Fake Shemp or simply, "Shemp," is the term for someone who appears in a film as a replacement for another actor or person. Their appearance is disguised using methods such as heavy make-up, filming from the back, or perhaps only showing an arm or a foot.
The term references the comedy trio The Three Stooges. In 1955, Stooge Shemp Howard died suddenly of a heart attack. At the time, the Stooges still had four shorts left to deliver (Rumpus in the Harem, Hot Stuff, Scheming Schemers, and Commotion on the Ocean), by the terms of their annual contract with Columbia Pictures. By this point in the trio's career, budget cuts at Columbia had forced them to make heavy use of stock footage from previously completed shorts anyway, so they were able to complete the films without Shemp. New footage was filmed of the other two Stooges (Moe Howard and Larry Fine) and edited together with stock footage. When continuity required that Shemp appear in these new scenes, they used Shemp's stand-in Joe Palma to be a body double for him, often appearing only from behind or with an object obscuring his face. Palma became the original "Fake Shemp," although the term was not officially in use at the time.
The Stooge films 
Rumpus in the Harem 
For Rumpus in the Harem, Palma is seen from the back several times. The first time occurs in the restaurant when Moe declares that the trio must do something to help their sweethearts. Larry then concludes the conversation by saying "I've got it, I've got it!" Moe inquires with "What?" Larry replies, "a terrific headache!" Later, Palma is seen from the back being chased in circles by the palace guard. A few lines of dialogue appear — "Whoa, Moe, Larry! Moe, help!" — by dubbing Shemp's voice from the soundtracks of Fuelin' Around and Blunder Boys. Palma was later seen from the side when staring up at the Harem girls (they allowed half his face to be shown because he was farther from the camera than Moe or Larry).
Palma is seen one final time, making a mad dash for the open window, and supplying his own yell before making the final jump. This was one of the few times during his tenure as Shemp's double that Palma was required to speak without the aid of dubbing.
Hot Stuff 
For Hot Stuff, Palma is seen several times. The first time occurs when the Stooges, disguised in beards, are trolling through office hallways. Moe instructs Shemp to pursue a suspicious looking girl, to which Palma grunts "Right!" He then walks off-camera, allowing Moe and Larry to finish the scene by themselves. This is the only time Palma allowed his face to be seen on-camera. As he was purposely wearing a beard, his face is successfully concealed.
Later, Palma is seen from the back while the boys are locked in the laboratory. Palma attempts to imitate Shemp's famed cry of "Heep, heep, heep!". Again, Moe directs Shemp, this time to guard the door. Palma obliges, mutters a few additional "Heep, heep, heeps!," and conveniently hides behind the door. This was another one of the few times during his tenure as Shemp's double that Palma was required to speak without the aid of dubbing.
Scheming Schemers 
For Scheming Schemers, Palma appears for the shot of "Shemp" honking a truck horn. Palma then gathers several pipes, obstructing his face. Palma then gets a line of dialogue—"Hold yer horses, will ya?"—by dubbing in Shemp's voice from the soundtrack of The Ghost Talks.
Commotion on the Ocean 
For Commotion on the Ocean, Palma appears in only one new shot during the newspaper office scene. After Larry says, "Oh, I know Smitty: 'Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smitty stands'," Moe slaps him. Palma gets involved in the slapstick exchange and shields himself in defense, obstructing his face. Other new footage throughout the film consists of Moe and Larry working as a duo, often discussing Shemp's absence aloud:
- Moe: "I wonder what became of that Shemp?"
- Larry: "You know he went on deck to scout out some food."
- Moe: "Oh, yeah. That's right."
First usage 
Aspiring filmmaker Sam Raimi, a professed Stooges fan, coined the term in his first feature-length movie The Evil Dead. Most of his crew and cast abandoned the project after major delays (mostly due to budget issues) pushed production well beyond the scheduled six weeks. He was forced to use himself, his die-hard friends Bruce Campbell, Rob Tapert, Josh Becker, assistant David Goodman, and brother Ted Raimi as "fake Shemps".
Sam Raimi's later productions in film and TV have also often used the term to refer to stand-ins or nameless characters. For example, 15 fake Shemps were included in the credits for Army of Darkness, Raimi's second sequel to The Evil Dead. The description is sometimes modified in the final credits; in Darkman, Bruce Campbell's quick cameo in the final scene is credited as "Final Shemp", and Campbell was also credited as "Shemp Wooley" (a pun on singer Sheb Wooley) when doing the voice of "Jean-Claude the Carrier Parrot" in the short-lived TV series Jack of All Trades.
- There have been many Fake Shemps over the years. The most notable ones are Bruce Campbell, A. L. Bakst, and Ted Raimi, who have Fake Shemped frequently throughout their careers and have had Fake Shemp cameos in nearly all of Raimi’s movies, most notably in the Spider-Man franchise. Campbell is known to Fake Shemp in many Coen brothers movies. The Coens were involved in the editing process of The Evil Dead.
- In Superman II, there is a Fake Shemp standing in for Gene Hackman during scenes director Richard Lester re-shot in order to earn full director's credit after Richard Donner was fired during production. Hackman refused to come back and re-shoot scenes upon hearing of Donner's firing.
- Most of the scenes in Trail of the Pink Panther that have Inspector Clouseau in them are actually pieces of reused or previously unused footage from previous films in the series with its star, Peter Sellers, who died two years before the film's release. The last scene, which contains new footage of Clouseau, shows him from the back.
- In Back to the Future Part II and Part III, scenes with George McFly in them are either shots recycled from the first film, or Jeffrey Weissman wearing prosthetics while being filmed from the back, upside-down, or while wearing sunglasses. Original actor Crispin Glover did not return for the sequels due to contract disagreements.
- Bruce Lee was replaced by a number of Fake Shemps in Game of Death and Game of Death 2, both of which were released posthumously using combinations of stock and original footage of Lee and body doubles. In one scene, the director resorted to creating Lee's "reflection" by pasting a photo of Lee to a mirror.
- After the death of Brandon Lee on the set of The Crow, the film, still unfinished at the time, was completed with a stand-in and computer-generated visuals.
- Plan 9 From Outer Space famously used an obvious stand in for Bela Lugosi who had died two years before filming began. Test footage of him shot by director Ed Wood for a different movie was used as the basis for this movie, and to finish the scenes, Wood's wife's chiropractor Tom Mason was used. He was a foot taller, and held a cape over his face for the remainder of the movie.
- A CGI fake shemp of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was used in the 2009 film Terminator Salvation in the scenes featuring the T-800 model 101 terminator, not only because this specific terminator was intended to look identical to the one that appeared in the first film and Schwarzenegger was too old to play the role, but also because he was the governor of California by then. This fake shemp was played by Roland Kickinger. If Schwarzenegger had decided not to lend his appearance to the film, then John Connor would have shot the T-800's face off before the audience got a good look at him.
- In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, director Peter Jackson briefly fills in for Sean Astin in the role of Samwise Gamgee for a few seconds, as Astin was unable to do the shot due to filming another scene elsewhere. Only Jackson's arm appears.
- Lenburg, Jeff; Howard Maurer, Joan; Lenburg, Greg; (1982). The Three Stooges Scrapbook, Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-0946-5
- Seely, Peter; Pieper, Gail W. (2007). Stoogeology: Essays on the Three Stooges. McFarland. p. 78. ISBN 0-7864-2920-8.
- David Germain (Aug 10, 2004). "Should the Stooges get a little brighter?; New DVD lets viewers see colourized version Modern directors decry new-look numbskulls". Toronto Star. p. D.08.
- Campbell, Bruce; (2001). If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor, St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-24264-6
- staff (February 19, 1993). "A Trip Into the Macabre With 3 Stooges". Philadelphia Inquirer. p. 03 (weekend features section).
- Fake Shemp at TV Tropes
- What is a Fake Shemp?
- credits for Evil Dead I (lists 18 Fake Shemps)
- credits for Evil Dead II (lists 6 Fake Shemps)
- credits for Evil Dead III -- Army of Darkness (lists 16 Fake Shemps)
- credits for The Quick and the Dead (lists Bruce Campbell as Wedding Shemp)
- credits for Darkman(lists Bruce Campbell as Final Shemp)
- credits for Jack of All Trades (listing Shemp Wooley)
- Urban Dictionary
See also Dark Horse Comic, AOD #2 of 3, interview with Bruce Campbell