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A scene stealer is a character in a film or dramatic performance that dominates the audience's attention, often through charisma, humour or powerful acting, thus "stealing the scene" or "stealing the show".[1] The term usually (but not always) applies to a supporting character, such a sidekick, best friend, confidant, villain, etc. Sometimes the term is used for a minor character who has unexpectedly (and perhaps inappropriately) drawn attention away from the star. One of the most famous of these is Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet. Sometimes the term is used pejoratively, and is applied to minor actors with a hammy or self-aggrandizing style.[1]

An example of scene stealing is Ving Rhames' performance in Martin Scorsese's film, Bringing Out the Dead. His fine comic performance steals scenes from Nicolas Cage, whose character is depressed, unnerved, philosophical, and an insomniac.[2]

Actor Jeremy Piven is widely known for being a scene stealer as Ari Gold in Entourage, a character known for his ever-present crude behavior. Actor J.B. Smoove has been mentioned as a scene stealer for his acclaimed portrayal of Leon Black on Curb Your Enthusiasm.


  1. ^ a b Fazio, Larry. Stage Manager: The Professional Experience. St. Louis: Focal Press, 2000. ISBN 0240804104
  2. ^ Maslin, Janet. "Review: Bringing Out the Dead." In The New York Times Film Reviews, 1999-2000. Florence, Ky.: Taylor & Francis, 2002. ISBN 0415936969


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