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.

 1 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.

 2 Gillian Anderson

Gillian Leigh Anderson
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 9, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
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 3 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.

 4 Eugene Levy

Eugene Levy
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Famous As: Actor, Comedian, Producer, Director
Birthdate: December 17, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Canadian

Mainly known for his comic roles, Canadian actor Eugene Levy has had a career spanning over six decades, with Splash, Father of the Bride, Waiting for Guffman, American Pie and American Pie 2 being some of his memorable films. He has also acted in television and found success with the hit series, Schitt's Creek. He is also a writer and director.

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 5 George Clooney

George Clooney
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 6, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Multiple award winning actor, producer, writer and director, George Clooney rose to fame with a medical drama ER and has since then established himself as a bigtime star with movies like Syriana, Good Night, and Good Luck and Ocean's Eleven trilogy. The living legend is also known for his humanitarian work and support to numerous social and political causes.

 6 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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 7 Jason Connery

Jason Connery
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Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: January 11, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British

Jason Connery, son of legendary actor Sean Connery, started his career with theater and was part of the Tony-winning play Love! Valour! Compassion! Audiences loved his performance in Robin of Sherwood. Jason has also been part of a few horror films and has directed an award-winning film, Tommy's Honour.

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 8 Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone
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Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: July 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

One of the legendary American actors, screenwriters and directors, Sylvester Stallone is best known for his iconic performance in Rocky and Rambo film series and later in the The Expendables film franchise. Amongst the biggest action stars in the world, Stallone had a tough childhood and did a variety of jobs before eventually making it big in the film industry.

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 9 Charlie McDowell

Charlie McDowell
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Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: July 10, 1983
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Charles McDowell is best known for directing the thriller The One I Love. His Twitter feed, which Time described as “one of the most hilarious Twitter feeds,” was the inspiration behind his book Dear Girls Above Me. He also directed The Discovery and On Becoming a God in Central Florida.

 10 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.

 11 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.

 12 Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 15, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Ben Affleck is actor, director, producer and screenwriter. He started as a child actor and attained fame after winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for writing ‘Good Will Hunting’ in 1997. He has been involved in a number of successful and critically acclaimed films. He’s had issues with alcoholism and has been accused by women of inappropriate behaviour.

 13 Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 3, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

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.

 14 Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 17, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

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.

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 15 Jack Nicholson

jack nicholson
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Famous As: Actor, Filmmaker
Birthdate: April 22, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

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.

 16 John Krasinski

John Krasinski
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Famous As: Actor, Director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 20, 1979
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
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.

 17 Jason Bateman

Jason Bateman
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 14, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

The son of a popular actor, Jason Bateman was exposed to Hollywood at a young age and decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. He began acting as a teenager and matured as an actor over the years, taking up a variety of roles. He made his feature film directorial debut in 2013.

 18 Giancarlo Esposito

Giancarlo Esposito
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 26, 1958
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Danish, American

The winner of Critics' Choice Television Award, Giancarlo Esposito is known for playing a variety of roles in films and TV series. From portraying drug dealers to policemen, Esposito has proved his versatility in the American film industry. He has also been featured in popular video games, such as Payday 2 and Far Cry 6.

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 19 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.

 20 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."

 21 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.

 22 Courteney Cox

Courteney Cox
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 15, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

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.

 23 Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Matthew Perry gained worldwide popularity for playing the character of Chandler Bing on the television sitcom Friends. The sitcom ran from 1994 to 2004 and remains one of the most popular ones till date. He also starred in other television series and a number of films. He has had issued with vicodin, methadone, amphetamines and alcohol addiction.

 24 Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel
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Famous As: Actor, Filmmaker
Birthdate: July 18, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
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 Sia Furler

Sia Furler
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: December 18, 1975
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Australian

 26 John Wayne

John Wayne
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 26, 1907
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
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.”

 27 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.

 28 Taika Waititi

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

 29 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.

 30 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.

 31 Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 23, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: February 2, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman played distinctive supporting and character roles and is considered to be one of the greatest actors of his time. Some of his notable films are Scent of a Woman, Twister, The Big Lebowski and Magnolia. His lead role in the film Capote won him an Oscar for the Best Actor. He died of combined drug intoxication.

 32 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.

 33 Marielle Heller

Marielle Heller
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 1, 1979
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

 34 Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton
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Birthdate: May 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: February 25, 2017

Versatile actor, Bill Paxton is recognised for his work in the movies, Apollo 13, Twister and Titanic, as well as the television series, Big Love. Before these, he began his career as a set-dresser, learnt acting under Stella Adler, did various minor roles and finally bagged films like The Terminator and Alien. His work as a director are Frailty and Fish Heads.

 35 Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland
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Famous As: Actor, Director, Producer, Voice Actor
Birthdate: December 21, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Canadian, British

The son of famous Canadian actors, Shirley Douglas and Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland followed in his parents' footsteps to become a famous actor. Apart from being a respected and decorated actor, Kiefer is also one of the controversy's favorite children, having been on the wrong side of the law several times.

 36 Steve Carell

Steve Carell
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 16, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Recognized as "America's Funniest Man" by Life magazine, Steve Carell is an actor, comedian, and writer. He has starred in several hit comedy films and has received numerous awards, including a Golden Globe. Also popular as a comedic TV actor, he has ventured into production and direction as well. Besides comedy, he also plays dramatic roles.

 37 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.

 38 Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh
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Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: December 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

Northern Irish actor, director, and producer, Kenneth Branagh, is a respected figure in Hollywood. Beginning his career as a theater artist in Northern Ireland, he eventually moved to films. He is famous for starring in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays. He has been nominated for the Academy Awards five times.

 39 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.

 40 Ralph Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

A Tony Award recipient, Ralph Fiennes is one of the most respected English actors of the current generation. He is known for playing important roles in notable films, such as the Harry Potter and James Bond film series. A Stanislavsky Award recipient, he is also known for his work behind the camera.

 41 Sean Penn

Sean Penn
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 17, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Academy Award winner actor, Sean Penn, is known for his powerful and passionate performances. His work in Mystic River and Milk won him tremendous appreciation as an actor while Into the Wild and The Crossing Guard earned him positive review as a director. Sean Penn has also attracted media attention for his personal life, political views and humanitarian work.

 42 James Franco

James Franco
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Famous As: Actor, Writer, Producer, Director, Teacher
Birthdate: April 19, 1978
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Actor, director, and comedian, James Franco, has been active in the entertainment industry for over two decades. He was studious as a child and wanted to become a marine biologist. However, fate had other plans and he became an actor instead. In addition to acting, he teaches film classes at many universities, including New York University.

 43 Anjelica Huston

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

 44 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.

 45 Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough
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Famous As: British Politician
Birthdate: August 29, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: August 24, 2014

Richard Attenborough is credited with making one of the greatest films of all time - Gandhi. Also an actor, Richard served as the president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Apart from being honored by the British royalty, he was also honored with India's third-highest civilian award, The Padma Bhushan.

 46 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.

 47 Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
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Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: February 17, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

A multitalented personality, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a versatile actor, a recognised director and the founder of HitRecord, a collaborative platform for creative artist. Debuting as a child actor, he won fame and awards with the television series 3rd Rock from the Sun. Later, as an adult, he acted in films like The Dark Knight Rises, Inception and Don Jon.

 48 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.

 49 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.

 50 James Caan

James Caan
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 26, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

Best known for playing the iconic character of Sonny Corleone in the movie, The Godfather, James Caan is a practising martial artist, apart from being an actor and director. He has trained under Japanese-American master of karate, Takayuki Kubota, for almost 30 years. For his contributions to arts, he was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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