Famous Entertainers of the 20th and 21st Century!

by horne_jeffrey | created - 04 Mar 2013 | updated - 04 Mar 2013 | Public

This list applies to talented people who are a triple threat by being able to sing, dance, and act. I wrote the term old-school vs new school entertainer to distinguish the difference between entertainers from the past and present. For example, I caused Sammy Davis Jr an old school entertainer because he had to sing, dance, act, and even do comedy at the same time during his shows, which was not an easy thing to do. A new school celebrity, e.g. Beyonce, is someone who made the transition from singing, dancing, and acting throughout their career. Makes sense? I know I might have messed some famous entertainers from the old school generation; if so, please let me know which entertainer you think deserves to be on the list. Thanks. (Please note: I am not going to include Lady Gaga on this list. While she can sing and dance, I have yet to see her star in a motion picture).

1. Sammy Davis Jr.

Actor | The Cannonball Run

Sammy Davis Jr. was often billed as the "greatest living entertainer in the world".

He was born in Harlem, Manhattan, the son of dancer Elvera Davis (née Sanchez) and vaudeville star Sammy Davis Sr.. His father was African-American and his mother was of Puerto Rican ancestry. Davis Jr. was known as ...

Old Skool entertainer

2. Madonna

Actress | Evita

The remarkable, hyper-ambitious Material Girl who never stops reinventing herself, Madonna is a seven-time Grammy Award-winner who has sold over three hundred million records and CDs to adoring fans worldwide. Her film career, however, is another story. Her performances have consistently drawn ...

3. Beyoncé

Soundtrack | Dreamgirls

Beyoncé was born & raised in Houston, Texas. Her father, Mathew Knowles, manages Destiny's Child. Her mother, Tina Knowles designs their glittering costumes. Solange, her sister (they're about 5 years apart), has released her debut album. She dances with her big sister during DC-3 concerts. Beyoncé...

4. Janet Jackson

Soundtrack | Poetic Justice

Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born on May 16, 1966 in Gary, Indiana, to Katherine Jackson (née Katherine Esther Scruse) and Joe Jackson, a musician. She is the youngest of ten children. After her birth, her brothers formed a band later called The Jackson 5. She lived at home with her sisters, while ...

5. Aaliyah

Soundtrack | Romeo Must Die

Talented. Beautiful. Modest. These three words described R&B singer-turned-actress Aaliyah perfectly.

Aaliyah Dana Haughton was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Diane (Hankerson) and Michael Haughton. Her uncle was music manager Barry Hankerson and her brother is director Rashad Haughton. Aaliyah was ...

6. Usher Raymond

Actor | The Faculty

Usher Raymond IV was born in Dallas, Texas, to Jonetta Patton (née O'Neal) and Usher Raymond III. He began singing when he was six years old, joining the local church choir at the behest of his mother who acted as choir director. Jonetta, a single mom, raised Usher and his younger brother, James, ...

7. Chris Brown

Actor | Takers

Chris Brown was born on May 5, 1989 in Tappahannock, Virginia, USA as Christopher Maurice Brown.

8. Jennifer Lopez

Actress | Gigli

Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born in the Castle Hill section of The Bronx on July 24, 1969. She is the middle of three musically-inclined sisters, Leslie Lopez, a homemaker, and Lynda Lopez, a DJ on New York's WKTU, a VH1 VJ, and a morning news show correspondent on New York's Channel 11. Jennifer ...

9. Diana Ross

Actress | Lady Sings the Blues

Best known as the the lead singer of the popular 1960s singing group The Supremes, Diana Ernestine Earle Ross was born on March 26, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan, the second of six children of African-American parents Ernestine Lillian (Moten), a schoolteacher, and Fred Earl Ross, who served in the ...

Old Skool entertainer

10. Rihanna

Actress | Battleship

Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born in a parish in Barbados called St. Michael, to Monica (Braithwaite), an accountant, and Ronald Fenty, a warehouse supervisor. Her mother is Afro-Guyanese and her father is of Afro-Barbadian and British Isles ancestry (known as "Redlegs" in the Caribbean). Rihanna lived ...

11. Bernadette Peters

Actress | The Jerk

Bernadette Peters was born Bernadette Lazzara on February 28, 1948 in Queens, New York City. Peters is one of the most critically-acclaimed Broadway performers, having received nominations for seven Tony Awards, winning two, and eight Drama Desk Awards, winning three. Four of the Broadway cast ...

Old Skool entertainer

12. Liza Minnelli

Soundtrack | Cabaret

Liza Minnelli was born on March 12, 1946, the daughter of Judy Garland and movie director Vincente Minnelli. She was practically raised at MGM studios while her parents worked long hours there and she made her film debut at fourteen months of age in the movie In the Good Old Summertime (1949). Her ...

Old Skool entertainer

13. Ben Vereen

Actor | All That Jazz

Few entertainers today are as accomplished or versatile as Ben Vereen. His legendary performances transcend time and have been woven into the fabric of this country's artistic legacy. His first love and passion is and always will be the stage. "The theater was my first training ground. It taught me...

Old Skool entertainer

14. Elvis Presley

Soundtrack | Girls! Girls! Girls!

Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi, to Gladys Presley (née Gladys Love Smith) and Vernon Presley (Vernon Elvis Presley). He had a twin brother who was stillborn. In 1948, Elvis and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee where he attended Humes High School. ...

15. Britney Spears

Soundtrack | Crossroads

Britney Jean Spears was born in McComb (Mississippi) and raised in rural Louisiana (Kentwood) to Jamie Spears and Lynne Spears. As a child, Britney attended dance classes, and she was great at gymnastics, winning many competitions and the like. But, most of all, Britney loved to sing. At age 8, ...

16. Michael Jackson

Soundtrack | Michael Jackson: Thriller

Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana on August 29, 1958, and entertained audiences nearly his entire life. His father, Joe Jackson, had been a guitarist, but was forced to give up his musical ambitions following his marriage to Katherine Jackson (née Katherine Esther Scruse). Together, ...

17. Gregory Hines

Actor | Running Scared

Gregory Hines was born on February 14, 1946 in New York City, New York, USA as Gregory Oliver Hines. He was an actor, known for Running Scared (1986), History of the World: Part I (1981) and Waiting to Exhale (1995). He was married to Pamela Koslow and Patricia Panella. He died on August 9, 2003 in...

18. Harry Belafonte

Actor | Bobby

Harold George Belafonte was born on March 1, 1927 in New York City. He was educated at the New York Dramatic Workshop. He grew up in Jamaica, British West Indies, and did folk-singing in nightclubs and theaters, and on television and records. His debut was at the Village Vanguard in New York. Also,...

19. Judy Garland

Actress | The Wizard of Oz

One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals.

She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in ...

20. Julie Andrews

Actress | The Sound of Music

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...

21. Shirley Temple

Actress | Captain January

Shirley Temple was easily the most popular and famous child star of all time. She got her start in the movies at the age of three and soon progressed to super stardom. Shirley could do it all: act, sing and dance and all at the age of five! Fans loved her as she was bright, bouncy and cheerful in ...

22. Christina Aguilera

Soundtrack | The Voice

Christina Maria Aguilera was born on December 18, 1980, in Staten Island, New York, to Shelly Loraine (Fidler) and Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera, a U.S. army sergeant. Her father is Ecuadorian and her mother, who is American-born, has English, Scots-Irish, and German ancestry. Her parents divorced ...

23. Ne-Yo

Actor | Battle Los Angeles

Ne-Yo was born on October 18, 1982 in Camden, Arkansas, USA as Shaffer Chimere Smith. He has been married to Crystal Renay since February 20, 2016. They have one child.

24. Ashanti

Actress | Coach Carter

Ashanti was born on October 13, 1980 in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York, USA as Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas. She is an actress, known for Coach Carter (2005), Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) and John Tucker Must Die (2006).

25. Kelly Rowland

Actress | Freddy vs. Jason

Kelly Rowland was born on February 11, 1981 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA as Kelendria Trene Rowland. She is an actress, known for Freddy vs. Jason (2003), About Time (2013) and Hitch (2005). She has been married to Tim Witherspoon since May 9, 2014. They have one child.