Well, Everyone Loves Blondes, Heroes Want Redheads, and of course there's the sensual Brunette. But for men, there seems to be one main perceived ideal: Tall, Dark, and Handsome. Sometimes, it's a Tall, Dark, and Handsome Stranger.
Tall, Dark, and Handsome Stranger was a pulp fiction trope, particularly in mystery novels. Romance novels still play it straight sometimes. This then led to a Tall, Dark, and Handsome casting trope for leading men: Clark Gable, etc. This is also one of the defining attributes of the Latin Lover stereotype.
Historically, "dark" referred to the man's hair and often eyes, not necessarily his skin color. If the man had "dark" skin too, it was meant to refer to a "healthy" or "bronzed" i.e. tanned complexion at best, as opposed to being too pale or "pasty", and connoting an active lifestyle, getting out in the sun and doing proper manly stuff like horse-riding or hunting. By default he was assumed to be white due to society frowning on interracial relationships, to put it mildly. So while the phrase could literally apply to a black man, it's unlikely to be used this way unless it's in a modern work, and thus a slight subversion.
Most Tall, Dark and Handsome men display an aloof, cold, and distant personality, but they do have a gentle and caring side.
Being one of the oldest tropes in the book, it's nowadays more often used in subversions and deconstructions. The actual invocation of the trope Tall, Dark, and Handsome Stranger is often parodied or might be played straight but usually isn't highlighted if it is.
Examples when the trope is played straight:
- Roger Smith from The Big O has got the look, the personality and the charm that constitutes this character type down pat.
- Hagi from Blood+ is the epitome of this as well. In the novels, Kai muses to himself that even guys like him wouldn't be able to deny how attractive Hagi is.
- Claudine: Claude's older brothers- Andrew, Edward, and Thomas- all grew up to be tall, handsome men with black or brown hair.
- All of the darker-haired males in the Sohma family of Fruits Basket. Except most of them are pale in skin color.
- Andrew from Little Witch Academia (2017) has dark brown hair, stands a full head taller than Akko, and is often stated to be quite handsome.
- Lantis from Magic Knight Rayearth is black-haired, handsome, and stands at 1.98m/6'6" (neck breaker much?).
- Sinbad from Magi: Labyrinth of Magic, and how. Not only does he exhibit all of the aesthetic features of this trope, his presence itself constantly attracts beautiful girls to the point where just sitting still for a second will get him a harem. This does not go unnoticed by the other, less tall, dark, and handsome characters.
- Trafalgar Law from One Piece, being 191 cm tall, with dark hair and tan skin. He is one of the most attractive characters in the series and mostly wear dark clothes.
- Patalliro!: Bancoran is a tall brunette, with whom young men fall in love at first sight. It was for this that he became known as "Bishōnen killer".
- In Sailor Moon:
- Usagi's father Kenji, although much more subdued. Her mother does use these exact words to describe him when he was younger, though.
- Mamoru and Saphir both. They resemble each other.
- Ren Tsuruga from Skip Beat! has rather long legs, is very handsome, and has dark hair, though he used to be a blond.
- Hak and Jaeha from Yona of the Dawn: Both of them are over 6 feet, have dark hair (Hak's hair is black while Jaeha's hair is dark green), and are considered to be the most attractive in the group. The former is a Hunk and Deadpan Snarker while the latter is a Mr. Fanservice and Long Haired Prettyboy.
- Bruce Wayne, Batman. Money is not the only reason Bats is surrounded by women. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree as his adopted sons follow in his footsteps. Dick adds in his magnetic personality, Jason has his Bad Boy charms and Tim is one in the future he's shown in. Damian is the exception since he's still a kid, but in the future, he does get his father's looks.
- Blacksad: John Blacksad is tall, a black cat, and constantly being eyed by most females. Add to that his mysterious nature and you have an archetypal tall, dark, and handsome character.
- Corto Maltese.
- Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl has the tall, dark, handsome Ragamuffin, in his human form.
- Lobo, as of the New 52.
- Superman: despite all that Clark Kenting he does to make himself look geeky and awkward, the true Superman is quite beautiful.
- X-Men: Colossus is tall, dark-haired and very much a handsome hunk.
- Kedar from The Alphabet Story is described as "tall, with his father's dark hair but his mother's strong chin". Elsa, however, isn't interested in him. She's interested in his twin sister.
- In Beyond Heroes: Of Sunshine and Red Lyrium, Varric observes this about Lieutenant Renn. He describes him as being a "burly, good-looking brute" with dark features who is taller than average for a dwarf.
- Child of the Storm
- Harry develops into this by the time he's around 14/15 after a growth spurt or two, and Word of God has him growing into a mixture of Pierce Brosnan and Henry Cavill. As a result, there's more than a little Eating the Eye Candy where he's concerned, somewhat to his embarrassment. Of, course, with his temperament, this leads to more than one person who's seen him in a fight referring to him as "Tall, Dark, and Homicidal."
- Clark Kent, naturally, is growing into this — being based on his Smallville counterpart (played by Tom Welling) and gets cheekily referred to as "Pretty Boy" by Lois Lane.
- Children of Time. Beth Lestrade, in a case of Love Before First Sight and Love at First Sight (not to mention Eating the Eye Candy). If Beth is to be believed, Sherlock Holmes is a very beautiful man.
- Holmes is explicitly described as boyish several times in Mortality of Deliver Us from Evil Series, sometimes from Mrs. Hudson's Point of View (she sees him as a surrogate son).
- In The Good Hunter, this trope is stated word-for-word by Molly in regards to Klaus's appearance, and she is far from incorrect. Aside from being tall and dark-haired, he is seen as an aloof Mysterious Stranger In-Universe, with several people finding him attractive.
- In The Night Unfurls, Kyril is aloof, is taller than most, is dark-haired, and is seen as rather handsome due to his sharp, youthful features.
- In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, as a result of being aged up to 15 years old, Ash is now at least as tall Brock was in the original timeline (not to mention taller than Delia) and implied to have a more muscular build. This, combined with his black hair and swarthy skin, makes him pretty good-looking in the eyes of several female characters.
- Tales of the Undiscovered Swords: Sasanoyuki is a good-looking sword with long, sleek black hair and a personality that would make him an Aloof Dark-Haired Girl if he were female.
- Mahanon, one of the co-Inquisitors in the Twice Upon an Age series, is described as being this, being relatively tall for an elf and having dark coloring and handsome features. Varric, writing a letter to Hawke, observes that Merrill would think he was a Dalish paragon.
- Charles Boyer in Algiers with Hedy Lamarr.
"Come with me to the Casbah. We'll make beautiful music together."
- The Chronicles of Narnia:
- Colin Farrell in Miami Vice and The New World epitomizes the "Black Irish" sort.
- DC Extended Universe: Clark Kent/Superman and Batman/Bruce Wayne certainly qualify courtesy of their actors, Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck respectively. Affleck, at 6'4, is, in fact, the tallest actor to play Bruce Wayne to date.
- Notorious ladies' man Catcher Block in Down with Love.
- Ladies man Murdoch Glourie as played by the sexy Robert Donat in The Ghost Goes West.
- Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind is the Trope Codifier.
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
- Pretty much all the James Bond actors fit the mold, except for Daniel Craig for being a tad short (compared to the rest) and blondish. The initial backlash that ensued after he was cast in Casino Royale (2006) is a good indicator on how pervasive this trope was and still is.
- Letter from an Unknown Woman Stefan, played by Louis Jourdan, is beautifully dark, tall, and handsome. That's why he's The Casanova.
- Sir Michael Redgrave exemplified this trope (frequently coupling it with a refined charm) for much of his film career: see, for example, The Lady Vanishes, Thunder Rock, "the Ventriloquist's Sequence" in Dead of Night and Secret Beyond the Door....
- The More the Merrier has Joel McCrea. 'Nuff said.
- Daniel Day-Lewis as Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans. He noticeably gets paired with the dark brunette Munro sister and many shots play up the similarity of their long hair, while his also-handsome Mohican adopted brother Uncas (Eric Schweig) is paired with the blonder Munro sister and the two of them have more visual contrast, which evokes the image of a white/Native American romance all the better.
- Omar Sharif is the epitome of this trope in Doctor Zhivago (where his multiple love interests are the center of attention, so female fans can spend the entire movie shipping) and Lawrence of Arabia (where he was a literal Ensemble Dark Horse because of this trope), both David Lean films. For Zhivago, notably a subversion as far as the actor's actual ethnicity goes, since despite being Egyptian of Lebanese descent he was ambiguous-looking enough to play a Russian.
- Philip Boynton on Our Miss Brooks.
- The Phantom in the Joel Schumacher version of The Phantom of the Opera (2004) as long as he keeps his mask on. Handsomeness goes out of the window at that point—and, for some reason, he also becomes fair because he was wearing a dark wig over his wispy, light brown hair. You see him putting on the wig right while he sings "Seal my fate tonight" before Don Juan Triumphant opens, and we see it fall off as Christine unmasks him.
- Melvyn Douglas played this sort of character in Theodora Goes Wild. And probably every other film ever.
- Thor: Ragnarok: Although Loki is normally a tall, raven-haired Pretty Boy, his all-black Midgardian suit gives him a more masculine appearance, and it makes him look handsome rather than pretty.
- X-Men Film Series
- Hugh Jackman's portrayal of Wolverine certainly qualifies, although the comic book version doesn't quite count if only because Jackman is much taller and more conventionally handsome. But both versions are dark, broody, dangerous, and mysterious.
- Colossus is the tallest X-Man, and he also happens to be a brunet and good-looking.
- James Bond is described in the original Ian Fleming books as six feet tall, black-haired and cruelly handsome. His eyes are a cold blue-grey instead of dark, though. Fleming also invoked Textual Celebrity Resemblance by having characters say Bond looks like the American musician and actor Hoagy Carmichael — evidently someone who Fleming thought fit the mold in real life.
- Anne of Green Gables:
- Gilbert Blythe is described in the books as being very handsome, with dark, curly hair and hazel eyes. He is tall with a lean build.
- Walter, his and Anne's second son. With "finely modeled features" and expressive gray eyes, the girls fall all over him from childhood onward. Walter, however, is kind of a Clueless Chick-Magnet and spends more of his time writing poetry than wooing women.
- Isaac Asimov's "Satisfaction Guaranteed": The TN-3 model (Tony) was designed to do housework, and US Robots & Mechanical Men decided to make it look attractive as well; building him to an above-average height, perfectly groomed black hair, warm olive skin, and attractive enough to make all of the other housewives in the neighborhood jealous.
"Tony was tall and darkly handsome" — first line
- Jerin in A Brother's Price. He is handsome — even women who don't lust after him, for example, his kindly former schoolteacher, warn him that he needs to wear a veil in public, as his good looks could attract kidnappers. His dark hair goes well over his shoulders, so he's also a Long-Haired Pretty Boy. The text implies he's tall as well; he is able to manhandle an adult soldier out of a brook and onto a horse.
- In Darkness Visible, William Marsh is six feet tall, black-haired, and so annoyingly gorgeous that even the protagonist's mother wants him.
- The Dresden Files:
- While few detailed descriptions of his appearance are given, 6'9" Harry Dresden probably counts.
- Thomas, who is mentioned as being only slightly shorter than him and a White Court Vampire, definitely counts.
- Harry Potter:
- Sirius Black is definitely tall, dark, and handsome. The book constantly reminds us of it.
- Voldemort/Tom Riddle in his teenage years. Of course, he was also evil.
- The Daemon from The Hearts We Sold is tall, dark-haired, well-dressed, and oddly charming, in his own, otherworldly way. It's suggested he's more of a Pretty Boy than handsome in a traditional, masculine way, however; Dee describes him as "beautiful" in her narration.
- Gale of The Hunger Games shares Katniss's dark hair, olive skin, and grey eyes and is said to be over six feet tall by Katniss, because when they met in the woods when he was only 14, she stated he was already that height. Muscular and good-looking, girls flock to him — Katniss herself says that Gale would have no trouble finding a wife because he's handsome and strong.
- That Irresistible Poison: Ksar is classically handsome, tall, with dark hair and silver eyes.
- Lolita: Humbert Humbert tells his readers several times that he's really, really good-looking. Tall, dark-haired, masculine, handsome, and with the appeal of a movie star.
"I was, and still am, despite mes malheurs, an exceptionally handsome male; slow-moving, tall, with soft dark hair and a gloomy but all the more seductive cast of demeanor."
- Loyal Enemies: According to Shelena, Veres is tall with black hair and olive skin but decidedly not handsome as she's not attracted to this type of men. After spending a lot of time together and Veres healing after being beaten almost to death, though, Shelena has to admit that he ain't all that skinny anymore and most certainly handsome. He even turns out to be a match for Shelena in snarkiness.
- Prince Vladimir from the Nightfall (Series) fits all three criteria.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- Although when we first meet Aragorn, he is said to 'look foul and feel fair.' While he is described as "grim" when we first meet him, as the book continues, he is constantly described as "noble", with standard Númenórean good looks. The grimness refers more to his demeanor as a Ranger. Not to mention, of course, that he caught the eye of Arwen, who is supposed to be as beautiful as her ancestor who was the most beautiful elf to ever exist, so he definitely cleans up nicely. They describe him as "Lean, dark, tall" ("dark" referring to his hair, as elsewhere his face is called "pale"). And when we first meet Strider in the book, he is a subtle Tall, Dark, and Snarky.
- Faramir, Boromir, Imrahil and young Denethor all fit this trope. Actually, the Dúnedain in general are tall and dark with a little elvish touch.
- Any dark-haired elf would qualify, and there are many, particularly in The Silmarillion.
- Mediochre Q Seth Series: When Charlotte Johnson first meets Joseph Carrion, he is explicitly noted to be tall, handsome and dark-haired. It contrasts with Mediochre, who is short and weedy.
- Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments shares his mother's good looks and Clary describes him having long limbs like a dancer.
- Kuroki in Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note is the tallest of the main cast with black hair and jet-black eyes, and is officially noted to be handsome. The Charmer traits add to his appeal.
- Tortall Universe: Jonathan of Conte is described as being very handsome, with black hair and piercing blue eyes, and for a time he and Alanna the Lioness were lovers. One woman in The Immortals lampshades it, saying that most women around the palace are in love with him to one degree or another. Please describe if he's tall.
- After Bella of Twilight is knocked off her motorcycle, she looks up at Native American Jacob Back and says that he is kind of beautiful.
- Demetri Belikov from Vampire Academy is described to be extremely tall (2,01 meters/6'7") with chocolate-brown eyes and long, dark hair which he wears in a ponytail. He is also described to be very handsome and rugged in physical appearance with God-like angular, masculine features. In terms of his physique, he is lean, well-built and muscular.
- Gomez Addams from The Addams Family is suave, mustachioed, passionately devoted to his wife... and just as much a weird Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant as the rest of his family. Not quite the tallest one there, of course, but still.
- Downplayed in the 60s TV show but very much played up in the films. In the TV series Gomez was average in height at 5ft10, and while not ugly (and women other than Morticia were sometimes attracted to him in-universe, though more for his charm than his looks) was sometimes described as strange-looking or "goofy-looking" by other characters, although the trope is definitely present from Morticia's perspective (and he also canonically considers himself to be attractive). In the films he is played by the 6ft2 Raúl Juliá, with more neatly slicked-back hair and a more groomed moustache, and it's made very clear that several characters are attracted to him on sight.
- Arrowverse has Ray Palmer, played by Brandon Routh. He's 6'3", muscular, and very good looking.
- Apollo from both versions of Battlestar Galactica (1978).
- Anders, Gaius and Helo from Battlestar Galactica (2003).
- In The Big Bang Theory, Bernadette's Gentle Giant ex-boyfriend Glenn (played by Rick Fox) was this to a T, leading the nerdy Howard to feel incredibly insecure comparing himself to him and inadvertently pick a fight with Bernadette.
- Bryan Connerty from Billions, played by Toby Leonard Moore.
- Bridgerton: Simon, the love interest of the first season. He's tall, brooding, played by a half-Black actor, and seen as the most eligible bachelor in the land.
- The titular character (played by Gil Gerald) from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: When Buffy first met Angel, he called himself a friend and she said that he was dark, gorgeous in an annoying sort of way. In Angel Cordelia calls him "tall, dark, and broody".
- Ponch from CHiPs.
- Chuck: Chuck Bartowski.
- James Wesley from Daredevil (2015), played by Toby Leonard Moore.
- Due South: Constable Benton Fraser, played by actor Paul Gross, fits the ideal image of what a Mountie should be, including being handsome, tall and physically fit. Describe whether he's dark-haired. The character is, in some ways, an homage to and a deconstruction of the popular depiction of the Mounties, such as the cartoon "Dudley Do-Right" and Sgt. Preston◊ of the Yukon.
- Johnny Gage from Emergency!
- ER had a trifecta of them, each playing pretty much the same role. First Doug Ross (George Clooney), then Luka Kovac (Goran Višnjić), and then Tony Gates (John Stamos).
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Game of Thrones: All trueborn Baratheon males are genetically inclined to be handsome, dark-haired, and well-built.
- House of the Dragon: Unlike the source material, Criston Cole has a swarthy complexion and wavy dark hair that immediately mark him as Dornish (the hot, desert Southern region of Westeros), which the young princess Rhaenyra approves of. He spends a couple of episodes as her handsome sworn knight before their affair goes south.
- Highlander: Duncan MacLeod, in contrast to shorter, dirty-blond Connor MacLeod.
- Horatio Hornblower:
- Sailor Horatio Hornblower has got it all: a tall slender figure, brown curly hair, dark eyes, tanned complexion, and a handsome manly face. However, he's really fairly skinny and by no means a Hunk.
- Captain Pellew has a tall and well-built figure (appropriate for a naval captain), dark eyes and dark hair, his complexion is tanned and slightly weather-beaten (he spends his life aboard a ship after all), and his facial features are very fine. In addition, he's as Officer and a Gentleman.
- Lieutenant William Bush is an attractive manly man. His amazing blue eyes contrast nicely with his dark brown hair. His actor Paul McGann said that he's in fact quite little and needed a Scully Box, but Mr Bush is tall enough.
- Harmon Rabb in JAG.
- Jane the Virgin: Rafael, a 6'2" Latin Lover hunk with jet-black hair. He is the wealthy, exciting, and brooding love interest contrast to Jane's friendly, blond cop boyfriend Michael.
- Don Draper of Mad Men.
- Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H, although over the seasons his raven hair gradually became salt-and-peppered until it was almost completely gray.
- Merlin (2008):
- Lancelot's coloring makes him a perfect visual counterpoint to golden-haired, blue-eyed Arthur.
- Gwaine, too.
- Jason from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
- Detective William Murdoch from Murdoch Mysteries is a classically handsome Badass Bookworm.
- Philip Boynton, on Our Miss Brooks.
- John Reese from Person of Interest is tall with dark hair in the earlier seasons (he later gets some grey so the Silver Fox trope is used instead) and is something of a Death Seeker due to his past as a CIA hitman. Detective Fusco once refers to him as "Tall, Dark and Deranged".
- Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
- Remington Steele, played by Pierce Brosnan, is handsome and mysterious.
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock most definitely qualifies. In real life, he's ginger.
- Dr. Harry Cunningham from Silent Witness, although as a pasty-faced Englishman he's far from tanned.
- Quinn Mallory in Sliders.
- In the second episode of the first season of Smallville, Clark smiles down at Chloe and she says, "It's amazing how far that Kent charm will get you."
- David Starsky from Starsky & Hutch.
- Star Trek: Picard:
- Cristóbal Rios is a Dashing Hispanic — tall with dark brown hair and dashingly handsome in a manner which is typical of a gruff Lovable Rogue. Dr. Agnes Jurati finds him attractive and he becomes her boyfriend.
- Because Rios selected the self-scan option for the Emergency Holograms on La Sirena, they all appear identical to him, and therefore they share his good looks.
- Stefan and Damon from The Vampire Diaries. They are both sinfully handsome, with dark hair. And they are both of Italian origins.
- Derek Hale from Teen Wolf is this, complete with a strong jawline, stubble, hypnotic grey eyes and six pack abs. He also broods. A lot.
- White Collar: Neal Caffrey, played by the beautiful Matt Bomer.
- Justin Russo from Wizards of Waverly Place. The bookworm type.
- The X-Files:
- Agent Fox Mulder is tall, well-built, has brown hair and sad green Puppy-Dog Eyes, tanned complexion, nose... Yes, he's got it all. Being a Deadpan Snarker doesn't hurt.
- Alex Krycek is a double agent and a dirty rat boy who charms and eventually betrays everyone must be fit and handsome to pull it all off. He has very dark eyes and black hair. Tall, dark, mysterious and very handsome.
- Assistant Director Skinner is an older sexy guy. Tall and physically fit.
- "Sweet Rosie Jones" by Buck Owens (1968) has the narrator lose the love of the title character to a "tall dark stranger." A year later Owens recorded a spinoff/sequel actually called "Tall Dark Stranger" that explored the trope even further.
- Jim Morrison in spades.
- BlazBlue: Kagura Mutsuki & Ragna the Bloodedge, both meant to contrast the blond Jin Kisaragi.
- Connor from Detroit: Become Human is tall and broad-shouldered, has dark brown hair, and is good-looking with a chiseled, square jawline and lean, athletic build. Also, the fact that he's supposed to evoke the image of a well-dressed, cold and calculating machine, most likely to give off the no-nonsense, police officer vibe, combined with his aloof and stoic nature, is what makes him all the more mysterious, especially considering the choices he can sometimes make.
- Apollonius of Fairy Fencer F — very tall, dark hair and outfit, quite dashing.
- Guy from Final Fight and Street Fighter. Ibuki refers to him as a hunk, and it's not hard to see why.
- Final Fantasy:
- Hubert von Vestra from Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the Right-Hand Hottie of future empress Edelgard von Hresvelg. He's 6'2'' with dark hair always covering his right eye. He was a bit pale and creepy, but grows more naturally into this trope after five years with a courtly suit and more healthy complexion.
- Sol Badguy and Slayer in Guilty Gear.
- Terra from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
- Duo Lon from The King of Fighters. Mai actually uses the trope name word by word to describe him.
- Prince Alexander from King's Quest, by way of being an unironic Prince Charming. His father King Graham also qualifies in his younger days, though he often leans more into Tall, Dark, and Snarky territory.
- Mr. Darcy in Matches and Matrimony
- Shang Tsung with his youth restored in Mortal Kombat 9, except for the tall part. Ditto for Liu Kang and Kung Lao. Johnny Cage, Kenshi and his son Takeda, and Fandom Bicycle Sub-Zero II all play the trope completely straight, as does Jax as they're all canonically at least six feet tall.
- Susabi and Tamamo no Mae from Onmyoji. The latter's case is made even more evident when he loses his Cool Mask. Ichimokuren also becomes one when his skin is applied, though he's not as tall as Susabi.
- Maxi and Z.W.E.I. from the Soul Series.
- Yuri Lowell in Tales of Vesperia.
- Jin Kazama from Tekken.
- Lackadaisy: Mordecai Heller is drawn as a tall, anthropomorphic tuxedo cat. Asa refers to Mordecai as "swarthy" due to his black fur. The way several women react to Mordecai suggests that he's considered attractive in-universe. His human form definitely qualifies as dark and handsome.
- Reunion (2021): Shiro is tall, dark-haired, brown-skinned, and brooding and mysterious. He's also considered good-looking in-universe, with random girls commenting on his attractiveness. Rhea wonders if his mysteriousness draws women to him.
Examples when the trope is invoked, parodied and/or subverted:
- Best known example (and, maybe, the Ur-Example) of the convention being invoked would be a Roma fortune teller prophesying that her female customer will meet a tall, dark and handsome stranger.
- Since it's simply taken for granted that the trope in its classic usage refers to white men, any tall, dark-haired and handsome man who is not white in modern media can be considered an unspoken subversion of it, the "darkness" now possibly referring to his skin tone due to non-white ethnicity as well as his hair.
- Ranma ˝: Tatewaki Kuno has dark hair (black in the manga and dark brown in the anime), is one of the tallest characters in the cast and is very Hunky in appearance. In the watermelon chapter and its anime adaptation, Kuno even introduces himself as "Strikingly handsome, dark and tall." Despite Kuno's own thoughts, he's actually the Lord Error-Prone rival to the led.
- During the course of The Heart Trilogy, Smaug gains a human form that is physiqued like a warrior, about seven feet tall, and dark-haired. His face would be considered handsome if he didn't have a condescending personality, fiery golden eyes, and around his mouth cruel lines that make it look like he has spent his entire life sneering at people unworthy of him.
- In Disney's Aladdin, when Jasmine distracts Jafar by pretending to be mind-controlled into loving him, she describes Jafar as "tall, dark...well dressed..." Apparently, calling Jafar handsome would just be too suspicious.
- DC Extended Universe: The title character of Aquaman (2018) courtesy of Jason Momoa. Notably a subversion twice over, in the sense that due to a Race Lift of Aquaman and his father, he's now Ambiguously Brown, looking part Hawaiian or Pacific Islander instead of the default white (due to his mother who is not human, yet resembles a white human woman), and in the sense that he's dark-haired whereas his comics counterpart is blond (and would thus not normally count as "dark").
- From Dusk Till Dawn: While at 5'11" George Clooney might not be quite as tall as others in the trope, Seth Gecko is handsome and mysterious, with a Dark and Troubled Past. Word of God on the DVD commentary points out that Robert Rodriguez, the film's director, deliberately shot Clooney from underneath, to make him look heroic. This is a subversion in that he's not a romantic lead. The head vampire wants to either eat or enslave him, and Kate makes an overture that is quickly shot down.
- The date doctor Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) from Hitch is referred to as this. An example of the modern expanded use of the phrase, as Will Smith is black.
- The director of the original King Kong (1933) truthfully promised Fay Wray that she would be working with the "tallest, darkest" leading man in the world. Although a bit of a stretch: the actual Kong ligature used for most scenes was only about sixteen inches tall.
- In the Aunt Dimity series, Bill Willis was introduced with a beard, a paunch and thick horn-rimmed glasses when Lori first met him. He later lost all three, and Lori subsequently describes him as being "quite literally, tall, dark and handsome."
- Played with in Dragon Bones. Alizon, the king's half-brother is described as very handsome, tall and slender like a wolf, and, occasionally, dark-haired. He dyes his hair, which is apparently already going grey, and seems fond of trying out new colors.
- Parodied in Good Omens. Anathema Device hopes that the man she's prophesied to meet will be a tall, dark and handsome stranger. As it turns out, the stranger in question is Newton Pulsifer, who's tall and dark-haired, but not particularly handsome. She decides that she can live with two out of three.
She had been hoping, rather self-consciously, for someone tall, dark, and handsome.
Newt was tall, but with a rolled-out, thin look. And while his hair was undoubtedly dark, it wasn't any sort of fashion accessory; it was just a lot of thin, black strands all growing together out of the top of his head.
- In Victoria Hanley's Light of the Oracle, the love interest of the main character Kiran fits the tall and dark like an animal until he gets a makeover, becoming so handsome that he goes from being snubbed by the Rich Bitch Clea to being pursued by him.
- Angel. One of the many nicknames Spike dubs Angel with is "Tall, Dark and Dreary".
- Batwoman (2019)
- At the end of the pilot episode, a female radio announcer ponders whether Mr. Tall, Dark and Unavailable has returned after an absence of three years. The joke being that what they think is Batman was actually Kate Kane in a batsuit.
- In "Grinning From Ear To Ear", Kate quips that she got her information on the Villain of the Week from "Bat-sources". Luke Fox suspects she's been seeing Crow Security agent Sophie Moore despite his advice, and asks if those Bat-sources were the "tall, dark and girlfriend-material variety".
- In Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lucifer Morningstar does a cameo and says that John Diggle reminds him of his brother Amenadiel. "Tall, dark, and annoyed by me."
- Iron Fist (2017). Misty Knight dubs Ward Meacham as "Tall, Dark and Arrogant."
- Lost Girl. Thus spake Kenzi: "Can we please talk about Mr. Tall, Dark, and Weapons of Mass Destruction Handsome?"
- The Professionals. Thus spoke Bodie: "I believe in me because I was born tall, dark and beautiful... and engagingly modest of course." He's tall, has dark hair and a troubled past as a mercenary in Africa.
- Instead of using their names, Lois describes Clark at least once as "tall, dark, and bumbling" and on another occasion as "tall, dark, and single" and Davis/Doomsday as "tall, dark, and scary".
Clark: Davis must have done something to her. Chloe would never lie to me if she weren't trapped.
Oliver: Either that or she just can't resist tall, dark and Doomsday.
- When Lois watches a video from her Missing Mom (played by a former Lois Lane), she is told that she will meet someone special, and her mother guesses he will be tall, dark, and handsome.
- Instead of using their names, Lois describes Clark at least once as "tall, dark, and bumbling" and on another occasion as "tall, dark, and single" and Davis/Doomsday as "tall, dark, and scary".
- When they first met, Dean Martin told Jerry Lewis that people would call him "the Boy with the Tall, Dark, and Handsome Voice."
- The narrator of "Answer" by They Might Be Giants is trying to sweet-talk a girl and convince her he's "the answer to all your prayers", even though he admits in the last verse he's neither talk, dark, nor handsome.
You wanted tall
I came in under five-foot-four
Then you asked for dark
I tend to sunburn a lot
And as for handsome, well
Can't help you there
So make of it what you will
- Garfield: Jon Arbuckle once asked his cat if he was this. Garfield responded: "Maybe if you stand on a chair, turn off the lights, and squint." A variation was "stand on a chair, turn off the lights, and lie".
- Prince Devitt was one of the most popular foreign wrestlers in Japan but despite being the definition of tall, dark, and handsome he was put under a mask and the second Pegasus Kid. When he unmasked, it wasn't too long before he joined the evil Control Terrorism Unit in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. However, in some other promotions, he was allowed to both use his real Irish identity and remain a beloved crowd favorite, but New Japan was the biggest promotion during his stay there he ended up founding so most people know evil Devitt. He ended up leaving the CTU stable and becoming part of a face tag team for a few years, so NJPW fans know the babyface also, but then he turned heel again and formed the Bullet Club at the end of his tenure. Then he went to WWE NXT and became the Good is Not Nice / Dark Is Not Evil babyface demon king Finn Bálor.
- During the music video of Plants vs. Zombies:
Sunflower: I know your type: tall, dark and dead.
- CollegeHumor, "Meet Cute with a Ghost": Jess's character meets a really cute ghost during a seance. She originally wanted to contact her dead grandfather, but the ghost turns out to be "tall, muscular, with dark hair" and a doctor to boot. Jackpot!
- Parodied in SpongeBob SquarePants, where Pearl, in "The Chaperone", refers to her ex-boyfriend as "long, tan and handsome". Yes, he does turn out to be a complete dork. Taken further by SpongeBob himself, whose attempt at artificially imitating those three characteristics with stilts, a toaster and braces makes him the star of the prom Pearl invited him to.