The Greatest Actor

by knowlesjames | created - 18 Dec 2011 | updated - 18 Dec 2011 | Public

1. James Cromwell

Actor | The Green Mile

Born in Los Angeles but raised in Manhattan and educated at Middlebury College and Carnegie-Mellon University, James Cromwell is the son of film director John Cromwell and actress Kay Johnson. He studied acting at Carnegie-Mellon, and went into the theatre (like his parents) doing everything from ...

2. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Actor | Predator

With an almost unpronounceable surname and a thick Austrian accent, who would have ever believed that a brash, quick talking bodybuilder from a small European village would become one of Hollywood's biggest stars, marry into the prestigious Kennedy family, amass a fortune via shrewd investments and...

3. Sylvester Stallone

Actor | Rocky

This athletically built, dark-haired American actor/screenwriter/director may never be mentioned by old-school film critics in the same breath as, say, Richard Burton or Alec Guinness; however, movie fans worldwide have been flocking to see Stallone's films for over 30 years, making "Sly" one of ...

4. Dolph Lundgren

Actor | Rocky IV

Dolph Lundgren was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to Sigrid Birgitta (Tjerneld), a language teacher, and Karl Johan Hugo Lundgren, an engineer and economist for the Swedish government. He lived in Stockholm until the age of 13, when he moved in with his grandparents in Nyland, Ångermanland, Sweden. ...

5. 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 ...

6. Jet Li

Actor | The One

Jet Li born Li Lian Jie in Beijing, China. He started training at the Beijing wushu academy (wushu is China's national sport, largely a performance version of various martial art styles) at age eight. He won five gold medals in the Chinese championships, his first when he was only 11. In his teens,...

7. 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 ...

8. Ben Stiller

Producer | Zoolander

Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller was born on November 30, 1965, in New York City, New York, to legendary comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. His father is of Austrian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent, and his mother was of Irish ancestry (she converted to Judaism).

It's not surprising that Ben has ...

9. Jason Statham

Actor | Crank

Jason Statham was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, to Eileen (Yates), a dancer, and Barry Statham, a street merchant and lounge singer. Statham has done quite a lot in a short time. He has been a Diver on the British National Diving Team and finished 12th in the World Championships in 1992. He has ...

10. 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 ...

11. 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 ...

12. 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), ...

13. Steve Austin

Actor | The Condemned

'Stone Cold' Steve Austin was born in Victoria, Texas, as Steven James Anderson, on December 18, 1964, the youngest of five children. His mother, Beverly Jane (Harrison), remarried to Kenneth Williams, and he took his stepfather's surname. He played football at the North Texas State University. He ...

14. 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) ...

15. Bruno Mars

Soundtrack | Rio 2

Bruno Mars was born on October 8, 1985 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA as Peter Gene Bayot Hernandez.

16. Ludacris

Actor | Crash

Ludacris was born Christopher Brian Bridges in Champaign, Illinois, where he was raised, the son of Roberta Shields and Wayne Brian Bridges. At nine years old, he started rapping. He attended Emerson Middle School and, eventually, Oak Park and River Forest High School for his freshman year. ...

17. Enrique Iglesias

Soundtrack | Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Enrique Miguel Iglesias Preysler was born in Madrid, Spain, to Spanish singer Julio Iglesias and Spanish-Filipino socialite Isabel Preysler. In 1979, his parents' marriage was annulled. He was eight years old when he moved to the U.S., and at the age of 15, secretly began writing music. He studied ...

18. 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 ...

19. 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 ...

20. 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 ...

21. Antonio Banderas

Actor | The Mask of Zorro

Antonio Banderas, one of Spain's most famous faces, was a soccer player until breaking his foot at the age of fourteen; he is now an international film star known for playing Zorro in the eponymous film series.

He was born JosÃf© Antonio DomÃf­nguez Banderas on August 10, 1960, in MÃf¡laga, ...

22. Shia LaBeouf

Actor | Transformers

Shia Saide LaBeouf was born in Los Angeles, California, to Shayna (Saide) and Jeffrey Craig LaBeouf, and is an only child. His mother is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, while his father has Cajun (French) ancestry. His parents are divorced. He started his career by doing stand-up comedy around ...

23. Randy Couture

Actor | The Expendables 3

Randy Couture is a collegiate wrestler and fighter turned actor from Everett, Washington. He served as a four time US Olympic wrestling team alternate as a soldier in the U.S. Army, and is also a 6 time world heavyweight and light heavyweight UFC champion and Hall of Famer. He is a graduate of ...

24. Terry Crews

Actor | Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Terry Crews was born in Flint, Michigan, to Patricia and Terry Crews, Sr. He earned an Art Excellence Scholarship to attend Western Michigan University and also earned a full-ride athletic scholarship to play football. Crews was an All-Conference defensive end, and was a major contributor on the ...

25. Kevin James

Actor | Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Kevin James was born Kevin George Knipfing on April 26, 1965, in Mineola, New York, to Janet, an office worker, and Joseph Valentine Knipfing, Jr., an insurance agency owner. His father was of German descent.

James attended SUNY Cortland where he played fullback on the football team while majoring ...