40 Most Underrated Actors/Actresses in Show Business

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1.
Viggo Mortensen
Since his screen debut as a young Amish Farmer in Peter Weir's Witness, 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 American...
 
2.
Christina Ricci
Actress, Sleepy Hollow
Precocious, outspoken child-teen starlet of the 1990s, Christina Ricci was born in 1980 in Santa Monica, California, the youngest of four children of Sarah (Murdoch), a realtor, and Ralph Ricci, a lawyer and therapist. She is of Italian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, and Scots-Irish descent...
 
3.
Paul Giamatti
Actor, Sideways
Paul Giamatti is an American actor who has worked steadily and prominently for over twenty years, and is best known for leading roles in the films American Splendor, Sideways, and Barney's Version (for which he won a Golden Globe), and supporting roles in the films Cinderella Man, The Illusionist, and San Andreas...
 
4.
Kathleen Robertson
Kathleen Robertson was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and launched her career in nearby Toronto, in the George Lucas-produced Maniac Mansion and continues to work with prolific producers. She transitioned from David E. Kelley's acclaimed Girls Club into Farhad Safinia's Golden Globe-winning Starz political drama Boss with Kelsey Grammer...
 
5.
Sam Rockwell
Actor, Moon
Sam Rockwell was born on November 5, 1968, in San Mateo, California, the child of two actors, Pete Rockwell and Penny Hess. The family moved to New York when he was two years old, living first in the Bronx and later in Manhattan. When Sam was five years old, his parents split up, at which point he and his father moved to San Francisco...
 
6.
AnnaSophia Robb
AnnaSophia Robb was born on the 8th December 1993 in Denver, Colorado, USA, to Janet, an interior designer, and Dave Robb, an architect. She has Danish, English, Irish, Scottish, and Swedish ancestry. Robb started off life with a dream to act, and began by performing on a church stage in her home town in front of 500 people when she was just 5 years old...
 
7.
Bill Murray
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, Joel Murray...
 
8.
Lena Headey
Actress, 300
Lena Headey is a British actress. She was born in Bermuda to parents from Yorkshire, England, where she was raised. She is the daughter John Headey, a police officer, and his wife Sue. Headey is best known for her role as "Cersei Lannister" in Game of Thrones (2011-present) and The Brothers Grimm, Possession...
 
9.
David Thewlis
Actor, Naked
David Thewlis was born David Wheeler in 1963 in Blackpool, Lancashire, to Maureen (Thewlis) and Alec Raymond Wheeler, and lived with his parents above their combination wallpaper and toy shop during his childhood. Originally, he came to London with his band Door 66, however he changed his plans and entered Guildhall School of Drama...
 
10.
Michelle Williams
A small-town girl born and raised in rural Kalispell, Montana, Michelle Williams is the daughter of Carla Ingrid (Swenson), a homemaker, and Larry Richard Williams, a commodity trader and author. Her ancestry is Norwegian, as well as German, English, Swedish, Swiss-German, Danish, Welsh, and Scottish...
 
11.
Crispin Glover
While he's never been a typical leading man, Crispin Glover has distinguished himself as one of the most intriguing personalities in the movie business. His unusual characters and personal projects have inspired a cult-like following that has dubbed him both madman and genius. The son of actor Bruce Glover...
 
12.
Alex Kingston
Actress, ER
 
13.
Sean Bean
Sean Bean's 20 year career spans theater, radio, television and movies. Bean was born in Handsworth, Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, to Rita (Tuckwood) and Brian Bean. He worked for his father's welding firm before he decided to become an actor. He attended RADA in London and appeared in a number of West End stage productions including RSC's "Fair Maid of the West" (Spencer)...
 
14.
Julie Walters
Actress, Brave
For decades, Brit actress and comedienne Julie Walters has served as a sturdy representation of the working class with her passionate, earthy portrayals on England's stage, screen and TV. A bona fide talent, her infectious spirit and self-deprecating sense of humor eventually captured the hearts of international audiences...
 
15.
Sam Neill
Sam Neill was born in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to army parents, an English-born mother, Priscilla Beatrice (Ingham), and a New Zealand-born father, Dermot Neill. His family moved to the South Island of New Zealand in 1954. He went to boarding schools and then attended the universities at Canterbury and Victoria...
 
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17.
Sean Astin
Sean Astin is well known for his film debut portraying Mikey in Steven Spielberg's The Goonies, for playing the title role in the critically acclaimed Rudy, and for his role as the beloved Sam Gamgee in the Academy Award winning trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King...
 
18.
Zooey Deschanel
Actress, Elf
Zooey Deschanel was born in 1980 into a showbiz family. Her father, Caleb Deschanel, is an Academy Award-nominated cinematographer (perhaps most notably for The Passion of the Christ) and her mother, Mary Jo Deschanel (née Weir), is an actress who appeared in Twin Peaks. Her paternal grandfather was French, and her other roots include English, German, Scottish, Irish, and Dutch...
 
19.
Kelsey Grammer
Actor, Cheers
A five-time Emmy Award winner, Kelsey Grammer was born in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, to Sally (Cranmer), a singer, and Frank Allen Grammer, Jr., a musician and restaurateur. He was raised in New Jersey and Florida. Grammer was drawn to the works of William Shakespeare and spent two years at the prestigious Juilliard School...
 
20.
Maggie Smith
One of the world's most famous and distinguished actresses, Dame Maggie Smith was born Margaret Natalie Smith in Essex. Her Scottish mother, Margaret (Hutton), worked as a secretary, and her English father, Nathaniel Smith, was a teacher at Oxford University. Smith has been married twice: to actor Robert Stephens and to playwright Beverley Cross...
 
21.
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 and low budget horror movies, such as Critters 3, to a major teenage heartthrob in the 1990s, as the hunky lead actor in movies such as Romeo + Juliet and Titanic...
 
22.
Allison Janney
Actress, The West Wing
Allison Janney is an award-winning actress who has earned a solid reputation in stage productions and in many supporting roles on screen, and who more recently has become prominent by portraying one of the major characters in the popular TV series The West Wing. Entertainment Weekly magazine describes Janney's screen presence as "uncommonly beautiful and infinitely expressive"...
 
23.
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...
 
24.
Saoirse Ronan
Actress, Atonement
Saoirse Una Ronan was born in The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States, to Irish parents, Monica Ronan (née Brennan) and Paul Ronan, an actor. When Saoirse was three, the family moved to Ireland, and Saoirse grew up in its County Carlow. Saoirse made her first TV appearance with a small role in a few episodes of the TV series...
 
25.
Djimon Hounsou
Actor, Gladiator
Djimon Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook. He moved to Lyon, France, when he was 13. Hounsou has graced the catwalks of Paris and London as a popular male model. He has since left his modeling career and has worked on Gladiator by Ridley Scott and Amistad by Steven Spielberg.
 
26.
Ellen Page
Actress, Inception
Ellen Philpotts-Page was born on February 21, 1987, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Martha Philpotts, a teacher, and Dennis Page, a graphic designer. Page wanted to start acting at an early age and attended the Neptune Theater School. She began her career at the age of 10 on the award-winning television series Pit Pony...
 
27.
Steve Buscemi
Actor, Fargo
Steve Buscemi was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Dorothy (Wilson), a restaurant hostess, and John Buscemi, a sanitation worker. He is of Italian (father) and English, Dutch, and Irish (mother) descent. He became interested in acting during his last year of high school. After graduating, he moved to Manhattan to study acting with John Strasberg...
 
28.
Robert Carlyle
Robert Carlyle was born in Maryhill, Glasgow, Scotland, to Elizabeth, a bus company employee, and Joseph Carlyle, a painter and decorator. He was raised by his father after his mother left him when he was four. At the age of 21, after reading Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," he enrolled in acting classes at the Glasgow Arts Centre...
 
29.
Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans was born and raised in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, the son of teacher parents, Beti Wyn (Davies) and Eirwyn Evans. He was educated in two Welsh language schools - Ysgol Pentrecelyn, where his mother taught, and Ysgol Maes Garmon. During his childhood, Ifans showed an interest in performing and attended youth acting school...
 
30.
David Morrissey
David Morrissey started acting at Everyman's Youth Theatre in Liverpool, where he was born and raised. He made an auspicious debut in One Summer, a series about two Liverpool runaways. Following a degree at RADA, he worked with the theatre company Cheek By Jowl. He has also worked at theatre such as the Manchester Royal Exchange and the National Theatre...
 
31.
John Simm
John Simm was born on 10 July 1970 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and grew up in Nelson, Lancashire. He attended Edge End High School, Nelson, Lancashire, followed by Blackpool Drama College at 16 and the Drama Centre, London, at 19. He lives with his wife, actress Kate Magowan, and their children Ryan (born 13 August 2001) and Molly (born February 2007)...
 
32.
Ray Winstone
Ray Winstone was born on February 19, 1957, in Hackney Hospital in London, England, to Margaret (Richardson) and Raymond J. Winstone. He moved to Enfield, at age seven, where his parents had a fruit and vegetable business. He started boxing at the age of twelve at the famous Repton Amateur Boxing Club...
 
33.
Ian McShane
Ian McShane was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, England, to parents Irene (Cowley) and Harry McShane, a soccer player for Manchester United. His father was Scottish and his mother was of English and Irish descent. Ian originally planned to follow in his father's 'footballer' steps, until his high school teacher encouraged him to be an actor...
 
34.
Powers Boothe
Actor, Sin City
American actor born 1948, in Snyder, Texas. Leading man of the American stage, TV, and films. He made a strong presence in some films in the 80s, but he was most successful on TV. He won an Emmy award as Best Actor for his performance in the TV movie Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.
 
35.
Adrien Brody
Adrien Nicholas Brody was born in Woodhaven, Queens, New York, the only child of retired history professor Elliot Brody and Hungarian-born photographer Sylvia Plachy. He accompanied his mother on assignments for the Village Voice, and credits her with making him feel comfortable in front of the camera...
 
36.
Hugo Weaving
Actor, The Matrix
Hugo Wallace Weaving was born on April 4, 1960 in Nigeria, to English parents Anne (Lennard), a tour guide and teacher, and Wallace Weaving, a seismologist. Hugo has an older brother, Simon, and a younger sister, Anna, who both also live and work in Australia. During his early childhood, the Weaving family spent most of their time traveling between Nigeria...
 
37.
Jason Isaacs
Jason Isaacs was born in Liverpool, the third of four children of Sheila (née Nathan) and Eric Isaacs. His parents were both from Jewish families (from Eastern Europe). He studied law at Bristol University and graduated in 1985 with a degree in law but decided to study acting. While at Bristol University...
 
38.
Stellan Skarsgård
Stellan Skarsgård was born in Gothenburg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden, to Gudrun (Larsson) and Jan Skarsgård. He became a star in his teens through the title role in the TV-series Bombi Bitt och jag. Between the years 1972-88 he was employed at The Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, where he participated in "Vita rum" (1988)...
 
39.
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...
 
40.
Anthony Head
Anthony Stewart Head was born on February 20, 1954 in Camden Town, north London, England. He grew up in Hampton, near Richmond upon Thames in London. He's the youngest son of his parents, Seafield Head (a documentary filmmaker) and Helen Shingler (an actress). He is the younger brother of musical...