Creating new characters and describing them in detail so the reader has a quick and easy understanding of what they look and sound like is tough. Much easier? Describing them as looking or sounding like a famous celebrity! If the reader knows the celebrity (and that might be a big ''if'', depending on target audience and the amount of time that passed since the work was published), it allows for a quick reference and something the reader can picture quickly. If not, then the reader is cheated out of a description in what might seem like lazy shorthand.

Common in {{fanfiction}} by less ambitious authors. Why bother wasting words on descriptions when you can just say your heroine looks just like Creator/CameronDiaz or Creator/AudreyHepburn? Bonus points for combining this with DescriptionInTheMirror: "MarySue glanced up from brushing her teeth and was struck, not for the first time, by how much she looked like a young Creator/SteveBuscemi..."

Also frequently used in-universe specifically for the purpose of "dating" a work, where one character (or the first-person narrator) describes another using intentionally outdated (contemporary) references in line with the date and location of the setting in order to build atmosphere.

Note: This is a narration in literature trope. '''Please don't add any examples that exclusively involve dialogue or internal monologue.''' This refers only to when the narration of the story itself describes characters' appearance by making a celebrity comparison, not when characters do.

Contrast with plain ol' CelebrityResemblance. Compare ComicBookFantasyCasting for drawn examples. See HypotheticalCasting for instances where the author pictures a certain actor in a role but only mentions it through WordOfGod.



[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/WormwoodGentlemanCorpse'', Wormwood's PerceptionFilter human appearance is stated several times to look like Creator/BradPitt, although the visual likeness isn't very close.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Ebony opens the notoriously bad Harry Potter fanfiction ''FanFic/MyImmortal'' by describing herself as looking like Amy Lee from Music/{{Evanescence}} (the fanfic is {{Titled After| TheSong}} one of the band's songs), and states that anyone who doesn't know who she is should GTFO. Other characters (despite them being featured in a hit movie and having their actors be celebrities) also are described as resembling celebrities, such as [[Creator/DanielRadcliffe Vampire Potter]] and [[Music/GoodCharlotte Joel Madden]], or [[Creator/TomFelton Draco Malfoy]] and [[Music/MyChemicalRomance Gerard Way]].
* In Fanfic/MoonDaughter, the narrator describes [[Creator/PercyJackson Hades]] as looking "kind of like Creator/JohnnyDepp super pale, but he had black hair in a ponytail and a little eyeliner but not too much cause he isn't gay."
* Overlaps with CelebrityParadox in the HarryPotter fanfiction ''Fanfic/{{Happy Endings|HarryPotter}}'', where Severus Snape has been given a makeover by a ParodySue and thinks he now looks like a young Creator/AlanRickman.

* Used in-universe in ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'', where Wilbur tells Lewis that his father - away on a trip at the time - looks like Creator/TomSelleck (a picture of Selleck is even used when Lewis tries to figure out the Robinsons' family tree). Actually, Wilbur does this to throw Lewis off, as [[spoiler: his father, who's an ''older Lewis'', looks nothing like Selleck]].

* ''Literature/LeftBehind'' describes its villain, Nicolae Carpathia, as looking like a young Creator/RobertRedford. This is meant to give an idea of the charm he evokes. In one book, the female lead was established as having a crush on Robert Redford, and the male lead was described as looking a bit like him "if he was a rummy and a drunk." This is clarified within the same paragraph as like "two people had constructed a model human from identical parts, but one had followed the instructions and the other had just bashed it together."
** Another character's description, in its entirety, is that "he had a Creator/HenryFonda-ish quality to him".
* In ''ComicBook/XMen'' novels, ComicBook/{{Storm}} is now [[CelebrityParadox described as resembling]] Creator/HalleBerry.
* In the ''Literature/SweetValleyHigh'' books, Mr. Collins was described as looking like Creator/RobertRedford. In the new, updated editions he's just described as looking like "a movie star".
* Parodied in ''Literature/SoLongAndThanksForAllTheFish'':
-->If you took a couple of [[Music/DavidBowie David Bowies]] and stuck one of the David Bowies on the top of the other David Bowie, then attached another David Bowie to the end of each of the arms of the upper of the first two David Bowies and wrapped the whole business up in a dirty beach robe you would then have something which [[{{Dissimile}} didn't exactly look like]] John Watson, but which those who knew him would find hauntingly familiar.
* Major Major Major Major in ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'' is described as looking so much like Creator/HenryFonda that some of the other characters even start to suspect that he ''is'' Henry Fonda. In an interview, Joseph Heller said that, in a movie version, he would want Major to be played by either "[[CastingGag Henry Fonda or by somebody who looks nothing like Henry Fonda.]]" (In [[Film/CatchTwentyTwo the 1970 film]] adaptation, he was played by Creator/BobNewhart).
* ''Literature/HowNotToWriteANovel'' marks this as a lazy and ineffective storytelling device, giving two reasons why it doesn't work: First, if you just say your character looks like someone and drop the mic, then pre-existing impressions of that someone on the audience will, subconsciously or consciously, affect their perception of your character. Second, if you describe them relative to a celebrity (a younger George Clooney, a white Jet Li, a male Scarlett Johansson, etc.), then the reader will be doing the math when they should just be thinking of your character.
* ''Literature/JohnDiesAtTheEnd'' has a lot of fun with this. For example, there's a cop the narrator says reminds him of Morgan Freeman, despite looking nothing like him. He then refers to him as Morgan Freeman for the rest of the novel. It then subverts this by having a character named Jennifer Lopez who looks nothing like the singer. The narrator has to actually make the distinction for the reader, saying it's not ''the'' Jennifer Lopez, just a girl with the same name.
** It's even clarified that the Narrator doesn't recall the name of the black actor that the cop actually looks like, he just uses Morgan Freeman as a stand-in for that actors name.
* Done in an unusual way in ''Mike Nelson's Death Rat!'', where antagonist Gus Bromstad is described as having "trim, Roger Whittaker-like good looks," but those familiar with Roger Whittaker know that's not really the most glamorous of descriptions. The protagonist also considers himself to look like "a sloppy caricature of Gorbachev without the wine stain," which is far less flattering (and done as a humorous comment, since there's a good chance the reader was already picturing him as looking like that, based on the descriptions of him to that point).
* ''Literature/JamesBond''
** In Creator/IanFleming's novels ''Literature/CasinoRoyale'' and ''Literature/{{Moonraker}}'', 007 is described as looking like Hoagy Carmichael.
** Hugo Drax's [[TheDragon right-hand man]] Willy "The Persuader" Krebbs in ''Literature/{{Moonraker}}'' is described as looking like young Creator/PeterLorre. Since the actor himself had been typecast as slimy villains, this helps to describe the character's role in the story.
** Lavender Peacock, the GirlOfTheWeek in ''Literature/LicenceRenewed'', is described to be reminiscent of actress Creator/LaurenBacall as a young woman.
** "Sinful" Cindy Chalmer in ''Literature/RoleOfHonour'' reminds Bond of a much younger Ella Fitzgerald, a jazz singer.
** Conversed in ''Literature/DeathIsForever'', where a character complains to Bond that an author whose book he is reading constantly uses it to describe people.
** Mary Goodnight in ''Carte Blanche'' has a strong resemblance to the actress Kate Winslet, which has inspired several of her admirers to send her gifts inspired by the 1997 film ''Film/{{Titanic|1997}}'', in which Winslet had a starring role.
* In ''Literature/{{Trainspotting}}'' (the book, not the film), Mark Renton is said to resemble Alex [=McLeish=], while Sick Boy and Tommy are said to look like Creator/StevenSeagal and Creator/HarrisonFord respectively.
* EccentricMillionaire Hubertus Bigend, the titular character of Creator/WilliamGibson's ''Literature/BigendBooks'', is described as looking "like Creator/TomCruise on a diet of virgins' blood and truffled chocolates".
* In ''Theatre/ArsenicAndOldLace'', Jonathan Brewster's uncanny resemblance to Creator/BorisKarloff is frequently commented on by the other characters, as well as being mentioned in the script when he first enters. It's Jonathan's BerserkButton, and in the original production was also an ActorAllusion.
* The novelization of ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica'' has Claire Redfield note that Steve Burnside greatly resembles Creator/LeonardoDiCaprio. This was meant as an affectionate StealthInsult to the franchise, as this was such a common complaint about the game that the developers actually ''changed Steve's appearance'' before re-releasing it on [=PS2=]. Of course, this was back in Leo's cutsey-boy early years, but... ouch.
* The first volume of ''Literature/LabyrinthsOfEcho'' establishes that Juffin Hally looks like an aging Creator/RutgerHauer; Shurf Lonli-Lokli, like a young [[Music/TheRollingStones Charlie Watts]]; and Melamori Blimm, like Diana Rigg in [[Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService her Bond Girl days]]. Also, Kofa Yokh's appearance is compared to Creator/GeorgesSimenon' Inspector Maigret. This becomes a plot point late in the second volume, where Max almost lets himself be convinced that [[AllJustADream all of them were just figments of his imagination]], based on his favorite movies--a possible instance of the author admitting to lazy writing, as this technique is never used again throughout rest of the series.
* Spoofed in Creator/RobertRankin's ''Armageddon: The Musical'' series: The main character resembles Creator/HarrisonFord to such an extent that [[CelebrityParadox people ask him for his autograph]] and think he's being a jerk when he signs his own name. One of the books has a subplot where a group of minor characters gain MediumAwareness and try to get the narrator to describe them as resembling various Hollywood stars;[[note]]Well, two, really, which led to confusion about which Julia Roberts was which character.[[/note]] the ButtMonkey wants to be played by Creator/TomCruise but ends up as [=Danny DeVito=] instead. There's a full cast list at the end.[[note]]Which reveals that the ButtMonkey was somehow able to recast himself with Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger.[[/note]]
** In ''The Brentford Chainstore Massacre'', MadScientist Dr. Steven Malone looks exactly like a Sidney Paget illustration of Franchise/SherlockHolmes. Which means he's in black and white and generally in profile, pointing at something off the edge of the page.
* [[ Scarlett Johansson actually sued a French author for doing this with her in one of his books.]] And she managed to win, too. Apparently, just baldly stating that "character X looks like real-life person Y" is okay, but having "having character X be confused with real-life person Y and be treated as if he or she is Y" is considered over the line. However, many of her claims were rejected and she was awarded 2500 euros, not the 50000 euros she wanted. As a result of the case, the book continues to be published with only minor alterations.
* In ''Literature/TheCuckoosCalling'', protagonist Cormoran Strike is described as looking like "a young [[Music/LudwigVanBeethoven Beethoven]] who had taken to boxing." In [[Literature/TheSilkworm the second book]] his client Leonora Quine is compared to a long-haired Rose West by the UsefulNotes/BritishNewspapers.
* The ''Literature/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'' novelisation describes Raiden as looking 'like a young Music/DavidBowie'.
* The series ''Literature/MagnusChaseAndTheGodsOfAsgard'' by Rick Riordan repeatedly compares the title character to Music/KurtCobain.
* An InUniverse example in ''[[ComicBook/XWingSeries X-Wing: Rogue Squadron]]'' where Imperial Intelligence operative Kirtan Loor is said to look like a young Grand Moff Tarkin, a resemblance which he deliberately tries to emphasize. Sir Creator/PeterCushing presumably doesn't exist in the Galaxy Far, Far Away.
* Parodied by a Creator/DaveBarry column in which he writes a fake suspense novel, clearly hoping for a film adaptation. "Carter Crater strode into the office. He looked like Creator/TomCruise, or, if he's available, Creator/AlPacino."

[[folder:Stand-Up Comedy]]
* {{Parodied}} by Creator/LarryTheCableGuy:
-->"So I once slept with a woman who looked like Creator/MichellePfeiffer, only a little shorter, [[{{Dissimile}} and the face were different]]. ''({{beat}}, audience laughs)'' Heh, I was drinking, she looked like Michelle Pfeiffer. Next morning Barney Pfeiffer's in the bed with me."

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Many {{MUSH}}es will allow players to set actors for their characters (often referred to as [=PBs=], for "played by").