Hollywood is the true land of opportunity. There are very few industries in the world that can boast such a wide variety of genders, ethnicities, religions and races, all working in tandem to make some of the best movies the world has ever seen. Even though its base is in the US, countless actors from countries all around the world have also managed to make a name for themselves here. Even though we cannot name all of them now, here is our list of the Top 10 Non US Actors to have made it big in Hollywood, over the years.
We start of this list with Laurence Olivier, who is widely considered to be the greatest actor of all time. Born in 1907 in Surrey, England, Olivier got into acting from a young age and was particularly adept at doing plays by William Shakespeare. He honed his acting skills on the West End and in British cinema, before moving to the US in 1939 for the film ‘Wuthering Heights.’ The same year he appeared in ‘Gone with the Wind’, which became the highest grossing film of all time. Laurence went on to win two Academy Awards during his career, as well.
Audrey Hepburn was born in 1929 in Brussels, Belgium, to a mother who was a Dutch Baroness and a father of English and Austrian ancestry. Her early forays in the entertainment industry came in England and the Netherlands, where she learned ballet and acting, before she appeared in her first American American Broadway production in 1951, in a play called “Gigi”. She would go on to win two Academy Awards, an Emmy Award, two Grammy Awards and even a Tony Award during the course of her career.
Yuly Borisovich Briner was born in 1920, in Vladivostok, in what is now Russia. After going through a difficult childhood, he travelled to America with his mother in 1940 and got his first job as a radio announcer. His first major acting role came in the Broadway show “The King and I” in 1951 and he went on to appear in the movie of the same name as well. For his contributions to the industry, he received two Tony Awards, in 1952 and 1985, as well as an Academy Award in 1956.
There are only a very few unlucky children in the world who did not grow up watching Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins on the big screen. Born in 1935, in Surrey, England, Andrews first found fame on the West End, which she then carried over to the US with her Broadway debut in 1954. Her first major role in Hollywood came in the 1963 Disney classic ‘Mary Poppins’ and earned her an Oscar win as well. She won two Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards and three Grammy Awards on top of that.
Michael Cain is considered a Hollywood legend and is currently its ninth highest grossing star of all time. Born in 1933, in London, England, Cain learned to act on the stage and went on to appear in several British productions, as well as television shows and movies. In 1966, he appeared in his first American film, called “Gambit” and he has since appeared in over a hundred and fifty more roles, winning two Academy Awards along the way.
Perhaps one of the greatest actors to grace the big screen, Daniel Day Lewis has completely changed what it means to be a star. Born in 1957 in London, England, in his career that spans over forty years, this great actor has only appeared in twenty movies. What sets him apart from his contemporaries however, are his three Academy Award wins, the most for an actor in a lead role.
In 2003, Charlize Theron became the only South African in history to win an Academy Award in a major acting category. Born in 1975, this rise to the top came after years spent modeling and learning ballet, before she got her first big break in the 1995 film “Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest.” She has since appeared in several other hit films and has additionally won two Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Russell Crowe was born in 1964, in Wellington, New Zealand and initially wanted to be a musician. But, thankfully, he decided to turn to acting and started by appearing in various theater productions in Australia. In 1995, he appeared in his first American film, called “The Quick and the Dead” and acted in several more, highly rated movies, before appearing in “Gladiator” in 2000. This film earned him his first and only Academy Award win, although he has additionally won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award as well.
Penélope Cruz got her first acting job at just the age of fifteen and even then she knew that this was going to be her natural calling for life. Born in 1974, in Madrid, Spain, Cruz’s rise to a world renowned Hollywood actress began in the Spanish film industry. Her first Hollywood role did not come till 1998, in the western “The Hi-Lo Country.” She has since gone on to win an Academy Award for her portrayal of a passionate divorced woman in love with her ex-husband.
Even though he is certainly not the youngest, Christoph Waltz is perhaps one of the latest editions to this list. Not many people were aware of his name before his Oscar winning performance in the popular 2009 film “Inglorious Basterds”, which he did at the age of fifty three. Before making his debut in Hollywood, Waltz, who was born in 1956, in Vienna, Austria, earned significant fame in his local film industry and starred in numerous television shows as well as movies. He has since won two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
So there you go. This is our list of the Top 10 Non US Actors to have made it big in Hollywood. Have we missed anyone? Do let us know!
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