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Actors who play themselves

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I think I mentioned in another thread that I recently rented THE JOLSON STORY. When I was reading the production notes on it, I discovered that Al Jolson actually does appear in the film. Larry Parks plays Jolson and lip-syncs his voice for all the musical numbers, but there is one scene where Jolson (much older than Parks) appears in a stage number. It was done as a long shot, and he was in blackface singing 'Swanee.' I thought that was interesting that an older Jolson was playing a younger Jolson, but the audience probably thought it was still Larry Parks' imitation of Jolson.

 

This made me think of Julia Roberts in OCEANS 12. Her character impersonates Julia Roberts during an important scene. Does that make sense? LOL So we have the actress playing a fictional character who is playing the actress!

 

There was also an episode of the Here's Lucy television program from 1974 that did something like this. Lucille Ball's sitcom character, Lucy Carter, goes to meet Lucille Ball who is on set doing scenes for the Warners film MAME. There are actual split scenes where she plays both her sitcom alter ego and her real-life self. The episode is called 'Lucy Carter Meets Lucille Ball.' It was done to promote the release of Ball's upcoming motion picture.

 

In a television movie, Ann Jillian portrayed herself in a biopic about her dealings with breast cancer. In that case, there wasn't much of a fictional element.

 

I am sure this has happened a lot. But it's fun to note the more creative examples of actors who play themselves.

 

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Unless you count things like stars playing themselves in some of those wartime extravaganzas like FOLLOW THE BOYD and STAGEDOOR CANTEEN, the only other example I can think of is a TV movie where an actress who had survived an attack (by a nutzo fan?) played herself. I'm blanking on the name of the actress...

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Two that spring to mind right away...

 

- Eddie & Ida Cantor in the opening and closing scenes of THE EDDIE CANTOR STORY (1953), in a Warner Bros. Studio theatre, for a private screening of the title film starring Keefe Brasselle

 

- Mack Sennett in ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET THE KEYSTONE KOPS (1954)

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I remember an old Honeymooners show when Ralph wanted to "meet" the famous star, Jackie Gleason. Of course he kept walking out one door just when Gleason would come in another and then talk to Ed Norton. Then Gleason would leave, Ralph would come back, and Norton could brag to Ralph about meeting the famous star, which would drive Ralph nuts.

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Lucy also plays herself in Best Foot Forward, Frank Morgan played himself in the Great Morgan and Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson played themselves in that movie with Doris Day.

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Great examples. The Morgan-Carson-Day picture was called IT'S A GREAT FEELING.

 

BEST FOOT FORWARD was originally intended as a Lana Turner vehicle, but Lucy does a wonderful job in it.

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I think the reason Ralph and Jackie did not "meet" is because they filmed that show live, so there was no way for them to do a split screen with Gleason in both roles at the same time.

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Those morale booster pics seem to be rather fictionalized, don't they? Especially HOLLYWOOD CANTEEN.

 

FOUR JILLS IN A JEEP shows Martha Raye, Kay Francis, Mitzi Mayfair and Carole Landis playing themselves on a USO tour they really had taken through Europe and North Africa. But again, although it is inspired by actual events, one can't help but wonder how much was embellished.

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In the film MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES, Clarence Kolb plays himself - 50 years later than the events depicted.

 

Sophia Loren played herself and her mother in a TV movie.

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One that is a lot of fun and AMC would show when it really was American Movie Classics; Buck Benny Rides Again. As themselves; Jack Benny, Dennis Day, Don Wilson, Andy Devine, Phil Harris plus Mary Livingstone and Fred Allen on radio. Of course Eddie Anderson was along as Rochester Van Jones.

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Pee Wee Herman once played - oops, forget I mentioned that, different subject.

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W.C. Fields plays himself in NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK, as does Gloria Jean. Franklin Pangborn plays Mr. Pangborn, but as the studio chief at Universal (which, of course, he was not).

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In JOLSON SINGS AGAIN, Larry Parks continues his impersonation of Al Jolson. But at the end of the movie, they reach the point in Jolson's career where Hollywood is about to make a movie on his life. So "Jolson" meets actor Larry Parks (playing himself).

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:) Thank you for this little tidbit. I'm going to watch this the next time I can.

 

I'm glad to be back home; I missed you all. I did what I shouldn't have; checked the schedule to see what I missed from last Thursday to yesterday and drowned my sorrows in my coffee. My Mom can't get TCM where she's at and even if she could she's only into the Catholic network and old crime shows(it's better than hermother who read all those pulp detective magazines then fussed about how she couldn't sleep). The word "computer" scares her to death. I'm just decompressing today. And appreciating that I live in Tampa where I'm blessed to have TCM and all of you. No, I don't feel any different at 65 than I did at 64. It really doesn?t hurt. ;)

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>>That's a scream! My laugh for the day... :)

 

Thank you, thank you. I had to be very careful with the wording and also count on someone knowing the reference.

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John Wayne appeared in a cameo in "I Married a Woman" which starred George Goble and Diana Dore in 1958.. He appeared in a scene from a movie with Angie Dickinson when Goble and Dors are at a movie and at the end aboard ship, if I remember correctly...;

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Oct 22, 2010 7:20 PM

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Monty Woolley plays himself in Night and Day the film about Cole Porter. Probably one of the few real things about the movie.

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