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14 Times Actors Became A Really Big Deal After Playing An Iconic Villain

Updated April 23, 2021 15.2k votes 2.2k voters 235.1k views14 items

List RulesVote up the best career-changing villain roles.

There are many different ways to break into the big time as an actor - and one of them is to play an unforgettable villain. Sure, it may lead to typecasting, and sometimes, a particularly potent bad guy performance is as likely to nix a career as kickstart one, but there are plenty of actors who have begun their careers - or given them a much-needed boost - by playing an iconic villain in movies or TV.

Some of these great villain roles launched an actor's career, or became permanently associated with that actor, or otherwise changed their career in some irreversible way. Some actors parlayed villain roles into, well, more villain roles in big-budget movies, while others went on to play leads, or converted the buzz they generated into more substantial parts that earned them critical renown. Other actors found themselves transformed from "legitimate" thespians who "trod the boards" into genuine movie stars who headlined big-budget blockbusters, while still others made the leap from TV to movies (or vice versa) or made a splash in international markets.

While each one is different, all of these actors found their careers drastically altered after playing a villain that we know and love - or love to hate - today. Remember to vote up your favorites.