My Favourite Actors

A personal selection of actors that I love in one or several films. This list is in order, but don't take it too seriously. Work in progress.

If you are interested, you can check My Favourite Films list.
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1.
Tatsuya Nakadai
Actor, Ran
Japanese leading man, an important star and one of the handful of Japanese actors well known outside Japan. Nakadai was a tall handsome clerk in a Tokyo shop when director Masaki Kobayashi encountered him and cast him in The Thick-Walled Room. Nakadai was subsequently cast in the lead role in Kobayashi's monumental...
 
2.
Toshirô Mifune
Toshiro Mifune achieved more worldwide fame than any other Japanese actor of his century. He was born in Tsingtao, China, to Japanese parents and grew up in Dalian. He did not set foot in Japan until he was 21. His father was an importer and a commercial photographer, and young Toshiro worked in his father's studio for a time after graduating from Dalian Middle School...
 
4.
Robert De Niro
Actor, Goodfellas
One of the greatest actors of all time, Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is English, Dutch, German, French and Irish. He was trained at the Stella Adler Conservatory and the American Workshop...
 
6.
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung
Actor, Ying xiong
Tony Leung Chiu Wai was born in Hong Kong on 27 June 1962. He and his younger sister were raised by their mother after his father left them. In 1982, after passing the training courses of TVB, Tony became a TV actor and became famous for his comedy style in such TV shows as Lu ding ji or Jue dai shuang jiao...
 
7.
Min-sik Choi
Actor, Oldeuboi
Choi Min-shik first made a name for himself in theater before breaking into the film world with a role in Park Chong-won's acclaimed film 'Our Twisted Hero' (1992). In the mid-nineties he continued to act in theater productions as well as in several TV dramas, including Moon Over Seoul with Han Seok-gyu...
 
8.
Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson, an American actor, producer, director and screenwriter, is a three-time Academy Award winner and twelve-time nominee. Nicholson is also notable for being one of two actors - the other being Michael Caine - who have received Oscar nomination in every decade from the 1960s through the early 2000s...
 
9.
Al Pacino
One of the greatest actors in all of film history, Al Pacino established himself during one of film's greatest decades, the 1970s, and has become an enduring and iconic figure in the world of American movies. Alfredo James Pacino was born on April 25, 1940, in the Bronx, New York, to an Italian-American family...
 
10.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Actor, Capote
Film and stage actor and theater director Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in the Rochester, New York, suburb of Fairport on July 23, 1967. He was the son of Marilyn (Loucks), a lawyer and judge, and Gordon Stowell Hoffman, a Xerox employee, and was mostly of German, Irish, English and Dutch ancestry...
 
11.
Fernando Rey
Fernando Rey, the great Spanish movie actor primarily known in the United States for his role as "Frog One" in The French Connection and its sequel, was born Fernando Casado D'Arambillet on September 20 1917, in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, the son of Colonel Casado Veiga. Originally, the young Fernando intended to become an architect...
 
12.
Jean-Pierre Léaud
Jean-Pierre Léaud is not everybody's cup of tea for sure, but will remain an important name in film history. As an actor he can be adored or hated for exactly the same reasons: he is one of those rare players that directors let improvise his dialogue, which gets on certain viewers' nerves while it fascinates others...
 
13.
Fernando Fernán Gómez
Spanish actor and director of cinema and theater. Son of the actress Carola Fernán Gómez. When he was three years old he comes back to Spain from Argentina. He has written comedies, novels and poem books. He plays a wide repertoire of roles from comedy to drama.
 
14.
Klaus Kinski
Klaus Kinski was born Nikolaus Günther Nakszynski in Zoppot, Free City of Danzig (now Sopot, Poland), to Susanne (Lutze), a nurse, and Bruno Nakszynski, a pharmacist. He grew up in Berlin, was drafted into the German army in 1944 and captured by British forces in Holland. After the war he began acting on the stage...
 
15.
Bill Murray
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...
 
16.
Gene Kelly
Eugene Curran Kelly was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the third son of Harriet Catherine (Curran) and James Patrick Joseph Kelly, a phonograph salesman. His father was of Irish descent and his mother was of Irish and German ancestry. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the largest and most powerful studio in Hollywood when Gene Kelly arrived in town in 1941...
 
18.
Paul Newman
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 immigrants from Poland and Hungary; he owned a successful sporting goods store...
 
19.
Joe Pesci
Actor, Goodfellas
Compact Italian-American actor Joe Pesci was born February 9, 1943 in Newark, New Jersey, to Mary (Mesce), a part-time barber, and Angelo Pesci, a bartender and forklift driver. Pesci first broke into entertainment as a child actor, and by the mid-1950s, was starring on the series "Star Time Kids". In the mid-1960s...
 
20.
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...
 
21.
Martin Sheen
Multiple Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner Martin Sheen is one of America's most celebrated, colorful, and accomplished actors. Moving flawlessly between artistic mediums, Sheen's acting range is striking. Sheen was born Ramón Antonio Gerard Estevez in Dayton, Ohio, to Mary-Ann (Phelan), an Irish immigrant (from Borrisokane...
 
22.
Kang-ho Song
Song Kang-ho never professionally trained as an actor, beginning his career in social theater groups after graduating from Kimhae High School. Later, he joined Kee Kuk-seo's influential theater company with its emphasis on instinctive acting and improvisation, which proved to be Song's training ground...
 
23.
José Luis López Vázquez
Spanish actor. He started his career in theatre in 1939, when he was only 17, with the support of the director Modesto Higueras and the painter José Caballero. His first works were as actor, set decorator and costume designer in non-commercial amateur theatre plays, basically at the 'Teatro de las Organizaciones Juveniles (TOI)' and at the TEU...
 
24.
James Dean
James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931 in Marion, Indiana, to Mildred Marie (Wilson) and Winton A. Dean, a farmer turned dental technician. His mother died when Dean was nine, and he was subsequently raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. After grade school, he moved to New York to pursue his dream of acting...
 
25.
Manuel Alexandre
He began the studies of law. But after his participation in the universitary theater he left the university and entered the school of dramatic arts in Madrid. In 1945 he debuted in the proffesional theater, and in the cinema in 1947.
 
26.
 
27.
Glenn Ford
Actor, Superman
Legendary actor Glenn Ford was born Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford in Sainte-Christine-d'Auvergne, Quebec, Canada, to Hannah Wood (Mitchell) and Newton Ford, a railroad executive. His family moved to Santa Monica, California when he was eight years old. His acting career began with plays at high school, followed by acting in West Coast, a traveling theater company...
 
28.
Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Eastwood took interest in music and mechanics...
 
29.
Steve Buscemi
Actor, Fargo
Steve Buscemi was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Dorothy (Wilson), a restaurant hostess, and John Buscemi, a sanitation worker. He is of Italian (father) and English, Dutch, and Irish (mother) descent. He became interested in acting during his last year of high school. After graduating, he moved to Manhattan to study acting with John Strasberg...
 
30.
Jon Hamm
Actor, Mad Men
 
31.
Orson Welles
His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was nine) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr. Maurice Bernstein...
 
32.
Takashi Shimura
Japanese character actor Takashi Shimura was one of the finest film actors of the 20th century and a leading member of the "stock company" of master director Akira Kurosawa. A native of southern Japan, Shimura was a descendant of the samurai warrior class. Following university training, he founded a theatre company...
 
33.
Chishû Ryû
What an amazing career! Few can boast a longer one (64 years of activity). Few have been able to have to relate to three generations. And it is pretty sure that no one can compare with him in terms of faithfulness to a director: Chishu Ryu indeed appeared in no fewer than fifty-two out of fifty-four of his master Yasujirô Ozu...
 
34.
José Isbert
Actor, El verdugo
He debuted in theater when he was 19 years old and later he worked in the company of the Lara theater where he played as a first actor during 16 years. He participated in a short in 1912 but his cinematographic career mostly began on the 30s, working more in cinema than in theater in the 40s and later on...
 
35.
Takeshi Kitano
Takeshi Kitano was born in Tokyo in 1947 and entered show business in 1972 as "Beat" Takeshi, the stage name he continues to use today as a performer. As part of the comic duo Two Beats, Kitano was one of the leading figures in the manzai (stand-up comedy) boom in the late 1970s. With his distinctive art of speech and his idiosyncratic perspective...
 
36.
Tadanobu Asano
Actor, Thor
Asano Tadanobu is a Japanese film actor. His father, an actors' agent, suggested he take on what became his first role, in the TV show "Kimpachi Sensei," at the age of 16. His film debut was in the 1990 Swimming Upstream (Bataashi kingyo), though his first major critical success was in Shunji Iwai's Fried Dragon Fish...
 
37.
Harvey Keitel
American actor and producer Harvey Keitel was born on May 13, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York City. An Oscar and Golden Globe Award nominee, he has appeared in films such as Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, Ridley Scott's The Duellists and Thelma & Louise, Peter Yates' Mother, Jugs & Speed...
 
39.
Buster Keaton
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 show that included family friend...
 
40.
Cary Grant
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 in Bristol would have been an ordinary lower-middle-class childhood...
 
41.
James Stewart
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 was a keen athlete (football and track), musician (singing and accordion playing), and sometime actor...
 
42.
Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem is the youngest member of a family of actors that has been making films since the early days of Spanish cinema. He was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, to actress Pilar Bardem (María del Pilar Bardem Muñoz) and businessman José Carlos Encinas Doussinague. His maternal grandparents were actors Rafael Bardem and Matilde Muñoz Sampedro...
 
43.
Robert Mitchum
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 train accident when he was two...
 
44.
Daniel Day-Lewis
Born in London, England, Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is the second child of Cecil Day-Lewis (aka Nicholas Blake) (Poet Laureate of England) and his second wife, Jill Balcon. His maternal grandfather was Sir Michael Balcon, an important figure in the history of British cinema and head of the famous Ealing Studios...
 
45.
Willem Dafoe
Actor, Spider-Man
Willem Dafoe was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, to Muriel Isabel (Sprissler), a nurse, and Dr. William Alfred Dafoe, a surgeon. He is of German, French, English, Irish, and Scottish descent. In 1979, Dafoe was given a small role in Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate from which he was fired. His first feature role came shortly after in Kathryn Bigelow's The Loveless...
 
46.
Andy Lau
Andy Lau Tak-wah, (born 27 September 1961) is a Hong Kong actor, singer-songwriter, presenter, and film producer. Lau has been one of Hong Kong's most commercially successful film actors since the mid-1980s, performing in more than 160 films while maintaining a successful singing career at the same time...
 
47.
Charlie Hunnam
Charles Matthew Hunnam was born in Newcastle, England on April 10, 1980, to Jane (Bell), a business owner, and William Hunnam, a scrap metal merchant. At 18 years of age, he made a guest appearances in the popular TV series Byker Grove. He gained fame in Britain thanks to his television role as the love-smitten Nathan Maloney in Queer as Folk...
 
48.
James Woods
James Woods is a leanly built, strangely handsome actor-producer-director with intense eyes and a sometimes untrustworthy grin, who has been impressing audiences for over three decades with his compelling performances. James Howard Woods was born on April 18th, 1947 in Vernal, Utah, the son of Martha A...
 
49.
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)...
 
50.
Forest Whitaker
Actor, Arrival
Forest Steven Whitaker has packaged a king-size talent into his hulking 6' 2", 220 lb. frame. He won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland, and has also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. He is the fourth African-American male to win an Academy Award for Best Actor...
 
51.
Brad Pitt
An actor and producer known as much for his versatility as he is for his handsome face, Golden Globe-winner Brad Pitt's most widely recognized role may be Tyler Durden in Fight Club. However, his portrayals of Billy Beane in Moneyball, and Rusty Ryan in the remake of Ocean's Eleven and its sequels, also loom large in his filmography...
 
52.
Fred Astaire
Actor, Top Hat
Fred Astaire was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Johanna (Geilus) and Fritz Austerlitz, a brewer. Fred entered show business at age 5. He was successful both in vaudeville and on Broadway in partnership with his sister, Adele Astaire. After Adele retired to marry in 1932, Astaire headed to Hollywood. Signed to RKO...
 
53.
Denzel Washington
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 Fordham University...
 
54.
Morgan Freeman
With an authoritative voice and calm demeanor, this ever popular American actor has grown into one of the most respected figures in modern US cinema. Morgan was born on June 1, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, to Mayme Edna (Revere), a teacher, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, a barber. The young Freeman...
 
56.
Bryan Cranston
Bryan Lee Cranston was born on March 7, 1956 in Hollywood, California, to Audrey Peggy Sell, a radio actress, and Joe Cranston, an actor and former amateur boxer. His maternal grandparents were German, and his father was of Austrian, German, Irish and Jewish ancestry. He was raised partly by his grandparents...
 
57.
Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow was born Carl Adolf von Sydow on April 10, 1929 in Lund, Skåne, Sweden, to a middle-class family. He is the son of Baroness Maria Margareta (Rappe), a teacher, and Carl Wilhelm von Sydow, an ethnologist and folklore professor. His surname traces back to his father's partial German ancestry...
 
58.
Ben Gazzara
Ben Gazzara's screen career began with two critically acclaimed roles as heavies in the late 1950s. He turned to television in the 1960s but made a big screen comeback with roles in three John Cassavetes films in the 1970s. The 1980s and 1990s saw Gazzara work more frequently than ever before in character parts...
 
59.
Peter Falk
Actor, Columbo
Peter Michael Falk was born on September 16, 1927, in New York City, New York. At the age of 3, his right eye was surgically removed due to cancer. He graduated from Ossining High School, where he was president of his class. His early career choices involved becoming a certified public accountant, and...
 
60.
Michael Chiklis
Actor, The Shield
Educated at Boston University's School for the Arts, majoring in acting, before moving to New York City. Michael has numerous theater credits including the roles of Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire and Touchstone in Shakespeare's As You Like It.
 
61.
Ryan Gosling
Actor, La La Land
Canadian actor Ryan Gosling is the first person born in the 1980s to have been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar (for Half Nelson). 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 traveling salesman...
 
62.
Gael García Bernal
Gael García Bernal was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, to Patricia Bernal, an actress and model, and José Ángel García, an actor and director. His stepfather is cinematographer Sergio Yazbek. García Bernal began his acting career as a child, working with his parents in a variety of plays. When he was fourteen...
 
63.
Vincent Gallo
Vincent Gallo. American-born, Buffalo, New York, 1961. Left home, moved to New York City in 1978, and began playing in the experimental musical group, Gray, with artist Jean Michel Basquiat. After leaving Gray, he formed the band, Bohack, and recorded the highly regarded avant-garde industrial noise album, "It Took Several Wives"...
 
64.
Ryûhei Matsuda
Actor, The Raid 2
The uniquely beautiful and talented Ryuhei Matsuda was born May 9, 1983, in the Tokyo Metropolis, to famous actors Miyuki Matsuda (née Kumagai) and Yûsaku Matsuda. Six years later, Ryuhei's life took a tragic turn when his father, at the age of 40, died from bladder cancer. Ryuhei and his mother persevered...