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I Am Not Spock

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"It was Captain Kirk playing T.J. Hooker, not William Shatner the actor. You're just thinking he's taken a month off... and come down to Earth and said 'I want to be a cop for a bit'."
Eddie Izzard, Unrepeatable

One of the most severe forms of typecasting, in which an actor or actress is not only defined as a certain character archetype, but in a specific role.

This is most certainly a double-edged sword, as it often guarantees that the performer will be famous for some time to come, but on the other hand, that role may end up stifling the performer's future acting prospects, as he or she may get rejected for other roles that may be seen as being against type. This can be tough on actors who, as artists, may have a strong desire to move on. As viewers and historians, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between an actor who lucked out by getting one iconic role, and an actor whose career was hampered by an over-association with it.

This seems to disproportionately happen to actors from sci-fi and fantasy works, possibly because some casting agencies may feel their credibility as a "serious" actor has been hurt by working on such shows.


Outside live action, this may be a Pigeonholed Voice Actor.

Typecasting may have been more common in the early days of television as a holdover from motion pictures. It was common in the 1930s and '40s for a movie actor who was not a leading man or lady to make a career out of playing the same type of character.

Named for the 1975 autobiography by none other than Leonard Nimoy. An autobiography that, incidentally, didn't actually say what everyone thought it said because of the title.

See also ...But I Play One on TV. Compare Adam Westing and Never Live It Down. Contrast I Am Not Leonard Nimoy. And see Contractual Purity for those trapped in kids' show wholesomeness. Finally, see Role Association for the Just for Fun version. Not to be confused with I Am Not Shazam.

Remember that Examples Are Not Recent.


Examples in fiction:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Skip Beat!
    • This is a major arc for Kyouko, when she gains some fame by playing the antagonistic Mio. She starts to get offers for roles in other productions, but all the roles are antagonistic and the directors even want her to 'just act like Mio', and she wants to reject all the offers because she doesn't want to be stuck doing one type of role. Kuu Hizuri sets her straight by saying that, since Mio was her first role that people know her acting as, of course she'll be asked to be like Mio because they have no other role to judge her on or compare her to. His words make her realize that each antagonistic role has its own way of acting, eventually leading to Kyouko to figure out ways to portray Natsu in Box R.
    • Chiori Amamiya had this problem as a child star. Her first role was that of Akari in The Scarlet Dice, and people were so amazed by it that they chose to hire her because she's 'the girl who played Akari'. Unlike Kyouko, though, she was unable to shed the stigma this left her with, to the point that she had to restart her acting career under a new name.
  • Played for Laughs in Act-age. Young actor Akira (the son of his casting agency's president) gets pretty annoyed when people − including the protagonist Kei − call him "Ultra Kamen", a character he plays in a kids' TV show.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Galaxy Quest parodied the dilemma of the cast of Star Trek, where the entire cast of the in-universe sci-fi series is known for nothing else. One of them - Alexander Dane, playing the Spock Expy Dr. Lazarus - laments that he was a respected stage actor who'd earned acclaim starring in Richard III ("There were five curtain calls!") before he was cast in the series. Not only did several of the original Star Trek cast act in William Shakespeare before their Star Trek roles (including William Shatner and Patrick Stewart), but so did Alan Rickman, who plays Alexander Dane. And despite his hatred for the role, Dane is never seen without his make up on, even when he's at home by himself.
  • In Soapdish, everyone in the dinner theater washed up soap actor Jeffrey Anderson is working at calls him "Mr. Loman", whom he plays.
    Theatre employee: Five minutes, Mr. Loman!
    Jeffrey: Don't - call me - Mr. - Loman! My name is Anderson! Anderson! ANDERSON!

    Theatre employee: Someone to see you, Mr. Loman!
    Jeffrey: (steadily getting louder) Stop calling me Mr. LOMAN!

    Live-Action TV 
  • A variant happens in the first Thanksgiving episode of Friends. Joey does modeling for a stock photo company and ends up on a poster for STDs. His family then thinks he actually has one. In the spinoff, this is played with, with Brent Spiner, who's best known as Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. As we see Michael calling him Data, his agent just tells him to go with it. It's a bit of a Truth in Television parody as Spiner suffers from this in Real Life as well.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm had a whole plotline in Season 2 where Larry tried, unsuccessfully, to pitch a show about one of the actors from Seinfeld facing this, first with Jason Alexander, then with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. He fails with both attempts.
  • When Richard Wilson guest starred in Father Ted As Himself, he beat Ted up for using Victor Meldrew's catchphrase on him.
  • In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, a martial arts instructor is famous for a series of action movies called The Dragon Killer. One scene has him arguing with his agent over the phone saying, "I just want to play the dad in the telephone commercial!" suggesting he suffers from this in-universe. For reference, the actor was Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat, Adam Westing as an expy of himself.
  • Parodied in a MADtv Halloween Episode featuring Robert Englund (best known for playing Freddy Krueger), where everyone, much to his growing frustration, keeps referring to him as "that guy who played Willie in V (1983)".
  • In an episode of Frasier, Fraiser and Niles tries to bring a Shakespearian actor from their youth back from being Spocked in a sci fi show. In a subversion, it backfired, not because no one could divorce him from the role, but because he's a dreadful actor.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Parodied in an episode where Sheldon meets James Earl Jones. Jones immediately realizes that Sheldon likely knows him as Darth Vader, and not any of the other roles he had throughout his lengthy career. Though it seems at first that he is annoyed by this attention, he quickly reveals that he too is a fan of Star Wars and does not mind that so many people immediately associate him with the franchise.
      James Earl Jones: Let me guess. You like Star Wars.
      Sheldon: nods excitedly
      James Earl Jones: You know, I’ve been in other movies.
      Sheldon: nods excitedly
      James Earl Jones: But you don’t care about those, do you?
      Sheldon: shakes head
      James Earl Jones: I have one thing to say to people like you. I like Star Wars, too. Care to join me?
    • Deconstructed in another episode of The Big Bang Theory featuring "Professor Proton", a scientist who hosted a kids show that the main characters had been fond of in their youth. The unfortunate scientist, Dr. Arthur Jeffries (played by Bob Newhart), has been so famously typecast in the role of Professor Proton that the scientific community now sees him as nothing more than a kids' show actor, rather than the serious scientist he actually is. As a result, he loathes the Professor Proton role, but has been forced to perform for kids' birthday parties just to pay the bills.
  • Castle: The speculative fiction fandom homage episode "The Final Frontier" has actress Stephanie Frye, who played Lieutenant Chloe on the short-lived Space Opera Nebula 9. Beckett loved the show and cosplayed as Chloe in college, but Frye considers the role an Old Shame despite it being her Star-Making Role, and murdered her former co-star in an attempt to keep the show's revival from wrecking her non-Nebula 9 career. For her part, Beckett decides she can still like the character regardless of what she thinks of the actress.


  • In The End, this was what defined the career of actor Victor Smart. It's also another Star Trek parallel, as his most famous role was a starship captain.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • Actress Mary Dahl, a.k.a. Baby Doll, suffers a genetic disorder which keeps her from growing, leaving her trapped in a child's body, and went insane because nobody would accept her as anything but the lovable, troublesome tot Baby Doll. She strove to establish a legitimate acting career outside of the Baby Doll role, including starring in a stage production of Macbeth, but it was largely panned and ignored. This echoes the real life case of Gary Coleman, who likewise suffered from a similar health condition and was typecast.
    • "Beware the Gray Ghost": Actor Simon Trent, a.k.a. The Gray Ghost, sank into poverty after typecasting kept him from getting other roles after the series ended. Things turned around for him after he helped Batman capture a criminal who was using an episode of the show as a template for a series of extortion bombings. Trent is voiced by Adam West, and the episode is a tribute to the 1960s Batman series.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows", Brian meets a reclusive singer who made a fortune singing advertising jingles. When she tried to branch out into opera, her debut performance of Carmen was ruined because the audience kept shouting at her to sing their favorite jingles instead.
  • In a Robot Chicken sketch parodying Armageddon, Harrison Ford complains that he doesn't want to go into space because he's just an actor, only for a fat nerd to shout "You go, Han Solo!" Later inverted in the same sketch, where Mark Hamill says he should have gone up to space because he "destroyed the Death Star", only for the very same nerd to tell him "That was just a movie, dude."
    • This wasn't the first time Hamill's done that - his appearance on The Muppet Show had him crash-land as Luke Skywalker, and insist on fetching his "cousin" Mark Hamill whenever he was asked to perform in a sketch.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Mayored to the Mob", Mark Hamill, voiced by himself, gets quite annoyed by the fact that everyone wants to see him only as Luke Skywalker — even when he is playing a role in a work as far away from Star Wars as you can imagine, such as Guys and Dolls.
    • Parodied in the "Treehouse of Horror X" segment "Desperately Xeeking Xena", in which everyone who encountered Xena: Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless addressed her as "Xena", much to her exasperation. Eventually, at the end of the segment when Bart and Lisa have rescued her from The Collector (Comic Book Guy as a nerdy supervillian), she offers to take them home — and so picks them up and begins to fly. "Xena can't fly!" Lisa exclaims. Lucy's response? "I told you, I'm not Xena. I'm Lucy Lawless."
  • Pepper Ann has another Mark Hamill As Himself example. Milo lines up to get his autograph, but only because he confused him with Dorothy Hamill. As Mark Hamill tries to explain who he actually is, listing various roles he's played, someone in the back of the line screams that he was Luke Skywalker. Hamill immediately has security drag that fan away, then screams that he had that role twenty years ago, people, get over it.
  • Bojack Horseman stars professional actor BoJack Horseman, who is only known as "the Horse from Horsin' Around", a Tastes Like Diabetes 90s sitcom about a horse that looks after some orphans. Series 3 reveals that in 2007 he attempted Playing Against Type as an "edgy" character whose Establishing Character Moment is a scene where he literally takes a dump on a VHS copy of Horsin' Around while shouting "wazzup, bitches!", but this was hugely unsuccessful and he regards it as an Old Shame.

Real Life Examples:

  • The entire cast of the original Star Trek: The Original Series suffered from this:
    • Most have come to accept it with some degree of dignity; witness Leonard Nimoy's later book, I Am Spock. Though it should be noted that was written partly to counter the misconception that he hated the character after having previously written the book that gave this trope its name, rather than just being annoyed by the association. The fallout from the book title almost cost him the director's chair in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, so it wasn't so humorous then.
    • The title is taken verbatim from an encounter that Nimoy had with an eight-year-old fan in an airport; when the boy's mother introduced the actor as, "Your favorite character! Mister Spock!," the boy looked Nimoy up and down and couldn't see Spock in this loser stranger.
    • When Nimoy attempted a recording career, his first album was Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space with songs and recitations supposed to be by Spock along with a couple such as "Where Is Love" clearly meant to be by Nimoy. The second album, Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, was Exactly What It Says on the Tin. His next three albums were all Nimoy.
    • William Shatner has managed to escape this by now, if only by being typecast instead as a caricature of himself, of which Kirk is just one example among many.
    • Even diehard Babylon 5 fans had a hard time not thinking of Walter Koenig's Magnificent Bastard, Alfred Bester, as "Evil Chekov".
      • J. Michael Straczynski stated that he hired Walter Koenig because of this. He wanted to give him a chance to show his range as an actor. Koenig later referred to Bester as his favorite role of his career for this reason.
      • Walter Koenig having played these two roles is spoofed in the Finnish Star Trek/Babylon 5 Crossover parody Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. Janos Honkonen was deliberately cast as both Sergei Fukov of P-Fleet (parodies on Pavel Chekov and Starfleet, respectively) and Festerbester of Babel-13 (parodies on Alfred Bester and Babylon-5, respectively) just to have the same face on these two characters.
    • In his autobiography, Scotty actor James Doohan relayed stories of casting calls he got after Star Trek where he would read for a part only to be asked by the casting directors, "So where's the accent?" He expresses gratitude to producer Aaron Spelling, who, when he was hired for a guest role on the Hotel TV series, told Doohan he was hired for his acting, not the accent, and it was up to him whether he wanted to use it or not.
    • Kirk Thatcher, an associate producer on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, played a tiny, albeit memorable role in the film. He says his gravestone will read "Punk On Bus - Star Trek IV" even if he wins the Nobel Prize.
    • The cast of the modern Star Trek series didn't do a lot better:
      • Brent Spiner wishes people would stop calling him Data. This was lampshaded in an episode of Joey where he guest starred As Himself. He saw it coming, too. In an interview with TV Guide on the Grand Finale of The Next Generation, he said that for the rest of his career, he would be "That guy who played Data!" He has also made a self-deprecating cameo appearance on The Big Bang Theory, trying to break even by selling Data collectible toys out of his car. Spiner once famously joked that his autobiography would be titled "I am not Spock, Either!"
      • Michael Dorn's best remembered for his role as Worf. His Twitter account is even @akaWorf, so he at least seems to have a sense of humor about it.
      • Patrick Stewart couldn't escape from being Picard until he became Professor Xavier.
      • Roxann Dawson (B'Elanna Torres) looks very strange to Trek fans without her Klingon forehead. She has tried to avoid this by quitting acting in favor of (TV) directing. Same with Robert Duncan McNeill (a producer on Chuck), Jonathan Frakes (producer on Leverage), LeVar Burton (TV director and TV educationalist).
      • Burton has zigzagged around this, since he's also famous for starring in Roots (1977) and hosting Reading Rainbow. In fact, when TNG first premiered, he was the biggest name in the cast.note  He at least accepted his role fairly well and inserted his character into an episode of Star Trek: Voyager he was directing ("Timeless"), rather than having a stand-in. It made the audience more sympathetic to both sides of the dilemma. He has also made self-deprecating cameo appearances on The Big Bang Theory and Community.
      • Wil Wheaton seems resigned to this and is prepared to send up his post-TNG life with his cameo appearances on The Big Bang Theory. In which the best acting gigs he can get are straight-to-video B-movies like Killer Gorilla and bit-parts like co-hosting Sheldon Cooper's internet podcast Fun with Flags. Wheaton is also Butt-Monkey for barbed jokes by Sheldon and others about his acting career after TNG.
      • Those who don't think of Will Riker when they see Jonathan Frakes probably think of David Xanatos when they hear him.
      • John de Lancie is having a hard time escaping his association with the iconic Q. It doesn't help that he later voice acted a Q expy, albeit a villainous one, named Discord, in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. And DeLancie later voiced another benevolent scientist whose name begins with a "Q": Professor Quadrangle from Quantum Conundrum.
      • This has suffered Robert Picardo from Star Trek Voyager; it's hard to see his character from Stargate Atlantis as anything but the EMH in a different uniform. (Of course, some of us remember him from The Howling, rendering the spaceman thing very, very weird. Bright boy.).
      • Andrew Robinson has admitted he hated the Season 5 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Empok Nor", where Garak is accidentally exposed to an experimental drug that turns him into a xenophobic, psychopathic killer. Despite having a wide range, including as a Shakespearean actor, his breakout performance as the Scorpio Killer in Dirty Harry was considered so convincing that he received both death threats and found himself typecast into "psycho" roles afterwards. After decades of struggling to throw off this image, he was very uneasy and disappointed to be thrust back into that kind of role and also felt it didn't make sense for a character who had become acknowledged as being one of the most complex creations in the franchise.
  • 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).
    • 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.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Regarding Alan Rickman, he took on the role of Severus Snape and so thoroughly claimed it that J. K. Rowling has admitted she started to picture the character looking like him in later books. Only time will tell if he can escape that shadow, especially with his death in 2016. Later on, Rickman had declined interviews, realizing that reporters were only going to ask about Snape. Earlier than that, he was due to be forever remembered as "the bad guy from Die Hard." Then again, his character's experience in the aforementioned Galaxy Quest probably helped him realize what he was up against.
    • Everybody began thinking of Marvin the Paranoid Android as "The Snape" after Rickman provided his voice.
    • Nearly all the actors to play Hogwarts students, helped no doubt by the fact that prior to being cast in the series, all of them were either unknowns or had simply never acted before, and that many of them are still only known for "Harry Potter". So when Daniel Radcliffe did Equus, it opened the floodgate for many "Harry shows his wand" jokes. The only exception is Cedric Diggory's actor Robert Pattinson, though only because he's instead Spocked as Edward Cullen, and also Barty Crouch Jr., as David Tennant is much more recognizable in a different role (though still sometimes sports the same Slasher Smile). Parodied in Get Him to the Greek, in which Tom Felton had a cameo appearance as himself with Jonah's character attempting to impress him by making lame Harry Potter jokes. Tom walked away in annoyance after a few seconds of this. See here. Emma Watson nearly left the series between the 5th and 6th films due to this.
    • Evanna Lynch is worth of a special mention: J. K. Rowling admitted that when she wrote the books none but one cast member of the movies' voice is heard inside her head and interfered with her writing process, and that cast member is Evanna. It is safe to say that instead of Evanna portraying Luna, Luna eventually became IRL Evanna.
    • Due to having an All-Star Cast play all the Loads and Loads of Characters in the series, almost any high-profile British film made since about 1990 can be turned into a game of "spot the Harry Potter characters."
    • There is a generational aspect to it. If you're old enough to have known about Dame Maggie Smith before she was in Harry Potter, you might see her in Harry Potter and think "that's Maggie Smith." If you're part of the generation which grew up on Harry Potter, you might see her in another film and think "that's Professor McGonagall." In her case in particular, it works really well both ways since McGonagall is the sort of character she always plays. Although nowadays, there's also a sizable number of people who spock her as the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey.
    • In a Toronto Star interview, Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore in the first two films, expressed concern that playing the role (something he hadn't initially wanted to do due to health issues, but was pressured into doing by his granddaughter) would overshadow the rest of his career. Following his death, whether or not that's happened is up for debate. His replacement Michael Gambon, like Maggie Smith, qualifies to the younger generation, although older audiences may know him from earlier works.
    • Although she's fairly well-known in the UK, Imelda Staunton can't escape being Professor Umbridge elsewhere.
    • Robbie Coltrane is Rubeus Hagrid to most Americans (Brits arguably still see him as Cracker), although others may known him from his role in the Pierce Brosnan Bond films.
    • Lucius Malfoy tends to overshadow the rest of Jason Isaacs' career, at least to Americans. Although previously Americans just knew him as "the bad guy from The Patriot." That said, it’s unknown if it truly bothers him given that interviews have him always speaking highly about playing Lucius and how grateful and lucky he was to be a part of the Harry Potter franchise.
    • While Hermione will likely always be her most famous role, Emma Watson took huge steps to avoid this as soon as the films wrapped, cutting her hair short and taking vastly different roles in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Bling Ring to shake off any Contractual Purity. She's also starred in the 2017 live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Robert Englund has been permanently Spocked as Freddy Krueger. To a lesser degree, he has also become typecast as a creepy/evil/weird guy in B-grade horror films. But these movies often feature Englund, and promote his inclusion, solely because of his "horror icon" status - a status he gained from playing Freddy.
  • 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 this. He later attempted to radically change his appearance in order to disassociate with Steve Urkel. Though for a handful of gamers, he is remembered as Sonic the Hedgehog. Even then, there are a handful of people who referred that Sonic was voiced by "Steve Urkel" instead of Jaleel White.
    • 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, seen here. 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:
      How many times have I told you not to call me Urkel! My name is Jaleel White!
  • 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. 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.
    • 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 
    • Subverted with Patrick Troughton, the second doctor. He was a highly successful character actor before Doctor Who and became one almost immediately after leaving the program. 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 the most versatile and talented actor 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 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 favorite 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 drastically declining health and 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.
    • 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 Master's actor, 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.
  • The cast of Star Wars may Never Live It Down:
    • Mark Hamill could be said to suffer pretty badly from this. His role as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, while famous, wrecked his acting career in Hollywood, although he's done well in Broadway and theater since then. Some of the effect may stem from the facial scarring he picked up in an auto accident during the trilogy, which made him better as the maturing Luke in Empire and Jedi, but less bankable as a leading man. He has gained recognition as a voice actor though, and has been Spocked into his role as The Joker.
    • Carrie Fisher suffered from this. She once said that she didn't sleep around in her 20s because she didn't want guys running around saying, "Hey! I banged Princess Leia!" You couldn't call her a "victim" of it, though, since her fame as Leia almost certainly helped launch her successful writing career. In addition, she seemingly embraced being Princess Leia. When called back to reprise her role over 30 years later for the sequel trilogy, she stated, "No, I’m a female and in Hollywood it’s difficult to get work after 30—maybe it’s getting to be 40 now. I long ago accepted that I am Princess Leia. I have that as a large part of the association with my identity. There wasn’t a lot of hesitation."
    • Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) is another Star Wars victim, although you'd have thought being entirely invisible and altering his normal speaking voice would have saved him. In an interview for the biggest Star Wars fanzine, Daniels says that he doesn't get recognized too often, just often enough that "It's very pleasant and joyful and rather sweet, but I also have my privacy." He also notes that there was a time, somewhere in the late '90s, when he'd wanted to just stop doing the character, but he changed his mind; overall, "Threepio has been very kind to me all these years."
    • And there's Sir Alec Guinness, who thought the script was terrible but did it purely for the money, and hated that people started identifying him entirely as Obi-Wan rather than acknowledging his vast film and stage career before the role. That said, Guinness is an aversion since his most prominent films with David Lean (The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia) remain perennial favorites among general audiences while in England, he's still remembered for his early Ealing Comedies.
    • This is lampshaded in the Star Wars parody episode of Family Guy, when Peter Griffin, as Han Solo, introduces himself as "the only actor whose career wasn't destroyed by this movie." This is because Ford has one other very well known role.
    • Even while he's pitching Colt 45, Billy Dee Williams will always be Lando Calrissian. This was even played for laughs in Scrubs, as Turk keeps calling him Lando, despite his insistent cry of "Billy Dee!". Funnily enough, though, he's also somewhat prone to Adam Westing in TV shows (he's appeared as himself in Family Guy and Modern Family in addition to Scrubs), where he's fond of lampooning his image as an impossibly suave ladies' man.
    • David Prowse is well known mainly for the role of Darth Vader, in spite of the character's all-concealing helmet. It "helps" that he made himself so obnoxious at conventions (he's apparently been banned from Lucasfilm-sponsored conventions for torquing off George Lucas himself) that the Star Wars community only grudgingly acknowledges his part in the films. In the UK he is also well-known for being the Green Cross Code man.
    • James Earl Jones was always more of a theater actor; he did a lot of Shakespeare, was one of the first African Americans to play Othello and debuted the role of Troy in August Wilson's Fences. While he will always be known as "the voice of Darth Vader (and Mufasa)", Vader was always a side-bit for him anyway. There are some who say that he eventually ended up Spocking himself again as the voice of CNN.
    • The Turn of the Millennium has shown how this trope isn't always a good thing for actors when they are best known for playing characters who are divisive at best or widely-hated at worst. Jake Lloyd and Ahmed Best suffered harassment over their roles as Anakin Skywalker and Jar Jar Binks respectively, to the point that Lloyd was bullied in school and quit acting altogether, and Best once contemplated suicide. In the time of the Sequel Trilogy, Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran were bullied into quitting social media over their roles as Rey and Rose Tico respectively.
  • 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 super hero 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.
  • Classic example: In the end, Bela Lugosi was Dracula, no matter what he did. However, it was his son and his fifth wife, not Lugosi himself, who decided to have him buried in a Dracula cloak. Even Lugosi's friends and coworkers couldn't help but typecast him. Vincent Price wrote in his autobiography that at Lugosi's funeral, Peter Lorre, observing the cape, turned to Price and asked, "Should we stick a stake in his heart just to be sure?"
  • In the '60s and '70s, Christopher Lee was Dracula. In the mid' 70s, he decided that this was an undesirable thing and dissociated himself from the character. He has been fairly successful in this as time has passed - younger film watchers are more likely to think of him as Saruman or Count Dooku. In the last years of his life, Lee traded this for Typecasting as authoritative villains, including King Haggard and the grouchy bishop in Corpse Bride. Lee's distaste for the Dracula character wasn't all due to this — he also got fed up with Hammer trying to keep him in the role film after film with little to no pay raises by claiming they'd have to put all the crew and staff on the street if he didn't stay on.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Basil Rathbone's an interesting case as he also played a lot of evil aristocrats in various swashbuckler films and in fact did an Affectionate Parody of this type-casting in the Danny Kaye film The Court Jester. While Rathbone might well have wanted to insist "I am not Sherlock Holmes", if Sherlock Holmes could talk to us he'd equally be saying "I am not Basil Rathbone"! So much of what is widely regarded as 'quintessential' Holmes does not come directly from Arthur Conan Doyle's original books but either originated in or is widely recognized from Rathbone's many portrayals of him: the iconic deerstalker hat, cape and pipe combination, as immortalised for instance in silhouette throughout the decor at Baker Street's London Underground station, are pure Rathbone-movie Holmes.
    • So much so that a number of reviews of Guy Ritchie's movie criticized Robert Downey Jr. for "not being faithful to the character", which 90% of the time translated to "he didn't play Holmes like Rathbone played him". If anything, Downey's Holmes is more faithful to the source material than Rathbone's, but more people have seen the films than read the original stories.
  • A narrow escape: Before The Matrix, Keanu Reeves reportedly feared that his gravestone would read, "He played Ted". Now it will read "He played Neo, he also played Ted". (Although he probably would have also been remembered for Speed.)
    • Reeves now will also be remembered for playing John Wick.
  • To most other people, Terence Stamp is Zod!!!
  • Jerry Mathers as "The Beaver!" Series/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.
  • Andrea McArdle as Annie, as well as most girls who played Annie on Broadway (except Sarah Jessica Parker). In fact, McArdle declined to be in the documentary Life After Tomorrow, chronicling many of the women who played orphan roles on Broadway. This ran the gamut from fairly well-adjusted women to actresses still in the business to women who just can't shake their association, and it's likely she declined because she fell into the latter. Sarah Jessica Parker didn't have a problem with it; neither did Kristin Vigard, The Pete Best of the musical.
  • The Wizard of Oz:
    • Bert Lahr will be always remembered as the Cowardly Lion despite every other role he played on screen and on stage.
    • Margaret Hamilton had severe trouble getting another job after her role as the Witch in the same movie; everyone hated her.
    • Judy Garland is kind of a retroactive example. She starred in many films during her lifetime, but most of them have since faded into obscurity. Oz has endured and now most people remember her only for Dorothy. If she's remembered for something other than Oz, it's Meet Me in St. Louis.
  • Lucy Lawless is always going to be known first and foremost as Xena: Warrior Princess. Ironically, Lucy Lawless didn't typecast as Xena types - her later roles have been first on Roman epic Spartacus, and in 2013 she plays a disappointed refugee from suburbia in modern-day New Zealand (Top of the Lake). Oh, and of course a deeply religious quasi-human robot.
  • 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.
  • Subverted by Boris Karloff. While the falling quality of Frankenstein films caused him to stop working in them, he always acknowledged the fact that the Frankenstein monster was sole reason he became a successful actor. He also took being typecast as a compliment, since it meant everyone thought he was better than anyone else in a specific type of role. Karloff did grow annoyed at the low quality of many movies offered to him, joking that Val Lewton "rescued me from the living dead" by casting him in The Body Snatcher. One of the last films he made, Targets, is in part a study on Karloff's career and the typecasting he faced; his character is Boris Karloff with the serial numbers filed off.
  • 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.
  • Burt Ward had this forced on him. Director Mike Nichols wanted him for a movie, and Burt was quite keen to take it, but his bosses didn't want Robin's character diluted by seeing the same actor in a different role, so they wouldn't let him. He writes in his autobiography that every time he's seen that director since, the man laments that he wanted Burt for that role. As of writing said autobiography Burt's still annoyed. And the role? Ben Braddock of The Graduate, the role that propelled Dustin Hoffman to stardom.
  • William Boyd did this one to himself. Best known for playing the straight-arrow cowboy Hopalong Cassidy, Cecil B.Demille wanted to have Boyd play Moses in The Ten Commandments as the name recognition would be sure to bring in a large crowd. Boyd politely refused, fearing that nobody would take "Hopalong Moses" as seriously as the film demanded. The role went to Charlton Heston. And, at any rate, back in 1948, Boyd had bought all the rights lock, stock and barrel to the Cassidy character, and so for once typecasting was sort of in an actor's best financial interest.
  • Anthony Perkins. "Norman, is that you?"
  • 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'.
  • 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.
  • Back to the Future:
    • Michael J. Fox has starred on not one, but two successful sitcoms, Family Ties and Spin City. He'll still be Marty McFly for all eternity.
    • Averted with Christopher Lloyd, who seems to be remembered just as well for "Reverend" Jim, Judge Doom, and Uncle Fester as he is for "Doc" Brown. It helps that "What does a yellow light mean?" is as big a meme as "1.21 gigawatts!"
    • Stand-up comedian Thomas F. Wilson will always be best known as Biff Tannen. A 2013 comedy album released by Wilson starts out by invoking this trope, as he goes over all the most well-known lines from the movie. He also sings a song called "Stop Asking Me the Questions", in which he answers the most common questions he gets asked by fans, including "Back to the Future 4? Not happening!", "Was that real manure?" "No, it wasn't." "Do those hoverboards really fly?" "It's a MOVIE."
  • Linda Blair, The Exorcist. Especially tragic because she was a child when the typecasting happened, and later got into drugs. She later spoofed her Exorcist role in Repossessed.
  • Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman, which caused considerable problems when he was busted for indecent exposure in an adult movie theater. Note that Reubens brought much of the typecasting on himself with years of rarely, if ever, appearing out of character in public engagements (talk shows, interviews, etc.) and acting jobs after the general public became aware of Pee-wee Herman; even his character in Cheech and Chong's Next Movie is a thinly-veiled Pee-Wee Expy. Even today, Reubens is on social media such as Facebook and Twitter not as himself, but as Pee-wee.
  • An even more unfortunate example in the same vein is Andrew "Dice" Clay, due to his insistence on never breaking character and playing his stage persona in all public appearances, including one-on-one interviews. His career nosedived once his brand of vulgar Testosterone Poisoning fell out of favor, as audiences were unable to divorce the real Andrew Silverstein from the "Diceman" character he played for so long.
  • 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?"
  • American Pie:
    • To some, Eugene Levy is most known for being Jim's dad in the movies (partly because he kept taking roles in that series) but lately he claims he's more recognized as Johnny Rose from Schitt's Creek, a more suave character but one still prone to awkwardly supportive encounters with his adult children.
    • Jason Biggs too, will always be remembered as "the dude who fucked a pie".
    • Similarly, Jennifer Coolidge will always be Stifler's Mom.
    • And Seann William Scott as Stifler.
  • 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.
  • The Karate Kid (1984):
    • Pat Morita is known to most as Mr. Miyagi (before that, he was Arnold from Happy Days.). It is even played with in an episode of Robot Chicken. "First of all, [I'm not Miyagi] I'm Pat Effin' Morita, you nutsack!". It was even lampooned in a Simpsons comic where Homer identifies Morita as "the little guy from Happy Days" rather than Miyagi.
    • Ralph Macchio will always be Daniel-San.
    • There's also William Zabka, who will always be Johnny Lawrence - to the point where he made a career out of blond bullies. He has taken it quite well, though, and continues to willingly talk about Johnny. The last two seasons of How I Met Your Mother featured him Adam Westing as himself after Barney revealed that he always saw Johnny as the hero of the film.
      • This eventually led to the 2018 YouTube series Cobra Kai, a Spin-Off starring Johnny and Daniel decades later, with both actors reprising their roles.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Jack DeSena will always be Sokka. That is, if you're too young to remember his time as Randy Quench: Volunteer Fireman and other characters.
    • Dante Basco, who played Zuko, barely escaped this. For 20 years he was Rufio (it didn't help that he looked and sounded the same age for over 20 years). Thanks to Homestuck's *ahem* memorable treatment, however, he's still Rufio among its fans.
    • Averted by Grey Delisle who really enjoyed her role as Azula and doesn't try to distance herself from the role.
    • Had Mae Whitman not landed Avatar, she almost certainly was doomed to be remembered as..."her?"
    • The Legend of Korra: David Faustino, like Dante Basco above, escaped this through Korra; until he became Mako, Faustino couldn't escape being Bud Bundy.
  • Veronica Taylor, a.k.a. Ash Ketchum, has apparently had a hard time getting other work and seems rather bitter about it all. At a panel, she said something along the lines of "Being 'the voice of Ash Ketchum' is a great party trick, but it's never gotten me a job." Still, she doesn't hold it against the character, and Ash is still one of her favorite roles.
  • Christopher Mintz-Plasse has said in interviews that he is trying to avoid being only known for McLovin. Not even Fogell. Only McLovin.
  • Haley Joel Osment (as an actor) sees dead people, and (as a voice actor) swings a Keyblade around.
  • Sean Marquette is always Mac, when he's not Spider-Man. Keith Ferguson is always Bloo, when he's not Basch/Garbranth or Marluxia.
  • Jon Heder = Napoleon Dynamite or a talking pickle.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Travis Willingham = Roy Mustang. And Caitlin Glass = Winry Rockbell.
  • Twilight:
    • Kristen Stewart is close to be permanently remembered as Bella Swan. Which is strange when you consider that the role was meant to be a place-holder for audience members. Ironically, the reason she may be remembered for it is because being a place-holder made the character look shallow and naive.
    • Taylor Lautner is either Wolf Boy (Jacob) or Shark Boy (or else just that hot guy from that one movie with his shirt off all the time). He also seems to be the member of the trio most okay with the whole Twilight phenomenon.
  • There is something called "The Superman Curse", which states that actors playing Superman either A.) Cannot get serious work after they stop playing the role, B.) befall horrible tragedies, or C.) all of the above. This also falls true to most of the cast of any adaptation:
    • Christopher Reeve was just starting to escape his role as Superman. A new generation of moviegoers was just coming up and most of them hadn't seen that movie. Then he gets crippled and the newspapers can't say anything but "best known for his role as Superman".
    • From Superman Returns, Brandon Routh is rarely seen in any new movie because of this. For fans of Chuck, Routh has become Daniel Shaw. Now he's the Atom.
    • Smallville has a history of hiring actors who played roles in previous Superman roles, banking on their fame in fandom. All still living actors who played Superman at the beginning of the franchise have appeared in some form on the series. The Christopher Reeve movies' Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen also showed up. In a bit of a subversion, Annette O'Toole was was hired for the role of Martha Kent (Superman's adoptive mother) without the producers remembering she had played Lana Lang (Superman's childhood girlfriend) in Superman III. Even Reeve himself showed up, as a Genius Cripple scientist.
    • Unsurprisingly, Smallville's Clark, Tom Welling has fallen victim to this. He specifically asked not to become Superman during the series' span to escape it. It didn't work. More surprisingly he isn't the worst example from the show: Allison Mack, who played Chloe Sullivan, has expressed on her blog that she had a much harder time escaping her most famous role than Welling has.
    • Dean Cain will always be Superman of Lois & Clark; particularly after the cartoons and comics versions of the Man of Steel took on the big-muscle chested look he put into the role.
    • According to Hollywood legend, George Reeves' (TV's The Adventures of Superman) role in From Here to Eternity was severely trimmed because audience members couldn't resist yelling "Superman!" whenever he appeared on screen.
  • Meagan Smith will always be remembered as Gwen Tennyson.
  • Christy Carlson Romano is either Kim Possible, Yuffie, or Ren Stevens.
  • Good luck finding a role from Minoru Shiraishi aside from himself or Taniguchi. Although starting in The New '10s, he's become known for Lowain and his otome CD roles, especially Utsuro.
  • 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).
  • Kevin Bacon suffered from this to the point where he would dread the eventuality of being asked to dance to Footloose. During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show they were kind enought to let him sit and watch the entire audience do it instead. He was later associated with the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and any guest appearances of him on a sitcom will allude to this. To the extent that as of late 2012/13 he appears in advertisements on British television capitalising on this trope.
  • While Tim Curry may have gained a good-sized cult following for his roles as Pennywise The Dancing Clown and The Lord Of Darkness, it's safe to assume that most people will automatically picture him in fishnets, corset, and high heels whenever his name is mentioned. It even got to the point where he became very reluctant to talk about being in Rocky Horror for years since the fans started to creep him out, and he even went so far as to put on weight in order to distance himself from the role.
  • Mash:
    • Larry Linville, in particular, could never escape the shadow of Frank Burns.
    • Alan Alda averted this. That being said, no matter how many corrupt, slimey old dirtbags 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.
  • Megan Fox will probably be remembered as "that hot chick from Transformers". At the very least, that's how she's known now and considering her attitude towards Michael Bay, she's probably not very happy about it. As it had turned out, her issues with Bay seemed to have been resolved (turns out she had offended someone higher up than Bay and Bay didn't have a choice but to fire her) and is starring in Bay's TMNT in 2014; so she'll probably remembered for being "the hot chick in those Michael Bay movies". She is also as "the chick who made out with Amanda Seyfried."
  • Ron Livingston will always be either "that guy from Office Space" or Captain Nixon. He even said in an interview once that he had trouble getting another acting job for several years after the former because producers thought he wouldn't be able to act differently than that character.
  • Pulp Fiction:
    • Perhaps not for the public at large, but for many nerds, "starring Samuel L. Jackson" actually means "starring Jules Winfield". It's the entire reason why the line "Enough is enough! I've had it with these motherfuckin' snakes on this motherfuckin' plane!" was inserted into Snakes on a Plane. However, he has begun escaping this with iconic roles like Mace Windu and Nick Fury.
    • Ving Rhames has played many roles in his career but he's all but synonymous with Marsellius Wallace.
  • John Cho:
    • Though he's slowly but surely edging away from the association because of Star Trek (2009), John Cho is still known by many as Harold. His character is based on a real life Harold Lee, who was a friend of the writers. Cho became friends with the real Harold Lee, and has said that when they're hanging out in public, someone will yell "Harold!" and they'll both turn around.
    • Cho has also stated in interviews that before he was known as "Harold," people would recognize him from American Pie and shout "MILF!" He regarded it as an upgrade to be known by an actual name as opposed to a catch phrase. But Cho may turn it around, ironically, as the second Mr. Sulu in Star Trek (2009) continuity, a role that is still forever associated with George Takei.
  • Harold Ramis was a versatile comedy writer and director with a diverse career. When he died, headlines read "Harold Ramis, Egon from Ghostbusters, Has Died."
  • 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.
  • Except for Ashley Tisdale, everyone from High School Musical is bound to go through this eventually, with Zac Efron already showing signs of it.
  • 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.
  • Apparently, Christopher Plummer went back and forth on this. On QI Stephen Fry told a story about how a friend of his met him and was told in hushed voices by the guy who picked him up at the airport not to mention The Sound of Music under any circumstances, "...and half an hour later he was playing 'Edelweiss' at the piano." It doesn't help his case that Julie Andrews is, to this day, one of his closest friends. Kind of ironic when he reportedly said that working with her "is like being hit over the head with a giant Valentine's Day card."
  • 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.
  • Heroes:
    • Zachary Quinto, who plays Sylar, is starting to get this way. 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.
  • Michael Gross will either be gun nut Burt Gummer or Steven Keaton from Family Ties.
  • Sylvester Stallone was well on his way to being Rocky forever and ever. Now he's Rocky and Rambo, and maybe Judge Dredd, otherwise known as "action guy who talks funny, (and isn't Ahnold.)" Ironically, he was initially touted as "the next Marlon Brando" because of how well he played Rocky, the critics being unaware that he was playing himself.
  • Soleil Moon Frye will always be Punky Brewster. And she'll always have Gag Boobs, even after getting a breast reduction. To the tweens, she's known as Jade or Zoey.
  • Depending on who you ask, Stacy Keach is either Mike Hammer or Ken Titus.
  • Peter Weller will always be RoboCop, or, to a relatively small cross-section of fanboys, Buckaroo Banzai.
  • Lord of the Rings:
    • Elijah Wood isn't the only cast member to fall victim to this. Viggo Mortensen will always be Aragorn. Before that, he played a pretty good Lucifer. And watching him play opposite of Christopher Walken was fun.
      "I could lay you out and fill your mouth with your mother's feces. Or, we could talk."
    • Sean Astin is Samwise when he's not Mikey.
    • Ian McKellen has largely managed to escape being forever known as Gandalf by becoming forever as Magneto instead - a role, remarkably, that he was playing at the same time as the Rings films were coming out. He also nearly became Dumbledore after Richard Harris' death, which would have meant that he essentially cornered the market on some of the most iconic fictional characters ever, but turned it down partly for this reason and partly because Harris had criticised him and he didn't feel it would be right to take on the role.
  • 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. Aniston may be moving towards an aversion in The New '10s with a drastically against type role in Horrible Bosses - even successfully fighting with producers to let them dye her hair a dark brown. In 2014 she won critical acclaim for her role in Cake, something she had already won earlier with The Good Girl, so time will tell.
  • Macaulay Culkin will likely never escape being known as "The Home Alone Kid".
  • Michael Sheen will probably have to do a lot to avoid being seen as Tony Blair, considering he's played the former Prime Minister three times.
  • Nearly the entire cast of Withnail & I, much to Richard Griffiths' disgust (not so much that he dislikes the film, but more because sharp financial practices by the production company, Handmade Films, have meant that he never received money owed to him). The current generation will probably think "Hey, it's Vernon!" whenever they see Griffiths nowadays.
  • 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". He may have actually averted this, 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.
  • Peter Cullen, Optimus Prime. Unless you grew up watching Winnie-the-Pooh, in which case he will always be Eeyore. For anyone who grew up in the late '90s and early '00s, he will also be remembered as the voice-over for many of Toonami's promos.
  • 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.
  • Ricardo Montalban will always be remembered for wearing a white suit and waiting for "ze plane" or as Khan. Or for his Chrysler's reeeeech Corinthian leather.
  • Rowan Atkinson will always be Mr. Bean in the U.S. and Germany, despite an amazing career as the title character in Blackadder and a variety of other film and stage roles. It's only the select few that knew Blackadder before Mr. Bean came out who know he did other work.
  • 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.
  • Christina Ricci = Wednesday Addams.
  • Anytime you see Ashton Kutcher, you'll see Michael Kelso. It doesn't seem to harm his career, though.
  • Rick Moranis is either Bob McKenzie, Seymour Krelborn, or Wayne Szalinski. Others recognize him as Dark Helmet, while still more recognize him as Louis Tully.
  • Most of the Power Rangers:
    • Johnny Yong Bosch escaped this fate by becoming a well known voice actor.
    • Although Amy Jo Johnson is still doing well in showbiz, she feels that her role as the first Pink Ranger is something that she can never live down.
    • Jason David Frank will always be Tommy. Subverted by the fact that he's perfectly fine with that to the point where he had custom suits made of the White and Green Rangers for him to wear at conventions and photo ops. He also holds a Power Rangers boot camp and throws Green Ranger images on his merchandise. His dojos are also filled with memorabilia.
    • Dan Ewing appeared on Dancing with the Stars Australia - that proves how successful he is. The RPM black ranger is better known now as a cast member in Home and Away.
    • On the Sentai side, Baku Hatakeyama, the original Yellow Ranger, became unable to find work because of this. He ended up committing suicide as a result.
  • 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. Meanwhile, Ben Savage is always going to be Cory Matthews — or Fred'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. Gamers may also remember her as Lucy Stillman.
  • Gabourey Sidibe used her monologue while hosting SNL to explain how she is nothing like her character Precious, and that she does in fact live a normal, well adjusted life having grown up in a loving family with both parents. Fortunately she seems to be escaping it with Empire.
  • 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.
  • Inverted in this webcomic.
  • In the radio world, some presenters live off this. Namely:
  • 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).
  • To a minor degree, Rand Miller (co-founder and CEO of Cyan Worlds Inc.) is identified with his role as Atrus, which he played in all of the live-action Myst games. He's not even an actor; he's a game designer and programmer. For bonus points, he dislikes playing the role and only kept doing it for four games (the others use CGI characters) because he could not possibly have been switched out without a major discontinuity and fandom uproar.
  • 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 under the command of the man otherwise known as Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene), for the rest, he's Templeton "Faceman" Peck. Only a few '80s movie freaks remember that B. A. Baracus 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?
  • James Bond:
    • For most people, Roger Moore is James Bond - or at least one of several James Bonds - although he also played Lord Brett Sinclair, and some older British viewers think of him primarily as Simon Templar from the '60s TV series The Saint. Moore famously parodied this trope by playing obvious spoofs of his Bond, such as in Cannonball Run where he plays a character who pretends to be Roger Moore and acts like James Bond.
    • Sean Connery had to let his hair turn gray and grow a beard to not be James Bond anymore.
    • Pierce Brosnan went through it even before playing the role, as he was identified as far back as Remington Steele as "the next/real James Bond" by his fans. He was offered the part for The Living Daylights after Remington Steele was cancelled, but the news about it revived interest and the show was renewed.
    • On a related note of Bond henchman, Harold Sakata appeared in later films with the credit of "Oddjob."
  • 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.
  • William Atherton will always be Walter "Dickless" Peck. Word of God says this plagued him for a long time, as he'd have people yell "Hey, Dickless!" wherever he went. Unless you remember him as Jerry Hathaway or Dick Thornburg, who are both also Jerkasses.
  • Michael Ironside recounts one time he was on a plane and a guy came up to him, immaculately dressed in a suit, and said, "Hey, you're Sam Fisher." Lost for a second his reply is, "No, I'm... wait a minute, yes I am."
  • The Lone Ranger:
    • Clayton Moore (the Lone Ranger), although he was apparently comfortable enough with the role to maintain kayfabe that Moore was the Ranger in his personal life. He worked with it which is recounted annually on Letterman where he was being giving a ride to his hotel by two young men in the '60s after a personal appearance when they were hit by another car. The driver of the other car insisted that he was not at fault and asked who the cops would believe, him or a couple of hippies. Moore reportedly then got out of the car, in full Ranger get-up and announced "They'll believe me, citizen!" This story was told on The Late Show with David Letterman by Jay Thomas, who is perhaps best remembered by many viewers as Eddie LeBec.
    • In a 1969 interview with Johnny Carson, Jay Silverheels told him that he played Tonto for "thirty lousy years."
  • 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:
  • Reese Witherspoon briefly had this problem after Election — her performance as the crazy, controlling Tracy Flick was so good that producers thought that that was her real personality, and she had trouble getting work for a few years afterward. Later roles helped her break out of that typecasting.
  • James Rolfe is almost always referred to as The Angry Video Game Nerd, even though he has stated that the AVGN is not him, but a character.
  • That Guy with the Glasses:
    • Even after To Boldly Flee, some fans of The Nostalgia Critic have a hard time accepting that he's a fictional character and nothing like Doug Walker.
    • The same has been going for The Nostalgia Chick and Lindsay Ellis lately. The fans think that she really does treat Nella badly and that she really is a neurotic mess. Lindsay's even said that maybe she needs to go even more hyperbolic to hammer the differences in.
  • Tom "Tiny" Lister, who was cast as Hulk Hogan's antagonist Zeus in the movie No Holds Barred, became so associated with the character that it was worked into a WWF storyline. All of his subsequent acting roles had him credited as Tiny "Zeus" Lister until he became Deebo. He was even credited in The Fifth Element as simply "Zeus."
  • Charles Martinet will always be known as the voice of Mario (and Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi). He also voiced one of the dragons in Skyrim.
  • 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.
  • Voice actors in the Spanish speaking fandom will always be remembered for their roles in famous series. Notable character roles in Mexico include:
  • Similarly, Portuguese VA's suffer the same curse:
    • The most notable example would be the whole cast of Dragon Ball, all ten of them. Out of these, two stand out:
    • Diogo Neto was also somewhat hit by this. When he started doing a show about Portuguese grammar people started asking "Why is Moses teaching me how to speak?"
  • Joseph Mazzello: Most famous for playing Tim in Jurassic Park, today he's found on The Pacific and in The Social Network.
  • 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 aversion — 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.
  • Vince Vaughn nailed his role in Swingers. Rave reviews, the next golden goose. Now he can't play anything else (except one creepy murder role). See also: Old School, Wedding Crashers, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story and Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005).
  • 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.
  • Sigourney Weaver shall always be Ellen Ripley, though Galaxy Quest subverted it. A certain generation knows her well as Dana Barrett.
  • Jack Webb was Sgt. Joe Friday. He even received an LAPD funeral on his death, though he never served, and Joe's Badge 714 was officially retired.
  • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa will always be Shang Tsung for many people, no matter how many nice grandpas he plays. There's something about that fierce stare.
  • 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.
  • For viewers old enough to see the original release of Star Wars without an accompanying parent, George Burns is God. For moviegoers of a younger vintage, Morgan Freeman fills that role.
  • Merle Dandridge, the voice actress of Alyx Vance reports in the commentary saying that co-workers tend to peek out of the corridor when they hear her talk.
  • It's generally agreed within the anime fandom that Rie Kugimiya will be always be associated with Tsundere characters (particularly flat-chested little girls who are very sensitive about it). So much so that most of her non-tsundere roles have long been forgotten, including Al. Apparently, this could be JC Staff's part.
  • 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.
  • Gary Sinise has been so strongly identified as Lieutenant Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump that he called his band "The Lieutenant Dan Band". He has also played Lt. Dan in PS As for suicide hotlines aimed at military veterans. In fact, Taylor made such an impression on Sinise that he has become a notable and outspoken advocate for veterans' issues ever since. May be subverted by younger viewers of CSI:NY.
  • 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. And who thinks that David Caruso will be remembered for anything but CSI: Miami, even with his role on NYPD Blue?
  • 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. After that show got him into more serious roles, Odagiri started looking back at his time as Kuuga as an Old Shame, refusing to talk about it ever again. Presumably this was the primary reason that Milestone Celebration Kamen Rider Decade replaced Godai with an Alternate Universe version, Yuusuke Onodera (played, ironically enough, by a Promoted Fanboy of Odagiri).
  • 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.
  • Jim Caviezel will always be known as Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. However, he doesn't seem to mind. He considers the role his calling, and it changed him. For later fans he may also be John Reese.
    • Similarly, Ted Neeley in Jesus Christ Superstar. He's still playing the role in stage productions, for crying out loud!
  • 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.
  • Kevin Sorbo is Hercules. Even when he was on Andromeda, he was still Hercules IN SPACE!. This is another case where the actor doesn't seem to mind, since he also played Hercules for God of War III. He found it interesting to play a Hercules who was so different from his Hercules. He even happily promotes the fact that he's doing another bonus Hercules work, this time his retro skin from Smite.
  • Frank Oz is an interesting case. He has refused to use his Muppet voices in public, and has for the most part refused to reprise his roles, the characters Darrin'd by Eric Jacobson (with the exception of his Sesame Street characters, which he has reprised on occasion). Beyond that and voicing Yoda for the prequels, he focuses on his directing career, but despite directing several excellent films, he will forever be known as Ms. Piggy and Fozzie Bear, much to his chagrin. This caused some problems when he filmed The Score with Marlon Brando, which Brando kept mocking Oz, such as calling him "Ms. Piggy" and other derogatory references to his puppeteering career. It got to the point where co-star Robert De Niro had to step in to direct Brando's scenes. Needless to say, this was the last time Brando worked in Hollywood again. But that doesn't mean he can anymore.
  • 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.. Subverted for 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.
  • The late Bill McKinney was so strongly recognized as the mountain man who sodomized Ned Beatty in Deliverance that it cost him the opportunity to star as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. Stanley Kubrick didn't want to meet with him because he was that scared of him. R. Lee Ermey, however, remains Gunnery Sgt. Hartman. However, may not be a straight example because Ermey actually was in the military (Marine Corps) and lends his voice to other military-based roles (Toy Story, cameos on The Simpsons and X-Men: The Last Stand).
  • Time will tell if Jim Parsons, Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, can break out of this. When Parsons guest hosted Saturday Night Live his opening monologue is a song called "I'm Not That Guy" about how he isn't Sheldon Cooper, along with cameos by (SNL regulars playing) other typecast actors such as Jaleel White from Family Matters.
  • Thomas Lennon continues to play roles similar to Lt. Jim Dangle from Reno 911!, although not as a police officer.
  • Callie Thorne, who played Sheila Keefe in Rescue Me, mentioned in an interview that fans act wary when they meet her, expecting her to be as crazy as the character she plays.
  • Paul Gross will probably always be identified with Due South, and it was rather a shock to many fans when he played a completely different type of Mountie, real life accused killer Patrick Kelly- in the docudrama Murder Most Likely
  • The entire cast of The Andy Griffith Show. A few got around it. Don Knotts is also remembered for The Incredible Mr. Limpet and Three's Company, and Ron Howard is known for Happy Days as well as his directoral projects. Griffith himself got around it with Matlock, though he was catering to approximately the same crowd that watched him on The Andy Griffith Show. Frances Bavier, however, was stuck as Aunt Bea.
  • Dick Van Dyke and The Dick Van Dyke Show, though he escaped it somewhat with Mary Poppins and, much later, Diagnosis: Murder.
    • All the other main Dick Van Dyke Show cast members as well. Mary Tyler Moore was known so well as Laura Petrie that the producers of The Mary Tyler Moore Show decided not to have Mary Richards be divorced, as fans would think that she was divorced from Rob.
  • Ted Knight struggled with this quite a bit during and after The Mary Tyler Moore Show run. People couldn't separate him from Ted Baxter and he hated it.
    • Betty White was known so well as Sue Ann Nivens that she was asked initially to play Blanche on The Golden Girls.
    • Edward Asner as Lou Grant. It didn't help that he also played the character in a spin-off (where Lou Grant became a newspaper editor). He was so well-known for it that he even guest-edited at least one real life newspaper. Though people who were kids/teens in the 90s might think of him as Cosgrove or J. Jonah Jameson (before J. K. Simmons stole the character right out from under him).
  • The Golden Girls itself has this. Betty White has gotten around it the most out of all of them, thanks to the aforementioned role of Sue Ann Nivens (plus her numerous other appearances). Meanwhile, Bea Arthur is also remembered for being Maude.
  • Leslie Nielsen as either the doctor from Airplane! or Frank Drebin. Most people don't know he ever had a dramatic career.
  • One television critic described a version of this phenomenon as "The Curse of The House of Windsor" — once he'd seen an actor playing a member of the Royal Family, he'd still see them as that Royal in their subsequent roles.
  • Calista Flockhart is Ally McBeal.
  • It has been etched in a stone no amount of Oscar Bait can even so much as chip away at: Christian Bale is Batman.note 
  • Michael Keaton is either Betelgeuse or Batman to most people. Batman (1989) (and Batman Returns) had more impact on his career, however, as he couldn't get any high profile work for years after he stopped playing the role. This is the reason he was cast as Riggan Thompson in Birdman- a washed up actor known for playing a superhero years ago. Ironically, this role seems to have finally broken him out of it. Of course, before being cast as Batman, he was typecast as the amiable slacker protagonist thanks to films like Gung Ho and Mr. Mom.
  • 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 Berkeley 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.
  • Fans of Mara Wilson have been known to address her on Twitter as "Matilda" (despite her having also been in Mrs. Doubtfire, years after she quit acting. In August 2012, she lampshaded this fact by pointing fans on Twitter to this very page. Somewhat ironically, Mara has said that she is very similar to Matilda in terms of personality, which is why she chose to play the role in the first place. Before playing Matilda, Mara also had to deal with people assuming she was as cute and sweet as her character Susan in Miracle on 34th Street.
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:
    • Gene Wilder seems to be an interesting case. He was well-known for memorable (and quotable) roles in Young Frankenstein and the original movie version of The Producers, and a series of films pairing him with Richard Pryor, but his (currently) best known role, playing Willy Wonka, was not even a financial success at first. The film later became Vindicated by Cable through repeat showings on HBO and TBS. The Wonka "cult" seemed to grow enough by The '90s that Wilder's role in Will & Grace incorporated Wonka's "Strike that, reverse that" Catch-Phrase.
    • When he was still alive, Jack Albertson was best known for Chico and the Man. More than 30 years after his death, "Chico" is largely forgotten and Grandpa Joe is the role he is now most remembered for.
  • 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.
  • Over forty years after it was made, Hanna-Barbera's Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines is still called by its working title, Stop that Pigeon. This was even lampshaded in an episode of Yogi's Treasure Hunt. And Paul Winchell will always be either Dick Dastardly, Tigger or Gargamel.
  • Some rare non-TV/movie examples comes out of the Mass Effect video game franchise. Though none of the actors particularly seem to mind.
    • Poor Brandon Keener will perhaps never escape the Typecasting from his voice acting role as the turian badass, Garrus Vakarian. He hasn't been in anything major ever since aside from a few commericals and a few guest movie/show appearances, but anything you come across that Keener shows up in in any shape or form will have, no doubt, been overrun by Garrus jokes In addition, it doesn't help that Keener's actual real life voice sounds just like an in-game turian without the need of a voice-modulator. Seriously, just check out this link. It sounds like he's doing a Garrus line reading. The voice is what connects people to Garrus everytime they hear Keener speak. Some Mass Effect fans even joke that it's acually Garrus that voice acts for Keener, because his voice is just that unique.
    • Seth Green gets some Typecasting due to his role as the Normandy's pilot, Joker, but because of how distinguished his acting career is compared to Keener's, it's a much rarer occurrence.
    • Jennifer Hale has gotten some of this for her portrayal of female Shepard, though her already-established career helps matters.note 
    • Mark Meer, on the other hand, once made a convention appearance cosplaying as male Shepard. Make of that what you will.
    • Thanks to Mass Effect 2 and 3, Martin Sheen has become famous to a new generation of fans who know him as the Illusive Man.
  • 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.
  • While Peter Sellers avoided this by playing famous roles other than Inspector Jacques Clouseau, the same is not quite as true for the rest of the cast, save David Niven and Robert Wagner.
  • Latin rap One-Hit Wonder Gerardo Mejia will always be known by the same name as his one hit, "Rico Suave." This was reflected in his music video for "We Want the Funk", where a cameo apperance by funk performer George Lopez calls out to Gerardo, "Hey, you're that Rico Suave guy!", as well as Gerardo appearing in the mockumentary Pauly Shore Is Dead as Rico Suave. Despite all this evidence that Gerardo is happy with his reputation, however, one song on his second album was named "My Name Is Not Rico", very much mirroring the style of Leonard Nimoy.
  • Long time fans of Hugh Jackman know him as having a rich, established Theater career. Everyone else knows him as Wolverine. His attempt to become Jean Valjean/24601 has been met with comments about Wolverine singing.
  • Even voice actors aren't immune. Mari Iijima, of Super Dimension Fortress Macross fame: "Every time I speak my mind about Macross or Minmay, people take it negatively. Like I don't like it / like her or I haven't accepted it as a part of my life. Maybe you guys have never been typecast as one thing for years and years in life?"
  • David Hayter has no shame of being known primarily for his role as the English voice of Solid Snake and the young Big Boss in the Metal Gear series, and is actually quite proud of the fact (despite his extensive screenwriting work; most famously the X-Men film trilogy). In fact, when Konami announced that they would be replacing him with Kiefer Sutherland as the voice of Snake in Metal Gear Solid V, Hayter wasn't too pleased.
  • Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark: "I am Iron Man". He seems to be okay with this, though. Enough that he once remarked that, "Someone should tell Chris Evans NOT to take his role so seriously that he actually thinks he is Captain America. Like I think I'm Tony Stark right now. It's a problem. Ask my wife." Fortunately, being the Human Torch saves Evans from this status.
  • Noomi Rapace doesn't want anything to do with Lizbeth Salander anymore. According to a New York Times article, as soon as she finished shooting her last scene in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, she ran to the bathroom and vomited for 45 minutes straight as a way of purging the character from her body. Rooney Mara hasn't been affected the same way; then again, Mara has only finished one of the three films. Michael Nyqvist also falls into "I Am Not Spock" territory. Averted with Daniel Craig, as he is first and foremost James Bond.
  • Mel Blanc credited this as having saved his life. A bad accident left him in a coma for months, and everyone feared the worst. Then, one day, his doctor thought to ask him: "How are you today, Bugs Bunny?" Mel answered back in Bugs' voice and went on to have a full recovery.
  • Regardless of the character now being played by Andrew Garfield (and regardless of whether or not he's better at it), most people will automatically think of the Spider-Man Trilogy when they see Tobey Maguire. Garfield himself also can be considered this. Time will tell what happens to Tom Holland.
  • It doesn't matter how long his career goes on and what roles he plays, Shuichi Ikeda will forever be Char Aznable to fans all over the world. Unlike many examples though, Ikeda actually revels in this, having said that "Gundam has been very kind to me" and that he'll gladly return to play Char in any project (be it anime or video games) for the rest of his life. He's even had a bit of fun with it by playing Char Expies in other Gundam shows, such as Gilbert Durandal in SEED Destiny and Full Frontal in Unicorn.
  • R. Lee Ermey has made a decent career playing nothing but expies of his first ever film character, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket.
  • 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.
  • Raúl Juliá was a respected actor who had appeared in dozens of Broadway, film and television productions, but to much of today's audience, Julia will forever be remembered and recognized as Gomez Addams and M. Bison.
  • 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).
    • The next generation will probably remember John Ritter as the father on 8 Simple Rules and Suzanne Somers as the mother on Step by Step, so they can be seen as subversions.
  • Lampshaded on Sorrell Booke's grave marker at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, CA - "Beloved Pa, Grandpa, Brother, and Boss".
  • Until she became Rogue, Anna Paquin was a child star who couldn't escape the shadow of her Oscar from The Piano.
  • Tatiana Maslany escapes this by playing at least twelve characters on Orphan Black. But instead, people see her as "Orphan Black" note 
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. is best known as Rod Tidwell from Jerry Maguire, or worse, the "Show me the money!" guy. Renée Zellweger also had a tough time escaping the shadow of the film until she landed Bridget Jones' Diary. Nevertheless, "you had me at hello" remains her greatest cultural footprint.
  • 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.
  • The talented Norwegian actor Henki Kolstad had a long acting career behind him, starring in many Norwegian movies and stage productions for decades (among other things a memorable performance as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman in 1962) before he took the role as a gentle cobbler in a Christmas Calendar series in 1979. Kolstad, being 64 years of age at the time, did a wonderful performance, and never lived it down afterwards. To a generation of Norwegians (possibly two generations), he was "cobbler Andersen" and almost nothing else. He admitted that he had appreciated the role, but in his last years, he made it quite clear that it annoyed him a lot that this role was the only one that would give him lasting memory.
  • Alicia Silverstone is all but synonymous with Cher Horowitz.
  • Despite Rachel McAdams' successful career, to most millennials she'll always be best known as Regina George. Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert, Lizzy Caplan, Jonathan Bennett, and Tim Meadows have also been hit hard with this. Even Seyfried's massive success in The New '10s doesn't change the fact that her most iconic role is Karen Smith. Lindsay Lohan actually averts this; while Cady Heron is certainly her most iconic role, people still know her best as washed-up child star Lindsay Lohan.
  • 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.
  • Sean Bean is generally associated with two roles (Boromir and Ned Stark) and one trope (Chronically Killed Actor).
    • In the UK, he was best known as Sharpe.
  • Wrestler Terry Taylor, in his two-decade long career, hasn't been able to live down one infamous gimmick: the Red Rooster.
  • Former TNA Tag Team champion Chris Harris. Despite his successful run with the company and as an indie circuit star, Harris is mostly remembered for his embarrassingly brief stint in WWE's revival of ECW as Braden Walker.
  • Most of the actors in The Office (US) have had a hard time escaping their roles on the show (with Steve Carell being a notable exception), but Rainn Wilson in particular has unable to distance himself from Dwight Schrute.
  • 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.
  • Steve Burns and Donovan Patton are always going to be Steve and Joe, respectively.
  • 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.
  • While Keanu Reeves certainly escaped the shadow of Bill & Ted, Alex Winter did not. 25 years later and he's still synonymous with Bill S. Preston.
  • 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.
  • David Suchet is to many the definitive Hercule Poirot. Suchet is often unrecognizable in public due to the fact that he wore a hairpiece and a Fat Suit as the portly Belgian.
  • John Hurt is known for many things: The Elephant Man, Hazel, a version of Caligula, The War Doctor, and Adam Sutler. But he will always be known as the most definitive version of Winston Smith, the guy who gave birth to an Alien, and, to younger generations, Mr. Ollivander.
  • A tragic music example is Denise Matthews, the pastor formerly known as Vanity, a pop singer infamous for her hedonism. After a near-fatal drug overdose in 1995, she gave up show-business and the Vanity moniker and dedicated the rest of her life to evangelical Christianity, even refusing to collect the royalty payments from her previous albums and movies. Sadly she died relatively young in 2016 due to mounting health issues stemming from her OD, and worse, all the media headlines were "Vanity dead at 57," the exact kind of attention she DIDN'T want.
  • Jim Varney was a classically-trained actor who'd been versed in the works of Shakespeare, but most people would probably only have recognized him if they heard him say these two words: "Hey Vern!" (or maybe Slinky Dog)
  • Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara = Carmen and Juni Cortez.
  • Some Conservative Americans don't seem to realize that Bradley Cooper, who played Chris Kyle in American Sniper, is not a Conservative American like Chris in Real Life as Bradley is a liberal and Democrat Party supporter and has done films that most Conservatives would balk like Wedding Crashers and The Hangover.
  • Have you ever tried looking for an Wikipedia article on Joseph D. Kucan? If you do so, you would be redirected to a page about a villain character he's most famous for note , instead of a note about the actor himself. It's not just Wikipedia though, fans of Command & Conquer also refer to him by this name.
  • John Ratzenberger is forever known as Cliff Clavin from Cheers or "that guy who does voices in every Pixar movie".
  • David Bradley = Argus Filch and Walder Frey.
  • This can sometimes affect actors who are part of separate franchises - where their character in one will end up changing to match that of the one in the more successful franchise:
  • 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. 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 the upcoming Beauty and the Beast (2017) he appears to have slipped out of it.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis fell headlong into this in the early 80s. The success of Halloween (1978) typecast her as a Final Girl, and all her roles in horror films were essentially Laurie Strode with a different hairstyle. Playing a Hooker with a Heart of Gold in Trading Places helped her escape it and True Lies later got her out for good. Years later she would affirm that she and Laurie were virtually nothing alike - and that she had more in common with the character Lynda in the first Halloween movie.
  • Kate Beckinsale achieved stardom with the Underworld (2003) franchise, and she later commented that this had the effect of making people assume she was either as cold and humourless as Selene or as dainty and fragile as some of her earlier English Rose characters. In reality, she's a notorious prankster with a wicked sense of humour.
  • Deborah Kerr is unique in that she got Spocked not necessarily for one role, but for a collection of roles. Her initial films in Hollywood all had her playing a Proper Lady who, in her own words was "high-minded, long-suffering, white-gloved and decorative". It took a steamy Fanservice scene in From Here to Eternity to show people that she did have more range than that. Still, a good portion of her roles after that were nuns, governesses and various English Roses. While filming Heaven Knows Mr Allison Robert Mitchum assumed she would be as stiff and uptight as her characters - with the result than when Deborah swore after getting a take wrong, he nearly drowned laughing.
  • 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.
  • Neve Campbell is still synonymous with Sydney Prescott in the eyes of the public. Some people may remember her more fondly as Julia Salinger, however.
  • Ben Affleck is a curious victim of this after signing on to play Batman in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. His own son apparently was convinced that he was actually Batman - to the degree that whenever he left the house, the son asked "you're going to the Bat Cave right?" - and apparently frequently mistakes Fed-Ex delivery guys for the Joker (as the uniform is the same colour). Thus Ben has to pay the delivery guy $20 to stage a fight on the lawn for his son's benefit.
  • Amy Adams is frequently recognised by young fans of Enchanted. While she claims to be a lot like Giselle in terms of personality, one thing she doesn't share is the Unlimited Wardrobe of Pimped Out Dresses. So when the children are disappointed to see her not in the finery, she tends to put on the Giselle voice and say "I'm in disguise."
    "It's better than me getting down and saying 'it's not real, honey'."
  • French actress Mathilda May is best known internationally as the infamous Space Girl from Lifeforce no doubt due to the nature of the character she played (a humanoid vampire bat-like alien that takes the appearance of an ultra gorgeous 19 years old girl that spends 90% of her screen time in her birthday suit. The usual tropes are in full effect here.) as well as the fact that May's movie career takes place mostly in the European market and specially in her native France, making her rather unknown globally).
  • A large part of the regular cast on The Simpsons have no career beyond the animated sitcom.
  • 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.
    • 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".
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Mari Iijima has certainly forever been labelled as Lynn Minmay, and for a while resented ever playing the character, since it meant that people would come to her concerts just to hear Minmay's songs, not her songs. This is said to be a major reason why she quit voice acting and focused entirely on her singing career. Fortunately, some decades later, she has come to terms with Minmay, and agreed to reprise her role for the English dub of Macross (she had been living the US for some time and could speak reasonably good, if accented, English) in part as a way of reconciling herself with the character.
  • Nathan Lane likes to tell the story about the premiere of Angels in America, a seven hour long meditation on AIDS, homosexuality, America, Life and Death, and how he was at the after-party when he heard an extremely loud, extremely Scottish voice echo through the room: "THEY DIDN'T TELL US PUMBA WAS GOING TO BE IN THIS SHOW!", a quick beat and then ""SEE! I TOLD YOU IT WAS TIMON, NOT PUMBA!"
  • Almost every actor who played a Grand Theft Auto protagonist suffers this, especially from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas onwards as Rockstar Games started to use more obscure talent due to complications with Ray Liotta after Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’s release.
  • The Walking Dead’s main stars are mostly known for their roles on the show.
    • Andrew Lincoln is almost exclusively devoted to his role as Rick Grimes, very rarely taking other roles outside of The Walking Dead.
    • Norman Reedus’ most famous role is undeniably Daryl Dixon, despite also playing Murphy MacManus and starring in the upcoming video game, Death Stranding as Sam.
    • Chandler Riggs is pursuing a music career as “Eclipse” upon the death of Carl in Season 8’s midseason premiere, seemingly in an attempt to avoid this trope.
    • Time will tell if this remains for Danai Gurira (Michonne) given that she gained another acclaimed role as Okoye in Black Panther (2018).
  • 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.note 
  • Veteran Italian voice actress Elisabetta Spinelli has voiced a great deal of major characters, often protagonists, in many Italian anime dubs in The '90s, but grown up 90s kids will forever hear Sailor Moon speaking whenever she's talking. She has embraced her legacy and remembers very fondly her role as Bunny over twenty years later.
  • 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.
  • John Kerr quit acting and became a lawyer later in life, but was remembered for being the Ambiguously Gay teenager who eventually snogs his coach's wife in Tea and Sympathy. He later was surprised that The Pit and the Pendulum ended up becoming a Cult Classic, and the film he was asked most about.
  • Irene Bedard is a Golden Globe nominated actress and has had a couple of notable mainstream roles like Smoke Signals. However she is best known for being the voice of Disney's Pocahontas. She doesn't seem to mind however, comparing it to being Santa Claus.
  • Don Ameche and Frances Langford worked to avert this trope while doing The Bickersons on radio, since they did not want the audience to believe that they were in fact spiteful creatures who hated each other. They would step out of character at the end of episodes to reassure the audience that while their characters fought all the time, the actors were good friends.


Example of: