The Best Actors of today -- from 1980 through the present!

This list is supplemental to the first list (best actors of the golden age (1930-1969), and also supplemental to the next list (the actors of the 70's - 11 dynamic male actors.)
This is the third actor list which brings us forward for the last 30 plus years, from 1980 to present day!! I have included each actor's signature film; the actor's best individual performance, and not necessarily the best film in which he has appeared, nor the most awarded performance. (Expanded to 107 excellent actors in 2016).
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Philip Seymour Hoffman
Actor, Capote
Film and stage actor and theater director Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in the Rochester, New York, suburb of Fairport on July 23, 1967. He was the son of Marilyn (Loucks), a lawyer and judge, and Gordon Stowell Hoffman, a Xerox employee, and was mostly of German, Irish, English and Dutch ancestry...
“ Signature film: Capote (2005). RIP, Phillip Hoffman. This one really hurts. A great loss to the American art form -- it will be some time getting over this tragedy. The very best actor of our modern day has passed. RIP. ” - John Jacoby
Tom Hanks
Thomas Jeffrey Hanks was born in Concord, California, to Janet Marylyn (Frager), a hospital worker, and Amos Mefford Hanks, an itinerant cook. His father had English, and some German, ancestry, while his mother's family, originally surnamed "Fraga", was entirely Portuguese. Tom grew up in what he has called a "fractured" family...
“ Signature film: (of many to choose from!) tie: Apollo 13 (1995) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). ” - John Jacoby
Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey Fowler (born July 26, 1959), better known by his stage name Kevin Spacey, is an American actor of screen and stage, film director, producer, singer and comedian. He began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s before obtaining supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical...
“ Signature film: American Beauty (1999). ” - John Jacoby
Anthony Hopkins
Actor, Hannibal
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, he moved to London and joined the National Theatre...
“ Signature film: Silence of the Lambs (1991). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: Mystic River (2003). ” - John Jacoby
Daniel Day-Lewis
Day-Lewis is one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation and has earned numerous awards, including three Academy Awards for Best Actor for his performances in My Left Foot (1989), There Will Be Blood (2007) and Lincoln (2012), making him the only male actor in history to have three wins in the lead actor category and one of only three male actors to win three Oscars...
“ Signature film: There Will Be Blood (2007). ” - John Jacoby
William Hurt
William McChord Hurt was born in Washington, D.C., to Claire Isabel (McGill) and Alfred McChord Hurt, who worked at the State Department. He was trained at Tufts University and The Juilliard School and has been nominated for four Academy Awards, including the most recent nomination for his supporting role in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence...
“ Signature film: Body Heat (1981). ” - John Jacoby
Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington is an American actor and filmmaker. He has received three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for the historical war drama film Glory (1989) and Best Actor for his role as a corrupt cop in the crime thriller Training Day (2001). Washington has received much critical acclaim for his film work since the 1990s...
“ Signature film: John Q. (2002). ” - John Jacoby
Michael Douglas
Actor, The Game
An actor with over forty years of experience in theatre, film, and television, Michael Douglas branched out into independent feature production in 1975 with the Academy Award-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Since then, as a producer and as an actor-producer, he has shown an uncanny knack for choosing projects that reflect changing trends and public concerns...
“ Signature film: Wall Street (1987). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signatue film: Shawshank Redemption (1994). ” - John Jacoby
“ Signature film: Fargo (1996). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: tie: Traffic (2000) and Crash (2005). ” - John Jacoby
Jeff Bridges
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 billing...
“ Signature film: Seabiscuit (2003). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: American Beauty (1999). ” - John Jacoby
Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Margaret and Robert Joseph Kline, who owned several stores. His father was of German Jewish descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. After attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Kline studied at the Juilliard School in New York. In 1972, Kline joined the Acting Company in New York which was run by John Houseman...
“ Signature film: tie: Sophie's Choice (1983) and A Fish Called Wanda (1988). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: Good Will Hunting (1997). ” - John Jacoby
Christian Bale
Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer "Jenny" (James) and David Charles Howard Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. The family lived in different countries throughout Bale's childhood...
“ Signature film: The Fighter (2010). ” - John Jacoby
George Clooney
Actor, Gravity
George Timothy Clooney was born on May 6, 1961, in Lexington, Kentucky, to Nina Bruce (née Warren), a former beauty pageant queen, and Nick Clooney, a former anchorman and game show host (who was also the brother of singer Rosemary Clooney). He has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Clooney spent most of this youth in Ohio and Kentucky...
“ Signature film: tie: Perfect Storm (2000) and Syriana (2006). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signatue film: L.A. Confidential (1997). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: Apollo 13 (1995). ” - John Jacoby
James Woods
James Woods is a leanly built, strangely handsome actor-producer-director with intense eyes and a sometimes untrustworthy grin, who has been impressing audiences for over three decades with his compelling performances. James Howard Woods was born on April 18th, 1947 in Vernal, Utah, the son of Martha A...
“ Signature film: The Onion Field (1979). ” - John Jacoby
Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Bhanji in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England. His father, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, was a Kenyan-born medical doctor, of Gujarati Indian descent, and his mother, Anna Lyna Mary (Goodman), was an English actress. Ben began to act in stage plays during the 1960s. He soon became a successful stage actor...
“ Signatue film: Gandhi (1982). ” - John Jacoby
Jeremy Irons
Elegant and handsome British actor Jeremy Irons was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, a small island just off the south coast of England. He is the son of Barbara Anne Brereton (Sharpe) and Paul Dugan Irons, an accountant. Young Jeremy didn't prove very fond of figures. A typical islander, he used to go to mainland England only once a year...
“ Signatue film: Reversal of Fortune (1990). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: JFK (1991). ” - John Jacoby
Tom Wilkinson
Popular British character actor Tom Wilkinson was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, and comes from a long line of urban farmers. He is the son of Marjorie (Percival) and Thomas Wilkinson. Economic hardships forced his family to move to Canada for a few years when Wilkinson was a child; after he had returned to England...
“ Signature film: In the Bedroom (2001). ” - John Jacoby
Joe Pesci
Actor, Goodfellas
Joe Pesci is an Italian-American actor, known for playing tough, volatile characters, in a variety of genres. He is best known for his roles in Martin Scorsese films Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), and Casino (1995). Pesci has starred in a number of other high-profile films, including Easy Money (1983)...
“ Signature film: tie: Raging Bull (1980) and Goodfellas (1990). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: Apollo 13 (1995). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: Sideways (2004). ” - John Jacoby
Forest Whitaker
Actor, Platoon
Forest Steven Whitaker has packaged a king-size talent into his hulking 6' 2", 220 lb. frame. He won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland, and has also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. He is the fourth African-American male to win an Academy Award for Best Actor...
“ Signature film: The Last King of Scotland (2006). ” - John Jacoby
Tim Robbins
Born in West Covina, California, but raised in New York City, Tim Robbins is the son of former The Highwaymen singer Gil Robbins and actress Mary Robbins (née Bledsoe). Robbins studied drama at UCLA, where he graduated with honors in 1981. That same year, he formed the Actors' Gang theater group...
“ Signature film: Mystic River (2003). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: Schindler's List (1993). ” - John Jacoby
Leonardo DiCaprio
Actor, Inception
Since the 2000s, DiCaprio has received critical acclaim for his work in a wide range of film genres. His subsequent films include The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), the biographical crime drama Catch Me If You Can (2002) and the epic historical drama Gangs of New York (2002) which also marked his first of many collaborations with director Martin Scorsese...
“ Signature film: tie: Titanic (1997) and The Departed (2006). ” - John Jacoby
Edward Norton
Actor, Fight Club
American actor, filmmaker and activist Edward Harrison Norton was born on August 18, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts, and was raised in Columbia, Maryland. His mother, Lydia Robinson "Robin" (Rouse), was a foundation executive and teacher of English, and a daughter of famed real estate developer James Rouse...
“ Signatue film: Primal Fear (1996). ” - John Jacoby
John Turturro
Highly talented, lightly built American actor who always looks unsettled and jumpy has become a favourite of cult/arthouse film aficionados with his compelling performances in a broad range of cinematic vehicles. Turturro was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Italian-American parents, Katherine, a jazz singer...
“ Signature film: tie: Miller's Crossing (1990) and Quiz Show (1994). ” - John Jacoby
Ralph Fiennes
Actor Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes was born on December 22, 1962 in Suffolk, England, to Jennifer Anne Mary Alleyne (Lash), a novelist, and Mark Fiennes, a photographer. He is the eldest of six children. Four of his siblings are also in the arts: Martha Fiennes, a director; Magnus Fiennes...
“ Signatue film: tie: Schindler's List (19930 and Quiz Show (1994). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: Donnie Brasco (1997). ” - John Jacoby
Geoffrey Rush
Geoffrey Roy Rush was born on July 6, 1951, in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, to Merle (Bischof), a department store sales assistant, and Roy Baden Rush, an accountant for the Royal Australian Air Force. His mother was of German descent and his father had English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry. He was raised in Brisbane, Queensland, after his parents split up...
“ Signature film: The King's Speech (2010). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: Forrest Gump (1994). ” - John Jacoby
Harrison Ford
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, Belarus...
“ Signature film: Tie: Star Wars (1997) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). ” - John Jacoby
Kevin Costner
Kevin Michael Costner was born on January 18, 1955 in Lynwood, California, the third child of Bill Costner, a ditch digger and ultimately an electric line servicer for Southern California Edison, and Sharon Costner (née Tedrick), a welfare worker. His older brother, Dan, was born in 1950. A middle brother died at birth in 1953...
“ Signature film: Dances With Wolves (1990). ” - John Jacoby
Tom Cruise
Actor, Top Gun
In 1976, if you had told 14 year old Franciscan seminary student Thomas Cruise Mapother IV that one day in the not too distant future he would be considered one of the top 100 movie stars of all time, he would have probably grinned and told you that his ambition was to become a priest. Nonetheless, this sensitive...
“ Signature film: Jerry Maguire (1996). ” - John Jacoby
Ewan McGregor
Ewan Gordon McGregor was born on March 31, 1971 in Perth, Perthshire, Scotland, to Carol Diane (Lawson) and James Charles McGregor, both teachers. His uncle is actor Denis Lawson. He was raised in Crieff. At age 16, he left Morrison Academy to join the Perth Repertory Theatre. His parents encouraged him to leave school and pursue his acting goals rather than be unhappy...
“ Signature film: Cassandra's Dream. (2007). ” - John Jacoby
Matthew Broderick
A slight comic actor chiefly known for his boyish charm, Matthew Broderick was born on March 21, 1962 in New York City, to Patricia Broderick (née Biow), a playwright and painter, and James Broderick, an actor. His father had Irish and English ancestry, and his mother was from a Jewish family (from Germany and Poland)...
“ Signature film: Glory (1989). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: Inside Man (2005). ” - John Jacoby
Laurence Fishburne
Actor, The Matrix
One of Hollywood's most talented and versatile performers and the recipient of a truckload of NAACP Image awards, Laurence John Fishburne III was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961, to Hattie Bell (Crawford), a teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer. His mother transplanted her family to Brooklyn after his parents divorced...
“ Signature film: What's Love got to do with It. (1993). ” - John Jacoby
Willem Dafoe
Actor, Spider-Man
Willem Dafoe was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, to Muriel Isabel (Sprissler), a nurse, and Dr. William Alfred Dafoe, a surgeon. He is of German, French, English, Irish, and Scottish descent. In 1979, Dafoe was given a small role in Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate from which he was fired. His first feature role came shortly after in Kathryn Bigelow's The Loveless...
“ Signature film: Platoon (1986). ” - John Jacoby
Martin Sheen
Multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Martin Sheen is one of America's most celebrated, colorful, and accomplished actors. Moving flawlessly between artistic mediums, Sheen's acting range is breathtaking. Martin Sheen was born Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estevez in Dayton, Ohio, to Mary-Ann (Phelan)...
“ Signature film: Apocalypse Now (1979). ” - John Jacoby
Tom Berenger
Actor, Inception
Born in Chicago, Oscar nominee, Golden Globe and Emmy winner Tom Berenger was raised in a working class home as the son of a printer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Tom attended the University of Missouri to study journalism. It was there he first auditioned for a role in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" at the college theater on a whim and a bet with a roommate...
“ Signature film: Platoon (1986). ” - John Jacoby
John Malkovich
John Gavin Malkovich was born in Christopher, Illinois, to Joe Anne (Choisser), who owned a local newspaper, and Daniel Leon Malkovich, a state conservation director. His paternal grandparents were Croatian. In 1976, Malkovich joined Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, newly founded by his friend Gary Sinise...
“ Signature film: In the Line of fire (1994). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: The Fighter (2010). ” - John Jacoby
Danny DeVito
Danny DeVito has amassed a formidable and versatile body of work as an actor, producer and director that spans the stage, television and film. Daniel Michael DeVito Jr. was born on November 17, 1944, in Neptune, New Jersey, to Italian-American parents. His mother, Julia (Moccello), was a homemaker...
“ Signature film: Hoffa (1992). ” - John Jacoby
Colin Farrell
Colin Farrell is an Irish actor. He first appeared on the BBC's TV drama Ballykissangel in 1998, made his film debut in the Tim Roth-directed drama The War Zone a year later and was discovered by Hollywood when Joel Schumacher cast him in the lead in his war drama Tigerland (2000). He then starred in Schumacher's psychological thriller Phone Booth (2002) and the American thrillers S.W.A.T...
“ Signature film: Cassandra's Dream (2007). ” - John Jacoby
Andy Garcia
One of Hollywood's most private and guarded leading men, Andy Garcia has created a few iconic characters while at the same time staying true to his acting roots and personal projects. Garcia was born Andrés Arturo García Menéndez on April 12, 1956, in Havana, Cuba, to Amelie Menéndez, a teacher of English...
“ Signature film: Godfather, Part III (1990). ” - John Jacoby
Will Smith
Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, comedian, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He has enjoyed success in television, film, and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood". Smith has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards...
“ Signature film: Pursuit of Happyness. (2007). ” - John Jacoby
Brad Pitt
An actor and producer known as much for his versatility as he is for his handsome face, Golden Globe-winner Brad Pitt's most widely recognized role may be Tyler Durden in Fight Club. However, his portrayals of Billy Beane in Moneyball, and Rusty Ryan in the remake of Ocean's Eleven and its sequels, also loom large in his filmography...
“ Signature film: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). ” - John Jacoby
Scott Glenn
Scott Glenn was born January 26, 1941, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth and Theodore Glenn, a salesman. As he grew up in Appalachia, his health was poor; he was bedridden for a year and doctors predicted he would limp for the rest of his life. During long periods of illness, Glenn was reading a lot and "dreaming of becoming Lord Byron"...
“ Signature film: The Right Stuff (1983). ” - John Jacoby
Dennis Quaid
Dennis Quaid was born in Houston, Texas, to Juanita Bonniedale (Jordan), a real estate agent, and William Rudy Quaid, an electrician. He grew up in the Houston suburban city of Bellaire. He was raised a Baptist, and studied drama, Mandarin Chinese, and dance while a student at Bellaire High School. He continued study at the University of Houston...
“ Signature film: Breaking Away (1979). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: The King's Speech (2010). ” - John Jacoby
Mel Gibson
Actor, Braveheart
Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born January 3, 1956 in Peekskill, New York, USA, as the sixth of eleven children of Hutton Gibson, a railroad brakeman, and Anne Patricia (Reilly) Gibson (who died in December of 1990). His mother was Irish, from County Longford, while his American-born father is of mostly Irish descent...
“ Signature film: Gallipoli (1980). ” - John Jacoby
Frank Langella
Frank Langella was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, to Angelina and Frank A. Langella, a business executive. He is of Italian descent. A stage and screen actor of extreme versatility, Frank Langella won acclaim on the New York stage in "Seascape" and followed it up with the title role in the Edward Gorey production of "Dracula"...
“ Signature film: Frost/Nixon (2008). ” - John Jacoby
Stephen Rea
Stephen Rea was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He attended Belfast High School and the Queen's University, where he studied English. He later trained at the Abbey Theatre School in Dublin. In 1970s, he acted in the Focus Company in Dublin with the talented Gabriel Byrne and Colm Meaney. After several stage...
“ Signature film: The Crying Game (1992). ” - John Jacoby
Alec Baldwin
Raven-haired, suavely handsome and prolific actor Alec Baldwin was born on April 3, 1958 in Massapequa, New York, and is the oldest, and easily the best-known, of the four Baldwin brothers in the acting business (the others are Stephen Baldwin, William Baldwin and Daniel Baldwin). Baldwin is the son of Carol Newcomb (Martineau) and Alexander Rae Baldwin...
“ Signature film: The Hunt for Red October (1989). ” - John Jacoby
Michael Caine
Michael Caine is an English actor and author. Renowned for his distinctive working class cockney accent, Caine has appeared in over 115 films and is regarded as a British film icon. He made his breakthrough in the 1960s with starring roles in a number of acclaimed British films, including Zulu (1964)...
“ Signature film: tie: Alfie (1966) and Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). ” - John Jacoby
Gabriel Byrne
Byrne was the first of six children, born in Dublin, Ireland. His father was a cooper and his mother a hospital worker. He was raised Catholic and educated by the Irish Christian Brothers. He spent five years of his childhood in a seminary training to be a Catholic priest. He later said, "I spent five years in the seminary and I suppose it was assumed that you had a vocation...
“ Signature film: Miller's Crossing (1990). ” - John Jacoby
Ryan Gosling
Actor, Drive
Ryan Thomas Gosling was born on November 12, 1980, in London, Ontario, Canada. He is the son of Donna (Wilson), a secretary, and Thomas Ray Gosling, a traveling salesman. Ryan was the second of their two children. His ancestry is French-Canadian, as well as English, Scottish, and German. The Gosling family moved to Cornwall...
“ Signature film: Half Nelson. (2006) ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1998). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature film: Lost in Translation (2003). ” - John Jacoby
Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage was born in Long Beach, California, the son of comparative literature professor August Coppola (a brother of director Francis Ford Coppola) and dancer/choreographer Joy Vogelsang. He is of Italian (father) and German, English, and Polish (mother) descent. Cage changed his name early in his career to make his own reputation...
“ Signature role: Leaving Las Vegas (1995). ” - John Jacoby
Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem is the youngest member of a family of actors that has been making films since the early days of Spanish cinema. He was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, to actress Pilar Bardem (María del Pilar Bardem Muñoz) and businessman José Carlos Encinas Doussinague. His maternal grandparents were actors Rafael Bardem and Matilde Muñoz Sampedro...
“ Signature role: No Country for Old Men (2007). ” - John Jacoby
Billy Bob Thornton
Actor, Armageddon
Billy Bob Thornton was born on August 4, 1955 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to Virginia Roberta (Faulkner), a psychic, and William Raymond (Billy Ray) Thornton, an educator, high school history teacher, and basketball coach (now deceased). He is the older brother of James Donald (Jimmy Don) (born in 1958 and now deceased) and John David (born in 1969)...
“ Signature role: Sling Blade (1996). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature role: Dead Poets society (1989). ” - John Jacoby
John Travolta
John Joseph Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey, one of six children of Helen Travolta (née Helen Cecilia Burke) and Salvatore/Samuel J. Travolta. His father was of Italian descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. His father owned a tire repair shop called Travolta Tires in Hillsdale, NJ...
“ Signature role: Pulp fiction (1994). ” - John Jacoby
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)...
“ Signature role: Zodiac (2007). ” - John Jacoby
Nick Nolte
Nick Nolte was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Helen (King) and Franklin Arthur Nolte, who worked in irrigation pump sales. He has German and British Isles ancestry. Nolte began his career on stage at the Pasadena (California) Playhouse and in regional theatre productions. His breakthrough role was in the TV mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man...
“ Signature role: tie: North Dallas Forty (1980) and Prince of Tides (1991). ” - John Jacoby
Heath Ledger
When hunky, twenty-year-old heart-throb Heath Ledger first came to the attention of the public in 1999, it was all too easy to tag him as a "pretty boy" and an actor of little depth. He spent several years trying desperately to sway this image, but this was a double-edged sword. Heath Ledger was born on the fourth of April 1979...
“ Signature role: Brokeback Mountain (2005). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature role: Gingerbread Man. (1998). ” - John Jacoby
Jake Gyllenhaal
Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal was born in Los Angeles, to producer/screenwriter Naomi Foner (née Achs) and director Stephen Gyllenhaal. He is the brother of actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, who played his sister in Donnie Darko. His godmother is actress Jamie Lee Curtis. His mother is from a Jewish family, and his father's ancestry includes Swedish, English, and Swiss-German...
“ Signature role: Brokeback Mountain (2005). ” - John Jacoby
Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to Marie Rose (Hebert), a stylist and hairdresser, and Frank Lawrence Ruffalo, a construction painter. His father's ancestry is Italian, and his mother is of half French-Canadian and half Italian descent. Mark moved with his family to Virginia Beach, Virginia...
“ Signature role: The Kids are all Right (2010). ” - John Jacoby
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, Unbreakable, 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...
“ Signature role: Pulp Fiction (1994). ” - John Jacoby
“ Signature role: The Killing Fields (1984). ” - John Jacoby
John Cusack
John Cusack is, like most of his characters, an unconventional hero. Wary of fame and repelled by formulaic Hollywood fare, he has built a successful career playing underdogs and odd men out--all the while avoiding the media spotlight. John was born in Evanston, Illinois, to an Irish-American family...
“ Signature role: Being John Malkovich. (1998). ” - John Jacoby
James Spader
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 before landing his first roles...
“ Signature role: Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989). ” - John Jacoby
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...
“ Signature role: The Pianist (2002). ” - John Jacoby
Tobey Maguire
Actor, Spider-Man
Tobias Vincent Maguire was born in Santa Monica, California. His parents were 18 and 20, and not yet married, when he was born. His mother, Wendy (Brown), did advertising, publicity, and acting in Hollywood for years as she coached and managed Tobey. His father, Vincent Maguire, was a cook and sometimes a construction worker...
“ Signature role: Seabiscuit (2003). ” - John Jacoby
Josh Brolin
Actor, W.
Josh Brolin is an American actor. His first role was in the 1985 film The Goonies. Since then he has appeared in a wide number of films, and is best known for his work as Llewellyn Moss in No Country for Old Men, young Agent K in Men in Black 3, George W. Bush in W. and Dan White in Milk, for which he received Academy Award and SAG Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor...
“ Signature role: No Country for Old Men (2007). ” - John Jacoby
Richard Gere
Humanitarian and actor Richard Gere was born on August 31, 1949, in Philadelphia, the second of five children of Doris Ann (Tiffany), a homemaker, and Homer George Gere, an insurance salesman, both Mayflower descendants. Richard started early as a musician, playing a number of instruments in high school and writing music for high school productions...
“ Signature role: An Officer and a Gentleman (1982). ” - John Jacoby
Greg Kinnear
Greg Kinnear was born on June 17, 1963, in Logansport, Indiana, USA to Edward Kinnear, a career diplomat with the US State Department, and Suzanne (Buck) Kinnear, a homemaker. Greg has two brothers--James, vice president-investments at Wachovia Securities in Arizona who was born in 1957, and Steve, a business manager with the Billy Graham Training Center in North Carolina who was born in 1959...
“ Signature role: As Good as It Gets (1997). ” - John Jacoby
“ Signature role: The Visitor (2007). ” - John Jacoby
“ Signature role: Glory (1989). ” - John Jacoby
Giovanni Ribisi
Antonino Giovanni Ribisi is an American actor who was born in Los Angeles, California. His parents both have careers in the entertainment industry. His mother, Gay Ribisi (née Landrum), is a talent manager for actors and writers, and his father, Albert Anthony Ribisi, is a musician. He has a twin sister...
“ Signature role: Saving Private Ryan (1998). ” - John Jacoby
Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx is an American actor, singer, and comedian. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, for his work in the 2004 biographical film Ray. The same year, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the action film Collateral...
“ Signature role: Ray (2004). ” - John Jacoby
Chazz Palminteri
Bronx-born and raised Chazz Palminteri was a natural choice to continue the Italianate torch in film. In the tradition set forth in the 1970s by such icons as director Martin Scorsese and actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, John Cazale and Joe Pesci, Palminteri has brought grit, muscle and an evocative realism to the sidewalks of his New York neighborhood...
“ Signature role: A Bronx Tale (1995). ” - John Jacoby
Ethan Hawke
Actor, Gattaca
Ethan Hawke is an American actor, writer and director. He has been nominated for four Academy Awards, both as an actor and a writer, and a Tony Award. Hawke has directed two feature films, three Off-Broadway plays, and a documentary, and wrote the novels The Hottest State (1996) and Ash Wednesday (2002)...
“ Signature film: Training Day (2001). ” - John Jacoby
Joaquin Phoenix
Actor, Gladiator
Joaquin Phoenix was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Arlyn (Dunetz) and John Bottom, and is the middle child in a brood of five. His parents, from the continental United States, were then serving as Children of God missionaries. His mother is from a Jewish family in New York, while his father, from California...
“ Signature role: Walk the Line (2005). ” - John Jacoby
“ Signature film: Broadcast News (1987). ” - John Jacoby
Daniel Craig
Actor, Skyfall
Daniel Craig, one of British theatre's most famous faces, who waited tables as a struggling teenage actor with the National Youth Theatre, went on to star as "James Bond" in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre. He was born Daniel Wroughton Craig on March 2, 1968, at 41 Liverpool Road...
“ Signature film: Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011). ” - John Jacoby
Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender was born in Heidelberg, Germany, to a German father, Josef, and an Irish mother, Adele (originally from Larne, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland). Michael was raised in the town of Killarney, Co. Kerry, in south-west Ireland, where his family moved to when he was two years old. His parents ran a restaurant (his father is a chef)...
“ Signature Film: Twelve Years a Slave (2013). ” - John Jacoby
David Oyelowo
Actor, Selma
David Oyelowo (pronounced - "oh-yellow-oh"), is a classically trained stage actor who has quickly become one of Hollywood's most sought-after talents. He graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and received the "Scholarship for Excellence" from Nicholas Hytner in 1998. David starred as Martin Luther King Jr...
“ Signature Film: Selma (2014). ” - John Jacoby
Steve Carell
Actor, The Office
Steve Carell, one of America's most versatile comics, was born Steven John Carell on August 16, 1962, in Concord, Massachusetts. He is the son of Harriet T. (Koch), a psychiatric nurse, and Edwin A. Carell, an electrical engineer. His mother is of Polish descent and his father is of Italian and German ancestry (Steve's grandfather had changed the surname from "Caroselli" to "Carrell")...
“ Signature Film: Foxcatcher (2014). ” - John Jacoby
Eddie Redmayne
Edward John David Redmayne was born and raised in London, England, the son of Patricia (Burke) and Richard Charles Tunstall Redmayne, a businessman. His great-grandfather was Sir Richard Augustine Studdert Redmayne, a noted civil and mining engineer. Eddie is one of five children. He has English, Irish...
“ Signature film: The Theory of Everything (2014). ” - John Jacoby