Great writers not only entertain and edify, they touch us to the core and enlarge our vision of the world. Oh, also, sometimes they look like other people. Below is a compilation of our Author Look-Alike posts:
Here's Georges Perec and Daniel Stern, for example:
“All the great ones leave their mark. We’re the wet bandits.”
Someone get Honore de Balzac a perm and a luchador mask. He’d make as good a Nacho Libre as Jack Black:
Orhan Pamuk and Rick Steves aren’t an exact match, I’ll admit, but they have enough in common—the semi-shaggy “dad” haircut, the “don’t notice my glasses” glasses, the affable and harmless expression—for the one to remind me of the other:
Ah, George Eliot. Great author, but not exactly a looker, huh? Sadly, the closest match I could find for that schnoz was F. Murray Abraham:
The hair, the dramatic pose, the fact that she’s a little past her prime… alright Mr. DeMille, Katherine Anne Porter’s ready for her close-up:
V.S Naipaul is a celebrated Trinidadian Indian, but those big jowls and heavy eyelids remind me a bit of my favorite fictional American Indian, Kicking Bird from Dances With Wolves (Graham Greene):
Here are beloved children’s author A.A. Milne and actor Ralph Fiennes. One gave us Winnie the Pooh, the other gave us Lord Voldemort:
With his low-set, bushy eyebrows and big ears, J.R.R. Tolkien isn’t a bad match for the Lloyd Bridges of “Hot Shots Part Deux” vintage:
It took me a long time to think of who T.S. Eliot reminded me of, but take a look at this side-by-side and tell me you’re not concocting theories about Rowan Atkinson being his love child:
A young Peter Orlovsky looks like he could have lit “the world on FAH-EE-UH” years before the idea struck Fun’s lead vocalist (Nate Ruess):
Playwright Tennessee Williams isn’t a bad match for Clark Gable... if you gave Clark a few pounds and a receding hairline, that is:
And how about Ivan Turgenev? Give the man a shave and a haircut and he could have played Mr. Matuschek or the Wizard of Oz as well as Frank Morgan:
And for an interesting twist, how about a writer that looks like another writer? I give you Dashiell Hammett and William Faulkner (cross reference with William Faulkner and Dashiell Hammett). Seriously, the only discernible difference between them is that one obviously uses a Flowbee:
Another writer-to-writer doppelganger: I give you a young Thomas Mann and Australia’s only Nobel Laureate, Patrick White:
And for the fans of Mad Men (and tortoiseshell specs), here’s Truman Capote and Lane Pryce (Jared Harris):
The narrow-set eyes under a straight, low brow hovering over a long nose and pursed lips… I’d say O Henry bears an undeniable resemblance to that dude from NBC's "Parenthood" (Sam Jaeger):
And while we’re on the subject of hit tv shows, can anyone tell me that Mary Shelley doesn’t have a little Lady Edith Crawley in her? Eyes, nose, lips- it’s almost spooky:
And here’s Ambrose Bierce, a writer who disappeared mysteriously during the Mexican American War. Perhaps he found the Fountain of Youth that Ponce de Leon never could, and resurfaced some years later as actor Tom Skerritt:
Joseph Heller’s wooly coiffure and playfully squinting eyes conjure up images of a pudgy Art Garfunkel. Like a bridge over troubled water, he will lay him down:
And doesn’t off-beat children’s author Roald Dahl remind you just a little bit of that quirky speech pathologist of the late king of England (Geoffrey Rush)?
And when you look at Margaret Atwood, don’t you half expect her to bring the house down in a Streisandian rendition of “Memories?” Because I do:
Then there’s Grace Paley. Keeping it real, no pretension, no time to brush her hair. She’s just gettin’ stuff done, a la Mrs. Weasley from the Harry Potter movies:
And since we’ve crossed over into the world of fantasy films, let’s examine Lord of the Flies author William Golding. He looks a bit like Lord of the Rings hero Gandalf, eh... three months after chemotherapy:
Though they don’t share the same hairline, there’s enough evidence in the eyes and mouth that proves Erich Maria Remarque enjoyed "Being John Malkovich" long before that movie became a hit:
High foreheard, low eyebrows, and piercing eyes- Jules Verne was his generation's Russel Crowe - plus a couple months of beard growth:
Alexandre Dumas. He's portly, he's got a sly expression and lots of thick hair- you can almost picture him walking into his local basement-level watering hole to a merry chorus of “Norm!”:
And E.M. Forster? The first person who comes to mind when I look at that dude is Macy’s smarmy in-house psychologist from “Miracle on 34th Street” (Porter Hall):
Kind of makes you want to rap him on the head with your cane, doesn't it?
We probably have to deal with David Foster Wallace and his persistent bandana at some point. Take away the scruff, the half-smirk, the glasses and about thirty years, and DFW could be reborn as Danny Laruso, AKA the Karate Kid:
Okay, that comparison was a little forced. But, just try to tell me I’m stretching with this one. Young DFW and a young Ben Affleck:
Dark hair, slim face, deep-set eyes, how about Joyce Carol Oates and "The Shining"-era Shelly Duvall?
Or Hermann Hesse and the Nazi from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? (Insert your own Arian race joke here):
This one will be seen as unkind, but I can only call them like I see them. I think an aging Isak Dinesen, AKA Karen Blixen, is a dead ringer for Margaret Hamilton, AKA the Wicked Witch of the West:
"I’ll get you, my pretty... at the foot of the Ngong Hills."
The almond-shaped eyes with the little crease underneath, the rounded eyebrows and flawless complexion… they might hail from geographical antipodes, but I think it’s safe to say there’s a little Ashley Judd in Jhumpa Lahiri:
And how about a very young Margaret Mitchell? With those cheekbones and that ultra-serious gaze, she reminds me more than a little of Olivia Wilde:
Another certified looker in her youth, Pearl Buck matured into an amiable Aunt Bee type in her later years:
Now, this kind of match is rare. Look at the hairline, the eyebrows, the ears, the nose, the heavy eyelids- heck, look at everything but that beard and tell me Herman Melville and Hugh Grant aren’t one and the same:
Jack Kerouac bears a striking resemblance to Clive Owen.
And with the bags under his eyes and the plump, playful jowels, who can deny that Roland Barthes has got a little Jon Lovitz in him?
Jean-Paul Sartre's prominent laugh lines and funky lips brought Steve Buscemi to mind...
Still don't see it? Have a gander at those eyes. Zut alors!
No single writer has had more artsy, black-and-white publicity stills taken of him than Samuel Beckett. The near flat-top, the sunglasses, the futuristic, otherworldly quality of his portraits- all say one thing to me: This is what an octogenarian Max Headroom would look like. Am I wrong?:
Ay-oh, Oh-ay! Look at those deep-set eyes and pouty lips. The only difference between Virginia Woolf and Judith Light is a hairdryer and a little makeup. (And probably a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.)
Here's Tobias Wolff and Richard Dreyfuss. Wolff absolutely dominates with that mustache, but Dreyfuss has the edge on scalp coverage and protruding chest hair. Otherwise not a shabby match:
Facial hair, heavy eyelids, and prominent eyebrows... a skinny Alfred Molina matches Marcel Proust feature for feature:
Two words came into my head when I saw this picture of D.H. Lawrence: Daniel Faraday. A concerned and bearded Jeremy Davies is right about spot on:
Here's T.C. Boyle and Terrence Stamp. Kneel before Zod!!
Though he's cast in shadow here, there’s something in the laugh lines, angled eyebrows and prominent cheekbones of Aldous Huxley, that reminds me an awful lot of a young Frank Sinatra:
Or how about Ivan Doig and old man Marley from "Home Alone" (Roberts Blossom). Give either one of these guys a snowshovel, galoshes and a garbage can full of salt, and it would scare the crap out of me:
I’ll admit this one’s not an exact likeness, but work with me here: focus first on the lips…
…and then on the concerned-eyebrow face, and try to tell me there’s no resemblance between Jonathan Franzen and Rick Moranis:
And while we're on the subject of crazy eyebrows and exact likenesses, did anyone ever see Robert Frost and Andy Rooney in the same room together? Ever?
Some might say Nathaniel Branden is the “heir” to Ayn Rand. Others will argue for Alan Greenspan. Me? Steve Buscemi all the way:
Here's a short-haired Nathan Englander and Robert Downey Jr.:
But not to be outdone, long-haired Nathan Englander teams up with saxophonist KennyG:
Then there’s Franz Kafka and that kid from “Hook” (Charlie Korsmo):
And by my reckoning, the only thing separating Steven Millhauser from Larry David, is about 8 weeks of mustache:
Philip Roth strikes a “Kramer-esque” pose that might as well be Michael Richards:
And it would be easy to double-down on the "8 weeks of mustache" joke here, but out of respect for the dead I'll forego it. I give you the late Kurt Vonnegut and the late Phyllis Diller:
There’s something in the downward slope of the eyes, the highway patrolman mustache and the slight hint of a smirk that makes me think you could do a lot worse in casting a young William Faulkner than Edward Norton Jr.:
And here's an uncanny likeness. A young Ernest Hemingway looks an awful lot like 80s-era Charlie Sheen:
As for a youthful Ezra Pound? How about a goateed Jim Caviezel?:
For crusty, old Steinbeck, I think the obvious answer is Vincent Price:
And this one speaks for itself. Who could possibly make a better Gertrude Stein than Joe Pesci?
Finally, I’m not going to call this last one a “look-alike” until someone can prove that both pictures are in fact not one-and-the-same man. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear it for James Joyce, world-renowned author and banjo-playing contortionist:
Take us out, Jimmy-Jo!