew Lawrence joined his older brother, Joey, as Joey's (the character) little brother, Matt.
  • In Dad's Army, Pike's girlfriend Ivy was played by Ian Lavender's real-life wife. Arthur Lowe's wife, Joan Cooper, also took over the role of Dolly Godfrey towards the end of the series.
    • Lowe and Cooper were well known for this trope and often performed in repertory theatre together. Towards the end of Lowe's life, he would often agree to take roles only if his wife could act alongside him, and they were appearing in a play together when Lowe died backstage.
  • In the fourth season of Nurse Jackie, Bobby Cannavale plays Bad Boss Mike Cruz while his real-life son Jake plays Cruz's addict son Charlie. Hilarity ensues when Charlie overdoses in the season finale and Cruz fails to revive him.
  • In the last season of Eureka, Allison Blake's brother is played by the actress's real life husband.
  • A few episodes of I Dream of Jeannie featured Barbara Eden's husband Michael Ansara as the Blue Djinn.
  • The short-lived '60s sitcom He & She starred real-life husband and wife Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss.
  • Switched at Birth recently announced that Zoey Deutch, series regular Lea Thompson's daughter, would be appearing in a multi-episode role
  • Michael Emerson's wife, Carrie Preston, plays his character's fiancee on the show Person of Interest.
  • Merlin featured Emilia Fox as a semi-regular and her uncle James Fox as a guest star, though the two of them never interacted — in fact, by the time James turned up, Emilia's character had long since been killed off.
  • The 1980's revival of Mission: Impossible featured a 2-part episode where Barney Collier from the original series was rescued by the current IMF team, which included his son Grant. Grant was played by Phil Morris, the real-life son of Greg Morris (Barney).
  • The Tribe from season 4 onwards. Ebony, Java, and Siva, who play sisters on the show, are played by the real-life Cassie sisters.
  • In One Life to Live, openly gay actor Scott Evans played closeted Oliver Fish while Scott's supportive mother Lisa played Oliver's homphobic mom.
  • Xander Berkeley and Sarah Clarke from 24 (George Mason and Nina Myers) married between Seasons 1 and 2. This meant that Xander got to interrogate his own missus in the second run. In addition, as an inside joke, a fake passport for Nina in Day 3 has the name "Sarah Berkeley".
  • It seems like Stiles and Lydia might have a little trouble with their relationship on Teen Wolf as the sheriff (Linden Ashby) and Lydia's mom (Susan Walters) are married IRL and have been for nearly 30 years now.
  • In Sledge Hammer!, humor about the title character's ex-wife were made a lot (although the reason for the divorce was never fully explained). When she actually appeared in the last season of the show, the actress was the lead actor's actual wife.
  • On one TV version of The Jack Benny Program (season 4, epoisode 8, original airdate Feb. 7, 1954), "Jack Dreams He's Married To Mary", Jack's wife plays his wife, and his daughter, Joan, plays his daughter.
  • On My Name Is Earl, Randy is played by Ethan Suplee. Willie the One-Eyed Mailman is played by Ethan's real-life dad, Bill Suplee.
  • Phil Silvers played the father of Jenny Piccolo (actress Cathy Silvers) on Happy Days.
  • On Suits Harvey's love interest Zoe Lawford is played by Gabriel Macht's wife Jacinda Barrett.
  • On Hannibal Jack Crawford's wife Bella is played by Gina Torres, who is married to Laurence Fishburne in real life as well. Makes the secret Bella was keeping from Jack all the more painful when you know they're actually married and playing a married couple going through that.
    • Both Torres and Fishburne also appeared on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, but Gina appeared in season four, long before Fishburne bevame the series' star.
  • Genevieve Cortese met Jared Padalecki while playing the demon, Ruby, during Season Four of Supernatural. By Season Six, she's guest staring as herself in a Alternate Universe episode and married to Padalecki — in real life and on the show. Whew.
  • Sherlock and Mycroft's parents are played by Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton, Benedict Cumberbatch's own parents.
    • Mary Morstan (Watson's fiancee/wife) is played by Amanda Abbington, who is Martin Freeman's real-life partner.
    • Sherlock as a child is played by one of Stephen Moffat's sons.
    • In a What Could Have Been example, Mark Gatiss's partner, Ian Hallard, had a minor role as the barrister defending Moriarty in The Reichenbach Fall. Despite fan hopes that he might be this universe's version of Sebastian Moran, it was a one-off appearance, and that role has now been played by another actor.
  • Danny DeVito's mother, Julia DeVito, played Louie's mother on Taxi.
    • In addition, Tony Danza's son, Marc Anthony Danza, played a kid that Tony wanted to adopt.
  • The 1988 revival of Mission: Impossible, Grant Collier was the son of Barney Collier from the originsl series. Grant was played by Phil Morris, who is the son of Greg Morris who played Barney in the original series. In one episode, Greg reprised his role as Barney.
  • Bobby Troup and Julie London, husband and wife Emergency! supporting stars. Making things interesting, series creator/producer Jack Webb was London's ex-husband. Also, Randolph Mantooth's brother appeared as a guest actor and a firefighter in the background a few times.
  • In the first few Perry Mason TV movies in the 1980s, William Katt played Paul Drake, Jr., in-universe son of 1950s/60s TV series character Paul Drake. In real life, Katt is the son of Barbara Hale, who played Mason's secretary Della Street in both the series and the TV movies.
  • The Sopranos:
    • Silvio Dante's wife Gabriella is played by "Miami Steve" Van Zandt's Real Life wife, Maureen Van Zandt. note 
    • In the flashback sequence in "To Save Us All From Satan's Power", a young Jackie Aprile, Jr. is played by Matt Cerbone, the younger brother of Jackie's regular actor Jason Cerbone.

    Pro Wrestling 

     Music 
  • Billy Joel wrote Uptown Girl as an ode to Christie Brinkly, his soon-to-be wife, and she later starred in the song's music video.
    • He also wrote "Just the Way You Are" for his earlier spouse Elizabeth.
  • Eric Clapton wrote "Wonderful Tonight" based on a comment he made to his wife when she was taking too much time getting ready for a function. The song turns the comments on their heads and thus was born one of the all-time great romantic ballads. Also regarding Clapton, his smash hit "Layla" was an anguished declaration of love toward his close friend George Harrison's then-wife Patti Boyd, who Clapton was infatuated with. They later got together, though the relationship didn't last.
  • The late Minnie Ripperton wrote her one big hit "Loving You" for her daughter Maya, who she never got to see grow up. Maya — as in the comedic actress Maya Rudolph — grew up to become famous in her own right.
  • On a lighter note, Stevie Wonder wrote "Isn't She Lovely" for HIS own daughter.

    Radio 
  • Husband-and-wife teams were remarkably common in the golden age of radio, probably due to the number of radio acts that originated on vaudeville where family acts were common. Notable husband-and-wife radio teams include:
  • Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels (Life With The Lyons) on The BBC at the same period.
  • In the 1990s, Jeremy Hardy and his then wife Kit Hollerbach in Unnatural Acts, later titled At Home With The Hardys in imitation of the above.
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who story "An Earthly Child", McGann's real-life son guest-stars as the Doctor's great-grandson.

    Theater 
  • Many high school musicals will use the younger siblings of cast members to fill children's parts, mostly because it cuts down on scheduling issues. If one child can make it to all of the rehearsals, chances are their sibling can as well. Of course, sometimes the younger child is very good in their own right, and may even have a substantially bigger part than their brother or sister.
  • One memorable production of Don Giovanni cast identical twins as the title character and his manservant Leporello. Since there is a lengthy sequence in which Leporello disguises himself as the Don and fools everyone, this was a stroke of casting genius.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • Linkara does this a lot — not surprising, since as an Internet reviewer he can't exactly afford to hire people on a regular basis. Thus far, he's utilized his parents, brother, and girlfriend at various points. (As examples: his father as an older version of him; his mother as a Starfleet commander; and his girlfriend as... herself, more or less.)
  • Doug Walker's brother is The Other Guy (Rob Walker), who mostly works behind the camera, but does appear on screen as various characters on occasion.
    • His father (who also does most of the show's original music) also had cameo appearances in Suburban Knights (News anchor Larry Prince and father of Doug's character Lori) and To Boldly Flee, as well as the review of the movie Devil.
  • Scott McClure, the aspiring filmmaker behind The Joker Blogs, also uses this, probably for the same reasons as Linkara.
  • Spoony has occasionally had his brother appear on his show. Things are sadly averted in the case of his then-girlfriend Scarlett, who made one appearance in a now-removed video. His Fan Dumb mocked her so much that he replaced the video with an article calling them out on it and never put her in another video again (though she was the webmistress of his site).
  • While The Nostalgia Chick and Todd in the Shadows both had their own webshows, when they began dating, they started a Running Gag/subplot in both their shows, in which the Chick is terrifyingly obsessed with hooking up with Todd while he is callously indifferent to her. A similar joke was used in the massive review for the Les Miserables musical movie, in which Elise and Paw (who are engaged in real life) fall in Love at First Sight and become Sickeningly Sweethearts as a result.
  • Gamer and Meddler's players in We Are All Pokémon Trainers are RL siblings, as are Joseph and Emma's.

    Western Animation 
  • On American Dad!, Rachael MacFarlane, voice actor for Hayley, is the sister of series co-creator (and voice actor for Stan and Roger) Seth MacFarlane.
  • On Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, Laura Silverman and H. Jon Benjamin (respectively, surly secretary Laura and Ben, the 24 year old slacker son of Dr. Katz who repeatedly and unsuccessfully asks out Laura) were dating when the show started, but broke up during the middle of the show's run.
  • Mike Farrell and Shelly Fabares, who play the Kents in Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League, are married in real life.
  • The late Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor, the voice actors of Mickey and Minnie Mouse respectively, were married until Wayne's death.
  • French voices of Homer and Marge in The Simpsons (Veronique Augereau and Philippe Peytieu) are real life spouses.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Janice Karman.
  • In Inspector Gadget, whenever Frank Welker wasn't available Dr. Claw was instead voiced by Don Francks, father of Cree Summer who voiced Penny.
  • Marceline's father in Adventure Time is voiced by her voice actor's (Olivia Olson) real father (Martin Olson).
    • The younger voices of Marceline and Bubblegum are sisters.
  • Recess: In the episode "The Dude", Mr. Dudikoff is played by Joey Lawrence, and his little brother, Andrew Lawrence, was the voice of T.J. from 1998 to 2001.
    • In the Lilo & Stitch crossover episode (from 2005, four years after the show ended and two years after the Direct-to-Video movies), Gus was replaced by Zach Ewing, due to his previous voice actor, Courtland Mead, going through puberty. Zach's older brother, Blake Ewing, was the voice of Menlo in the show. (He also did the singing voices for Gus and T.J. in the credits of Recess: School's Out.)
  • Total Drama Island (Italy): Heather is the mother of Trent and Cameron.
  • On Bob's Burgers, the Pesto Twins are voiced by sisters Sarah and Laura Silverman.
  • In the second to last scene of the episode "The Knights of Tomorrow!" from Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the future Batman Damian Wayne is voiced by Diedrich Bader (who voiced the current Batman) and his son Robin is voiced by Sebastian Bader (Diedrich's real son).
  • Stan Lee plays himself in the final episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series. His wife, Joan Lee, already played the Recurring Character Madame Web (and there's a bit of mutual attraction between Stan-the-character and Madame Web).
  • Jessica Walter, who plays Malory in Archer, is married in real life to Ron Leibman, who plays Malory's Season 4 husband Ron Cadillac. The humor is compounded with a touch of Irony as She Is Cast; while Malory and Ron appear to have had a rush wedding within a few weeks of meeting and have a woefully mismatched relationship based on constant bickering, Walter and Leibman have been happily married since 1984.
  • Nick Offerman is the voice of Axe Cop and his wife Megan Mullally voices most of the female characters in the show.
  • Wilykat and Wilykit's father in ThunderCats (2011) is voiced by John Pirruccello, father of Wilkyat's voice Eamon Pirruccello.
  • In Madagascar 2 the younger versions of Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman are voiced by the real life children of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, and David Schwimmer.
  • Although the characters are not related, in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Claire Corlett voices Sweetie Belle, while her dad, Ian James Corlett, is the voice of Silver Shill. Likewise, Brian Drummond, who voices Uncle Orange, Mr. Cake, Seabreeze, and others, is the father of Brynna Drummond, who voices Babs Seed, implied to be the Oranges' daughter.

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