You meet the nicest people. By all reports, these actors have some of the all-time best backstage reputations, on the set or off the set. Feel free to mention someone who should be added to this list. Alphabetically.
Jensen Ross Ackles, better known as simply Jensen Ackles, was born on March 1, 1978, in Dallas, Texas, to Donna Joan (Shaffer) and actor Alan Ackles
. He has English, German, and Scottish ancestry. Jensen grew up in Richardson, Texas, together with his older brother, Joshua, and a younger sister...
Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on October 1, 1935, in England. Her mother, Barbara Ward (Morris), and stepfather, both vaudeville performers, discovered her freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice and immediately got her a singing career. She performed in music halls throughout her childhood and teens...
Jim Beaver is an American character actor, best known for his leading roles on the TV series Deadwood
. Born in Laramie, Wyoming a minister's son, he was raised in and around Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Following high school and a year of college, he joined the Marines and served as a radioman with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam...
Sandra Annette Bullock was born in Arlington, a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. Her mother, Helga Bullock
(née Helga Mathilde Meyer), was a German opera singer. Her father, John W. Bullock, was an American voice teacher, who was born in Alabama, of Irish, English, French, and German descent. Sandra grew up on the road with her parents and younger sister...
The entertainment world has enjoyed a five-decade love affair with comedienne/singer Carol Burnett. A peerless sketch performer and delightful, self-effacing personality who rightfully succeeded Lucille Ball
as the carrot-topped "Queen of Television Comedy," it was Burnett's traumatic childhood that set the stage for her comedy...
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...
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...
Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, to Marie Frances (Guilfoyle) and Andrew Joseph Clooney. She was one of five children. Her father was of Irish and German descent, and her mother was of Irish and English ancestry. She grew up in Maysville, where she and her sister Betty Clooney
used to sing in her grandfather's mayoral election campaigns...
Misha Collins is an American actor best known for his role as the angel Castiel on the TV series Supernatural (2005). He has had recurring roles on ER and 24, and has guest-starred on NCIS, Nip/Tuck, NYPD Blue, CSI, CSI:NY, Monk and Charmed. On the big screen, Misha is most known for his role in a film called "Karla" about a real life serial killer named Paul Bernardo...
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...
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...
Emmy-winning talk show host Ellen Lee DeGeneres was born in Metairie, Louisiana, a New Orleans suburb. She is the daughter of Betty DeGeneres
(née Elizabeth Jane Pfeffer), a speech therapist, and Elliott Everett DeGeneres, an insurance agent. Her brother is musician and producer Vance DeGeneres
. Her parents divorced when she was sixteen years old...
Judi Dench was born in York, England, to Eleanora Olive (Jones), who was from Dublin, Ireland, and Reginald Arthur Dench, a doctor from Dorset, England. She attended Mount School in York, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has performed with Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre...
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...
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox was born Michael Andrew Fox on June 9, 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Phyllis Fox
(née Piper), a payroll clerk, and William Fox. His parents moved their ten-year-old son, his three sisters, Kelli Fox
, Karen, and Jacki, and his brother, Steven, to Vancouver, British Columbia...
Kelli Garner was born in Bakersfield, grew up in Thousand Oaks, and currently resides in Calabasas, California. She began her career when she was discovered at a friends Bar Mitzvah, and made her film debut at age 16 in director Mike Mills
's short Architecture of Reassurance
, a Sundance Film Festival entry...
Selena Marie Gomez was born and raised in Grand Prairie, Texas, to Mandy Teefey
, who is of part Italian descent, and Ricardo Gomez, who is of Mexican descent and originally from New Mexico. Her parents divorced in 1997. Giving birth to Selena at 16, her mom Mandy recalls living "paycheck-to-paycheck"...
Hanks climbed back to the top again with his portrayal of a washed-up baseball legend turned manager in A League of Their Own (1992). Hanks has stated that his acting in earlier roles was not great, but that he subsequently improved. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Hanks noted his "modern era of movie making ...
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation's most popular directors. From the critically acclaimed dramas A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13 to the hit comedies Parenthood and Splash, he has created some of Hollywood's most memorable films. Howard directed and produced "Cinderella Man" starring Oscar winner Russell Crowe...
Hugh Michael Jackman is an Australian actor, singer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer and producer. Jackman has won international recognition for his roles in major films, notably as superhero, period, and romance characters. He is best known for his long-running role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series...
Along with fellow actors Lon Chaney
, Bela Lugosi
and Vincent Price
, Boris Karloff is recognized as one of the true icons of horror cinema, and the actor most closely identified with the general public's perception of the "monster" from the classic Mary Shelley
book, "Frankenstein". William Henry Pratt was born on November 23...
Laura Leggett Linney was born in New York City on February 5, 1964, into a theatre family. Her father was prominent playwright Romulus Linney
, whose own great-grandfather was a congressman from North Carolina. Her mother, Miriam Anderson (Leggett), is a nurse. Although she did not live in her father's house (her parents having divorced when she was an infant)...
Frances Louise McDormand was born on June 23, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. She was adopted by Canadian-born parents Noreen Eloise (Nickleson), a nurse from Ontario, and Vernon Weir McDormand, a minister from Nova Scotia, who raised her in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. She earned her B.A. in Theater from Bethany College in 1979 and her MFA from Yale in 1982...
Rachel Miner wanted to be an actress from age two. She began working with an acting coach at eight, got an agent at nine and, by ten, had not only worked for Woody Allen
, but was cast as "Michelle Bauer" on Guiding Light
(a part that started as recurring and evolved into a contract role lasting nearly five years (1990-1995) and earning her three Young Artist Awards and an Emmy nomination)...
Born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her father, who worked for the United Nations, was stationed in the Solomon Islands and Fiji, so Monroe spent most of her early childhood in the South Pacific. After spending time in various other countries, she moved back to the United States. She lived in Michigan and Virginia before finding herself in Los Angeles, pursuing a career in acting and writing...
Julianne Moore was born Julie Anne Smith in Fort Bragg, North Carolina on December 3, 1960, the daughter of Anne (Love), a social worker, and Peter Moore Smith, a paratrooper, colonel, and later military judge. Her mother moved to the U.S. in 1951, from Greenock, Scotland. Her father, from Burlington, New Jersey, has German, Irish, German-Jewish, and English ancestry...
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
Paul Newman won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for his performance in the 1986 film The Color of Money, a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy Award, and many honorary awards. Despite being colorblind, he won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing...
Jerry was born in the Bronx. His father, Leon, was a former vaudevillian actor, and his mother, Emily, was a radio singer. His family moved frequently and eventually settled in Waukegan, Illinois where he went to high school. The constant moving made him the new kid on the block and forced him to become "a chameleon" to blend in his new settings...
Jared Padalecki was born in San Antonio, Texas, to Sherri (Kammer), a teacher of English, and Gerald Padalecki, a tax accountant. He is of Polish (father) and German, English, Scottish, and French (mother) descent. Jared started to take acting lessons when he was 12. Then, he won the "Claim to Fame" Contest in 1999 and got to appear on the Teen Choice awards...
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker was born March 25, 1965, in Nelsonville, Ohio, to Barbra Forste (née Keck), a teacher who ran a nursery school, and Stephen Parker, a journalist. Her parents divorced, and her mother later remarried to Paul Forste and had four more children, bringing the total to eight. Sarah now had 3 full siblings and 4 half siblings...
Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel, to a Jewish family. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an American-born artist (from Cincinnati, Ohio), who also acts as Natalie's agent. She left Israel for Washington...
Christopher D'Olier Reeve was born September 25, 1952, in New York City, to journalist Barbara Johnson
(née Barbara Pitney Lamb) and writer/professor F.D. Reeve
(Franklin D'Olier Reeve). He came from an upper-class family; his paternal grandfather was CEO of Prudential Financial, and one of his maternal great-grandfathers was Supreme Court justice Mahlon Pitney...
Keanu Reeves, whose first name means "cool breeze over the mountains" in Hawaiian, was born in Beirut, Lebanon on September 2, 1964. He is the son of English-born Patricia Taylor
, a showgirl, and American-born Samuel Nowlin Reeves, a geologist. Keanu's father was born in Hawaii, of British, Portuguese...
Versatility and ability to portray a variety of characters over four decades on stage, screen, and television have made Tony Roberts one of the busiest actors in America. He is a graduate of the High School of Music and Arts, which merged with the High School of Performing Arts to become LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center...
Fred Rogers was the host of the popular long-running public television children's show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The show debuted in Pittsburgh in 1967 and was picked up by PBS the next year, becoming a staple of public TV stations around the United States. Rogers' mild manner, cardigan sweaters and soft speaking voice made him both widely beloved and widely parodied...
The middle of seven children, she was named after the S.S. Rosalind at the suggestion of her father, a successful lawyer. After receiving a Catholic school education, she went to the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York, having convinced her mother that she intended to teach acting. In 1934...
Anthony Marcus Shalhoub was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin. His father, Joe Shalhoub, who owned a grocery chain, emigrated from Lebanon to the United States as an orphan at the age of ten, later marrying Shalhoub's mother, Helen (Seroogy), who herself was born in Wisconsin, to Lebanese parents...
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...
James Maitland Stewart was born on 20 May 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth Ruth (Johnson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. He was of Scottish, Ulster-Scots, and some English, descent. Stewart was educated at a local prep school, Mercersburg Academy, where he was a keen athlete (football and track)...
Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 19 times, and has won it three times. Meryl was born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, to Mary Wolf (Wilkinson), a commercial artist, and Harry William Streep...
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...
Betty White was born in Oak Park, Illinois, to Christine Tess (Cachikis), a homemaker, and Horace Logan White, a lighting company executive. She is of Danish, Greek, English, and Welsh descent. Although best known as the devious Sue Ann Nivens on the classic sitcom Mary Tyler Moore
and the ditzy Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls
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...
Oprah Winfrey was born Orpah Gail Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, a former maid, and Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner, barber, and city councilman. While Winfrey has been cited as the richest African American of the 20th century, she does not come from a rich, or even middle class, family...
Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon was born on March 22, 1976 at Southern Baptist Hospital (now Memorial Medical Center) in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the second child of Mary Elizabeth "Betty" (Reese) and Dr. John Draper Witherspoon, Sr. Her father was a military surgeon specializing in ear, nose and throat...
Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward was born on February 27, 1930, in Thomasville, Georgia, to Wade Woodward and Elinor Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward in a modest household. Her one older brother, Wade Jr., who was the favorite of her father, eventually became an architect. Elinor Woodward was a quite a movie buff and enjoyed going to picture shows often...