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 Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson
70
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 2, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hayward

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.

 2 Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson
42
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 22, 1984
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City

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.

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 3 Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp
50
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 9, 1963
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Owensboro

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.

 4 Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo Dicaprio
38
Famous As: Actor, Film Producer
Birthdate: November 11, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hollywood, California, U.S.

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.

 5 Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger
31
Famous As: Former Governor of California
Birthdate: July 30, 1947
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Thal

Former professional bodybuilder, actor, and politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger, needs no introduction! One of the most popular figures in the entertainment industry in the 20th century, he is a much-admired Hollywood star. Rising to international fame despite hailing from a humble background, he is an epitome the quintessential American dream that many youngsters hold close to their hearts.

 6 Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood
12
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.

 7 Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie
35
Famous As: Actress, Filmmaker, Activist
Birthdate: June 4, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S

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.

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 8 Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman
52
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 29, 1976
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Anderson, South Carolina, United States
Died: August 28, 2020

A versatile actor and an inspiration for a generation of black youths, Chadwick Boseman is best remembered for portraying notable real life black figures like Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and James Brown in their biopics. His excellent performance in Black Panther, though, turned him into a household name.

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 9 Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg
10
Famous As: Actor, Singer
Birthdate: June 5, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S

From being a drug dealer to going to prison on the charge of attempted murder, Mark Wahlberg's young life was a troubled one. That is till the time he decided to pull himself out of the mess and live a worthy life. His foray into music began his journey which later took him into the world of television and film.

 10 Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe
39
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 1, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles
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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 11 Robin Williams

Robin Williams
20
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.

 12 Judy Garland

Judy Garland
5
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.

 13 Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez
10
Famous As: Singer, Actress, Dancer
Birthdate: July 24, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Jennifer Lopez established herself as the highest-paid Latin actress in Hollywood after starring in films such as Out of Sight, The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan and Shall We Dance’. She is also an accomplished dancer and commercially very successful singer. She helped propel the Latin pop movement in American music. She is also a fashion designer and a businesswoman.

 14 Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.
4
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.

 15 Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 16, 1989
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Elizabeth Olsen gained worldwide recognition for her performance as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch in films, such as Avengers: Endgame. Starting out as a child actress, she received singing and ballet lessons when she was a child. A New York University Tisch School of the Arts alumna, Elizabeth Olsen went on to establish herself as a successful actress.

 16 Paul Walker

Paul Walker
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 12, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glendale
Died: November 30, 2013

Actor Paul Walker is remembered for his role as Brian O'Conner in the Fast & Furious franchise. A talented star who made his debut as a child actor, he was known for taking up challenging roles, especially in action films. Besides acting, he had a keen interest in marine biology. He was killed in a tragic car accident in 2013.

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 17 Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts
11
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.

 18 Emma Stone

Emma Stone
15
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.

 19 Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler
31
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.

 20 Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 5, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Abington Township

One of the highest-paid actors in the world, Bradley Cooper has been active in Hollywood for over two decades, playing roles ranging from comedic to dramatic. He was named on Time's list of 100 most influential people in the world in 2015. He supports the charity, Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

 21 Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston
37
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 11, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sherman Oaks

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.

 22 Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart
19
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 9, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Popular Hollywood actress and filmmaker, Kristen Stewart garnered worldwide fame for her portrayal of Bella Swan in the massively successful Twilight film series. However, Stewart’s rendezvous with fame and success began at a much younger age when she debuted in the movie, The Thirteenth, Year and later worked in the movie. Panic Room. Her later notable work include Clouds of Sils Maria.

 23 Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick
11
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 9, 1985
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, United States

From an early successful Broadway career, Anna Kendrick moved to films and gained fame in a supporting role in the Twilight film series. She proved her skills as a lead actor in the Pitch Perfect franchise in which she also lent her voice to the hit song Cups. Her other significant projects include The Accountant and Up in the Air.

 24 Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel
13
Famous As: Actor, Filmmaker
Birthdate: July 18, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City
The internationally recognised action hero Vin Diesel is known for his work in The Fast and the Furious film series and The Chronicles of Riddick trilogy. Before this the actor, who made his stage debut at the age of seven, was recognised for his work in Saving Private Ryan. Vin is also a director, producer, voice over artist and screenwriter.

 25 Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman

Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman
0
Famous As: Actress, Singer
Birthdate: September 1, 1996
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oakland, California

Actress and singer Zendaya is best known for her role in the Disney Channel sitcom, Shake It Up. She began her career as a model and is trained in different forms of dance. As a singer, she has released one studio album and several singles. She identifies as a feminist and has shown support for the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.

 26 Zac Efron

Zac Efron
8
Famous As: Actor, Singer
Birthdate: October 18, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Luis Obispo, California, U.S

An actor who rose to prominence in the late 2000s, Zac Efron is a teen heartthrob and a fan favorite who has acted in many romantic films. He is equally popular for his roles in comedy films and has won several awards. Also a singer, he has contributed to the soundtracks of numerous films.

 27 Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway
7
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.

 28 Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
8
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Summit, New Jersey, U.S.

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.

 29 Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage
7
Famous As: Actor, Producer
Birthdate: January 7, 1964
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Long Beach

Counted among the top movie stars in the late 1990s, actor Nicolas Cage continues to be a key figure in Hollywood. In a career spanning around four decades, he has appeared in a variety of mainstream films. The recipient of numerous awards, he has won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe among others. He often donates to charities.

 30 Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford
6
Famous As: American actor
Birthdate: July 13, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S

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.

 31 Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington
7
Famous As: American actor
Birthdate: December 28, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York, U.S

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 Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell
9
Famous As: Actress, Singer
Birthdate: July 18, 1980
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Huntington Woods

Kristen Bell started her career by acting in stage productions and gained recognition when she starred in the 2004 film Spartan. She’s starred in popular television series like Veronica Mars, Gossip Girl, House of Lies and The Good Place and films like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Couples Retreat, When in Rome and The Boss. She’s had issues with depression and anxiety.

 33 Dakota Johnson

Dakota Johnson
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 4, 1989
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Austin, Texas

Born into a family of actors, Dakota Johnson debuted as a child artist and later began modelling. Her first big hit was the movie, The Social Network but it was the role of Anastasia Steele in the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, and its two sequels that skyrocketed her fame to an international level. Her other work include the movie, Black Mass and A Bigger Splash.

 34 Cameron Boyce

Cameron Boyce
23
Famous As: Actor, Dancer
Birthdate: May 28, 1999
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: July 6, 2019

American actor Cameron Boyce achieved stardom as a teenager when he played one of the leads in the television show, Jessie. His role in the Descendants television film catapulted him to bigger heights. He also starred in a number of successful feature films like Grown Ups. He died in July 2019, at a young age of 20, due to epilepsy.

 35 Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock
6
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.

 36 Kevin Hart

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

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.

 37 John Krasinski

John Krasinski
5
Famous As: Actor, Director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 20, 1979
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
The charming actor John Krasinski is best recognised for playing Jim Halpert in the famous American television show, The Office. Apart from working in numerous other film and television projects as well as commercials, John Krasinski further cemented his position in the entertainment world by branching out into writing, producing and directing movies like The Promised Land and The Hollars.

 38 Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey
14
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.

 39 Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner
11
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.

 40 Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal
9
Birthdate: December 19, 1980
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles

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.

 41 Amy Adams

Amy Adams
0
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.

 42 Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 10, 1997
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Chloë Grace Moretz is best known for her roles as a child actor in films such as The Amityville Horror, Hugo, and Kick-Ass. She also voiced Darby in the animated series My Friends Tigger & Pooh. She was named to Time’s "25 Most Influential Teens" in 2014.

 43 Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson
4
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.

 44 Hailee Steinfeld

Hailee Steinfeld
7
Famous As: Actress & Model
Birthdate: December 11, 1996
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Actress, singer, and songwriter Hailee Steinfeld first gained fame as Mattie Ross in the drama western film True Grit. Some of her family members are in the entertainment field and they introduced her to acting when she was a child. She also has a keen interest in music and has released two extended plays and 17 singles.

 45 Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy
8
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 3, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

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.

 46 Matt Damon

Matt Damon
8
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.

 47 Courteney Cox

Courteney Cox
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 15, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Birmingham

Actress, producer, and director, Courteney Cox first gained international popularity in the mid-1990s owing to her appearance in the NBC sitcom Friends. She soon ventured into films, where also she found success. Besides acting, she owns the film and television company, Coquette Productions. She has won the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Women's Image Network.

 48 Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel
20
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 17, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Zooey Deschanel is an American actress known for her deadpan roles in successful comedy films, such as The Good Girl, Elf, Failure to Launch, Yes Man and 500 Days of Summer. She also acted in the popular sitcom New Girl. She is also a singer and songwriter and plays keyboards, percussion, banjo, and ukulele. Zooey is a co-founder of the female-focused website, HelloGiggles.

 49 Alexandra Daddario

Alexandra Daddario
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 16, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Rising to fame with her role as Annabeth Chase in the Percy Jackson film series, actress Alexandra Daddario made her television debut at the age of 16. A daughter of lawyers, she chose a profession considered unconventional in her family circle. Fully dedicated to her profession, she has studied the Meisner acting technique for years.

 50 Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman
6
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.