Famous Black Film & Theater Personalities

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
48
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 2, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

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 Will Smith

Will Smith
15
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 25, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

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.

 3 Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman
43
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 29, 1976
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
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.

 4 Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington
2
Famous As: American actor
Birthdate: December 28, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

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. 

 5 Idris Elba

Idris Elba
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British

Idris Elba is a successful actor both on the small and the big screen and is mainly known for the television series The Wire and Luther and also for films, such as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Beasts of No Nation. He has also acted in blockbuster films of Marvel Comics universe like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War.

 6 Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart
4
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: July 6, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

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.

 7 Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 1, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

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.

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 8 Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 3, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

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.

 9 Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

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.

 10 Terry Crews

Terry Crews
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Famous As: Actor, American Football Player
Birthdate: July 30, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Terrence Crews is an actor, comedian, activist and a body-builder. He’s also a former professional football player. He has starred in sitcoms like Everybody Hates Chris and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Plus, he has acted in many movies including the Expendables series. In 2017, Crews talked about a sexual assault on him by a Hollywood executive. He fiercely advocates for women's rights.

 11 Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

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.

 12 Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 19, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

American actress, Zoe Saldana, is best known for starring in fantasy-adventure films like Star TrekAvatarGuardians of the GalaxyAvengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which were massive worldwide hits. She faced flak in 2016 when she used skin-darkening makeup to play jazz musician Nina Simone in the biopic Nina, which led to debates about colour bias in society.

 13 Michael Clarke Duncan

Michael Clarke Duncan
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 10, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: September 3, 2012

Michael Clarke Duncan was one of the most popular actors best known for his portrayal of John Coffey in the fantasy drama film The Green Mile. Apart from acting in films and TV series, he was also featured in several video games, such as SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs, Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone, and The Suffering: Ties That Bind.

 14 Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 11, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Taraji P. Henson is an American actress who became the first black woman to receive the Critics' Choice Television Award under the Best Actress in a Drama Series category for her portrayal of Cookie Lyon in the TV series Empire. Taraji P. Henson was named in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world in 2016. 

 15 Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 16 Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor
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Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: December 1, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: December 10, 2005

Considered one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time, Richard Pryor entertained his audience and influenced generations of stand-up comedians with his pointed observations and skilful art of storytelling. He began by performing at clubs and gained immense fame with his third comedy album, That Nigger’s Crazy. He also became an acclaimed actor and an award winning writer.

 17 Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Best known for playing real-life black women in biopics, Angela Bassett does not mind being typecast as someone who often plays biographical roles. She has portrayed prominent personalities like Tina Turner, Betty Shabazz, Katherine Jackson, and Coretta Scott King. Also a director, producer, and activist, Angela Bassett works toward bettering the lives of African-Americans.

 18 Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby
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Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: July 12, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

One of America’s most popular and beloved comedians, Bill Cosby’s reputation was totally shattered when he was accused of sexual assault, sexual battery and rape by multiple women in the 2010s. Subsequently, he was found guilty of sexual assault in two cases and was sentenced in September 2018 to a total of three to ten years in a state prison.

 19 Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg
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Birthdate: November 13, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

Accomplished American comedian, actress, singer and Broadway star, Whoopi Goldberg is amongst the select few who have won all the four awards—Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Moreover, she is also a political activist, author and talk show host. Her notable work include films Ghost, Sister Act and The Color Purple; Broadway show Thoroughly Modern Millie and talk show The View.

 20 Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 1, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Kenyan, Mexican

Lupita Nyong'o is one of the most popular black actresses of all time. The first Kenyan-Mexican actress to receive the prestigious Academy Award, Lupita Nyong'o has often been named in lists, such as the world's most beautiful woman. In 2020, she was named by Forbes magazine as one of Africa's 50 Most Powerful Women.

 21 Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

The amazingly talented, Tyler Perry, is an American actor who topped Forbes list of highest-paid man in entertainment in 2011. Perry is most known as the creator of the boisterous, African-American grandmother character, Madea, which he himself performs with great skill and artistry. From a homeless playwriter to having his own studio, Perry has surely achieved the evasive American dream.

 22 Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith
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Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: July 8, 1998
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

Jaden Smith, son of the famous Hollywood actor Will Smith, made his big screen debut with his father in The Pursuit of Happyness at a young age. Later, The Karate Kid proved to be a big movie for him. The young star, since then, has continued his acting career and simultaneously released two albums and launched his own clothing line.

 23 Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 18, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

An actress, screenwriter, producer, and businesswoman, Jada Pinkett Smith is a woman who dons many hats. Entering the entertainment world in the 1990s as an actress, she quickly cemented her place in Hollywood and soon branched out into production as well. An ambitious lady, she also runs her own music company and fashion label.

 24 Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 31, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

American actress, Kerry Washington, attained fame when she starred in the television series, Scandal, which ran from 2012 to 2018. She was also commended for her role in the television film, Confirmation, and for the miniseries, Little Fires Everywhere. She has also acted in films like The Last King of Scotland, Django Unchained, Our Song, The Dead Girl and American Son.

 25 Bernie Mac

Bernie Mac
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Famous As: Actor, Comedian
Birthdate: October 5, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: August 9, 2008
A well-known comedian and actor, Bernie Mac was named in Rolling Stone magazine's 50 Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time list in 2017. In recognition of his contribution to arts, Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared November 14 as Bernie Mac Day in 2016. Bernie's alma mater Chicago Vocational High School renamed its CVS Auditorium as Bernie Mac Auditorium.

 26 Lizzo

Lizzo
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 27, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Three-time Grammy-winning rap and hip-hop sensation Lizzo is also a queer and body-positivity icon. She began singing with groups such as The Chalice and Grrrl Prty, and graced the Billboard 200 with the album Cuz I Love You. Time’s 2019 Entertainer of the Year, Lizzo is also a talented flute-player.

 27 Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

A popular American actress, Gabrielle Union has been vocal about violence against women and issues pertaining to women's health. Also a writer, she has released a memoir and a children's book. In 2020, she was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list. Gabrielle Union has been an inspiration for women like Oprah Winfrey.

 28 Chris Rock

Chris Rock
5
Famous As: Standup Comedian, Actor
Birthdate: February 7, 1965
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

A high-school drop-out, Chris Rock worked at restaurants before stepping into stand-up comedy. He gained fame with SNL and earned his first role through Eddie Murphy. Known for voicing Marty in the Madagascar franchise, Chris also created the series Everybody Hates Chris and was voted Comedy Central’s fifth-greatest stand-up comedian.

 29 Halle Berry

Halle Berry
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 14, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Halle Berry is one of the most popular actresses of the current generation. During the 2000s, she was one of the highest-paid Hollywood actresses. Halle is also known for her activism for which she was honored with the 2006 Woman of The Year award by the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. She also gets featured in several Sexiest Women lists.

 30 Tracee Ellis Ross

Tracee Ellis Ross
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

Tracee Ellis Ross is an actress and TV host best known for her performance in TV series like Girlfriends and Black-ish. One of the few actresses to sport a distinguishable curly hairstyle, Tracee owns a hair-care line called Pattern Beauty, which is exclusively meant for curly hair.

 31 LL Cool J

LL Cool J
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Famous As: Rapper, Actor
Birthdate: January 14, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

LL Cool J is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and record producer. Such is his popularity that LL Cool J was named on VH1's list of 100 Greatest Artists Of All Time in 2010. In 2017, he became the first rapper to be awarded the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors. Over the years, Cool J has had a profound influence on hip-hop.

 32 Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes
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Birthdate: July 31, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

The quintessential vampire-killer of Hollywood, Wesley Snipes is best known for his action-oriented films, such as the Blade film trilogy and The Expendables 3. Apart from being an actor, Wesley Snipes is also a martial artist, and hence often portray roles that require him to perform stunts. He is a black belt holder in Hapkido and Shotokan Karate.

 33 Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 24, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

Actress, comedian, and writer Mindy Kaling first gained international fame with her work in the NBC sitcom, The Office, for which she was nominated for several Primetime Emmy Awards. She earned a bachelor's degree in playwriting before beginning her career. As the child of immigrants from India, she is one of the few Indian-American women active in the industry.

 34 Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier
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Birthdate: February 20, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Bahamian, American

Sidney Poitier is a Bahamian-American actor who became the first Afro-Bahamian and Black male actor to receive an Oscar for Best Actor in 1964. In 2009, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His life and work inspired a couple of documentary films, including the 2008 film Sidney Poitier, an Outsider in Hollywood.

 35 Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 20, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

A fashion model turned actor, Shemar Moore is known for his rugged good looks and raw sex appeal. He started modeling in college and soon moved to act in TV shows. After having a successful stint in the TV series The Young and the Restless, he became a popular name in the show business.

 36 Thandie Newton

Thandie Newton
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British

A critically acclaimed and award-winning actress, Thandie Newton is also an activist—she led a flash mob in 2013 for gender equality and justice. An actress with an affinity for Buddhism, Thandie was named Sexiest Vegan of 2014 by PETA. During the 2019 New Year Honours, she was appointed OBE for services to charity and film.

 37 James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 17, 1931
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

A veteran actor with a career spanning more than seven decades, James Earl Jones has been described as "one of America's most distinguished and versatile" actors. He initially aspired to be a doctor but fate had other plans for him. He began his career as a stage actor and soon joined films as well.

 38 Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell
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Famous As: Model
Birthdate: May 22, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Naomi Campbell is one of the “Big Six” supermodels of the 1980s and the 1990s, who has graced both the ramp and print. She has also released a music album, been part of a fashion reality show, started a web series, and founded charitable organizations such as Fashion for Relief.

 39 Lauren London

Lauren London
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 5, 1984
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Lauren London is best known for her portrayals of Kiera in The Game, Shelley in Single Ladies, and Sheree in Baggage Claim. Fans also loved her as Erin "New New" Garnett in the film ATL. She has been seen in a few music videos and promotes the Sean John collection.

 40 Beyonce Knowles

Beyonce Knowles
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 4, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 41 Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence
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Famous As: Actor, Comedian
Birthdate: April 16, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Martin Lawrence is a German born-American actor and comedian. Despite being traumatized after witnessing his parents' divorce at the age of eight, Lawrence went on to succeed as a comedian and later as a leading Hollywood actor. After a problematic 1990s, which included episodes of arrests, lawsuits, and health problems, he bounced back with several hit films.

 42 Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg
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Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter, Record Producer
Birthdate: October 20, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

Snoop Dogg is a famous American rapper whose life is a perfect example of rags-to-riches story. As a child, he did various odd jobs to help his family make ends meet. He started rapping as a young boy to distract himself from his unstable family life. He ran into trouble with the law as a teenager. However, once he released his debut album, there was no looking back.

 

 43 Danny Glover

Danny Glover
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Famous As: American actor
Birthdate: July 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

Danny Glover is an American actor whose career has spanned more than four decades. Apart from being an actor, Danny Glover has had a major impact as an activist; he has made his presence felt as an activist in countries like Brazil, Iraq, Venezuela, Israel, and many African countries.

 44 Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 25, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 45 Anthony Mackie

Anthony Mackie
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 23, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

Anthony Mackie is an American actor who achieved international recognition after playing Sam Wilson / Falcon in a series of superhero films produced by Marvel Studios. A self-made man, Mackie graduated from the Juilliard School and worked hard to establish himself in the American film and TV industry.

 46 Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson
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Famous As: Actress, Singer
Birthdate: September 12, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Jennifer Hudson shot to fame after reaching the finals of the third season of American Idol. She is known for her Academy Award-winning role of Effie White in Dreamgirls. She also won the Grammy twice, one for her self-titled debut album and the other for the musical The Color Purple

 47 Daniel Kaluuya

Daniel Kaluuya
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 24, 1989
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British

 48 Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American, Zimbabwean
Danai Gurira is best known as Michonne from The Walking Dead and as Okoye from the Marvel films Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. She earned a Tony nomination for writing the Broadway play Eclipsed. She has been a UN Goodwill Ambassador and promotes arts and women empowerment.

 49 Damon Wayans

Damon Wayans
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 4, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

An important member of the popular Wayans family, Damon Wayans is a stand-up comedian and actor. Over the years, Damon Wayans has been a prominent and influential member of popular sketch comedy series, such as In Living Color and Saturday Night Live.

 50 Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 16, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American