This week’s Top 10 list is an original topic that has a TON of possible choices. The topic is the Top 10 TV Actors Turned Movie Stars. I sat down and started making my list and I just ripped off nearly 20 actors. I had to reorder #3-10 a couple of times.
I was a huge TV guy before I started watching as many films as I did, even though it has flipped since. Some of my choices may not be as big of stars today, but they were huge in their time.
In order to be considered a TV actor, the actor needed to be a regular on a show. Guest starring appearances will not be considered. And it does say Movie STARS.
#10. Michael J. Fox. Michael does not do much any more because of his health situation, but it cannot be denied that he was one of the biggest stars of all time thanks to his Back to the Future trilogy. Coming from Family Ties, Fox exploded into the past with Doc Brown. Fox had other fun movies but none ever struck the same cord as Marty McFly in Back to the Future, considered by some to be a perfect movie.
#9. Chris Hemsworth. This might be a bit of a cheat, but I wanted to include Hemsworth. He appeared on the Australian soap opera Home & Away before coming to the states and becoming our God of Thunder, Thor in the MCU. Hemsworth actually started in Cabin in the Woods, but delays caused that film to come out after Thor. Hemsworth has shown his overall skills as Thor, both comedic and serious. He has not yet found that second major film franchise, but what else do you need?
#8. John Travolta. Starting off on Welcome Back Kotter as Vinnie Barbarino, John Travolta has been in some of the best movies of the last thirty years. Pulp Fiction, Michael, Phenomenon, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, The General’s Daughter, Primary Colors, Get Shorty, and Look Who’s Talking. Unfortunately for John, he has been in some of the worst of the decade too. Still, he is charming and always engaging and deserved of a spot on this list.
#7. Eddie Murphy. One of the only actors on this list from SNL, Eddie Murphy was one of the biggest stars ever for a stretch of time. 48 Hours, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America were just a few of his early string of massive hits. Murphy went away for awhile, but he returned this past year with a vengeance in Dolemite is my Name.
#6. Ryan Reynolds. Appearing on Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, Reynolds became a huge star in the movies. His ultimate claim to fame in this space was his work as Wade Wilson, Deadpool. Deadpool does not get made without Ryan Reynolds’ dedication and perseverance. Reynolds was the perfect actor to bring the Merc with a Mouth to the big screen and I truly hope they find a way to bring both Deadpool and Reynolds into the MCU.
#5. Denzel Washington. I never watched St. Elsewhere, but I have huge respect for Denzel from the movies. He is one of the best actors of our generation and never fails to be at his very best. Even if the movie is subpar, Denzel is giving it his all and is always the best part of the film. Remember the Titans, Inside Man, Crimson Tide, Philadelphia, Malcolm X, Unstoppable, Flight, Fences, The Bone Collector would be just some of his classics.
#4. Will Smith. Will Smith, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, has maybe not had as many huge hits as some of the others on this list, but he is one of the most likable actors around. And it is not as if he has not had his share of awesome films such as Independence Day, Enemy of the State, Aladdin, Men in Black, Bad Boys for Life, Ali, Concussion, Hancock, I Am Legend, The Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds, and Spies in Disguise. Again, sure he has had his stinkers, but Will Smith is such a star that you still love him despite After Earth or Gemini Man.
#3. Tom Hanks. I loved Bosom Buddies. I was excited to see Tom Hanks make the move to the big screen. He had several low level films to start, but Big made Hanks a superstar. Now, there are few actors in Hollywood today more respected than Hanks. He is another actor who you know will bring his best no matter what the film is. Two-time Academy Award winner, Hanks has played real life Captain Phillips, Fred Rogers, Walt Disney and Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. From Forrest Gump to Woody to Jim Lovell, Hanks has created iconic characters in all kinds of different films. Hanks was the number one actor on the Top Ten list, but I do have two that are more conencted to me than he is.
#2. Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis was on one of my all-time favorite TV show, Moonlighting. I was obsessed with Moonlighting, desperate to see it each week when it would come out. Then, he starred in one of my all-time favorite movies, Die Hard. Those two projects alone would secure him a spot on this list for me. However, Willis has had a ton of other great movies too including The Sixth Sense, Pulp Fiction, Sin City, Unbreakable, Glass, Bandits, The Fifth Element, 12 Monkeys, and Looper. Sure, Bruce has a reputation for phoning in a performance if he is not interested and he may be difficult to work with, but he will always be David Addison and John McClane for me and that is enough.
#1. Robin Williams. “I am Mork from Ork, nanoo, nanoo.” Mork from Ork appeared first on Happy Days and then was spun off into his own show, Mork and Mindy. I absolutely loved Robin Williams. Mork and Mindy was one of my favorite shows and would still be in my top 10 TV shows list. The energy of Robin Williams exploded off the screen. It was clear that the small screen would not be able to handle him. Robin Williams may have had his share of clunkers as well, but he was such a beloved figure and he was so hectically funny that you always came back for more. From Good Morning Vietnam to Mrs. Doubtfire, from his villainous turn in One Hour Photo and Insomnia, from his dramatic work in Good Will Hunting, and his iconic voice-over work as the Genie in Aladdin, Robin Williams was an unbelievable performer and actor with an unexpected range of talent. His death hit me harder than any celebrity death I can recall.
Honorable Mentions: There are a bunch. Johnny Depp made the original version of my list at ten, but he got bumped in the final copy. Morgan Freeman has been in so many classic films. Leonardo DiCaprio is an amazing actor, but I am not a huge fan. Melissa McCarthy was under consideration. Bill Murray was another one that made the original list only to be bumped in the end. Clint Eastwood had a great career in movies, both as an actor and a director. George Clooney was huge on ER and only went bigger after leaving. John Goodman on Roseanne was one of the best characters on TV but he never became a leading star. He was always excellent though. Jim Carrey is another one whom I like but do not love.