The Goldbergs is one of only two TV shows that I can think of that features fictionalized versions of real, living people. Adam F. Goldberg, the narrator and star of the show, is still alive, as are his brother Barry and mother Bev. He also has a living older brother, Eric, who isn’t portrayed on the show; TV Adam has a fictionalized sister (Erica) instead.
The other one is The Kids Are Alright, which is basically The Goldbergs but Catholic instead of Jewish, SoCal instead of Philly, 70’s instead of 80’s. The main character/narrator is obviously still alive, since he’s in an office in L.A. somewhere writing new episodes of the show even as these words are being typed. I’m sure at least some of his brothers, possibly even his parents, are still alive as well.
Picket Fences once had blowhard defense lawyer Douglas Wambaugh argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The actors who played the justices in the oral-argument scene were pretty close to the real thing - including a meticulous, tiny little RBG.
In the same genre as the two in the OP, and Waldo Pepper’s suggestion of Fresh Off the Boat - fictionalizing the creator’s childhood - is Everybody Loves Chris, where Chris Rock does it. (Which predated all of the above.)
If we don’t require more than one character have a close real-life counterpart (ie: sharing the name, personality, and significant biographical aspects), Jerry Seinfeld did it in Seinfeld, and his co-creator Larry David does it on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
They did it on a few episodes of Friends – of the top of my head, Isabella Rossellini and Jean-Claude Van Damme both played fictionalized versions of themselves. However, I’m not sure if it meets the OP’s requirements if the actual person is playing themselves.
Taking the OP means alive when the show aired, it was pretty common in the 1950s and 1960’s.
The most well known is *I Love Lucy * (1951-1957) starred Desi Arnez and Lucille Ball as the Ricky and Lucy Ricardo. Desi was a big band leader on the show and in real life. And when Lucy was pregnant with their second child, Desi Jr., she was also pregnant on the show and the original episode was aired the same day she gave birth to him (via C-section).
There was also:
The Jack Benny Show
The Danny Thomas Show / Make Room For Daddy
The Joey Bishop Show
The Burns and Allen Show
They all played fictionalized versions of their real selves, sometimes with the same or similar professions.
The Andy Griffith Show was based on Andy Giffith’s comedy act.
Then there was It’s Garry Shandling’s Show (1986-1990) where make-believe and reality was heavily blurred.
"The 30-minute series stars Garry Shandling as, more or less, himself: A neurotic, somewhat self-obsessed stand-up comedian who just happens to be aware he is a television sitcom character. Garry spends just as much time interacting with the studio audience as he does the regular cast members, offering up opening monologues and show-closing summations of the episode’s events (much like George Burns on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show). However, on Garry’s show, all the supporting characters know they are on a TV show, not just Garry; and the studio audience is often in the storyline.
At the time of the series’ production, Shandling actually lived in Sherman Oaks, California, just like the character on the series. His condominium on the series was styled to be just like his real-life condo, down to the room layout and the furnishings."
Ohh…and of course Mister Rogers Neighborhood where Fred Rogers was just being himself on a TV set. As I think about it, it was brilliant of him to create the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” in which he voices many of the characters himself. A real person, playing himself on a a TV set, creating an imaginary Kingdom where he voiced most of the puppet characters himself. Mind-blowing! :eek:
The Untouchables centered around Elliot Ness (who passed before the original novel was published) and his men going after real life 1930’s gangsters, some who were still alive at the time of the filming.
The various Law and Order series often take real life news and creates stories around them. I generally like the various series, but I can’t bear to watch the one obviously based on Anna Nichole Smith and her son.
In a roundabout way, the characters of MAS*H and many other wartime series are based on real people and their experiences, sometimes having multiple people portrayed by a single character.
If you ask Allison DuBois, she’ll tell you that she’s a medium who’s used her special powers to help the authorities solve crimes in Arizona, where she was employed by the district attorney’s office. And it’s true that the character of Allison DuBois on Medium would, in fact, also say that.