Small Screen, Big Starsby statesnet975 | created - 17 Dec 2013 | updated - 11 months ago | Public
Before they Hit it Big on the Big Screen, these people had modest Beginnings on the Small Screen.
Producer | Miss Congeniality
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. ...
Actor | Up in the Air
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 television host (who was also the brother of singer Rosemary Clooney). He has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Clooney ...
THE FACTS OF LIFE
3. Sally Field
Actress | Forrest Gump
Sally Margaret Field was born in 1946 in Pasadena, California, to actress Margaret Field (née Morlan) and salesman Richard Dryden Field. Her parents divorced in 1950 and her mother then married stuntman Jock Mahoney, and they had a daughter, Princess O'Mahoney. She also has a brother, Richard Field...
THE FLYING NUN
4. Helen Hunt
Actress | As Good as It Gets
Helen Hunt began studying acting at the age of eight with her father, respected director and acting coach Gordon Hunt. A year later she made her professional debut and afterwards worked steadily in films, theatre and television.
SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
5. Tom Hanks
Producer | Cast Away
Thomas Jeffrey Hanks was born in Concord, California, to Janet Marylyn (Frager), a hospital worker, and Amos Mefford Hanks, an itinerant cook. His mother's family, originally surnamed "Fraga", was entirely Portuguese, while his father was of mostly English ancestry. Tom grew up in what he has ...
Actor | Inception
Few actors in the world have had a career quite as diverse as Leonardo DiCaprio's. DiCaprio has gone from relatively humble beginnings, as a supporting cast member of the sitcom Growing Pains (1985) and low budget horror movies, such as Critters 3 (1991), to a major teenage heartthrob in the 1990s,...
Actor | Wonder Boys
An actor with over forty years of experience in theatre, film, and television, Michael Douglas branched out into independent feature production in 1975 with the Academy Award-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Since then, as a producer and as an actor-producer, he has shown an uncanny ...
THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO
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 ...
9. Johnny Depp
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 ...
21 JUMP STREET
10. Robin Williams
Actor | Mrs. Doubtfire
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 ...
MORK & MINDY
11. Halle Berry
Actress | Catwoman
Halle Berry was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, Jerome Jesse Berry, was African-American, and worked as a hospital attendant. Her mother, Judith Ann (Hawkins), who is Caucasian, has English and German ancestry, and is a retired psychiatric nurse. Halle has an older sister, Heidi Berry. Halle ...
12. John Travolta
Actor | Battlefield Earth
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, ...
WELCOME BACK, KOTTER
13. Bruce Willis
Actor | Die Hard
Actor and musician Bruce Willis is well known for playing wisecracking or hard-edged characters, often in spectacular action films. Collectively, he has appeared in films that have grossed in excess of $2.5 billion USD, placing him in the top ten stars in terms of box office receipts.
Walter Bruce ...
14. Hilary Swank
Actress | Boys Don't Cry
Hilary was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, to Judith Kay (Clough), a secretary, and Stephen Michael Swank, who served in the National Guard and was also a traveling salesman. Her maternal grandmother, Frances Martha Dominguez, was of Mexican descent, and her other roots include German, English, and ...
BEVERLY HILLS, 90210
15. Anne Hathaway
Actress | Les Misérables
Anne Jacqueline Hathaway was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Kate McCauley Hathaway, an actress, and Gerald T. Hathaway, a lawyer, both originally from Philadelphia. She is of mostly Irish descent, along with English, German, and French. Her first major role came in the short-lived television series ...
16. Adam Sandler
Actor | The Waterboy
Adam Richard Sandler was born September 9, 1966 in Brooklyn, New York, to Judith (Levine), a teacher at a nursery school, and Stanley Alan Sandler, an electrical engineer. He is of Russian Jewish descent. At 17, he took his first step towards becoming a stand-up comedian when he spontaneously took ...
THE COSBY SHOW
17. Jennifer Aniston
Actress | Friends
Jennifer Aniston was born in Sherman Oaks, California, to actors John Aniston and Nancy Dow. Her father is Greek, and her mother was of English, Irish, Scottish, and Italian descent. Jennifer spent a year of her childhood living in Greece with her family. Her family then relocated to New York City ...
18. Ashton Kutcher
Actor | That '70s Show
Christopher Ashton Kutcher was born on February 7, 1978 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Diane (Finnegan), who was employed at Procter & Gamble, and Larry Kutcher, a factory worker. He has a fraternal twin brother, Michael, and a sister, Tausha. He is of Czech (father) and Irish, German, and Czech (mother...
THAT 70'S SHOW
19. Ryan Gosling
Actor | Blue Valentine
Canadian actor Ryan Gosling is the first person born in the 1980s to have been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar (for Half Nelson (2006)).
He was born Ryan Thomas Gosling on November 12, 1980, in London, Ontario, Canada. He is the son of Donna (Wilson), a secretary, and Thomas Ray Gosling, a ...
20. Jennifer Lopez
Actress | Gigli
Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born in the Castle Hill section of The Bronx on July 24, 1969. She is the middle of three musically-inclined sisters, Leslie Lopez, a homemaker, and Lynda Lopez, a DJ on New York's WKTU, a VH1 VJ, and a morning news show correspondent on New York's Channel 11. Jennifer ...
IN LIVING COLOR
21. Woody Harrelson
Actor | True Detective
Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning actor Woodrow Tracy Harrelson was born on July 23, 1961 in Midland, Texas, to Diane Lou (Oswald) and Charles Harrelson. He grew up in Lebanon, Ohio, where his mother was from. After receiving degrees in theater arts and English from Hanover College, he...
22. Pierce Brosnan
Actor | The World Is Not Enough
Pierce Brendan Brosnan was born in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland, to May (Smith), a nurse, and Thomas Brosnan, a carpenter. He lived in Navan, County Meath, until he moved to England, UK, at an early age (thus explaining his ability to play men from both backgrounds convincingly). His father left...
23. Alec Baldwin
Actor | The Departed
Raven-haired, suavely handsome and prolific actor Alec Baldwin was born on April 3, 1958 in Massapequa, New York, and is the oldest, and easily the best-known, of the four Baldwin brothers in the acting business (the others are Stephen Baldwin, William Baldwin and Daniel Baldwin).
Alexander Rae ...
Actor | Inception
Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt was born February 17, 1981 in Los Angeles, California, to Jane Gordon and Dennis Levitt. Joseph was raised in a Jewish family with his late older brother, Dan Gordon-Levitt, who passed away in October 2010. His parents worked for the Pacifica Radio station KPFK-FM and ...
THE POWERS THAT BE
25. Billy Crystal
Actor | Forget Paris
Billy Crystal was born on March 14, 1948 in Long Beach, Long Island, New York. He is the youngest of three sons born to Helen (Gabler) and Jack Crystal. His father was a well-known concert promoter who co-founded Commodore Records and his mother was a homemaker. His family were Jewish immigrants ...
26. Lucy Liu
Actress | Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Born to immigrants in Queens, New York, Lucy Liu has always tried to balance an interest in her cultural heritage with a desire to move beyond a strictly Asian-American experience. Lucy's mother, Cecilia, a biochemist, is from Beijing, and her father, Tom Liu, a civil engineer, is from Shanghai. ...
Actress | Blue Valentine
A small-town girl born and raised in rural Kalispell, Montana, Michelle Ingrid Williams is the daughter of Carla Ingrid (Swenson), a homemaker, and Larry Richard Williams, a commodity trader and author. Her ancestry is Norwegian, as well as German, British Isles, and other Scandinavian. She was ...
28. Queen Latifah
Actress | Chicago
Often considered hip-hop's first lady (though some would attribute that to Roxanne Shanté), the woman behind the moniker Queen Latifah was born Dana Elaine Owens on March 18, 1970, in East Orange, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Rita (Bray), a teacher, and Lancelot Owens, Sr. She came from a ...
29. Jamie Lee Curtis
Actress | True Lies
Jamie Lee Curtis was born on November 22, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of legendary actors Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. She got her big break at acting in 1978 when she won the role of Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978). After that, she became famous for roles in movies like Trading...
30. Zac Efron
Zachary David Alexander Efron was born October 18, 1987 in San Luis Obispo, California, to Starla Baskett, a secretary, and David Efron, an electrical engineer. He has a younger brother, Dylan. His surname, "Efron", which is Hebrew, is a Biblical place name, and comes from Zac's Polish Jewish ...
31. Janet Jackson
Soundtrack | Poetic Justice
Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born on May 16, 1966 in Gary, Indiana, to Katherine Jackson (née Katherine Esther Scruse) and Joe Jackson, a musician. She is the youngest of ten children. After her birth, her brothers formed a band later called The Jackson 5. She lived at home with her sisters, while ...
32. Marisa Tomei
Actress | My Cousin Vinny
Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York, to Patricia "Addie" (Bianchi), a teacher of English, and Gary Tomei, a lawyer, both of Italian descent. Marisa has a brother, actor Adam Tomei. As a child, Marisa's mother frequently corrected her speech as to eliminate her heavy ...
A DIFFERENT WORLD
33. Bruce Lee
Actor | Meng long guo jiang
Bruce Lee remains the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure of modern popular media. Had it not been for Bruce Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, it's arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream North American and ...
THE GREEN HORNET
34. Michael J. Fox
Actor | Back to the Future
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 10-year-old son, his three sisters, Kelli Fox, Karen, and Jacki, and his brother Steven, to Vancouver, British Columbia, ...
35. Jessica Biel
Actress | The Illusionist
Jessica Biel, with her good looks and talent, has become one of Hollywood's most sought-out actresses. She was born in Ely, Minnesota, to Kimberly (Conroe) and Jonathan Edward Biel, who is a business consultant and GM worker. Biel was raised in Boulder, Colorado. She is of Hungarian Jewish, Danish,...
36. Michael Keaton
Quirky, inventive and handsome American actor Michael Keaton first achieved major fame with his door-busting performance as fast-talking ideas man Bill Blazejowski, alongside a nerdish morgue attendant (Henry Winkler), in Night Shift (1982). He played further comedic roles in Mr. Mom (1983), Johnny...
THE MARY TYLER MOORE HOUR
37. 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 ...
THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR
38. Danny DeVito
Actor | Matilda
Danny DeVito has amassed a formidable and versatile body of work as an actor, producer and director that spans the stage, television and film.
Daniel Michael DeVito Jr. was born on November 17, 1944, in Neptune, New Jersey, to Italian-American parents. His mother, Julia (Moccello), was a homemaker. ...
39. James Franco
Actor | 127 Hours
Known for his breakthrough starring role on Freaks and Geeks (1999), James Franco was born April 19, 1978 in Palo Alto, California, to Betsy Franco, a writer, artist, and actress, and Douglas Eugene "Doug" Franco, who ran a Silicon Valley business. His mother is Jewish and his father was of ...
FREAKS & GEEKS
Actress | Sex and the City
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 ...
41. Claire Danes
Actress | My So-Called Life
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 ...
MY SO-CALLED LIFE