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Tuesday
Nov292011

Almost Lindsay Lohan: The World of Impersonators

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- On the deck of a yacht off the coast of Marina Del Ray, Calif.,  Emily Wilson stood out among the 150 guests at the lavish party. The 40-year-old birthday boy raised his glass of champagne, pointed to her, and said, “I’d especially like to thank my friend Lindsay Lohan for coming out to celebrate with us.”

With long red hair and light freckles, Wilson earns more than $600 an hour simply to smile and nod like Lohan. 

The media recently pounced on Jennifer Lopez for reputedly using a  body double to film a Fiat car commercial set in the Bronx, and earlier this year, ABC News’ 20/20 interviewed ballerina Sarah Lane about her work as Natalie Portman’s double in Black Swan.  Behind many of today’s biggest names, there are legions of lookalikes and impersonators making big bucks, often without the stars’ blessings.

Emily Wilson moved to L.A. to work as an entertainment reporter in 2007, but because of her likeness to Lohan, Wilson now walks the red carpet instead of standing behind the rope.

Wilson made her big screen debut in the final scene of spoof movie Meet the Spartans, playing Lindsay Lohan as she emerges from rehab.  In 2007, Wilson was hired not to make fun of Lohan but instead to serve as her body double in the film Poor Things with Shirley MacLaine.

Frustrated with Lohan's volatile personal life and perpetually changing hair color, Wilson branched out and recently landed roles in CSI: NY, How I Met Your Mother, Entourage and the upcoming film The Secret Lives of Dorks.

Jeff Burnett, 38, is also building his career based on his resemblance to Charlie Sheen. After the Two and a Half Men star lost control earlier this year, Burnett turned the media spectacle into his own opportunity and now makes $1,000 each time he impersonates Sheen at corporate events.

After years of working on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and for Vangaurd as a market analyst, Burnett gave up his career in finance to start a new business and persona in California.

Single and eight years younger than the real Charlie Sheen, Jeff Barnett says that his role as a Charlie Sheen has improved his love life.  “Women sometimes ask if I need extra goddesses.”

Barnett hoped that the producers of Two and a Half Men would consider him to fill the void left by Sheen, but has resigned himself for now to showing up at corporate events.  His goal is to someday meet Charlie, “I’ve always been compared to him, and I’d just like him to know that I exist.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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