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Uncredited Role

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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 

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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.

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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). Music producers will also sometimes serve as "ghost producers" for various reasons. Also, it's not unheard of to decline credit to a featured artist on a duet or guest appearance, if the featured artist is on a different label and cannot secure promotion rights.

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This was common industry practice in voiceover work for animation prior to the 1980s (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.


Examples:

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Real Life

    Anime 
  • 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.
  • When The Fantastic Adventures of Unico and Unico in the Island of Magic gained an English dub in the 1980s. Barbara Goodson wasn't credited as the english voice of Manga/Unico due to only crediting the Japanese cast. This resulted with rumors of Karen Prell voicing the titular character, however Prell later debunked the rumor of her voicing the character but speculated it was Barbara Goodson. At numerous convention appearances and interviews, Goodson confirmed that she was the voice of Unico. When Discotek Media re-released the movies on DVD in the early 2010s, Barbara Goodson was credited alongside the other voice actors.

    Film — Animated 
  • 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, the Herald, 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.
  • Animator Sam Singer requested to have his name removed from the credits of Tubby the Tuba (1975).
  • Don Bluth was so dissatisfied with how The Pebble and the Penguin turned out and the Executive Meddling behind it that he renounced his director's credit for that movie.

    Film — Live-Action 

Creators:

Actors:

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 
  • 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.
  • Run–D.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.
  • 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.
  • hinayukki has produced several songs that only credits one Vocaloid voicebank, even when there's another voicebank singing the harmony. For example, "Chiri Yuku Mono" and "Floriography" only credits Meiko as the singer, even though there's clearly another voice accompanying her in the chorus; likewise, Kaito's "Kamikaze Matsuri" and "Tabi no hate" both feature some obvious female accompaniment, but doesn't list any other voicebanks.

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    Western Animation 

In General:

  • Due to union rules at the time, this happened a lot when it came to overseas animators during the 1980s. Some shows, usually those by Sunbow Entertainment and Ruby-Spears, don't even credit any overseas studios.

Actors:

Studios:

  • 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- Studio Wood, Takahashi Production and Wako Production), 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 done in North Korea by SEK Studio.
    • The voice cast is also left out in several Mondo TV original shows from the 1990's and 2000's.

Shows:

  • The Australian cartoon Bluey only credited the characters voiced by adult actors, with the characters voiced by children going uncredited due to privacy concerns. 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".
  • King of the Hill: Stephen Root was not credited for the first few seasons, due to his role on NewsRadio
  • 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:
  • Dan Gordon left Famous Studios shortly after its inception; his name was removed from the completed cartoons he directed such as "No Mutton Fer Nuttin'".
  • The Simpsons: Matt Groening had his name removed from the episode "A Star Is Burns" due to viewing the episode as a half-hour commercial for The Critic, leading to a well-publicized spat with producer James L. Brooks (who had fought to bring The Critic to Fox).


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