The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First People In Film

The Best Film Actors Who Got Famous on TV First

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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.

List Criteria: Notable Actors Who Made It Big On TV Before Jumping To Movies

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  Name
  1. 1
    Up 90
    Down 16
    Homecoming, Bopha!, The 16th Man More
  2. 2
    Up 79
    Down 15
    Vault of Horror I, That Thing You Do!, Larry Crowne More
  3. 3
    Up 84
    Down 19
    Untitled Keith Richards Documentary, Stuff, The Brave More
  4. 4
    Up 67
    Down 13
    Quick Change, The Razor's Edge, Zombieland More
  5. 5
    Up 65
    Down 15
    Mystic River, Heartbreak Ridge, Play Misty for Me More
  6. 6
    Up 64
    Down 16
    The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, Hostage, Sunset More
  7. 7
    Up 67
    Down 20
    Antwone Fisher, The Great Debaters, The Equalizer More
  8. 8
    Up 56
    Down 13
    Sleepwalking, Surfer Dude, The 40th Annual Emmy Awards More
  9. 9
    Up 57
    Down 18
    Mrs. Doubtfire, Mrs. Doubtfire 2, Comic Relief: The Greatest... And the ... More
  10. 10
    Up 52
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    Leatherheads, Good Night, and Good Luck, Suburbicon More
  11. 11
    Up 48
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    Albino Alligator, Beyond the Sea, 21 More
  12. 12
    Up 66
    Down 29
    The Legend of Cain, ATL, The American Can More
  13. 13
    Up 51
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    Death to Smoochy, Matilda, Amazing Stories: Book One More
  14. 14
    Up 51
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    Harlem Nights, Tower Heist, Eddie Murphy Delirious More
  15. 15
    Up 52
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    Jim Carrey: The Un-Natural Act, Bruce Almighty, Fun with Dick and Jane More
  16. 16
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    Crazy, Stupid, Love., Parker Kane, Slums of Beverly Hills More
  17. 17
    Up 48
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    Jamie Foxx: Straight from the Foxxhole, Life Support, Jamie Foxx: I Might ... More
  18. 18
    Up 36
    Down 14
    Coldblooded, Poison Ivy, Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild More
  19. 19
    Up 43
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    Nothing but Trouble, Blues Brothers 2000, One More Saturday Night More
  20. 20
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    Battlefield Earth, Hollywood Singing and Dancing: The 1970s, Michael More
  21. 21
    Up 40
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    The Sentinel, The Rainmaker, The Reach More
  22. 22
    Up 35
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    Beautiful, The Christmas Tree, Dying Young More
  23. 23
    Up 30
    Down 13
    They Only Kill Their Masters, The Glitter Dome, Sayonara More
  24. 24
    Up 37
    Down 20
    Crazy, Stupid, Love., The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The 40-Year-Old ... More
  25. 25
    Up 31
    Down 16
    Neighbors, 1941, National Lampoon's Animal House More
  26. 26
    Up 36
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    Adventureland, Coming Soon, X-Men Origins: Wolverine More
  27. 27
    Up 35
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    Mr. Saturday Night, 61*, Forget Paris More
  28. 28
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    Bachelorette, Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, Casa de Mi Padre More
  29. 29
    Up 34
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    The Chateau Meroux, Baby Geniuses, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai ... More
  30. 30
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    The Cookout, The Perfect Holiday, Beauty Shop More
  31. 31
    Up 31
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    ReGeneration, How to Catch a Monster, Drunk History Christmas More
  32. 32
    Up 24
    Down 15
    Hope, Something to Talk About, Private Benjamin More
  33. 33
    Up 24
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    What Planet Are You From?, The English Teacher, Little Miss Sunshine More
  34. 34
    Up 30
    Down 25
    Demons Never Die, Legacy, The Reaping More
  35. 35
    Up 28
    Down 21
    Crazy on the Outside, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, The Shaggy ... More
  36. 36
    Up 27
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    The Very Best of Cher: The Video Hits Collection, If These Walls Could ... More
  37. 37
    Up 33
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    Shortcut to Happiness, Lymelife, The Confession More
  38. 38
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    Billy Madison, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, The Animal More
  39. 39
    Up 27
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    Wayne's World, Black Sheep, Tommy Boy More
  40. 40
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    A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, You So Crazy, Martin Lawrence Live: ... More
  41. 41
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    Captive Hearts, Amos, Spymate More
  42. 42
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    Zookeeper, Here Comes the Boom, Paul Blart: Mall Cop More
  43. 43
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    The Human Contract, After Earth, The Karate Kid More
  44. 44
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    Jason Segel & Paul Rudd Meet Rush, Get Him to the Greek, The Five-Year ... More
  45. 45
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    Thomas Hayden Church

  46. 46
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    Then She Found Me, Child Bride of Short Creek, Stealing Home More
  47. 47
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    Project Five, Room 10 , The Goree Girls More
  48. 48
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    Diane Carroll

    added by: PhyllisHolmes-davis
  49. 49
    Up 14
    Down 17
    I'm Not There, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Land of Plenty More
  50. 50
    Up 18
    Down 22
    Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, The Romantics, Responsible Adults More
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