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HandWiki. Fictional Actuaries. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 18 June 2024).
HandWiki. Fictional Actuaries. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 18, 2024.
HandWiki. "Fictional Actuaries" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 18, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, October 26). Fictional Actuaries. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "Fictional Actuaries." Encyclopedia. Web. 26 October, 2022.
Fictional Actuaries

Fictional actuaries and the appearance of actuaries in works of fiction have been the subject of a number of articles in actuarial journals.

actuaries fiction fictional

1. Film

  • About Schmidt (2002) - Warren Schmidt is portrayed by Jack Nicholson; the movie mostly covers Schmidt's retirement from an insurance company, and his adventures after retirement
  • Along Came Polly (2004) - Reuben Feffer (played by Ben Stiller) is a risk assessment expert, and though not explicitly stated, performs the job of an underwriter
  • Are You With It? (1948) - a musical comedy featuring Donald O'Connor as an actuary who is forced to join a carnival after misplacing a decimal point on a statistical table
  • The Billion Dollar Bubble (1976) - the Equity Funding scandal retold in the form of a movie, starring James Woods
  • Boyhood (2014) - Mason Evans, Sr. (played by Ethan Hawke) mentions at a baseball game that he recently passed his second actuarial exam, and later discusses his job at an insurance firm
  • Class Action (1991) - featured Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as father and daughter lawyers on opposite sides of a massive class action lawsuit; actuarial analysis plays a key role in the outcome
  • Double Indemnity (1944) - a Billy Wilder film, with Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck; possibly the first to feature an actuary; plot revolves around a murder that seeks to gain advantage from a particular aspect of an insurance policy; an insurance investigator (played by Edward G. Robinson) knows the actuarial statistics and becomes suspicious
  • Escape Clause (1996) - Andrew McCarthy plays Richard Ramsay in an actuarial thriller; to quote, "The makers of this direct-to-video release thought the world was ready for a thriller about an insurance actuary. They thought wrong."
  • Fight Club (1999) - Edward Norton plays the protagonist, who briefly describes that his job entails the assessment of risk associated with car accidents for an insurance company; though not explicitly stated, he performs the job of an underwriter who uses actuarially derived premiums to benchmark quotes
  • Saw VI (2009) - William Easton is a health insurance executive who describes actuarial mathematics in a conversation with John Kramer
  • Stranger than Fiction (2006) - Harold Crick (played by Will Ferrell), a socially isolated IRS auditor, mentions that he was once engaged to an auditor who left him for an actuary
  • Sweet Charity (1969) - documents the romantic life of an actuary, played by John McMartin with Shirley MacLaine as his love interest
  • Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001) - starring Matthew McConaughey; the lives of a lawyer, an actuary, a housecleaner, a professor, and the people around them intersect as they ponder order and happiness in the face of life's cold unpredictability
  • Tron - the character Ram (played by Dan Shor) is an actuarial program
  • Zootopia (also released as Zootropolis) (2016) - the character Jaguar is a young tiger that aspires to be an actuary[1]

2. Literature

  • The Areas of My Expertise - by John Hodgman; portrays actuaries as prophets who predict the future, and are organized into various guilds; they have various ethics, such as not predicting the date of one's own death
  • Batman - comic series which featured a villain named the Actuary (Detective Comics #683-4 (March–April 1995)), a mathematical genius who applies formulae to aid the Penguin in committing crimes.
  • Bet Me - by Jennifer Crusie; the main character, Minerva Dobbs, is a thirty-something actuary looking for love
  • Un Certain Monsieur Blot - by Pierre Daninos; Mr. Blot is an actuary, who wins a competition as the most average man in France; the book includes the acerbic observation that “there were two kinds of actuaries – those who were still doing actuarial work and those who had found something better to do”
  • The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic are part of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fantasy series and feature Twoflower, the "actuary and world’s first tourist"
  • The Foundation Trilogy - by Isaac Asimov; often considered one of the greatest science fiction works of all time and features "psycho-historians," a sort of hidden priesthood that manipulates politics and economics on a galactic scale to accomplish the goals of peace and prosperity. Part of the theory is that on a planetary scale, people are not predictable but on a galactic scale, the law of large numbers (i.e., the Central Limit Theorem) is valid and therefore, the reactions of the galactic civilization, as a whole, are predictable. Given the characteristics of psycho-historians, they are very much like actuaries.
  • The Good Soldier Švejk - Lieutenant Pelikán is "a mathematician in an insurance firm"
  • "Hunted Down" - short story by Charles Dickens with an actuary, Mr. Meltham of the Inestimable Life Assurance Company, as its hero[2]
  • Industrial Magic - by Kelley Armstrong; character Reuben Aldrich is the head of the actuarial department at a supernatural organisation; he may also be a necromancer
  • The Infinite Shoeblack - by Norman MacOwan; the hero (played by Leslie Banks) is a poverty stricken student of the Faculty of Actuaries innocently residing in an Edinburgh brothel
  • Mrs. Warren's Profession - "I shall set up in chambers in the City and work at actuarial calculations and conveyancing," says Vivie, the daughter of the eponymous heroine of George Bernard Shaw’s play
  • Preferred Risk - by Frederik Pohl and Lester del Rey (under the pseudonym Edson McCann); describes a dystopian future dominated by the insurance industry; in Pohl's own words, "the one novel I wrote with Lester del Rey, which was called Preferred Risk, took a year out of my life. It's a terrible book. If you come across it, don't read it."
  • The Year of the Jackpot - short story by Robert A. Heinlein; the male protagonist is a former actuary whose analysis of current events leads him to a disturbing conclusion about the fate of the world.

3. Manga

  • Homunculus - by Hideo Yamamoto; features Susumu Nakoshi as the story's protagonist, who was an actuary before he told people he was going on an extended vacation; instead, he lives in an old car; he resigns later in the story, and his reason for throwing his job away is still unknown
  • Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service - features a malevolent actuary who uses statistics to determine scenarios that will most likely result in the death of particular people

4. Television

  • The Collector (2004) - in the episode titled "The Actuary", an actuary uses the Devil's powers to predict the exact lifespan, whereabouts and circumstances of others to help mobsters rub out the competition
  • Elementary - in the Season 1 episode "A Landmark Story", F. Murray Abraham portrays The Actuary, a hitman whose M.O. is to kill individuals in ways that make the death look like an accident or even a peaceful passing
  • Ghost Whisperer - in the Season 4 episode "Thrilled to Death", an actuary who is terminally ill dies and his ghost haunts his neighbour
  • Gilmore Girls (2000) - in the episode "Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers," Lorelai's mom sets her up on a date with actuary Chase Bradford, played by Paul Cassell
  • Hot in Cleveland - in the Season 2 episode "How I Met My Mother", Joy meets her biological son, Owen, who explains his role as an actuary by way of "it's an insurance thing"; he returns in the Season 4 opener and Joy admits that she stills has no idea what an actuary is
  • Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time - Ron's father's job is not an obstacle to the family moving to Norway (and, later, the moon); "I'm an actuary. I can work anywhere people attach a dollar value to human life."
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent - episode "Probability" features Mark Linn-Baker as Wally Stevens, an insurance investigator whose work is often described in the context of performing actuarial calculations
  • Numb3rs (2005) - in the episode titled "Sacrifice," Professor Charlie Eppes refers to actuarial science
  • NYPD Blue - recurring character Dr. Jennifer Devlin (character John Clark's love interest) states that her father is an actuary
  • Person of Interest - in the Season 2 episode "Bury the Lede", John Reese pretends to be an actuary
  • Profiler (1996–1999) - episode "Perfect Helen" in Volume 2 of Season 3 is about a disturbed actuary
  • The Robinsons - sitcom about a reinsurance actuary, Ed Robinson (played by Martin Freeman), who realises that reinsurance is not his passion and decides to rethink his life
  • The Shield (2002) - in its third episode, "The Spread", the police interrogate a rapist who claims to be an actuary
  • Super Fun Night - one of Kimmie's best friends (Helen-Alice) plays an actuary
  • The Wild Wild West (1968) - had an episode titled "The Night of the Avaricious Actuary"
  • NCIS Season 8, episode 2 "Worst Nightmare" a former operative, whose children recall his cover as an actuary, helps rescue his granddaughter.
  • Friends (TV series) Season 9, episode 10 "The One With Christmas in Tulsa" - Chandler is reading job listings in the newspaper: "Actuary?....nah." And then briefly considers a job as an exotic dancer.

5. Theater

  • I Love You Because (2006) - musical; major character Diana Bingley is an actuary; she suggests some formula-based "dating rules" to her friend Marcy in the key number "The Actuary Song"

6. Other

  • Society of Actuaries - holds a speculative actuarial fiction contest
  • Wordplay - documentary which explores the world of crossword makers and aficionados; makes reference to actuaries as one of three occupations which are particularly adept at crossword solving
  • Zootopia - animated Disney film in which a tiger mistakenly believes that actuaries 'hunt for tax exemptions'


  1. Howard, Byron [@ByronPHoward] (March 14, 2016). "@jordanolling @thejaredbush The actuary's name is Jaguar (pronounced 'hog-u-are')". 
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