Famous American Film & Theater Personalities

Being a Hollywood or Broadway superstar is like owning a Midas touch! Fans adore you, big brands hover around you, and the media cannot stop raving about you. In short, the world becomes your oyster. However, not all such film & theater personalities kick their way out into this life of luxury. You will get goose bumps when you discover how many such multi-millionaire superstars had humble beginnings and had no more than their dreams of making it to Hollywood or theatre. How they sustained through some incredibly trying times is indeed exemplary. Embarking on a road to fame meant sacrificing whatever little they had. They abandoned homes, lived out of their cars, sold off their belongings for one hot meal, and took up odd gigs to make ends meet, hoping to be discovered one day. We bring you the biographies of some such famous American film and theater personalities who with their sheer perseverance surmounted the biggest odds and went on to be counted among some of the biggest celebrities we know today.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson
89
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 22, 1984
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States

The popular, award winning gorgeous artist, Scarlett Johansson is the highest paid actress in the world. With an interest in acting, Scarlett Johansson debuted in films at the young age of eight and went on to act in numerous films including Lost in Translation, The Avengers, Hitchcock and Marriage Story. She has also worked in television and released an album.

 2 Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio
69
Famous As: Actor, Producer
Birthdate: November 11, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Leonardo DiCaprio is a name every movie lover reveres. An Oscar, a BAFTA, and 3 Golden Globes does not do justice to DiCaprio’s immensely skilful performances and his top-notch portrayals of addicts, historical figures and business tycoons. From epic dramas and romances to crime and political thrillers, DiCaprio has constantly left a mark in each of his films.

 3 Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp
65
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 9, 1963
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States

Johnny Depp is one of the most versatile and successful actors in Hollywood today. He wanted to become a musician and became actor by chance.  The star of Pirates of the Caribbean film series is known for selecting challenging roles that have the potential to amaze both audience and critics.

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 4 Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston
79
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 11, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

An American actress, film producer, and businesswoman, Jennifer Aniston began her acting career pretty early but gained stardom with her portrayal of Rachel Green in the popular television sitcom Friends. Her film career demonstrated her wide range and impressed both critics and audience. The star of The Good Girl and Bruce Almighty also went ahead to launch her own perfume.

 5 Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
69
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 3, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Syracuse, New York, United States

Actor-producer, Tom Cruise, is an international superstar, heartthrob of millions and is a recipient of numerous awards. The Mission: Impossible star has been one of the most bankable and versatile Hollywood actors since 1980s. Interestingly, he once aspired to be a priest but is now amongst the highest paid actors in the world.

 6 Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie
69
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

A fashion icon, acclaimed actress, influential humanitarian and Special Envoy for the UNHCR, Angelina Jolie is a highly noted celebrity in Hollywood. She has been hailed for her philanthropic efforts around the globe and praised for her power packed performances. Mother of six, of whom three are adopted, Angelina Jolie is a role model for the women of this generation.

 7 Will Smith

Will Smith
43
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 25, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

The charismatic, versatile and bankable American artist, Will Smith, tasted early success with rapping. A successful transition into films and television soon followed and made Smith a phenomenal success. With solid earnings, he has also frequently secured himself a place in the list of highest paid actors in world.

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 8 Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe
63
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 1, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: August 5, 1962

A legendary American actress, model, comedienne and singer, Marilyn Monroe emerged as a major sex symbol in Hollywood in the 1950s. Amongst the most successful actresses of her time, she also won critical acclaim for her acting in movies like Some Like It Hot. Her personal and professional life, though from the beginning, were marked by hardships, struggles and controversies.

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 9 Robin Williams

Robin Williams
39
Famous As: American stand-up comedian
Birthdate: July 21, 1951
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: August 11, 2014

One of the finest comedians of all time, Robin Williams began his career as a stand-up comedian and soon moved to act in television and films. Though widely recognised for his comedic skills, the immensely talented Williams proved his versatility by taking up and successfully performing more serious roles in films like Good Will Hunting and The Fisher King.

 10 Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.
17
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 4, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manhattan,New York, United States
Robert Downey, Jr is an American actor who is best known for his performances in the movie Chaplin as well a in the Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes film series. The son of filmmaker Robert Downey, Sr, he entered the world of acting early, fought a successful battle with drug and alcohol addiction and proved his talent and versatility with his impressive body of work.
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 11 Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence
25
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 15, 1990
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Indian Hills, Kentucky, United States

One of the extremely talented and successful actresses of Hollywood, Jennifer Lawrence is known for her performances in movies like Silver Linings Playbook, Hunger Games and Joy. The acclaimed actress, who supports numerous charitable causes, made her debut as a teenage actor in television and soon gained recognition with series, The Bill Engvall Show, and the movie, The Poker House.

 12 Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt
28
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 18, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Shawnee, Oklahoma, United States

Counted among the most influential and powerful people in the American entertainment industry, Brad Pitt is an actor and film producer who has appeared in many big-budget productions. He was cited as the world’s most attractive man for several years. He is also involved in various philanthropic and humanitarian endeavors.

 13 Betty White

Betty White
36
Famous As: Actress, Comedian
Birthdate: January 17, 1922
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States
Died: December 31, 2021

Betty White, American actress and comedian, is considered as the pioneer of television and has had the longest television career of any entertainer, straddling more than 80 years. She’s known for her award-winning performances in shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland

 14 Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood
27
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 31, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
The quintessential Western man in the Hollywood movies, Clint Eastwood is regarded as the cultural icon of masculinity. Eastwood’s brilliant portrayal of tough, rugged, ruthless guy in the Western movies endeared him to the masses and brought him international fame.

 15 Emma Stone

Emma Stone
33
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 6, 1988
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Scottsdale, Arizona, United States

One of the most successful and popular actresses of her generation, Emma Stone is known for movies like La La Land, The Amazing Spider-Man, Birdman and Battle of the Sexes. The award winning actress began as a child actor on stage and did numerous minor and supporting roles in television and films before making it big as a lead actress.

 16 Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman
29
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 9, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel

Debuting at the age of thirteen, Israeli American actress Natalie Portman is today one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood. Her movie list is impressive with successful projects like Black SwanJackie, Star Wars, Closer and Thor. While pursuing her passion for acting, the Academy award winning actress also ensured to complete her studies and graduated from Harvard University.

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 17 Judy Garland

Judy Garland
23
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 10, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Minnesota, United States
Died: June 22, 1969
American actress and singer, Judy Garland, was one of the most iconic artists of Hollywood's Golden Era. In a career that spanned forty five years, her exceptional talent shone brightly, especially in movies like The Wizard of Oz and A Star Is Born. The personal life of the superstar though, was full of struggles including drugs, alcohols and unsuccessful marriages.

 18 Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler
44
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 9, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Actor, comedian, and filmmaker, Adam Sandler, is best known for his comedic roles in Hollywood movies. Despite being a popular actor he also has the ignominious distinction of having appeared in numerous widely panned movies and is the holder of three Golden Raspberry Awards! He has released a few comedy albums as well.

 19 Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford
21
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 13, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

With an extensive career spanning six decades, veteran actor Harrison Ford is a major figure in Hollywood. The recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award, he is one of the highest-grossing domestic box office stars of all time. Besides acting, he is a licensed pilot of both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

 20 Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts
34
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 28, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Smyrna, Georgia, United States

Julia Roberts is one of the most popular Hollywood actresses. She came to limelight in the 1990, when she played the female lead in the movie, Pretty Woman. In 2000, she won the Academy Award for best actress for her role in Erin Brockovich in 2000. She has been named the most beautiful woman in the world, a record five times, by the People magazine.

 21 Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock
21
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 26, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Arlington County, Virginia, United States

One of the highest-paid actresses in the world, actress Sandra Bullock is the recipient of several accolades, including an Academy Award. After making her debut in the late 1980s, she became extremely popular in the 1990s with her roles in dramatic movies. She is also the founder of the production company Fortis Films.

 22 Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey
28
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 4, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Uvalde, Texas, United States

Born into a family of mixed ancestry in Texas, actor Matthew McConaughey had an interesting childhood. He played sports as a young boy and aspired to become a lawyer. However, he ultimately changed course to venture into acting, a field where he was able to make a mark with his brilliant performances. He is also a producer.

 23 Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks
15
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 9, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Concord, California, United States

One of the most popular and recognizable film stars worldwide, Tom Hanks is known for both his comedic and dramatic roles. Making his breakthrough with leading roles in the 1980s, he went on to further cement his place in Hollywood in the 1990s by taking up poignant and sensitive roles. He is also a director, producer, and screenwriter. 

 24 Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix
21
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 28, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix is widely regarded as one of the most talented actors of his generation. In his career of four decades, he has starred in numerous films playing characters that have become memorable. These include movies like Gladiator, Joker, Walk the Line and Her. The acclaimed actor is also a social activist, environmentalist, animal rights activist and producer.

 25 Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway
21
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 12, 1982
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

One of the highest-paid actresses in the world in the 2010s, Anne Hathaway is the recipient of many awards, including an Academy Award. She began acting as a teenager in the early 2000s and often portrayed princesses in her initial films. She started taking up versatile roles as her career progressed. She campaigns for gender equality and supports LGBTQA+ rights.

 26 Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal
22
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 19, 1980
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Beginning his career as a child star, actor Jake Gyllenhaal has been active in the entertainment industry for almost three decades. The son of a director and screenwriter, he inherited his parents’ love for Hollywood. His career progressed in the 2000s as he proved his mettle by taking up versatile roles. He is considered a male sex symbol.

 27 Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze
13
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 18, 1952
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Died: September 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze, the American actor, dancer, singer and songwriter, was very popular during the 1980s. His movie the ‘Dirty Dancing’ catapulted him to stardom. Ghost was another of his hit films. Swayze died in September, 2009, at the age of 57 due to pancreatic cancer. His final role was that of a FBI Agent in the television series ‘The Beast’.

 28 Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
16
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 22, 1976
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Orleans
Acclaimed actress, Reese Witherspoon, shot to fame with her film Legally Blonde and continued her successful journey working in films and television shows like Walk the Line, Wild and Big Little Lies. In process, she became one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood and also one of the world’s highest paid actresses. Witherspoon has her own production company too.

 29 Matt Damon

Matt Damon
20
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 8, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

One of the biggest Hollywood stars of his time, Matt Damon is one of the highest-grossing actors of all time. Saving Private Ryan, The Talented Mr Ripley, The Martian and The Departed are some of his notable films. He has also been part of the highly successful Bourne franchise and the Ocean's trilogy.

 30 Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
24
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: SummitSummit, New Jersey, United States

Often described as the "best actress of her generation," Meryl Streep is acclaimed for her versatility. After debuting in the 1970s, she built a solid reputation by portraying challenging roles in dramatic films. In a career spanning over half a century, she has received numerous awards, including three Academy Awards and eight Golden Globe Awards.

 31 Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington
17
Famous As: American actor
Birthdate: December 28, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York, United States

Actor, director, and producer, Denzel Washington, is famous for portraying strong real-life characters like anti-apartheid activist, Steve Biko, and human rights activist, Malcolm X, in films. Well-built and ruggedly handsome, he became the first black star to be named the Sexiest Man Alive in 1996. 

 32 Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart
14
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: July 6, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

American comedian and actor, Kevin Hart attained fame as a stand-up comic and then established himself as a leading comedic actor on the big screen with films like Get Hard, About Last Night, Ride Along and The Wedding Ringer. He has also been part of two Jumanji films. He was critically acclaimed for the 2019 comedy-drama film The Upside.

 33 Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy
17
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 3, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Actor and comedian, Eddie Murphy, is one of the highest-grossing actors in the United States. Beginning his career as a comedian on the TV show Saturday Night Live, he went on to become a bankable movie actor. Also a singer, he has released many studio albums. He has been awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

 34 Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman
17
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 1, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Prominent character actor, Morgan Freeman, has appeared in a range of film genres playing versatile roles. He is known for his distinctive deep voice. In a career spanning over half a century, he has received various accolades, including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Besides acting, he is an advocate of environmental causes.

 35 Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher
25
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 21, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burbank, California, United States
Died: December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher was an American actress best known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. Some of her other films notable film wereShampoo, Soapdish, The Blues Brothers, When Harry Met Sally and The Women. She had issues with bipolar disorder and drug addiction and spoke publicly about it. She died after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest while on a transatlantic flight.

 36 Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson
15
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Actor and producer, Samuel L. Jackson is widely regarded as one of the most popular actors of his generation. A highly prolific actor, he has appeared in over 150 films and is especially known for his roles in Quentin Tarantino films. Besides acting, he has voiced for several animated films, television series, and video games.

 37 Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro
17
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 17, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Greenwich Village, New York, United States

Amongst the best actors of his generation, Robert De Niro is known for his exceptional method acting skills. His formidable acting talent has impressed audience and critics alike in movies like Mean Streets, The Godfather Part II and Meet the Parents. The talented actor has also been applauded for his directorial skills in A Bronx Tale and The Good Shepherd.

 38 Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner
21
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 17, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

Active in the entertainment industry since the mid-1990s, actress Jennifer Garner gained international fame her supporting role in Pearl Harbor. The daughter of conservative middle-class parents, she was determined to achieve big things and decided to become an actress. Besides acting, she is also an entrepreneur and is the co-founder of a baby food company.

 39 Al Pacino

Al Pacino
13
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 25, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: East Harlem, New York, United States

Considered one of the greatest actors, Al Pacino gained wide acclaim and recognition for his portrayal of Michael Corleone in the movie, The Godfather in 1972. He’s been a part of many successful and iconic films and won an Oscar for playing a blind military veteran in the movie Scent of a Woman. Pacino has three children, but has never been married.

 40 Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg
10
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: December 18, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Film director, producer, and screenwriter Steven Spielberg is one of the most popular directors and producers in film history. A pioneer of the New Hollywood era, he popularized the genre of escapist films. As of 2020, he is the highest-grossing film director in history. He has won the Academy Award for Best Director twice.

 41 Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz
25
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 30, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States

A former actress best known for her appearances in comedy films, Cameron Diaz is the recipient of numerous accolades, including a New York Film Critics Award. She began modeling as a teenager and was soon flooded with acting offers. Over the years, she became a successful actress and has since retired from acting. She is known for her environmental activism.

 42 Amy Adams

Amy Adams
14
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 20, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Caserma Ederle, Italy

An aspiring dancer, Amy Adams began working for theatre companies and eventually decided to pursue acting. She hit it big with movies, such as Catch Me If You Can, Junebug and Enchanted. She enriched her acting profile further with American Hustle and Big Eyes, both of which earned her the Golden Globe Awards. Her other notable films are Doubt and Julie & Julia.

 43 Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson
10
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 3, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Peekskill, New York, United States

Actor and director, Mel Gibson is famous for action films like Lethal weapon. His directorial venture, Braveheart, in which he acted too, won him the Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture. However, his alcoholism issues, drunken driving arrest and his anti-Jew statements landed him in trouble due to which he took a hiatus from Hollywood for a decade.

 44 Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas
15
Famous As: Actor, Producer
Birthdate: September 25, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States

One of the most decorated American actors, Michael Douglas is popular for playing a variety of roles. Apart from acting, Michael Douglas has received attention for his political activism and humanitarianism. A cancer survivor, Douglas serves as an inspiration to those suffering from the disease; he recovered from stage IV tongue cancer.

 45 Danny DeVito

Danny DeVito
10
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 17, 1944
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Neptune Township, New Jersey, United States

An award-winning actor, Danny DeVito overcame a rare genetic disorder called Fairbank's disease to become an influential figure in the American film industry. Along with Michael Shamberg, he founded a production company called Jersey Films, which went on to produce films like Pulp Fiction. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.

 46 John Wayne

John Wayne
9
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 26, 1907
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Winterset, Iowa, United States
Died: June 11, 1979

Famous for his roles in Western films in the mid-20th century, actor John Wayne was among the top box office draws for three decades. In a career spanning over half a century, he starred in 142 motion pictures. Upon his death, he came to be recognized as “an enduring icon who symbolized and communicated American values and ideals.”

 47 Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis
15
Famous As: Actress, Author
Birthdate: November 22, 1958
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States

After making her film debut in the horror film, Halloween, James Lee Curtis went on to establish herself as a scream queen, appearing in a number of horror films. Curtis is also an author, having released several children's books, including books that have made The New York Times' best-seller list. She is also a well-known philanthropist.

 48 Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson
84
Famous As: Actor, Professional wrestler
Birthdate: May 2, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hayward, California, United States

A renowned former wrestler with numerous titles under his belt, Dwayne Johnson initially wanted to be a football player but an injury turned him towards wrestling. He soon entered the world of acting, experienced phenomenal success in television and films and became the highest earning male actor in the world.

 49 Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson
14
Famous As: Actor, Filmmaker
Birthdate: April 22, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Neptune City, New Jersey, United States

From being a stage and B movie actor, Jack Nicholson went on to become one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors and a huge star. The three time Academy award winning legendary actor has, in his six decades career, delivered performances that have become iconic. His notable performances include One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and As Good as It Gets.

 50 Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx
13
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Terrell, Texas, United States

Actor, singer-songwriter, and comedian, Jamie Foxx became internationally famous for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the biographical film Ray, a role that earned him an Academy Award. He is also known for hosting his own television sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show. Besides acting, he is also a Grammy Award-winning musician who has released four albums.