Before anyone starts sending Ranker nasty emails, let's stress that each of these famous people who play "hot" characters are ATTRACTIVE! (Except maybe for Bogart, but he more than made up for it with his innate smoldering.) They're all talented and more handsome/beautiful than 98% of the universe.
HOWEVER, by playing specifically charming, dangerous or flat out sexy fictional characters, these actors ratcheted up their attractiveness. When you see regular Norman Reedus on the street, you might not swoon. Heck, you might instead choose to go to the other side of the street. Until you realize he's the The Walking Dead's Daryl, a character who brought more sex appeal to bows and arrows than Hawkeye, Legolas and Katniss Everdeen combined.
The actors on this list, though physically quite striking, don't necessarily rank as the sexiest actors or actresses alive. It wouldn't be out of this world to suggest that maybe one or two are only hot because of their characters. But across the board, the roles they played increased their Q scores and how attractive we continue to find them.
Daryl didn't start off particularly likable on The Walking Dead, or remotely handsome. In fact, he wasn't supposed to last anywhere near as long as he did. But something about the rough and tumble Norman Reedus made him much easier to like and harder to kill. Now you can't imagine this show surviving without him, even if we know everybody's expendable on that show. The actor himself is a fine looking lad, but give him a crossbow and a few years of grime and he becomes a heartthrob.
#72 on The Hottest Men Over 40see more on Norman Reedus
Sure, Patrick Dempsey is a good-looking fella. He was before McDreamy, he continues to be after McDreamy. But we will NEVER stop viewing him as the handsomely labeled doctor who (literally) mended as many hearts as he broke (figuratively...we hope).
If you doubt what McDreamy did for Patrick Dempsey, name one project he acted in between 1991's Mobsters and Grey's Anatomy. It's not that he stopped working, he just wasn't appearing in many prestigious projects. Being cast as McDreamy changed all that, giving his career a second act and making the world fall in love again with the dancing groundskeeper from Can't Buy Me Love.
#15 on The Hottest Men Over 40see more on Patrick Dempsey
Even if Chris Noth didn't approve of Carrie's lifestyle on Sex and the City, Big (aka Mr. Big) could give Carrie a run for her money on the promiscuous scale. His presence, his voice, his whole Je Ne Sais Quoi made him the one that Carrie just couldn't get past. Nor could most of the audience. In real life, few would kick Chris Noth out of bed for eating crackers, but he will never be sexier than his time as the wonderfully titled Big.
Also Rankedsee more on Chris Noth
Adam Driver still has enough leftover heat from Girls that we'll almost forgive him for (SPOILER) killing (LAST WARNING) Han Solo; however, the former marine had a few things working against him on his road to sex-symbol status. Mr Driver started his acting career considerably later than his peers, and his face isn't, um, traditionally handsome.
Not to mention that in season one, his character Adam Sackler might have been the creepiest boyfriend in the history of TV. Cut to a few seasons later, and Adam Driver still has the ability to make millennials swoon, even when slicing up his own dad.
Also Rankedsee more on Adam Driver