Those Who Could Not Escape Their Character.

I’m not saying that these actors and actresses never acted in anything else but they ended up trapped in the role that ended up defining them good or bad. This list could have been much longer.

Bob Denver – Gilligan – I just picked Bob because he was the star of the show but a point could be argued that the entire cast of this show was eternally typecast. Bob Denver also played Maynard Krebs (which I loved) on The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis but Gilligan wins out.

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Mark Hamill – Luke Skywalker – After he auditioned for the title role in 1983 movie Amadeus the director dismissed the idea saying “I don’t want Luke Skywalker in this film.” He has broken a little out of the image by doing voiceovers like the Joker in Batman animated cartoons.

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Carrie Fischer – Princess Leia – Harrison Ford was able to break out more successfully than his other two co-stars in Star Wars. Carrie Fischer acted in a lot of movies but could never shake Princess Leia…she is forever frozen in time in the minds of teenage nerds at the time and now.

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Christopher Reeve – Superman – He is said to have stated that he spent his career trying to “escape the cape.”… When I think of Superman…I do think of Christopher Reeve’s version

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George Reeves – Superman – See Above

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Barbara Eden – Jeannie – She appeared in many TV  movies but nothing topped beautiful Jeannie. Larry Hagman did manage to escape his character in I Dream of Jeannie into another…J.R. Ewing.

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Elizabeth Montgomery – Samantha – Everyone’s favorite witch. Like Eden she did many TV movies…a lot of them really good but is known for Samantha.

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Don Adams – Maxwell Smart -Adams also provided the voices for the animated series Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales  and Inspector Gadget but was

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Anthony Perkins – Is Norman Bates and there is no arguing that.

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Robert Englund – Freddie Kruger – and I don’t believe he minds at all.

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Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

40 thoughts on “Those Who Could Not Escape Their Character.”

  1. I never knew Mark Hamill auditioned for Amadeus. He possessed to some degree that naive exuberance and arrogance In SW which Hulce did in Amadeus. He might not have been such a bad fit actually although Hulce nailed it.
    I thought Carrie Fischer was excellent in When Harry Met Sally and Christopher Reeve likewise in Remains of the Day. But you’re right, their roles in SW and Superman respectively were so iconic that very few would remember for anything else.
    Great post Bad!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Did you see the Dallas episode where Barbara Eden’s character met JR? That was a fun TV moment. If I were to add to your list, it would probably be Don Knotts and Sean Connery. They both did a lot of other work, but to me they are forever Barney Fife and 007.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I never saw that before…I need to look it up…I love when that happens. The one I remember is when the one of Bob Newhart’s pateints on the Bob Newhart Show showed up in Newhart as the same character.
      You know Don Knotts is perfect…he slipped my mind completely. I did think about Sean Connery and Roger Moore and was going to add both.


      1. I personally think that Newhart’s last episode has never been topped as far as last shows goes. The fact that I had been in love with Suzanne Pleshette since I was a kid didn’t hurt either. I thought it was so clever. They had a reunion show after that with the same old set but I cannot find it anywhere. It ended where Bob was leaving his office in Chicago and in the elevator were the three brothers…he took the stairs…It took place the day after the “dream.”


    1. I would say the entire Harry Potter cast…kinda like Gilligan’s Island…they are all stuck forever…except the Potter cast got paid a tiny bit better!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes.. Hans recommended it to me and it was good.
        Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson
        by Peter Ames Carlin

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I like their mid sixties period…after their all surfing songs and before their seventies output.


  3. One that comes to mind to me is Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker. I know he did a decent job later on that police show (“HEat of the Night”?) but couldn’t see it wihout thinking “there’s Archie!” . Jean Stapleton almost as much so as Edith , though her job in “You’ve got Mail” did work without making me think every second “Edith you dingbat!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I look at these folks, I don’t think of their stage names, I think of their character names. That’s a big tipoff. What about the Star Trek Captains? Kirk & Picard. And Spock! And the rest of the crews…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Pretty much though Ross (David Schwimmer) got me to forget his character from Friends when he was in that OJ mini-series. Leblanc was smart with ‘Episodes’- he played himself as the guy who couldn’ t escape…being Joey!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You know some actors hate being known for a character but Anthony Perkins pretty much said….hey I probably wouldn’t have endured as well without that part….

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great list.

    I remember Michael J. Fox having trouble getting away from Marty McFly. And, Marty was just a live action version of Alex P. Keaton. Any attempt at doing serious characters bombed. People just refused to accept a stern faced Fox.

    Light of Day bombed. Bright Lights, Big City bombed. Casualties of War bombed. After 1994, he wasn’t a headliner, anymore.

    The Frighteners was the last one in 1996 and, even then, it was a scary-comedy. Still couldn’t do drama. And, it was an ensemble cast, not a Fox vehicle.

    Then, there is the health problems…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I never thought about all of the bombs he did…you are right.
      He will be known as Marty… I forgot all about Light Of Day…I liked the theme song by Bruce


      1. Oh ok…I liked her with the Runaways also. She did Cherry Bomb which I wasn’t expecting…it was the only time I saw her….in 2016 I believe.

        Liked by 1 person

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