50 Epic Celebrity Headshots Before They Were Famous

When you see Lady Gaga's headshot, you will fall to the floor.
Harriet King June 3rd 2018 Entertainment
Everybody has to start somewhere, and the same goes for Hollywood's megastars. When it comes to acting, you have to earn your keep and prove that you're talented before anyone will take you seriously. And the best way to do that is with a good agent and a good headshot.
Even the most famous actors in the world had to fight for attention with the perfect headshots and compete with others in auditions. It's bizarre to think that major stars such as Angelina Jolie and Al Pacino ever had to hustle for acting work. But they totally did and we love looking back at the photos.
We loved taking a look back at some of our favorite actors' headshots from before they were famous and we know you will too. Just wait until you see Lady Gaga's pre-fame photo, you will fall to the floor! And don't even get us started on how gorgeous Whitney Houston looks.
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1. Denzel Washington
It's been said that Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. has the most symmetrical face in Hollywood. Going back to the start of his acting career in the mid-1970s, it is easy to see why he gained the reputation. Little known fact: Perhaps it was due to his brilliant acting in political roles over the years, but when the leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia listed the three people that they were willing to negotiate with when it came to releasing a handful of captive defense contractors, Denzel was on that list.
Whether you remember him from inspiring roles such as "Remember the Titans", or you waltzed through the underworld with his rugged characters in "Training Day" or "He Got Game", one thing is for sure: Denzel has got some decidedly impressive acting skills that are sure to keep you glued to screens big and small for years to come.
2. Paul Rudd
Unless you've purposefully skipped going to the movies for the last two decades, it's hard not to know who Paul Rudd is. Starring alongside such comedic giants as Will Ferrell in "Anchorman" or Steve Carell in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin", this New Jersey native has a knack for pulling off the "nerdy best friend" role with ease. But supporting roles are becoming a thing of the past for Rudd. More recent gigs such as "I Love You Man" (2009), "This Is 40" (2012), and "Ant-Man" (2015) have thrust him onto the big screen as the leading character.
Paul Rudd doesn't just specialize in portraying big names and blockbuster characters however. He also has a big heart. Rudd is a proud supporter of the Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY), which is a nonprofit group that supports young people who struggle with stuttering. A 2012 article in Vanity Fair magazine explains that Rudd began supporting the cause after portraying a character in a play who struggled with stuttering.
3. Amanda Seyfried
Featured in over three dozen big screen productions to-date, Amanda Seyfried actually started her acting career off on the small screen as a series regular on the soap opera "As the World Turns". Born in Pennsylvania on December 3, 1985, she was enrolled in university in the fall of 2003 but decided not to attend post-secondary after she was offered a supporting role in the movie "Mean Girls" alongside Rachel McAdams and Lindsay Lohan.
Amanda Seyfried has been featured on many "Beautiful/Hot" lists over the years. And no wonder, with her classic good looks that don't seem to change as the years go by. But she's not just a pretty face, lending her superb acting abilities to such projects as "Mamma Mia!" alongside Meryl Streep, and "Dear John", co-starring alongside Channing Tatum. In an ironic twist, Seyfried has experienced anxiety and panic attacks, and also has stage fright. Not something you'd expect from such a prolific actress. But you'd never know it watching her myriad performances on-screen!
4. Leonardo DiCaprio
Who would've thought that this baby-faced actor would become one of the most world-famous and well-known actors of our time when he first starred in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and "Romeo + Juliet"? Yet the talented Leonardo DiCaprio has stood the test of time. No longer just a handsome face that is type-cast in youthful romance stories, DiCaprio has broadened his appeal beyond movies like 1997's "Titanic" and played iconic roles alongside other well-known actors in such blockbusters as "Catch Me If You Can" (2002), "Blood Diamond" (2006), "The Departed" (2006), and "Gangs of New York" (2002).
Named Leonardo by his mother after she felt him kicking in the womb as she gazed upon a DaVinci painting while pregnant, DiCaprio's name will go down in history alongside his renaissance name-sake as one of the most prolific and captivating actors ever. Little Known Fact: As a child, he was once kicked off the set of "Romper Room" for misbehaving during filming!
5. Emma Stone
Born "Emma Jean Stone" to parents Jeffrey and Krista Stone in Scottsdale, Arizona, it's hard to believe Stone is barely emerging out of her 20's given the lengthy list of popular movies that she has headlined. Whether she's playing Gwen Stacy in one of the more recent "Spider-Man" flicks, or a more off-beat type of character such as Wichita in 2009's "Zombieland", her ability to entertain us as an actress is without question.
In the last half-decade, she's garnered spots on "Top 100" lists in Forbes and Time magazines and been nominated for a number of accolades including the BAFTA Rising Star Award, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. It seems that both making millions and making our night at the movies come naturally to Ms. Stone. Hers is a star that is certainly one to watch as her career and acting abilities are only poised to get better!
6. Marisa Tomei
One look at this photo, taken early in Marisa Tomei's career, and it's hard to believe this Brooklyn-born actress is in her early 50s - it's like she's barely aged at all in over three decades of acting! Marisa gained international notoriety after her 1992 appearance in the hit movie "My Cousin Vinny". it was for this role that she ended up receiving an Academy Award for Best Actress. The rest of the 90s and early-2000s saw her appear in a multitude of roles in popular films alongside other A-List Hollywood celebrities.
In more recent roles, she's played the iconic "Aunt May" as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in both "Captain America: Civil War" (2016) and "Spider-Man: Homecoming" (2017). Whether Marisa is portraying the stripper/romantic-interest of Mickey Rourke's character in "The Wrestler" (2008), or one of her earlier parts on such popular 1980's shows as "The Cosby Show" or "As The World Turns", Ms. Tomei is sure to turn heads.
7. Jennifer Aniston
Who can forget the iconic face of Jennifer Aniston as she played Rachel Green on the hit television sitcom "Friends"? It seems that acting has been in her blood from an early age, being the daughter of parents John Aniston and Nancy Dow, both accomplished actors in their own right.
But before she was earning $1 million an episode as everyone's favorite coffee house companion alongside Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer, Aniston was nearly destined to become a footnote in Hollywood history. Depressed over a string of unsuccessful television shows, she was encouraged to continue acting by the head of NBC entertainment during an encounter at a Los Angeles gas station. A few months later, she was cast in her iconic role for "Friends" and the rest is, as they say, history! Her story of failure to succeed as an actress should inspire anybody to never give up on their dreams!
8. Jennifer Lawrence
It's easy to claim that Jennifer Lawrence's fame and fortune are a result of her amazing beauty. But you would be underestimating this Indian Hills, Kentucky native's ability to impress both off-screen and on-screen. After a talent scout spotted 14-year-old Lawrence while she was in New York City, she landed a handful of movie roles before starring as Mystique in 2011's "X-Men: First Class".
Lawrence's fame continued to grow when she starred as the leading character Katniss Everdeen in the popular "Hunger Games" film series from 2012-2015, based on the trilogy of dystopian novels written by American writer Suzanne Collins. This role gave Lawrence the title of highest-grossing action heroine of all time. In total, her films have grossed over $5-billion in worldwide box office sales. But don't let this gorgeous headshot fool you: Lawrence is a commercially successful actress that also has both the intelligence and the acting talent to go along with her world-famous good-looks.
9. Jensen Ackles
Born March 1, 1978 in Dallas Texas, Jensen Ackles is best known for his role as Dean Winchester on the fantasy-horror series "Supernatural". But before he was chasing ghosts and demons and saving his brother Sam (played by Jared Padalecki) from paranormal peril, Ackles was earning nominations for Daytime Emmy Awards for his role as Eric Brady on "Days of Our Lives".
Jensen has also starred on the hit show "Smallville" as Jason Teague, and had a run on "Dawson's Creek" during its final season on the WB network. Prior to going all-in with his acting career, Ackles was planning to attend Texas Tech University as a sports medicine major with the goal of becoming a physical therapist. Now, instead of providing physical therapy to athletes, he specializes in providing theatrical therapy to viewers on the small-screen. Fun Fact: He's also a co-owner of "Family Business Beer Company", a brewery based out of his home-state of Texas.
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10. Bill Murray
We would need a lot more paragraphs to even begin to touch on all the movie masterpieces that Bill Murray has been a part of over his four decades as one of Hollywood's most recognized actors. Just the mention of "Bill Murray" brings a flood of movie titles and roles to mind: "Caddyshack" (1980), "Ghostbusters" I and II (1984 and 1989), "Groundhog Day" (1993), and so many more!
Now in his late-60s, Bill Murray is best known for his deadpan brand of comedic delivery, as well as being a recognizable face on bumper stickers all over North America. But little did you know that this Hollywood A-Lister was once arrested and convicted for attempting to smuggle 10 pounds of cannabis on his 20th birthday on a flight from Chicago's O'Hare Airport. And the reason he got caught? He joked to the passenger beside him that he was smuggling drugs! Good thing he decided to put his talent for cracking jokes to better use as an actor!
11. Alec Baldwin
Before he won a Primetime Emmy for his portrayal of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, Alec Baldwin was making a name on screens both big and small. From 2006 to 2013, Baldwin was honored as the male performer with the most Screen Actors Guild awards for his role as Jack Donaghy on the hit NBC show "30 Rock". But the memorable performances go as far back as the early 1980s. His roles in "Beetlejuice" (1988) and "The Hunt for Red October" (1990, alongside Sean Connery) would make him a household name for the coming decades.
While he's aged a bit since this early headshot was taken, Baldwin still retains the charm and iconic smile that make his characters an integral part of any project he's on. Want to know a couple of little-known facts about Alec Baldwin? First, he's a columnist for The Huffington Post. Second, during his three-year tenure as spokesperson for Capital One, he donated nearly all of his $15-million in earnings (minus taxes and fees) to charity!
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12. Winona Ryder
The stunning Winona Ryder is one of those actresses that seems to defy time with her ageless looks over the years. Born Winona Laura Horowitz on October 29, 1971, she barely looks like her mid-40s self. If you were to put a recent picture side by side with this picture, it would be very hard to tell just how many years have passed since this early headshot of her was snapped!
Children of the 80s and 90s will recognize Ryder from her roles in Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice" (1988) and "Edward Scissorhands" (1990) where she starred alongside Johnny Depp. While her much-publicized 2001 arrest for shoplifting at a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills is the subject of much tabloid fanfare, it's good to see that her time away from the spotlight in the early-2000s has done her good and that she's kept out of trouble over the last decade.
13. Kristen Stewart
She's come a long way since she starred as Sarah Altman, the daughter of Jodie Foster's character in the 2002 film "Panic Room", but Kirsten Stewart was still barely an adult when she hit the spotlight as Bella Swan in the first of five "Twilight" movies based on the vampire-romance saga written by Stephenie Meyer. While her performances in the Twilight movies were billed as "flat" and one-dimensional and have received lackluster reviews online, Kirsten Stewart has since proven her top-notch acting chops by taking on a diverse array of roles, including 2012's "Snow White and the Huntsman".
Lately however, this Los Angeles-born actress and film director has gravitated towards more independent projects over big-budget Hollywood films. One such project, "Clouds of Sils Maria" premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival in France. She subsequently won a Cesar Award for Best Supporting Actress from the Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema for the role.
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14. Christina Applegate
Who can forget Kelly Bundy on the FOX sitcom "Married... with Children"? Especially with that 1980s head of hairspray! Christina Applegate has been a prominent name on many projects over her 30-plus years as an actress. Born on November 25, 1971 in Hollywood, California, Applegate got an early start to her career, debuting in the 1979 film "Jaws of Satan" at only seven years of age.
Since the turn of the millennium, Applegate is best known for her iconic role as Ms. Veronica Corningstone in "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" (2004) and "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" (2013) alongside co-star Will Ferrell. She has also guest-starred in two episodes of "Friends" as Amy Green, sister to Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel Green, in seasons nine (2002) and ten (2003). A little-known fact: Applegate is also a breast-cancer survivor. Thankfully, she's been deemed cancer-free after undergoing treatment in August, 2008.
15. Robert Downey Jr.
When you think of cool Hollywood stars, it's hard not to come up with a list that doesn't include Robert Downey Jr. From portraying billionaire tech-whiz Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, RDJ has been on a high-flying (and well-paying) ride since the early-2000s. In fact, between 2012 and 2015, Forbes magazine named him Hollywood's highest-paid actor. In the 12 months between just June 2014 and 2015 alone, he earned a whopping $80 million!
But it wasn't always big pay days and big blockbuster - for a number of years, Downey was in and out of rehab for addictions to cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. At one point, he even waltzed into a neighbor's home and passed out on one of the beds while under the influence of drugs. Fast forward past that dark time in Downey's life, and you'll find a committed, dedicated, and passionate professional who takes his craft (and his personal disciplines and convictions) very seriously.
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16. Jim Carey
This headshot of a young Jim Carey might have been taken around the time he wrote himself a check for $10,000,000 for "acting services rendered". As the story goes, Carey was a struggling actor in Hollywood and decided to use the "Law of Attraction" in order to manifest opportunities to pursue his dream as a successful actor. He wrote out a check for $10 million, and kept it in his wallet, looking at it regularly and with passion and faith, even when things got tough. As he told Oprah during an interview on the Oprah Winfrey show in February, 1997, he eventually ended up manifesting precisely what he sought: Seven years later from the date he wrote that check, he received a $10,000,000 payment for his role in "Dumb and Dumber".
Nowadays, you'll find Carey working in his art studio doing paintings and political cartoons. And if you're lucky enough to hail from his home country of Canada, you might find one of the commemorative stamps with his face on it that CanadaPost commissioned in 2014!
17. Alexis Bledel
Born Kimberly Alexis Bledel on September 16, 1981 in Houston, Texas, you wouldn't initially think Alexis's heritage includes a large Central American influence, especially given her fame as Rory Gilmore in the "Gilmore Girls" series from 2000 to 2007. However, both her mother Nanette and father Martin grew up in Latin America. As a result, Bledel was raised in a Spanish-speaking household and did not learn English until she began school.
Little-Known Fact: Bledel was shy as a child. In order to help her overcome this shyness, her mother Nanette encouraged her to participate in the local community theatre. After appearing in local productions such as "The Wizard of Oz", Bledel was scouted at a shopping mall and began her career in the spotlight as a fashion model. Who knows where she'd be or if we would have this headshot of her had her mother not been so encouraging?
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18. Zach Galifianakis
While it might take an extra moment to get the spelling of his last name correct, it doesn't take more than a split second to recognize the memorable face of Zach Galifianakis. Born on October 1, 1969 in Wikesboro, North Carolina, this picture of Zachary Knight Galifianakis was taken before his roles in "The Hangover" trilogy were well-known. More recently, he's become internet-famous for his interviews on the "Funny or Die" website, entitled "Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis". Zach has interviewed popular celebrities, and even President Barack Obama and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Three bits of trivia about Zach the next time he's the topic of your dinner party conversation: He owns a farm in North Carolina, his wife Quinn Lundberg was born in Edmonton, Canada, and lastly (this one hits you right in the feels), Zach befriended a homeless elderly woman in Santa Monica and ended up renting an apartment for her to live in. What a great guy!
19. Chris Pratt
Hollywood heart throb Christopher Michael Pratt was born on June 21, 1979. And despite his "soft" figure in his role as Andy Dwyer on the NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation" (2009 - 2015), this early headshot is proof that Chris Pratt was slim and sexy even before he became famous. Pratt's character was actually meant to be temporary, but producers of the show appreciated his contribution so much that they made him an offer to be a regular on the series.
While working on Parks and Rec, Pratt gained close to 40 pounds, which he blamed on the cooking of actress Anna Faris, whom he was dating at the time. He had put on so much weight, that when he auditioned to play the role of a professional baseball player in the 2011 film "Moneybag" alongside Brad Pitt, producers told him he was too fat. Not taking no for an answer, Pratt underwent a fitness transformation that caused much sensation on social media. When he reached out to the casting director again with a photo of his new figure, Pratt won the part!
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20. Kerry Washington
Kerry Marisa Washington was born on January 31, 1977 in the Bronx, New York City. While she has starred in many notable roles over the years, such as "Ray" (2004) alongside Jamie Foxx, and Quentin Tarantino's 2012 film "Django Unchained", Washington's more recent claim to fame is her role as lawyer/political strategist/crisis management expert Olivia Pope in the ABC series "Scandal".
Little-Known Fact about Kerry Washington: While growing up in the Bronx in the 1990s, she took dancing lessons from a teacher named Larry Maldonado. At Maldonado's studio, a substitute teacher named Jennifer would occasionally teach her dance classes. But one day, her new teacher Jennifer ended up leaving for Los Angeles to be on a TV show. This Jennifer that taught Kerry how to dance? Was none other than Jennifer Lopez...or J-Lo!
21. George Clooney
Born George Timothy Clooney on May 6, 1961, this Lexington, Kentucky native now calls Sonning Eye, Oxfordshire, England his home along with his wife, British human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. Clooney's acting career began in the late 1970s, but it wasn't until he was cast as Dr. Doug Ross on the medical drama "ER" from (1994 - 1999) that he became a household name. Clooney leveraged his small-screen fame to big-screen projects, such as the 1997 film "Batman & Robin" and 1999's "Three Kings".
His list of recent Hollywood projects is long indeed, but some of the most notable are the "Ocean's Eleven" series ("Eleven" in 2001, "Twelve" in 2004, and "Thirteen" in 2007). But if you're interested in a less well-known Clooney flick, you may enjoy watching the quirky 2008 film "Burn After Reading". Regardless of what Clooney movie you come across, it's sure to be a great one!
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22. Gretchen Mol
Gretchen Mol, like many actors and actresses, was spotted by a talent scout while she was working a mundane job. In this case, as a hat check girl in a New York restaurant. This started her down the path of first, modelling, then later acting. While she has appeared in over 30 feature films, her major roles have been somewhat sporadic.
In more recent years, Mol has had a recurring role on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" series as Gillian Darmody. Despite the ups and downs of her career, Mol has learned to stay positive. When asked in an interview how she maintains her confidence, she's been quoted as saying: "It is an ongoing struggle....sometimes you have (it) and sometimes you don't. And the older you get, hopefully, the more you have some tools to at least fake it."
23. Angelina Jolie
With one of the most recognizable faces in show business, it would be easy to focus on the many acting accolades that Angelina Jolie has racked up over the years. Instead, it's important to shed light on her efforts outside of her acting career. While filming "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" in Cambodia in 2001, Jolie had her eyes opened to the lives of millions upon millions of human beings that live in war-torn and impoverished countries. As a result of this experience, she contacted the United Nations and began visiting refugee camps the world over.
Jolie has since gone on dozens of field missions in over 30 countries. When asked why she spends much of her time outside of acting in the service of refugees, she's been quoted as saying she hopes to bring "awareness to the plight of these people..." Jolie has even gone so far as to obtain her private pilot license and owns two private airplanes to assist in her efforts to fly aid workers and food supplies to hot spots in need of support. Say what you will, but Angelina Jolie is so much more than just a pretty face!
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24. Dolly Parton
Now in her early 70s, Dolly Parton is still a busy and active show business professional. Beginning her career back in 1959 as a child performer singing on local radio, she moved to music mecca Nashville, Tennessee in 1964 on the day after she graduated high school. After success as a singer and songwriter, she moved into television roles and eventually into major motion picture roles in the 1970s and 1980s.
Her accomplishments make quite the long list, but a few highlights of her enduring career are: Induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1999), an honorary doctorate degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee (1990), and having the distinction of receiving 46 Grammy Award nominations, which ties her for the most Grammy nominations with Bruce Springsteen. With such a long career, it's no surprise that her net worth is estimated at being over $500 million dollars! Little-Known Fact: Dolly Parton is the godmother of singer/actress Miley Cyrus.
25. Anna Kendrick
Born Anna Cooke Kendrick on August 9, 1985 in Portland, Maine, Anna Kendrick started her acting career as a child by auditioning for live theatre roles in New York City. After being cast as Jessica Stanley in the vampire-romance series "Twilight" in 2008, her major motion picture career took off. In 2009, she starred alongside Hollywood heavy weight George Clooney in "Up in the Air" as an eager but naive post-secondary graduate tasked with helping Clooney's character in giving guidance to recently laid-off corporate employees.
More recently, Kendrick has been featured in a leading role in the "Pitch Perfect" series of movies, about a group of college a cappella singers. She has also lent her talents to other popular shows, such as "Saturday Night Live", and "Family Guy" as a voice-actress. In 2016, she published a memoir entitled "Scrappy Little Nobody". Well, she may be scrappy, but Anna Kendrick certainly is NOT a nobody!
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26. Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck may be his stage name, but to his parents and childhood friends, he's known as Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt. Nobody would blame him for trading a full name like that for a quicker moniker to write down during auditions! Ben Affleck began his acting career as a child in the mid-1980s. It wasn't until the 1990s, however, that he hit his stride as an up-and-coming professional actor. 1993's "Dazed and Confused", 1999's "Dogma", and 1997's classic hit "Good Will Hunting" thrust Affleck into the spotlight, where he's remained ever since.
Not only is he an accomplished actor having appeared in more than 50 films, Ben Affleck also has credits as a director, writer or co-writer, and producer throughout his career. Affleck also won the 2004 California State Poker Championship, which earned him prize money of over $350,000 and a qualifying spot on the 2004 World Poker Tour final tournament.
27. Chris Noth
Sure, he was Detective Mike Logan on "Law & Order" in the 1990s. And you may recognize him as Peter Florrick from "The Good Wife" (2009 - 2016). But we all know Chris Noth best as 'Big' from the hit HBO series "Sex and the City" and the blockbuster movies the show spawned. With good looks and an amazing head of hair like this, it's no wonder that Sarah Jessica Parker's character Carrie Bradshaw fell in love with the cigar-smoking, high-powered New York businessman.
Born Christopher David Noth on November 13, 1964 in Madison, Wisconsin, an interesting highlight in his early acting career includes a starring role in a low-budget film in Indonesia. Noth earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale School of Drama in 1985 and is noted to having studied under famed acting coach Sanford Meisner. It seems higher education in your field pays off, if Chris Noth's story is any example!
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28. Frances McDormand
Frances Louise McDormand wasn't always known by her now-famous actress name. She was actually born Cynthia Ann Smith on June 23, 1957. After graduating from Bethany College in West Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre in 1979, McDormand went on to study at Yale School of Drama. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1982 (just a few years before our previous headshot superstar, Chris Noth in 1985). And like Noth, Frances McDormand's commitment to higher education in the field of acting paid off well.
She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1988's "Mississippi Burning". And in 1996, she was nominated for, and won, the Academy Award for Best Actress after playing the role of police chief Marge Gunderson in the movie "Fargo". In more recent projects, she co-stars along with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and John Malkovich in the 2008 film "Burn After Reading". And in 2011, she starred alongside John Malkovich again in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon".
29. Zachary Quinto
It's hard to believe Zachary Quinto isn't still in his 20s like this headshot would suggest. In fact, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native was born on June 2, 1977, making him over 40 years old! While he appeared in many television roles early in his career, it wasn't until he was cast as serial killer Sylar in the NBC drama "Heroes" that he became a familiar face on the small-screen.
Then, at the 2007 Comic-Con in San Diego, it was announced that Quinto would be starring as a young Spock in the J.J. Abrams remake of the "Star Trek" film franchise. Those who have seen Quinto's work in this and other projects, know that he's very deserving of the praise he receives for his acting skills. In fact, none other than the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, had the final say in who would portray his iconic character in the new reboot of the 1960s television hit.
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30. Melissa McCarthy
She's witty. She's funny. She's even played White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on more than a few episodes of Saturday Night Live. Who could this laugh-inducing comedian be? None other than Melissa McCarthy. Born on August 26, 1970 in Plainfield, Illinois, McCarthy has been active in her career as an actress, comedian, writer, and producer since the late-1990s. She became a household name during her time on the set of "Gilmore Girls".
In recent years, this talented woman has been ranked by Forbes as one of the highest-paid actresses on their lists. Her earnings have topped between $23 million and $33 million in both 2015 and 2016 respectively. And it's no surprise, given all her hard work. She even has her own fashion line! Trivia Fact: Melissa McCarthy is the cousin of Jenny McCarthy, Playboy model from the early 1990s.
31. Naomi Watts
Splitting her formative years between England and Australia, Naomi Watts says that while she considers herself to be British, when people ask where her home is, she says Australia. At age 18, Watts made the decision to get into modelling. But after signing with an agency that sent her to Japan, and failing to find success in the industry, she returned back home to Australia. Her acting career began when she landed small appearances in commercials in the mid-1980s. This eventually led to supporting roles, and then eventually starring roles, in larger motion pictures.
But success didn't come easy, and Watts struggled to make a name for herself when she arrived in Hollywood in the 1990s. However, she lived by the motto "work begets work" and committed to doing whatever it took to get the next part. One thing led to another, and now Naomi Watts is a familiar face on the silver screen, showing that when hard work and talent meet, good things eventually happen!
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32. Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf may have been the subject of tabloid sensation at the unravelling of his acting career of late, but as you can see from this early 1990s headshot, there was a time where this actor-turned-aspiring-rapper was filled with innocence and child-like charm. Despite his troubles with the law and with alcohol, LaBeouf's talent for acting is evident in any project he is a part of. Whether it's 2007's "Disturbia", the "Transformers" series where LaBeouf plays Sam Witwicky, or more recent projects such as "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" (2010) with Michael Dogulas, or "Fury" (2014) alongside Brad Pitt, his characters are always memorable.
Shia LaBeouf's latest project "Honey Boy" promises to be yet another memorable instance of LaBeouf showcasing his diversity as an actor. In his latest role, he is nearly unrecognizable, as his character sports overalls and a balding half-mullet haircut. Looking at his childhood headshot, who could see that coming?
33. Al Pacino
Michael Corleone in "The Godfather" Parts I, II, and III. "Dick Tracy" in 1990. "Scent of a Woman" in 1992. The cinematic adaptation of the play "Glengarry Glen Ross". Cuban refugee turned Miami drug kingpin Tony Montana in 1983's "Scarface". Donnie Branco in 1997. The list could go on and on. And the common thread on this extensive list of amazing movies over the past 30-plus years? One name: Al Pacino.
Born in East Harlem, New York City to Italian-American parents on April 25, 1940, Alfredo James Pacino was destined for movie stardom. Pacino studied method acting under Lee Strasberg at the famed Actors Studio in New York, before going on to star in some of the most memorable roles of the modern age. It's no surprise that Pacino has won what's known as the "Triple Crown of Acting" for having been awarded an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony Award for his acting.
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34. Whitney Houston
Born Whitney Elizabeth Houston on August 9, 1963, this famous singer made her acting debut alongside Kevin Costner when she played the role of singing sensation Rachel Marron in the 1992 flick "The Bodyguard". But prior to acting, she had been a successful songstress since the late 1970s. Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Houston began singing at an early age as part of the junior gospel choir at New Hope Baptist Church. But it wasn't until the 1980s after a brief stint as a fashion model, that she recorded and released her debut album and found international fame.
Before her tragic passing on February 11, 2012 at the young age of 48, she was regarded as the most awarded female recording artist of all time, having sold over 200 million albums worldwide. One thing's for sure, even though she's no longer with us, the world "Will Always Love You", Whitney!
35. Kevin Spacey
While there's no excusing the past conduct that has surfaced as of late, it still wouldn't be fair to not acknowledge the amazing acting talent of Kevin Spacey. Just a few moments of watching him in any role that he's played over his 30-plus year career and it's clearly evident that he is one of the most talented actors of our time.
Born Kevin Spacey Fowler on July 26, 1959, Spacey got his start in show business as an actor in theatre productions. This later led to supporting roles on both the small and big screens. Roles like 1995's "Seven", the strange science-fiction flick "K-PAX" (2001), the heart-wrenching tale "Pay It Forward" (2000), or more recent projects like the Netflix series "House of Cards", all showcase Spacey's amazing acting ability. Just do a quick search online to see him perform impersonations of other actors, and it's clear to see why he has headlined some of the largest movies Hollywood has put out.
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36. Jack Nicholson
With the energy and vigor he brings to his roles, it's hard to believe that Jack Nicholson is pushing early-80s! But if you don't believe he was born back on April 22, 1937, then simply put: "You can't handle the truth!" Nicholson's characters have been so iconic and have spawned many famous one-liners (see what we did there?) from his movies over the years.
Currently residing in Los Angeles, California, Nicholson was actually born as John Joseph Nicholson in Neptune City, New Jersey. Known for playing somewhat dark and rebellious characters, Nicholson began his acting career in the 1950s and hasn't looked back since. That's nearly six decades of cinematic material. In that time, he's won Golden Globes, Academy Awards, and in 1994 at the age of 57 he became one of the youngest actors ever to be bestowed with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film Institute.
37. Philip Seymour Hoffman
Drawn to acting from an early age, Philip Seymour Hoffman began his acting career shortly after graduating from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in the early 1990s. Over the years, Hoffman became well-known for his strength as a supporting actor in many movies from the 1990s and early 2000s.
More recently, you'll find Hoffman's face amongst the star-studded cast of the popular "Hunger Games" series of movies. Not content to focus on only the big screen, Hoffman's talents also drew him to the live stage as an accomplished theatre director and actor. Sadly, the drug addictions that haunted him as a young adult resurfaced in his later years. Relapsing in 2013 after many years of sobriety, Hoffman was found passed away in his Manhattan apartment on February 2, 2014. His legacy is that of a life well lived and dedicated to the mastery of his craft. Fellow actors in both film and theatre regard him as one of the most amazing acting talents of his generation.
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38. Andre Braugher
Born on July 1, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois as Andre Keith Braugher, you'll recognize this famous American actor from either his Emmy-winning role as Detective Frank Pembleton on "Homicide: Life on the Street" in the mid-1990s, or his more recent claim to fame as Captain Ray Holt in the "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" series alongside the likes of Andy Samberg and Terry Crews.
The youngest of four children, Braugher graduated from Stanford University in 1984 with a Bachelor's degree in theatre before moving on to graduate from Julliard with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1988. A little-known fact about Andre Braugher: during the NBC coverage of the Olympic Games in both 2006 and 2010, Braugher succeeded James Earl Jones as narrator for the introduction to the Olympic Games. If you've listened to his voice on a television series that he's been a part of, and wondered why it sounds so familiar, now you know!
39. Sam Rockwell
This may be hard to believe, but an unusual turn of events in his youth may have been the catalyst that led to Sam Rockwell becoming a familiar face in many Hollywood productions over the last 30-plus years. As a teenager, Rockwell dropped out of the San Francisco School of the Arts before he was able to graduate. As a result, his parents enrolled him in an alternative high school called "Urban Pioneers". Ironically, it was a school that had a reputation as being popular with stoners because it was an easy program to graduate from. And as Rockwell admits, at that age, all he wanted to do was get stoned and go to parties to flirt with girls!
He did end up receiving his high school diploma. But more importantly, during his senior year, Rockwell landed a role in an independent film which reignited his passion for performing. Straight after graduation, he moved to New York to pursue an acting career. Who knew that his passion for performance would be "re-lit" by his penchant for parties and pot!?
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40. Bruce Campbell
Two things about Bruce Campbell come to mind when one sees this headshot from early in his career: First, who did the masterful effects with the background lighting? Second, can you recall a single project Campbell has been in outside of "The Evil Dead" and "Army of Darkness"? Just the look in his eyes alone screams "This is my boom-stick!" (If you haven't watched Army of Darkness, you are missing out on a classic!)
Campbell's acting career began early on when, as a teenager, he began making short films on Super-8 with childhood friend and now-famous producer and filmmaker Sam Raimi after they met while attending Groves High School in Beverly Hills (Michigan, not California). Fun Fact about Bruce Campbell: He happens to be an ordained minister and has actually performed wedding ceremonies as an officiant!
41. Jason Biggs
Born Jason Matthew Biggs on May 12, 1978 in Pompton Plains, New Jersey, Biggs began acting at an early age. Doing commercials as a child, he later would make his television debut on the FOX series "Drexell's Class" in the early 1990s. This eventually led to roles on both Broadway and the small screen where he starred on the daytime soap opera "As the World Turns". For this, he was nominated with an Emmy Award for Best Younger Actor.
While he wasn't without work after the American Pie movies, it wasn't until his more recent role in the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black" that Biggs came back on the radar. Interestingly, while he's commonly cast as a character that is Jewish, Biggs is actually Roman Catholic. Little Known Fact about Jason Biggs: Apart from possessing tremendous ability as an actor, he is also an accomplished tennis player.
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42. Will Arnett
Not only is he a recognizable face in such movies as "Blades of Glory" (2007), and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (2014), Arnett is also an accomplished voice actor, having leant his talents to many characters over his career. Arnett is a dual citizen of both Canada and the United States, having been born William Emerson Arnett in Toronto, Ontario on May 4, 1970. As such, he is an avid fan of both of Toronto's major sports teams: The Toronto Blue Jays of the MLB, and the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL.
After being labelled a trouble maker while attending Wakefield College School in Wakefield, Ontario, he was asked not to return after one semester. Arnett did end up graduating and receiving his high school diploma, whereupon he was encouraged by his mother to pursue a career as an actor. After auditioning for commercials while still living in Toronto, he moved to New York City in 1990 and ended up studying at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.
43. Joan Allen
You may remember Joan Allen's face from her more recent roles in the "Jason Bourne" series of movies. However, her acting career actually stretches much farther back, beginning in the late-1970s. Allen's initial roles were performing in a handful of plays while attending Eastern Illinois University alongside a young John Malkovich. She later attended Northern Illinois University where she then graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. Since then, Allen has racked up a number of stage credits for her roles in many New York theatre productions.
Little Known Fact: While attending Rochelle Township High School in the early 1970s, she was voted as "most likely to succeed". With her long list of awards, nominations, and acting credits, Joan Allen has certainly lived up to that expectation. We'd love to go to that high school reunion!
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44. David Hyde Pierce
Famous for his portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Niles Crane on NBC's sitcom "Frasier", David Pierce was born on April 3, 1959 in Saratoga Springs, New York. He is a graduate of Yale University. Upon completing his studies, he moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting. While pursuing his acting career, Pierce took on an assortment of jobs such as security guard, and retail salesman, selling ties at a Bloomingdale's store. It was during this time that he landed parts in theatre roles both on and off Broadway.
David Pierce has also provided voice talents for many popular animated films including Pixar's "A Bug's Life", and as Abe Sapien in the Guillermo del Toro flick "Hellboy". Little Known Fact about David Hyde Pierce: He's a competent organ player, having played frequently at Bethesda Episcopal Church as a youth.
45. Katy Perry
Born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson on October 25, 1984, Katy Perry actually released her first debut album under her birth name "Katy Hudson" in 2001. Unfortunately, the album did not receive much fanfare and she was eventually dropped by Island Def Jam Music Group and Columbia Records. In 2007, she ended up signing with Capitol Records and after working with producers Glen Ballard, Dr. Luke, and Max Martin, she released her second album in 2008 titled "One of the Boys" which featured the smash-hits "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot n Cold".
Her next album in 2010, entitled "Teenage Dream", would showcase five number one hits on the Billboard Top 100 charts, the only female artist to achieve this feat with singles from the same album, and only the second artist to have done so after Michael Jackson's "Bad" album. Just a quick look at this throw-back headshot of "Katy Hudson" and you'd never know this face would become one of the most successful recording artists of all time!
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46. Victoria Beckham
Seriously, it's hard to imagine this awkward-smiling young lady would grow up to be the bombshell known as "Posh Spice" a.k.a. Victoria Adams a.k.a. wife of footballer David Beckham. But grow up she did, and she came to fame early in her career alongside her Spice Girls band mates as their songs dominated the charts in the 1990s and early 2000s.
After the Spice Girls fame had begun to slow down, and the other Spice Girls left to pursue their own solo careers, Beckham went through the same transformation. But not just limiting herself to music, she also diversified her career with other entrepreneurial efforts with a fashion company that showcases both luxury lines as well as more affordable ladies wear through the Target chain of department stores. It seems through her entire adult life, she's been no stranger to wealth and luxury. After meeting David Beckham in 1997, the two were married not two years later in a wedding that was estimated to have cost over $820,000!
47. Eminem
Born Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17, 1972, the artist known as Eminem has worked tirelessly and passionately to become one of the best-selling artists in the early 2000s in the United States. His debut album, "The Slim Shady LP", is characterized by his extensive use of shocking lyricism and the use of alter egos. Anyone who knows anything in the hip hop community knows the immense amount of talent that Eminem possesses, with one famous rap-artist The Game caught on camera saying of his talent, "He's lyrically insane...y'all don't mess with the white dude."
Despite his reputation, Eminem has still been unable to avoid all controversy over his career. His own mother sued him in 1999 for $10 million claiming damages from his slanderous lyrics on his debut album. (In the end, a judge awarded her only $1,600 in damages after two years of court battles.)
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48. Lady Gaga
One look at this childhood picture of Lady Gaga and we can clearly see where some of the inspiration for her adult wardrobe comes from! Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta on March 28, 1986 in New York City, Lady Gaga is one of the most iconic and controversial artists of the modern era. Her music explores cultural and social themes, while still being commercially successful and appealing to a broad audience of listeners.
Lady Gaga is featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the best-selling recording artists in history. And there's no surprise when you consider the path she's taken to reach her success. When radio stations were reluctant to play her music, deeming it "too underground" and "racy", she responded by saying: "My name is Lady Gaga, I've been on the music scene for years, and I'm telling you, this is what's next." She was right, and the rest is history!
49. Clint Eastwood
When the name Clint Eastwood comes up, it's hard to think of one defining role, as he has so many films listed on his resume. You'd probably recall Eastwood's rugged western-characters, or as Harry Callahan in the "Dirty Harry" movies of the 1970s and 1980s. Born on May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, California, Eastwood has been an enduring Hollywood face for over sixty years.
Eastwood is not only just a talented actor. Over the decades, he's expressed his artistic ability through the roles of director and producer. Other little-known facts about Clint Eastwood? Though many of his characters over the years have smoked (specifically Toscano cigars from Italy), Eastwood abstains from both smoking and hard liquor during his personal time. And he values that personal time unlike any other; from time to time he will pilot his own helicopter to work to avoid traffic!
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50. Britney Spears
Born Britney Jean Spears on December 2, 1981 to James and Lynne Spears in McComb, Mississippi, Britney Spears burst onto the pop-music scene in 1999 with her debut album "...Baby One More Time". Her catchy tunes and well-choreographed music videos catapulted her to the top of the charts, and the top of our hearts: Do you remember the first time you heard the intro piano riff on her first single?
But like all the superstars who experience success at a young age, Spears had her share of not-so-bright moments under the spotlight. Her personal issues and erratic behavior in the early-2000s led her to take a hiatus in the mid-2000s. But you can't keep this hard-working star down for long. In recent years, Spears has secured residency in Las Vegas with a recurring show, as well as releasing a new perfume line in 2018 and fashion line in 2019. Just when you think she's done, "Oops...She did it again"!

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