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White Dwarf Starlet / Live-Action TV

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  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • The episode "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine" was about a White Dwarf Starlet, Barbara Jean Trenton, who becomes so obsessed with her old movies she literally gets pulled into one.
    • A Spear Counterpart appears in the episode "The Trouble With Templeton", in which aging actor Booth Templeton misses his late wife and his time as a Broadway actor in 1927. He escapes to a speakeasy in the past, only to find his wife and close friends callous and indifferent to him. He runs out of the speakeasy and returns to the present. But, when he reads a playbill he snatched from his wife in 1927, it says What to Do When Booth Comes Back. He then realizes that the whole thing was a charade, and that his wife and friends were just pretending to be mean so he would return to the present and appreciate his life there rather than getting stuck wallowing in nostalgia.
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  • Faith from Hope and Faith.
  • Nina Van Horn from Just Shoot Me!. Wendie Malick does this very well, just look at Victoria Chase on Hot in Cleveland.
  • Not Always Female: Rembrandt from Sliders was certain his singing the National Anthem at the baseball game he'd been on his way to attending would have restored him to stardom if not for that pesky portal accident. This was only reinforced by him finding out that he had Elvis levels of fame on one of the worlds.
  • Will Smith from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was once roped into a date with a thoroughly unpleasant version of this character, who was portrayed as a diva who was rude to everyone and refused to accept that her career was over.
  • Parodied in 3rd Rock from the Sun when Sally began to act like one when her "15 minutes of fame" for punching Mark Hamill ran out. Though she eventually gets over it, Harry has a harder time letting go (since he was acting as her agent).
    Harry: She still is big! It's the planet that got small!
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  • Jenna Maroney of 30 Rock lives in perpetual fear of becoming one. Of course, she can't really become a has-been since she wasn't really that famous to start with. Instead, she'd be more of a never-was.
  • In the Angel episode "Eternity", an actress in her late twenties shows signs of slipping into this territory, though she's still arguably at an average level of fame. Terrified, both of that and of her own "advancing years", she tries to get Angel to turn her into a vampire, so she'll have eternal youth.
  • All My Children's Erica Kane may count as either a White Dwarf Starlet or as a gender flipped Hugh Hefner; an increasingly desperate and creepy has-been who insists on acting like she's still just as relevant (and vital) as she was decades ago.
  • The Columbo episode "Forgotten Lady" casts fading Hollywood star Janet Leigh as a White Dwarf Starlet driven to murder in order to facilitate her comeback.
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  • The main character of Colombian Soap Opera La Diva is an actress that, after having a big success in her home country, got a diva-ish attitude and decided to try her luck in Hollywood, leaving her reluctant family behind. After 10 years with no success, she decides to come back, only to find that, while still beautiful and talented, she is no longer relevant, and her sons are still deeply hurt from the abandonment.
  • In Absolutely Fabulous: Patsy Stone.
  • In Slings & Arrows, Shakespearian diva Ellen Fanshaw begs her director not to cast her as the Nurse in Romeo & Juliet, because she can't stand to think of herself as being that old. She also spends a lot of time seducing inappropriately younger men. The trope is both played straight and subverted, because while the show makes fun of its aging starlet, Ellen never loses her dignity as an actress, taking on such weighty parts as Queen Gertrude and Lady Macbeth.
  • Petula from Dinnerladies thinks she's one of these.
  • The Norma Desmond character from Sunset Boulevard was frequently parodied on The Carol Burnett Show.
  • Desperate Housewives has former runway model Gabrielle Solis (who somehow managed to be a runway model at five-foot-nothing) returning to New York in one episode to schmooze with former co-workers (including Real Life supermodel Paulina Porizkova), only to find out they all hated her. Another episode features her trying to prove she's still model material, only to find that she's considered too old by the crew because she's in her 30s.
  • Castle has Martha Rogers (played by Susan Sullivan) as a past-her-prime actress who still gets work (although not the kind of roles she used to get) and is remarkably well adjusted to her later years for a fading starlet, but still wanting to retain some of her former glamour. The show has included Martha watching a clip from The Incredible Hulk movie (which Susan starred in) and several of her glamour shots from her Dynasty days. There is also Castle's first ex-wife Meridith, who is an early-onset case, and not so well adjusted to it.
  • Discussed in the MST3K episode on The Giant Spider Invasion. An astronomy lecturer makes mention of "white dwarf stars" and "collapsed stars," each of which is followed up by the bots with, "like Linda Hunt."note 
  • Sidra from 1000 Ways to Die's episode "Inject-icide". She's an elderly former beauty queen who injected her face with corn oil as a cheap substitute for Botox (as she couldn't afford the actual treatments). Some of that got into her bloodstream, and then it started leaking out of her face...
  • Raquel in The L.A. Complex had some fame 10 years or so ago, but now she's pushing 30 and still auditioning to play teenagers. She makes a point of not wanting the "mom roles".
  • Daisy Adaire from Dead Like Me. Although it helps that, being dead, she doesn't age.
  • On an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Carol Burnett played a former ballerina whose rich husband is accused of murdering his mistress and her lover. When Benson comes to question her, she's sitting in her den watching old films of herself dancing while drinking herself into a stupor. She points at the screen and tells Benson,"You see that girl? She used to be me."
  • Similarly, the antagonist in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent is a former child actress who couldn't let go of her dreams of grandeur.
  • A Saturday Night Live skit set in the future portrayed Lady Gaga this way, where an elderly and delusional Gaga sends for a plumber and desperately tries to get the poor man to recognize her when he simply wants to do his work and leave. This skit came out after her album Artpop was a commercial failure since people were starting to tire of her over-the-top antics. Ironically, she would later reinvent herself as a classier, more low-key performer in the years that followed, and she's had a respectable amount of fame since.
  • Kandi Buress from The Real Housewives Of Atlanta was a member of the '90s Girl Group Xscape. She sees the show as a chance to re-enter the spotlight.
  • One unsub on Criminal Minds was the son of a onetime starlet, and has several conversations with her during the episode that makes it clear that she's a very gone-to-seed version of this trope. Subverted in the final scene, which reveals that the "conversations" were her son's hallucinations as he talked to her long-mummified corpse. Black Dwarf Starlet?
  • Quincy, M.E. investigated a suicide that led to exposing malpractice. Although he was actually a gynecologist who knew nothing about cosmetic surgery, the unscrupulous Dr. Emile Green was making money preying on women who fit this trope. One of his victims, Dorie Larkin, always hid behind scarves and veils. Bravely appearing on television, she explained that she wanted the surgery because roles that she felt should have gone to her were going to younger actresses, and she was being cast as maiden aunts. When no reputable surgeon would help, because she had the wrong skin type, she turned to Dr. Green, and he butchered her face.
  • Schitt's Creek: Moira Rose was the star of a Soap Within a Show called Sunrise Bay which had a number of absurd plots but was number one in the ratings. She also starred in a Lifetime movie called Not Without My Cousin, and she is eventually cast as Dr. Clara Mandrake in a film called The Crows Have Eyes III: The Crowening, after turning down the part of Clara in The Crows Have Eyes II because she would have had to pay her own way to Bosnia for the shoot.
  • The Outer Limits (1963) episode "The Guests" features Florida Patton, the series' version of Norma Desmond. She was famous during the silent era, but her career suffered when talkies began and she's still salty about it:
    I'm a star. Audiences hear stars with their souls, not with their ears!
  • Joey from Friends is an atypical example of this, since he's a main character who was made into a White Dwarf by events that happened after the start of the series. The reason he counts as a White Dwarf is because he is so often portrayed as a has-been ever since the time he lost his job at Days of Our Lives. Ever since then, his acting career consists of getting jobs that are nowhere near as glorious as his role on Days, and of constantly boasting about his role as Dr. Drake Remore; not only this, but he often thinks that this success entitles him to be seriously considered anytime he auditions for the high-status acting gigs that he fails to get. He never has any further successes that would make him just as proud as the one time he got lucky.
  • In Doom Patrol (2019), Rita Farr was a reasonably-sized star back in the 40's, before a freak accident turned her into an amorphous blob. She has spent the past six or seven decades holed up in a mansion, bitterly reminiscing about her lost stardom.
  • Cheers: Sam Malone often pines over his days in the Boston Red Sox, which ended due to his severe alcoholism, but several times through the series it's shown he wasn't a terribly good player even in his heyday, to the extent the Sox don't even bother inviting him to reunions.
  • An episode of Big Bad Beetleborgs has the Hillhurst house being visited by an old former star of silent horror movies. The kids are forced to play along and pretend they are scared of her so as to not to make her upset.
  • The BBC Three 2015 Mockumentary Gordon portrays former CBBC mascot Gordon T. Gopher as a recovering alcoholic trying to restart his career, over-estimating how much the BBC remembers him (when he says he has "broom cupboard experience", referring to the old nickname for the CBBC continuity booth, they think he's applying to be a cleaner), and tormented by posters reminding him that former co-star Philip Schofield is now the presenter of ITV's This Morning.
  • The eponymous Richie Rich from Filthy Rich & Catflap, a minuscule actor and comedian now long-forgotten, but with delusions of importance and relevance. He expects everyone to know him and shower him with praise every time he enters a room (even though no one, not even those old enough to remember his meagre heights, are aware of his existence), is vain, egotistical, desperate for any kind of showbiz job, tries to live an upper class lifestyle, and is thoroughly past his prime (even if it is implied this "prime" was purely illusory).
    • Also the case of all the celebrities present on the Show Within a Show Ooer Sounds a Bit Rude, who rely on their gimmicks and are only slightly less desperate for attention as Richie. The show is presented as a place for people who fit this trope.
    • This trope is viciously lampooned throughout the entire show, and at one point discussed by Eddie, Richie's alcoholic minder, in one of his tirades:
    Eddie: Look. If there's one thing I hate in British entertainment more than you, it's that vast army of ex-stand-up comics, who did one half-funny gag on Sunday Night at the London Palladium in the middle 60s, and have made a fortune doing Game Shows ever since!
  • Roy Kent from Ted Lasso is afraid that he has become or will become a sports version of this. In reality, he's more of a subversion; despite being in the twilight of his career at the beginning of the show, he's still greatly respected and very popular among fans and he does have a fulfilling life outside of football, with a circle of friends and a very good relationship with his family. Keeley often tries to make him see there's a life outside of his career, and he eventually finds ways to still be involved with football after he's forced to retire at the end of Season 1, first as a pundit and later as an assistant coach for his old team.

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