The Misadventures of Celebrity Impersonators

As long as Natalie Reid is around, you can't call Paris Hilton the biggest phony in the celebrity world. Reid gets choice tables at five-star restaurants, upgrades on airlines, and all sorts of freebies just by letting people mistake her for the "Simple Life" star.

Reid took New York Fashion Week by storm earlier this month when she showed up in a short dress with dark sunglasses and a bejeweled cell phone, fooling paparazzi and scoring a front row seat at the Nicole Miller fashion show next to David Lee Roth. The 21-year-old aspiring actress receives as much as $2,000 to appear at events as a celebrity impersonator.

And while Reid says she never misrepresents herself, she's quite happy to be treated -- and spoiled -- like the hotel heiress.

"I just put on something really cute and put on some makeup. It's so easy," Reid told The Associated Press after the event, clutching her pet Chihuahua. "I don't study her at all. I just feed off other peoples vibes."

Covered in faux fur and bogus bling-bling, this ersatz heiress works for Screaming Queens Entertainment, a company that books look-alikes for Cher, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Prince and Lucille Ball, among others, for corporate events and parties, with costs ranging from $750 to $2,000 an appearance.

Paris Thinks Her Look-Alike Is 'So Hot'

The market for Elvis impersonators might still be bigger, with more than 200 men who would be king swiveling their hips and snarling their lips on stages large and small across the country. But Reid's instant success certainly proves the main advantage of being a Hilton clone -- you don't have to even pretend to sing or dance.

If you're skinny, blond and flaunting a lot of flesh, you, too, might be able to approximate the "Simple Life."

Reid says she even met up with Hilton at New York's Marquee nightclub. "She was right in front of me with her new boyfriend," Reid says. "She turned around, and she giggled, and she was like, 'Oh, you look so much like me. That's so hot.'"

Nevertheless, in this age of celebrity, there's a doppelganger for nearly every star, and some of them have proved to be more like evil twins. Hilton might be happy to have Reid as an impersonator, if her biggest transgression is accepting some free tickets and stealing a few seconds in the spotlight.

Other Impersonators

1. Eminem Impostor a Gangsta for Life: Talk about a bad rap: Christopher Duncan was so obsessed with Eminem, he dressed like him, sported the same tattoos, sang his songs and was convicted of a murder more grotesque than anything you'll find in Slim Shady's most violent lyrics.

British prosecutors say the 21-year-old was performing an "aggressive" version of Eminem's stage act at a London karaoke bar, when he met a woman, took her back to his East End apartment, and beat her to death with a metal bat. He then allegedly stuffed her in a suitcase, where she died 90 minutes later. In December he was sentenced to life in prison.

Eminem recently reunited with his wife, Kim, once the target of some of his most hateful lyrics. But still cultivating his bad-boy image, he joked shortly after Duncan's conviction that the hype might be good for his career.

2. Executing the Quarterback Sneak: Brian Jackson wasn't 6-foot-5 and didn't have a goatee, but the 31-year-old car salesman passed himself off as Super Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger -- as well as the Steeler's fourth-string quarterback Brian St. Pierre -- to pick up girls. Pittsburgh authorities accused him of harassing a woman who broke off a relationship.

Jackson's undoing came after he told the woman to watch a game, and she figured out he was not Big Ben, even after he explained that he looks a little different on TV.

In one instance, he showed up at the woman's house with an autographed football and signed an autograph on a neighbor's jersey. In December he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $300.

3. Hard Times on "Sesame Street": An Elmo impersonator panhandling on the Hollywood Walk of Fame learned that "M" is for mug shot. Los Angeles police arrested Donn Harper in October for allegedly harassing tourists for tips near Hollywood's Walk of Fame, where he was making up to $400 a day posing for pictures.

Harper was still wearing his red and cuddly "Sesame Street" outfit when he was handcuffed, brought to the station house, and charged with aggressive begging, along with another guy dressed as Mr. Incredible. "With all the crime in Los Angeles they pick on us?" Harper asked reporters.

Officers conducted a sting operation by posing as French tourists who didn't understand English or the American tipping culture. Harper later claimed it was a misunderstanding and had no intention of ending up "Big Birdman of Alcatraz."

4. Mork Blows His Cork: Robin Williams lost his sense of humor last May when he accused impersonator Michael Clayton and Clayton's manager of conning charities into believing Clayton was the real thing. Clayton, who apparently does a dead-on Mrs. Doubtfire, was said to have passed himself off to groups raising money for a Missouri fire department. After a charity event was canceled, Williams sued. He and his look-alike eventually settled out of court, and no criminal charges were filed.

5. Boot-alicious Behavior: A woman posing as Beyoncé tried to score some discount shoes from Holly Dunlap, calling the designer's HollyWould store in May and saying that her "dear friend" Halle Berry had recommended the footwear. On Dunlap's online diary, she said the counterfeit diva exposed herself when she said she was calling from Houston. As a Beyoncé fan, Dunlap says she knew the real Destiny's Child singer was in Dubai.

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at "The Wolf Files" is published Tuesdays.