Judging people based on their height can be reductionist – pardon the pun – but it’s still interesting to see how our impressions of people are altered when we know how many inches of space they occupy, vertically speaking. When we see celebrities on the big screen or on stage, they invariably appear exalted and larger than life. That’s why it can be particularly shocking to realize that these famous individuals are often much shorter than the camera makes them appear.
The average height of an American man is around 5 feet 10 inches. All of the following fall below that average. Though women deal with a lot of criticism for a variety of issues, one thing that the world does excuse for them is their height. Women are, on average, of a shorter stature than men so females of diminutive height are rarely commented upon. Men, however, can come in for quite a bit of ridicule for their height, if they fall below a certain standard. But many shorter male stars have shown a disregard for the stigma, and have proudly dated taller – even much taller – women. Tom Cruise famously married Katie Holmes and Nicole Kidman, who were a full 2 and 4 inches taller than him respectively.
To point out these stars’ statures isn’t to mock them; it can, in fact, serve to combat the assumption that to be tall is a necessary condition to fit the archetype of male success. These stars prove that height hardly matters, especially in the face of impressive talent and worldwide success. These stars demonstrate that fame, charisma, and even sex appeal aren’t reserved for those men over six feet.
10. Kanye West (5’8)
Kanye West is an infamous American rapper, songwriter, and producer. ‘Yeezy’ talks such a big game – stating, “I am a God,” in one of his more modest moments – that one might be surprised that he’s only 5’8. As a youngster, West was raised in a middle-class household in Chicago, Illinois. He started rapping and writing poetry as early as the third grade, and later dropped out of art school in the 90s to pursue his music career full-time. The huge success of his first album, College Dropout, in 2004 proved this choice to be a fruitful one. Since then, his career has taken off; in fact, West is one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time and has won an impressive total of 21 Grammys. Maybe it makes sense that he’s so cocky, then…
9. Usher (5’7)
Usher is an American singer, songwriter, and dancer from Dallas, Texas. He has sold about 30 million albums worldwide. He first rose to fame in the late 1990s when his album My Way hit stores – eventually winding up certified 4-times platinum by the RIAA. Usher’s 2004 album Confessions sold over 10 million copies in the United States alone. It contained such hits Burn, My Boo, and Yeah! In fact, Confessions has the highest first week sales for an R&B artist in history. He has also won two Grammy Awards. No matter that he’s on the shorter side, he was ranked #47 on VH1’s Sexiest Artists.
8. Tom Cruise (5’7)
Few people haven’t heard of Tom Cruise. At 5’7, he’s not all that small, but much has been made of his noticeably shorter stature relative to his former wives Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes. He’s been nominated for three Academy Awards and has won three Golden Globes. Cruise’s career took off after his performance as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Top Gun (1986) and he has since starred in many successful films such as A Few Good Men (1992), Minority Report (2002), and War of the Worlds (2005). Cruise has remained in the spotlight for many years with little reprieve. In 2006, Forbes ranked him the world’s most powerful celebrity. In 2012, Cruise was Hollywood’s highest paid actor! He has also become well-known for his affiliation with the Church of Scientology and its social programs.
7. Jon Stewart (5’6)
Jon Stewart is best known for his gig on The Daily Show. From behind his desk one might not know the political satirist, writer, and comedian is only 5’6. Before he was famous, Stewart worked a number of interesting jobs. Among them, a puppeteer for children with disabilities, a soccer coach, a busboy, and a bartender. In 1986, Stewart returned to New York City and pursued a career on the comedy circuit. The Daily Show, which he has hosted since 1999, and has won 19 Emmy Awards! Even though the show has never claimed to be anything more than comedic satire, it also has been nominated for news and journalism awards. TDS won two Peabody Awards for its election coverage specials entitled “Indecision 2000” and “Indecision 2004,” respectively.
6. Lil Wayne (5’6)
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr – or, Lil Wayne – is an American hip-hop recording artist from New Orleans, Louisiana. At 5’6, he lives up to his stage name. In 1991, Lil Wayne joined Cash Money Records at the age of nine, making him the youngest member of the label. In 2005, Wayne founded Young Money Entertainment and is the company’s CEO. He released one of his most successful albums, I Am Not A Human Being, in 2010 while he was incarcerated and serving an eight-month sentence. In 2012, Lil Wayne surpassed Elvis Presley as the male with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 List.
5. Dustin Hoffman (5’5)
Hoffman’s career took off after he appeared as the lead character, Benjamin Braddock, in the classic movie The Graduate. Professionally, Hoffman has been known for taking on difficult roles, such as a crippled hustler in Midnight Cowboy (1969), an actor pretending to be a woman in Tootsie (1982), and a man with autism in Rain Man (1988). Hoffman has disclosed that he began acting because he did not want to go into work or service; turns out he’s not too shabby at it. Indeed, he has won two Academy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards. In 2012, he won a prestigious Kennedy Center Honors Award, granted for “elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world.”
4. Bruno Mars (5’5)
Bruno Mars is only 5’5 – but we should tell him he’s amazing just the way he is. From Honolulu, Hawaii, Mars is a singer-songwriter, record producer, and choreographer. His debut studio album – including such hits as “The Way You Are” and “Grenade” – received seven Grammy Award nominations; his second album won a Grammy. Over the course of his career, Bruno Mars has sold more than 11 million albums and 68 million singles worldwide! His talent runs in the family; he has stated that everyone in his family plays instruments and sings. Interestingly, as a child Mars spent time impersonating Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, and Little Richard, all of whom rank among his main musical influences. Part of Mars’ appeal is his ability to write modern hit songs with frequent ‘retro’ flourishes.
3. Woody Allen (5’5)
Woody Allen’s career spans more than 50 years! He was raised in Brooklyn, New York. He is an actor, screenwriter, director, and comedian – and has found success in all of these facets of the performance industry. Some of his best known films are Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), and, recently, Midnight in Paris (2011). He has won four Academy Awards: three for screenwriting, and one for directing. He has more screenwriting Academy Award nominations than any other writer! In his personal life, Allen scandalized much of the public regarding his decision to end his long-time relationship with Mia Farrow in 1992 and marry his step-daughter, Soon-Yi Previn (in 1997). Allen stated on the matter, not unjustly: “the heart wants what it wants.”
2. Daniel Radcliffe (5’5)
Best known for his role as Harry Potter in the enormously popular movie version of the classic book series, Daniel Radcliffe is a British actor originally from London, England. Radcliffe was cast in the role of Harry when he was only 11, and has since become a celebrity in his own right. Some mock him for his short stature, especially given that the fictional character he famously portrayed, Potter, was due to go through an impressive growth spurt around the age of 15; but with an estimated personal fortune of around 14 million pounds, one might assume Radcliffe isn’t fazed by such tedium. While he is best known as the boy who lived, Radcliffe has also flourished as a stage actor; he appeared in the New York and London productions of Equus in 2007, and in the Broadway revival of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in 2011.
1. Danny DeVito (5’0)
Danny DeVito has always been known for being shorter than most but few realise just how teeny tiny this Hollywood icon really is – he stands at only 5 feet tall. But this has made no difference in his success as an actor; indeed, it makes him who he is. DeVito has been in many major movies including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Terms of Endearment (1983), and Get Shorty (1995). In 2006 DeVito joined the cast of the FX Network hit television show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as Frank Reynolds. In 2011, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in television. He is married to actress Rhea Perlman; they’ve been married since 1982, which is almost unheard of among Hollywood couples.