The Danza

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He's the most troublesome puppet to operate, too.
"Whatever your character's name is, people are going to call you that. For the rest of your life. Make your character's name Will Smith."
"The character I play is called Uncle Deadly, which is also my name. It's like it was written for me!"
Uncle Deadly, The Muppets

A character whose name is clearly taken from the actor/actress portraying him/her. This shows up in TV a lot in shows designed as a vehicle for an actor's fame. By lending their name to the fictional character, there's some familiarity created already. The most obvious way to spot this is to see if the title of the show incorporates the lead actor/actress' name, but not always. This seemed to hit its peak in the sitcoms of the late eighties and early nineties. A good majority of sitcoms were based on a stand up comedian's routine (Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr) and many of these comics already were developing fanbases. Creating the Danza was a way to leverage their fame as a comic into success as an actor.

Another common reason for doing this is that if an actor is famous enough, people will always refer to him/her by his/her real name even when discussing him/her as a fictional character (unless, of course, the character he/she is portraying is even more iconic, with the exception of said character being played by different actors and/or in multiple media). To avoid the annoyance or awkwardness of this character being constantly referred to as "[Famous name's] character", it's often best to just give them the same first name.

Sometimes this is used for child actors, to make things a little less confusing around the set. Also sometimes used for token ethnic minority characters, where it seemed that the program's staff were frightened to think up an original name and just used the name of the actor.

Or sometimes it's just a coincidence.

It's not a Danza if the character already has the name from an adaptation; in such a case the character is not being named for the actor.

Not to be confused with an actor or celebrity actually playing themselves. That's As Himself (if they're a main character) or Special Guest (if they show up for a single episode). How to differentiate? Is Bob the Actor playing Bob the Actor? Or does he just happen to be playing a character that's also named Bob? The second one is The Danza.

Compare Character as Himself, Adam Westing and Ink Suit Actor. See also Name's the Same, and Author Avatar. If The Danza is the writer, then it may be Write Who You Know as well as Author Avatar.

Named for Tony Danza, whose frequent portrayal of people named Tony (see Taxi and Who's The Boss?) has made him the butt of a few jokes, for example, this one for April Fools Day from Teevee.org.

Examples of The Danza include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • A borderline case is Nabeshin in Excel Saga and Puni Puni Poemi, who is voiced by director Watanabe Shinichi. Furthermore, Watanabe himself appears a few times in both shows with the same character model.
  • A weird twist would be Poemi of Puni Puni Poemi, who believes that she is actually her voice actress Yumiko Kobayashi, and continually refers to herself by that name. (She's also convinced that her father, Nabeshin, is actually the director and her boss...)
  • Megumi Hayashibara as Megumi Amatsuka in Tenshi na Konamaiki, although this is likely a coincidence, as the character existed in the original manga long before Hayashibara was cast in the anime.
  • Sakura Tange played Sakura Kinomoto of Cardcaptor Sakura, who is also obviously not based on her.
  • Lucky Star
    • Minoru Shiraishi is voiced... by Minoru Shiraishi. It goes further than that, since Shiraishi plays himself (or a version of himself that's only slightly older than Akira) in the Lucky Channel segments... who plays a character named Minoru Shiraishi in the main program.
    • Gotouther-sama, the scary biker gang leader is voiced by Yuko Goto, who is normally typecast as moe characters. This is a homage to her real-life biker lifestyle.
    • Daisuke Ono is voiced by... Daisuke Ono. And Aya Hirano, predictably voiced by Aya Hirano (who also did Konata).
    • Patricia Martin's character has been confirmed to be inspired by Patricia Ja Lee. And then, in the English dub, was actually voiced by Patricia Ja Lee.
    • Clerk Sugita is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita.
    • Shiraishi also played an aspiring seiyuu named Shiraishi in Kiddy Girl-AND.
  • Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge has Tomokazu Seki starring as himself. Mostly.
  • Code Geass has Inoue, Kento Sugiyama and Nagisa Chiba who are voiced by Kikuko Inoue, Noriaki Sugiyama and Saeko Chiba respectively. In their case, the characters were named for their actors. The English dub has a coincidental version with Kallen Stadtfeld (played by Karen Strassman).
  • As an in-joke, many of the characters in the Tenchi Muyo Spin-Off Pretty Sammy have the same last name as their voice actors.
  • In another coincidental one (or maybe a casting director was being cute), in the English dub of Kyo Kara Maoh!, Yuri was voiced by Yuri Lowenthal.
    • Voice actor Troy Baker did get some joke mileage out of this one though: "How bad is it when they start naming characters after voice actors? 'I wanna read for this guy, what's his name?' 'Er...Vic Migna.'"
  • In Detective Conan (AKA Case Closed in North America), several police officers were named after their voice actors. Detective Wataru Takagi, bears the same name as his voice actor, but other minor police officers bear the surnames of their respective voice actors.
    • Conan's voice actor double-roles in a two-parter as herself, the lead singer for the band Two-Mix.
  • In the series Gunbuster Noriko Takaya was voiced by Noriko Hidaka. Many of the characters, in fact, were named after people involved in the production.
  • The Latin American dub of Hamtaro has Kana (now Karla) voiced by Karla Falcon.
  • Shigeo Shiba in Patlabor was voiced by Shigeru Chiba.
  • In yet another coincidental one in the dub of Gundam 00 President Brian Stegmeyer is voiced (among other minors roles) by Brian Drummond. Also, rivals Kati Mannequin and Leesa Kujoh (aka Sumeragi Lee Noriega) are voiced by Cathy Weseluck and Lisa Ann Beley respectively.
    • And before Kati Mannequin, Cathy Weseluck voiced Catherine Bloom in Gundam Wing.
  • Hideyuki Tanaka was the voice of Hideyuki Makimura in City Hunter. Tsukasa Hojo intentionally named the character after him in the manga long before the anime version was made.
  • Mai Nakahara is the voice behind My-HiME's lead heroine, Mai Tokiha.
  • To voice Momoko Touyoko of Saki, they chose... Momoko Saito.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, Saki is voiced by Saki Nakajima.
  • Everybody in Shinesman - at least in the original Japanese version. This was an intentional ploy on the part of the mangaka which worked out handily when the manga was adapted for an OAV.
  • Tenjho Tenge: Soichiro Hoshi as Soichiro Nagi.
  • Maya in Burn-Up! W & Burn-Up! Excess is voiced by Maya Okamoto.
  • Digimon Adventure did this for some of the kids' parents' first names.
  • In the English version of Project Blue Earth SOS, Maggie is voiced by Maggie Flecknoe.
  • Aya Stanford from Future GPX Cyber Formula SIN is voiced by Aya Hisakawa.
  • In Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Kana Hanazawa provides the voice of a minor character named Hanazawa.
  • In Bungaku Shoujo, Miyu Irino provides the voice of Konoha, whose pen name is Miu Inoue.
  • Zenjiro in Kodomo no Omocha.
  • In K-On!, Mugi shares her last name (Kotobuki) with that of her voice actress, Minako Kotobuki. Definitely a coincidence though, seeing how the manga came first. Now, if they could have gotten Hikaru Kotobuki from P-Model to (somehow) play the role...[1]
  • Akira Kamiya as Akira Hibiki in Yuusha Raideen.
  • Played with in Ah! My Goddess. Kosuke Fujishima had written a one-shot story with a character named Chieko Honda. When it came time to animate that story in Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy, they cast Chieko Honda in the role.

Films -- Animated[edit | hide]

  • Penthouse pet Julie Strain voiced the main character of Julie in Heavy Metal 2000. The character later changed her name to "FAKK-2", but what're you gonna do? She did change it back to Julie after saving her sister though.
  • Subverted due to Author Existence Failure in Bebes Kids; Robin Harris, who popularized the sketch, died before production started on the film. He'd be voiced by Faizon Love.
  • The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars featured a talking faucet with Farrah Fawcett's voice in some scenes.
    • Wouldn't that be an inversion?
  • In-universe example: Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge from Mickey's Christmas Carol.
    • That's just completing the circle, since Scrooge McDuck was named in honor of that other Scrooge in the first place.
  • Several Pixar examples:
    • Mary Gibbs as Boo (assuming if it is her real name according to a painting in her bedroom) from Monsters, Inc.
    • Guido Quaroni as Guido from Cars.
    • John Ratzenberger as (SURPRISE!) John from WALL-E.
  • A few Disney animated features have this trope as well, including:
  • In the Disney film Bolt, Penny plays a character named "Penny" in the Show Within a Show.
  • In the film version of The Little Engine That Could, Peter Cullen was actually cast as the Big Strong Engine.


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • Possibly the oldest example in film: Charlie Chaplin's "Charlie" character, the center of many of his movies.
  • Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy usually played full-name versions of this in their films.
  • Frankie Avalon in the Beach movies.
  • The Marx Brothers did this in some of their films, and on stage.
  • Subverted in Back To The Beach where Annette Funicello (known as Dee Dee in the classic Beach films) is called Annette while Frankie (her husband) is called "The Big Kahuna".
  • Long before Sandra Oh was cast in Grey's Anatomy, she won a Best Actress Genie Award (the modern day Canadian equivalent of the Oscars) for her role in 1998's Last Night... playing a character named just Sandra.
  • All the main characters from The Wrong Guys. In case you haven't seen it (quite likely) Louie Anderson, Richard Lewis, Richard Belzer, Franklyn Ajaye and Tim Thomerson play lifelong friends and former Boy Scouts called... Louie, Richard, Belz, Franklyn and Tim.
  • Jack Nicholson plays Jack Napier in Batman, subverted in that Jack Napier becomes and goes by The Joker early on.
  • To cash in even further on the fame of its cast, the entire cast of Love, Honour and Obey were named after the actors who play them.
    • This may not have been just to cash in on the fame of the cast... the directors, Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis, directed a previous movie, Final Cut, starring much of the same cast (Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Ray Winstone etc) which also had the majority of the characters named after their actors. The films are clearly not sequels to each other, however—Ray is an actor in one film and a gangster in another, Sadie is with Ray in one film and Jude in the other, and most significantly, Jude dies at the beginning of one film (the film cuts between his funeral and a video being screened at his funeral which Jude made before his death), and is alive and well in the other.
      • Two of the characters in Love, Honour and Obey do not have the same name as the actor/actress. Maureen is played by Denise Van Outen and Matthew was played by Rhys Ifans.
  • The Star Wars films offer many examples, usually background characters with little importance. These are often anagrams. Some examples: Cin Drallig (Nick Gillard), Roth-Del Masona (Leonard Thomas), Dannl Faytonni (Anthony Daniels), Nicanas Tassu (Nic Anastassiou), Jeremoch Colton (Jeremy Bulloch). An especially notable example is Amy Allen (mostly known for her portrayal of Aayla Secura, a character taken from a comic series), who has three characters she portrayed named after her: Mya Nalle, Yma Nalle, and Lela Mayn.
    • Borderline case: in one of the books, there was a character named "Entoo Needaan E-elz" (the author has actually confirmed that he was named after Anthony Daniels).
    • In the expanded universe, the full name of Wicket the ewok (played by Warwick Davis) is revealed to be Wicket Wystri Warrick.
  • All three leads in The Blair Witch Project.
  • Bizarre example: The characters of Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows are all first-name Danzas. It had been originally intended for them to be full-name Danzas, carrying on the previous film's gimmick of "No, this is really happening to the actual people you see on film", but the director decided this was "dishonest" and changed their last names—he would have changed their first names too, but too much of the movie had already been filmed. The change was made so late in the day, however, that the new last names only appear in the credits, and we see the actor's last names on-screen briefly in a police report.
  • Often happens to Jackie Chan in his movies - especially those ported from Hong Kong to Western market.
    • And in Mr. Nice Guy, Miki is played by Miki Lee.
  • Daniel "Plainview" Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood, went one better than Sandra's Genie win, winning an Oscar for that role.
    • Also in that film, we have Paul Dano as Paul Sunday (and as Sunday's twin brother).
  • In the Carry On films quite a lot of characters had the same first name as the actor playing them. Charles Hawtry being the first. Sid James later did this in Bless This House.
  • Reggie Banister plays Reggie Banister in all four of the Phantasm films.
    • Also the character of Michael is played by Michael A. Baldwin in the first, third, and fourth installments.
  • Betty Garrett as Betty Barrett in Neptune's Daughter. This single-letter difference might have been to not mislead audiences into thinking that Eve Barrett (Esther Williams) was her sister in Real Life as well as in the movie.
  • In Labyrinth, they had to change the name of the baby boy to 'Toby' to avoid confusing the infant who played him. (Toby Froud, son of goblin designer Brian Froud.)
  • Neil Connery as Dr Neil Connery in the James Bond parody OK Connery (aka Operation Kid Brother). And yes, the Casting Gag of having Sean's younger brother play an unnamed agent's younger brother is the plot. In the same film Lois "Miss Moneypenny" Maxwell plays "Miss Maxwell".
  • Jason Mewes plays a character named "Jay" in The View Askewniverse movies, as well as some other characters also named "Jay"—and in the 2006 film Jack's Law, a character named Bobby Mewes.
  • Many of Harold Lloyd's characters have the first name Harold, with various last names. Once this even bled into the title: The Sin of Harold Diddlebock.
  • Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in A Cock and Bull Story, as well as playing Tristram Shandy and his brother, also play "Steve Coogan" and "Rob Brydon".
  • David Della Rocco in The Boondock Saints. The role was written specifically for him, but then again he was friends with the writer before they even started.
  • David Hewlett as David Worth in Cube. This might be chalked down to coincidence if not for the fact that Hewlett and Natali have been good friends since high school - because of this he probably had some input in choosing his character's full name.
  • In Desperado, Steve Buscemi plays a character called "Buscemi".
  • Subverted in Zack and Miri Make a Porno, with two gay lovers with the name of one being a play on the name of the actor playing another: Bobby Long played by Brandon Routh and Brandon St. Randy played by Justin Long.
  • In Observe and Report the twin security guards John and Matt are played by John and Matthew Yuan.
  • Egyptian American actor Ahmed Ahmed has played a few roles as Ahmed, and many others as himself.
  • Every single character in Purple Rain shares their actor's first name except for that played by Prince (his name is The Kid) and his movie mother and father (they have fictional names).
  • Stephen Chow directs and plays a character named Stephen Chow in God of Cookery. A particularly brave example since he sets himself up as an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist from the beginning.
  • Rudy Del Campo plays a character named simply "Del Campo" in the film version of West Side Story.
  • China Strike Force. In the English dub, at least three characters are named for the actor: Coolio plays Coolio, Norika Fujiwara plays Norika, and Ken Lo plays Ken Lo.
  • Stella Stevens as Stella Purdy in Jerry Lewis's The Nutty Professor.
  • Done backwards in Kenneth Branagh's Henry V, where Michael Williams plays "Michael Williams".
  • Subverted in Robert Altman's Images, where every major cast member plays a character with the same first name as another major cast member.
  • The Vincenzo Natali movie Nothing, and it's two protagonists: Andrew (Miller) and Dave (Hewlett).
  • In Home Alone 3 the lead character is named Alex after the actor portraying him, Alex D. Linz.
  • In Knocked Up, the main character's friends all keep the first names of the actors portraying them.
  • Steve McQueen in The Blob.
  • From 1932 to 1936, John Wayne played many characters named "John", and one named "Wayne".
    • One of his lesser known roles is a romantic comedy called A Lady Takes A Chance where he plays a rodeo cowboy named Duke, which became his iconic nickname.
  • Jessie Royce Landis as Jessie Stevens in To Catch a Thief.
  • Happened in the other way around in The Caine Mutiny. Donna Lee Hickey, who played May Wynn, liked the name so much that she adopted it as her stage name. (May Wynn is a stage name in the original novel).
  • In A Fish Called Wanda, Tom Georgeson plays the character George Thomason.
  • Justin Long played Justin in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story
  • Danny Trejo in Heat plays a character named Trejo.
  • This trope applies to everyone appearing in Paranormal Activity
  • In Carlos Saura's Carmen, the dancers Antonio Gades, Cristina Hoyos, and Juan Antonio Jimenez play dancers named Antonio, Cristina, and Juan, while musician Paco de Lucia plays a musician named Paco.
  • Subverted in Snow Cake: Angela Pell wrote the screenplay with Alan Rickman so much in mind that the main character was originally named "Alan Hughes". Rickman suggested the name change; the character is now called "Alex Hughes".
  • With the exceptions of Hicks and Ripley, all of the Marines in Aliens named on the hypersleep capsule readout share their first initial with the actor or actress playing them. Including Bishop the android, who is given the first initial "L". Word of God says their whole first names that match up.
  • A reverse Danza happens in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood. Canadian singer Alan Doyle (a buddy of the film's lead Russell Crowe) plays the minstrel Alan-a-Dale.
  • Liam Neeson plays "Randy Father Liam" in Breakfast On Pluto. Seeing as this character was named Father Bernard in the original novel, we can only assume this was done deliberately...
  • Several movies by German comedian Didi Hallervorden, often containing "Didi" in the title.
  • In The Basket, the character of Frederick Treadway was played by Patrick Treadway. This is because the character originally didn't have a name, so in the script he was simply referred to as Patrick Treadway, with the intention of coming up with a name later. Everyone got so used to it that it simply became the character's name, until the real Patrick asked for it to be altered at least partially so it wouldn't feel like he was playing himself.
  • Scott "Scotty" Thomas in Eurotrip is played by Scott Mechlowicz.
  • Sam Rockwell stars as Sam Bell in Moon. Deliberate as Duncan Jones specifically wrote the part for him.
  • Dragan Mićanović plays a Serbian gangster, Dragan, in Layer Cake, and amusingly enough, is The Dragon.
  • In Men in Black II, it's ambiguous whether Michael Jackson is playing himself or a fictional character in his cameo—but he's an aspiring MIB agent who wants to become "Agent M".
  • In Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee plays a character named "Mr. Lee".
  • In Mexico, there is a famous actress and comedienne named "María Elena Velasco". She has been cast a Danza in everything she has been in. Specifically, she plays "La India Maria", a character she herself created.
  • The Three Stooges were almost always this in their films. The names were a bit of a change situation, but were their main professional ones. The Horowitz boys were Moses ('Moe'), Jerome (nicknamed 'Curly' for his hair after his then-current nickname 'Babe' was taken), and Samuel (their mother's attempts to say it ended up as 'Shemp', and it stuck). Louis Feinberg had already taken the stage name 'Larry Fine' before joining the act. Joe Besser was the only one who didn't have to change anything at all. Joseph Wardell had used 'Joe DeRita' well before meeting the Stooges. Emil Sitka would've been the only one to make a name out of whole cloth ('Harry'), but the act died (with Moe) before any films could be made. Rare exceptions include Woman Haters (the first short, and part of another lineup of films Columbia was doing; they had character names) and the rare time when they would play actual others (opposite themselves), especially in drag.
  • Corrupt town councilman Bill Heslop in Muriel's Wedding is played by the veteran Australian actor Bill Hunter.
  • Silent Movie features Mel Brooks as Mel Funn, Marty Feldman as Marty Eggs, and Dom De Luise as Dom Bell.
  • Norman Wisdom played characters called Norman in a total of 13 films during the '50s and '60s. He is probably best remembered playing Norman Pitkin, opposite Edward Chapman as Mr. Grimsdale.
  • Glenn Morshower as "General Morshower" in the second and third Transformers films.
  • Reggae singer Willi One Blood plays a henchman in Léon: The Professional. Stansfield calls him "Blood", and another character calls him "Willi".
  • In Starter for Ten Alice Eve plays Alice and Rebecca Hall plays Rebecca.
  • In Moonraker, French actress Corrine Clery portrays Corrine Dufour.
  • British wartime comedian George Formby played a character named George in 18 of his 21 starring roles, including several where he is name-checked in the title (Come On George!, Let George Do It!).
  • In Bad Boys, Theresa Randle plays Theresa Burnett
  • In Four Weddings and a Funeral, David is played by David Bower.
  • In True Lies, Jean-Claude Parachino plays a bit part as...Jean-Claude. He's the guy who records the lines Harry plays back when Helen poses as a prostitute in the suite.
  • John Malkovich as John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich, obviously. He isn't quite playing himself, since the character's middle name is different from his own.
  • In Brazilian film The Elite Squad André Ramiro plays André Matias (though the first name rarely shows up due to Last-Name Basis).
    • Captain Matias returns in the sequel, keeping the trope running.
  • Michael Douglas as Michael Andropolis in Running.
  • From Justin to Kelly stars Justin Guarini as Justin Bell (a full-name Danza; Guarini is his stage name) and Kelly Clarkson as Kelly Taylor.
  • Fellini's La Dolce Vita: Marcello Mastroianni (Marcello Rubini) and Riccardo Garrone (Riccardo).
  • My Dinner with Andre has Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory playing...well, Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory.
  • Where the Wild Things Are's lead character Max is played by Max Records.
  • A coincidental last-name Danza appears in the remake of True Grit, where Lucky Ned Pepper is played by - you guessed it - Barry Pepper.
  • Shirley Temple in four of her early films.
  • Although the character existed long before the actress who played her, in an early film version of Anne of Green Gables, Anne Shirley was played by... Anne Shirley (which was the actress's stage name).
    • The actress, née Dawn Evelyeen Paris, adopted the stage name as a consequence of being cast in the movie. She had been previously acting as Dawn O'Day.
  • In the Swedish film, Pelle the Conqueror, the title role was played by Pelle Hvenegaard. Hvenegaard was actually named for the character, since his parents were fans of the book the movie was based on.
  • Zabriskie Point: lead characters Mark and Daria (Mark Frechette and Daria Halprin), and also supporting character Kathleen (Kathleen Cleaver).
  • In The Wolf Man, Bela Lugosi plays a fortune teller named Bela.
  • Reverse Danza: Actor Byron Barr changed his professional name to Gig Young after playing a character of that name in the 1942 film The Gay Sisters.
  • Keith David as Agent Keith in Gamer.
  • Peter Serafinowicz as Pete in Shaun of the Dead. Lampshaded (sort of) in a outtake included on the DVD, in which Simon Pegg and Nick Frost refer to the character by the actor's full name while delivering their dialogue.
  • Rachel Weisz's role in About a Boy is Rachel.
  • Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski in The Big Lebowski.
  • In La Haine, Vinz, Saïd and Hubert are played by Vincent Cassel, Saïd Taghmaoui and Hubert Koundé, respectively.
  • In Project X, all of the characters share the same first names as their actors.
  • Probably coincidental since the character actually is a real person, but in The Blind Side: Collins Tuohy is played by Lily Collins (daughter of Phil Collins)
  • In Titanic, the modern-time crew (aside from Brock Lovett, played by Bill Paxton) are named after the actors portraying them, e.g. Lewis Bodine is played by Lewis Abernathy. The crew in question is also the real-life crew of the ship.
  • Eddie Redmayne as "Eddie" in Hick.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Robert Newton Peck has at least two protagonists with his exact name, one from the humorous Soup series, one from the much grimmer A Day No Pigs Would Die. Both live in Learning, Vermont with their parents and an aunt.
    • Both books are semi-autobiographical, however, so it stands to reason the main characters would have his name.
  • Author self-insertion characters tend to follow this naming convention (i.e. "Herald Myste," who represents Mercedes "Misty" Lackey in the Valdemar series). This can (further) blur the line between simple author insertion and a Mary Sue character.
  • The playwright Moliere sometimes named characters after the original actors that played them.
  • The novel The Bone People by Keri Hulme has a protagonist named Kerewin Holmes.
  • This editor believes that the name of an Austrian emperor indicates a use of this in Kafka's The Trial—compare Franz Kafka with (Franz) Josef K(afka); the protagonist of another novel, The Castle, is called simply "K".
  • Philip K. Dick's protagonist "Horselover Fat" in VALIS. This story proceeds as a first-person framing of a third-person narrative, until a character actually calls him out and shows how "Horselover" is a thinly-veiled translation of Dick's own name, and the two men are really the same person.
  • David Wong, main character of John Dies at the End, by David Wong. Not necessarily, as David Wong is just a pen name.
  • Possibly the earliest example of this trope in literature would be The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri featuring a protagonist named Dante Aligheri.
  • Portia da Costa's Romance Novel The Stranger features an obvious Expy of Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor (so obvious it's Word of God), in a sort of reverse Bleached Underpants.[2] Or you could just call it published smut fic. The expy is also named Paul... and the heroine of the novel is named Claudia Marwood.
  • William Lee, the protagonist of several works by William S. Burroughs.
    • Similarly, Jack Kerouac wrote many novels starring a protagonist named Jack Duluoz.
  • Charles Yu, time-machine repairman in How to Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu. It really says something that this is one of the less confusing things about the book.
  • A couple of author John Iriving's characters are named John: Johnny Wheelwright, narrator of A Prayer for Owen Meany and John Berry, narrator of The Hotel New Hampshire.
  • Darren O'Shaughnessy (who usually writes under the penname Darren Shan) is best known for a book series about a young vampire named Darren Shan.
  • Tanith Lee, who wrote for British sf series Blakes Seven, penned a novella called "Kill the Dead." The story's protagonist was named Parl Dro. He bore a striking resemblance to Blakes Seven actor Paul Darrow, and his personality was much like that of Darrow's character, Avon.
  • J(ames) G(raham) Ballard in his novels Empire of the Sun and 'The Kindness of Women has the protagonist "Jim Graham".


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Dani's House, Max is played by Sebastian Applewhite. His middle name is Sebastian (S4E7.)
  • In the Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious, Victoria Dawn Justice plays Victoria "Tori" Vega.
  • While we're mentioning musically gifted actresses with their own sitcom, China Anne Mcclain plays Chyna Parks on A.N.T. Farm. Different spelling but it still counts, although in real-life she goes by China Anne instead just China, similar to Mary-Kate Olsen not going by just Mary.
  • Some of the supporting office mates in The Office share their character's first names. This is because many of then are Ascended Extras. Also, Michael screens a movie starring himself as Michael Scarn, an obvious Mary Sue Author Avatar.
  • Norm MacDonald plays Norm Henderson on The Norm Show. An early commercial showed Norm not responding to his character's original name, forcing the showrunner to change it to his real name to avoid confusion.
  • Fred Willard played a bartender named Fred (Or Freddie, as the Nixon puppet would refer to him) on D.C. Follies.
  • Mayko Tran on Regenesis is played by Mayko Ngyuen.
  • Bob Newhart as Bob Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show, and Bob McKay on Bob!. His other show was named Newhart, but the character's name was Dick Loudon. In George & Leo, his character was George, the actor's actual birth name.
  • Ray Romano as Ray Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond.
  • Ellen DeGeneres played "Ellen Morgan" in the 1993-98 sitcom Ellen, which was known as These Friends Of Mine for the first season. In 2001, she played "Ellen Richmond" in the sitcom The Ellen Show.
  • Sandy Duncan as Sandy Stockton in Funny Face (later called The Sandy Duncan Show). Duncan was also Sandy Hogan in her Suspiciously Similar Substitute role on the show known variously as Valerie, Valeries Family, The Hogan Family, and The Hogans.
  • Speaking of which, Valerie Harper as Valerie Hogan in the early seasons of the same show.
  • Tim Allen as Tim Taylor in Home Improvement.
  • Raven-Symone as Raven Baxter in That's So Raven.
  • Ben Vereen as Mayor Ben in Zoobilee Zoo
  • John Ritter as John Hartman and Billy Bob Thornton as Billy Bob Davis in Hearts Afire.
  • Cheers
    • Harry Anderson as "Harry the Hat". Anderson had used "Harry the Hat" as a stage name for years before appearing on TV, when he was a stage magician and real-life con man, making it in some ways even more of a Danza than usual). Anderson also played Judge Harry Stone on Night Court.
    • Selma Diamond as Baliff Selma Hacker and her replacement Bailiff Florence Kleiner played by Florence Halop.
    • Charles Robinson shares the same last name as his character Mac Robinson.
    • One could also argue Yakov Smirnoff as Yakov Korplenko.
    • Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd looks like this, but it's a coincidence: the character was named Woody before Harrelson was cast.
  • Miley Cyrus as Miley Stewart in Hannah Montana—this also counts as Alter Ego Acting because Miley is seen performing as Hannah onstage in real life too. More so since she legally changed her name to "Miley" from her birth name of "Destiny Hope Cyrus". ("Smiley Miley" was a nickname her father gave her as an infant.) The character was named Chloe Stewart. Word of God says the writers changed it to "Miley" as there were too many names for a then-12-year-old to remember.
  • Nick, Joe, and Kevin Jonas play alternate universe versions of themselves on Jonas, which includes keeping their real names.
  • Both Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell as Kenan Rockmore and Kel Kimble, respectively, in Kenan and Kel.
  • Jim Belushi as Jim in According to Jim.
  • Victoria Jackson as Victoria in the failed 1984 M*A*S*H spinoff, W* A* L* T* E* R.
  • Rare last-name Danza: Mackenzie Phillips as Molly Phillips in So Weird.
  • Another especially convoluted example would be Redd Foxx (born John Elroy Sanford), playing Fred Sanford in Sanford and Son.
  • Tracy Morgan plays Tracy Jordan in 30 Rock. Tracy Jordan is essentially an exaggerated, simple-minded caricature of Tracy Morgan.
  • Full-name Danzas include:
    • Jerry Seinfeld in Seinfeld. Estelle Costanza fits the trope too, though her real life surname is Harris.
    • George Lopez in The George Lopez Show.
    • Drew Carey in The Drew Carey Show. (Yes, that includes "Alison".)
    • Jennifer Grey in It's Like, You Know... (In an odd subversion, Grey claimed more than once that the character she played was not based on herself.)
    • Fred Rogers in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, although it's really more of an As Himself. This also applies to most of his supporting cast: Betty Aberlin (Lady Aberlin), Don Brockett (Chef Brockett), Bob Trow (Bob Dog/Robert Troll), Chuck Aber (Neighbor Aber), and so forth. These may not be As Himself examples, as Betty Aberlin has asserted that "Lady Aberlin" is not a representation of her real-life personality. Also, some of the actors would appear in character during the Make Believe segments, and out of character during the main part of the show. David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely, was the only regular actor on the show to avert this trope. His character's last name was actually Fred Rogers' middle name.
    • Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (the only difference being that in the show "Will" was short for "William". The actor's first name is actually Willard).
      • The page quote comes from an interview Will did with David Letterman, where he says Alfonso Ribero (Carlton) told him to use this trope.
    • Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report.
    • Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm is actually an As Himself, but the show has a number of Danzas—regular characters, Cheryl, Jeff, Susie, plus some one-shot characters with just one name, which happens to be the actor's.
    • The kids on You Can't Do That on Television.
    • Sean Hughes in Seans Show.
    • Norman Lovett in I Lovett.
    • "Weird Al" Yankovic in The Weird Al Show.
    • Jack Benny in The Jack Benny Program.
    • Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, and David Wain in Stella. Oddly, the show was adapted from their comedy act and short films where they're playing exaggerated versions of themselves (e.g. they're still comedians in an act named "Stella"), but on the TV show itself, they were usually unemployed and picked up different, bizarre moneymaking schemes in nearly every episode.
    • Sarah and Laura Silverman in The Sarah Silverman Program.
    • Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in The Abbott and Costello Show
    • Nicholas Parsons in The Comic Strip Presents episode "Mr Jolly Lives Next Door".
    • Christopher Titus in Titus.
    • Andy Richter in Andy Richter Controls the Universe (and partially in Andy Barker, P.I.).
    • Bernie Mac on The Bernie Mac Show.
    • Jack Dee and Jeremy Hardy in Jack And Jeremy's Real Lives.
    • Tim Stack as "TV's Tim Stack" in My Name Is Earl. Whether he's as much of a raging drunk in real life remains to be seen, right? Right?
    • Ozzie Nelson's entire family, in The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet.
    • Ed Begley, Jr. guest starred as Ed Begley, Jr. on Dharma & Greg. He was always addressed on screen by his full name, "Ed Begley, Jr.", not Ed or Mr Begley.
    • Jon Dore on The Jon Dore Television Show.
    • Saturday Night Live had a few of these in the early years, including Headmaster of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing, Garrett Morris. (The first six or seven years had a lot of first-name examples as well - the 'WASP Translator' sketch with Ray Sharkey centered around a couple named Charles and Ann. Guess which castmembers played them.)
  • Delores Hall as Nurse Delores Mitchell in Diagnosis: Murder
  • Yasuko Nagazami as Yasko and Alibe Parsons as Alibe in Space: 1999.
  • Tia and Tamera Mowry as Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell in Sister, Sister (In the series, they're twins separated at birth and adopted by different people, hence different surnames)
  • Reba McEntire as Reba Hart in Reba. This is a clear case of The Danza: the character was originally named Sally, until Reba was signed to play the part.
  • Drake and Josh, starring Drake Bell and Josh Peck as Drake Parker and Josh Nichols, respectively.
  • UFO had several first-name Danzas: Ed Bishop played Ed Straker, Gabrielle Drake played Gay Ellis and Peter Gordeno played Peter Carlin.
  • In The Pretender, Andrea Parker plays female lead character Miss Parker, but this is apparently a genuine coincidence. On the other hand, her Mooks are first-name Danzas (with no last name) to a man, apparently as an acknowledgement that it's not worth the effort of giving them real names.
  • Matthew Perry's character Matt in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Sorkin has actually stated that he called the character "Matt" because when he was writing he couldn't think of another actor to play the part.
  • Many of the supporting cast on the U.S. version of The Office share first names with their characters, including Phyllis, Angela, and Oscar. Creed Bratton plays a fictionalized version of himself, so he skirts into As Himself territory.
  • Charlie Sheen has played characters named Charlie on several occasions, notably on Spin City and Two and A Half Men. He even played "Charlie" in the sequel to All Dogs Go to Heaven.
  • Third Watch had paramedics Bobby Caffey and Kim Zambrano played by... Bobby Cannavale and Kim Raver. The minor firefighter characters shared their full names with their actors: Firefighter Billy Walsh was played by Bill Walsh, Derek "DK" Kitson by Derek Kelly.
  • Alan the cab driver is played by Alan George in Skins.
  • Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager who was named Elisabeth Janeway and Nicole Janeway before actress Katherine Kiernan Maria 'Kate' Mulgrew suggested Kathryn.
  • Katherine Mulgrew played Kate Columbo in Mrs. Columbo.
  • Several minor Babylon 5 characters who were not given names on their first appearance (usually being referred to only as something like "Emperor" or "Minister") were belatedly given the names of the actors playing them when they appeared or were mentioned in later episodes (such as Malachi Throne's Centauri Prime Minister being later named "Prime Minister Malachi").
  • On Gilmore Girls, Sookie's husband Jackson is played by Jackson Douglas. His real-life girlfriend almost played Sookie.
  • Long time ago now, but the Britcom Terry and June starred Terry Scott and June Whitfield as Terry and June Medford. They also starred as Terry and June Fletcher in an earlier Britcom Happy Ever After - the same couple in a different house with a troublesome aunt and her mynah bird. (This was not accidental.)
  • Even older, Bless This House featured Sid James (of Carry On fame) as Sid Abbot, and Sally Gleeson as Sally Abbot. Plus, the 1972 feature film version contains a meta-aversion (by virtue of the fact that it became a notable example later): Terry Scott and June Whitfield played new neighbours Ronald and Vera Baines—the first outing of (and virtually identical to) the on-screen couple that would later make them a Britcom cliché (see Terry and June above).
  • Comedian Joel Hodgson as Joel Robinson (from Robinson Crusoe) in Mystery Science Theater 3000. The last name was only changed because Hodgson was considered hard to pronounce. Michael J. Nelson, his replacement... played Mike Nelson. And "TV's Frank" was played by Frank Conniff.
  • In News Radio, Dave Nelson was played by Dave Foley and Joe Garelli was played by Joe Rogan. Phil Hartman's character Bill McNeal was intentionally named to be almost a Danza. In the episode "Chock", Dave's old a cappella singing group stops by, the other three members being named David, Bob, and Brian. They were played by Mr. Show alums David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, and Brian Posehn.
  • In addition to the Tracy Jordan/Morgan example, 30 Rock features Grizz Chapman as Grizz Griswold, one half of Tracy's loyal "entourage".
  • Baywatch: A great many one-shot guests kept their actors' full names. One such character goes on to become a regular (Michael Newman, aka Michael "Newmie" Newman.)
  • Both members of Flight of the Conchords: Jemaine Clement plays Jemaine Clemaine; Bret McKenzie plays Bret McClegnie. Additionally, a few guest characters have been Danzas: Demetri (Demetri Martin), Todd (Todd Barry), and Jim (Jim Gaffigan).
  • That '80s Show: Margaret Smith as Margaret.
  • Lucille Ball as, variously, Lucy Ricardo (I Love Lucy), Lucy Carmichael (The Lucy Show), Lucy Carter (Here's Lucy), and Lucy Barker (Life with Lucy).
    • ...and, before she moved to television, as Hollywood actress Lucille Ball in the movie version of Best Foot Forward. (In the stage version, this character was named Gale Joy, originally portrayed by Rosemary Lane.)
    • Vivian Vance played Vivian Bagley on The Lucy Show, and had a recurring guest role as Vivian Jones on Here's Lucy.
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show had Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards and Ted Knight as Ted Baxter.
  • Recurring nurse First Lt. Kealani Kellye (also known as Kellye Yamoto, and in one episode, as Nurse Nakahara) on M*A*S*H was played by Kellye Nakahara, making this an example of the actress's first name being the character's last name.
    • And the full name version—Corpsman Roy Goldman was played by... Roy Goldman.
    • There's more. Nurse Shari was played by Shari Saba, Nurse Jo Ann was played by Jo Ann Thompson, and Nurse Sheila was played by Sheila Lauritsen.
  • Mocked on Extras where (both In-Universe and Out-) Celebrity Cameo Keith Chegwin's character has his name changed to Keith after the actor repeatedly fails to comprehend that the character has a different name to him.
  • Rik Mayall's characters in The Young Ones (Rick), Filthy Rich & Catflap (Richie Rich) and Bottom (Richard Richard). Additionally, in The Young Ones Nigel Planer's character was Neil Pye, and in the latter two Adrian Edmondson's character was Eddie, a nickname based on his surname. (And, while it's not strictly this trope, it's no coincidence that his wife played a character called Eddy (Edina) Monsoon.)
    • Edmondson actually played a psychotic ex-talk show host called Eddie Monsoon in The Comic Strip Presents Mockumentary episode "Eddie Monsoon -- A Life?" (The show was originally intended to be an episode of his talk show "Back To Normal", but it was judged too obscene even for Channel 4, so it was turned into a mock biopic instead.)
    • Mayall changed his first name in his teens—he was born Richard Mayall, fitting this trope even better.
  • Catherine Sutherland as Katherine "Kat" Hillard in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Likely a coincidence, considering it started as a Meaningful Name (She could turn into a cat in her introductory arc).
    • Also likely a coincidence, Austin St. John's real name is Jason Geiger. He played Jason Lee Scott in the first season.
  • Jack Black as Jack Austin in Heat Vision and Jack.
  • Two of Station 51's firefighters in Emergency, Marco Lopez and Mike Stoker, simply used the actors' names. Stoker, the driver of Engine 51, actually was an LA County firefighter at the time of filming (he retired in 1996), making it convenient for filming as one of the regular cast members was qualified to drive and operate the truck.
  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as Mary-Kate and Ashley Burke in Two of a Kind.
  • In order to promote Summer Strallen taking over the lead role in The Sound of Music on the West End, its producer Andrew Lloyd Webber had her written into the British soap opera Hollyoaks as a character called Summer Shaw. The character was then talent-spotted by Lloyd Webber appearing As Himself on the show.
  • Most of the Kids Incorporated kids. When a No Name Given character had his name revealed in an episode, it was that of the actor Rahsaan Patterson.
  • Sissy Walker, a very minor character on The Waltons who appeared only five times between 1973 and 1978, was played by Cissy Wellman.
  • The Goodies—Tim (Brooke-Taylor), Graeme (Garden) and Bill (Oddie). Plus, the books that spun off from the show give their full names in appropriate places, and their "brochure" in The Goodies File lists their real-life years and places of birth. Needless to say, the characters are just highly exaggerated versions of themselves.
  • In Plain Sight has lead character Mary Shannon played by Mary McCormack. Whenever she needs an alias-to testify in court, let's say-she goes by "Mary Shepherd".
  • Subversion: Hope & Faith starred Kelly Ripa and Faith Ford in the title roles... but Faith played Hope and Kelly played Faith.
  • Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show.
  • In Make Room For Daddy (aka The Danny Thomas Show), Danny Thomas starred as Danny Williams.
  • Every character in the Australian Mockumentary series The Games is named for their actor—for example, Frank Woodley playing, well, Dr. Frank Woodley (who is "partially" a TV vet in the episode). This was lampshaded in the second season when the actor John Howard played a political representative pretending the be the Prime Minister; Brian remarks, "But that's illegal! He's not the prime minister!" to which John replies "He never said he was the prime minister; he said he was John Howard".
    • May it be pointed out for non-Australians reading this that the real-life PM at time of that episode's airing was named (by pure coincidence) John Howard.
  • Happy Days had Al Molinaro as Al Delvecchio and Marion Ross as Marion Cunningham.
  • Not a main character, but Archie Johnson on CSI, played by Archie Kao.
    • Also David Phillips, played by David Berman.
    • In the episode "A Kiss Before Frying", guest star Dita Von Teese works as nude dancer under the name Rita Von Squeeze.
  • Dr. Lisa Cuddy from House is played by actress Lisa Edelstein.
  • Prison Break featured Paul Adelstein as Paul Kellerman and Sara Wayne Callies as Sarah Tancredi.
  • Claire Keelan as Claire Ashcroft in Nathan Barley.
  • Charlie on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and to a lesser extent Mac. When Glenn Howerton was asked about his character being named Dennis, he remarked on how it seemed like a good idea, and has proven so far to have been a good decision.
    • Also, Artemis is played by Artemis Pebdani.
  • Steve from Blue's Clues—his actor's name was Steven in real life. Oddly enough, his Suspiciously Similar Substitute is named Joe in the show, but has the real-life name of Donovan.
  • Brent Butt as Brent Leroy on Corner Gas.
  • Mr. Mackay in Porridge was played by Fulton Mackay
  • Neil (Buchanan) and Kim (Goody) on No 73, a 1980s ITV kids' Sitcom Magazine Show. None of the other main characters were Danzas. Possibly this was because Neil and Kim were generally more involved with the magazine show elements (artwork and interviewing popstars respectively) than the plots (at least to begin with), and were therefore more presenters than characters.
  • Phil Collins as Phil Mayhew in Miami Vice. This could be a nod to John Mayhew, Collins' predecessor as drummer for the rock band Genesis.
  • Playboy Playmate Julie McCullough as Mike's girlfriend Julie Costello on Growing Pains in the 1989-1990 season.
  • Bob McGrath as Bob Johnson and Linda Bove as Linda in Sesame Street.
    • In a roundabout way, the character Gordon's last name in Sesame Street was eventually revealed to be Robinson. This was long after Matt Robinson's term as the character, and this is thus more of a Mythology Gag (Gordon is currently played by Roscoe Orman). Miles Orman (who was also Roscoe Orman's real-life son) was Miles Robinson.
  • Cybill Shephard as Cybill Sheridan in... Cybill.
  • In The Tomorrow People Elizabeth was played by Elizabeth Adare and Mike by Michaul Holloway.
    • From Beyond Tomorrow:

Roger Price said "What's your favorite name?" and I was kind of fazed, and I said, "Elizabeth." And that's how the role got its name.

  • In The Wire the character Felicia "Snoop" Pearson is played by Felicia "Snoop" Pearson—who also happens to be a former Baltimore drug dealer with a conviction for second-degree murder.
    • Also Detective Ed(ward) Norris is played by Ed Norris, former Baltimore City chief of police (Cast List).
    • And while Jay Landsman is played by Delaney Williams, from Season 3 the character Dennis Mello is played by Jay Landsman.
    • Well-renowned attorney Billy Murphy more-or-less As Himself playing the role of Clay Davis's lawyer.
  • Cherie Johnson as Cherie Johnson on Punky Brewster.
  • Half the cast of Out of This World: Donna Pescow as Donna Garland, Buzz Belmondo as Buzz, and Peter Petofsky as Peter.
  • Mary Kay Stearns as essentially herself in the very first TV Sitcom, Mary Kay And Johnny, which first aired in 1947 on the Dumont Network.
  • Interesting usage in the German kids' show Tom Turbo. Many of the kids use their real names for their characters.
  • Spoofed on Mega 64, with Rocco Botte as Rocko Boaty, Derrick Acosta as Derek Ackawzdha, and Shawn Chatfield as Sean Chatfield. In other words, the same names, yet different spellings.
  • Joey Lawrence made guest appearances on both Diff'rent Strokes and Silver Spoons as a kid named Joey before landing the role of Joey Donovan on Gimme a Break! This was followed by Joey Russo on Blossom and Joe Roman on Brotherly Love (in which brothers Matt and Andy play Matt and Andy Roman). He ices the cake by playing himself in the 2008 horror/comedy Killer Pad. As of 2010, he is playing a character called Joe Longo on the sitcom Melissa and Joey, alongside Melissa Joan Hart.
  • Ricky Schroeder as Ricky Stratton on Silver Spoons.
  • Chuck Campell plays Chuck the Gate Tech on Stargate Atlantis, though this may actually have been a mistake. The character was without a name for quite a while, and it's rumored that another actor dropped his name into a line. He is, however, later called Chuck again by another character. Notable in that fans had been calling him Chuck the Gate Tech (or, alternately, "Chucknician") for some time previous.
  • Lee and Tim from Not Going Out are played by Lee Mack and Tim Vine respectively. There is also Tim and Lucy's father, Geoffrey, who is played by Geoffrey Whitehead, but this is an odd case as he was originally played by Timothy West.
  • Rhodri Meilir played a character called Rhodri in the Doctor Who episode "The Runaway Bride."
  • Larry Bagby III as Larry Blaisdell in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, although the character was named before Larry Bagby III was cast. Bagby joked that he should get the part because the character was named for him.
  • Comedian Mark Curry as Mark Cooper in Hangin' With Mr. Cooper.
  • Get a Life had Chris Elliott as Chris Peterson.
  • Carrying on the tradition from Stella, Michael And Michael Have Issues stars Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black.
  • Fran Drescher played Fran Fine on The Nanny. In addition, her character's parents, Morty and Sylvia Fine, were named after her parents, Morty and Silvia Drescher.
  • Brian Stepanek as Brian O'Brian in the mini-show of the same name.
  • Lucy Brown as Claudia Brown on Primeval.
  • Keisuke Kato as Keisuke Nago/Kamen Rider IXA in Kamen Rider Kiva.
  • Diane Martin, the first Miss America, in Battle Fever J. Both the character and the actress are called Diane Martin.
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt guest-starred in an episode of Boy Meets World, "And Then There was Shawn", as Jennifer Love Fefferman.
  • In many episodes of El Chapulin Colorado, the supporting cast is named after the actors who play them: therefore, we have Carlos Villagrán as Carlos, Ramón Valdés as Ramón, Rubén Aguirre as Rubén and so on. Roberto Gomez Bolaños (a.k.a. Chespirito) once explained he did this to allow the actors to form a bond with their characters (even though they were mostly just innocent bystanders).
    • Conversely, in El Chavo del Ocho, Doña Florinda, Don Ramón and Doña Nieves are respectively played by Florinda Meza, Ramón Valdés and Maria Antonieta de las Nieves.
  • Most of the main characters of The Sarah Silverman Program.
  • Coronation Street has long-running star Betty Driver as Betty Williams.
  • Donna Reed's character in The Donna Reed Show was a Danza called "Donna Stone."
  • Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer's characters on The Steve Harvey Show are Steve Hightower and Cedric Jackie Robinson. Also Merlin Santana as Romeo Santana.
  • Welcome Back, Kotter starred Gabe Kaplan as Gabe Kotter.
  • Martin Lawrence played Martin Payne on Martin.
    • Character Tommy was played by actor Thomas Michael Ford
  • Jim Jarmusch on Bored to Death.
  • Almost all the main characters in the 70's show What's Happening. two had the same last name and three the same first name. And one just used the initial of her first name.
  • Interesting variation in Everybody Hates Chris – Chris Rock narrates As Himself, while the young Chris Rock is played by Tyler James Williams.
  • On True Blood, Sam Merlotte is played by actor Sam Trammell—a coincidence, since the character was named by Charlaine Harris, author of the novels on which the show is based.
  • Subverted Trope in an episode of Burn Notice in which actor Michael Weston guest-starred as the client of the week. His character was named Spencer but the actor's name is nearly identical to that of the lead character (whose last name is spelled "Westen").
  • Gimme a Break with Nell Carter as Nell Harper.
  • Wanda Sykes, like so many other comedians, played a character named after herself on Wanda at Large, as a stand-up comedian.
  • In-universe example: In an episode of Friends, Ross encourages Joey to write a play for himself to star in, prompting the following exchange:

Ross: All right, we'll start off slow. The only thing you have to do tonight is come up with the name of your main character.
Joey: Done!
Ross: And it can't be Joey.
Joey: It's not.
Ross: Or Joseph.
Joey: Oh.

  • Coupling has a variant: characters Steve and Susan share the names of writer Steven Moffat and producer Sue Vertue, on whom they're loosely modeled.
  • Another variant on Glee—The character Kurt Hummel is so named because the actor who plays him, Chris Colfer, once played Kurt Von Trapp in The Sound of Music and looks like a Hummel figurine.
  • Ron Glass (AKA Shepherd Book from Firefly) played Detective Ron Harris in Barney Miller
  • The French series Hénaut Président is made of this trope; of the 7 main characters SIX are playing characters with whom they share a first name - every major character other than the lead (the eponymous Hénaut).
  • Subverted on the UPN show Eve, where the rapper Eve's character was named...Shelley. (The series was originally called The Opposite Sex until the title change.)
  • A case of the almost-Danza: The character of Rollin Hand in |Mission Impossible was written for actor Martin Landau, and was almost named "Martin Land".
  • Almost every single bloody sketch on French and Saunders has Dawn and Jennifer as... Dawn and Jennifer. Even in the film spoofs.
    • Oh, and also Jen in Girls on Top.
  • Jeff Hyslop as Jeff the mannequin on the Canadian children's show Todays Special.
  • Oliver Babbish on The West Wing is played by Oliver Platt.
  • Alias had Michael Vaughn (played by Michael Vartan) and Rachel Gibson (played by Rachel Nichols).
  • Martin Clunes as Dr Martin Ellingham in Doc Martin. Further variant in that the character's surname is an anagram of series creator Dominic Minghella.
  • Simon Templeman plays Simon Leeds in Just Shoot Me.
  • Billy Connolly again as Billy MacGregor in Head of the Class and Billy.
  • The Monkees, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith, were played by Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith.
  • Miranda Hart as the title character of Miranda.
  • Simon Anstell as Simon in Grandma's House takes this Up to Eleven; his first major writing and acting gig since leaving Never Mind the Buzzcocks, the fictional Simon is a TV presenter who just left a Panel Game and is looking for something else to do with his life.
  • Derek Van Der Lint as Derek Raine in Poltergeist: The Legacy.
  • Whitney Blake played Dorothy Baxter on Hazel, and was a former "Mrs. Baxter" in real life (Meredith Baxter of Family Ties fame is her daughter).
  • Kendall, James, Carlos and Logan in Big Time Rush are named after their respective actors Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Carlos Pena and Logan Henderson.
  • Craig Cackowski plays Officer Cackowski in a few episodes of Community.
  • Nia Vardalos's character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding was named Toula in the movie, but changed to Nia for the TV series.
  • The little-known sitcom Big Brother Jake features fitness personality Jake Steinfeld as Jake Rosner.
  • The Partridge Family stars Shirley Jones[3] as Shirley Partridge, the mother, and features Danny Bonaduce as Danny Partridge, the middle son.
  • In the 70s British spy serial Callan (starring Edward Woodward, later the suspiciously similar McCall in The Equalizer) the character Liz was played by Lisa Landon. For about half the four season run, she was credited only as "Hunter's Secretary".
  • The entire cast of the Japanese television series Playgirl.
  • Revenge has Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne, Emily Alyn Lind as the flashback version of Emily, and Ashley Madekwe as Ashley.
  • Charmed once had a chameleon demon named Alastair, played by Alastair Duncan.
  • In an episode of Shake It Up, Larry Miller plays the character Larry Diller.
  • In The Waltons, Wilford Brimley played mountain man Horace Brimley, in a last name version.
  • Jessica Alba played a character named "Jessica" in three episodes of The Secret World of Alex Mack.
  • A well-hidden example lurks in The Stockard Channing Show, with main character Susan -- which is Stockard Channing's real first name.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • All three of the central characters in the radio sitcom The Navy Lark had the same names as the actors who played them.
  • Hancock's Half Hour starred Tony Hancock as Anthony Aloysius St. John Hancock, Sid James as Sidney Balmoral James and Bill Kerr as William Montmorency Beaumont Kerr. The only other regular character was Griselda Pugh, played by Hattie (not Griselda) Jacques. Kenneth Williams played several bit-parts, none of them called Kenneth. The main characters' elaborate middle names are fictitious.
  • The sitcom Linda Smith's A Brief History of Timewasting starred Linda Smith as Linda Smith. Like many of the full-name TV examples above, the character was essentially a fictionalised version of the comedienne herself.
    • There's also Chris the builder, played by Chris Neill.
  • Ben Lyon, his wife Bebe Daniels and their children in Life With The Lyons, also a fictionalised version of the actors.
  • And Jeremy Hardy and Kit Hollerbach as Jeremy and Kit in Unnatural Acts (later retitled At Home With The Hardys in parody of Life With The Lyons).
  • The Golden Age of Radio (1920-1950) was filled with shows like this, mostly comedy sitcoms: Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Fred Allen, Abbott and Costello, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, and many others.
  • Justin Moorhouse as Justin in Everybody Quite Likes Justin.
  • The main characters of the sketch show Hello Cheeky all shared the name of their actor. The characters were also treated as the real actors, blending this with Animated Actor.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • The cast of Godspell, sans Jesus and John/Judas, are named after the actors who portrayed them in the original cast. Newer performances of this show often change character names to match their own casts.
  • Finian's Rainbow has a harmonica-playing minor character named Sunny, originally played by Sonny Terry.
  • In the Doctor Who stage play "Seven Keys to Doomsday", the companions were going to be called Dave and Jenny; but when James Mathews was cast, his character was renamed to Jimmy. Later stage revivals reverted to "Dave", but in the Big Finish audio version he's "Jimmy" again.
  • The short lived yet wildly popular Broadway musical Title of Show. In fact, the show takes it up a notch with it being "a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical" (guess how many guys wrote this musical?) and the song "I Am Playing Me."
  • In American Idiot, the rock opera featuring Green Day's music, the main character Johnny was named after the actor who plays him—John Gallagher Jr. (who uses the name 'Johnny Gallager' in his music career).
  • Most Cirque Du Soleil clowns use their own names for their characters, and occasionally more serious character roles get the same treatment, in which case the name may stick with the character after the original performer leaves. Notable examples:
    • Mystere: Brian Le Petit (Dewhurst) and Bebe Francois (Dupuis).
    • Quidam: John (Gilkey), the emcee.
    • "O": Le Vieux, the emcee, was long known as Eugen after original performer Eugene Brim.
  • A strange inversion: Born Joseph Lane, a name that was already in use by another actor, Nathan Lane took his stage name after, Nathan Detroit, his favorite character in Broadway classic Guys and Dolls. Years later, his Broadway career reached new heights when he received rave notices for playing Nathan Detroit in a revival.


Theme Parks[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Brad, the main villain from Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley, is voiced by a man named Brad.
  • Gunnery Sgt. Pete Stacker appears in the Halo series as, for lack of a better term, is the "white, southern accented," counterpart to Sgt. Johnson. Stacker, despite never having his name spoken in any material of the Halo franchise, is said to be named after his voice actor, who, it might be funny to point out, also voiced Captain Jacob Keyes in Halo: Combat Evolved.
  • Heather Mason in Silent Hill 3 is actually named after her voice actress, Heather Morris.
  • Michael Jackson as the voice of Space Michael in Space Channel 5. Jackson was the inspiration for that particular character and, when approached about voicing him, he said, "Yes!" because he absolutely loved the tribute. His appearance in the first game amounted to little more than a quick cameo, but his role was greatly expanded in the sequel.
  • Metal Gear Solid has a coincidental example with Solid Snake's real name of "David", which happens to be the first name of his English voice actor, David Hayter. In reality, the name "David" was already decided during the Japanese voice recording, which was completed before the English voice actor for Snake was even chosen. It actually came from the main character in 2001: A Space Odyssey, as well as Meryl Silverburgh's partner from Policenauts.
  • Sadly Averted Trope in Tales of Vesperia where, due to the policy of not reusing voice actors too frequently, Yuri Lowell is not voiced by voice actor Yuri Lowenthal.
  • Makoto in Street Fighter III 3rd Strike is voiced by Makoto Tsumura.
  • The arcade game Pit-Fighter is an early example where the sprites are digitised images of real actors. It has four Danzas: "Southside Jim" is played by one James Thompson, "Chainman Eddie" by Eddie Venancio, "Mad Miles" by Miles McGowan and "Angel" by Angela Stellato.
  • Rochelle in Left 4 Dead 2 is voiced by Rochelle Aytes
  • Games made by Skip Ltd. (such as Chibi-Robo! and Captain Rainbow) frequently feature a black-and-white dog named Tao, who is usually portrayed as somewhat lazy and often very hungry. Tao was the actual dog of Skip's creative director, looked exactly like his fictional counterparts, and... was somewhat lazy and often very hungry. (The real dog died in 2009, but the fictional version will live on in games forevermore.)
  • In the first Star Wars: Rebel Assault, Ru Murleen was named after the actress who played her. Averted with the sequel, which used a different actress, Julie Eccles.
  • In The 7th Guest, Julia Heine was played by Julia Tucker.
  • In The Journeyman Project, Megan Love, heard on the radio during the intro, was voiced by Megan Wheeler.
  • In Police Quest: Open Season, the actress who played Barbie Cann was named Barbara Shannon ("Barbie" is a nickname for Barbara).
  • Jennifer Hale was Jennifer Mui in Mercenaries.
  • In Golden Eye 1997, Dr. Doak was named and modeled after developer David Doak who has a PhD in biochemistry, fitting for Dr. Doak's role as a chemical weapons designer.
  • One of the models to portray Lara Croft during publicity for the Tomb Raider games was named Lara Weller. Her friends suggested that she try out for the part partially because she shared the character's first name.
  • In Resident Evil Barry Gjerde was the voice of Barry Burton.
  • In Sengoku Basara, Saika Magoichi's real name is revealed to be Sayaka. In the original Japanese, she is voiced by Sayaka Ohara.
  • Supplemental material has revealed that the Administrator's real name is Helen, obviously a nod to her voice actress, Ellen McLain.
  • Vanessa Duvelle in Spy Hunter 2 (the sequel to the remake, not the arcade game) was based on Vanessa Carlton, who sang the game's theme tune.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Clyde Cash, Jason Kendrick Howell, and Jack Thaddeus voice themselves in the Sonichu audiobooks.
  • Corrupting the Classics With Contemporary Crap is hosted by Angus Hepburn as Angus Leech and Natalia Fedner as Natalie Knickerbocker.
  • The Fear Mythos features characters named after their actors: Jordan and Nathan from Jordan Eats Normally Now, and Seann of Cryptid 417.
  • IMDb has a looooooooooonnnng list with the tag "Actor Shares First Name With Character". Examples include The Shining with Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), Twister with Bill Harding (Bill Paxton), and Small Soldiers with Phil Fimple (Phil Hartman).
  • The webseries Echo Chamber features characters named Tom, Zack, and Dana. They are played by Tom Pike, Zack Wallnau, and Dana Shaw.
  • The Nostalgia Critic is named "Doug" as is shown through his Nicktoons review, and the person who plays him is Doug Walker. However, Doug Walker has said that the critic IS a character, and is a separate entity from Walker himself. Walker also plays many characters on That Guy With The Glasses, and the Nostalgia Critic is the only one to share his name.
  • Half the cast of Marble Hornets does this. We have Tim, Jessica, Brian, and Seth. Played by Tim Sutton, Jessica May, Brian Haight, and Seth McCay.
    • Brian is a double example. In the original Marble Hornets film, he would be playing a character named Brian.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Spoofed in an episode of The Boondocks.
  • Adam West as Mayor Adam West on Family Guy.
    • Lampshaded in that Mayor Adam West actually is Adam West. ...then again, Word of God says he's not.... All of this just to intentionally make it confusing.
    • The in-universe explanation is that Adam West became a politician instead of an actor in this reality. Makes more sense than 7 year old anthropomorphic dogs having a 13 year old human child.
    • And Catman on The Fairly OddParents.
      • Norm the Genie is named after Norm MacDonald, who plays him in two eps. Norm the Genie has been said to be based on MacDonald.
    • Also on The Fairly OddParents, Adam West as TV's Adam West as The Crimson Chin in the Crimson Chin Movie-Within-the-Show.
  • John Candy in Camp Candy.
  • Arianna Huffington as The Cleveland Show's Arianna the Bear
  • One Danza that is not the main character (and isn't their biggest part in the show) is Cree Lincoln from Codename: Kids Next Door who is voiced by Cree Summer, who also voices her little sister, Abby/Numbah 5).
  • Minor character example—in several episodes of Kim Possible, Tara Strong has played a character named "Tara". But then, she's played so many roles that it was bound to happen eventually.
  • Also Julie Brown as Julie Bruin in Tiny Toon Adventures. In this case, she's effectively parodying herself.
  • Kappa Mikey has its main characters playing characters with the same name in the Show Within a Show. As a bonus, Mikey Simon's voice actor is Michael Sinterniklaas, setting up a recursive Danza.
  • Home Movies through the entire cast, though Paula became an exception when her original voice actress, Paula Poundstone, was replaced.
  • Almost the entire cast of Dr. Katz Professional Therapist is named after their voice actor's first name with no last name given (Laura Silverman as Laura, Todd Barry as Todd). Even the guests that appear on the show are credited as "Dave as Dave Attell". There are only three exceptions to this rule: Dr. Jonathan Katz uses his full name, Benjamin Katz was named after his actor's last name (most likely because his first name is Jon and that would be confusing), and Stanley's voice actor is Will Le Bow.
  • Ray Romano voices a character named Ray Magini in an episode of The Simpsons.
    • Lunchlady Doris was originally voiced by script supervisor Doris Grau.
      • Grau also voiced Doris Grossman, Jay Sherman's makeup lady on The Critic
  • Batman: The Animated Series has a partial case, as Harley Quinn was loosely based on her voice actress Arleen Sorkin (who was a friend of the episode's writer, Paul Dini); her real name was later revealed as Harleen Quinzel, with her first name being just one letter away from Arleen's.
  • A computer expert in Phantom 2040, voiced by Harlan Ellison(!) was named after one of Ellison's pseudonyms: Cordwainer Bird.
  • Of all shows, there's one in Chowder. Rueben is voiced by Paul Ruebens.
  • Lisa Lougheed as Lisa on The Raccoons. She also sang the better-known version of the Ending Theme.
  • Salli Richardson voices Elisa Maza in Gargoyles, and also a minor character named Salli.
    • Amusingly, in Turf, Elisa goes undercover with the fake name Salli.
  • Guy Hadley as Guy Graham on Disney's version of Doug.
  • From the original series in 1962, to the movie from 1990,[4] George Jetson had been voiced by George O'Hanlon.
  • After Recasting for "What's With Andy", Danny Pickett was now voiced by Danny Brochu. The original voice actor (Bumper Robinson)'s real name is "Larry".

  1. For those who don't know, the members of Houkago Tea Time are all named after members of P-Model, while other notable cast members are named after members of The Pillows.
  2. Or even Zigzagged Bleached Underpants; the heroine merits a mention in one Eighth Doctor Adventures novel. Oy, with the waving the dirty laundry around already!
  3. Who had previously appeared in Oklahoma!
  4. In fact, he had passed on in mid-production