Actors Just Under the Radar

by rubyfruit76 | created - 16 Mar 2016 | updated - 25 Jan 2018 | Public

They're not character actors: They usually play leading or prominent supporting roles, but they're not often in the limelight and their stars are closer to the ground than many of their peers. Critics generally applaud them and some have even been nominated for or won Oscars, but they remain slightly outside the public eye, although you probably couldn't help but notice their formidable skill and shining talent in their performances. Of the actors below, all of whom fly just under the radar, who is your favorite?

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1. Patricia Clarkson

Actress | The Green Mile

This remarkable, one-of-a-kind actress has, since the early 1990s, intrigued film and TV audiences with her glowing, yet careworn eccentricity and old world-styled glamour. Very much in demand these days as a character player, Patricia Clarkson nevertheless continues to avoid the temptation of ...

2. Toni Collette

Actress | Little Miss Sunshine

Toni Collette is an Academy Award-nominated Australian actress, best known for her roles in The Sixth Sense (1999) and Little Miss Sunshine (2006).

Collette was born Toni Collett (she later added an "e") on November 1, 1972, in Blacktown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She is the first of three...

3. Chris Cooper

Actor | Adaptation.

Christopher Walton Cooper was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Mary Ann (Walton), a homemaker, and Charles Sherwood Cooper, a cattleman and internist who served as a doctor in the US Air Force. His parents were from Texas, where Cooper was raised.

Educated at the University of Missouri school of ...

4. Billy Crudup

Actor | Almost Famous

Known as much for his rigorous career choices as for his talent and chiseled good looks, Billy Crudup has been straddling the line between serious actor and "it" leading man for several years.

Crudup was born in 1968 in Manhasset, New York (a Long Island suburb), the middle child in a family of ...

5. Hugh Dancy

Actor | Hannibal

Talented British actor Hugh Dancy is one of the UK's most up-and-coming talents.

Hugh Michael Horace Dancy was born in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, to Sarah Ann (Birley), who works in academic publishing, and Jonathan Peter Dancy, a philosophy professor and writer. He has a brother, Jack ...

6. Joel Edgerton

Actor | The Gift

Joel Edgerton was born on June 23, 1974 in Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia, to Marianne (van Dort) and Michael Edgerton, who is a solicitor and property developer. His brother is filmmaker Nash Edgerton. His mother is a Dutch immigrant. Joel went to Hills Grammar School in the Western Suburbs...

7. Vera Farmiga

Actress | Up in the Air

Vera Farmiga is an American actress who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Up in the Air (2009) and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Bates Motel (2013).

She was born Vera Ann Farmiga, the ...

8. Charlotte Gainsbourg

Actress | Antichrist

Charlotte Gainsbourg was born in London, England in 1971. She is an Anglo-French actress and singer. The daughter of English actress Jane Birkin and French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, she was raised in Paris. Gainsbourg made her motion picture debut in 1984. In 1986, Gainsbourg won a ...

9. Thomas Haden Church

Actor | Sideways

Thomas Haden Church was born Thomas Richard McMillen in Yolo, California, to Maxine (Sanders) and Carlos Richard McMillen, who was a U.S. marine and surveyor. He was raised in Texas. His mother remarried George Quesada, a widowed WWII veteran who served in Guam, in 1969. He adopted this surname ...

10. Rebecca Hall

Actress | Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Rebecca Hall was born in London, UK, the daughter of Peter Hall, a stage director and founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Maria Ewing, an opera singer. Her father is English. Her mother, who is American, is of Dutch, Scottish, Sioux, and African American origin. Her parents separated when...

11. Sally Hawkins

Actress | The Shape of Water

Sally Cecilia Hawkins was born in 1976 in Lewisham hospital, London, England, to Jacqui and Colin Hawkins, authors and illustrators of children's books. She is of English and Irish descent. Hawkins was brought up in Greenwich, in southeast London. She attended James Allen's Girls' School in Dulwich...

12. Richard Jenkins

Actor | The Shape of Water

Richard Jenkins was born on May 4, 1947 in DeKalb, Illinois, USA. He is an actor, known for The Shape of Water (2017), The Visitor (2007) and Step Brothers (2008). He has been married to Sharon R. Friedrick since August 23, 1969. They have two children.

13. Catherine Keener

Actress | Capote

Catherine Keener is an American actress, Oscar-nominated for her roles in the independent films Being John Malkovich (1999) and Capote (2005). Acclaimed in her community for her quirky roles in independent film and mainstream such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Keener got her start as a casting ...

14. Frank Langella

Actor | Frost/Nixon

Frank Langella was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, to Angelina and Frank A. Langella, a business executive. He is of Italian descent.

A stage and screen actor of extreme versatility, Frank Langella won acclaim on the New York stage in "Seascape" and followed it up with the title role in the Edward Gorey...

15. Anthony LaPaglia

Actor | Without a Trace

Anthony LaPaglia was born on January 31, 1959 in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. He is an actor and producer, known for Without a Trace (2002), Lantana (2001) and So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993). He has been married to Alexandra Henkel since April 28, 2018. He was previously married to ...

16. Radha Mitchell

Actress | Silent Hill

Radha Mitchell (born 12 November 1973) is an Australian actress. She started her career acting in various Australian TV series and movies, and later became known for her appearance in Hollywood films. Mitchell, a native of Melbourne, began acting when she was still in high school and had her ...

17. Samantha Morton

Actress | Minority Report

Samantha Morton has established herself as one of the finest actors of her generation, winning Oscar nominations for her turns in Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown (1999) and Jim Sheridan's In America (2002). She has the talent to become one of the major performers in the cinema of this young century.

...

18. Ryan Phillippe

Actor | Crash

Ryan Phillippe was born on September 10, 1974 in New Castle, Delaware, to Susan (Thomas), a nurse, and Richard Phillippe, a chemical technician. He has three sisters, Kirsten, Lindsay, and Katelyn, and attended New Castle Baptist Academy. Ryan's acting career began with the soap opera One Life to ...

19. Charlotte Rampling

Actress | 45 Years

Tessa Charlotte Rampling was born 5 February 1946 in Sturmer, England, to Isabel Anne (Gurteen), a painter, and Godfrey Lionel Rampling, an Olympic gold medalist, army officer, and colonel, who became a NATO commander. She was educated at Jeanne d'Arc Académie pour Jeunes Filles in Versailles, ...

20. Stephen Rea

Actor | The Crying Game

Stephen Rea was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He attended Belfast High School and the Queen's University, where he studied English. He later trained at the Abbey Theatre School in Dublin. In 1970s, he acted in the Focus Company in Dublin with the talented Gabriel Byrne and Colm Meaney. After ...

21. Peter Sarsgaard

Actor | Shattered Glass

Peter Sarsgaard was born at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to Judy Lea (Reinhardt) and John Dale Sarsgaard, an engineer who worked for the Air Force and later Monsanto and IBM. He is a graduate of St. Louis' Washington University, where he majored in history and literature. He was a co-founder of ...

22. Michael Shannon

Actor | Midnight Special

Michael Corbett Shannon was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, the son of Geraldine Hine, a lawyer, and Donald Sutherlin Shannon, an accounting professor at DePaul University. His grandfather was entomologist Raymond Corbett Shannon.

Shannon began his professional stage career in Chicago. His ...

23. Imelda Staunton

Actress | Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Imelda Staunton was born on January 9, 1956 in Archway, London, England as Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette Staunton. She is an actress, known for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Pride (2014). She has been married to Jim Carter since October 1983. ...

24. David Strathairn

Actor | Good Night, and Good Luck.

David Russell Strathairn was born on January 26, 1949 in San Francisco, California. He is the son of Mary Frances (Frazier), a nurse, and Thomas Scott Strathairn, Jr., a physician. He has two siblings, Tom and Anne. His ancestry includes English, Scottish, Irish, Portuguese, Native Hawaiian, and ...

25. Lili Taylor

Actress | American Crime

Lili Taylor is a well-known and successful American actress. She acts in film, TV and stage. She was born in Glencoe, Illinois, to Marie (Lecour) and George Park Taylor, an artist and hardware store operator. Lili graduated from New Trier High School in 1985. Then, she attended the Theatre School ...

26. John Turturro

Actor | Barton Fink

Highly talented, lightly built American actor who always looks unsettled and jumpy has become a favourite of cult/arthouse film aficionados with his compelling performances in a broad range of cinematic vehicles.

Turturro was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Italian-American parents, Katherine (...

27. Hugo Weaving

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Hugo Wallace Weaving was born on April 4, 1960 in Nigeria, to English parents Anne (Lennard), a tour guide and teacher, and Wallace Weaving, a seismologist. Hugo has an older brother, Simon, and a younger sister, Anna, who both also live and work in Australia. During his early childhood, the ...

28. Patrick Wilson

Actor | The Phantom of the Opera

Patrick Joseph Wilson was born in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, the son of Mary Kathryn (Burton), a voice teacher and professional singer, and John Franklin Wilson, a news anchor.

Wilson has a B.F.A. in Drama from Carnegie-Mellon University. His theater work has produced ...

29. Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Actress | 10 Cloverfield Lane

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is an actress known for her versatile work in a variety of film and television projects. Possibly most known for her role as Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), she has also starred in critically acclaimed independent films such as Smashed (2012), for which...

30. Jeffrey Wright

Actor | Shaft

Born and raised in Washington DC, Wright graduated from Amherst College in 1987. Although he studied Political Science while at Amherst, Wright left the school with a love for acting. Shortly after graduating he won an acting scholarship to NYU, but dropped out after only two months to pursue ...



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