What actors played (different) title characters on two or more TV shows?
August 19, 2018 11:54 AM   Subscribe

I co-run a trivia night and had the idea for a category when I realized that Bob Denver played both Gilligan in Gilligan's Island and Dobie Gillis in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. (It turns out that piece of trivia is false, as he played Maynard G. Krebs, but you get what I was going for...) Ditto Scott Baio as both [Joanie loves] Chachi and Charles [in Charge.] What are some others?
posted by AgentRocket to Media & Arts (62 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Raymond Burr played Robert T. Ironside in Ironside and Perry Mason in Perry Mason.
posted by bleep at 11:57 AM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Lucille Ball, “I Love Lucy” and “Here's Lucy.”
posted by holborne at 11:57 AM on August 19, 2018


Norm Macdonald played Norm in Norm and Stan Hooper in A Minute with Stan Hooper
posted by Polycarp at 11:59 AM on August 19, 2018


Not sure if this one, exactly works, but: Andy Griffith, “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Matlock.”
posted by holborne at 11:59 AM on August 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


Mary Tyler Moore was in quite a few "Mary" shows as different characters named Mary.
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:03 PM on August 19, 2018


Melissa Joan Hart has been Clarissa in Clarissa Explains It All, Sabrina in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and one half of Melissa & Joey
posted by acidnova at 12:04 PM on August 19, 2018 [12 favorites]


Bob Newhart - The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Big Bang Theory ( I think there are a couple other series he was in - maybe Desperate Housewives?)
posted by XtineHutch at 12:06 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Tom Selleck:
Magnum in Magnum P.I.
Orrin Sackett in The Sacketts
and if you count TV movie series,
Jesse Stone in all the Jesse Stone movies
posted by pixlboi at 12:10 PM on August 19, 2018


William Shatner played Captain James Kirk in Star Trek and police officer TJ Hooker in the TJ Hooker TV show.
posted by Roger Pittman at 12:13 PM on August 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


I believe the category is: actors who have been in multiple shows where their character's name is in the title. Many of the suggestions above do not qualify on that point. For example, "Too Close for Confort" and "Big Bang Theory" have no character names in the title at all.
posted by donnagirl at 12:15 PM on August 19, 2018 [31 favorites]


Kristen Bell:
Veronica Mars in Veronica Mars
Sarah Marshall in Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Gracie in Lifetime movie Gracie's Choice
posted by phunniemee at 12:16 PM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Oh and Matt Damon is the gd king of this shit when it comes to movies. He's been Will Hunting, Mr Ripley, Private Ryan, both the...uh... Martian and the Informant, Jason Bourne, and one of the Brothers Grimm.
posted by phunniemee at 12:21 PM on August 19, 2018 [15 favorites]


H. John Benjamin: Bob’s Burgers / Archer
posted by rossination at 12:25 PM on August 19, 2018 [10 favorites]


Garry Shandling had both It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show.

Valerie Harper played Rhoda on Rhoda and Valerie on Valerie. (Later renamed The Hogan Family after she left the show but the show continued without her despite her name in the title.)

Melissa Joan Hart was in Clarissa Explains It All, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Melissa & Joey.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:32 PM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yes, donnagirl has the naunce (and sorry if I wasn't specific enough). I am looking for actors who (1) have played the character whose name is in the title of a show, (2) on at least two different shows, where (3) the characters they play in the two shows are different.

There are some great answers already; thanks, everyone.
posted by AgentRocket at 12:32 PM on August 19, 2018


Matt Leblanc starred as Joey on the Friends spinoff Joey, and as Vinnie on the Married... With Children spinoff Vinnie & Bobby.
posted by acidic at 12:32 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


oh, and duh, Ellen! She starred as Ellen Morgan on Ellen and Ellen Richmond on The Ellen Show (and now as Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, obviously, but that doesn't count).
posted by acidic at 12:35 PM on August 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Bea Arthur in both “Maude” and “Amanda’s.”
posted by holborne at 12:38 PM on August 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Sharon Gless as:
Christine Cagney in Cagney and Lacey
Rosie O'Neill in the Trials of Rosie O'Neill
posted by pixlboi at 12:38 PM on August 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Redd Foxx:
Fred Sanford in "Sanford and Son"
Alfonso Royal in "The Royal Family"
posted by pixlboi at 12:43 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Don Adams:
Maxwell Smart in "Get Smart"
Gadget in "Inspector Gadget" (does voice work count?)
posted by pixlboi at 12:47 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Robert Conrad played James West in Wild Wild West and a man called Sloane in A Man Called Sloane. I'm not sure if that squeaks by according to the rules.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 12:48 PM on August 19, 2018


Debra Messing was:
- Stacey of "Ned & Stacey"
- Grace of "Will & Grace"
- Laura of "The Mysteries of Laura"

Three!
posted by mochapickle at 12:49 PM on August 19, 2018 [11 favorites]


Betty White:
Elizabeth in "Life with Elizabeth"
Vickie Angel in "Date with the Angels"
and I'm completely shocked there is only two... it's Betty f'ing White
posted by pixlboi at 12:53 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Peter Davison played the (5th) Doctor in Doctor Who and Albert Campion in the BBC series "Campion" (based on Margery Allingham's books).
posted by heatherlogan at 12:59 PM on August 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Lucille Ball is the archetype for this. She was on TV almost continuously from 1951-1974, in four series all with the name "Lucy" in the title, playing four different lead characters with the name "Lucy." She was also a "Lucy" in her one-season 1986 show.
posted by rhizome at 1:20 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Robert Conrad as "the Fatman" in Jake and the Fatman and Frank Cannon in Cannon and also Nero Wolfe in a TV show called Nero Wolfe.

James Garner as Bret Maverick in Maverick and Jim Rockford in the Rockford Files.

Matt Horsley as Matt Houston in Matt Houston, as Hawkeye in Hawkeye.

Kelsey Grammer as Frasier in Frasier and as Hank in Hank and as Gary in Gary the Rat.

Valerie Harper as Rhoda in Rhoda and as Valerie Hogan in Valerie.

Hal Linden as Barney Miller in Barney Miller and as Jack Evans in Jack's Place and as Alexander Blacke in Blacke's Magic.

Judd Hirsch as John Lacey in Dear John and Leo Wagonman in George & Leo and as Dominick Delvecchio in Delvecchio.

Dennis Weaver as Sam McCloud in McCloud, Dr. Buck James in Buck James, and Daniel Stone in Stone.
posted by MoonOrb at 1:26 PM on August 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


This may be stretching it a bit, but one of the first people I thought of was Lee Majors, who was essentially the title character, although not directly named, in The Fall Guy and The Six Million Dollar Man. Maybe he could be some sort of bonus question?
posted by Slothrop at 1:31 PM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Jenna Elfman was Dharma in Dharma & Greg, Alex Rose in Courting Alex and Joyce Fisher in Growing Up Fisher
posted by pixlboi at 1:49 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Brandy as Moesha in Moesha and Zoe Moon in Zoe Ever After.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock (BBC) and Patrick Melrose in Patrick Melrose.
posted by Freeze Peach at 1:53 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Raven-Symoné played Raven Baxter on That's So Raven and Raven's Home, and Georgia Chamberlain on State of Georgia (and 'Queen, Age 5' in the miniseries version of Alex Haley's Queen).
posted by box at 2:08 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


David Janssen: The Fugitive, Harry O, Richard Diamond Private Detective, O'Hara US Treasury... Four!
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:18 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


James Franciscus: Mr Novak, Longstreet, and two I've never heard of, Doc Elliot and Hunter (1977)...Four!
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:28 PM on August 19, 2018


Gene Barry: Bat Masterson, Burke's Law (both in a couple iterations years... decades apart), and something called The Adventurer (1970s again) where he played a character named Gene.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:36 PM on August 19, 2018


Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man/Secret Agent Man, The Prisoner, Rafferty
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:40 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Pushing it, Bill Bixby: The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Incredible Hulk.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:52 PM on August 19, 2018


Darren McGavin: Mike Hammer in "Mike Hammer," Carl Kolchak in "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," and Nick Small in "Small & Frye."

Hal Linden: Barney Miller in "Barney Miller," Alexander Blacke in "Blacke's Magic," and Jack Evans in "Jack's Place."

Faith Ford: Maggie Winters in "Maggie Winters," and Hope in "Hope & Faith."

Lee Horsley: Matt Houston in "Matt Houston" and Hawkeye in "Hawkeye."

Robert Urich: Bob in "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice," Robert Gavilan in "Gavilan," and Spenser in "Spenser: For Hire."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Ellie Riggs in "Watching Ellie," and Christine Campbell in "The New Adventures of Old Christine."

James Nesbitt: Tommy Murphy in "Murphy's Law" and Gabriel Monroe in "Monroe."

Tony Shalhoub: Ian Stark in "Stark Raving Mad" and Adrian Monk in "Monk."
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:03 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


  • Bruce Campbell as Jack Stiles in Jack of All Trades, and as Brisco County Jr. in The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.
  • Brian Keith as Milton Hardcastle on Hardcastle & McCormick, as Walter Collins on Walter & Emily, as Lew Archer on Archer (no, not that Archer). Probably more.
Near misses that are fun:
  • Ed Asner as Lou Grant on Lou Grant and on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • Pernell Roberts played Trapper John on Trapper John, M, but not on MAS*H, where that role was played by Wayne Rogers

posted by adamrice at 3:10 PM on August 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Hugh Laurie: Eldon Chance in Chance, Dr. Gregory House in House, Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster, Hugh Laurie in A Bit of Fry and Laurie. 4!
posted by 7 Minutes of Madness at 3:12 PM on August 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


Hugh Laurie: Dr House in House, Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster. Beaten by 7 Minutes of Madness on preview!

Rowan Atkinson: the various Blackadders in all four Blackadder series, Mr Bean in Mr Bean, Chief Inspector Maigret in Maigret.

Geraldine McEwan: Miss Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (TV version), Lucia in Mapp and Lucia (1985 TV version), Miss Marple in Marple (2004-8).
posted by Major Clanger at 3:18 PM on August 19, 2018


And a few more:

Felicity Kendal: Barbara Good in The Good Life, Rosemary Boxer in Rosemary and Thyme.

John Thaw: Inspector Morse in Morse, James Kavanagh in Kavanagh QC.

Derek Jacobi: Claudius in I, Claudius, Brother Cadfael in Cadfael.
posted by Major Clanger at 3:39 PM on August 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Thaw was also Monsignor Renard and Mitch in shows with the same names.
posted by biffa at 4:03 PM on August 19, 2018


Okay then, Leonard Rossiter: The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Tripper's Day
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:06 PM on August 19, 2018


Kristen Bell:
Veronica Mars in Veronica Mars
Sarah Marshall in Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Gracie in Lifetime movie Gracie's Choice


Kristen Bell was also the voice of "Gossip Girl" on Gossip Girl.
posted by Umami Dearest at 4:53 PM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Will Arnett as Steven Wilde in Running Wilde, Nathan Miller in The Millers, and Bojack Horseman in Bojack Horseman. If movies count, he also played Batman in the LEGO Batman Movie and John Solomon in The Brothers Solomon. If video games count he played Matt Hazzard in Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazzard. SIX!!
posted by ejs at 5:21 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Stefanie Powers in The Feather and Father Gang and Hart to Hart.
posted by worldswalker at 5:43 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


This a cheat, but just to get it out there: Dick van Dyke (previously of The Dick van Dyke Show) also played Fred Becker in the TV show Becker, though the show was actually named after his character’s son.
posted by ejs at 5:58 PM on August 19, 2018




The weird thing is that for shows like The Dick van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show is that the characters that they played were named Rob Petrie and Mary Richards, respectively. How many actors have shows named after them but the characters they play have a different name?
posted by acidnova at 6:45 PM on August 19, 2018


XtineHutch: "Bob Newhart - The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Big Bang Theory ( I think there are a couple other series he was in - maybe Desperate Housewives?)"

Sure, but Newhart never played a character in the title. On The Bob Newhart Show, he played Bob Hartley. On Newhart, he played Dick Loudon.

However, he did play the character Bob McKay on the sitcom Bob.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:58 PM on August 19, 2018


Pushing it, Bill Bixby: The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Incredible Hulk.

Also: The Magician, though his character's name is not that.
posted by rhizome at 7:09 PM on August 19, 2018


Sally Field: Gidget and the Flying Nun
posted by SLC Mom at 7:30 PM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Bruce Campbell as Jack Stiles in Jack of All Trades, and as Brisco County Jr. in The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.

Also, Ash vs Evil Dead
posted by thedward at 9:53 PM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Flipper, in Flipper (1964) and Flipper - The New Adventures. (1995)
posted by rhizome at 10:25 PM on August 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


Does this count? Bea Arthur was Maud and one of The Golden Girls. The latter feels iffy for “title character” since it’s not a name.
posted by Smearcase at 10:29 PM on August 19, 2018


Would Edward Woodward suit here? Yes. Edward Woodward would.

TV: Callan, The Equaliser
If films were allowed too: Breaker Morant would count, as arguably would The Wicker Man.
posted by hawthorne at 3:58 AM on August 20, 2018


Robert Conrad as "the Fatman" in Jake and the Fatman and Frank Cannon in Cannon

That's William Conrad.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:07 AM on August 20, 2018


Andy Richter in Andy Richter Controls the Universe and the short-lived Andy Barker, P.I..
posted by neckro23 at 7:50 AM on August 20, 2018


(trying to figure out how The Wicker Man would count...)
posted by holborne at 8:03 AM on August 20, 2018


Jeff Goldblum played Michael Raines on Raines and Lionel "Brown Shoe" Whitney on Tenspeed and Brown Shoe.
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 11:47 AM on August 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


Pam Dawber: Mindy McConnell in "Mork & Mindy," and Samantha Russell in "My Sister Sam."
James Arness: Marshal Matt Dillon in "Marshal Dillon" and Jim McClain in "McClain's Law."
Vince Edwards: Ben Casey in "Ben Casey," and Matt Lincoln in "Matt Lincoln."
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:18 PM on August 20, 2018


(trying to figure out how The Wicker Man would count...)
Woodward's Sergeant Howie is set up right from the beginning to be (in) the wicker man.
posted by hawthorne at 5:04 AM on August 24, 2018


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