My 50 favorite actors

by TheExperience | created - 03 Feb 2011 | updated - 10 Feb 2011 | Public

1. James Woods

Actor | Vampires

James Howard Woods was born on April 18th, 1947 in Vernal, Utah, the son of Martha A. (Smith) and Gail Peyton Woods, a United States Army intelligence officer who died during Woods' childhood. James is of Irish, English, and German descent. He grew up in Warwick, Rhode Island, with his mother and ...

2. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Actor | The Master

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 ...

3. Jeff Bridges

Actor | The Big Lebowski

Jeffrey Leon Bridges was born on December 4, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, the son of well-known film and TV star Lloyd Bridges and his long-time wife Dorothy Dean Bridges (née Simpson). He grew up amid the happening Hollywood scene with big brother Beau Bridges. Both boys popped up, without ...

4. 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 ...

5. Edward Norton

Actor | American History X

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 ...

6. John Candy

Actor | Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Candy was one of Canada's greatest and funniest character actors. His well-known role as the big hearted buffoon earned him classics in Uncle Buck (1989) and Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987). His career has handed him some dry spells but Candy always rebounded.

Born in Newmarket, Ontario, in ...

7. 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 ...

8. Mark Strong

Actor | Kingsman: The Golden Circle

British actor Mark Strong, who played Jim Prideaux in the 2011 remake of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), is often cast as cold, calculating villains. But before he became a famous actor, he intended to pursue a career in law.

Strong was born Marco Giuseppe Salussolia in London, England, to an ...

9. Kevin Spacey

Actor | The Usual Suspects

Kevin Spacey Fowler, better known by his stage name Kevin Spacey, is an American actor of screen and stage, film director, producer, screenwriter and singer. He began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s before obtaining supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical acclaim in...

10. Tim Roth

Actor | Pulp Fiction

Often mistaken for an American because of his skill at imitating accents, actor Tim Roth was born Timothy Simon Roth on May 14, 1961 in Lambeth, London, England. His mother, Ann, was a teacher and landscape painter. His father, Ernie, was a journalist who had changed the family name from "Smith" to ...

11. 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 ...

12. John Turturro

Actor | Barton Fink

Highly talented, lightly built American actor who always looks unsettled and jumpy has become a favourite of cult/arthouse film aficionados with his compelling performances in a broad range of cinematic vehicles.

Turturro was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Italian-American parents, Katherine (...

13. Zach Galifianakis

Actor | The Hangover

Zach Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, to Mary Frances (Cashion), who owned a community arts center, and Harry Galifianakis, a heating oil vendor. His father is of Greek descent and his mother is of mostly English and Scottish ancestry. Zach moved to New York City after failing ...

14. Samuel L. Jackson

Actor | Pulp Fiction

Samuel L. Jackson is an American producer and highly prolific actor, having appeared in over 100 films, including Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Unbreakable (2000), Shaft (2000), Formula 51 (2001), Black Snake Moan (2006), Snakes on a Plane (2006), and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005), ...

15. Denzel Washington

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 ...

16. Colin Firth

Actor | A Single Man

Colin Andrew Firth was born into an academic family in Grayshott, Hampshire, England. His mother, Shirley Jean (Rolles), was a comparative religion lecturer at the Open University, and his father, David Norman Lewis Firth, lectured on history at Winchester University College (formerly King Alfred's...

17. Paul Giamatti

Actor | Sideways

Paul Giamatti is an American actor who has worked steadily and prominently for over twenty years, and is best known for leading roles in the films American Splendor (2003), Sideways (2004), and Barney's Version (2010) (for which he won a Golden Globe), and supporting roles in the films Cinderella ...

18. 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. ...

19. Jack Nicholson

Actor | Chinatown

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...

20. 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 ...

21. Wesley Snipes

Actor | Blade

Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, to Maryann (Long), a teacher's assistant, and Wesley Rudolph Snipes, an aircraft engineer. He grew up on the streets of the South Bronx in New York City, where he very early decided that the theater was to be his career. He attended the High School ...

22. Clarence Williams III

Actor | The General's Daughter

As the son of a displaced musician, Harlem-born African-American actor Clarence Williams III was raised by his musical grandparents, the legendary jazz and boogie-woogie composer/pianist Clarence Williams, who wrote such classics as "T'Aint Nobody's Business If I Do" and "Baby, Won't You Please ...

23. Vince Vaughn

Producer | The Break-Up

Vincent Anthony Vaughn was born on March 28, 1970, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, and was raised in Lake Forest, Illinois. His parents are Vernon Vaughn, a salesman and character actor, and Sharon Vaughn (née Sharon Eileen DePalmo), a real-estate agent and stockbroker. They divorced in 1991. He ...

24. 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"....

25. John Goodman

Actor | 10 Cloverfield Lane

John Stephen Goodman is a U.S. film, television, and stage actor. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Virginia Roos (Loosmore), a waitress and saleswoman, and Leslie Francis Goodman, a postal worker who died when John was a small child. He is of English, Welsh, and German ancestry. John is best ...

26. 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...

27. Tupac Shakur

Soundtrack | Poetic Justice

Born in New York City, Tupac grew up primarily in Harlem. In 1984, his family moved to Baltimore, Maryland where he became good friends with Jada Pinkett Smith. His family moved again in 1988 to Oakland, California. His first breakthrough in music came in 1991 as a member of the group Digital ...

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28. Guy Pearce

Actor | Memento

Guy Edward Pearce was born 5 October, 1967 in Cambridgeshire, England, UK to Margaret Anne and Stuart Graham Pearce. His father was born in Auckland, New Zealand, to English and Scottish parents, while Guy's mother is English. Pearce and his family initially traveled to Australia for two years, ...

29. Mark Ruffalo

Actor | The Avengers

Mark Ruffalo was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to Marie Rose (Hebert), a stylist and hairdresser, and Frank Lawrence Ruffalo, a construction painter. His father's ancestry is Italian, and his mother is of half French-Canadian and half Italian descent. Mark moved with his family to Virginia Beach, ...

30. Rhys Darby

Actor | Flight of the Conchords

Rhys Darby was born on March 21, 1974 in New Zealand as Rhys Montague Darby. He is an actor and writer, known for Flight of the Conchords (2007), Yes Man (2008) and What We Do in the Shadows (2014). He has been married to Rosie Carnahan-Darby since January 25, 2004. They have two children.

31. Abe Vigoda

Actor | The Godfather

Tall, dour-faced and slouch-shouldered character actor Abe Vigoda proved himself in both gritty dramatic roles, and as an actor with wonderful comedic timing.

Vigoda was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Lena (Moses) and Samuel Vigoda, both Russian Jewish immigrants. His father was a tailor on the ...

32. James Caan

Actor | The Godfather

A masculine and enigmatic actor whose life and movie career have had more ups and downs than the average rollercoaster and whose selection of roles has arguably derailed him from achieving true superstar status, James Caan is New York-born and bred.

He was born in the Bronx, to Sophie (Falkenstein) ...

33. Bruno Kirby

Actor | When Harry Met Sally...

Native New Yorker and Italianate Bruno Kirby tended towards assertive, pushy, streetwise characters and was armed with a highly distinctive scratchy tenor voice that complemented his slim eyes and droopy puss and accentuated his deadpan comedic instincts on film and TV. The well-regarded character ...

34. Chris Farley

Actor | Tommy Boy

Christopher Crosby Farley was born on February 15, 1964, in Madison, Wisconsin, to Mary Anne (Crosby) and Thomas Farley, who owned an oil company. Among his siblings are actors Kevin P. Farley and John Farley. He was of Irish heritage. Farley studied theatre and communications on Marquette ...

35. Christian Bale

Actor | The Dark Knight

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 ...

36. Jeff Daniels

Actor | The Squid and the Whale

Actor Jeff Daniels was born in Athens, Georgia, but was raised in Chelsea, Michigan. He is the son of Marjorie J. (Ferguson) and Robert Lee Daniels, who owned The Chelsea Lumber Company and was also mayor of Chelsea. Jeff attended Central Michigan University, but became involved in acting and ...

37. Harvey Keitel

Actor | Reservoir Dogs

American actor and producer Harvey Keitel was born on May 13, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York City, to Miriam (Klein) and Harry Keitel. An Oscar and Golden Globe Award nominee, he has appeared in films such as Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973) and Taxi Driver (1976), Ridley Scott's The Duellists (...

38. Val Kilmer

Actor | The Doors

Val Kilmer was born in Los Angeles, California, to Gladys Swanette (Ekstadt) and Eugene Dorris Kilmer, who was a real estate developer and aerospace equipment distributor. His mother, born in Indiana, was from a Swedish family, and his father was from Texas. Val studied at Hollywood's ...

39. Pete Postlethwaite

Actor | The Usual Suspects

Classically-trained actor Pete Postlethwaite was born Peter William Postlethwaite in 1946 and was a distinguished character actor on stage, TV and film. Growing up in Warrington, Lancashire amid middle-class surroundings, he went to college and while completing his studies developed an interest in ...

40. Tommy Lee Jones

Actor | The Fugitive

Tommy Lee Jones was born in San Saba, Texas, the son of Lucille Marie (Scott), a police officer and beauty shop owner, and Clyde C. Jones, who worked on oil fields. Tommy himself worked in underwater construction and on an oil rig. He attended St. Mark's School of Texas, a prestigious prep school ...

41. Will Ferrell

Actor | Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

John William Ferrell was born in Irvine, California, to Betty Kay (Overman), a teacher, and Roy Lee Ferrell, Jr., a musician. His parents were originally from Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.

A graduate of the University of Southern California, Ferrell became interested in performing while a student ...

42. Liam Neeson

Actor | Kinsey

Liam Neeson was born on June 7, 1952 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, UK, to Katherine (Brown), a cook, and Bernard Neeson, a school caretaker. Liam worked as a forklift operator for Guinness, truck driver, assistant architect and an amateur boxer. He had originally sought a career as a teacher by ...

43. Gary Sinise

Actor | Forrest Gump

Gary Alan Sinise was born in Blue Island, Illinois, to Mylles S. (Alsip) and Robert L. Sinise, A.C.E., a film editor. He is of Italian (from his paternal grandfather), English, Scottish, Irish, French, German, and Swedish ancestry. His family moved to Highland Park, where he attended high school. ...

44. Jon Hamm

Actor | Mad Men

Jon Hamm was born on March 10, 1971 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Jonathan Daniel Hamm. He is an actor and producer, known for Mad Men (2007), The Town (2010) and Million Dollar Arm (2014).

45. André Benjamin

Actor | Four Brothers

André Benjamin was born on May 27, 1975 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA as Andre Benjamin.

46. Kevin Bacon

Actor | Footloose

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. ...

47. Sam Rockwell

Actor | Moon

Sam Rockwell was born on November 5, 1968, in San Mateo, California, the child of two actors, Pete Rockwell and Penny Hess. The family moved to New York when he was two years old, living first in the Bronx and later in Manhattan. When Sam was five years old, his parents split up, at which point he ...

48. John Malkovich

Actor | Being 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 ...

49. Ray Liotta

Actor | Goodfellas

Intense is the word for Ray Liotta. He specializes in psychopathic characters who hide behind a cultivated charm. Even in his nice guy roles in Field of Dreams (1989) and Operation Dumbo Drop (1995), you get the impression that something is smoldering inside of him. Liotta maintains a steady stream...

50. 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 ...