The most talented actors

by mhorrighan | created - 07 Oct 2011 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Young and pretty is boring. Every movie throws young 20-something actors at us showing us their abs, big breasts, pumped up lips, steroid infused muscles... it's disgusting. I need actors who can actually bring their characters to life, talented, educated people. This list honors the men and women who delight and fascinate me with their wit, their talent, their abilities to make me laugh or cry.

1. Alan Rickman

Actor | Die Hard

Alan Rickman was born on a council estate in Acton, West London, to Margaret Doreen Rose (Bartlett) and Bernard Rickman, who worked at a factory. He had English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Alan had an older brother David, a younger brother Michael and a younger sister Sheila. When Alan was 8 years ...

2. Bill Nighy

Actor | Love Actually

Bill Nighy is an award-winning British character actor. He was born William Francis Nighy on December 12, 1949 in Caterham, Surrey, England, to Catherine Josephine (Whittaker), a psychiatric nurse from Glasgow, and Alfred Martin Nighy, who was English-born and managed a garage in Croydon.

At school,...

3. Tom Hiddleston

Actor | The Avengers

Thomas William Hiddleston was born in Westminster, London, to English-born Diana Patricia (Servaes) and Scottish-born James Norman Hiddleston. His mother is a former stage manager, and his father, a scientist, was the managing director of a pharmaceutical company. He started off at the preparatory ...

4. Colin Firth

Actor | A Single Man

Colin Andrew Firth was born into an academic family in Grayshott, Hampshire, England. His mother, Shirley Jean (Rolles), was a comparative religion lecturer at the Open University, and his father, David Norman Lewis Firth, lectured on history at Winchester University College (formerly King Alfred's...

5. Emma Thompson

Actress | Sense and Sensibility

Emma Thompson was born on April 15, 1959 in Paddington, London, into a family of actors - father Eric Thompson and mother Phyllida Law, who has co-starred with Thompson in several films. Her sister, Sophie Thompson, is an actor as well. Her father was English-born and her mother is Scottish-born. ...

6. Leonard Nimoy

Actor | Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Dora (Spinner) and Max Nimoy, who owned a barbershop. His parents were Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. Raised in a tenement and acting in community theaters since age eight, Nimoy did not make his Hollywood debut until he was 20, with a bit ...

7. Julian Richings

Actor | Man of Steel

Julian Richings was born in Oxford, England, and has become a familiar figure to Canadian cinema and television audiences, appearing in over 50 films and 20 separate television series.

After training in drama at the University of Exeter and touring North America with a British stage production, Mr. ...

8. Robert Downey Jr.

Actor | Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. has evolved into one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. With an amazing list of credits to his name, he has managed to stay new and fresh even after over four decades in the business.

Downey was born April 4, 1965 in Manhattan, New York, the son of writer, director and ...

9. John Malkovich

Actor | Being John Malkovich

John Gavin Malkovich was born in Christopher, Illinois, to Joe Anne (Choisser), who owned a local newspaper, and Daniel Leon Malkovich, a state conservation director. His paternal grandparents were Croatian. In 1976, Malkovich joined Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, newly founded by his friend Gary ...

10. Jason Isaacs

Actor | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Jason Isaacs was born in Liverpool, the third of four children of Sheila and Eric Isaacs. His parents were both from Jewish families (from Eastern Europe). He studied law at Bristol University and graduated in 1985 with a degree in law but decided to study acting. While at Bristol University, he ...

11. Martin Freeman

Actor | Black Panther

Martin Freeman is an English actor, known for portraying Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy, Tim Canterbury in the original UK version of sitcom mockumentary The Office (2001), Dr. John Watson in the British crime drama Sherlock (2010) and Lester Nygaard in the dark ...

12. Frances Conroy

Actress | Six Feet Under

Award-winning veteran stage actress Frances Conroy was introduced and encouraged by her parents to explore the elements of theater. Born Frances Hardman Conroy in Monroe, Georgia on November 13, 1953, she attended high school in Long Island and experienced classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse as a...

13. Morgan Freeman

Actor | Se7en

With an authoritative voice and calm demeanor, this ever popular American actor has grown into one of the most respected figures in modern US cinema. Morgan was born on June 1, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, to Mayme Edna (Revere), a teacher, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, a barber. The young Freeman...

14. Simon Pegg

Actor | Shaun of the Dead

English actor, writer and comedian Simon Pegg was born Simon John Beckingham in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, to Gillian Rosemary (Smith), a civil servant, and John Henry Beckingham, a jazz musician. His parents divorced when Pegg was seven. He later took his stepfather's surname, "Pegg". He was ...

15. Karl Urban

Actor | Star Trek

Originally from Wellington, New Zealand, Karl Urban now lives in Auckland. Born on June 7, 1972, he is the son of a leather-goods manufacturer (who had hoped that Karl would follow in his footsteps). His first acting role was when he was 8 -- he had a line on a television series. However, he did ...

16. Maggie Smith

Actress | Gosford Park

One of the world's most famous and distinguished actresses, Dame Maggie Smith was born Margaret Natalie Smith in Essex. Her Scottish mother, Margaret (Hutton), worked as a secretary, and her English father, Nathaniel Smith, was a teacher at Oxford University. Smith has been married twice: to actor ...

17. Matt Smith

Actor | Doctor Who

Matt Smith is an English actor who shot to fame in the UK aged 26 when he was cast by producer Steven Moffat as the Eleventh Doctor in the BBC's iconic science-fiction adventure series Doctor Who (2005).

Matthew Robert Smith was born and raised in Northampton, the son of Lynne (Fidler) and David ...

18. David Tennant

Actor | Doctor Who

David Tennant was born David John McDonald in West Lothian, Scotland, to Essdale Helen (McLeod) and Sandy McDonald, who was a Presbyterian minister. He is of Scottish and Ulster-Scots descent. When he was about 3 or 4 years old, he decided to become an actor, inspired by his love of Doctor Who (...

19. John Barrowman

Actor | Torchwood

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, and raised in Joliet, Illinois. He returned to the UK, for a 6 month Shakespeare semester with the United States International University of San Diego, but left to star in the musical production of "Anything Goes," with Elaine Page. He went on to star in "Miss Saigon," "...

20. Nathan Fillion

Actor | Castle

Nathan Fillion was born on 27 March 1971 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is the son of Cookie (Early) and Bob Fillion, both retired English teachers, and has an older brother, Jeff. In Canada, he attended Holy Trinity Catholic High School, Concordia University College of Alberta and University of ...

21. Anthony Head

Actor | Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Anthony Stewart Head was born on February 20, 1954 in Camden Town, north London, England. He grew up in Hampton, near Richmond upon Thames in London. He's the youngest son of his parents, Seafield Head (a documentary filmmaker) and Helen Shingler (an actress). He is the younger brother of musical ...

22. James Marsters

Actor | Buffy the Vampire Slayer

James graduated from Davis High School and attended Juilliard, the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, and the American Conservatory Theatre. After spending ten years doing stage work he finally moved to L.A. to pursue a career in film and television. After appearing in several guest roles...

23. Benedict Cumberbatch

Actor | The Imitation Game

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch was born and raised in London, England. His parents, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton (born Timothy Carlton Congdon Cumberbatch), are both actors. He is a grandson of submarine commander Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, and a great-grandson of diplomat Henry Arnold ...

24. Laurence Fishburne

Actor | The Matrix

One of Hollywood's most talented and versatile performers and the recipient of a truckload of NAACP Image awards, Laurence John Fishburne III was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961, to Hattie Bell (Crawford), a teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer.

His ...

25. Judi Dench

Actress | Skyfall

Dame Judi Dench was born Judith Olivia Dench in York, England, to Eleanora Olive (Jones), who was from Dublin, Ireland, and Reginald Arthur Dench, a doctor from Dorset, England. She attended Mount School in York, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has performed with the ...

26. Ian McKellen

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Widely regarded as one of greatest stage and screen actors, both in his native Great Britain and internationally, twice nominated for the Oscar and recipient of every major theatrical award in UK and US, Ian Murray McKellen was born on May 25, 1939 in Burnley, Lancashire, England, to Margery Lois (...

27. Jaime Murray

Actress | Dexter

Jaime Murray was born on July 21, 1976 in Hammersmith, London, England. She is an actress, known for Dexter (2006), The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007) and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (2011). She has been married to Bernie Cahill since May 26, 2014.

28. Jeremy Irons

Actor | Dead Ringers

British actor Jeremy Irons was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England. He is the son of Barbara Anne Brereton (Sharpe) and Paul Dugan Irons, an accountant. Young Jeremy didn't prove very fond of figures. He visited mainland England only once a year. He wound up ...

29. Helen Mirren

Actress | RED

Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. ...

30. Mark Sheppard

Actor | Supernatural

Mark Andreas Sheppard was born on May 30, 1964 in London, England. He is an actor director and producer, known for Supernatural (2005), Battlestar Galactica (2004), Firefly (2002), Leverage (2008), Doctor Who (2005) In the Name of the Father (1993) and many others. He has been married to Sarah ...

31. Tilda Swinton

Actress | We Need to Talk About Kevin

The iconoclastic gifts of the visually striking and fiercely talented actress Tilda Swinton have been appreciated by a more international audience of late.

She was born Katherine Mathilda Swinton on November 5, 1960, in London, England. Her mother, Judith Balfour, Lady Swinton (née Killen), was ...

32. Patrick Stewart

Actor | Logan

Sir Patrick Stewart was born in Mirfield, Yorkshire, England, to Gladys (Barrowclough), a textile worker and weaver, and Alfred Stewart, who was in the army. He was a member of various local drama groups from about age 12. He left school at age 15 to work as a junior reporter on a local paper; he ...

33. Peter Dinklage

Actor | Game of Thrones

Peter Dinklage is an American actor. Since his breakout role in The Station Agent (2003), he has appeared in numerous films and theatre plays. Since 2011, Dinklage has portrayed Tyrion Lannister in the HBO series Game of Thrones. For this he won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama ...

34. Neil Patrick Harris

Actor | How I Met Your Mother

Neil Patrick Harris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on June 15, 1973. His parents, Sheila Gail (Scott) and Ronald Gene Harris, were lawyers and ran a restaurant. He grew up in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a small town 120 miles south of Albuquerque, where he first took up acting in the fourth grade. ...

35. Samuel L. Jackson

Actor | Pulp Fiction

Samuel L. Jackson is an American producer and highly prolific actor, having appeared in over 100 films, including Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Unbreakable (2000), Shaft (2000), Formula 51 (2001), Black Snake Moan (2006), Snakes on a Plane (2006), and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005), ...

36. Emma Watson

Actress | The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson was born in Paris, France, to English parents, Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson, both lawyers. She moved to Oxfordshire when she was five, where she attended the Dragon School. From the age of six, Emma knew that she wanted to be an actress and, for a number of years,...

37. Ian McShane

Actor | Deadwood

A natural at portraying complex anti-heroes and charming heavies, IAN McSHANE is the classically trained, award-winning actor who has grabbed attention and acclaim from audiences and critics around the world with his unforgettable gallery of scoundrels, kings, mobsters and thugs.

And, now, a god as ...

38. Gwendoline Christie

Actress | Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Gwendoline Christie was born in Worthing, West Sussex, England and trained in dance and gymnastics as a child. She graduated from Drama Centre London with a First Class BA (Hons) in 2005 and her first job was with Declan Donellan in 'Great Expectations' at the Royal Shakespeare Company that autumn....

39. Tessa Thompson

Actress | Creed

The actress Tessa Lynn Thompson was born on October 3, 1983 in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of singer-songwriter Marc Anthony Thompson and the granddaughter of actor-musician Bobby Ramos. She was raised in Los Angeles before moving to Brooklyn, New York. Her father is of ...

40. Anthony Hopkins

Actor | The Silence of the Lambs

Anthony Hopkins was born on December 31, 1937, in Margam, Wales, to Muriel Anne (Yeats) and Richard Arthur Hopkins, a baker. His parents were both of half Welsh and half English descent. Influenced by Richard Burton, he decided to study at College of Music and Drama and graduated in 1957. In 1965, ...

41. Danai Gurira

Actress | Black Panther

Danai Gurira was born in Grinnell, Iowa, to Josephine and Roger Gurira, who were from Zimbabwe. Her father was then teaching Chemistry at Grinnell College. When she was five, the family moved back to Zimbabwe, residing in the capital Harare. Gurira later returned to the United States, and studied ...



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