Some actors play in only one movie a year, and that is enough. Many of these actors and actresses are the highest-paid stars, who gross so much per movie that they don’t really need to do anymore. Others - and even some of the actors who are the highest-paid actors in the biz - just can’t get enough, and they’ll act in anything they can get their hands on.
2014 was a good year for movies and television. In fact, the last five years have been good years. The actors and actresses on this list might seem overworked for their heavy load, but they would probably be the first ones to tell you that they love what they do, and they couldn’t imagine doing anything else. These are the actors and actresses who epitomize prolificity and hard work. These are the most prolific actors of the past year.
20 Chloë Grace Moretz - 6 Credits
Chloë Grace Moretz is the youngest entry on the list. At only 17 years old, the young starlet is making quite a name for herself. She first acted in the TV series The Guardian when she was only seven, and now she has over 50 acting credits to her name. Moretz shot to fame with her portrayal of Hit-Girl in the 2010 blockbuster Kick-Ass.
In 2014 Moretz played lead in the movie If I Stay, and she also acted in the films Laggie, Muppets Most Wanted, Clouds of Sils Maria, the short-film Snackpocalypse, and most recently alongside Denzel Washington in The Equalizer.
19 Oliver Platt - 6 Credits
Oliver Platt is a very prolific actor in both television and movies. The Canadian-born actor first came onto the scene in 1987, playing roles in the TV shows Miami Vice and The Equalizer. Since then he’s amassed 85 acting credits, in movies such as X-Men: First Class, and TV shows such as The Big C.
In 2014 Platt played the role of “Supermarket King of Minnesota” Stavros Milos in the hit show Fargo. He played a role on the TV series Sofia the First, and acted in the movies Chef, Cut Bank, Kill the Messenger, and A Merry Friggin’ Christmas.
18 John Cusack - 6 Credits
John Cusack has been in the business for many, many years, first getting his start in the 1983 film, Class. He has starred in many box-office hits, such as Say Anything...., True Colors, Con Air, High Fidelity, The Thin Red Line, Being John Malkovich, and more. Throughout his career, Cusack has been the leading man in the majority of the movies he’s played in. In 2014 Cusack starred in the films The Bag Man, Drive Hard, Maps to the Stars, The Prince, Love & Mercy, and Reclaim.
17 Bill Murray - 6 Credits
The loveable Bill Murray is one of the funniest, most endearing actors in Hollywood. He’s famous for his zany on- and off-screen antics and his calm-yet-hilarious personality. Every movie he’s in seems to become a smash hit, whether the movies are actually good or not. He’s starred in such movies as Caddyshack, Tootsie, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Stripes, Lost in Translation, Moonrise Kingdom, and more.
In 2014 Murray played roles in The Monuments Men (alongside George Clooney, Matt Damon, and John Goodman), The Grand Budapest Hotel, St. Vincent, Dumb and Dumber To; and in the two TV series Olive Kitteridge and Alpha House.
16 Rosario Dawson - 6 Credits
The stunning actress Rosario Dawson has been in the movie business since 1995, first starring in the film Kids when she was only 16 years old. Since then she has been in films such as Men in Black II, Sin City, Clerks II, the Quentin Tarantino horror film Grindhouse (in the “Death Proof” segment), and more. In 2014 Dawson played roles in Cesar Chavez, Parts Per Billion, The Captive, The Ever After, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and in Chris Rock’s new film Top Five.
15 Kevin Hart - 6 Credits
Kevin Hart is the most popular comedian in recent history, and he’s in huge demand right now. He’s one of the few comics who has seamlessly made the transition from comic to actor (looking at you, Eddie Murphy) and he already has six films in pre- and post-production, going all the way into 2017. If you want to book this actor-comedian, there seems to be quite a line.
2014 was probably Hart’s most successful year yet, and he doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down. Besides his numerous commercial endorsements with brands such as Madden NFL and VitaminWater, he acted in a TV show, Real Husbands of Hollywood, and five movies this last year: Ride Along, About Last Night, Think Like a Man Too, School Dance, and Top Five.
14 Stanley Tucci - 7 Credits
The eminently recognizable Stanley Tucci is one of the most prolific actors of 2014 with 111 acting credits to his name. He played in the 1980s TV shows Miami Vice, The Equalizer, Wiseguy, Crime Story, and The Street. Since then he has acted in roles both in film and television, and most recently he has acted in the blockbusters The Devil Wears Prada, in all three The Hunger Games movies, and Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Two of those movies (Transformers and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I) he was credited with in 2014, as well as the films A Little Chaos, Muppets Most Wanted, the voice of Leonardo da Vinci in Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and the TV shows American Dad!, and BoJack Horseman (a 2014 Netflix original series).
13 Michael Kenneth Williams - 7 Credits
Michael Kenneth Williams is a New York City native probably best known for his stunning portrayal of Omar Little in the 2002 - 2008 HBO series The Wire. The show is thought by some to be one of the best TV shows of all time, and that claim can be vouched for by its stellar 9.4 rating on IMDb. He also played roles in blockbuster films such as Gone Baby Gone, The Road, 12 Years a Slave, and in many, many TV shows.
Since 2010, Williams has played Chalky White in the hit show Boardwalk Empire, and in 2014 he also played a role in the TV show Lucas Bros Moving Co, and in the movies RoboCop, The Purge: Anarchy, Kill the Messenger, The Gambler, and Inherent Vice.
12 Wes Bentley - 7 Credits
Wes Bentley first became well-known for his role in the Oscar-winning film American Beauty (1999). He’s also played in The Four Feathers, and as the gamemaker Seneca Crane in The Hunger Games. Bentley has shot to fame recently, and 2014 was a spectacular year for the actor. He played roles in the films 3 Nights in the Desert, The Better Angels, After the Fall, Cesar Chavez, Welcome to Me, the blockbuster Interstellar, and in the hit TV show American Horror Story.
11 Willem Dafoe - 7 Credits
Although Willem Dafoe has been in several movies from 1980 to '85, he became a household name after playing Sgt. Elias in Oliver Stone’s 1986 hit Platoon. That movie saw him shoot to fame in the late '80s and early '90s, where he played in films such as Born on the Fourth of July, Triumph of the Spirit, Clear and Present Danger, and The English Patient.
Since those years he’s stayed busy, playing in The Boondock Saints, American Psycho, Spider-Man (one and two), and more. He has 100 acting credits to his name, and in 2014 he added seven to that list, acting in A Most Wanted Man, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Bad Country, The Fault in Our Stars, Pasolini, John Wick, and as a voice in The Simpsons.
10 Morgan Freeman - 7 Credits
One of the most endearing and authoritative actors in recent history must be Morgan Freeman. He has starred in many Oscar-nominated movies, and he himself was nominated three times for his portrayals as a merciless hoodlum in 1987‘s Street Smart, for his role in Driving Miss Daisy, and as Red in IMDb’s #1 rated movie of all-time, The Shawshank Redemption. Finally, he won the Oscar after teaming up with good friend Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby (2004).
One of the most prolific actors in Hollywood, with 107 credits to his name, 2014 was no different for Freeman. He starred in the short film Wish Wizard, as a voice in The Lego Movie, and as characters in Transcendence, Lucy, Ruth & Alex, Dolphin Tale 2, and Last Knights.
9 Christopher Meloni - 8 Credits
Cracking the top 10 is the guy everyone knows as the tough, cocky detective Elliot Stabler from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a role which he played for 12 years (1999 - 2011). Before that, Christopher Meloni played on the other side of the law as a sociopathic killer from the 1997 prison drama Oz. He has mainly stuck to the small screen, although he did play in the Superhero epic Man of Steel (2013).
In 2014, Meloni had roles in the films White Bird in a Blizzard, They Came Together, Small Time, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and the short Chris Meloni Freakout Compilation. He also played in the TV series Surviving Jack, Veep, and in the new series Lou.
8 Jason Isaacs - 8 Credits
Although less well known as actors like John Cusack or Bill Murray, Jason Isaacs has a very impressive resumé with 98 credits to his name. Some of his notable roles include the evil Colonel William Tavington in The Patriot, Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, and Captain Hook in 2003's Peter Pan.
In 2014, Isaacs had a great year, playing roles in After the Fall, Dawn, Field of Lost Shoes, John Wick, Fury, and Rio, I Love You. He also played in the TV mini-series Rosemary’s Baby, and as the voice of The Inquisitor in Star Wars Rebels.
7 Stephen Lang - 8 Credits
Stephen Lang is a stage actor of great recognition, although he might be most well-known to audiences for his praised performance in James Cameron’s Avatar. He became a Tony-nominated Broadway actor for his performance as Lou in “The Speed of Darkness”, and he’s also played roles in “Death of a Salesman”, “A Few Good Men”, and “Wait Until Dark.” His film roles include parts in Conan the Barbarian (2011), The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009), and more.
In 2014, Lang had a great run as the voice of the King in The Nut Job, and for his roles in In the Blood, Sun Belt Express, Jarhead 2: Field of Fire, A Good Marriage, Gunshot Straight, 23 Blast, and as Increase Mather in the TV series Salem.
6 Ray Liotta - 8 Credits
Ray Liotta is an intense, prolific actor who has made his bread playing the parts of psychopathic-yet-charming characters, such as Henry Hill in Goodfellas, Henry Oak in Narc, and Lee Ray Oliver in Control. It can be said that Liotta is best known for his portrayals of gangsters (Goodfellas), family men (father of George Jung in Blow), or cops (John Q, Identity, Observe and Report).
In 2014, Liotta acted in the TV movie The Money, and the feature films Better Living Through Chemistry, Muppets Most Wanted, The Identical, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Revenge of the Green Dragons, Kill The Messenger, and Stretch.
5 Wendi McLendon-Covey - 9 Credits
Wendi McLendon-Covey is a California-born actress known for her roles in the hit comedy show Reno 911!, and the movie Bridesmaids. She is mainly known for her roles in TV programs, although in 2014 she managed to mix her roles on the big screen and small screen quite well. Movie-wise, in 2014 she acted in Cuban Fury, Date and Switch, The Single Moms Club, Blended, Think Like a Man Too, A Merry Friggin’ Christmas, and the short film Long Live the Royals. For TV, she reprised her roles in The Soup (2012 - 2014), and The Goldbergs (2013 - 2015).
4 Ben Kingsley - 9 Credits
Ben Kingsley became a household name, earned international fame, and won an Oscar for his performance as Mahatma Gandhi in the film Gandhi (1983). Even without that Oscar, Kingsley is a huge success, having been credited with 123 acting credits, and he remains one of the stalwart actors in Hollywood. He gained his first credit in 1966 in the TV show Pardon the Expression, and has since played parts in huge movies, such as Schindler’s List, Rules of Engagement, Elegy, Shutter Island, Hugo, Iron Man 3, and Ender’s Game.
After coming off of a six-credit 2013, in 2014 he outdid himself once more, earning nine acting credits. His roles included parts in War Story, Stonehearst Asylum, The Boxtrolls, Learning to Drive, Robot Overlords, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, the short Jaguar: Rendezvous, and the recent blockbuster Exodus: Gods and Kings.
3 James Franco - 9 Credits
James Franco remains one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood, which can be seen by his credentials. He has a whopping 13 movies that are either filming or in post-production set for 2015 and 2016 alone, and he’s helped make Judd Apatow a success by starring in nearly every one of his films (including the early TV show Freaks & Geeks). The Interview, which most recently garnered international political turmoil, is just one in his many PR successes.
Although he’s only been on the scene since 1997 (far less than most actors on this list), he already has 104 credits - making him possibly the most prolific actor on this list. In 2013 alone he had 11 acting credits, and in 2014 he has nine. Those films and TV shows are: Veronica Mars, Obituaries, Good People, Dave Skylark’s Very Special VMA Special, The Sound and the Fury, The Interview, The Heyday of Insensitive Bastards, Black Dog, Red Dog, and the TV series Making a Scene with James Franco.
2 Liam Neeson - 11 Credits
The second most prolific actor in 2014 was the hard-edged, tough-guy Irishman Liam Neeson, who really shot to international fame after playing Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List. He then went on to become the leading and title-name figure in numerous movies, including Rob Roy in Rob Roy (1995), Michael Collins in Michael Collins (1996), and he continued on his hot-streak by acting in films in the 2000s such as Gangs of New York, Love Actually, Kingdom of Heaven, Batman Begins, Breakfast on Pluto, as Zeus in Clash of the Titans, the voice of Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, and of course as Bryan Mills in the Taken trilogy.
In 2014, Neeson played roles in The Nut Job, Non-Stop, The Lego Movie, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Save NYC Horse Carriages, and his reprise role in Taken 3. He also played himself in the TV show Family Guy, and dubbed voices in the TV shows Rev., and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
1 J.K. Simmons - 17 Credits
Although J.K. Simmons doesn’t play lead roles too often, he is the most prolific actor of 2014, and is seemingly in every TV show and movie in the past 15 years. He has more acting credits to his name than anyone else on this list (147). The hardworking, Detroit-born actor is known for his roles in Spider-Man, The Closer, and Juno.
In 2014, he went haywire with his TV appearances. For TV series, he played the voice of J. Jonah Jameson in Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, and Ultimate Spider-Man. He also played roles in the TV shows Chozen, Men at Work, Robot Chicken, Growing Up Fisher, BoJack Horseman, and two The Legend of Korra shows (including a video game which was not included on this list). For films, he played roles in Whiplash, Barefoot, Break Point, The Boxcar Children, Murder of a Cat, The Rewrite, and Men, Women & Children.