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A brief appearance by a well-known star or other famous person in a role that would otherwise be an extra or walk-on. Most often used today as a surprise or punchline of sorts. It can be accented with a character's leitmotif.
Can also indicate a similar surprise appearance by an animated character—often as a Continuity Nod—in a production in which they play no real part.
The term originated with producer Mike Todd, when he was describing the literally hundreds of Hollywood and foreign movie stars who made brief appearances in the original 1956 film version of ''Around The World In 80 Days.''
Creator Cameo: A character in a work of fiction is played by the person who created the work of fiction or one of the people involved in making it.
Death by Cameo: The character's cameo appearance involves them getting killed or being seen as a corpse.
Early-Bird Cameo: A prominent character makes an appearance before being properly introduced or being given their own series.
Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: A copyrighted character makes an appearance that follows copyright laws enough to avoid a lawsuit, yet dancing around enough of those laws that savvy viewers will recognize who the character is intended to be.
Love Lucky: In chapter 56, Yura and Makoto (from mangaka Katsu Aki's more famous work, Futari Ecchi) have a walk on cameo as they pass by Kirari, who jealously contemplates how much she wants to be a "normal happy couple" like they are.
"Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure" has Kiyone Makibi, Ramia, and Misao Amano from "Tenchi Muyo" appear as background characters in the final ova episode. other tenchi charaters show in the laser disk sleeve artwork while elements of Dual! pop up in "Tenchi Muyo GXP" both shows are fro the same team at AIC and are considered as part of one multiverse.
In the American dub of Duel Masters, after Shobu defeats Kokujo, he is finally given his opportunity to duel Hakuoh and ascend to the rank of Kaijudo master, along such famous names as his father Shori and seven-time grand champion Greg the Bunny.
Charlie Brown and Linus made a cameo in the FoxTrot Sunday strip published on December 17, 2006.
Roger: Aarg! I just knew I should have [bought a Christmas tree] last weekend! Oh, wait! That little tree over there isn't sold yet... Noooooooooo!... Linus: Sorry, mister. Charlie Brown: [walking away with the tree from A Charlie Brown Christmas] You snooze, you lose!
The title character of Tramp's Wormy had a credited cameo in Phil Foglio's What's New? With Phil And Dixie, back when both gaming-comics were running side-by-side in Dragon.
Tim Leherner, a.k.a. TelstarMan, is a newsanchor near the end of Transmetropolitan. He attracted the attention of Warren Ellis for having a truly ridiculous number of covers of the song "Telstar" (over 130 at last count).
One of the characters from the second story, and by the far the most popular, of Crossoverpairinglover (Of Fanfiction.Net) Naruto Mysterious Power, Taisune AKA, a version of Naruto Uzumaki who got thrown across the multiverse by a version of Sasuke Uchiha, frequently pops up in the other stories in roles varying from an observer to a way to deal with minor problems. He's appeared in major stories such as Naruto and the Last Vampires, Moon Heir and the Lost Ones Part 1, Percy Jackson and the Olympians; Olympus Divided, Harry Potter and the Restored Legacy and Harry Potter and the Altered World, occasionally with Fluffy, His version of a female Kurama who got merged with Sakura and Hinata. Recently, various versions of the Percy Jackson titan Prometheus have begun to appear as well, popping up in the Moon Heir, Brother's bet, Divided Olympus, Last Vampiress and Altered World universes as part of a current cross story event. Other characters, who do not have any known ability to cross time and space have also appeared in other worlds, such as Avatar the Last Airbender's Cabbager Merchant in Mysterious Power, Last Vampiress, Altered World, Restored Legacy, Moon Heir and Next Gen verses in gags very similar to what happens in his homeverse. Alternate versions of Dolores Umbridge, Grover Underwood, Ichigo Kurosaki, Spongebob, Alex Russo, Justin Russo, Naruto Uzumaki, Hinata Hyuga and others have also found their way of appearing in the various stories via cameos and Omakes
All Pixar films also have a role with John Ratzenberger. While usually a credited supporting character, he has occasionally performed as an extra that is essentially just a cameo, notably as the Underminer in The Incredibles and as a construction worker in Up.
In Toy Story 3, one of Bonnie's toys is a plush Totoro. Also, one of the students in the Butterfly Room at Sunnyside Daycare is a little girl resembling Boo from Monsters Inc. who for some reason likes to play with a blue stuffed kitten in which she tells, "Boo!"
A particularly awesome one in The Incredibles for anyone who is into animation history. Those two old men who praise the heroes after the climax ("That's the way to do it" - "No school like the old school") are Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston...Not ringing a bell? They were the last surviving two of Disney's "Nine Old Men", legendary animators who had been in the business practically since the beginning. For example, they were both animators on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and were involved in practically every animated Disney project up to The Fox and the Hound. (Sadly, Thomas didn't live to see The Incredibles finished, and Johnston died in 2008.)
Souls for Sale, a 1923 silent film about an actress trying to make her way in Hollywood, has a bunch of cameos from actors and the directors of the day, including some directors on the sets of real movies. The heroine acts for Charlie Chaplin on the set of A Woman of Paris but can't get a part in Erich von Stroheim's Greed.
Eighties rock singer Huey Lewis, who sung the theme song "The Power of Love", shows up in the first Back to the Future movie as a prom band audition judge... to denounce his own song as being "just too darn loud".
One of the first films to make use of The Cameo was the late silent era comedy Show People, a satire of Hollywood moviemaking, which featured cameos from film stars of the day, including huge stars such as Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin.
All of The Muppets movies were chock full of cameos. Listing them all would take the whole page, but a pair are in the picture above.
A few cameos popped up in the original Pink Panther film series, but the biggest one turns up at the end of Curse of the Pink Panther to write out Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau: Clouseau had Magic Plastic Surgery, and though he's as big a fool as ever, he now looks like/is played by Roger Moore!
The Thundering Herd sequence at the start of the Ranma ½ film Big Trouble In Nekonron, China and the crowd of guests for the Tendos' Christmas party in one of the OVAs are both liberally strewn with characters from throughout both the TV series and the manga.
Also, fellow Rings alumnus Cate Blanchett appears as Simon Pegg's ex-girlfriend...who is only seen with a mask covering her face.
Jackson also inserted himself into his LOTR films: in the first as a carrot munching drunk, in the second as a human at the Battle of Helm's Deep (above the entrance gate), and in the third as a pirate sailor. His kids also appear in three films.
He also has a brief (but fairly noticeable) appearance in the film version of The Lovely Bones. He's making a home movie in the store that Jack goes to to get Susie's camera film developed.
Peter Jackson apparently loves to insert himself into his own movies for stretches of time lasting a few seconds: this habit of his goes back to Heavenly Creatures! (He's the homeless guy Juliet Hulme hugs as she and Pauline exit a movie theater towards the beginning of the film.)
And in one of the many homages in his remake of King Kong, he's the pilot of the first biplane to be downed by Kong, just as the original's director piloted the only plane Kong destroyed in the original.
In the Updated Re-release of A New Hope, Dash Rendar's ship from Shadows of the Empire can be seen during the Mos Eisley arrival sequence, and Boba Fett has a cameo in the previously-cut Jabba the Hutt scene.
One crowd scene in the 2006 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie features the original Marvin robot (from an earlier adaptation of the same series) as an extra. Another scene features Simon Jones, the actor who played Arthur Dent in the original radio drama and TV versions of the series, as a prerecorded Magrathean hologram. And the last image of the entire movie is Douglas Adams.
A more classical example is The Greatest Story Ever Told, which is packed with them, the nadir being John Wayne playing a Roman centurion: "Truly, this man wuz the son of gawd!"
Lou Ferrigno, who played The Incredible Hulk in the TV series, had cameo appearances in Ang Lee's Hulk and Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk. In both films, he played a security guard, while in the latter he also voiced the Hulk.
In the first movie by Sam Raimi, several actors from the TV series he's produced get bit parts, including Lucy Lawless from Xena: Warrior Princess and Bruce Campbell from the Evil Dead series. He plays the ring announcer who introduces Peter as Spider-Man instead of "The Human Spider" as Peter originally wanted. Oh, and let's not forget the car that Uncle Ben was driving, also from Evil Dead.
Bruce Campbell returned in cameo roles for the next two films as well. In #2, he plays an usher at the theater who refuses to let Peter in because the doors have already been closed. Finally in #3, he is a french Maître d' at a restaurant who gladly helps Peter with his plans to propose to Mary Jane (though it doesn't exactly work out).
In the licensed games based on the films, Bruce also serves as the Lemony Narrator who walks you through tutorials. Though he doesn't seem very interested in it; at one point, he leaves to grab a sandwich.
Raimi himself did a couple of cameos; as the outtakes from the second film point out, he plays the student whose backpack smacks Peter in the head during a Montage.
Macy Gray showed up as herself singing at the festival the Goblin attacked in the first movie, too.
Stan Lee. Stan Lee protects a little girl in the havoc created by the Green Goblin in the first film. In the second, he pulls a woman out of the way of falling debris while Spider-Man fights Doc Ock; "Look out!" is his only line. In the third, he has a much more substantial cameo as a man who talks to Peter on the street. "Y'know, I guess it's true what they say: one person really can make a difference. 'Nuff said."
JoelMcHale showed up as the Bank Manager in Spider-Man 2, and made a whole sketch on his show about how the next movie was going to be about him.
The Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon went crazy with cameos, with the twist than some of them aren't by famous people but instead by those who had some connection to Andy's life. Some are actually depicted in the film by other actors.
Andy's granddaughter Brittany Colonna as Young Andy's little sister.
George Shapiro, Andy's agent, as the comedy club owner who fires Andy for having too odd an act. (Shapiro is played onscreen by Danny DeVito.)
Richard Belzer as an emcee for the first episode of Saturday Night Live. Belzer was a colleague of Kaufman's on the comedy club circuit, and partial inspiration for the latter's Tony Clifton persona.
Bob Zmuda, Andy's frequent co-conspirator, as Jack Burns, the producer of Fridays. (Paul Giamatti plays Zmuda.)
In that same sequence, Norm MacDonald and Caroline Rhea play Andy's co-stars in the sketch (substituting for Michael Richards and Melanie Chartoff, incidentally).
Lynne Marguiles, Andy's final girlfriend, appears as a mourner at the funeral. (Courtney Love plays her.)
Andy's father and siblings appear as extras.
Most of the cast of Taxi (aside from Tony Danza and Danny DeVito, the latter due to Celebrity Paradox), Andy's friend/collaborator Wendy Polland, Jerry Lawler, Lance Russell, Lorne Michaels, David Letterman, and Paul Shaffer appear as themselves.
Also, recognize the voice of that commentator during the scene where he first meets Jerry Lawler? It's Lawler's WWE commentary partner, Jim Ross.
Annie Hall: "Oh, do ya? Well, that's funny, because I happen to have Marshall McLuhan right here." Cue the actual Marshall McLuhan appearing from behind a pot plant to give the pretentious windbag a well-deserved dressing down.
"Oh, there's the winner of the Truman Capote Look-Alike Contest!"
The Movie of Kamen Rider Kiva has cameos by several actors from its predecessor, Kamen Rider Den-O, most prominently the voice actors of the Taros. The film draws attention to said cameos by having three of the four utter their character's Catch Phrase; the fourth, who plays a teacher, finds his character's phrase written on the blackboard at the start of class.
Stephenie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series, can be seen in the diner during the Twilight movie. She also appears in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 as one of the guests at Edward and Bella's wedding.
At the end of the TV-movie adaption of Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett appears as a Krullian.
Krullian: So...does that mean the star turtle's female, then?
Terry: Well, in my opinion...it's all a question of perspective.
And at the end of the other TV-movie adaption (Hogfather), as the owner of the toyshop that Death visits.
And at the end of the TV-movie adaptation of "Going Postal" he has a brief appearance as a postman.
John Landis likes putting other movie directors in various cameo roles in his movies. He did it to Steven Spielberg (uncredited as a tax clerk in Blues Brothers) and Frank Oz (in several movies, usually as an authority figure), while Spies Like Us is full of such cameo roles (Sam Raimi, Costa-Gavras, the Coen brothers, Terry Gilliam, ...).
The Greatest Show on Earth, a melodrama bordering on the World of Ham, features an uncharacteristically funny pair of cameos. Dorothy Lamour is cast as a circus performer who sings about the South Seas in her act, during which Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are shown in the audience, presumably as a Shout-Out to all of the "Road" pictures the three of them starred in.
Crosby put cameos in several of Hope's starring vehicles; one of the more memorable is My Favorite Brunette, where he's a prison guard who is disgusted that Hope's execution via electric chair has been called off.
There's a "gotcha!" moment early in My Favorite Brunette, where you're carefully set up to expect Crosby as the "cool private eye" whose office is across the hall from Hope's photography studio. But when he turns around, it isn't Crosby, it's Alan Ladd.
Airplane!: The directors (Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker) all have minor roles; the "Jive Lady" is Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver of Leave It to Beaver); Ethel Merman plays a hospitalized war veteran who thinks he is Ethel Merman; the guy stuck waiting in the cab is Howard Jarvis (creator of California's Proposition 13).
In Apollo 13 the B-movie director Roger Corman has a brief cameo as an budget-minded American senator being shown round the Apollo assembly building.
Ron Howard who directed Apollo 13 got his start working for Corman. This is not the only time "students" of Corman has had their mentor appear in cameos: He shows up as a senator in The Godfather Part II and as an FBI director in The Silence of the Lambs (where he's even listed in the opening credits!). He also appears in The Howling (along with Forrest J. Ackerman)— as a phone booth user who just has to check the coin return when he's done.
Tom Petty appears in the 1997 film The Postman, as the mayor of Bridge City.
The end of Malcolm X features a cameo by Nelson Mandela as a teacher. There are several smaller cameos: Bobby Seale (one of the founders of the Black Panthers) and Al Sharpton play street preachers, Chicago Seven lawyer William Kunstler appears as a judge, and Ossie Davis narrating a eulogy for Malcolm X over one scene (the same one he gave at the real Malcolm X's funeral, in fact)...
Jon Hamm at the end of The A-Team. It came completely out of left field.
Political figures John McCain and James Carville have cameos in Wedding Crashers.
Superman Returns, in addition to featuring several Remake Cameos from cast members of previous Superman films and TV shows, has Richard Branson cameo as a space shuttle pilot.
In Sunset Blvd., the other silent film stars Norma Desmond plays bridge with Anna Q. Nilsson, Buster Keaton and H. B. Warner. The big party scene shows Paramount songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans at the piano playing their hit "Buttons and Bows." Cecil B. DeMille appears As Himself directing the film Norma thinks is going to star her. At the end, gossip columnist Hedda Hopper briefly appears as herself.
Popular Mexican-American singer Selena did a background cameo in 1994's Don Juan DeMarco, performing in a hotel lounge. Tragically, this was her first and last movie cameo; she was murdered by a deranged fan in 1995 (which could qualify as Harsher in Hindsight, since the movie deals with mental illness.)
Though he technically didn't appear in SerenityJoss Whedon did cameo in the R.Tam Sessions, a short film that served as promotional material that depicted River Tam at the Academy undergoing interviews by a faceless "counselor" played by Whedon. She eventually stabs him in the throat, leading to some jokes that River finally got revenge for all the other characters Joss has killed or tortured over the years.
In one scene of The King Of Comedy, a group of punk rockers (credited as "street scum") start mocking Masha: among them are Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, and Paul Simonon of The Clash, as well as Ellen Foley.
Joan Rivers shows up at Odile's promotional party in The Smurfs.
Harvey Keitel and Penny Marshall take part in the film being made at the end of Get Shorty.
The original script for Gettysburg did not include the bit where General Hancock's aide tries to get Hancock to take cover. Historical advisor Ken Burns insisted that the exchange (seen on the Crowning Moment of Awesome page) had to be included. The director told Ken to get over to wardrobe, and the part of "Hancock's Aide" was played by Ken Burns.
Ted Turner, who backed said film, has a cameo as Col. Walter Patton, and gets shot and killed within minutes.
Audrey Hepburn has an extended cameo in Steven Spielberg's film Always. She is credited as "special appearance by..." and it would become her last film role.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Mr. Kyle, the Transporter Chief from TOS, is the Communications Officer on the Reliant - making him the only Red Shirt known to have survived the five-year mission. (He even got tossed aside by Khan in the transporter room in the original episode.)
Always Sunset on Third Street 2 is a movie involving politics, the economy of Japan, and a normal japanese family. With that in mind, would you really expect the movie to open up with, of all the possible ways it could, a cameo performance by Godzilla?
Mulholland Dr. has singer Rebekah del Rio appear as herself, performing at a mysterious nightclub.
Dave features brief appearances by numerous politicians, newscasters, and other public figures playing themselves.
The film ends with appearances from Anna Paquin as Rogue, James Marsden as Cyclops, Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, and Kelsey Grammer as the older version of Beast, all of whom were restored to life after the heroes stopped Mystique from killing Trask.
A young version of En Sabah Nur, aka Apocalypse, appears in The Stinger.
Alex Summers from X-Men: First Class can be seen as one of the mutants Mystique rescues from Saigon. A younger Toad is also featured there, even appearing in a later scene watching Magneto on TV to allude how he will join the Brotherhood.
Ink gets three: one in the Bad Future as a concentration camp inmate, one in Vietnam as a soldier, and one near the end, watching Magneto's New Era Speech.
While Scarlet Witch as a Mutant is absent in the film in spite of her relationship with Quicksilver, a girl with red hair is later seen with him. Interestingly, she is only credited as "Peter's Little Sister," making her identity ambiguous (some think she's Peter's half-sister Polaris), though it definitely counts as a Mythology Gag. Bryan Singer says there was a cut-out scene where the little girl was told to "go bug your sister."
Newhart currently holds the title of Best Celebrity Cameo Ever. Larry (of Larry, Darryl, and Darryl) mentions off hand that Johnny Carson pays their gas bill. Dick is skeptical of the weird trio's claim until the last minute of the episode. Johnny visits the Inn and tells Dick off because he does pay their gas bill. How dare Dick not believe the words of those fine upstanding lads.
Corner Gas has a lot of cameos.. various Canadian TV personalities, sports stars, and as noted above, two sitting Prime Ministers (Paul Martin and Stephen Harper). Lampshaded and parodied more than once, such as the time when the characters talk about how Colin Mochrie cameos on every Canadian TV show just before a minor character played by Colin Mochrie makes an appearance.
This happens a lot in Canada. Air Farce, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Corner Gas, and almost every other comedic (and sometimes not-comedic) show produced by CBC and often CTV too, often has cameos of one sort or another. You haven't lived until you've seen Peter Mansbridge (a well-known Canadian news anchor) affect a Newfoundland accent and sing a shanty.
Or former Prime Minister Kim Campbell singing "Raise a Little Hell".
Victorious: Jerry Trainor showed up at a stage play performed by Trina. However, this may be foreshadowing a planned crossover event between the 2 shows.
Billy Dee Williams appeared as himself, acting on a "show within a show" on LOST.
Rob McElhenney from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has a one scene cameo as a Other who gets outsmarted by Sawyer and Kate in "Not in Portland" because Damon Lindelof (Lost's co-creator and showrunner) is a fan of Sunny. The character later returned in season 6 and got shot by Claire.
The 1960's live action Batman TV show was notorious for random celebrity appearances as Batman climbed up buildings. Including Colonel Klink. Holy time-space distortion!
Most memorable was, as Batman & Robin were scaling a building... The Green Hornet and Kato were climbing up from the opposite side!
MythBusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman can be seen watching Nick through a window in a CSI episode ("The Theory of Everything") involving a man being set on fire via a taser He'd been sprayed with butane pepper spray, green blood, ground squirrels and cyanide.
The October 27, 2011 episode of Jeopardy! had "MythBusters" as a category. Adam and Jamie appeared in pre-recorded clips to give each answer.
The last episode of Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye had the real Sue Thomas (who was portraying an actress, no less).
Dennis Rodman appeared briefly as himself on 3rd Rock from the Sun as an old friend of the aliens from their home planet. They all mention how surprising it is that no one has figured out he's not from Earth, and he then reveals some shocking facts, such as that Michael Jordan is a robot and Madonna... is actually human. When he heads home, he takes with him a gift for the Big Giant Head: a big, giant nosering.
While he didn't appear in the movie, his alien status was mentioned in Men In Black. Elle didn't think he had a very good disguise.
John Hodgman in the Battlestar Galactica episode "No Exit." And Ron Moore in the final scene of the series.
Douglas Coupland wrote an exaggerated version of himself into jPod referred to as the "Anti-Doug". Anti-Doug does not appear in the jPod TV series, though Coupland himself does make a cameo.
While the marvels of modern effects and stock footage allowed for cameos by real-world politicians in JAG and its spinoff NCIS, one famous real-world figure, Oliver North, appeared on the former series as himself.
JAG also had a few other real-world figures making cameos like Jay Leno, Bill O'Reilly and Johnnie Cochran.
And in a strange inversion, an actor playing a Donald Rumsfeld stand-in features in one episode of NCIS, but the scene is shot to make it look like crappy stock footage of the real Rumsfeld.
Even more weird, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in late 2009 made an apperance on NCIS while not playing himself.
Brad Garrett, better known as Robert Barone carried a series called 'Til Death, in which in one episode he's trying to apologize to his wife in an Italian restaurant, causing Ray Romano to turn around from his table and go "C'Mon lady, what more do you want!?". His wife asks "Who was that?" "Looks like someone I used to work with."
In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Raj is excited about appearing on People Magazine and brags about it to a random guy sited on his back to him at a bar. But the random guy turns out to be Charlie Sheen. He says: "Call me when you get the cover."
In "The Toast Derivation", Sheldon boasts that LeVar Burton will be at a party he's throwing because he sent him a tweet asking him to come. In the episode's stinger, he actually shows up, but is freaked out by the other guests (one of whom is wearing only a towel) Karaoke-ing "I'm Walking On Sunshine" and leaves before anyone notices him.
In "The Excelsior Acquisition", the gang (minus Sheldon) go to a comics book signing by Stan Lee. He appears at the very end with a different attitude than normal.
In Good Eats, Alton Brown has ensured that all of his crew make at least one-time appearances as characters on the show.
The Mission: Impossible episode "The Catafalque" has Hall of Fame baseball player Johnny Bench in a cameo as a guard.
Dick Clark on Dharma and Greg. Once, Greg hangs out with Jane's weird friends and when they ask him if he'd like to play a game he says that he'll just watch. They all gasp in shock as no one has ever volunteered to be The Watcher before. As they all line up to lick The Watcher, Greg tries to escape through the nearest door only to find Dick Clark behind it who instantly knows that Greg is The Watcher and also wants to lick him. He appears another time in Edward's flashback but Kitty corrects him that it wasn't Dick Clark he was thinking of but Rick York. Another time he shows up only only for us to discover it's actually just someone disguised as Dick.
Dick Clark also made a cameo on Mad About You, in an episode where Paul Buchman is trying to shoot a documentary about the dropping of the famous lighted crystal ball in Times Square during New York City's New Years' celebrations. Toward the very end of the episode, it shows Clark, who decided to take that year off from covering the festivities for ABC (something that was odd to the point of being bizarre back then) and was thus watching the countdown at home, nearly freaking out over the ball's refusing to drop (due to a series of mishaps that happened while Paul and his small crew were trying to film the crystal ball on its perch).
Doctor Who has the serial "City of Death", where John Cleese and Eleanor Bron appear in its final episode as art gallery visitors who mistake the TARDIS for a work of art. They were filming separate projects in the same studio on the same day, and when writer Douglas Adams found out about this, he convinced them to do a quick cameo appearance. They agreed on the condition that their presence would not be publicized in any way prior to broadcast (in fact, they wanted to be credited with the pseudonyms "Kim Bread" and "Helen Swanetsky", but the BBC declined in favour of crediting them under their real names).
In "The Day of the Doctor", Tom Baker appears as a museum curator, and Peter Capaldi makes his very first appearance as the Twelfth Doctor in the climactic scene.
In "Deep Breath", Matt Smith makes a surprising reprise as a dying Eleventh Doctor, giving a tearful farewell to Clara and convincing her to trust the Twelfth Doctor.
When it was announced that Nurse Carol Hathaway was leaving ER at the end of the show's sixth season, George Clooney insisted that he would not reprise his role as Dr. Doug Ross (Carol's on-again off-again love interest) as a caneo in the season finale. And he didn't. He appeared in the episode before the season finale, which was Carol's final regular episode on the show, and the episode ended with Doug and Carol together again(in a guest appearance in the final season they were Happily Married). George Clooney accepted standard union scale pay for his cameo, which he did mainly as a favor to actress Julianna Margulies.
Janice Dickinson appears in the music video for Darren Hayes' "On the Verge of Something Wonderful" because she happened to be at the hotel where the video was filmed.
In Transformers, hitting the Energon targets shows the Allspark converting everyday appliances into flash symbols. The middle appliance is a cassette tape player that bears a striking resemblance to the Transformers Generation 1 version of Soundwave.
Stern Pinball's Iron Man have cameos by Nick Fury and Natasha Romanoff, though they have no real presence in the game.
The backglass for Tales from the Crypt includes cameos of The Vault Keeper and The Old Witch, two of the cohorts of the Crypt Keeper from the original EC Comics series.
The Royal Rumble tends to have former WWE legends and other superstars
At one time DREW CAREY entered the rumble (after being egged on by Edge & Christian).
He wasn't big at the time, but during John Cena's gangster entrance at Wrestlemania 22, one of the gangsters there would, years later, become The Biggest Douche In The World, CM Punk .
Riders Radio Theater - the week's musical guest usually gets a small speaking part in the episode as well.
The June 8, 1936 Lux Radio Theatre production of The Thin Man featured a random interview with silent screen star Theda Bara, who just happened to be in the audience. It is the only surviving recording of Bara's voice.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment right at the end of Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast, Carl is using a magic wand to poof in a bunch of llamas, which results in Dalai Llama getting poofed in as well.
LEGO has an incredibly large fondness for littering their licensed franchises with cameos in their on-line animations and in video games, usually Star Wars and Indiana Jones (mostly because they both have characters played by Harrison Ford, see). It's basically a Running Gag now.
Used quite frequently in video games; the longer the series, the more likely you are to have cameos in later games from older characters. Mario, in particular, has had so many cameos (even in games that aren't made by Nintendo) that they outstrip his appearances in games where he's playable.
Speaking of Zelda, many enemies from the Mario series have crossed over into Zelda to bother Link instead. Bob-Ombs, Goombas, Lakitus, Piranha Plants, Thwomps, Cheep-Cheeps, Bloopers and Boos amongst several others have appeared in Zelda games.
In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, if you hack into the game's files you can find an Arwing enemy. Apparently it was coded in to test a flight pattern for one of the game's bosses. (Volvagia, for those who are curious but too lazy to check)
Lampshaded by Balthier (who else?) in the rerelease of Final Fantasy Tactics. Ramza tells him that the path they're on is dangerous, and Balthier responds that a leading man doesn't balk in the face of danger...but this does feel more like a cameo role.
The Special Flag from Rally X is also a recurring item in Namco games.
It's a slightly more substantial part than a cameo, but there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference suggesting that Daedric Prince Sheogorath in Skyrim is actually the player character from Oblivion (the Shivering Isles expansion for the latter explains how this happened).
The later Mega Man Battle Network games feature a number of cameos from Konami's Boktai series, including series creator Hideo Kojima (due to the latter three Battle Network games each having link functionality with one of the Boktai games...at least in Japan.
The Sierra adventure games King's Quest and Space Quest were known for including famous figures from fairy tales/mythology and science fiction, respectively.
Samus Aran has made cameo appearances in Tetris for the NES and Kirby's Dream Land 3.
Dr. Robert Hoffman of Trauma Center fame makes an appearance in Etrian Odyssey as the main town's apothecary.
Vyse, Aika, and Fina of Cult ClassicSkies of Arcadia fame make cameo appearances eight years later in Valkyria Chronicles; Vyse and Aika as playable soldiers and Fina (who's apparently one of a set of identical triplets) as the medic that rescues downed soldiers.
Similarly, in the first level of the first episode there's an arcade cabinet of Duke Nukem 2. Pressing use on it earns the one-liner "Hmm, don't have time to play with myself." Attentive players would notice that doing this also opens a door next to the machine containing a holo-duke, bringing the joke full circle.
Blood hit back by including a partially dismembered Duke Nukem hanging from a chain. On finding him, Caleb quips "I've got time to play with you"; pressing use on it makes it swing in place, to which Caleb says "Ooh, shake it baby." Check it out.
Quake III: Arena has the Player Characters from Doom and Quake 1, and a number of playable characters from Quake 2 were brushed up for the new engine and included. Doom's death animation is even a faithful fully 3D reproduction of his iconic throat-grab from the original game. TankJr is explicitly stated to be a Strogg, although nothing exactly like him appears in Quake 2. And that's just the characters included on the disc.... Bullfrog made an official add-on model for Quake 3 of Dungeon Keeper 2's Great Horny.
In Doom 2, if you turn on the clipping cheat and go inside the Icon of Sin's head, you discover that The Man Behind the Curtain is John Romero's head on a stake. Also, the "satanic" speech that is heard before its attack commences is actually the following, played backwards through a modulator: "To win the game you must kill me, John Romero."
Doom 2 has two entire levels taken from Wolfenstein 3D, complete with the iconic blue-suited gestapos. The second level finishes up with Commander Keen of all people making an appearance.
Snake makes a cameo in Boktai, although he's dressed in a different outfit and calling himself "a man with no name" (since the game is spaghetti Western-themed). When you save him, he'll start an Item shop and sell you Boxes.
In Parasite Eve, Cloud Strife makes a cameo. As a piece of anti-virus software. Attached to a computer magazine called 'Aeris'.
Super Mario RPG has Link appear in the Rose Town inn after the Bowyer incident ends. Examining him with "A" triggers the Zelda "secret discovered" sound effect. Also, at one point, Samus appears in the guest room of Peach's Castle. Talk to her and she'll tell you she's resting up for Mother Brain. Why she chose to go all the way to the Mushroom Kingdom instead of just resting in her ship or something and saving time is beyond me. There's also a Samus doll in Booster's Tower. Finally, although he doesn't make an appearance, Bruce Lee is referenced by Mallow when Mario is about to rush in and engage Bowyer.
Sonic the Hedgehog appears in the Sega game Bug!, twice. The first is a bonus level where Bug was able to race him (Sonic's route was a lot longer and uneven, so it balanced out), and the second one was a secret area where Sonic would appear and leave a bunch of powerups on a platform.
Wario Land 4 has a really, really obscure one. The professor from the bonus rooms is actually Dr. Arewo Stein from the Japanese game For The Frog The Bell Tolls. On that note, Mr Game and Watch (from both Super Smash Bros. and the Game & Watch handheld games) appears, although he turns out to be a magically disguised ghost princess/cat being.
While playing through a level in Jedi Knight, there's one small home with a finnicky automatic door; it'll only open when Katarn is a certain distance away. Move quickly enough, and you can get inside to find Max, holding a blaster very much like the one you start out with. Lead him out and he'll start blasting your enemies for you. Happen to attack him, and he'll come after you!
Amaterasu makes an appearance in Asura's Wrath in one of the episode recaps. Considering both games are published by Capcom, and are based on Asian Mythology, it makes a lot of sense.
Kirbys Return To Dreamland includes some from stone statues of Rick, Coo and Kine from Deamland 2 and 3 and Marx from Super Star. Mass Attack has Max Flexer and Chef Shataki from the anime. And finally, Super Star has Mario while Ultra has him with Peach, Luigi and Wario.
The iDOLM@STER 2 - So far Hatsune Miku and 876's idols Ai Hidaka and Eri Mizutani are available in DLC as in story rivals for the 765 Pro idols.
The Curse of Monkey Island features The Flying Welshman who looks almost identical to Bobbin Threadbare from Loom. The only difference is he's wearing a lifejacket and has a different voice (Loom had a talkie version, rare at the time)). As Loom had no sequels, LucasArts clearly put this in for people wondering what Bobbin was up to.
In reference to the Loom advertisement in the first game, The Curse of Monkey Island advertises Grim Fandango in a similar way, with Guybrush encountering the advertiser in a restaurant. The only difference is that the character who does so is the lead character from that game, Manny Cavalera...who doesn't speak to Guybrush on account of being dead.
At the beginning of Alleyway, an old Breakout clone for the Game Boy, Mario runs across the screen and hops into the pilot seat of the paddle.
In the bonus modes of Duel Savior Destiny a couple of characters from early games the company made are playable characters.
In Hitman: Absolution, Kane and Lynch have cameos in the first stages of Act II. Kane is seen in a bar while Lynch is at a shooting range in a gun store.
Seeing as how the Sega Superstars series involves crossovers, other characters cameoing in the courts and tracks is inevitable. (Chao as spectators on Sonic tracks, Yoyo, Rhyth, Professor K, and others on
In All Stars Racing, Ristar makes his first appearance in 16 years hidden on the Death Egg Zone track.
Playstation All Stars Battle Royale. A crossover fighting game, so it's a no-brainer. Each stage involves elements from some other game interfering with that one, you can get chibi versions of certain characters to cheer you on in fights, story modes involve characters from the same franchise as that character, etc. Also, some finishing moves include cameos from other characters of that franchise too. (Sly's Lvl. 1 finishing move has Murray come out and attack, PaRappa's Lvl. 3 finishing move has him put on a concert with characters such as Lammy and Katy Kat watching, etc.)
Sonic Generations is filled to the brim with cameos. Most notable is NiGHTS in the 3DS version making him/her/it the only non-Sonic character to appear in the game.
Played for laughs in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, where instead of saving a generic face during the levels like previous Lego games, the player (if the person chooses to) can save Stan Lee during the story missions, different locations on the world map, and even the special Deadpool comic missions. Lampshaded by Stan Lee, himself, who constantly gives statements about making cameo appearances throughout the game after you rescued him. The whole point is to poke fun at how Stan Lee often makes cameo appearances in both his live action movies and animated projects.
Characters from the Rhythm Heaven series (such as the masked wrestler, the Wandering Samurai, and the Chorus Kids) make guest appearances in Game & Wario.
While the series' recurring Kremling antagonists have yet to appear in person in Retro Studios' run on the Donkey Kong Country series, K. Rool, the Big Bad of the first three games, appears in rock formation form in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (complete with a bunch of 10 bananas where his crown would be).
The Hint Guy in EarthBound is replaced by Lauren Faust as an alicorn in the romhackEquestriaBound.
To the shock and awe of everyone, sketch-comedy group LoadingReadyRun snagged some major cameos in its video Lock Out! The gang was lucky enough to grab Wil Wheaton and Tycho while at a charity convention.
Parodied in Mario Party TV: Mr. Doom's character of choice is Boo whenever the ghost is available. On boards where Doom isn't even playing, this has led to jokes about him appearing as the thieving Boo the players can hire.
The Crossoverlord, being a webcomic superhero crossover series set in a multiverse, tends to cameo various heroic characters rather frequently. However, it really went over the top with this page.
Sprite comics have a large tendency to rely upon cameos due to the easy nature in which an author can use another person's 'sprite sheets' in order to quickly and easily represent different characters.
Questionable Content has referenced XKCD a few times (once on a characters' shirt), and in this strip portrayed an webcomic artist wearing an "I<3MATH" shirt, with a sketch of a stick figure wearing a black hat in front of him. He wasn't explicitly named, but the allusion was obvious.
Bittersweet Candy Bowl, Many fancharacters given to the author have either become regular cast or served as background filler.
Liam, a fan-made character, even had an entire intermission chapter dedicated to his relationship with Lucy.
One strip of Fite! contains Tamino the Cat, the main character of another comic by the same author, as a passerby.
At the end of the Christmas Episode of Ben 10, one of the "elves" they rescue from the time-warped Santa's Village theme park shows up as an old man with his grandchildren, who look suspiciously like Konohamaru and his ninja squad. Now that I think about it, the old man did look a lot like the Hokage at the time...
Chowder frequently has cameos from cartoons and other media, with the Powerpuff Girls having three so far. The first was Mrs. Bellum apparently being The Sarge's blind date in The Hot Date, the second being Bubbles' head in The Heist, and the third being Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup in the form of a bird, a cat, and a pig respectively in Wayne Tootin.
The Flintstones take a trip to Jellyrock Park in the episode Swedish Visitors. They get a surprise visit from Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, who in typical fashion steal the Flintstones' picnic basket.
Popeye himself is seen on a wall frame in a Greenwich Village coffee house in "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party."
Private Gripweed, John Lennon's character in the 1967 movie How I Won The War, appears very briefly in "Strawberry Fields."
Bugs Bunny, a Warner Bros. character, cameos in the George Pal Puppetoon Jasper Goes Hunting (released by Paramount). In his own Warners universe, Bugs cameos in at least three cartoons with other animated stars.
Daffy Duck cameos in two Bugs cartoons, "Sahara Hare" and "Apes Of Wrath." Foghorn Leghorn cameos at the end of "False Hare."
Little Audrey cameos on the Popeye cartoon "Olive Oyl For President."
Betty Boop character Whiffle Piffle appears in the street brawl from "Brotherly Love".
Both DCAU Batmen (Bruce Wayne and Terry McGinnis) appeared in "Future Shock" (while Batman had a few episodes as well).
Superman appeared in "Toyz In the Hood".
The rest of the Justice League appeared with Batman and Braniac in thw two-part "A League of Their Own".
The Joker was in "The Big Leagues," while Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy were in "Hard as Nails."
Lil Romeo, Shaquille O'Neal and Karl Malone each was an Ink-Suit Actor in their episodes ("Romeo In The Mix", "Static Shaq" and "Hoop Squad").
The other "Hoop Squad" members (Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, and Steve Nash) are voiced by others though.
Justice League Unlimited had Static in the two-part "The Once and Future Thing" alongside Terry, an older Bruce Wayne, and Static, as well as Hal Jordan (as the show used John Stewart as Green Lantern).
The rainbow that flies through Equestria in Twilight's Kingdom Part 2 is seen by everyone who gave the Mane Six their keys - Coco Pommel, Spitfire and the Wonderbolts, Cheese Sandwich, Seabreeze, Silver Shill, and Discord last of all.