underrated actors/actresses

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1.
Ian McShane
From a lawless, foul-mouthed saloon owner in "Deadwood" to a tough no-nonsense British gangster in "Sexy Beast," Ian McShane has virtually cornered the market on playing rogues, villains and all-around bad asses. A natural at portraying complex anti-heroes and charismatic heavies, the classically trained actor was born in Blackburn...
 
2.
Michael C. Hall
Actor, Dexter
Michael C. Hall was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Janice (Styons), a guidance counselor, and William Carlyle Hall, who worked for IBM. Michael is a graduate of NYU's Master of Fine Arts program in acting. He is known for the titular character "Dexter" in Dexter and as mortician "David Fisher" in Six Feet Under...
 
3.
Joe Pantoliano
Actor, Memento
With more than 100 film, television and stage credits to his name, Joseph Peter Pantoliano is a prolific American character actor who has played many diverse and memorable roles, from Guido in Risky Business to Eddie Moscone in Midnight Run, Cosmo Renfro in The Fugitive, Cypher in The Matrix and Teddy in Memento...
 
4.
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...
 
5.
Michael Madsen
Michael Madsen's long career spans 25 years and more than 170 films in which he has played memorable characters in myriad box office hits, including: Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 Sin City, Hell Ride, Die Another Day, Donnie Brasco, Species, The Getaway, Thelma & Louise...
 
6.
Patton Oswalt
Patton Oswalt has been headlining at comedy clubs all over the United States since 1996, as well as appearing in his own standup specials on Comedy Central and HBO. He was chosen as Entertainment Weekly's "It" comedian in 2002. He is a regular on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. His other television credits include appearances on Seinfeld and NewsRadio...
 
7.
Tom Noonan
Actor, Heat
Offbeat character actor Tom Noonan started off his career in various theater troupes that utilized his skills as a guitarist and composer. A graduate from Yale's acting school, he founded the Paradise Theatre in 1983, which was instrumental later in his growth as an artist. Gravitating toward film and TV in the 80s...
 
9.
Aaron Paul
Aaron Paul was born Aaron Paul Sturtevant in Emmett, Idaho, to Darla (Haynes) and Robert Sturtevant, a retired Baptist minister. While growing up, Paul took part in church programs, and performed in plays. He attended Centennial High School in Boise, Idaho. It was there, in eighth grade, that Aaron decided he wanted to become an actor...
 
10.
Kristen Bell
Actress, Frozen
Kristen Anne Bell (born 1980) is an American actress and singer. She was born and raised in Huntington Woods, Michigan, and is the daughter of Lorelei (Frygier), a nurse, and Tom Bell, a television news director. Her ancestry is Polish (mother) and German, English, Irish, and Scottish (father). Kristen found her talent in entertainment at an early age...
 
11.
Alan Arkin
Actor, Argo
Alan Arkin is an Academy Award-winning American actor who is also an acclaimed director, producer, author, singer and composer. He was born Alan Wolf Arkin on March 26, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York. His family were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Germany. In 1946 the Arkins moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles...
 
12.
Paz Vega
Actress, Sex and Lucia
Actress Paz Campos Trigo was born in Seville, Spain, to a bullfighter father. She has been based in Los Angeles since 2008. She has starred in dozens of films in Europe and North America. After six successful seasons as Laura in "Seven Lives" (Telecinco,) one of Spain's longest running sitcoms, the young Seville born actress makes her leap to the big screen...
 
13.
Anjelica Huston
Anjelica Huston was born on July 8, 1951 in Santa Monica, California, to prima ballerina Enrica "Ricki" (Soma) and director and actor John Huston. Her mother, who was from New York, was of Italian descent, and her father had English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish ancestry. Huston spent most of her childhood overseas...
 
14.
Lily Tomlin
Lily Tomlin was born September 1, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, to Lillie Mae (Ford) and Guy Tomlin, who moved to Michigan from Paducah, Kentucky, during the Great Depression. Her mother was a nurse's aide and her father was a factory worker. She graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1957, and later enrolled at Wayne State University...
 
15.
Stephen Root
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...
 
16.
John Goodman
John Stephen Goodman is a U.S. film, television, and stage actor. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Virginia Roos (Loosmore), a waitress and saleswoman, and Leslie Francis Goodman, a postal worker who died when John was a small child. He is of English, Welsh, and German ancestry. John is best known for his role as Dan Conner on the television series Roseanne...
 
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19.
Giancarlo Esposito
Music Department, The Electric Company
Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, to an Italian carpenter/stagehand father from Naples and an opera-singing African-American mother from Alabama. His parents, working in Europe at the time of his birth, settled in Manhattan by the time he was six, and that's where he grew up...
 
20.
Eugene Levy
Eugene Levy is an award-winning actor, writer, and producer. He has appeared in more than 60 motion pictures to date, eight of which having topped the $100M mark. The box office success of films such as Bringing Down The House, Cheaper By the Dozen 2, and Father Of The Bride Part II have established him as one of Hollywood's most popular comedic actors...
 
21.
Dennis Farina
Actor, Snatch
Dennis Farina was one of Hollywood's busiest actors and a familiar face to moviegoers and television viewers alike. Recently, he appeared in the feature films, "The Grand," a comedy about a Vegas poker tournament with Woody Harrelson, Cheryl Hines and Ray Romano; "Bottle Shock," also starring Alan Rickman...
 
22.
Jessica Walter
Actress, Archer
A graduate of New York's High School of the Performing Arts and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, Walter's extensive theater credits include productions both on- and off-Broadway. On Broadway, she has appeared in Peter Ustinov's "Photo Finish" (which earned her the Clarence Derwent Award as Most Promising Newcomer)...
 
24.
Patricia Clarkson
This remarkable, one-of-a-kind actress has, since the early 1990s, intrigued film and TV audiences with her glowing, yet careworn eccentricity and old world-styled glamour. Very much in demand these days as a character player, Patricia Clarkson nevertheless continues to avoid the temptation of money-making mainstream filming while reaping kudos and acting awards in out-of-the-way projects...
 
25.
Frances Conroy
Frances Conroy is a graduate of the Juilliard Drama Division and a member of The Acting Company. She recently won a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the Broadway hit "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan." Her other Broadway credits include "Ring Round the Moon", "The Little Foxes", "The Rehearsal" (Drama Desk Nominee)...
 
26.
Jane Adams
Jane Adams has performed theatre at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. The plays include "Love Diatribe", "The Nice and the Nasty", and "Greetings From Elsewhere Cabaret". She also performed in "Careless Love" at the Empty Space Theatre, "Candide/Len Jenkin" at the Pioneer Square Theatre", "Talking With" at the Group Theatre and "Camino Real" at the Juilliard School...
 
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28.
John Hawkes
John Hawkes was born John Marvin Perkins in Alexandria, Minnesota, to Patricia Jeanne (Olson) and Peter John Perkins, a farmer. He is of British and Scandinavian descent. John moved to Austin, Texas to begin his career as an actor and musician. He co-founded the Big State Productions Theatre Company and appeared in the group's original play...
 
29.
Steve Zahn
Steve Zahn was born in Marshall, Minnesota, to Zelda, who worked at a YMCA, and Carleton Edward Zahn, a Lutheran pastor. His father is of German and Swedish descent and his mother is of German ancestry. Zahn's career kicked off in his native Minnesota when he crashed the audition of a local stage production of "Biloxi Blues" and won the lead role...
 
31.
Tate Donovan
Actor, Hercules
Tate Buckley Donovan began making television appearances while still in his teens, most often cast as angst-ridden high schoolers in such made-for-TV films such as Not My Kid and Nutcracker: Money, Madness & Murder. Donovan was born to a large family in Tenafly, New Jersey, the son of Eileen Frances (McAllister) and John Timothy Donovan...
 
32.
Julianna Margulies
Actress, The Good Wife
Julianna Margulies was born on June 8, 1966 in Spring Valley (near New York City), as the youngest of three daughters of Francesca (Goldberg), a teacher and dancer in American Ballet, and Paul Margulies, an advertising writer and philosopher. She is of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage (from Romania, Austria...
 
33.
Amy Poehler
Actress, Inside Out
Amy Meredith Poehler was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to high school teachers Eileen Frances (Milmore) and William Grinstead Poehler. Her brother is comedian Greg Poehler. She is of Irish (from her mother) and English, German, and Portuguese (from her father) descent. Amy was first involved with sketch comedy when she joined the group My Mother's Flea Bag when she was attending Boston College...
 
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Jane Lynch
Actress, Glee
 
38.
Marisa Tomei
Actress, The Wrestler
Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York to mother Patricia "Addie" Tomei, an English teacher and father Gary Tomei, a lawyer. Marisa also has a brother, actor Adam Tomei. As a child, Marisa's mother frequently corrected her speech as to eliminate her heavy Brooklyn accent...
 
39.
Garret Dillahunt
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.
 
40.
Leslie Mann
Actress, Knocked Up
Actress Leslie Mann was born in San Francisco, California. She was raised in Newport Beach, California by her mother, Janet, a realtor. At the age of 17 she launched her career, appearing in various TV commercials. Her screen break came when she was cast as Nurse Mary in the short-lived Birdland...
 
41.
Ashley Judd
Actress, Divergent
American actress and political activist Ashley Judd was born Ashley Tyler Ciminella on April 19, 1968, in Granada Hills, California. She grew up in a family of successful performing artists as the daughter of country music singer Naomi Judd and the sister of Wynonna Judd. While she is best known for an ongoing acting career spanning more than two decades...
 
43.
Will Arnett
Will Arnett is a Canadian-American actor, voice actor, and comedian. He played George Oscar "Gob" Bluth II in the Fox series, Arrested Development. He also appeared in films, such as The Lego Movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and The LEGO Batman Movie. Arnett also voices the title character of Netflix's original animated series, BoJack Horseman.
 
44.
Bob Odenkirk
Robert John Odenkirk was born in Berwyn, Illinois, to Barbara (Baier) and Walter Odenkirk, who worked in printing. His ancestry includes German and Irish. He grew up in Naperville, IL, the second of seven children. He worked as a DJ for WIDB, his college radio station at Southern Illinois University Carbondale...
 
45.
Judy Greer
Actress, Archer
Judy Greer was born and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan, as Judith Therese Evans. She is the daughter of Mollie Ann (née Greer), a hospital administrator and former nun, and Richard Evans, a mechanical engineer. She has German, Irish, English, Welsh, and Scottish ancestry. After training for nearly ten years in classical Russian ballet...
 
46.
Jeffrey Tambor
An incisive talent when it comes to playing bent, off-the-wall characters, Jeffrey Tambor has been captivating audiences for nearly four decades. Tambor was born and raised in San Francisco, to Eileen (Salzberg) and Michael Bernard Tambor, a flooring contractor. His family is Ashkenazi Jewish (from Hungary and Ukraine)...
 
48.
Luis Guzmán
Actor of Puerto Rican descent who made many memorable films in the 1980s due to his villainous persona. Presently resides with his wife and many kids in Vermont.
 
49.
Claire Danes
New Yorker Claire Catherine Danes was born in Manhattan, the daughter of Carla (Hall), a day-care provider and artist, and Christopher Danes, a computer consultant and photographer. She has an older brother, Asa. Her paternal grandfather, Gibson Andrew Danes, was a Dean of the Yale School of Art and Architecture. She is of mostly German and British Isles descent...
 
50.
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...
 
51.
Mads Mikkelsen
Mads Mikkelsen is a synonym to the great success the Danish film industry has had since the mid-1990s. He was born in Østerbro, Copenhagen, to Bente Christiansen, a nurse, and Henning Mikkelsen, a banker. Starting out as a low-life pusher/junkie in the 1996 success Pusher, he slowly grew to become one of Denmark's biggest movie actors...