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25 Movie Cameos by the Authors of the Original Books

Stacy Conradt
Premiere Of Summit Entertainment's "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" - Red Carpet
Premiere Of Summit Entertainment's "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" - Red Carpet / Christopher Polk/GettyImages
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In 2014, the movie adaptation of John Green's novelThe Fault in Our Stars hit theaters—minus a cameo from Green. His role, "Girl's Father," was ultimately cut. "I was hugely relieved when I got the call when they had cut the scene," he told Vulture. "I was terrible. Terrible."

Not all author cameos are destined for the cutting room floor, though. Keep your eyes peeled for these sneaky appearances the next time you’re enjoying a movie based on a book.

1. Kathryn Stockett // The Help

The author of The Help has a bouffanted cameo as part of a scene involving the Junior League. Her mother, sister, and some friends also appear.

2. Stephenie Meyer // Twilight

In addition to making a cameo as a diner patron in the first Twilight film (you can see her at the 40 second mark in the video above), Meyer also made a subtle cameo in Breaking Dawn: Part 1—she's a guest at Edward and Bella's wedding. You can see her as Bella is getting walked down the aisle.

3. Michael Morpurgo // War Horse

Morpurgo and his wife, Clare, both filmed a cameo for the movie. This isn’t the first time Morpurgo has popped up for a bit part in War Horse, though. He’s also made small appearances when the play adaptations of his books have been performed in London and New York.

4. Stephen King // Pet Sematary 


The author cameos in many of his movies—Thinner, Rose Red, The Storm of the Century, The Stand, The Shining, The Langoliers and Sleepwalker, just to name a few. In 1989's Pet Sematary, he plays a priest at a funeral.

5. Louis Sachar // Holes

The famous children’s and YA author, who was on set for the entire shoot, plays a character named Mr. Collingwood in a flashback scene—just look for the man who buys onion oil to help with his baldness.

6. Sara Gruen // Water for Elephants

In a scene that will make Edward Cullen fans green with envy, Robert Pattinson brushes by an “astonished woman” watching Rosie the elephant steal produce. That woman is Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen. Many of her family members also appear in the scene.

7. S.E. Hinton // The Outsiders

Author S.E. Hinton holds her book 'The Outsiders'
S.E. Hinton Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of "The Outsiders" / Slaven Vlasic/GettyImages

Hinton—whose real name is Susan Eloise—appears as the nurse in Dally’s hospital room.

8. John Irving // The World According to Garp

Anyone familiar with Irving’s love of wrestling won’t be surprised that he chose to appear as a wrestling referee in the movie adaptation of The World According to Garp, a role that required a fair amount of scuttling around on the floor.

9. Peter Benchley // Jaws

The author who made millions of people question their summer vacation plans plays a reporter in a brief scene in the 1975 film adaptation, which Benchley co-wrote.

10. William Peter Blatty // The Exorcist

Early in the movie, before the pea soup really hits the fan, Reagan’s actress mother is working on a movie. Blatty plays the producer of the film in a short on-set scene, asking if one of the scenes is really necessary. It's a case of art imitating life, because Blatty had many similar disputes with The Exorcist director William Friedkin.

11. John le Carré // Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy 

He plays a guest at the MI6 Christmas party. The author can be found standing next to a spy dressed like Lenin.

12. V.C. Andrews // Flowers in the Attic 

Andrews played a maid. She died shortly after filming her very brief cameo, missing the movie’s 1987 premiere.

13. Fannie Flagg // Fried Green Tomatoes 

Flagg plays the workshop leader of a women’s seminar that Evelyn attends (before she's empowered by Towanda, of course).

14. Sapphire // Precious 

Sapphire speaking into a microphone.
Sapphire at the Palestine Literature Festival in 2014. / Rob Stothard/GettyImages

You can spot the mono-named author of Push as a woman at a day care center near the end of the movie.

15. Hunter S. Thompson // Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 

Johnny Depp looks at "himself"—the real Hunter S. Thompson—at 0:25. (Beware, there's profanity in this clip!) The actor and the author became friends; after Thompson's death in 2005, Depp reportedly paid to have his ashes shot out of a cannon.

16. Kurt Vonnegut // Mother Night 

At 1:17 in the clip above, Vonnegut appears as one of the many people passing Campbell on the sidewalk.

17. Jennifer Weiner // In Her Shoes 

She plays "Smiling woman in Italian market."

18. Jean Shepherd // A Christmas Story 

The writer has a memorable scene as the man who sends Ralphie and his brother to the end of the Santa line.

19. Emily Giffin // Something Borrowed

In a nod to her chick-lit career, Giffin appears in a scene where she's reading a book on a park bench. The novel just happens to be Something Blue, the sequel to Something Borrowed.

20. Jacqueline Susann // Valley of the Dolls 

Susann made a cameo as a reporter in the movie made from her best-selling book. She was no fan of the film, however; she called it "a piece of s***."

21. Jonathan Safran Foer // Everything is Illuminated 

Jonathan Safran Foer
The writer Jonathan Safran Foer smiles during the... / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

There's scene where movie Jonathan (Elijah Wood) is visiting his grandfather's grave. In the background, a groundskeeper is blowing leaves. The man keeping the cemetery tidy is the real Jonathan Safran Foer.

22. Amy Tan // The Joy Luck Club

Amy Tan
The Academy Presents "The Joy Luck Club" (1993) 25th Anniversary / Alberto E. Rodriguez/GettyImages

She plays a guest at a house party.

23. Irvine Welsh // Trainspotting 


Unlike most of these cameos, Welsh actually has an extended part. He plays Mikey Forrester, the dealer who supplies the opium suppositories that result in one of the most, uh, memorable bathroom scenes in the history of cinema. 

24. Charles Bukowski // Barfly

When the camera lingers a beat or two too long on an older gentleman enjoying a beer, you'll know you've spotted Bukowski.

25. James Dickey // Deliverance

It seems that the author's presence on the set was distracting to the actors, so they asked director John Boorman to ask Dickey to leave. To soften the blow a little, Boorman offered Dickey the part of the sheriff. Though Dickey originally declined ("I ain't coming back; get yourself another boy"), he eventually returned to give this impressive performance.

A version of this story appeared in 2012; it has been updated for 2022.

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