10 Actors Who Attempted To Mimic Hollywood Legends

Casting for movies and TV is never easy, but it’s especially difficult to find someone who can pull off an already recognizable person really well. That actor not only has to get the look and mannerisms down, but also the voice, the style of performance, and even all their little quirks if they want to be believable. Here are a few actors that definitely did their absolute best.

Advertisement

Jaleel White (as Steve Urkel) – Bruce Lee

10 Actors Who Attempted To Mimic Hollywood Legends
Warner Bros.

Remember when Urkel built a transformation machine to become Stefan Urquelle, his smooth alter-ego, to woo Laura? Well it turned out to have other uses, because when his local park was being threatened by a gang of rowdy teenagers, he straight up used it to become Bruce Lee! To be fair, his impression is actually pretty accurate, from the voice to the gestures.

Advertisement

John Travolta and Nicolas Cage – Each Other

10 Actors Who Attempted To Mimic Hollywood Legends
Paramount

In Face/Off, one of the most insane action movies of the 90s, John Travolta has Nicolas Cage’s face grafted onto his own in order to infiltrate his gang. However, Cage wakes up from a coma and does the same, so now we’ve got Travolta pretending to be Cage… who is pretending to be Taravolta… and vice-versa. It’s as amazing as it is absurd.

Advertisement

Martin Landau – Bela Lugosi

10 Actors Who Attempted To Mimic Hollywood Legends
Touchstone

One of the most criminally overlooked actors of all time, Bela Lugosi starred in tons of horror movies from the 1930s onwards, and gave us the entirety of how we picture Dracula. While he unfortunately died a penniless morphine addict, his legacy lead to an Oscar win for Martin Landau, who portrayed Lugosi in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood.

Advertisement

Robert Downey Jr. – Charlie Chaplin

10 Actors Who Attempted To Mimic Hollywood Legends
Carolco Pictures

Trying to be taken seriously as a dramatic actor while also battling his demons in the late 90s, Robert Downey Jr. gave a stellar performance as the original king of physical comedy, Charlie Chaplin.

Advertisement

Seriously, some of these next ones are uncanny…

Advertisement

[page-break]

Advertisement

Advertisement

Faye Dunaway – Joan Crawford

10 Actors Who Attempted To Mimic Hollywood Legends
Paramount

Based on the tell-all book of the same name (which is considered by many to basically be libel), Mommie Dearest saw Faye Dunaway playing one of the biggest and most controversial actresses of all time. Unfortunately, critics were not kind to Dunaway’s over-the-top take on the late, great Joan Crawford.

Advertisement

Jessica Lange – Frances Farmer

10 Actors Who Attempted To Mimic Hollywood Legends
EMI Films

A controversial actress with a tumultuous personal life, Jessica Lange was basically the perfect choice for the role of equally-controversial 1930s actress Frances Farmer. Unfortunately, much like Farmer, Lange soon found herself blacklisted from Hollywood thanks to her issues.

Advertisement

Jim Carrey – Andy Kaufman

10 Actors Who Attempted To Mimic Hollywood Legends
Universal

Jim Carrey won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his portrayal of strange and beloved comedian Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon, and it’s not hard to see why. Carrey embodies Kaufman for the entire movie, from his weird mannerisms to his voice.

Ray Liotta – Frank Sinatra

10 Actors Who Attempted To Mimic Hollywood Legends
HBO

Always one to play classic wiseguys, Liotta was a perfect fit for the role of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, in the made-for-TV movie The Rat Pack. The movie featured plenty of recognizable character actors as the titular legends of music and film, including Joe Mantegna as Dean Martin and Don Cheadle as Sammy Davis Jr., but Liotta absolutely steals the show.

Cate Blanchett – Katharine Hepburn

10 Actors Who Attempted To Mimic Hollywood Legends
Miramax

You’d need a real titan of an actress to play one of the most influential and revered actresses of all time, and thankfully for Martin Scorsese when he was casting for The Aviator, Cate Blanchett was available. Like many of Blanchett’s roles, she disappears into the character of Katharine Hepburn, to the point that it’s easy to forget it’s not actually her.

Kurt Russell – Elvis Presley

10 Actors Who Attempted To Mimic Hollywood Legends
Dick Clark Productions

Before they paired up for the triple-punch of Escape From New York, The Thing and Big Trouble In Little China, John Carpenter directed Kurt Russell in this made-for-TV biopic about The King himself. While it’s still pretty obviously Kurt Russell, the moves, fashion and performances are all classic Elvis, and it’s a great watch.

Did you have a favorite moment of an actor playing another actor? Let us know in the Facebook comments!

Emma C
Freelance Writer