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"Animation is built on plagiarism! If it weren't for someone plagiarizing The Honeymooners, we wouldn't have The Flintstones. If someone hadn't ripped off Sergeant Bilko, there'd be no Top Cat. Huckleberry Hound, Chief Wiggum, Yogi Bear? Hah! Andy Griffith, Edward G. Robinson, Art Carney."
Roger Myers, The Simpsons

Sometimes a character's entire shtick will be that he or she is a thinly disguised imitation of some celebrity somewhere. The more blatant examples will often have a parody of that celebrity's name. This can be done for various reasons, such as to serve as a homage and/or parody, to make a point using the character (see picture to the right), or simply because the writers think that it would be cool. Though some consider it done because the writers are out of ideas.

The most common impressions to hear in cartoons are Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone for tough-guy characters, Peter Lorre for creepy characters, R. Lee Ermey for Drill Sergeant Nasties, Paul Lynde for Flamboyant Gay characters and Mae West for vamps.

May double as a Parental Bonus, in a program aimed at kids.

As noted The Ahnold is a common form of this, as are Mock Cousteau and Mr. Alt Disney.

Compare Ink Suit Actor, where a celebrity voices an animated caricature of himself. Comic Book Fantasy Casting is a much milder version of this, where a real actor or other celebrity is used as a guide for a character's appearance but with no attempt to caricature their persona. See also Lawyer-Friendly Cameo, No Communities Were Harmed, and Adam Westing. Tuckerization is the inverse. If it's a fictional character that's being imitated, then it's an Expy or Captain Ersatz. Does not apply in the case of adaptations of live-action source materials, where the character designs are obliged to be based on the real actors.

Examples of No Celebrities Were Harmed include:


Anime and Manga Edit

  • Fist of the North Star
    • Kenshiro has traits drawn from Mel Gibson, Bruce Lee, and Sylvester Stallone.
    • For the first half of the series, only a few characters had explicit celebrity resemblance (The Toki-impostor, Amiba, was very clearly Christopher Lambert, while Toki himself was equally obviously Jesus except with face-melting martial arts skills), though there were more than a handful of characters who were spiritual composites of several famous figures, similar to Ken.
    • In the second series, quite a few characters were overtly modeled after well-known pop-icons at the time, with characters resembling Dolph Lundgren (Falco), Freddie Mercury (Han), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Solia), Road Warriors Hawk and Animal (the Harn Brothers), and many more.
  • In Honey and Clover, the side character "Peter Lucas", who directs the film on which Morita and helps him steal back his father's company, is an obvious parody of director George Lucas.
  • Black Cat features a villainous Bruce Willis lookalike (with a scar and stubble) in chapter 45 of the manga.
  • One Piece has several examples. Jango from the Captain Kuro arc is obviously the late Michael Jackson. The Admirals Aokiji, Kizaru, and Akainu were based on Japanese actors (Yusaku Matsuda, Kunie Tanaka, and Bunta Sugawara respectively). Franky is Ace Ventura with Popeye's arms and addiction to Coke (or whatever Coca-Cola similar they have in the OP world). Brooke (when he was alive) looks suspiciously like Slash. And many more.
    • Psycho Electro Eneru is allegedly based on Eminem, of whom Oda is a fan.
    • Not to mention Spandam, who bears a remarkable similarity to Mick Foley during his "Mankind" days in the WWE.
    • There's also Ivankov, who's basically Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
    • Jango is actually two celebrities in one--his mannerisms are clearly based on Michael Jackson, but if one looks closely, his face actually better resembles Steven Tyler than it does Jackson (minus, of course, the heart-shaped eyes, as revealed in a manga omake).
    • It goes on. Word of God says that Franky is based off Jim Carrey. Each of the Three Admirals is based off a famous Japanese actor known for playing gangsters. Trafalgar Law looks like The Pickup Artist of all people. It's practically a Running Gag at this point.
    • Vice-Admiral Garp's right hand man is based off Humphrey Bogart. He's even called Bogart.
  • The dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX mines the ever-loving hell out of celebrity impersonations, especially for Duel Spirits. Neo-Spacian Ground Mole is Art Carney; the Ojama Trio (Green, Yellow and Black) are an approximation of the Three Stooges, Crystal Beast Emerald Turtle is essentially a really poor Woody Allen, and Crystal Beast Amber Mammoth is possibly the worst Arnold Schwarzenegger the world has ever heard.
    • It's present in the original series, too. Pegasus' love of Toon monsters is easily explained when you consider that his favorite movie appears to be Who Framed Roger Rabbit?? (Check out his email avatar sometime!)
    • And who could forget Doctor Stein, the incredibly boring teacher/villain in one episode of the series?
      • Jaden? Mueller? Mueller? Mueller?
    • On the subject of Crystal Beasts, does anyone else think that the Topaz Tiger is a feeble Sean Connery?
      • Pretty much all of the Crystal Beasts were based on famous movie celebrities (Cobalt Eagle says at one point "Missed it by that much" and Amethyst Cat is Julie Newmar).
    • Don't forget Duel Scientist Eisenstein, who even gets Einstein's classic tongue sticking out poster. Yes, Einstein has apparently devoted himself to card games in this universe.
  • If you wanna see the everloving hell mined out of impressions, check out the English dubs of all the Digimon series. Many of the various non-main Digimon are meant to sound like celebrities from the heyday of the voice actors' childhoods. Just two examples: Digitamamon is Peter Lorre (yes, Lorre again). Etemon is Elvis. There're more.
    • Two other noteworthy examples are Impmon, who sounds exactly like Joe Pesci, and Piedmon, who is made to sound like a higher-pitched Tim Curry. Incidentally, both are voiced by Derek Stephen Prince.
    • One fan actually compiled a LIST of all of them. About 24 total.
  • Another dub example: an episode of the Pokémon anime featured Dr. Quackenpoker, who was such a blatant Groucho Marx parody that I think the original animators were in on the joke too, because he even looked the part.
    • Not to mention an early recurring character named Speilbunk, a very self-congratulatory film director.
  • In Blood Plus, two American political leaders are based on Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleeza Rice.
  • Kaito and Gackto of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch are both drawn from famous male J-artists, their names being the biggest clue.
  • Cromartie High School has Freddie, who may or may not be the same Mr. Mercury who sang in Queen (at least, if his mannerisms are any indication).
  • One minor character in Monster is a serial killer named Peter Jurgens with a severe Freudian Excuse, whom Johan manipulated into killing one set of his foster parents. Jurgens is a dead ringer for real-life serial killer Edmund Kemper, who also had rather grievous parental issues (his mother was one of his last victims).
  • Japan periodically has scheduled blackouts to conserve electricity. One chapter of the Keroro Gunsou manga has this, but has the Tokyo Electric Company portrayed as The Bridge, complete with Bridge Bunnies and the director dressed up as The Captain, spouting stock lines from military anime. The disclaimer at the bottom reads:

 "This story is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons or organizations is purely coincidental. And I doubt the Chief of Electricity has such a fancy costume in reality."

    • Another manga chapter involves Keroro and Tamama spying on manga writers, and features a cameo by what can be assumed to be the spirit of the late, great Osamu Tezuka (we don't see his face, but one can make out his trademark pipe and beret, and he kicks over a Gourd-Patch pig as he departs).
  • Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure
    • In a flashback, Will Zeppeli looked more than a bit like Sylvester Stallone.
    • And in Steel Ball Run, Johnny bears an uncanny physical resemblance to Axl Rose, as seen here.
    • Yoshikage Kira looks and dresses like David Bowie.
  • Several of the villains in Nerima Daikon Brothers are based on celebrities, including an alien based on a popular Japanese psychic, a thinly veiled parody of Michael Jackson (including a nose that's always falling off, an outfit based on Peter Pan, and a group of mummy villains that do a dance similar to the famous Thriller video), and Japan's prime minister at the time.
  • The manga Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President, set in a fictionalized version of the 2000 U.S. Presidential race, prominently features incumbent Vice President Al Noah, along with the ambitious First Lady "Ellery", along with her unnamed-yet-familiar-looking husband.
  • Air Gear had U.S. Presidential candidate "John Omaha", an ersatz Barack Obama, appear in one story. Omaha has reappeared in a recent storyline as President-Elect, where he somehow ended switching minds with Emily. Did we mention that he's an expert skater?
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! gives King Dedede (a fat blue penguin) a slightly off voice and mannerisms that obviously intends to evoke Foghorn Leghorn, with occasional lines made to sound like things George W. Bush might say. His minion Escargoon is basically Paul Lynde, which is even funnier when you realize that Escargoon is in fact gay.
    • Non-dub example, one episode spoofed the Harry Potter craze and an ersatz of J. K. Rowling appeared in Cappy Town due to it.
  • In episode 2 of the Pretty Sammy OAV, Standardsoft chairman Bif Standard is a parody of Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.
  • The author of Space Adventure Cobra admitted that Cobra's character design was largely based on French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, who was specialized during the 70's in tough, charming and witty roles.
  • In Street Fighter II V, Nash appearance doesn't look like to the games (the show was made before Street Fighter Alpha), instead, he holds a likeness with the french actor Jean Reno
  • The U.S. President in the Read or Die OVA was "Dubya" Flanderized to the point of insanity and pants-wetting.
  • One of Sakuragi's friends - the one with the mustache - has the voice, CatchPhrases and the look of deposed (and as of May 2010 running again for) President Joseph Estrada in the Slam Dunk! Filipino dub.
  • In the classic seventies shoujo manga From Eroica with Love, main character Dorian Red Gloria and three of his henchmen are physically modeled after the members of Led Zeppelin. (In fact, the henchmen are all named after band members: James (Jimmy Page), Bonham (John Bonham) and John Paul (John Paul Jones.) Leaving, of course, Robert Plant as Dorian.)
  • This happens occasionally in Cowboy Bebop--for instance, in "Heavy Metal Queen", the fugitive, Deckard, bears a suspicious resemblance to Woody Allen, or nearly explicit reference to Uri Geller, the (in-)famous Hungarian-Israeli illusionist/con-artist (In the anime, the character is called "Uri Gellersan", most likley alluding the Japanese honorific "-san", depicted as a slightly crazed expert on paranormal phenomena, aliens and bullshit stuff like that).
  • Ergo Proxy: The Great Amy Lee Debacle. The secondary main-character of Ergo Proxy, Re-l Mayer is the spitting image of Evanescences' vocalist, Amy Lee. It is unclear if it was actually intended or not, but many fans agree the startling similarity is just too much to be coincidental.
  • Many of the characters in Beck are based on actual musicians. Chiba the punk/rap vocalist for Beck is based in attitude, style, and appearance on Zach de la Roca. While Taira, the bassist, possesses much of the style and mannerisms of Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers (who just happen to be the creator's favorite band.)
  • In the dub of Naruto, Might Guy sounds only a little bit like Elvis sometimes, but it's just enough to make you wonder...
    • Gai sounds like Elvis in the dub? I want you guys to see and hear Chikara. Even Word of God says it: His appearance is similar to many Elvis impersonators. Particularly those that impersonate Elvis's Las Vegas years, when he put on a great deal of weight. In the English dub, his voice is based on Elvis Presley.
    • Killer Bee was supposedly inspired by the Wu-Tang Clan
  • In the Samurai Pizza Cats, The Big Cheese's dub voice is obviously Paul Lynde (again). Like Escargoon in Kirby, it's made funnier by Big Cheese's more than questionable lifestyle.
  • Noritaka. Its final arc, and arguably the worst one, features a streetfighting contest, and the main character will confront Sting, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger and some more celebrities. They're called by their names, with little or none variations (e.g., Sting is a Police man...)
  • Tiger and Bunny has a number of minor characters who, for one reason or another, look suspiciously like known actors or other noteworthy individuals. Examples include Ben Jackson (Forest Whitaker), Karina's teacher (Steven Spielberg), Karina's manager (Robert Downey, Jr.), and the Mayor (Barack Obama).
  • Yakitate!! Japan has a recurring gag character called "Kid" that bears a remarkable resemblance to none other than Brad Pitt. However, unlike Brad, Kid isn't just a movie star - he works in just about every industry under the sun including being a masseuse, thief, lawyer, and CEO to name a few.
  • The most recent Yatterman series features "cameos" from all sorts of American names, including Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and Jack Bauer.
  • Afganisu-tan is pretty much an exact replica of "Afghan Girl" from the famous National Geographic cover.

Comic Books Edit

  • Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolitan is future Hunter S. Thompson.
  • Cerebus the Aardvark: Even after outgrowing its Conan-parody beginning, the series continued to feature parody characters and thinly veiled celebrities, Lord Julius (Groucho Marx), Dirty Drew and Dirty Fleagle McGrew (Yosemite Sam) and Adam Weisshaupt (named after the historical figure credited with founding the Bavarian Illuminati). For extra efficiency, Dave Sim created an Elric parody and a Senator Claghorn/Foghorn Leghorn homage in the form of Elrod the Albino.
    • And on a meta level, two of the above characters, as well as Red Sophia (herself based on Red Sonja), and Astoria, are victims of this in-universe: Weisshaupt publishes a series of "Reads" that espouse his political agenda, with their names cleverly disguised as Red Sophina, Astonia, Lord Junius, and Cernebus.
    • Let's not forget Prince Mick (Jagger) and Prince Keith (Richards)
  • Marvel Comics' Doug Moench slipped Rufus T. Hackstabber and Quigley J. Warmflash into Master of Kung Fu; you may know them better as Groucho Marx and W.C. Fields.
  • Phat of X-Statix was Eminem with superpowers, a secret upper class upbringing, and gay.
  • Jerk Simpkins from the Hsu and Chan comic, Under Fire, is an obvious parody of anti-video game lawyer Jack Thompson.
  • Partway through Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters, the action shifts to the life of comic book luminary Jack Berkley, a thinly-veiled Kirby stand-in. Note that the comic was co-written by Jack's daughter Lisa.
    • While on the subject of Kirby, Mister Miracle villain Funky Flashman was a publicity hogging sleazy businessman based partially on Stan Lee. Many fans believe this was a Take That by Kirby after he left Marvel due to creative differences with Lee.
  • Doctor Strange: Strange is Vincent Price. There's really no other way to say it. He only usually looks like him (he began with a slight resemblance to Ming the Merciless, and his face is sometimes modeled on other actors), but his combination of portentous hamminess, erudition, and good humour is dead-on for Price's persona.
  • Groucho from Dylan Dog. Yes, it's even the same name, even if it's known to be just an actor playing the part all the time (even when sleeping). And Dylan Dog himself is a sosia of Rupert Everett. The author Sclavi is famous for rip-offs.
  • Dan Francisco in Judge Dredd rather resembles Barack Obama. During the "Mutants in Mega-City One" stoyline, Rebellion even made "Vote Francisco - change we can believe in" campaign buttons.
  • The Powers comic that illustrates Small Name, Big Ego: "Ultimate Ego, the Living Planet looks a lot like John Byrne - but not enough for him to sue us!"
  • The Batman Bat Family Crossover Knightfall had two, both by the same crew. The first time had the Riddler take talk show host Cassie Josie Rudolpho and her audience hostage. The second time had the Joker was shown killing two movie critics after they criticized the movie he was trying to make. While they made Cassie Josie Rudolpho blonde, her name and general appearance was still a dead ringer for Sally Jessy Raphael, but by the time the Joker shot the movie critics, no one bothered trying to hide the fact that the unnamed movie critics the Joker capped were basically Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.
    • In Batman: Year One Bruce Wayne's appearance is based on Gregory Peck. In Kingdom Come, Bruce is heavily designed after Gregory Peck, to the point where he is almost an exact twin.
    • In one Chuck Dixon Robin story, the Teen Wonder finds himself rescuing pop star Normandy Shields from a crazy stalker. It turns out she encouraged him in order to get more publicity.
    • The Dark Knight Returns was rife with these, containing caricatures of David Letterman ("David Endochrine"), Connie Chung ("Lola Chong"), Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and a nameless President that was obviously supposed to be Reagan. The Joker killed Letterman and Dr. Ruth.
  • Doctor Who: The first two issues of IDW publishing's ongoing feature a character named "Archie Maplin", obviously based on Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin himself was originally supposed to appear in the story, however the publishers were unable to get the rights from his estate.
  • Lucas Lee of Scott Pilgrim is clearly based on Jason Lee, in both name and appearance, and they are also both professional skateboarders who became actors.
  • In Transformers Trans Tech, Optimus Prime is based on Barack Obama.
  • A Superman story featured various talkshows discussing Lex Luthor's apparent death. These included the sensationalist Ronaldo and the mawkish Susie Jamie Donatello.
  • In The Punisher's spin-off miniseries about his nemesis The Barracuda, mobster 'Big Chris' Angelone has both the appearance and speech patterns of Christopher Walken.
  • Death Mayhew from the 1988 Blackhawk mini-series was very strongly based on Errol Flynn: a swashbuckling, Australian actor in Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s. However, Flynn's suspected Nazi sympathies are exchanged for Mayhew being an out-and-out Nazi.
  • Lenny Balinger from Marvel's Damage Control is a dead ringer for Lee Marvin, though he thinks he looks more like Paul Newman.
  • The original Captain Marvel from Fawcett (and now owned by DC) was explicitly modeled on Fred MacMurray.
  • At the start of IDW's Godzilla had a pop singer who was quite clearly based off Lady Gaga advocating that the monsters be treated with respect. Battra kills her.


Film Edit

  • Heathers: Christian Slater spends the entire film doing a creditable impression of Jack Nicholson. [2]
  • The maggot companion of the Corpse Bride is a dead ringer for Peter Lorre.
  • Citizen Kane is infamously a not-quite-thickly-veiled-enough version of media titan William Randolph Hearst. Hearst came down upon the movie and everyone associated with it like a sledgehammer. Orson Welles' career never quite recovered.
  • Green ghost Slimer from Ghostbusters is obviously based on John Belushi - in particular, his character from Animal House. Dan Aykroyd has even joked that Slimer was the ghost of John Belushi.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow is based on both Keith Richards and Errol Flynn. Richards even makes a cameo in the third movie as Jack Sparrow's father. He's also part Pepe Le Pew, with his relentless stupid optimism.
  • Jim Carrey's portrayal of "Count Olaf" in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is pretty much entirely based on Orson Welles, even the voice.
  • In Any Given Sunday, John C. McGinley plays outspoken sports personality Jack Rose, a take on real-life outspoken sports personality Jim Rome.
    • Just about everything in that movie was a case of this trope. The Miami Dolphins versus the Dallas Cowboys? No, instead we have the Miami Sharks versus the Dallas Knights.
  • Tim Robbins' "Gary Winston" is Bill Gates, right down to the haircut...except he can't be, because he remarks that Gates' TV is much smaller than his. If Winston isn't Gates, perhaps the TV also signifies something else of Winston's...
  • The two Musical Assassins in Kung Fu Hustle bear more than a passing resemblance to The Blues Brothers. When told that they are the greatest assassins around, they reply, "Technically, we're just musicians."
  • In Disney's Made for TV Movie Tower of Terror, one of the elevator passengers trapped is a 1930s child movie star named Sally Shine, an obvious Shirley Temple analogue.
  • The 1980s vampire movie Fright Night has a character who is an actor/horror show host (played by Roddy McDowell). His character's name on the horror show Fright Night is Peter Vincent - a homage to Peter Cushing and Vincent Price.
  • In a rare live-action example, most of the humor if not the entire premise of Galaxy Quest is lost if you don't realize that Tim Allen is William Shatner (although really, the entire cast qualifies).
    • Well... it's Star Trek. If you haven't seen any Star Trek, what are you even doing here? Close this page.
  • The 2007 Transformers film combined this with Invisible President. No name was mentioned and no face was seen, but it was clearly a none-too-flattering parody of George W. Bush.
    • Other viewers are convinced the unseen president is Bill Clinton.
    • The 2009 sequel explicitly confirms the president as being Barack Obama. This all but confirms the president two years earlier in the first film was, in fact, George W. Bush.
  • Velvet Goldmine. David Bowie was very disappointed in them. And sued.
  • Edie Sedgwick's love interest in Factory Girl was obviously Bob Dylan, portrayed as an unnamed character by Hayden Christensen. Bob Dylan himself threatened legal action over his initial portrayal during production, resulting in the removal of all references to Dylan in the script.
  • Lampshaded in Bee Movie when the protagonist notices the "Bee Larry King" looks exactly like the human Larry King. Made even funnier by the fact that "Bee Larry King" is voiced by the real Larry King.
  • While doing many straight-up parodies throughout the movie, the shape-shifting Genie in Aladdin explains the rules of bringing people back to life as a zombie Peter Lorre.
  • In Cold Turkey, Bob and Ray portray a series of parody newscasters:
    • Walter Chronic = Walter Cronkite
    • David Chetley = Chet Huntley/David Brinkley
    • Hugh Upson = Hugh Downs
    • Paul Hardly = Paul Harvey
    • Sandy Van Andy = Sander Vanocur
    • Arthur Lordly = Arthur Godfrey
  • American Dreamz had Dennis Quaid as a barely functional Texan president whose dad had been president, who "decided" to run because people told him to, etc. With Marcia Gay Harden as his beatifically gentle, tolerant wife and Willem Dafoe as his scheming bald puppetmaster.
  • All Good Things is a fictionalization of the story of the Durst case in which every name was changed except, for some reason, Pat Moynihan's
  • In Rock N Rolla, there is a Russian millionaire mobster and businessman that is trying to make a huge football stadium. It's a surprise that Roman Abramovich didn't sue them.
  • Kurt Russell admittedly based his performance as Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China more or less entirely on John Wayne, and his performance as Snake Plissken in Escape from New York more or less entirely on Clint Eastwood.
  • Benicio Del Toro said he gets a lot of inspiration from the style of Dustin Hoffman and based his performance as Fenster in The Usual Suspects outright on Hoffman as Mumbles in Dick Tracy.
  • The 1998 American version of Godzilla had the New York City mayor as a Roger Ebert lookalike. Used as a Take That by the end of the film when his aide (an Expy of Siskel) gives his job performance a thumbs down. This was because Siskel and Ebert had criticized Emerich's earlier productions.
  • Played with in Club Dread: While Coconut Pete is an obvious parody of Jimmy Buffett, complete with singing a song called "Pina Coladaburg", Jimmy Buffett does get mentioned in the movie... and is Pete's Berserk Button, since he feels Buffett ripped off his act.

 "Son of a son of a bitch! Mother mother fucker!"

  • An interesting case is the German dub of Coneheads. Since the actor who played the great leader of the Coneheads looked a bit like Germany's then-chancellor Helmut Kohl, the dubbers decided to add a gag and chose a Voice Actor who had a somewhat similar voice.
  • Vince and Lanny in Where the Truth Lies are obviously (very) fictionalized versions of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
  • In My Favorite Year, Peter O'Toole plays washed-up film idol Alan Swann, who is not in any way related to Errol Flynn. He is appearing on the live variety show of King Kaiser, who is totally not Sid Caesar. And Kaiser is being stalked by the goons of a crooked labor leader who is certainly anyone but Jimmy Hoffa.
  • The Broadway Melody features a famous producer of Broadway revues named Francis Zanfield. Also, the Mahoney sisters are based on the Duncan Sisters, who were actually offered the parts but chose instead to appear in a different MGM musical, It's a Great Life.
  • In The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Zissou is a clear parody of Jacques Cousteau, right down to the uniforms...yet at one point he makes an offhand reference to "Cousteau and his cronies." No one comments on the resemblance between the two crews.
  • It is generally accepted that Dustin Hoffman's character in Wag the Dog is based on film producer Robert Evans. Hoffman, however, claims that he actually based the portrayal on his own father.
  • The Reverend Fred Sultan in The Great White Hype is Don King with about 15% Al Sharpton layered on top.
  • The government official-bribing company Hariburton in Banlieue 13: Ultimatum is most definitely not Haliburton.
  • In Sunset, the character of Alfie Alperin is very strongly based on Charlie Chaplin. Of course, lawyers for the Chaplin estate probably would have something to say if the movie had Charlie Chaplin commit the acts that Alfie does.
  • Diamonds Are Forever has Willard Whyte, a stand-in for Howard Hughes (who was a friend of series producer Albert R. Broccoli - he even suggested the plot after dreaming he went to visit Hughes and found an impostor instead - and didn't get offended, to the point he helped with the Vegas locations).
    • Later, Tomorrow Never Dies has a slightly corrupt media mogul as the villain (many guessed Rupert Murdoch, but the writer claimed to be aiming at Robert Maxwell instead).
  • War Games: Professor Stephen Falken, the programmer of JOSHUA, is similar to Stephen Hawking, complete with having the same first name and bird-related last names, according to Word of God.
  • Shrek: The villain from the first movie, Lord Farquaad, is widely rumoured to be modelled on Disney's then-CEO Michael Eisner, as a Take That on the part of the film's executive producer (and former Disney executive) Jeffrey Katzenberg.
  • Subverted on Shaktopuss vs Pteracuda. One of the people killed by the sharktopuss is none other than Conan O'Brian.
  • The lost world: Jurassic park depicted a paleontologist who looked a lot like real life dinosaur researcher Bob Bakker getting eaten by a T-rex. This was meant as a Take that! on behalf of the films dino consultant Jack Horner, a rival of Bakkers. (Horner backed the T-rex the scavenger theory while Bakker backed the T-rex the hunter theory) This intended insult, however backfired when Bakker ended up loving the scene and declared: "See, T-rex is a predator!"


Literature Edit

  • The Devil Wears Prada: The character of Miranda Priestley, editor of Runway magazine, is Vogue editor Anna Wintour with a different name and a scarf instead of sunglasses. In the film adaptation, the character of Miranda was softened to make her "more realistic", but the decor of her office was still based on that of Wintour.
  • Destroyer: Roxanne Roug-Elephante is Roseanne Barr.
  • Lois Cook in The Fountainhead is Ayn Rand's unflattering caricature of Gertrude Stein.
  • Charles Bukowski's Hollywood is full of these, ranging from the relatively subtle and well-disguised (Dennis Hopper becomes Mack Austin, David Lynch is Manz Loeb, Mickey Rourke gets rebranded as Jack Blesdoe) to the ludicrously blunt (Jack Kerouac as Mack Derouac anyone? Welsh, Vegas-based singer Tab Jones, perhaps? No? Perhaps you'd prefer Francis Ford Lopolla?).
  • Doctor Who
    • The Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Tomorrow Windows by Jonathan Morris features Prubert Gastridge, a large, shouty, bearded Large Ham actor, best remembered for playing the King of the Buzzardmen in the sci-fi epic Zap Daniel. His signature line was "What do you mean, Daniel's not dead?" Sound familiar?
    • The novel Mad Dogs and Englishmen by Paul Magrs has No Celebrities Were Harmed versions of JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, George Lucas and Ray Harryhausen. And the actual Noel Coward. Magrs has since used the Smudgelings (his version of the Inklings) in his non-Who work.
    • The short story "The Avant Guardian" by Eddie Robson (in Short Trips: Time Signature) features Flora Millrace, a former companion of the Second Doctor who now uses her advanced knowledge to track time-distortions by means of special music. In order to get the music played over a wide area she works for the sound department of a London television company, creating unusual soundtracks for science fiction drama. She is, in short, Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
    • Every. Single. Celebrity in the Virgin New Adventures novel Tragedy Day by Gareth Roberts. For example, a boy band called Fancy That.
    • Briefly done for a quick gag in the Virgin New Adventures novel Legacy. The Encyclopedia Exposita is The Rough Guide to Federation Tourist Traps written by Krymson LaPlante. At the time of publication, The Rough Guide To... had just become a TV series presented by Magenta Devine.
  • Step on a Crack includes analogues of at least Oprah Winfrey (who exists in the book) and Britney Spears - the latter turns up to a funeral in a mini-skirt and in an attempt to distract a hostage-taker offers him sex, leading to the comment:

 "Wow, you're even dirtier than your videos!"

  • Kim Newman's Diogenes Club series:
    • "You Don't Have To Be Mad..." features a Bedlam House where inmates are taught to focus their insanity in specific ways, the Big Bad believing that madness will be a way of life in The Eighties, and his patients will be the leaders. In the asylum they're known by nicknames based on their real names and their particular insanities, including the sociopathic Mrs Empty (M.T. - Margaret Thatcher); the egomaniac Rumour (Ru-Mur - Rupert Murdoch) and the quiet killer Peace (P.S. - Peter Sutcliffe).
    • "The Serial Murders" parodies the concept with thinly disguised versions of celebrities appearing in a soap opera that is actually a voodoo ritual. When the soap kills the characters, the celebrities are harmed.
  • The main character of the short story "On a Clear Day You Can See All the Way to Conspiracy" by Desmond Warzel is a thinly-veiled version of Cleveland radio personality Mike Trivisonno, as acknowledged in the author's commentary following the story.
  • Primary Colors is about the presidential campaign of governor Jack Stanton, who is rather obviously modeled after Bill Clinton. Many other characters in the novel also have real life counterparts.
  • There is a scene in Swordspoint where Richard and Alec attend a very Shakespearean play. Richard, taking over Alec's customary role as Deadpan Snarker, provides a running commentary regarding a parrot and how long it actually takes someone who has been stabbed to die.
  • Stephen Hunter's novel I, Sniper features a Joanne Flanders and Tom Constable, aka Jane Fonda and Ted Turner. In earlier books, there's references to a Carl Hithcock, based off legendary USMC sniper Carlos Hathcock.
  • The Man in the Ceiling by Jules Feiffer has Uncle Lester, writer of "floperoo" musicals that invariably fail, who seems based on Edwin Lester, the impresario whose productions for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera were synonymous with "floperetta."
  • Letters Back to Ancient China has one poet whom the narrator calls "Si-gi who only writes during summer". Also a minister who's only mentioned as "demonic southern barbarian".
  • Victorian novelists with Oxford connections were fascinated by the unhappy relationship between Mark Pattison, the Rector of Lincoln College, and his much younger wife, Emilia Francis Strong. Characters based on Pattison crop up in bestsellers like Rhoda Broughton's Belinda, Mrs. Humphry Ward's Robert Elsmere, and (probably) George Eliot's Middlemarch.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Father Ted:
    • Several one-episode characters are based on real Irish celebrities: BBC TV host Henry Sellars (based on Terry Wogan), sickly sweet balladeer Eoin McLove (Daniel O'Donnell), militant feminist anti-Catholic singer Niamh Connolly (Sinéad O'Connor) and the terrifying Bishop Brennan (Bishop Éamon Casey) -- both bishops having a secret son.
    • Henry Sellars is informed by the lesser-known Henry Kelly of Going for Gold fame.
  • Beakman's World based a few of its Famous Dead Guys on celebrities. A few that stick out are Ben Franklin as either a clean Andrew Dice Clay or Rodney Dangerfield, and Charles Goodyear as Jim Backus as Thurston Howell from Gilligan's Island, complete with calling the female assistant "Lovey". (Not coincidentally, they also show clips from old Mr. Magoo cartoons.)
  • ICarly: iFix a Popstar with Ginger Fox, who is a rather obvious parody of Britney Spears.
    • iCook has Ricky Flame, a parody of Bobby Flay.
  • Jason Alexander played a not-at-all-disguised-but-not-well-pulled-off Tony Kornheiser in Listen Up. Malcolm Jamal-Warner did a better job doing Michael Wilbon.
  • Sergeant Silverback in Power Rangers SPD: "SWAT" is a very bad impersonation of R. Lee Ermey.
  • In Doctor Who, the American president, who was strikingly reminiscent of George W. Bush, tries to take over the situation and eventually gets vaporized by the Big Bad. After the Reset Button gets hit on the villain's epic evil, this is the one thing to not be undone.
  • In the fourth season of The West Wing, Jed Bartlet is challenged for the presidency by Robert Ritchie, a conservative Republican and governor of Florida who bears a resemblance to parodical exaggerations of a certain President of the United States -- populist tendencies, right-wing views and catchy slogans coupled with a tendency to garble his words and stick his foot in his mouth when speaking. The West Wing production team being somewhat on the political left, he was promptly trounced by the intellectual, shrewd Bartlet.
    • This approaches Truth in Television - Bartlet is essentially an idealized Clinton, and Clinton did win handily in both of his races. Remove the sex scandals and add a Nobel prize, and this is wholly reasonable.
    • Also, the writers based late-season presidential candidate Matt Santos partially off of Barack Obama (combined with other sources, as Obama had never served in the military, unlike Santos) and Republican Candidate Arnie Vinick has been admitted to be a thinly-veiled version of John McCain.
      • As the writers were explicit in pointing out during the real-world election, they were aiming more for the 2000 version of McCain than the 2008 one, however.
      • Which makes a whole lot of sense considering the last episode aired in 2006.
    • Several other celebrities/politicians are given analogues in the West Wing universe; the list is probably too extensive to bother enumerating in detail. However, Josh Lyman more or less being Rahm Emanuel is worth mentioning.
  • Practically the entire premise of the short lived FX series D!rt. amongst some of the more notable ripoffs was a gold-digging blonde drug addict (Anna-Nicole Smith), an actor couple with a blended nickname (who bared resemblance to Jennifer Garner/Ben Affleck), and a cast of actors working on an insanely successful sitcom (the cast of FRIENDS).
  • Beetleborgs has Flabber the phasm who, according to the producers, was based on Elvis Presley but to some resembled The Tonight Show host Jay Leno, but has the mannerisms of Jim Carrey.
    • In one episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, a picture of Flabber was sent to Leno during the Monday headlines segment. It got laughs from the audience, but Leno was not too pleased.
  • The Good Wife had an episode where Miranda Cosgrove guest starred as an off the rails teen starlet, who was based on Miley Cyrus or Lindsay Lohan (or a combination of the two).
  • Law and Order: District Attorney Adam Schiff (he of the end-of-episode one-liners) was loosely based on real-life Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau. Later L&O DA Arthur Branch bears a strange resemblance to former Sen. Fred Thompson... waitaminute.
    • Given that "ripped from the headlines" has become Law and Order's raison d'etre over the years, this is another show with too many to list specifically, even if the "celebrities" are often defendants or victims in famous cases.
    • A few episodes of the spinoff Law and Order: Criminal Intent feature the reporter Faith Yancy, a thinly veiled version of Nancy Grace. The actual Nancy Grace appeared on Law and Order Special Victims Unit.
    • Larry King has appeared on SVU and Criminal Intent. Talk show host “Barry Bishop” has appeared on the original show.
      • There was that one guy in SVU, an eccentric billionaire toymaker, whose behavior resembles that of Michael Jackson.
      • And there was Jake Berlin, a "look but don't touch" pedophile that runs a website who seems to be based on real-life pedophile Jack McClellan.
    • There's also recurring character Gov. Donald Shalvoy, who started off as a thinly veiled version of Elliot Spitzer.
    • Then Chevy Chase as an aging actor who goes on a drunken anti-semitic tirade towards a female cop while being arrested. Then it gets worse...
    • Anna Nicole Smith inspired at least three Law and Order episodes.
      • Mariel Hemingway in “Remains of the Day” on the parent show.
      • Arija Bareikis in “Matrimony” on the parent show.
      • Kristy Swanson in “Bombshell” on Criminal Intent.
  • An episode of Passions featured a character called Hanna Nicola Smythe, a female character who was clearly based on Anna Nicole Smith.
  • In the Las Vegas episode "Die Fast, Die Furious," Jean-Claude van Damme plays himself filming a movie at the Montecito hotel, and gets killed in a stunt gone wrong. The episode ends with the disclaimer "No actual Jean-Claude Van Dammes were killed in the filming of this episode."
    • Gavin Brunson, the first in the Montecito's revolving door of owners, is basically a Race Lifted version of Howard Hughes.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Criss Angel Is a Douche Bag," Criss Angel never shows up, but the show makes fun of him through a character named Jeb Dexter, an incredibly arrogant magician who bears an incredible resemblance to Criss Angel and does card tricks that are staged like fake demon possessions (which really upsets Dean). He dies horribly, of course.
    • The show also makes fun of him, quietly, by naming the episode Criss Angel Is A Douche Bag
    • In season 6, there's a vampire named "Robert" and the teenage girl named "Kristen", as well as a series of totally-not-Twilight books that Sam and Dean rip the living bejeezus out of. The episode is (brilliantly) titled "Live Free or Twihard".
    • Supposedly, Ruby was a character that was written for Kristen Bell, but she denied the role, which is why the first Ruby looks VERY similar to her.
  • Odyssey 5. At one stage the Odyssey team consult an abrasive sci-fi writer who is clearly based on Harlan Ellison (who conceived the series). As they can't tell him the truth (that they've travelled back in time five years to avert the destruction of the Earth) the team pretends they're writing a science fiction novel. The sci-fi writer goes into detail on how cliched and scientifically implausible their 'novel' is.
  • In the fourth season opener of The Unit, the team has to save President-Elect Benjamin Castille, who appears to a Latino version of Obama. By this logic, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden are killed by terrorists.
  • London Tipton from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has a passing resemblance to Paris Hilton, being an airheaded, vain, image-obsessed hotel heiress named after a European capital. However, there are obvious differences; being a kids' show, there is no mention of... well... you know. London is also presented as a much more sympathetic character than some more direct parodies of Paris, with her negative traits being more down to stupidity and being spoilt than being a Rich Bitch.
  • It's pretty damn hard to believe that Elliot from Scrubs wasn't intentionally based on Sylvia Plath.
  • Baxter Sarno in Caprica is essentially an amalgamation of Jay Leno and Jon Stewart - with a little bit of an emphasis on the latter. Also played by Patton Oswalt.
  • Since 2008 there have been probably hundreds of Sarah Palin impersonators. Some of the more famous ones include pro wrestler Daffney, The Nostalgia Chick in Kickassia, and of course Tina Fey.
  • The Tremors series features the return of the Assblaster which had been sold to Sigried and Roy in the third film. Rather embarrassingly, the creators no longer had the rights to use the names and they were referred to as "Sigmund and Ray."
  • Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer owes a lot to Billy Idol; or as Buffy said in one episode "Actually Billy Idol stole his look from...nevermind."
    • There's a flashback sequence to the last slayer Spike killed set in 1977 where it's a lot more blatant.
  • The Cold Case episode "One Fall," set in the world of Professional Wrestling, has two main suspects who are thinly-veiled versions of Vince McMahon and Ric Flair.
  • Necessary Roughness partially centers on temperamental showboat Terrence "T.K." King, a pro football wide receiver for the (fictional) New York Hawks. The similarities to temperamental showboat Terrell "T.O." Owens, a wide receiver best known for his time with the Philadelphia Eagles, are hard to ignore. Since the series is said to be based on a true story, this is probably by design. T.O. actually guest stars in the first season finale as T.K.'s biggest rival, providing ample Lampshade Hanging.
  • On Shake It Up in the episode "Age It Up", the 16-year-old pop sensation Justin Starr is an obvious Expy of Justin Bieber.
    • Another Disney Channel show, Kickin It, has Ricky Weaver who a more obvious parody of Bieber. He also probably counts as a Take That to Justin Bieber, since he turns out to secretly be a jerk.
  • A recent episode of ANT Farm has an obvious one of Lady Gaga called "Madame Goo Goo".
  • In the TV mini-series Black Mirror the first episode features a Royal Princess getting kidnapped. Depending on who you ask it's either Princess Diana or Kate Middleton.
  • Castle has a couple of examples, the most blatant being in "Pretty Dead" with a rich beauty pageant organizer with a comb over that looks suspiciously like Donald Trump.
  • Sesame Street has famous actress Meryl Sheep, country'n'western singers Polly Darton and Hammy Swynette, game show host Pat Playjacks, opera singer Placido Flamingo, Grouch business tycoon Donald Grump, and many more.
  • Count Blah of Greg the Bunny was a barely disguised parody of Sesame Street's Count Von Count, who himself is a parody of Bela Lugosi as Dracula.
  • Thunderbirds did this frequently. Its small cast of voice artists would use celebrity impressions to fill out the supporting cast roster. Additionally, many of the main cast puppets were loosely modeled on contemporary ('60s) actors. Scott Tracy was modeled on Sean Connery, Jeff Tracy on Lorne Greene.
  • Troy Tempest of Stingray: Gerry Anderson wanted him to look a bit like American actor James Garner, who he got was a puppet that looked a lot like James Garner.
  • Francis Matthews used a "Cary Grant voice" for Captain Scarlet. Sorces vary on whether the puppet itself was modelled on Grant or Matthews.
  • Norm MacDonald's title character in the short-lived A Minute with Stan Hooper is an obvious expy of Andy Rooney.
  • On Jessie, the Ross family is a clear parody of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's family. The Rosses have 3 adopted children, two of which are adopted from foreign countries and one biological one. All they need is biological twins.
  • Hayden Panettiere plays what appears to be a parody of Taylor Swift (complete with curls) in the TV series Nashville.


Music Edit

  • This is the bread and butter of many Filk/Dementia artists, including The Great Luke Ski.
  • The Animated Music Video to Disturbed's "Land of Confusion" cover features a (possible) Zakk Wylde look-alike, amongst others. Could be a reference to the original video, which featured multiple celebrity puppets.
  • The classic 1962 novelty hit "The Monster Mash" was performed by Bobby Pickett in an obvious Boris Karloff imitation.
  • Jon Lajoie's WTF Collective 1 and 2 have this. MC Fatigue is Sean Paul, MC Final Verse is 50 Cent, MC Confusing is probably Lil Wayne, MC Inappropriate Rhymes is probably Kanye West, and the Chorus Guy is supposed to represent how rap songs will have some random non-rapper sing the chorus.
  • Beatallica (a satirical band performing mashups of The Beatles and Metallica) already has a singer who does a dead-on James Hetfield... and they fall straight on this in "And I'm Evil", featuring a Glenn Danzig soundalike. ("Am I Evil" was not by one of Danzig's bands, but...)


Newspaper Comics Edit

  • Pogo : Many of the Funny Animal characters are obvious caricatures of politicians, e.g. Simple J. Malarkey = Sen. Joseph McCarthy. (This was heavily Lampshaded in the MAD parody "Gopo Gossum.")
  • Doonesbury loves this. Particularly Uncle Duke, who is just Hunter S. Thompson. Lampshaded when Duke reads that Hunter S. Thompson has committed suicide and his head explodes, repeatedly. He's got no idea why.
    • Another Doonesbury example is the late Lacey Davenport, a sweetly aristocratic liberal Republican who was modeled on real life New Jersey representative Millicent Fenwick.
  • Bloom County had a story arc about the cast hosting a concert. While most of the musicians were real-life people and bands (Van Halen, The Police, Culture Club, etc.), there was also "Tess Turbo and the Blackheads", an obvious take on "Joan Jett and the Blackhearts"


Professional Wrestling Edit

  • The WWF's "Billonaire Ted's Wrasslin' Warroom" sketches from the mid-90's, featuring "The Huckster" and the "Nacho Man".
  • WCW had Oklahoma, which was a cruel imitation of Jim Ross after his Bell's Palsy attack. Naturally, everyone found it in bad taste and it was quickly scrapped.
  • WWE Diva Jillian Hall's last gimmick was a Britney Spears-esque singer (complete with headset mic, outfit, and monotone "sexy" singing voice, although done to new levels of horrible). It's now more seen as a Take That against the daughter of Hulk Hogan, who the WWE had another falling out with after promoting her music on RAW around SummerSlam 2005 (Hogan's last appearance in the company, which was a condition of his return), esp. since the fans did not really care about the musical talents of a Hogan. In a hilarious twist, Jillian Hall's Christmas album outsold Brooke Hogan's latest album, despite the fact Jillian's was not only a joke album, but was also only available through iTunes.
  • John Morrison (really "John Hennigan," and the former "Johnny Nitro") is a pretty blatant clone of Jim Morrison of The Doors? When he first appeared as a heel in the summer of 2007, he even quoted Doors lyrics ("Some are born to sweet delight / And some are born to endless night") and at one point outright scream-sang: "I set the night on fire!" The character mellowed quite a bit after Hennigan turned face, and now is more of a knowing tribute to Jim Morrison instead of essentially his long-lost relative.
    • The only weird thing about the gimmick was that his theme song was inspired by Jimi Hendrix more than The Doors.
  • And as a heel, CM Punk is (appearance-wise, anyway) clearly supposed to be a knock-off of notorious serial killer Charles Manson because of his oversized beard.
    • Many fans started speculating that the CM stood for Charles Manson. And when he was a commentator, he actually wore a Charles Manson t-shirt.


Radio Edit


Theatre Edit

  • Averted with Gary Coleman in Avenue Q, who doesn't even get the thin disguise, though the Muppets from Sesame Street do.
  • The 1950 musical Call Me Madam starred Ethel Merman as Mrs. Sally Adams, America's ambassador to the small Ruritanian country of Lichtenburg (famous for its cheese); this was roughly based on Perle Mesta, President Truman's ambassador to Luxembourg. The original program disclaimed that "neither the character of Mrs. Sally Adams nor Miss Ethel Merman resemble[s] any person living or dead," and also played with No Communities Were Harmed by referring to Lichtenburg and the United States of America as "two mythical countries."
  • In Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the Pharaoh of Egypt is a parody of Elvis Presley.
  • Likewise, Rum Tum Tugger in Cats is styled after Mick Jagger.
  • In Victorian times, W.H. Smith - now best known for the chain of stores - was promoted to First Lord of Britain's Navy, despite knowing little or nothing about ships. When Gilbert and Sullivan were writing H.M.S. Pinafore, Gilbert, setting out the plot for Sullivan, wrote about a song for "the First Lord ? tracing his career as office-boy in [a] cotton-broker's office, clerk, traveller, junior partner and First Lord of Britain's Navy.... Of course there will be no personality in this - the fact that the First Lord in the Opera is a Radical of the most pronounced type will do away with any suspicion that W. H. Smith is intended." Actually, everyone presumed Smith was intended (as Gilbert probably knew full well they would), to the point of him living out the rest of his life with the nickname "Pinafore Smith".
    • Another Gilbert and Sullivan example: the fleshly poet Reginald Bunthorne in Patience was modeled on Oscar Wilde, to the point that D'Oyly Carte had lecture appearances by him in American cities where Patience was touring so that theatergoers could recognize what the play was parodying.
  • In the play The Man Who Came to Dinner, the (speaking) character of Banjo is based on Harpo Marx (his Hollywood co-stars are named as Wacko and Sloppo). Sheridan Whiteside was largely modeled on the Alter Ego Acting persona of Alexander Woollcott (to whom the play was dedicated by its authors "for reasons that are nobody's business") Lorraine Sheldon represents English actress Gertrude Lawrence, and Beverly Carlton is a thinly veiled pastiche of playwright and wit Noel Coward.
  • Another fictionalized version of Noel Coward is Eric Dare from the little-known Cole Porter musical Jubilee. In the same show, Eva Standing could practically have been a pseudonym for Elsa Maxwell; Charles "Mowgli" Rausmiller, however, is more a parody of Tarzan than of Johnny Weissmuller.
  • Finian's Rainbow: It's probably not a coincidence that Woody Mahoney, union organizer, folk singer (whose shame it is that he can't play the guitar he's carrying), and enemy of finance men, has the same first name as Woody Guthrie. (At one point, Woody is supposed to speak "in a 'Talking Union Blues' rhythm.")
  • Freddie Trumper, the Jerkass American chess player in Chess, is supposed to be a Bobby Fischer expy. The Russian player, Anatoly Sergievsky, was initially based on Boris Spassky but the resemblance decreased every time the musical was rewritten.
  • Of Thee I Sing: Apparently, some reviews of the original production noticed a resemblance between John P. Wintergreen (as played by William Gaxton) and Jimmy Walker, then mayor of New York City (and part-time songwriter), which may have been denied. All but openly acknowledged, though, was that all nine Supreme Court Judges were made up like Oliver Wendell Holmes.
  • In Arthur Miller's play After the Fall, Maggie has a highly suspicious resemblance to the author's late ex-wife, Marilyn Monroe.


Video Games Edit

  • Lazarus, a foul-mouthed, boisterous radio host in Deus Ex: Human Revolution that deals with conspiracy theories, and serves as a Greek Chorus of sorts along with Eliza, is inspired mostly by Alex Jones, but by other personalities, such as Jim Rome and a fictional radio host from the movie Eight-Legged Freaks.
  • The original Castlevania for the NES end credits: "Mix Schrecks, Vram Stoker, Belo Lugosi, Trance Fischer, Boris Karloffice, etc."
  • Mass Effect: The default male face of Shepard is based on Dutch model Mark Vanderloo.
  • The original Metal Gear featured a cover artwork that was obviously traced from a publicity still of Michael Biehn in Terminator, while the original MSX2 release of Metal Gear 2 featured character portraits obviously ripped from actual photographs of celebrities (notably with Solid Snake as Mel Gibson, Grey Fox as Tom Berenger and Big Boss as Sean Connery).
    • In the original Metal Gear Solid, Solid Snake is (according to Yoji Shinkawa's own admission) a combination of Christopher Walken's face on Jean-Claude Van Damme's body.
  • Billy from Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters is based on Axl Rose, with his original design from Fatal Fury 2-KOF '95 taking cues from former English pro-wrestler Dynamite Kid.
  • Similarly, Axl Low from Guilty Gear is a laid-back British clone of Axl Rose.
  • In addition, the minor character Eagle from the original Street Fighter I was retconned into a clone of Freddie Mercury when he reappeared in Capcom vs. SNK 2.
    • And of course there's Balrog (or rather M. Bison in the Japanese version), whose source of inspiration is rather obvious....
    • Alex from Street Fighter III acts as something of a Hulk Hogan homage, complete with a special intro pose with Hugo imitating the legendary match between Hogan and Andre. Hugo in turn is a renamed Andore from Final Fight, who is blatantly based on Andre the Giant.
    • Final Fight also had two enemy bikers named Axl and Slash modeled after their Guns N' Roses counterpart, while Poison's and Roxy's replacements in the SNES version, Billy and Sid, are obvious references to Billy Idol and Sid Vicious.
    • Abel from Street Fighter IV bares a noticeable resemblance with MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko.
    • Crimson Viper from the same game is essentially Angelina Jolie with Cool Shades.
  • Max Morgan from Live a Live is another fairly obvious Expy of the Hulkster.
  • The incarnation the Riddler seen in Batman: Arkham Asylum is based, most notably in his file picture, on Neil Patrick Harris.
  • World Heroes based its cast largely around this trope, with a touch of justified Anachronism Stew (the plot involves a time machine). Dragon was a Bruce Lee Clone, while pro wrestler Muscle Power was an amazingly blatant steal of Hulk Hogan. Some of this was softened in the second game (Muscle Power, for example, lost his facial hair).
    • Hanzo = Hanzo Hattori, Fuuma = Fuma Kotaro, Janne = Joan of Arc, Jengis/Julius Carn = Genghis Khan, Erick = Erik The Red, Ryoko = Ryoko Tamura (later Tani), Jack = Jack the Ripper, Johnny Maximum = Joe Montana. Ryofu (Japanese translation of Lu Bu), Captain Kidd, Rasputin, and Gokuu are self-explanatory. It's not clear who Shura is. Brocken is Brocken Jr. from Kinnikuman, Neo-Dio is the title character from Baoh the Visitor, and Zeus is Raoh. Only Neo Gee Gus and Mudman aren't based on anyone.
      • Isn't Neo Geegus a T-1000 from Terminator?
  • Perhaps the ultimate in use of this trope is the long-lived Fire Pro Wrestling series, where every wrestler in the game is a renamed version of an actual professional wrestler. There are over one hundred wrestlers in the latest one.
    • The last one, Fire Pro Wrestling RETURNS for the PS2, contains over 350 wrestlers...and every single one of them is a rename (and some are recolors) of a real-life wrestler (many of them are just more "obscure" ones that casual US wrestling fans won't recognize).
  • The NES game Maniac Mansion features a character called Wink Smiley, who is a talk show host clearly based on Jay Leno. He looks exactly like a young Jay and even has Jay's chin.
  • Quite a few male characters in video games resemble David Bowie, including Raziel from the Legacy of Kain games, and even the Pokémon Zangoose, which has an Aladdin Sane lightning bolt-esque design on one side of its face.
  • El Blaze from Virtua Fighter greatly resembles WWE professional wrestler Rey Mysterio.
  • Dead or Alive's Bass Armstrong looks like Scott Steiner.
    • Actually, Bass Armstrong is modeled after Stan "The Lariat" Hansen (as was "Macho" Mike Haggar from Final Fight and Saturday Night Slam Masters; in fact, many Japanese-made wrestling game main characters that people confused for Hogan analogues were actually based off of Hansen) and made to look like Hulk Hogan (mostly the nWo version). This makes things even MORE confusing when Bass's daughter Tina ends up resembling Hogan's (decidedly NON-wrestling) daughter Brooke.
    • There is also Zack who is clearly based on Dennis Rodman
  • The President in Ratchet and Clank Up Your Arsenal is a furry Bill Clinton.
  • The Radical Entertainment games in the Crash Bandicoot series does this a lot: Crunch Bandicoot is Mr. T, Doctor N. Gin is Peter Lorre (although it can be argued he was based on Lorre to begin with), Tiny Tiger is Mike Tyson, the Ratnicians are an army of Jerry Lewises, Chick Gizzard Lips is Howard Cosell and some of the Park Drones consist of Andrew Dice Clay, Boris Karloff, W.C. Fields, and Charlton Heston.
  • The Big Bad in Doom 3 bears a striking resemblance (both physically and in voice) to Sir Anthony Hopkins. In particular, to Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter...
    • Now that you mention it, the big bad from the first Doom game looks oddly like John Romero.
      • You are actually referring to the Big Bad from Doom 2.
  • Many fans suspect Alexandra Chilton from Grand Theft Auto IV is a thinly veiled parody of Paris Hilton...
  • Photograph Boy, an obscure PC-Engine side-scroller from 1989. It has lots of No Celebrities Were Harmed cameos, including Madonna and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • In the fantasy game Alundra, there is a character named Jaylen who resembles Jay Leno and has a similar taste in cars.
  • In the game F.E.A.R., there is a character named Norton Mapes who is clearly based on the late great John Candy.
  • Emily Enough features a very, very blatant No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Ed Gein -- the description of his career as a serial killer is lifted word-for-word from accounts of Gein. In one of the game's more disturbing puzzles, you have to skin an old lady alive so he can wear her skin.
  • Are you sure that Elite Beat Agents didn't name its muscular baseball hero "Hulk Bryman" to avoid a lawsuit from Barry Bonds?

 Hulk: "You bet, kid!"

  • The Quest for Glory series features several, most prominently in the fourth game, which was the first to feature voice acting. The farmers sound like Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper and Rodney Dangerfield, The Chief Thief sounds like Peter Lorre and so forth.
    • In the second game, there are several appearances by the Marx Brothers, most notably Groucho Marx as Ali Fakir, the used saurus salesman.
    • The third game throws in Sanford and Son.
    • Both the second and fifth games in the series feature another Peter Lorre-based character named Ugarte (it's much more obvious in the fifth game.)
    • The first game threw in The Three Stooges as brigands.
  • Mortal Kombat: Liu Kang is Bruce Lee. Johnny Cage is Jean Claude Van Damme. Sonya is Cynthia Rothrock.
    • Johnny is even moreso based off of Nicolas Cage. His profile in earlier games bore the likeness of Mr. Cage and Johnny's real name is even Jonathan Carlton (similar to how the other Cage's real name is Nicolas Coppola).
    • Also, the makers of Mortal Kombat 2 had once considered adding another female kombatant who was based on kickboxing champion Kathy Long, but she ended up not making the final cut.
  • Nearly every fighting game has a Bruce Lee character. Soulcalibur's Maxi, Mortal Kombats Liu Kang, Tekkens Marshall Law, Darkstalkerss Jon Talbain, Street Fighters Fei Long, just to name a few.
  • The DS remakes of the Dragon Quest games featured new character artwork. Alena, rechristened a "Tsarevna" (Russian princess), and coming from a Fantasy Counterpart Culture Russia, bears a striking resemblance to Tsarevna Anastasia Romanov. Considering what happens to her father's kingdom, it's rather appropriate.
  • Konami's 1991 arcade game Vendetta is possibly the only beat-em-up in which you can fight crime as Mike Tyson Blood, Hulk Hogan Hawk, Jean Claude Van Damme Boomer or even Mr.T Sledge.
  • Fallout 2 featured characters named 'Juan Cruz' and 'Viki Goldstein' in the 'Hubologist' base, although they insist that any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
    • For those playing at home, they "coincidentally" resemble Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Scientology, respectively.
    • The same game also had a big black boxing champion nicknamed "The Masticator", who could bite off your ear during a boxing match against him.
  • Grand Chase's final (as of Season 2, has now been removed for Season 3) PVE mission (finishing Xenia Frontier's Red and Violet forests on 3 star-difficulty under 15 minutes) has you trying to beat the dungeon-clearing record of one Indiana Ford.
  • In NCSoft's MMORPG Aion, characters Ascend from being ordinary 'humans', becoming Daeva; in the main city for each race, players will find NPCs labeled as "Daeva of ..." for various things -- Intuition, Song, etc. One of the two Asmodai Daevas of Cooking is named 'Batali'.
  • Bill and Lance in the original Contra were blatantly based on Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.
    • The backstory of Shattered Soldier echoes Demolition Man (which itself featured Stallone). Bill is accused of murdering his partner and causing "calamity on a global scale" with a superweapon, and is sentenced to Human Popsicle prison, but is temporarily thawed to take down his old partner turned nemesis since he is the only one powerful enough for the task.
  • The Natsume NES game S.C.A.T. is a side-scrolling shoot-em-up starring Arnold and Sigourney (as in Schwarzenegger and Weaver, they weren't even clever enough to come up with original names).
  • Chuck Downfield, the annoying announcer of Backyard Football, was definitely based off of John Madden.
  • In The Sims 3, your Sim can read a newspaper story about a director based on Michael Bay wanting to make a movie in Sim City. It mentions that the director said his movie was about "A guy blowing up city hall, then a car chase, then, wait for it, a fight on the beach. All in my trademark crazy shaky camera."
  • Flynn, the protagonist of forgettable first-person-shooter Devastation, looks much like Eminem.
  • Apart from the "Bruce Lee as Marshall Law" example above, Tekken series have more not-celebrities: Raven is based on Wesley Snipes (in a weird mash-up of his Demolition Man and Blade movie personas), Craig Marduk is the actor/wrestler Nathan Jones and Lei Wulong is Jackie Chan, to name just a few.
  • Patch 3.3 of World of Warcraft introduced Bronjahm, the Godfather of Souls. To further cement the reference, his loot includes such items as Papa's Brand New Bag, Love's Prisoner, and Cold Sweat Grips.
    • WoW has more than a few as Shout Outs, however most notable is Archaeologist Harrison Jones. He started out as a Joke Character who was chump killed at the gates of Zul'Aman. However he somehow didn't die and turned up fighting snakes in a tomb in the Grizzly Hills zone. In the new Cataclysm expansion he has a prominent role as a quest giver in the Uldum zone, complete with multiple Shout Outs and lampshades to go round in respect to all four Indy films.
    • In addition to those, we also have Haris Pilton (pictured), Ricole Nichie, and even Chuck Norris (pending as of November 2011 though).
  • The fighting game Battle K-Road is a rather blatant example, featuring Sylvester StalloneWolf alongside Arnold SchwarzeneggerT-8P (who also has a HeadSwap in the form of The TerminatorD-9P).
  • The Pokémon Wobbuffet is partly based on the late Japanese comedian Sanpei Hayashiya, whose trademark was putting his hand to his forehead while saying: "sō na-n-su, okusan" or, in English, "That's the way it is, ma'am". Sonansu, as Wobbuffet is called in Japanese, is often shown putting its hand to its forehead.
  • Time Splitters: Sgt Cortez channels Vin Diesel.
  • Lost in Nightmare: Jill looks a lot like Sarah Conner. In The Remake of the original, Jill had a Sarah Conner-ish outfit as an unlockable.
  • Resident Evil series
    • Resident Evil 5 : Albert Wesker not only has moves and clothes ripped right out of The Matrix but also has the mannerisms of the T-1000 from Terminator 2. If you shoot him and he dodges, many times he will wag his finger at you like the T-1000 did to Sarah Conner near the end.
    • In the original version of Resident Evil Code Veronica. Steve Burnside also resembles Leonardo DiCaprio. His hairstyle was changed in Code Veronica: X to something more like Leon's.
      • Leon himself also resembles and is probably named after DiCaprio. Claire Redfield's name may also be a reference to Claire Danes, DiCaprio's co-star in Romeo + Juliet.
    • Some of the characters in Resident Evil Outbreak bear a certain resemblance to famous actors, especially the police officer who looks like Tom Cruise.
    • From the remake of Resident Evil 1 onwards, Jill's appearance has been based on Canadian actress Julia Voth.
    • Rebecca Chambers has been based on Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, who was actually the spokesperson for Resident Evil 0 in Japan. She didn't provide the voice as the games always feature English voice acting. Although Sheva Alomar's motion capture was based on her voice actress Karen Dyer, Sheva's facial expressions were based on model Michelle Van Der Water.
  • Kate Green in House of the Dead 4 looks blatantly similar to Fergie.
  • Sgt Stacker (voiced by Pete Stacker) in the Halo series is reminiscent of R. Lee Ermey.
  • Subverted in Fallout: New Vegas with 'The King' and his gang 'The Kings' who all dress like Elvis Presley. The King in particular though, as he even speaks in the same fashion as Elvis did. This is a subversion, however, as the Kings operate out of 'The King's School of Impersonation', a 50s drama school to teach people to act, dress and speak like Elvis. Using the materials from the school, The Kings built their identity around the legendary figure.
    • The explanation for why no-one mentions the name of the figure the school was about? By the time the King (the gang leader) got there, the surviving materials all refered to the figure simply as 'the King'.
  • Jennifer Simpson from Clock Tower was modeled after Jennifer Connelly, who also starred in the Dario Argento movie (Phenomena) that inspired the game.
  • In Madden NFL's recent editions, the designers created draft classes from scratch, often tossing in high-profile players still in college whose names and images they couldn't legally use. Like a scrambling QB from Florida named "Tim Tribow".
  • In the first two Shin Megami Tensei games, the creator of the Demon Summoning Program is a crippled genius by the name of Steven who looks suspiciously like Stephen Hawking.


Webcomics Edit


Web Original Edit

  • This video by IGN called Borderlands is for Real Gamers features a guy playing as a developer of the game, Randy Pitchford. While he does get the hairstyle, he otherwise doesn't look like Randy Pitchford at all. He also technically doesn't act like him either - the man is more being used to a way of parodying the game's marketing campaign.
  • The Nostalgia Chick: The Chick does a dead-on parody of Sarah Palin when she is the vice president to The Nostalgia Critic's president of Kickassia. She also tries to kill him to get his job.
  • Bowser's Kingdom: The Shy Guys are imitations of Christopher Walken.
  • Several gags in Loading Ready Run's recurrent Rapidfire segment Elect Andrew Shepard cast Shepard as depraved version of Bill Clinton, such as his claim that "I did not have sexual relations with that woman. I did, however, have sex with that woman, that woman, those two women, and possibly that guy.", or "I did not inhale. I took it rectally, and I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped."
  • It's prtty obvious that Fantastico, the head of the Good Ol' Boyz in the Whateley Universe, is George W. Bush, and his sidekick Minefield is Dick Cheney, and his inventor-slash-intelligence officer Ferret is Karl Rove.
    • For that matter, the Vindicators are an incompetent team parodying The Avengers: Kismet is a pushy, cranky Scarlet Witch in green; Lemure is a sullen Vision; Sizemax is an easily steamrollered Giantman; Donner is a dopey Thor; Dynamaxx is a horndog Iron Man; and Cerebrex is a crazed, incompetent Captain America.


Western Animation Edit

  • The Critic: The Trope Namer. Jay's boss and network honcho Duke Phillips is a parody of Ted Turner. Jay himself is a pastiche of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert (who played themselves in one episode). Also, his buddy Jeremy Hawke is said to be a combination of Paul Hogan and Mel Gibson.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog has Wes Weasely, an Honest John who shares Phil Silvers' voice, clothes, and glasses.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 had McDonald Trump, who made a fortune selling very expensive and very small pizzas.
  • One of the worst and most prominent examples of this is Jabberjaw, from the show of the same name, who solved crimes and played faux rock songs while yammering Rodney Dangerfield's Catch Phrase "No respect!" in a terrible Curly Howard impression. Just how bad it really is gets a Lampshade Hanging when he appears in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. Judge Mentok hears him speak and immediately orders him to stay quiet for the rest of the trial.
  • Animaniacs did this repeatedly, but with a great deal more skill:
    • Yakko Warner steals gags, quips, and sometimes entire plotlines from Groucho Marx, with Wakko occasionally filling in as Harpo. Wakko himself is basically Ringo Starr most of the time.
    • Mr. Director, a recurring foe, is clearly Jerry Lewis.
    • The Brain, megalomaniac mouse extraordinaire, is based on voice actor Maurice LaMarche's excellent Orson Welles impersonation. (To the point that, as a treat for Moe, the short "Yes, Always" was an adaptation of an obscure but infamous recording session in which Orson's ego went ballistic on a pair of inept producers while taping a commercial for frozen peas.)
    • The Goodfeathers were parodies of Ray Liotta's (Squit), Robert De Niro's (Bobby), and Joe Pesci's (Pesto) characters from the film Goodfellas; their boss, the Godpidgeon, is an extreme parody of Marlon Brando as The Godfather.
      • The Robert DeNiro pigeon also had elements of his character from Taxi Driver ("Are you talkin' to me?")
      • The series also contained many other references to the works of Brando, Deniro, and Pesci, as well as numerous other gangster movies.
    • Runt was an imitation of Dustin Hoffman's character from Rain Man; Rita was Bernadette Peters doing herself.
    • In one episode of the series, the Warners push the buttons of a scowling television journalist named "Dan Anchorman," who bears a striking resemblance to ABC's Sam Donaldson. Dan is eventually pushed into a television set and forced to fight a blond professional wrestler named "Bulk Logan." Yeah, I don't think that one needs any explanation.
      • The Donaldson connection was made even more explicit by the character's name in the original script: Slam Fondlesome. Because of Executive Meddling over that supposedly risque name, they had to go back, change the name, and redub some of the dialogue.
    • Ralph the studio guard is apparently based on Ralph Bakshi.
    • Howie Tern, insult-hurling radio show host. No explanation required. (Given how brutal the Warners usually are to obnoxious jerks, he actually got off relatively easy.)
  • Tiny Toon Adventures has one: Shirley the Loon was based loosely on Shirley MacLaine, or at least on her public image as a new age kook.
    • However, though you might think one-shot "Julie Bruin" falls here, she is actually voiced by Julie Brown (not "Downtown", the other one).
    • And then there's Robin Killems.
  • Two of the supporting superheroes in Freakazoid! -- The Huntsman, who is modelled upon Charlton Heston, and Lord Bravery, an obvious pastiche of John Cleese.
  • Looney Tunes: Warner Bros released a number of cartoons -- still broadcast on various anthology shows -- which featured celebrity clones, caricatures, and cameos:
    • There were mouse versions of The Honeymooners, and cat versions of Abbott and Costello who were named "Babbitt" and "Catsello".
    • Jack Benny, and the cast of his radio show, played themselves as mice for a Looney Tunes one-shot.
    • Many famous crooners of the era, several times each. Supposedly, Bing Crosby thought it was kind of funny, but Sinatra hated it. Much later, Warner Bros Animation's Taz-Mania would base Taz's father on Bing, and his brother -- Taz's uncle -- on Bob Hope.
      • It is of note that Crosby took umbrage at the title figure of the 1936 cartoon "Bingo Crosbyana," which depicted him as a narcissistic coward (in the form of a housefly).
    • Humphrey Bogart turns up several times in the 1950 Bugs Bunny cartoon "Eight Ball Bunny". His recurring line is "Pardon me, but could you help out a fellow American who's down on his luck?" -- which is close to a line Bogart had in the 1948 film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
      • Bogey and "Baby" (Lauren Bacall) can also be seen in 1947's "Slick Hare".
    • Several shorts featured caricatures of WB stars such as Edward G. Robinson and Peter Lorre.
      • Carrotblanca, a 1990s send up of Casablanca, features Tweety doing a Lorre impersonation as Ugarte.
    • The 1937 cartoon "The Woods are Full of Cuckoos" revolved around a radio program performed by animal versions of then-famous radio and film personalities, including Jack Benny and Fred Allen.
      • See also "The Coo-Coo Nut Grove" and "Hollywood Steps Out".
  • Spike the bulldog, in the Tom and Jerry series, has a Jimmy Durante-like voice.
  • Hanna-Barbera were fond of these in their television shows. For instance, Yogi Bear is Art Carney, and Super Snooper is Ed Gardner from radio's Duffy's Tavern.
  • Walter Lantz had a series of "Maw and Paw" shorts in the 1950s, which were based on the live-action "Ma and Pa Kettle" comedies.
  • The Edutainment Show Histeria!, from the same studio as Animaniacs and sharing many of the voice actors, would transform historical figures without well-known voices and mannerisms into parodies of recognizable celebrities:
  • The main character of My World and Welcome To It was a thinly disguised version of author James Thurber, which makes sense since the series was based on Thurber's writings published under that title.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Chief Wiggum was initially an impression of Edward G. Robinson. This gets a lampshade in several episodes: "The Day the Violence Died", a trial episode where cartoon maker Roger Meyers, Jr. talks about this very trope; "Bart Gets An Elephant", where Wiggum dismisses a liquor store robbery report with "Yeah, right. and I'm Edward G. Robinson!"; and "Simpsons Bible Stories", where in the Moses story Wiggum stands in for Robinson's character in The Ten Commandments.
      • Also referencing Robinson's role in The Ten Commandments in the episode "Homer Loves Flanders": "Where's your Messiah NOW, Flanders?!"
      • There was a recent Halloween episode where Wiggum meets the ghost of Robinson. Lou the cop is based on Stallone.
    • Dr. Julius Hibbert is a send-up of The Cosby Show's Dr. Cliff Huxtable (and, to a lesser extent, of Bill Cosby himself).
    • Dr. Frink is an impression of Jerry Lewis.
      • This was brought full circle in one of the "Treehouse of Horror" specials, where Lewis voiced Frink's dad.
      • Not to mention he himself points out that a cartoon character at a convention is a ripoff of Jerry Lewis.
    • Rainier Wolfcastle (who plays the character McBain) is a not-so-subtle imitation of Arnold Schwarzenegger. (This was made all the more obvious when The Movie used Schwarzenegger as a character -- and his appearance, characterization, and voice were nearly identical to those of Wolfcastle.)
    • Mayor Quimby is a send-up of the Kennedy family in general, but most closely based on Edward (Ted).
    • Magicians Gunter and Ernst = Siegfried and Roy. In their debut episode, the duo were attacked by one of the exotic cats used in their act. When asked about the parallel, the writers said, in effect, "it was bound to happen sooner or later."
    • Talk show host Opal = Oprah. Right down to her massive audience gift giveaways.
    • The announcer for the Springfield Isotopes baseball team is a dead ringer for Dodgers announcer Vin Scully.
      • Similarly, football-related scenes often feature an announcer who sounds like Keith Jackson.
    • Gil, the perennially unsuccessful salesman, is based on Jack Lemmon's Glengarry Glen Ross character.
      • Lemmon himself voiced a similar character in "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson".
    • Hank Azaria has claimed that Moe's voice was based on a bad Al Pacino impression.
      • And Matt Groening has stated that Moe's appearance was based on Rich Hall.
      • Similarly, the voice of Herman (voiced by Harry Shearer) is based on George HW Bush.
    • The "Yes Guy", also known as "that jerk who always goes 'Yeeeeessss?'" is a pastiche of a recurring character portrayed by Frank Nelson on various older sitcoms, most notably The Jack Benny Program.
    • In "Sideshow Bob Roberts", we're introduced to conservative talk-show host Birch Barlow, an obvious sendup of Rush Limbaugh.
    • Heavyweight boxing champ Drederick Tatum and his manager Lucius Sweet are send-ups of Mike Tyson and Don King, respectively. This is lampshaded in the episode "The Homer They Fall":

 Homer: You know Lucius Sweet?! He's one of the biggest names in boxing! He's exactly as rich and as famous as Don King, and he looks just like him, too!

      • Also lampshaded with bearded childrens' folksinger Roofi. A graphic during a TV news report of a riot at a Roofi concert reads "Raffi denounces Roofi".
    • The Parson looks and sounds suspiciously like Bing Crosby.
  • Jorgen Von Strangle from The Fairly Odd Parents is likewise another animated Schwarzenegger clone, down to his physique and Teutonic accent. (His name is taken from the similar actor Jean Claude Van Damme.)
    • Curiously, there's also an actor called Arnold Schwarzengerman (appearing in a superviolent remake of Hamlet).
    • Also the character of Big Daddy is a parody of James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano.
    • April Fool's nasally voice and "what's up with that?" comedic style are a lot like those of Jerry Seinfeld.
    • Sylvester Calzone
    • Britney Britney
    • Countless characters in the movie Channel Chasers.
  • Elzar, the recurring Neptunian chef on Futurama is a thinly veiled impersonation of TV chef Emeril Lagasse. Zapp Brannigan was originally cast with comedian Phil Hartman in the role; when Hartman died before the show began, Billy West did Zapp's voice in the style of Hartman as a tribute. Incidentally, the protagonist Phillip J. Fry, also voiced by Billy West, was named after Phil Hartman.
    • Zapp's whole character is a parody of William Shatner.
      • Not to mention his hair.
  • Johnny Bravo: Johnny's voice and speech patterns are a parody of Elvis Presley, most notable in the way he says "Oh Momma". In the pilot episode, he went as far as to deep fry a peanut butter and banana sandwich.
    • Also, later seasons featured Johnny's idol Squint Ringo, a laughably transparent parody of Steven Seagal.
  • Almost any cartoon featuring a sporting event will have a sportscaster or commentator blatantly ripping off the late Howard Cosell. (Futurama switched that one up by featuring celebrity imitator Rich Little's severed head imitating Cosell -- and having Little actually do the voice.) Like the Record Needle Scratch and the above-mentioned Senator Claghorn, one wonders, do any of the kids these days know exactly who is being parodied?
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers features several examples of this trope.
    • Fat Cat, one of the show's Big Bads, is sort of a feline Vincent Price, or Sydney Greenstreet.
    • Stan Blather, a recurring background character, is a monotone news anchor who is a barely-disguised stand in for Dan Rather.
    • In "Kiwi's Big Adventure", a kiwi chieftain speaks with the mannerisms and catch phrases of Ed Sullivan.
    • In "Pie in the Sky", the villain's guard dogs are both based on Jack Nicholson. To the point of actually being named "Jack" and "Nichols".
    • Canina LeFur, a guest star in "A Chorus Crime" and "They Shoot Dogs, Don't They?", is based on--and actually voiced by--Carol Channing.
  • Similarly, an episode of Jimmy Neutron features a sleazy Hollywood director Actually Professor Calamitous in disguise who happens to look exactly like Quentin Tarantino.
    • Well, the director's given name is Quentin Smithee. It's kinda obvious.
  • An episode of Transformers involved a science fiction movie starring "Harold Edsel" and "Karen Fishhook", who bore suspiciously strong resemblances to Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, respectively. Interestingly, about twenty years later, Ford would make a more overt Transformers appearance: Hasbro produced a "Star Wars Transformers" toy line, with Han Solo as one of the featured characters. Even more interestingly, is what happened much sooner than that. In Transformers: The Movie, Susan Blu, who voiced Karen Fishhook, would also provide the voice of one of the franchises most popular female characters, Arcee. Word of God has actually gone on to describe Arcee's character design as being "the robotic equivalent of a naked Princess Leia", the character Carrie Fisher is best known for.
    • Transformers also employed more conventional impressions: Cosmos' voice was essentially a heavily-modulated Peter Lorre (again...), while Hound's voice actor was a dead-ringer for Jimmy Stewart. Both G1 and Animated Shockwave's voices are based on David Warner, specifically his performance as Sark from Tron (in fact, his voice actor, Corey Burton was even hired to take up Warner's role as Sark in Kingdom Hearts II), Optimus Prime's voice is based on John Wayne, Soundwave's voice was based on Barry White, and Rumble's and Frenzy's voices were based on Al Capone and Leo Gorsey.
      • Lampshaded in the Luke Ski filk song The Ballad of Optimus Prime, where Luke takes a line to complain about Hot Rod's role: "We wanted John Wayne, and they gave us Judd Nelson!"
    • Even Animated has this going on, with Ultra Magnus' voice being a rather good imitation of Robert Stack (who, not-so-coincidentally, played the original Magnus in the 1986 movie), and Ironhide being Corey Burton's best approximation of Huell Howser. Swindle's mannerisms are modeled after those of Ron Popeil, and Mixmaster sounds suspiciously like Joe Pesci (which is played up in a Whole Episode Reference to Home Alone). Highbrow has a similar accent, mustache, and gap in his tooth to Terry-Thomas. Grandus sounds like another Paul Lynde (and also Screams Like a Little Girl). Rattletrap sounds a lot like Lou Costello (which may or may not have been the inspiration for Rattrap's accent, though it's at least less obvious with him).
    • Let's not forget Tracks is based on Jim Baccus's performance as Thurston Howell in Gilligan's Island, Red Alert was supposedly based on Richard Nixon, and Mirage was based on Dean Martin.
  • The hanging lamp in The Brave Little Toaster is yet another animated Peter Lorre clone. The air conditioner is Jack Nicholson. Both were voiced by Phil Hartman. Both haunted the nightmares of children for decades.
    • Radio is Jon Lovitz doing Walter Winchell, down to his Catch Phrase signoff.
  • Swat Kats has David Litterbin- an obvious play on David Letterman.
  • My Gym Partners a Monkey has at its main antagonist Bull Sharkowski, whose vocal and speech mannerisms could only bring Mike Tyson to mind.
    • In one episode there's an entertainer named Burt Rivendale who is clearly based on David Letterman even resembling him right down to the gap tooth.
  • De Patie Freleng Enterprises' The Ant and the Aardvark cartoons featured John Byner voicing both of the title characters, using voices based on Dean Martin and Jackie Mason, respectively.
  • Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy from The Boondocks are rather obviously George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld as scheming, shiftless frat boys.

 Ed Wuncler I: "In 30 years, that boy will be the president of the United States. And he'll still be a fucking idiot."

  • Sabrina the Animated Series provides some more examples.
  • The MASK villain Sly Rax has a Jack Nicholson-like voice.
  • Several of Hasbro/Sunbow's Merchandise-Driven cartoons from the 1980s (G.I. Joe, Transformers Generation 1, Jem, Inhumanoids) feature a tabloid reporter named Hector Ramirez, an obvious Geraldo Rivera parody.
  • LazyTown villain Robbie Rotten is clearly based on Jim Carrey in someway, right down to his mannerisms.
  • Elvis Criddlington from Fireman Sam is clearly based on Elvis Presley, right down to the fact that he sings and loves rock 'n' roll.
  • Biker Mice From Mars has quite a few. The original series had Evil Eye Weevil who is a skeleton-like thing (he's a parody of Elvis Presley and Evil Knievel) and The X-Terminator who is a parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lawrence Limburger has a sister who is named after Latoya Jackson (one of Michael Jackson's siblings) and the "Loogie Brothers" who are based off two characters played by Dana Carvey and Keaven Nealon on Saturday Night Live. The 2006 revival has a villain named Ronaldo Rump who is a parody of multimillionaire Donald Trump (including the toupee and the multimillion dollar building franchise), he has a British cousin named Sir Richard Brand Something (a parody of Virgin Group company owner Sir Richard Branson). There's also a character that bares a resemblance to Rodney Dangerfield. Doctor Catorkian sounds suspiciously like Boris Karloff.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has had a few villains that parody famous characters, such as "Toiletnator" (Terminator), "Tony Clownarelli also known as Godclown" (Marlon Brando as The Godfather), "Count Spankulot" (Dracula). Father's voice was patterned after Kirk Douglas.
  • Disney's Beauty and the Beast has Lumiere, who's based on Maurice Chevalier.
  • Animalympics had this for the various news commentators and a few athletes. Henry Hummel borrows mannerisms from Henry Kissinger, Barbara Warbler is rather obviously Barbara Walters, and Lodge Turkell is Howard Cosell. On the side of the athletes, Bolt Jenkins is reminiscent of John Travolta's character from Saturday Night Fever, and Joey Gongalong is obviously Muhammad Ali as a Boxing Kangaroo.
  • An episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe featured a scientist character who looked and sounded exactly like Jimmy Stewart.
  • Cats Don't Dance: Darla Dimple. Compare with Shirley Temple.
  • One episode of Dinosaurs featured Edward R. Hero, a pastiche of real-life journalist Edward R. Murrow, as a commentator in a political election between two horrible candidates. In the end, the voters get fed up with both candidates and elect Edward by a landslide.
  • Jem! was affected by this trope as well. All guest musicians in the "The Jam Jem" were based on real 1980s personalities.
  • The Incredibles has Edna Mode, who is based on Edith Head.
  • The American Dragon Jake Long version of Santa Claus kind of sounds like Rodney Dangerfield.
  • An episode of The Proud Family featured an American Idol-type talent show where hopefuls audition to be the next star. The so-called "Real Randy Jackson" character of the three judges is a lot similar to 1980s Michael Jackson, and Perchival (voiced by Tim Curry) is a similar to Simon Cowell.
  • Shrek has Lord Farquaad, a parody of Michael Eisner. His kingdom is a parody of Walt Disney World.
  • Ren and Stimpy
    • Ren is based on Peter Lorre. Yes, Lorre again. Krisfaluci has gone on record as saying Ren is the unholy lovechild of Lorre and Kirk Douglas. And a little Burl Ives. Ironically, Burl Ives also gets a treatment, as "Stinky Wizzleteats," the singer of Stimpy's favorite song, "Happy Happy, Joy Joy." It's said that Ives was offended... not at the parody, but that Krikfalusi and company hadn't invited him to voice the role himself, allowing him to take a sledgehammer to the "beloved childrens' entertainer" persona he had built up -- in Real Life, Ives hated children.
    • Stimpy's voice is based on Larry Fine of The Three Stooges.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has The Boulder, a parody of both The Rock and Hulk Hogan, down to being a Third Person Person. He's even voiced by actual wrestler Mick Foley.
  • Roger from American Dad is another Paul Lynde impression.
  • Family Guy
    • Stewie's voice is based on Rex Harrison.
    • The makers of the show said that Peter basically is Michael Moore (hence the inspiration for their farting contest skit).
    • Peter and Lois' vocal inflections resembling Archie and Edith Bunker from All in The Family, which is also spotlighted in the intro which is an over-the-top version of the intro of Family.
  • In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, they show an aerobics instructor who is obviously based on Richard Simmons.
    • As said aerobics instructor was played by Richard Simmons, this is more likely a case of Ink Suit Actor.
  • In the second-season The Venture Bros. episode Guess Who's Coming to State Dinner?, the character of President Breyer is an obvious pastiche of George W. Bush (Bush-Breyer, get it?) with some Bill Clinton thrown in for flavor. Oddly enough, George W. Bush's down-home Texas mannerisms and dearth of intellectual rigor combined with Bill Clinton's lack of personal boundaries come off to make the character seem more like Lyndon Johnson than either Clinton or Bush.
    • And let's not forget Henry Kissinger as Doctor Henry Killinger. Although, no one is sure if Kissinger has a Magic Murder Bag or not.
    • Brock Samson's trainer and mentor, Col. Hunter Gathers, bears a striking similarity to gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. After his sex change he bears a striking similarity to gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson with a pair of really big fake tits.
    • The yard sale episode featured a nameless supervillain looking suspiciously much like Elton John browsing for dirty magazines.
    • Colonel Horace Gentleman is basically Sean Connery with a dash of William S. Burroughs thrown in.
    • Dr. Orpheus is a rather obvious caricature of Vincent Price, which fits with his also being an Expy of Doctor Strange (see comic book folder).
  • An episode of MTV's The Maxx had a cop from out of town who looked (a little) like Humphrey Bogart and sounded (a lot) like William Shatner. The cop was The Savage Dragon in the original Maxx comic, but could not be used on the show since Erik Larson held the copyright for the character.
  • 6teen features a certain Mall Cop who may just have a strong need for more cowbell.
  • Betty Boop: Boop was based on Helen Kane.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy has several. Their version of Dracula is based on Redd Foxx, Hoss Delgado is a combination of Snake Plissken and Ash Williams, there is an underworld lawyer whose mannerisms are taken from Christopher Walken and, in one episode, the kids get a helper monkey who sounds and acts like Kevin Spacey. Specifically in the movie Se7en. No, Really.
  • Totally Spies was particularly bad with this. In fact, one episode centered around a number of knockoffs of Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears, etc., and the villain was Milan Stilton.
  • In the Wonder Pets they sometimes have this, in one episode they save a group of musical insects known as The Beetles (who are bug versions of Paul, John, George and Ringo), and in another one they meet up with the Rat Pack which are three rats named Sammy (Sammy Davis Jr), Blue Eyes (Frank Sinatra) and Dino (Dean Martin). And in "The Wonderpets Save the Hound Dog," they save a baby hound dog whose father is a dog version of Elvis Presley, who wears a pair of velvet booties and loves peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
  • The Gummi Bears episode "For a Few Sovereigns More" had Duke Igthorn hire bounty hunter Flint Shrubwood to hunt down the eponymous bears. He also looks and behaves just like Clint's Man With No Name.
  • Batman the Brave And The Bold's incarnation of the Music Meister seems to be a thinly veiled parody of famous pianists Elton John and Liberace.
  • An episode of Jackie Chan Adventures has a Leonardo DiCaprio substitute. The same episode indicated that Jackie Chan is not known as an actor in this universe. Conversely, Uncle and Tohru are fans of John Wayne.
  • The only character in Metalocalypse that is admittedly based after a celebrity is Nathan Explosion, based after George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher. One troper still believes he bears a closer resemblance to Peter Steele. Also, though it's denied, Murderface looks a lot like Geezer Butler.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch brutally and beautifully averts this trope.
  • South Park loves averting this trope, one of their defining characteristics is their parodying of celebrities by name. To the point where the 200th episode involves every celebrity they've pastiched suing the makers of South Park.
  • On Disney's The Schnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show, the Polite Coyotes (Tex Tinstar segment) were patterned after the Beatles.
  • Mok, the Big Bad of Rock & Rule had Mick Jagger's features and David Bowie's fashion sense.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Samy's Companion Cube puppet Humphrey von Sidekick has a voice patterned after Bing Crosby.
  • Taz's dad in Taz-Mania was blatantly based on Bing Crosby right down to the nice glass of Ooooooo.J.
    • And his brother Drew is Bob Hope, leading to several Road To... parodies.
  • Mr. Bone from Doug had a voice that was very close to that of Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith Show, as well as Fife's blind obsession with following rules, no matter how trivial.
  • In the Animated Adaptation of Soul Music, the witch who runs The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday is modelled on Auntie Wainwright who owns the junk shop in Last of the Summer Wine; Volf Volfssonssonsson, the Hubland barbarian, is The Ahnold; CMOT Dibbler is based on Private Walker, the spiv from Dads Army; and Crysophrase the Breccia ton is Don Corleone if he was made of rock. Robert Selacchi's apprentice assassin is modelled on former UK politician Michael Portillo, and is even named "Miguel Portiyo" (he was No Name Given in the book).
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has several examples:
    • The super manly tennis player pony seen during "Call of the Cutie" and "Luna Eclipsed" seems to be based on former Tennis player Andre Kirk Agassi during his prime.
    • Fashion designer Hoity Toity in "Suited For Success" is based on Karl Lagerfeld. (The same episode also references Greta Garbo's "I vant to be alone.")
    • The Best Young Flyer Competition's backstage manager in "Sonic Rainboom" resembles Lucille Ball.
      • On the same episode, the contest's announcer is a pegasus version of John Madden.
    • Photo Finish from "Green Isn't Your Color" is inspired by Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour.
    • The Cold Open to "Cutie Pox" takes place in a bowling alley, with Ponies that resemble The Dude, Walter, Donny, and The Jesus from The Big Lebowski
    • The ponies from the Web Games The Fabulous Ponymaker and/or Rarity's Bridal Boutique can look like Lady Gaga if the player designs them that way.
  • Knight Shade, a singer pony from the original My Little Pony cartoon, appears to have been based off Michael Jackson.
  • Batman the Animated Series: Mark Hamill has said that his performance of The Joker was a mixture of Hannibal Lector and Jerry Lewis.
  • Code Lyoko has a thinly veiled James Cameron expy,the Small Name, Big Ego and alien movie to boot
  • Madney Speer on Tara Duncan who's, y'know, supposed to be like that Hit Me Baby, One More Time singer (but the character looked more like P!nk circa 2000, and her song sounded very Best of Both Worlds-ish)
  • In the "Hatrocks and the Gruesomes" episode of The Flintstones, the Hatrocks are a parody of The Beverly Hillbillies, the Gruesomes are a parody of The Addams Family and The Four Insects and their "bug music" is a parody of The Beatles.
  • Birdz did this in nearly every episode with the names (e.g. "Steven Spielbird"), and sometimes went even further by actually showing their in-universe avian expy (one episode has a "Whippoorwill Smith" who's basically a bird version of, well, Will Smith).
  • In World of Quest, the titular Quest isn't voiced by Patrick Warburton, but it sure as hell sounds like he's voiced by Patrick Warburton.
  • The Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Car Broke, Phone Yes", featured an alien with speech patterns similar to Andy Kaufman.

Notes

  1. No, that's not some snarky quip. There really is an NPC in the same building called Ricole Nichie.
  2. One explanation may be it was inspired by The Witches of Eastwick, starring Jack Nicholson.