By now, we all know that the entertainment industry is all about faking it. Fake it till you make it, put makeup on it, airbrush it, light it better, and everything is preened and edited until it looks almost inhumanly perfect. But one of the Hollywood machine lies that’s easier to forget is actors who like to lie about their height, or give themselves a few extra inches of height with lifts, elevator shoes, or even by standing on the tips of their toes to look bigger. Sometimes these size “adjustments” aren’t that noticeable, and sometimes they’re even necessary for an actor to be able to play a certain role correctly without making the shot awkward or impossible.
But sometimes they’re extremely noticeable, especially with actors who like to give themselves a much bigger boost or who lie about their size pretty much all the time. And you have to wonder if this was a chicken or egg situation. Did these actors start lying about their heights because people paid so much attention to their height or did the public start noticing how tall or short so many actors were because they all lied about it so much? But honestly, the key to selling a lie is to make it actually believable, and all of the particular actors on this list obviously failed to sell that lie, despite the fact that they tried very hard. So out of all of the famous men in Hollywood who like to adjust their height, which ones have been the most obvious about it?
15. Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel certainly appears to be one of Hollywood’s biggest stars who likes to play fast and loose with his height. When it comes to their listed heights a lot of celebrities like to embellish their size by a few inches, and that especially seems to be true for male action stars, since in the minds of the audience bigger often equals manlier. Vin names his own height at an even 6 feet tall, which seems like a possibility, but I think it’s also possible he’s at least an inch or two shorter than that in reality. But even if he does hit the 6-foot mark it would still leave him nowhere close to his Fast and Furious franchise co-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson‘s, which is listed height of 6’5″ inches. Of course it’s possible that The Rock is overestimating his height by an inch or two as well, but even if he’s fibbing Vin shouldn’t be almost as tall as The Rock is when they’re standing shoulder to shoulder, and yet, that is what we see at red carpet events…
14. Tom Cruise
Judging by Tom Cruise‘s list of former flames, it certainly seems like the superstar has a strong affinity for women who are tall drinks of water, which I guess makes it no surprise that he likes to enhance his own 5’7″ frame with lifts on a pretty regular basis. Tom’s listed height actually seems like a pretty accurate listing of his true size, but when you see him on screen or in publicity photos he certainly looks like he’s in the 5’9″ or 5’10” range. For instance, in this picture with former wife Katie Holmes, who is 5’9″ without the heels, Katie is certainly taller than Tom is, but not quite as much as you might expect. She’s wearing heels, which even at their lowest would probably give her an extra three inches of height, which means she has to be at least 6 feet tall in the picture. But Tom certainly doesn’t look like he’s 5 inches shorter than her or more. This seems to be a running theme in pictures of Tom with his wives. His second wife Nicole Kidman was a whopping 5’11” and often rocked high heels on the red carpet, but she certainly didn’t look 9 or 10 inches taller than Tom in most photos.
13. Sylvester Stallone
One of the easiest ways to spot a dude wearing lifts is that even if the inserts are well hidden they’ll usually make the wearer’s feet look bizarrely large, like in this picture of Sylvester Stallone. Sly might be one of Hollywood’s most legendary bodybuilder actors, but Stallone is actually only 5’9″ and pretty much always likes to give himself a few extra artificial inches in his shoes. I mean, look at him in comparison to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arno sits at 6’2″, is wearing flat shoes in this photo, and looks like he’s leaning back slightly, and even with his excessively large sneakers Sylvester can’t match him in size. But, seeing as Schwarzenegger should be about half a foot taller than Stallone, it seems obvious that Stallone must be giving himself something extra (if the sneakers he’s wearing that are twice the size of all the other shoes in the photo weren’t obvious enough).
12. Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt isn’t exactly a natural shorty, but it looks like the super famous actor likes to enhance his height with the assistance of some lifts to give himself a few extra inches. His listed height is at 5’11”, which might be close to his real-life height, but apparently Brad likes to give himself a slightly more imposing appearance on film and on the red carpet. Take for instance his co-star in Fight Club, Edward Norton. It’s always possible that Norton is also lying about his height, but his height is listed at an even 6′, which means that he should still have a bit of room above Brad even if they’re both embellishing their size. However in many pictures of the pair where they’re side by side, Brad looks as tall or even taller than Norton is, both in the actual film and in a lot of the promotional photos and premiere pictures that they’ve taken together.
11. Daniel Craig
At 5’10” Daniel Craig isn’t exactly petite, but apparently he isn’t quite at the ideal James Bond height either. The ultra slick English spy character definitely has a reputation as an imposing manly man, and a lot of the actors who have previously played Bond have a few inches on Craig. For example, both Pierce Brosnan and Sean Connery stand at 6’2″, which gives them a considerable size advantage over Craig. The James Bond franchise also seems to have a habit of casting some pretty tall, model-esque women as Bond girls, which could make the need to give Craig a bit of a height boost even more important. But regardless of the reason, it seems like a pretty good call on the part of the producers, since Daniel Craig is one of the most popular actors to play James Bond in the history of the franchise and all of his instalments in the series have been pretty big hits.
10. Jeremy Piven
Jeremy Piven is another performer who likes to fib on his height, and has even publicly stated his height as 5’9″ and 5’10” at different times, so he quite literally had to have been lying about his size at least once. People who have spotted Piven in person have said that the actor is noticeably short, so even saying he’s 5’9″ seems like it must be a stretch since it’s an average height for a man. Plus, Piven’s co-star in Entourage, Kevin Connolly, has said that Jeremy is only slightly taller than he is, and Connolly sits at about 5’5″. But anyways, it’s very clear that Piven likes to make himself look larger than he is, as he has been spotted standing on the tips of his toes multiple times on the red carpet. And as you can see in the above picture, even on his tip toes Piven has trouble matching the height of a slouching Nina Agdal, whose listed height also happens to be 5’9″.
9. Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. clocks in at a fairly average 5’8″ or 5’9″ inch height, and in his pre-superhero days, his height probably didn’t need much of a boost. However, since hitting it big with Iron Man and essentially launching the entire Marvel movie franchise it seems that Downey (or the Marvel movie studio) feel the need to make Tony Stark a more imposing and believable superhero. Honestly, it’s not much of a surprise either, aside from wanting their heroes to look as big and bad as they possibly can on screen, a lot of the other Avengers are actually really tall in real life. Chris Hemsworth might be at the top of the class at 6’3″, and having someone that size standing next to another superhero who’s 7 inches shorter would probably look pretty odd on camera. But as you can see in the picture above, it seems like RDJ has made a habit of giving himself a few extra inches on and off screen.
8. Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe is most well known as a bada*s Australian actor with an anger problem, so I guess it’s no surprise that he might want to enhance his height a bit with some elevator shoes. Also, seeing as he’s naturally pretty muscular it makes sense that he might want to give himself an extra inch or two to even out his proportions and make himself look even more intimidating. But the actor, who claims that he is 5’11” plus some change (apparently what an Australian would call a Collingwood six footer) seems to be almost identical in height to some of his co-stars like Guy Pearce, who is 5’10”, and Tom Hardy, who is 5’9″. Contrast that with some photos of Russell with his taller co-stars such as Hugh Jackman (who’s 6’2″) or Sacha Baron Cohen (who’s 6’3″) and it looks like Crowe is lacking more than an inch or two of height that they are.
7. Mark Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg is probably one of the few “manly” actors on the shorter end of the spectrum that admits his real height, which is publicly listed at 5’8″, but considering his slightly below average height, it seems pretty likely that the actor is given a bit of a size boost when filming a lot of his films. It makes some sense, seeing as Mark has made quite a name for himself in a lot of action films, and generally most people expect their action movie leads to look like the biggest and strongest dude on screen. Take for instance Mark’s appearance in Planet of the Apes. Wahlberg’s leading lady in that film, Estella Warren, is also listed at 5’8″ in height, and yet Mark consistently looks at least an inch or two taller. I think it’s a forgivable fib, especially since Mark doesn’t seem to embellish his height off screen, but it also seems a little bit unnecessary since no one will ever think that Marky Mark doesn’t look pretty strong, regardless of his size.
6. Tyrese Gibson
Tyrese Gibson is another Fast and Furious franchise actor who seems to embellish his own height a bit on screen. Maybe so many of them want to look taller because there are so many legitimately tall actors in the film series? Or maybe it’s just because the franchise is so “macho” that they all want to feel like they look extra manly on screen? Gibson’s listed height is at 5’11”, but compared to his Fast and Furious co-stars on red carpets he looks significantly smaller. For instance, he looks more than an inch shorter than fellow lift wearer Vin Diesel, who already claims his height at a most likely exaggerated 6′ even. And Paul Walker, whose height was listed at 6’1″ or 6’2″, looks like he had way more than three inches on Tyrese. I get why some actors want to fib about their height, but with the way a lot of the Fast and Furious stars seem to be going eventually The Rock is going to have to claim he’s 6’9″ just to look proportional with everyone else’s inflated sizes.
Usher is hitting slightly below average with his height of 5 feet, 7 1/2 inches, but in his role as a musician his size doesn’t make too much difference. Usher has also ventured into acting more than once or twice though, and in some instances he needed the extra size to believably play the part. For instance, he recently played the role of famed boxer Sugar Ray Leonard in the film Hands of Stone, and Leonard’s known height sits at 5’10”, a good two inches and change above Usher’s real height. When it comes to reenacting specific historical fact it seems like making physical adjustments to an actor’s height is understandable, though. I mean, actors lose or gain weight or muscle for roles all the time, so is that really much different from putting lifts in an actor’s shoes for a role? I mean you can’t exercise or eat your way into being taller, so unfortunately elevator shoes seem like the only viable option.
4. Michael J. Fox
Even though Michael J. Fox is one of the entertainment industry’s most successful diminutive actors, clocking in at just 5 feet 4 inches tall, Fox has never been particularly shy about his below average height, in fact it’s become one of the more memorable physical attributes of the actor. However that doesn’t mean that size has never been an issue for him or his co-stars. In fact, when Michael J. Fox replaced Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly in what became Fox’s most famous role in Back to the Future the film’s original female lead, Melora Hardin, was replaced by Lea Thompson, purportedly because Hardin was taller than Fox. But Fox doesn’t seem particularly bothered by his short stature. Once he was joking about Hollywood’s fudging of actor’s heights and said, “When you’re a short actor you stand on apple boxes, you walk on a ramp. When you’re a short star everybody else walks in a ditch.”
3. Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman is another actor who seems to only occasionally sport elevator shoes despite the fact that he’s one of the more diminutive superstars in the entertainment industry. At 5’6″ Dustin usually stands significantly below a lot of his male co-stars and sometimes even below his female co-stars, but in a lot of Dustin’s most famous roles like Midnight Cowboy or Rain Man his small stature played in his favor and in the favor of the character. But sometimes a little bit of a lift was required for the role or simply so the actor could appear on screen with the rest of the cast without looking super small or being partially cut out of the frame, and sometimes it was needed for the sake of making a character more imposing than Hoffman is naturally. For instance, when Dustin played the titular role of Captain Hook in Hook a set of lifts were included in his character makeover to complete the look of the evil pirate.
2. Kirk Douglas
Silver screen icon Kirk Douglas is a legend in the entertainment industry, but he certainly seemed to overestimate his size back in the day. Douglas’ listed height in his heyday was 5’11”, but considering how short the centenarian looks now it seems very unlikely that he was ever close to six feet tall. More reasonable estimates put young Kirk at around 5’8″ or 5’9″, since the elderly star seems to be around 5’6″ or 5’7″ now and it seems unlikely that he would have lost more than an inch or two of height over the years. And behind the scenes stories told through the grapevine pretty much confirm that Douglas enjoyed the assistance of elevator shoes. Supposedly when filming a movie with the 6’2″ star Burt Lancaster, Burt swiped Kirk’s elevator shoes as a joke, and the crew had to improvise a solution to make the much shorter Douglas look like a more even match to Lancaster, so they had Douglas stand on top of a box for the scenes instead.
1. John Wayne
Legendary Western star John Wayne was not a man who was in need of any extra height. His reported height is 6’4″ and he was a memorably imposing figure in all of his films, but quite a few of his co-stars claim that the actor wore lifts to make his already above average size even more imposing on screen. Wayne’s female co-stars actually had to stand on apple boxes quite often just to be able to appear in the same frame as their leading man, but some pretty well known actors like Rock Hudson and Robert Mitchum both stated that they had personally seen the lifts that Wayne liked to wear. Mitchum even elaborated that Wayne had to have a lot of his personal property like clothes and shoes specially made to fit the extra size that his lifts gave him, and once joked that “they probably buried him in his goddamn lifts.”
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