Actors who appear only in photographs

Catching up on my DVR I saw two examples of actors who did not return to a series but were shown in photographs. In Luther there was a picture of Alice Morgan. In Heroes Reborn it was the cheerleader. Do the actors get paid to use their photograph? Can they refuse to let it be used? Is it different from case to case? I know the two examples I saw would probably be very different since one is on BBC.

Interesting idea! First one to pop into my mind was John Forsythe in Charlie’s Angels. Was he ever more than a voice and a photo in that show?

In that case, he got paid, since he was voicing the role.

Isaiah Washington, who played Preston Burke for the first three seasons* on Grey’s Anatomy, got upset when a “newspaper clipping” showing his face was used in a S04, E14, lawyers were called, etc.

Apparently, his people never noticed that they re-used a wide shot clip from an earlier show that has him walking across the hospital walkway bridge in S04, E04.

  • See this for why he was fired.

Denholm Elliott appeared as a statue in the latest Indiana Jones movie. I think there was a picture too, though.

In the original 70s series I don’t remember there ever being a picture of him. There were cutaway ‘scenes’ of him speaking on the other end of the phone line always surrounded by scantily clad beauties, but they only showed the back of his head. And I can guarantee it was not actually Forsythe but merely a stand-in.

There was an episode were Charlie gets kidnapped. He explains it happening in the opening scene, again over the speakerphone. I don’t remember seeing it, but even thought the ‘Angels’ wind up saving him they somehow maintained the gag that nobody ever actually saw him the whole time*!*

Michael Gambon appeared in a painting as Dumbledore after the character died.

Actors and models all sign some kind of a contract/release to give permission for their image to be used. The details of what can be used, where it can be used, and whether any additional compensation is required would vary from one case to another. It’s a negotiation between the producer and the talent (and their agents).

It’s very common for releases to be quite broadly worded, even including the use of images, voice and video in promotional releases, making-of and DVD extras without additional compensation. (Or, perhaps with compensation, at a rate defined in the contract.)

If the producer wanted to re-use footage or photos for a purpose not covered in the original release, then they would need a separate release to be signed. Presumably there’d be additional compensation involved as well.

He also appeared in the movie and the painting is somewhat moving.

Buffalo Bill’s first victim in Silence of the Lambs was only shown in pictures. Starling found polaroids of her in her bedroom, they were hidden in a music box.

Sheryl Lee in Twin Peaks, although she might have been in a flashback or two.

Martin Milner in the unsuccessful Route 66 relaunch.

Only slightly related…Michael Sarrazin only appears in a photo at the end of “The life and times of Judge Roy Bean”

Jock Ewing in Dallas appeared as a painting in many of the episodes after Jim Davis died.