Here are just a few successful actors to big to be properly underrated anymore. Paul Giamatti, Ed Harris, Roberto Benigni, Ryhs Ifans, Kang-ho Song, Christoph Waltz, Stanley Tucci, Hope Davis, Rachel McAdams, Robert Duvalle, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, Sam Rockwell, Ziyi Zhang, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi. And yes there are other great character actors capable of stellar performances who won't make my list. If their career is hot and their on the rise getting A-list parts in contemporary features or leading rolls on premier cable series, they are (usually) NOT underrated. A few of the actors listed have strong rolls in broadcast TV but I included them because most broadcast ain't exactly A-list. I won't be following any comments, rude or otherwise; please direct them to other peanuts. Better yet, focus animosity inward.
David Russell Strathairn was born on January 26, 1949 in San Francisco, California. He is the son of Mary Frances (Frazier), a nurse, and Thomas Scott Strathairn, Jr., a physician. He has two siblings, Tom and Anne. His ancestry includes English, Scottish, Irish, Portuguese, Native Hawaiian, and one sixteenth Chinese (the latter three from his paternal grandmother)...
Vincent Phillip D'Onofrio was born on June 30, 1959 in Brooklyn, New York, to Phyllis, a restaurant manager and server, and Gene D'Onofrio, a theater production assistant and interior designer. He is of Italian descent and has two older sisters. He studied at the Actors Studio and the American Stanislavski Theatre...
Bryan Lee Cranston is an American actor, voice actor, writer and director. He is perhaps best-known for his roles as "Walter White" on the AMC drama series, Breaking Bad
, for which he has won four consecutive Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy Awards, and as "Hal", the father on the Fox situation comedy...
Peter Stormare was born in Arbrå, Gävleborgs län, Sweden, to Gunhild (Holm) and Karl Ingvar Storm. He began his acting career at the Royal National Theatre of Sweden, performing for eleven years. In 1990 he became the Associate Artistic Director at the Tokyo Globe Theatre and directed productions of many Shakespeare plays...
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...
Acclaimed by the critics & the entire world as one of the best actor of his times Irrfan Khan hails from India. Born and brought up in Jaipur into feudal Nawab family, though had no one from the entertainment field in the family, his passion was acting since childhood.While he was doing his masters...
Bruno Ganz debuted at the theatre in 1961 and gained there a good reputation as a solid, young actor. In 1970 he founded with Peter Stein
the theatre company "Schaubuehne" of Berlin. His debut at the movies was early and unsuccessful during the decade of 1960. His talent as a reflexive actor with tendencies towards introspection was widely known after Summer Guests
A small-town guy with a big heart, William Fichtner has been captivating the hearts of Western New Yorkers for decades. Bill was born in 1956 on Long Island, New York, to Patricia A. (Steitz) and William E. Fichtner. He is of German, Irish, and English descent. Fichtner was raised in Cheektowaga, and graduated from Maryvale High School in 1974...
Michael Corbett Shannon was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, the son of Geraldine Hine, a lawyer, and Donald Sutherlin Shannon, an accounting professor at DePaul University. His grandfather was entomologist Raymond Corbett Shannon. Shannon began his professional stage career in Chicago. His first acting role was in "Winterset" at the Illinois Theatre Center...
Michael Kenneth Williams
Born in Brooklyn, to an African American father from South Carolina and a Bahamian mother from Nassau, Michael K. Williams was raised in the Vandaveer housing projects in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York City and attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School. According to a DNA analysis, he is descended partly from the Mende people of Sierra Leone...
Will Patton was born in Charleston, South Carolina. His father, Bill Patton, is a playwright, acting/directing instructor, and Lutheran minister. Patton attended the North Carolina School of the Arts. He has won two OBIE awards for best actor for the off-Broadway plays, Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love" and the Public Theatre production of "What Did He See?".
Jared Francis Harris was born in London, England. He is the son of Irish actor Richard Harris
and Welsh actress Elizabeth Harris (Elizabeth Rees
), and brother of Damian Harris
and Jamie Harris
. Despite his lineage, Jared showed little interest in becoming an actor, until he was cast in a college production while attending North Carolina's Duke University (USA)...
Robson Golightly Green was born on 18 December 1964 in Hexham, Northumberland, England, to Robson and Ann Green. He has two sisters, Dawn and Joanna; a wife, Vanya Seager
; and a son (born in 2000). He began his TV/film career on Casualty
as hospital porter Jimmy Powell. He then appeared in Soldier Soldier
as Fusilier Dave Tucker...
David Morse, a 6' 4" tall blue-eyed blond who performed on stage for 10 years before breaking into film, became established as a respected supporting, character actor and second lead. He was born the first of four children of Charles, a sales manager, and Jacquelyn Morse, a schoolteacher, on October 11...
Adam Scott was born in Santa Cruz, California, the son of Anne and Douglas Scott. He has two older siblings, Shannon and David. Scott has said that his brother David "looks like me but is far more cerebral and inherited the intellect of our parents," both of whom are retired teachers. He graduated from Harbor High School and he is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles...
David Tennant was born David John McDonald in West Lothian, Scotland, to Essdale Helen (McLeod) and Sandy McDonald
, who was a Presbyterian minister. He is of Scottish and Ulster-Scots descent. When he was about 3 or 4 years old, he decided to become an actor, inspired by his love of Doctor Who
Lennie James was born in South London to Trinidadian parents. His mother, Phyllis Mary James, died when he was 12. Lennie and his older brother went into a council children's home. When he was 16 he was fostered with a social worker who had two older children, and they remain very close. Within a year...
An accomplished and striking performer, Academy Award® nominee Casey Affleck has established himself as a powerful leading man with performances in multiple upcoming projects. Affleck will next be seen starring opposite Michelle Williams in Manchester by the Sea. The film tells the story of an uncle (Affleck) who is forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies...
The second of four children, Australian actress Melissa George was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1976. The daughter of Pamela, a nurse, and Glenn George, a construction worker, Melissa initially expressed interest in various forms of dance rather than acting. During her childhood, George studied tap...
Donal Logue's versatility and talent makes him one of the most well respected and beloved actors today. Born in Ottawa, Canada, Logue moved all over the United States, from the Boston area as an infant to various towns on the Mexican border. He returned to Boston to attend Harvard University, where he majored in Intellectual History and discovered his love for the performing arts...
Megan is an only child born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother, Martha, was a model, and her father, Carter Mullally Jr.
, was a contract player for Paramount. Megan first entered Northwestern University intending to study acting, but switched to English literature. However, she still ended up starring in several campus musicals...
It seems the second generation of acting Carradines -- David, Keith and Robert -- are proudly continuing the family tradition and begetting a third generation of talent. The dynasty began with veteran Hollywood patriarch John Carradine
, the son of a surgeon and a correspondent for the Associated Press. Keith was a child, born of John's second marriage to actress Sonia Sorel
Claudia Lee Black was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. Her parents Jules and Judy Black are both Australian Medical Academics Doctors. She has lived in Australia, New Zealand, England and the US. Throughout her career Black has played in many Australian and New Zealand films and guested on such Australian series as Police Rescue
and Water Rats
Autumn Reeser is an American actress who was born on September 21, 1980 in La Jolla, California, USA. She is the daughter of Kim and Tom Reeser, and older sister of Melissa. She was raised in Carlsbad and Oceanside, and performed in numerous musicals with the Carlsbad Youth Theater from the ages of six to seventeen...
He was born on July 8, 1965 in Ivoryton, Connecticut and is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. His brother, Chris Tergesen
, is a music supervisor and music editor. Lee has been married three times and has been married to Yuko Otomo, an art therapist, since 2011. They have a daughter, Lily, born in 2012...
Garret grew up in the state of Washington and attended the University of Washington where he studied journalism. He received his MFA from New York University's Graduate Acting Program. He has appeared on and off Broadway and in theaters around the country before he began pursuing film and television roles. He has two brothers: Brett, a teacher; and Eric, deceased.
Dean Winters starred as "Johnny Gavin," Tommy's younger brother and a NYPD police detective on Rescue Me
, the critically acclaimed, one-hour drama from Sony Pictures Television, airing on FX. Dean is best know for playing the cunning "Ryan O'Reily" on Tom Fontana
's hit HBO drama series Oz
Since the start of his music career, Dwight Yoakam has proven he's more than just another guy with a guitar and a hat. He has risen from hot country star to being one of country music's biggest influences. While doing that, he has also become a critically acclaimed actor. Dwight Yoakam was born in the coal mining community of Pikeville...
James Ransone attended Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson, Maryland from 1993-1997. The school is a "magnet school" that allows students to specialize in subjects such as theater, dance, writing, fine arts, and film as well as all the required academic classes. Ransone specialized in theater, then changed majors to fine arts and graduated in 1997. he currently lives in NYC.
Tobias was born in London. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 1998 and began his acting career in popular UK series such as Foyle's War, Midsomer Murders, and Casualty. He also appeared in the controversial drama A Very Social Secretary. He is best known to international audiences as Marcus Junius Brutus in the television series Rome...
One of the most prolific character actors working today, Stephen Root has worked alongside many of the biggest names in Hollywood. Born in Sarasota, Root majored in acting and broadcasting at the University of Florida and remains a die-hard Gator fan. After three years of touring the U.S. and Canada with the National Shakespeare Company...
After graduating from RADA in 1994, Cambridge law graduate Mangan did not pursue lead roles on-screen, preferring to take what he saw as the less limited opportunities on the stage. Between 1994 and 2000, he performed in plays by (among others) Shakespeare, Shaw, Coward, Benn and Goldsmith throughout...
John Slattery was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Joan (Mulhern), a CPA, and John "Jack" Slattery, a leather merchant, both of Irish descent. John landed his first TV gig on the 1988 series Dirty Dozen: The Series
and has worked steadily since then. His television career has included the short-lived series Under Cover
Tina Majorino is clearly one of the most talented young actresses to come out of the early 1990s. She starred in three feature films that opened within three months of each other. She began her career by appearing in national television commercials before playing Sophie in the ABC television series...
Christa Miller was introduced to the entertainment world at a very young age. As a toddler, she was photographed by the acclaimed Francesco Scavullo
for an Ivory Snow ad with her mother, and, at the age of three, appeared on the cover of "Redbook". Miller was bitten by the acting bug as a child, but couldn't pursue her passion because her parents had other plans for her...
From Timothy Olyphant's first screen appearances, such as his two-minute bit in The First Wives Club
, to "Nicko", whose presence at times dwarfed the island in A Perfect Getaway
, he has been a force to be reckoned with. Born in Hawaii, Timothy David Olyphant was raised in Modesto, California. He is the son of Katherine Lyon (Gideon) and John Vernon Bevan Olyphant...
Caterina Scorsone has been a professional actress since the age of eight, when she was a regular on the daytime children's program Mr. Dressup
for Canada's CBC. A veteran of series television, her other series credits include Shock Treatment
, Once a Thief
and Power Play
, which garnered her a nomination for a Gemini Award...
Choi Min-shik first made a name for himself in theater before breaking into the film world with a role in Park Chong-won's acclaimed film 'Our Twisted Hero' (1992). In the mid-nineties he continued to act in theater productions as well as in several TV dramas, including Moon Over Seoul with Han Seok-gyu...
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...
Jeremy Davies attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, California. He made his film debut starring in David O. Russell's acclaimed first film, the Indy classic, "Spanking the Monkey", which became a surprise Sundance Film Festival winner, earning Jeremy an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Debut Performance...
An only child, Idris Elba was born and raised in Hackney, London, England. His father, Winston, is from Sierra Leone and worked at a Ford motor factory. His mother, Eve, is from Ghana and had a clerical duty. Idris attended school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting. He gained a place in the National Youth Music Theatre - thanks to a £1,500 Prince's Trust grant...
Peter Capaldi was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to Nancy (Soutar) and Gerald John Capaldi. His parents owned an ice cream business. He is of Italian (from his paternal grandfather), Scottish, and Irish descent. Capaldi attended drama classes and was accepted into the Glasgow School of Art. After graduating he secured his breakthrough role in Local Hero
was born in England, raised in Alberta, Canada and came late to acting - he discovered theatre in Edmonton at the age of 25. Starting out in university radio and working his way to the renowned Shaw Festival, Callum moved to Vancouver and quickly caught the eye of producers and directors. Currently he lives in Vancouver.
Actor/singer songwriter Alicia Witt has had a nearly three-decade long career, starting with her film debut, in 1984, as "Alia" in David Lynch
's science fiction classic, Dune
. Witt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Diane (Pietro), a high school teacher, and Robert Witt, a photographer and science teacher...
Ciaran Hinds was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on February 9, 1953. He was one of five children and the only son. His father was a doctor who hoped to have Ciaran follow in his footsteps, but that was not to be. It was his mother Moya, an amateur actress, who was the real influence behind his decision to become an actor...
Thomas Haden Church
Thomas Haden Church was born Thomas Richard McMillen in Yolo, California, to Maxine (Sanders) and Carlos Richard McMillen, who was a U.S. marine and surveyor. He was raised in Texas. Church began his show business career in front of a microphone instead of a camera, first as a radio deejay and then as a voice-over announcer...
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Tcheky Karyo grew up in Paris. He studied drama at the Cyrano Theatre and became a member of the Daniel Sorano Company, where he played numerous classical roles. He next joined the National Theatre of Strasbourg, where he starred in contemporary theatre as well as in such classical works as "Tartuffe"...
Juliette Lewis has been recognized as one of Hollywood's most talented and versatile actors of her generation since she first stunned audiences and critics alike with her Oscar-nominated performance as "Danielle Bowden" in Cape Fear
. To date, she has worked with some of the most revered directors in the industry...
Born in Saumur, France on 4th March, 1955, Dominique Pinon made his first cinematic appearance in 1980, in La Decouverte. Since that time he has gained a somewhat cult status due to his 'rubber' features, gaining roles in French surrealist films. Pinon's most notable roles include Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amélie and Delicatessen...
Damian Lewis was born on February 11, 1971, in St. John's Wood, London, England, to Charlotte Mary (Bowater), from an upper-class background, and J. Watcyn Lewis, a city broker whose own parents were Welsh. He was raised on Abbey Road in London until the age of 8 with his siblings Gareth, William, and Amanda...
Peter Dinklage is an American actor. Since his breakout role in The Station Agent (2003), he has appeared in numerous films and theatre plays. Since 2011, Dinklage has portrayed Tyrion Lannister in the HBO series Game of Thrones. For this he won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series...
Born with show business in her blood, Illeana is the granddaughter of screen legend Melvyn Douglas
. Illeana began studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. In 1987 working for a publicist in New York led to her first movie role. Illeana appeared in several Martin Scorsese
Gould was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, to parents Valerie and Tom Gould. He began acting at the age of two and is perhaps best known for providing the voice of the title character of Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo
. His on-camera credits include guest spots on the television series Ally McBeal
James Brian Mark Purefoy was born and brought up in Taunton, Somerset, England, the son of Shirley (Taylor), who ran an employment agency, and Anthony Chetwynd Purefoy. After leaving school at the age of sixteen, he took a succession of different jobs, including working on a pig farm and as a porter at Yeovil District Hospital...
Chiwetelu Umeadi Ejiofor was born on July 10, 1977 in Forest Gate, London, England, to Nigerian parents, Obiajulu (Okaford), a pharmacist, and Arinze Ejiofor, a doctor. Chiwetel attended Dulwich College in South-East London. By the age of 13 he was appearing in numerous school and National Youth Theatre productions and subsequently attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts...
Robert Knepper, the son of a veterinarian, was born in Fremont, Ohio, and was raised in Maumee (near Toledo). When he was growing up, his mother worked in the props department for the community theater, and because of her involvement, he became interested in acting. Robert began his career in theater in his hometown before majoring in theater at Northwestern University...
Peter Sarsgaard was born at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to Judy Lea (Reinhardt) and John Dale Sarsgaard, an engineer who worked for the Air Force and later Monsanto and IBM. He is a graduate of St. Louis' Washington University, where he majored in history and literature. He was a co-founder of the...
Robert Forster was born Robert Wallace Foster, Jr. in Rochester, New York, to Grace Dorothy (Montanarella) and Robert Wallace Foster, Sr., who worked as an elephant trainer and baking supply company executive. He is of English, Irish, and Italian descent. Forster first become interested in acting while attending Rochester's Madison High School...
Tom Hollander was born the second child of educated parents, both teachers. He grew up in Oxford, (UK). Hollander credits the happy atmosphere of the Dragon School with his childhood introduction to acting. There, encouraged by an influential teacher named Andrew Roberts, he won the title role in "Oliver"...
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...
James Nesbitt was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, to May, a civil servant, and James Nesbitt, a primary school headmaster. He was educated at Coleraine Academical Institution (also the school of Brian Campbell
& Brian McAlister). He originally planned to be a French teacher. It...
Irish comedian Dylan Moran was born in Navan, County Meath in 1971. Leaving school without any qualifications at age 16, Moran quickly became attracted to stand-up comedy and debuted, in 1992, at a comedy club in Dublin, The Comedy Cellar. A year later, he won the Channel Four comedy newcomer's "So You Think You're Funny" award at the Edinburgh Festival...
Brian Cox is an Emmy Award-winning Scottish actor. He was born on June 1, 1946 in Dundee, Scotland, to Mary Ann Guillerline (McCann), a spinner, and Charles McArdle Campbell Cox, a shopkeeper and butcher. His father was of Irish ancestry and his mother was of Irish and Scottish descent. Cox first came to attention in the early 1970s with performances in numerous television films...
Veteran character actress Linda Hunt was Born April 2, 1945 in Morristown, New Jersey to Raymond Davy Hunter and Elsie Doying Hunter. She attended the Interlochen Arts Academy, and the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago (now part of DePaul University). Her film debut was in Robert Altman
Peter Frederick Weller was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, to Dorothy Jean (Davidson) and Frederick Bradford Weller, a federal judge and career helicopter pilot for the United States Army. He traveled extensively as his father literally flew around the world. Before he was out of his teens, he had attended high schools in Heidelberg...
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)...
Navid, though sometimes called "the man of a thousand faces," is still most widely regarded as Abu Nazir, the enigmatic al-Qaeda leader he played for two seasons on Showtime's Emmy-winning original series "Homeland." Among his many fans are Israeli president Shimon Peres and U.S. president Barack Obama...