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

List Criteria: 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.
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  1. 1
    + 136
    - 21

    The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, The Shawshank Redemption

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 116
    - 20

    Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 109
    - 31

    A Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Edward Scissorhands

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 92
    - 23

    Pulp Fiction, Die Hard, The Sixth Sense

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 93
    - 24

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 89
    - 23

    Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 96
    - 27

    Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 91
    - 25

    Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 78
    - 22

    Argo, From Dusk till Dawn, Ocean's Eleven

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 79
    - 23

    The Hunger Games, No Country for Old Men, Zombieland

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 96
    - 41

    Independence Day, Men in Black, I Am Legend

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 69
    - 25

    American Beauty, Seven, The Usual Suspects

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 74
    - 33

    Shrek, Beverly Hills Cop, Mulan

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 63
    - 26

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Basic Instinct, The Game

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 67
    - 30

    Men in Black, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Big Fish

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 67
    - 33

    Django Unchained, Any Given Sunday, Ray

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 55
    - 24

    Back to the Future, Mars Attacks!, Back to the Future Part II

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 51
    - 22

    The Notebook, The Great Escape, Atlantis: The Lost Empire

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 60
    - 29

    Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 61
    - 30

    Pulp Fiction, Grease, Carrie

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 59
    - 29

    My Cousin Vinny, The Wrestler, The Ides of March

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 69
    - 37

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dumb and Dumber, Batman Forever

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 56
    - 27

    Forrest Gump, The Amazing Spider-Man, Lincoln

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 55
    - 31

    The Princess Bride, Monsters University, Monsters, Inc.

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 41
    - 23

    Death Becomes Her, Wildcats, Overboard

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 49
    - 31

    X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ted, Green Lantern

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 49
    - 32

    Back to the Future, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Who Framed Roger ...

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 44
    - 28

    The Blues Brothers, National Lampoon's Animal House, 1941

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 46
    - 30

    Toy Story, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 2

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 48
    - 33

    Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Little Miss Sunshine, Despicable Me ...

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 44
    - 32

    Chicago, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Ice Age: Continental Drift

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 49
    - 37

    The Departed, Beetlejuice, Pearl Harbor

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 43
    - 32

    Remember the Titans, The Notebook, Drive

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 38
    - 29

    Little Miss Sunshine, As Good as It Gets, We Were Soldiers

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 44
    - 36

    Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Pacific Rim

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 48
    - 40

    Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Billy Madison

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 51
    - 44

    Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Wedding Crashers, Elf

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 46
    - 41

    Office Space, The Iron Giant, Bruce Almighty

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 41
    - 37

    Moonstruck, The Witches of Eastwick, Stuck on You

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 33
    - 30

    The Karate Kid, Mulan, Midway

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 39
    - 38

    Do the Right Thing, Bad Boys, Bad Boys II

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 36
    - 35

    50 First Dates, Grown Ups, Hitch

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 36
    - 35

    Billy Madison, Wayne's World, Tommy Boy

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 32
    - 32

    Thomas Hayden Church

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 29
    - 29

    As Good as It Gets, Cast Away, Twister

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 24
    - 25

    Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers: Dark of ...

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 20
    - 25

    Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek Into Darkness

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 29
    - 37

    Despicable Me, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 23
    - 30

    Brokeback Mountain, Shutter Island, Oz the Great and Powerful

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 8
    - 12
    No image

    added by PhyllisHolmes-davis Diane Carroll

    ) open
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