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actors The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First

Greg Stopera
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List Rules Notable Actors Who Made It Big On TV Before Jumping To Movies

This is a list of famous film actors who got famous on TV first, as ranked by experts and fans alike.

There are many routes an actor can take to make it big. Some actors start out on in theatre, while others start out in modeling. Many notable actors though start their careers in television.

Television, at one time, was the main gateway to film stardom. In some ways, it still is but now many film actors, like Steve Buscemi and Laura Dern have gone the other direction and found a very lucrative career on hit TV shows. Before the advent of cable -- and quality programming -- actors had to toil on low-rated sitcoms and mediocre dramas before finding that one movie script that could shoot them to superstardom. But sometimes, the actor finds superstardom on television. Massive, worldwide superstardom that easily parlays into film roles.

Many on this list can be considered the greatest actors who were famous on TV first. Actors like Tom Hanks, George Clooney, and Clint Eastwood. Latter generations of film and television fans will be surprised to find out a top-notch actor like Denzel Washington got his start as one of the cast members of "St. Elsewhere" or that Academy Award-winning actress Melissa Leo was one of the stars of "Homicide: Life On The Streets". Maybe this list will prompt them to Netflix a couple of those old episodes.

Please check out this list of top actors who had TV fame before becoming film stars and rank them. And if you don't see your favorite TV-turned-film actors here, feel free to add them so that others can vote for them.

1
+ - 451 46
Tom Hanks is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Tom Hanks Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story

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2
+ - 101 45
Michael J. Fox is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Michael J. Fox Back to the Future, Back to the Future Part II, Mars Attacks!

3
+ - 159 88
Denzel Washington is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Denzel Washington Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day

4
+ - 148 82
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Clint Eastwood Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry

5
+ - 146 81
Bill Murray is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Bill Murray Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack

6
+ - 164 94
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Robin Williams Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society

7
+ - 209 127
Morgan Freeman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Morgan Freeman The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

8
+ - 116 61
Woody Harrelson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Woody Harrelson The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, No Country for Old Men

9
+ - 104 53
Kevin Spacey is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Kevin Spacey American Beauty, Seven, The Usual Suspects

10
+ - 147 85
Bruce Willis is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Bruce Willis Pulp Fiction, Die Hard, The Sixth Sense

11
+ - 103 53
Sally Field is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Sally Field Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Mrs. Doubtfire

12
+ - 104 54
Danny DeVito is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Danny DeVito Men in Black, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Batman Returns

13
+ - 132 75
George Clooney is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
George Clooney South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Batman & Robin

14
+ - 164 100
Johnny Depp is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Johnny Depp A Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Edward Scissorhands

15
+ - 147 89
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Will Smith Men in Black, Independence Day, Men in Black 3

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16
+ - 84 43
Billy Crystal is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Billy Crystal The Princess Bride, Monsters, Inc.

17
+ - 84 43
James Garner is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
James Garner The Great Escape, The Notebook, Atlantis: The Lost Empire

18
+ - 89 48
Dan Aykroyd is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Dan Aykroyd Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

19
+ - 111 66
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Eddie Murphy Shrek, Mulan, Beverly Hills Cop

20
+ - 85 48
Michael Douglas is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Michael Douglas One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct

21
+ - 90 53
Jennifer Aniston is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Jennifer Aniston Office Space, The Iron Giant, Bruce Almighty

22
+ - 81 47
Christopher Lloyd is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Christopher Lloyd Back to the Future, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Who Framed Roger Rabbit

23
+ - 99 63
John Travolta is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
John Travolta Pulp Fiction, Grease, Carrie

24
+ - 86 54
Marisa Tomei is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Marisa Tomei My Cousin Vinny, The Wrestler, Crazy

25
+ - 99 65
Jamie Foxx is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Jamie Foxx Django Unchained, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Ray

26
+ - 67 39
Goldie Hawn is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Goldie Hawn Death Becomes Her, Overboard, Seems Like Old Times

27
+ - 76 47
Steve Carell is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Steve Carell Little Miss Sunshine, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin

28
+ - 96 64
Jim Carrey is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Jim Carrey Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Batman Forever, Dumb and Dumber

29
+ - 67 44
John Belushi is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
John Belushi The Blues Brothers, National Lampoon's Animal House, 1941

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30
+ - 26 8
Michelle Pfeiffer is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Michelle Pfeiffer Scarface, Batman Returns, The Prince of Egypt

31
+ - 70 47
Ryan Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Ryan Reynolds X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ted, Green Lantern

32
+ - 72 49
Tim Allen is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Tim Allen Toy Story, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 2

33
+ - 60 39
Helen Hunt is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First

34
+ - 22 7
J.K. Simmons is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
J.K. Simmons Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3

35
+ - 60 43
Greg Kinnear is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Greg Kinnear Little Miss Sunshine, As Good as It Gets, We Were Soldiers

36
+ - 71 55
Alec Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Alec Baldwin The Departed, Beetlejuice, Pearl Harbor

37
+ - 66 52
Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Queen Latifah Chicago, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Stranger than Fiction

38
+ - 64 51
Idris Elba is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Idris Elba Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Prometheus

39
+ - 20 9
Ray Liotta is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Ray Liotta Goodfellas, Field of Dreams, Identity

40
+ - 21 10
Robin Wright is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Robin Wright Forrest Gump, The Princess Bride, Unbreakable

41
+ - 19 9
Mary Tyler Moore is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Mary Tyler Moore Ordinary People, Moon, Flirting with Disaster

42
+ - 60 49
Ryan Gosling is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Ryan Gosling Remember the Titans, The Notebook, Drive

43
+ - 21 11
Chevy Chase is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Chevy Chase Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Vacation

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44
+ - 75 64
Will Ferrell is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Will Ferrell Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Elf, Wedding Crashers

45
+ - 20 11
Ben Stiller is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Ben Stiller Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Happy Gilmore, There's Something About Mary

46
+ - 20 11
Burt Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Burt Reynolds Boogie Nights, Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit

47
+ - 19 11
Meg Ryan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Meg Ryan Top Gun, When Harry Met Sally..., Sleepless in Seattle

48
+ - 68 61
Adam Sandler is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Adam Sandler Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer

49
+ - 60 53
Cher is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Cher Moonstruck, The Witches of Eastwick, Stuck on You

50
+ - 17 10
Teri Garr is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First
Teri Garr Young Frankenstein, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dumb and Dumber