And Introducing

Stars & their debut/breakout movie roles. We first met you here. All-Time. Alphabetically.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Julie Andrews
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...
“ Debut: Mary Poppins (title role). Won Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
2.
Sean Astin
Sean Astin is well known for his film debut portraying Mikey in Steven Spielberg's The Goonies, for playing the title role in the critically acclaimed Rudy, and for his role as the beloved Sam Gamgee in the Academy Award winning trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King...
“ Debut: The Goonies (Mikey). Did some TV work first. ” - peterdi315
 
3.
Lauren Bacall
Actress, The Big Sleep
Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in New York City. She is the daughter of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a Romanian Jewish immigrant, and William Perske, who was born in New Jersey, to Polish Jewish parents. Her family was middle-class, with her father working as a salesman and her mother as a secretary...
“ Debut: To Have and Have Not (Marie 'Slim' Browning). ” - peterdi315
 
4.
Kevin Bacon
Actor, Apollo 13
Kevin Norwood Bacon was born on July 8, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Ruth Hilda (Holmes), an elementary school teacher, and Edmund Norwood Bacon, a prominent architect who was on the cover of Time Magazine in November 1964. Kevin's early training as an actor came from The Manning Street. His debut as the strict Chip Diller in Animal House almost seems like an inside joke...
“ Debut: Animal House (Chip Diller). ” - peterdi315
 
5.
Christian Bale
Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer "Jenny" (James) and David Charles Howard Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. The family lived in different countries throughout Bale's childhood...
“ Debut: Empire of the Sun (Jim 'Jamie' Graham). Did a little TV first and Mio in the Land of Faraway (a Swedish film that was released later). ” - peterdi315
 
6.
Shirley Booth
Actress, Hazel
Character actress Shirley Booth could play everything in all facets of show business, whether it was a smart-mouthed cashier on radio's "Duffy's Tavern", the sassy maid on TV's Hazel or the pathetic woman in Come Back, Little Sheba. For those who only know her through her sitcom, it might be hard to believe she was a seasoned theatrical veteran...
“ Debut: Come Back, Little Sheba (Lola Delaney). Won Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
7.
Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter is an actress of great versatility, one of the UK's finest and most successful. Bonham Carter was born May 26, 1966 in Golders Green, London, England, the youngest of three children of Elena (née Propper de Callejón), a psychotherapist, and Raymond Bonham Carter, a merchant banker...
“ Debut: Room with a View (Lucy Honeychurch). One TV movie listed prior. ” - peterdi315
 
8.
“ Debut: Whale Rider (Paikea). Nom Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
9.
Montgomery Clift
Edward Montgomery Clift (nicknamed 'Monty' his entire life) was born on October 17, 1920 in Omaha, Nebraska, just after his twin sister Roberta and eighteen months after his brother Brooks Clift. He was the son of Ethel "Sunny" Anderson (Fogg) and William Brooks Clift. His father made a lot of money in banking but was quite poor during the depression...
“ Debut: The Search (Ralph Stevenson). Nom Oscar. Red River (Matt Garth) is the better known early film. ” - peterdi315
 
10.
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. After that, she became famous for roles in movies like Trading Places...
“ Debut: Halloween (Laurie Strode). Did TV work first (including a regular role on Operation Petticoat). ” - peterdi315
 
11.
John Dall
Actor, Rope
John Dall was born John Dall Thompson (some sources state John Jenner Thompson) on May 26, 1918. He made his Broadway debut in Norman Krasna's comedy "Dear Ruth," directed by Moss Hart, in 1944. The show was a hit, running for over a year and a half and 680 performances. He next appeared on Broadway in Jean-Paul Sartre's "Red Gloves" in 1948...
“ Debut: The Corn is Green (Morgan Evans). Nom Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
12.
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 out of school when he was 15...
“ Debut: A Nightmare on Elm Street (Glen Lantz). Edward Scissorhands (title role) is the early film he is more known for. ” - peterdi315
 
13.
Cameron Diaz
A tall, strikingly attractive blue-eyed natural blonde, Cameron Diaz was born in 1972 in San Diego, the daughter of a Cuban-American father and an Anglo-German mother. Self described as "adventurous, independent and a tough kid," Cameron left home at 16 and for the next 5 years lived in such varied locales as Japan...
“ Debut: The Mask (Tina Carlyle). ” - peterdi315
 
14.
Robert Duvall
Veteran actor and director Robert Selden Duvall was born on January 5, 1931, in San Diego, CA, to Mildred Virginia (Hart), an amateur actress, and William Howard Duvall, a career military officer who later became an admiral. Duvall majored in drama at Principia College (Elsah, IL), then served a two-year hitch in the army after graduating in 1953...
“ Debut: To Kill a Mockingbird (Boo Radley). Did some TV first. ” - peterdi315
 
15.
Patrick Fugit
Actor, Gone Girl
Patrick Fugit was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Jan Clark-Fugit, a dance teacher, and Bruce Fugit, an electrical engineer. He has two siblings. He began acting in a summer Theater program through the University of Utah at eleven. He continued on through high school and regional productions. He enjoys biking and skating...
“ Debut: Almost Famous (William Miller). Did some TV work first. ” - peterdi315
 
16.
John Garfield
John Garfield was born Jacob Julius Garfinkle on the Lower East Side of New York City, to Hannah Basia (Margolis) and David Garfinkle, who were Jewish immigrants from Zhytomyr (now in Ukraine). Jules was raised by his father, a clothes presser and part-time cantor, after his mother's death in 1920, when he was 7...
“ Four Daughters (Mickey Borden). Oscar nom Supporting. ” - peterdi315
 
17.
Greer Garson
Actress, Mrs. Miniver
Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson was born on September 29, 1904 in London, England, to Nancy Sophia (Greer) and George Garson, a commercial clerk. She was of Scottish and Ulster-Scots descent. Her childhood was a normal if not non-descript life. Greer showed no early signs of interest in becoming an actress...
“ Debut: Goodbye, Mister Chips (Katherine). Nom Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
18.
Lee Grant
Academy Award winner Lee Grant was born Lyova Haskell Rosenthal on October 31, 1926 in Manhattan, New York City, to Witia (Haskell), a teacher and actress, and Abraham Rosenthal, an educator and realtor. Her father was of Romanian Jewish descent, and her mother was a Russian Jewish immigrant. Lee made her stage debut at age 4 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City...
“ Debut: Detective Story (Shoplifter). Nom Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
19.
Sydney Greenstreet
Actor, Casablanca
Sydney Greenstreet's father was a leather merchant with eight children. Sydney left home at age 18 to make his fortune as a Ceylon tea planter, but drought forced him out of business and back to England. He managed a brewery and, to escape boredom, took acting lessons. His stage debut was as a murderer in a 1902 production of "Sherlock Holmes"...
“ Debut: The Maltese Falcon (Kasper Gutman). Nom Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
20.
Julie Harris
Actress, Knots Landing
One of the finest classical and contemporary leading ladies ever to grace the 20th century American stage, five-time Tony Award winner Julie Harris was rather remote and reserved on camera, finding her true glow in front of the theatre lights. The freckled, red-haired actress not only was nominated...
“ Debut: Member of the Wedding (Frances "Frankie" Addams). Nom Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
21.
Claude Jarman Jr.
Actor, Rio Grande
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Claude was the son of a railroad accountant. With no intentions of becoming a screen actor at the time, 12-year-old Claude Jarman, Jr. was discovered during an MGM nationwide talent search for their upcoming film, The Yearling, and won the coveted role of Jody Baxter in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' classic story...
“ Debut: The Yearling (Jody). Won Juvenile Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
22.
Shirley Jones
Named after child star Shirley Temple, Shirley Jones started singing at the age of six. She started formal training at the age of 12 and would dream of singing with her idol, Gordon MacRae. Upon graduating from high school, Shirley went to New York to audition for the casting director of Rodgers & Hammerstein...
“ Debut: Carousel (Laurey Williams). Did a little TV first. ” - peterdi315
 
23.
Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Bhanji on December 31, 1943 in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England. His father, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, was a Kenyan-born medical doctor, of Gujarati Indian descent, and his mother, Anna Lyna Mary (Goodman), was an English actress. Ben began to act in stage plays during the 1960s...
“ Debut: Ghandi (title role). Won Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
24.
Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Margaret and Robert Joseph Kline, who owned several stores. His father was of German Jewish descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. After attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Kline studied at the Juilliard School in New York. In 1972, Kline joined the Acting Company in New York which was run by John Houseman...
“ Debut: Sophie's Choice (Nathan). Did some TV work first (including a TV version of his stage hit The Pirates of Penzance). ” - peterdi315
 
25.
Diane Lane
Actress, Man of Steel
Diane Lane was born on January 22, 1965, in New York. She is the daughter of acting coach Burton Eugene "Burt" Lane and nightclub singer/centerfold Colleen Farrington. Her parents' families were both from the state of Georgia. Diane was acting from a very young age and made her stage debut at the age of six...
“ Debut: A Little Romance (Lauren King) ” - peterdi315
 
26.
Angela Lansbury
British character actress, long in the United States. The daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a high-ranking politician, Lansbury studied acting from her youth, departing for the United States as the Second World War began. She was contracted by MGM while still a teenager and nominated for an Academy Award for her first film...
“ Debut: Gaslight (Nancy). Nom Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
27.
Jack Lemmon
Jack Lemmon was born on February 8, 1925 in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. He initially acted on TV before moving to Hollywood for the big screen, cultivating a career that would span decades. An eight time Academy Award nominee, with two wins, Lemmon starred in over 60 films including Some Like It Hot...
“ Debut: It Should Happen to You (Pete Sheppard). Mister Roberts (Ens. Frank Thurlowe Pulver) is a more well-known early film. Won Supporting Oscar. Did a good amount of TV first. ” - peterdi315
 
28.
Shirley MacLaine
Actress, The Apartment
Shirley MacLaine was born Shirley MacLean Beaty in Richmond, Virginia. Her mother, Kathlyn Corinne (MacLean), was a drama teacher from Nova Scotia, Canada, and her father, Ira Owens Beaty, a professor of psychology and real estate agent, was from Virginia. Her brother, Warren Beatty, was born on March 30, 1937. Her ancestry includes English and Scottish...
“ Debut: The Trouble with Harry (Jennifer Rogers). Did a little TV first. ” - peterdi315
 
29.
John Malkovich
John Gavin Malkovich was born in Christopher, Illinois, to Joe Anne (Choisser), who owned a local newspaper, and Daniel Leon Malkovich, a state conservation director. His paternal grandparents were Croatian. In 1976, Malkovich joined Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, newly founded by his friend Gary Sinise...
“ Debut: Places in the Heart (Mr. Will). Nom Supporting Oscar. Did some TV first. ” - peterdi315
 
30.
Mercedes McCambridge
Actress, The Exorcist
Mercedes McCambridge is a highly-talented radio performer who won a best supporting Actress Oscar for her film debut. Mercedes McCambridge was born in Joliet, Illinois, to Marie (Mahaffry) and John Patrick McCambridge, a farmer. She was of mostly Irish (with a small amount of English and German) ancestry...
“ Debut: All the King's Men (Sadie Burke). Nom Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
31.
Frances McDormand
Actress, Fargo
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...
“ Debut: Blood Simple (Abby) ” - peterdi315
 
32.
Jason Miller
Character actor and playwright Jason Miller had a variety of jobs before he started a writing career and wrote his own play, "That Championship Season", for which he received the Pulitzer Prize Award. Miller gave up his professional writing career in the early seventies to start acting. In 1973, he starred as a troubled priest in the horror film classic The Exorcist...
“ Debut: The Exorcist (Father Damien Karras). Nom Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
33.
Hayley Mills
Born Hayley Catherine Rose Vivien Mills in London, England, on Thursday, April 18th, 1946, she is the daughter of the great actor Sir John Mills and the well-known novelist-playwright Mary Hayley Bell. Her sister is the actress Juliet Mills. She grew up in her parents' home, an outgoing, funny child...
“ Debut: Tiger Bay (Gillie), with a prior appearance in So Well Remembered (as an infant). ” - peterdi315
 
34.
Eddie Murphy
Edward Regan Murphy was born April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, to Lillian (Laney), a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a transit police officer who was also an amateur comedian and actor. After his father died, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a Breyer's Ice Cream plant...
“ Debut: 48 Hrs. (Reggie Hammond) ” - peterdi315
 
35.
“ Debut: Bus Stop (Beauregard 'Bo' Decker). Nom Supporting Oscar. Did TV first. ” - peterdi315
 
36.
Edward Norton
Actor, Fight Club
American actor, filmmaker and activist Edward Harrison Norton was born on August 18, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts, and was raised in Columbia, Maryland. His mother, Lydia Robinson "Robin" (Rouse), was a foundation executive and teacher of English, and a daughter of famed real estate developer James Rouse...
“ Debut: Primal Fear (Aaron). Nom Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
37.
Kim Novak
Actress, Vertigo
Kim Novak was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 13, 1933 with the birth name of Marilyn Pauline Novak. She was the daughter of Joseph Novak, a former teacher turned transit clerk and his wife, Blanche Kral Novak, also a former teacher. Throughout elementary and high school, Kim did not get along well with teachers...
“ Debut: Pushover (Lona McLane). Had an uncredited bit part as a model in The French Line. ” - peterdi315
 
38.
“ Debut: Paper Moon (Addie Loggins). Won Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
39.
Maria Ouspenskaya
Actress, The Wolf Man
The daughter of a lawyer, Ouspenskaya studied singing at the Warsaw Conservatory and acting at Adasheff's School of the Drama in Moscow. She received her practical training as an actress touring in the Russian provinces. She later joined the Moscow Art Theatre. It was here that she first worked under the direction of the great Konstantin Stanislavski...
“ Debut: Dodsworth (Baroness Von Obersdorf). Nom Supporting Oscar. Did some film work in Russia. ” - peterdi315
 
40.
Anna Paquin
Actress, The Piano
Anna Paquin is the first millennial to have received an Academy Award nomination for acting, and the first to win. She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1982, to Mary (Brophy), an English teacher from Wellington, New Zealand, and Brian Paquin, a Canadian phys-ed teacher. Anna moved to her mother's native country when she was four years old...
“ Debut: The Piano (Flora McGrath). Won Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
41.
Sean Penn
Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints. Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the second son of actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci) and director...
“ Debut: Taps (Cadet Captain Alex Dwyer). Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Jeff Spicoli) is the better known early film. ” - peterdi315
 
42.
Harold Russell
A Cambridge, Massachusetts native, Russell was working on an army film in 1944 when an explosive he was holding detonated accidentally, injuring his hands so severely that they had to be amputated. Russell was fitted with artificial hands and enrolled at Boston University's College of Business Administration (from which he graduated in 1949)...
“ Debut: The Best Years of Our Lives (Homer Parrish). Won 2 Oscars for the same role: Supporting & Honorary. ” - peterdi315
 
43.
Eva Marie Saint
Actress and producer Eva Marie Saint was born on July 4, 1924 on Newark, New Jersey. She is known for starring in Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest. Her film career also includes roles in Raintree County...
“ Debut: On the Waterfront (Edie Doyle). Won Supporting Oscar. Did a lot of TV first. ” - peterdi315
 
44.
John Sayles
Writer, Lone Star
A bright child, John Sayles began reading novels before age 9. A Williams grad in 1972, he shunned a corporate career to work various blue-collar jobs, moving to east Boston to take a factory job. He wrote stories and submitted them to various magazines, and the Atlantic Monthly gave him the idea of publishing them in a novel--thus "Pride of the Bimbos" (1975) was born...
“ Debut: Return of the Secaucus Seven (Howie) (wrote and directed the film). Had a bit part first in Piranna (which he wrote). ” - peterdi315
 
45.
Maggie Smith
One of the world's most famous and distinguished actresses, Dame Maggie Smith was born Margaret Natalie Smith in Essex. Her Scottish mother, Margaret (Hutton), worked as a secretary, and her English father, Nathaniel Smith, was a teacher at Oxford University. Smith has been married twice: to actor Robert Stephens and to playwright Beverley Cross...
“ Debut: Nowhere to Go (Bridget Howard). Did TV work first. ” - peterdi315
 
46.
Gale Sondergaard
Sly, manipulative, dangerously cunning and sinister were the key words that best described the roles that Gale Sondergaard played in motion pictures, making her one of the most talented character actresses ever seen on the screen. She was educated at the University of Minnesota and later married director Herbert J. Biberman...
“ Debut: Anthony Adverse (Faith). Won Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
47.
Maureen Stapleton
Actress, Cocoon
Academy Award-winner Maureen Stapleton was born June 21, 1925 in Troy, New York, to Irene (née Walsh) and John P. Stapleton. Her family was of Irish descent. Maureen moved to New York City at the age of eighteen and did modeling to pay the bills. Already a Tony Award-winner, she made her Academy Award-nominated...
“ Debut: Lonelyhearts (Fay Doyle). Nom Supporting Oscar. Did TV first. ” - peterdi315
 
48.
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)...
“ Debut: Return of the Secaucus Seven (Ron Desjardins). ” - peterdi315
 
49.
Elizabeth Taylor
Actress, Giant
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was considered one of the last, if not the last, major star to have come out of the old Hollywood studio system. She was known internationally for her beauty, especially for her violet eyes, with which she captured audiences early on in her youth and kept the world hooked on with since...
“ Debut: There's One Born Every Minute (Gloria Twine), Jane Eyre (Helen Burns) and National Velvet (Velvet Brown) stand out as her breakouts. ” - peterdi315
 
50.
Miyoshi Umeki
Although she projected the typical Japanese female stereotype of humbleness, delicacy and subservience in most of her prime film and stage roles, beguiling, tiny-framed Miyoshi Umeki was nevertheless an assertive scene-stealer. This docile and deceptive-looking talent with the cropped hair and heart-shaped face radiated charm and innocence so effortlessly...
“ Debut: Sayonara (Katsumi Kelly). Won Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
51.
Eli Wallach
One of Hollywood's finest character / "Method" actors, Eli Wallach was in demand for over 60 years (first film/TV role was 1949) on stage and screen, and has worked alongside the world's biggest stars, including Clark Gable, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, Yul Brynner, Peter O'Toole, and Al Pacino, to name but a few...
“ Debut: Baby Doll (Silva Vacarro). Did some TV first. ” - peterdi315
 
52.
Quvenzhané Wallis
Wallis was born in Houma, Louisiana, to Qulyndreia (Jackson) Wallis, a teacher, and Venjie Wallis, Sr., a truck driver. She has one sister, Qunyquekya, and two brothers, Vejon and Venjie, Jr. "Quven", the first part of her name, combines the first syllables of her parents' first names. Wallis, at age five...
“ Debut: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Hushpuppy). Nom Oscar. ” - peterdi315
 
53.
Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Jeanne (Baer) and William J. Silberman, who manufactured miniature whiskey and beer bottles. His father was a Russian Jewish immigrant, while his Illinois-born mother was of Russian Jewish descent. Wilder caught his first big break playing...
“ Debut: Bonnie and Clyde (Eugene Grizzard), The Producers (Leo Bloom) came out the same year ” - peterdi315
 
54.
Kate Winslet
Actress, Titanic
Ask Kate Winslet what she likes about any of her characters, and the word "ballsy" is bound to pop up at least once. The British actress has made a point of eschewing straightforward pretty-girl parts in favor of more devilish damsels; as a result, she's built an eclectic resume that runs the gamut from Shakespearean tragedy to modern-day mysticism and erotica...
“ Debut: Heavenly Creatures (Juliet Hulme). Did Some TV first. ” - peterdi315
 
55.
Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood was born on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, California, as Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko. Her parents, Maria Stepanovna (Zudilova) and Nikolai Stepanovich Zakharenko, were Russian-born émigrés, of Ukrainian and Russian descent, who spoke barely comprehensible English; they changed the family name to Gurdin after becoming US citizens...
“ Debut Tomorrow is Forever (Margaret Ludwig), Miracle on 34th Street (Susan Walker) made the bigger splash for her. A few uncredited roles preceded. ” - peterdi315
 
56.
Teresa Wright
A natural and lovely talent who was discovered for films by Samuel Goldwyn, the always likable Teresa Wright distinguished herself early on in high-caliber, Oscar-worthy form -- the only performer ever to be nominated for Oscars for her first three films. Always true to herself, she was able to earn Hollywood stardom on her own unglamorized terms...
“ Debut: The Little Foxes (Alexandra Giddens). Won Supporting Oscar. ” - peterdi315