Stephen King loves storytelling. So, it’s no wonder that when his books were adapted into films and shows, he’d be involved.
But in a true Stephen King twist, not every appearance is for his own works. Whether he shows up as himself or plays an actual role, his cameos are memorable. While he doesn’t appear in every project he works on, he’s made an appearance either in person or via his voice in fourteen television shows, thirteen movies, and one American Express commercial. We’ve found every movie, show, and commercial that Stephen King has appeared in.
Knightriders – Hoagie Man – 1981
King’s first film appearance is a brief appearance in George A. Romero’s Knightriders. While almost all of King’s cameos are either projects he wrote or collaborated on, or where he plays himself, Knightriders is neither. He appears on-screen as Hoagie Man, a spectator eating a sandwich while watching jousting motorcycles. Even more fun, the woman he’s sitting next to is his wife, Tabitha King.
Creepshow – Jordy Verrill – 1982
Creepshow was King’s screenwriting debut and George Romero marked the occasion by casting King as Jordy Verrill in the second segment of the five-story anthology film. Jordy is a farmer who undergoes some interesting changes when he touches a meteor that lands in his backyard. The segment was based on "Weeds"—one of King’s short stories—and is one of his longest roles.
American Express Commercial – Himself – 1986
On March 30, 1986, Stephen King was featured in an American Express commercial in their “You Know Me” series. It’s a fun ad that leans into all the spooky horror elements his books are known for.
Maximum Overdrive – Man at the Bank – 1986
Maximum Overdrive was loosely based on his short story Trucks and was the only time King ever directed a movie. He gave himself a fun cameo in one of the opening scenes, where a man has an unfortunate interaction with a bank ATM.
Creepshow 2 – Truck Driver – 1987
Even though King is in the Creepshow sequel, he doesn’t have a starring—or even a titled—role. His appearance is brief, showing up as a truck driver in the segment titled The Hitch-Hiker. His character comes across a bloody hit-and-run who is casually indifferent to the gore. Creepshow 2 is the only time he’s been in both the original movie and the sequel.
Pet Sematary – Minister – 1989
King has never made it a secret that his relationship with religion has been a complicated affair. So, playing a minister in Pet Sematary is quite a memorable experience. In full robes, holding a bible, he offers words of solace that turn out to be not that consoling in the end.
Golden Years – Bus Driver – 1991
In the fifth episode of the series he created, King makes his television debut as a mouthy bus driver who takes fugative Harlan Williams’ wife and daughter to safety.
Sleepwalkers – Cemetery Caretaker – 1992
Written by King as a screenplay, King once again plays a nameless role. But the fun part of this cameo is the two characters he grouches at are also cameos with horror author and director Clive Barker, and horror director John Landis.
The Stand – Teddy Weizak – 1994
Partnering again with director Mick Garris, King plays Teddy Weizak, one of the plague survivors who ends up in the Boulder Free Zone. In the book, poor Teddy gets decapitated by a bomb, but the show is kinder to King’s character and he ends up surviving until the end.
The Langoliers – Tom Holby – 1995
The Langoliers wasn’t one of King’s more popular television miniseries, and while his appearance as a greedy corporate boss was short-lived, seeing his at the head of a boardroom table on a runway with an intense smile was a memorable scene.
Thinner – Pharmacist – 1996
Director Tom Holland moved from The Langoliers into Thinner and brought King onto the production set for both. King appears as the pharmacist the main character sees. Though he’s credited as Pharmacist, the name of the character is actually Jonathan Bangor, a nod to King’s hometown.
The Shining – Gage Creed Bandleader – 1997
It’s no secret that King was unhappy with Stanley Kubrick’s version of the The Shining. So he did the only thing that made sense and wrote a miniseries adaptation. As a fun Easter Egg, he named the ghostly bandleader Gage Creed and showed off some swanky dance moves.
Storm of the Century – Lawyer in Ad – 1999
King recently revealed that this is one of his favorite small screen projects and it’s the first project he worked on that wasn’t tied to a novel. He plays a lawyer in a television ad, but in true King form, the commercial plays after the television is destroyed.
Frasier – Brian – 1999
While Frasier is co-hosting the annual Christmas coverage, a man named Brian calls into the show. It’s a short call and easy to miss, but this was King’s first voice cameo.
The Simpsons – Himself – 2000
King’s appearance as himself on episode three, season twelve of The Simpsons was one of the show’s best cameos. When Marge attends a book signing, King tells her he’s stepping away from horror while describing a horror-laden Benjamin Franklin biography—complete with dark clouds rolling in and his voice reaching sinister tones. It’s hilarious and perfect.
Unlocking Rose Red: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer – Himself – 2002
Right before Rose Red was released, they released a faux documentary on the discovery of Ellen Rimbaauer’s diary. King’s appears throughout the short movie is largely recycled interview footage.
Rose Red – Pizza Delivery Guy – 2002
Right before the mayhem at the haunted mansion occurs, the psychic team gathered orders pizza and it’s delivered by none other than King himself.
Kingdom Hospital – Johnny B. Goode/Lawyer on Broken TV – 2004
Throughout the first (and only) season, the main character is constantly sytmied when he tries to find the head of maintenance. During the final episode, he finally finds the mysterious Johnny B. Goode played by King, but perhaps the encounter leads to more questions than answers. Interestingly, right before the scene, King’s lawyer ad from Storm of the Century plays.
Fever Pitch – Himself – 2005
It might seem strange for King to make an appearance in a rom-com, but as a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play himself throwing the first pitch at a game.
Gotham Café – Mr. Ring – 2005
In this creepy movie based on King’s short story, there’s a lawyer named Mr. Ring who urges his client over the phone to reschedule his meeting with his wife. It’s King’s voice you hear, making Gotham Café his first audio cameo. Coincidentally, there was an actual lawyer named Mr. Ring named associate producer on the film.
Diary of the Dead – newsreader – 2007
King and George A. Romero worked together again on this found footage horror film. King reads the news alongside other famous voices like Guillermo Del Toro, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Craven, and Simon Pegg.
Sons of Anarchy – Bachman – 2010
In episode three of season three, member of the motorcycle gang call in a cleaner to get rid of a body. Enter Bachman, played by King, who gives a fantastic performance as the creepiest cleaner ever. The name is a play on his pseudonym, Richard Bachman.
Stuck in Love – Himself – 2012
Once again in a rom-com, King’s voice appears over the phone when he calls a young writer to congratulate him on his first published story.
Under The Dome – Diner Patron – 2014
In one of his shortest cameos ever, King plays a diner customer ordering a cup of coffee in the season 2 premiere.
Mr. Mercedes – Line Cook – 2017
In episode six, season 1, King finds himself in a diner again, this time as a short-order cook. It’s a brief appearance, where the main character imagines the aftermath of a gruesome massacre. The camera pans across bloodied victims and lands on King with a knife in his neck.
IT Chapter Two – Shopkeeper – 2019
Derry, Maine isn’t exactly a place where normal people live. So, we’d expect the shopkeeper to be a little strange. King plays this role with aplomb haggling with Bill over his childhood bike and refusing an autograph because he doesn’t like Bill’s books.
The Stand – Man in Nursing Home Poster - 2021
This one isn’t exactly a cameo, King appears as one of the residents of the Hemingford Home poster, but it’s a fun flash of recognition.
Duncanville – Himself – 2021
At the beginning of the episode, Annie cuts the line at a bookstore to get King’s autograph of his latest book, a sequel to Carrie.