30 Famous Actors Who Got Stuck Into One Type Of Role Throughout Their Career

Most Hollywood actors are known as chameleons because they adapt to any role without repeating themselves. Actors and actresses like Gary Oldman, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, and Daniel Day-Lewis are the best examples of those who can play practically any character at any time. However, there exists a large number of actors who usually play only one type of role, who is called a “typecast”.
Typecasting isn't basically a bad thing because it is an effective way to capture the attention of audiences as well as filmmakers. But recycling their iconic roles over and over ultimately weakens their legacy. When they took part in other movies, audiences may find it difficult to picture actors. For example, Daniel Radcliffe is always seen as Harry Potter and when Adam West plays any other characters, fans often associate them with Bat Man. And these actors sometimes find themselves trapped playing essentially the same role multiple times because they killed it so hard with one memorable performance.
So, scroll down to see our list of 30 actors who are stuck in a particular role.

#1 Daniel Radcliffe

Source: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

From 2001 to 2010, Daniel Radcliffe portrayed the popular children’s literature character Harry Potter in eight films. Despite achieving fame for his portrayal of Harry Potter, Radcliffe still got trouble shaking off his legendary role. This may be because fans have grown up alongside him since "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone". Radcliffe has struggled to convince the audience that he is true "The Actor That Could Be Something Else" by starring in “The Boy Who Lived,” "Now You See Me 2",... But these roles haven't been successful.

#2 Adam Sandler

Source: Universal Pictures

When it comes to Adam Sandler, the first thing that likely popped into your head was an incoherent mouth noise. During his career, the comedian has played various grown-up children. His first breakthrough hit was "Billy Madison", where he played a grown man reliving his childhood school days! After that, he continued this type of role in "Little Nicky", "The Waterboy" and "Grown Ups". It seems that as long as audiences pay and he’s satisfied, he’ll go to the grave of a 13-year-old man for his entire career.

#3 Michelle Rodriguez

Source: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Ever since her breakout role in "Girlfight", Michelle Rodriguez has been trapped in a “tough chick” role. In the "Fast and Furious" films, she played a strong girl: street racing, and kicking ass. In the "Machete" and "Resident Evil" movies, she turned into a scary murderer. In addition, Rodriguez continued her typecasting by lending her voice to action-packed video games such as "Halo 2", "True Crime: Streets of LA", and "Call of Duty: Black Ops II".

#4 Betty White

Source: NBC

While she had a wider variety of roles as a youth, Betty White has been America's charming granny who says outlandish things for more than 40 years. Since 1985, she has played Rose Nylund from the popular TV series "The Golden Girls" or a variation of her in almost every program or movie she has been in. If her character isn’t crass due to her naivete, it’s crass due to the visual juxtaposition of this petite older woman being graphically outspoken about her high sex drive.

#5 Angelina Jolie

Source: 20th Century Fox

Although Angelina Jolie has played a range of characters, she is most known for being the seductive spy, sexy assassin, sexy explorer, or the sexy insert-badass-job-here. Therefore, Jolie is the best choice for the role of a lady who can fire a gun and looks fantastic doing it. In the "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" series, Jolie flaunted her body and her badassery. Additionally, in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," "Salt," and "Wanted," she makes gunshots appear seductive. She even has PG versions as the butt-kicking Tigress in the "Kung Fu Panda" films and as the magical "Maleficent".

#6 Benedict Cumberbatch

Source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Ever since his titular role in "Sherlock", Benedict Cumberbatch has been a favorite for socially-curt genius roles. He has a talent for delivering language that is either a solid burn or a complex explanation of science, or medicine. Even with roles such as Alan Turing in "The Imitation Game" or Julian Assange in "The Fifth Estate", Cumberbatch is written and directed to act like a smug, snarky genius. And his most recent role Doctor Strange, he is a mystic artist.

#7 Adam West

Source: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Before achieving fame as the Caped Crusader, the late Adam West was a regular on series like "Maverick" and "The Detectives". But since he wear the cape and cowl of Batman in 1966, West had trouble getting it removed. Long after the "Batman" television series was discontinued, West continued to voice the character in other animated series throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In the "Batman: The Animated Series" episode "The Gray Ghost," he even portrayed a fictionalized version of his own life. In addition to playing the mayor on "Family Guy," West's final endeavor before his passing was "Batman vs. Two-Face," an animated home video release in which West provided the voice of the Dark Knight.

#8 Anthony Perkins

Source: Paramount Pictures

Though Anthony Perkins received a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination for his film role in "Friendly Persuasion", most of the audiences remember him as Norman Bates from the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller "Psycho." Since then, Perkins has continued to work steadily in smaller roles and smaller movies, typically in the horror genre, but nothing has been able to cast Bates' shadow aside. He would eventually reprise his role as Norman Bates in three other "Psycho" sequels.

#9 Dennis Farina

Source: 20th Television

Because Dennis Farina served in the Chicago Police Department for 18 years, he was always placed in a criminal or cop role! He would become a cop in shows such as "Crime Story and Law & Order" and films like "Manhunter", "Out of Sight", and "The Mod Squad". He’d also flip it and play gangster types in movies like "Snatch", "Get Shorty" and "Midnight Run". Not a lot of range displayed, but a great career by any measure.

#10 Krysten Ritter

Source: Tribeca Film

Krysten Ritter’s shown that she can act a little less like a jerk in earlier roles in "Gilmore Girls" and "Veronica Mars", but most audiences still perceive her as tough, and rude. With an eye roll and a smirk, Ritter has performed as that type of character in many other shows aside from "Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23". Ritter played a wiseass in "Breaking Bad," but it is possible that her portrayal of the whiskey-sipping Jessica Jones in Marvel's "Jessica Jones" and "Defenders" series on Netflix solidified her reputation as a wiseass.

#11 Zach Galifianakis

Source: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Before he broke through with "The Hangover" films, Zach Galifianakis was best known as an eccentric stand-up comedian that had occasional roles on TV. But his popularity as the bumbling, uncomfortable Alan in "The Hangover" led him to an onslaught of similar roles. Whether it was Ray in HBO’s "Bored to Death", Therman in "Dinner for Schmucks", Ethan in "Due Date", Chip in "Baskets", or even The Joker in "The Lego Batman Movie", Galifianakis typically portrays a misanthropic character with social anxiety, naivete, or a lack of connection to reality getting in the way of his desire to connect with other people.

#12 Jodie Foster

Source: Orion Pictures

When it comes to a female lead that can pull off staying cool under pressure and remain a stoic pro, Jodie Foster has been the go-to performer for over 20 years. Ever since her role as Clarice Starling in "The Silence of the Lambs", Foster has typically been handed the character of the competent, intellectual one who concentrates on the work at hand. Whether it is hunting down her missing daughter in "Flightplan", flexing as a power broker in "Inside Man", or firmly overseeing a futuristic colony in "Elysium", Jodie Foster plays characters that are typically all about focus and willpower.

#13 Jason Alexander

Source: NBC

Do you know Jason Alexander from his recurring TV roles in "Hercules" and "The Grinder" or in "Shallow Hal", "The Adventures of Rocky" and "Bullwinkle"? While Alexander certainly has played in musicals, he’s remembered as the short-tempered, scheming George Costanza in "Seinfeld". Even hearing his voiceover roles in "Dilbert" and "Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man" make viewers think “Oh, that’s George as a cat/duck.”

#14 Helena Bonham Carter

Source: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Helena Bonham Carter is a versatile actor, but most audiences and casting directors bring her ability to play dark, quirky characters to the light. Whether it’s the offbeat kleptomaniac Marla Singer in "Fight Club", the delusional Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street", or the cackling Bellatrix Lestrange in the "Harry Potter" franchise, Carter has played well the attractive weirdo.

#15 Morgan Freeman

Source: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Morgan Freeman's deep voice helped him multiple times to act as a leader, a president, and even God. However, in those roles and others, he’s more often than not a guide to some white protagonist in a film. The majority of his Oscar nominations were for characters who helped leaders through their conflicts such as in "The Shawshank Redemption", "Million Dollar Baby", and "Driving Miss Daisy". Even when playing God "Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty", his role serves as a provider of wisdom, lessons, and strength to Jim Carrey and Steve Carell. He’s not typically recognized as a lead unto himself.

#16 Mark Hamill

Source: 20th Century Fox

When Mark Hamill landed the part of Luke Skywalker in the pop culture juggernaut known as "Star Wars" no one seemed to separate him from that iconic character. Aside from roles in films like "The Guyver" and some TV appearances, he didn’t get much-acting work in front of the camera. However, Hamill has built an extremely successful career in front of the microphone as a featured voice actor for a number of animated series over the past 30 years, most notably voicing the Joker in " Batman: The Animated Series".

#17 Alan Rickman

Source: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

From his breakout role as Hans Gruber in "Die Hard", Alan Rickman has had several roles. But the majority of those roles, hero or villain, are of deceitful characters such as Gruber, Judge Turpin in "Sweeney Todd", and the Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves". Most notably, his defining role as Severus Snape in the "Harry Potter" films had Rickman play a shadowy man who deceived the villains by pretending to betray the heroes as a double-agent potion master. It can be said that Rickman was a master at playing a master of deception.

#18 Keira Knightley

Source: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Many women have been pigeonholed as “The Rebellious One” but Keira Knightly has cornered a very specific version of this type. In several movies, Knightley is often the playful or outright driven rebellious woman in a film that requires her to wear a corset - that is, period pieces. Aside from the “unladylike” lady roles in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, Knightly has been the woman who navigates through an overt male power structure in films like "Anna Karenina", "Pride & Prejudice", and even "King Arthur". It’s not often that she’s in a film set in present day America.

#19 Ralph Macchio

Source: Universal Pictures

Aside from a recurring role in "Eight Is Enough", Ralph Macchio is most well known for his role as Daniel LaRusso in "The Karate Kid" films. Though his career is peppered with various guest roles on television, Macchio seems to be forever seen as the Karate Kid all grown up. Thirty-four years after Daniel’s first Crane Kick, Macchio reprised his role in the digital series "Cobra Kai".

#20 William Shatner

Source: Paramount Pictures

To be honest, when you hear “James T. Kirk,” the first image that pops into your head isn’t Chris Pine. Even since he first sat in the captain’s chair in Star Trek, William Shatner was forever forged as Captain Kirk. His velour yellow shirt, buttered-toast hair, and bizarre delivery are inseparable from both the character and the actor himself. While Shatner has been acting professionally for over 60 years, he has never been more identified by any other character he portrayed. Yes, even T.J. Hooker. Sci-fi fans will forever associate Shatner’s cadence, inflection, and gravitas with the leader of the Enterprise.

#21 Alfonso Ribeiro

Source: NBC

When he was a little kid, Alfonso Ribeiro made his first big break with the recurring role of Carlton Banks on "Silver Spoons". On "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Ribeiro's Tom Jones-loving character cemented himself in the hearts and minds of 90s youth as a nerdy, stiff cousin, Will Smith. After "Fresh Prince" finished, Ribeiro continued to work in various TV roles and as a host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, but most people still called him "Carlton" rather than by his own name.

#22 Jason Statham

Source: Universal Pictures

Ever since his roles in "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch", Jason Statham's characters have often been street-level criminals and/or bare-knuckle hitters. The filmmakers always cast him in those roles because of his experience as a black market trader in real life and his martial arts abilities. And in fact, he has portrayed well the gravelly-voiced criminal that’d headbutt you in the mouth and then go have a pint in various movies such as the "Crank" series, the "Transporter" series, or the "Fast and the Furious" movies.

#23 Jim Parsons

Source: CBS

Before he rose to fame with his role as Sheldon Cooper on the hit comedy "The Big Bang Theory", Jim Parsons was a typical Los Angeles working TV actor with bit roles and a recurring guest role on "Judging Amy". After the success of "The Big Bang Theory," Parsons is so closely identified with the Sheldon character that he hasn’t really done much else aside from it. This is partially due to "The Big Bang Theory"’s schedule and partially because it is hard for many to separate Parsons from Sheldon.

#24 Michael Cera

Source: Columbia Pictures

Ever since 2003, Michael Cera has played some form of his awkward George-Michael Bluth character from "Arrested Development". Cera spent most of his twenties portraying a shy, insecure young guy in various coming-of-age films across genres, such as "Juno", "Superbad", "Youth in Revolt", "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist", and "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World". Cera said in an interview that being typecast is just “part of being an actor.”

#25 Zooey Deschanel

Source: 20th Television

Whether it is of the “manic pixie” or “girl next door” varieties, Zooey Deschanel usually plays some form of a quirky woman. From "Weeds", "Tin Man" mini-series to "500 Days of Summer" and "TV’s The New Girl", she was an attractive lead that can skew odd.

#26 Paul Rudd

Source: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

With his ageless, boyish face and comedic delivery ability, Paul Rudd has been a favorite for casting directors to bring in for a role that requires handsomeness with a little bit of stupidity. In the Marvel movies as "Ant-Man" and in "Judd Apatow" films, Rudd makes several charming verbal faux pas and massive screw-ups that he tries to amend. On TV shows, he can be mildly dumb as Mike Hannigan on "Friends" or an outright idiot as Bobby Newport on "Parks and Recreation".

#27 Maggie Smith

Source: ITV Studio

Dame Maggie Smith has a long, lauded career filled with several kinds of roles since 1955. Yet most modern audiences know her as the older woman of authority who just thinks all of this foolishness is incredibly inappropriate. She typically plays the role of the wise and stern person of authority in some famous movies like "The Secret Garden", "Sister Act", "Harry Potter" films, "Gosford Park" and "Downton Abbey",...

#28 Seth Rogen

Source: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

While he got an early start in his career on "Freaks and Geeks", Seth Rogen was virtually unknown to most until he skyrocketed in the hit comedy "Knocked Up". He was a lazy yet goodhearted schlub then and he hasn’t really left that niche. Since then, he did a similar schtick in films like "Pineapple Express" and "The Guilt Trip", "Zach and Miri Make a Porno", "Neighbors", and "The Long Shot". Thirty more years and he’ll start to age into the weird father-in-law roles.

#29 Meg Ryan

Source: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

From the 1980s up to the early 2000s, Meg Ryan was in one out of every five romantic comedies. Even as she matured, Ryan still had that cute “woman-next-door” charm that could easily fit next to nearly any male lead. She cemented herself in "When Harry Met Sally", one of the most lauded rom-coms of all time and it just spilled over from there. From "Kate & Leopold", to "IQ", to "French Kiss", she continued this type of role. She even did three different romantic comedies with Tom Hanks alone: "Sleepless in Seattle", "Joe Versus the Volcano", and "You’ve Got Mail!"

#30 Danny Trejo

Source: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

When it comes to a grizzled, sun-baked badass on screen, many people immediately think of Danny Trejo. Throughout his career, Trejo has been some form of henchman, criminal, fighter, or general tough guy in virtually every project he has a part of. Because of his past as a convict, his tattooed muscular body, and scarred face, he had various roles in movies like "Con Air", "Heat", "Anaconda" and "Machete".
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