Lynn's list of excellent actors

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1.
Colin Firth
Colin Andrew Firth was born into an academic family in Grayshott, Hampshire, England. His mother, Shirley Jean (Rolles), was a comparative religion lecturer at the Open University, and his father, David Norman Lewis Firth, lectured on history at Winchester University College (formerly King Alfred's College) in Winchester...
“ What if Sue Birtwhistle hadn't forced him to play Darcy in P & P? The world would be the lesser for it. ” - Lynn Ash
 
2.
James Marsden
Actor, X-Men
James Paul Marsden, or better known as just James Marsden, was born on September 18, 1973, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, to Kathleen (Scholz) and James Luther Marsden. His father, a distinguished Professor of Animal Sciences & Industry at Kansas State University, and his mother, a nutritionist, divorced when he was nine years old...
“ I have loved this man in everything I have ever seen him in. A beautiful singing voice. And much maligned and underrated because of his handsomeness. ” - Lynn Ash
 
3.
Pierce Brosnan
Actor, GoldenEye
Pierce Brendan Brosnan was born in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland, to May (Smith), a nurse, and Thomas Brosnan, a carpenter. He lived in Navan, County Meath, until he moved to England, UK, at an early age (thus explaining his ability to play men from both backgrounds convincingly). His father left the household when Pierce was a child and although reunited later in life...
“ My favorite: Evelyn ” - Lynn Ash
 
4.
“ MI-5 and Persuasion. ” - Lynn Ash
 
5.
Jonny Lee Miller
Jonny Lee Miller (sometimes credited with an H) was born on November 15, 1972, in Kingston, England, UK, to actors Anna Lee and Alan Miller, and the grandson of actor Bernard Lee. After appearing in many high school plays at his selective state grammar school, Johnny dropped out at 17, to pursue acting full time...
“ Just saw him in End Game, Masterpiece Contemporary. Excellent. ” - Lynn Ash
 
6.
Jeremy Northam
Actor, The Net
Jeremy Philip Northam was born in Cambridge, England to parents John and Rachel, both university professors. John Northam is best known for his translations of Henrik Ibsen. The family moved to Bristol, in 1972, where Jeremy attended Bristol Grammar School. Jeremy graduated from Bedford College, University of London...
“ Emma, Gosford Park, Enigma, to name a few. Sings and plays the piano really well. ” - Lynn Ash
 
7.
Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones was born in San Saba, Texas, the son of Lucille Marie (Scott), a police officer and beauty shop owner, and Clyde C. Jones, who worked on oil fields. Tommy himself worked in underwater construction and on an oil rig. He attended St. Mark's School of Texas, a prestigious prep school for boys in Dallas...
“ Craggy old face! Men in Black I and II. ” - Lynn Ash
 
8.
Clint Eastwood
Perhaps the icon of macho movie stars, and a living legend, Clint Eastwood has become a standard in international cinema. Born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the elder of two children in a middle-class family, Eastwood finished high school at the comparatively late age of 19 and worked odd jobs for several years before enrolling at Los Angeles City College...
“ Unerring taste, good actor, great director as well. ” - Lynn Ash
 
9.
Denzel Washington
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 (Lowe), from Georgia, and a Pentecostal minister father, Denzel Washington, Sr., from Virginia. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at Fordham University...
“ He made me like Unstoppable. Thought it would be just another train out of control movie. ” - Lynn Ash
 
10.
Samuel L. Jackson
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, Formula 51, Black Snake Moan, Snakes on a Plane, and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005), as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe...
“ He plays mean well, but everything, really. ” - Lynn Ash
 
11.
Liam Neeson
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 attending St...
“ From the lion, Aslan to a bereaved stepfather to Schindler. He's really admirable. ” - Lynn Ash
 
12.
Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes is an English actor. A noted Shakespeare interpreter, he first achieved success onstage at the Royal National Theatre. Fiennes' portrayal of Nazi war criminal Amon Goeth in Schindler's List (1993) earned him nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor...
 
13.
Joseph Fiennes
Joseph Alberic Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, to Jennifer Anne Mary Alleyne (Lash), a novelist, and Mark Fiennes, a photographer. He is one of six children. Four of his siblings are also in the arts: Ralph Fiennes, an actor; Martha Fiennes, a director; Magnus Fiennes, a musician; and Sophie Fiennes, a producer. He is of English, Irish, and Scottish origin...
“ Shakespeare in Love. Humor and classic combined. ” - Lynn Ash
 
14.
Ed Harris
By transforming into his characters and pulling the audience in, Ed Harris has earned the reputation as one of the most talented actors of our time. Ed Harris was born in Tenafly, New Jersey, to Margaret (Sholl), a travel agent, and Robert Lee Harris, a bookstore worker who also sang professionally...
“ I really liked his portrayal of Beethoven, plus Empire Falls. ” - Lynn Ash
 
15.
Don Cheadle
Actor, Crash
Donald Frank Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 29, 1964. His childhood found him moving from city to city with his family: mother Bettye (North), a teacher, father Donald Frank Cheadle, Sr., a clinical psychologist, sister Dawn, and brother Colin. After graduating high school in Denver...
“ Hotel Rwanda ” - Lynn Ash
 
16.
Matt Damon
Matthew Paige Damon was born on October 8, 1970, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Kent Damon, a stockbroker, realtor and tax preparer, and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an early childhood education professor at Lesley University. Matt has an older brother named Kyle who is now a sculptor. His father is of English and Scottish descent...
“ The face of Boston, plus everyman. ” - Lynn Ash
 
17.
Chris Cooper
Christopher Walton Cooper was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Mary Ann (Walton), a homemaker, and Charles Sherwood Cooper, a cattleman and internist who served as a doctor in the US Air Force. His parents were from Texas, where Cooper was raised. Educated at the University of Missouri school of drama...
“ He's one of those whom you just have to admire. Loved him in Interstate 60. ” - Lynn Ash
 
18.
Kevin Spacey
As enigmatic as he is talented, Kevin Spacey has always kept the details of his private life closely guarded. As he explained in a 1998 interview with the London Evening Standard, "the less you know about me, the easier it is to convince you that I am that character on screen. It allows an audience to come into a movie theatre and believe I am that person"...
“ Like him but not Lex Luthor so much. I'd love to see one of his London Old Vic productions. ” - Lynn Ash
 
19.
Clive Owen
British actor Clive Owen is one of a handful of stars who, though he is best known for his art house films, can handle more mainstream films with equal measures of grace and skill. Owen is typically cast as characters whose primary traits are a balance of physical strength, intellect, conflicting soul but forceful will...
“ Played Helen Mirren's son in Gosford Park. Great. ” - Lynn Ash
 
20.
Ben Affleck
Producer, Argo
American actor and filmmaker Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt was born on August 15, 1972 in Berkeley, California, and was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His mother, Chris Anne (née Boldt), is a school teacher, and his father, Timothy Byers Affleck, is a social worker; the two are divorced. Ben has a younger brother...
“ Another Boston bean. Good actor. ” - Lynn Ash
 
21.
Sean Penn
Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints. Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the second son of actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci) and director...
“ I don't care for him personally, but I do respect his acting. ” - Lynn Ash
 
22.
Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Lee Hoffman was born in Los Angeles, California, to Lillian (Gold) and Harry Hoffman, who was a furniture salesman and prop supervisor for Columbia Pictures. He was raised in a Jewish family (from Ukraine, Russia-Poland, and Romania). Hoffman graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1955, and went to Santa Monica City College...
“ Straw Dogs and many other great roles. Didn't like Tootsie, but he was good in it. ” - Lynn Ash
 
23.
James Franco
Actor, 127 Hours
Known for his breakthrough starring role on Freaks and Geeks, James Franco was born in Palo Alto, California on April 19, 1978. His mother, Betsy Franco, is Jewish, and his father, Douglas Eugene "Doug" Franco, was of Portuguese and Swedish descent, and ran a Silicon Valley business. James's mother, a writer, has occasionally acted...
“ Saw him in Inside the Actor's Studio and on Charlie Rose. ” - Lynn Ash
 
24.
Donald Sutherland
The towering presence of Canadian actor Donald Sutherland is often noticed, as are his legendary contributions to cinema. He has appeared in almost 200 different shows and films. He is also the father of renowned actor Kiefer Sutherland, among others. Donald McNichol Sutherland was born in Saint John...
“ Didn't like the Kiera Knightley P & P, but loved his Mr. Bennet even though he wasn't sardonic enough. What he did he did well. ” - Lynn Ash
 
25.
Morgan Freeman
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...
“ From Driving Miss Daisy to playing God. What a range! ” - Lynn Ash
 
26.
Robin Williams
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 Motor Company executive from Indiana...
“ Comic genius- that term really applies to him. Also does serious roles well. ” - Lynn Ash
 
27.
Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley is an English actor. In a career spanning over 40 years, he has won an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, two Golden Globes and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He is known for his starring role as Mohandas Gandhi in the 1982 film Gandhi, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He is also known for his performances in the films Schindler's List (1993)...
“ I guess Ghandi is my favorite, but he's excellent in many roles. ” - Lynn Ash
 
28.
Russell Crowe
Actor, Gladiator
Russell Ira Crowe was born in Wellington, New Zealand, to Jocelyn Yvonne (Wemyss) and John Alexander Crowe, both of whom catered movie sets. His maternal grandfather, Stanley Wemyss, was a cinematographer. Crowe's recent ancestry includes Welsh (where his paternal grandfather was born, in Wrexham), English...
“ A Beautiful Mind may be my favorite but I liked his action roles, too. ” - Lynn Ash
 
29.
Jackie Chan
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 Peak on April 7...
“ A surprise to me; he was wonderful in Karate Kid ” - Lynn Ash
 
30.
Robert De Niro
Actor, Goodfellas
Robert De Niro, thought of as one of the greatest actors of all time, was born in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is Irish, German, Dutch, English, and French. He was trained at the Stella Adler Conservatory and the American Workshop...
“ I loved Everybody's Fine. Such a truthful role and story. ” - Lynn Ash
 
31.
Mark Wahlberg
American actor Mark Wahlberg is one of a handful of respected entertainers who successfully made the transition from teen pop idol to respected actor. A Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for The Departed who went on to receive positive critical reviews for his performance in The Fighter, Wahlberg also is a solid comedy actor, proven by his starring role in Ted...
“ Late to my list. Should blow us all away in The Fighter. ” - Lynn Ash
 
32.
Kevin Bacon
Actor, Apollo 13
Kevin Norwood Bacon was born on July 8, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Ruth Hilda (Holmes), an elementary school teacher, and Edmund Norwood Bacon, a prominent architect who was on the cover of Time Magazine in November 1964. Kevin's early training as an actor came from The Manning Street. His debut as the strict Chip Diller in Animal House almost seems like an inside joke...
“ My Dog Skip is one of his roles I really like. Isn't he mocking himself in some TV ad right now? ” - Lynn Ash
 
33.
Bill Nighy
Bill Nighy is an award-winning British character actor. He was born on December 12, 1949 in Caterham, Surrey, England, to Catherine Josephine (Whittaker), a psychiatric nurse from Glasgow, and Alfred Martin Nighy, who was English-born and managed a garage in Croydon. At school, he gained 'O'-levels in English Language and English Literature and enjoyed reading...
“ Love him in Love Actually, but he makes a creepy Davey Jones in the Pirates films. ” - Lynn Ash
 
34.
Timothy Hutton
Actor, Leverage
Timothy Hutton was born in Malibu, California, to Maryline (Poole), a teacher, and actor Jim Hutton (Dana James Hutton). He set Hollywood ablaze when he burst onto the acting scene in the early 1980s. After only a small number of significant roles in TV movies, he bagged the part of Conrad in the Robert Redford-directed Ordinary People...
“ My favorite roles for him are TV roles: in Leverage and Nero Wolfe Mysteries. ” - Lynn Ash
 
35.
“ The Young Victoria: well done ” - Lynn Ash
 
36.
Alan Rickman
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 old...
“ Forgot he was in Die Hard. Played a mid-life crisis husband in Love Actually well, and Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility is probably my favorite. ” - Lynn Ash
 
37.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. has evolved into one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. With an amazing list of credits to his name, he has managed to stay new and fresh even after over four decades in the business. Downey was born April 4, 1965 in Manhattan, New York, the son of writer, director and filmographer Robert Downey Sr. and actress Elsie Downey (née Elsie Ann Ford)...
“ Iron Man plus Sherlock Holmes. I think he's really excellent. ” - Lynn Ash
 
38.
Jude Law
Jude Law is a talented and versatile actor. Law has been nominated for two Academy Awards and continues to build a prolific body of work that spans from early successes such as Gattaca and The Talented Mr. Ripley to more recent turns as Dr. John Watson in Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, as Hugo's father in Hugo and in the titular role in Dom Hemingway...
“ Yes, Sherlock Holmes, but my favorite part of his is in The Holiday. ” - Lynn Ash
 
39.
Rupert Graves
Born in a seaside resort town, Britain's Rupert Graves was born a rebel, resisting authority and breaking rules at an early age. In his teens he became a punk rocker and even found work as a circus clown and in traveling comedy troupes. In 1983 he made his professional stage debut in "The Killing of Mr...
“ My favorite: Death at a Funeral 2007. ” - Lynn Ash
 
40.
Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch is an English actor and film producer who has performed in film, television, theatre and radio. The son of actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, he graduated from the University of Manchester and continued his training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, obtaining a Master of Arts in Classical Acting...
“ Excellent new Sherlock Holmes. ” - Lynn Ash
 
41.
Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman is an English actor, best known for portraying Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy, Tim Canterbury in the original UK version of sitcom mockumentary The Office, Dr. John Watson in the British crime drama Sherlock and Lester Nygaard in the dark comedy-crime drama TV series Fargo...
“ The British The Office, plus Love Actually, and last but not least, the new Masterpiece Mysteries Sherlock Holmes--is a great Dr. Watson. ” - Lynn Ash
 
42.
Kenneth Branagh
Actor, Valkyrie
Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, to parents William Branagh, a plumber and carpenter born in 1930, and Frances (Harper) Branagh, also born in 1930. His brother, William Branagh Jr., was born in 1955 and sister, Joyce Branagh, was born in 1970...
“ I love all his Shakespearean work; he played a Nazi general in a great TV film entitled Conspiracy--excellent. Now I'm waiting for each Wallender that appears-- really good. ” - Lynn Ash
 
43.
Johnny Depp
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 out of school when he was 15...
“ My favorites of his: Pirates...Black Pearl and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. He makes strange choices, but with his talent, I guess he can do it successfully. ” - Lynn Ash
 
44.
Antonio Banderas
Actor, Desperado
Antonio Banderas, one of Spain's most famous faces, was a soccer player until breaking his foot at the age of fourteen; he is now an international film star known for playing Zorro in the eponymous film series. He was born José Antonio Domínguez Banderas on August 10, 1960, in Málaga, Andalusia, Spain...
“ I like Take the Lead and Evita the best. He's great in both. ” - Lynn Ash
 
45.
Tony Shalhoub
Actor, Monk
Anthony Marcus Shalhoub was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin. His father, Joe Shalhoub, who owned a grocery chain, emigrated from Lebanon to the United States as an orphan at the age of ten, later marrying Shalhoub's mother, Helen (Seroogy), who herself was born in Wisconsin, to Lebanese parents...
“ He's great in film roles--from alien in MIB I & II to The Siege, but he's made Monk his own possession. I hope he liked it, too. ” - Lynn Ash
 
46.
Gary Sinise
Actor, CSI: NY
Gary Alan Sinise was born in Blue Island, Illinois, to Mylles S. (Alsip) and Robert L. Sinise, A.C.E., a film editor. He is of Italian (from his paternal grandfather), English, Scottish, Irish, French, German, and Swedish ancestry. His family moved to Highland Park, where he attended high school. He was something of a rebel, playing in bands but paying little attention to school...
“ Yes, he plays an angry amputee in Forrest Gump, a great detective in CSI New York, and I also admire him for what he does for the troops. ” - Lynn Ash