For a variety of reasons (budget constraints, contractual obligations, Creator Backlash etc.), sometimes a person will be involved in the creation of a work, but will go uncredited. It's generally only noteworthy if they played a significant role in the creative process (playing a major character, drafting a screenplay, writing a lyric); if the person is well-known enough to have a page on this wiki (many Cameos meet this description); or if the role they played was insignificant, but the person went on to achieve greater fame thereafter.note
In Hollywood, experienced screenwriters are often employed as uncredited "script doctors" to provide edits to existing drafts of screenplays before they go into production: these edits can range from simple punching up of the dialogue, to adding new scenes, to changing the entire structure of the screenplay.
In literature, writers may be employed as "ghostwriters" note to write a book for another person: the latter person will be credited as the writer. The most common form this takes is when a celebrity hires a ghostwriter to pen their "auto"biography. The ghostwriter is usually bound to a non-disclosure agreement not to publicly reveal or discuss their involvement in the creation of the book, although they may be credited as an "editor" or "consultant" (in which case it's not an example of this trope). House Pseudonym (in which multiple ghostwriters are credited under a single pseudonym) is related to this trope.
In music, it's common for solo artists or groups to employ "session musicians" when recording a song or an album, contracted musicians who will perform on one or more tracks, but who are not considered an official member of the group or the solo artist's backing band. Sometimes these musicians will not be credited in the liner notes for the release, but will later go on to achieve fame in their own right. In Hip-Hop, it's an Open Secret that many rappers employ ghostwriters to write lyrics for them, who will unusually go uncredited to preserve the Kayfabe that the rapper exclusively writes their own material (this is quite different from pop music, in which songwriters usually receive credit independent of the performer). Finally, music producers will sometimes serve as "ghost producers" for various reasons. Also, it's not unheard of to decline credit to a featured artist on a duet if the featured artist is on a different label and cannot secure promotion rights.
This was common industry practice in voiceover work for animation prior to the 1990s (see Now Which One Was That Voice? for more information).
See also Alan Smithee, for when a film director proves that they did not have creative control over a film and has the direction of the film credited to a pseudonym. An interesting case is when a creator is typecast in a particular role/genre, and goes uncredited in order to distance themselves from their usual type, which overlaps with He Also Did.
Note that it's not an example if the person is credited under a Pen Name or alias, or if they're Not Named in Opening Credits but still credited at the end. Sometimes creators will deliberately go uncredited so that their part in the work will be a surprise for the audience, so some examples on this page will be spoilers.
- In The Social Network, Eduardo is originally credited on the Facebook masthead as co-founder and CFO. When he is later forced out of the company, his name is removed from the masthead, erasing any evidence that he helped found the company. In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue it's mentioned that his name was later restored to the masthead.
- Unfortunately, many anime TV series that are released in North America don't contain the entire Japanese credits roll, and only feature an abridged credits list Note . As a result, crew members and supporting studios which are listed in the original Japanese credits are omitted in the North American release, this sometimes includes the original Japanese voices.
- This form of crediting is also used quite often in Japan, usually in regards to outsourcing studios lacking a proper staff roll. In some instances, certain shows will outright omit key staff members, animation studios or key animators, Märchen Mädchen being a notorious example of this practice in action. Rin Ne and the NHK airings of Attack on Titan also feature credits that lack any mention of their respective supporting contract studios.
- For the English dub of Space Battleship Yamato (called Star Blazers), the dub cast were not credited onscreen due to actor's union restrictions, this being a non-union job.
- The 4Kids dub of Tokyo Mew Mew, Mew Mew Power, had most of the Japanese staff uncredited, including the show's director, Noriyuki Abe. Only the Japanese production companies and the original manga creators (Reiko Yoshida and Mia Ikumi) were credited.
- Kathleen Turner was uncredited as the voice of Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- Disney Animated Canon:
- Until 1984, there was a rule that animators had to draw at least 100 feet of film (roughly 68 seconds) in order to be credited.
- Sleeping Beauty: The voices for the Queen and for Maleficent's goons weren't credited.
- The Jungle Book only listed the main characters and some of the supporting characters, other actors like Digby Wolfe (Ziggy), Hal Smith (Slob Elephant), Ralph Wright (Gloomy Elephant), Leo De Lyon (Flunkey), Bill Skiles and Pete Henderson (the Monkeys) went uncredited.
- Robin Hood only listed the actors playing the main character and key supporting characters; other actors like J. Pat O'Malley (Otto), Candy Candido (Captain of the Guard), John Fiedler (Sexton), Barbara Luddy (Mother Rabbit and Sexton's wife) and all the child actors went uncredited.
- Ron Clements conceived the story for the 1983 featurette Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, but he took his name off the film in protest of Disney outsourcing the animation. Said studio, Rick Reinhart Productions, also went uncredited from the final product.
- Charlie Kaufman was an uncredited script doctor for Kung Fu Panda 2.
- Pauly Shore was uncredited as the voice of Bobby in A Goofy Movie. He was credited in the sequel, however.
- Judd Apatow was an uncredited script doctor for The Wedding Singer, Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty.
- Shane Black was an uncredited script doctor for Iron Man, Predator and Crimson Tide.
- The late Carrie Fisher was an uncredited script doctor for several films, including Hook, Sister Act, Last Action Hero, Lethal Weapon 3, The Wedding Singer, Scream 3 and the Star Wars prequels.
- Alexander Payne was an uncredited script doctor for Meet the Parents and Jurassic Park 3.
- John Sayles was an uncredited script doctor for Apollo 13 and Mimic, among others.
- Kevin Smith:
- He wrote most of the dialogue for his part in Live Free or Die Hard. According to him, he rewrote the scene when he auditioned for the part, and the studio hired him because it was cheaper than giving him a writer's credit. Smith was credited for his acting, but not for his script edits.
- Uncredited script doctor for Coyote Ugly and Overnight Delivery.
- Aaron Sorkin was an uncredited script doctor for several films, including Schindler's List, The Rock, Bulworth and Enemy of the State.
- Tom Stoppard was an uncredited script doctor for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Sleepy Hollow (1999), Revenge of the Sith and The Bourne Ultimatum.
- Quentin Tarantino was an uncredited script doctor for Crimson Tide, The Rock and...It's Pat!.
- Joss Whedon was an uncredited script doctor for several films, including The Getaway, Speed, The Quick and the Dead, Waterworld, Twister and X-Men.
- Tiffany Grant was an uncredited graduate student in Arlington Road.
- George Lucas was executive producer on Lawrence Kasdan's Body Heat, mainly as a favor for Kasdan's help with the script for Return of the Jedi. Lucas went uncredited because he didn't want his work on an erotic thriller film to affect his family-friendly reputation from the first two Star Wars films.
- Ashton Kutcher is not credited for his role as Hank in Cheaper by the Dozen, whereas Charlie's bully is played by a then-unknown Jared Padalecki, who was also uncredited along with Wayne Knight's cameo as an electrician and Amy Hill as Nigel and Kyle's kindergarten teacher.
- Jason Statham has a brief uncredited cameo in Collateral.
- In Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon appear (uncredited) as two game show contestants.
- Michael Caine has a voice-only cameo in Dunkirk, which is uncredited.
- Mel Brooks was an uncredited producer on David Lynch's The Elephant Man. He feared audiences would assume it was a comedy because of his involvement, so he left his own name out of the credits and marketing.
- Tom Sizemore plays one of the villains in Enemy of the State, but his name doesn't appear in the credits.
- Kurt Russell had an uncredited cameo as Elvis Presley in Forrest Gump.
- Bruce Willis in Four Rooms. Willis did the film for free as a favor to Quentin Tarantino and preferred that his appearance be a surprise (and that so he wouldn't have to pay the Screen Actors Guild money for doing a free gig).
- From Russia with Love, Blofeld's debut as the Big Bad of the James Bond movies, starts the tradition of keeping his face off-camera, prompting the use of this trick to make sure nobody could be sure what he looked like. The ending credits acknowledge his existence by crediting one Ernst Blofeld with a question mark in place of the actor. (The body was Anthony Dawson and the voice was Eric Pohlmann.)
- The Coen Brothers were uncredited script doctors for Fun with Dick and Jane.
- Hook: The kissing couple that was briefly lifted into the air by Tinkerbell's pixie dust were George Lucas and Carrie Fisher. Fisher also served as an uncredited script doctor.
- Peter Jackson, Steve Coogan and Cate Blanchett all have uncredited cameos in Hot Fuzz.
- Jason Reitman was an uncredited script doctor for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
- Macaulay Culkin appeared as Jacob's son Gabriel in Jacob's Ladder, despite him being a fairly important character he was not credited, this may have been due to difficulties with his father and manager Kit Culkin.
- The child actor who played Chucky from Jane Austen's Mafia! was not credited despite playing a fairly important part.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- The actress who played Kelsey the first foster mother's sister in Mikey was not credited.
- Sean Connery plays Richard the Lionheart in the final scenes of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It wouldn't normally be a big enough part to be worth mentioning, but it's Sean Connery. He also donated his entire salary from the role - $250,000 - to charity.
- M. Night Shyamalan was an uncredited script doctor for She's All That. Shyamalan's contributions are mentioned on the DVD Commentary for the film.
- In Sleepaway Camp, the man who stood in for Felissa Rose during the infamous twist ending has remained anonymous. Understandably, Rose's mother protested the filmmaker's original plan of making her daughter wear a strap-on penis, so instead they made a mask of Rose's face and paid the man a few hundred dollars to stand naked on the beach on a freezing night wearing it. The poor guy apparently had to be shitfaced to do the scene and also cried before filming.
- Judson Scott went uncredited for his role as Khan's second-in-command Joachim in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It was not by the actor's choice, though—it was a negotiation ploy on the part of his agent that backfired.
- Star Wars:
- Shockingly, it wasn't until the digital reissue of the Original Trilogy that James Earl Jones would be credited for his role as the voice of Darth Vader. He also wasn't credited in Revenge of the Sith.
- The Force Awakens: Daniel Craig plays the stormtrooper who is mind-controlled by Rey.
- The Rise of Skywalker: Harrison Ford (Han) makes a return appearance but goes uncredited.
- David Warner has a significant role in Straw Dogs, for which he receives no credit. Warner has said in interviews that his agent had tried to get him a star billing, prompting Warner to state that he wanted to work with Sam Peckinpah again enough that he would take the role even if he got no billing at all — and the idea amused Peckinpah, who decided to take him at his word.
- Rob Lowe in Tommy Boy. He turned down being billed as he didn't want to have to pay Screen Actors Guild fees for being in the film.
- Peter Greene is not credited as Redfoot in The Usual Suspects, which is appropriate as the ending suggests Redfoot never really existed outside Verbal's imagination.
- The actor who did the voiceover for minor character Rihei in Vendetta For A Samurai is not credited.
- The Community episode "Investigative Journalism" has an uncredited performance by Owen Wilson as the leader of another study group who recruits Buddy at the end.
- Doctor Who:
- The Invisible Man (1958) has the title character uncredited, despite being The Hero, so no one would know what Dr. Peter Brady actually looked like.
- Person of Interest:
- Mick Jagger sang uncredited backing vocals on Carly Simon's Signature Song "You're So Vain". The song was rumoured to be about Jagger himself (although Simon herself denied this).
- Eric Clapton played an uncredited guitar solo on The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". To return the favour, George Harrison made an uncredited guest appearance on Cream's song "Badge".
- Jack White performed uncredited backing vocals on Electric Six's song "Danger! High Voltage!". Just to mess with people, the band would maintain in interviews that it was a contest-winning fan who just happened to sound a lot like Jack White.
- Nas was a ghostwriter for several artists, including Will Smith.
- RunD.M.C. contributed ghostwritten lyrics to Beastie Boys debut album Licensed to Ill.
- Numerous artists have ghostwritten lyrics for Dr. Dre, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar.
- Many Country Music duets have not credited the featured artist:
- K.T. Oslin sang the last verse of Alabama's "Face to Face", but received no credit for it whatsoever.
- Sons of the Desert sang a call and response on Ty Herndon's 1998 hit "It Must Be Love", but were not credited for it; making this all the more egregious is that they were credited for their backing vocals on Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" only two years later. This may be due to Sons of the Desert being in the middle of a dispute with Epic Records during the release of "It Must Be Love" (Ty was also on Epic at the time), whereas by the release of "I Hope You Dance", both they and Lee Ann were on MCA Records.
- Trisha Yearwood's "Like We Never Had a Broken Heart" credited the backing vocals provided by Garth Brooks (this was before they were married), but only on the Canadian charts.
- Garth himself was uncredited for singing the second verse of Chris LeDoux's "Whatcha Gonna Do with a Cowboy".
- Janie Fricke sang the entire second verse of "Thinkin' of a Rendezvous" by Johnny Duncan, but was not credited for it.
- Bluegrass musician Ralph Stanley was not credited for singing the second verse of "Me and God" by Josh Turner. Also uncredited on this song are the background vocals from Marty Roe, Gene Johnson, and Dana Williams of Diamond Rio. Zig-zagged in that a Turner-only version of the song also exists.
- Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman of The Byrds re-recorded "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" in 1989 with backing from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, although the single release credited only McGuinn and Hillman.
- Lee Roy Parnell's 1994 cover of "Take These Chains from My Heart" did not credit the duet vocals from Ronnie Dunn, who sang the second and third verses.
- Subverted with "Shiftwork" by Kenny Chesney and George Strait. Strait was originally not credited for his solo singing on the second verse, but this changed halfway through the song's chart run when the two artists' labels were able to strike a deal.
- Reba McEntire's "Every Other Weekend" was recorded as a duet with Kenny Chesney, but the official single edit replaced him with co-writer Skip Ewing due to a label disagreement. Despite this, nearly all stations played the Chesney version anyway, and the song was credited only to Reba on the charts.
- Cole Swindell's 2017 hit "Flatliner" does not credit Dierks Bentley, who sings the second verse and has banter with Cole before the last chorus.
- Caitlyn Smith sang backing vocals on Kenny Chesney's "All the Pretty Girls", but not even the liner notes credit her for this.
- Avicii songs never credit the featured vocalist.
- After John Barry's score for First Love was almost completely dropped from the movie, he took his name off the credits. La-La Land Records released it on CD in 2013.
- Kesha's first appearance on a Billboard top 40 pop hit was singing backing vocals on the chorus of "Right Round" by Flo Rida, which she was initially uncredited for. This was probably done for the same reasons she opted not to be in the video - she wanted to be known for her own music, not a guest appearance on a song by someone else.
- Reba McEntire's 1995 cover of "On My Own" was a Massive Multiplayer Crossover featuring Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, and Linda Davis, but only McEntire received credit.
- Tracy Byrd's 2003 hit "The Truth About Men" did not credit the second verse's guest vocals from Montgomery Gentry, Blake Shelton, and Andy Griggs.
- Frank Ocean's "Pink + White" has Beyoncé singing backup vocals uncredited.
- UNKLE's 1998 song "Chaos" was co-written by Mark Hollis, who also played piano on the track. Hollis was left uncredited at his own request. The piano part was one of the few commercial music performances he did following his retirement from the music industry, and one of the last ones prior to his death in 2019.
- As the Nine Inch Nails short film Broken lacks credits, most of the cast (aside from the band in 'Wish', and frontman Trent Reznor and S&M performance artist Bob Flanagan in 'Happiness in Slavery') are completely unknown; this includes the killer and the victim in the wraparound segments.
- Atari initially did not provide their programmers and designers, for fear of their being lured away by competitors. The game Adventure contains a hidden room which features a secret message crediting the game's developer, Warren Robinett. This was one of the first Easter Eggs. This reason is also why Activision was formed- so they could credit the developers of their games.
- Justin Villiers, Will Byles and Pete Samuels developed the story for Until Dawn, but were not credited.
- Michael Jackson contributed to the soundtrack of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, but was dissatisfied with the sound capabilities of the Sega Genesis and dropped out of the project. Then Jackson's child molestation accusations came to light, so Sega dropped his name from the credits to distance themselves from the controversy.
- None of the English voice actors of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness were credited for their voice work in the game itself.
- Many soundtracks for Konami games simply credit "Konami Kukeiha Club" instead of specfic composers or arrangers.
- In late 2017, multiple original songs for the BEMANI series starting being credited to "BEMANI Sound Team" rather than the actual contributing artist. At least "GERBERA" had its actual artist, TAG, initially credited before being replaced with the BST credit, but the arranger for "Dance to Blue" and the composer for "Mychronicle" weren't as lucky. A compromise would be later reached, with the affected songs now showing "BEMANI Sound Team "(artist)"" as the credit.
- In early 2018, visual artists for the series started to undergo the same treatment, with beatmania IIDX videos and overlays in particular simply crediting "BEMANI Designers". A similar compromise would eventually be reached in early 2019: "BEMANI Designers "(visual artist)""
- The G-OLM in Virtue's Last Reward's dub not only remained uncredited, but nobody knows who he was. Even the people who worked on the voice acting have no idea who the voice is from.
- ClayFighter: It is unknown until today who made the voices for characters of the first two games. Even though the voice actor lists appear in both games in IMDb, who-made-who is a mystery until now.
- Most anything developed by TOSE, who prefers to remain anonymous.
- Due an incident involving perceived censorship, Akiba's Beat doesn't credit one of the localizers, who requested his name be removed from it. The supposed censorship issue was merely miscommunication and ignorance of the subject at hand from the Japanese side of things.
- Due to union rules at the time, this happened a lot when it came to overseas animators during the 1980s. With some shows, usually those by Sunbow Entertainment and Ruby-Spears, not even crediting any overseas studios.
- Paul Lynde wasn't listed as a voice actor for his roles on The Perils of Penelope Pitstop (as The Hooded Claw) and The Cattanooga Cats (as Mildew Wolf in the It's The Wolf! segment).
- DiC Entertainment: The Real Ghostbusters was particularly odd about this, with the first three seasons lacking specific episode credits utilizing only one generic staff listing throughout. While the later seasons and the Slimer! spinoff actually list the studios used. Similar cases also happened in DiC's other shows from that era, most notably Kidd Video (Season 1 crediting Cuckoo's Nest Studio, while Season 2 only listed the studios used for animation shooting), Inspector Gadget (Seasons 1 and 2 having their own dedicated staff rolls, but no episode specific credits, and no credit at all for Toei during Season 1) and M.A.S.K. (with Ashi Productions and Studio World listed for Season 2, but no animator credits for Season 1). Some of their 90s efforts such as Extreme Dinosaurs, Stunt Dawgs and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog list the studios involved, but not for any specific episodes.
- Fred Wolf Films was notoriously bad about crediting overseas animation studios; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) only did it for the first two seasons (Toei and A-1 Productions, respectively) and seasons 7-10 (Dai Won and Morning Sun), leaving who animated seasons 3-6 (and specifically, which studios animated which specific episodes) a mystery outside of the episodes shipped to their Ireland branch. James Bond Jr., Barnyard Commandos and Toxic Crusaders never listed any studio in the end credits. The New Adventures of Speed Racer goes a step further and leaves out the voice cast as well.
- Depending on the country the shows air in, some Mondo TV series will not list that the animation was by done in North Korea by Studio SEK.
- The Australian cartoon Bluey only credited the characters voiced by adult actors, with the characters voiced by children going uncredited. This means that Bandit and Chilli (AKA Mum and Dad)'s actors were credited, but not Bluey or Bingo's voice actresses.
- Kathy Griffin never received screen credit for voicing Alice in the animated adaptation of Dilbert. This was due to Griffin also starring in Suddenly Susan at the same time, as her contract with NBC prohibited her from receiving screen credit on shows airing on other networks ("Dilbert" aired on UPN).
- Family Guy: Lacey Chabert went uncredited when she voiced Meg during the first production season, before she was replaced by Mila Kunis. She finally received credit on "Back to the Pilot".
- Upon the release of Green Eggs and Ham (2019) (itself an example, listing only the studios involved with the series), Andrew Dickman spoke up about Warner Bros.. not only pulling this trope, but also making animators become outright unpersons.
- Looney Tunes:
- Until 1943, Mel Blanc received no onscreen credit for his voice work. He only was given a credit after asking for a raise. His bosses refused to give him one, but instead begrudgingly agreed to give him a voice work credit for all future Looney Tunes productions, making him one of the first voice actors to escape this trope. Ironically, as a result of his contract, no other voice actors were credited alongside Mel until 1961.
- Directors typically went uncredited on cartoons completed or released after leaving Warner Bros.
- Tex Avery didn't receive credit on his last four cartoons, All This and Rabbit Stew, The Cagey Canary, Aloha Hooey and Crazy Cruise; the latter three were completed by Bob Clampett.
- Clampett would later got this treatment on The Big Snooze and Bacall to Arms, the latter being completed by Art Davis.
- Friz Freleng went uncredited as director on Hollywood Daffy. Allegedly, Freleng was briefly suspended over a pay dispute, leaving his layout artist Hawley Pratt to pick up the slack.
- Star Wars Rebels:
- The VA of Mysterious Informant "Fulcrum" from the first season went uncredited for all of their voice-only appearances before The Reveal in season finale "Fire Across the Galaxy" that Fulcrum was Ahsoka Tano from The Clone Wars, voiced by Ashley Eckstein.
- In a combination of this trope, Character as Himself and Descended Creator, Robot Buddy Chopper, credited "As Himself" throughout the series, was revealed in the series finale to have been voiced by series creator Dave Filoni the entire time.