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Image of actor Rainn Wilson

Are there any performances that stuck with you, but you have no idea the actual name of the actor or actress who portrayed them? You’re not alone. After polling the internet, “Which actors are widely recognized by their characters and not by their real names?” These are the top-voted responses.

1. Cassandra Peterson – Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

Actress Cassandra Peterson at a press event
Image Credit: Brandon Nagy via Shutterstock.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. Cassandra Peterson is a freaking treasure. And she looks completely different when out of costume,” someone confessed. Another replied, “That’s her name !?! I almost went a lifetime without knowing that.”

2. Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory

Actor Jim Parsons
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Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory is always Sheldon Cooper,” one stated. Another added, “All of the characters from The Big Bang Theory, honesty, except Penny (Kaley Cuoco).” Finally, a third responded, “Johnny Galecki is Leonard, but he was well-known as David, Darlene’s boyfriend on Roseanne, long before The Big Bang Theory.”

3. Christopher McDonald – Happy Gilmore

Actor Christopher McDonald
Image Credit: Jaguar PS via Shutterstock.

“Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore,” someone suggested. Another admitted, “He flew on a flight I worked once, and when I went to tell friends. I was ashamed I only knew him as Shooter McGavin.” Another argued, “You mean Goose McKenzie from Grease 2?”

4. Wayne Knight – Seinfeld

Image of actor Wayne Knight and his wife
Image Credit: Kathy Hutchins via Shutterstock.

“Newman from Seinfeld. He was even basically Newman in Jurassic Park and Space Jam, too,” someone expressed. However, others impressed upon the Seinfeld fans, “But he was also Don in 3rd Rock from the Sun.”

5. Marc Evan Jackson – Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Image of actor Marc Evan Jackson
Image Credit: Kathy Hutchins via Shutterstock.

“Kevin from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. You can put him in The Good Place or any other show you want. He’s always going to be Captain Holt’s husband, Kevin, to me,” one confessed. “It helps that he plays the same character everywhere. Not that he doesn’t do it well,” another added. 

6. Jack Gleeson – Game of Thrones

Image of actor Jack Gleeson
Image Credit: Markus Wissmann via Shutterstock.

“King Joffrey Baratheon. Sadly, the pressure of the spotlight and people’s inability to separate the actor from the character contributed to Jack Gleeson giving up acting. I’m told he’s a fantastic down-to-earth human being, and we know his acting talent is extraordinary. However, I’ve seen photos of Caligula’s statue, and his face is a dead ringer for Joffrey,” one person replied.

7. Alfonso Ribeiro – Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Image of actor Alfonso Ribeiro
Image Credit: Kathy Hutchins via Shutterstock.

“Carlton Banks,” said one. “Ironic,” another shared. “Alfonso Ribeiro was the one who gave Will Smith the advice to have his character be named Will as that’s what everyone would know him as.” Others reminded people he hosted America’s Funniest Home Videos and nailed it.

8. Jaleel White – Family Matters

Image of actor Jaleel White
Image Credit: Markus Wissmann via Shutterstock.

Someone nominated, “Steve Urkel.” A second person suggested, “Oooh, good one. Jaleel White. Don’t forget about Stefan Ur Kel.” Finally, a third admitted, “I always think of his part in Big Fat Liar where he’s on the phone yelling at someone, “My name is not Urkle. It is Jaleel White!”

9. Rainn Wilson – The Office

Image of actor Rainn Wilson
Image Credit: DFree via Shutterstock.

“Dwight Schrute. At least Rainn Wilson looks regular without the haircut and glasses, but Jim Halpert will always be Jim Halpert,” someone claimed. Another added, “I feel like it’s all The Office characters.” Finally, a third argued, “Yeah, John Krasinski deserves to be recognized as more than Jim: A Quiet Place and Jack Ryan.”

10. Josh Radnor – How I Met Your Mother

Actor Josh Radnor
Image Credit: Joe Seer via Shutterstock.

One stated, “Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother. I don’t even know his real name. He’s just Ted Mosby to me,” someone confessed. “Josh Radnor! He’s got a whole music career going now,” a second person added. “He’s great!”

This article was produced and syndicated by Cents + Purpose and inspired by this thread and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Cents + Purpose.

Elizabeth Ervin

Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing, a website that provides information about addiction, recovery, mental wellness, spirituality, and resources to help people succeed in rebuilding their lives. Elizabeth has education and experience with addiction, healing, and spiritual studies. She is passionate about learning, teaching, and loving her neighbor. 

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