Cameo Appearance - History


Originally the phrase "cameo role" referred to a famous person who was playing no character, but him or herself. Like a cameo brooch—a low-relief carving of a person's head or bust—the actor or celebrity is instantly recognizable. More recently, "cameo" has come to refer to any short appearances, whether as a character or as oneself.

Cameos are generally not credited because of their brevity, or a perceived mismatch between the celebrity's stature and the film or TV show in which he or she is appearing. Many are publicity stunts. Others are acknowledgments of an actor's contribution to an earlier work, as in the case of many film adaptations of TV series, or of remakes of earlier films. Others honour artists or celebrities known for work in a particular field.

A cameo can establish a character as being important without having much screen time. Examples of such cameos are Sean Connery in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Ted Danson in Saving Private Ryan, Hugh Jackman in X-Men: First Class, Anthony Hopkins in Mission: Impossible II, George Clooney in The Thin Red Line, and Sigourney Weaver in The Cabin in the Woods. Jason Robards' uncredited appearance at the opening of Enemy of the State was brief but a key element of the plot.

Possibly the best-known series of cameos was by the director Alfred Hitchcock, who made very brief appearances in most of his films.

Cameos are also common in novels and other literary works. “Literary cameos” usually involve an established character from another work who makes a brief appearance to establish a shared universe setting, to make a point, or to offer homage. Balzac often employed this practice, such as in his Comédie humaine. Sometimes a cameo features a historical person who "drops in" on fictional characters in a historical novel, as when Benjamin Franklin shares a beer with Phillipe Charboneau in The Bastard by John Jakes.

A cameo appearance can be made by the author of a work to put a sort of personal "signature" on a story. An example from the thriller genre includes Clive Cussler, who made appearances in his own novels as a "rough old man" who advised action hero Dirk Pitt. An example in the comic book genre is John Byrne's resplendent use of cameos in Marvel Comics’ Iron Fist #8, which features appearances by Byrne himself, Howard the Duck (on a poster), Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, Sam McCloud, Fu Manchu, and Wolverine.

At the apex of the technique stands Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. This acclaimed novel is, among many other things, a "tour de force" of literary cameos.

Early appearances are often mistakenly considered as cameos. Sylvester Stallone appears in Woody Allen's Bananas credited only as "Subway Thug #1," five years before his breakout role in 1976's Rocky. Other examples would be Elijah Wood in Back to the Future Part II and Samuel L. Jackson in The Exorcist III. These are early appearances of non-established actors.

Quentin Tarantino provides cameos or small roles on some of his movies.

Likewise, Peter Jackson has made brief cameos in all of his movies, except for his first feature length movie Bad Taste in which he plays a main character. For example, he plays a peasant eating a carrot in The Fellowship of the Ring; a Rohan warrior in The Two Towers and a pirate boatswain in The Return of the King. All three were non-speaking "blink and you miss him" appearances, although in the Extended Release of The Return of the King, his character was given more screen time. He also appears in his 2005 remake of King Kong as the gunner on a biplane in the finale.

Director Martin Scorsese appears in the background of his films as a bystander or an unseen character. In Who's That Knocking at My Door, he appears as one of the gangsters, a passenger in Taxi Driver. He opens up his 1986 film The Color of Money with a monologue on the art of playing pool. In addition, he appears with his wife and daughter as wealthy New Yorkers in Gangs of New York, and he appears as a theatre-goer and is heard as a movie projectionist in The Aviator.

Denys Arcand portrays a judge in his film Jesus of Montreal.

Yet, some directors, even among the most celebrated, never appeared in any of their films. This is, for example, the case of Stanley Kubrick, from whom there is only a shadowy figure in Lolita and unconfirmed rumors exist about his voice (in 2001 or The Shining).

Read more about this topic:  Cameo Appearance

Other articles related to "history":

Voltaire - Works - Historical
... History of Charles XII, King of Sweden (1731) The Age of Louis XIV (1751) The Age of Louis XV (1746–1752) Annals of the Empire – Charlemagne, A.D ... on the Manners of Nations (or 'Universal History') (1756) History of the Russian Empire Under Peter the Great (Vol ... II 1763) History of the Parliament of Paris (1769) ...
Casino - History of Gambling Houses
... that gambling in some form or another has been seen in almost every society in history ... the Ancient Greeks and Romans to Napoleon's France and Elizabethan England, much of history is filled with stories of entertainment based on games of ... In American history, early gambling establishments were known as saloons ...
History of Computing
... The history of computing is longer than the history of computing hardware and modern computing technology and includes the history of methods intended for pen and paper or for chalk and slate ...
Xia Dynasty - Modern Skepticism
... The Skeptical School of early Chinese history, started by Gu Jiegang in the 1920s, was the first group of scholars within China to seriously question the traditional story of its early history "the later the time ... early Chinese history is a tale told and retold for generations, during which new elements were added to the front end" ...
Spain - History - Fall of Muslim Rule and Unification
... The breakup of Al-Andalus into the competing taifa kingdoms helped the long embattled Iberian Christian kingdoms gain the initiative ... The capture of the strategically central city of Toledo in 1085 marked a significant shift in the balance of power in favour of the Christian kingdoms ...

Famous quotes containing the word history:

    The whole history of civilisation is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards.
    Walter Bagehot (1826–1877)

    A great proportion of the inhabitants of the Cape are always thus abroad about their teaming on some ocean highway or other, and the history of one of their ordinary trips would cast the Argonautic expedition into the shade.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    What has history to do with me? Mine is the first and only world! I want to report how I find the world. What others have told me about the world is a very small and incidental part of my experience. I have to judge the world, to measure things.
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951)