Underrated Actors

Actors who should have awards.
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1.
Aidan Gillen
Aidan Gillen is an Irish actor. He is best known for portraying Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish in the HBO series Game of Thrones, CIA operative Bill Wilson in The Dark Knight Rises, Stuart Alan Jones in the Channel 4 series Queer as Folk, John Boy in the RTÉ Television series Love/Hate, and Tommy Carcetti in the HBO series The Wire...
 
2.
CCH Pounder
Actress, Avatar
CCH Pounder (the CCH standing for Carol Christine Hilaria, her birth name). As can be said of other similarly styled actresses such as Alfre Woodard and Cicely Tyson, most of Pounder's characters are enriched with these same positive attributes and it is a testament to this actress' abilities that she continues on such a high plane in a nearly three-decade career...
 
3.
Ciarán Hinds
Actor, Frozen
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...
 
5.
David Strathairn
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)...
 
7.
David Morse
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...
 
8.
Dean Winters
Actor, John Wick
Dean Winters is known for his role as Ryan O'Reily on HBO's award-winning series Oz and as Tina Fey's character's "Beeper King" boyfriend on the Emmy-winning comedy, 30 Rock. His noteworthy comedic performance was recently included in Entertainment Weekly's "Must List" as well as Variety's short-list of Emmy-worthy guest performances...
 
10.
Frances Conroy
Veteran stage actress Frances Conroy was introduced and encouraged by her parents to explore the elements of theater. Born in 1953 in Monroe, Georgia, she attended high school in Long Island and experienced classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse as a teenager. The pale, blue-eyed redhead also studied at Juilliard where she was taught by theater greats John Houseman and Marian Seldes...
 
11.
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 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.
 
13.
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 badasses. A natural at portraying complex anti-heroes and charismatic heavies, the classically trained actor was born in Blackburn...
 
14.
James Remar
James is a rugged, intense character player with leading man good looks. Having first gained recognition in 1979 as Ajax, in his second film, The Warriors. That same year he garnered acclaim on Broadway with Richard Gere in the concentration camp drama "Bent". In a career spanning nearly four decades...
 
15.
Jay Karnes
Actor, The Shield
Jay Karnes was born in Omaha, NE and attended the University of Kansas, where he studied theatre, history, and political science. He has performed extensively in the regional theater, including in The Tempest, Two Noble Kinsman, Richard II, Macbeth, Coriolanus, Love's Labor's Lost, and Tom Stoppard's Arcadia...
 
16.
Jeffrey Wright
Quite possibly the most underrated and underexposed actor of his caliber and generation, Jeffrey Wright's undeniable talent and ability to successfully bring to life any role he undertakes is on a par with the most praised and revered A-list actors in the business. Born and raised in Washington DC, Wright graduated from the prestigious Amherst college in 1987...
 
17.
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer Jason Leigh was born Jennifer Lee Morrow in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of writer Barbara Turner and actor Vic Morrow. Her father was of Russian Jewish descent and her mother was of Austrian Jewish ancestry. She is the sister of Carrie Ann Morrow and half-sister of actress Mina Badie...
 
18.
Kathy Baker
For someone who has made an award-winning impact in all three mediums (stage, film and TV), actress Kathy Baker has been strangely denied all-out stardom, yet continues to demonstrate her versatility in whatever material comes her way. The comely blonde was born Katherine Whitton Baker in Midland, Texas...
 
19.
Joseph Fiennes
Joseph Alberic Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, to Jennifer Anne Mary Alleyne (Lash), a novelist, and Mark Fiennes, a photographer. He is one of six children. Four of his siblings are also in the arts: Ralph Fiennes, an actor; Martha Fiennes, a director; Magnus Fiennes, a musician; and Sophie Fiennes, a producer. He is of English, Irish, and Scottish origin...
 
20.
Keith Carradine
Actor, Nashville
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...
 
21.
Kim Coates
Kim's film career began in 1991 with The Last Boy Scout. Two Warner Brothers' hits followed: Innocent Blood and The Client. Since that time he has starred in over forty films, including Academy Award winners Black Hawk Down directed by Ridley Scott, and Pearl Harbor directed by Michael Bay. Other films include Waterworld and Open Range with Kevin Costner...
 
22.
Kevin Corrigan
A native of the Bronx, New York, Kevin Corrigan has been acting and writing since the age of 15. He made his film debut in Lost Angels and around that time, when he was just 17, his original play "The Boiler Room" was produced by the Young Playwrights Festival of New York. He has gone on to star in countless independent films and has made quite an impression...
 
23.
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.
 
24.
Mark Strong
British actor Mark Strong, who played Jim Prideaux in the 2011 remake of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, is often cast as cold, calculating villains. But before he became a famous actor, he intended to pursue a career in law. Strong was born Marco Giuseppe Salussolia in London, England, to an Austrian mother and an Italian father...
 
25.
Norman Reedus
Norman Reedus was born in Hollywood, Florida, to Marianne and Norman Reedus. He is of Italian (from his paternal grandmother), English, Scottish, and Irish descent. Norman's first film was in 'Guillermo Del Toro''s 1997 horror thriller Mimic, where he played the character Jeremy. He has also played roles in the films "Floating"...
 
26.
Noah Emmerich
Noah Emmerich was born and raised in New York City, to Constance, a concert pianist, and André Emmerich, an art dealer and gallery owner. He attended Yale University, where he sang with the a capella group the Yale Spizzwinks. He attended NYU Film School where he wrote and directed an award winning...
 
27.
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...
 
28.
Patrick Wilson
Patrick Joseph Wilson was born in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, the son of Mary Kathryn (Burton), a voice teacher and professional singer, and John Franklin Wilson, a news anchor. Wilson has a B.F.A. in Drama from Carnegie-Mellon University. His theater work has produced many nominations and awards...
 
29.
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...
 
30.
Saul Rubinek
Actor, Unforgiven
Saul Rubinek was born in a refugee camp in Germany, where his father ran a Yiddish Repertory Theatre company. Saul started his professional career as a child actor in theater and radio in Canada. By the time he was 20, he was a member of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival company in Stratford, Ontario and...
 
31.
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)...
 
32.
Stephen Tobolowsky
Actor, Memento
Character actor Stephen Tobolowsky was born on May 30, 1951 in Dallas, Texas. Over the past three decades, Tobolowsky has racked up a lengthy list of roles in movies and television across many different genres. While Tobolowsky initially attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas with the intention of studying geology...
 
33.
Ted Levine
Born in Bellaire, Ohio, in May, 1957, he was among the last graduating class of the Windsor Mountain School in Lennox, Massachusetts. Attended Marlboro College in Vermont. Performed in summer stock and regional theatres in Vermont, Michigan and West Virginia before settling in Chicago and joining The Remains ensemble...
 
34.
Vincent D'Onofrio
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...
 
35.
Walton Goggins
In the past few years, Walton Goggins has had pivotal roles in films by two of Hollywood's most important auteurs: Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg. His integral role as 'Chris Mannix,' a southern renegade who claims to be the new sheriff of Red Rock in Tarantino's THE HATEFUL EIGHT, marks his second collaboration with the Academy Award-winning writer/director...
 
36.
 
37.
Laura Dern
Actress, Jurassic Park
Laura Dern was born on February 10, 1967 in Los Angeles, the daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd. Dern was exposed to movie sets and the movie industry from infancy, and obtained several bit parts as a child. Her parents divorced when Dern was two and Dern lost contact with her father for several years as a result...
 
38.
Simon Baker
Simon Baker was first recognized in 1992, when he received Australia's prestigious Logie award for Most Popular New Talent. Upon relocating to Los Angeles with his family, Baker was immediately cast in the Academy Award winning film L.A. Confidential.
 
39.
Michelle Rodriguez
Actress, Avatar
Known for tough-chick roles, Michelle Rodriguez is proof that there is a cross between beauty and brawn. She was born Mayte Michelle Rodriguez on July 12, 1978, in Bexar County, Texas, to Carmen Milady Pared Espinal, from the Dominican Republic, and Rafael Rodríguez Santiago, who served in the U.S. Army and was originally from Puerto Rico...
 
40.
Natascha McElhone
Natascha McElhone was born in Walton on Thames, London. She attended several schools, Camden School for Girls being the last. Natascha McElhone established herself as a talented leading actress when she left drama school in 1993 to play the lead in her first film, Merchant Ivory's Surviving Picasso, opposite Anthony Hopkins...
 
41.
Alexa Davalos
Alexa Davalos was born in Paris, France, to American parents, Jeff Dunas, a photographer, and Elyssa Davalos, an actress. Her father's family were Jewish immigrants (from Russia and Lithuania). After a quintessentially bohemian childhood that found her straddling New York, Paris, Italy and Los Angeles...
 
42.
Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard was born on March 2, 1981, in Los Angeles, California. She was conceived in Dallas, Texas (the reason for her middle name). Her father, Ron Howard, is a former actor turned Oscar-winning director. Her mother is actress and writer Cheryl Howard (née Alley). Her famous relatives include her uncle...
 
43.
Eliza Dushku
Actress, True Lies
Eliza Dushku was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Judith (Rasmussen), a political science professor, and Philip R. Dushku, a teacher and administrator. Her father is Albanian and her mother is American (of Danish, Irish, English, and German descent). She was discovered at the end of a five-month search...
 
44.
Drea de Matteo
Actress, The Sopranos
Andrea Donna de Matteo, called Drea (pronounced "dray"), was born on January 19, 1972 in Queens, New York, into an affluent family, the youngest of three children and the only girl. She is the daughter of Donna, a playwright and playwriting teacher at HB Studio in New York, and Albert A. De Matteo, a furniture manufacturer...
 
45.
Parker Posey
Parker Posey was born 2 months premature in Baltimore, Maryland, to Lynda (Patton) and Chris Posey. The family moved to Monroe, La. and then Laurel, Mississippi, where Chris became owner of Laurel's own Posey Chevrolet. Parker attended high school at R. H. Watkins High School in Laurel, Mississippi...
 
46.
Dylan McDermott
A Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee, Dylan McDermott has proved his talent in film, television and theater. He was born Mark Anthony McDermott in Waterbury, Connecticut, to Diane (Marino) and Richard McDermott. Diane was 15 and Richard was 17 when Dylan was born. Richard earned money by hustling pool...
 
47.
Dermot Mulroney
Dermot Mulroney was born in Alexandria, Virginia, to Ellen and Michael Mulroney, a law professor at Villanova. Since being discovered at Northwestern University by a Hollywood talent agent 28 years ago, Mulroney has been seen in over 70 films. Mulroney is a classically trained cellist who began playing in Alexandria...
 
48.
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...
 
49.
Jonny Lee Miller
Actor, Elementary
Jonny Lee Miller (sometimes credited with an H) was born on November 15, 1972, in Kingston, England, UK, to actors Anna Lee and Alan Miller, and the grandson of actor Bernard Lee. After appearing in many high school plays at his selective state grammar school, Johnny dropped out at 17, to pursue acting full time...
 
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51.
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...
 
52.
Titus Welliver
Actor, Argo
Titus Welliver was born on March 12, 1961 in New Haven, Connecticut. His father was a famous landscape painter, Neil Welliver. His mother was a fashion illustrator, Norma Cripps. He has three brothers, one was killed overseas. He was raised in Philadelphia and New York City, surrounded by poets and painters...
 
53.
Peter Mullan
He was interested in directing films at the age of 19 and he made several shorts. As he wasn't admitted to the National Film School, he decided to dedicate himself to acting, and made his debut in the theatre in 1988 before moving to cinema and television. Fame came with the parts he played in such films as Riff-Raff by Ken Loach...
 
54.
Gabriel Macht
Actor, Suits
Gabriel Macht is an American actor. He was born in the Bronx, New York, to Suzanne, a museum curator and archivist, and actor Stephen Macht. Gabriel has three siblings, and moved with his parents to California when he was young. Gabriel had his first success on screen when he was 8-years-old. He...
 
55.
Cary Elwes
Cary Elwes was born in Westminster, London, England, the third son of interior designer/shipping heiress Tessa Georgina Kennedy and the late portrait painter Bede Evelyn Dominick Elwes. He is the brother of producer/agent Cassian Elwes and artist Damian Elwes. He was raised in London and attended Harrow...
 
56.
Christopher Eccleston
Actor, The Others
Christopher Eccleston trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and first came to public attention as Derek Bentley in Let Him Have It. However, it was a regular role in the television series Cracker that made him a recognizable figure in the United Kingdom. He appeared in the low-budget thriller Shallow Grave...
 
58.
Barry Pepper
Barry Robert Pepper was born on April 4, 1970, in Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada, as the youngest of three sons. He has two older brothers named Alex and Doug Pepper. The Peppers didn't stick around Campbell River for too long. They had been building a ship in their backyard for years. When Barry was five years old...
 
59.
Ben Foster
Ben Foster was born October 29, 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Gillian Kirwan and Steven Foster, restaurant owners. His younger brother is actor Jon Foster. His paternal grandparents were from Russian Jewish families that immigrated to Massachusetts (his grandfather became a prominent judge in Boston), while his mother's family is from Maryland...
 
60.
Bill Pullman
William James Pullman was born in Hornell, New York, one of seven children of Johanna (Blaas), a nurse, and James Pullman, a doctor. He is of Dutch (mother) and English, Northern Irish, and Scottish (father) descent. After high school, Bill went into a building construction program at SUNY Delhi in New York...
 
62.
Cliff Curtis
Actor, Sunshine
Cliff Curtis was born in Rotorua, New Zealand, on July 27, 1968. He is of New Zealand Maori descent (with Ngati Hauiti and Te Arawa tribal affiliations). He enrolled at the New Zealand Drama School, and then the Teatro Dmitri Scoula in Switzerland. After returning to New Zealand from Europe, he was cast in The Piano...
 
63.
Michael Rooker
Michael Rooker was born in 1955 in Jasper, Alabama. When he was thirteen, his parents divorced and he went with his mother to live in Chicago. He caught the acting bug while attending college, and began appearing in local stage productions. On first breaking into film, his intensity and "don't-mess-with-me" good looks were highlighted to chilling effect as he title character in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer...
 
64.
Michael Ironside
Michael Ironside has made a strong and indelible impression with his often incredibly intense and explosive portrayals of fearsome villains throughout the years. He was born as Frederick Reginald Ironside on February 12, 1950 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Ironside was a successful arm wrestler in his teenage years...
 
65.
Peter Sarsgaard
Actor, Jarhead
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...
 
66.
Peter Stormare
Actor, Fargo
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...
 
67.
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)...
 
68.
Tom Sizemore
Tom Sizemore rose in prominence throughout the 1990s, establishing himself as a memorable tough-guy actor, sought by the most respected directors in the business. Thomas Edward Sizemore, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Judith (Schannault), an ombudsman staff member, and Thomas Edward Sizemore...
 
69.
Cole Hauser
Cole Hauser was born in Santa Barbara, California. He is the son of Cass Warner, who founded a film production company (Warner Sisters), and Wings Hauser, an actor. His grandfathers were screenwriters Dwight Hauser and Milton Sperling, and his maternal great-grandfather was film mogul Harry M. Warner...
 
70.
Ray Stevenson
Actor, Divergent
Tall, dark, but somewhat gentle-looking actor Ray Stevenson was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland on 25 May 1964, on a British army base. His father was a British pilot in the Royal Air Force, and his mother is Irish. He moved with his family to Lemington, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England in 1972 at the age of eight, and later to Cramlington, Northumberland, where he was raised...
 
71.
Michael Wincott
Actor, The Crow
Over more than thirty years, Michael Wincott has gained the reputation of a respected and uncompromising actor. Born in Scarborough, Ontario, he eventually moved to New York City where he graduated from Juilliard in 1986 and began a relationship with Joseph Papp's Public Theatre beginning with his creation of the role of Kent in Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio...
 
72.
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...
 
73.
Timothy Olyphant
Actor, Justified
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...