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Brian Yuzna's films from left to right: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), Bride of Re-Animator (1990), Beyond Re-Animator (2003) and Necronomicon (1993).

"Let's take a look at Home Alone 1 for the NES first. What...? This game is made by Bethesda? Like... Skyrim Bethesda? [Shows Bethesda's Wikipedia page of game lists, zooming in on Home Alone (1991) for the NES] Yeah, it actually is!"

As time goes by, we often stereotype writers and creators as filling certain niches. Stan Lee is Marvel Universe, Stephen King is horror (or at the very least supernatural), Arthur Conan Doyle is Sherlock Holmes, and so on ... as a result, there are some times where we see somebody's name on something and go "Wait, WHAT? Are you sure it isn't just a guy with the same name?"

These are examples of well-known works (not obscure experiments) of creators that are so far out of their perceived niche that often times people don't immediately realize the person behind it.

Related to Playing Against Type, I Am Not Spock, Retroactive Recognition, and Creator's Oddball. Compare Same Face, Different Name, where the creator hides the fact that they's doing something different under a new name, and Advertising by Association, where the creator's portfolio is used to hype the work. If a creator's work spans multiple genres or even fields of study, they may be a Renaissance Man. In music, Black Sheep Hit is a special case in which the aberration becomes famous. The One-Hit Wonder is an exaggerated version of this.

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Real Life:

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in addition to 20 years as a superstar in the NBA, has worked as an actor, most notably as the co-pilot Roger Murdock in Airplane! He has also written well-regarded articles on race, religion, and politics for a number of publications, and has written or co-written over a dozen books on basketball, African-American history, and even a novel about Mycroft Holmes.
  • Pro bowler Chris Barnes was also a world-class miniature golfer in college. He made telecasts of both PBA and Putt-Putt events in 1989, when he was 19.
  • Lem Barney, Mel Farr, and Charlie Sanders of the NFL's Detroit Lions befriended Marvin Gaye during spring 1970, when Gaye briefly sought a tryout with the team. Dave Bing, future Hall of Fame guard with the Detroit Pistons and decades later mayor of Detroit, also became friends with Gaye at this time. Gaye invited all four to perform backing vocals on his album What's Going On, and all are credited on at least one track.
  • Moe Berg, a journeyman catcher with a degree from Princeton, spoke seven foreign languagesnote  and, as the joke went, could not hit in any of them. During the Second World War, he was a spy for the OSS; footage of Tokyo harbor he had taken during a goodwill tour in the 1930s was reportedly used to help plan Doolittle's Raid. In 1943 he parachuted into occupied Yugoslavia to evaluate the various resistance groups there (he reported that Tito's partisans were the most effective). Later on, he hopped around Europe while trying to convince scientists to defect to the Allies and investigating the various Axis nuclear projects. He even attended a conference in Geneva where Werner Heisenberg lectured with the authorization to assassinate him if anything in his speech indicated the Nazis were close to a working atomic weapon (fortunately for the physicist, Berg correctly determined they were not). He was the original spy catcher.
  • England cricketer Ian Botham is well-known among fans of the sport for his rollercoaster professional career (the high point of which was leading England to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at Headingley in the 1981 Ashes against Australia) and colourful personal life, but his football/soccer career is not as well-known - he made 17 appearances (and scored one goal) for Yeovil Town FC and 11 appearances for Scunthorpe United FC between 1978 and 1985, at the same time as his heroics on the cricket pitch.
  • The list of athletes and coaches who have gone on to politics is pretty long. Most notable in this category, at least to Americans, is Bill Bradley, who made a run for President of the United States in 2000. He had a Hall of Fame career in basketball—first in college at Princeton, then a brief gig with Italian club Olimpia Milano while attending Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, and finally with the New York Knicks in the '60s and '70s. Bradley is the first of only two players to have won titles in the NBA and EuroLeague, plus an Olympic gold medal (the other being Manu Ginóbili).
  • Jim Brown is an NFL Hall of Famer and is routinely mentioned in every "Who is the greatest football player of all time" debate. He is also a Hall of Famer in lacrosse, which many of his contemporaries thought was actually his best sport, and after he retired from athletics he established a successful acting career that has spanned more than four decades.
  • Wilt Chamberlain, in addition to his Hall of Fame basketball career, was an excellent track and field athlete; while in college he won three straight conference championships in the high jump. After retiring from basketball he turned to professional volleyball, playing that sport for several years and earning a ticket to the Volleyball Hall of Fame as well.
  • Denis Compton was a fixture of the England cricket team throughout the 1940s and 1950s, excelling as both a batsman and a bowler. However, he also played football for Arsenal FC, scoring 15 goals in 54 matches between 1936 and 1950. Conversely, his brother Leslie Compton is more well-remembered as a footballer, having played 253 matches for Arsenal from 1930-52 and being capped twice by England, but he also played cricket at the county level for Middlesex.note 
  • Jacques Demers was an hockey coach in the World Hockey Association and the National Hockey League coaching the Quebec Nordiques from 1979-80, the St. Louis Blues from 1983-86, the Detroit Red Wings from 1986-90 (winning an unheard of two consecutive Jack Adams awards in 1987 and 1988) and the Montreal Canadiens from 1992-96 (winning the team's most recent Stanley Cup in 1993), and the Tampa Bay Lightning from 1997-99. Later, he served as a hockey commentator and a Canadian senator.
  • Ken Dryden had a relatively short (1970–79) but spectacularly successful NHL career with the Canadiens, helping the Habs to six Stanley Cups and claiming the Vezina Trophy for the league's top goaltender five times, and getting into the Hall of Fame at his first chance in 1983. Dryden went on to work in hockey commentary (notably partnering with Al Michaels for the Miracle on Ice in 1980), law, writing, and teaching. He also served as a Canadian MP from 2004–11, and was a cabinet member for the first two of those years.
  • While he may soon become more famous for his current gig as a presenter of Top Gear (UK), for now Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff is still better known for his illustrious cricket career. The England star was one of the top all-rounders of the 2000s, notably achieving the rare feat of making both Lord's Honours Boards.note 
  • Before he was a trailblazing sports broadcaster, Marty Glickman was a star track and field athlete and an All-American football player. He was most famous for the game he did not play. During the 1936 Olympics, held in Nazi Germany, Glickman and fellow Jewish athlete Sam Stoller were withdrawn from the 4 x 100 relay and replaced with two African-American athletes (one of whom was Jesse Owens). The head of the US delegation, Avery Brundage, lobbied against any boycott, and had financial and possible ideological ties to the Nazi regime and likely wanted to spare the host embarrassment of Jews being awarded medals in front of Hitler. Sam Stoller, the other snubbed sprinter, appeared in bit parts in various movies and had a singing career as well.
  • In 1968 the Houston Cougars defeated the Tulsa Golden Hurricane 100-6 in the most lopsided game ever between two major college football teams. Houston's second-to-last touchdown was scored by receiver (and future country music star) Larry Gatlin. Dr. Phil has said that he played linebacker for Tulsa in the game, but confirmation for this has been elusive.
  • Mark "Jacko" Jackson had a decent 6-year career as a journeyman Australian Rules Football player. In Australia he became better-known for acting, advertisements and even had a novelty hit as a singer with a song called "I'm an Individual". In America, he's familiar to anyone who watched TV in the latter part of The '80s as "that big, loud Australian guy who did the Energizer commercials before they debuted the Bunny and was in some NBC action-adventure show" (The Highwayman).
  • Magic Johnson, prominent basketball player is a minority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. After basketball, he became a very successful businessman, best known for developing (in partnership with Sony) a chain of multiplex cinemas that bears his name. (He's no longer involved with the chain, however.)
  • Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson was a drummer for Soundgarden at one point. He's also a recurring photographer at Rush concerts.
  • Imran Khan, one of Pakistan's greatest-ever cricketers and captain of the 1992 Cricket World Cup champions, did Bill Bradley one better. He was elected as his country's prime minister in 2018.
  • While it's somewhat well-known that boxing promoter Don King had a Dark and Troubled Past before getting involved with the sport (he served a prison term for second degree murder, and previously killed someone else in what was ruled a justifiable homicide), he also was a minor player in Mapp v. Ohio, the 1961 landmark Supreme Court case that limited the ability of states to use illegally-obtained evidence in trials—the case ultimately stemmed from the prosecution of rival kingpins in Cleveland's gambling underground for trying to shake King down for money (including bombing his house at one point), and the heavy-handed tactics the police used in an attempt to coerce one particular witness to cooperate.
  • Jon Kitna played 16 years in the NFL as a journeyman quarterback. Had he not gotten the call from Dennis Erickson, he would have gone to his first calling: teaching algebra. After retiring, he is the algebra teacher and football coach at his old high school. And he didn't just teach: he asked for the hopeless cases, and turned many of them around in less than two years.
  • Monster Jam driver Tom Meents (the main driver of Maximum Destruction, as well as that of Goldberg and Team Meents) was a high school football player in his hometown of Paxton, Illinois - even playing in the 1984 Illinois high school football state championship game.
  • Hall of Fame defensive lineman Alan Page went on to become a prominent attorney, and eventually went into politics on the judicial side, running for and winning an open seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1992, joining the bench in 1993. He was re-elected four times, finally leaving the bench in 2015 once he reached the state's mandatory retirement age for judges of 70.
  • Jackie Robinson is known for breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947 and being a landmark figure in the history of African-American Civil Rights. However, before that, he won four varsity letters at UCLA (in baseball, basketball, football, and track), played backfield on the school's football team, and won the 1940 NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the long jump. Ironically, baseball was the sport he was weakest at in college, finishing with a .097 batting average (great hitters tend to be around or above the .300 mark). He also had a brief military career.
  • Babe Ruth's career as a pitcher. While baseball fans know this very well, it is not as well known outside of baseball fandom.
  • Francis Schmidt, who had successful stints at several colleges as a football coach in the first part of the 20th Century, was also a skilled photographer (his father had been a professional photographer), and took several of the surviving photos of destroyed Black neighborhoods in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the aftermath of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre (Schmidt was the coach of the University of Tulsa football team at the time).
  • Bake Turner spent 9 seasons as a pro football wide receiver (mainly with the New York Jets). He also took a few stabs at a country music career and in 1969 was the first singer to record "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone?", which became a #1 country hit for Charley Pride the next year.
  • Former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh got an early start to being captain for Australia's Under 18's cricket team. Not too surprising, but more surprising is that the same year he was also the captain for Australia's under 18's soccer (or football to Europeans) team.
  • Imran Khan isn't the only athlete who did Bill Bradley one better in 2018. Liberian football legend George Weah was elected his country's president.
  • Ted Williams is widely known as one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball: but he was also an excellent pilot (John Glenn's wingman), and a master fisherman: he was inducted into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame (yes, there is a fishing hall of fame).
  • Walter Ray Williams Jr. is a legendary champion in two sports. He's well known for being a great bowler, but he's also a champion horseshoe thrower. His nickname "Dead-Eye" comes from horseshoes, not bowling.
  • Mookie Wilson, the Mets outfielder best known for hitting the infamous slow roller through Bill Buckner's legs, sings gospel music and together with his family released an album.
  • Bob Zuppke, who coached the University of Illinois Fighting Illini football team from 1913-41, and still holds the school record for most coaching wins, was also an accomplished landscape painter, who had several museum exhibitions of his work.

    Comic Books & Manga 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Both Mike Adamle and Rico were involved in American Gladiators prior to their stints in the WWE: Adamle as the main play-by-play man, and Rico as a contender. Adamle was also a NFL running back for a few years in The '70s and later a sportscaster for NBC and ABC.
  • André the Giant had a supporting role in The Princess Bride; his character of Fezzik was actually written specifically with him in mind.
  • By day, Britt Baker is a dentist in the Orlando area. By night, she's Dr. Britt Baker DMD, one of the leading names in AEW's women's division.
  • Before WWE Tough Enough, Cameron worked as a behavioural therapist for autistic children.
  • Most people who know Chris Jericho may not know that he's also the singer of a metal band called Fozzy. In fact, his current entrance music in All Elite Wrestling is the song Judas.
  • Former WWE commentator Jonathan "The Coach" Coachman moved on to being a talking head at ESPN. Todd Grisham did likewise.
  • Any wrestling fans who've heard of Chris DeJoseph most likely know him best as the head writer of Lucha Underground. Some fans may remember Big Dick Johnson, the overweight male stripper on WWECW. Not too many know that the two are one and the same - DeJoseph was a writer for WWE before he left to write for LU.
  • Chad Fortune later moved on to becoming a Monster Jam driver, driving trucks like the WCW Nitro Machine, Superman, Captain America, and Soldier Fortune (the last of which was created especially for him).
  • When he wasn't destroying his body in hardcore matches, Mick Foley wrote a lot of #1 New York Times best sellers. He even wrote a children's Christmas book!
  • Lilian Garcia is also a singer and has actually performed on some WWE-related material.
  • Hulk Hogan is also a bassist, even releasing an album with his band, the Wrestling Boot Band.
  • Mickie James did some porn, but is also an aspiring country singer.
  • Jerry Lawler is perhaps best known as a long-running commentator on WWF/WWE TV, but has decades of hinterland as an actual in-ring performer behind him and may well have held more titles than any other pro wrestler. He's also a talented artist, and among other things has illustrated books for Mick Foley.
  • Kane is now the mayor of Knox County, Tennessee under his real name of Glenn Jacobs.
  • John "Bradshaw" Layfield's Corrupt Corporate Executive character was based on his real life, having invested his early paychecks wisely, so much so that he became a business contributor to CNBC and Fox News.
  • After wrestling, Madusa became a driver in the Monster Jam series.
  • Before wrestling, Candice Michelle was a softcore porn actress.
  • Naomi was a cheerleader for the Orlando Magic. She's also a singer.
  • Randy Savage was best known in the squared circle, but he also played minor league baseball before he became a wrestler. He also release a poorly received rap album called Be a Man, which is a not so subtle Take That! toward Hulk Hogan.
  • Robert Teet (aka Rob Clooney) wrote a book on the poor business practices of gas station chain Speedway. No, seriously. The book, Corporate Lunacy: Behind the Scenes of America's Worst Gas Station, was self-published.
  • CMLL/WCW wrestler Vampiro was formerly a bodyguard for Milli Vanilli.


  • Maxwell Anderson mostly wrote serious dramas like Anne of the Thousand Days, but he also wrote the musical Knickerbocker Holiday, including the lyrics of its Breakaway Pop Hit "September Song."
  • Isaac Asimov is known as a science (and science fiction) writer, but also dabbled in lots of other genres, and published books on history, The Bible, William Shakespeare, Gilbert and Sullivan, and several collections of dirty Limericks. His work can be found in nine of the ten categories of the Dewey Decimal System — all ten, if forewords count. Asimov was also a real scientist, with a PhD in chemistry from Columbia, before he became a full time writer.
  • Wilbert Awdry published Our Child Begins to Pray in 1951, a guide to parenting and a wild departure from his Railway Series of children's books.
  • Dave Barry is known most for his humorous books and newspaper columns, and Ridley Pearson is known very well for his thriller and suspense novels. You wouldn't expect these two to overlap in any way, right? Well, not only has Ridley Pearson written several children's books by himself (namely The Kingdom Keepers series and Steel Trapp), but he and Barry have actually written books together, including the popular Peter and the Starcatchers series and Science Fair.
  • Lewis Black, he of the foul-mouthed, politically-bent standup comedy routine, is an accomplished playwright, having written over 40 plays.
  • William Blake not only wrote his own poetry, with his own illustrations, but created a method of etching the illustrations which was later adapted and used to illustrate newspapers.
  • Pierre Boulle, the French novelist most famous for writing The Bridge Over The River Kwai, also wrote Planet of the Apes.
  • Ray Bradbury wrote a great deal of non-SF in addition to his famous SF works. He also wrote and narrated The Halloween Tree, and adapted Moby-Dick into a screenplay for John Huston's film.
  • Kir Bulychev (real name Igor Mozheiko), the most famous Soviet child Science Fiction author, was also a prominent historian, specialist on medieval Burma and author of several popular history works. He also authored several books about his travels around the world and had an amateur interest in painting, even personally drawing covers for his several books.
  • Anthony Burgess, the writer of A Clockwork Orange, is described by The Other Wiki as a "novelist, critic, composer, librettist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, travel writer, broadcaster, translator, linguist, [and] educationalist"; he wrote one of the most popular English translations of Cyrano de Bergerac. (In fact, he didn't like A Clockwork Orange very much - he once described as "something I knocked off for money in three weeks.")
  • Jack Butler, creator of the Evil Overlord List, is primarily known for stories in the Urban Horror genre featuring loads of Gorn, drugs, and blatantly graphic sex, but he's also published six cookbooks and a children's book about a teddy bear protecting its child from the monster under the bed.
  • Orson Scott Card wrote the famous Insult Fights from the Monkey Island games, as well as the script for The Dig. He also wrote for Marvel Comics. He was also a conservative political columnist before he became well-known for his science fiction novels.
  • Michael Chabon has written song lyrics for Mark Ronson (the Uptown Special album) and The Monkees ("House of Broken Gingerbread" on their Christmas Party album in 2018).
  • Anton Chekhov was a famous doctor and considered literature something more of a hobby.
  • C. J. Cherryh received her BA and MA in classics and taught this subject in high school before turning to writing full time. She has also translated novels from French to English.
  • G. K. Chesterton, the famous detective story author, wrote books and articles on religion, mysticism...and just about every other literary genre. Including plays and poetry. In fact, during his lifetime he was best known as a journalist and poet.
  • Agatha Christie wrote romance novels under the Pen Name Mary Westmacott. She also wrote a handful of supernatural horror stories.
  • Noam Chomsky, known to the world at large as a superstar of radical leftist politics, made his name and academic reputation as a linguist, a field in which his theories are considered to be among the most influential of the 20th century.
  • John D. Clark wrote two short science fiction stories in the 1930s, one of which may hold the minor distinction of being the first hard-SF (for Astounding Stories) story to feature antimatter, and collaborated with Robert E. Howard to create a world map and timeline for Conan the Barbarian's career to date. He was also on friendly terms with Isaac Asimov, L. Ron Hubbard and other members of the Trapdoor Spiders. His day job? A chemist specialising in rocket propellants.
  • Suzanne Collins, before striking it big with The Hunger Games, was a writer on Clarissa Explains It All, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, and Generation O! among others. And if those don't seem all that far out of range, consider that she also wrote for Little Bear and was actually head writer for Clifford the Big Red Dog spin-off/prequel Clifford's Puppy Days. May the odds be ever in your favor.
  • Ray Comfort, author of The Way of the Master Christian book series, also wrote a humor book on plane travel.
  • Michael Crichton, of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain fame, also created ER. Of course, he had a medical degree; he just never practiced due to publishing a runaway bestseller novel when he was barely out of medical school.
  • Roald Dahl, today best-known for his children's books, was chosen to write the screenplay to You Only Live Twice on the basis of his skill as a writer of war stories and his friendship with Ian Fleming. Dahl also wrote the screenplay for the film version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bangnote , and helped devise a therapy regimen for his then-wife Patricia Neal after she was debilitated by a stroke. He also helped to invent the Wade-Dahl-Till valve: a medical device used to treat hydrocephalus ("water in the brain") by draining the excess fluid out of the skull. He was also an ace in World War II and spied for the UK... on the US.
  • Charles Darwin, most famous for the theory of natural selection, also published a book on earthworms. At the time, it sold better than On the Origin of Species. And his first scientific monograph discussed the formation of coral reefs from subsiding volcanoes. Keep in mind this was before the discovery of plate tectonics.
  • Richard Dawkins, a British zoologist who is now probably most known for his outspoken atheism and criticism of religion, is also known in the scientific community for his contributions to the gene-centered view of evolution. He also coined the term "meme".
  • Dick DeBartolo (probably best known for having written in every issue of Magazine/MAD magazine since 1966) also wrote for many game shows during the 1960s and 70s, and is directly credited with adding the Double Entendre vibe to the questions in Match Game that made it popular. He also co-hosted a consumer technology netcast called The Giz Wiz from 2006 to 2013, and regularly appears as "The Gadget Man" on ABC's Live with Kelly and Ryan (originally Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, later Live with Regis and Kelly, Live with Kelly, and Live with Kelly and Michael).
  • August Derleth is best known for founding Arkham House and writing various Lovecraft Lite short stories with a controversial Alternate Character Interpretation of the denizens of the Cthulhu Mythos. He also penned several volumes of detective stories starring Solar Pons, a Captain Ersatz of Sherlock Holmes.
  • The Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a famous Victorian British mathematician and Anglican deacon, author of some prominent works on logic, is also known under his pen name Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland and several other children's books. He also published a notable essay on parliamentary representation, patented several inventions (including an early version of Scrabble), and was a prolific photographer.
  • Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger series of books, most notably The Lost World. (His historical novels, which he thought of as being his "real" work, are an even greater departure from Sherlock Holmes, but nobody ever reads them and goes "Wait, what?" because nobody ever reads them.) Late in his life he became a devoted spiritualist mystic and wrote several non-fiction books on the subject. It would be hard to make a sharper contrast to the ever-rational Sherlock Holmes if one deliberately tried.
  • Gustave Flaubert two most famous novels are Madame Bovary and Salammbô. The former is a Romantic novel Deconstruction focusing on a 19th century bored French middle-class wife trying to flee from reality into unrealistic romantic fantsy. The latter is a Sword and Sandal novel set in Ancient Carthage during the Mercenary War and full of Gorn and betrayals.
  • Ian Fleming also did a travelogue book, entitled Thrilling Cities. To enhance sales, he put a James Bond short story "007 in New York" at the end of it. James Bond's gadget-filled Aston-Martin was the literary cousin of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a children's book also authored by Fleming.
  • C. S. Forester wrote both the Horatio Hornblower books and The African Queen. He also wrote Payment Deferred, a crime novel that was adapted into a play and movie.
  • E. M. Forster, author of Howards End and A Passage to India, also co-authored the libretto of Billy Budd.
  • Frederick Forsyth, best-known for writing spy thrillers like The Day of the Jackal, also wrote The Phantom of Manhattan, a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Nikolai Gogol also wrote books on religion and mysticism.
  • Alexander Griboyedov, a Russian 19th century playwright, was more famous at the time as a brilliant diplomat. And also wrote music.
  • Nat Hentoff worked as a journalist for over fifty years, wrote novels for both adults and teenagers, was a noted expert on Jazz and was a strong advocate for civil liberties.
  • James Leo Herlihy, best known as the author of the original novel of Midnight Cowboy, did a tiny bit of acting on the side, with the 1963 film In the French Style (starring Jean Seberg) as his most substantial role.
  • Hoffmann von Fallerleben wrote the National Anthem of Germany, but also a lot of children's songs, of which many are still popular in Germany.
  • L. Ron Hubbard, the sci-fi author who wrote Battlefield Earth, is the same author of Dianetics, a self-help book, and is the founder of a certain religion associated with Dianetics.
  • Xanthippe Hutcheon is best known for her webcomics Pandora's Tale, Thinking Too Much to Think Positively and Amazoness, though she was also the writer of Bulbagarden's "On the Origin of Species" column as well as a contributor to their forums under the name Bikini Miltank. She was also an admin for Wikimoon and wrote an online encyclopedia for Sailor Moon.note .
  • Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro, best known for novels including An Artist of the Floating World and The Remains of the Day, has also written songs for the jazz singer Stacy Kent.
  • Brian Jacques, best known for authoring the Young Adult Fantasy Series Redwall, wrote a lot of and portraits about his hometown Liverpool and Merseyside and a couple of autobiographical pieces about his life there, in which he worked as a police constable, a lorry driver, a merchant sailor, a bus driver, a longshoreman, a boxer, a postmaster, a milkman, a railway fireman, a stand-up comedian, a folk singer, a radio host and as a writer of humorous short stories.
  • George S. Kaufman, like many characters in plays he wrote, was an avid bridge player, and wrote the introduction to Charles Goren's Better Bridge for Better Players.
  • Stephen King wrote The Shawshank Redemption and the story that inspired the movie Stand by Me. He also wrote Hearts in Atlantis, a compilation of novellas one of which was adapted into the movie of that name. Stephen King also wrote The Green Mile, and is a regular columnist for Entertainment Weekly and wrote a few non-fiction books, one about writing, one about the Boston Red Sox.
  • Thriller novelist Dean Koontz has scripted (but not drawn) a series of manga-style comic book prequels to his Odd Thomas series.
  • In addition to being one of the most acclaimed science-fiction and fantasy authors of the 20th century, Ursula K. Le Guin also authored one English translation of the Tao Te Ching, complete with her own commentary. Though perhaps it's not so surprising, considering she's a practicing Taoist herself.
  • Mikhail Lermontov, a Russian 19th-century poet, was also a talented landscape painter.
  • H. P. Lovecraft wrote a few travelogues, despite usually being considered a recluse who rarely left his home (which isn't true. While he did spend most of his life in Providence and didn't socialise much, he did often travel to meet his friends in other parts of the country). He also wrote the comic short story "Sweet Ermengarde", a parody of romantic melodrama, and Waste Paper, a painfully spot-on parody of "The Waste Land." In a vaguely related vein, he responded to a friend's teasing about his teetotaling by writing "Old Bugs", a parodically exaggerated Scare 'Em Straight story about alcohol.
    • He also wrote at least 75,000 letters over the course of his life. And that's the low estimate!
    • He also had a reasonably good singing voice, but was too shy to sing in front of other people.
  • Tim Maki is both a writer of science fiction/fantasy and a professional silversmith.
  • Vladimir Mayakovskiy, a famous Soviet poet, was also a futuristic artist when he was young.
  • David McKee is the creator of King Rollo. But he is known more for his other creations like Mr. Benn and Elmer the Elephant than for King Rollo nowadays.
  • Vladimir Nabokov was also an entomologist, and he extensively studied a boring butterfly tribe, the Polyommatini.
  • bpNichol, the Canadian concrete poet, also wrote episodes of Fraggle Rock and The Care Bears Family. He also filled in for fellow He Also Did alumnus Dennis Lee (of Alligator Pie fame) in writing lyrics for the former show.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche is a very famous writer and philosopher, but fewer people know that he was also a composer (although aspects of music do figure prominently in some of his philosophical texts), mostly writing songs for voice and piano.
  • Nostradamus, an apothecary by trade, wrote a number of supposed "prophecies" now being used by his followers to (again supposedly) predict future events. He was also an avid maker of jams and jellies. One of his most enduring recipes appears to be the one for cherry jam.
  • Naomi Novik, author of the Temeraire series of novels, was originally a prolific writer of Transformers: Generation 1 Fan Fiction.
  • James Patterson is one of the most popular writers of thriller fiction, such as the Alex Cross and Zoo series. He's also a prolific writer of children's books, notably the Middle School series, and was the first author to simultaneously hold the top spot on both the New York Times' adult and children best-seller lists.
  • Mystery novelist Anne Perry's real name is Juliet Hulme. That's right, she's the same Juliet Hulme of Parke-Hulme murder case fame, which was the basis of the film Heavenly Creatures. She has also written a religious-themed fantasy novel.
  • Edgar Allan Poe helped invent detective fiction. He also wrote a lot of satirical/parodic short stories (leading some to wonder how serious some of his serious writing really was) and a long philosophical-scientific treatise. He was a pretty versatile guy
  • Alexander Pushkin, a famous Russian poet, also wrote The History of Pugachev, pretty solid historical study, which is still relevant today.
  • Mario Puzo wrote The Godfather and also co-wrote the screenplay for Superman and Superman II
  • Arthur Ransome wrote the famous British children's adventure series Swallows and Amazons, as well as its Expanded Universe cousins; meanwhile he was a spy and Double Agent, and wrote several instructional manuals of fighting and survival skills.
  • The Philip Reeve who wrote the Mortal Engines quartet (a cynical, Black-and-Grey Morality-laden Used Future set After the End) and Here Lies Arthur, a Demythification that deconstructs Arthurian Legend, also wrote Larklight and sequels, a hilarious and absurd Affectionate Parody of things like Treasure Island which runs on British Stuffiness, Rule of Funny, and occasional Rule of Cool. And good always wins. Yes...yes, they are by the same person.
  • Rick Riordan: Long before creating Percy Jackson and the Olympians and its universe, he actually got his start with the Tres Navarre series (seven books from 1997-2008), an adult mystery series about Texan private eye Jackson "Tres" Navarre. He also wrote the 2003 standalone thriller novel Cold Springs.
  • Morrie Ryskind, the co-librettist of Animal Crackers and Of Thee I Sing, also helped found the conservative magazine National Review.
  • Leopold von Sacher-Masoch is mostly known as the author of Venus in Furs and, relatedly, as the namesake of masochism. He was actually a prolific and, in his lifetime, well-regarded author of serious novels (like The New Job), short stories, and journalism.
  • William Saroyan, the Armenian-American writer best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Time of Your Life and the later novel The Human Comedy, co-wrote the Rosemary Clooney song "Come On-a My House" with his cousin Ross Bagdasarian, better known as David Seville. In fact, after Clooney's hit, Saroyan and Bagdasarian released their own version of the song, with Bagdasarian singing and Saroyan doing monologues establishing the context of the song's lyrics ("a lonely immigrant boy" is trying to pick up a woman "in old country way").
  • Dorothy L. Sayers, most famous for writing the Lord Peter Wimsey series of detective novels, also oversaw one of the most widely used English translations of Dante's Divine Comedy (in fact, she considered the translation her best work as a writer) and provided the accompanying jingles to John Gilroy's famous "zoo" series of Guinness advertisements.
  • Dr. Seuss used to be a political cartoonist during World War II, creating many hilarious cartoons about the defeat of Hitler and more than a few horrifying caricatures of Japanese people. Because of his job in the war, he held the rank of Captain. He was also the co-creator of the Private Snafu shorts in collaboration with the Warner Bros. crew, and scripted the 1953 film The 5,000 Fingers Of Dr. T.
  • Shel Silverstein wrote children's poetry and picture books such as The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends. He also wrote novelty songs such as: "The Great Smoke Off", "The Cover of Rolling Stone", "A Boy Named Sue" and its sequel "The Father of a Boy Named Sue". He was also a regular at the Playboy Mansion.
  • In addition to writing The Jungle, Upton Sinclair also wrote the Children's book The Gnome-Mobile.
  • R.L. Stine, well known for his horror books such as the Fear Street and Goosebumps series, also published various humor books (such as the novelization of Spaceballs) and was the creator and writer for Nickelodeon show Eureeka's Castle.
  • As a teenager, Charles Stross submitted several monsters to the "Fiend Factory" column in White Dwarf magazine. These monsters (which included the death knight, githyanki, githzerai, and slaadi) were eventually included in the Fiend Folio hardback manual and have become staples of Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, scenarios, and tie-ins ever since.
  • Walter Tevis, author of The Hustler (1961) and The Color of Money, also wrote well-regarded science fiction novels with The Man Who Fell to Earth and Mockingbird. He also wrote the novel that inspired The Queen's Gambit.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien is most famous for his fantasy novels, but his day job was as a philologist, translator, and university professor; he wrote one of the seminal articles on the subject of the Old English poem Beowulf, translated part of the Jerusalem Bible, did one of the best-known translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and contributed to the Oxford English Dictionary. He also wrote non-The Lord of the Rings fantasy stories such as Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham. On the side, he was also an amateur philosopher and Catholic apologist.
  • Mark Twain was probably diverse enough where nothing would surprise those familiar with him, but those not familiar would probably be surprised to hear about how he wrote travelogues. His first two books were travelogues (The Innocents Abroad, Roughing It) and The Innocents Abroad was his best-selling book while he was alive.
  • Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, majored in political science and started his career as a political cartoonist.
  • Dennis Wheatley wrote horror novels and thrillers that were popular from the 1930s to the 1970s, though he's not particularly well known today. However, he only started writing because his family's wine business was failing. He sold the wine business and took up writing instead. Before that, he had been a member of the British Merchant Navy and soldier in World War One. In World War II, Wheatley worked with the British War Office, helping them with their plans and writing papers for them. He took part in the planning of the invasion of Normandy, which led to him being awarded a U.S. Bronze Star after the war's end. He was also an expert on Satanism and the occult, and wrote a series of nonfiction paperbacks on those subjects. Yeah.
  • E. B. White, author of beloved children's books Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web, is also the "White" of "Strunk and White", the handbook more formally known as The Elements of Style. He also worked for The New Yorker, where, among other things, he wrote captions for cartoons, including the famous one about a Picky Eater and broccoli.
  • P. G. Wodehouse is nowadays better known for his light novels than for his work on musical comedies; the song lyrics he wrote for these shows received considerable praise.
  • Aside from writing acclaimed speculative fiction novels such as the Book of the New Sun and Book of the Long Sun, Gene Wolfe also developed the machine that cooks Pringles potato chips.
  • Apparently, the Paul Zindel who won a Pulitzer Prize for the play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds is the same one who wrote such horror novels as Loch, The Doom Stone and Reef of Death.

  • Decades after his famous space mission, Buzz Aldrin co-wrote two sci-fi novels with John Barnes, Encounter With Tiber (1996) and The Return (2001).
  • Before becoming a Hollywood makeup artist, Rick Baker was a stop motion animator for Art Clokey on Gumby and Davey and Goliath.
  • Saul Bass may be best known for his modernistic movie posters and widely-imitated Artistic Titles, but his design office was at many times more involved in ongoing "corporate identity" programs for a wide variety of American companies and a few Japanese ones, from food companies to paper products companies to airlines (Continental, United, Frontier) to gas stations (Exxon/Esso, Sohio/BP, JOMO). He also directed a number of short documentary/non-fiction films, including the 1968 Academy Award winner "Why Man Creates". He was a One Film Director when it came to feature films, but the film in question, Phase IV, is considered a Science Fiction Cult Classic.
  • Bee Train, the animators for Noir and the animated scenes in Xenogears, also did the animation for the Animated Adaptation of Po Po Lo Crois, a Quirky Work with a drastically different artstyle.
  • Joe Bob Briggs, besides his tongue-in-cheek movie reviews and hosting stint on Joe Bob's Drive-in Theater, has done a more diverse body of work under his real name, John Bloom, including political and religious commentary, and even a True Crime book (1984's Evidence of Love: The Candy Montgomery Story).
  • George W. Bush was once a part owner of the Texas Rangers, and a pilot in the Air National Guard.
  • Dateline correspondent Andrea Canning has written the screenplays for several Lifetime and Hallmark Channel movies.
  • Whittaker Chambers, the ex-Communist-turned-conservative intellectual who was the famed star witness against accused spy Alger Hiss at his 1950 trial, was also responsible for the original English translation of Felix Salten's novel Bambi.
  • Winston Churchill, besides his work in politics, was an accomplished historian, author, painter, bricklayer (true, he was an active member of one of the building trades trade unions!) and soldier who helped come up with the idea for the tank.
  • Journalist and Top Gear (UK) presenter Jeremy Clarkson was a voice actor in the BBC Children's Hour radio adaptations of Anthony Buckeridge's Jennings novels in the early 1970s, before his voice broke.note 
  • Neil Cicierega has done massive amounts of work that is popular online. In his very early years of being active online, he created the Animutation genre of flash animations, helping to kickstart flash animation online. He also made the famous Potter Puppet Pals series of videos that is popular within the Harry Potter fandom. Albino Black Sheep fans might know him as the creator of the song "The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny". He also is the creator of the "Mouth" series of mashups which mainly use "Smash Mouth" samples in almost every song in two out of three albums, namely "All Star".
  • Bill Clinton. Well, you know Bill can play a pretty good sax. But did you know that he was a Rugby Union flanker whilst at Oxford? And that he was within a hairsbreadth of playing in the Oxford v Cambridge match?
  • Mike Curb has had one of the oddest career arcs of anyone in the entertainment field. At age 18 in 1963 he started the indie record label Sidewalk Records (Sidewalk/Curb, geddit?), then began doing Exploitation Film soundtracks, then became president of MGM Records in 1969, in a contentious tenure that saw him very nakedly use the label as a vehicle for his political ambitions. But in the meantime he signed himself as an artist to the label, as the mogul behind the Mike Curb Congregation, a soft rock vocal chorus that had some minor hits. As for those political ambitions, he was mentored by Ronald Reagan and was elected to a (once again) contentious single term as Lieutenant Governor of California in 1978, as a conservative Republican who frequently clashed with liberal Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. Meanwhile, he became a NASCAR owner, with Richard Petty driving for him at one point. By The '80s, he moved to Nashville and turned his focus to Country Music, with his Curb Records becoming a giant label in the genre, as well as owning the Gospel Music label Word Records.
  • Ron Cyrus (father of Billy Ray, grandfather of Miley) could count as this. Kentucky state Senator for 21 years, Little League coach, Armco steel rigger, Kentucky Colonel, executive secretary and treasurer of the Kentucky AFL-CIO, served in the U.S. Air Force in Japan, worked as a regional representative for Alan Greenspan of the Federal Reserve Board, sang bluegrass with the Crownsmen Quartet, and was a member of the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association.
  • Charles G. Dawes, even as Vice Presidents go, is quite obscure, having served during the extremely forgettable presidency of Calvin Coolidge. But he had a myriad of interests outside of politics, including music. In 1911 he wrote a Instrumental piece called "Melody in A Major". In 1951, lyricist Carl Sigman used it as the basis for a song called "It's All in the Game", which singer Tommy Edwards had a fairly big hit with. Then in 1958, Edwards decided to Rearrange the Song for a re-recording, and it shot to #1 on the American and British charts. Yes, a #1 hit song co-written by a Vice President (a Posthumous Collaboration, though, since Dawes died in 1951 a few months before Sigman wrote his lyrics).
  • Noted film critic Roger Ebert wrote three screenplays, all team-ups with sexploitation master Russ Meyer. The results were the notorious shlock-fest and cult film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, as well as Up (1976) and Beneath The Valley Of The Ultra Vixens. Even more jarringly, among his bibliography of film guides, criticism and collections of reviews is a cookbook for electric rice-cookers.
  • Prolific game show host Geoff Edwards (best known as the host of Treasure Hunt US; Jackpot and The Big Spin among others), worked as a radio news reporter early in his career, including being assigned to cover the scheduled transfer of Lee Harvey Oswald (charged with the assassination of John F. Kennedy as well as the murder of Dallas cop J.D. Tippit) only for Oswald to himself by murdered in the jail by local strip club owner Jack Ruby; and was interviewed by NBC reporter Tom Pettit shortly after the shootingnote 
  • Louis Farrakhan: leader of the Nation of Islam religious group, political activist...former calypso singer? In fact, Louis Wolcott (as he was known in his calypso days) was the first American to record "Zombie Jamboree" (aka "Jumbie Jamboree"). He is also a talented violinist, having appeared on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour in 1946 and given live performances of the violin concerti of Felix Mendelssohn in 1993 and Ludwig van Beethoven in 2021.
  • Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile are well-known to American schoolchildren as the Spanish monarchs who bankrolled Christopher Columbus' historic voyage in 1492. An important historical contribution, to be sure, but it might overshadow the fact that they were also the masterminds of the Spanish Inquisition, and they were responsible for finally concluding the Spanish Reconquista, which united the whole of the Iberian Peninsula (with the exception of Portugal) under a single Catholic throne for the first time in its history. In context, lending some ships to a Genoese merchant sailor was one of their more minor contributions to Spanish history. Last but not least, some historians believe that Isabella is the figure that inspired making the Queen in chess into the powerful piece it is today (and renaming it to "Queen" from "Counsellor" or "Prime Minister" or "Vizier") as a recognition of her immense political influence.
  • Richard Feynman, in addition to earning a Nobel Prize in Physics, was also an accomplished bongo drums player, prompting him to famously quip in 1964 that "in the infrequent occasion when I've been called upon in a formal place to play the bongo drums, the introducer never seems to find it necessary to mention that I also do theoretical physics."
  • Árpád Göncz, the first president of post-Communist Hungary, was previously a writer who translated many books into Hungarian, including The Lord of the Rings.
  • Stephen Gammell, famous as the artist for the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books, previously did the illustrations for Terrible Things: An Allegory Of The Holocaust.
  • Hanna-Barbera had its own record label, HBR, from 1964 to 1967. While, predictably, most of its records were tie-ins with the company's animated properties, they also tried to appeal to the teen market by releasing Rock singles, with a surprising interest in Garage Rock. HBR was especially noted for picking up regional hits on smaller labels and distributing them nationally. Thus, you had the odd situation of Yogi Bear being labelmates with wacked-out Psychedelic Rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators; HBR picked up their classic single "You're Gonna Miss Me" and tried to do an album with them, but the band had Creative Differences with the label over it and never finished it. Another well-regarded Garage classic, "I See the Light" by The Five Americans, was distributed by HBR as well, and a few other HBR pick-ups have Cult Classic status among Garage collectors.
  • Before becoming an actor, Phil Hartman designed the cover for America Greatest Hits Album History, as his brother John Hartmann managed the band.
  • Ben Hecht, best remembered as co-author of the plays The Front Page and Twentieth Century, wrote the story outline that became Queen of Outer Space of Mystery Science Theater 3000 infamy.
  • Hugh Hefner was a fairly prolific movie producer, in addition to being the founder and CEO of the Playboy adult entertainment empire. Predictably, the majority of the producer credits on his resume were pornographic films released under the Playboy label, but he also produced Roman Polański's Macbeth and Peter Bogdanovich's Saint Jack (which Bogdanovich considers to be one of his best movies), and he more recently produced several documentaries about the history of Hollywood.
  • Theodor Heuss, who went on to become the the first president of the Bonn Republic, did something completely different when the Nazis forced him out of politics: He was a voice actor in a Nivea commercial produced by his wife.
  • The late Emperor Hirohito (or, to Japanese, Emperor Shōwa) led Japan through World War II and decades beyond that until his death in 1989. He was also an accomplished amateur marine biologist and had a laboratory within his palace for this purpose. While he lacked an official degree, he had several scientific papers published and was the first to provide a scientific description and classification of several species of hydrozoa (microscopic predatory water animals) found in the seas around Japan.
  • Saddam Hussein is believed to have written a handful of novels and plays.
  • Shigesato Itoi, the man responsible for the Mother/EarthBound (1994) series, is ridiculously versatile and has dabbled in pretty much everything in the past thirty years, Mother being just another dabbling. He's also known for his fishing games, doing guest-judging on Iron Chef, and for voicing the father on My Neighbor Totoro. His actual profession is writing essays and copywriting, in his signature writing style and idiosyncrasies. In Japan, that's what you think when you hear the name Shigesato Itoi, but in America, (if at all), it's EarthBound. Mother was just Itoi experimenting into a new medium after being inspired by playing Dragon Quest, and its sales in Japan are largely based on the fact that he made it, and it and its sequels' slogans were also a factor, of course. The TV commercial even specifically says that it was by him, invoking In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It without actually using it. Its sequels' sales were also boosted by the fact that they were sequels to the games before them.
  • Tom Kneitel was a well-known figure among radio hobbyists, mostly for being the editor of the magazines S9 (about CB radio) and Popular Communications (mainly about shortwave radio). But he was also "Phoenix" of Phoenix and Theos, a husband-and-wife team who were extremely influential figures in the establishment of Wicca in America (Theos was Judy Kneitel). He strictly used his craft name for his Wiccan activities, so his magazine readers didn't really know that he was prominent elsewhere.
  • Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, is not only a respected long-serving (now retired) United States Senator and, before that, president of the retail chain Kohl’s, but from 1985 to 2014 also owned an NBA team: the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • Justin Kuritzkes, who is best-known for creating and starring in the viral Potion Seller video, is also a screenwriter who wrote the screenplay for Challengers and is married to Celine Song, who is best known for being the writer-director of Past Lives, as well as a host of other accomplishments deserving of its own separate entry here.
  • Pioneering goresploitation film director Herschell Gordon Lewis leads a double-life as an advertising copywriter and has written dozens of books about direct-market advertising (don't you dare call it "junk mail" in his presence).
  • In addition to being a lawyer and politician, Abraham Lincoln was also a published poet, having been an avid reader and writer of poetry since he was a teenager. His canto "My Childhood's Home I See Again" is still printed somewhat frequently in anthologies of great American poetry. He was also a wrestler when he was younger — he even invented the chokeslam — and is the only American President to have registered a patent, for a device to help boats navigate shallow water.
  • James Lipton of Inside the Actor's Studio wrote An Exaltation of Larks, a book of collective terms (common, historical and invented by himself). He was also a pimp for a brief period in 1950s Paris. Rumors that he wrote the opening theme for ThunderCats remain unconfirmed.
  • Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is an accomplished artist and designer. She illustrated the Danish edition of The Lord of the Rings (the publisher having invited her to do so after seeing some fan art she had sent to Tolkien). She has also designed costumes for ballet and did set design and costume design work for the Netflix period dramedy film Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction (this last in 2023, at the age of 83 and after 50 years on the throne). The queen also translated Simone De Beauvoir's All Men Are Mortal.
  • TV pitchman and memetic Large Ham Billy Mays was a walk-on linebacker for the West Virginia Mountaineers football team while attending West Virginia University.
  • Sugar Ray's first album Lemonade and Brownies had production and co-writing credits to Joseph McGinty Nichol, better known as McG, who after directing a video for the song "Caboose" became a prolific music video director, and even moved onto movies like Charlie's Angels (2000) and Terminator Salvation.
  • Phil Mendez, the creator of Foofur and Kissyfur, was partially responible for the character designs for Star Street: The Adventures of the Star Kids.
  • Michelin, the tire company whose mascot was part of the inspiration for Ghostbusters' Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, started producing guide books in 1904 in an attempt to increase the demand for the then-new automobiles, and by extension, their tires. While not the first guides to rate restaurants, their rating eventually became the gold standard for fine dining, and those who have heard restaurants referred to by "Michelin star rating" but have never actually picked up a Michelin Guide in their own right might be surprised to learn that the guide's publisher and the tire company are one and the same.
  • Former United States Senate Majority Leader and special envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell, a Maine Democrat. Between holding those jobs, he was the Chairman of Disney's board of directors, Chancellor of Queen's University in Belfast Northern Ireland, led the baseball steroid investigation, was president of the international law firm DLA Piper, helped negotiate peace in Ireland, and was a board member of several companies including the Boston Red Sox, and held several diplomatic posts.
  • Samuel Morse is famous for developing Morse Code and advocating for widespread adoption of the electric telegraph, but before all that, he was also an accomplished painter, with his masterpiece being Gallery of the Louvre, a six foot by nine foot painting of the titular gallery, including detailed renditions of 38 different paintings on display at the Louvre in the 1830s, as well as giving an indication of how the museum's patrons spent their time (several other people are depicted similarly making copies of the works on display). His intent was to share the work of the great European master artists with the culturally isolated American people.
  • Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, was not just a French fighter of American independence: he actually had a long career as a far-left politician.
  • Audie Murphy is probably best known as a highly decorated WWII veteran who earned most of his medals by doing crazy things in combat. But he also cowrote (with the help of an uncredited journalist friend) a best-selling war memoir, To Hell and Back, which he parlayed into an acting career that spanned 44 movies in 20 years, mostly lead roles in B-westerns. During the Korean War, he served stateside as a training instructor in the Texas National Guard. He also became a breeder of racing Quarter Horses, and contributed significantly to the development of the breed. He also occasionally rode as a jockey and won two novelty races. He sought catharsis for his war experiences by writing poetry, and from there he branched out into writing lyrics for Country Music songs. In addition, he occasionally worked as an undercover agent for the police, investigating drug dealers and possibly the Mafia. And this was a guy who didn't live to see retirement age! He was also an advocate for soldiers and veterans who suffer from PTSD.
  • Isaac Newton is famous as the discoverer of gravity, the laws of motion, and calculus, but throughout his life he mostly practiced alchemy and had all manner of strange apocalyptic Christian ideas. He was also the Master of the Royal Mint, and successfully prosecuted counterfeiters in the most badass ways imaginable (taking it upon himself to go undercover in seedy taverns, meet with suspected counterfeiters, and then eventually catch them red-handed...after which he would personally conduct the prosecution).
  • Alfred Nobel (yes, that Nobel) invented dynamite and owned huge weapons factories. He created the Nobel Prizes after a scathing obituary was written about him being a "merchant of death" (after a mix-up where his brother died and that paper thought it was Alfred). He willed the bulk of his estate to awarding the prizes so he wouldn't be remembered that way.
  • Keith Olbermann, the famous American liberal talk show pundit, is also one of the country's foremost experts on the subject of baseball cards. He's written columns for various sports websites about his love of baseball and is a member of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR, whence we get the term "sabermetrics" for nouveau sports statistics). He was one of the anchors for ESPN's Sports Center from 1992 to 1997 (a stint on which Aaron Sorkin based Sports Night—Dan Rydell is based on Olbermann) and returned to the network to host his own show from 2012-2015. He also voices over-the-top whale newscaster Tom Grumbo-Jumbo in Bojack Horseman.
  • Pablo Picasso was most famous for his cubist work, but he was also a major player amongst futurists, expressionists, surrealists, neoclassicists, artists of New Objectivity, dadaists and Art Brut. Many people don't realize that most members of these movements hated all the other movements, so Picasso's involvement with them all (and the fact that he was idolized by them all) is astounding. He was also a successful impressionist, and one of the earliest known comic artists.
  • Based on a certain famous religious text, you may remember a certain otherwise obscure Roman prefect by the name of Pontius Pilate who presided over a famous trial involving one Yeshua Hanosri, a.k.a. (in the Greek) Jesus of Nazareth. What you may not remember is that he's also the governor who built the Tiberieum in Caesarea, and an aqueduct (yes, the same one mentioned in Monty Python's Life of Brian) to help keep Jerusalem adequately supplied with water.
  • Vladimir Putin is the current President of Russia; earlier in life, he was a Colonel in the KGB, and he has also co-authored a book on the history of judo.
  • Mark Rosewater, head of design for Magic: The Gathering, was a staff writer on Roseanne.
  • Like his Today predecessor (see below), Al Roker also has two murder mystery books under his belt (among other things).
  • A number of people associated with Roundhouse qualify.
    • John Crane, known as "Dad" on the show, went on to write for MADtv (1995).
    • Ivan Dudynsky choreographed ten episodes of the show, and was also assistant choreographer for Encino Man, Michael Jackson's HBO concert special, the 1996 Academy Awards, and *NSYNC's first European tour. During the Turn of the Millennium he moved a bit further behind the scenes, including editing for at least one CMT awards show, the 2002 film Threnody, and a few episodes of MTV Jammed. Dudynsky has also directed for TV, including The Playbook, Celebrity Name Game and Hollywood Game Night.
    • Micki Duran went on to be The Pete Best for the band Wild Orchid (which, in another bout of "he also did", also spawned The Black Eyed Peas' resident Ms. Fanservice, Fergie), cowriting their song "At Night I Pray", and was also in the group U4Ea.
    • Music producer Benny Hester is best known for being one of the earliest Christian Rock musicians, and for songs like "Nobody Knows Me Like You" and "When God Ran". At least three of his songs, "The Bridge", "Before You Know It" and "Restless Nights" were featured on the show (though the latter was heavily rewritten and retitled "Back Where We Belong").
    • Crystal Lewis was a cast member for the first season, before leaving the show to foster her budding music career... and went on to become one of the biggest Christian music stars of The '90s and early 2000's. She and her husband Brian Ray founded the Metro One record label (the same year Roundhouse debuted), which represents a wide range of Christian music such as hip-hop and alternative. In addition, Lewis wrote the book Gold: A Devotional, was one of the featured vocalists on Kirk Franklin's Grammy-nominated song "Lean On Me", performed rockabilly music with the Screamin' Rays, played Mary in the Nativity musical Child of Promise, voiced Star on the animated series Musicland Band, and played a gatekeeper in The Wilds, a film that also featured her son Solomon (and an Award-Bait Song from her daughter Izzi). She's also recorded some of her hits in Spanish, even winning the inaugural Dove Award for Best Spanish Album.
    • Natalie Nucci used to perform in a "Double Date" attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, and appeared in John Chu's early film When the Kids Are Away.
    • Julene Renee had a business that sold her self-designed handbags, with money going towards kids in foster care.
  • Prior to becoming prominent in Armenian politics (including stints as Prime Minister and the Armenian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, before becoming President in 2018), Armen Sarkissian was one of the designers for the Tetris offshoot Wordtris.
  • Albert Schweitzer is remembered by most people as a physician and humanitarian, but he was also a musician (organist), musicologist (who wrote studies of the works of J.S. Bach and co-edited a complete collection of his organ works with French composer Charles-Marie Widor), theologian, Lutheran minister, and philosopher. He was already a famous theologian and a clergyman when he decided to study medicine and go to Africa. His theological works, while still very important, are known mostly only to specialists today.
  • Former Today weatherman Willard Scott started off as a network page for WRC, the NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C., and then moved on to host local kids TV shows like Barn Party and Bozo the Clown in The '50snote . Between both mentioned shows he also hosted Afternoon, a local news and variety show also cohosted by another "he also did" alumnus, Mac McGarry (the former host of the Long Runner quiz show It's Academic). After the DC-based Bozo met its end in 1963, he modified the Bozo design and came up with the character now known as Ronald McDonald. In addition, Willard also wrote two murder mystery novels (in addition to 3 nonfictions, 2 quote-based books and a cookbook), hosted a Talent Show on ABC Family and several "Christmas Across America" specials for HGTV, as well as a TV show called Willard Scott's Home and Garden Almanac on the latter channel, was one half of "The Joy Boys" radio team for 20 years, and played Mr. Poole, a bit character on The Hogan Family. He had also taken over as the announcer for the Smucker's commercials after the death of Mason Adams. A sampling of Willard's "he also did" gigs up to around 2000 can be found here.
  • Alex "Smiffy" Smith is probably best known as the Token Evil Teammate of Hat Films, a group with a (played up) laddish sense of humour and black comedy. So imagine the surprise of the fans when they found out he'd once been in a bluegrass band and actually had a good singing voice. He kept the project up for a year or so after joining the group, and also recorded his own material.
  • Jean de Dieu Soult, best known as one of Napoleon's Marshals, also happens to be France's longest-serving Prime Minister. He reformed the army and had fortifications built around Paris, among other things. Actually, the same could be said about many other Marshals, as biographies tend to focus on the Napoleonic era. Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr was originally a painter and art teacher, but he also served as Minister of War in 1818 and some of his reforms endured for more than half a century. Alexandre Berthier fought in the War of American Independence and studied the Prussian army for some years. Auguste Marmont failed as an industrialist, but his book De l'esprit des institutions militaires was considered a reference among French officers. And so on...
  • Albert Speer, the architect responsible for Nazi monumental architecture, was also the creator of the Volkswagen (ironically known as a hippie-culture icon).
  • Benito Mussolini, leader of Fascist Italy, was also a school teacher earlier in his life.
  • Dr. Benjamin Spock, the famous child care specialist, also won an Olympic gold medal in rowing back in 1924. Furthermore, he was a prominent member of the movement opposing the Vietnam War.
  • Before becoming a barrister and entering politics, Margaret Thatcher was a research chemist who helped develop emulsifiers for soft-serve ice cream.
  • French historian Jean Tulard specializes in both the Napoleonic era and the history of cinema. Incidentally, he's the co-author of a book about movie adaptations of the Napoleonic saga.
  • Henry Agard Wallace was FDR's Agriculture Secretary, Vice President and Commerce Secretary, in that order. While he is remembered more for his political work, he was among the first to breed hybrid corn (and other things from strawberries to chickens), and wrote a number of works on agriculture. In addition, he edited both The New Republic (after he left government) and Wallace's Farmer (before he went into government).
  • Former Major League Baseball umpire Joe West is also a country/western musician. He has released two albums and his music was even played at Dodger Stadium when working a game.
  • Chaim Weizmann was a Zionist leader and the first President of Israel. He was also a notable chemist, "who developed the ABE-process which produces acetone through bacterial fermentation" (Wikipedia).
  • Most of the people associated with Wheel of Fortune qualify.
    • Original host Chuck Woolery, who quit in 1981, later went on to host of such popular shows as Love Connection, Scrabble, and Lingo. He was originally one-half of the psychedelic rock duo The Avant-Garde, and a solo country music artist while he hosted Wheel. Woolery has also hosted several infomercials, and a conservative video series on YouTube.
    • Current host Pat Sajak (1981-present; retiring in 2024) has written essays and blog entries for several conservative publications, and owns two AM radio stations in Maryland.
    • Also from Wheel, co-host Vanna White (1982-present) has written several books on crocheting and sells her own line of yarn when she's not lighting up letters. She also played the lead role in the Made-for-TV Movie Goddess of Love.
  • King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands is known for being an avid pilot, and once said that had he not been born into royalty he would have liked to become a long-haul airline pilot. He occasionally does short-haul flights for Dutch national airline KLM, where he is rarely noticed.
  • Furry artist Doug Winger was formerly an engineer for Republic Aviation Corporation and later Fairchild Aircraft, being Acting System Engineer for the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II's AN/AAS-35(V) Pave Penny laser spot tracker and working in the support team for the Space Shuttle orbiter's tail section stabilizer.
  • Byron White could just as easily be placed in the "Athletes" folder as here. To college football junkies, especially Colorado Buffaloes fans, he was a star running back in the '30s at Colorado (also playing baseball and basketball) who eventually made the College Football Hall of Fame. He could have been an NFL star, and did play in the league for a few years. However, younger generations (including many Colorado fans) remember him better for his legal career that culminated in more than 30 years on the US Supreme Court.
  • Gene Wood, a popular game show announcer in the 60s through 90s, was also a comedian, and wrote cartoon shorts for Captain Kangaroo.
  • History has seen a lot of Warrior Poets, along with Warrior Philosophers and Warrior Artists. Socrates fought against the invading Persians, Xenophon was a Greek mercenary, Thucydides experienced the Peloponnesian Wars first-hand, and Horace fought in the Roman Civil Wars. There's a sharp decrease in this during the Dark Ages (when the ruling caste were often barbarian invaders) and the early Middle Ages (when the feudal lords were sometimes literate and sometimes not and usually had enough on their plates politically to keep them busy). But things boomed again during the last years of the High Middle Ages, where knights were supposed to be poets as well, while still being efficient and ruthless iron-clad warriors. This was the heyday of the Warrior Poet, some examples including Chrétien de Troyes, Sir Thomas Mallory, and very notably Dante Alighieri (who was exiled from Florence and became a rogue knight who fought for many different lords), while Leonardo da Vinci was contracted as a military engineer in Venice, Miguel de Cervantes was a young officer and war hero at Lepanto, and so it goes.
  • Both World Wars pretty much ensured that a large number of famous people from two generations also served in the military or related fields in addition to the main source of their fame. Among these can be cited of note: Christopher Lee (commando in WWII), Kurt Vonnegut (WWII private and Dresden flattening survivor), William Butler Yeats (volunteer in WWI), Ernest Hemingway (volunteered as paramedic in WWI and spy in WWII), longtime cartoon and anime voice director Wally Burr (WWII tank commander), B-Movie director Ed Wood (WWII, was in the United States Marine Corps), Ian Fleming (WWII), Jon Pertwee (was a Royal Navy intelligence agent), David Niven (was a soldier in the Highland Light Infantry for 4 years until he bought himself out and went to Hollywood, then in WWII was a tank commander and wrote part of the training notes on tank-infantry co-operation in WWII), painters Otto Dix, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and lots of other Germans/Austrian young poor artists (drafted in WWI), Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (tank commander in the Great Patriotic War, decorated twice), B-25 bomber gunner Charlton Heston (WWII), machine gun squadron staff sergeant Charles Schulz, J. D. Salinger (took part in the D-Day landings), a number of notable Frenchmen and expats living in France enlisted in La Résistance (mime Marcel Marceau; philosopher Simone Weil; writers Marguerite Duras, Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, Paul Eluard, Louis Aragon, André Malraux, Tristan Tzara, etc.). Technically, Queen Elizabeth II also served in WWII, though not in a fighting capacity - she volunteered for the British women's auxiliary force, which, at the time of her death, made her the only head of state who was a veteran of that war, a fact which caused some controversy when she wasn't invited to the D-Day commemoration in 2010.
    • Adolf Hitler, known as a dictator responsible for the deaths of millions, started as an artist. Some of his paintings are actually pretty good. In fact, if he had swallowed his pride and gone into commercial art (advertising and postcards) we may be talking of a massive case of What Could Have Been....
    • Joseph Stalin (Jugashvili) was a budding Georgian poet in his youth. And before then he trained to be a priest.
  • As you might have gathered from reading this list, this is true of many politicians, who transitioned into that occupation after gaining some degree of recognition elsewhere. Examples include military service, acting, business, and of course, many many lawyers.
    • And in the course of politics, some politicians have a surprising history of policies they supported in the past. Often ripe fodder for discussion during election campaigns.
    • Theodore Roosevelt. Before become President, his resume included (but was not limited to) historian, author, state legislator, rancher, deputy sheriff, police commissioner, soldier, and governor. After the Presidency he added big game hunter, conservationist, and Amazonian explorer to the list.
    • William Howard Taft was the only President who was also a Supreme Court Justice. In fact, his lifelong dream wasn't to become President, but to become Chief Justice of the United States (which he accomplished).
  • Probably half of the United States Presidents fought in some war. Even if one limited it to the ones who held the rank of General, it would take some time to list them all. The most famous are, of course, George Washington, Andrew Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant, whose pictures appear on the currency. But Zachary Taylor, Dwight D. Eisenhower and William Henry Harrison (the one who died of pneumonia) also had very successful military careers before going into politics, and Warner Bros. even made a movie about John F. Kennedy's WWII exploits while Kennedy was in office. And among presidential spouses, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower did some uncredited camerawork on Gypsy while her husband Dwight was still in office.
  • Many companies started in one business but shifted into new markets with the changing times.
    • A large number of automotive companies started doing something else.
      • Peugeot started out making a number of mechanical devices, starting with grinders for salt, pepper, and coffee. They moved into transportation with bicycles in 1882, and then made their first (steam-powered) car in 1889. The next year, they started making cars with petrol-powered internal combustion engines, and the rest (as they say) is history. Fun fact: Though Peugeot sold off its bicycle arm, it still makes salt and pepper grinders—some of the best in the world, in fact.
      • Škoda was originally a bicycle company.
      • Honda mostly made motorcycles in its early years.
    • Abercrombie & Fitch is a well-known purveyor of casual clothing for hip young folks. Until the 1980s, A&F was a sporting goods store, and to this day you can still find Abercrombie and Fitch hunting rifles and shotguns on the used market and in collections.
    • After the aviation industry bubble popped after World War I note , Boeing started selling wood furniture. After a similar (but less drastic) market downturn after the Vietnam War, its helicopter division went into business selling mass transit systems to cities. And of course, it also used to be in the airline business before it became illegal for aircraft manufacturers to operate airlines in the US. Boeing's aviation operation was split off and was the founding of present day United Airlines. A considerable portion of United's fleet is made of Boeing aircraft.
    • The Canadian industrial behemoth Bombardier is a long and confusing one. The company was originally founded to make snowmobiles for the Québec market—and by snowmobiles, we mean the old kind that amount to cars and even buses equipped with skis and tracks for operation on snow. This led in two directions. In one direction, this led toward expansion into other types of transportation, including locomotives, rail cars, and (after acquiring Canadair) its most prominent division, commercial aircraft (if you've flown within the Eastern U.S. in the last 20 years, you probably flew on a Bombardier aircraft at least once). In the other direction, Bombardier developed the snowmobiles into the smaller, more compact motorcycle-like devices more common today when it introduced the Ski-Doo in 1952. This led to various expansions into other outdoor-recreation products with motors like jet-skis. As a result, Bombardier actually split in two, with the original company keeping the rail equipment-and-airplanes business and a new company, Bombardier Recreational Products, taking on the snowmobiles and such.
    • Coleco Industries, the toy company which originated both the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls and the ColecoVision, one of the earliest home video game consoles, started out as a company that made shoe leather (the name is actually short for Connecticut Leather Company).
  • Eurovision does more than just the Eurovision Song Contest. Besides other, more highbrow competitions (such as Eurovision Young Dancers and Let the Peoples Sing, a choir contest), it also rebroadcasts events such as the BBC Proms across Europe, and enables pooling of news resources among European Broadcasting Union members. They also co-produced The Animals of Farthing Wood.
  • When most people talk about "a JCB", they mean the earth movers that are ubiquitous on British construction sites. They may not even be aware that this is just one of a huge range of construction machines and building tools that JCB produces.
  • Studio Ghibli, aside from their films known for their breath-taking animation, have also done some low-key jobs such as Finish Animation on Sailor Moon, In-Between Animation on Crayon Shin-chan, and Backgrounds for Azumanga Daioh.
  • After Prohibition went into effect, many beer manufacturers started making other products to stay afloat financially, realizing the equipment they had on hand could be repurposed for other uses. Many opted to focus on dairy, which allowed them to keep using their refrigeration devices. Pabst produced the Pabst-ett brand of processed cheese, which earned several million dollars a year and made them a serious challenger to Kraft's domination of the cheese market; after Prohibition ended, they sold their cheese line to Kraft. Stroh's and Yuengling started making ice cream, and the brands still exist (though the breweries sold them to other companies after a while). Coors partnered with a local pottery and ceramics firm to produce industrial ceramics, and kept the unit (now called CoorsTek) going after Prohibition. The company has been valued at around $2 billion today.
  • The pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline also produced the popular soft drinks Lucozade and Ribena, before eventually selling those brands off in 2013.
  • Before JAMIEvstheVOID was making storytime animations, they ran a somewhat-popular art channel on YouTube called Cinnamon Mew Mew, where they made mostly horse-related content. They also worked as an animator and illustrator in a professional capacity before becoming a YouTuber. Among their clients were Ford, Heineken, Burberry and CBBC. They're also the creator of the model horse series Conquering Tide and got to design toy horses for Stone Horses.
  • Riri Franklin, creator of Alienby Comics, also made the "Spider-Man Symbol Evolution" infographic. They also helped write and illustrate a graphic novel, Mask of the Sentinels, with their brother Toby Franklin.


  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension: Buckaroo Banzai is a world-famous scientist, neurosurgeon, presidential advisor, rock and roll musician, and explorer of the unknown.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star the main character is surprised to learn that the big bluff pilot, Dak Broadbent, is also a Grand Assemblyman, holds a Ph.D. in physics, had been reserve champion with the pistol in the Imperial Matches nine years earlier, and had published three volumes of verse under the nom de plume of "Acey Wheelwright."
  • In Jon Sable, Freelance mercenary Jon Sable also writes children's books. Of course, he goes to great length to keep that a secret, since who would hire a mercenary who writes children's books? He also has been an Olympic Athlete.
  • Zal of Quantum Gravity primarily does Mode X (think rock/alternative) stuff, but when he was starting out, he did a lot of different stuff. Naming it all is a task better put to a page detailing music genres.
  • Jeremy Renner guest starred in an episode of House as patient of the week Jimmy Quid, a self-destructive experimental noise musician whom it turned out volunteered at a children's hospital and recorded folk music in his early 20s under his real name Jimmy Moskowitz.
  • A Running Gag in The Fall Guy is that Howie Munson has had a gajillion different jobs before he tried his hand as a stuntman. His experience from his previous jobs serves him well as a Bounty Hunter along with his cousin Colt Seavers.
  • In Hamilton, Burr works a mention of how Hamilton founded the Coast Guard and the New York Post into "The Adams Administration".
  • Parodied in xkcd strip #2621 "Mainly Known For", in which Megan knows several famous people by some of their least prominent traits, from Steve Jobs being "the Pixar guy" to George W. Bush being "Jenna Bush's dad".
  • Something of a Running Gag in The Simpsons with Troy McClure, voiced by the late Phil Hartman, who whenever he appeared, would list two previous works his audience might have remembered him from.
  • A 2024 commercial for CeraVe moisturizing cream has Michael Cera claiming to have invented it, because "human skin is my passion", before pulling back to reveal Cera showing the spot to a group of skeptical dermatologists as part of an attempted pitch to be their spokesperson.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): She Also Did, They Also Did


Didn't he do Lizard Man

The snob describes the various other niche, arthouse films the director made. The normal guy points out that he's also behind a series of popular superhero movies.

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