The most devastatingly attractive actors of all time

by Basilesque | created - 20 Dec 2012 | updated - 30 Jan 2015 | Public

Disclaimer: this is a personal and highly subjective list. I never really "got" the Marlon Brando thing. Or the Clark Gable thing. Or the Brad Pitt thing, or the Ryan Gosling thing, etc. etc. Maybe I have strange taste in men; maybe I have excellent (or terrible) taste in men. Regardless, here are the actors who have "it", as far as I'm concerned.

Not necessarily in order.

Click here for the pictorial companion to this list.

1. Tom Hiddleston

Actor | The Avengers

Thomas William Hiddleston was born in Westminster, London, to English-born Diana Patricia (Servaes) and Scottish-born James Norman Hiddleston. His mother is a former stage manager, and his father, a scientist, was the managing director of a pharmaceutical company. He started off at the preparatory ...

2. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine ...

3. Richard Armitage

Actor | The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Richard Crispin Armitage was born and raised in Leicester, England, to Margaret (Hendey), a secretary, and John Armitage, an engineer. He attended Pattison College in Binley Road, Coventry, and studied at LAMDA (the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art). His first appearance on the screen was ...

4. Cary Grant

Actor | North by Northwest

Once told by an interviewer, "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant", Grant is said to have replied, "So would I."

Cary Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach on January 18, 1904 in Horfield, Bristol, England, to Elsie Maria (Kingdon) and Elias James Leach, who worked in a factory. His early years...

5. Errol Flynn

Actor | The Adventures of Robin Hood

Errol Flynn was born to parents Theodore Flynn, a respected biologist, and Marrelle Young, an adventurous young woman. Young Flynn was a rambunctious child who could be counted on to find trouble. Errol managed to have himself thrown out of every school he was enrolled in. In his late teens he set ...

6. Gary Cooper

Actor | High Noon

Born to Alice Cooper and Charles Cooper (not in film business). Gary attended school at Dunstable school England, Helena Montana and Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa. His first stage experience was during high school and college. Afterwards, he worked as an extra for one year before getting a part in a...

7. Jeremy Irons

Actor | Dead Ringers

British actor Jeremy Irons was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England. He is the son of Barbara Anne Brereton (Sharpe) and Paul Dugan Irons, an accountant. Young Jeremy didn't prove very fond of figures. He visited mainland England only once a year. He wound up ...

8. Christopher Reeve

Actor | Superman

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 ...

9. Henry Cavill

Actor | Man of Steel

Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill was born on the Bailiwick of Jersey, a British Crown dependency in the Channel Islands. His mother, Marianne (Dalgliesh), a housewife, was also born on Jersey, and is of Irish, Scottish and English ancestry. Henry's father, Colin Richard Cavill, a stockbroker, is of ...

10. Gerard Butler

Actor | The Phantom of the Opera

Gerard James Butler was born in Paisley, Scotland, to Margaret and Edward Butler, a bookmaker. His family is of Irish origin. Gerard spent some of his very early childhood in Montreal, Quebec, but was mostly raised, along with his older brother and sister, in his hometown of Paisley. His parents ...

11. Paul Newman

Actor | The Hustler

Screen legend, superstar, and the man with the most famous blue eyes in movie history, Paul Leonard Newman was born on January 26, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio, the second son of Theresa (Fetsko) and Arthur Sigmund Newman. Paul's father was Jewish, the son of emigrants from Poland and Hungary; he owned...

12. David Tennant

Actor | Doctor Who

One of Scotland's greatest ever actors, David Tennant has won almost universal acclaim from audiences, critics and fellow professionals for his outstanding and award-winning performances on stage and screen. He was born David John McDonald in West Lothian, Scotland, to Essdale Helen (McLeod) and ...

13. Jeremy Brett

Actor | My Fair Lady

The refined and debonair English actor Jeremy Brett will forever be best remembered for his long-running and critically acclaimed portrayal of Sherlock Holmes for Britain's Granada Television. From a privileged background, Brett was educated at England's most prestigious independent school, Eton ...

14. Timothy Dalton

Actor | The Living Daylights

At a consistently lean 6' 2", green-eyed Timothy Dalton may very well be one of the last of the dying breed of swashbuckling, classically trained Shakespearean actors who have forged simultaneous successful careers in theater, television and film. He has been comparison-shopped roundly for stepping...

15. Ralph Fiennes

Actor | The Grand Budapest Hotel

Actor Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes was born on December 22, 1962 in Suffolk, England, to Jennifer Anne Mary Alleyne (Lash), a novelist, and Mark Fiennes, a photographer. He is the eldest of six children. Four of his siblings are also in the arts: Martha Fiennes, a director; Magnus ...

16. Leslie Howard

Actor | Pygmalion

Leslie Howard Stainer was born in London, to Lilian (Blumberg) and Ferdinand "Frank" Steiner. His father was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and his English mother was of German Jewish, and mostly English, descent. Leslie went to Dulwich College. After school, he worked as a bank clerk until the ...

17. James McAvoy

Actor | Filth

McAvoy was born on 21 April 1979 in Glasgow, Scotland, to Elizabeth (née Johnstone), a nurse, and James McAvoy senior, a bus driver. He was raised on a housing estate in Drumchapel, Glasgow by his maternal grandparents (James, a butcher, and Mary), after his parents divorced when James was 7. He ...

18. Rufus Sewell

Actor | Dark City

Rufus Sewell was born on the 29th of October 1967 in Twickenham, England. His mother, Jo, was Welsh, and was an artist and painter. His father, Bill, was an Australian animator who died when Rufus was 10. He has one brother, Caspar. He attended London's Central School of Speech and Drama and left ...

19. Anthony Andrews

Actor | The King's Speech

Anthony Andrews made his West End theater debut at the Apollo Theatre as one of twenty young schoolboys in Alan Bennett's "Forty Years On" with John Gielgud. He began his career at the Chichester Festival Theatre in the UK. His theater credits include spells with the New Shakespeare Company - "...

20. John Barrymore

Actor | Twentieth Century

John Barrymore was born John Sidney Blyth on February 15, 1882 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An American stage and screen actor whose rise to superstardom and subsequent decline is one of the legendary tragedies of Hollywood. A member of the most famous generation of the most famous theatrical ...

21. Mads Mikkelsen

Actor | Hannibal

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 (1996), he slowly grew to ...

22. Sean Bean

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Sean Bean's career since the eighties 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 ...

23. Noel Fielding

Actor | The Mighty Boosh

Noel Fielding was born to Dianne Fielding and Ray Fielding, on May 21 1973. He has once revealed on The Russell Brand Show, on Radio 2, that he has a French grandmother. Fielding once stated that he was never baptised, he hasn't got a middle name and he does not follow any religion. He was once ...

24. Conrad Veidt

Actor | Casablanca

Conrad Veidt attended the Sophiengymnasium (secondary school) in the Schoeneberg district of Berlin, and graduated without a diploma in 1912, last in his class of 13. Conrad liked animals, theater, cinema, fast cars, pastries, thunderstorms, gardening, swimming and golfing. He disliked heights, ...

25. Hugh Laurie

Actor | House M.D.

Hugh was born in Oxford, England on June 11, 1959, to Patricia (Laidlaw) and William George Ranald Mundell "Ran" Laurie, a doctor, both of Scottish descent. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge. Son of an Olympic gold medalist in the sport, he rowed for the England youth team (1977) and for ...

26. Gregory Peck

Actor | To Kill a Mockingbird

Eldred Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916 in La Jolla, California, to Bernice Mary (Ayres) and Gregory Pearl Peck, a chemist and druggist in San Diego. He had Irish (from his paternal grandmother), English, and some German, ancestry. His parents divorced when he was five years old. An only ...

27. Tyrone Power

Actor | Witness for the Prosecution

Tyrone Power was one of the great romantic swashbuckling stars of the mid-twentieth century, and the third Tyrone Power of four in a famed acting dynasty reaching back to the eighteenth century. His great-grandfather was the first Tyrone Power (1795-1841), a famed Irish comedian. His father, known ...

28. Hugh Jackman

Actor | Les Misérables

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 ...

29. Charles Dance

Actor | Gosford Park

Charles Dance is an English actor, screenwriter, and film director. Dance typically plays assertive bureaucrats or villains. Some of his most high-profile roles are Tywin Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones (2011), Guy Perron in The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Sardo Numspa in The Golden Child (1986),...

30. Gary Oldman

Actor | Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Gary Oldman is a talented English movie star and character actor, renowned for his "big" acting style. One of the most celebrated thespians of his generation, with a diverse career encompassing theatre, film and television, he is known for his roles as Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy (1986), Drexl in ...

31. Roger Livesey

Actor | A Matter of Life and Death

The son of Joseph Livesey and Mary Catherine (nee Edwards), Roger was educated at Westminster City School, London. His first stage appearance was the office boy in Loyalties at St. James' theatre in 1917. Subsequently, he played in everything from Shakespeare to modern comedies. He played various ...

THE VOICE

32. Matthew Macfadyen

Actor | Pride & Prejudice

David Matthew Macfadyen was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, to Meinir (Owen), a drama teacher and actress, and Martin Macfadyen, an oil executive. He is of Scottish and Welsh descent. Because of his father's career, he spent at least part of his childhood in Indonesia, before finishing his ...

33. Dylan Moran

Actor | Black Books

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...

34. Alan Rickman

Actor | Die Hard

Alan Rickman was born on a council estate in Acton, West London, to Margaret Doreen Rose (Bartlett) and Bernard Rickman, who worked at a factory. He had English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Alan had an older brother David, a younger brother Michael and a younger sister Sheila. When Alan was 8 years ...

35. Louis Garrel

Actor | The Dreamers

Louis Garrel was born on June 14, 1983 in Paris, France. He is an actor and director, known for The Dreamers (2003), Love Songs (2007) and Le Redoutable (2017). He has been married to Laetitia Casta since June 2017. He was previously married to Golshifteh Farahani.

36. Nils Asther

Actor | The Man in Half Moon Street

Nils Asther was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1897 and raised in Malmö, Sweden, by his wealthy Swedish parents. After attending the Royal Dramatic Theater School in Stockholm, he began his stage career in Copenhagen. His film debut came in 1916 when the director Mauritz Stiller cast him in the ...

37. Laurence Olivier

Actor | Rebecca

Laurence Olivier could speak William Shakespeare's lines as naturally as if he were "actually thinking them", said English playwright Charles Bennett, who met Olivier in 1927.

Laurence Kerr Olivier was born in Dorking, Surrey, England, to Agnes Louise (Crookenden) and Gerard Kerr Olivier, a High ...

38. Vincent Cassel

Actor | Black Swan

Blue-eyed Vincent Cassel was born in Paris to a leading actor father, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and a journalist mother, Sabine Litique. Often labeled as a tough guy because of his roles, eclectic choices and talent have made of him a star of European cinema. First in La Haine (1995), the young actor, ...

39. Daniel Day-Lewis

Actor | There Will Be Blood

Born in London, England, Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is the second child of Nicholas Blake, Poet Laureate of the U.K., and his second wife, actress Jill Balcon. His maternal grandfather was Sir Michael Balcon, an important figure in the history of British cinema and head of the famous Ealing ...

40. James Stewart

Actor | Vertigo

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 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 ...

41. Basil Rathbone

Actor | The Adventures of Robin Hood

Basil Rathbone was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1892, but three years later his family was forced to flee the country because his father was accused by the Boers of being a British spy at a time when Dutch-British conflicts were leading to the Boer War. The Rathbones escaped to England, ...

42. Idris Elba

Actor | Beasts of No Nation

An only child, Idrissa Akuna Elba was born and raised in London, England. His father, Winston, is from Sierra Leone and worked at Ford Dagenham; his mother, Eve, is from Ghana and had a clerical duty. Idris attended school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting, before he dropped...

43. Ramon Novarro

Actor | Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

Ramon Novarro was born José Ramón Gil Samaniego on February 6, 1899 in Durango, Mexico, to Leonor (Gavilan) and Dr. Mariano N. Samaniego Siqueiros, a prosperous dentist. Ramon and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1913, as refugees from the Mexican Revolution. After stints as a ballet dancer, ...

44. Paul McGann

Actor | The Three Musketeers

Paul McGann was born on November 14, 1959 in Kensington, Liverpool, England. He is an actor, known for The Three Musketeers (1993), Alien³ (1992) and Withnail & I (1987). He has been married to Annie Milner since 1992. They have two children.

45. Alan Bates

Actor | Gosford Park

Alan Bates decided to be an actor at age 11. After grammar school in Derbyshire, he earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Following two years in the Royal Air Force, he joined the new English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre. His West End debut in 1956, at 22...

46. Jack Davenport

Actor | Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Jack Davenport was born in 1973 and is the son of actors Maria Aitken and Nigel Davenport. He studied Literature and Film Studies at the University of East Anglia. His first break happened after he wrote to John Cleese to ask to be a runner on Fierce Creatures (1997) where he ended up playing a zoo...

47. Robert Carlyle

Actor | The Full Monty

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 ...

48. Robert Mitchum

Actor | Out of the Past

Robert Mitchum was an underrated American leading man of enormous ability, who sublimated his talents beneath an air of disinterest. He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Ann Harriet (Gunderson), a Norwegian immigrant, and James Thomas Mitchum, a shipyard/railroad worker. His father died in a ...

49. Charles Farrell

Actor | 7th Heaven

Popular Hollywood leading man of late silents and early talkies. He is best remembered for his teaming with Janet Gaynor in 12 screen romances between 1927 and 1934. He retired from films in the early 1940s, but TV audiences of the 1950s would see him as Gale Storm's widower dad in the popular ...

50. Peter O'Toole

Actor | Lawrence of Arabia

A leading man of prodigious talents, Peter O'Toole was raised in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, the son of Constance Jane Eliot (Ferguson), a Scottish nurse, and Patrick Joseph O'Toole, an Irish metal plater, football player and racecourse bookmaker. Upon leaving school, he decided to become a ...

51. Lee Pace

Actor | Guardians of the Galaxy

In 2003, Lee Grinner Pace starred in the Sundance hit, Soldier's Girl (2003), an extraordinary telefilm created for Showtime. The film was based on the true story of a transgender nightclub performer in love with a soldier who is brutally murdered for their relationship. His breakthrough ...

52. Clint Walker

Actor | The Dirty Dozen

Clint Walker was born Norman Eugene Walker in Hartford, southwestern Illinois, to Gladys Huldah (Schwanda), a Czech immigrant, and Paul Arnold Walker, who was from Arkansas. Walker almost single-handedly started the western craze on TV in the 1950s as Cheyenne Bodie in Cheyenne (1955). Growing up ...

53. Jared Leto

Actor | Dallas Buyers Club

In the vein of musicians-turned-actors, Jared Leto is a very familiar face in recent film history. Although he has always been the lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and songwriter for American band Thirty Seconds to Mars, Leto is an accomplished actor merited by the numerous, challenging projects he has ...

54. James Spader

Actor | The Blacklist

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 ...