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An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone:
- Entertainment: An entertainer impersonates a celebrity, generally for entertainment, and makes fun of their personal lives, recent scandals and known behavior patterns. Especially popular objects of impersonation are Elvis (see Elvis impersonator), Michael Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Lenin. Entertainers who impersonate multiple celebrities as part of their act, can be sorted into impressionists and celebrity impersonators.
- Crime: As part of a criminal act such as identity theft. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information, or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors.
- Decoys, used as a form of protection for political and military figures. This involves an impersonator who is employed (or forced) to perform during public appearances, to mislead observers.
- Sowing discord, causing people to fight, or dislike each other for social, business or political gain.
Celebrity impersonators are entertainers who look similar to celebrities and dress in such a way as to imitate them. Impersonators are known as look-alikes, impressionists, imitators tribute artists and wannabees. The interest may have originated with the need or desire to see a celebrity who has died. One of the most prominent examples of this phenomenon is the case of Elvis Presley. There are claimed to be more Elvis impersonators and tribute artists in the world than for any other celebrity.
- Moin Akhter
- Joe Alaskey has impersonated Jackie Gleason and Mel Blanc
- Rory Bremner
- Steve Bridges
- Reggie Brown
- Frank Caliendo
- Jim Carrey
- Dana Carvey
- Marc Dreier
- Jimmy Fallon (does regular impersonations, but better known for impersonating famous singers)
- Will Ferrell
- Tina Fey
- David Frye
- Mikheil Gelovani portrayed Joseph Stalin at least a dozen times in film in their lifetimes
- Darrell Hammond
- Hal Holbrook has portrayed Mark Twain
- Jay Jason
- Clay Jenkinson portrays Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, Theodore Roosevelt and Robert Oppenheimer and others.
- Val Kilmer has portrayed Mark Twain
- Jan Leighton, famous for his impersonations of historical figures
- Rich Little, called "The Man of a Thousand Voices"
- Vaughn Meader
- El Moreno Michael
- Mike Randall has portrayed Mark Twain and Charles Dickens
- Stevie Riks
- Kevin Spacey
- Aries Spears
- Larry Storch
- Joe Wiegand portrays 26th US President, Theodore Roosevelt
- Robin Williams
- Shafaat Ali
- Javijay Sachan
- Sunil Grover
Although in a recent case, an immigrant was charged with "criminal impersonation" for using another person's social security number when signing up for a job, some courts have ruled that this is not an actual crime. The ruling hinges on whether there was harm to the other person.
- Police impersonation
- Soundboard, victim soundboard
- Tribute act
- Shi (personator), in the Chinese ancestor ritual: a figure impersonating ancestors
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Impersonators.|
- "Impersonator". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
- Baker, Bob (March 3, 2005). "King of Pop impersonator star of E! trial re-enactment". The Seattle Times.
- Using false S.S. number not impersonation (UPI)