What Actors Looked Like in Their First Role vs. Their Most Recent
These actors and actresses started from the bottom as no-names, but eventually made their way to be award winners!
Who is the best actor out there? I’m sure everyone has a different answer, but that kind of fame doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere. Most actors have to go through years and years of hard work and dedication. Well, at least most of them have to go through half a dozen uncredited roles before they land a really big one. In the case of some actors, they have 10 or more uncredited roles in so-so movies and TV shows before they land their big role!
Today, I’m going to go over some of the biggest household names out there. These are the actors and actresses that have landed a place in our hearts. They’ve fought to get where they are, but where did they come from?
We dug and found their very first role to figure out where they came from to figure out how they got to where they are now!
Helen Mirren’s First Role
Helen Mirren started her career with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1967. Mirren’s first role was in Herostraus in 1967. She played the role of Advert Woman selling rubber gloves. Who would have known that half a decade later, this girl would become one of the greatest actresses of our time? Following Herostratus, she had her first big break in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1968) as Hermia. Pictured is Mirren as Advert Girl.
Helen Mirren’s Most Recent Role
Helen Mirren hasn’t slowed down in her career. She’s been in a whopping 132 titles, including playing many royals like Queen Elizabeth and Catherine the Great. Most recently, she’s appeared in The Good Liar (2019), a story about a recently-widowed woman who’s being swindled by a thief. She’s also set to appear in Fast & Furious 9 (2020). The image is her in The Good Liar.
Robert Downey Jr’s First Role
At first glance, it’s difficult to recognize Robert Downey Jr. in his first role, but after taking a good look, it’s obviously him. The cute little kiddo was in Pound (1970) when he was just five years old. The movie itself was written and directed by his father, Robert Downey Sr.
Robert Downey Jr’s Most Recent Role
We all know that RDJ has been in a series of movies, including acting as Iron Man in the newest Marvel movies. Thankfully, his Marvel contract is up, so he’s able to work on other projects. Coming in the following years, RDJ has a slew of new movies, including Dolittle (2020), where he plays the good doctor that speaks to animals, and Sherlock Holmes 3 (2021). The image is RDJ as Dr. Dolittle.
Brad Pitt’s First Role
Brad Pitt had a start in soap operas! Well, technically, his first role (uncredited) was in a movie called Hunk (1987), where he played a boy at the beach. After that, Pitt started getting credited for his roles. He appeared in Another World (1987) as Chris and Dallas (1987-88) as Randy. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find an image as Pitt in Hunk, but we did find his early role in Dallas.
Brad Pitt’s Most Recent Role
Brad Pitt’s gone through a lot over the years, and he’s definitely further than the boy at the beach. Now, he’s one of the biggest household names in America with an Oscar under his belt. Recently, he’s spent time behind the camera as a producer, but he still appears in a movie here and there. In 2019, he appeared in Ad Astra, which is the role pictured. He’s also slated to appear in World War Z 2, although this movie doesn’t currently have a release date.
Natalie Portman’s First Role
Natalie Portman’s first role was a pretty big one. She starred in Leon: The Professional as Mathilda. Mathilda was a little girl whose family was murdered. Leon, a professional assassin (not the one who killed her family), took her in to train her as a protegee. Portman, at the time, was just 13, and her acting talent is quite clear.
Natalie Portman’s Most Recent Role
Natalie Portman had a hard time being so young in the acting biz, but she grew up to act in many incredible films, along with earning an Oscar. While her most recent movie is Lucy in the Sky (2019), she’s set to reprise her role as Jane Foster in Thor in 2021. In Thor: Love and Thunder, she’ll also take on the cape as new Thor! The role pictured is her in Lucy in the Sky.
Morgan Freeman’s First Role
Morgan Freeman’s voice is iconic, but did we know he was going to be so big back in the ’60s? Freeman’s first roles were uncredited extra work. He appeared in the Pawnbroker (1964) as Man on the Street and A Man Called Adam (1966) as a party guest. His first real role was in Caught in the Middle (1970), where he played Cuz. Following that, he got a regular part on The Electric Company (1971-1977), which is the title pictured.
Morgan Freeman’s Most Recent Role
Morgan Freeman has played everything from a driver to God. Even though he’s in his 80s, he isn’t slowing down. Recently he’s acted in Angel Has Fallen (2019), but he’s also going to perform in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2020), a sequel to the hilarious Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017) that starred Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. Pictured is his role in Angel has Fallen.
Meryl Streep’s First Role
Meryl Streep, like many other legendary actors on this list, started out her career on the stage. Streep performed in several plays, including Trelawny of the Wells in 1975, which is the role we wanted to show. It’s no surprise that Streep was a regular on Broadway until she started landing movie roles. Her first movie role came around in 1976 when she was a voice in Everybody Rides the Carousel. Afterward, she got her first real role as Sharon Miller in The Deadliest Season (1977).
Meryl Streep’s Most Recent Role
Meryl Streep keeps busy by doing several projects a year. In 2019, she appeared in Big Little Lies, an HBO series about women tied together by a dark secret. She also appeared in The Laundromat (2019) and the Little Women (2019) remake, where she plays Aunt March. Streep is fond of dramas, but she occasionally pops up in musicals and other light-hearted pieces here and there. Pictured is her role in Little Women.
Harrison Ford’s First Role
Harrison Ford is most recognized for playing Indiana Jones and Han Solo, but his first role was in Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round. Ford played a bellboy (which is the role pictured), but it didn’t quite go as planned. The head of the talent program called him into his office and said he wasn’t ever going to make it in the business. Well, it turns out that Ford appeared in the biggest movies of his time, including The Fugitive (1993), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), the Star Wars series, and the Blade Runner series.
Harrison Ford’s Most Recent Role
Harrison Ford has been working on reboots or sequels of his original series. In 2017, he appeared in Blade Runner 2049 as Rick Deckard. He is also appeared in Star Wars: Episode VII (2015). However, his most recent movie was the animated film The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) as Rooster! Did that voice sound familiar? He’s also set to appear in a new Indiana Jones project in 2021. Pictured is Ford in Blade Runner 2049.
Angelina Jolie’s First Role
Despite her last name, Angelina Jolie is Jon Voight’s daughter. She changed her name to make something of herself without using her father’s fame. That being said, her first film was in a movie with her father, Lookin’ to Get Out (1982). Jolie was seven years old and portrayed Alex Kovac’s daughter. She only appeared briefly near the end of the film.
Angelina Jolie’s Most Recent Role
Angelina Jolie is now an Oscar winner and has appeared in over 50 films. The most recent thing she’s appeared in is Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019), where she is giving life to one of Disney’s most iconic villains. In 2020, she’s also set to appear in The One and Only Ivan, an animated movie about a gorilla who is trying to escape captivity. Jolie will also be in Come Away (2020), a prequel to Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. Pictured is her in Come Away as Alice Littleton.
Clint Eastwood’s First Role
Clint Eastwood is best known for his western films, but that isn’t how he started out. His first role was an uncredited one in Revenge of the Creature (1955), where he played a scientist named Jennings. It’s hard to mistake that strong brow! Eastwood wasn’t credited in most of the films he did early in his career. It wasn’t until Rawhide (1959-1965) that he became a household name.
Clint Eastwood’s Most Recent Role
Eastwood is moving into his 90s, so he spends most of his time directing. Some films he directed include American Sniper (2014), Sully (2014), and the 15:17 to Paris (2018). He also directed the Mule (2018), but this one is unique because he also starred in it! His first real role since 2012. Guess he prefers being behind the camera rather than in front.
Charlize Theron’s First Role
Not many people will notice Charlize Theron in her first role! She appeared in Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995) as one of Eli’s followers. That’s the role we have pictured. Following this movie, she landed her first credited role of Helga Svelgen in 2 Days in the Valley (1996). From there, she appeared in at least one movie a year, although sometimes three!
Charlize Theron’s Most Recent Role
It’s obvious that Charlize Theron is a busy woman. Lately, she’s been working on video shorts and animated features like the Addams Family (2019), where she voices Morticia Addams. She also appeared in the romantic comedy Long Shot (2019) with Seth Rogan, which is the role pictured. Theron also spends some time behind the camera as a producer on movies and series, including the Netflix hit Mindhunter (2017-2019).
Al Pacino’s First Role
Al Pacino is known for several roles, mostly for his starring role as Michael Corleone in The Godfather series and Tony Montana in Scarface (1983). While he was great, they weren’t his first roles! The first was an episode of N.Y.P.D (1968), where he was John James (the role pictured). After that, he jumped to movies and appeared in Me, Natalie (1969) and The Panic in Needle Park (1971).
Al Pacino’s Most Recent Role
Al Pacino is moving onto his 80s, but he won’t be slowing down. In 2019, he appeared in Scorsese’s Netflix movie The Irishman. That being said, his next big project is with Amazon. He’ll act as Meyer Offerman in Hunters (2020). The TV series is about a group of hunters searching out Nazis who are living in 1977 New York City. We’re guessing it’ll be a hit considering Amazon’s recent amazing shows.
Jennifer Aniston’s First Role
We all remember Jennifer Aniston from Friends (1994-2004), but that was far from her first role. Even though uncredited (probably for the better), Jennifer Aniston appeared in the disastrous Mac and Me (1988). The movie is widely regarded to be one of the worst films ever created. After that, she was in Molloy (1990) as Courtney Walker. Fun fact, Mayim Bialik (of Big Bang Theory fame) also starred in the series.
Jennifer Aniston’s Most Recent Role
Thanks to Friends, Jennifer Aniston became a household name. While she loves to appear in comedies, she isn’t afraid to appear in dramas and action films. Her most recent endeavor has her in The Morning Show (2019), a TV series that takes an inside look at the lives of people who wake America up in the morning.
George Clooney’s First Role
George Clooney has been a heartthrob for years, but how did he start? His first role (uncredited) was on Centennial, a 1978 TV mini-series. Clooney appeared as “Young Man Carrying Barrel.” Talk about a breakout role! He was known as the jokester on set and is the role we chose to have pictured. After that, it wasn’t until 1982 that he appeared in his next role in And They’re Off. Two years after that, he would move on to E/R (1984-1985) as Ace.
George Clooney’s Most Recent Role
Clooney is trying to get the hang of directing, but he’s still acting quite a bit in between projects. His most recent acting role is that of Scheisskopf in Catch-22 (2019). The series will have a limited run and is an adaption of the classic Joseph Heller novel. Clooney was lucky enough to direct a couple of the episodes, too!
Sandra Bullock’s First Role
Sandra Bullock is America’s sweetheart that appears in everything from dramas to comedies. Unlike some others on the list, Bullock got a starring role in the beginning of her career! She acted in Hangman (1987) as Lisa Edwards. The movie was about an undercover criminal team within the CIA. It wasn’t a great movie, but Bullock didn’t have to go through half a dozen uncredited roles before landing a big one.
Sandra Bullock’s Most Recent Role
Nowadays, she prefers to produce instead of act. Her biggest and most recent hit was the Netflix original movie Bird Box (2018). The horror-esque film starred Bullock as Malorie, a woman who tries to take two children to a safe haven during an apocalyptic world of monsters. Not only did Bullock star in the movie, but she was also the executive producer.
Jackie Chan’s First Role
Jackie Chan started his career as a little kid. He was an extra in the 1962 film Big and Little Wong Tin Bar. Since he was credited, we decided to use those pictures! A decade later, he would begin as a stuntman opposite Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury (1972) and Enter the Dragon (1973). While he was uncredited for these roles, Chan himself would comment that it was a priceless experience.
Jackie Chan’s Most Recent Role
Jackie Chan has been in a ton of movies and TV series – 141 to be exact! Recently, he’s appeared in Chinese films like The Climbers (2019) and Vanguard (2020). The Climbers recounts the memories of four members of the China Everest Climbing Commando. Vanguard is about a covert security company, Vanguard, that’s the last hope for an accountant who has been targeted by the world’s deadliest assassins.
Betty White’s First Role
Sure, Betty White is most remembered for her time in the Golden Girls (1985-1993), but that’s far from her first role. She actually appeared in Time to Kill (1945), a short where she played Lou’s Girl. This is the role we have pictured. While it’s difficult to recognize her, the way she talks is undeniably her. Her most significant early part was Life with Elizabeth (1953-1955), where she played Elizabeth.
Betty White’s Most Recent Role
Would you believe us when we say Betty White is now 97? She may be old, but she’s cooler than ever. She appears in tons of TV series and movies. She appeared in Young & Hungry in 2017, where she portrayed Ms. Wilson. This is the role we have pictured. In addition to that, she also appeared in Fireside Chat with Esther (2015-2019) and Toy Story 4 (2019) as Bitey White!
Bruce Willis’s First Role
Bruce Willis started his career in 1980. His very first roles were uncredited, but it was an excellent way to get a start. The first role he appeared in was “Man Entering Diner as Delaney Leaves” in The First Deadly Sin (1980). The first credited role was Miami Vice (1984) when he played Tony Amato in the episode titled “No Exit.” It was four years later he would play John McClane in Die Hard (1988).
Bruce Willis’s Most Recent Role
Bruce Willis has been an action movie staple for decades now, so his most recent titles follow suit. He appeared in Trauma Center (2019) as Detective Wakes, a man who has to help a woman escape a pair of criminals that want to kill her. While he’s going to appear in a few other films, the most notable is the rumor he’ll appear in McClane, a Die Hard prequel.
Sally Field’s First Role
Sally Field now has two Oscars under belt, but where did it all begin? Field’s first role was in Moon Pilot (1962), where she played “Beatnik Girl in Lineup.” Naturally, this was an uncredited role. Her first credited role would come a few years later when she starred as Gidget in Gidget the TV series, which ran from 1965 until 1966.
Sally Field’s Most Recent Role
Sally Field has slowed down in film roles, only taking ones that really appeal to her. She’s being called back to the theater as she appeared in National Theatre Live: All my Sons (2019). This is the role we have pictured. Field will also have an essential character in Dispatches from Everywhere (2020), a series that follows four ordinary people who feel as though something is missing from their lives.
Will Smith’s First Role
Will Smith has done so much in his time, it’s hard to remember where he started. Smith started his career doing video shorts, playing the character of Fresh Prince alongside DJ Jazzy Jeff. Some of the songs they produced include “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble” and “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” both of which released in the late ’80s. It wasn’t until 1990 that Will Smith would star in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996).
Will Smith’s Most Recent Role
Will Smith has moved onto some pretty huge roles. His most memorable, recent part was Genie in the live-action Aladdin (2019). However, he was also in the remake of Gemini Man (2019) and the animated film Spies in Disguise (2019). Mid-2020, Will Smith will appear in another sequel to Bad Boys, called Bad Boys for Life. This is the role we have pictured.
Emma Watson’s First Role
Who doesn’t remember Emma Watson’s first role? She played Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001). The fantastical journey shot Emma Watson to superstardom. Fans loved the nerdy and overly-ambitious character, which she played so well because it mirrored her in real life.
Emma Watson’s Most Recent Role
Emma Watson has appeared in a number of huge roles, the most recent being Meg March in Little Women (2019). The remake will star a number of huge stars including Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep. We’re guessing Emma Watson is just at the start of a very long career.
Michael J. Fox’s First Role
Audiences loved Michael J. Fox after he broke out in movies like Teen Wolf (1985) and Back to the Future (1985). However, his first role was Jamie in Leo and Me (1978). He was a young kiddo, but it was just the start of his career. Afterward, he performed in an episode or two of several series until he became a regular in Palmerstown, U.S.A. (1980-1981).
Michael J. Fox’s Most Recent Role
After a devastating diagnosis with Parkinson’s in 1991, Fox began to slow down on his film career. He appeared in a few series here and there, including Spin City and Rescue Me, but he mostly did voice work on TV shows and movies. His most recent movie is See You Yesterday (2019), where he portrayed Mr. Lockhart. The film is about two teenage prodigies who build a time machine.
Reese Witherspoon’s First Role
Reese Witherspoon is a huge star that’s the gleam in America’s eye. Her first appearance was in 1991 when she played Dani Trant in The Man in the Moon. It was a coming of age story following Reese’s character. After that, she began to appear in hit after hit throughout the ’90s and early 2000s.
Reese Witherspoon’s Most Recent Role
Reese Witherspoon has spent quite a bit of time working on TV shows like Big Little Lies (2017-2019), The Morning Show (2019), and Little Fires Everywhere (2020). All of these shows are serious dramas, which showcases Witherspoon’s acting range considering much of her earlier stuff was romantic comedies.
Andrew Garfield’s First Role
Andrew Garfield hasn’t been around for a long time, but he has made a lasting impression. His first role was a short called Mumbo Jumbo (2005). Garfield played a character named Simmo, which is the role we have pictured. It wasn’t until five years later that he would earn a breakout role in The Social Network (2010).
Andrew Garfield’s Most Recent Role
Andrew Garfield was the face of Spiderman in The Amazing Spiderman films, but since Parker was recast as Tom Holland, he moved onto bigger endeavors. He’s appeared in dramas with in-depth scripts. Most recently, he’ll appear in Mainstream (2020), a movie about three lovers that are struggling to preserve their identity while forming an intense love triangle.
Nicole Kidman’s First Role
Nicole Kidman has been a household name for years and years, but how did she start? Her first role was Helen in Bush Christmas (1983). The Australian movie was about a family that was struggling to keep their farm from foreclosure.
Nicole Kidman’s Most Recent Role
Nicole Kidman, like many other stars, have made a move toward TV. She appeared in Big Little Lies (2017-2019) as one of the main characters, Celeste Wright. In addition to this, she’s also going to act in The Undoing (2020) as Grace Sachs. However, she hasn’t completely counted movies out. Nicole Kidman’s most recent movie is Bombshell (2019), where she plays Gretchen Carlson.
Tom Hanks’s First Role
Tom Hanks has made headlines lately, but his start was rather slow. He first appeared in He Knows You’re Alone, a 1980s horror flick that couldn’t make waves no matter how hard it tried. Tom Hanks was one of the few people who actually became something later in life. Hanks also did some TV work throughout the early ’80s, including a role on The Love Boat (1980) and Happy Days (1982).
Tom Hanks’s Most Recent Role
Tom Hanks has spent most of his time behind the cameras as a producer for several films. The reason he’s making waves in the news is because of his portrayal of the legendary Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Hanks is also slated to appear in a 2020 war movie (call back to Saving Private Ryan) called Greyhound.