There are great fictional television and films characters. Then there are those characters who take it a step further and plop an alias on top of their memorable roles. Here are 20 of our favorite fake aliases from the big and small screen.
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Ken Adams ('Friends')
Joey Tribianni created the identity of Ken Adams in the eighth season of Friends. According to Joey, he used the name while telling his fake pickup "Europe Story" about backpacking through the western portion of the continent. Joey tells Ross that the story is guaranteed to lead to sex upon telling. Later, Ross hears Rachel tell it before they hook up — while a video recorder is accidentally on. When the six friends watch it back to determine who came onto who, Rachel claims a friend of hers heard the story from a guy name Ken Adams.Joey raises his hand and yells, "Ken Adams!"
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David B.... ('The Incredible Hulk')
NBCUniversal Syndication Studios
When The Incredible Hulk made its way to prime-time television, beginning with a pair of 1977 movies, with the popular hour-long drama starring Bill Bixby, Dr. David Bruce Banner was the main character — leading a double life between man and anger-induced, green creature. Presumed to be dead, Dr. Banner drifted around the North American, trying to keep his secret while also looking for a cure to solve his dual identity. Some of our favorite aliases over the five seasons of the CBS series included: David Blaine (no relation to the extreme magician), David Bradford (not to be confused with the Eight is Enoughcharacter), and David Blackwell.
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Anastasia Beaverhausen ('Will & Grace')
Karen Walker is such a great character, why would she even need to play around with an alias? Mostly, because she can. That's why it's a pleasure when she breaks out into alter-ego Anastasia Beaverhausen, whose name apparently symbolizes Russian royalty and "where the beaver live." Anastasia is not unlike Karen in many ways. Both are third-person fancy, like their booze and living a high-on-the-hog fictional lives. However, Ms. Beaverhausen might actually have a little more pride than Karen — especially when it comes to be mistaken for a lady of the night.
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Clive Bixby and Julianna ('Modern Family')
When it was time for Phil and Claire Dunphy to spice things up romantically, enter Clive Bixby and love target Julianna. We first met them on Valentine's Day early in the series, when Clive, a "businessman who designs high-end electro-acoustic transducers" meets Julianna at a bar. After she returns from the ladies' room only wearing a long coat, they look to take their intimate party someplace quieter. That's until her coat gets stuck in an escalator. Then there's the time they met up in a hotel room, but Clive took the wrong key from the hotel bar. Undressed and sprawled on a bed of flowers, Clive is stunned when when an older woman arrives in what's her room. And who can forget the time Julianna faints during a pre-Valentine's Day celebration?
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Sonny Burnett and Rico Cooper ('Miami Vice')
When it came to going undercover and taking on covers in the seedy drug underworld of South Florida, Miami Metro-Dade detectives Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs didn't veer far from their real-life (or prime-time television) identities from the 1980s. Sonny Burnett is actually well known on the Miami drug seen and often found himself associated with Rico Cooper. These are edgier, more ruthless versions of them cop selves, but still cooler than most bad guys on TV at the time.
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Troy Fontaine ('Last Man Standing')
When Outdoor Man owner Ed Alzate thought his loading dock and warehouse workers are slacking off, he decides to go undercover to see about the alleged problem. Donning some fancy tinted glasses and a fake pony tale, Ed transforms himself into Troy Fontaine, a new hire who befriends the workers and talks bad about partner Mike Baxter. Troy is a good guy and hardworking — maybe too hardworking for Ed.
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Lando Griffin ('Family Guy')
When a toad-licking program becomes a problem at then-James Woods High, concerned parent Peter Griffin goes undercover as student Lando Griffin to protect the students from this new drug craze. Lando, with his old-school pompadour hair and cool demeanor, almost immediately becomes popular. Of course, Lando is also oblivious to other concerning issues at the school, but he does help Meg achieve some sort of social acceptance before he tragically (and mysteriously) exits our lives.
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Burt Macklin and Janet Snakehole ('Parks and Recreation')
Sure, we can highlight the aliases of Andy Dwyer and April Ludgate, respectively, but it always seemed they went well together. Whenever there was a need for harmless — or incompetent — FBI law enforcement in Pawnee, Ind. Janet, meanwhile, has progressed from a snobby bar-owner's daughter looking for free stuff to aristocratic widow, who wears a netted veil and black vintage dress while sporting a cigarette holder. On their own, Burt and Janet are highly entertaining, but together, they provide some of the show's most memorable moments.
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Lance Manion ('Cheers')
CBS Television Distribution
As an ex-Major League Baseball player and certified professional ladies' man, Sam Malone is quite the macho figure. That means he does not like to show weakness, and usually, he can play through the pain. Of course, in Season 4, when he can no longer take the agony of a hernia, he checks into the hospital under the name "Lance Manion." Aliases really don't get much more manly than that choice. Plus, it's pretty fun to say.
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When high schoolers Seth and Evan need to buy some booze for a house party, thinking it will impress two girls they hope to get with, friend Fogel comes through with a fake I.D. Of course, Fogel kind of drops the ball when he puts the name "McLovin" on the license. Pretending to be a 25-year-old Hawaiian organ donor, who might also long to be an Irish R&B singer, their adventures for mass social acceptability begin in earnest.
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Phil Packer ('The Brady Bunch')
Back in the fifth season of this beloved family sitcom, Greg Brady needed to find an older friend to complete a double date for his new lady's 18-year-old cousin. When the well runs dry with options, Greg is forced to slap a fake mustache on younger brother Peter and turn him into his older and completely cooler pal Phil Packer. Of course, the plan ends up backfiring as Phil takes a chomp of his 'stache while eating some popcorn, and the girls are on to the rouse.
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Regina Phalange ('Friends')
Ms. Phalange made more than one appearance during the Friends run. Phoebe Buffay's preferred alias posed as Ross Geller's "brain doctor" and "a business woman in town on business" in the fifth season. In Season 7, she apparently was a member of the Thigh Mega Tampon sorority. She introduced herself to Ken Adams and served as Chandler Bing's interview trainer during Season 8. She was also Joey Tribbiani's sister in Season 10. Let's just say, Regina Phalange is quite the renaissance woman.
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Dr. Rosenpenis ('Fletch')
One Irwin M. "Fletch" Fletcher, a quirky but productive newspaper journalist, had an alias for just about every situation. Most were actual people, but when he needed to find more information regarding Alan Stanwyk's supposed medical condition, he did some undercover hospital work as the not-so easily recognized Dr. Rosenpenis, who also goes by Dr. Rosenrosen. As Fletch found out, there are many medical alias options that go well with any last name that includes Rosen.
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Duke Silver ('Parks and Recreation')
When Ron Swanson likes to show off his musically smooth side, that's when Duke Silver takes the stage. The leader of the Duke Silver Trio, Ron's alter ego shines on the saxophone for this jazz outfit that plays the second Thursday of every month at Cozy's Barin nearby Eagleton, Ind.Ron and Duke are very secretive of their side gig, but it also shows that there's a more likable side to the rough-around-the-edges Director of thePawnee CityParks and Recreation Department.
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Keyser Soze ('The Usual Suspects')
Gramercy Pictures; Spelling Films International
We can go back and forth about whetherKeyser Soze or Roger "Verbal" Kintis the real alias when it comes to one of the great fictional crime drama characters of all time. Kint built the Soze lore and legacy for a criminal persona that has baffled and apparently evaded law enforcement for some time. Of course, the final twist to the end of The Usual Suspects only adds to the intrigue surrounding this infamous film bad guy.
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Cletus Van Damme ('The Shield')
Det. Shane Vendrellis a dedicated and entertaining member of Vic Mackey's Strike Team. Sure, he's a little out there and moves to the beat of a different drummer. So, when it came to getting out of a jam after witnessing a pedestrian car accident, Shane opted to offer his apparent alter-ego"Cletus Van Damme"to help straighten out the situation if needed. Cletus wasn't a consistent presence on The Shield, but truly memorable.
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Dr. Van Nostrand ('Seinfeld')
When it comes to fictional aliases, Seinfeld might take the cake. Among the most frequent is Kramer's Dr. Van Nostrand, who we believe goes by the first name of Martin. He actually first appeared as Professor Van Nostrand, before working at "The Clinic," then turning to the world of dermatology, for which he's Juilliard trained. Dr. Van Nostrand is probably best known for providing mole screenings. We also believe he celebrates Festivus.
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Art Vandelay ('Seinfeld')
In the world of network sitcom television, there might not be a more recognizable alias than one Art Vandelay. Art was a consistent presence within the Seinfeld universe, as either George Costanza's favored alias or go-to imaginary figure. From what we know of Mr. Vandelay, he's rather talented while dabbling in the import/export game, moonlighting as a beatnik author (Venetian Blinds) and also runs his own latex manufacturing company. And the real Arthur Vandelay (at least in Seinfeld lore) is a judge.
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Kel Varnsen ('Seinfeld')
From what we know of Jerry Seinfeld's Kel Varnsen,he answers the phones at Vandelay Industries. The company manufactures latex and considers hiring George for a latex salesmen position, though it's unlikely he's really in the running for the job. Then, there was that memorable moment when Varnsen, Vandelay and Kramer's other alias H.E. Pennypacker, a wealthy industrialist, came face-to-faceon Puerto Rican Day.
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Lorenzo von Matterhorn ('How I Met Your Mother')
Of course ultimate ladies' man Barney Stinson would have one of the great fake aliases in entertainment history. In fact, "Lorenzo von Matterhorn"was one of the more in-depth aliases ever concocted. The name is just a small part of an immaculately detailed scheme that's in "The Playbook," Barney's guide to picking up women. There are plenty of potentially successful options in "The Playbook," but nothing as fail-safe as the "Lorenzo con Matterhorn."
Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago.You can followJeffat@jeffm401.