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Famous Film Actors Who Started on Stage

Updated September 4, 2019 28.6k views26 items

Several famous film actors and actresses started their careers in theater. Some of these famous actors started in musicals on Broadway and others started in small Shakespearean theaters. Several Academy Award-winning actors even got their start performing in front of a live audience. This list of famous film actors who started on stage has been loosely ranked by fame and popularity. 

Who is the most famous film actor who started on stage? Natalie Portman tops our list. In 1992, when she was just 10 years old, Natalie Portman landed an understudy role in the off-Broadway musical Ruthless!. Five years later, she played the role of Anne Frank in a Broadway adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank.

In 1968, Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman made his Broadway debut appearing in Hello, Dolly! with Cab Calloway. Fellow Oscar-winner Alan Arkin appeared in the Broadway production of Enter Laughing 1963.

Do you think that having a background in theater helped these actors to succeed? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
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  • In 1992, when she was just 10 years old, Natalie Portman landed an understudy role in the off-Broadway musical Ruthless!. Five years later, she played the role of Anne Frank in a Broadway adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank.
    • Age: 39
    • Birthplace: Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine

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  • In 2001, Kristen Bell portrayed Becky Thatcher in a Broadway musical version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
    • Age: 40
    • Birthplace: Huntington Woods, Michigan, United States of America

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  • Gwyneth Paltrow
    Photo: Georges Biard / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
    Gwyneth Paltrow first appeared on stage in 1990 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. She made her film debut one year later appearing in Shout and Hook.
    • Age: 43
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America

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  • Sarah Jessica Parker played Annie in the Broadway musical Annie in 1979.
    • Age: 55
    • Birthplace: Nelsonville, USA, Ohio

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