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When a character on a TV show shares a detail of their heritage, upbringing, and backstory with the actor playing them.

When this material and information is written to be a vital part of the character and story, it runs into Meta Casting.

When this goes from a minor detail to the focus of the story, it can be an example of Real Life Writes the Plot.

A subtrope of Actor Allusion. Compare The Danza, where the character and the actor share a name.

Examples of Actor Shared Background include:
  • Abed on Community is half-Polish, as is his actor, Danny Pudi.
    • After Annie's Informed Judaism in "Comparative Religion", some people were under the impression that they were just assigning religions arbitrarily to satisfy the study group's Five-Token Band status. However, in reality, Allison Brie got her start playing at the Southern California Jewish Community Center.
      • Likewise, Donald Glover was raised Jehovah's Witness.
      • We can assume, however, that Chevy Chase is not in a cult that seems to be a bizarre combination of Scientology, Buddhism, and Instrumentality.
      • Yvette Nicole Brown is a committed Christian, however, if probably less abrasive about it than Shirley often is.
  • Doctor Pierre Chang on Lost shares the same French-first-name Chinese-last-name formula as his actor, Francois Chau.
    • Jack Shepard went to Columbia University, as did Matthew Fox.
  • On Glee, similar to the Lost example, we have Tina Cohen-Chang (Chinese/Jewish), played by Jenna Ushkowitz.
  • Also on Glee, you can briefly see Kurt Hummel's birthday when he fills out a college application. It's the same month and date as Chris Colfer's, though Kurt is three years younger.
  • Max Klinger from Mash was from Toledo, Ohio, as was his actor, Jamie Farr.
  • In Full House, John Stamos's character's name changed from Jesse Cochran (generic) to Jesse Katsopolis (Greek) after the 1st season. His family when they come to visit is also very Greek.
  • In Scotland, PA, Lt. McDuff (played by Christopher Walken) mentions offhand that he used to be a professional dancer.
  • Number Six in The Prisoner gives his exact date and time of birth -- one of the only times in the series he volunteers any information. The date and time in question in fact belonged to Patrick McGoohan.
  • In Power Rangers, Catherine Sutherland, Amy Jo Johnson's replacement, played Katherine Hillard, also an Aussie (who doesn't know martial arts at first).
    • In SPD, Matt Austin played Bridge Carson, who was also Jewish.
  • On Chuck, Vik Sahay (born in Ontario)'s character Lester is revealed to have come from Saskatchewan.
  • On the same token, How I Met Your Mother's Robin Scherbatsky is played by Cobie Smulders, both of whom are Canadian.
  • Many of Adam Sandler's characters in his films are Jewish, just like Sandler himself.
  • Vince Vaughn's characters in The Break Up, Couples Retreat and The Dilemma live in Chicago, just like Vaughn himself.
  • On The Vampire Diaries, Katerina Petrova is Bulgarian and so is Nina Dobrev, the actress who plays her.
  • At least two of Richard Dean Anderson's characters. MacGyver and Stargate's Jack O'Neill are both from Minnesota, same as Anderson.
  • From Star Trek the Original Series, Leonard "Bones" McCoy is from Toccoa, Georgia... just like actor DeForest Kelley.
  • In Star Trek the Next Generation, Geordi La Forge is a Military Brat and has an ambiguously French name like his actor LeVar Burton (the name bit, however, is more of a fun coincidence, as the character was named after a fan of the original series and LeVar is a contraction of the actor's birth name).
  • On Criminal Minds, Dr. Spencer Reid hails from Las Vegas and performs magic tricks as a hobby, just like the actor portraying him, Matthew Gray Gubler.
  • Iron Man actor Robert Downey, Jr. has some slight similarities to Tony Stark's life: a history of partying and drug-use... while also being one of the finest in his craft when he gets his act together.
    • Similarly, remove the "partying" part of that and he's a bit similar to Sherlock Holmes as well.
  • Part of a Lampshade Hanging in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. The (English) Cary Elwes points out that "Unlike some Robin Hoods, I speak with an English accent!", a Take That to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
  • Done backwards in the case of James Bond. Bond's Scottish ancestry was added into his history by Ian Fleming because of Sean Connery's portrayal of him.
  • Parminder Nagra's real life leg scar (and how she got it) was added to the script of Bend It Like Beckham.
  • When Cordelia fell into a pit and was impaled by a rebar in an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", she was just following in the footsteps (or was that footfalls?) of the actress who portrayed her-Charisma Carpenter had something very similar happen to her when she was young.
  • Most of the characters in Neon Genesis Evangelion have the same birthday as their original Japanese voice actor.
  • Most of Fran Fine's backstory on The Nanny is identical to star Fran Drescher's own life. Lived in Queens, graduated from Hillcrest High (with Ray Romano/Ray Barone,) parents named Sylvia and Morty, sister named Nadine, the list goes on and on.
  • Gary Sinise and Mac Taylor are both originally from Chicago,Illinois. Sinise's partial Irish heritage was also incorporated particularly with Mac's middle name, though it isn't the same as the actor's.
    • Melina Kanakaredes and her Greek character Stella both speak the language fluently (Melina is the child of Greek immigrants)
    • Carmine Giovinazzo's past of aspiring to a professional baseball career and then being sidelined by an arm injury was incorporated into Danny Messer's backstory. Rather naturally, the actor's Italian ethnicity was also incorporated.
    • Vanessa Ferlito is originally from New York, like her character Aiden Burn.
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