Based on a True Story: 7 People Who Cameoed in Their Own Biopic

Many great movies happen to be biopics taking real people’s stories and putting them on the big screen. But many viewers probably don’t know is that they have seen the people these movies were inspired by. Hollywood loves giving cameos to their muses. Here are seven people who had a cameo in their own biopic that you probably missed.

 1. Chris Gardener in The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness
Source: Columbia Pictures Corporation

The movie shows Christopher Gardner played by Will Smith falling down on hard times and becoming homeless all while raising a young son. He later picks himself back up by becoming stockbroker and more. In the very last scene of the movie walking past Will Smith and little Jayden. The movie is based on his memoir, The Pursuit of Happyness. According to his website, he is a motivational speaker and is the founder and CEO of Gardner Rich & Co.

 2. Jordan Belfort in The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street
Source: Paramount Pictures

The Scorsese film is about Jordan Belfort becoming a wealthy stock broker through corruption and fraud. The man behind Leonardo DiCaprio’s character can be seen at the end of the movie introducing DiCaprio’s character as a motivational speaker to an audience. After serving 22 months for money laundering and fraud, the real Jordan Belfort did become a motivational speaker who focuses on persuasion to improve people’s businesses and personal lives, according to his website.

 3. Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich

Erin Brochovich
Source: Universal Pictures

Julia Roberts plays Erin Brochovich, a single mother who becomes a legal assistant and takes down a power company that is polluting the water of a city. The titular character of the movie also got her few seconds on film as the waitress named Julia. According to her website, she is currently a Consumer Advocate fighting for people who have suffered from a medical or pharmaceutical device, environmental contaminant, and more.

 4. Jim Lovell in Apollo 13

Apollo 13
Source: Universal Pictures

The movie brings the story of spacecraft being damaged and threatening the lives of three astronauts. NASA then has to work hard to bring them home safely. Tom Hanks plays astronaut Jim Lovell. But they also got the real deal to come on screen as the captain of the USS Iwo Jima, the naval vessel that rescues the crew once they splash down to Earth. Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger’s book, Lost Moon helped inspire the movie’s screenplay, according to IMDb.

 5. Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can

Frank Abagnale Jr.
Source: DreamWorks SKG

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale Jr., a conman who took millions of dollars by pretending to be a pilot, doctor, and more. So what is it like to basically send yourself to jail on camera? Abagnale knows! The man, Leonardo DiCaprio portrays conning millions of dollars can be seen as a French police officer arresting him. After his conning days, he worked with financial institutions and consulted with them about how to find forgery, embezzlement, and how to secure documents, according to his website.

6. Larry Flynt in The People vs. Larry Flynt

Larry Flynt
Source: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Woody Harrelson portrays Larry Flynt, an American publisher of porn who has a series of court cases to defend the right to publish his work. These resulted in his work along with many others after him being protected under the First Amendment. The real Larry Flynt plays the rude judge on one of Flynt’s obscenity trials. According to his website, he’s a free speech activist and Chairman of Hustler.

7. Cleve Jones in Milk

Cleve Jones
Source: Focus Features

The movie follows the story of Harvey Milk played by Sean Penn fighting for gay rights and becoming the first gay elected official.  Harvey meets Cleve Jones played by Emile Hirsch and begins to mentor him. The real Cleve Jones plays Don Amador and can be seen in the background when Milk is giving a speech. According to his website, he is still a human rights activist, author, lecturer, and organizer of the hospitality workers’ union.

Follow Nicole on Twitter @nikkibernice

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