50 Great Actors

by thedoqtor | created - 05 Jan 2011 | updated - 05 Jan 2011 | Public

In no random order, just my pick of some great people to watch on TV or in film!

1. Morgan Freeman

Actor | Se7en

With an authoritative voice and calm demeanor, this ever popular American actor has grown into one of the most respected figures in modern US cinema. Morgan was born on June 1, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, to Mayme Edna (Revere), a teacher, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, a barber. The young Freeman...

2. Tom Hanks

Producer | Cast Away

Thomas Jeffrey Hanks was born in Concord, California, to Janet Marylyn (Frager), a hospital worker, and Amos Mefford Hanks, an itinerant cook. His mother's family, originally surnamed "Fraga", was entirely Portuguese, while his father was of mostly English ancestry. Tom grew up in what he has ...

3. David Tennant

Actor | Doctor Who

One of Scotland's greatest ever actors, David Tennant has won almost universal acclaim from audiences, critics and fellow professionals for his outstanding and award-winning performances on stage and screen. He was born David John McDonald in West Lothian, Scotland, to Essdale Helen (McLeod) and ...

4. Denzel Washington

Actor | Fences

Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He is the middle of three children of a beautician mother, Lennis, from Georgia, and a Pentecostal minister father, Denzel Washington, Sr., from Virginia. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at ...

5. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Actor | Terminator 2: Judgment Day

With an almost unpronounceable surname and a thick Austrian accent, who would have ever believed that a brash, quick talking bodybuilder from a small European village would become one of Hollywood's biggest stars, marry into the prestigious Kennedy family, amass a fortune via shrewd investments and...

6. Sam Elliott

Actor | The Big Lebowski

Tall, thin, wiry Sam Elliott is the classic picture of the American cowboy. Elliott began his acting career on the stage and his film debut was in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Although his future wife, Katharine Ross co-starred in the film, the two did not meet until they filmed The ...

7. Bruce Willis

Actor | Die Hard

Actor and musician Bruce Willis is well known for playing wisecracking or hard-edged characters, often in spectacular action films. Collectively, he has appeared in films that have grossed in excess of $2.5 billion USD, placing him in the top ten stars in terms of box office receipts.

Walter Bruce ...

8. Bernard Hill

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Bernard Hill was born on December 17, 1944 in Manchester, England. He is known for his work on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and Titanic (1997). He is married to Marianne. They have one child.

9. Robin Williams

Actor | Mrs. Doubtfire

Robin McLaurin Williams was born on Saturday, July 21st, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois, a great-great-grandson of Mississippi Governor and Senator, Anselm J. McLaurin. His mother, Laurie McLaurin (née Janin), was a former model from Mississippi, and his father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams, was a Ford ...

10. Viggo Mortensen

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Since his screen debut as a young Amish Farmer in Peter Weir's Witness (1985), Viggo Mortensen's career has been marked by a steady string of well-rounded performances.

Mortensen was born in New York City, to Grace Gamble (Atkinson) and Viggo Peter Mortensen, Sr. His father was Danish, his mother was...

11. Leonardo DiCaprio

Actor | Inception

Few actors in the world have had a career quite as diverse as Leonardo DiCaprio's. DiCaprio has gone from relatively humble beginnings, as a supporting cast member of the sitcom Growing Pains (1985) and low budget horror movies, such as Critters 3 (1991), to a major teenage heartthrob in the 1990s,...

12. Christopher Eccleston

Actor | Doctor Who

Christopher Eccleston trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and first came to public attention as Derek Bentley in Let Him Have It (1991). However, it was a regular role in the television series Cracker (1993) that made him a recognizable figure in the United Kingdom. He appeared in the ...

13. Michael Gambon

Actor | Gosford Park

Sir Michael Gambon was born in Cabra, Dublin, Ireland, to Mary (Hoare), a seamstress, and Edward Gambon, an engineer. After joining the National Theatre, under the Artistic Directorship of Sir Laurence Olivier, Gambon went on to appear in a number of leading roles in plays written by Alan Ayckbourn...

14. Roy Scheider

Actor | Jaws

Lean, angular-faced and authoritatively spoken lead / supporting actor Roy Scheider obviously never heard the old actor's axiom about "never appearing with kids or animals" lest they overshadow your performance. Breaking that rule did him no harm, though, as he achieved pop cult status by finding, ...

15. Tom Baker

Actor | Nicholas and Alexandra

The English character actor Tom Baker is best known for his record-setting seven-year stint as the Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who (1963). He was born in 1934 in Liverpool, to Mary Jane (Fleming) and John Stewart Baker. His father was of English and Scottish descent, while his mother's family was ...

16. Sean Astin

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Sean Astin is well known for his film debut portraying Mikey in Steven Spielberg's The Goonies (1985), for playing the title role in the critically acclaimed Rudy (1993), and for his role as the beloved Sam Gamgee in the Academy Award winning trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the ...

17. Ian McKellen

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Widely regarded as one of greatest stage and screen actors, both in his native Great Britain and internationally, twice nominated for the Oscar and recipient of every major theatrical award in UK and US, Ian Murray McKellen was born on May 25, 1939 in Burnley, Lancashire, England, to Margery Lois (...

18. Karl Urban

Actor | Star Trek

Originally from Wellington, New Zealand, Karl Urban now lives in Auckland. Born on June 7, 1972, he is the son of a leather-goods manufacturer (who had hoped that Karl would follow in his footsteps). His first acting role was when he was 8 -- he had a line on a television series. However, he did ...

19. Johnny Depp

Actor | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Johnny Depp is perhaps one of the most versatile actors of his day and age in Hollywood.

He was born John Christopher Depp II in Owensboro, Kentucky, on June 9, 1963, to Betty Sue (Wells), who worked as a waitress, and John Christopher Depp, a civil engineer.

Depp was raised in Florida. He dropped ...

20. James Stewart

Actor | Vertigo

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth Ruth (Johnson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. He was of Scottish, Ulster-Scots, and some English, descent. Stewart was educated at a local prep school, Mercersburg Academy, where he ...

21. Dick Van Dyke

Actor | Mary Poppins

Dick Van Dyke was born Richard Wayne Van Dyke in West Plains, Missouri, to Hazel Victoria (McCord), a stenographer, and Loren Wayne Van Dyke, a salesman. His younger brother is entertainer Jerry Van Dyke. His ancestry includes English, Scottish, German, Swiss-German, and Dutch. Although he'd had ...

22. Sylvester Stallone

Actor | Rocky

This athletically built, dark-haired American actor/screenwriter/director may never be mentioned by old-school film critics in the same breath as, say, Richard Burton or Alec Guinness; however, movie fans worldwide have been flocking to see Stallone's films for over 30 years, making "Sly" one of ...

23. Bill Murray

Actor | Lost in Translation

Bill Murray is an American actor, comedian, and writer. The fifth of nine children, he was born William James Murray in Wilmette, Illinois, to Lucille (Collins), a mailroom clerk, and Edward Joseph Murray II, who sold lumber. He is of Irish descent. Among his siblings are actors Brian Doyle-Murray, ...

24. John Candy

Actor | Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Candy was one of Canada's greatest and funniest character actors. His well-known role as the big hearted buffoon earned him classics in Uncle Buck (1989) and Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987). His career has handed him some dry spells but Candy always rebounded.

Born in Newmarket, Ontario, in ...

25. Jackie Chan

Actor | Ngo si seoi

Hong Kong's cheeky, lovable and best known film star, Jackie Chan endured many years of long, hard work and multiple injuries to establish international success via his early beginnings in Hong Kong's manic martial arts cinema industry.

Jackie was born Kong-sang Chan on Hong Kong's famous Victoria ...

26. Samuel L. Jackson

Actor | Pulp Fiction

Samuel L. Jackson is an American producer and highly prolific actor, having appeared in over 100 films, including Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Unbreakable (2000), Shaft (2000), Formula 51 (2001), Black Snake Moan (2006), Snakes on a Plane (2006), and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005), ...

27. Harrison Ford

Actor | Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford was born on July 13, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, to Dorothy (Nidelman), a radio actress, and Christopher Ford (born John William Ford), an actor turned advertising executive. His father was of Irish and German ancestry, while his maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Minsk,...

28. Sean Connery

Actor | The Rock

Sean Connery is best known for portraying the character James Bond, starring in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983. In 1988, Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Untouchables (1987). His film career also includes such films as Marnie (1964), The Name of ...

29. Sylvester McCoy

Actor | The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Sylvester McCoy was born in Dunoon, Scotland. He spent much of his childhood in Dublin, Ireland. Before becoming an actor, as Percy Smith he trained as a priest, sold insurance and acted as a bodyguard for the Rolling Stones. He started his acting career as a part of the Ken Campbell Roadshow, at ...

30. Elijah Wood

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Elijah Wood is an American actor best known for portraying Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson's blockbuster Lord of the Rings film trilogy. In addition to reprising the role in The Hobbit series, Wood also played Ryan in the FX television comedy Wilfred (2011) and voiced Beck in the Disney XD animated ...

31. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Gran Torino

Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music...

32. Tom Selleck

Actor | Blue Bloods

Thomas William Selleck is an American actor and film producer, known for his starring role as Hawaii-based private investigator "Thomas Magnum" on the 1980s television series, Magnum, P.I. (1980).

Selleck was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Martha S. (Jagger), a homemaker, and Robert Dean Selleck, a ...

33. Michael Keaton

Actor | Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Quirky, inventive and handsome American actor Michael Keaton first achieved major fame with his door-busting performance as fast-talking ideas man Bill Blazejowski, alongside a nerdish morgue attendant (Henry Winkler), in Night Shift (1982). He played further comedic roles in Mr. Mom (1983), Johnny...

34. Alan Rickman

Actor | Die Hard

Alan Rickman was born on a council estate in Acton, West London, to Margaret Doreen Rose (Bartlett) and Bernard Rickman, who worked at a factory. He had English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Alan had an older brother David, a younger brother Michael and a younger sister Sheila. When Alan was 8 years ...

35. Matt Smith

Actor | Doctor Who

Matt Smith is an English actor who shot to fame in the UK aged 26 when he was cast by producer Steven Moffat as the Eleventh Doctor in the BBC's iconic science-fiction adventure series Doctor Who (2005).

Matthew Robert Smith was born and raised in Northampton, the son of Lynne (Fidler) and David ...

36. Richard Dreyfuss

Actor | The Goodbye Girl

Richard Dreyfuss is an American leading man, who has played his fair share of irritating pests and brash, ambitious hustlers.

He was born Richard Stephen Dreyfus in Brooklyn, New York, to Geraldine (Robbins), an activist, and Norman Dreyfus, a restaurateur and attorney. His paternal grandparents ...

37. Liam Neeson

Actor | Schindler's List

Liam Neeson was born on June 7, 1952 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, UK, to Katherine (Brown), a cook, and Bernard Neeson, a school caretaker. Liam worked as a forklift operator for Guinness, truck driver, assistant architect and an amateur boxer. He had originally sought a career as a teacher by ...

38. James Spader

Actor | The Blacklist

James Todd Spader was born on February 7, 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of teachers Jean (Fraser) and Stoddard Greenwood "Todd" Spader. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover with director Peter Sellars; he dropped out in eleventh grade. He bused tables, shoveled manure, and taught yoga ...

39. Colin Baker

Actor | Doctor Who

Colin Baker was born in 1943 in the Royal Waterloo Lying-In Hospital in London during an air raid. He spent his earliest years in London with his mother, while his father served in the armed forces. He narrowly avoided an early death during the wartime blitz when a piece of flying shrapnel just ...

40. Brendan Gleeson

Actor | The Guard

Brendan Gleeson was born in Dublin, Ireland, to Pat and Frank Gleeson. From a very young age, he loved to learn, especially reading classical text in and outside the classroom. He took great attention to Irish play writers such as Samuel Beckett, which eventually led to him performing in his high ...

41. Leslie Nielsen

Actor | Airplane!

Leslie William Nielsen was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and raised in Tulita (formerly Fort Norman), Northwest Territories. His mother, Mabel Elizabeth (Davies), was Welsh. His father, Ingvard Eversen Nielsen, was a Danish-born Mountie and a strict disciplinarian. Leslie studied at the Academy of ...

42. Patrick Stewart

Actor | Logan

Sir Patrick Stewart was born in Mirfield, Yorkshire, England, to Gladys (Barrowclough), a textile worker and weaver, and Alfred Stewart, who was in the army. He was a member of various local drama groups from about age 12. He left school at age 15 to work as a junior reporter on a local paper; he ...

43. Anthony Hopkins

Actor | The Silence of the Lambs

Anthony Hopkins was born on December 31, 1937, in Margam, Wales, to Muriel Anne (Yeats) and Richard Arthur Hopkins, a baker. His parents were both of half Welsh and half English descent. Influenced by Richard Burton, he decided to study at College of Music and Drama and graduated in 1957. In 1965, ...

44. Gene Wilder

Actor | Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Gene Wilder was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Jeanne (Baer) and William J. Silberman, who manufactured miniature whiskey and beer bottles. His father was a Russian Jewish immigrant, while his Illinois-born mother was of Russian Jewish descent.

Wilder caught his first big break ...

45. Garrick Hagon

Actor | Star Wars

Garrick Hagon was born on September 27, 1939 in London, England. He is an actor, known for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), A Bridge Too Far (1977) and The Message (1976). He has been married to Liza Ross since 1965. They have two children.

46. Dennis Hopper

Actor | Easy Rider

With an amazing cinematic career of more than five decades, Dennis Hopper was a multi-talented and unconventional actor/director, regarded by many as one of the true "enfants terribles" of Hollywood. Hopper was born on May 17, 1936 in Dodge City, Kansas, to Marjorie Mae (Davis) and James Millard ...

47. Kurt Russell

Actor | The Hateful Eight

Kurt Russell was born Kurt Vogel Russell in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Louise Julia (Crone), a dancer, and actor Bing Russell (Neil Oliver Russell). He is of English, German, Scottish and Irish descent. His first roles were as a child on television series, including a lead role on the Western ...

48. Jeff Bridges

Actor | The Big Lebowski

Jeffrey Leon Bridges was born on December 4, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, the son of well-known film and TV star Lloyd Bridges and his long-time wife Dorothy Dean Bridges (née Simpson). He grew up amid the happening Hollywood scene with big brother Beau Bridges. Both boys popped up, without ...

49. Jeff Daniels

Actor | The Squid and the Whale

Actor Jeff Daniels was born in Athens, Georgia, but was raised in Chelsea, Michigan. He is the son of Marjorie J. (Ferguson) and Robert Lee Daniels, who owned The Chelsea Lumber Company and was also mayor of Chelsea. Jeff attended Central Michigan University, but became involved in acting and ...

50. Jeff Goldblum

Actor | The Grand Budapest Hotel

Jeffrey Lynn Goldblum was born October 22, 1952 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of four children of Shirley (Temeles), a radio broadcaster who also ran an appliances firm, and Harold L. Goldblum, a doctor. His father was of Russian Jewish descent and his mother was of Austrian Jewish ancestry.

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