Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Greta Garbo, Tyrone Power, Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant; when people think of these names they think of classic Hollywood icons that embodied beauty, elegance, style and glamour. In short, they think of what used to be commonly identified as a ‘celebrity.’ This template remained intact within the film industry for decades, until a curious thing happened; audiences evolved from those who would accept a green screen horse and buggy ride filmed on a sound-stage, to those who demanded more realism in the growing art form. This meant not only the emergence of grittier, less fantasy-based story-lines in favor of edgy, realistic subject matter, but also saw the rise of a new kind of film star, one modeled after the average Joe, guy-next-door actor instead of an almost unnaturally good-looking movie star.
Beginning in the late 1950s on through to the 1970s, films began to reflect society at large in a much more recognizable way for filmgoers to appreciate, which included an acceptance of actors who were decidedly un-Hollywood looking. This trend has continued unabated right up to the present day, allowing any number of butter-faced thespians the opportunity to not dazzle us with their physical presence. It’s time then to take a look at the top 10 unconventional looking celebrities.
10) Steve Buscemi
With teeth only a mare could love and a facial structure that seems to have been designed along a fault line, Steve Buscemi literally embodies the new era of film stars that includes those who were formerly found only in circus sideshows. There is no denying his impressive body of work that has highlighted his considerable talent, but there is also no denying he looks like an old punching bag. Undaunted however, Steve has been instrumental in paving the way for a number of younger, similarly afflicted young actors to follow in his imposing footsteps.
9) Sarah Jessica Parker
Oy; her assistants should be traveling everywhere with sugarcubes and a bag of apples. Sarah Jessica Parker is one of those geeky, girl next door, precocious teenage stars that blossomed into an oddly sexy but not actually attractive grown woman. This didn’t stop her from carving a niche as the archetypical modern, feminist, sophisticated, fashionable woman about town, first on television and then in films, who strives for true love amidst the minefield of casual hookups and stuck-in-a-rut relationships and somehow does it all in stylish clothes no one you know could ever afford. And she’s still the fastest actress over a mile and a quarter.
8) DJ Qualls
With a name that seems perfectly in keeping with his unusual appearance, DJ Qualls is a young man who has made himself the epitome of a Hollywood character actor, almost exclusively by virtue of his looking like a cross between Homo Erectus and a Furby. This has clearly posed no obstacle for DJ who is blessed with a particular talent for physical comedy, and in fact has likely contributed enormously to his success on film. Which may only serve to prove that a huge chunk of the planet may actually be going blind.
7) Lyle Lovett
Okay, we all like the guy, but what the Hell? A successful musician and actor, Lovett is frequently mistaken for the guy Julia Roberts married while apparently high on mescaline. Not content merely to have a face that sank a thousand ships, LL also adopted a unique hairstyle based seemingly on an M.C. Escher lithograph. Say what you will, dude has a certain Ozark Mountain chic that is enduring and has made Lyle Lovett a quirky standout among the supposedly beautiful people.
6) Whoopi Goldberg
Now, there’s really no easy way to say this; Whoopi is……well…..Whoopi. Whoopi Goldberg. She is an actress, comedienne and talk show host. Her name is Whoopi Goldberg and she has won an Academy Award. For many years she has been one of the hosts of the popular daytime talk show The View. She is very outspoken and is known for her progressive opinions. She wears a lot of clothes you would usually see on your Uncle Bert. In fact, she looks a lot like your Uncle Bert. But don’t let that fool you; Whoopi don’t play.
5) Adrien Brody
My man gets much respect for his carpe diem moment at the Oscars with Halle Berry; planting a serious smacker on Storm, who seemed legitimately startled, is as close as the Brodster was ever going to get. Already proven to be as gifted at screwball comedy as intense drama, Mr. Brody is making a face for himself with distinction. And what a face it is; dude looks like as a baby he got sucker punched by Mike Tyson and is still a playa; don’t you wish you’d thought of that?
4) Linda Hunt
Her first screen role was an Academy Award winning turn opposite Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver in The Year of Living Dangerously playing an Indonesian man, and Linda Hunt has continued to defy Hollywood conventions ever since. Petite by any standards and possessed with a spirited talent, Linda Hunt is certainly one of the most unique looking actresses in screen history.
3) Peter Dinklage
You have to give some credit to Peter Dinklage who was probably told more than once by all knowing agents that he was far too diminutive to be successful in Hollywood, but his talent and determination are formidable. As his star role on Game of Thrones has proven, he has a considerable female fan club for his tenacity. He’s not the only little person on television, as a dearth of reality shows can testify to, but he’s definitely among the most well-known and certainly seems to currently be the sexiest.
2) Danny Trejo
In a career stretching over 30 years, Danny Trejo has made menacing characters his stock in trade, and for good reason; he’s one tough looking hombre. Emerging from a troubled youth that included drug abuse, crime and prison, Trejo became a champion boxer and reformed himself, taking up acting purely by chance and the rest is film villain history. His most recent work in two pictures as ‘Machete’ utilized Trejo’s intimidating anti-hero stature and gave him a chance to not have to play the heavy for a change. Normally it might be a stretch to have Trejo play love scenes with the likes of Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez or Sofia Vergara, but you tell him he can’t do it, bro.
1) John C. Reilly
Reilly‘s role as a troubled troubadour in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story was one of the funniest underrated performances in recent film history, and showcased the immense talent of this character actor supreme. Equally adept at comedy or drama, JCR has an enviable resume that speaks to his expansive range, and even more impressive, he’s managed to create his successful career as a film actor all while looking like an old catcher’s mitt. Yet there’s something so warm and engaging about his appearance, like a worn out Teddy Bear, that you’re likely to see Mr. Reilly gracing the big screen for many years to come.