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The Danza
"Whatever your character's name is, people are going to call you that for the rest of your life. Make your character's name Will Smith."

A character whose name is clearly taken from the actor/actress portraying him/her. This shows up in TV a lot in shows designed as a vehicle for an actor's fame. By lending their name to the fictional character, there's some familiarity created already. The most obvious way to spot this is to see if the title of the show incorporates the lead actor/actress' name, but not always. This seemed to hit its peak in the sitcoms of the late eighties and early nineties. A good majority of sitcoms were based on a stand up comedian's routine (Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr) and many of these comics already were developing fanbases. Creating the Danza was a way to leverage their fame as a comic into success as an actor.

Another common reason for doing this is that if an actor is famous enough, people will always refer to him/her by his/her real name even when discussing him/her as a fictional character (unless, of course, the character he/she is portraying is even more iconic, with the exception of said character being played by different actors and/or in multiple media). To avoid the annoyance or awkwardness of this character being constantly referred to as "[Famous name's] character", it's often best to just give them the same first name.

Sometimes this is used for child actors, to make things a little less confusing around the set. Also sometimes used for token ethnic minority characters, where it seemed that the program's staff were frightened to think up an original name and just used the name of the actor.

It's not a Danza if the character already has the name from an adaptation; in such a case the character is not being named for the actor.

Not to be confused with an actor or celebrity actually playing themselves. That's As Himself (if they're a main character) or Special Guest (if they show up for a single episode). How to differentiate? Is Bob the Actor playing Bob the Actor? Or does he just happen to be playing a character that's also named Bob? The second one is The Danza.

Compare Character as Himself, Adam Westing and Ink-Suit Actor. See also Name's the Same, and Author Avatar. If The Danza is the writer, then it may be Write Who You Know as well as Author Avatar.

Named for Tony Danza, whose frequent portrayal of people named Tony (see Taxi and Whos The Boss) has made him the butt of a few jokes, for example, this one for April Fools Day from Teevee.org. See this article at IMDB for another list.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • A borderline case is Nabeshin in Excel♥Saga and Puni Puni Poemi, who is voiced by director Watanabe Shinichi.note  Furthermore, Watanabe himself appears a few times in both shows with the same character model.
  • A weird twist would be Poemi of Puni Puni Poemi, who believes that she is actually her voice actress Yumiko Kobayashi, and continually refers to herself by that name. (She's also convinced that her father, Nabeshin, is actually the director and her boss...)
  • Megumi Hayashibara as Megumi Amatsuka in Tenshi Na Konamaiki, although this is likely a coincidence, as the character existed in the original manga long before Hayashibara was cast in the anime.
  • Sakura Tange played Sakura Kinomoto of Cardcaptor Sakura, who is also obviously not based on her.
  • Lucky Star
    • Minoru Shiraishi is voiced... by Minoru Shiraishi. It goes further than that, since Shiraishi plays himself (or a version of himself that's only slightly older than Akira) in the Lucky Channel segments... who plays a character named Minoru Shiraishi in the main program.
    • Gotouther-sama, the scary biker gang leader is voiced by Yuko Goto, who is normally typecast as moe characters. This is a homage to her real-life biker lifestyle.
    • Daisuke Ono is voiced by... Daisuke Ono. And Aya Hirano, predictably voiced by Aya Hirano (who also did Konata).
    • Patricia Martin's character has been confirmed to be inspired by Patricia Ja Lee. And then, in the English dub, was actually voiced by Patricia Ja Lee.
    • Clerk Sugita is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita.
    • Shiraishi also played an aspiring seiyuu named Shiraishi in Kiddy GiRL-AND.
  • Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge has Tomokazu Seki starring as himself. Mostly.
  • Code Geass has Inoue, Kento Sugiyama and Nagisa Chiba who are voiced by Kikuko Inoue, Noriaki Sugiyama and Saeko Chiba respectively. In their case, the characters were named for their actors. The English dub has a coincidental version with Kallen Stadtfeld (played by Karen Strassman).
  • As an in-joke, many of the characters in the Tenchi Muyo! Spin-Off Pretty Sammy have the same last name as their voice actors.
  • In another coincidental one (or maybe a casting director was being cute), in the English dub of Kyo Kara Maoh, Yuri was voiced by Yuri Lowenthal.
    • Voice actor Troy Baker did get some joke mileage out of this one though: "How bad is it when they start naming characters after voice actors? 'I wanna read for this guy, what's his name?' 'Er...Vic Migna.'"
  • In Detective Conan (AKA Case Closed in North America), several police officers were named after their voice actors. Detective Wataru Takagi, bears the same name as his voice actor, but other minor police officers bear the surnames of their respective voice actors.
    • Conan's voice actor double-roles in a two-parter as herself, the lead singer for the band Two-Mix.
  • In GunBuster, Noriko Takaya was voiced by Noriko Hidaka. Many of the characters, in fact, were named after people involved in the production.
  • The Latin American dub of Hamtaro has Kana (now Karla) voiced by Karla Falcon.
  • Shigeo "Shige" Shiba in Patlabor was voiced by Shigeru Chiba.
  • In yet another coincidental one in the dub of Gundam 00 President Brian Stegmeyer is voiced (among other minors roles) by Brian Drummond. Also, rivals Kati Mannequin and Leesa Kujoh (aka Sumeragi Lee Noriega) are voiced by Cathy Weseluck and Lisa Ann Beley respectively.
    • And before Kati Mannequin, Cathy Weseluck voiced Catherine Bloom in Gundam Wing.
  • Hideyuki Tanaka was the voice of Hideyuki Makimura in City Hunter. Tsukasa Hojo intentionally named the character after him in the manga long before the anime version was made.
  • Mai Nakahara is the voice behind Mai Hi ME's lead heroine, Mai Tokiha.
  • To voice Momoko Touyoko of Saki, they chose... Momoko Saito.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, Saki is voiced by Saki Nakajima.
  • Everybody in Shinesman — at least in the original Japanese version. This was an intentional ploy on the part of the mangaka which worked out handily when the manga was adapted for an OAV.
  • Tenjho Tenge has Soichiro Hoshi as Soichiro Nagi.
  • Maya in Burn-Up! W & Burn-Up! Excess is voiced by Maya Okamoto.
  • Digimon Adventure did this for some of the kids' parents' first names. The parents were probably named after their voice actors, as most of the parents' voices were the same as some of the kids or their Digimon and some of their names were All There in the Manual. Yuko Mizutani (Sora) as Yuko Yagami, Hiroaki Hirata (Narrator) as Hiroaki Ishida, Toshiko Fujita (Taichi) as Toshiko Takenouchi . . .
  • In the English dub of Project Blue Earth SOS, Maggie is voiced by Maggie Flecknoe.
  • Aya Stanford from Future GPX Cyber Formula SIN is voiced by Aya Hisakawa.
    • In the Korean dub of the same series, Hayato Kazami was renamed as Gang Jin-u who is voiced in Korean by Gang Su-jin
  • In Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Kana Hanazawa provides the voice of a minor character named Hanazawa.
  • In Bungaku Shoujo, Miyu Irino provides the voice of Konoha, whose pen name is Miu Inoue.
  • Zenjiro in Kodomo no Omocha.
  • In K-On!, Mugi shares her last name (Kotobuki) with that of her voice actress, Minako Kotobuki. Definitely a coincidence though, seeing how the manga came first. Now, if they could have gotten Hikaru Kotobuki from P-Model to (somehow) play the role...note 
  • Akira Kamiya as Akira Hibiki in Yuusha Raideen.
  • In the dub of Pokemon 3, Lisa Ortiz voices Lisa (Rin in the Japanese version). Could possibly have been named after her.
  • Seven of Seven has Nana Suzuki voiced by Nana Mizuki. This is probably intentional (at least the surname, the name Nana is a pun on the show's title).
  • In IGPX Immortal Grand Prix (at least the English version), the doctor who cares for Amy is named Dr. Blum and voiced by Steve Blum. Similar to the Code Geass examples (in the Japanese version), Blum also plays the supporting (much more important) character Alex Cunningham.
  • In Noein the protagonist Haruka Kaminogi is voiced by Haruka Kudou.
  • The Iryou Shoujo Medical Shamal Omake in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd As DVD/Blu-Ray featured a daughter and mother duo played by Shamal and Hayate, who are given the original names of Yuzuko and Kanae respectively. Rather strange choices, until you realize that Shamal is voiced by Ryoka Yuzuki while Hayate is voiced by Kana Ueda.
  • Sakura Trick has Haruka Tomatsu playing Haruka Takayama. The other heroine is a partial match—Yuu Sonoda, played by Yuka Iguchi—so this probably wasn't a coincidence.
  • Kids on the Slope has Junichi voiced by Junichi Suwabe.
  • Cathy Weseluck is prone to this when dubbing Gundam characters, namely; Catherine Bloom and Kati Mannequin.
  • Happiness Charge Pretty Cure has Megumi Aino, played by Megumi Nakajima. Funny enough, Hime's seiyuu is also named Megumi.
  • Full Metal Panic! has a version that crosses with Comic Book Fantasy Casting: The original light novels note that the AI in Kurz's Arm Slave is named "Yukari" and based off of a Japanese idol, complete with its voice being based off of samples of said idol. When the AI "appears" in The Second Raid, it's voiced by Yukari Tamura, implying that she was Kurz's inspiration.
  • Appears in-universe in "Haruhi Suzumiya'' when each of the named characters in the SOS Brigade's movie "The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina: Episode 00" is named for the brigade members who play them, and has a roles appropriate to the actor's secret identity.

    Fan Fic 
  • Script Fic Calvin & Hobbes: The Series has Andrew Lawrence and Robert Klein voicing Andy and Klein, respectively.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody fanfic "Zoey 1803" has a last name version with Zoey Martin played by Meaghan Martin.
  • This is often seen in fanfics in general that have the characters as actors with the franchise being a show that they're in.

    Films — Animated 
  • Penthouse pet Julie Strain voiced the main character of Julie in Heavy Metal 2000. The character later changed her name to "FAKK-2", but what're you gonna do? She DID change it back to Julie after saving her sister though.
  • Subverted due to Author Existence Failure in Bebe's Kids; Robin Harris, who popularized the sketch, died before production started on the film. He'd be voiced by Faizon Love.
  • In-universe example: Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge from Mickey's Christmas Carol.
    • That's just completing the circle, since Scrooge McDuck was named in honor of that other Scrooge in the first place, having first appeared in a 1947 Donald Duck story called "Christmas On Bear Mountain".
  • Several Pixar examples:
    • Mary Gibbs as Boo (assuming if it is her real name according to a painting in her bedroom) from Monsters, Inc.
    • Guido Quaroni as Guido from Cars.
    • John Ratzenberger as (SURPRISE!) John from WALL•E.
  • A few Disney animated features have this trope as well, including:
  • In the Disney film Bolt, Penny plays a character named "Penny" in the Show Within a Show. Bolt himself is called Bolt in the show, and in a meta example, the movie is named Bolt while the Show Within a Show is also named Bolt.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Possibly the oldest example in film: Charlie Chaplin's "Charlie" character, the center of many of his movies.
  • Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy usually played full-name versions of this in their films.
  • Frankie Avalon in the Beach movies.
  • The Marx Brothers did this in some of their films, and on stage. Notably, in Duck Soup, Chico's character is named Chicolini.
  • Subverted in Back To The Beach where Annette Funicello (known as Dee Dee in the classic Beach films) is called Annette while Frankie (her husband) is called "The Big Kahuna".
  • Long before Sandra Oh was cast in Grey's Anatomy, she won a Best Actress Genie Award (the modern day Canadian equivalent of the Oscars) for her role in 1998's Last Night... playing a character named just Sandra.
  • All the main characters from The Wrong Guys. In case you haven't seen it (quite likely) Louie Anderson, Richard Lewis, Richard Belzer, Franklyn Ajaye and Tim Thomerson play lifelong friends and former Boy Scouts called... Louie, Richard, Belz, Franklyn and Tim.
  • Jack Nicholson plays Jack Napier in Batman, because Jack is also a card, just like the Joker, and it's a pun on "jackanape".
  • To cash in even further on the fame of its cast, the entire cast of Love, Honour and Obey were named after the actors who play them. This may not have been just to cash in on the fame of the cast... the directors, Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis, directed a previous movie, Final Cut, starring much of the same cast (Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Ray Winstone etc) which also had the majority of the characters named after their actors. The films are clearly not sequels to each other, however — Ray is an actor in one film and a gangster in another, Sadie is with Ray in one film and Jude in the other, and most significantly, Jude dies at the beginning of one film (the film cuts between his funeral and a video being screened at his funeral which Jude made before his death), and is alive and well in the other.
  • Star Wars
    • The films offer many examples, usually background characters with little importance. These are often anagrams. Some examples: Cin Drallig (Nick Gillard), Roth-Del Masona (Leonard Thomas), Dannl Faytonni (Anthony Daniels), Nicanas Tassu (Nic Anastassiou), Jeremoch Colton (Jeremy Bulloch). An especially notable example is Amy Allen (mostly known for her portrayal of Aayla Secura, a character taken from a comic series), who has three characters she portrayed named after her: Mya Nalle, Yma Nalle, and Lela Mayn.
    • Borderline case: in one of the books, there was a character named "Entoo Needaan E-elz" (the author has actually confirmed that he was named after Anthony Daniels).
    • In the expanded universe, the full name of Wicket the Ewok (played by Warwick Davis) is revealed to be Wicket Wystri Warrick.
  • All three leads in The Blair Witch Project.
  • Bizarre example: The characters of Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows are all first-name Danzas. It had been originally intended for them to be full-name Danzas, carrying on the previous film's gimmick of "No, this is really happening to the actual people you see on film", but the director decided this was "dishonest" and changed their last names — he would have changed their first names too, but too much of the movie had already been filmed. The change was made so late in the day, however, that the new last names only appear in the credits, and we see the actor's last names on-screen briefly in a police report.
  • Often happens to Jackie Chan in his movies — especially those ported from Hong Kong to Western market. Jackie Chan plays either a "Jackie" or a "Mr. Chan" in movies such as "Operation Condor", "Supercop" & "Supercop 2", "The Myth", "Who Am I?", "Cannonball Run II", "Jackie Chan's First Strike", etc. And in Mr. Nice Guy, Miki is played by Miki Lee.
  • Two throwaway examples in the first ten minutes of Ghostbusters: Alice Drummond plays Alice the librarian, and Jennifer Runyon is Jennifer, a test subject whom Dr. Venkman just wants to date, causing him to compromise scientific integrity.
  • Daniel "Plainview" Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood, went one better than Sandra's Genie win, winning an Oscar for that role. Also in that film, we have Paul Dano as Paul Sunday (and as Sunday's twin brother).
  • In the Carry On films quite a lot of characters had the same first name as the actor playing them. Charles Hawtry being the first. Sid James later did this in Bless This House.
  • Reggie Banister plays Reggie Banister in all four of the Phantasm films. Also the character of Michael is played by Michael A. Baldwin in the first, third, and fourth installments.
  • Betty Garrett as Betty Barrett in Neptune's Daughter. This single-letter difference might have been to not mislead audiences into thinking that Eve Barrett (Esther Williams) was her sister in Real Life as well as in the movie.
  • In Labyrinth, they had to change the name of the baby boy to 'Toby' to avoid confusing the infant who played him. (Toby Froud, son of goblin designer Brian Froud.)
  • Speaking of Jennifer Connelly movies, in Phenomena, her character is named Jennifer Corvino.
  • Neil Connery as Dr. Neil Connery in the James Bond parody OK Connery (aka Operation Kid Brother—or to use the title of its Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, Operation Double 007). And yes, the Casting Gag of having Sean's younger brother play an unnamed agent's younger brother is the plot. In the same film Lois "Miss Moneypenny" Maxwell plays "Miss Maxwell".
  • Jason Mewes plays a character named "Jay" in The View Askewniverse movies, as well as some other characters also named "Jay" — and in the 2006 film Jack's Law, a character named Bobby Mewes.
  • Many of Harold Lloyd's characters have the first name Harold, with various last names. Once this even bled into the title: The Sin of Harold Diddlebock.
  • Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in A Cock and Bull Story, as well as playing Tristram Shandy and his brother, also play "Steve Coogan" and "Rob Brydon".
  • David Della Rocco in The Boondock Saints. The role was written specifically for him, but then again he was friends with the writer before they even started.
  • David Hewlett as David Worth in Cube. This might be chalked down to coincidence if not for the fact that Hewlett and Natali have been good friends since high school — because of this he probably had some input in choosing his character's full name.
  • In Desperado, Steve Buscemi plays a character called "Buscemi"
  • Subverted in Zack and Miri Make a Porno, with two gay lovers with the name of one being a play on the name of the actor playing another: Bobby Long played by Brandon Routh and Brandon St. Randy played by Justin Long.
  • In Observe and Report the twin security guards John and Matt are played by John and Matthew Yuan.
  • Egyptian American actor Ahmed Ahmed has played a few roles as Ahmed, and many others as himself.
  • Every single character in Purple Rain shares their actor's first name except for that played by Prince (his name is The Kid) and his movie mother and father (they have fictional names).
  • Stephen Chow directs and plays a character named Stephen Chow in God of Cookery. A particularly brave example since he sets himself up as an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist from the beginning.
  • Rudy Del Campo plays a character named simply "Del Campo" in the film version of West Side Story.
  • China Strike Force. In the English dub, at least three characters are named for the actor: Coolio plays Coolio, Norika Fujiwara plays Norika, and Ken Lo plays Ken Lo.
  • Stella Stevens as Stella Purdy in Jerry Lewis's The Nutty Professor.
  • Done backwards in Kenneth Branagh's Henry V, where Michael Williams plays "Michael Williams".
  • Subverted in Robert Altman's Images, where every major cast member plays a character with the same first name as another major cast member.
  • The Vincenzo Natali movie Nothing, and it's two protagonists: Andrew (Miller) and Dave (Hewlett).
  • In Home Alone 3 the lead character is named Alex after the actor portraying him, Alex D. Linz.
  • In Knocked Up, the main character's friends all keep the first names of the actors portraying them.
  • Steve McQueen in The Blob.
  • From 1932 to 1936, John Wayne played many characters named "John", and one named "Wayne". One of his lesser known roles is a romantic comedy called A Lady Takes A Chance where he plays a rodeo cowboy named Duke, which became his iconic nickname.
  • Jessie Royce Landis as Jessie Stevens in To Catch a Thief.
  • Happened in the other way around in The Caine Mutiny. Donna Lee Hickey, who played May Wynn, liked the name so much that she adopted it as her stage name. (May Wynn is a stage name in the original novel).
  • In A Fish Called Wanda, Tom Georgeson plays the character George Thomason.
  • Justin Long played Justin in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
  • Danny Trejo in Heat plays a character named Trejo.
  • This trope applies to everyone appearing in Paranormal Activity
  • In Carlos Saura's Carmen, the dancers Antonio Gades, Cristina Hoyos, and Juan Antonio Jimenez play dancers named Antonio, Cristina, and Juan, while musician Paco de Lucia plays a musician named Paco.
  • Subverted in Snow Cake: Angela Pell wrote the screenplay with Alan Rickman so much in mind that the main character was originally named "Alan Hughes". Rickman suggested the name change; the character is now called "Alex Hughes".
  • With the exceptions of Hicks and Ripley, all of the Marines in Aliens named on the hypersleep capsule readout share their first initial with the actor or actress playing them. Including Bishop the android, who is given the first initial "L". Word of God says their whole first names match up.
  • A reverse Danza happens in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood. Canadian singer Alan Doyle (a buddy of the film's lead Russell Crowe) plays the minstrel Alan-a-Dale.
  • Liam Neeson plays "Randy Father Liam" in Breakfast on Pluto. Seeing as this character was named Father Bernard in the original novel, we can only assume this was done deliberately...
  • Several movies by German comedian Didi Hallervorden, often containing "Didi" in the title
  • In The Basket, the character of Frederick Treadway was played by Patrick Treadway. This is because the character originally didn't have a name, so in the script he was simply referred to as Patrick Treadway, with the intention of coming up with a name later. Everyone got so used to it that it simply became the character's name, until the real Patrick asked for it to be altered at least partially so it wouldn't feel like he was playing himself.
  • Scott "Scotty" Thomas in Euro Trip is played by Scott Mechlowicz.
  • Sam Rockwell stars as Sam Bell in Moon. Deliberate as Duncan Jones specifically wrote the part for him.
  • Dragan Mićanović plays a Serbian gangster, Dragan, in Layer Cake, and amusingly enough, is The Dragon.
  • In Men In Black II, it's ambiguous whether Michael Jackson is playing himself or a fictional character in his cameo — but he's an aspiring MIB agent who wants to become "Agent M".
  • In Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee plays a character named "Mr. Lee".
  • In Mexico, there is a famous actress and comedienne named "María Elena Velasco". She has been cast a Danza in everything she has been in. Specifically, she plays "La India Maria", a character she herself created.
  • The Three Stooges were almost always this in their films. The names were a bit of a change situation, but were their main professional ones. The Horowitz boys were Moses ('Moe'), Jerome (nicknamed 'Curly' for his hair after his then-current nickname 'Babe' was taken), and Samuel (their mother's attempts to say it ended up as 'Shemp', and it stuck). Louis Feinberg had already taken the name 'Larry Fine' before joining the act. Joe Besser was the only one who didn't have to change anything at all. Joseph Wardell had used 'Joe DeRita' well before meeting the Stooges. Emil Sitka would've been the only one to make a name out of whole cloth ('Harry'), but the act died (with Moe) before any films could be made. RARE exceptions include Woman Haters (the first short, and part of another lineup of films Columbia was doing; they had character names) and the rare time when they would play actual others (opposite themselves), especially in drag.
  • Corrupt town councilman Bill Heslop in Muriel's Wedding is played by the veteran Australian actor Bill Hunter.
  • Silent Movie features Mel Brooks as Mel Funn, Marty Feldman as Marty Eggs, and Dom De Luise as Dom Bell.
  • Norman Wisdom played characters called Norman in a total of 13 films during the '50s and '60s. He is probably best remembered playing Norman Pitkin, opposite Edward Chapman as Mr. Grimsdale.
  • Glenn Morshower as "General Morshower" in the second and third Transformers films.
  • Reggae singer Willi One Blood plays a henchman in The Professional. Stansfield calls him "Blood", and another character calls him "Willi".
  • In Starter For 10 Alice Eve plays Alice and Rebecca Hall plays Rebecca.
  • In Moonraker, French actress Corrine Clery portrays Corrine Dufour.
  • British wartime comedian George Formby played a character named George in 18 of his 21 starring roles, including several where he is name-checked in the title (Come On George!, Let George Do It!).
  • In Bad Boys, Theresa Randle plays Theresa Burnett
  • In Four Weddings and a Funeral, David is played by David Bower.
  • In True Lies, Jean-Claude Parachino plays a bit part as...Jean-Claude. He's the guy who records the lines Harry plays back when Helen poses as a prostitute in the suite.
  • John Malkovich as John Horatio Malkovich in Being John Malkovich, obviously. He isn't quite playing himself, since the actor's real middle name is Gavin.
  • In Brazilian film The Elite Squad André Ramiro plays André Matias (though the first name rarely shows up due to Last Name Basis). Captain Matias returns in the sequel, keeping the trope running.
  • Michael Douglas as Michael Andropolis in Running.
  • From Justin to Kelly stars Justin Guarini as Justin Bell (a full-name Danza; Guarini is his stage name) and Kelly Clarkson as Kelly Taylor.
  • Fellini's La Dolce Vita: Marcello Mastroianni (Marcello Rubini) and Riccardo Garrone (Riccardo).
  • My Dinner With Andre has Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory playing...well, Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory.
  • Where the Wild Things Are's lead character Max is played by Max Records.
  • A coincidental last-name Danza appears in the remake of True Grit, where Lucky Ned Pepper is played by — you guessed it — Barry Pepper.
  • Shirley Temple in four of her early films.
  • Although the character existed long before the actress who played her, in an early film version of Anne of Green Gables, Anne Shirley was played by... Anne Shirley (which was the actress's stage name). The actress, née Dawn Evelyeen Paris, adopted the stage name as a consequence of being cast in the movie. She had been previously acting as Dawn O'Day.
  • In the Swedish film, Pelle the Conqueror, the title role was played by Pelle Hvenegaard. Hvenegaard was actually named for the character, since his parents were fans of the book the movie was based on.
  • Zabriskie Point: lead characters Mark and Daria (Mark Frechette and Daria Halprin), and also supporting character Kathleen (Kathleen Cleaver).
  • Sean Connery played Captain John Conner in Rising Sun. The similar sounding name is not a coincidence because author Micheal Crichton named the character John Conner in his book with the hope that Connery would play him in the eventual film version.
  • In The Wolf Man (1941), Bela Lugosi plays a fortune teller named Bela.
  • Reverse Danza: Actor Byron Barr changed his professional name to Gig Young after playing a character of that name in the 1942 film The Gay Sisters.
  • Keith David as Agent Keith in Gamer.
  • Peter Serafinowicz as Pete in Shaun of the Dead. Lampshaded (sort of) in a outtake included on the DVD, in which Simon Pegg and Nick Frost refer to the character by the actor's full name while delivering their dialogue.
  • Rachel Weisz's role in About a Boy is Rachel.
  • Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski in The Big Lebowski.
  • In La Haine, Vinz, Saïd and Hubert are played by Vincent Cassel, Saïd Taghmaoui and Hubert Koundé, respectively.
  • In Project X, all of the characters share the same first names as their actors.
  • Probably coincidental since the character actually is a real person, but in The Blind Side: Collins Tuohy is played by Lily Collins (daughter of Phil Collins)
  • In Titanic, the modern-time crew (aside from Brock Lovett, played by Bill Paxton) are named after the actors portraying them, e.g. Lewis Bodine is played by Lewis Abernathy. The crew in question is also the real-life crew of the ship.
  • Eddie Redmayne as "Eddie" in Hick.
  • Playboy Playmate Dona Speir played Agent Donna Hamilton in several of Andy Sidaris' Triple B movies, including Hard Ticket to Hawaii.
  • Paul Giammati as Paul Gill in Rock of Ages.
  • Sara Paxton as Sara Houski in Shark Night.
  • Frank Langella as the "Frank" of the title in Robot and Frank.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as "Joseph Simmons" in Looper.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson in Hocus Pocus.
  • Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov as Paul and Mary Bland in Eating Raoul and Chopping Mall.
  • In the live-action Scooby-Doo movies, Fred is played by Freddie Prinze Jr. Possibly a Casting Gag.
  • In Elf, Buddy's real name is William, and he is played by Will Ferrell.
  • The Shining has both Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance and now-retired child actor Danny Lloyd as his son Danny. In one of the commentaries, Nicholson comments that directing Lloyd was made much easier by this trope.
  • Twister with Bill Harding (Bill Paxton)
  • Small Soldiers with Phil Fimple (Phil Hartman).
  • The 1998 The Parent Trap has Lindsay Lohan playing twins Annie and Hallie, named after the director's daughters. One of the daughters plays a minor character (a friend of Annie's at camp) named Lindsay.
  • In Cold Creek Manor, Kristen Stewart played a character called Kristen Tilson.
  • In the 1983 film "The King of Comedy" Jerry Lewis plays a character named Jerry Langford
  • Maria Thayer as Rory Thayer in Accepted.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: Joseph Gatt's character was originally called GATT2000, although by the time of the film's release, the character's name was changed to Science Officer 0718.
  • The Expendables 2 villain Jean Vilain shares part of Jean-Claude Van Damme's given name.
  • In REC, Pablo is played by Pablo Rosso, who is a cameraman in Real Life.
  • In Festen (The Celebration), the receptionist Lars and Helene's boyfriend Gbatokai are portrayed by Lars Brygmann and Gbatokai Dakinah, respectively.
  • Dianne Wiest as Dianne Booker in The Horse Whisperer.
  • Another coincidental example: Tommy Pender as Tom (AKA: Thomas) in The Water Babies.
  • In Blue Is The Warmest Colour, the protagonist Adèle is played by Adèle Exarchopoulos.
  • Young Max in Elysium is played by Maxwell Perry Cotton.
  • Koh Jia Ler as Jia Ler in Ilo Ilo.
  • Ed Harris plays Ed Du Bois in Pain and Gain, who is a real person involved with the story.
  • The Bay: One of the women interviewed by Dr. Abrams right after the outbreak is a woman named Lamya Jezek... played by Lamya Jezek.
  • Sean Penn as Sean O'Connell in The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.
  • Georges St-Pierre as Georges Batroc in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This is a coincidence though, as Georges Batroc is an existing character from the Captain America comics.
  • Kick-Ass has Christopher Mintz-Plasse playing Christopher "Chris" D'Amico aka Red Mist, later The Motherfucker, and Stu Riley playing Stu.
  • In Muppet Treasure Island, Mr. Arrow's first name is given as Samuel - and he's "played" by Sam the Eagle.
  • Michael Corleone's son Anthony in The Godfather film series (the character doesn't exist in the Mario Puzo novels) was so named because the 3-year old boy who played him in the first film was also named Anthony. It was found that he responded best to his own name.
  • Diane "Annie" Hall, better known by her stage name Diane Keaton, as the title character in Annie Hall.
  • In Outbreak, Donald Sutherland plays Major General Donald "Donnie" McClintock.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show.
  • While we're mentioning musically gifted actresses with their own sitcom, China Anne McClain plays Chyna Parks on Ant Farm. Different spelling but it still counts, although in real-life she goes by China Anne instead just China, similar to Mary-Kate Olsen not going by just Mary.
  • Jim Belushi as Jim in According to Jim.
  • Alias had Michael Vaughn (played by Michael Vartan) and Rachel Gibson (played by Rachel Nichols).
  • Angel had Angel's infant son Connor being played by triplets, one of them being named Connor.
    • Doyle's middle name was Francis, which was also one of Glenn Quinn's middle names.
  • Done retroactively in Babylon 5 with the Centauri Emperor (played by Turhan Bey) and Prime Minister (played by Malachi Throne). When they appeared in the episode "The Coming of Shadows", they were not named and only credited as "Emperor" and "Prime Minister". Later episodes called them "Emperor Turhan" and "Prime Minister Malachi".
  • Ron Glass as Sgt. Ron Harris on Barney Miller.
  • Diane Martin, the first Miss America, in Battle Fever J. Both the character and the actress are called Diane Martin.
  • Baywatch: A great many one-shot guests kept their actors' full names. One such character goes on to become a regular (Michael Newman, aka Michael "Newmie" Newman.)
  • Analeigh Tipton's first acting role was a guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory as "Analeigh".
  • The little-known sitcom Big Brother Jake features fitness personality Jake Steinfeld as Jake Rosner.
  • Kendall Knight, James Diamond, Carlos Garcia, and Logan Mitchell in Big Time Rush are named after their respective actors Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Carlos Pena, and Logan Henderson.
  • Steve from Blues Clues—his actor's name was Steven in real life. Oddly enough, his Suspiciously Similar Substitute is named Joe in the show, but has the real-life name of Donovan.
  • Bob Newhart as Bob Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show, and Bob McKay on Bob!. His other show was named Newhart, but the character's name was Dick Loudon. In George & Leo, his character was George, the actor's actual birth name.
  • Jim Jarmusch on Bored to Death.
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt guest-starred in an episode of Boy Meets World, "And Then There was Shawn", as Jennifer Love Fefferman
  • Brian Stepanek as Brian O'Brian in the mini-show of the same name.
  • Buffy:
    • Larry Bagby III as Larry Blaisdell, although the character was named before Larry Bagby III was cast. Bagby joked that he should get the part because the character was named for him.
    • Robin Wood is played by DB Woodside.
  • Bunheads has a student at the ballet academy named Matisse, played by dancer/actress Matisse Love.
  • Subverted in an episode of Burn Notice in which actor Michael Weston guest-starred as the client of the week. His character was named Spencer but the actor's name is nearly identical to that of the lead character (whose last name is spelled "Westen").
  • In the '70s British spy serial Callan (starring Edward Woodward, later the suspiciously similar McCall in The Equalizer) the character Liz was played by Lisa Landon. For about half the four season run, she was credited only as "Hunter's Secretary".
  • Charmed once had a chameleon demon named Alastair, played by Alastair Duncan.
  • Cheers
    • Harry Anderson as "Harry the Hat". Anderson had used "Harry the Hat" as a stage name for years before appearing on TV, when he was a stage magician and real-life con man, making it in some ways even more of a Danza than usual). Anderson also played Judge Harry Stone on Night Court.
    • Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd looks like this, but it's a coincidence: the character was named Woody before Harrelson was cast.
    • Several background characters were named after their actors, such as Paul Wilson as Paul, Paul Vaughn as a different Paul, Thomas Babson as Tom, Phil Perlman as Phil, etc.
    • The cast joked about this trope in the opening sketch of the Disneyland 35th Anniversary Special, which Danza hosted.
    Woody: Tony Micelli's hosting! You know, the star of Who's the Boss?
    Frasier: That's not his name, Woody, that's his character's name.
    Lilith: Right. His real name is Tony Banta.
    Carla: That's the name of the character he played on Taxi.
    Cliff: Well, we know his name is Tony.
  • Brent Butt as Brent Leroy on Corner Gas.
  • Coronation Street has long-running star Betty Driver as Betty Williams.
  • Craig Cackowski plays Officer Cackowski in a few episodes of Community.
  • Coupling has a variant: characters Steve and Susan share the names of writer Steven Moffat and producer Sue Vertue, on whom they're loosely modeled.
  • Not a main character, but Archie Johnson on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, played by Archie Kao.
    • Also David Phillips, played by David Berman.
    • In the episode "A Kiss Before Frying", guest star Dita Von Teese works as nude dancer under the name Rita Von Squeeze.
  • Cybill Shephard as Cybill Sheridan in... Cybill.
  • Ernie Hudson as Ernie, the mayor's father, in Hart of Dixie.
  • On the revival of Dallas, Judith Light plays Judith Brown Ryland and Emma Bell plays Emma Brown.
  • In Dani's House, Max is played by Sebastian Applewhite. His middle name is Sebastian (S 4 E 7.)
  • Fred Willard played a bartender named Fred (Or Freddie, as the Nixon puppet would refer to him) on DC Follies.
  • Delores Hall as Nurse Delores Mitchell in Diagnosis: Murder
  • Martin Clunes as Dr Martin Ellingham in Doc Martin. Further variant in that the character's surname is an anagram of series creator Dominic Minghella.
  • Rhodri Meilir played a character called Rhodri in the Doctor Who episode "The Runaway Bride."
    • A coincidental surname Danza: Rory's dad Brian Williams is played by Mark Williams, but he was cast long after Rory's surname was established.
    • Rory's middle name is revealed to be Arthur, which is also shared by the actor playing him (goes by Arthur Darvill professionally, but his first name is Thomas).
    • Sgt. John Benton of UNIT, a recurring character during the Second, Third, and Fourth Doctor eras, was played by John Levene, although Benton's first name was not given on screen and only revealed in expanded universe material.
    • Not an exact example, but related: a number of people have pointed out the the TENth doctor is played by David TENnant.
  • Donna Reed's character in The Donna Reed Show was a Danza called "Donna Stone."
  • Drake & Josh, starring Drake Bell and Josh Peck as Drake Parker and Josh Nichols, respectively.
  • In many episodes of El Chapulín Colorado, the supporting cast is named after the actors who play them: therefore, we have Carlos Villagrán as Carlos, Ramón Valdés as Ramón, Rubén Aguirre as Rubén and so on. Roberto Gomez Bolaños (a.k.a. Chespirito) once explained he did this to allow the actors to form a bond with their characters (even though they were mostly just innocent bystanders). Conversely, in El Chavo del ocho, Doña Florinda, Don Ramón and Doña Nieves are respectively played by Florinda Meza, Ramón Valdés and Maria Antonieta de las Nieves.
  • Ellen DeGeneres played "Ellen Morgan" in the 1993-98 sitcom Ellen, which was known as These Friends Of Mine for the first season. In 2001, she played "Ellen Richmond" in the sitcom The Ellen Show.
  • Two of Station 51's firefighters in Emergency!, Marco Lopez and Mike Stoker, simply used the actor's name. Stoker, the driver of Engine 51, actually was an LA County firefighter at the time of filming (he retired in 1996), making it convenient for filming as one of the regular cast members was qualified to drive and operate the truck.
  • Subverted on the UPN show Eve, where the rapper Eve's character was named...Shelley. (The series was originally called The Opposite Sex until the title change.)
  • Interesting variation in Everybody Hates Chris – Chris Rock narrates As Himself, while the young Chris Rock is played by Tyler James Williams.
  • Ray Romano as Ray Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond. Plus occasional supporting characters played by Kevin James and Andy Kindler.
  • Mocked on Extras where (both In-Universe and Out-) Celebrity Cameo Keith Chegwin's character has his name changed to Keith after the actor repeatedly fails to comprehend that the character has a different name to him.
  • Both members of Flight of the Conchords: Jemaine Clement plays Jemaine Clemaine; Bret McKenzie plays Bret McClegnie. Additionally, a few guest characters have been Danzas: Demetri (Demetri Martin), Todd (Todd Barry), and Jim (Jim Gaffigan).
  • Almost every single bloody sketch on French and Saunders has Dawn and Jennifer as... Dawn and Jennifer. Even in the film spoofs.
    • Oh, and also Jen in Girls on Top.
  • In-universe example: In an episode of Friends, Ross encourages Joey to write a play for himself to star in, prompting the following exchange:
    Ross: All right, we'll start off slow. The only thing you have to do tonight is come up with the name of your main character.
    Joey: Done!
    Ross: And it can't be Joey.
    Joey: It's not.
    Ross: Or Joseph.
    Joey: Oh.
  • Every character in the Australian mockumentary series The Games is named for their actor — for example, Frank Woodley playing, well, Dr. Frank Woodley (who is "partially" a TV vet in the episode). This was lampshaded in the second season when the actor John Howard played a political representative pretending the be the Prime Minister; Brian remarks, "But that's illegal! He's not the prime minister!" to which John replies "He never said he was the prime minister; he said he was John Howard".
    • May it be pointed out for non-Australians reading this that the real-life PM at time of that episode's airing was named (by pure coincidence) John Howard.
  • Get a Life had Chris Elliott as Chris Peterson.
  • On Gilmore Girls, Sookie's husband Jackson is played by Jackson Douglas. His real-life girlfriend almost played Sookie.
  • Gimme a Break! with Nell Carter as Nell Harper.
  • Glee
    • Another variant— The character Kurt Hummel is so named because the actor who plays him, Chris Colfer, once played Kurt Von Trapp in The Sound of Music and looks like a Hummel figurine.
    • Brad The Piano Player is played by Brad Ellis.
  • The Goodies — Tim (Brooke-Taylor), Graeme (Garden) and Bill (Oddie). Plus, the books that spun off from the show give their full names in appropriate places, and their "brochure" in The Goodies File lists their real-life years and places of birth. Needless to say, the characters are just highly exaggerated versions of themselves.
  • Simon Anstell as Simon in Grandmas House takes this Up to Eleven; his first major writing and acting gig since leaving Never Mind the Buzzcocks, the fictional Simon is a TV presenter who just left a Panel Game and is looking for something else to do with his life.
  • Playboy Playmate Julie McCullough as Mike's girlfriend Julie Costello on Growing Pains in the 1989-1990 season.
  • Comedian Mark Curry as Mark Cooper in Hangin' with Mr. Cooper.
  • Miley Cyrus as Miley Stewart in Hannah Montana — this also counts as Alter Ego Acting because Miley is seen performing as Hannah onstage in real life too. More so since she legally changed her name to "Miley" from her birth name of "Destiny Hope Cyrus". ("Smiley Miley" was a nickname her father gave her as an infant.) The character was named Chloe Stewart. Word of God says the writers changed it to "Miley" as there were too many names for a 12-year old to remember.
  • Happy Days had Al Molinaro as Al Delvecchio and Marion Ross as Marion Cunningham.
  • Whitney Blake played Dorothy Baxter on Hazel, and was a former "Mrs. Baxter" in real life (Meredith Baxter of Family Ties fame is her daughter).
  • Billy Connolly again as Billy MacGregor in Head of the Class and Billy.
  • John Ritter as John Hartman and Billy Bob Thornton as Billy Bob Davis in Hearts Afire.
  • Jack Black as Jack Austin in Heat Vision and Jack.
  • The French series Hénaut Président is made of this trope; of the 7 main characters SIX are playing characters with whom they share a first name — every major character other than the lead (the eponymous Hénaut).
  • In order to promote Summer Strallen taking over the lead role in The Sound of Music on the West End, its producer Andrew Lloyd Webber had her written into the British soap opera Hollyoaks as a character called Summer Shaw. The character was then talent spotted by Lloyd Webber appearing as himself on the show.
  • Tim Allen as Tim Taylor in Home Improvement.
  • Subversion: Hope And Faith starred Kelly Ripa and Faith Ford in the title roles... but Faith played Hope and Kelly played Faith.
  • Dr. Lisa Cuddy from House is played by actress Lisa Edelstein.
  • Lucille Ball as, variously, Lucy Ricardo (I Love Lucy), Lucy Carmichael (The Lucy Show), Lucy Carter (Here's Lucy), and Lucy Barker (Life with Lucy).
    • ...and, before she moved to television, as Hollywood actress Lucille Ball in the movie version of Best Foot Forward. (In the stage version, this character was named Gale Joy, originally portrayed by Rosemary Lane.)
    • Vivian Vance played Vivian Bunson (née Vivian Bagley) on The Lucy Show, and had a recurring guest role as Vivian Jones on Here's Lucy. This was a direct result of her being fed up with fans calling her "Ethel" all the time, and demanding that her subsequent second-banana characters be known by her real name.
  • In Plain Sight has lead character Mary Shannon played by Mary McCormack. Whenever she needs an alias-to testify in court, let's say-she goes by "Mary Shepherd".
  • Charlie on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and to a lesser extent Mac. When Glenn Howerton was asked about his character being named Dennis, he remarked on how it seemed like a good idea, and has proven so far to have been a good decision. Also, Artemis is played by Artemis Pebdani.
  • Nick, Joe, and Kevin Jonas play alternate universe versions of themselves on Jonas, which includes keeping their real names.
  • Simon Templeman plays Simon Leeds in Just Shoot Me!.
  • Keisuke Kato as Keisuke Nago/Kamen Rider IXA in Kamen Rider Kiva. Yui Koike, who went on to play GokaiPink, appeared as Yui Aoyama in the final episode of Kamen Rider Double.
  • Both Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell as Kenan Rockmore and Kel Kimble, respectively, in Kenan & Kel.
  • Most of the Kids Incorporated kids. When a No Name Given character had his name revealed in an episode, it was that of the actor Rahsaan Patterson.
  • Although the character's first name was rarely mentioned, Bill Owen as William "Compo" Simmonite in Last of the Summer Wine. Also his son, Tom Owen, as the character's son Tom Simmonite.
  • Taylor Spreitler guest-starred in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Friending Emily" as the victim's sister, Taylor Culphers.
  • Neil (Buchanan) and Kim (Goody) on No 73, a 1980s ITV kids' Sitcom Magazine Show. None of the other main characters were Danzas. Possibly this was because Neil and Kim were generally more involved with the magazine show elements (artwork and interviewing popstars respectively) than the plots (at least to begin with), and were therefore more presenters than characters.
  • In Make Room For Daddy (aka The Danny Thomas Show), Danny Thomas starred as Danny Williams.
  • Martin Lawrence played Martin Payne on Martin. Character Tommy was played by actor Thomas Michael Ford.
  • Mary Kay Stearns as essentially herself in the very first TV Sitcom, Mary Kay And Johnny, which first aired in 1947 on the Dumont Network.
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show had Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards and Ted Knight as Ted Baxter.
  • Recurring nurse First Lt Kealani Kellye (also known as Kellye Yamoto, and in one episode, as Nurse Nakahara) on M*A*S*H was played by Kellye Nakahara, making this an example of the actress's first name being the character's last name.
    • And the full name version — Corpsman Roy Goldman was played by..... Roy Goldman.
    • There's more. Nurse Shari was played by Shari Saba, Nurse Jo Ann was played by Jo Ann Thompson, and Nurse Sheila was played by Sheila Lauritsen.
    • Although not one of these in the strictest sense (since the character predated his casting), season 1 anesthesiologist Ugly John was played by John Orchard.
  • Spoofed on Mega64, with Rocco Botte as Rocko Boaty, Derrick Acosta as Derek Ackawzdha, and Shawn Chatfield as Sean Chatfield. In other words, the same names, yet different spellings.
  • Phil Collins as Phil Mayhew in Miami Vice. This could be a nod to John Mayhew, Collins' predecessor as drummer for the rock band Genesis.
  • Catherine Sutherland as Katherine "Kat" Hillard in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Likely a coincidence, considering it started as a Meaningful Name (She could turn into a cat in her introductory arc). Also likely a coincidence, Austin St. John's real name is Jason Geiger. He played Jason Lee Scott in the first season.
  • Mindy Kaling as Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project
  • Miranda Hart as the title character of Miranda.
  • A case of the almost-Danza: The character of Rollin Hand in Mission: Impossible was written for actor Martin Landau, and was almost named "Martin Land". These are something of a fictionalized version of as themselves
  • Katherine Mulgrew played Kate Columbo in Mrs. Columbo.
    • And Katherine Janeway in Series/Voyager.
    • (And Katherine Hepburn on stage in two different plays).
  • The Monkees, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith, were played by Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith.
  • Nia Vardalos's character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding was named Toula in the movie, but changed to Nia for the TV series.
  • Comedian Joel Hodgson as Joel Robinson (from Robinson Crusoe and Lost in Space) in Mystery Science Theater 3000. The last name was only changed because Hodgson was considered hard to pronounce. Michael J. Nelson, his replacement... played Mike Nelson. And "TV's Frank" was played by Frank Conniff.
  • Claire Keelan as Claire Ashcroft in Nathan Barley.
  • Fran Drescher played Fran Fine on The Nanny. In addition, her character's parents, Morty and Sylvia Fine, were named after her parents, Morty and Silvia Drescher. And again as Fran Reeves on Living With Fran. And for the hat trick, as Fran Lovett on Happily Divorced.
  • Dick Van Dyke as Dick Preston in The New Dick Van Dyke Show
  • In NewsRadio, Dave Nelson was played by Dave Foley and Joe Garelli was played by Joe Rogan. Phil Hartman's character Bill McNeal was intentionally named to be almost a Danza. In the episode "Chock", Dave's old a cappella singing group stops by, the other three members being named David, Bob, and Brian. They were played by Mr. Show alums David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, and Brian Posehn.
  • Night Court
    • Harry Anderson as Harry Stone is a subversion. According to series creator Reinhold Weege, the character was already called Harry, already a magician, and already a devoted Mel Torme fan before Anderson was cast.
    • Selma Diamond as Baliff Selma Hacker and her replacement Bailiff Florence Kleiner played by Florence Halop.
    • Charles Robinson shares the same last name as his character Mac Robinson.
    • One could also argue Yakov Smirnoff as Yakov Korplenko.
  • Norm MacDonald plays Norm Henderson on The Norm Show. An early commercial showed Norm not responding to his character's original name, forcing the showrunner to change it to his real name to avoid confusion.
  • Lee and Tim from Not Going Out are played by Lee Mack and Tim Vine respectively. There is also Tim and Lucy's father, Geoffrey, who is played by Geoffrey Whitehead, but this is an odd case as he was originally played by Timothy West.
  • Many of the supporting cast on The Office (US) share first names with their characters, including Phyllis, Angela, and Oscar. Creed Bratton plays a fictionalized version of himself, so he skirts into As Himself territory.
    • The reason for some supporting officemates retaining first names is since many of them are Ascended Extras. Also, Michael screens a movie starring himself as Michael Scarn, an obvious Mary Sue Author Avatar.
  • Several minor characters on One Tree Hill were guilty of this: Bevin Prince portrayed the character of Bevin Mirskey and Antwon Tanner played Antwon "Skills" Taylor, both of whom were part of the show for several years. In a much smaller case, bartender/musician Grubbs was played by real-life musician Michael Grubbs.
    • Speaking of which, Valerie Harper as Valerie Hogan in the early seasons of the same show.
  • Half the cast of Out of This World: Donna Pescow as Donna Garland, Buzz Belmondo as Buzz, and Peter Petofsky as Peter.
  • Parks and Recreation writer, Michael Schur, revealed that Aubrey Plaza's character, April Ludgate, was initially written as a character named Aubrey.
  • The Partridge Family stars Shirley Jonesnote  as Shirley Partridge, the mother, and features Danny Bonaduce as Danny Partridge, the middle son.
  • Patty Duke as Patty Lane in The Patty Duke Show.
  • Paddy from Phoenix Nights is played by Patrick "Paddy" McGuinness, who when the show began had no acting experience and was given the role on the strength of being Peter Kay's good friend; ostensibly, his character shared his name because neither he nor Kay were confident that he would be able to react naturally to a different one.
  • In The Pretender, Andrea Parker plays female lead character Miss Parker, but this is apparently a genuine coincidence. On the other hand, her mooks are first-name Danzas (with no last name) to a man, apparently as an acknowledgement that it's not worth the effort of giving them real names.
  • The entire cast of the Japanese television series Playgirl.
  • Derek Van Der Lint as Derek Raine in Poltergeist: The Legacy.
  • Mr. Mackay in Porridge was played by Fulton Mackay.
  • Lucy Brown as Claudia Brown on Primeval.
  • Prison Break featured Paul Adelstein as Paul Kellerman and Sara Wayne Callies as Sarah Tancredi.
  • Cherie Johnson as Cherie Johnson on Punky Brewster.
  • Reba McEntire as Reba Hart in Reba. This is a clear case of The Danza: the character was originally named Sally, until Reba was signed to play the part.
  • Mayko Tran on ReGenesis is played by Mayko Ngyuen.
  • Revenge has Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne, Emily Alyn Lind as the flashback version of Emily, and Ashley Madekwe as Ashley. However, it should be noted Emily is an alias of Amanda Clark.
  • Sandy Duncan as Sandy Stockton in Funny Face (later called The Sandy Duncan Show). Duncan was also Sandy Hogan in her Suspiciously Similar Substitute role on the show known variously as Valerie, Valerie's Family, and The Hogan Family.
  • Most of the main characters of The Sarah Silverman Program.
  • In one SNL sketch, Natalie Portman plays a girl at a Bar Mitzvah called Rebecca Hershlag, Hershlag being her real surname.
  • Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer's characters on The Steve Harvey Show are Steve Hightower and Cedric Jackie Robinson. Also Merlin Santana as Romeo Santana.
  • Another especially convoluted example would be Redd Foxx (born John Elroy Sanford), playing Fred Sanford in Sanford and Son.
  • Bob McGrath as Bob Johnson and Linda Bove as Linda in Sesame Street.
    • In a roundabout way, the character Gordon's last name in Sesame Street was eventually revealed to be Robinson. This was long after Matt Robinson's term as the character, and this is thus more of a Mythology Gag (Gordon is currently played by Roscoe Orman). Miles Orman (who was also Roscoe Orman's real-life son) was Miles Robinson.
    • Buffy Sainte-Marie as Buffy in early seasons, probably because she was basically Buffy Sainte-Marie living on Sesame Street. Her then-husband Sheldon Wolfchild and their son Dakota also appeared as Sheldon and Cody.
  • In an episode of Shake It Up, Larry Miller plays the character Larry Diller.
  • Ricky Schroeder as Ricky Stratton on Silver Spoons.
  • Tia and Tamera Mowry as Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell in Sister Sister (In the series, they're twins separated at birth and adopted by different people, hence different surnames)
  • Alan the cab driver is played by Alan George in Skins.
  • Rare last-name Danza: Mackenzie Phillips as Molly Phillips in So Weird.
  • Yasuko Nagazami as Yasko and Alibe Parsons as Alibe in Space: 1999.
  • Charlie Sheen has played characters named Charlie on several occasions, notably on Spin City and Two and a Half Men. He even played "Charlie" in the sequel to All Dogs Go to Heaven. It extends to Anger Management, where he plays Charlie Goodson, which doubles as a Punny Name (due to being more famous than Emilio Estevez) and a Non-Indicative Name (as he wouldn't be considered the good son)
  • Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager who was named Elisabeth Janeway and Nicole Janeway before actress Katherine Kiernan Maria 'Kate' Mulgrew suggested Kathryn.
  • Chuck Campell plays Chuck the Gate Tech on Stargate Atlantis, though this may actually have been a mistake. The character was without a name for quite a while, and it's rumored that another actor dropped his name into a line. He is, however, later called Chuck again by another character. Notable in that fans had been calling him Chuck the Gate Tech (or, alternately, "Chucknician") for some time previous.
  • Carrying on the tradition from Stella, Michael And Michael Have Issues stars Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black.
  • Matthew Perry's character Matt in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Sorkin has actually stated that he called the character "Matt" because when he was writing he couldn't think of another actor to play the part.
  • Long time ago now, but the Britcom Terry and June starred Terry Scott and June Whitfield as Terry and June Medford. They also starred as Terry and June Fletcher in an earlier Britcom Happy Ever After — the same couple in a different house with a troublesome aunt and her mynah bird. (This was not accidental.)
    • Even older, Bless This House featured Sid James (of Carry On fame) as Sid Abbot, and Sally Gleeson as Sally Abbot. Plus, the 1972 feature film version contains a meta-aversion (by virtue of the fact that it became a notable example later): Terry Scott and June Whitfield played new neighbours Ronald and Vera Baines — the first outing of (and virtually identical to) the on-screen couple that would later make them a Britcom cliché (see Terry and June above).
  • That '80s Show: Margaret Smith as Margaret.
  • Raven-Symone as Raven Baxter in That's So Raven.
  • Sam in The Thick of It is played by Samantha Harrington; it's possible that the character is named after the actress, since this isn't uncommon in supporting roles on semi-improvised shows.
  • Third Watch had paramedics Bobby Caffey and Kim Zambrano played by... Bobby Cannavale and Kim Raver. The minor firefighter characters shared their full names with their actors: Firefighter Billy Walsh was played by Bill Walsh, Derek "DK" Kitson by Derek Kelly.
  • Tracy Morgan plays Tracy Jordan in 30 Rock. Tracy Jordan is essentially an exaggerated, simple-minded caricature of Tracy Morgan.
    • Furthermore, it features Grizz Chapman as Grizz Griswold, one half of Tracy's loyal "entourage".
    • Tina Fey, who plays character Elizabeth ("Liz") Lemon, was born as Elizabeth Stamatina ("Tina") Fey.
  • Jeff Hyslop as Jeff the mannequin on the Canadian children's show Today's Special.
  • Interesting usage in the German kids' show Tom Turbo. Many of the kids use their real names for their characters.
  • In The Tomorrow People Elizabeth was played by Elzabeth Adare and Mike by Michaul Holloway.
  • On True Blood, Sam Merlotte is played by actor Sam Trammell—a coincidence, since the character was named by Charlaine Harris, author of the novels on which the show is based.
  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as Mary-Kate and Ashley Burke in Two of a Kind.
  • UFO had several first-name Danzas: Ed Bishop played Ed Straker, Gabrielle Drake (nicknamed "Gay" by her agent) played Gay Ellis, Keith Alexander played Keith Ford and Peter Gordeno played Peter Carlin. Also, "The Psychobombs" featured a last-name Danza, Lt. Blythe played by Peter Blythe. There's also a borderline case with Ayshea Broughs, whose character is never referred to by name, and is credited only as "SHADO operative", but according to the script is called Ayshea Johnson.
  • Un Gars Une Fille ("A Guy, A Girl")'s lead characters Guy and Sylvie are played by Guy A. Lepage and Sylvie Léonard.
    • The French-French version had Jean (John) and Alex played by Jean Dujardin and Alexandra Lamy.
  • In the Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious, Victoria Justice plays Victoria "Tori" Vega.
  • Victoria Jackson as Victoria in the failed 1984 M*A*S*H spinoff, W* A* L* T* E* R.
  • Wanda Sykes, like so many other comedians, played a character named after herself on Wanda at Large, as a stand-up comedian.
  • In The Waltons, Wilford Brimley played mountain man Horace Brimley, in a last name version.
  • Marlon and Shawn Wayans as Marlon and Shawn Williams in The Wayans Bros.
  • Welcome Back, Kotter starred Gabe Kaplan as Gabe Kotter.
    • Sissy Walker, a very minor character who appeared only five times between 1973 and 1978, was played by Cissy Wellman.
  • Oliver Babbish on The West Wing is played by Oliver Platt.
  • Almost all the main characters in the '70's show What's Happening!!. two had the same last name, 3 the same first name. And one just used the initial of her first name.
  • As well as creating Whitney (plus executive producing and writing several episodes), Whitney Cummings plays... Whitney Cummings.
  • In The Wire the character Felicia "Snoop" Pearson is played by Felicia "Snoop" Pearson — who also happens to be a former Baltimore drug dealer with a conviction for second-degree murder.
    • Also Detective Ed(ward) Norris is played by Ed Norris, former Baltimore City chief of police (Cast List).
    • And while Jay Landsman is played by Delaney Williams, from Season 3 the character Dennis Mello is played by Jay Landsman.
    • Well-renowned attorney Billy Murphy more-or-less As Himself playing the role of Clay Davis's lawyer.
  • On Workaholics, Blake Anderson plays Blake Henderson, Adam DeVine plays Adam Demamp, Anders Holm plays Anders Holmvik, Jillian Bell plays Jillian Belk, Waymond Lee plays Waymond, Kyle Newachek plays Karl Hevachek, Jet Set Hudson plays Jet Set and Billy Stevenson plays Bill.
  • Ben Vereen as Mayor Ben in Zoobilee Zoo.
  • Joey Lawrence made guest appearances on both Diff'rent Strokes and Silver Spoons as a kid named Joey before landing the role of Joey Donovan on Gimme a Break!. This was followed by Joey Russo on Blossom and Joe Roman on Brotherly Love (in which brothers Matt and Andy play Matt and Andy Roman). He ices the cake by playing himself in the 2008 horror/comedy Killer Pad. As of 2010, he is playing a character called Joe Longo on the sitcom Melissa And Joey, alongside Melissa Joan Hart.
  • Rik Mayall's characters in The Young Ones (Rick), Filthy Rich & Catflap (Richie Rich) and Bottom (Richard Richard). Additionally, in The Young Ones Nigel Planer's character was Neil Pye, and in the latter two Adrian Edmondson's character was Eddie, a nickname based on his surname. (And, while it's not strictly this trope, it's no coincidence that his wife played a character called Eddy (Edina) Monsoon.)
    • Edmondson actually played a psychotic ex-talk show host called Eddie Monsoon in The Comic Strip Presents Mockumentary episode "Eddie Monsoon — A Life?" (The show was originally intended to be an episode of his talk show "Back To Normal", but it was judged too obscene even for Channel 4, so it was turned into a mock biopic instead.)
    • Mayall changed his first name in his teens — he was born Richard Mayall, fitting this trope even better.
  • Full-name Danzas include:
    • Andy Richter in Andy Richter Controls The Universe (and partially in Andy Barker, P.I.).
    • Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm is actually an As Himself, but the show has a number of Danzas — regular characters, Cheryl David (Cheryl Hines), Jeff Greene (Jeff Garlin), Susie Greene (Susie Essman), plus some one-shot characters with just one name, which happens to be the actor's.
      • This one at least has a good explanation, as most of the dialog on Curb is improvised, and it's much easier to improvise when you only have to remember one name.
    • Ed Begley, Jr. guest starred as Ed Begley, Jr. on Dharma and Greg. He was always addressed on screen by his full name, "Ed Begley, Jr.", not Ed or Mr Begley.
    • Norman Lovett in I Lovett.
    • Jennifer Grey in It's Like, You Know... (In an odd subversion, Grey claimed more than once that the character she played was not based on herself.)
    • Jack Dee and Jeremy Hardy in Jack And Jeremy's Real Lives.
    • Fred Rogers in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, although it's really more of an As Himself. This also applies to most of his supporting cast: Betty Aberlin (Lady Aberlin), Don Brockett (Chef Brockett), Bob Trow (Bob Dog/Robert Troll), Chuck Aber (Neighbor Aber), and so forth. These may not be As Himself examples, as Betty Aberlin has asserted that "Lady Aberlin" is not a representation of her real-life personality. Also, some of the actors would appear in character during the Make Believe segments, and out of character during the main part of the show. David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely, was the only regular actor on the show to avert this trope. His character's last name was actually Fred Rogers' middle name.
    • Tim Stack as "TV's Tim Stack" in My Name Is Earl. Whether he's as much of a raging drunk in real life remains to be seen, right? Right?
    • Saturday Night Live had a few of these in the early years, including Headmaster of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing, Garrett Morris. (The first six or seven years had a lot of first-name examples as well — the 'WASP Translator' sketch with Ray Sharkey centered around a couple named Charles and Ann. Guess which castmembers played them.) Later on, in a move of notable laziness, Chris Farley's character was referred to simply as "Farley."
    • Sean Hughes in Sean's Show.
    • Jerry Seinfeld in Seinfeld. Estelle Costanza fits the trope too, though her real life surname is Harris.
    • Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, and David Wain in Stella. Oddly, the show was adapted from their comedy act and short films where they're playing exaggerated versions of themselves (e.g. they're still comedians in an act named "Stella"), but on the TV show itself, they were usually unemployed and picked up different, bizarre moneymaking schemes in nearly every episode.
    • Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in The Abbott and Costello Show
    • Ozzie Nelson's entire family, in The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet.
    • Bernie Mac on The Bernie Mac Show.
    • Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report.
    • Nicholas Parsons in The Comic Strip Presents episode "Mr Jolly Lives Next Door".
    • Drew Carey in The Drew Carey Show. (Yes, that includes "Alison".)
    • Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (the only difference being that in the show "Will" was short for "William". The actor's first name is actually Willard).
      • The page quote comes from an interview Will did with Graham Norton, where he says Alfonso Ribero (Carlton) told him to use this trope.
    • George Lopez in The George Lopez Show.
    • Jack Benny in The Jack Benny Program.
    • Jon Dore on The Jon Dore Television Show.
    • Sarah and Laura Silverman in The Sarah Silverman Program.
    • "Weird Al" Yankovic in The Weird Al Show.
    • The kids on You Cant Do That On Television.
  • Two Mr. Show sketches have all the characters in the sketch share the names with their actors. The "Coupon: The Movie" sketch (during the scene with the movie execs) has David, Bob, Tom, Jill, Paul, and Jay (John Ennis is not referred to by name). The "Intervention" sketch, three seasons later, hasnote  David, Bob, John, Jill, Paul and Becky.
  • Most of the main cast in The Mothers-In-Law: Eve Arden as Eve, Kaye Ballard as Kaye, Roger C. Carmel as Roger, Herbert Rudley as Herb and Jerry Fogel as Jerry. Subverted with Deborah Walley as Susie (also in Season 2, when Richard Deacon replaced Carmel).
  • Horrible Histories had a sketch (based on Abigail's Party) in which Laurence Rickard played a character named Laurence.
  • Annie Potts as Flatbed Annie in the 1979 CBS Made-for-TV Movie Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers.
  • Sammo Hung as Sammo Law in Martial Law.
  • Terry Crews as Sgt. Terry Jeffords in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
  • In-universe example in The Spoils Of Babylon, with Dixie Mellonworth as Dixie Mellonworth (played by Jessica Alba).

    Pinball 

    Professional Wrestling 

    Radio 
  • All three of the central characters in the radio sitcom The Navy Lark had the same names as the actors who played them.
  • Hancock's Half Hour starred Tony Hancock as Anthony Aloysius St. John Hancock, Sid James as Sidney Balmoral James and Bill Kerr as William Montmorency Beaumont Kerr. The only other regular character was Griselda Pugh, played by Hattie (not Griselda) Jacques. Kenneth Williams played several bit-parts, none of them called Kenneth. The main characters' elaborate middle names are fictitious.
  • The sitcom Linda Smith's A Brief History of Timewasting starred Linda Smith as Linda Smith. Like many of the full-name TV examples above, the character was essentially a fictionalised version of the comedienne herself. There's also Chris the builder, played by Chris Neill.
  • Ben Lyon, his wife Bebe Daniels and their children in Life With The Lyons, also a fictionalised version of the actors.
  • And Jeremy Hardy and Kit Hollerbach as Jeremy and Kit in Unnatural Acts (later retitled At Home With The Hardys in parody of Life With The Lyons).
  • The Golden Age of Radio (1920-1950) was filled with shows like this, mostly comedy sitcoms: Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Fred Allen, Abbott and Costello, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, and many others.
  • Justin Moorhouse as Justin in Everybody Quite Likes Justin.
  • The main characters of the sketch show Hello Cheeky all shared the name of their actor. The characters were also treated as the real actors, blending this with Animated Actor.
  • Rita Rudner As Herself in The Rita Rudner Show and co-writer Martin Bergman as Martin Trenaman.

    Theater 
  • The cast of Godspell, sans Jesus and John/Judas, are named after the actors who portrayed them in the original cast. Newer performances of this show often change character names to match their own casts.
  • Finians Rainbow has a harmonica-playing minor character named Sunny, originally played by Sonny Terry.
  • In the Doctor Who stage play Seven Keys to Doomsday, the companions were going to be called Dave and Jenny; but when James Mathews was cast, his character was renamed to Jimmy. Later stage revivals reverted to "Dave", but in the Big Finish audio version he's "Jimmy" again.
  • The short-lived yet wildly popular Broadway musical [title of show]. In fact, the show takes it up a notch with it being "a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical" (guess how many guys wrote this musical?) and the song "I Am Playing Me."
  • In American Idiot, the rock opera featuring Green Day's music, the main character Johnny was named after the actor who plays him — John Gallagher Jr. (who uses the name 'Johnny Gallager' in his music career).
  • Most Cirque du Soleil clowns use their own names for their characters, and occasionally more serious character roles get the same treatment, in which case the name may stick with the character after the original performer leaves. Notable examples:
    • Mystere: Brian Le Petit (Dewhurst) and Bebe Francois (Dupuis).
    • Quidam: John (Gilkey), the emcee.
    • "O": Le Vieux, the emcee, was long known as Eugen after original performer Eugene Brim.
  • A strange inversion: Born Joseph Lane, a name that was already in use by another actor, Nathan Lane took his stage name after, Nathan Detroit, his favorite character in Broadway classic Guys and Dolls. Years later, his Broadway career reached new heights when he received rave notices for playing Nathan Detroit in a revival.

     Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Brad, the main villain from Comic Jumper, is voiced by Brad Hawkins.
  • Gunnery Sgt. Pete Stacker appears in the Halo series as, for lack of a better term, is the "white, southern accented," counterpart to Sgt. Johnson. Stacker, despite never having his name spoken in any material of the Halo franchise, is said to be named after his voice actor, who, it might be funny to point out, also voiced Captain Jacob Keyes in Halo: Combat Evolved.
  • Heather Mason in Silent Hill 3 is actually named after her voice actress, Heather Morris.
  • Michael Jackson as the voice of Space Michael in Space Channel 5 (although in this case, he was essentially playing himself). Jackson was the inspiration for that particular character and, when approached about voicing him, he said, "Yes!" because he absolutely loved the tribute. His appearance in the first game amounted to little more than a quick cameo, but his role was greatly expanded in the sequel.
  • Metal Gear Solid has a coincidental example with Solid Snake's real name of "David", which happens to be the first name of his English voice actor, David Hayter. In reality, the name "David" was already decided during the Japanese voice recording, which was completed before the English voice actor for Snake was even chosen. It actually came from the main character in 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as Meryl Silverburgh's partner from Policenauts.
  • Makoto in Street Fighter III 3rd Strike is voiced by Makoto Tsumura.
  • The arcade game Pit-Fighter is an early example where the sprites are digitised images of real actors. It has four Danzas: "Southside Jim" is played by one James Thompson, "Chainman Eddie" by Eddie Venancio, "Mad Miles" by Miles McGowan, and "Angel" by Angela Stellato.
  • Rochelle in Left 4 Dead 2 is voiced by Rochelle Aytes.
  • Games made by Skip Ltd. (such as Chibi-Robo and Captain Rainbow) frequently feature a black-and-white dog named Tao, who is usually portrayed as somewhat lazy and often very hungry. Tao was the actual dog of Skip's creative director, looked exactly like his fictional counterparts, and... was somewhat lazy and often very hungry. (The real dog died in 2009, but the fictional version will live on in games forevermore.)
  • In the first Star Wars: Rebel Assault, Ru Murleen was named after the actress who played her. Averted with the sequel, which used a different actress, Julie Eccles.
  • In The 7th Guest, Julia Heine was played by Julia Tucker.
  • In The Journeyman Project, Megan Love, heard on the radio during the intro, was voiced by Megan Wheeler.
  • In Police Quest: Open Season, the actress who played Barbie Cann was named Barbara Shannon ("Barbie" is a nickname for Barbara).
  • Jennifer Hale was Jennifer Mui in Mercenaries.
  • In Golden Eye 1997, Dr. Doak was named and modeled after developer David Doak.
  • One of the models to portray Lara Croft during publicity for the Tomb Raider games was named Lara Weller. Her friends suggested that she try out for the part partially because she shared the character's first name.
  • In Resident Evil Barry Gjerde was the voice of Barry Burton.
  • In Sengoku Basara, Saika Magoichi's real name is revealed to be Sayaka. In the original Japanese, she is voiced by Sayaka Ohara.
  • Supplemental material has revealed that the Administrator's real name is Helen, obviously a nod to her voice actress, Ellen McLain.
  • Vanessa Duvelle in Spy Hunter 2 (the sequel to the remake, not the arcade game) was based on Vanessa Carlton, who sang the game's theme tune.
  • Staff Sergeant Griggs in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is voiced by Mark Grigsby.
  • In the PSP remake of Lunar: The Silver Star, Boisterous Bruiser sworsdman Kyle is voiced by Kyle Hebert in English.
  • It is unclear who his voice actor actually is, but the Red Shirt character PFC Jerry Langteau in Medal of Honor: Frontline appears to be named after producer Scott J. Langteau.
  • Assassin's Creed III: The voice actress for Kaniehtí:io, Connor's Mohawk mother, is Kaniehtiio Horn.
  • Interesting example: the developers of The Walking Dead, Telltale, held a contest for the game. The winner of the contest, Brie Rosenholm, was awarded by getting a virtual double named after her to appear in the game as a Mauve Shirt.
    • It's not much of an award when you think about what happens to her.
  • In Everything or Nothing, R&B singer Mýa, in addition to singing the theme song, voiced NSA double-agent Starling.
  • Gideon Emery as Sam Gideon in Vanquish.
  • Notable aversion in the English dub of Tales of Vesperia, with the main character Yuri Lowell being played by Troy Baker. Notable because the previous game in the series, Tales of the Abyss starred voice actor Yuri Lowenthal who wasn't allowed to audition for the role due to his notability in the franchise.

     Web Comics 
  • In-universe example: in the post-Scratch universe of Homestuck, John Crocker took Harry Anderson's role as the judge in Night Court. So in this version, it was Judge Johnny Stone.

    Web Original 
  • Clyde Cash, Jason Kendrick Howell, and Jack Thaddeus voice themselves in the Sonichu audiobooks.
  • Corrupting the Classics with Contemporary Crap is hosted by Angus Hepburn as Angus Leech and Natalia Fedner as Natalie Knickerbocker.
  • The Fear Mythos features characters named after their actors: Jordan and Nathan from Jordan Eats Normally Now, and Seann of Cryptid 417.
  • The webseries Echo Chamber features characters named Tom, Zack, and Dana. They are played by Tom Pike, Zack Wallnau, and Dana Shaw.
  • The Nostalgia Critic is named "Doug" as is shown through his Nicktoons review, and the person who plays him is Doug Walker. However, Doug Walker has said that the critic IS a character, and is a separate entity from Walker himself. Walker also plays many characters on That Guy with the Glasses, and the Nostalgia Critic is the only one to share his name.
  • Half the cast of Marble Hornets does this. We have Tim, Jessica, Brian, and Seth. Played by Tim Sutton, Jessica May, Brian Haight, and Seth McCay.
    • Brian is a double example. In the original Marble Hornets film, he would be playing a character named Brian.
  • In the comedic web series Randomocity many of the main characters share the same names as the actors portraying them.
  • Discussed (as "The Tony Danza Corollary") in the RiffTrax of Planet of the Dinosaurs.
    "Was every character just named after the person who played them?!"
    "It's the number one sign you're watching a quality movie."
  • Cecil Palmer of Welcome to Night Vale is voiced by Cecil Baldwin. Until episode 34, the general assumption was that character and actor shared the same surname as well. Amusingly enough, Baldwin didn't actually know the character's name at first (the credits just listed him as "The Voice of Night Vale", and it wasn't really important). A few episodes in the script finally revealed his name was Cecil, and Baldwin had to go check with the creator to find out whether or not NV-Cecil was meant to be someone other than himself.

    Western Animation 
  • Spoofed in an episode of The Boondocks.
  • John Candy in Camp Candy.
  • Arianna Huffington as The Cleveland Show's Arianna the Bear.
  • One Danza that is not the main character (and isn't their biggest part in the show) is Cree Lincoln from Codename: Kids Next Door who is voiced by Cree Summer, who also voices her little sister, Abby/Numbah 5). Another minor character Numbuh 362 is given the name Rachel, her voice actor? Rachael MacFarlane. (The sister of yes, that MacFarlane.)
  • Minor character example — in several episodes of Kim Possible, Tara Strong has played a character named "Tara". But then, she's played so many roles that it was bound to happen eventually.
  • Also Julie Brown as Julie Bruin in Tiny Toon Adventures. In this case, she's effectively parodying herself.
  • Kappa Mikey has its main characters playing characters with the same name in the Show Within a Show. As a bonus, Mikey Simon's voice actor is Michael Sinterniklaas, setting up a recursive Danza.
  • Home Movies through the entire cast, though Paula became an exception when her original voice actress, Paula Poundstone, was replaced.
  • Almost the entire cast of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist is named after their voice actor's first name with no last name given (Laura Silverman as Laura, Todd Barry as Todd). Even the guests that appear on the show are credited as "Dave as Dave Attell". There are only three exceptions to this rule: Dr. Jonathan Katz uses his full name, Benjamin Katz was named after his actor's last name (most likely because his first name is Jon and that would be confusing), and Stanley's voice actor is Will Le Bow.
  • The Simpsons
    • Ray Romano voices a character named Ray Magini in the episode "Don't Fear the Roofer".
    • And John Waters a character named John (though with no surname given) in the earlier episode "Homer's Phobia". (Amusingly, Homer befriends both of these characters in their respective appearances only to renounce those relationships.)
    • Lunchlady Doris was originally voiced by script supervisor Doris Grau. Grau also voiced Doris Grossman, Jay Sherman's makeup lady on The Critic.
  • Batman: The Animated Series has a partial case, as Harley Quinn was loosely based on her voice actress Arleen Sorkin (who was a friend of the episode's writer, Paul Dini); her real name was later revealed as Harleen Quinzel, with her first name being just one letter away from Arleen's.
  • A computer expert in Phantom 2040, voiced by Harlan Ellison(!) was named after one of Ellison's pseudonyms: Cordwainer Bird.
  • Chowder. Rueben is voiced by Paul Reubens.
  • Lisa Lougheed as Lisa on The Raccoons. She also sang the better-known version of the Ending Theme.
  • In Total Drama, Christian Potenza as Chris McLean and in season five, Alex House as Alejandro Burromuerto.
  • Salli Richardson voices Elisa Maza in Gargoyles, and also a minor character named Salli.
    • Amusingly, in Turf, Elisa goes undercover with the fake name Salli.
  • Guy Hadley as Guy Graham on Disney's version of Doug.
  • From the original series in 1962, to the movie from 1990note , George Jetson had been voiced by George O'Hanlon.
  • After Recasting for What's with Andy?, Danny Pickett was now voiced by Danny Brochu. The original voice actor (Bumper Robinson)'s real name is "Larry".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants reveals that the titular character's favorite Old Superheroes', Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy's, real names are Ernie and Tim respectively. Their respective voice actors are Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway.
  • The Fairly OddParents has Jerkass Genie Norm being voiced by Norm MacDonald until "Fairy Idol".
  • In The Angry Beavers, Norbert and Daggett's younger sisters, Chelsea and Stacy, are named after and voiced by creator Mitch Schauer's daughters.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012) episode "Terriers and Tiaras" features a dog named Sam U.L., voiced by Samuel Vincent.
  • Bagpuss: Emily, the little girl who owns Bagpuss and the shop, and is seen in the title montage of sepiatone photos, was played by Emily Firmin, daughter of series illustrator Peter Firmin.
  • In the Hey Arnold! episode "Pigeon Man," Vincent Schiavelli voices the Pigeon Man, who tells Arnold, "You can call me Vincent."
  • In Motorcity, the leader of the Mama's Boys gang Junior, is voiced by Richard Christy Jr.
  • Family Guy has Adam West, obviously.
  • In Regular Show, when we meet Margaret's father, we learn her family name is Smith. The father is voiced by Roger Craig Smith.
  • In The Flintstone Kids, Betty Jean Brickernote  was voiced by Betty Jean ("B.J.") Ward.
  • Young Justice has Bruce Greenwood voicing Batman, whose real name (as many of you know) is Bruce Wayne. Again, a coincidence as the character had been around well before he was cast.
  • Gene Belcher from Bob's Burgers, who is voiced by Eugene Mirman.
  • Adventure Time has a horse named James Baxter, who is not only voiced by James Baxter, but animated by him as well.
  • Besides his usual role as Robin, one episode of Filmation's 1968 Batman series had Casey Kasem playing a security guard named Casey.
  • Andrea Libman voiced the young AndrAIa.

Cross-Cast RoleCharacters and CastingDawson Casting
Color CharacterNaming ConventionsDark Age of Supernames
The CSI EffectTriviaDarkhorse Casting
Mystery Science Theater 3000ImageSource/Live-Action TVRailing Kill

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