"People get kicked out of bands. It happens. The Beatles nixed Pete Best because Ringo was a superior drummer. Metallica got rid of Dave Mustaine because only two very low IQ rageaholic jackasses are allowed in a band and they already had James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich."note
A subtrope of Suspiciously Similar Substitute
and/or The Other Darrin
, wherein one actor is in a role or position, then is dropped (or leaves voluntarily) for another actor who is the one everyone remembers after the work/group becomes famous.
Named for Pete Best, the drummer of The Beatles
, who was replaced by Ringo Starr just
before they hit it big (he was dropped as a condition of the band being signed).
Less likely in film (since you can only get one actor to play a role, any replacement will have to reshoot the scenes and become The Other Marty
), more likely in theater, television and music.
If the guy's in the band when they're famous, but all but forgotten, that person's Stuck in Their Shadow
. If the guy never had a chance of becoming famous anyway, that's Breakup Breakout
. If the band tries to avoid talking about the guy in the event he's brought up, or tries to take down any uploaded footage of the period he was with them, he's an Old Shame
As a final thought, notice that in Real Life
this trope is quite common, since music groups or any team whose future success is not quite clear normally go through a series of line-up changes.
Contrast Lesser Star
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Anime and Manga
- Eric Stuart, the longtime voice actor for James in the 4Kids dub of Pokémon, was actually the second voice actor for the character. Ted Lewis was James's voice actor for the first few episodes of the show's run. The transition from Lewis to Stuart was notable as a specific point of Flanderization in the dub, where James suddenly became less smooth and suave and a lot more dim-witted and incompetent (though whether it was coincidental timing or a result of the voice switch is up for debate, as the Flanderization didn't reach full force until years later - and the whole Rocket trio was eventually Flanderized regardless). That's not to say that Lewis missed out on Pokémon. Quite the opposite, in fact - he went on to voice Tracey and Giovanni, among many other minor characters, and notably returned to the role of Giovanni even after the mass voice actor replacement of 2006.
- Another case of this happened with Meowth, who is best known as being voiced by the late Maddie Blaustein. However, for the first thirty or so episodes of the dub, his voice actor was Matthew Sussman (credited under the name "Nathan Price"), who retired the role afterwords while continuing to provide additional voices for a couple more years.
- Raoh was originally voiced by Norio Wakamoto when he appeared in Episode 32 of Hokuto no Ken before Kenji Utsumi took over the role. This was actually before Raoh's proper first appearance, before Raoh's design and backstory was finalized (before he even had a proper name even), since Raoh only shows up as a silhouette. Wakamoto would later appear as another character named Shuren.
- Tristan Taylor from the 4Kids dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! was voiced by Sam Riegel for the first ten episodes until John Campbell took over. His "Barney The Dinosaur" sounding voice was continued on in The Abridged Series.
- In Slayers, Crispin Freeman is best known for being the voice of Zelgadis, however, Daniel Cronin had voiced the character for nine episodes before the character was Put on a Bus and recast with Crispin after he reappeared eight episodes later. Interestingly, this was a controversial recast in the day, as many fans were used to Daniel's voice, and had a hard time adjusting to Freeman. However in later years, as well as today, people only see Cronin as Zelgadis' "old voice" when they watch the earlier episodes.
- The same could be said for Joani Baker as Amelia. Most people associate Veronica Taylor as the character's voice actress, not knowing there was another actress who had briefly voiced the character for a few episodes beforehand. In addition, Luci Christian also briefly voiced the character for "Slayers Premium", but her performance is usually also sidelined by Taylor's.
- The entire Ocean voice cast for Dragon Ball Z. Once associated as the voices of the series, that honor now goes to FUNimation's voice cast, who has completely replaced the former (with actors like Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat instead of Ian Corlett and Brian Drummond). While Ocean did do their own dub of the second half of the series for Europe and Canada in association with AB Groupe, this has also been displaced by FUNimation's version, which is all that's on DVD in those (and all English-speaking) territories.
- Battle of the Planets (the first English dub of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman) had entirely different actors for Tiny and Jason in the earliest-dubbed episode, "Attack of the Space Terrapin". Most fans associate Alan Dinehart and Ronnie Schell with the respective characters, however, Schell actually voiced Tiny in this first episode, while Jason was voiced by David Jolliffe. For some reason or another, Sandy Frank recast the parts after that, leaving Schell to take on the more prominent role of Jason (and voicing the character in a higher, somewhat raspier voice than Jolliffe's take), while Dinehart took over Tiny.
- In-Universe in 20th Century Boys, Friend refers to himself as Major Michael Collins, after the third member of the Apollo 11 space mission where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first and second men on the moon; the idea, of course, being that the last two are more famous than Collins is.
- The Hulk could be said to be the Pete Best of The Avengers - one of the five founding members, he left at the end of the second issue, never to rejoin the team. In issue #4 Captain America joined the Avengers and became one of those three members (along with founders Thor and Iron Man) of which you almost invariably can expect to see at least one on the active roster.
- The Avengers actually altered their charter to make Cap a founding member and remove the Hulk from it, despite it being the other way around.
- Averted in modern adaptations like The Avengers and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes which keep Hulk on the team to have more Marvel A list heroes that aren't wrapped up in licencing red tape like Spider-Man or Wolverine.
- Thunderbird was one of the "Second Genesis" X-Men, and the first main to die (If you don't count Professor X's fakeout death, that is). That's pretty much all he's known for now. The fact that his powers were largely the same as the Beast probably didn't help his case.
- Although Sunfire fits the trope even better, since he voluntarily left the team in the issue immediately following the first adventure.
- In Zoolander, main villain Mugatu was originally in Frankie Goes To Hollywood but was booted out shortly before they got big. He used their song "Relax" as his keyword to activate his brainwash programming.
- That Thing You Do! has the original drummer for The Wonders (then The One-ders) break his arm before a talent competition. The band asks Guy to fill in for him. This talent show led the The Wonders towards the path to recognition. The former drummer, Chad, ends up taking Guy's old job at his father's appliance shop.
- The Rocker The whole plot revolves around this trope. Rainn Wilson plays Robert "Fish" Fishman, the drummer in an 80's glammetal band called Vesuvius. When his band gets signed, Fish gets dropped in favor of their producer's nephew. Despite his swearing to become even bigger than they do, he fails, until more than 20 years later when his nephew asks him to fill in for the drummer for his band, and they manage to hit it big, thanks largely to YouTube and a series of videos entitled The Naked Drummer. Pete Best even makes a cameo as himself.
- In the Death Star briefing scene in the original Star Wars, Ensemble Dark Horse (or is he an Ascended Extra?) Wedge Antilles is played by Colin Higgins. In the rest of the movie - and in the other two movies in the original trilogy - he's played by Denis Lawson (who also dubbed Higgins' lines in his one scene).
- In the original version of The Empire Strikes Back, Emperor Palpatine's face was provided by Elaine Baker, wife of the film's makeup artist Rick Baker, and voiced by Clive Revill. Ian McDiarmid played the character in Return of the Jedi and the prequels, and when Empire was re-released to DVD in 2004, Palpatine's scenes were re-shot with McDiarmid in the role.
- The actors playing Cammie (British actress Koo Stark) and Fixer in the deleted scene of A New Hope where Luke goes to Toshi Station and talks to Biggs Darklighter.
- Peter Burton, who played Major Boothroyd/Q in Dr. No, was unable to return for From Russia with Love and so was replaced by Desmond Llewelyn, who would become the iconic Q actor, appearing in seventeen James Bond movies.
- Another one from James Bond. Before Sean Connery, there was an American actor, Barry Nelson, who played "Jimmy Bond" in an adaptation of Casino Royale 1954 for an anthology called Climax!, with the idea being for it to act also as a pilot for a possible TV Show based on James Bond. Nothing came out of it and eight years later came Dr. No and Barry Nelson (who was thirteen years older than Connery) wasn't even considered for the role. The movie pretty much made Sean Connery a star and relegated Barry Nelson's performance as Bond to total obscurity. The fact that the production was believed lost to time until a kinescope emerged in the 1980s didn't help much either.
- The Social Network uses this as a major plot point: in its interpretation of Facebook's founding, Eduardo Saverin, who has been part of the company since the start, becomes aware of his business partner's attempts to minimize his contributions and force him out of the company. Lawsuits ensue. In real life Saverin has been candid that he didn't care so much about being on the Facebook "inside" as maintaining his deserved financial stake.
- Hannibal Lecter was first played by Brian Cox in Manhunter (as Dr. "Lecktor"), and later by Anthony Hopkins. Cox's substantial roles in Rushmore, Super Troopers, X2, RED, and the Bourne films have since made him a recognized character actor, but as Manhunter is far less known the other films (especially since the novel Red Dragon it was based on was later remade a second time) and Hopkins' portrayal became so iconic, Cox carried the 'first to play Lecter' footnote for much of his career. Many still wonder what he could've done with the role if he'd been cast in the later films.
- Jennifer in the Back to the Future series is an excellent example. Jennifer was played by Claudia Wells in the first film. When she was unable to return for the sequels she was replaced by Elisabeth Shue. This included reshooting the end scenes of the first movie with Shue in the role for the beginning of Back to the Future Part II. Needless to say, Shue is the actress most associated with the role.
- However, Wells returned to the role for the game.
- Crispin Glover, who played George McFly, was replaced for Back to the Future 2 and 3. The job was so well done that Glover's friends complimented his role on the last two films even when he didn't act on it. This resulted in a lawsuit from him against Universal for using an actor and stock footage to use his likeness when he wasn't asked for it (he had been replaced just before part 2 would start because he disagreed with the producers over his pay, which is why they decided to kill his character).
- Tom Clancy's character Jack Ryan was originated in film by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October. However the role is best remembered from the portrayal by Harrison Ford in the follow-up adaptations Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.
- The ReBoot film with Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan, The Sum Of All Fears, didn't work to revitalize the character. So Paramount is going to try it again with Star Trek's Chris Pine.
- Ted Healy was this to The Three Stooges, and was the star of the act in vaudeville for long before his assistants were billed as the Stooges. Healy left the Stooges when they moved in 1934 to Columbia Pictures from MGM, for which they had done six shorts and various cameos. Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard also played minor supporting roles in the 1930 feature film Soup to Nuts. Shemp was replaced by Curly in the early 1930s, but returned in the mid-1940s after Curly had a stroke. Healy, meanwhile, had died in 1937.
- The first movie about the amnesiac super assassin, Jason Bourne, was a 3 hour epic film called The Bourne Identity that premiered on television in 1988 and starred Richard Chamberlain. However, when people mention Jason Bourne, the first person most people think of is Matt Damon and his role in the remake and sequels that came afterwards. How bad is this? The official tropes page for the Bourne series doesn't even mention the 1988 film.
- Like The O.C. example below, Shailene Woodley had it happen to her a second time when she was cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and the role was recast for the upcoming sequel.
- Parodied in the Discworld novel The Thief of Time, where Ronnie Soak left The Four Horsemen of the Apocralypse before they got famous—he was "Kaos", the Fifth Horseman. He still manages to get a He's Back moment near the end when he rejoins the Horsemen for the big battle against the Auditors.
- Also used in Soul Music, where the Librarian briefly joined (and then quit) the Band With Rocks In before they went on tour and made it really big.
- Speaking of the Four Horsemen, in the original text they were Famine, Death, War, and Conquest. In the King James edition of The Bible, Conquest was replaced with the much more widely known Pestilence.
- And speaking of Pratchett and replacing the fourth Horseman, in Good Omens, Pestilence has retired and been replaced with Pollution.
- Alex McLeod was the original host of Trading Spaces. Seasons 2 onward were hosted by Paige Davis.
- Pert Kelton was the original Alice Kramden when The Honeymooners was just a segment of Jackie Gleason's variety show. She was caught up in the Red Scare and was replaced by Audrey Meadows around the time for the show's "Classic 39".
- Jeffrey Hunter played Christopher Pike in the original pilot for Star Trek. Reception was thin for that first pilot, but NBC, in a unprecedented move at the time, let Gene Roddenberry produce a second pilot, replacing Hunter (and Number One, played by Majel Barrett, who later played Nurse Christine Chapel in the series proper) with William Shatner as Captain Kirk, and folding much of the traits of the Number One character into Leonard Nimoy's Spock. The rest, as they say, is history.
- Apparently, despite being asked to return, Hunter didn't want to, and he used a loophole in his contract to get out of his role in the series. He would've had to star in the show if it was picked up after the first pilot, but since a second pilot was commissioned instead of a full season order, he was free to walk away.
- Shatner claims in his memoirs that Hunter was actually sort of manipulated into leaving by his girlfriend at the time, who was always on set complaining about how dumb the show made him look.
- The majority of the first pilot with Hunter was later incorporated in an memorable two-part episode, The Menagerie, in the show's first season, placing Pike firmly into the canon of the series. Pike would would also be a major character in the series' motion picture reboot, played by Bruce Greenwood.
- Denise Crosby left Star Trek: The Next Generation before the first season was up, roughly a year before it became a merchandising giant. You might see her on a Trek celebrity cruise, but apart from that, she's a bit player in the DVDs and doesn't join the roundtable discussions about the show. However, her character was revived for three time-travel plots, including the series finale. Crosby also got to play her own daughter thanks to the Timey Wimey shenanigans.
"For me, I was miserable. I couldn’t wait to get off that show. I was dying. This was not an overnight decision...I didn’t want to spend the next six years going 'Aye, aye, captain
,' and standing there, in the same uniform, in the same position on the bridge. It just scared the hell out of me that this was what I was going to be doing for the next X-amount of years."
- Similar to the TOS entry above, the original pilot for Married... with Children was never aired. When the show went into production, they used new actors for Bud/Kelly.
- The 'pilot' of Happy Days did air ... as an episode of Love American Style. The pilot was initially rejected, only to have the network pick it up after Ron Howard starred in American Graffiti. Tom Bosley replaced Harold Gould as Howard Cunningham and Erin Moran replaced Susan Neher as Joanie.
- In the JAG two-parter that provided the backdoor pilot for NCIS, Robyn Lively played the female field agent. By the time the actual series premiered, she was replaced by Sasha Alexander (notable in that she herself would be replaced by Cote de Pablo after the second season).
- And from the NCIS two-parter that provided the backdoor pilot for its spinoff, NCIS: Los Angeles, Louise Lombard played the character who would have been that show's team leader. When it began in Fall '09, she was replaced by Linda Hunt.
- The Daily Show started with Craig Kilborn for the first three years, but the show really became popular after Jon Stewart took over and retooled the direction and comedy style. Now, the show's full title is even The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
- This happened to Kilborn a second time with his next show. He replaced Tom Snyder as the host of CBS' The Late Late Show and re-vamped it, giving it a new set and a more comedic style than Snyder's. Then he left the show...and in came Craig Ferguson, who became a darling in the late night ranks.
- Everybody knows that the IMF on Mission: Impossible was always led by Peter Graves' Jim Phelps. Mostly forgotten is Dan Briggs, played by Steven Hill in the first season. Hill left the show (and temporarily, acting) for reasons that were partly religious, and his character was given the Brother Chuck treatment.
- Ironically, Hill would become the "Ringo" figure when he assumed his most famous role, DA Adam Schiff on Law & Order. The DA in the original pilot was Alfred Wentworth, played by Roy Thinnes; however, the pilot was filmed two years before the show was finally picked up by NBC, and Thinnes chose not to return as a regular.
- Jason Dawe, who was a presenter on Top Gear for one season and then was replaced by James May.
- And for US fans, The Black Stig (since BBC America hasn't gotten around to airing the earliest seasons of Top Gear).
- Ian Hendry played Dr. John Keel, the lead of the first season of The Avengers, with Steed (Patrick Macnee) as the secondary lead. The show was a moderate success, but Hendry moved on, with Steed becoming the lead - joined by first Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman) and then Emma Peel (Diana Rigg). The show became a big hit when Blackman joined, then a full-blown craze when Rigg took over. No-one really remembers Hendry (not helped by only one of his episodes still existing).
- Branford Marsalis was Jay Leno's original bandleader on The Tonight Show. Unfortunately, because of the legendary rapport Leno had with his replacement Kevin Eubanks (not quite as legendary as that between Johnny Carson and Doc Severinsen, or David Letterman and Paul Schaffer, but close), no one remembers that fact.
- Tamlyn Tomita as Lt. Cmdr. Laurel Takashima and Johnny Sekka as Dr. Benjamin Kyle in the Babylon 5 Pilot Movie — both of whom declined to return for the subsequent TV series. Neither ever appear again in person (although Dr. Kyle does get referred to several times throughout the series). Ultimately averted with Patricia Tallman as Lyta Alexander, who also didn't return at first but ended up rejoining the cast much later in the series.
- Josh "J. Elvis" Weinstein was the original voice of Tom Servo on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and also Dr. Forrester's original assistant (Dr. Erhardt). Weinstein left after only one season on Comedy Central and was replaced with Kevin Murphy and Frank Coniff respectively for Season 2, which was when the show starting to make it big and becoming really good.
- Brian Dunkleman was the co-host of American Idol in Season 1, and chose the wrong time to play hardball in contract negotiations, considering that the audience clearly preferred Ryan Seacrest. From that point, the show just kept getting bigger.
- Ed had an in-universe example. A band sued their founder, lead singer and songwriter on the grounds that she plagiarized her lyrics. It was all a pretense because the record label didn't like her. They had already scouted a potential replacement but the trial took so long, the replacement joined another band. They tried to take back their leader, in vain. The episode ended with the band performing in front of a not so impressed talent scout.
- Lauren Sanchez was the original host of So You Think You Can Dance, but left after one season and was replaced by Cat Deeley, who is now the face of the show.
- Similarly, Katie Lee Joel (now Katie Lee) hosted the first season of Top Chef before being replaced by the more telegenic Padma Lakshmi.
- While she filled a different role in the show in its original format, folklorist Heather Joseph-Witham became the Pete Best of MythBusters, effectively replaced by the Build Team as the show's focus shifted from the myths themselves to MacGyvering and Stuff Blowing Up.
- Scottie Chapman is another MythBusters example; she was originally the machinist of the Build Team, but left the show during Season 3, right around the time the Build Team's role on the show was expanded and they were added to the theme sequence, and was replaced by Grant Imahara. While Scottie has made sporadic appearances since then (and the hosts/current producers have not been shy about showing flashbacks that prominently feature her), the regulars on the show have become far more famous.
- Saturday Night Live parodies Pete Best's story with Eddie Murphy as Clarence Walker, the saxophonist who's still bitter about being kicked out of the band.
- In the second episode of the 14 season, with Mathew Broderick as a guest, they make a parody of Albert Goldman, author of a controversial biography of John Lennon, which made this character (played by Phil Hartman) claim that he had been part of The Beatles and played trombone in the band before they reached the stardom, but was expelled by everyone present (both John, Paul, George, Ringo ... and Elvis) on considerations about his lack of talent and large build. At the end Mr. Goldman threatened to take revenge sooner or later for that affront (it should be noted that this autor wrote a polemic biography of Elvis, too).
- For its first three years, the PBS show Scientific American Frontiers was hosted by MIT professor Woodie Flowers. He was replaced by Alan Alda, who hosted for 12 years.
- In 1981 MTV hired five people as its original lineup of VJs: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Meg Griffin (no, not that one). Griffin was a radio vet (as were some of the others) but she had difficulty adjusting to an on-camera role during rehearsals, and quit just two weeks before the August 1 launch date. She was hurriedly replaced by 22-year-old radio intern Martha Quinn, who went on to become arguably the most famous VJ.
- Sesame Street: Practically every American under the age of 40 will immediately say "hey, it's Gordon!" upon seeing the face of Roscoe Orman, but most don't know that he was actually the fourth Gordon. Garrett Saunders originated the role in the first test episode in 1969, which only aired on one station, but was replaced by Matt Robinson for the actual series. note Robinson left after three seasons; he did all right for himself, later working for Bill Cosby, and you've probably heard of his daughter - Holly Robinson-Peete. Hal Miller took over from 1972-74.
- In season three (1971-72), a bunch of new human characters were added. Luis and Maria are still on the show. David was on for more than a decade (before his actor Northern Calloway ran into personal and health problems, then died). But Rafael (Luis' assistant at the Fix-It Shop), Molly (the mail carrier) and Tom (Mr. Hooper's assistant) all lasted just one season. But there's plenty of Retroactive Recognition for them: Rafael was played by Raul Julia, Molly by Charlotte Rae, and Tom by Larry Block, a character actor who's been in a million things since then.
- 3-2-1 Contact was retooled and thus completely recast after just the first season.
- Ensemble topical comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News ran for several series in the period 1978-83. Everyone will recall the lineup was Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, Pamela Stephenson and Gryff Rhys-Jones. However, in the first series, Rhys-Jones was nowhere to be seen and the Pete Best of the group was comic actor and writer Chris Langham, who performed creditably but left at the end of the series citing artistic differences. He was replaced by Rhys-Jones only at he start of the second series. The fact Langham has since been convicted of crimes to do with indecent photographs of children has made it easier for the BBC to airbrush his involvement out of the series' official history.
- Tim Brooke-Taylor was an early member of what would eventually evolve into Monty Python, alongside Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Michael Palin, and made appearances in At Last The 1948 Show and How to Irritate People. He left the group between the latter and the start of Monty Python's Flying Circus — by which time Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam had arrived — though still went on to be a pretty successful actor in his own right.
- Billy Crystal was scheduled to be in one sketch in the first episode of Saturday Night Live, and would have been a featured player throughout that season. But it was cut and he went home, crying all the way back because he thought he'd just blown the only break he was ever going to get. He stuck with his standup career and eventually did get to be a regular ten years later.
- Originally, in the recurring role of black-sheep alcoholic older brother Gary Ewing, Dallas had cast David Ackroyd. When a spinoff, Knots Landing, was launched in the second season, Ted Shackleford got the part that would keep him working for the next 15 years.
- Penny Santon originally played Nurse Consuelo Lopez in the TV movie that started Marcus Welby, MD before recast by Elena Verdugo for the rest of the run.
- Samantha Morrison played Emma Nelson as a baby on Degrassi Junior High and Ashlee Harris played toddler Emma Nelson on Degrassi High before Miriam McDonald played Emma Nelson on Degrassi The Next Generation.
- George Carlin joked in his "sortabiography" that he replaced Ringo Starr on Shining Time Station becoming the reverse Pete Best
- In the Seinfeld pilot "The Seinfeld Chronicles" the lead female role was Claire, the waitress played by Lee Garlington, Elaine was brought in on the second later, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus didn't find out about the pilot episode until years later.
- Only two characters from Stargate retained their original actors* when the movie was adapted into Stargate SG-1. Who do people usually remember as Jack O'Neil(l)? Richard Dean Anderson, not Kurt Russell. Daniel Jackson? Michael Shanks, not James Spader.
- Most people associate Torri Higginson with Dr. Elizabeth Weir, since she played the role in Stargate Atlantis. However, in the character's first appearance on SG-1, she was played by Jessica Steen.
- Shailene Woodley originally played the role of Kaitlin Cooper on The O.C. in the first season who was pretty irrelevant. When the show decided to bring Kaitlin back for Season 3 with storylines based around her, she was played by Willa Holland, who was also more developed at the time.
- On The Munsters, Marilyn was originally portrayed by Beverly Owen. She left the show after less than three months, however, and thereafter Pat Priest took over the role.
- Sal Barone played D.J. Conner in the pilot of Roseanne. Then the Writers' Strike happened, during which he grew half an inch and couldn't be perceived as a 7-year-old kid anymore. He was replaced with Michael Fishman, who, besides being a bit younger, looked decidedly more like Roseanne than Sal did.
- The mid-60's comedy Camp Runamuck! featured Leonard Stone as Doc in most of the episodes. In the pilot, however, Doc was portrayed by Frank DeVol, who the role was originally intended for and who left due to health problems.
- By Season 3, all the original members of Glee's New Directions had been fully developed...except for Matt Rutherford, played by Dijon Talton who left the show after Season 1.
- The first season of The Facts of Life had several characters who didn't make it past the first season (outside of occasional appearances), but special attention should be given to Miss Mahoney, a teacher who was dropped after the fourth episode.
- In a possible reference to the Trope Namer, a flashback sequence in the Firefly episode "Out of Gas" establishes that Serenity's original mechanic was a man named Bester, who was quickly forgotten by the crew after he lost his job to Kaylee.
- ESPN's Around The Horn was originally hosted by Max Kellerman, who left in early 2004 for a show on Fox Sports. ESPN tapped Tony Reali (then known as Stat Boy from Horn's sister show Pardon The Interruption) as a temporary fill-in until they could hire a permanent replacement. Nine years later, Reali's still hosting the show (with Kellerman coming full circle to host SportsNation).
- When Jim Henson got started in puppetry, he worked with his friend Russell Wall. However, Wall only worked for a few months, long before The Muppets had become big.
- Invoked in-universe in Breaking Bad. One of the reasons that the protagonist Walter White decides to enter the meth business is to create a successful enterprise of his own, after having missed out on a chance to be a part of the multi-billion company Gray Matter, which he had founded along with two of his college friends. Though he was one of the primary forces behind the creation of Gray Matter, no one at the company is willing to acknowledge it in public, and his role in starting the company has long since been forgotten.
- A variant of this on Parks and Recreation. Paul Schneider played Mark, but he left the show at the end of season 2, and his Straight Man role was replaced by Ben (Adam Scott). The show really only started hitting its stride and getting critical acclaim through the end of season 2 and the beginning of season 3.
- Another variant focused on original Monday Night Football play-by-play broadcaster Keith Jackson. Jackson was assigned to call play-by-play for MNF's first season in 1970 only to give way to Frank Gifford (who ABC Sports president Roone Arledge wanted from day 1; eventually bringing Gifford in as soon as his contract with CBS expired). Became a Zig Zagged Trope for Jackson; who later would become most famous as the voice of ABC's college football coverage.
- The first season of Pee-Wee's Playhouse had a number of human characters who only appeared that season, including Captain Carl (who had been around since the original stage show the show is based on), Ms. Steve, Dixie, and Tito, as well as a different actor playing The King of Cartoons. However, half of the original cast also makes up a portion of retroactive recognition - Captain Carl was played by Phil Hartman (who had also helped create Pee Wee Herman) and Dixie was played by Johann Carlo.
- Pretty much the entire cast of the series adaptation of M*A*S*H could be considered this when compared to the cast of the original movie; however, series-specific, Father Mulcahy was played by George Morgan in the pilot episode, before being replaced by William Christopher for the series' proper - it's easy to forget Morgan as Mulcahy in the pilot, because Mulcahy never spoke in that episode. Ironically, Christopher had originally tested for the part, but instead of doing a table reading, ad-libbed much of his dialogue, which was seen as unprofessional, and the part went to Morgan instead. Afterwards, the producers decided Christopher's quirky personality was a better fit for Mulcahy, so they brought him back, on the condition that he would stick with the script.
- Canadian sketch comedy series SCTV originally had a seven-person cast that included Harold Ramis. Ramis only appeared in sketches for the first season and first couple of episodes of season 2- after season 1, he chose to focus on writing before leaving the show entirely to help write Animal House. He did alright for himself, though.
- The original host of Beat The Geeks was J. Keith van Straaten. He was replaced after the first season by Blaine Capatch, apparently because the producers thought van Straaten was not geeky enough. For some reason, original Music Geek Andy Zax, aka the Walking Encyclopedia of Music, was nearly this after being fired and replaced near the middle of the first season. After two different replacements (Michael Jolly and Michael Farmer) proved inadequate, Zax returned to his rightful place.
- When Dealer's Choice debuted in January 1974, its host was Bob Hastings. He lasted only a few weeks before Jack Clark took over, mainly due to talking way too much for the editors' liking.
- Remember Paul Lynde, that sassy gay guy who was the center square on The Hollywood Squares (minus a period from 1979-80)? Yeah. Well, from 1966-68, there were various people in the center square, most notably (from the GSN reruns of the 1968 nighttime show) Buddy Hackett.
- The UK classic The Golden Shot (1967-75) was a huge hit with host Bob Monkhouse. His introduction was the network's saving throw after the show bombed under original host Jackie Rae.
- The Gong Show. Gary Owens hosted the unaired pilot, and John Barbour did five also-unaired episodes (GSN aired his first) before creator Chuck Barris took over.
- While Lingo is most well-known by Americans for its 2002-07 run on GSN and subsequent dirty-minded 2011 reboot, it actually began as a Ralph Andrews production from 1987-88, hosted originally by Michael Reagan (yes, the president's son) and later (the last five weeks) by Andrews himself.
- The 2002-07 revival has a few examples. Season 1 had no model or announcer. Season 2 had Randy Thomas (best known for her Hooked on Phonics commercials) as announcer, but no model. In Season 3, Thomas left, and Stacey Hayes joined as model/announcer (with assistance from Paula Cobb on two episodes). After that, Hayes left, and Shandi Finessey replaced her for the rest of the run.
- Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly didn't appear on Match Game until a few weeks into the run, when they almost immediately became regular panelists. They stayed for the next nine years, except for a few weeks when Charles was busy with other projects and a few times when Brett was unavailable.
- The original version of The Price Is Right ran on NBC from 1956-63 and ABC from 1963-65, hosted by Bill Cullen. It isn't brought up too often nowadays.
- When Mark Goodson wanted to revive Price in 1972, he had a clear setup in mind: weekly syndication, hosted by Dennis James and distributed by Viacom. Once CBS got wind of the revival, Bud Grant approached Goodson about doing a daytime show with Bob Barker as emcee. Barker wanted no part of it, not liking those in charge of the revival, and begged Grant for another game show; Grant declined, which suggests that Barker's alleged backstage tyranny was payback for having the show forced on him.
- As for James, he did nighttime Price until 1977, when his contract expired and Barker took over until its end in 1980. His version, along with those of Tom Kennedy (1985-86) and Doug Davidson (1994-95), are largely ignored in pretty much every way.
- For the first few years of the original Whats My Line, Hal "Dimples" Block was a regular panelist. As the show progressed it became more and more dignified and refined, and Block's loutish persona soon became undesirable and his seat was permanently replaced by Bennett Cerf. To add insult to injury, most of Block's run is lost due to the films being destroyed for their silver content after the episodes ran once on live TV.
- When it started on NBC's daytime lineup in 1975, Wheel of Fortune was hosted by Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford. Chuck was replaced by Pat Sajak in December 1981, followed by the iconic hostess Vanna White taking Susan's place almost exactly a year later. Pat and Vanna successfully made the transition to nighttime syndication in 1983, and still hold those roles to this day, although Pat relinquished his daytime duties two years before that version ended in 1991. This led to a reverse Pete Best situation with his daytime successors (Rolf Benirschke for a few months, then Bob Goen after a Channel Hop to CBS), as their runs on daytime are comparatively lesser-known.
- Interestingly, Woolery zig-zags this trope, as he is well-known for hosting Scrabble, Love Connection, Greed, and the aforementioned Lingo, but his Wheel tenure is comparatively less known.
- Art Fleming, the original host for Jeopardy, is not as well known to newer generations as his successor Alex Trebek despite two Emmy nominations and a fairly long run as host (1964-1975, 1978-1979). However this is mostly due to Trebek hosting for an even longer period of time — his version has run continuously since 1984.
- In a literal case of the "Weird Al" Effect, a lot of people only know about Fleming because he's mentioned in (and appeared in the video for) "I Lost on Jeopardy".
- ZigZagged with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. Meredith Vieira hosted the show for 11 seasons in syndication, versus only 3 on ABC for Regis Philbin; however, the ABC version was explosively popular and spawned a legion of tropes that revived the then-flagging game show field, so Regis is still seen by many as the most iconic host of the show. (After Meredith left in 2013, she was replaced by Cedric the Entertainer for one season, then Terry Crews in 2014.)
- This phenomenon can also happen when a movie is adapted for a television series; for instance, more people recognize Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy the Vampire Slayer than they do Kristy Swanson.
- Alan Alda is more identified as Hawkeye Pierce than Donald Sutherland. This goes for most of the cast of Mash. This is helped by the fact that most of the TV cast of M*A*S*H face a certain amount of I Am Not Spock while many of the actors from the film are famous in their own right.
- Similar to the Buffy example above, how many people remember Kurt Russell as Jack O'Neil in Stargate as opposed to Richard Dean Anderson's Jack O'Neill in Stargate SG-1?
- O'Neill himself does, actually. When spelling his name in one episode he mentions that there's also a Jack O'Neil who is far grumpier. On the other hand, many people can go from James Spader in the movie to Michael Shanks at the beginning of the series and not notice the change in actor
- Gummo Marx was a member of the Marx Brothers' vaudeville act, but he quit around World War I. Thus he was never one of "The Four Marx Brothers," as they would be billed on Broadway and in Hollywood.
- The Insane Clown Posse originally appeared in promotional photographs with a third member, John Kickjazz. (This is how Violent J spells his name in "Behind The Paint" - fan sites call him 'Kickchass'.) By the time the first Joker's Card (album) Carnival of Carnage was completed, John was nowhere to be found. He did get mentioned in the song "The Juggla," though.
- Likewise, though Shaggy 2 Dope was already a member of the gang/group, Violent J initially shared lyrical duties on the Inner City Posse's album Intelligence and Violence with an otherwise unknown individual named D-Lyrical. J admits in his book that he could've cared less about D-Lyrical, who happened to be a kid with a tape recorder. As one would suspect, J used him for the sake of that one album and never spoke to him again.
- Petra was always something of a Revolving Door Band, but their most well-known eras were between 1980 and 1985 (when Greg X. Volz was the lead singer and everyone else save founding member Bob Hartman left) and 1986 to 1993 (when Head East vet John Schlitt took over). Everyone who left in 1980 could be considered a Pete Best. Special mention, however, goes to keyboardist John Slick, who performed on three of the four studio albums recorded during the Volz era but has been largely forgotten in favor of his replacement John Lawry. To the point where, when Hartman reunited the "classic Petra" lineup for a 2010 tour, the lineup featured Lawry rather than Slick.
- Legendary WWE tag-team Demolition is best known as Bill "Ax" Eadie and Barry "Smash" Darsow — but Darsow was not the original Smash. No, in their first couple of matches, Smash was Randy Culley, better known as Moondog Rex. Culley was replaced in the team because too many fans recognized him from his former role, and chanted "Moondog" for him. His distinctive mustache didn't help matters (and really made the Demolition facepaint look silly on him).
- It should be noted that the gimmick was Culley's idea in the first place, so he got kicked out of his own creation only to see it reach stardom.
- The promos for NXT season 3 advertised Vickie Guerrero mentoring a 6 foot 9 beast known as Aloisa (indie wrestler Isis the Amazon). However WWE officials discovered Aloisa had erotic photos online and removed her from the competition to replace her with the unknown Kaitlyn. Of course Kaitlyn ended up winning the season.
- The infamous Mickie James / Trish Stratus Stalker with a Crush storyline was written by Mickie herself but it was written with Lita in mind, Lita having acted as Mickie's mentor down in OVW. However when Mickie was called up Lita was out with an ACL injury and the angle was rewritten for Trish Stratus instead. It is now considered one of the best feuds in diva history.
- Bray Wyatt's first follower was a guy named Eli Cottonwood. Cottonwood left wrestling after only a few appearances alongside Wyatt in NXT, leaving Wyatt to form The Wyatt Family with Eric Rowan and Luke Harper instead.
- American Country Countdown: While a Lesser Star (Kix Brooks, of the former country duo Brooks & Dunn) currently hosts ACC, the show also had its Pete Best. It was originally hosted by Don Bowman from 1973 to April 1978, when its most famous host (Bob Kingsley) took over. Kingsley stayed with the show until December 2005, when he left to do Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40.
- When The Goon Show began in 1951 as Crazy People Michael Bentine starred alongside Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. Bentine also appeared in the low-budget Goon Show spinoff movie Down Among the Z-Men, but left the show soon after. According to one interview, Milligan fired him for suggesting the show would work better without Milligan, who created and mostly wrote it.
- Because so few recordings of early series remain, most of the show's fans, who only discovered it later, will also be unfamiliar with Bentine's character Osric Pureheart, an inventor and adventurer, who was usually a very important character in the scripts of the first and second series.
- The show's original announcer Andrew Timothy also left early in the show's run, claiming that the surreal humour was damaging his sanity.
- The Burkiss Way's female cast member Denise Coffey left after one season, to be replaced by Jo Kendall from Im Sorry Ill Read That Again. Coffey returned when the show was adapted for television as the short-lived End of Part One.
- Ron Wayne co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. His 10% ownership in the company would be worth $22 billion today... if he hadn't sold his shares back to the Steves 12 days into the partnership for $800.
- Similarly, Joe Green decided not to take up his roommate, Mark Zuckerberg's offer to help him with his website called Facebook.
- The supermarket chain Waitrose was started by three men — Waite, Rose and Taylor. Taylor left after a couple of years, and the business was renamed after the remaining two.
- Sears, Roebuck & Co. Roebuck's name isn't even on the sign anymore.
- Though "Roebuck & Co." is now a Sears clothing brand.
- Dow Jones & Company was founded by Charles Dow, Edward Jones... and Charles Bergstresser. What makes this example particularly unfair is that he was the chief financier for the new company and he came up with the name "The Wall Street Journal". However, it was his decision to become a silent partner, so his name never appeared on the company's name.
- The four major North American pro sports leagues all had numerous franchises in their early years that went defunct. The Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Bulldogs, Frankford Yellow Jackets, Providence Steam Roller (all NFL), Baltimore Bullets (NBA) and Montreal Maroons (NHL) all had the distinction of winning league championships before going under.
- The Ottawa Senators are a subversion. The original Senators teams won 11 Stanley Cups in the early 1900s, their last one coming in 1927, before, like the Maroons, going bankrupt and folding. Therefore, the Senators would've been a straight example until 1992, when a new Ottawa team, also called the Senators, started playing, making the original teams somewhat notable again (in fact, the current Senators team even has the Stanley Cup banners from the original Senators championships hanging from the rafters.)
- Technically speaking, the Sens do play the trope straight, since they were considered a brand new team when they arrived in 1992 and not an official continuation of the old team.
- In American intercollegiate sports, most of the "Power Five" conferences (the top 5 leagues who have automatic bids in the top tier of football bowl games) trace their roots to the late 19th/early 20th centuries, when college sports conferences were still loose affiliations of regional schools. When college sports started becoming Serious Business, some schools elected to de-emphasize their athletics programs and dropped out of what would eventually become the Power Five leagues. Some are now members of the NCAA's lower profile divisions, others are in "Group of Five" Division I leagues. The most famous example is The University of Chicago leaving the Big Ten in 1946. Tulane and The University of The South (aka Sewanee) were founding members of the Southeastern Conference. Idaho and Montana were in what eventually evolved into the Pac-12. And the two forerunners of the current Big 12 (The Big 8 and Southwest Conferences) once counted Drake, Grinnell, Southwestern University, Washington University of St. Louis and the since-closed Phillips University as members.
- One day, this guy named Wally Pipp gets a migraine and has to sit out of the baseball gamenote . The guy who takes over for him? None other than Lou Gehrig.
- A similar situation happened in the NFL in 1992, when then Packers-star Don Majkowski was injured, and subsequently replaced by Brett Favre.
- Then, a few years later, Patriots star Drew Bledsoe (who'd just signed a massive contract) gets injured and this sixth-round pick named Tom Brady takes over...
- The same example happened with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tommy Maddox got injured and the rookie Ben Roethlisberger took over. The result? A nearly undefeated season in 2004, only losing once in the Playoffs. And two Super Bowl wins in the 2005-2006 season and the 2008-2009 season.
- In a more general sense, any non-superstar player who held a certain starting position before being replaced (due to injury, retirement, or just poor play) with a superstar. Bonus points if the replaced player was clearly good, or even a star in his/her own right. This obviously does not apply if the player was able to make enough of a name for themselves to be remembered even after being replaced.
- Quarterback Craig Morton had the unfortunate situation of being the Pete Best to two superstar quarterbacks. He brought the Dallas Cowboys to Super Bowl V, where they lost to the Baltimore Colts. After that, he was gradually replaced by backup quarterback Roger Staubach, and finally moved on to other teams. Morton eventually managed to revive his career with the Denver Broncos, leading them to Super Bowl XII, where they lost to...the Dallas Cowboys, led by Staubach. He eventually retired from football with the Broncos, just in time to be replaced by a young rookie named John Elway....
- Isiah Thomas, well-known as the star of the Detroit Pistons during the "Bad Boys" era of the late 1980s-early 1990s, is more well-known now for being snubbed by the Dream Team before the 1992 Summer Olympics, possibly due to his rivalry with Michael Jordan.
- A common occurrence for many modern Broadway shows is for them to start Off-Broadway, then if they find success there, moving to Broadway, typically with most of the original cast and crew. The cast members who are replaced almost always become this:
- Brian d'Arcy James, who originated the role of Dan in Next To Normal Off-Broadway, was the only cast member to not move with the show to Broadway, being replaced by J. Robert Spencer, who promptly got a Tony nomination and a whole lot of notoriety.
- Contrary to popular belief, Andrea McArdle was not the first to play Annie in the musical. She was the first Broadway Annie, and replaced Kristin Vigard, who played her in the Goodspeed Opera House previews before the show went to Broadway.
- Jules Bledsoe introduced "Ol' Man River" as Joe in the original Broadway production of Show Boat. Paul Robeson would play that part (which consists of little more than the famous song and its reprises) in the 1928 London production, the 1932 Broadway revival, and the 1936 film version (for which he got a Movie Bonus Song). Robeson was the most famous black dramatic actor of his day, and Bledsoe was really not a good actor, so it's no wonder whose performance was regarded as definitive.
- Paul Hecht originated the role of John Dickinson in the musical 1776 - but it was Donald Madden, who took over the role on Broadway, who went on to star in the film version and create the definitive Dickinson. The same thing happened with John Cullum, actually the third Rutledge on Broadway, who played the role the longest and went on to recreate the role for the film.
- An interesting example is the role of Sally in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The original 1967 production didn't even feature the character, with Patty (not Peppermint Patty) instead. Patty eventually got Demoted to Extra in the Peanuts universe, and by the time of the 1999 Broadway production was largely forgotten. She was replaced with Sally, who was a good fit for Kristin Chenoweth, complete with an extremely catchy solo, and she won the Supporting Actress Tony. Meanwhile, Patty's been almost nearly forgotten.
- Thanks to the 2006 Broadway revival of Company, Raúl Esparza has well and truly eclipsed any other actor to play the role of Bobby, despite being born in the same year the show debuted.
- Cats: Judi Dench was supposed to play both Grizabella and Jennyanydots on the West End, but ruptured her Achilles' tendon during rehearsals. Her roles were split between two other actresses... and Elaine Paige, who took over Grizabella, became an even-bigger star as a result.
- In the world of Cirque du Soleil, no one seems to remember that Cool Old Guy Brian Dewhurst (aka Brian Le Petit) was not the original performer of Mystere's principal clown act; he only joined the cast in 2000, and the show has been running since 1993. There were no less than three sets of performers handling clown duties before him: Wayne Hronek (who created the act and taught it to Dewhurst), Alex El Sobrino, and Alfredo et Adrenaline (a male-female duo who presented a completely different act in 1995-96). Mystere has never been filmed in its entirety, and its making-of documentary didn't come along until Dewhurst's tenure, so very little footage of Hronek's version of the act exists, and none at all of the other two.
- Atari was founded in the early 70s by Nolan Bushnell, Al Alcorn, and a third guy who dropped out. Guess which one is no longer remembered.
- Canadian developer BioWare was originally founded by three people: Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk, and Augustine Yip. After Yip left to continue his medical career during development of the company's breakout game, Baldur's Gate, he was for the most part forgotten by all but the most dedicated of the developer's fans.
- Kairi in Ansem Retort, namely, the Show Within a Show Ansem Retort. She was killed off in the first season and replaced by Aerith, who more people associate with the show nowadays, especially since her wedding was broadcast on it.
- Lacey Chabert was the original voice for Meg on Family Guy for about the first dozen episodes before being replaced by Mila Kunis. Combined with a bit of Characterization Marches On, Chabert's Meg was more of a softer voiced, younger sounding Daddy's Girl, while Kunis' slightly harsher voice was better suited to expressing Butt Monkey-related frustration and anger.
- In the season three premiere of Metalocalypse, there's a flashback of Dethklok signing its first contract. The rhythm guitarist there is not the current rhythm guitarist, Toki Wartooth, but a man named Magnus Hammersmith. Hammersmith was kicked out of the band for being abusive and violent.
- The Simpsons - the voices of Moe Szyslak and Monty Burns were originated by Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer, right? Actually both characters were first voiced by Christopher Collins, aka Chris Latta, aka Cobra Commander and Starscream - but his part as Burns was only used in one episode ("Homer's Odyssey"), and none of his voice work as Moe was heard in any finished episode (he recorded all of Moe's lines in "Some Enchanted Evening", but Hank Azaria re-recorded the lines late in production, so Chris Latta is only heard as a TV presenter in that episode).
- And it happens in-universe in "Homer's Barbershot Quartet," as the titular group drops Chief Wiggum in favor of Barney for being "too Village People." It should be noted that the episode was a completely intentional Beatles' career parody.
- Also in "Team Homer", where Montgomery Burns muscles himself into the Pin Pals - alongside Homer, Moe, and Apu - just before the big final match against the Holy Rollers, forcing out original member Otto.
- The same thing had happened to Otto before in "A Streetcar Named Marge", where director Llewellyn Sinclair took him out of the cast of "Oh! Streetcar!" just before the opening performance, replacing him in the part of Pablo with himself.
- Karri Turner (of JAG fame) was originally intended to be the lead voice actress for South Park, but was let go in the time between the original pilot and the start of the series as it was felt that her voice wasn't distinct enough. Mary Kay Bergman went on to voice nearly all of the major female characters until her suicide in 1999, while Turner showed up briefly in a guest spot in the first season (voicing Kathie Lee Gifford).
- Recess: T.J. is very well-known as being voiced by Andy Lawrence...even though Ross Malinger played him for the first fifteen episodes until his voice broke.
- The pilot episode of Inspector Gadget was the only time Mona Marshall voiced Penny; the role being taken over by Cree Summer for the rest of the first season and Holly Berger in the second season. Also in the first edition of the pilot, Gadget was voiced by the British actor Gary Owens, who was subsequently dubbed over by the more Don Adams-esque Jesse White, who himself was Pete-Bested with Don Adams himself for the rest of the show.
- Scooby-Doo: Heather North Kenney is usually associated as being the classic, original voice of Daphne Blake, heck Mary Kay Bergman even mentioned it in an interview during her tenure in the role, but in reality, the role was originated by Indira Stefanianna Christopherson for the first 17 episodes (and majority) of the classic Where Are You?! series before the role was recast with North. Many viewers don't know they're actually hearing a whole other actress in the role for the majority of the classic episodes.
- Also happened to Scrappy-Doo, where Don Messick is usually associated as his voice actor (doing double-duty with Scooby), but actually Lennie Weinrib had voiced the character for all 16 episodes of "The Scooby-Doo & Scrappy-Doo Show" before quitting the role over a pay dispute and other personal reasons. In addition, Daws Butler, Dick Beals, Frank Welker, Marilyn Schreffler, and others all voiced the character in unaired test versions of the pilot before producers settled on Weinrib.
- Happens in universe when Scrappy-Doo became The Scrappy, replacing Scooby-Doo's other relative who only appeared in a few episodes: Scooby-Dum.
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Walt Disney made a whole series of cartoons featuring him and wanted to continue them, but Universal owned the character and didn't let him have the rights. When Disney struck out on his own, he invented Oswald's Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Mickey Mouse. Ozzy recently was bought back by Disney (in a deal that gave NBC Al Michaels and John Madden for Sunday Night Football) and gained some recognition by appearing in the video game Epic Mickey.
- Who remembers Scrooge McDuck as the voice of Alan Young? (A large number of hands is raised.) Who knows that in his first appearance, 1967's Scrooge McDuck and Money, Bill Thompson provided Mr. McD's voice? (Most of the hands fall.) Or that in the 1986 special "Sport Goofy in Soccermania" Scrooge was voiced by Will Ryan? (Even more hands go down.)
- In the original The Powerpuff Girls shorts that aired as part of the What A Cartoon show, Bubbles was voiced by Kath Soucie rather than Tara Strong, who is much more commonly associated with the role.