Let’s face it. The vertically challenged lot in the celeb world has been a tad touchy about height. While it’s okay for little women to be petite and equally sexy, little men are sadly not given the same treatment. The concept of the manly guy means “heroes” need to look like heroes – more of Jared Padalecki or a Taylor Kinney than a Joe Pesci. Long legs are prized when it comes to women, but standing tall and broad is what many women swoon over when it comes to men.
This is why the Hollywood hunks often need to hide what their true height is from their fans – their short stature can affect their market value and their fan following, particularly the female variety. So whether it’s the yesteryear actors like Humphrey Bogart who once wore 5-inch wooden blocks insoles to look taller than their much-taller romantic interests, or a rather touchy Tom Cruise who simply deigns to ignore his status, many male celebrities try to pretend to be taller than they really are. And then there are the really short ones who basically don’t care and love to be with much taller women – and we say to each their own. Frankly, everybody should be cool with how they were put together by the powers that be. And being a celeb already makes you appear larger than life, so why the need for parlor tricks?
15. The Little Rich Man: Tom Cruise
How does Tom Cruise do it? How does he do action movies that earn him money, and get him to hook up with taller women from Nicole Kidman to Katie Holmes and still look cool despite his petite frame. The Hollywood secret is that he wears the floppiest of trousers to hide those insoles when he feels like it, but ditches them for comfort when he wants to as well. This is why he could look taller than his two-inch taller ex-wife Katie Homes, but look a helluva lot shorter too. His official height is about 5’7″ but fans who have seen him vociferously dissent. Also, technology helped him appear a lot taller than all of his taller co-stars (think Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe and Matt Dillon) in The Outsiders. He looked taller than the much-taller Cameron Diaz in Knight And Day or even Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut. When your net worth runs far ahead of the others, the appearance of height is an onscreen guarantee.
14. The Child Who Refused To Grow: Daniel Radcliffe
So when the makers of Harry Potter set their sights on the earnestly adorable Daniel Radcliffe to play Harry Potter, little did they realize that this little guy would well, remain that little. So while Harry Potter grew in years, in intelligence and in wizardry, he didn’t grow all that much in stature. Though his bank balance grew and grew and grew, he remained a very modest 5’5″. Most readers assumed that Harry was around six feet in height, considering in book seven he is said to have entered a growth phase enough to make him as tall as his tallish father. Now when James is transformed into Runcorn, Harry remarks how much taller Runcorn is than him. This means Runcorn would be about 6’3” while Harry is about 5’10” – though Daniel Radcliffe is much shorter in real life. Before he was immortalized as Potter, he also starred in the 1999 television film David Copperfield, and then in 2001’s The Tailor of Panama starring Pierce Brosnan.
13. Scrappy Little Nobody: Anna Kendrick
What’s common about Princess Poppy from Trolls and her voiceover artist, Anna Kendrick? They are both tiny but pack in a bombshell of a voice! In Anna’s case, she has a tiny, barely there, 5’2″ frame. With no film connections whatsoever, Anna was born in 1985 in Portland. She started out her career in theatre but was soon cast in movies, given her powerhouse of a voice. She rose to cinema prominence when she played best friend Jessica Stanley to Kristen Stewart’s Bella Swan in the Twilight franchise. After successfully playing many roles in many movies and being appreciated for most of them, she published her memoir, aptly titled – “Scrappy Little Nobody.” Given that now she’s definitely somebody and scrappy is not the word people describe her with, it’s the “little” that’s apt, given her small stature.
12. Tiny But Larger Than Life: Prince
For a man this short, Prince sure packed in a larger than life persona. In fact, the writer herself was very, very surprised to know that he barely topped her in height! Basically, Prince was as tall as Anna Kendrick, which is quite short for a man. The only person he could tower over was probably Joe Pesci. And that too because Prince openly wore heels and Joe Pesci would then have to wear flats. But the man who was born as Prince Roger Nelson left a legacy like none other – from wearing women’s boots and frills to having facial hair but still managing an androgynous look. Having sold over 100 million records worldwide made him one of the best-selling music artists of all time as well. His award list is exhaustive: eight Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, a Golden Globe Award and even an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain.
11. Got Him A Much Taller Wife: Seth Green
A comedian, actor, and a director, Seth Green has made himself one rich man by working hard and having quite the many funny bones in his body. Despite becoming a millionaire and turning into a producer and director half of Hollywood itches to work with, what Seth couldn’t change about himself is his height. Though considering he married Clare Grant, stature doesn’t seem to affect him all that much. While she has just a couple of inches on him, being around 5’7” herself to his 5’5”, her penchant for wearing heels and his for wearing flats causes the vertical discord quite apparent in paparazzi clicks. Being in and around cameras since the age of seven has seemingly made Seth feel much taller than what he is, and he hardly tries to hide it in real life. In “reel” life, it’s always about the character, and if gay people can play straight characters, why can’t a short dude play a tall one?
10. Small But Packs A Punch: Vanessa Hudgens
Actor and singer Vanessa Hudgens has had her fair share of controversies, especially when her shocking pictures were maliciously released over the Internet. She stood tall through it all, even if she had to take the support of tottering heels to do so, considering Vanessa barely tops at five feet nothing. She said, “Whenever anybody asks me, would I do nudity in a film, if I say that it’s something I’m not comfortable with, they’re like, ‘Bullshit, you’ve already done it.’ If anything, it makes it more embarrassing, because that was a private thing. It’s screwed up that someone screwed me over like that. At least some people are learning from my mistake.” So we say good for her. Her exotic looks come from her Filipino mom who worked a succession of office jobs while her father was a firefighter who died of cancer in 2016.
9. Taller Won’t Make Him A Better Singer: Bruno Mars
For a man with a golden voice, Bruno Mars doesn’t lack in fame, friends, or fortune. But his almost 6-foot tall friend Taylor Swift towers over him. But his height never got in the way of his way forward, though his race certainly did. Born Peter Gene Hernandez, Bruno said in an interview, “The song “Nothin’ on You” was once rejected by the PTB in the music industry because of my race. That experience made me feel like a mutant. I changed my surname because people in the music industry took me to be another Latino artist, and even tried to convince me to sing in Spanish, saying, ‘Your last name’s Hernandez, maybe you should do the Latin music, this Spanish music.'” Regardless, Bruno Mars has no reason to be ashamed of his height, as he is one of the most successful artists in the world.
8. Down But Never Out: Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. has had it rough, what with his many addictions and rehab stints. He went from almost zero value in Hollywood to superhero status with his reemergence as Iron Man. That said, his height remains at a low average of barely 5’8” – and yet he is shown to be almost as tall as 6 feet tall Chris Evans or even the 6’3” Chris Hemsworth. The real struggle of Downey Jr.’s life was never his height but rather his early addiction with drugs and alcohol. His dad “bonded” over his son over drugs and let a 6-year-old Robert try marijuana. Father of the year, people! That said, it took some gall to turn from an actor who no one would hire over insurance bond problems to one who became the top-earning Hollywood actor for three years straight from 2012 to 2015. He is one actor who managed to revive his all but dead career and life.
7. Just Born That Way: Lady Gaga
For a woman who keeps tripping in bone-crushing heels, there’s a secret behind her penchant for wearing them. She’s tiny at about 5’2” so her heels make her look and feel far taller than what she is. Her height is no secret though – considering Netflix documentary on her was titled Gaga: Five Foot Two. Her penchant for s*x and violence-related videos and shows are all part of her way of empowering women, and Madonna herself has been vocal about the fact that she thinks Gaga copies her. Lady Gaga is, of course, a true blue diva and got back at Madonna by telling her to say it to her face, not via the media. Her fans love their Mother Monster and she called them her Little Monsters – though her larger than life diva-esque appearance often belies her little stature. Her onstage antics and her choice of clothes are two reasons for her popularity.
6. From Watson To Bilbo: Martin Freeman
While he played Dr. Watson to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, there was another reason, beyond his acting skills, that made Martin Freeman get cast in The Hobbit, and that would be his rather petite stature. Now, to be honest, Freeman is fine with how tall he is. But he does have a distaste for the moustache. On the much-acclaimed TV series Sherlock, Martin Watson doesn’t sport a moustache, but when the character did as a throwback or a role requirement, Martin has not been a fan of having hair on his lip at all. While filming ‘The Empty Hearse,” Martin found the fake one he had to wear very uncomfortable. Beyond John, Martin’s biggest role is definitely Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit movies. And interestingly, he almost had to pass up the role due to scheduling conflicts with Sherlock. Thankfully, the dates were jiggled around and made to work since Freeman was apparently “born to play the role.”
5. Standing Tall But Really Not: Mark Wahlberg
Now, this guy may look pretty tall in his movies, but basically is below the average US height at about 5’8”. That didn’t stop Mark Wahlberg from becoming the highest earning star of 2016, did it? The Dorchester neighborhood the family lived in was plagued by the Wahlberg brood, of which Mark was the ninth child. Three of his brothers and a sister had had multiple run-ins with the police. Mark followed them loyally – he was a regular little gang member who threw rocks and racist epithets – and when the police arrested him he kept shouting even more racial slurs. So, not a good kid at all. He finally decided to clean up his act, dropped Marky Mark and became Mark Wahlberg, the wannabe actor. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights was a great breakthrough for him and since then, he seems to have polished up his act and persona. He speaks about his crimes and his guilt often and seems genuinely ashamed about it all.
4. The Original Pocket Venus: Shakira
A powerhouse of a performer and everyone’s favorite Latin singer, Shakira is married to towering football star Gerard Pique. Her tininess is accentuated all the more next to him! But in the video for “Beautiful Liar” that Shakira and Beyonce collaborated on, Shakira isn’t quite dwarfed by Beyonce as she rightfully should be. Technology can make someone appear much taller than they are. Married to the rather gargantuan Gerard Pique, Shakira seems almost Thumbelina-like in appearance. Her record label Sony loyally says that Shakira is the bestselling Colombian artist of all time, having sold some 50 to 60 million albums. Her father is William Mebarak Chadid, a Lebanese man, while her mother Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado is a Spanish-Italian woman. It was her grandmother who taught her belly dancing for her to stay true to her Middle Eastern roots. And her movements can bring grown men to their knees, tall or otherwise.
3. It Pays To Be Sly: Sylvester Stallone
Don’t Arnie and Sly look the same height – two big, strong, and now aging men? Well, nope – Sylvester Stallone is much shorter at 5’9″ while Arnold is at 6’2″. That said, Sly looks the tallest in the Expendables franchise, which means technology and perhaps some shoe lifts are at work here too. Like with many actors, his height never came into the way of success. His facial paralysis could have, but it is what gave him that trademark sneer that everyone seems to be in love with. His movie career reads equally for box office hits and duds and he’s never really won anything prestigious, but hey, he was Rocky and Rambo – who cares about a few trophies. An interesting tidbit about this guy who always wanted to be a superhero is that he had an occasional habit of fighting, lighting fires, firing arrows out of windows, and stealing the nuns’ crucifixes, which was enough to get him expelled from 14 schools!
2. Just Too Fast To Measure: Jet Li
From the rough and tumble pair of Sly and Arnie, let’s move to the smooth-moving kung fu fighters Jackie Chan and Jet Li – they may seem equal in height, but Jet Li is shorter, shorter than even Sly and Jackie Chan’s 5’9″. That said, he’s one smooth master. He made his American film debut as the villain in Lethal Weapon 4 before taking on the lead role in the hit Romeo Must Die. The Forbidden Kingdom and other roles like in the Expendables made him a bankable star in the West, and his prowess comes from training in the martial arts Wushu since the age of eight. His real name is Li Lian Jie but after a publicity company in the Philippines found his real name too difficult to pronounce, he was awarded the nickname Jet due to his agility of movements. Height notwithstanding, Jet Li manages to hold his own even against taller counterparts in the Expendables.
1. The Unlikely Superhero: Zac Efron
So if the Rock towers over Zac Efron in the latest Baywatch enterprise, it’s not only because Dwayne Johnson is tall (which he is). It’s also because Zac isn’t all that tall himself. Indeed, he dated Vanessa Hudgens (also on our list). So Zachary David Alexander Efron was born to David Efron, an electrical engineer at a power station and Starla Baskett, a secretary who worked at the same power plant. He started off his acting and singing career rather early and was soon in theatre. From then on it was High School Musical and even though all the vocals weren’t his in the first album, he was still offered a recording deal by Simon Cowell. Acting being his first love, Zac turned that down and has been forging his Hollywood career since then, despite struggling with alcoholism in between.
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