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  • Babylon 5:
    • The cast has accepted that this has happened to them with quite a bit of grace and alacrity. It helps that they all love the show and understand the affection the fans have for the it; to quote Jerry Doyle, "If I'm typecast as a space cop, well, that's fine, because I got to play a space cop on one of the best shows ever. What, should I prefer poverty?"
    • Andreas Katsulas, who played G'kar, did manage to avoid this trap, by already being well known as a film bad guy. Although wildly famous among science fiction fans as Babylon 5's G'Kar and ST:TNG's Commander Tomalak, his most famous role is one outside of science fiction: he played Frederick Sykes, the one-armed man in the Harrison Ford film of The Fugitive (he was right up there with his castmates, though, in not caring about typecasting either way because he adored the G'kar character).
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    • Bruce Boxleitner was already well-known for a variety of roles (and has continued to work steadily since). Mira Furlan is probably now better remembered as Danielle Rosseau from Lost, and like Katsulas was (and still is) tremendously well-respected in her native country (in this case, Croatia). She does gently remind interviewers that, yes, she has played characters not named Delenn or Danielle Rousseau, but like her castmates welcomes the adoration Delenn receives from fans and remains fond of the character and the show. Bill Mumy, however, will always remain Will Robinson for most people, or occasionally Anthony Fremont.
  • The X-Files:
    • David Duchovny as Fox Mulder. Although he's managed to become Hank Moody of Californication since then.
    • Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully. She lived in England as a child and moved back after The X-Files finished its run precisely to avoid this. She's managed it quite well so far.
  • Jaleel White suffers horribly from his inability to be separated from his character that he played in Family Matters. Since that show, he has held only a handful of very minor TV and movie roles due to it. He later attempted to radically change his appearance in order to disassociate with Steve Urkel. Even on Family Matters, White tried to show that he wasn't just Steve Urkel; he played Myrtle Urkel, Steve's female cousin on a few occasions, and also a suave, ladies' man version of himself. Although he has tried to distance himself from the character, including starring in a UPN show, Grown Ups, which only lasted for one season, he doesn't resent the fact that he will forever be known as "Steve Urkel" and always speaks fondly about the role, which allowed him far more creative freedom than many of his later appearances. In the movie Big Fat Liar, his Adam Westing includes screaming at his film's jerkass producer about never remembering his actual name.
    How many times have I told you not to call me Urkel! My name is Jaleel White!
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    • Additionally, to cartoon and video game fans, he is Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Tom Baker will forever be seen as the Fourth Doctor no matter how much he wants not to (and he really, really doesn't want to). After playing the role he spent several decades only able to play crazy Large Hams or spooky, otherworldly geniuses, or as characters who directly inspired the Doctor's character (Sherlock Holmes, Oscar Wilde, etc). He also came under pressure to perform these roles in the style of the Doctor ("in all but whipping out a Sonic Screwdriver"), because this was all people wanted to see him do and there was no point casting him to do anything else. Before he took the part he was considered unusually talented and was winning awards for being an up-and-coming star. After he left the part, he was (in the words of Steven Moffat) "a mad, sad, bad old ham locked away safely in a voiceover booth". Late in his life, with short, wavy white hair and Doctor Who remembered only by TV nostalgia shows and hardcore SF anoraks, he was able to get non-Expy roles in soap operas and sitcoms that allowed him to act in a different style, but interviews suggest he has a certain amount of bitterness over being forced to waste his talent simply because he was very good in one part. He has mellowed a lot in his 70s and 80s (better late than never). After years of refusing to even talk about the show, he appeared in the 50th anniversary episode "The Day of the Doctor" and was prominently featured in the publicity surrounding it, and he continues to play the role of the Fourth Doctor in audio productions.
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    • In fact, this applies to most of the actors who have played the title role, with the exception of Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston, who both played the Doctor for very short periods, and Peter Davison, who had another starring role in All Creatures Great and Small at the same time, and has had a varied career since, thanks in part to taking Patrick Troughton's (Doctor #2) advice to leave the role after 3 seasons. David Tennant seemed to be purposely doing a varied amount of side roles in other works in order to avoid this, despite the fact he was essentially living out his childhood dream of playing the Doctor - when the show took a break of sorts in 2009 he played Hamlet.note  For the most part, Tennant succeeded; he's still definitely well-known as the Doctor, but not just the Doctor like so many of his fellows.
    • Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor, was a highly successful character actor before Doctor Who and became one again almost immediately after leaving the programme. He was always recognized as the Doctor for the rest of his life, and loved doing conventions, but he did more than enough stuff that he was often recognized for his other work too. A combination of being one of the most versatile and talented actors to play the part combined with always keeping a sharp distinction between himself and all of his roles probably both helped a great deal with that.
    • Jon Pertwee got a double dose of the typecasting both as the Third Doctor and as scarecrow Worzel Gummidge, but as both were roles he thoroughly enjoyed, he seemed to be more accepting of it. Jon Pertwee was, in fact, so fond of the Doctor that he rarely passed up an opportunity to appear in character, whether on TV, radio, or on stage at fan conventions. Most touchingly, his final formal television appearance just a few weeks before his death was on Cilla's Surprise Surprise where he granted a young boy's wish to meet his favourite Doctor. In the '60s and early '70s, he also got a small dose of it playing "CPO Jon Pertwee", a fast-talking con-artist of a Navy NCO in BBC Radio's The Navy Lark.
      • Oddly, Pertwee's son, Sean Pertwee, has been typecast himself, though in direct contrast to his dad, Sean tends to be favoured for "Well 'ard", Cockney military types.
    • William Hartnell may have avoided the fate by default, as he left Doctor Who because of dramatically declining health. He was dying and knew it when he was called back to reprise his role in "The Three Doctors".
    • Sophie Aldred, Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker are also Ace, the Seventh Doctor and the Sixth Doctor.
    • Sylvester McCoy's turn as Radagast the Brown lessened this slightly.
    • In Colin Baker's case, it's almost inverted. Despite the rough time he had during his tenure, Baker never lost his love and enthusiasm for Doctor Who.
    • Elisabeth Sladen was, is, and will forever be Sarah Jane Smith.
    • Inverted with Anthony Ainley, the fourth actor to play the Master, who after a successful string of works retired from acting except to play the Master. He would answer the phone, write letters to publications, and make public appearances, almost invariably in character.
  • James Van Der Beek will probably be forever be known as Dawson. It doesn't help that he parodied himself in that role on Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, which painted the show and its aftermath as a breeding ground for his narcissism.
  • The reported reason for Tiffany Brissette's early retirement from acting was her fear of being remembered only as Vicki from Small Wonder and being cast accordingly.
  • Adam West:
    • Will always be remembered as "the campy Batman" (or, if you prefer, "the Bright Knight"), and he ended up being just fine with that. Judging from a lot of his later roles, he started appearing to be typecast as the guy who was typecast. He followed William Shatner's route of "hey, it's William Shatner!" roles to the point of playing himself in Family Guy, in one of the most surreal characters this side of Homsar (Mayor West is probably his best known character besides Batman).
    • His role as the The Gray Ghost stars an actor who played a superhero on TV, and is typecast for it. At first, he hates the typecasting, but when he finds out Batman was his biggest fan and the Batcave is a replica of his home base from his TV show, he helps Batman catch someone who is imitating an episode of his show. Later on, Bruce tells him the same line he did as Batman, which clues him in on who he is.
  • Cheers and Frasier:
    • Kelsey Grammer will probably always be identified with his eponymous role in Frasier (that, and Sideshow Bob). After all, he not only played it for 11 years in that show, but portrayed the same character for 9 years before that in Cheers. Though he has won a lot of acclaim (including a Golden Globe) for playing the main character in Boss. Mayor Kane is certainly intelligent and articulate like Frasier, but is also extremely profane, violent, cruel and calculating. A far cry from the arrogant but ultimately lovable character he's so identified with. Even under the furry blue makeup of Beast, he was still essentially playing Frasier, though of course the character is like that even when not played by Grammer.
    • George Wendt has noted that he can't walk into bars without everyone calling out "NORM!" It got annoying after a while.
    • Shelley Long has noted that a major reason her post-Cheers roles in the '80s were limited to romantic comedies (despite her clear dramatic talent) was that studios assumed audiences wouldn't accept her in a role that wasn't at least a mild Expy of Diane Chambers.
  • ER:
    • Eriq La Salle held a press conference to talk about his TV movie, Relative Stranger, but the only questions he was being asked were about his time on ER. He'll be Peter Benton for the rest of his life. In fact, most of the stars of ER suffer from this somewhat, aside from the obvious exception. No matter what they're in, when people see Anthony Edwards, Noah Wyle, Laura Innes, Gloria Reuben, Abraham Benrubi, etc., they shout hey, they're from ER!
    • Alex Kingston decided to defy this trope by breaking out of being typecast as Dr. Corday... and breaking into being typecast as River Song.
  • Jerry Mathers as "The Beaver!" SCTV satirized this with the Leave it to Beaver 25th Anniversary sketch with John Candy playing the role of Jerry Mathers as the Beaver.
  • Hervé Villechaize's suicide was heavily rumored to be in part caused by his inescapable recognition by fans as Tattoo from Fantasy Island.
  • Seinfeld:
  • Paul Zaloom, political puppeteer, is quite fondly remembered as Beakman. Woe be to any parent who brings their kids to his very adult-themed puppet shows.
  • A less extreme example: It would seem that Richard Dean Anderson could not quite shake his old role in MacGyver in the early days of Stargate SG-1. In one episode, Amanda Tapping played a prank on him by going off script and began yelling at him for being unable to find a way out of the mess they were in, pointing out that MacGyver would have been able to do it easily. Given that Tapping reportedly got her role by ad libbing a small MacGyver reference into the scene they used for her audition (which made it into the final script: "It took us fifteen years and three supercomputers to MacGyver a system for the gate on Earth"), I think Anderson's not exactly unhappy about it. Anderson has since then managed to truly be O'Neill, which is referenced in The Simpsons episode "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore" where Patty and Selma kidnap "MacGyver", who they're obsessed with. He's in Springfield because of a Stargate convention.
  • Bruce Campbell, a.k.a. "Don't call me Ash", what with being so firmly tied to one character that people have a hard time remembering his real name at conventions, despite having had excellent roles in several television series and having done a great deal of voice acting since. This has happened so often he's gone and made a movie about it. It's called My Name Is Bruce, and it features Bruce as himself, who everyone expects to save them from an ancient Chinese demon. He later got past this due to his role as Sam Axe on Burn Notice.
  • After Diff'rent Strokes, Gary Coleman only played himself. This was likely due to the congenital kidney disorder which halted his growth in childhood as much as it's the result of his typecasting as Arnold.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel:
  • Ardal O'Hanlon, best known for playing Dougal in Father Ted, gets annoyed by people going to his stand-up comedy gigs expecting him to perform 'My Lovely Horse'. He also sometimes complains that people come up to his family in the street to ask his wife, right in front of him if he's as stupid in real life as Dougal was in the show, even though he's played Detective Mooney in Death in Paradise since finishing Father Ted and no-one ever expects him to be as smart as a detective.
  • Josh Peck is well known for being the goofy stepbrother of Drake Bell's character in Drake & Josh. Although his new film The Wackness gave him the chance to break through the child star mold. He'll still be that cute kid from Nickelodeon to some though. Drake also fits, because while Josh Peck had some success with Red Dawn (2012), Drake hasn't seen any major screen acting roles since the show ended, turning to a (fairly steady) voice acting career instead until a wave of pedophilia allegations in 2021.
  • Gilligan's Island:
    • The entire cast got this, with the possible exception of Jim Backus (who's best remembered as Mr. Magoo). Alan Hale and Dawn Wells embraced the recognition, but Tina Louise took it very, very hard. For years afterward, she blamed the show for ruining her "serious" acting career. This is Played with when Bob Denver guest starred on The Simpsons - "And another thing! When people come up to me and say, 'Hey, little buddy!', and hit me over the head with a hat, that's not funny. That hurts!" Cue oblivious, uproarious laughter. What's even funnier is that Bob Denver was notoriously known as Maynard G. Krebs from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis before Gilligan's Island.
    • Lampshaded in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie when they notice that Russell Johnson (a.k.a. The Professor) plays one of the characters in the old movie they're watching.
      "So, you say that you made this car out of coconuts?"
      Also, "What's this 'and the rest' crap?"
  • Jackie Gleason's most memorable role: Ralph Kramden. Some might also remember him as Sheriff Buford T. Justice from the Smokey and the Bandit films.
  • Back in the early '90s, when Nintendo Power magazine had a Celebrity Profile section, Joe Regalbuto recalled in the October 1991 article for that section:
    There I was, going berserk down the mountain, falling head over heels, and someone shouts, 'Hey, Frank!' It can be kind of embarrassing.
  • Candice Bergen will always be Murphy Brown. Especially because of a certain former Vice President of the United States.
  • Harry H. Corbett, who played Harold Steptoe in the UK sitcom Steptoe and Son, in the 1960s and 70s. Could be a trope definer; before Steptoe, he was considered to be one of Britain's finest actors — "The British Marlon Brando". But Steptoe was a smash hit, and he was unable to break away from it for the rest of his life, despite coming to hate the character, the show, and especially his co-star Wilfrid Brambell. (Note for U.S. readers: Sanford and Son was based on Steptoe, if you didn't already know that.)
  • M*A*S*H:
    • Larry Linville, in particular, could never escape the shadow of Frank Burns.
    • No matter how many corrupt, slimey old dirtbags Alan Alda plays; no matter how fast he jumps to mind whenever a character of that calibre is created; "Alan Alda" will still always be a synonym for "sensitive guy".
    • Wayne Rogers (who played "Trapper" John McIntyre on the show) seems to have avoided to some extent — while he has had a spotty career record since M*A*S*H (though he did go three seasons as one of the leads of the TV series House Calls opposite Lynn Redgrave), his later TV appearances has been as a financial commentator on Fox News. Early on, he saved and invested his pay and ended up with sizable wealth and financial acumen.
  • Chris Noth. He was a cop for a long time (Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent), and Mr. Big (Sex and the City) for even longer. He now plays another Mr. Big on CBS's The Good Wife.
  • Phil Silvers < Sgt Bilko. More people know of the character than the actor who created him; many even forget the show was titled The Phil Silvers Show.
  • Claire Danes stopped the un-cancellation of My So-Called Life because she didn't want to be remembered for being Angela Chase the rest of her life. Now she's known for her award-winning portrayal of Temple Grandin and as a co-star of the Showtime series, Homeland.
  • EastEnders:
    • Any character from the British soap, but bonus points must be given to Shaun Williamson, otherwise known as Barry from EastEnders.
    • Except for Todd Carty who'll be remembered for his childhood role as Tucker Jenkins on Grange Hill.
    • Wendy Richard could've played Pauline Fowler for another 25 years, and to some of us she would still be Miss Brahms.
  • During a long hiatus between series of Red Dwarf, Craig Charles took a role on long-running soap opera Coronation Street. Those who knew him as Dave Lister found it impossible to adjust to seeing him as Scouse taxi-driver Lloyd.
  • Heroes:
    • Zachary Quinto, who plays Sylar, is starting to get this way, unless you're unfamiliar with Heroes, in which case, he's (ironically) Spock himself. For his first appearance in Star Trek (2009), you half expect him to unleash telekinetic whoop ass on the Vulcan council. He's a good enough actor that this effect fades away after the first hour or so and he becomes Spock. Of course, going home and watching an episode of Heroes after the movie results in another jarring effect of "Why is Spock evil if he doesn't have that goatee?"
    • Also, Masi Oka is Hiro. To the point where in Get Smart, they had him use Hiro's voice. Note: That isn't his normal speaking voice, his normal voice sounds more like Future Hiro. He also sounds more like Hiro than himself as the coroner in Hawaii Five-O. In interviews, he also admits that Hiro is basically himself after several cups of coffee; later seasons and Heroes Reborn have a calmer, more mature Hiro, to the point that he's nearly As Himself.note  In some early Five-0 interviews, he seemed to distance himself from the character of Max, saying he bases many of his peculiarities on an old college professor, but as the Early Installment Weirdness faded and Max has become a beloved recurrent role, he's admitted that there's actually quite a bit of himself in that character, too. One might wonder if he isn't deliberately encouraging Actor/Role Confusion.
  • Though he never had a major television or movie role since playing Arnold Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter, Ron Palillo kept busy acting, directing, and writing for the theater, doing voiceover work, and writing/ illustrating children's books for the remainder of his life. However, he will always be remembered as Horshack. This was lampshaded in Ellen, when he played a season-long recurring role as "Ron Palillo, TV's Arnold Horshack." Gabe Kaplan had a similar problem, according to his stand-up routine:
    When people see me now, they don't say, "Are you Gabe Kaplan?" or, "Are you Mr. Kotter?" They say "Are you Welcome Back Kotter?"
  • Frankie Muniz is Malcolm. His entire family has gone through this, but Bryan Cranston was re-Spocked later on as Walter White.
  • In Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul is often considered inseparable from Jesse Pinkman in the eyes of many TV viewers; most of the roles he's had since then have been Jesse clones since then.
  • Friends:
    • The cast have had mixed success since the show ended, but they are still remembered, first and foremost, as Monica, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Ross and Rachel. Specifically Jennifer Aniston fared the best with a good number of movies, and Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry are now heading their own shows (having done several others already), but they still fall prey to 'hey, is this a friends rerun?' But Lisa Kudrow's, who's been focusing on her family, has only had a few roles, and David Schwimmer's disappearing behind the camera to direct (exception, Captain Sobel on Band of Brothers). Matt Le Blanc probably had to work hardest to escape this, as he not only played Joey for ten years on Friends, but played the same character for a brief period afterwards on a positively disastrous spin-off in which he was the central character.
    • LeBlanc played himself in the show Episodes, where he tries to distance himself from Joey. The jury is still out if it'll work, but at the very least, he picked up an Emmy nod for his Adam Westing performance, and won a Golden Globe.
    • It also doesn't help that the cast, except possibly Kudrow, are eerily like their on screen counterparts. Courteney specifically asked to play Monica because she connected to her need to be in control. Matthew Perry admitted he could relate to Chandler's trouble with women and using humor as a defense mechanism. Schwimmer like Ross is the quietest and most intellectual of the gang. Many stories about Matt LeBlanc ('the guys' guy') could be about Joey. And Jennifer shares a lot of mannerisms and emotional reactions with Rachel. So, yeah shaking their characters off is hard.
    • Cox is the only one who has successfully played characters outside of her 'Friends' persona, which makes sense as she was acknowledged as the most versatile of the gang, even before Friends. Aniston's romantic comedy roles have been very similar to Rachel, Kudrow normally plays a quirky Cloudcuckoolander, Perry is always a Deadpan Snarker character and Leblanc has resorted to playing himself. However Cox pulled off the Jerkass Gale in the Scream films and ditzy Jules on Cougar Town with aplomb.
  • All in the Family:
    • Jean Stapleton stated that she wanted to be a screen actress, but never wanted to be a star, because then she'd end up being typecast. Unfortunately, that's just what happened. Stapleton shot herself in the foot when she was offered, but declined, a role that would have saved her from typecasting as Edith: Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote.note 
    • Rob Reiner has claimed to suffer this, stating that if he won a Nobel Prize, all the headlines would read "MEATHEAD WINS NOBEL PRIZE". However, as most may know him as a director, in particular as the director of The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally....
    • Carroll O'Connor is also remembered only as Archie. Not even a run on the television version of In the Heat of the Night was enough to break that.
    • Sally Struthers is Gloria Stivic. Fortunately, she had a moderately successful career afterwards with shows like Dinosaurs, Gilmore Girls, and TaleSpin. Nevertheless, none of them hold a candle to the fame she has achieved as Gloria.
  • Henry Winkler will always be The Fonz, and is, at the moment, okay with it. He's played against type quite well on Arrested Development and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
  • Blackadder: Tony Robinson tends to get Bumbling Sidekick roles reprising his celebrated role as Baldrick. However, Baldrick's appearance in the show's first season is almost a preemptive case of Playing Against Type since he was the one that always came up with the cunning plans and Blackadder was the bumbling idiot. He later deliberately cast himself against type as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men.
  • Hugh Laurie will always be House, at least outside of Britain.
  • Christina Ricci = Wednesday Addams.
  • Anytime you see Ashton Kutcher, you'll see Michael Kelso. It doesn't seem to harm his career, though.
  • William Daniels gets this a lot thanks to his famous role as Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World. Little do most people know he had a very famous role as Dr. Mark Craig on St. Elsewhere. Even if he didn't get this treatment for playing Mr. Feeny, he certainly would have for being the voice of KITT or playing John Adams in 1776. Meanwhile, Ben Savage is always going to be Cory Matthews — or Fred Savage's little brother. Danielle Fishel and Rider Strong haven't had much luck either — but Will Friedle escaped it with a successful voice acing career, but he's still always Eric on camera.
  • Kristen Bell will always be Veronica Mars. Fortunately, the role of Anna from Frozen seems to be changing that. Eleanor in The Good Place has played a part in that as well. Gamers may also remember her as Lucy Stillman.
  • This could possibly affect Kiefer Sutherland for younger viewers who only know him as Jack Bauer. While Sutherland was involved in numerous movies prior to 24 (mainly The Lost Boys and cult hit Dark City), he never really stood out in the medium, and was often in the shadow of his actor-father, Donald Sutherland. Even 24 co-creator Howard Gordon was initially hesitant to give him the role because of his former "Brat Pack" years. The movies he was involved in during 24's airing (i.e., the sniper in Phone Booth and a Jack Bauer Expy in The Sentinel) only served to exacerbate his former reputation. Nevertheless, despite the exhaustion Kiefer Sutherland felt during 24 (which might've attributed to his off-screen antics like tackling Christmas trees, and his constant drinking leading him to buzzed interviews and 45 days in jail)), he remains extremely grateful and humble for the years he spent on 24, and wouldn't want to take them away for the world. Sutherland did eventually shine in his voice acting performance as Boss/Punished Snake in Metal Gear Solid V, replacing David Hayter.
  • Jake Weber, a.k.a. Joe Dubois on Medium. Same for Sofia Vassilieva, a.k.a. Ariel DuBois.
  • Danny Smith, Brandon Quinn, and Aimee Castle are Merton Dingle, Tommy Dawkins, and Lori Baxter.
  • Danny Bonaduce is, and always will be, a partridge in a pear tree.
  • Firefly:
    • Nathan Fillion gets this along with most other members of the cast. It was parodied in this xkcd arc. Fortunately, he was successfuly able to transition from Malcolm Reynolds to Rick Castle. Given that Firefly didn't have a huge following, he was probably much better known for his time on Desperate Housewives prior to starring in Castle. As time went on and Firefly began to grow a more mainstream following, Fillion became just as well known as Malcolm Reynolds as he was as Castle.
    • Summer Glau is alternately identified as River Tam or Cameron Phillips, depending on which show people are fans of. This was on The Big Bang Theory when the guys actually meet Summer on a train and completely embarrass themselves by taking turns practically throwing themselves at her and refer to her by her character names just out of her earshot.
    • Alan Tudyk only escapes this when he's doing voice acting (especially for Disney).
  • Back in the heyday of pre-Christmas series on German TV, and actually even quite a while after those times, Tommi Ohrner was Timm Thaler, period. And Patrick Bach was Silas. Almost nobody ever called these actors by their real names. In order for this attitude to fade, these shows had to remain unaired for some two decades. Tommi Ohrner eventually shook off Timm Thaler when he became Thomas Ohrner. And Patrick Bach was too old to be Silas anymore when he played Rainer Hellweg in Anna, while Silvia Seidel will remain Anna Pelzer forever.
  • In spite of the many films in which he starred as someone entirely different, Götz George is and will forever remain Horst Schimanski, Tatort's most badass cop ever with a knack for insane stunts and Cluster S Bombs.
  • Applies to the whole The A-Team main cast. Only sci-fi geeks would associate Dirk Benedict with the ace pilot Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica (1978) and Dwight Schultz with Lt Barclay from Star Trek: The Next Generation; for the rest, they're Templeton "Faceman" Peck and H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdoch. Only a few '80s movie freaks remember that besides being B.A. Baracus, Mr. T (because yes, Mr. T will always be remembered by his stage name, fool!) once clobbered the snot out of Rocky in Rocky III. And seriously, who knows that John "Hannibal" Smith was the male main actor in the classic Breakfast at Tiffany's? (George Peppard, who played Hannibal, seemed to have been seriously bothered by this, as he had been a big box office movie draw in the '60s and '70s.)
  • Ed O'Neill, a.k.a. Al Bundy. That is, him and the rest of the cast. In O'Neill's case, he was so famous for portraying Al that when he appeared in Flight of the Intruder as a JAG prosecutor in a court martial scene, the test audience laughed at the sight of him, yelling "Al Bundy!" The scene had to be reshot with Fred Thompson playing the part. He has since found success on Modern Family. It helps that on Modern Family, his character is extremely laid back, in contrast to the angry and bitter Al. Katey Sagal, who famously portrayed Peggy Bundy, will be remembered for different roles.
  • Miley Cyrus was frequently referred to as Hannah Montana. Since the 2013 VMAs, she's thrown that off and is now known as "that time when Miley twerked with her tongue hanging out."
  • Arrested Development:
    • When people say "starring Michael Cera", what they probably mean is "starring George Michael Bluth" Since then he's essentially become typecast in roles as "quirky, adorable indie guy" (in a hoodie) in movies like Superbad, Juno, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Which makes it more hilarious when he portrays himself as a total asshole in This Is the End.
    • Despite his success on Veep winning two Emmys for Best Supporting Actor, Tony Hale is still destined to be remembered as Buster.
    • Alia Shawkat will always be Maeby. It certainly doesn't help that it's her only major role.
    • Will Arnett has had a big career renaissance in the 2010s. He's still GOB Bluth to most people.
    • When she's not doing voice work, Jessica Walter will always be Lucille Bluth in the eyes of everyone.
  • The late Captain Lou Albano thanks to The Super Mario Bros Super Show!. Other than, of course, being a legendary pro wrestling figure.
  • Maria Antonieta de las Nieves will always be La Chilindrina, even in sketches where she does not play the character.
  • Heinz Schubert, star of the German cult sitcom Ein Herz und eine Seele, could never escape his role as "Ekel Alfred" (Alfred the Jerk), despite having a varied and critically acclaimed career.
  • Tommy Piper, German voice of ALF, will always be ALF to German viewers, no matter what role he plays. He was highly popular while the show ran (probably one of the most famous voice actors Germany has produced) but his career took a serious jump after ALF concluded, as people didn't accept him in any other role, especially not a serious one.
  • Gethin Jones became solely associated with Strictly Come Dancing to many people. They forget he was promoting driving safety in Police Camera Action, and doing various other shows!
  • Almost everyone involved with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air will be remembered first and foremost as their characters, with Alfonso Ribiero (Carlton) likely being the most prominent example. It got to the point where DJ Jazzy Jeff is better known nowadays for being "Jazz" than for being one-half of the rap duo that inspired the sitcom. Ironically enough, the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, is the lone exception. Nevertheless, it's still arguably his most iconic role.
    • Smith has revealed that Alfonso Ribeiro was the one who gave him the advice to name his character "Will Smith", because that's what people would be calling him for the rest of his life. Even on Catch 21, it's referenced.
    Will Smith: When we go out together, people are like: "Will, Will! Carlton!"
    • Before The Fresh Prince, Ribeiro had a memorable role on Silver Spoons, which you'd have to have been a kid in the '80s to remember.
    • In addition to being Uncle Phil in Fresh Prince, children of the '80s will also remember the late James Avery as the voice of Shredder.
  • Pauley Perrette (from NCIS) has stated that she was once called Abby by her dad.
  • Most of the cast of Lost (though two managed to add and/or replace a role, ex-Party of Five Matthew Fox [replace] and ex-hobbit Dominic Monaghan [add]; and two, Maggie Grace with Taken and Ian Somerhalder with The Vampire Diaries, did the reverse), but especially Jorge Garcia and Josh Holloway.
  • Michael C. Hall is Dexter, a sociopathic serial killer with a Creepy Monotone that sends chills down your spine. Now imagine him doing a car commercial in the same voice and not feel a little scared.
  • John Laurie once lamented that, as much as he'd want to be remembered for his roles in Shakespeare plays, he'd always be remembered for playing Private Frazer in Dad's Army.
  • All the main cast of the CSI franchise really suffer from the same thing. William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger seem to have left at least in part for that reason.
  • Dennis Haysbert as President David Palmer on 24. So much so that ever since then, he's mostly been cast in the "authoritative, deep-voiced leader" roles in projects like The Unit, Kung Fu Panda, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and the Allstate commercials. This, despite a good chunk of his earlier work being in comedic roles, most notably as Pedro Cerrano in Major League.
  • Amongst Tokusatsu fans, the prime example is Joe Odagiri, who played Kamen Rider Kuuga's Yuusuke Godai. Though rumors that he considered the role Old Shame persisted for years before finally being debunked, Odagiri still only took the job as a favor to the producer, and is reportedly not a fan of the Toku genre in general. While he still acknowledges Kuuganote , he's since moved onto more serious roles and would generally rather not talk about it, even rebuffing attempts by Toei to get him to Cameo for Milestone Celebrations like Decade and Zi-O.
  • Ultra Series actors tend to become pretty much permanently associated with the franchise and the characters they played. This mainly applies to those who play the Ultras' human alter egos. Kohji Moritsugu (Dan Moroboshi of Ultraseven), for example, has said being on Ultraseven "changed his life" and that even his friends call him Dan. He's pretty much embraced the role too, as he collects Ultraseven memorabilia and was even president of the show's fan club. Similarly, Hiroshi Nagano (Daigo Madoka in Ultraman Tiga) once said that he will accept no other role in future Ultra series except reprisals as Daigo.
  • This is what happens to many Disney Channel stars after they leave the network. For example, Hilary Duff's career post-Lizzie McGuire has consisted mostly of box office flops and Direct to Video movies.
  • This may be the case with Cliff Arquette who was more recognized as Charley Weaver from The Tonight Show and The Hollywood Squares.
  • Lou Ferrigno is best known for being The Incredible Hulk of the '70s TV show; he's famous for signing autographs in numerous conventions mostly riding on that alone.
  • Amanda Tapping moved decisively to head this off by taking on the role of Dr. Helen Magnus on Sanctuary, who is brilliant and a scientist but is otherwise quite different from Samantha Carter. Time will tell how well this works.
  • Neil Patrick Harris will forever be known as Barney Stinson, in spite of the fact that he's completely different in real life. Interestingly, before this he was only known as Doogie Howser, M.D.. In Starship Troopers he was cast as a character that was very much the opposite of Doogie Howser, counting on the audience's typecasting to have a jarring effect on the audience. Although to many fans of the Cult Classic, he will forever be Dr. Horrible.
  • Calista Flockhart is Ally McBeal.
  • Saved by the Bell:
    • No matter how hard he tries, Dustin Diamond will always be Screech. He has resented the role so much that he was the only major cast member not to show up in a Saved by the Bell reunion.
    • Elizabeth Berkley did Showgirls to try to avoid this. She succeeded.
    • Lark Voorhies is still Lisa Turtle to most people. Same with Dennis Haskins and Mr. Belding.
  • Dutch actor Joop Doderer became so famous as the character "Swiebertje" in the eponymous television series, that people kept adressing him with this name. Because of this, this trope is known as the "Swiebertje-effect" in Dutch.
  • To many of his viewers, Larry Hagman will be fondly remembered as either J.R. Ewing or Major Tony Nelson.
  • Nearly anyone in Only Fools and Horses ended associated with their characters from the show. It's most notable with David Jason (who said he didn't want to be only remembered as Del Boy) and Nicholas Lyndhurst (associated with Rodney), but it's also the case with just about everyone else who was part of the regular cast.
    • David Jason has avoided this by playing Pop Larkin in The Darling Buds of May, as well as DCI Jack Frost and Danger Mouse.
    • Nicholas Lyndhurst also may well be remembered as Gary Sparrow.
    • Roger Lloyd-Pack (Trigger) has carved out a successful stage career, as well as being Owen in The Vicar of Dibley. To younger audiences, Lloyd-Pack will be known as Barty Crouch Sr.
  • Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe will never escape their Emergency! roles as Johnny Gage and Roy Desoto. Kevin has distanced himself by playing villain roles and rarely speaking much of the show, although Randolph has both tried to move into other roles and ran with his role. He still works with EMS and firefighter groups and charities and is a frequent firefighter convention keynote speaker. He's also trying to find funding for an urban rescue series idea of his own.
  • Richard "John-Boy" Thomas. He actually left The Waltons to avoid this. Though he has kept himself rather active over the years, needless to say, he's still John-Boy to many.
  • Eric McCormack is more remembered for his role as Will in Will & Grace. His starring role in a different series, Perception, where he plays a paranoid schizophrenic professor, may be his attempt to escape this. Interestingly, one of his co-stars in said series is Rachael Leigh Cook, also marked by this trope for a very infamous anti-drug ad involving eggs. He's gotten this to the point that the producers of Free Enterprise said they were glad that they ended up getting him before he made it big as Will, because they don't think he would've been believed as his character otherwise.
  • John Ritter will always be Jack Tripper. Ditto the rest of the cast: Joyce DeWitt is forever Janet Wood, Suzanne Somers is always Christmas "Chrissy" Snow, Norman Fell = Stanley Roper, Audra Lindley = Helen Roper, Richard Kline = Larry Dallas, Jenilee Harrison = Cindy Snow, Priscilla Barnes = Terri Alden, and Don Knotts, although he does hold the distinction of also being Barney Fife, will be Ralph Furley till the end of time.
    • Lampshaded as a joke in Stay Tuned when he channel-surfs into Three's Company, with him being Jack Tripper. He screams at the screen before switching the channel again (despite this being the only show where no one's trying to kill him).
  • Lampshaded on Sorrell Booke's grave marker at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California - "Beloved Pa, Grandpa, Brother, and Boss".
    • Another The Dukes of Hazzard example comes through castmate John Schneider. Although he had the opportunity, he made the decision that his character, Bo Duke, would never sing on the show. When the public first heard him sing, he wanted it to be as John Schneider. After the show ended, he pursued a country music career, and what happened? Disc jockeys all over the nation played his songs on the radio, then came back on the air proudly announcing, "That was Bo Duke!"
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Jack Gleeson will always be remembered as Joffrey Baratheon, one of the most hated TV villains of all time. He was wise enough to quit acting afterwards because he knew he'd never be able to escape the role (and because he wanted no part of celebrity culture).
    • Peter Dinklage is often referred to as "Tyrion Lannister" even when referring Dinklage himself rather than his character. Before Game of Thrones, Dinklage was often known as "the midget from Elf". Afterwards, Dinklage began to take on more Tyrion-esque characters with the "midget" aspect often downplayed.
    • Most of the actors who were unknowns or relative unknowns are often associated with their character. Sophie Turner was frequently called "Sansa Stark" by the media when discussing her part in X-Men: Apocalypse. Maisie Williams likewise is treated as though she's basically Arya Stark.
  • The epic failure of Terminator Genisys all but sealed this fate for two of its stars — Emilia Clarke and Matt Smith will forever be synonymous with Daenerys Tagaryen and the Eleventh Doctor, respectively.
  • The Office (US): Most of the actors have had a hard time distancing themselves from their roles on the show (with Steve Carell, Ed Helms, and John Krasinski being the exceptions), but Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer in particular have been unable to distance themselves from Dwight Schrute and Pam Beesly. Fischer was actually originally slated to star opposite Matt Le Blanc in Man with a Plan as his character's wife, but test audiences didn't believe that "Pam would marry Joey," so she was recast with Liza Snyder.
  • The late Michael Jeter is always going to be Mr. Noodle's brother Mr. Noodle. Even though he had a popular sitcom in the early '90s with Evening Shade, it's not enough to shake off the Noodle. The same is true for Bill Irwin, the original Mr. Noodle.
  • Almost all of the actors on The Adventures of Pete & Pete, except for Michelle Trachtenberg. That being said, Toby Huss, who played Artie, is also known for his King of the Hill voice work.
  • Devon Werkheiser is Ned Bigby. And although he avoids it with voice acting, it's impossible to see Daran Norris doing live action and not think of Gordy.
    • Rob Pinkston is always going to be Coconut Head. Thankfully, that wasn't his real hair on the show.
    • Depending on how old you are, Christian Serratos is either Suzie Crabgrass or Rosita.
  • Lee Majors = The Six Million Dollar Man.
  • Sir Derek Jacobi has had an extensive career, having been the wimpy Emperor Claudius and two incarnations of The Master. You may also remember him from Gladiator. But to many, he will always be the kindly Brother Cadfael.
  • Both Holly Marie Combs and Rose McGowan are best known as Piper Halliwell and Paige Matthews in Charmed. The show remains Holly's most high profile role to date. Despite Rose's work with Quentin Tarantino and her successes earlier in the 90s, all her post-Charmed tyepcasting has been tied to Paige in some way. The former escaped this thanks to Pretty Little Liars but the latter wasn't so lucky; though she's recognized for being one of the actresses who expose producer Harvey Weinstein as a sex offender. The other two actresses Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano have avoided this mostly because they already had other famous projects to their name; Shannen with Heathers and Beverly Hills, 90210, and Alyssa with Who's the Boss?, Melrose Place and My Name Is Earl.
  • Dan Stevens was stuck in this at first after leaving Downton Abbey - with most of his initial work being period dramas that evoked Matthew Crawley in some way. But as of the success of The Guest and A Walk Among the Tombstones and Beauty and the Beast (2017) he appears to have slipped out of it.
  • The success of Keeping Up Appearances led to this for Patricia Routledge. She had an impressive body of stage work and opted to end the show in its fifth season so as not to get typecast as the pompous, nagging Hyacinth Bucket. One driver was picking her up from the airport and expected that he would get henpecked to death - but was surprised to discover that she was nothing like Hyacinth at all.
  • The entirety of the Chespirito cast got under the influence of this trope, with their better known characters practically becoming their nicknames. With some exceptions, this is partly justified due to some characters having the same name as their actors:
    • Chespirito himself is the only one that, while still more identified by El Chavo, was also associated with El Chapulín Colorado. It helps that he was the only actor that always played the same character in the latter series.
    • While not without character rights disputes with Chespirito, Carlos Villagrán (Quico) and Maria Antonieta de las Nieves (La Chilindrina) embraced the association to the point there were some unsuccessful series with their characters as lead stars. Later on they did circus shows all across latin america as their characters.
    • Ramón Valdés is a justified case - other cast members described that Don Ramón was essentially Ramón Valdés under poverty. After permanently leaving El Chavo del Ocho in 1981, he eventually joined Carlos Villagrán in ¡Ah, qué Kiko!... as Don Ramón. Interestingly, Ramón Valdés is often associated with how El Chavo often calls Don Ramón: Ron Damón - when Ramón passed away in 1988, some newspapers titled the news of his death in the lines of "¡Murió Ron Damón!"note , and during his funeral, Angelines Fernández (who worked with Ramón before Chespirito) called him "Rorro", just how Doña Clotilde, her character, called Don Ramón in the series. Chespirito also happened to be Ramón's jump to fame - out of the three Valdés brothers, Ramón was often stuck into minor roles before joining the series.
    • Angelines Fernández originally had a bad case of this trope, with kids calling her a witch and generally being scared of her, which got her sad, but eventually got over it. Fernández was Spanish and she had a very very long carere in theater, film and television as a dramatic actress in both Spain and Mexico since the 50s with much of critical acclaim, thus she did resented a little that of her whole prestigious carere her role in a comedy show was her most remembered, however she did cope with the issue and her pre-Chavo works also became popular after her death.
    • Similarly, Florinda Meza has to cope with the fact her character in El Chavo del Ocho, Doña Florinda, is mostly disliked. Some actions she took in-real-life did not ease her image with fans of the series, however.
    • After the show was cancelled, Rubén Aguirre (Profesor Jirafales) and Edgar Vivar (Señor Barriga/Ñoño) did the same thing as Carlos Villagrán and María Antonieta de las Nieves, and played their characters in circus shows in latin america.
    • María Antonieta de las Nieves and Edgar Vivar, before and after Chespirito, respectively, performed voice acting. María Antonieta took part in dubs of several famous series of the 1960s, but her voice's often not recognized in those series, while Edgar Vivar performed voice acting roles in some animated films such as Ratatouille and Up - yet his roles tend to be considered as "Señor Barriga doing voice acting".
  • The Walking Dead’s main stars are mostly known for their roles on the show.
  • Stephen Colbert (the actor) is not Stephen Colbert (the character). In order to distance himself, Colbert used a different pronunciation of his last name while in character (in real life, he pronounces it as Col-Bert, rather than Col-Bear). Despite this, he's kept the different pronunciation when he started doing The Late Show, despite actually establishing the character from The Colbert Report as being a separate person on the show, having him actually appear together with Stephen (the actor) on a few occasions and do segments during the 2016 election.
  • Melissa Joan Hart falls under this, but which character depends on the age of the person in question:
    • If they were a child in the late 80s and early 90s, then it'll be as Clarissa Darling from Clarissa Explains It All. According to Melissa, when the series ended, her mother wanted her to only do family-friendly projects to play to her kid fanbase who saw her as Clarissa.
    • Late 90s and early 2000s kids will remember her best as Sabrina Spellman from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. As time has gone on, she seems to be more identified with Sabrina than Clarissa. When she posed for Maxim Magazine, they even advertised Sabrina posing rather than Melissa. She's also said that she found it hard to get roles after Sabrina ended because people saw her as a teenage witch. Thus it shocked people seeing her play a mother on Melissa & Joey.
  • Other Sabrina the Teenage Witch examples:
    • Beth Broderick has a pretty extensive resume in TV and film (including roles on Lost, The Bonfire of the Vanities and Sharp Objects) but her highest profile role is Zelda, Sabrina's responsible aunt. The actress who played Aunt Hilda, Caroline Rhea, managed to avert this thanks to her stand-up comedy and notable appearances in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
    • Nate Richert transitioned from acting to music shortly after the show ended, having only a handful of other roles. So he is eternally associated with Harvey Kinkle.
    • Jenna Leigh Green had more success on Broadway and in musical theatre after leaving the show, but to a lot of people, she's still the ultimate Alpha Bitch Libby Chessler (the former Trope Namer, actually).
  • Gene Rayburn hosted a number of game shows, but he'll always be remembered by his longest tenured show, Match Game.
  • Peter Falk will always be Columbo. However, this never stopped him getting other parts including well received roles in John Cassavetes films and as The Grandfather in The Princess Bride. As a result he never grew to resent the character.
  • To Diana Rigg, Emma Peel from The Avengers was just a role among many and she rapidly moved on from it, but to many people, it's the only one they know of her (though younger generations might have Olenna Tyrell in mind), and this was much to her chagrin. She flat out refused to attend fan conventions about The Avengers, tended to avoid questions about the series when interviews didn't call for it, and sent back fan mail with pictures of Emma Peel without signing them.
  • Christina Applegate's Starmaking Role was Married... with Children where she played Kelly, the promiscuous Dumb Blonde daughter. And while she doesn't regret the role, she also didn't want to be typecast as Ms. Fanservice, so she has spent the rest of her acting career playing intelligent, driven women even in comedies.
  • Miranda Cosgrove will always be associated with her two most famous roles, Megan Parker and Carly Shay. And almost 15 years since the show premiered, Jennette McCurdy is Sam Puckett.
  • Thanks to Life with Derek, Michael Seater has had to learn to live life as Derek, even long after the show ended. Also, Ashley Leggat is always Casey.

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