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Real Person Cameo
In Biopics and dramatizations of true events where the principal figure, though portrayed in the show by some Hollywood star, is still alive in Real Life, it's a traditional Casting Gag to assign this non-actor some bit part (not As Himself).

A subtrope of The Cameo. Compare Celebrity Paradox, Autobiographical Role.


Examples

Films
  • Cleverly used in Erin Brockovich. When Erin is in a restaurant, one of the waitresses is being played by the real Erin Brockovich. She even has a nametag that reads "Julia", as Brockovich is played by Julia Roberts. At the table behind her is the real Ed Masry, the lawyer who represented Erin.
  • The film adaptation of The Right Stuff had a couple of NACA recruiters visiting Pancho's Happy Bottom Riding Club outside of Edwards AFB, sizing up the test pilots present. The old man who interrupts them to ask if they want any whiskey is the real Chuck Yeager, whom they were discussing.
  • The real Baroness Maria von Trapp, her daughter and granddaughter appear briefly as extras in the movie version of The Sound of Music. They are in the background during the song "I Have Confidence", at the line, "I must stop these doubts, all these worries/If I don't, I just know I'll turn back."
  • In The Pursuit of Happyness, the real Chris Gardner (Will Smith's character) is the very well-dressed black man crossing the street behind Will Smith and his son at the end of the movie.
  • Jim Garrison played Earl Warren in JFK (Kevin Costner played Garrison).
  • In The People Vs Larry Flynt, Woody Harrelson, playing Flynt, has a really nasty judge hearing one of his obscenity trials. The judge is played by Larry Flynt.
  • Apollo 13 features a cameo by astronaut Jim Lovell (who flew on the actual Apollo 13 mission) as the captain of the aircraft carrier that recovers the crew after splashdown. Lovell is, of course, being played by Tom Hanks. The cameo is doubly appropriate, given that Lovell is a retired Navy captain. (The plan was for him to be an admiral for the part, but he declared, 'I retired a captain, and I'll be a captain.')
  • The real Frank Abagnale Jr. was an extra in Catch Me If You Can. He played one of the French police officers.
  • Tony Wilson himself appears as a TV studio technician in 24 Hour Party People. After his cameo, it is immediately pointed out by the actor playing Tony Wilson (the film has No Fourth Wall, at least when dealing with the main character) who then also mentions several other cameos by actual musicians from throughout the film to that point. One notable example features Howard Devoto, the lead singer for the bands The Buzzcocks and Magazine, appearing in a scene featuring the actor playing him, only to turn around and bluntly state that he doesn't remember this happening at all. It's that kind of Biopic.
  • In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson's alter ego Raoul Duke (played by Johnny Depp) has a flashback in a nightclub where he hallucinates that he sees himself sitting at a table. The man at the table is the real Hunter S. Thompson.
    "There I was... holy shit, there I am!
  • In The Sugarland Express, Officer Kenneth Crone, the patrolman whose kidnapping loosely inspired the film, appears as a deputy.
  • Spike Milligan plays his own father in the film version of Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall.
  • Milk has the real Cleve Jones as Don Amador. (Jones is played by Emile Hirsch in the film.)
  • At the end of Schindler's List, the actors portraying the major characters walk hand-in-hand with the people they portrayed, placing stones on Schindler's grave.
  • Alice Brock, the "Alice" in "Alices Restaurant" (remember Alice? It's a song about Alice), has a cameo in the movie adaptation of the song.
  • Ryan White had a small part in The Ryan White Story as another boy with AIDS.
  • In Falling from the Sky: Flight 174, when two guys just out of a flight simulator complain to an examiner that it's impossible for both engines to fail because of a pump failure, the examiner tells them that this exact scenario has actually happened. The examiner is played by Robert Pearson, the Captain of The Gimli Glider, a Boeing 767 which ran out of fuel in midair.
  • Some Came Running is a 1958 film starring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, in which a number of poker games are portrayed. In one such game, Frank and Dino are playing against James Jones, who wrote the novel upon which the movie is based. (For you ultimate trivia buffs, another person at the same table is Uncle Leo.)
  • David Fincher 's 2007 movie Zodiac features a brief appearance of Zodiac survivor Bryan C. Hartnell. Hartnell also consulted for the film.
  • Author J.G. Ballard cameos as a party guest in Empire of the Sun, adapted from his semi-autobiographical novel of the same name.
  • The Man Who Never Was featured Ewen Montagu, who wrote the book, playing a senior officer who expresses skepticism about Montagu's plan. They had to reshoot the scene several times because actor Clifton Webb, playing Montagu, kept breaking up laughing.
  • Man on the Moon features a number of these - for example, the real Bob Zmuda (played by Paul Giamatti in the film) appears as the producer of ABC's "Fridays."
  • George Harrison, one of the biggest supporters of The Rutles, appears in the film as a grey-wigged reporter.
  • Aside from being portrayed by an actor as part of the Rolling Stone staff, the actual Jann Wenner has a cameo in Almost Famous, reading a newspaper in the back of a taxi.
  • The French Connection has appearances by Eddie "Popeye" Egan and Sonny "Cloudy" Grosso, real-life NYC cops and the inspirations for the movie's Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo.
  • In Casino, Frank Cullotta, the inspiration for Frank Vincent's character, appears at the end of the film as a hit man dispatched to eliminate those who have outlived their usefulness.
  • In Secretariat, Penny Chenery, owner of the all-time great racehorse, is played by Diane Lane. The real Chenery, in her mid-80s at the time of filming (more than 35 years after Secretariat's Triple Crown run in 1973), appears in a crowd scene at the Belmont Stakes, not far from Secretariat's cinematic connections.
  • In The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort (the person played by Leonardo DiCaprio) is seen at the end introducing DiCaprio's Belfort to a crowd after he reinvents himself as a motivational speaker.
  • An unusual and ingenious case is with marine Markowski in the Polish dub version of Wreckit Ralph. Markowski is voiced by the lead singer of the legendary rock band named Perfect. The real name of the singer is Grzegorz Markowski!

Live-Action TV
  • In Toast, The BBC's dramatisation of celebrity chef Nigel Slater's autobiography, Slater plays the chef who gives young Nigel his first job.
  • Happens more than once on The Wire, as several characters are loosely based on real cops and criminals who are given cameos on the show. Most notably, the real Jay Landsman ends up playing a recurring character.
  • Sue Thomas appears in three episodes of Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye. In two of them, she plays a character called Deanne Bray!
  • In Micro Men Sophie (née Roger) Wilson, as well as being a major character played by actor Stefan Butler, has a cameo right at the end of the programme as a pub landlady.
  • Sky1's Little Crackers series comprises biographical skits about (and usually written by) comedians and comedy actors, who always appear as a secondary character. For instance, Alison Steadman as her own mum, or Stephen Fry playing his headmaster.
  • Dave Barry guest-starred in one episode of Dave's World, the sitcom based on his column. He was a disgruntled character who got into a bidding war with Dave over an air conditioner during a heatwave. The end credits featured real Dave Barry and screen Dave Barry (Harry Anderson) jamming together on guitars. To take things full-circle, the real Dave then wrote a column about his experience on the show, which was published in the book Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up.
  • In An Adventure in Space and Time, a docudrama about the making of early Doctor Who, William Russell (Ian Chesterton) plays Harry, The BBC commissionaire, and Carole Ann Ford (Susan) plays Joyce, a grandmother whose grandsons are Doctor Who fans. A few other actors from the early years appear at various points, most notably in the crowd at Verity Lambert's leaving do.

Miscellaneous
  • In Funny or Die's spoof trailer for Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, the faux Al's goatee'd manager is played by Al himself.


Newscaster CameoCharacters and CastingRemake Cameo
Newscaster CameoThe CameoRemake Cameo

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