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Reclusive Artist

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Paru Itagaki, creator of Beastars, chickens out of showing her face.
"Like his contemporary, Lewis Carroll, who wrote Alice in Wonderland, Kenneth Grahame was not a professional writer. And, like Carroll, who taught mathematics at Oxford University, Kenneth Grahame held a responsible position in the world of figures; he was the official acting secretary of the mighty Bank of England. And, again like Carroll, he sought to escape from this rigid, workaday life in a world of imagination and fable. Unfortunately for posterity, Grahame was a shy, modest kind of man, because, when the success of his stories showed every indication of turning Grahame into a popular celebrity, he promptly stopped writing them."

The perception among some fans that as a result of Artist Disillusionment, some writers, artists, and other creative folk spurn public relations, interaction with audiences, signing autographs, and seem to hide behind their work. Maybe they just don't work well with public relations, maybe they prefer being alone and working quietly. It might also be due to:

  1. Some fans being stupid, frightening, or just completely missing the point of the artist's work, or having a large Hatedom.
  2. Being overwhelmed by their fame, which they genuinely did not expect for their work and are unprepared for.
  3. An issue in their private life.
  4. Shyness.
  5. A personal decision.
  6. Being a very private person overall.
  7. A hatred of people or a mental disorder.note 

Whatever the case, not everyone takes popularity well, after all. So, who can blame them when they want to disappear from the public eye?

A Reclusive Artist is one who is notoriously hard to find, who goes out of their way to avoid interviews and public appearances. This has examples that fit into two Logical Extremes:

  • The artist disappears so completely that they are declared Legally Dead.
  • The artist's very identity is unknown.

Compare and contrast Hikikomori, The Hermit, Hermit Guru, Celebrity Is Overrated. If they only unveil a single masterpiece before dropping off the radar, they're a One-Book Author or One-Hit Wonder.


Real Life examples:

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  • Daniel Day-Lewis is widely regarded as being one of the best actors of all time and has three Oscar wins to his name, yet rarely grants interviews or public appearances. Additionally, he is also highly selective of his acting roles, with only six acting roles from 2002 to 2017, making him even more scarce from the public eye. After his performance in the Phantom Thread, he retired from acting and now lives with his wife in New York and Ireland, although he is eager to talk to fans that approach him.
  • For a long time, Rowan Atkinson would only agree to be interviewed in character, though he relented in the 2000s.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen, while happy to hog the limelight disguised as one of his characters (Ali G, Borat, Brüno, etc.), is a lot more reserved about appearing or being interviewed as himself. Considering Cohen is almost unrecognizable as any one of his characters, as well as his liking for messing with people who aren't actual actors, this may be a necessity for him.
  • Johnny Carson, after he retired from The Tonight Show. He indicated that he would come back with another project, but only made less than a half dozen TV appearances (and the last one was 11 years before his death) and only granted two major interviews. Even before his retirement, he would often fax joke answers in lieu of giving a real interview and, according to his friends, was incredibly shy and introverted in his private life.
  • Dave Chappelle...for a while. Chappelle quit Chappelle's Show abruptly in 2005 while Season 3 was in mid-production, and spent the next eight years largely out of the public eye, although he did give a couple of interviews and made a couple of low-profile standup appearances. This seclusion more or less ended with a full-scale standup tour in 2013, and he has been active since, with more live performances, a series of standup comedy specials for Netflix, and other work, such as a couple of hosting gigs on Saturday Night Live and a couple of film roles.
  • Richard Dawson, the Hogan's Heroes star-turned-game show panelist/host, became this after the original incarnation of Family Feud ended in 1985. His prima-donna behavior on both Feud (and before that, as a panelist on Match Game) had caused him to burn bridges with both shows' creator Mark Goodson, and his only subsequent non-Feud work was as the self-parodying game show host Damon Killian in The Running Man. (He did host a pilot for a revival of You Bet Your Life, but it was not picked up.) While he did return to Feud in 1994, this was a short-lived desperation move by Goodson's son Jonathan, by then running his father's company and attempting to quell the show's declining ratings after six years under the hosting of Ray Combs. When the third version of Feud hit airwaves in 1999, then-current host Louie Anderson wanted Dawson to appear on the first episode and "pass the torch" to Anderson, but Dawson declined. Overall, he only made a handful of public appearances, TV spots, and interviews in the 17 years between his final Feud episode and his death on June 2, 2012.
  • Robert De Niro does a lot of movies and makes numerous public appearances (he presided over the jury of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival). But whenever anyone tries to interview him... (unless you're Graham Norton, that is.)
    • Extras did a joke based on this... Andy's utterly incompetent manager somehow gets an interview scheduled with De Niro. Andy doesn't show up.
  • Shelley Duvall, known for her role in The Shining and Olive Oyl in Popeye hasn't made a movie since 2003. She is said to be highly reclusive and odd, even going so far as to in 2007 go to a hardware store complaining she needed materials to keep the "aliens" away. However, she did give an interview in 2010 saying that she wasn't reclusive, she just wanted time off after working for so long, and noting that she still gets script offers and a return to acting wasn't out of the question.
    • However, she resurfaced in 2016 on the Dr. Phil show, battling mental illness.
    • In part in response to the above appearance, Duvall granted a lengthy interview to The Hollywood Reporter in 2021 (although she declined to allow the interviewer inside her home — she was interviewed from her car window, though there was a fairly good logistical reason for that). The interviewer took great pains to dispel how she was represented on Dr. Phil, acknowledging her apparent mental instability but describing her as a lucid and engaging interview. In a charming postscript to the Dr. Phil appearance, it notes that a fan of Faerie Tale Theatre, dismayed by what he had seen, managed to track her down and strike up an unlikely friendship with Duvall, helping her to get in touch with old Hollywood friends (many were interviewed for the article and claimed to have not spoken to her in decades) and even hosted a 70th birthday party at her favorite restaurant with some other fans.
  • Eric "Garbage Day!" Freeman of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 fame seemingly disappeared in the early 1990s. Numerous people have tried to find him (including the film's director for a DVD commentary track) but his whereabouts remained unknown until he resurfaced in 2013 for a Christmas screening of SNDN Part 2.
  • After she retired from acting, Greta Garbo—although in her case she rarely made public appearances or granted interviews even when she was acting. "I want to be alone" indeed.
    • Garbo said the media had confused her personal inclinations with the character she played in Grand Hotel. In an interview around that time, she'd said "I want to be left alone", not quite the same thing. It was her character in the play who said "I want to be alone."
  • Dan Godwin, best known for his roles of Franklin Delano Donut in Red vs. Blue and The Strangerhood's Dr. Cornelius Chalmers Esquire the 3rd, finds the adoration for his roles rather awkward so he avoids con appearances and the like.
  • Setsuko Hara, star of Japanese cinema for some 25 years, best known for her roles in Yasujiro Ozu's films Late Spring, Early Summer and Tokyo Story. She quit acting the year of Ozu's death, and lived the entirety of her life in seclusion thereafter, refusing all interviews and photographs; even her death was only publicly reported two months later. Her total seclusion in retirement was an inspiration for the anime film Millennium Actress.
  • The Tomorrow People (1973):
    • Dean Lawrence, who played Tyso, has only given two interviews and attended one convention since he left the show. He's never seen at informal gatherings and his life post-TP remains a mystery (although it has been rumored that he now designs and manufactures fetish clothing). There's barely any talk of him within the fandom and any times where he is mentioned are when the stories featuring the character of Tyso crop up. What makes this even stranger is that judging from a few sources he doesn't seem like the reclusive type.
    • Stephen Salmon, who played Kenny, has given no interviews (not even on the Beyond Tomorrow documentary) and made no appearances since he left the show. The fandom often questions whether he's even still alive.
  • Al Matthews, who was likely best known professionally for his work as Sergeant Apone in Aliens, seemed to drop off the map in the mid-'90s, and very little was heard from him since. To whit, for almost a decade, many fans believed that he had died in 2002 - in actuality, it was a false story spread by one of his friends. He finally resurfaced in 2011 to provide voice work for Operation Flashpoint: Red River and Aliens: Colonial Marines. It took Gearbox Software a long time to find Matthews' whereabouts, and they finally discovered that he was living in a small town in Spain. While Matthews did maintain a website, it was seldom updated. He died in September 2018.
  • Brent Spiner deliberately made himself extremely scarce for the first few years of Star Trek: The Next Generation to build a mystique around his character Data.
  • Matthew Waterhouse rarely gives interviews, and when he does it's done with great reluctance. He was also missing from the convention circuit for many years, but in The New '10s it's gotten somewhat better. Plus he (in)famously utilized the third person when writing his own autobiography.
  • Out of the four major characters in the 1974 cult classic Dark Star: Brian Narelle (Doolittle) went on to do work in animation, Dan O'Bannon (Pinback) went on to do special effects for Star Wars and write the screenplay for Alien as well as several other projects before he died in 2009, Cal Kuniholm (Boiler) never really went on to do anything before he died in 2008, but nobody seems to know anything about Dre Pahich (Talby). It is known that Pahich had a thick accent that required his lines to be dubbed, but nobody seems to know just where he was from or what happened to him after the movie was released. Even co-star Brian Narelle has no idea what's become of Pahich. In an interview, he later explained that they never actually met during production despite their characters interacting in several scenes (Narelle's lines were filmed separately, with a body double being used in shots where they both appeared).
  • Michael O'Hare disappeared from public view after leaving Babylon 5 early in its run, which together with the show's crew being notoriously vague about why it happened fueled all kinds of rumors. After his death in 2012, it was finally revealed that he had suffered from schizophrenia. Although he sought treatment, the delusions and paranoia caused by the disease made it too difficult for him to work and he eventually spent his final several years hardly ever leaving his house and died after a heart attack in a halfway house for the chronically mentally ill. His condition was made public as per his request after his death, to raise awareness and provide an explanation for fans.
  • Emilio Estevez is very private compared to the rest of Brat Pack, rarely makes public appearances, and is usually the only one absent from cast reunions for The Breakfast Club. When asked about this, he said "I've never been a guy that went out there to get publicity on myself. I never saw the value in it."
  • Gene Wilder granted very few interviews due to suffering from shyness and the fear that he would have to be "on" all the time. In fact, in one interview, he asked that there be no live audience for the show because he was suffering stage fright. Prior to his death, he stuck to a few appearances every once in a while and his writing. Later in his life, it was also done to hide his Alzheimer's diagnosis.
  • Linda Fiorentino, who is most remembered for her role of Dr. Laurel Weaver in Men in Black has largely stayed away from acting in most recent days and is currently focusing more on her career as a photographer, as seen on her official site here. This stems in part from the fact that the commentary for Dogma mentioned how hard it was for directors to work with her, which has caused Fiorentino to largely vanish from the big screen industry.
  • Lucille Ball tragically became this after the failure of her 1986 sitcom Life With Lucy. Ball was reportedly extremely devastated by the show's quick cancellation. She never again attempted a television or film production and her subsequent television appearances and interviews were infrequent. She died three years after Life With Lucy premiered and one month after appearing at the Academy Awards.
  • Daryl Hannah, who is best known for her roles in films like Blade Runner, Splash, Roxanne, Wall Street, and Kill Bill, suffered from such paralyzing shyness and social anxiety (due in a large share to her being autistic) that it made it challenging for her to venture out on talk shows, premieres, or award shows like the Oscars as a means of promoting her work. In a 2010 interview, Hannah proclaimed that her difficulties with social interactions ultimately had a seriously detrimental effect on her career. Her relationship with Neil Young began soon after that. They engage in environmental activism together and make films like Netflix's Paradox, which she directed. Young is a private but not shy or reclusive artist, so perhaps his example has helped to ease her anxiety.
  • Jean Arthur was considered a recluse and rarely did interviews. She was naturally shy and never found the appeal of Hollywood fame. Asked if she would like to have an interview, Arthur replied, "Quite frankly, I'd rather have my throat slit." She also suffered from immense stage fright, making her seem aloof or cold; however, her screen presence said the opposite: warm, outgoing, and inviting. After filming George Steven’s Shane, she retired from the silver screen and went on Broadway; however, her insecurity would often get the best of her. Her last days were spent in her home in Carmel, California. She died at the ripe age of 90.
  • Chris Pratt was once active on social media; frequently posting hilarious clips, promo tours, or visits to children's hospitals (particularly on Instagram). After announcing his split with Anna Faris, Pratt has changed his profile picture on every social media account and was inactive for months on Instagram until finally posting to promote upcoming films: the highly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and in addition sharing a little of his day-to-day hobbies from his farm life.
  • Although bold enough to do interviews and PR for his movies, Harrison Ford is fairly private on his family and works to keep his kids' business out of the spotlight.
  • Tom Hiddleston used to have a very good relationship with his fans, often taking pictures with them in-person and posting his Twitter account. However, he stopped interacting with his fans and left social media to protect his privacy after many transgressions including: cyberstalking; tricking him into meeting with them by posing as someone he worked with; and harassing any woman that has been photographed with him. His Twitter is now updated perhaps once every other month (if that) with very generic things, and it's been a while since anybody's managed to get a picture with him.
  • Downplayed with Chris Pine. He's one of the few young actors who doesn't use social media despite being fairly outgoing and congenial.
  • Character actor, Christopher Lloyd, while known for playing various over-the-top characters, most famously Doc Brown from Back to the Future and Reverend Jim Ignatowski in Taxi, is noted by fellow actors for being very shy and private in real life, rarely doing interviews. Around the 2010s, however, he has made appearances at comic book conventions.
  • Rick Moranis went into semi-retirement in the '90s, following the diminishing qualities of roles he was being offered, and having to deal with the death of his wife and raising his kids alone. He still rarely gives interviews, and his biggest role of note in the past 2 decades was a voice role in Brother Bear.
  • Vera Miles, best known as Lila Crane Loomis in Psycho and Psycho II, retired from acting in 1995, and has been living as a recluse since. She hasn't granted a single interview since that time or made any kind of public appearance. However, she has been known to occasionally answer fan mail and send autographs to fans that write to her, and Jessica Biel met with her grandson before portraying her in Hitchcock. Even before her retirement, she seldom gave interviews, and even there, she mentioned her shyness and desire for privacy.
  • Charles Hawtrey is a sad case. After being sacked from the Carry On series, he retired to Deal, Kent where he became a complete recluse, getting drunk, soliciting sex from sailors, and sporadically acting. When he died, only nine people attended his funeral, none of whom were friends or family.
  • Peter Dinklage is extremely protective of his personal life, keeping no official social media accounts and not revealing the names of his children.
  • Cillian Murphy prefers not to speak about his personal life in interviews, travels with no entourage, and overall keeps a very low profile, having expressed no interest in the high-flying "celebrity" lifestyle.
  • Since the 1990s, Faye Dunaway has made few public appearances, rarely gives interviews, and overall gives little insight into her personal life.
  • Little is known about Luke Evans' personal life, which he says is to shield his family from the press.
  • Timothy Dalton is known for being an extremely private person who shies away from interviews and was reportedly relieved upon learning that Pierce Brosnan was replacing him as James Bond (his time as Bond is clearly not an Old Shame, but the spotlight and attention he received were atypical for him). That said, he's still known for being very professional and well-liked among cast members and crew and has maintained a close friendship with the Broccoli family.
  • Canadian child actor Gil Filar, best known for playing Boobull on The Noddy Shop, retired from acting in the early 2000s to become an author and has rarely been heard from since.
  • Holly Larocque, known for playing Holly on Under the Umbrella Tree and Leota in The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, never did any other acting roles and has rarely been heard from since the former show ended, though she did write for a Strawberry Shortcake video in the mid-2000s.
  • Sean Connery became this following the commercial failure of his final film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003. While he would reprise the role of James Bond for the 2005 video game 007: From Russia with Love, his most notable public appearance afterwards was in 2006, when he received the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, before passing away on October 31, 2020.
  • John C. Reilly is another downplayed example; he's a relatively outgoing guy who grants interviews and makes public appearances (usually related to an upcoming project), but doesn't use social media (he did give a Reddit AMA in 2014). Furthermore, after no less than four movies featuring him premiered in the last few months of 2018 (The Sisters Brothers, Stan & Ollie, Holmes & Watson and Ralph Breaks the Internet), he appeared to have scaled back in the next few years, with his only major projects between then and the early part of 2022 being a handful of TV shows, a short film by Luca Guadagnino called O Night Divine, and a brief cameo in Licorice Pizza.
  • Rachel McAdams doesn't use social media or give many interviews and has stated in the past that she likes to keep her privacy.
  • After some bad experiences and information about her family got out, Daisy Ridley deleted all of her official social media accounts and stopped talking about her personal life in interviews.
  • Tobey Maguire became more reclusive after the Spider-Man Trilogy ended, with him rarely granting public interviews and not using any social media (he has a Twitter account, but his last tweet is from 2013, promoting The Great Gatsby (2013)). He's been known to ignore fans who approach him and has spent most of his time producing movies and playing professional poker (rumor has it that he was the basis for Player X in Molly's Game). When it was rumored that he would be reprising his role as Spider-Man in Spider-Man: No Way Home, fans were doubtful that he'd come back, as he hadn't acted since 2014, although he did return to much joy. He did, however, have a small voice role in 2017's The Boss Baby. Furthermore, it has been announced that he will make his return to onscreen acting in the upcoming film Babylon.
  • Emma Stone is one of the few prominent millennial celebrities who doesn't have any verified social media. She doesn't talk about her personal life much and usually brings her parents or brother to events with her. Her husband, television writer Dave McCrary, has a verified Instagram account and used it to announce they'd gotten engaged but he rarely posts himself. They allegedly got married in 2019 or 2020 but no official announcement has ever been made. She was clearly very pregnant later on in the year (and dropped out of a project at the last minute) and had a baby girl in March 2021 but she's never confirmed it.
  • Although he made public appearances and (rarely) granted interviews, Sherman Hemsley was a very private person. For most of his life, the only thing known about him was that he was single with no children or known living relatives. Most information known about him today, even about his life before becoming an actor, was not published until after his death. He left his entire estate to one of two friends he had been living with for many years, which was contested by someone claiming to be his long-lost brother (whose lawsuit was eventually dismissed).
  • Allen Payne, who was quite popular from nineties to aughts, and is best known for his roles in New Jack City, Jason's Lyric, Vampire in Brooklyn and House of Payne, rarely makes public appearances, has no official social media accounts, and is widely known to be very private about his personal life. Even after coming back from hiatus following his mother's death and reprising his role in House of Payne, his current actual marital status and where he lives remain unknown.
  • Little is known about what became of Erik Per Sullivan, the actor who played Dewey on Malcolm in the Middle.
  • English television presenter Paul "Des" Ballard, of GMTV's Disney Club and Diggit fame, disappeared off the face of the earth when the latter show ended in 2001. His anonymity was so great that a (now defunct) Facebook group was set up to find him. Even his former friend and co-presenter Fearne Cotton revealed that they'd lost touch and that she'd be interested in finding him. Then in 2021, he resurfaced for all the wrong reasons. He was sentenced to nine years in prison for causing a car pile-up that led to two deaths (he was driving under the influence of drugs while his twelve year old son was in the backseat) and another year added for attempting to rape and assault a woman in a hotel room. It was also revealed that in 2014, he operated an illegal self-storage business on green-belt land in Bulphan, England and had been ordered to repay the profits from it.
  • Comedian and actor Tony Slattery is best known for being the Breakout Character of the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Unfortunately by the mid-90s, his professional and personal life took a toll due to having undiagnosed bipolar disorder, which he admitted to self-medicating with substance abuse and this culminated in him becoming this trope. Thankfully within the past several years, he has been getting help, has a lot of support from fans and his close friends (including his fellow Whose Line costar and frequent collaborator Mike McShane) and is working on his autobiography.

    Animation Directors 
  • Next to nothing is known about animator Naoyuki Yoshinaga (director of the Patlabor TV series and co-director of Irresponsible Captain Tylor, among various other things), although an interview with fellow Patlabor director Mamoru Oshii implies he died.
  • Russell Hall is best known for being the lead animator for Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, he has had only two known interviews for his work on the film, he'd been animating since the 1970s and his last known credit was for The Iron Giant. There were unsuccessful attempts to contact him for a comic con appearance for the 25th anniversary of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, even his most frequent employer Richard Williams didn't know his whereabouts.
  • Satoshi Kon became one in his final months due to his shame at his body being ravaged by pancreatic cancer. Luckily, he was still able to write a highly moving farewell message in his last few days.
  • Animator Brenda Banks, one of the earliest known female African American animators, was known for her work on most of Ralph Bakshi's films, Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes, The Simpsons, and King of the Hill, after the final season of King of the Hill she seems to have vanished and no one who worked with her seems to know her current whereabouts. She reportedly passed away in 2020.
  • Pat Ventura who is well known for his pilots he pitched to What A Cartoon! Show and Oh Yeah! Cartoons has since disappeared from the industry in 2007 and currently runs an art blog as of now.
  • Chris Savino was fairly active on social media and was known for his resume which included work for studios like Disney, Cartoon Network, and Spümcø before he was terminated from his own show in 2017 for sexual harassment. He deleted his social media accounts and vanished from the public eye afterwards, but resurfaced two years later with new stories, pilot ideas, published books, and a comic strip. Time will if he ever gets another chance in the animation industry.
    • In relation to this scandal, his ex-wife Bethany privatized her Instagram page sometime after their divorce in order to protect her and their kids' personal lives from certain fans of the show.
  • Following his career-destroying scandal in March 2018 (involving acts such as statutory rape and child pornography possession), the once-revered John Kricfalusi has largely gone into hiding by mostly-abandoning his art blog and social media accounts (except for Facebook and Instagram); his only work to emerge since then was for a short called Cans Without Labels, and studios like Nickelodeon and Adult Swim permanently cutting off ties with him seems to have cemented that he won't be seen for a very long time.
  • As with the above two, Skyler Page has all but disappeared after getting fired from Clarence for sexual harassment, before resurfacing in 2019 with a video.
  • Pendleton Ward has admitted that he's a very shy and private person. His public appearances and online presence dwindled a great deal after he stepped down from producing Adventure Time.
  • Juliano Enrico was well-known in Brazil since the early 2010s, being a MTV presenter and host and writer of talk-show programs such as Choque de Cultura and O Último Programa do Mundo. A few years later, his most-well known work, the cartoon Jorel's Brother became a big hit, with Juliano participating on several interviews, ads, and Cartoon Network videos about the show. However, in April 2019, he got involved in a huge controversy due to his ex-girlfriend publicly speaking about how her previous boyfriend used to abuse her physically, sexually and verbally, leading most people to believe and later, discover that it was indeed Juliano. Since then, he's become inactive in any social medias and disappeared from all public appearances, sometimes being said to be reclusive just to "focus on his show". While he participated in the fourth season of Jorel's Brother premiering in 2021 (though this may be due to Animation Lead Time), he seems to have been mostly phased out from the team now.

  • Vincent van Gogh. He had No Social Skills, and who could really blame him? Every time he went outside he was called "the redheaded madman".
  • Al Columbia, an independent comic artist who did macabre work such as "Doghead", "The Biologic Show", and "Pim & Francie," along with the album artwork for the Postal Service's sole album Give Up. He is criticized by fans of the medium for occasionally displaying talent and having repeated long periods of inactivity in between. He worked with/fell out with the semi-reclusive Alan Moore during the never-completed Big Numbers project.
  • Banksy, director of Exit Through the Gift Shop and notorious graffiti artist, makes no public appearances and has never had his identity revealed. This is certainly due to the fact that his artworks, while hugely popular and sought after, are mostly installed without permission and considered by law to be acts of criminal vandalism, for which he could be publicly prosecuted. On the other end of the spectrum, Banksy is also hated by many other graffiti artists, supposedly for plagiarizing their techniques and messages.
  • Dave Trampier, artist for much early Dungeons & Dragons material and creator of the comic strip Wormy, disappeared sometime around 1988. He was apparently a taxi driver in Illinois. He passed away in March 2014, ironically two weeks before he was supposed to disperse some of the rumors of his isolation - a similar fate to what happened with Stanley Kubrick.
  • Edvard Munch. He was mentally unstable to begin with. Thus, he became more and more reclusive as time passed, and when he got himself a rather big mansion, he rarely left it. He died almost isolated in 1944.
    • Theodor Kittelsen, another artist, had moved into the vicinity of Munch around 1910. Kittelsen, suffering from severe depression, rarely went outside at this point of his life, and his wife had to take all the errands for him. Inga Kittelsen then encountered Munch on a train, and Munch seemed to be interested in the fact that Kittelsen lived nearby - they were, in fact separated by an open field. "It is good to know Kittelsen lives nearby", Munch stated. "But he must never come and visit me". Kittelsen, when told this, agreed and said almost the same thing.
  • Pop artist Lisa Frank (who drew the art featured on those notebooks every girl had in the mid-2000s, with the rainbow-colored puppies, kittens, and unicorns) is very reclusive. She has done interviews with her face obscured and one of the few confirmed images of her online is her as a child. Granted, most little girls wouldn't like it if they found out the woman behind their cute stationery was a 60-something-year old woman.
  • Karine Charlebois was once a busy woman, doing work on TV shows and drawing for the Gargoyles comic, but around the mid-2010s she began to vanish from the furry fandom. She still does TV work (recently she did storyboarding for Arthur), but none of her online profiles have been updated since at least 2013.
  • Stephen Gammell, best known for providing the infamously macabre illustrations for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, has greatly shied away from interviews since the book series ended. His last known illustrator credit was in 2011 and has since then dropped off the radar, to the point where he had no direct involvement in 2019's Scary Stories film adaptation, and it is unknown what he thought of it.
  • It's not uncommon for many internet residing artists, especially those on sites such as DeviantArt, to be active frequently on their respective profiles but prefer to be private about their personal lives. This largely stems from trolls who try to use that personal info against them (e.g., doxxing, blackmail, smear campaigns, etc.).
  • Hungry Clicker is a famous Twitter artist known for their beautiful fanart of various video game and manga characters. Despite their fame on Twitter and having an official artbook published, virtually nothing is known about Hungry Clicker other than the fact they are from Japan.
  • ZONE-SAMA, a popular artist/animator known for making NSFW animations of cartoons/video games (whose art styles and animation are often stunningly accurate to the source material being parodied) since 2001, and has even had a hand in animating for video games like Skullgirls. Despite this popularity, virtually nothing is known about them, up to and including their exact age, location, and gender. note  Interestingly, unlike most artists of this status, ZONE is highly active on social media, often giving updates on their projects and freely interacting with friends and fans.
  • "CONSTANZA" is a pen name given to a Spanish artist from the early 20th century, best known for making idealistic paintings, greeting cards, and illustrations showing the positive sides of humanity and religion. While Constanza's works were popular in Spain and other Spanish speaking countries between the 1950s and 1960s, unlike Juan Ferrándiz who has plenty of information known about him and made a few children's books during the late 60s and early 70s, Constanza's real name and gender has remained unknown in Spain due to the artist being a very private person.

  • H. P. Lovecraft rarely went outside during the day, was shamed by his mother into hiding his appearance in his childhood, and admitted to being nervous around people.
  • Christopher Tolkien, son of J. R. R. Tolkien. While he had given some statements in press releases, he is a very private man and had only given one interview in his entire life prior to his death on January 16, 2020.
  • Jack Kerouac in his later years.
  • Ann Radcliffe, pioneer of the Gothic Novel best known for The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian. Little is known of her life. According to the Edinburgh Review, "She never appeared in public, nor mingled in private society, but kept herself apart, like the sweet bird that sings its solitary notes, shrouded and unseen." Christina Rossetti had to abandon a biography of her life due to a lack of information.
  • J. D. Salinger was famous for this. Despite his reputation, his neighbors recall him as being very sociable, it was his readers he actively avoided - perhaps with good reason.
  • Arthur C. Clarke lived out his later years in Sri Lanka, making this a borderline case (his residence wasn't a secret, but he did assiduously avoid public appearances).
  • Charles Portis, author of True Grit and Norwood.
  • John Swartzwelder, who has written many episodes of The Simpsons as well as a few novels. Some fans even suspect that there is no real Swartzwelder, with the name covering a collaboration between two or more of the rest of the show's staff, and he notoriously refuses to give interviews or appear in Simpsons audio commentaries. He was apparently entrapped into a DVD commentary for the episode "The Cartridge Family", but it's still unknown if this was the real Swartzwelder and he ended his appearance by denying this. He did, however, respond to a journalist about his failed Pistol Pete project and allowed a rare photo of him to be included in the article. (He’s the guy with the short white beard, white shirt, and light blue pants.) Finally, in May 2021, he granted an interview to the New Yorker. He also opened a Twitter account in 2016, which was confirmed as the real Swartzwelder by several crewmembers, but all of his tweets is excerpts from his books.
  • Thomas Ligotti has been called the J.D. Salinger of the Cosmic Horror Story. Early on, there were even questions as to whether the man actually existed, with some claiming that he was actually a pseudonym for a more famous writer. In interviews, he cites various health conditions, such as chronic anxiety and agoraphobia are contributing to his seclusion.
  • Alan Moore is a borderline case. He quite often does book signings and stuff like that, and he is interviewed very frequently. He doesn't travel abroad and no longer goes to conventions after some fan followed him into the bathroom and pestered him for an autograph.
    "I don't have any designs on being a screenwriter. For one thing, that would mean moving out of Northampton, and I already can't imagine that. I very seldom even leave this end of the living room. The other end of the living room is a foreign place where they do things differently, and where I feel a bit nervous."
  • Cormac McCarthy does have conversations with journalists, but he hates giving interviews, talking about his own work, or even talking about writing. The one exception was when he went on Oprah, of all things.
  • Harper Lee. Due to her age when she died and near-total lack of public appearances, rumors had constantly circulated that she was dead (which did happen on February 19, 2016). She lived just long enough to publish a Mockingbird sequel called Go Set a Watchman the year before her death. Prior to that, she did emerge from seclusion long enough to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • American novelist Thomas Pynchon never gives interviews and makes no public appearances. His reclusiveness was parodied on The Simpsons, where he was depicted with a brown paper bag over his head and saying "Get your picture taken with a reclusive author." Believe it or not, he was actually voiced by Thomas Pynchon himself (the only time his voice has been broadcast in the media, except from another Simpsons appearance and a trailer to his novel, Inherent Vice).
  • Patrick Dennis, author of Auntie Mame and other popular novels, hid behind his pseudonym all his life and, in his twilight years, maintained his anonymity by butlering in California.
  • Rowena Farre, author of Seal Morning. When her book's popularity grew, her publisher was forced to expend considerable effort to find her. It was discovered that her real name was Lois Parr. Subsequently she published under another name. There is some disagreement concerning her date of birth—she may have been 26 or 35 when her book was published.
  • Thomas Harris, author of The Silence of the Lambs and its sequels and prequels. He didn't grant any interviews from 1976 until 2019 when he talked to the New York Times to promote his novel Cari Mora. In that interview, he explained that his books sold well even though he didn't grant interviews, so he didn't grant interviews.
  • John Twelve Hawks, author of The Fourth Realm trilogy, lives off the grid, has never appeared in public and his name is of course actually a pseudonym. Not even his editor knows who he is; he communicates with his publisher using the Internet and an untraceable satellite phone.
  • S. E. Hinton wrote The Outsiders while she was in high school; her agent suggested using her initials, assuming that reviewers would dismiss a novel written by a teenage girl. She kept the name for later books to help separate her work from her personal life. Although she makes cameos in movies based on her work, she's avoided public appearances outside of a few awards ceremonies. She was also interviewed in 2018 for PBS' Great American Read, when The Outsiders was one of the hundred novels chosen as the greatest ever written by a public poll.
  • Leo Tolstoy was notoriously impossible to interview and hated dealing with the public. He was especially wary of the new invention of the movie camera in the early 20th century. Reporters would hide out and try to ambush him. One such reporter, much like the others, hid out for 3 days waiting to ambush him on the way home with his family. Instead of succeeding, he accidentally broke his film camera which literally brought him to tears. Taking pity on the man, Tolstoy helped him take his camera to a blacksmith shop to repair it after which he agreed to being filmed. This started a relationship of the only man ever allowed to film Tolstoy. And that's not even getting into his later life when he renounced his title and possessions and started traveling the world (granted, he only did this shortly before his death).
  • French Canadian novelist and playwright Réjean Ducharme was extremely reclusive: he gained fame as soon as his first novel was published in 1966, but made no public appearance nor interview from then on (he died in 2017). Especially in the early decades of his career, there have been rumors that he didn't really exist and that his name was the pseudonym of this or that famous author. Very few photographs of him have surfaced.
  • Patrick Süskind, author of Perfume, has not published a novel since 1991, and never grants interviews or allows photographs of himself to be taken.
  • Shane Stevens, author of the crime novels By Reason of Insanity (a precursor to The Silence of the Lambs), The Anvil Chorus and Dead City, which Stephen King called "the finest novels ever written about the dark side of the American dream." He has said of himself that, "I am very secretive...I never give interviews, stay in shadow, travel by night."
  • B. Traven, who took this trope to its Logical Extreme: his identity was never revealed during his lifetime and is still uncertain, as is whether the original language of his books was English or German.
  • Greg Egan, who is so reclusive that there are no photos of him on the web.
  • Trevanian (a.k.a Rodney William Whitaker).
  • Henry Darger, during his life was a hospital janitor who kept mostly to himself. After his death it was discovered that he wrote a 15,000-page novel called [deep breath] The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. With copious illustrations.
  • Russian Postmodernist writer Viktor Pelevin is (in)famous for his incredibly private lifestyle. He makes public appearances once in a blue moon, always wearing Cool Shades covering his face, and gives no interviews; the few known details of his life are contradictory and unreliable. While his novels are invariably bestsellers and critical hits, Pelevin as a man remains a mystery. When it comes to reclusiveness, he is the Russian answer to Thomas Pynchon.
  • Elena Ferrante is one of Italy's most famous contemporary authors. She's also so reclusive that her name is a pseudonym, and she refuses to say anything outside of letters written to her editor and publisher as she believes that books have no need for their authors once complete and has a fierce desire to maintain her privacy. It was speculated that she is a pseudonym of Domenico Starnone based on samples of their writing, but he firmly denies it, to which the media then shifted the speculation to his wife, Anita Raja, a well-known translator. An Italian journalist published an article claiming that Raja is Ferrante based on finance records as well as her family tree records, but the public response to the article has been negative as her readers were completely fine with the anonymity and felt it lent greater merit to her work. The article was also iperceived by her publisher, some authors, journalists, and literary circles as a gross violation of journalistic ethics and Raja's privacy, whether or not she's the true author.
  • June and Jennifer Gibbons probably count as this, since they pretty much lived as Hikikomori but were very much engaged in writing novels and screenplays.
  • Until April 2015, nothing was known about K. J. Parker. Finally, it was revealed that K.J. Parker was the pseudonym of Tom Holt, for works in a very different style from his own-name work.
  • Rosemary Wells, of Max and Ruby and Timothy Goes to School fame, doesn't have that much info about her life being a writer and has a short biography about her life on her official website. She did do some interviews on some websites such as The Japan Times and was featured on the news at one point years ago, but it's still not that much. Definitely somewhat less of an example than others, though, because she is known to do public appearances and a video about her career and life called A Visit with Rosemary Wells is available from Scholastic. She is also known to advocate for children's literacy.
  • V. C. Andrews, though not to the extent as other authors on this page. Allegedly, she was a very private person and even burned her first manuscript because it was unintentionally autobiographical. She was also reluctant to do interviews and other public events after People Magazine published an interview that she deeply disliked for being inaccurate and unflattering.
  • Angus Oblong, the author of the Black Comedy book Creepy Susie and 13 Other Tragic Tales for Troubled Children, which was the basis of the show, The Oblongs, seems to prefer some amount of anonymity (albeit with a bit of a twist), preferring to go under his pen name (although his real name has been revealed), appearing on special features of The Oblongs DVD with his face blacked out and voice distorted, and making public appearances wearing clown makeup.
  • Anne Perry, creator of The Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Series, allowed very little personal information to be made public for the first decade and a half of her writing career. Then we found out why: she's actually Juliet Hulme, who along with her friend Pauline Parker murdered Parker's mother in one of New Zealand's most notorious murder cases, as was brought to light when the film adaptation of the story Heavenly Creatures renewed interest in what had become of them.
  • Author and illustrator Walter Moers has refused to be photographed since the mid-'90s and communicates at most via email.
  • The ultimate example may be William Shakespeare, whose only public information we have is his name on various lawsuits.
  • Science Fiction author and Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard, in the last few years of his life, went into hiding due to numerous legal troubles and would reportedly only speak to a few trusted individuals. What's notable about this time is he published his first fictional books in decades, most notably Battlefield Earth.

    Comic Artists 

Comic Books

  • Steve Ditko, co-creator along with Stan Lee of Spider-Man, but only in the sense that he didn't do comic book conventions or give interviews. He had written numerous rebuttals to Lee's claims of being "THE" creator of Spidey and had been an outspoken Ayn Rand disciple, very obscure comics promoting Rand and Objectivism being the main bulk of his work until his death. Strangely enough, he was in the phonebook, or at least the location of his studio was. And he'd been known to entertain guests who just happen to go to his studio for whatever reason. Since the average comic book reader under fifty-five had probably never even heard of him, he was apparently not too concerned about fans camping out waiting for him. Very middle-aged British journalist and fanboy Jonathan Ross actually came knocking on Ditko's door unsolicited. He brought Neil Gaiman with him for good measure. This adventure was chronicled in Ross' documentary The Search For Steve Ditko. Ditko still refused to be filmed, however, so we'll have to take Ross' word for it.
  • Zarcone, the mysterious artist who drew the first issue of Diabolik is this Up to Eleven. As Zarcone is a pen name (as was the norm at the time in Italy), nobody knows his real name, he disappeared soon after being paid for the job, the private detective hired by Diabolik's creators failed to track him down, and the readers didn't even know he existed for thirty years (most had read the first reprint, where the story had been redrawn by Luigi Marchesi, and the original edition only credited the cover artist Brenno Fiumali).
  • Very little is known about Fish Police creator Steve Moncuse, other than that he is from California. After Fish Police ended, he inked a few other comics before quietly retiring, presumably also in California. In 2010, interviewed him when IDW reprinted the first four issues of Fish Police in an anthology. The interview revealed at the time that Moncuse had two daughters and had recently retired from a job as a third-grade teacher when one of them became extremely ill. The interview also revealed that he was working on further installments of Fish Police, but nothing has come of them since.

Newspaper Comics

  • Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes. He's all but disappeared from the public eye since ending his strip in 1995, except for some very rare news articles, such as his review of a biography of Charles Schulz.
    • He is reclusive to the point where rumors abounded that he would supposedly paint pictures then burn them to prevent fans from obtaining and selling them. He was also extremely reclusive before Calvin and Hobbes; skipping award shows and dinners in his name due to his disdain/paranoia over corporate establishments.
    • In June 2014, he collaborated with Pearls Before Swine writer Stephen Pastis. Pastis had this to say about it:
    Now if you had asked me the odds of Bill Watterson ever saying that line [he wanted to collaborate on a comic strip] to me, I’d say it had about the same likelihood as Jimi Hendrix telling me he had a new guitar riff. And yes, I’m aware Hendrix is dead.
    • He was also interviewed in the documentary "Stripped," and drew the poster art for it. The filmmakers made a big deal in their advertisement about how this was the first time Watterson's voice was ever broadcast in any format. However, while his voice was prominently featured, no current picture was included.
  • Darby Conley of Get Fuzzy probably rivals Bill Watterson above. While he did allow some interviews in the early years of his strip, nowadays his public appearances are very, very limited. His last known appearance was in 2010 when he appeared with FoxTrot creator Bill Amend.
  • Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury. Other than a 1971 appearance on To Tell the Truth and a few spare interviews (the last one was in 1973), he avoided media attention during the strip's heyday, which is quite phenomenal when you consider that he married a famous TV journalist (Jane Pauley). After the strip's 20th anniversary in 1990, he started giving interviews again, but he's still very selective about who he talks to.
  • In 2018, Nancy was taken over by a woman who went under the psudonym Olivia Jaimes, who is almost entirely anonymous - while she has given a few interviews where she talked about her childhood and how she got the job, she has never given out her real name, any photos outside of one crudely drawn portrait, or other details like her age, birthday, or even nationality.
  • Local Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris was forced to become this following her coining "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" in 2010, which led to her name being put on a terrorist hit list. Even over 10 years later, she's still in hiding and changed her name.


  • Tatsuya Ishida, creator of Sinfest and former Dark Horse Comics artist, has had exactly one picture taken of him, has been interviewed once and otherwise has no contact with the outside world. There is no commentary on his strips, save the increasingly cryptic "Notes from the Resistance," which hasn't updated in years.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court creator Tom Siddell, for a long time, was largely a mystery. He talked about himself very little, worked during the weekdays as an animator for an unknown video game company, and lived in Birmingham. There were very few images of him on the Internet, and while he attends conventions on occasion, he never revealed his real face outside those appearances, instead drawing an Author Avatar with shadowed, crazed eyes and a wonky smile. However, since he's begun working full time on his comic, his convention appearances have increased and he's allowed himself to be filmed for an interview at least once. He has also tweeted photos of himself on a handful of occasions, although usually not identifying the person in the photo as him. He would later explicitly reveal his face in his Patreon video (where he looks like a normal person).
  • El Autor, or Sea Snail Studio, has worked since 2012 on webcomics, but his real-life identity has always been a mystery. The only thing known about him is that he comes from Mexico and that he is male. Maybe.
  • Virtually nothing can be discerned about whoever is behind the name Jaho-12, writer and artist of Fifteen Minds. They've been active on Tumblr since 2013 under the name 1212m, mostly posting fanart of Pokemon before starting the comic, and have never revealed so much as a scrap of information about themself, not even a country of residence or origin or even a gender, much less a real name or image. In posts thanking their followers for their support and such, they always use their personal reimagining of a humanoid Space Core from Portal 2 as a stand-in... which similarly lacks features.


  • Jack Chick, who was interviewed exactly once during his four-decade career in writing and drawing comics. It's been rumored that this was because he was extremely paranoid. He was reclusive to the point that to this day there's still uncertainty about whether his tracts reflected the way he saw the world, or he was just trolling. If they are to be taken seriously and express his world vision, then it's normal that he was paranoid. On the other hand, maybe this reclusiveness accounts for all the blatant ridiculous inaccuracies in his tracts.
  • Jason Shiga, comic book and newspaper comic author. He may or may not have shown up to receive his Eisner Award. The jacket blurb on one of his books claims that man was an impostor. He does have an active Twitter account, however.
  • The person who runs Constable Frozen. We know they have the necessary Photoshop skills to make the pictures on their blog. We know they like Frozen enough to keep producing content for this amount of time. And... that's about it. We haven't even confirmed that they're only one person.
  • The creator of Farlaine the Goblin is an interesting case. He does go to conventions and readers can contact him, but nobody knows what his name is because he is listed as "Anonymous" in book listings. The very few times he refers to himself, he uses "J" and nothing more. The creator said it because he wants people to focus entirely on the comic.
    • After a while, though, J started using "Pug Grumble" as a pseudonym because he realized not having a name made it difficult for people to follow up on new books in the series, and also because more and more conventions started requiring some sort of name for use before being given a table space. His real name is still unknown, however.
  • Lebanese-Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff. One of the few things we know is that he was born in the neighborhood of São Cristóvão in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but not where he lives or much about his personal life. Then again, he's probably protecting himself, knowing that he's been held in many a controversial opinion as an anti-semite in denial. There is however a slight aversion in that he has made a few public appearances.

  • For many years, The Wachowskis, creators of The Matrix, were incredibly secretive, granting few interviews or public appearances after 2000. At least part of it may have to do with their personal lives- they were originally known as "the Wachowski brothers", but later came out as transgender women. They finally broke their silence in 2012, and Lana officially came out after years of rumors, in an interview right here, made to promote Cloud Atlas. She stated that she was specifically doing it to dispel rumors that she was ashamed of being transgender, having decided that if sacrificing her long-held privacy could help others suffering from the same issues she did before her transition, it would be worth it. Her sister Lilly came out in 2016.
  • Michael Cimino, the late director of The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate. After the hostility from the public regarding the latter film, he ceased granting interviews with American journalists for a decade. He was also rarely photographed (giving rise to a rumored sex change operation when more recent photos did appear) and very little about his private life was known. He last directed a film in 1996 and moved to France to write novels. When he died in 2016, his friends didn't even know he was sick.
  • John Hughes, writer and/or director of such hits as National Lampoon's Vacation, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Home Alone shunned the media and stopped directing his films after 1993 (his last screenwriting credit was 2008's Drillbit Taylor), living in his beloved Chicago for the rest of his life until August 2009, when he went to Manhattan to see some relatives and died while walking on a sidewalk. It's been said by his colleagues that Hughes' decision was due to a combination of his belief that the stress of show business was what lead to his good friend John Candy's death and a desire to leave the Hollywood scene to ensure his kids won't become like the jerk bullies from his movies.
    • A documentary was even made by some Canadian filmmakers who tried to track him down.
  • Seltzer and Friedberg are two guys who we know practically nothing of. It's possible they're protecting themselves rather than just avoiding people. Seltzer and Friedberg finally gave an interview with Grantland in 2014.
  • Stanley Kubrick kept working right up until his death (completing the cut of Eyes Wide Shut only a couple of days before his fatal heart attack in 1999), but he granted no television interviews and made no public appearances after relocating to England in the 1960s. He did, however, do several interviews for several magazines (including Rolling Stone and Playboy) and while he generally kept out of the public's eyes, he was still willing to speak with critics if asked and kept in contact with other producers and directors. According to his family, after the release of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick fully intended to do a few television interviews to promote his film and to dispel some of the rumors about his personal life, but died before he got the chance.
  • Spike Jonze, music video (Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice", Beastie Boys' "Sabotage") and film (Being John Malkovich) director, who is known for turning the Shrug of God into an art form. He doesn't do traditional DVD commentaries, has only directed three films in twelve years (it took about four for Where the Wild Things Are to be released), and rarely grants interviews. Even when he does, he tends to treat them as a prank (see the video in which he terminates an interview by stepping out of the car to vomit).
  • Shane Carruth, the director of movies such as Primer and UpstreamColor, is known for long periods of silence between his films. He does have a Twitter account and does tweet every now and then, yet most of it is more related to his work than his personal life. Carruth himself has stated that he'll be making one last film before retiring from the movie business, so time can only tell.
  • Allen Payne who is quite popular in 90's to 00's best known for his roles in New Jack City, Vampire in Brooklyn and House of Payne'' rarely make public appearances, doesn't use social media and widely known to keep his personal life to his chest that no one knows about his marital status.
  • Marian Dora, the anonymous director of controversial films such as Cannibal (2006) and Melancholie der Engel/The Angel's Melancholy (2009). Dora has done only a handful of public appearances and interviews, with his face and voice being distorted in video ones. His real name is kept secret because he has supposedly received death threats and could potentially be charged with criminal offenses relating to the content of his works. The only thing known about his life is that he is a vegetarian and a physician for a living.
  • Terrence Malick is notoriously reclusive and highly protective of his private life, to the point that his film contracts state that his likeness may not be used for interviews, and he never does promotional interviews. He came to Cannes one year (although he wasn't part of The Tree of Life panel), and has allowed people to take pictures and film of him working on his latest projects. However, he's still highly private. In June 2012, a paparazzi taking a photo of Benicio Del Toro outside a Hollywood restaurant inadvertently caught Malick on camera - the photographer had no idea who he was, and it was only afterwards that people pointed out it was the reclusive director.
  • Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman's partner-in-crime at Troma is very shy and doesn't do interviews or do any on-screen appearances on Troma DVDs (in comparison to Lloyd, who does many live and filmed appearances). He even hired one of the Troma regulars to play him when an appearance was needed. Kaufman did include a picture of him in his book about the founding of Troma.
  • Fran Walsh, the wife and writing partner of Peter Jackson. She appeared on the DVD commentaries for The Lord of the Rings and at the 2003 Oscars, but they've agreed between them that she should stay out of public life as much as possible, to avoid incidents like being mobbed by fans while taking their kids to school.
  • Paul Thomas Anderson is a more downplayed example. While initially open to interviews and commentary, during the promotion for Magnolia he started to close himself off from the press, giving fewer and fewer interviews. (Although he still does grant them.) As his films became more sporadic, with only four being made (Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood, The Master, Inherent Vice) since Magnolia, this trope has come more into play with even fewer interviews, no commentaries and shrouding the production of his movies in so much secrecy that people don't even know the titles, let alone a plot synopsis until near the release date.
  • Woody Allen is known for never attending award shows, excluding the one time he appeared at the Academy Awards in 2002 to introduce a montage of film clips shot in New York. note  It should be noted that the world of Hollywood does not interest Allen in any way since he never craved for public attention or applause, or was bothered by people's opinions on his films - as long as they made enough money to pay investors that support his filmmaking.
  • Randy Moore, the man behind the 2013 guerrilla horror movie Escape from Tomorrow. After the film's release, he did a couple of interviews and such and then practically vanished off the face of the earth.
  • Little of anything is known about Mark Region, the director of After Last Season and it's debated whether that's even his real name.

Manga artists in general are usually shy or introverted and very protective about their private lives (either by shyness or by personal decision), and a number of manga artists don't even reveal their genders, often working under Pen Names that are gender-neutral. Unlike most comic artists, mangakas usually don't allow any pictures or photos taken, even in Japan.note  This is usually enforced when artists go to any event outside Japan, and anime/manga licensors honor their requests, so it's very difficult (usually impossible) to see any photos or pictures of them, and the only way to get a picture is to do it illegally. Also, there are artists that don't want to be seen.

It goes without saying that Hentai mangakas follow this trope Up to Eleven, even in very crowded events such as Comiket, Comitia, or COMIC1. It doesn't help the fact that those events discourage unauthorized photos or pictures and they generally enforce a "no photos or videos without permission" policy on those events.

Generally averted with most older manga artists, especially those who were active in the 1960s and 1970s. Osamu Tezuka, for example, was interviewed many times during his lifetime, and he even made a few public appearances in America. Mangaka becoming reclusive mostly came later on.

  • Kazuma Kamachi, the creator of A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Scientific Railgun, A Certain Scientific Accelerator, Heavy Object, The Circumstances Leading to Waltraute's Marriage and The Zashiki Warashi of Intellectual Village, is almost a living paradox. He never appears in public, uses a face made of simple shapes as an online avatar, and "Kazuma Kamachi" is a pen name. Kiyotaka Haimura (A Certain Magical Index's illustrator) and Yuyuko Takemiya (Toradora!'s author) have met him in person. Kiyotama only commented that he seems to be a sports-oriented guy, and Yuyuko commented that he's very young-looking. On top of this, his love for the craft and the sheer volume of his work output makes his dedication obvious. He is currently in the process of writing five different manga and light novel series all at the same time, and his coworkers have revealed that he currently has enough manuscripts and story ideas stockpiled that he could completely quit writing and still be able to output fresh material for over a year. And yet he still does almost nothing but write.
    "If I don’t keep writing, I’ll crash. Like an airplane."
  • Shirow Masamune has been described as the J.D. Salinger of Japan, living a very private life. All the public really knows is that he lives in Hyōgo prefecture and that he was a high school teacher at some point.
  • Akira Toriyama, to the point that it was rumored he died in 1998, though he does give interviews from time to time.
  • Naoko Takeuchi, the creator of Sailor Moon is a notorious recluse. She's done some interviews over the years and made a few public appearances here and there, but she's very shy, and nobody heard much from her for well over 15 years. We know she's married to Yoshihiro Togashi (the creator of YuYu Hakusho and Hunter × Hunter), but the identities of their two children are kept a closely-guarded secret. However, she's known to be heavily involved with Sailor Moon behind the scenes, but the extent of her involvement is regularly debated.note 
  • Tsugumi Ohba, author of Death Note, is a particularly extreme example, to the point he's been rumored to be Hiroshi Gamo, the author of Tottemo Luckyman, under a pseudonym.
    • Ohba's series Bakuman。, which is supposedly semi-autobiographical, is about a writer/artist team who publish under a single pseudonym. This has led fans to speculate that Ohba is actually two or more people (a theory made somewhat less likely when Ohba's partnership with artist Takeshi Obata is taken into account).
    • Even in the Death Note handbook he says very little in regards to the plot's interpretations and himself.
  • Katsura Hoshino, creator of D.Gray-Man. Until one appearance, nobody even knew Hoshino's gender. Hoshino's a woman.
  • Hiromu Arakawa, creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, tends to zigzag with this trope. There are only two known photographs of her, both very low-quality (she's the one in the center), from two award presentations—the rest of the time, she depicts herself as a cow wearing glasses, and often has Edward Elric's seiyuu Romi Park go to events for her (meaning many people mistake pictures of Park for Arakawa). That said, she's remarkably candid about herself and her life in the intros and Omake of her manga, and Noble Farmer is essentially her autobiography in manga format.
  • Not much is known about Yu Aida, the creator of Gunslinger Girl. Not even their gender.
  • Sayuri Tatsuyama, the creator behind Happy Happy Clover and Pukupuku Tennen Kairanban has a very brief section at the end of each volume that gives a short history behind her manga career. While it does mention, one of her older mangas from the late '90s called Pukupuku Natural Circular Notice won the Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga in 2002. When the Happy Happy Clover manga started getting popular around 2005 as well as getting an animated series in 2007 along with tons of merchandise in Japan. The author made a post on the Shogakukan official website about some information for the upcoming volume for the mangas at the time. A year after the manga was finished, she later went on to make a one-shot manga based on Sanrio's Jewelpet franchise in 2009. As of 2015, not that much information is known about the creator, and hasn't made a new manga since 2009. However, she recently created a Twitter account where she posts sketches and illustrations of her characters and gives some updates about her manga career and life. When it comes to drawing herself, she is depicted wearing a monkey costume.
  • Kentaro Miura, the creator of Berserk, very rarely gave out interviews and there are only two pictures of him floating around, the one on his trope page and another one of him accepting the 2002 Tezuka Prize, with much more outgoing and sociable Vagabond creator Takehiko Inoue. It's to the extent that in the most extensive and well-known interview he gave out, the one for the DVD release of Berserk, he requested that he not be filmed.
  • Julietta Suzuki, creator of Kamisama Kiss requested that no photo or video can be taken on Anime Expo 2015. Shoujo Beat honored and enforced that and no photos are available with her face in the event.
  • Isuna Hasekura, creator of World End Economica and Spice and Wolf.
  • Na-Ga, main character designer of videogames like CLANNAD, Kanon, and Air. They refused to appear on the official photos on Anime Central 2016.
  • Hentai artists NaPaTa and saitom. While NaPaTa didn't show his face at Anime Expo 2016 whatsoever, saitom, on the other hand, appeared only with a mask with an S written on it.
  • Hentai artists Keito Koume (main illustrator of the Spice and Wolf manga) and Yamatogawa didn't allow any pictures of them in the events they went outside Japan. However, Koume's face is visible in a video by somebody who was at Japan Expo in Paris.
  • Takehiko Inoue (creator of Slam Dunk and Vagabond) is quite possibly the most notable aversion in the entire industry, at least for the current generation. There are many photos and videos of him, he has given out several interviews over the years, taken part in museum exhibits, and even been on national television; compared to most mangaka he seems quite comfortable in the spotlight.
  • Nio Nakatani, creator of Bloom Into You. The about-the-author and production-backstory bit at the end of each volume avoids giving any personal details (including their real name) and renders the author as a gender-ambiguous person with a bird's head.
  • Ritsuko Kawai, the creator of Hamtaro. All we know is the date and year she was born, and that she was born in Toyonaka in Osaka, and she's created other shōjo manga for Ciao... and that's basically it.
  • Paru Itagaki, creator of Beastars, is a very private person and has never shown her face in public, always opting to wear a chicken mask whenever she appears at events (as seen in the page image above). One thing that is known about her is that she's the daughter of Keisuke Itagaki, creator of Baki the Grappler. On the other hand, she's also launched an autobiography manga (Paruno Graffiti), indicating that she is at least willing to talk about her life in manga format.
  • Kohei Horikoshi, who is most famous for writing My Hero Academia, is shy and hates having his face seen on camera. As a result, he spends most video interviews with a mask on or with the camera focused on the back of his head. In one case, he had Midoriya's head edited over his in the video.
  • Very little is known about Kakifly, the creator of K-On!, aside from his being born in Kyoto and his love of bass guitars (he collects left-handed ones, which is likely why Mio uses a left-handed bass). Very few pictures of him can be found on the internet.
  • Shiromanta, mangaka of My Senpai Is Annoying doesn’t draw their face in the afterword sections. They do draw other things like their room, how they got into the manga business, and other things like their sister.
  • The author of the autobiographical Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san uses both the pseudonym Honda, which for a person who works in a retail bookstore is a Punny Namenote , and draws herself as a human skeleton alongside her former coworkers who are all drawn and identified by their fanciful and outlandish masks. In an interview about the anime adaptation she is only shown wearing a paper cut out mask of Honda (a skull). The anonymity was so strong that fans of the anime were under the impression that Honda was a man after it used Gender Flip voice casting. There is even a point that made it into the manga and anime where she attended a nomikai work mixer before she left her job at the bookstore and while her manga was starting to get popular and encountered someone at another location who thought the story was unrealistic due to how their wholesaler was positively portrayed. She sheepishly apologizes, outing herself to her shocked colleague.
  • The author of Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku started out on Pixiv as an anonymous amateur mangaka, and only goes by Fujita.
  • Tsukumizu, who is known for Girls' Last Tour, started out with his one-shot Touhou Project doujinshi Flan Wants to Die and later broke out into the professional manga industry with Girls' Last Tour. Not much is known about his real name or his true identity, as he is mostly known by his surname.
  • Chiyomi "Nekojiru" Hashiguchi, whose simply drawn yet darkly cynical works inspired Nekojiru Gekijou and Cat Soup, was a highly reclusive person; she rarely left the house, disliked going to public spaces like coffee shops, and generally avoided conversations with others. One of the few people she ever got along with was her husband Hajime Yamano, who took over her characters after her death and continues to make new works with them.


  • After "leaving" Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett remained in touch with friends, including his former bandmates, up until around the mid-1970s (around six years after he left Pink Floyd) when he retreated into seclusion in a London hotel, eventually returning to Cambridge permanently in 1982. He also went back to using his given name, Roger. Barrett is arguably the ultimate example of this trope. He gave his last full interview in 1971, played his last recorded gig in 1972, was last in the studio in 1974, last spoke to his former bandmates in 1975, and last willingly (and briefly) talked to the press and posed for photographs in 1982. Between then and his death in 2006, he barely communicated with the rest of the world except for members of his family and spent most of his time painting and gardening. He was often photographed by paparazzi and journalists would sometimes knock on his door in an attempt to secure some kind of interview although they would never get much more than a few terse words. He never explained why he had left the music industry or refused to talk about his past as a pop star (although it's widely believed that talking about it was distressing for him, something he alludes to in the brief 1982 "interview") and, contrary to popular belief, he was never actually diagnosed with any specific mental illness, although it's generally accepted that he had some kind of mental health problem. Ironically, whilst it's widely believed that Barrett's silence was largely because he wanted to forget about his past as "Syd" as much as possible, his status as an enigma arguably increased interest in his music rather than reduced it.
  • Lauryn Hill, critically acclaimed alternative rapper whose sole album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill remains among the greatest post-Tupac hip hop albums of all time. Her career-shattering mental breakdown pre-dated that of Britney Spears and Mariah Carey. Currently, she is the mother of six children by one of Bob Marley's sons but still remains out of the public eye. In fact, nobody even knows where she lives. She does perform occasionally in concerts, but is notorious for being late (an egregious example being a 2010 concert that started at 8:30 and she didn't show up until midnight) and performing poorly. She popped up again in the tabloids in mid-2013 after being sentenced to 3 months in prison for tax evasion - her excuse was that the IRS had not been respecting her family's privacy.
  • Jakob Dylan from The Wallflowers rarely gives interviews, mostly because he doesn't like being compared to his father Bob Dylan. This is probably why their more recent albums, as well as Jakob's solo albums, have seen a decline in sales since the smash hit, Bringing Down the Horse.
    • He's also very protective of his family and doesn't want his fame to interfere with their safety.
    • He finally acquiesced in 2021 in order to promote the new Wallflowers album and gave a few interviews.
  • Musician and photographer Cynthia Dall, who occasionally collaborated with her then-boyfriend Bill Callahan (Smog) on some songs and recorded two albums for Drag City, six years between each (the first of which, released in 1996, was initially completely untitled with no artist information). She died in April 2012, nearly ten years after the release of her final album.
  • J-Rock and Anisong artist Nano used to be this way early in her career. No one knew of her identity when she got her start doing vocaloid covers on YouTube and Nico Nico Douga, and though she began doing live performances after getting signed, her management deliberately decided to keep her out of the public eye. In recent years, however, this has begun to change, as she's more active on social media, made podcast appearances, and starting her own YouTube channel with the express purpose of providing an authentic behind-the-scenes perspective.
  • Assuming he's still alive, a big assumption to make, under the circumstances, guitarist and songwriter for the alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers Richey James Edwards would be the one of these: he went missing in 1995 and there haven't been any confirmed sightings of him since. 13 years after he vanished, he took this trope to its Logical Extreme: he was declared "presumed deceased"—in other words, Legally Dead. The band has still been keeping his share of their royalties in a bank account since his disappearance.
  • Jeff Mangum, singer/songwriter for the legendary indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel, suffered a breakdown as a result of the stress of touring. He stayed out of the limelight until 2008, where sudden concerts were performed.
  • A lot of Black Metal bands tend to be like this. They frequently refuse to give interviews and often refuse to have their pictures taken. Most use pseudonyms and a small few don't even use names at all. Some particularly well-known examples:
    • French avant-garde black metal band Deathspell Omega are highly secretive; few photos of the members exist and, more notably, no one (apart from, presumably, the band members themselves) even knows what the complete line-up of the band is (the identity of the drummer is not even an identity of public conjecture).
    • Ukrainian black metal band Drudkh refuse to have a proper public image. Only guitarist Roman Saenko has ever shown his face, and the band has never conducted personal interviews or performed live, despite being one of the most respected names in modern Black Metal. They also have not released lyrics for some of their early recordings (although this is not exactly uncommon in black metal).
  • Australian singer Emily Janes is apparently trying to start a pop career. However, she has no social media accounts, has only ever given one interview, and has only two songs uploaded to YouTube. The most information the public can get is through her official website, but there's not a whole not of information on there either.
  • One of the most famous examples in pop music is ABBA's Agnetha Fältskog going into a practical self-exile on a farm in Sweden from the late 1980s. She reportedly rarely speaks to anyone anymore, with the situation being worsened from her split with former stalker, Gert van der Graaf. She's even earned comparisons to Greta Garbo. She has since released an English pop solo album internationally in 2013 called A, and has since occasionally turned up to promote it and/or address ABBA reunion rumors.
  • Michael Jackson, once he was a mega-selling solo act. It became a well-crafted part of his mystique, and when he became more available in The '90s, culminating in the Oprah Winfrey interview in early 1993, it made headlines. Unfortunately, when the accusations arose that he was a molester, the reclusiveness backfired on him badly. Subsequent attempts to be more open with the public were largely failures. The 2003 documentary Living with Michael Jackson was intended to Win Back the Crowd (Martin Bashir was then most famous for a 1995 interview with Princess Diana that curried public sympathy for her), but he freely admitted in it that he still had slumber parties with children who weren't his, not realizing how badly this would be taken by the filmmakers and most of the world. It affected his career more, and would not regain any respect until he actually died in 2009 and Dead Artists Are Better came into effect.
  • Alice Cooper used to play this up in his early days as part of his "horror show" image, staying locked up in his trailer with his boa constrictor during gigs and festivals, only emerging to perform with his band. This was, of course, just an act, and one that he later dropped.
  • Glitch-hop/dubstep producer Tristam is notorious for having extremely little information shared with the public. Images and videos of him are very rare (none of which are recent), prefers to keep his true name and identity secret, and shares only vague and occasional updates on social media.
  • Rod Evans, the original frontman for seminal Hard Rock band Deep Purple, briefly fronted the supergroup Captain Beyond after leaving Deep Purple before retiring from the music business and going into medicine. In 1980, he was talking into reviving the Deep Purple name (Deep Purple had broken up in 1976) with a bunch of unknown musicians. When his former bandmates got wind of the venture, they immediately filed a lawsuit. Evans was not only forced to disband the "Bogus Deep Purple", the royalties from his work with the real Deep Purple were permanently cut off. With his music career in shambles, Evans returned to his medical practice and has since eschewed any contact with the media or his former bandmates-he didn't even show up when Deep Purple was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
  • The experimental rock group The Residents. In all photos and public appearances, they're in some kind of disguise, usually their trademark eyeball masks. They also refuse to be interviewed by the press, adding to their reclusive nature. However, it's very widely suspected that they are actually the same people as their "management team" the Cryptic Corporation, who do interact with the media. Cryptic Corporation co-founder Hardy Fox finally outed himself as a Resident in 2017, and it was universally noted in media reports of his death a year later.
  • Kate Bush is often considered an example, though to hear her tell it, somewhat unfairly. It's true that she didn't tour for over 30 years between 1979 and 2014, and mostly disappeared from the public eye for the 12 years between The Red Shoes and Aerial, but she has consistently said this was to give her son as normal an upbringing as possible, and not from any reclusive tendencies. Still, she has done relatively little promotional work even for her later releases.
  • Very little is known about the members of the band Black Moth Super Rainbow; all the members go by Stage Names and they rarely discuss their past in what little interviews they've done.
  • For a few years, John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers basically locked himself away in his apartment and spent most of his time doing drugs.
    • The same was true for Miles Davis.
    • Similarly, Layne Staley of Alice in Chains cut himself off from friends, family, and bandmates for the last three years of his life. His body wasn't discovered until two weeks after his fatal overdose. The Rocket, a Seattle music magazine, already had his obituary written from a few years earlier. Even before his seclusion, guitarist Jerry Cantrell (one of Staley's best friends) stated that not hearing from Staley for months at a time was not out of the ordinary.
    • While less extreme than the previous examples, Jeff Hanneman was always The Quiet One; while the rest of the band would always take time to hang out and party with fans, Jeff would usually depart to the bus to read, and interviews were rare. Outside of recording and playing shows, Hanneman seldom saw his bandmates and usually preferred to stay at home and spend time with his wife. While Kerry King was criticized for referring to Hanneman as a good friend despite having not seen him for several months prior to his death, the truth was that even his best friends rarely saw or spoke to him and going several months without any real contact with him was completely normal and expected.
  • David Bowie was once so accessible that he regularly communicated with his fanbase via his official website at the Turn of the Millennium. But then he slowly became this. He had not released a new album since 2003, His last tour — one cut short by a heart attack that required multiple bypass surgeries — was in 2004, and his last live performance was in 2006. A few film/TV roles and guest appearances on other artists' albums later, and that was all. He only seemed to surface for the odd premiere or charity fundraiser and didn't grant interviews. In The New '10s, it was generally accepted by fans and the music press that he quietly retired to raise his family, preserve his health, indulge in his hobbies (he paints, sculpts, and is an avowed Book Worm), and enjoy the fruits of his labors...which made January 8, 2013 something of a Wham Episode for everybody when the website was relaunched, a new album announced, and a video for its first single released. The Next Day was a huge hit, but he still would not grant interviews — longtime producer and friend Tony Visconti has said Bowie ruled out the possibility completely — and would not be going on tour to support any new releases. Any chances of this changing ended with his death three years later.
  • Daft Punk is a mild example. While their names are common knowledge (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo), the only confirmed image of the duo's faces was for the front cover of an issue of the British dance music magazine Muzik (which was back in 1997). Aside from that, they were almost always hidden behind their iconic robot masks. Time will tell if their breakup means they'll become more available.
  • Since Beyoncé parted ways with her father as her business manager in 2012, she’s increasingly become more reclusive. She has only released two solo albums since then in 2013 and 2016 without any promotion, compared to the every other year schedule she’d been on before. She gives an interview perhaps once a year (most recently for her 40th birthday in the summer of 2021) and prefers to use her own social media accounts to promote her projects but even those are rarely used outside of her clothing line with Adidas and charity work. She took about two years off between her last album and a 2018 headliner at Coachella due to a high risk pregnancy with twins where she had to have an emergency c-section. That summer, she released a collab album with husband Jay-Z. She also curated the album for The Lion King (2019), with an accompanying film/visual album. Although she does put out singles fairly often and said in the aforementioned interview she’s working on a new album.
  • Along similar lines, Carpenter Brut is known to be a Frenchman named Franck Hueso who likes horror movies, and that's about it. Even his live shows hide his appearance as much as humanly possible.
  • Irish musician and singer-songwriter Van Morrison is still not comfortable with interviews and fandom, even as he approaches his fiftieth year in the business. Viewed as a curmudgeonly old misanthrope who has not improved with age, he has variably engaged in a rolling-in-the-gutter fight with one manager, in the presence of a visibly embarrassed BBC radio team there to try and interview him; described his fans as a bunch of ignorant worthless dolts (this backstage, where he initially refused to go at all in front of a paying public who had bought the gig tickets in good faith) and given a succession of irritated interviewers stubbornly monosyllabic answers. In fact, one of the earliest interviews with a very young Morrison is preserved to this day by Ulster Television and is gleefully brought out for blooper reels. A very young interviewer called Gloria Hunniford (who later went on to a stellar career as a TV presenter and hostess of interview format shows) is seen to gush profusely at being in the presence of Belfast's answer to Mick Jagger, and to enthuse about the broodingly handsome writer and performer of groovy music (this was in 1964 when Morrison was a startlingly good-looking young man). But after that build-up, could Gloria get a word out of him other than "yes" or "no"? She cannot, but this does not stop her trying, so she does, for at least five excruciating minutes. The look of Oh, Crap! in her eyes is unmistakable and very obvious. Morrison has not improved with age.
    • In his earliest "interview", a journalist turned up at the studio where the then largely unknown Morrison was recording. He had an appointment, which had been timed to a break in the recording work. Having waited around for a time, watching him reading a newspaper, the journalist approached and asked if they could do the interview now. Morrison's reply: "Can't you see I'm busy?!"
    • In light of his 70th birthday, he finally consented to an in-depth interview with The Irish Times, in which the interviewer remarks that Morrison was quite pleasant and forthcoming during the interview, albeit just very blunt.
    • He recently appeared in a mini-documentary by Lenny Henry passionately discussing the blues, so it seems that he consents to appearances and interviews only if he's interested in the topic.
  • Andy Sturmer, the drummer, lead vocalist, and co-songwriter of Power Pop Cult Classic '90s band Jellyfish, has remained out of the (relative) spotlight since the band's 1994 breakup, producing and writing for J-Pop band Puffy AmiYumi, providing backing vocals for The Black Crowes and Rooney, as well as producing music for cartoon shows like Teen Titans, Fish Hooks and Kick Buttowski. He grants few (or no) interviews and has a far lower online profile than keyboardist and co-songwriter Roger Manning (or nearly anyone else in the group).
  • Queen:
    • In spite of his larger-than-life stage presence, Freddie Mercury was somewhat more introverted when he wasn't performing. Combined with an aversion to interacting with the media (a result of experiences in Queen's very early career when they were regularly slated in the music press), he stayed out of the public eye when he could. When he contracted AIDS, this tendency increased, to the point where he only revealed that he was sick one day before bronchio-pneumonia brought on by the disease killed him.
    • John Deacon was always notoriously shy but almost completely withdrew from public life in the years after Mercury's death and gave Brian May and Roger Taylor permission to continue performing and releasing material as Queen without him. He does, however, continue to look after the band's finances and May and Taylor regularly consult with him.
  • Several Vocaloid artists, to the point where occasionally a producer revealing his/her gender (such as OSTER project being female) can spark Samus Is a Girl-type reactions.
  • Sly Stone, like the Layne Staley example above, stopped his music career to pretty much spend his time doing drugs. He stopped granting interviews in 1987, and only makes sporadic concert appearances (where he has sometimes left the stage after only performing for 15 minutes). Rumors abound that he's living out of his car now.
  • Axl Rose, after the original Guns N' Roses breakup, made no public appearances (outside of concerts with the new band lineup, including appearances at several music festivals and closing the VMAs in 2002) for seven years and granted almost no interviews during the making of Chinese Democracy (which took at least nine years to record and release).
  • While she has made a few semi-live singing appearances, and gives the occasional interview, Enya prefers to stay out of the spotlight and very rarely appears in public. Part of this can possibly be attributed to the fact that she's had stalkers in the past, some of whom have broken into her home.
  • Prince rarely granted interviews, mostly because of his reported Jerkass tendencies.
  • British singer Sade (from the eponymous band of "No Ordinary Love" fame) has rarely been seen in the public eye since the release of Love Deluxe in 1992. She amassed a sizeable fortune but lived in total seclusion until the release of Soldier of Love in 2010. To note, a Daily Mail article noted that her promotion of that album was the first set of interviews she had done in more than a decade and that it had been eight years since she made a public appearance. She also spent most of the 2000s holed up in a mansion taking care of her son Izaak Theo (a transgender man, he came out as such in 2016) and avoided any and all contact with other people.
  • The Beatles:
    • This fitted lead guitarist George Harrison's image as the "Quiet Beatle", as many cited he rarely gave interviews during Beatlemania and was described as being introverted. He only did two solo tours after the band broke up, played his last full concert in 1992, and his final interview occurred four years before his death (and this was one of only a few he ever did in his later years). However, he was the only ex-Beatle to ever publish an autobiography and he did participate in the Beatles Anthology TV series.
    • Although more active than George, this was true on some part for John Lennon during the later years of his life. However, it was mainly due to the birth of his son Sean, as he did not want to repeat the same mistakes as he did with Julian.
  • The founding members of Kraftwerk are notorious for this, staying holed up in their studio in Dusseldorf for days on end. Various anecdotes of their reclusiveness have been circulating for years, such as the fact that they will only answer phone calls when the precise hour, minute, and second is arranged beforehand - at which time they will answer immediately.
    • In one famous instance, before Coldplay released the song "Talk", which used the riff of "Computer Love", Chris Martin had to send a letter through the lawyers of Kraftwerk's respective parties to seek permission to use the riff. Several weeks later, he received a letter back from the band - which consisted of a sheet of paper that just said "yes".
  • Former Teen Idol Leif Garrett is a bit of a paradox —in Real Life he's very approachable, yet in the public eye, he's been known to be very reclusive and protective of his private life. He got a little better with this once he started appearing on World's Dumbest... in 2008, and now he's in talks to have a Reality Show of his own.
  • Buckethead. The only known pictures (there are two confirmed ones) of him out of character are over 20 years old, and he's been giving fewer and fewer "interviews" (if you can believe it) over the past 5 or so years.
  • Jandek. No one even knows for sure what his real name is. He didn't even begin performing live until well over twenty-five years after he started his musical career. His name might be Sterling R. Smith, if he's the one signing the checks for Coorwood Industries, which releases nothing but his music.
  • Songwriter Dennis Linde, best known for Elvis Presley's "Burning Love" and the Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl", was a known recluse. He never attended awards shows, even when he won, and rarely gave interviews.
  • Very little is known about Brooks & Dunn's personal lives, both on the road together (they broke up in 2010) and separately. Kix has kept himself in the spotlight as the host of American Country Countdown, while Ronnie still releases music independently, but very little is known about them outside their musical ventures.
  • Perhaps the ultimate example of this is Canadian musician Nash the Slash, former member of the progressive rock band FM (he also has a vast and eclectic oeuvre as a solo artist); since the late '70s, he has never appeared in public without a thick layer of bandages covering every bit of skin that isn't absolutely necessary for him to perform, and he has done his best to keep his true identity a mystery, at which he mostly succeeded until his real name showed up on Wikipedia relatively recently.
  • Phil Spector not only didn't talk to the press but kept his ex-wife prisoner in his mansion to prevent her from being photographed (or seen in a bikini by others). He died in 2021, but as he was serving a jail sentence for murder, it wasn't likely that he wasn't going to become more accessible anytime soon.
  • MF Doom was not seen without his mask since the '90s. We knew his name is Daniel Dumile from his years as Zev-Love X, but that's about all. When he passed away on October 31, 2020, it wasn't revealed until two months later.
  • After spending the 1960s and 1970s as a teen idol in the UK, Scott Walker shifted to experimental music for the remainder of his career. He only resurfaced for interviews when he had an album to promote, and virtually disappeared in the time between them. He even worked as an interior decorator in the downtime; he was that low-key.
  • Ronald Jones, former guitarist of The Flaming Lips, left the band due to his increasing agoraphobia and his distaste of Steven Drozd's heroin usage. Aside from working at a few local gigs, he practically fell off the face of the earth after leaving.
  • Satirist Tom Lehrer gave up his music career after producing only three (or so) albums worth of material and retired to a life in academia. Not as extreme as some cases, as he's apparently willing enough to be interviewed, if only to cheerfully confirm that he's still alive.
  • Shania Twain became this after her Up! album in 2002. It turned out this was because she lost her voice due to stress in her personal life. After undergoing therapy, she regained it and reemerged with a hugely successful Las Vegas residency.
  • The girls that make up the J-Pop duo ClariS (best known for performing themes to Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Nisemonogatari, among others) have done this voluntarily to keep them focused on their schoolwork. In an extreme example of this, they haven't even told anyone else outside their families about their career, either.
  • The Swedish metal band Ghost wears robes, hoods, and masks on stage and refers to its members as "Nameless Ghouls" (to the point of them signing merchandise simply as "A Nameless Ghoul"). They refuse to comment on any speculation about their real identities and even faked a singer switch to try to throw off speculation about the singer's identity. This later became moot when old members revealed themselves to be a part of Ghost (Martin Persneri personally confirmed himself one of the Nameless Ghouls) and a lawsuit came out that ousted a majority of past members who then also ousted the identity of Papa Emeritus as Repugnant vocalist Tobias Forge.
    • Also, one member revealed that Dave Grohl has performed with the band as a Nameless Ghoul.
  • Per "Dead" Ohlin, vocalist of Mayhem, was known to be extremely reclusive and antisocial, to the point where even his own bandmates knew almost nothing about him until after his suicide.
  • Bridgit Mendler is this. Her social media accounts appear to be managed by her Public Relations team and little is really known about her personal life, even who she's dating (not that she has confirmed or denied it). Her VEVO channel on YouTube is about the only "true" social media she has.
  • Asaki of BEMANI fame is particularly reclusive, concealing his full name, having few photos of him in circulation, and never showing up to BEMANI-related events. For the Private BEMANI Academy event, all participating musicians made an appearance in the promotional video and related media...except for Asaki and his collaboration partner 96; instead of their actual faces, two stand-ins, both of which obviously look nothing like them (Asaki's stand-in, in particular, is a Caucasian person) pose as them instead.
  • Almost nothing is known about the life of blues musician Robert Johnson. He released only a pithy few records in his time, none of which gained any major recognition until decades after he died in 1938. What's more, although the people that he knew remembered him fondly, he was also quite reserved and shy (legend has it that he recorded his songs while facing a wall), so we have absolutely no words that came from his mouth, and only two positively-confirmed photographs (a possible third was discovered in 2005 and confirmed by one expert in 2013, but whether or not it's truly him in the photo remains hotly contested). We don't even know where he was buried- there are three different markers in completely different locations that bear his name, all of which weren't put up until the '90s!
  • Zigzagged a bit with Billy Joel. While he often appears in the public eye, mainly to promote reissues/repackagings of his back catalog, appear in Q&A seminars about his music, or perform live (with or without Elton John), and he has performed in many high-profile charity shows, most notably the Hurricane Sandy benefits, he has a considerably lower profile than he had for 20 years, and has rarely released material, especially in the pop vein since 1993's River Of Dreams album. Most of the new music he has released has been instrumental contemporary classical piano music.
  • Swedish indie-synthpop/dreampop artist Sally Shapiro has not revealed her real name, nor performed live or toured other than a short DJ tour in 2008, and rarely gives interviews.
  • Mexican singer Luis Miguel is infamous for being very aloof, continuously refusing to talk about anything related to his off-stage life and keeping to himself in almost everything.
  • Eminem has never been very comfortable with the spotlight and nowadays prefers to stay home in Detroit unless he feels the need to appear in public. When his song "Lose Yourself" was nominated and won an Academy Award, he was at home dead asleep.
  • Selena Gomez’s activity on social media has waxed and waned over the years. Back in the late 2000s, she was very active but as she left Disney Channel became less so. She completely withdrew from the public eye for a few years in the early to mid-2010s when she was dating Justin Bieber due to harassment and some unspecified personal problems, including checking into a rehab center in 2014. The following year she announced that the reason she’d gone into a treatment facility was that she had lupus and needed chemotherapy. She spent most of 2016 again in treatment before she received a kidney transplant from a friend. Now that she’s had a transplant and is healthy again, she’s somewhat come back to social media but not so much as she was back in her teen star days.
  • The electronic musician Burial (real name William Bevan), who preferred to remain anonymous at the time of his debut in 2006. There was quite a bit of speculation about his identity until in 2008, he posted a blog entry on his Myspace revealing his face and name, stating that he's just a normal guy who just liked to make music. Since then, he's worked with artists like Thom Yorke and Massive Attack, and still stays away from the spotlight.
  • Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo. He lives in a very isolated area (literally, a swamp in Louisiana) and refuses to have a Facebook page or even a telephone.
  • The Knife were notoriously shy in the early stages of their career, preferring to use masks to hide their faces in photos and rarely granted interviews. They've maintained that they were willing to talk to the press, just not the ones that want to delve into their personal lives, which limited the amount they did. When Karin started promoting her own music as Fever Ray, she was much amiable to interviews, albeit still refusing personal information and appearing covered in heavy makeup, largely to maintain her privacy.
    • Averted with the release of her album "Plunge" during which she used 'comparatively' little makeup/masks to hide herself. And even talked about her family in interviews.
  • Childish Gambino increasingly became reclusive from about 2014-2016, especially after his departure from Community. He rarely makes social media posts and in fact deleted his posts on Twitter and Instagram. He also rarely makes public appearances, in one case canceled a music festival appearance for no apparent reason. He resurfaced in late 2016 to promote his new dramedy Atlanta and after it was announced he would be joining the cast of Solo. Even now, the few appearances he makes are usually to promote something specific.
  • The Weeknd has confessed that his initial refusal to disclose his identity when he released his first mixtape was because he was camera shy and not used to the attention. Since then, he's still uncomfortable with the spotlight but has gradually gotten better at coping with it.
  • Missy Elliott, at the height of her career, simply vanished from the spotlight. In an interview, she stated that this was due to her suffering from Graves' disease coupled with stress from the loss of her friend and collaborator Aaliyah. She later got her condition under control and made a well-received appearance at Super Bowl XLIX; whether that will make her any less reclusive is up in the air.
  • Lee Mavers, leader of The La's, has something of a Berserk Button about this. He is often treated as a Reclusive Artist because of the band's failure to produce a second studio album for over twenty years, and the rarity of their live performances. However, he insists that he has a perfectly normal social life, and complains that the media describe him as a "recluse" just because he doesn't get photographed falling over outside fashionable nightclubs with a model on each arm.
  • A long stretch of time passed by between the release of normally low-profile Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen's 1982 solo debut The Nightfly, and its 1993 followup, Kamikiriad, upon which Fagen largely laid low aside from the occasional song written for a movie soundtrack ("True Companion" from Heavy Metal; "Century's End" from Bright Lights, Big City), very sporadic songwriting for other music acts (Diana Ross, Manhattan Transfer, Yellowjackets and Jennifer Warnes, most notably) and the occasional live concert performance (usually charity shows in New York City). He began performing again with the "New York Rock'n'Soul Revue", a blues and jazz-based tour that occasionally saw him revisit some Steely Dan classics, in the late 1980's, and penned essays for Premiere magazine. After reuniting with Steely cofounder Walter Becker for Kamikiriad, the duo assembled a new band, went on the road as Steely Dan (their first tour since 1974), and have both (separately and together) kept a higher profile and constant touring ever since.
  • Max Martin is pretty much the most influential pop music producer and songwriter in the world as he's written and produced more number one hit singles than any other producer in the world, second to only George Martin and Lennon/McCartney's songwriting. He's also known to shun all interviews and public appearances, save for limited industry appearances, and makes all the artists he works with fly to Sweden if they want to work with him.
  • Fiona Apple has made it quite known that she dislikes fame and all the trappings that it brings and stays away from the public eye. After her last album in 2012, she does remain musically productive and shows up on the occasional collaboration or performance and wrote the opening theme song of The Affair. She released an album in 2020 to critical acclaim, although she dropped it during a pandemic so she could avoid interviews.
  • Frank Ocean burst onto the music scene with his association with OFWGKTA in 2008 and his own solo albums. But instead of capitalizing on the buzz of his critically acclaimed debut album channel ORANGE, he virtually disappeared and while he announced his intention to release his next album, Boys Don't Cry, he dropped off the radar again with no album in sight and people hungrily waiting for it. Even Adele, who herself is somewhat notorious for her long wait times between albums, complained that she was impatient for his album. In August 2016, he finally delivered not one, but two albums: a visual album called Endless, and his long-awaited Boys Don't Cry, now re-titled Blonde with the original title reworked as a companion zine. He has been somewhat active on social media, posting the usual Instagram post or Tumblr update every few months, and has been putting out singles as of late 2019, although his activity stopped after the sudden death of his younger brother Ryan in August 2020.
  • Experimental electronic/R&B artist Jai Paul is notorious for this, such as only having a Twitter account with one tweet to address a leaked album back in 2013, giving very little interviews and very little live performances, next-to-nothing being known about his personal life, and most notoriously, only having released two or three singles since 2010 despite massive praise and buzz (aforementioned leaked album/demos not counting).
  • Italian singer Mina stopped performing music and making public appearances in 1978, but it hasn't stopped her from recording new music on a yearly basis in addition to writing a weekly forum on the front page of La Stampa and a page in the Italian edition of the magazine Vanity Fair, where she answers fan letters.
  • The members of the obscure American-British girl group No Secrets have all but vanished from existence. Reportedly, Angel Faith is a doctor, Carly Lewis is married, Erin Tanner (now Nicki Foxx) is a solo artist, Jessica Fried (now Jessi Malay) is a solo artist as well, and Jade Ryusaki now resides in Hawaii as a model. Good luck trying to track them down!
  • Mark Hollis of Talk Talk was a famous example, mainly due to the fact he himself invoked the trope. After the critical success of both of Talk Talk's final works (Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, which are considered the Trope Codifier of Post-Rock), Hollis quietly retired from the music industry. While he did release a self-titled solo album afterwards, he again quietly retired to raise his family, and not much had been known where he was. The last anybody fully saw Hollis was in 2004 to pick up a Pop Award for "It's My Life", and even then he picked it up in the offices instead of the actual award show. He became a mystique figure within the music world, and with the exception of him doing a commissioned piece for the show Boss in 2012, he was never heard from again until his death at age 64 in 2019.
  • Following her 1989 World Tour, Taylor Swift took a deliberately long break from recording, writing, and touring, releasing very few songs in 2015-2016 apart from a duet with Zayn Malik for Fifty Shades Darker ("I Don't Wanna Live Forever") and a co-write for a Little Big Town single, "Better Man" (arguably Taylor's first foray into country music since Red) and uncredited co-write with her then-boyfriend, Calvin Harris ("This Is What You Came For"), along with various controversies and breakups in her personal life. In the summer of 2017, she erased every post on social media and unfollowed everyone she previously followed (save for Tumblr), and posted three cryptic videos showing the tail, body, and head of a snake. In late August, she finally announced the November release of her sixth album in August, reputation., along with releasing the lead single and its video, "Look What You Made Me Do", later in the month. This phase ended after the release of the album itself.
  • German Black Metal/Doom Metal band (DOLCH) have an impressive take on this trope: While they do perform live, not much is known about them. The band doesn't have any social media, doesn't conduct interviews, nor is it known what their lineup is. All it's known is the band's lead by a mysterious female vocalist and a guitarist (and it's impossible to know if the known photos of another guitarist, bassist, and drummer are concrete as the band doesn't list members in their releases, instead using their band logo). Asking their label Ván Records about who they are or their lack of social media is also cryptic, as they too keep secret of who they are. All it's been known is the aforementioned core members, the two demos (and a compilation of said demos), a split with another band on the Ván Records label, the EP An den Mond and the recent release III: Songs of Happiness...Words of Praise.
  • According to lead developer Dan Salvato, Jillian Ashcraft, Monika's voice actress and the singer of the ending song "Your Reality" in Doki Doki Literature Club!, "prefers staying private" for now. There are a few videos online of her singing (she also plays guitar), but not much else.
  • Retro Jazz/blues musician & singer Leon Redbone was very secretive about his past and rarely gave interviews; when he did talk about his history, everything he said could be filed under Multiple-Choice Past or Blatant Lies.
    I don't do anything mysterious on purpose. I'm less than forthcoming, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm mysterious. It just means I'm not inclined to go there.
  • Dean Martin for all intents and purposes, became this following the tragic death of his son, Dean Paul Martin, who was killed in a plane crash during a California Air National Guard training mission in 1987, at the age of 35. In 1988, he bowed out of a Rat Pack reunion tour after only a short time on the job. He also declined to take part in a 1992 retrospective on Martin and Jerry Lewis with his old comedy partner. When he died on Christmas Day in 1995, Martin had long been out of the public eye.
  • Oasis:
    • Original bassist Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan, who left the group in 1999, along with original rhythm guitarist Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs. According to Noel Gallagher, Guigsy quit via fax and avoided phone calls from the Gallaghers in the following weeks. He declined to appear in the 2004 Definitely Maybe DVD, though a polite letter explaining his reasons for doing so appears as a hidden extra, along with a short segment with pundits giving their views on him. He also declined to be interviewed for the Oasis: Supersonic documentary, though archive footage of him was used instead.
    • Second drummer Alan White quit music entirely after leaving the band, outside of a one-off gig with his brother Steve's band in 2008. Little has been heard from him since.
  • Musician Nyango Star - a promotional character for a Japanese strawberry farm who plays heavy metal drums. The identity of the musician who plays Nyango is not even public knowledge.
  • Aussie singer and Memetic Mutation Chainmale, real name Michael Freeland, is this trope, he's a very mysterious man and he hasn't released any music since the 1980s. He, however, did arrange an interview with Darryl Bullock for his book "The World's Worst Records: Volume Two: Another Arcade of Audio Atrocity".
  • George Michael became a recluse in his last months, after checking out of rehab, to the point that the last photos taken prior to his death showed him suddenly gaining weight along with rarely showing up in public in addition to battling his demons which caused his relationship with his cousin to end up being strained.
  • Demon Kakka of Seikima II (and to a lesser extent most of the band's members). All we know about his true identity is his birthday, where he was born, where he attended school and university, and that his elder sister, Yumiko Kogure, is a former Tokyo Broadcasting System newscaster... and that's basically it.
  • Rion Vernon, who many know as Doctor Steel, was this. All we know about his true identity is his real name, and after he retired his Doctor Steel persona, he vanished off the face of the earth for quite some time.
    • Vernon maintains a website that details his portfolio, which shows how he returned to character and production design after retiring from the music industry. He also, along with Zach Manchester, very recently (in late 2019) started a company that designs and manufactures pseudo antiques. He even appears in their introductory video
  • Pianist Mike Lombardo use to post his songs on YouTube frequently and even had a chance to sign with a record label, but his career came to an end after he was convicted in 2012 for possessing child porn. Despite his release in 2018, he's completely vanished from the public eye since one of his parole requirements involves having next to no access to the internet.
  • Mexican singer-songwriter Lynda Thomas became this in 2002, when she vanished from the public eye, leaving some people making speculations on why she did such a thing during the peak of her career with battling bulimia, depression, and social isolation (which she mentioned on her song "A 1000 X Hora") being a possible reason. Fortunately, sixteen years later, Thomas returned to the public eye by launching her Twitter account, with her first post explaining her absence along with revealing that she's now a mother of one and has since made a comeback.
  • Two examples from Kiss:
    • Ace Frehley's replacement Vinnie Vincent was not seen publicly from 1996 until January 2018. He returned to the public eye at the Atlanta KISS Expo (brought on by months of gentle prodding from a major fan, through Vincent's lawyer), and explained that his 22-year absence was a combination of his lengthy lawsuit against his former band, an abysmal marriage to his now-deceased second wife, a disdain for social media, and a general feeling that no one cared about him anymore. Needless to say, he was wrong on that last part, as he got a warm reception, and even had fans fly in from all over the world to see and meet him (including one fan from Australia who had the autograph of every member of KISS except for his).
    • Vincent's replacement Mark St. John basically disappeared from the industry after a collaboration with ex-Kiss drummer Peter Criss ended up failing miserably. He wasn't completely gone like Vinnie Vincent, but never did anything with any kind of profile again, and even spent time in jail prior to his death.
  • SOPHIE spent much of her initial boom of popularity starting around 2013 a recluse, producing mononymously-released music backed by anonymously credited singers and often devoid of anything regarding her identity — one infamous 2014 Boiler Room liveset saw her hire a drag performer to pretend to DJ on stage while she stood nearby as a security guard. This ended up changing a bit in late 2017 after she came out as a transgender woman and began more publicly exploring her personal image, showing up to actual live performances, putting her face in videos and promotional material, and being more willing to give interviews, but she still counts as she generally strayed away from social media and overall remained a private person up until her death in 2021.
  • Lou Watts of Chumbawamba vanished off the face of the Earth after the band's 2012 breakup. She has no social media profiles and hasn't done anything since the band's breakup.
  • George Strait is known for keeping a fairly quiet personal life, rarely disclosing any information about himself that isn't already publicly known or drawing attention to himself as a celebrity.
  • Rapper Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio a.k.a Bad Bunny has stated that he likes to live a calm life that everytime his concerts are done, he immediately leaves the area to avoid crowds. He disappeared from social media for a time when he was overwhelmed with his sudden rise to fame.
  • Catherine St. Onge a.k.a. Himeka is known for her singing several anime and video game theme songs after she had won the Second Annual Animax Anison Grand Prix in Japan. However, in 2014, she went back to Canada due to her visa issues and being dropped off by her label. While she does desire to continue her singing career, she reveals frustrations on Twitter about the mistreatment she experienced in the music industry and the death threats she received due to being a foreigner. Afterward, she deleted all of her social media accounts. Nothing's been heard of her ever since.
  • Since 2014, Sia has avoided the spotlight and is not contractually obliged to tour or promote her music; she doesn't even show her face most of the time. This is because she grew highly uncomfortable with fame and it damaged her health. Additionally, her social media pages are usually run by her team.
  • Wendy Carlos gained a reputation for this after a nervous breakdown just before a 1968 live performance motivated her to minimize her public appearances; at the time of the performance, Carlos had already begun her gender transition, but was wracked with fear about how the public would respond to her identity, with the breakdown in question coming about after Carlos came to the conclusion that she had to continue disguising herself as a man. Even after she finally disclosed her identity as a trans woman in 1979 (the response to which was, to her surprise, fairly indifferent), she generally kept out of the public eye save for the occasional interview, and has mostly retreated into private life following Tales of Heaven and Hell, only resurfacing when it's absolutely necessary.
  • Gustav Holst was totally unprepared for the fame that came to him after the huge success of The Planets. He had always been shy, and turned down most social engagements in favor of teaching and more composing. It didn't help that much of his music was idiosyncratic and personal, and he grew tired of repeatedly having to explain himself.

  • French Romantic poet Alfred de Vigny was notorious for his revulsion of public life. His self-imposed isolation and general aloofness were described by Sainte-Beuve, a famous literary critic of the time, as "withdrawing to the Ivory Tower", giving the expression its modern sense.
  • Emily Dickinson, a unique case in that eventually she rarely ever left her room, but she still had an active social life and close friends. It was even said she sent down baskets of treats for young children with a rope.

    Pro Wrestlers 
  • After spending over two decades in the spotlight as the second most famous pro wrestler in the world, "Macho Man" Randy Savage mostly stayed out of the public eye during the last five or six years of his life, as he had retired from wrestling for good, reunited with his High School Sweetheart (whom he would marry only a year before he died), focused on doing charity work in his community and took care of his elderly parents. He did occasionally do some voice acting gigs, but it wasn't until his death in 2011 that he became a renowned legend in the eyes of the public again.
  • Brock Lesnar is a notoriously private person in real life. He does not like to be approached by fans in public and rarely does public appearances or interviews.
  • Dean Ambrose's Twitter account is mostly inactive and he usually shied away from interviews as well. After leaving WWE he started doing more interviews however.
  • It is very common for lucha libre to never reveal their true identities to the public, much like comic-book superheroes and villains. To be unmasked by a rival wrestler, or indeed anyone at all, is considered an irredeemable dishonor.
  • It is common for some pro wrestlers to become this once they retire, especially if they never made it big. Aksana and Layla have both mostly stopped using social media upon retiring and staying out of the public eye. Terri Poch (aka. Tori of the Attitude Era) doesn't even have a Twitter account and rarely attends conventions. But one of the most prominent examples of this is Muhammad Hassan. Despite lasting only seven months on WWE's main roster, he is one of the most talked-about wrestlers in the fandom even today. Ever since retiring in 2005 amid the massive controversy surrounding him, he has mostly kept to himself and returned back to college to get a degree in education and was discovered in 2018 to be the principal of a middle school in New York. He did, however, attend a wrestling convention in 2010 and he worked with Shad Gaspard (formerly of Cryme Tyme) on a graphic novel and as of 2018, he has returned to wrestling, albeit in the indies.
  • Kevin Dunn, the long-time WWE executive and right hand to Vince McMahon, keeps an extremely low profile. He does not use any social media nor make any public appearances or interviews. There are few pictures of him on the Internet and all that we know about him is from third-party stories and shoot interviews.

  • Kathryn Mullen only did one interview with Kevin Perjurer of Defunctland. Her last known major role was Leona from Between the Lions in the show's first two seasons. Mullen's last known public appearance was at Dragon Con 2013 where she appeared with her husband Michael K. Frith and puppeteer Karen Prell to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Fraggle Rock where she performed Mokey Fraggle along with Prell performing Red Fraggle. As of now, Mullen is no longer affiliated with doing television shows as she and her husband currently run a production company known as No Strings Productions.

    Video Game Developers 
  • Studio Pixel's Daisuke Amaya. He created the legendary freeware game Cave Story that later got a commercial Updated Re Release on WiiWare, made a few other games, gave a pair of interviews full of Shrugs Of God, and... well, that's pretty much all we know about him.
  • Shouzou Kaga, often credited as the brains behind Fire Emblem, helmed the first 5 installments of the series (from 1990 to 1999), and then abruptly left Nintendo not too long after Thracia 776's release. He then established his own studio, Tirnanog, and in 2001 made TearRing Saga for the PS1, which is so literally "Fire Emblem on the PlayStation" that Nintendo sued him over it. Kaga seemed to escape the lawsuit relatively unscathed, made Berwick Saga (a semi-sequel to TearRing) in 2005. Then, for a good decade, Shouzou Kaga remained mostly silent, mostly blogging and working on projects that feel through prior to gaining any real ground (a Tear Ring Saga remake among them) Finally, in May of 2015, Shouzou Kaga broke his silence and announced a new SRPG, Vestaria Saga, which is currently under development.
  • Not much is known about Kikiyama, creator of Yume Nikki. They will occasionally respond to emails but generally stay very quiet. Their website hasn't been updated in years and they haven't made any games aside from Yume Nikki. Even after several high-profile derivative works based on the game were announced in 2013, they still hasn't stepped out of the shadows. Even after it was announced that Kikiyama was personally involved in the follow-up announced in 2018, little is known about them. Some even speculate that Kikiyama is actually multiple people.
  • Dan and Sam Houser, the writers and producers of every Grand Theft Auto game since the release of Grand Theft Auto III, as well as Red Dead Redemption, tend to avoid the spotlight whenever possible.
  • Matthew Smith, the programmer and designer of Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy became one of the few "name brands" of the UK games industry of the mid-'80s before announcing a new game, called Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens From Mars in the late-'80s and then seemingly walking off the face of the Earth. (Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens From Mars was finished by other coders and released as Star Paws.) In the '90s there was even a website called "Where is Matthew Smith?" featuring reports of "sightings" and speculation about where he had gone and/or what had happened to him. After all of that, Smith re-appeared via the internet at the end of the 1990s and is now fairly well-known amongst the retrogaming community, appearing at several live shows.
  • Tori, the (former) head writer of AliceSoft, is in some ways a bit of a recluse. She has a blog where she talks about her everyday life and what it was like when she was a writer, and yet at the same time, barely anything is known about her, even her name.
  • Information regarding 237, the Japanese developer behind the infamous ero-guro game Demonophobia is extremely scarce — to the point that it was rumored that he outright died in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. He allegedly resurfaced in 2020 for an YouTube interview, then dropped off the face of the Earth again afterwards.
  • Osamu Sato, who created some of the trippiest games ever, LSD: Dream Emulator and Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou, has no personal information listed for him anywhere. There are only a couple of webpages about him on the entire Internet, one of which lists a death date. However, this is untrue, as he still has an Instagram account which is updated fairly regularly.
  • Yoko Taro, the director of the Drakengard games considers most interviews a "boring chore" and often either looks away or dons a No. 7 mask in front of cameras (the latter, ironically, became a defining part of his public image to the point that it increased his involvement in promotional work). According to an interview, he is of the belief that creators should stay out of the public eye, stating that if he found out that the writer of an erotic novel series was a middle-aged man, he'd be disappointed.
  • Icefrog, the developer of Defense of the Ancients, has virtually no information known about him beyond his internet name and that he is an employee for Valve, working on Dota 2.
  • Shinichi Shimomura, one of the leading designers of the Kirby series and the director of Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Dream Land 3, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, vanished sometime after Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land's release. He's so elusive that a sizable contingency of people assumed that he was actually Satoru Iwata operating under a pseudonym, which was eventually debunked when two pictures of Shimomura from a Japanese Kirby's Dream Course guidebook surfaced online in 2022. Other rumors suggest that he passed away in 2003, possibly in a car accident, but the lack of information regarding Shimomura (to the point where only devoted Kirby fans are aware of his existence) leaves his fate inconclusive; most folks assume that he simply retired.
  • Yasuyuki Hasebe who was the battle planner of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy VI, the battle designer of Super Mario RPG and most notably the director, writer, and designer of the Cult Classic The Legend of Dragoon hasn't been seen since.
  • Pokémon:
    • Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of the Pokemon franchise, rarely makes public appearances, though he is still very involved at Game Freak as its Executive Producer. This ended up reaching a point where photos of Tsunekazu Ishihara, president of The Pokémon Company, are frequently mislabeled as ones of Tajiri.
    • Atsuko Nishida, the artist of many iconic Pokemon including Pikachu & Bulbasaur, is notoriously camera-shy. Very few photos of her exist, and in 2018, she spent an entire interview hiding behind a giant Pikachu doll.
  • Hitoshi Akamatsu, who created Castlevania and worked on the original NES trilogy, has vanished off the face of the Earth. Even his name was unknown to fandom for many years, and many people who worked at Konami at the same time claimed to have never met him. (This seems to have been the case with many of the members of the original Castlevania team, however the rest of them have other credits and didn't just fade out of sight as Akamatasu did.) His only known interview was from a 1987 magazine interview on the making of The Goonies II, which is the only time Konami has ever directly acknowledged Akamatsu's hand in the creation of the original Castlevania.
  • Very, very little is known about Carol, creator of the Super Mario World ROM hack Brutal Mario. They have no social media presence, no personal information is known about them in general and they've done no interviews online about their work whatsoever. Then again, this is also kind of a trend with Japanese ROM hack authors as a whole, with the people behind Super Mario World YEAHH, Scarlet Devil Mario and Super Mario LD being equally reclusive and hard to find out about online.
  • Zig-zagged by Tarn "Toady One" Adams of Dwarf Fortress fame. While he's very willing to give interviews and attends the occasional con, in his personal life he seems to spend most of his time holed up in his apartment, sleeping during the day and working at night, and living mainly off Quiznos sandwiches and Dr Pepper. After the New York Times article that brought his hikkikomori tendencies to the attention of the fans there was a rather heartwarming outpouring of concern for his long-term health and offers to send him some proper food or even find him a live-in housekeeper.
  • Vince Perri, creator of the infamous Action 52. Initially, he was relatively active in the game's marketing, even showcasing it at a Consumer Electronics Show. After the game's dismal reception, however, he disappeared from the public eye. Very little is known about him, and there are no pictures of him anywhere.
  • Iron Tower Studio game designer Vince D. Weller, who served as director for The Age of Decadence, is actually operating under an alias, and while active in terms of communication, it's only when it concerned the game. An interview with Rock Paper Shotgun revealed that this a necessity due to him already working at another company, thus not allowing him to manage other businesses openly.
  • Akira Kitamura, the creator of Mega Man, seems to prefer being out of the spotlight in relation to his famous creation. He only directed the first two games in the series, but left Capcom shortly after the second game was finished and eventually left the video game industry altogether after trying to strike out on his own for a bit. Since then, he has only given a few interviews.
  • Sayori, main writer and illustrator of the game Nekopara. Sekai Project asked his guests to not take any pictures or videos at her panel on Anime Expo 2016.
  • Jeff Spangenberg was the founder of Iguana Entertainment and became a high-ranking executive in Acclaim Entertainment after being bought out by them. After being fired from Acclaim for undisclosed reasons, he partnered with Nintendo to create Retro Studios, but Nintendo bought out his stake in the company due to mismanagement and the discovery that he had been misusing funds and hardware to host a lewd website. After this, he founded the short-lived Top Heavy Studios and created The Guy Game, an erotic party game that flopped with critics and in sales and was banned from stores due to the inadvertent inclusion of an underaged girl. Despite previously being a rather high profile game developer, Jeff Spangenberg has seemingly disappeared from public life after the failure of The Guy Game, with him refusing requests for interviews, having no real online presence, no more involvement in the game industry, and his current whereabouts and activities are unknown.
  • Sivak Games, creator of Battle Kid and its sequel. Other than his infrequently-updated YouTube channel, he has no online presence to speak of. Almost nothing is known about his personal life (other than that he's an American currently working in Japan), to the extent that nobody even seems to know his real name.
  • Before the launch of Mighty No. 9 Keiji Inafune was pretty active both on social media and on the interview scene, doing regular talks with websites and engaging with fans. However, after the game's shaky launch and tepid reception, along with his comments about the Japanese game industry and his role in Capcom's Audience-Alienating Era of moving towards more Western-focused games making him a pariah in the industry, he's since been mostly quiet and shied away from the public eye.

    Virtual YouTubers 
This is the rule of thumb for Virtual YouTubers, for kayfabe is an integral aspect of Virtual YouTubing, and the resulting relative anonymity (and thus comparative safety from trolls, stalkers, and so on) is one factor that attracts performers to the medium in the first place. For that reason, this folder should largely list exceptions. Do not actually link specific "uncovered" information except in the cases where the Virtual YouTuber in question has made a public statement, as with the Kizuna AI example below.
  • hololive:
    • Kiryu Coco's real identity was an Open Secret, as she remained active on her pre-Hololive VTuber account Kson On Air, on which she also did non-virtual streams. After leaving Hololive she went back to using the Kson persona full time.
    • Nene accidentally doxxed her entire generation before her debut because her distinctive drawing style allowed people to link Nene back to her personal social media accounts on which she had also followed the other new members' real identities.
    • Most of the EN branch's members are known due to the experience and quality requirements Cover Corp placed on the EN recruiting process. Calliope Mori has an extensive and well-documented past in the Japanese rap scene to the point where her identity was obvious before she even made her debut just on the description of "Japanese-speaking female American rapper". Takanashi Kiara was a former, non-virtual, idol. Amelia Watson was a Twitch live streamer. Gura had already achieved 1 million subscribers on her pre-Hololive YouTube account which was more than almost all the other members in the company at the time.
  • Kizuna AI is a Trope Codifier for VTubing, but nothing is known about the people behind her; not the people who make her videos or, until April 2020, the voice actress who portrays her.
    • After concern over a possible change in voice actor in 2019, Chinese fans on bilibili (basically the Chinese YouTube) connected the dots and deduced Ai's voice to be Nozomi "Non-chan" Kasuga, an aspiring seiyuu who happens to share Ai's birthday. Kasuga refused to confirm or deny, much less speak of any controversy, until a year later when she publicly outed herself as the character.

    Voice Actors 
  • Voice actress Cynthia Cranz, best known for providing the voice of Chi-Chi in the Dragon Ball franchise and Botan in YuYu Hakusho, lives more privately compared to her fellow voice actors, never attending any anime conventions or doing interviews, at least until she started coming out of her shell a bit, and now regularly appears at cons. In an interview, she said this was due to her social anxiety.
  • Linda Young, the English voice of Frieza in Dragon Ball Z and Genkai in YuYu Hakusho. For years, she had never done an interview, and for the longest time, her only convention was in 1999. She's still active as a voice actress but has a reputation for being a bit mysterious. In 2015, Young finally appeared at a convention where she was in a panel with Ryusei Nakao, Frieza's Japanese voice actor. They even shared a laugh together. These days, she's slowly making the rounds at a few conventions a year, and she says she was nervous to do so for a long time because she wasn't sure what to expect.
  • Legendary voice actor John Stephenson never gave an interview and rarely went out in public. He did show up at BotCon 2001, however.
  • Christine Cavanaugh, one of the top voice actresses of the 1990s, retired in 2001 due to "personal reasons," and was never heard from again. Not even her fellow voice actors knew of her whereabouts.note  After her death in December 2014, her obituary mentioned that she retired to focus on having a simple, quiet life in the country with her family.
  • Kath Soucie was another top voice actress of the '90s, and is still working some today, but she maintains a very private life, rarely making public appearances or doing interviews, and has completely shied away from social media of any kind.
  • Frank Welker, the voice of Fred from the Scooby-Doo franchise in addition to many other famous characters, notably shied away from interviews and public attention for many years. Since around 2015, Frank has been opening up to fans and has appeared at many conventions including the Transformers-oriented TFCon, often times appearing with Peter Cullen for Transformers-related convention appearances.
  • Grant George, well known for voicing Kilik in Soulcalibur, Diarmud in Fate/Zero and Kagura Mutsuki in BlazBlue among others, has little to no social media presence and rarely appears at cons. He abandoned his original Twitter around 2014 and focused a lot more on working with his wife Jessica, who is also a voice actress. They made a joint Twitter shortly after, but it was suddenly suspended without any reason given. He's made a tiny handful of posts since then but appears to prefer keeping his personal life private. That said, he still does voice work.
  • The already mysterious John Chacon, the voice actor for Gabe Logan in the first three Syphon Filter games, completely dropped off the radar after he was replaced by James Arnold Taylor.
  • Kathleen Barr, best known for voicing Dot Matrix in ReBoot, Kevin in Ed, Edd n Eddy, and Trixie and Queen Chrysalis in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Despite being extremely active in the Canadian voiceover industry, very little is known about her personal life, she rarely attends conventions, and wouldn't allow a photo of herself to be used on Behind the Voice Actors.
  • For a long time, Tabitha St. Germain only communicated with her fans via her blog and website, and rarely visited it. Before 2012, she only had two known interviews. She's started to open up to her fans by first attending San Diego Comic-Con 2012 and then joining Twitter in 2013.
  • Moneca Stori, the original English voice of Kagome in Inuyasha, has seemingly vanished off the face of the earth. She used to be a fairly active voice actress in Vancouver, and even did a couple interviews and conventions in the early 2000s, but hasn't been heard from at all in over a decade (her last credit was in 2009). She was replaced with Kira Tozer for InuYasha: The Final Act with little explanation. According to Trevor Devall, she moved to the U.S. and retired from acting.
  • Carol Stanzione had a modest number of roles in the early 2000s, perhaps known for dubbing the Ensemble Dark Horse character Cima Garahau in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory. Very little is known about her currently, though her website is still up and includes clips of Cima and other characters. She seems to have retired from voice acting and focused on political activism.
  • Madeleine Peters, the voice of Scootaloo in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and Helen Lorraine in Martha Speaks. Little is known about her current life (other than living in Baltimore and trying to pursue a career in animation), she's not as active online as her fellow voice actresses Claire Corlett and Michelle Creber, and rarely attends conventions.
  • Mimi Woods, best known for providing the voice of Major Kusanagi in the English dub of the original Ghost in the Shell film and the PS1 game, has almost completely vanished off the face of the earth following her handful of anime and video game roles. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, who took over her role of the Major for the Stand Alone Complex anime, acknowledged at a convention panel that Woods had moved away and retired from voice acting.
  • Evetta Muradasilova, best known as the voice behind the Plain Doll and Lady Maria from Bloodborne and the Maiden in Black from Demon's Souls. While there is a photo or two floating around the internet, many people are unsure if it's even really her to begin with.
  • Scott Freeman has completely disappeared from the anime community since his 2015 conviction for possessing child porn, a part of this obviously stems from his parole allowing limited travel and internet access. The only info about him since then was his employment at a bar in Texas before moving to Nebraska around late 2018.
  • Oliver Grainger, known for being one of the many D.W's in Arthur and Dongwa in Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat, has retired from voice acting and is mostly private, though he has a presence on Instagram... which he updates once in a while. He used to be on Facebook, however when a fan found out he was there, he deleted his Facebook page.
  • Jesse Vinet, Oliver's fellow Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat voice actor (she was Sheegwa), has also retired from voice acting, has moved to Singapore, and now works for Ubisoft as an Assistant Communications Manager. She barely has a social media presence and all we know is who her current employer is, and that's she married to a man named Jin Yan Chay, as stated in a obituary for a relative. However, statements on her LinkedIn page and one interview with Ubisoft Singapore have helped to form a sort of biography for her.
  • Michael Yarmush, the original voice of Arthur, is another Montreal talent who is impossible to track down. The only known photo of him was taken in the late '90s when he was still a child, and he has no social media presence.
  • Neil Shee of Toad Patrol fame is a very mysterious man, his last credit being rather fairly recent, in 2017 for the short Arthur, their very own child. He does have a biography though.
  • Rick Jones and Terrence Scammell are other notable Montreal talent who are this trope. They both have very few photos on the internet and don't have social media presences.
  • Hilary Haag has been one of the most prominent anime voice actresses since the late 90s (best known for her lead roles in Full Metal Panic!, Chrono Crusade, Noir, Ghost Stories, and Children Who Chase Lost Voices among many others), and still gets plenty of work, but she never attends any conventions, rarely does interviews and has completely shied away from social media. She has emphasised that anime voice acting is very much a side gig for her and that her day job takes up most of her time.
  • Haruka Nakamura, who voiced the titular character in Super Milk Chan, of which was her only role. She vanished off the face of the earth after that and her current whereabouts are unknown.
    • To a lesser extent Brad Pyutt, the seiyu for Hanage. All we know is that may have been another seiyu using a pseudonym.
  • Julie Kavner, the voice of Marge in The Simpsons (alongside minor roles Patty and Selma), is a very, very private person. She even has a clause in her contract that explicitly states that she's not required to make public appearances or promote the series.note  She also refuses to be photographed at work or perform Marge's voice outside the studio. When she appeared alongside the Simpsons cast on Inside the Actors Studio, the broadcast episode had to play clips of Marge on-screen when she did the voice, whereas the rest of the cast performed their characters on camera. She's mostly retired from acting now, except for her roles on The Simpsons.
  • Christina Lange, a former child actress and voice actress of the 1980s and early '90s, seems to have vanished after the endings of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and Peter Pan & the Pirates in the former she was Velma and Wendy in the latter, her current status and whereabouts are unknown.
  • Adventure Time and Gravity Falls VA Jackie Buscarino is known to take frequent hiatuses on her social media, with one or two updates being posted every few months. Even then these posts usually have little to do with new projects she's cast in.
  • Despite her iconic status, Janice Kawaye tends to keep a very low profile. Very few current photos of her can be found online, and no interviews with her exist to this day. She also has no social media of any kind, and most likely never has.
  • Lana Beeson, a former child actress, voice actress and singer of the 1980s, best known for being the voice of Twinkle, the girl who was turned into a singing puppet in Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, and the singing voice of Anne Marie in All Dogs Go to Heaven''. The latter is her last known work, and her current status and whereabouts are unknown.
  • Janna Michaels, a child actress who appeared in a number of live-action film and TV appearances in The '90s (including Bushwhacked, Little Giants and Star Trek: Voyager, and whose highest-profile work was as the voice actress for Molly Cunningham in TaleSpin, seems to have dropped off the radar after her last role in 1997 in a Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman episode.
  • Xavier Pritchett, who voiced the titular character in Little Bill seemingly vanished off the face of the earth after the series ended in 2004, and his current status and whereabouts are unknown.
  • Very little is known about voice actress Cindy McGee, who is best known for voicing Shana and Krissie on Jem. She retired from the profession two years after the cartoon ended in 1988 and has never attended any fan conventions, not even the annual JemCons.
  • Former child actor Zach Tyler Eisen, the voice actor for Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender (as well as Pablo the Penguin in earlier seasons of The Backyardigans and Lucas from The Ant Bully), is one of the only major living VAs from the show to not attend any fan events since its conclusion, despite the show's immense popularity to this day and Eisen voicing the show's main character. All his verified social media accounts are either closed or private. It is known that he attended Syracuse University and currently works as a photographer for the Conde Nast group (indeed, his name can be seen in the credits for several Vogue interviews) but very little is known aside from that, due to zero fan interactions. Ultimately, he finally resurfaced in a 2020 interview, where he revealed that he mainly stayed out of the spotlight because he just wanted to live a normal life, but still maintains a huge amount of respect for the show.
  • The North American Cast of The Mr. Men Show has some voice actors that used pseudonyms for their credits in the show. In recent years, names of the unknown actors were revealed.
    • Mr. Bump's actor was credited as "Aaron Albertus", but the name led to nowhere. It wasn't until the credits for Yo-kai Watch: The Movie where it's confirmed that his voice actor was actually Paul Greenberg, who had previously played several minor roles in TV series, including Invader Zim. Seeing as how the show is non-union and Greenberg is a SAG actor, he had to use a pseudonym for voice credits but since he freelance wrote for the show, his real name was allowed for writing credits.
    • The same goes with Jospheh J. Terry, which, like with Paul Greenberg, was revealed to be Joey J. D'Auria.
    • The name for Miss Bossy and Miss Curious' actress Sophie Roberts leads to a pseudonym of Michelle Ruff, but she stated that she never worked for the show. It was later revealed by Cheryl Chase's LinkedIn page that she was the voice to Miss Bossy (unsurprising given who Chase is best known for voicing, whose series director Mark Risley did storyboarding for).
    • The name "Danny Katiana" for both Mr. Nosy and Nervous was ambiguous for several years until it was revealed that it was yet another pseudonym, this time for Rick Zieff (best known as Shusuke Amagai from Bleach) after he did a Talking Voices video in 2020 when he told that he voices Olivia's dad in Olivia.
    • Jeff Stewart (Mr. Tickle) was an odd example, as it is his real name, but it leads to a British actor who never did any voice work for cartoons.
  • The Aristocats:
  • Ryan O'Donohue, a childhood actor known for his roles in Recess and The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, has very scant details on his current life. In fact, there aren't any known photos of O'Donohue as an adult that exist publicly. The only thing he still does nowadays is providing the voice of Demyx in Kingdom Hearts.
  • Voice actress Natalie Walters, who voiced Ayame in Inuyasha, among a few others, retired from voice acting in 2008. According to her LinkedIn Profile, She's since moved to San Francisco where she currently works as a social media PR.
  • Steve Alterman, best known for performing Ash in Kidd Video. While he is still active and is mostly active in minor roles and ADR loop groups, he has no social media presence and there is very little info about his background aside from where he was born and his birthday.
  • With the exception of the late Ron Moody, the entire voice cast for The Animals of Farthing Wood may appear to be this, with them being very private and have never given any interviews, unlike many other voice actors. What's worst though, the show does not appear to be on Behind the Voice Actors at all, with Ron Moody's, Sally Grace's, Jon Glover's, Stacey Jefferson's (under her other name of Stacey Gregg), and Rupert Farley's pages listing their other voice roles and none of their Animals of Farthing Wood roles.
    • While Rupert Farley, Sally Grace, and Jon Glover are still doing voice acting from time to time, the same cannot be said for Jeremy Barrett, Pamela Keevil Kral, and even Stacey Jefferson, as all three have largely retired and have not been heard since.
  • It's hard to find any information about the cast for the English dub of Tamagotchi. Most of the time, searching for the names given in the credits brings up no results for the actors from Tamagotchi, but completely different people.
  • Danny McKinnon, former child actor, quickly rose into stardom with his best-known role as the voice of Max on Dragon Tales, but faded into obscurity after the show ended. Ever since, very few details or photos are known about McKinnon's current life.
  • Amelia Shoichet-Stoll, child actress whose most prominent role was playing recurring character Lillian on Ready Jet Go!. She is very hard to find, unlike the rest of the show's cast, and she hasn't acted in anything since RJG ended.
  • Kerry Williams is best known for voicing Tiff in Kirby: Right Back at Ya! and Casey in the Pokemon anime, as well as many other roles. Her last voice acting role was in 2012, playing the aforementioned Tiff in a CGI Kirby short. She has no social media prescence of any kind, and there is next to no information about her personal life.
  • Annie Bovaird is a voice actress best known for being the third voice of Caillou. She appeared in many voice-acting roles (as well as a few live-action ones) throughout the 2000s. However, it's hard to find any information on her after 2014, with her last known voice roles being her reprising Caillou for a few PBS Kids promos (when the show's fifth season aired on there in 2013) and a few mobile games.
  • It's currently unknown what happened to Ward Perry, a staff member at a certain dubbing studio in Vancouver and not a proper actor, after his voice-acting career ended rather unceremoniously in the late 2000s.
  • Willow Johnson was a major anime voice actress of the 90s and 2000s (her best known roles being Kikyo in Inuyasha, Kasumi in Ranma ½, and Lalah Sune in Mobile Suit Gundam), but she stopped voice acting around 2012, supposedly to focus on her family, and also stopped appearing at anime conventions. Nonetheless, she came out of retirement in 2020 to reprise Kikyo (or a version of her) in Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon.
  • Sue Ulu, best known as the voice of Ritsuko in the original English dub of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Death & Rebirth, and End of Evangelion, as well as Kei in Dirty Pair Flash, retired from voice acting around 2000, shortly after moving to Los Angeles, and has all-but-vanished off the face of the earth since. While she did attend a handful of anime conventions during her brief career (and even judged a cosplay contest at Ani-Magic 2003), no panel footage or interviews with her are known to survive.
    • Likewise, Kim Sevier, who voiced Yuri in Dirty Pair Flash, as well as Yui Ikari in Evangelion, also vanished around the same time. Apparently she moved to New York, and retired from acting at some point in the 2000s.
  • Several key voice actors from the Ranma ½ dub are this. Michael Donovan (Ryoga) is still very active as a voice actor, but he has never sat down for an interview nor has he attended a convention. Only a few photos of him are online at all. Sarah Strange (the first voice of boy-type Ranma) is still active as an on-camera television actress, but has no social media presense, and has only a handful of interviews. Myriam Sirois (Akane) attended several anime conventions in the 90s and early 2000s, but retired from acting in 2008 to become a flight attendent. She has no social media presense, and politely declines interview requests, saying her acting career was "another life." Angela Costain (Nabiki) and her sister Elaina Wotten-Costain (who filled in for a couple dozen later episodes) both also vanished off the face of the earth following the ending of the series. The latter has only one photo online, and it's a screencap from a TV appearance without her face visible.
  • Pamela Lauer voiced Kei in the Dirty Pair OVA series in 1999 (along with a handful of small roles for ADV Films around that time), and reprised the character for the 2003 redub of the three features, but quietly retired afterword. Nothing was heard from her for almost 20 years (there were barely even any photos of her online), but in a surprise announcement, she came out of retirement in 2021 to voice Kei once again in the Kickstarter-funded Dirty Pair TV series dub.
  • Sarah Heinke's only major acting role was voicing the titular character in Strawberry Shortcake (the 2003 series). She then left show business behind and became a hairdresser.
  • While Liam O'Brien is still a prominent voice actor to this day, his wife Amy Kincaid is another story. While she had a prominent number of roles in the 00's, her most notable being Shirley in Code Geass, that was also her last voice acting role, only returning a decade later to reprise the role. No information is given why she's seemingly retired. Due to how common her name is, it's not hard to find photos of people by that name, but harder to determinate if it's her.
  • Tress MacNeille, the voice of Daisy Duck, Dot Warner, and Babs Bunny among many others, is still very active in voice acting today, but has no social media whatsoever and almost never makes public appearances. This is because she had a stalker when Tiny Toons was airing, who was creepily obsessed with Babs. Fellow veteran voice actor Rob Paulsen has repeatedly tried to get her on his podcast, to no avail.

  • Russian mathematical genius Grigori Perelman is notorious for his refusal to travel abroad to accept prestigious awards (including one with a $1,000,000 prize), or even leaving his tiny St. Petersburg apartment at all. Reportedly, he can stay indoors for weeks, shuns personal contact with other people, and refuses to speak to anyone but his mother. All of this is enough to declare him the patron saint of nerddom.
    • Pioneering physical scientist Henry Cavendish and theoretical physicist Paul Dirac were similar. Dirac preferred solitude and hated socializing, and Cavendish hated all forms of personal contact, instructing his servants to ignore his presence if they encountered him and communicate only by notes.
  • Nikola Tesla is renowned as one of the most brilliant inventors of all time, and his innovations stunned everyone who came into contact with them. Yet, he was also known for being very dedicated to his work, spending nearly 18 hours holed up in his lab. While he did have a tightly knit circle of friends, which included Mark Twain, he was largely celibate and had zero intimate relationships in his life (although he did fall in love with one of his pet pigeons). Towards the end of his life, his lab ended up suffering foreclosure due to his mounting debt, and he ended up living his final years in various New York hotels. His work fell into general obscurity until the 1960s, where he got a critical renewal.
  • Aside from the opinions put forth on his blog, nothing else is really known about Sean Malstrom. As with Seltzer and Friedberg above, this is probably because of the havoc that would erupt if he were to make his presence known elsewhere on the internet.
  • Homestar Runner creators The Brothers Chaps, were quite open with their fanbase, making public appearances and even featuring their children in some shorts, but in 2009 they started to appear less and less, which has been attributed to the birth of Matt's second daughter and work burnout (having produced content nearly every week from 2002 to late 2009.) In 2014, they broke the silence and confirmed the return of Homestar Runner, even saying they hadn't planned on the hiatus being so long. Even with that, they're only open about themselves and the content they provide and keep nearly everything else private.
  • After Bobby Fischer lost the title of World Champion in 1975 (well, forfeited—he demanded specific rules for the tournament that the World Chess Federation would not agree to, so he refused to play), he basically retired from chess and from the public eye for nearly 20 years, living a reclusive life until an anniversary rematch against old foe Boris Spassky (who he defeated to win the title of World Champion in the first place) in 1992.
    • That match would indirectly lead to Fischer's downward spiral. The 1992 Fischer-Spassky match was played in what was then known as Yugoslavia, which was under embargo from the UN and the U.S. during the bloody conflict in that region. After President Bush Sr. issued an executive order that the U.S. would comply with the UN's embargo of Yugoslavia, Fischer, an American citizen at the time, was told that playing the match in Belgrade would violate US and international law. Fischer appeared in a press conference where he spat on a copy of the president's executive order and played the match anyway. After the match, Fischer would spend the last years of his life fearing legal action in the U.S., going from country to country seeking asylum, attempting to renounce his citizenship, and publicly making anti-American statements before settling in Iceland.
  • Chris Morris, who wrote things like Brass Eye and Four Lions, barely makes public appearances and almost never does interviews, so much so that for his official biography the writer had to talk to people who knew Morris rather than Morris himself. He did briefly pop up in public quite a bit due to the release of his film Four Lions but has since disappeared again.
  • British comedian Daniel Kitson is impossible to get interviews with and has said that he never wants to do TV work again. There's also no DVDs or CDs of his stand-up because he feels that it loses the feel of live performance. Probably his biggest TV appearance was on Phoenix Nights as Spencer, which he hated so much that it drove him away completely from doing any TV work. He’s explained that’s just because he doesn't want mainstream recognition as it attracts Fan Dumb. And aside from that, he tours often, has an active public life and is said to be “very charismatic” in person. He also has a Bandcamp. In the words of Rob Batchelor, “Kitson is the JD Salinger of comedy, if JD Salinger regularly released new work, wasn't a recluse, and was regularly seen in public.”
  • Al Yeganeh, the soupman that inspired the Soup Nazi. Oddly enough, Yeganeh operated his restaurant without much hassle for years after the episode aired, and even invited interviews as long as there was no mention of Seinfeld or "the N word", since he's Jewish. He did, though, shun the spotlight when he re-formatted his Soup Kitchen into the Original Soupman franchise and no-showed its grand re-opening. Since going corporate, Yeganeh has had little public presence (although his likeness still serves as the company logo), probably at the insistence of shareholders who prefer more PR-friendly personalities as active spokespersons, such as Reggie Jackson and Shaquille O'Neal, both of whom are also investors in the company. Reportedly, Yeganeh sold his share of the company but lives somewhere near the New York Location.
  • Matt Drudge, creator of the famed Drudge Report. Though he had a show on Fox News and published a book in the early 2000s, he has been inaccessible since 2004 or so. He still maintains (and makes a lot of money from) his famous website, but barely grants interviews and practically nothing is known about his current personal life.
  • Bettie Page, the famed pin-up model. After 1958 or so, she converted to Christianity and wanted to bury her modeling past as much as possible. Despite her resurgence in popularity in the 1980s, she barely granted interviews and did not allow current photos of herself to be published. Part of this attitude may have due to her schizophrenia diagnosis in the late 1970s. She wasn't even aware of her newfound popularity until an interviewer in the early 1990s pointed it out.
  • Even small-scale popularity can have this happen. Some artists may be constantly bombarded with messages discussing commissions, people wanting to be their friends, or dealing with web-drama amongst their existing friends so getting a hold of them is quite difficult.
  • Dino Attack RPG:
    • Over time in the RPG, many of the players got to know each other on a surprisingly personal level, up to and including revealing their real names (or at least their first name) and a general idea of where they live (so far as nationality and hometown anyway, precise addresses were obviously not given). The one exception is PeabodySam, who, while fairly personal with other players, seems to make a point of stating as little about himself as possible. He has dropped hints, but how reliable any of them are is debatable. The most he has ever said is that he claims to be a 101-year-old man who lives somewhere in the United States.
    • Most players who left the RPG also tended to disappear from BZPower around the same time, and as a result, they are all difficult to track down and can be considered reclusive artists, especially due to the anonymous nature of BZPower usernames. There are exceptions, such as Chronicler of Ko-Koro and Canama, who are still active in the online LEGO community. However, by far the most infamous example of this in Dino Attack RPG would be Kotua in Space, who not only disappeared from BZPower but also Brickshelf, MOCpages, and many other websites all at the same time in late 2007 so he could focus on schoolwork.
  • Subverted with Ashida Kim: Ninja master and author of a large number of ninja books that were part of the ninja-mania of the 1980s. For a ninja, he's not quite reclusive enough. He has given interviews, made public appearances, has a YouTube channel, attended martial arts conventions and seminars (usually smaller ones and not those hosted by nationally or internationally recognized mainstream organizations), and hosts a forum on his own website (although it's become evident that many past posts by him might have been by moderators that he appoints). The issue with him is that he is very elusive about his martial arts credentials leading many to assume that he's a fake, fraud, and charlatan. It can be argued that Ashida does avoid most public appearances in the mainstream martial arts scene where his credentials would be critically reviewed. He apparently restricts himself to those underground scenes populated by fellow "questionable figures" such as Frank Dux and Irving Soto. And, as has been rightfully pointed out here, a person who has actually done the kind of undercover ninja things that Ashida Kim claims to have done would logically avoid public appearances.
  • The owner of Maru, arguably the most famous cat featured on YouTube. The channel has over 200 million views and is the 7th most subscribed channel in Japan, but Maru's owner/s has never been seen on-screen and no one has any idea what they look like outside of the fact that at least one is female. This is strange, considering the worldwide popularity of the channel and the fact that someone somewhere would likely recognize the apartment and/or cats seen in the videos or associated blog. Various attempts to contact Maru's owner have always resulted in failure - the agent representing Maru refuses to send correspondence from fans to said owner(s), and despite it being a huge moneymaker, no one can get a hold of said owner outside of a single interview they granted to a Japanese cat blog.
  • Animation writer Merriwether Williams, who has written on cartoons like SpongeBob SquarePants, Adventure Time, and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, is very reclusive. There's only one known photo of her online, only one known interview with her, and for a while she was the only "Pony" writer who never made public appearances in cons.
  • Former YouTube celebrity Miss Hannah Minx left the Internet in late 2013, leaving all her profiles unattended. The crowd-funded film she was supposed to star in was never made. Allegedly, she got bored of her Japanophile persona, got married, had children and disappeared off the radar to raise her kids. Still it's surprising that, in this day and age, and with such an active fanbase, nobody managed to confirm this or find anything more about her.
  • The person who makes HowToBasic might be this, by virtue of being The Faceless in all of his videos. The public doesn't know Mr. Basic's identity because his face is never shown.
  • James Rolfe, also known as the The Angry Video Game Nerd, has no problem talking about himself or his childhood, as shown in his many videos he has shared on Cinemassacre. Anything involving his family, especially his wife and two daughters? Under lock and key. While his wife has assisted on many of his AVGN videos, she herself has never appeared in person in them and is always referred to as "Mrs. Nerd" in credits of his works.
  • Despite his millions of views and his 3.1 million subscribers, nearly nothing is known about GradeAUnderA except that he's British and used to be a math tutor. To date, he has done a face reveal for his 2 million subscriber milestone; another video revealed his real name to be Ram although this is entirely unintentional on his part.
  • Similar to the above, I Hate Everything, also known as Alex, has also never shown his face in his videos and prefers to keep it that way. This later turned into a joke on his own videos, showing everything EXCEPT his face. That said, he does show his face regularly now on JAR Media, a YouTube channel run by Alex and his friends.
  • For two years, YouTuber The Mysterious Mr. Enter didn't show his face or reveal his real name, instead representing himself with a static cartoon avatar and using the pseudonym "Mr. Enter". Even after he revealed his real name and showed his face, Enter seldom talks to others online (outside of his Discord, and even then it's primarily focused on his pet project, Growing Around) and does not share his e-mail or Skype with anyone but his very close friends/workers for his projects. He also deleted his Tumblr back in 2016, closed his Twitter in early 2020, and left DeviantArt in mid-July of that same year, making him more, well, mysterious.
  • Many Monster Jam drivers vanished off the face of the Earth after retirement. Notable examples are Gary Porter and Brian Barthel.
  • The only thing anyone knows about the original streamer of Twitch Plays Pokémon is that he's Australian.
  • Willard Scott. In addition to having no known social media, his centenarian birthday segments on Today were being shown less and less frequently in the months leading up to his 2015 retirement, and even then, at that point they were no longer being done live but filmed sporadically. Before then, the most noteworthy news about him was in spring 2014 when he remarried. Justified since he's in his eighties and had to take time to slow down.
  • Speaking of the Today show, longtime film critic Gene Shalit literally disappeared after he left the show sometime in 2011. His most recent appearance was in 2015 after Willard's retirement.
  • Until 2016, the only known picture of former Marvel Studios chairman Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter was taken in 1985. Perlmutter was rumored to have attended the premiere of Iron Man in disguise and apparently prides himself on having never given an interview.
  • Fitness guru Richard Simmons is a rather disturbing instance of this. After decades of being an extrovert, he suddenly vanished from the public eye. According to this Cracked article, the general conception is that he's being held captive inside his own house and whoever is doing so to him is cutting him off from society. He did give a phone-in interview to the Today Show, saying that he actually wasn't being held captive and simply didn't want to be in the public eye... which people immediately took as being exactly what someone being held captive would say. The theory took a big hit when he reemerged into the public eye in 2017 to sue the National Enquirer for claiming he'd had a sex-change operation.note 
  • Todd in the Shadows is kind of a Downplayed example because we know his real name (Kenneth Munson - "Todd Nathanson" is a pseudonym) and he interacts with fans, but he always wears a mask over the top half of his face, not wanting people to know what he looks like. This gimmick was apparently because he was working for a newspaper at the time and was considering a teaching job, but stuck to video reviews instead when they proved more sustainable. While he often joked about the ambiguity of his appearance and race, he appears unmasked in a 2016 video shot by Lindsay Ellis (he’s visible in the “Norway” introduction), and Ellis confirmed in a later video that Todd is half-Vietnamese.
  • Ghost of True Capitalist Radio may have hundreds of hours of radio shows where he espouses his (often extreme) opinions, but next to nothing is known about the man himself. His real name, his face, even his age are all left a mystery, with trolls only going by breadcrumbs Ghost occasionally lets out to piece together things. Though considering his opinions, this may be down to protect himself.
  • FunToys Collector Disney Toys Review (aka DisneyCollectorBR) boasts over 11 million subscribers and status as one of the richest and most-watched YouTube channels. The only thing we know about the identity is that she's a Brazillian woman.
  • Amoridere, from what can be guessed, is pretty secretive (and shy), so most of what's known about her is what she's said in the descriptions of her works, what's shown in her photos, said on her social media, or if one asks her, which isn't much besides that she lives somewhere in southwestern Ohio, parts of her name, and the fact that she spends/spent much of her time at home (according to her earlier photos).
  • Troll Fic writer BoxOfScraps, who wrote many fics consisting of an over-the-top depiction of some show and/or other piece of media being interrupted by Iron Man killing the characters for no reason. To this day, nobody has claimed responsibility for the fanfics, all of which were published in 2010, and nobody has been able to find out the true identity of this infamous troll fic writer, though it's believed BoxofScraps was run by the same person as the now-defunct @Real_Hulk Twitter account.
  • Many Barney Bunch video makers fall under this trope. Then again, it's probably for their protection knowing that the Bunch is a known trolling group.
  • Special effects artist Rob Bottin has become this since his retirement, aside from appearing in the documentary "Fantastic Flesh" and making a comic con appearance for his work on The Howling, he rarely makes public appearances or gives interviews, and has no social media.
  • Jamie Hyneman, of MythBusters fame, was never truly comfortable with the public attention he received because of the show. Once MythBusters ended, he ended his partnership with Adam Savage and downsized M5 Industries to focus on prototyping and engineering projects that interest him personally. His public appearances are sporadic and small-scale and mainly aimed at getting people interested in science and engineering.
  • The anonymous "concerned citizen" who is the host of the true-crime podcast Swindled. All we know is the Citizen's gender (male) and nationality (American). Then again, this might be for his protection, given that he has expressed controversial opinions that border on anti-consumerism. Also, if his identity were to be exposed, he would be targeted for lawsuits by many of the corporations and people he's covered, not to mention harassment by trolls.
  • John J.B. Wilson, the founder of the Golden Raspberry Awards. Aside from personal details, he is quite the recluse and has no social media profiles. Though, like with Seltzer and Friedberg, it's likely he's protecting himself and his family rather than just avoiding people.
  • PurpleEyesWTF was at a point in his internet career fairly open about himself, regularly showing up at conventions, making live-action shorts, and willingly giving out his real name when credited on others' videos. However, he's since then disappeared with the informal farewell to his fanbase being an interview he gave explaining his absence and plans to retire to focus on his job and marriage. He's also revealed he's never been that open about his channel in his personal life anyways. Since then, information about him had been altered and pictures have been removed wherever possible to respect his privacy, including on this very wiki.
  • Charles Sonnenburg aka SF Debris is another online personality who doesn't show his face, even after a decade of reviewing. That said, he is active on Twitter and does interact with others.
  • Comedian and magician Jerry Sadowitz. Interviews with him are very rare, he doesn't make public appearances outside of performing and he is so protective of his intellectual property that it's near impossible to find online.
  • Cosplayers Oextremelunatics (Jen) and Snarkymcsnarkpants (Babi) are very private with their personal lives. Neither has done an interview or shown themselves out of makeupnote , and they don't have any social media presence outside of Instagram. The only thing we know for sure is that Babi more or less abandoned her account to share one with Jen, hence why the latter interacts with fans more often.
  • ThoseDudesWithAHat, the creator of The Review Reviewer. All we know is that he nicknames himself "Timber" as evidenced by his DeviantArt page.
  • Sp00nerism used to be this back when he was part of The Creatures. He never appeared in real-life vlogs of the group and the only time he was seen on camera was wearing a horse mask. This changed in 2013 when he surprised his fans with a face reveal during an RTX panel. Since then he's dropped the secrecy and has shown himself on camera more often.
  • Downplayed by Soviet Womble: He's not particularly secretive about his personal life, but he refuses to ever show his face on camera while streaming; partly because he considers it vain, but also because he'd rather not get hassled by fans in the street. (Rumours that he really is a womble are strenuously denied.)) The only part of him that's ever been seen on camera is a hand either petting or feeding a dog treat to his beloved French Bulldog Lulu.
  • Cr1TiKaL early on, and still is to an extent, very reclusive. The only thing people originally knew about him was that he was a male. There was rumor at the time that his name was Charlie from a comment that was left on one of his first videos but it was up for debate if that was true. He would drop hints from time to time about some personal life, but people were unsure if any of it was true. It wasn't until 2015 that he confirmed his real name was Charlie and in 2017 he showed off his face for the first time. Recently he has more confirmable with being on camera and has opened up to more of his life, showing his girlfriend, dogs, and even his father on recent videos.
  • Very little is known about FFL2and3rocks, who created the Third Rate Gamer show, outside of YouTube including his real name or even his age.
  • Almost nothing is known about the creator behind Bad Lip Reading, since he chooses to remain anonymous so that the humor of his videos doesn't affect his more serious work. The few things he has revealed are that he's male, from Texas, and does all the voices in his videos himself, even the female ones (though he has had guest voice actors in some later videos).
  • The musician and voice-over artist known only as "Corpse Husband,” who rose to prominence through group playthroughs of Among Us, due to his dark sense of humor and his Badass Baritone speaking voice. He reportedly suffers from a number of health issues, including anxiety and agoraphobia, and so is extremely selective about the personal details he chooses to share. Only his left hand has been seen on camera to date.
  • Joe Ruby and Ken Spears were this in final years.
  • Ding Dong of OneyPlays fame has not given his full name nor has revealed his face and is only known by his nickname and cartoon avatar.
  • Almost nothing is known about the creators of Most Offensive Video. Judging by a reference to Checkers in Beware of the Easter Nigga, Charlie Brown, they're likely from somewhere in the midwestern or southeastern US.
  • To this day, it is unknown who played the role of "The Inquizitor", the mysteriously bearded and shadowed host of the game show Inquizition. Several names have been rumored, but only one (Bob Stewart) has successfully been Jossed. The lack of identity is reportedly due to the host's contract.
  • Blogger and podcast host Gotta Laff or Laffy was at one point an on camera actress and voice actress on various cartoons during the 80's and 90's, all that is known is at one point she did the voice of the character Bubbles Blastoff from The Jetsons, although several photos of her are online she prefers to remain anonymous and not use her real name, going at far as deleting all her credits from IMDB.
  • When Wired tried to reach out to Mafia's original creator, Dimitry Davidoff, he refused to be contacted through conventional methods, only agreeing to meet for an interview within World of Warcraft.

Fictional examples:

    Anime & Manga 
  • An episode of Sailor Moon dealt with Yumemi Yumeno, a talented artist who felt she was too plain to be taken seriously as a romance painter. While she doesn't stay permanently indoors, she paints fake portraits of herself (depicting 'self as a beautiful and royal-looking woman) and stays in the background during her own exhibitions. After she's targeted by Zoicite, forcibly turned into the youma she was in her former life and rescued by the Senshi, Yumemi decides to stop hiding and in her new exhibition, she includes a picture of her actual meganekko self.
  • The painter Emu Hino from Crying Freeman, until she becomes the target and then the wife of Yoh "Crying Freeman" Hinomura.
  • The novelist Hideomi Nagato from Case Closed, somewhat justified by his horribly disfigured face (coming from a horrible incident in his high school years where a "fiery" prank ended with him scarred and a little girl orphaned) and his past as a Hikikomori.
  • Ryu Shizuka from Bakuman。 is frighteningly recluse, to the point he initially only talks to his editor over the Internet. He gradually gets better.
  • Rohan Kishibe from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, a mangaka who is already famous for his work by age 20 but is also reclusive and highly eccentric. His Stand powers also happen to center around his talents.
  • Kona "Frau Kojiro" Furugoori from Robotics;Notes single-handedly created the fighting game Kill-Ballad, which she also maintains. She is also a notorious Hikikomori.
  • Miu of Blend-S seems to heavily dislike staying outside and interacting with people:
    • In Episode 6, the cast goes on an outdoors trip on a lake. Kaho, Akizuki, and especially Miu appear almost physically ill.
    • In Episode 8, she happily thinks to herself that, having bought enough paper, she won't have to go outside until the next Fan Convention.
  • The Boy's Love manga artist Juon Mejiro from Princess Jellyfish, who's so reclusive that none of the other characters have ever actually seen her. She never leaves her room and communicates with the other residents of Amamizukan by passing written messages back and forth to them under her door. The final chapter of the manga reveals this is largely because Mejiro is actually male; he fell in love with Chieko and enforced Amamizukan's "no male residents allowed" rule so no other men would go after her, but this forced him to shut himself up in his room so none of the other residents would find out he was a man himself.

     Audio Plays 
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who mini-episode "My Own Private Mozart", it's discovered that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself has actually become one of these. Having been made immortal in exchange for annual symphonies produced exclusively for his mysterious patron, he's long since outlived all his loved ones and his popularity, as by now he's worn out all creative impulses through decades of contract-driven work. At the age of a hundred, Mozart lives alone except for his butler - who actually goes so far as to arrange a special birthday party of masked guests just so someone will listen to his music, hence why the Doctor and Evelyn get involved. And it turns out that both the butler and the guests are mass-produced clones of Mozart looking for meaning in their lives.

    Comic Books 
  • By the time The Wicked + The Divine begins Tara has completely withdrawn from making any public appearances outside of increasingly rare performances and only meets with the rest of Pantheon if there's a very good reason. People assume this is because she's just stuck-up and views herself as superior to everyone else. It's actually because she's attracted a massive Hatedom and receives so many rape and death threats that staying away from the public is for her own safety.

    Fan Works 
  • Hanako Ikezawa in Reconciliation is a best-selling author, but is quite uncomfortable with book signings, and tries to avoid calling attention to herself when a flight attendant recognizes her. She also only has one friend at the start of the fic- her publicist, Sho- as a result of distancing herself from Lilly and Hisao after her Bad Ending.
  • Personality Conflicts: Art Fortunes, creator of the Beetleborgs comic series, is described in narration as "semi-reclusive"; his first appearance in the series has him answering his phone with "Art Fortunes speaking, how did you get this number?" The person calling him happens to be someone who knows him in canon - Josh Baldwin, the former White Blaster Beetleborg, who's amused by his reaction.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Stranger Than Fiction has Karen Eiffel, the author/narrator of the central character, who could only be found by looking at her ten-year-old tax return.
  • The writer in Field of Dreams, Terrence Mann (played by James Earl Jones). He was actually J.D. Salinger in the book, but as you can imagine, that changed pretty quickly (Salinger threatened to sue if he was featured in any adaptation of the novel).
  • The character of William Forrester from Finding Forrester was largely based on J.D. Salinger.
  • Performance has Turner, a reclusive rock star played by Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones.
  • In Scanners, the character of Benjamin Pierce is a telepath of dubious sanity who once tried to kill his family before he was rehabilitated through art. He lives out in the woods and hates company.
  • Get Crazy had a roster of rock star expies at a New Year's Eve concert, including Lou Reed playing reclusive spokesman-for-a-generation folk-rocker Auden (a thinly-veiled Bob Dylan).
  • Reach Me had Teddy Raymond, the author of the eponymous bestselling self-help book, who stayed away from press and fans because he was afraid of crowds.
  • Only Lovers Left Alive has Adam, who puts his music out through a contact and supplier named Ian, and writer Kit Marlowe - the Christopher Marlowe - who lives with his protegé Bilal. This is because both are vampires.

  • Benno von Archimboldi from Roberto Bolaño's 2666.
  • Vida Winter in The Thirteenth Tale, very much so. She never allows anyone into her home, and whenever she speaks to reporters, she concocts elaborate lies about her childhood. No one knows anything about her, despite her outselling every book except for the Bible.
  • The protagonist of Jacqueline Wilson's novel Midnight is a young girl called Violet, who has an obvious crush on her favorite fantasy author. Trouble is, he's rather elusive, but Violet manages to find him in the end.
  • More Information Than You Require has a minor subplot about a boy who realizes his neighbour is actually (a fictionalized version of) J.D. Salinger. Salinger tells the boy he's working on a sequel to Catcher in the Rye, but he's so culturally cut off that he doesn't realize that having Holden Caulfield attend a school of wizardry has already been done.
  • "Night Film" has the reclusive filmmaker Stanislas Cordova, who has gained a sort of Stanley Kubrickian reputation. All of his films are released via an "underground network" rather than through a traditional studio and are reportedly very disturbing. He is rumored to not have left his massive estate in decades. Also, there are only a few photographs of him and many believe that he wears drag to disguise himself as his personal assistant. In the end, it is revealed that the two are different people, and Cordova himself was committed to a nursing home.
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and its many adaptations), legendary chocolatier Willy Wonka has been this for years when the story starts, at least since industrial espionage forced him to fire his original workforce and retire for a time. And when his factory started making candy again, no one could figure out how it was possible, since no one was ever seen entering or leaving the place. Thus, when the prospect of winning a visit to the factory is raised, it becomes a global obsession...
  • The Man in the High Castle's titular character.
  • Wintermute in the Neuromancer stories. The story is kicked off by trying to find the artist behind a series of highly unusual sculptures.
  • John Rothstein, the first murder victim in Finders Keepers.
  • Discworld examples:
    • Leonard of Quirm is first introduced locked away in a secluded wing of the Patrician's palace and rarely if ever allowed into the outside world, which appears to be fully voluntary on his part: Given his Absent-Minded Professor tendencies and penchant for designing weapons of such terrible destructive power that they frighten even him, keeping him out of the public eye is necessary for his own safety and that of the general public.
    • Methodia Rascal in Thud!, who spent his entire life shut up in his rooms, painting a huge mural of the Battle of Koom Valley, writing odd notes to himself, and occasionally worrying that he might be a chicken.
    • Subverted with Miss Felicity Beadle, children's author, in Snuff, whose neighbours think of her as reclusive, whereas she's actually very sociable with the local goblin tribes, and is only a Shrinking Violet when dealing with other humans because the alternative would be screaming at them about their Fantastic Racism. Possibly in Goblin.
  • In Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte, Lieselotte's mother Josephine is a famous painter, but she isn't the most comfortable with people, even her immediate family. As a result, she has the tendency to retreat to paint her days away, and her oldest child Lieselotte does not recall ever spending much time with her.
  • The Hermit from Hieroglyphics refuses to allow Machen to give out his name because he'd rather Machen be the target of scrutiny from the literary establishment.
  • Pareidolia and the Gilded Scar features a few of these characters, most notably the narrator in Of The Artist who spends the majority of the story alone and only speaks to the mountain once.
  • Anthony Price's spy thriller Soldier No More has a subplot about Antonia Palfrey, author of the trashy but bestselling historical novel Princess in the Sunset, who never makes public appearances and rarely meets in person with anyone except her lawyer and agent. In the main plot, an agent is being investigated for Suspicious Spending, but the investigator eventually realizes that his money isn't coming from bribery or blackmail — he is Antonia Palfrey.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Stig is made out to be this "in-universe", for lack of a better word. Averted rather spectacularly when the previous Stig outed himself by way of a tell-all book about his time on the show. The identity of the current Stig remains unknown, but there are rumours that the role has passed on to Sabine Schmidt, a professional racing driver and co-presenter of the German answer to Top Gear who guest-starred in a couple of the team's adventures on the Continent. Make what you will of the tabloid articles alleging that Jeremy Clarkson was cheating on his wife that started popping up not long afterwards...
  • In an episode of Frasier, Frasier and Niles meet a character named T.H. Houghton (obviously comparable to J.D. Salinger), who wrote one book and then vanished off the map. They're horrified to realize that their hero loves talking about baseball with their blue-collar dad.
  • In the Alternate History of Watchmen, Ryan Murphy is one, staying almost entirely away from the public as he produces American Hero Story, a dramatization of the lives of history's masked heroes.

  • RENT: Roger almost never leaves his apartment for anything (Due to being on the verge of dying of AIDS and a recovering heroin addict and is busy writing a love song to leave behind after his death.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout 3 has Agatha, the elderly widowed violinist.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has Michael Angelo, an agoraphobe responsible for the neon signs for New Vegas. Since he is incapable of leaving his workshop, he asks the player to take pictures of landmarks around the Mojave for inspiration.
  • The Beginner's Guide stars the narrator and creator of The Stanley Parable Davey Wreden, who mentions that the creator of the games showed in this game is a recluse in the very first one.
  • The graffiti artist known only as CAT from The World Ends with You. The main character is an avid fanboy but scoffs at the idea that he might know his identity, and NPCs speculating on it aren't hard to find. It's Hanekoma.
  • Dr. Kenneth Farnstien became this in The Journeyman Project 2, during the year 2221. He purchased a space station and moved it into Saturn's orbit, and only made a brief reappearance on Earth in an attempt to sell some paintings made by what he claimed to be a new kind of Artificial Intelligence, which in fact was true. Dr. Farnstien later perished when the station was hit by a meteor shower in 2247.
  • Micheal Arthate, the protagonist of Scratches moves into a Victorian Mansion to become this, but later becomes distracted by the house's past.
  • Two of the romance options in Stardew Valley are Leah, a sculptor who lives in a small cabin by the lake in Cindersap Forest, and Elliot, a struggling writer who lives in a shack on the beach.
  • According to some supplementary materials for Touhou Project, Satori is this, as she's mentioned to have anonymously published books in the surface world.

    Visual Novels 
  • Drew Misham, and his daughter Vela, from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. This actually turns out to be a deconstruction; because he insisted on being an artist, his wife left him and his daughter to fend for themselves. He becomes this after an incident where his daughter was kidnapped, and her distrust of the outside world forces him to lock his door, only communicating with a two-way mailbox. His own income as an artist was only barely enough for them to get by, and was forced to turn to forgery in order to pay the bills.
  • Despite his success as a children's author, Yakumo from Spirit Hunter: NG has very little personal relations and none of them have ever been inside his home. This is because he's a spiritualist who kidnaps young girls and mutilates them into dolls in his attic.
  • Umineko: When They Cry has Tohya (aka Ikuko) Hachijō, a female mystery writer who lives alone in a small mansion, barely ever meets anyone, is a jerk to the few people she meets, and feels little more than contempt for most of her fans. She actually writes many of her works under various pen names to give herself an aura of mystery and spent a good chunk of her life writing novels that she didn't let anyone read.

    Web Comics 
  • Madam von Silfersked of Anders Loves Maria. She hasn't left the house since Anders graduated from university.
  • Homestuck: In an Alternate Universe, Rose Lalonde is apparently a famous author.
  • Sydney Morgan of the webcomic This Is Not Fiction does show up to book-signings (albeit wearing obfuscating sunglasses), but she otherwise keeps herself hidden (going as far as to list her address as a gay club). The main premise of the comic is the characters trying to find out who she really is.
  • Word of God is that David Willis's Author Avatar in Dumbing of Age, as opposed to his sporadic appearances in the Walkyverse, is the reclusive creator of the cartoons Dexter and Monkey Master and Ultra Car who lives in a cliffside mansion with a solid gold lawn.

    Western Animation 
  • Hey Arnold!: Agatha Caulfield, Arnold's favorite author, lives alone on Elk Island. Arnold has to take a boat to visit her in order to write his essay. He learns to his disappointment that she was a bitter and angry old woman who decried her old books. However, by the end of the episode, she's inspired to write a new book based on her experience with Arnold.
  • A.K. Yearling, the author of the Daring Do books in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic lives out in the middle of nowhere and almost never appears in public. It turns out this is because she actually is Daring Do, her books aren't fiction, and "A.K. Yearling" is simply an alias.
  • The Simpsons: "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy" has Stacy Lovell, the creator of the titular doll, who Smithers claims hasn't appeared in public in twenty years. Lisa (rather easily) tracks her down to a gated community called "Recluse Ranch Estates" where she resides in a house exactly like the one the doll lives in.
    Lisa: Excuse me, Miss Lovell? I'd like to talk to you about Malibu Stacy.
    Stacy: Do you have any idea how many kids have tried to track me down?
    Lisa: Am I the first?
    Stacy: [Beat] Yes.