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As noted in Artist Disillusionment, some writers, artists, and other creative folk just don't work well with public relations. Fans can sometimes be stupid, crazy, or just completely miss the point of the artist's work. So, who can blame him when he wants to disappear from the public eye?

A Reclusive Artist is one whom is notoriously hard to find, who goes out of their way to avoid interviews and public appearances. This trope has examples that fit into two Logical Extremes:

  • The artist disappears so completely that they are declared Legally Dead
  • The artist's very identity is unknown.

Compare and contrast Hikikomori, The Hermit, Hermit Guru. If they only unveil a single masterpiece before dropping off the radar, they're a One-Book Author or One-Hit Wonder.


Examples of Reclusive Artist include:

Real life:

 "I don't have any designs on being a screenwriter. For one thing, that would mean moving out of Northampton, and I already can't imagine that. I very seldom even leave this end of the living room. The other end of the living room is a foreign place where they do things differently, and where I feel a bit nervous."

    • He quite often does book signings and stuff like that, and he is interviewed very frequently. He just doesn't do conventions and doesn't travel abroad.
      • He did conventions, but stopped after some fan followed him into the bathroom, pestering him for an autograph.
  • Cormac McCarthy does have conversations with journalists, but he hates giving interviews, talking about his own work, or even talking about writing. The one exception was when he went on Oprah, of all things.
  • Harper Lee. Due to her age and near-total lack of public appearances, rumors have constantly circulated that she is dead, but as of April 2012 she is still with us.
    • She did emerge from seclusion long enough to be awarded the presidential medal of freedom a few years back, though.
  • Glenn Gould.
  • Lauryn Hill, critically acclaimed alternative rapper whose sole album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill remains among the greatest post-Tupac hip hop albums of all time. Her career-shattering mental breakdown pre-dated that of Britney Spears and Mariah Carey. Currently she is the mother of six children by one of Bob Marley's sons, but still remains out of the public eye. In fact, nobody even knows where she lives.
    • She does perform occasionally in concerts, but is notorious for being late (an egregious example being a December 2010 concert that started at 8:30 and she didn't show up until midnight) and performing poorly.
  • Jakob Dylan from The Wallflowers rarely gives interviews, mostly because he doesn't like being compared to his father, Bob Dylan. This is probably why their more recent albums, as well as Jakob's solo albums have seen a decline in sales since the smash hit, Bringing Down The Horse.
    • He's also very protective of his family and doesn't want his fame to interfere with the safety of them.
  • Dave Chappelle, who abruptly left his TV show in 2006 and only did a few amateur standup routines afterward (and nothing else). The film Dave Chapelle's Block Party was made before he quit.
  • Al Columbia, an independent comic artist who did macabre work such as "Doghead" and "The Biologic Show," along with the album artwork for the Postal Service's sole album Give Up. He is criticized by fans of the medium for occasionally displaying talent and having repeated long periods of inactivity in between.
  • Musician and photographer Cynthia Dall, who occasionally collaborated with her then-boyfriend Bill Callahan (Smog) on some songs and recorded two albums for Drag City, six years between each (the first of which, released in 1996, was initially completely untitled with no artist information). She died in April 2012, nearly ten years after the release of her final album.
  • Thomas Pynchon, as parodied on The Simpsons. He had a brown paper bag over his head and said "Get your picture taken with a reclusive author." Believe it or not, he was actually voiced by Thomas Pynchon (the only time his voice has been broadcasted in the media, except from another Simpsons appearance and a trailer to his novel Inherent Vice).
  • Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes. He's all but disappeared from the public eye since ending his strip in 1995, except for some very rare news articles, such as his review of a biography of Charles Schulz.
    • He is reclusive to the point where rumors were abound that he would supposedly paint pictures then burn them to prevent fans from obtaining and selling them. He was also extremely reclusive before C&H; skipping award shows and dinners in his name due to his disdain/paranoia over corporate establishments.
    • In one instance a journalist asked to interview him. He responded by running away and hiding out in a motel for several days. He refused to even answer the phone, or the answering machine message of the frustrated journalist saying "Fine, forget the interview, now would you please just go back home to your wife?"
  • The Matrix directors, the Wachowski brothers... or siblings. No one's really sure, now. They hardly even show up in the DVD special features; they are seen for like a couple of seconds. Producer Joel Silver does most of the talking for them,
  • Assuming he's still alive (a big assumption to make, under the circumstances), guitarist and songwriter for the alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers Richey James Edwards would be the one of these: he went missing in 1995 and there haven't been any confirmed sightings of him since. 13 years after he vanished, he took this trope to its Logical Extreme: he was declared "presumed deceased"--in other words, Legally Dead. The band has still been keeping his share of their royalties in a bank account since his disappearance.
  • Arguably Akira Toriyama, to the point that it was rumored he died in 1998.
  • Jeff Mangum, singer/songwriter for the legendary indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel, who has only made sporadic appearances as recently as 2008, when out of nowhere he began making regular concert appearances.
  • French Avant-Garde Black Metal band Deathspell Omega are highly secretive, few photos of the members exist and more notably, it is not known who are all the members in the band.
  • Ukrainian Black Metal band Drudkh refuse to have a proper public image. Only guitarist Roman Saenko has ever shown his face, and the band has never conducted personal interviews or preformed live, despite being one of the most respected names in modern Black Metal.
  • A lot of underground black metal bands tend to be like this. They refuse to give interviews and they refuse to have their pictures taken. Most use pseudonyms, and a small few don't even use names at all.
  • Emily Dickinson, a unique case in that eventually she rarely ever left her room, but she still had an active social life and close friends. It was even said she sent down baskets of treats for her children friends with a rope.
  • Shirow Masamune.
  • B. Traven, who took this trope to its Logical Extreme: his identity was never revealed during his lifetime and is still uncertain, as is whether the original language of his books was English or German.
  • Shane Stevens, author of the crime novels By Reason of Insanity (a precursor to The Silence of the Lambs), The Anvil Chorus and Dead City, which Stephen King called "the finest novels ever written about the dark side of the American dream." He has said of himself that, "I am very secretive...I never give interviews, stay in shadow, travel by night."
  • Greta Garbo after she retired from acting. "I want to be alone" indeed.
  • Dave Trampier, artist for much early Dungeons and Dragons material and creator of the comic strip "Wormy", disappeared sometime around 1988. He is apparently still alive but his current whereabouts are unknown. He's reportedly a taxi driver in Illinois.
  • Christopher Tolkien.
  • Jack Kerouac in his later years.
  • Michael Jackson, once he was a mega-selling solo act. It became a well-crafted part of his mystique, and when he became more available in The Nineties, culminating in the Oprah Winfrey interview in early 1993, it made headlines. Unfortunately, when the possibility arose that he was a pedophile, the reclusiveness backfired on him badly. Subsequent attempts to be more open with the public were largely failures. The 2003 documentary Living with Michael Jackson was intended to Win Back the Crowd (Martin Bashir was then most famous for a 1995 interview with Princess Diana that curried public sympathy for her), but he freely admitted in it that he still had slumber parties with children who weren't his, not realizing how badly this would be taken by the filmmakers and most of the world. He effectively wrote his career's death warrant then, and would not regain any respect until he actually died in 2009 and Dead Artists Are Better came into effect.
  • Patrick Dennis, author of Auntie Mame and other popular novels, hid behind his pseudonym all his life and, in his twilight years, maintained his anonymity by butlering in California.
  • Jack Chick, who has been interviewed exactly once since he started writing and drawing his comics in the '70s. It's been rumored that its because he's extremely paranoid.
    • Reclusive to the point that there's still uncertainty about whether his tracts reflect the way he sees the world, or he's just trolling. If they are to be taken seriously and express his world vision, then it's normal that he's paranoid. On the other hand, maybe this reclusiveness accounts for all the blatant ridiculous inaccuracies in his tracts.
  • Captain Beefheart. He still got around in painting circles, where it was clear that he was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, which caused his 2010 death.
  • Mr. Doctor of Devil Doll.
  • The experimental rock group The Residents. Nobody knows who they are. In all photos and public appearances they're in some kind of disguise, usually their trademark eyeball masks. They also refuse to be interviewed by the press, adding to their reclusive nature.
  • Buckethead is a definite example. The only known picture of him out of character is over 20 years old, and he's been giving less and less "interviews" (if you can believe it) over the past 5 or so years.
  • Katsura Hoshino, creator of D.Gray-man. Until a recent appearance, nobody even knew Katsura's gender. She's a woman.
  • Brent Spiner deliberately made himself extremely scarce for the first few years of Star Trek: The Next Generation to build a mystique around his character Data.
  • John Swartzwelder, who has written many episodes of The Simpsons as well as a few novels. Some fans even suspect that there is no real Swartzwelder, with the name covering a collaboration between two or more of the rest of the show's staff. He was apparently entrapped into a DVD commentary for the episode The Cartridge Family, but it's still unknown if this was the real Swartzwelder and he ended his appearance by denying this.
  • Jason Shiga, comic book author. He may or may not have shown up to receive his Eisner Award--the jacket blurb on one of his books claims that man was an impostor.
  • Arthur C. Clarke lived out his later years in Sri Lanka, making this a borderline case (his residence wasn't a secret, but he did assiduously avoid public appearances).
  • Jandek. No one even knows for sure what his real name is. He didn't even begin performing live until well over twenty-five years after he started his musical career.
    • Well, in any dealings with the Coorwood Industries - a record label that has never released to the public anything except Jandek, which isn't too bad considering the level of output - the checks are always signed Sterling R. Smith.
  • Tsugumi Ohba, author of Death Note, is a particularily extreme example, and by extreme we mean "we don't even know his/her gender".
    • Ohba's current series is Bakuman。, which is supposedly semi-autobiographical. The series is about a writer/artist team who publish under a single pseudonym. This has led fans to speculate that Ohba is actually two or more people (A theory made somewhat less likely when Ohba's partnership with Takeshi Obata is taken into account).
  • John Hughes, writer and/or director of such hits as National Lampoon's Vacation, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Buellers Day Off, and Home Alone shunned the media and stopped directing his films after 1993 (his last screenwriting credit was 2008's Drillbit Taylor), living in his beloved Chicago for the rest of his life until August 2009, when he went to Manhattan to see some relatives and died while walking on a sidewalk. He also left the Hollywood scene to ensure his kids won't become like the jerk bullies from his movies.
  • Seltzer and Friedberg (though calling them "artists" is a bit of a stretch) are two guys who we know practically nothing of. It's possible they're protecting themselves rather than just avoiding people.
  • Songwriter Dennis Linde, best known for Elvis Presley's "Burning Love" and the Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl", was a known recluse. He never attended awards shows, even when he won, and rarely gave interviews.
  • Syd Barrett became this after he "left" Pink Floyd.
  • ZUN, creator (and everything else) of the Touhou series, to the point where even his name isn't certain. He has done a couple of interviews though, and has a relatively high profile in Japan (especially in recent times) but he remains largely inscrutable to anyone outside the country.
  • Kate Bush. She hasn't toured for 30 years. After the released of The Red Shoes, she took a 12-year-hiatus. When her comeback album (Aerial) was released in 2005, she didn't do anything to promote it - aside from a few interviews. In 2007, she contributed a song to the soundtrack to The Golden Compass, and she dropped out of the spotlight again until the release of her two 2011 studio albums. She actually did quite a few interviews when she was younger, but she's always been very reclusive.
  • Tatsuya Ishida, creator of Sinfest and former Dark Horse Comics penciller, has had exactly one picture taken of him, has been interviewed once, and otherwise has no contact with the outside world. There is no commentary on his strips, save the increasingly cryptic "Notes from the Resistance," which hasn't updated in nigh 3 years.
  • Greg Egan, who is so reclusive that there are no photos of him on the web.
  • Terrence Malick: His contracts even stipulate that he doesn't have to do interviews and he refuses to have his picture taken. Though, later, he seems to have mellowed out somewhat; He came to Cannes (although he wasn't part of The Tree of Life panel), and has allowed people to take pictures and film of him working on his latest project.
  • The founding members of Kraftwerk are notorious for this, staying holed up in their studio in Dusseldorf for days on end. Various anecdotes of their reclusiveness have been circulating for years, such as the fact that they will only answer phone calls when the precise hour, minute and second is arranged beforehand - at which time they will answer immediately.
  • Vincent van Gogh. He had No Social Skills, and who could really blame him? Every time he went outside he was called "the redheaded madman".
  • Trevanian.
  • Hiromu Arakawa, author of Fullmetal Alchemist. There are only two known photographs of her (she's the one in the centre), both from the same award presentation - the rest of the time, she is drawn as a cow wearing glasses.
    • That said, she's seems remarkably candid about herself and her life in the intros and Omake of the volumes.
  • Rowena Farre, author of Seal Morning. When her book's popularity grew, her publisher was forced to expend considerable effort to find her. It was discovered that her real name was Lois Parr. Subsequently she published under another name. There is some disagreement concerning her date of birth--she may have been 26 or 35 when her book was published.
  • For a few years, John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers basically locked himself away in his apartment and spent most of his time doing drugs.
    • The same was true for Miles Davis.
    • Similarly, Layne Staley of Alice in Chains cut himself off from friends, family and bandmates for the last three years of his life. His body wasn't discovered until two weeks after his fatal overdose. The Rocket, a Seattle music magazine, already had his obituary written from a few years earlier. Even before his seclusion it was stated by guitarist Jerry Cantrell (one of Staley's best friends) that not hearing from Staley for months at a time was not out of the ordinary.
  • Not an artist, but a scientist, but still... Russian mathematical genius Grigori Perelman is notorious for his refusal to travel abroad to accept prestigious awards (including one with a $1,000,000 prize), or even leaving his tiny St. Petersburg apartment at all. Reportedly, he can stay indoors for weeks, shuns personal contact with other people, and refuses to speak to anyone but his mother. All of this is enough to declare him the patron saint of nerddom.
    • Pioneering physical scientist Henry Cavendish and theoretical physicist Paul Dirac were similar. Dirac preferred solitude and hated socialising, and Cavendish hated all forms of personal contact, instructing his servants to ignore his presence if they encountered him and communicate only by notes.
  • Andrew Hussie, the man behind MS Paint Adventures. This is all we know about him. He goes to conventions occasionally, but has never been asked a question about his personal life. (Or he just doesn't answer.) For all we know, a lot of signs point to the fact that he may have savant syndrome, or is perhaps simply autistic.
  • Aside from the opinions put forth on his blog, nothing else is really known about Sean Malstrom. As with Seltzer and Friedberg above, this is probably because of the havoc that would erupt if he were to make his presence known elsewhere on the internet.
  • Studio Pixel's Daisuke Amaya. He created the legendary freeware game Cave Story that later got a commercial Updated Rerelease on Wii Ware, made a few other games, gave a pair of interviews full of Shrugs Of God, and... well, that's pretty much all we know about him.
  • Shouzou Kaga, often credited as the brains behind Fire Emblem, helmed the first 5 installments of the series (from 1990 to 1999), and then abruptly left Nintendo not too long after Thracia 776's release. He then established his own studio, Tirnanog, and in 2001 made Tear Ring Saga for the PS 1, which is so literally "Fire Emblem on the PlayStation" that Nintendo sued him over it. Kaga seemed to escape the lawsuit relatively unscathed, made Berwick Saga (a semi-sequel to TearRing) in 2005, and that leads us to this trope - for all anyone knows, Kaga has fallen off the planet. To this day, nobody is quite sure why he splintered off from Nintendo, nor what he is even up to these days, and he hasn't made himself available to say anything on the matter (then again, lawsuits have a habit of prompting silence). His case is noteable as a rare instance of a high-profile Nintendo developer not only going rogue, but silent.
    • There are theories that Kaga had a falling out of some sort over Fire Emblem's future direction, bolstered by Thracia coming out for the Super Famicom in 1999 (you'll recall the N64 launched in '96), and a rather noticeable shift in style that followed in Sword of Seals, but again it's all guesswork unless Kaga feels like setting the record straight.
  • Kikiyama, creator of Yume Nikki. His (?) website isn't updated, Yume Nikki is the only game Kikiyama created.
  • Not much is known about Yu Aida, the creator of Gunslinger Girl--not even their gender.
  • Very little is known about the members of the band Black Moth Super Rainbow; all the members go by Stage Names and they rarely discuss their past in what little interviews they've done.
  • French Romantic poet Alfred de Vigny was notorious for his revulsion of public life. His self-imposed isolation and general aloofness was described by Sainte-Beuve, a famous literary critic of the time, as "withdrawing to the Ivory Tower", giving the expression its modern sense.
  • Actress Shelley Duvall, known for her role in The Shining hasn't made another movie since 2003. She is said to be highly reclusive, and odd, even going so far as to in 2007 go to a hardware store complaining she needed materials to keep the "aliens" away.
  • Thomas Harris, author of The Silence of the Lambs and its sequels and prequels.
  • John Twelve Hawks, author of the Fourth Realm trilogy, lives off the grid, has never appeared in public and oh, his name's actually a pseudonym.
  • Banksy, director of Exit Through the Gift Shop and notorious graffiti artist, makes no public appearances and has never had his identity revealed. This is certainly due to the fact that his artworks, while hugely popular and sought after, are mostly installed without permission and considered by law to be acts of criminal vandalism, for which he could be publicly prosecuted.
  • Stanley Kubrick kept working right up until his death (completing the cut of Eyes Wide Shut only a couple of days before his fatal heart attack in 1999), but he granted no interviews and made no public appearances after relocating to England in the 1960s.
    • According to his family, after the release of "Eyes Wide Shut" Kubrick fully intended to do a few television interviews to promote his film and to dispel some of the rumors about his personal life, but died before he got the chance
  • David Bowie was once as accessible a celebrity as anyone, to the point of regularly communicating with his fanbase via his official website at the Turn of the Millennium. But then he slowly became this -- his last new album was in 2003, his last tour (cut short by a heart attack) was in '04, and his last live performance was in '06. A few film/TV roles and guest appearances on other artists' albums later, and that was all. It's been years since he's granted an interview or communicated with fans; he only seems to surface for the odd premiere or charity fundraiser. In The New Tens, it is generally accepted by fans and the music press that he has quietly retired to raise his family and enjoy the fruits of his labors.
  • The Outsiders author S. E. Hinton used her initials on the book at the suggestion of her agent, who thought it would keep the book from being immediately dismissed by reviewers. She kept the name to help separate her work from her personal life. Although she makes cameos in movies based on her work, she's avoided public appearances outside of a few awards ceremonies.
  • Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman's partner-in-crime at Troma is very shy and doesn't do interviews or do any on-screen appearances on Troma DVD's (in comparison to Lloyd, who does many live and filmed appearances). He even hired one of the Troma regulars to play him when an apperance was needed.
  • Alice Cooper used to play this up in his early days as part of his "horror show" image, staying locked up in his trailer with his boa constrictor during gigs and festivals, only emerging to perform with his band. This was, of course, just an act, and one that he later dropped.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court creator Tom Siddell, like the Andrew Hussie example above, is largely a mystery. He talks about himself very little, works during the weekdays as an animator for an unknown video game company, and he lives in Birmingham. There are very few image of him on the internet, and while he attends conventions on occasion, we don't know what he looks like at all. He draws himself as a crazy looking person.
  • British singer Sade (from the eponymous band of "No Ordinary Love" fame) has rarely been seen in the public eye since the release of "Love Deluxe" in 1992. She amassed a sizable fortune, but lived in total seclusion until the release of "Soldier of Love" in 2010. To note, a Daily Mail article noted that her promotion of that album was the first set of interviews she had done in more than a decade, and that it had been eight years since she made a public appearance. She also spent most of the 2000's holed up in a mansion taking care of her daughter, and avoided any and all contact with other people.
  • Homestar Runner creators The Brothers Chaps, were quite open with their fanbase, making public appearances and even featuring their children in some shorts, but as of 2009 all but vanished with no notice or explanation. There are several rumors (with varying degrees of validity) involving a movie deal and the birth of a new Chapman.
  • While she has made a few semi-live singing appearances, and gives the occasional interview, Enya prefers to stay out of the spotlight, and very rarely appears in public. Part of this can possibly be attributed to the fact that she's had stalkers in the past, some of whom have broken into her home.
  • Henry Darger, during his life was a hospital janitor who kept mostly to himself. After his death it was discovered that he wrote a 15,000 page novel called [deep breath] The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion.
  • Irish musician and singer-songwriter Van Morrison is still not comfortable with interviews and fandom, even as he approaches his fiftieth year in the business. Viewed as a curmudgeonly old misanthrope who has not improved with age, he has variably engaged in a rolling-in-the-gutter fight with one manager, in the presence of a visibly embarrassed BBC radio team there to try and interview him; described his fans as a bunch of ignorant worthless dolts (this backstage, where he initially refused to go at all in front of a paying public who had bought the gig tickets in good faith) and given a succession of irritated interviewers stubbornly monosyllabic answers. In fact, one of the earliest interviews with a very young Morrison is preserved to this day by Ulster Television and is gleefully brought out for blooper reels. A very young interviewer called Gloria Hunniford (who later went on to a stellar career as a TV presenter and hostess of interview format shows) is seen to gush profusely at being in the presence of Belfast's answer to Mick Jagger, and to enthuse about the broodingly handsome writer and performer of groovy music (this was in 1964, when Morrison was a startlingly good-looking young man). But after that build-up, could Gloria get a word out of him other than "yes" or "no"? She cannot, but this does not stop her trying, so she does, for at least five excruciating minutes. The look of Oh Crap in her eyes is unmistakeable and very obvious. Morrison has not improved with age.
    • In his earliest "interview", a journalist turned up at the studio where the then largely unknown Morrison was recording. He had an appointment, which had been timed to a break in the recording work. Having waited around for a time, watching him reading a newspaper, the journalist approached and asked if they could do the interview now. Morrison's reply: "Can't you see I'm busy?!"
  • While his former songwriting partner Roger Joseph Manning Jr. has appeared in various groups such as Imperial Drag, the Moog Cookbook and TV Eyes, released two critically acclaimed solo albums, and played and/or performed with Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Beck, Air, Morrissey and Blink182, Andy Sturmer, the drummer, lead vocalist and co-songwriter of Power Pop Cult Classic '90s band Jellyfish, has remained out of the (relative) spotlight since the band's 1994 breakup, producing and writing for J-Pop band Puffy AmiYumi, providing backing vocals for The Black Crowes and Rooney, as well as producing music for cartoon shows like Teen Titans, Fish Hooks and Kick Buttowski. He grants few (or no) interviews and has a far lower online profile than Manning (or nearly anyone else in the group).
  • In spite of his larger-than-life stage presence, Freddie Mercury was somewhat more introverted when he wasn't performing. Combined with an aversion to interacting with the media (a result of experiences in Queen's very early career when they were regularly slated in the music press), he stayed out of the public eye when he could. When he contracted AIDS, this tendency increased, to the point where he only revealed that he was sick one day before bronchio-pneumonia brought on by the disease killed him. In addition, Queen's bassist John Deacon has almost completely retreated from the music industry and public life in general since 1997; every so often photographs of him appear, but they're few and far between.
  • Several Vocaloid artists, to the point where occasionally a producer revealing his/her gender (such as OSTER project being female) can spark Samus Is a Girl-type reactions.
  • French Canadian novelist and playwright Réjean Ducharme is extremely reclusive: he gained fame as soon as his first novel was published in 1966, but he has made no public appearance nor interview since. There are only two or three known photos of him.
  • Not exactly an artist, but when chess legend Bobby Fischer became World Champion at age 29 in 1972, he basically retired from chess and from the public eye for the next 20 years, living a reclusive life until an anniversary rematch against old foe Boris Spassky in 1992.
  • Leo Tolstoy was notoriously impossible to interview and hated dealing with the public. He was especially wary of the new invention of the Movie Camera in the early 20th century. Reporters would hide out and try to ambush him. One such reporter, much like the others, hid out for 3 days waiting to ambush him on the way home with his family. Instead of succeeding he accidentally broke his film camera which literally brought him to tears. Taking pity on the man Tolstoy helped him take his camera to a blacksmith shop to repair it after which he agreed to being filmed. This started a relationship of the only man ever allowed to film Tolstoy.
  • Daft Punk is a mild example. While their names are common knowledge (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo), their faces are mostly unknown, since they're almost always hidden behind their iconic robot masks.
  • Marian Dora, director of a number of extremely controversial and disturbing films, such as Cannibal (2006) and Melancholie der Engel (2009).
  • Spike Jonze, music video (Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice, The Beastie Boys' Sabotage) and film (Being John Malkovich) director, who is known for turning the Shrug of God into an art form. He doesn't do traditional DVD commentaries, has only directed three films in twelve years (it took about four for Where the Wild Things Are to be released), and rarely grants interviews. Even when he does, he tends to treat them as a prank (see the video in which he terminates an interview by stepping out of the car to vomit).
  • Sly Stone, like the Layne Staley example above, stopped his music career to pretty much spend his time doing drugs. He stopped granting interviews in 1987, and only makes sporadic concert appearances (where he has sometimes left the stage after only performing for 15 minutes). Rumors abound that he's living out of his car now.
  • Axl Rose, after the original Guns N' Roses breakup, made no public appearances for seven years and granted virtually no interviews during the making of Chinese Democracy (which took at least nine years to record and release).
  • Robert De Niro is another borderline case. He does a lot of movies and makes numerous public appearances (most recently, he presided over the jury of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival). But whenever anyone tries to interview him...
  • Patrick Suskind, author of "Perfume," has not published a novel since 1991, and never grants interviews or allows photographs of himself to be taken.
  • Prince rarely grants interviews, mostly because of his reported Jerkass tendencies.
  • Dan and Sam Houser, the writers and producers of every Grand Theft Auto game since the release of GTA III, as well as Red Dead Redemption, tend to avoid the spotlight whenever possible.
  • George Harrison was definitely one of these. He only did two solo tours after the Beatles breakup, he played his last full concert in 1992, and his final interview occurred four years before his death (and this was one of only a few he ever did in his later years). However, he was the only ex Beatle to ever publish an autobiography.
  • Phil Spector not only doesn't talk to the press, but kept his ex wife prisoner in his mansion to prevent her from being photographed (or seen in a bikini by other). Now that he's serving a jail sentence for murder, it's unlikely he's going to become more accessible any time soon.


Fictional:

  • Stranger Than Fiction has Karen Eiffel, the author/narrator of the central character, who could only be found by looking at her ten-year-old tax return.
  • The writer in Field of Dreams, Terrence Mann (played by James Earl Jones). He was actually J.D. Salinger in the book, but as you can imagine, that changed pretty quickly.
  • Madam von Silfersked of Anders Loves Maria. She hasn't left the house since Anders graduated from university.
  • Hey Arnold: Agatha Caulfield, Arnold's favorite author, lives alone on Elk Island. Arnold has to take a boat to visit her in order to write his essay.
  • An episode of Sailor Moon dealt with Yumemi Yumeno, an Cute Bookworm artist who felt she was too plain to be taken seriously as a romantic artist, going as far as painting a fake portrait of herself for an artist gallery. After the end of her episode, however, she decides to stop being this and paints a more accurate portrait of her Adorkable true self.
    • Subverted by the Child Prodigy doll-maker Mika Kayama, who goes to school normally and is friends with Usagi's little brother Shingo. When she starts locking herself in her room to work on her dolls night and day, it's a sign that something's really wrong with her - namely, that Nephrite has brainwashed the poor girl so he can harvest her Life Energy when it peaks.
  • The character of William Forrester from Finding Forrester was largely based on J. D. Salinger.
  • Emu Hino from Crying Freeman.
  • Hideomi Nagato from Detective Conan, somewhat justified by his horribly disfigured face and his past as a Hikkikomori
  • Benno von Archimboldi from Roberto Bolaño's 2666.
  • Homestuck: In an Alternate Universe, Rose Lalonde is apparently a famous author.
  • Sydney Morgan of the webcomic This Is Not Fiction does show up to book-signings (albeit wearing obfuscating sunglasses), but she otherwise keeps herself hidden (going as far as to list her address as a gay club). The main premise of the comic is the characters trying to find out who she really is.
  • The Stig is made out to be this "in-universe", for lack of a better word. Averted rather spectacularly when the previous Stig outed himself by way of a tell-all book about his time on the show. The identity of the current Stig remains unknown, but there are rumours that the role has passed on to Sabine Schmidt, a professional racing driver and co-presenter of the German answer to Top Gear who guest-starred in a couple of the team's adventures on the Continent. Make what you will of the tabloid articles alleging that Jeremy Clarkson was cheating on his wife that started popping up not long afterwards...
  • Vida Winter in The Thirteenth Tale, very much so. She never allows anyone into her home, and whenever she speaks to reporters, she concocts elaborate lies about her childhood. No one knows anything about her, despite her outselling every book except for the Bible.
  • Hanako Ikezawa in Reconciliation is a best-selling author, but is quite uncomfortable with book signings, and tries to avoid calling attention to herself when a flight attendant recognizes her. She also only has one friend at the start of the fic- her publicist, Sho- as a result of distancing herself from Lilly and Hisao after her Bad Ending.
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