Normally, when we think of Hollywood leading men, they are generally expected to be tall, fit and handsome. For example Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Johnny Depp, just to name a few. These actors seem to typically capture the essence of what many people consider a successful actor in Hollywood, but do good looks really determine whether an actor is successful or not?
Chances are if you crossed any of the actors on our list on the street, you probably wouldn’t give them a second glance. They aren’t beautiful and they won’t have swoons of women fighting tooth and nail for a chance to meet them. But because they are on the big screen, these average looking actors lean on their sheer acting ability which makes them memorable based on their talent as opposed to their physical appearance.
These are our top 20 picks of successful actors who prove that looks aren’t all it takes to make it big in Hollywood. These men, while not conventionally “good-looking,” are among the most successful actors in Hollywood because of their uncanny ability to win over audiences with their exceptional acting skills. Obviously stating that someone is good-looking or unattractive is subjective, so let us know what your thoughts on these actors in the comments below.
20. Michael Berryman
Berryman suffers from a rare medical condition called Hypodhidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia, which has left the tall, lean actor with no hair, fingernails, or teeth. He is probably best known for his role as “Pluto” in Wes Craven‘s horror film, The Hills Have Eyes (1977), since then he has starred in a number of horror movies over the years, mainly playing countless mutant bikers, monsters, evil undertakers and other creepy-looking characters. Berryman is a shining example of someone who is able to use his unusual looks to his advantage on the silver screen.
19. John Turturro
The tremendously talented John Turturro quite often looks unsettled and spooky, and has become a favorite in cult films due to his convincing performances in a vast range of movie genres. He’s often worked with Spike Lee and the Coen brothers and has appeared in over 60 films over his career. Despite his unconventional looks Turturro continues to appeal to audiences. Some of his most notable films are; The Big Lebowski, Do the Right Thing, and Jungle Fever.
18. Gerard Depardieu
The most prominent facial feature of Depardieu is surely his cylindrical nose. His popularity grew after starring in Bertrand Blier’s Going Places in 1974, a film that established a new kind of hero in French film. He soon became a leading French actor through the ’80s and ’90s. Some of the films he has starred in include Life of PI and Cyrano de Bergarac, for which he received an Oscar nomination. The film also won a number of awards at international film festivals.
17. Michael Cera
This curly brown haired, wide eyed and soft spoken actor broke into Hollywood with his role as George Michael Bluth in the critically acclaimed TV comedy Arrested Development. After the show’s cancellation, Cera made a successful transition into movies, starring in hits like Juno and Superbad. His roles normally consist of nerdy, awkward characters, as per his natural appearance. In 2008, he was ranked #1 on Entertainment Weekly’s 30 under 30 actors list.
16. Rob Schneider
Rob Schneider stands at 5’7″ with a petite physique, helping him accentuate his quirky brand of physical comedy, but what’s really striking about Schneider is his awful-looking hair transplant, (that alone gets him on this list). A Saturday Night Live alum, Schneider can be seen with cameo appearances in almost any movie by Adam Sandler. Some of his most successful leading roles include films like; The Hot Chick and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.
15. Robert Pattinson
I’m sure that having Robert Pattinson among this list is going to generate quite a few disagreeing remarks with the ladies. After all, he has been ranked one of the sexiest actors alive in almost every celebrity magazine that there is out there! (Especially in 2008 when the Twilight franchise was at its prime). I’m sorry ladies, I just don’t see the sex appeal here, other than perhaps a slight attraction to Edward, the dark and broody character he played in the vampire saga. Other than that, Pattinson’s physique is that of a lanky man, one with messy hair and extremely thick eyebrows.
14. Jeff Goldblum
Standing at a staggering 6’4 with a slender build and bulging eyes, it’s safe to say he isn’t the most charming looking actor, but despite this, Jeff Goldblum is known for his quirky roles in films like the cult classic, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension in 1984. He then went on to star in his breakthrough role in David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly. It wasn’t until the ’90s that he appeared in some of the biggest blockbusters of that decade, movies including; Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Independence Day.
13. Brad Garrett
Funnyman Brad Garrett stands at a whopping 6′ 8″ tall and has a prominent deep, echoing voice. He was noticed back in 1984 when he won the grand prize of $100,000 in the comedy category on Star Search which later led to his appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. His career really took off after his appearance there, and he soon began opening with his stand-up for legends like Liza Minnelli, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, David Copperfield and The Beach Boys. It wasn’t until 1996 when he really struck gold landing the role of Robert on Everybody Loves Raymond.
12. John C. Reilly
John C. Reilly got his big break with a small role in the Vietnam War movie Casualties of war in 1989. Director Brian De Palma was so impressed with his work that Reilly was recast with a major role in the film. Over the years, he’s created an impressive range of roles, stemming from lovable, good natured minor characters to dramatic leading male roles. Reilly has acted in Blockbuster films like Days of Thunder, Magnolia and Boogie Nights.
11. Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi is now a highly respected actor in Hollywood. In 1997, he was ranked #52 in Empire magazine’s Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time. Some of his most popular roles have been in movies like; Reservoir Dogs, Fargo and The Big Lebowski. The actor has a slender frame and somewhat bulging blue eyes. He normally picks characters who are fast talkers or mixed up in some sort of crime. In 2001, Buscemi was involved in a bar fight and was stabbed in the throat, head and arm, leaving him with a very noticeable scar on his cheek.
10. Gary Busey
Gary Busey makes our list due to the always somewhat troubling glint in his eye, and his alarmingly large teeth. His breakthrough role was back in (1978) in The Buddy Holly Story for which he was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actor category because of his phenomenal performance as Buddy Holly. This generated an overwhelming amount of attention from casting agents all over and soon he was starring in hit movies like Lethal Weapon, Predator 2 and Point Break.
9. Benicio Del Toro
With dark circles under his eyes, a deep, raspy voice and at times somewhat odd idiosyncrasies, it’s no wonder why Del Toro‘s big screen acting career started off slow. His first role was Duke the Dog-Faced Boy in Big Top Pee-Wee in 1988. Through the years he has given more than credible performances in films that were overlooked like; The Indian Runner and Money for Nothing. It wasn’t until his role in The Usual Suspects that he began garnering attention which lead to an array of notable films he appeared in such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Snatch and Traffic.
8. Danny Trejo
Having a roughly scarred face, long, thin mustache and a muscular body with fairly large tattoos has allowed Trejo to become one of the most distinctive character actors in Hollywood. Usually cast as some sort of badass, he’s had small roles in an array of films with over 200 credits to his name including hits like From Dusk to Dawn, Heat, Machete, The Devils Rejects and Anchorman. He’s also starred on Major popular TV series, like Sons of Anarchy, ALIAS and Breaking Bad.
7. Luis Guzman
Luis Guzman‘s most prominent trademark is probably his wolf-man-like face. The Puerto Rican actor has been in over 100 films since the 1980s, in roles that usually had him starring as a sidekick to a villain or cop. His most popular films were Carlito’s way and Boogie Nights. Guzman has also voiced the character Ricardo Diaz in Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. Most recently Guzman starred in the HBO series How To Make It In America.
6. Ron Perlman
Ron Perlman‘s prominent jaw line, long face and extremely deep voice have definitely been an asset for the actor, and his physical features have certainly played a part in some of his most notable roles. Perlman has starred in quite a few films portraying non-human or deformed characters. Some of these characters include Vincent, in Beauty and the Beast, Sayer of the Law in The Island of Dr. Moreau and of course Hellboy. Although he isn’t the most bankable actor, he has maintained a huge fan base over the years, most recently for his role as Clay Morrow in Sons of Anarchy.
5. Christopher Walken
Christopher Walken stands 6 feet tall, with a pale complexion and at times a nervous disposition. With an acting career spanning over 60 years, the 71-year-old has been in over 120 films and his famously slow and steady voice is mimicked regularly by people all over the world. He’s been seen in mainly supporting roles, usually portraying unstable characters, mostly with criminal backgrounds. Some of his signature roles have been those in movies like The Deer Hunter, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, The Dead Zone, Biloxi Blues and Catch Me If You Can.
4. Danny DeVito
Danny DeVito, has accumulated a skilled body of work through the years, as an actor, director and producer of stage, TV and film. DeVito isn’t your typical suave Hollywood-looking actor, but his short and stout stature hasn’t stopped him from becoming a well-known and very respectable Hollywood figure. Some of his most well known work includes Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty, Man on the Moon, Batman Returns and The War of the Roses. Since 2006 DeVito has starred as Frank Reynolds in the FX (now FXX) sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
3. Will Ferrell
Ferrell has unfortunately played in a number of films where he appears shirtless or naked, exposing his awkward, towering frame. He became a cast member of Saturday Night Live in 1995, and stayed on the late-night show for seven years becoming one of the few SNL cast members to be nominated for an Emmy. Ferrell started to appear in big-screen comedies while with SNL and in 2002 he left TV and transitioned into a career in film, starring in 55 feature films. Considering he averages $20 million a movie, it seems the transition from TV to film star was a favorable one.
2. Sean Penn
Sean Penn is without a doubt one of the most influential acting powerhouses in Hollywood, one who, through his many performances, has improved on his acting time and time again. He’s come a long way from the fast-talking stoner Jeff Spicoli in his Fast Times at Ridgemont High days. Since then he has chosen brilliant roles and given stellar performances in films like Casualities of War, Dead Man Walking, The Think Red Line, I am Sam and Mystic River.
1. Willem Dafoe
Willem Dafoe has prominent cheek bones and a deeply lined face that can be altered for fearful effects in movies, so it’s no wonder why the actor has starred in an array of dark films. But the actor has also been a part of quite a few well received movies over the years. He has featured in five films that were nominated for The Academy Award for Best Picture: Mississippi Burning, Born on the 4th of July, The English Patient, The Aviator and Platoon.
When asked about his thoughts on selecting roles, Dafoe stated: “Casting people feel that they have to get someone who looks a certain way, and I think that the jury is still out whether people find me attractive or not.”