CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Guy Known for Playing Dead on TikTok Lands Role as Corpse on 'CSI: Vegas'

Josh Nalley treats every day like Halloween.

Meara Isenberg Associate Writer
Meara covers streaming service news for CNET. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote for her college newspaper, The Daily Texan, as well as for state and local magazines. When she's not writing, she likes to dote over her cat, sip black coffee and try out new horror movies.
Meara Isenberg
2 min read

From TikTok to the gurney: Visual effects artist Lawrence Mercado touches up Josh Nalley, who's playing a corpse, on the set of CSI: Vegas. 

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Josh Nalley's dedication to playing dead has breathed life into a new career -- as a television actor.

After curating a macabre TikTok account filled with numerous videos of himself looking "un-alive," the 42-year-old Kentucky restaurant manager will appear as a dead man on an upcoming episode of CSI: Vegas.

"I want to thank CSI: Vegas for casting me," Nalley says in an appreciatory TikTok video. "It's truly an amazing experience."

Nalley has built up an enviable following on his TikTok account @living_dead_josh, where he regularly posts videos of himself looking lifeless. In the vids, the bearded, casually dressed Nailey lies motionless -- often in wooded areas but also in swimming pools, beds and bars. The account currently has more than 118,000 followers, and Nalley's videos have gotten more than 4 million likes all told.

"For the past year ya'll have been commenting and liking and sharing and following me," Nalley says in the TikTok. "Without ya'll, I couldn't have done it." He caps off the video by spraying a bottle of champagne.

Josh Nalley TikTok
Josh Nalley/TikTok

Nalley told the Louisville Courier Journal he decided to go full possum after seeing a TikToker post about hot sauce, attracting the attention of several hot-sauce companies. 

"I thought if I was creative enough playing an un-alive person, I could get the attention of a television show or a movie production company," he told the newspaper, "and how about that, it worked." 

CBS liked what they saw in Nalley's videos and offered him the part. He traveled to California, and CBS producers took him to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to the Courier Journal. A TikTok video shows him posing on his side by CSI actress Marg Helgenberger's star

@living_dead_josh Tune in to the Season 2 premiere September 29th @csicbs #csivegas #cbs #dreamcometrue #goals #fyp #foryoupage ♬ Who Are You - The Who

It took Nalley 321 days of initial un-alive videos to get his big break. Now that he's accomplished that feat, he still finds reasons to tap into his inner cadaver. 

"Un-aliving until the next episode of CSI: Vegas," he wrote in a recent Tok

Crime drama CSI: Vegas, a sequel to long-running series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, premiered in 2021 and stars Paula Newsome, Matt Lauria and Mandeep Dhillon. The CSI: Vegas episode featuring Nalley premieres on Nov. 3 on CBS and is directed by Mario Van Peebles.

Nalley recently shared a video commemorating a year of posting his death-themed videos, and even sells merchandise online including a T-shirt that reads "Cast Josh." He's told his followers he's going to keep posting to the account. So sounds like fans can count on his eerie vids throughout spooky season and beyond.