The Best Black Actors

by vojkan_97 | last updated - 05 Jul 2012 | Public

1. 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), ...

2. 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...

3. 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 ...

4. Chris Rock

Actor | Top Five

Christopher Julius Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of Rosalie (Tingman), a teacher and social worker for the mentally handicapped, and Julius Rock, a truck driver and newspaper deliveryman, whose own father was a preacher.

...

5. Will Smith

Music_department | The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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 ...

6. Martin Lawrence

Actor | Martin

Martin Lawrence was born on April 16, 1965 in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany as Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence. He is an actor and writer, known for Martin (1992), Bad Boys II (2003) and Bad Boys (1995). He has been married to Shamicka Gibbs since July 10, 2010. They have two children. He was ...

7. Forest Whitaker

Actor | The Last King of Scotland

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 (2006), and has also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. He is the fourth African-American ...

8. Jamie Foxx

Actor | Django Unchained

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 biographical film Ray (2004). The same year, he was nominated for the Academy...

9. Cuba Gooding Jr.

Actor | Jerry Maguire

Cuba Gooding Jr. was born on January 2, 1968, in The Bronx, New York. His mother, Shirley (Sullivan), was a backup singer for The Sweethearts. His father, Cuba Gooding, was the lead vocalist for the R&B group The Main Ingredient, which had a hit with the song "Everybody Plays The Fool". His ...

10. James Earl Jones

Actor | Rogue One

James Earl Jones was born on January 17, 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi, USA. At an early age, he started to take dramatic lessons to calm himself down. It appeared to work as he has since starred in many films over a 40-year period, beginning with the Stanley Kubrick classic Dr. Strangelove or: ...

11. Harry Lennix

Actor | Man of Steel

Harry Lennix is an accomplished film, television, and stage actor. His recent credits include Warner Bros.' "Man of Steel", The CW's "Emily Owens, M.D.", Fox's "Dollhouse," HBO's "Little Britain," as well as the critically acclaimed series "24" as Walid Al-Rezani.

Harry Joseph Lennix III was born ...

12. Dennis Haysbert

Actor | Far from Heaven

Dennis Haysbert was born on June 2, 1954 in San Mateo, California, USA as Dennis Dexter Haysbert. He is an actor and producer, known for Far from Heaven (2002), 24 (2001) and Major League (1989). He was previously married to Lynn Griffith and Elena Simms.

13. Wesley Snipes

Actor | Blade

Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, to Maryann (Long), a teacher's assistant, and Wesley Rudolph Snipes, an aircraft engineer. He grew up on the streets of the South Bronx in New York City, where he very early decided that the theater was to be his career. He attended the High School ...

14. Danny Glover

Actor | Lethal Weapon

Actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 25 years.

Glover was born in San Francisco, California, to Carrie (Hunley) and James Glover, postal workers who were also active in civil rights.

Glover trained at the Black ...

15. Bernie Mac

Actor | The Bernie Mac Show

Bernard Jeffrey McCollough was born in Chicago in 1957. He grew up in Chicago, in a rougher neighborhood than most others, with a large family living under one roof. This situation provided him with a great insight into his comedy, as his family, and the situations surrounding them would be what ...

16. Eddie Murphy

Actor | The Nutty Professor

Edward Regan Murphy was born April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, to Lillian (Laney), a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a transit police officer who was also an amateur comedian and actor. After his father died, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a Breyer's Ice Cream plant...

17. Gary Dourdan

Actor | CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Gary Dourdan was born on December 11, 1966 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Gary Robert Durdin. He is an actor, known for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000), Alien: Resurrection (1997) and Thursday (1998). He was previously married to Roshumba Williams.

18. Wood Harris

Actor | Remember the Titans

Harris was born Sherwin David Harris in Chicago, Illinois, to John and Mattie Harris. However, he works under his nickname, "Wood". Attended New York University Graduate Acting Program at the Tisch School. Has performed in many films and various stage productions including plays by August Wilson, ...

19. Lance Reddick

Actor | John Wick

Lance Reddick was born in 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for John Wick (2014), John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) and White House Down (2013). He has been married to Stephanie Day since June 2011.

20. Hill Harper

Actor | CSI: NY

Hill Harper, an accomplished film, television and stage actor, stars in the hit CBS drama series, CSI: NY (2004). He portrays "Dr. Sheldon Hawkes", a reclusive coroner who walked away from a promising surgical career after the traumatic loss of two patients. This February, he will star in the HBO ...

21. Tony Todd

Actor | Candyman

Perhaps best known for his chilling performance as "Candyman", the charismatic 6' 5" actor Tony Todd has consistently turned in compelling performances since his debut in the fantasy film Sleepwalk (1986). Born in Washington, D.C., Todd spent two years on a scholarship at the University of ...

22. Bill Duke

Actor | Predator

Duke Media Entertainment, led by actor, director, producer, writer and humanitarian, Bill Duke, is dedicated to bringing quality Edutainment to audiences around the globe. Formerly Yagya Productions, Duke Media has successfully produced critically acclaimed film and television content for more than...

23. Terrence Howard

Actor | Hustle & Flow

Terrence Howard was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Anita Jeanine Williams (née Hawkins) and Tyrone Howard. He was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. His love for acting came naturally, through summers spent with his great-grandmother, New York stage actress Minnie Gentry. He later began his acting career ...

24. 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 ...

25. Sidney Poitier

Actor | In the Heat of the Night

A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas (though born in Miami during a mainland visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of farmers Evelyn (Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, who also drove a cab. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to Miami to live with ...

26. Djimon Hounsou

Actor | Blood Diamond

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 (2000) by Ridley ...

27. 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...

28. Robert Wisdom

Actor | The Dark Knight Rises

Robert Wisdom graces each of his diverse screen roles with a powerful, profound and cool presence-- from his commercial hits to his bold and proactive performances in a variety of new features. He starred on HBO's The Wire, generating wide critical praise. Wisdom appeared in The Hawk is Dying at ...

29. Harold Perrineau

Actor | Romeo + Juliet

Harold Perrineau was born on August 7, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Harold Williams. He is an actor and producer, known for Romeo + Juliet (1996), The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Edge (1997). He has been married to Brittany Perrineau since August 27, 2002. They have three children.

30. Chris Tucker

Actor | Rush Hour 2

At one point in time, Chris Tucker was the highest paid actor in Hollywood.

Tucker was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Mary Louise (Bryant) and Norris Tucker, who owned a janitorial service. After graduating from high school, Tucker made a change to move to Hollywood from Georgia to pursue a career in ...

31. Michael Clarke Duncan

Actor | The Green Mile

Michael Clarke Duncan was born on December 10, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. Raised by his single mother, Jean, a house cleaner, on Chicago's South Side, Duncan grew up resisting drugs and alcohol, instead concentrating on school. He wanted to play football in high school, but his mother wouldn't let ...

32. Tracy Morgan

Actor | 30 Rock

Tracy Morgan was born on November 10, 1968 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Tracy Jamal Morgan. He is an actor and producer, known for 30 Rock (2006), Cop Out (2010) and The Boxtrolls (2014). He has been married to Megan Wollover since August 23, 2015. They have one child. He was ...

33. Idris Elba

Actor | Beasts of No Nation

An only child, Idrissa Akuna Elba was born and raised in London, England. His father, Winston, is from Sierra Leone and worked at Ford Dagenham; his mother, Eve, is from Ghana and had a clerical duty. Idris attended school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting, before he dropped...