Directors

Remember Catch Me If You Can, Schindlers List or even Saving Private Ryan? They are all Directors are the ones who direct the translation of the script into the final movie. They guide the complete process of making of the film starting right from the visualization of the script to the completion of the filming. The role of a director in film making is extremely complex—he is responsible not just for the technical aspects, but also for the dramatization and artistic elements of film production. Direction is a highly creative process; the director has to give a concrete form to the written words in the script by translating them into sounds and visuals. He has to guide the cinematographer in camera placements, selection of shots and staging of the action. He has to manage the flow of film production in a controlled pace by working with the other crew members and guiding them in setups and rehearsals. Film making involves various components which are to be converged into a single complete unit, i.e., the movie. It is the director who coordinates the efforts of the different professionals involved in film making to realize the artistic vision that eventually takes the shape of a film. Read on to know about the life and works of famous directors, through their biographies and timelines, from around the world.

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 Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 31, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
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.

 2 Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 2, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Canadian, Lebanese

The star of John Wick, Speed and The Matrix films, Keanu Reeves has displayed his wide range as an actor, time and again. The humble Canadian actor has also famously given away his money to recognise the work of crew and to enable the production team to hire good actors.

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 3 Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino
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Famous As: Fimmaker
Birthdate: March 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Popular film director, screenwriter, and producer, Quentin Tarantino, first rose to fame as an independent filmmaker in the early 1990s. His films are known for their nonlinear story-lines and neo-noir elements and have garnered both critical and commercial success. He is the winner of two Academy Awards and has been called "the single most influential director of his generation."

 4 Brie Larson

Brie Larson
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1989
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

Brie Larson is a name that has become synonymous with powerful, independent female warriors, both on and off screen. From an Oscar-winning performance of a kidnapped victim to playing the lead in the first female-led superhero movie, Captain Marvel, Larson has been breaking gender norms and shattering stereotypes. She has been working fiercely towards inclusivity and diversity in Hollywood.

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 5 Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman
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Famous As: Actress, Producer, Director
Birthdate: June 9, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Israeli, American

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.

 6 Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin
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Birthdate: April 16, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
Died: December 25, 1977

Cinema lovers around the world hold Charlie Chaplin in high esteem. One of the biggest stars of the silent film era and an icon, he left the audience in splits with his comedic performances. Even today, his performances in movies like Modern Times and The Gold Rush are considered classic. The legendary actor was also a writer, director and producer.

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 7 Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg
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Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: December 18, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

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.

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 8 Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: July 30, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British

British-American writer and director, Christopher Nolan is known for his distinctive kind of films which are often intelligent, deep and nonlinear. He gained international recognition with Memento and further reached greater heights with big budget movies like The Dark Knight film series, Inception, Interstellar and Dunkirk. The multiple award winning director began shooting short films at the age of seven.

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 9 Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski
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Famous As: French-Polish Film Director
Birthdate: August 18, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French, Polish

Polish-French film director, producer, writer, and actor Roman Polanski is a popular yet controversial figure. He has made several critically acclaimed films and has received six Oscar nominations. He has been accused of sexual abuse by numerous women and is a subject of an Interpol red notice issued for his arrest.

 10 Regina King

Regina King
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 15, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

 11 Woody Allen

Woody Allen
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Famous As: American bass guitarist
Birthdate: December 1, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

Quirky, endearing, bewildered and witty describe not just Woody Allen, but also the characters he masterfully portrays onscreen. In a career spanning over six decades, Allen has given us 13 Oscar-nominated and 3 Oscar-winning movies as a director and scriptwriter. Whether it’s performing in light-hearted comedies, directing psychological thrillers, or writing slapstick humour, Woody Allen is a class of his own.

 12 Justin Theroux

Justin Theroux
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 10, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

 13 Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi
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Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: August 16, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: New Zealander

 14 Danny DeVito

Danny DeVito
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Birthdate: November 17, 1944
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

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.

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 15 Anjelica Huston

Anjelica Huston
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

 16 Ron Howard

Ron Howard
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 1, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

Ron Howard started his career in the show business as an actor, but it was in direction that he found his true calling. He is highly respected for his craft and films like Solo: A Star Wars Story, Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. He won the Academy Award for the Best  Director for A Breautiful Mind.

 17 Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese
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Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: November 17, 1942
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

Martin Scorsese is widely considered one of the most influential and significant film directors in the history of the American film industry. One of the most decorated film directors, Scorsese has nine Oscar nominations, the most for any living director. He has also founded many non-profit organizations like The Film Foundation and World Cinema Foundation.

 18 Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster
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Famous As: Actress & Director
Birthdate: November 19, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

Jodie Foster is considered to be one of the best actors of her time. She attained fame as a child actor in the acclaimed film Taxi Driver. Some of her memorable roles as an adult are The Accused, The Silence of the Lambs and Sommersby. She’s a director too. Foster has been in the news for her sexual orientation.

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 19 Karen Gillan

Karen Gillan
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 28, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

Karen Gillan is one of the most popular and successful actresses from Scotland. She is best known for playing Nebula and Ruby Roundhouse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and Jumanji film series respectively. Also a filmmaker, she wrote and directed The Party's Just Beginning, apart from acting in the film. She is also a philanthropist.

 20 Elizabeth Banks

Elizabeth Banks
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 10, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

Elizabeth Banks is famous for The Hunger Games film series and Pitch Perfect film series. The 2019 action comedy film Charlie's Angels was directed, written and produced by her, in which she acted too. The Spider-Man trilogy, Seabiscuit, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, The Next Three Days and Power Rangers are some of her other notable films. 

 21 James Cameron

James Cameron
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Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: August 16, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Canadian

Canadian film director, producer, and screenwriter James Cameron is best known for making science fiction and epic films. He is the co-founder of the production companies Lightstorm Entertainment and Digital Domain. Time magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. He is also an environmentalist.

 22 Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 10, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

A multi-talented personality, Steven Seagal started his career as a martial artist; he is the first foreigner to run an aikido dojo in Japan. He then showcased his skills in many of his films. Also a skilled guitarist, Seagal has worked with legends like Stevie Wonder. A well-known animal rights activist and environmentalist, Seagal holds American, Russian, and Serbian citizenship.

 23 Laura Dern

Laura Dern
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Famous As: Actress, Director
Birthdate: February 10, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

American actress, Laura Dern, gained international recognition with the 1993 film Jurassic Park. A Perfect World, Citizen Ruth, Little Fockers, Wild and Star Wars: The Last Jedi are some of her notable films. She has also starred in acclaimed television series like Enlightened and Big Little Lies. She won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2020 for the film Marriage Story.

 24 Lea Thompson

Lea Thompson
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 31, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 25 Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: May 14, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

The daughter of the popular filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola followed in her father's footsteps to become a screenwriter and filmmaker. Sofia became only the second woman to win the Best Director award in the history of Cannes Film Festival when she won the award at the 2017 Festival.

 26 M Night Shyamalan

M Night Shyamalan
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 6, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Indian, American

M Night Shyamalan is a filmmaker who is known for making original films with twist endings and supernatural plots. Born in India to a doctor couple, he moved to USA with his parents when he was a baby. He was expected to pursue medicine like his parents, but he chose a different path and became a filmmaker, finding success in his chosen profession.  

 27 Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 8, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

Melissa Gilbert is an actress and politician. She played an important and influential role in the American film and TV industry while serving as the president of the Screen Actors Guild between 2001 and 2005. Also a writer, Melissa Gilbert has published an autobiography, cookbook, and short story for children.

 28 Emilio Estevez

Emilio Estevez
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 12, 1962
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

Emilio Estevez is known for acting in movies like The Mighty Ducks, The Breakfast Club and Repo Man as well as Bobby and The Public, the last two of which he also wrote and directed. One of the members of 1980s Brat Pack group of actors, he has also directed television shows like CSI: NY and appeared in music videos.

 29 Lilly Wachowski

Lilly Wachowski
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Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: December 29, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

 30 Lana Wachowski

Lana Wachowski
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Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: June 21, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 31 Fran Drescher

Fran Drescher
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 30, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

Fran Drescher is an American actress and comedian. Characterized by her thick New York accent and nasal voice, Fran Drescher serves as an inspiration to many cancer patients as she successfully fought off the disease after suffering from uterine cancer. She is also an outspoken LGBT rights activist and healthcare advocate.

 32 Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: July 26, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British, American
Died: March 7, 1999

Regarded as one of the greatest American filmmakers, Stanley Kubrick was the maker of acclaimed movies like Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Barry Lyndon. Stanley Kubrick was known for his exceptional visual style and artistic expression. He began his career as a magazine photographer and subsequently began directing short films. His first big break came with the hit movie Spartacus.

 33 Meg Ryan

Meg Ryan
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 19, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

The Queen of American romantic comedy movies in 1990s, Meg Ryan is best recognised for her role in When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail, all of which earned her prestigious award nominations. After proving her mettle in romantic comedies Meg Ryan showed her versatility as actress by acting in other genre movies. She made her directorial debut with Ithaca.

 34 Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 25, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: October 10, 2004

Christopher Reeve had a flying start to his acting career as he played the iconic Superman in four films. Unfortunately, he became a quadriplegic after suffering an accident at an equestrian competition. Despite the setback, he continued contributing to the film industry and also founded the Christopher Reeve Foundation as part of his charitable work.

 35 Tim Burton

Tim Burton
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: August 25, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

The quintessential filmmaker of gothic fantasy films in Hollywood, Tim Burton's contribution to the long list of American film industry's quirky movies is immense. Since he is also an artist and animator, he is perhaps best-suited for making the kind of films that he has made so far - Edward Scissorhands, Planet of the Apes, and Alice in Wonderland.

 36 George Lucas

George Lucas
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Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: May 14, 1944
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
National Medal of Arts-winner George Lucas is best known for his iconic movie series Star Wars and Indiana Jones. He wished to the join the U.S. Air Force but was rejected, following which he studied film production at USC. He is also a Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductee.

 37 Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 6, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

American actor, Ethan Hawke, is an acclaimed artist and has had a successful career. His breakthrough role was of a school student in the 1989 film Dead Poets Society. Training Day, First Reformed, Boyhood, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight are some of his critically appreciated movies. He has also directed several films and acted in many stage productions.

 38 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.

 39 Banksy

Banksy
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Famous As: Graffiti Artist
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Nationality: British

Speaking to world through his spray paints and stencils, Banksy is a popular, though anonymous, graffiti artist. He has a unique style that includes stenciling technique and is known for delivering satirical political and social messages. With fans all over the world, this mysterious artist’s works are worth millions of pounds.

 40 Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 13, 1899
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British, American
Died: April 29, 1980

Popularly known as the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock pioneered the Hitchcockian style of filmmaking. One of the most studied filmmakers in the world, Hitchcock is also one of the most influential in the history of cinema. In his career, that spanned six decades, he directed some of the greatest films of all time, such as Psycho and Vertigo.

 41 Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: June 28, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

Mel Brooks is the director of iconic comedy films and spoofs like The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety and Spaceballs. He is also an actor and a writer and has written for many films. He has received many awards and accolades and won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the film. The Producers, in 1969.

 42 Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro
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Famous As: Filmmaker, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 9, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Mexican

Guillermo del Toro is one of the most popular Mexican filmmakers of all time. Along with Alejandro Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón, he is known as one of the Three Amigos of Cinema. He also played a major role as a former special effects makeup artist. In 2018, he was named in Time's 100 most influential people in the world list.

 43 Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki
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Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: January 5, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Japanese

Considered one of the most prominent filmmakers in the history of animated films, Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese animator and manga artist. A co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki has gained worldwide acclaim as a maker of animated films and a masterful storyteller. Miyazaki has served as an inspiration to several world-renowned animators and directors, including James Cameron and Wes Anderson.

 44 Orson Welles

Orson Welles
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 6, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: October 10, 1985

American filmmaker, Orson Welles, acted in and directed the 1941 film, Citizen Kane, which is considered to be one the greatest movies ever made. Though hailed as a genius, many of his films didn’t work at the box office. The Stranger, Macbeth, Chimes at Midnight, Touch of Evil and The Trial are some of the other films that he directed.

 45 Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

American actress, Lucy Liu, shot to fame with television series Ally McBeal and later proved her acting skills with films like Charlie's Angels, Kill Bill, Volume 1, Shanghai Noon and television series Elementary and Southland. Intelligent and multitalented, she has voiced animated films, turned producer/director, made her Broadway debut and last but not the least, is also a visual artist.

 46 Ethan Coen

Ethan Coen
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Famous As: Director
Birthdate: September 21, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 47 Teri Hatcher

Teri Hatcher
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 8, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Teri Hatcher is best known for her Golden Globe- and SAG Award-winning performance as Susan Mayer in Desperate Housewives. She also voiced Dottie in the Planes movies and was seen as Lois Lane in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and as Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies.

 48 Karan Johar

Karan Johar
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Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer
Birthdate: May 25, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Indian

 49 Lake Bell

Lake Bell
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 24, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Lake Bell is an American actress, screenwriter, and director. Also known for her good looks and fashion sense, Bell has been featured on lists like Femme Fatales' 50 Sexiest Women, Maxim's Hot 100, and British Vogue's 10 Best Dressed Women. Apart from being an actress and model, Bell also contributes as an automotive writer and editor to The Hollywood Reporter.

 50 Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott
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Famous As: Film Producer, Director
Birthdate: November 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

British film director, Ridley Scott,is hailed as a master of his craft and his movies are known for their visual style and intricate details. Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, American Gangster, Prometheus, Alien: Covenant and The Martian are some of his acclaimed and successful films. He was knighted in 2003.

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