The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

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List Criteria: Vote up and add all of the actors and actresses who you think are the very best.

The best actors and actresses of all time, male and female, ranked by film fans worldwide. This list of greatest actors and actresses attempts to answer the question "Who are the best actors of all time?" by incorporating the views and opinions of all members of the Ranker Community. Keep in mind, as you vote or add a top actor or actress you see missing, that we are rating these actors on their body of work, not just what they have done recently! Some of the greatest actors of all time have not necessarily acted in a project in the past 5 years, but they still deserve to be on this greatest actresses and actors of all time list.

Top actors and actresses in films are judged by their acting ability and their mastery of roles that they have played over the years. Many of these great actors have videos of their best roles for you to view so you can refresh yourself on the best works of your favorite actors as you consider your votes for top thespians of all time. Nominate your picks for the top actors & actresses by making a list of your own. Then come back to the Master List and vote up your favorites!

For lists separated by gender, check out our lists of the best actors of all time and the best actresses in film history.
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  1. 51
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    ranked low on reranks
    Died at 76 (1925-2001) John Uhler "Jack" Lemmon III was an American actor and musician. Lemmon was an eight time Academy Award nominee, with two wins. He starred in over 60 films, such as Some Like It Hot, The

  2. 52
    + 3,042
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Died at 29 (1979-2008) Heath Andrew Ledger was an Australian actor and director. After performing roles in Australian television and film during the 1990s, Ledger left for the United States in 1998 to develop his film

  3. 53
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    often listed
    Died at 47 (1967-2014) Philip Seymour Hoffman was an American actor, director, and producer of film and theater. Best known for his supporting and character roles – typically lowlifes, bullies, and misfits – Hoffman was a

  4. 54
    + 1,851
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    age 78 Charles Robert Redford Jr., better known as Robert Redford, is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and a founder of the Sundance Film Festival.

  5. 55
    + 1,627
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    age 81 Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, CH, DBE is an English actress. She made her stage debut in 1952 and has had an extensive, varied career in stage, film and television spanning over sixty years. Smith has

  6. 56
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    ranked low on reranks
    age 69 Sally Margaret Field is an American actress and director. She is known for her film roles in Smokey and the Bandit, Norma Rae, Places in the Heart, Murphy's Romance, Steel Magnolias, Mrs. Doubtfire,

  7. 57
    + 1,846
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    Died at 79 (1932-2011) Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE was a British-born American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's

  8. 58
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    age 69 Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman is an English actor. Rickman is a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in both modern and classical theatre productions. His breakout performance was as the

  9. 59
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    - 1,114

    age 65 William James "Bill" Murray is an American actor and comedian. He first gained exposure on Saturday Night Live for which he earned an Emmy Award and later went on to star in comedy films,

  10. 60
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    age 56 Emma Thompson is a British actress, comedienne, screenwriter and author. Cited as one of the greatest British actresses of her generation, she is known for her portrayals of reticent women in period

  11. 61
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    age 72 Sir Ben Kingsley is an English actor. In a career spanning over 40 years, he has won an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, two Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards. He is known for his starring role as

  12. 62
    + 1,841
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    age 69 Susan Abigail Sarandon is an American actress. She is an Academy Award and BAFTA Award winner who is also known for her social and political activism for a variety of liberal causes. She was appointed

  13. 63
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    added by SteveNicewanger
    Died at 67 (1900-1967) Spencer Bonaventure Tracy was an American actor, noted for his natural style and versatility. One of the major stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, Tracy was nominated for nine Academy Awards for Best

  14. 64
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    age 80 Dame Julia "Julie" Elizabeth Andrews, DBE, is an English film and stage actress, singer, author, theatre director and dancer. Andrews, a former child actress and singer, appeared on the West

  15. 65
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    added by MissTempeste
    age 67 Kathleen Doyle "Kathy" Bates is an American actress and film director. After appearing in several minor roles in film and television during the 1970s and the 1980s, Bates rose to prominence

  16. 66
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    - 1,176

    age 51 Sandra Annette Bullock is an American actress and film producer. She is one of Hollywood's highest-paid actresses, and is the recipient of one Academy Award from two nominations, and one Golden Globe

  17. 67
    + 1,335
    - 810

    age 53 Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, is an English actor. A noted Shakespeare interpreter, he first achieved success onstage at the Royal National Theatre. Fiennes' portrayal of Nazi war

  18. 68
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    age 60 Walter Bruce Willis is an American actor, producer and singer. His career began on the Off-Broadway stage and then in television in the 1980s, most notably as David Addison in Moonlighting. He is

  19. 69
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    age 48 Julia Fiona Roberts is an American actress and producer. She became a Hollywood star after headlining the romantic comedy Pretty Woman, which grossed $464 million worldwide. After winning two Golden

  20. 70
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    age 68 Glenn Close is an American film, television and stage actress. Throughout her long and varied career, she has been consistently acclaimed for her versatility and is widely regarded as one of the

  21. 71
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    ranked low on reranks & added by Jabapac
    age 58 Steven Vincent "Steve" Buscemi is an American actor, director and writer. Buscemi has starred and supported in successful Hollywood and indie films, including Parting Glances, New York

  22. 72
    + 1,781
    - 1,305

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    age 59 Mel Colm-Cille Gerard Gibson AO is an American actor and filmmaker. He is most well known as an action hero, for roles such as Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon buddy cop film series and Max

  23. 73
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    ranked low on reranks
    age 47 Hugh Michael Jackman is an Australian actor, producer, and singer who is involved in film, musical theatre and television. Jackman has won international recognition for his roles in major films,

  24. 74
    + 1,585
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    age 76 Sir Ian Murray McKellen, CH, CBE is an English actor. He is the recipient of six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, two Saturn

  25. 75
    + 1,452
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    age 99 Kirk Douglas is an American film and stage actor, film producer and author. After an impoverished childhood with immigrant parents and six sisters, he had his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha

  26. 76
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    ranked low on reranks
    age 84 James Earl Jones is an American actor who in a career of more than 60 years has become known as "one of America's most distinguished and versatile" actors and "one of the greatest

  27. 77
    + 1,526
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    Died at 81 (1932-2013) Peter Seamus O'Toole was a British-Irish stage and film actor. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and began working in the theatre, gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the

  28. 78
    + 1,606
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    Died at 59 (1901-1960) Clark Gable was an American film actor, often referred to as "The King of Hollywood" or just simply as "The King". Gable began his career as a stage actor and appeared as an extra

  29. 79
    + 1,699
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    age 66 Jeffrey Leon "Jeff" Bridges is an American actor, singer, and producer. He comes from a well-known acting family and began his televised acting in 1958 as a child with his father, Lloyd

  30. 80
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Died at 72 (1907-1979) Marion Mitchell Morrison, better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director, and producer. An Academy Award-winner, Wayne was among the top box office draws for three

  31. 81
    + 1,316
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    Died at 54 (1913-1967) Vivian Mary Hartley, later known as Vivien Leigh, was an English stage and film actress. She won two Academy Awards for Best Actress for her performances as "Southern belle" Scarlett O'Hara

  32. 82
    + 1,358
    - 747

    Died at 86 (1914-2000) Sir Alec Guinness, CH CBE was an English actor. After an early career on the stage he was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including The Ladykillers and Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he

  33. 83
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    ranked low on reranks
    age 65 Edward Allen "Ed" Harris is an American actor, screenwriter, and director. He is best known for his performances in Pollock, Appaloosa, The Rock, The Abyss, A Beautiful Mind, A History of

  34. 84
    + 1,523
    - 1,053

    age 62 John Gavin Malkovich is an American actor, director, producer, and fashion designer. He has appeared in more than 70 motion pictures. For his roles in Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire, he

  35. 85
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    often listed
    age 60 William J. "Willem" Dafoe is an American actor. He is a member of the experimental theater company The Wooster Group and he has appeared in films such as Platoon, Shadow of the Vampire, and

  36. 86
    + 1,087
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Died at 55 (1925-1980) Peter Sellers, CBE was a British film actor, comedian and singer. He performed in the BBC Radio comedy series The Goon Show, featured on a number of hit comic songs and became known to a world-wide

  37. 87
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    ranked low on reranks
    age 66 Sigourney Weaver is an American actress and film producer, known for playing Ellen Ripley in the Alien franchise. Following her film debut as a minor character in Annie Hall, Weaver quickly came to

  38. 88
    + 1,148
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    age 93 Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ, is an English actor, singer and author. Lee initially portrayed villains and became best known for his role as Count Dracula in a string of popular

  39. 89
    + 1,121
    - 633

    Died at 90 (1924-2014) Lauren Bacall was an American actress known for her distinctive voice and sultry looks. She was named the 20th greatest actress of the 20th century by the American Film Institute and received an

  40. 90
    + 1,322
    - 690

    Died at 47 (1922-1969) Judy Garland was an American singer, actress, and vaudevillian. She was renowned for her vocals and attained international stardom which continued throughout a career that spanned more than 40 years

  41. 91
    + 1,824
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    age 47 Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. is an American actor, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He has enjoyed success in television, film, and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him "the

  42. 92
    + 1,390
    - 834

    age 71 Michael Kirk Douglas is an American actor and producer, primarily in movies and television. He has won four Golden Globes, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award, two Academy Awards—as producer of

  43. 93
    + 1,523
    - 1,351

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    age 55 Sean Justin Penn is an American actor, film director and politician. He has won two Academy Awards, for his roles in the mystery drama Mystic River and the biopic Milk. Penn began his acting career in

  44. 94
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    often listed
    age 54 George Timothy Clooney is an American actor, writer, producer, director, and activist. He has received three Golden Globe Awards for his work as an actor and two Academy Awards, one for acting and the

  45. 95
    + 1,524
    - 981

    age 80 Donald McNichol Sutherland, OC is a Canadian actor whose film career spans 50 years. Sutherland is well known for playing a diverse range of characters, both leading and supporting, in acclaimed films

  46. 96
    + 1,376
    - 830

    age 54 Forest Steven Whitaker III is an American actor, producer, and director. He has earned a reputation for intensive character study work for films such as Lee Daniels' The Butler, Bird and Ghost Dog:

  47. 97
    + 1,560
    - 904

    age 75 Sir Patrick Stewart OBE is an English film, television, and stage actor, who has had a distinguished career on stage and screen. He is most widely known for his roles as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in

  48. 98
    + 1,186
    - 638

    Died at 80 (1917-1997) Robert Charles Durman Mitchum was an American film actor, author, composer and singer. Mitchum rose to prominence for his starring roles in several classic films noir, and is generally considered a

  49. 99
    + 1,043
    - 628

    age 68 Richard Stephen Dreyfuss is an American actor best known for starring in a number of film, television, and theater roles since the late 1960s, including the films American Graffiti, Jaws, Close

  50. 100
    + 1,815
    - 1,207

    age 40 Charlize Theron is a South African and American actress, producer, and fashion model. She starred in early films in the late 1990s, such as The Devil's Advocate, Mighty Joe Young and The Cider House

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