Although it’s 2015, it is inevitable that many of us make associations with little people having stereotypical roles. Luckily, society has grown and hopefully matured enough to acknowledge the wonderful things that these people, who are just like the rest of us, have managed to accomplish.
It seems as though little people landing big roles, or having their own television shows has grown in popularity over time. The wonderful thing about this is that although people may underestimate their capabilities, they have managed to overcome this stereotype and make successful careers out of it. Whether they have acquired their own reality television show, landed roles in popular TV series, major motion pictures or talk shows, many of these stars have managed to create a name for themselves and have accomplished quite a lot in their careers.
Many of these figures are also known to be spokespeople for Little People of America, giving speeches and motivating all little people who see their condition as a challenge to overcome. While some of these actors refuse to play any role that focuses on their conditions in order to show that they are capable of playing “regular” roles, others have used their height in a light-hearted and amusing way. No matter what they have chosen to do, these influential people have managed to overcome the stereotypes and assumptions that many people have. As a result, they have created very successful careers for themselves.
Honorable Mention: Gary Coleman
Unlike the rest of the candidates on this list, Gary Coleman did not a form of dwarfism. His small stature was a result of complications related to his focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, an autoimmune kidney disease, and the medications used to treat it.
Coleman’s story is a rather complicated one as his career was both successful and difficult. Throughout the eighties, Coleman was best known for his leading role in Diff’rent Strokes, The Jeffersons and The Gary Coleman Show, which was an animated series. Gary was also a candidate for governor of California in 2003 where he came in eighth place.
Although things had been running smoothly for him in the eighties, Coleman experienced a lot of financial troubles in the late nineties. Dealing with a divorce, high medical bills and people apparently tampering with his finances, Coleman declared bankruptcy. In 2010, Gary Coleman’s health took a dramatic toll as he was admitted to the hospital several times. He was suffering from seizures, which led to him falling, hitting his head and eventually being put on life support. In May of 2010, Coleman passed away.
10) Joseph Anthony Cox
Born and raised in New York, Joseph Anthony Cox, often referred to as Tony Cox, grew up with a deep passion for music. In his late teenage years, Cox was inspired to pursue a career in acting, as an actor and founder of Little People of America, Billy Barty mesmerized him. Since the start of his career in the early eighties, Tony Cox has appeared in over thirty films including major motion pictures such as Star Wars Episode VI, Me Myself and Irene and Bad Santa. He recently had a small role voicing a character in Disney’s Strange Magic released in January of 2015.
9) Bridget Powers
Also know as Bridget “Powerz” and measuring just under four feet tall, Powers has not allowed her height to interrupt her career in any way. Mostly known for her work in adult entertainment, Bridget also made several appearances in mainstream films such as S.W.A.T, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. These films gave her the opportunity to work with major stars including George Clooney and Drew Barrymore. Powers also appeared in an HBO documentary series Cathouse as well as the reality TV show The Surreal Life. Her most recent work was in 2013-2014, where she made appearances in the television series The League.
8) Kenny Baker
Star Wars would simply not be the same without the very special Kenny Baker. That’s right, he was in all six Star Wars films as the man inside the lovable droid R2D2. In Return of the Jedi, Baker played an additional role as an Ewok. Measuring just over three and a half feet tall, Baker has had quite a busy career. Since his breakthrough role in Star Wars, Kenny Baker has appeared in over thirty films and television shows altogether. He is currently finishing up work in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and When The Devil Rides Out, both set to be released later on in 2015. At an impressive eighty years old, Mr. Baker is still going strong.
7) Verne Troyer
Once again, Verne Troyer is not a name that we are very familiar with. However, if I asked you who “Mini Me” was, you would probably be able to immediately associate a face with the name. That face, is none other than that of Mr. Troyer himself. Since the early nineties, Troyer has appeared in nearly 30 films and over 20 television shows. He started off predominantly playing stunt man roles but quickly accepted other types of work. Troyer often plays roles that highlight his condition, so long as it is light-hearted and fun for him. His biggest film yet was Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Although it is difficult for him to pull away from the immediate association of being “Mini Me,” Troyer won an award for the film. Nominated for Best On-Screen Duo in 1999, Verne Troyer shared the award with his acting partner and friend, Mike Myers.
6) Danny Woodburn
You might recognize Danny Woodburn from the his role of the hit television series Seinfeld. Woodburn played Mickey Abbott, Kramer’s beloved friend. Since his role on Seinfeld, Danny’s career took off, landing him over 70 roles in television series as well as a few short films. He has also had success with stand up comedy. Having graduated from Philadelphia’s Temple University’s School of Film and Theatre, Woodburn pursued his passion for acting and has made a successful career out of it. Along with acting, Danny Woodburn has also participated in several awareness campaigns and fundraisers for people with disabilities. He is currently in the process of filming Lavalantula, a TV movie planned to be released sometime this year.
5) Deep Roy
If you are unsure of having heard about Deep Roy, think again. This East-Indian actor was undoubtedly a part of everyone’s childhood. Ever seen Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? If so, and you should have, you have surely noticed the beloved little orange Oompa Loompas. Roy played all 165 of them and had to practice various dance numbers for this film. Deep also starred in other major motion pictures such as Big Fish, Star Trek Into Darkness and The Neverending Story. Roy also made other appearances in popular films such as Planet of the Apes and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Although his name may not ring a bell at first, his very impressive list of roles does. It is safe to say that Deep Roy has had an incredibly successful career thus far.
4) Jason “Wee Man” Acuna
It would be a pretty safe bet to say that very few people have ever heard of Jason Acuna by that name. Although his actual name may not ring a bell, his “stage name” definitely does. Wee Man became famous as a fun-loving daredevil on this hit MTV show Jackass. Constantly performing dangerous stunts just to get a good laugh out of it, Wee Man used his small size to his advantage, often being the only guy in the group capable of doing certain tricks. Measuring approximately four feet tall, there seems to be nothing that Wee Man cannot and will not do. Since the start of his career, Acuna has made appearances in nearly 30 television shows and films. His most successful appearances include all of the Jackass movies where Wee Man has maintained quite a fun and fearless reputation. Way to go, Jason Acuna!
3) Matthew Roloff
There is no denying that Matthew Roloff is one of the most well-known faces on television. With his family’s very popular reality TV show Little People Big World, the Roloff family is without a doubt, one of the most beloved families on TLC. Born with diastrophic dysplasia, Matthew Roloff measures just over 4 feet and uses crutches to help him walk. However, these challenges do not phase him at all. The Roloff family does all that they can to live a very regular life. They own a farmhouse with over 30 acres of land, which has become quite an attraction to the public. The family of six is currently on their eighth season of the television series and continues to receive wonderful crowd responses.
2) Warwick Davis
Born and raised in England, Warwick Ashley Davis began his career in the early eighties with his debut in the unreleased film Return of the Ewok, followed by several other George Lucas films. At approximately three and a half feel tall and born with Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, there is not much that Davis deprives himself from doing. Davis also had leading roles in the Leprechaun series as well as the very popular and extremely successful Harry Potter films where he played the roles of Professor Flitwick and the voice of Griphook. Along with his acting career, Warwick has also had much success as a television presenter on shows such as Celebrity Squares and A Week-end Away With Warwick Davis. Needless to say, Warwick Davis seems quite comfortable with his fantasy roles, showing that television and film really seem to be his niche.
1) Peter Dinklage
Although we may not automatically recognize his name at first, New Jersey-born Peter Dinklage is one of the most well known faces in Hollywood. Born with achondroplasia, Dinklage measures approximately four and a half feet tall. However, his height has not stopped him from having an extremely successful career. Since the early nineties, Dinklage has appeared in several movies including Elf, where he played the role of the very grumpy Miles Finch. His success skyrocketed with his role in The Station Agent earning him multiple nominations for best actor. His most recent roles and ongoing project include X-Men: Days of Future Past and his role as Tyrion Lannister in the very popular HBO series Game of Thrones, which is currently entering its fifth season. If things continue like this for Peter Dinklage, we can expect to see him around for quite a while.
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