The Most Famous

ACTORS from New Zealand

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This page contains a list of the greatest New Zealander Actors. The pantheon dataset contains 10,030 Actors, 35 of which were born in New Zealand. This makes New Zealand the birth place of the 23rd most number of Actors behind Argentina and Hong Kong.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary New Zealander Actors of all time. This list of famous New Zealander Actors is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of New Zealander Actors.

Photo of Russell Crowe

1. Russell Crowe (1964 - )

With an HPI of 76.04, Russell Crowe is the most famous New Zealander Actor.  His biography has been translated into 107 different languages on wikipedia.

Russell Ira Crowe (born 7 April 1964) is an actor, director, and singer. He was born in New Zealand, spent 10 years of his childhood in Australia, and moved there permanently at age 21. He came to international attention for his role as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the epic historical film Gladiator (2000), for which he won an Academy Award, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, Empire Award, and London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Leading Actor, along with 10 other nominations in the same category. Crowe's other award-winning performances include tobacco firm whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand in the drama film The Insider (1999) and John F. Nash in the biopic A Beautiful Mind (2001). He has also starred in films such as the drama Romper Stomper (1992), the mystery-detective thriller L.A. Confidential (1997), the epic war film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), the boxing drama Cinderella Man (2005), the Western 3:10 to Yuma (2007), the crime drama American Gangster (2007), the thriller-drama State of Play (2009), and Robin Hood (2010). Crowe later starred in the musical drama Les Misérables (2012), as Jor-El in the superhero epic Man of Steel (2013), the biblical fantasy drama Noah (2014), and the action comedy The Nice Guys (2016). In 2014, he made his directorial debut with the drama The Water Diviner, in which he also starred. He has earned various accolades, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, two Golden Globe Awards, a British Academy Film Award, and an Academy Award out of three consecutive nominations (1999, 2000, and 2001). He has been the co-owner of the National Rugby League (NRL) team South Sydney Rabbitohs since 2006.

Photo of Lucy Lawless

2. Lucy Lawless (1968 - )

With an HPI of 66.30, Lucy Lawless is the 2nd most famous New Zealander Actor.  Her biography has been translated into 61 different languages.

Lucille Frances Lawless (née Ryan; born 29 March 1968) is a New Zealand actress and singer. She is best known for her roles as Xena in the television series Xena: Warrior Princess, as D'Anna Biers on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series, and Lucretia in the television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and associated series. She had recurring roles as Diane Lewis-Swanson on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation (2012–2015), and as Countess Palatine Ingrid Von Marburg on the WGN America supernatural series Salem (2015). She also starred as Ruby on the Starz horror-comedy series Ash vs Evil Dead (2015–2018).

Photo of Alan Dale

3. Alan Dale (1947 - )

With an HPI of 66.15, Alan Dale is the 3rd most famous New Zealander Actor.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Alan Hugh Dale (born 6 May 1947) is a New Zealand actor. As a child, Dale enjoyed theatre and rugby. After retiring from the sport, he took on a number of occupations, before deciding to become a professional actor at age 27. Dale subsequently moved to Australia, where he played Dr. John Forrest in The Young Doctors from 1979 to 1982. He later appeared as Jim Robinson in Neighbours, a part he played from 1985 until 1993. He left the series when he fell out with the producers over the pay he and the rest of the cast received. In 2018, it was revealed that Dale would reprise his role as Jim for one episode of Neighbours, 25 years after his last appearance. After leaving Neighbours, Dale found he had become typecast as Jim Robinson in Australia and struggled to find work. His career was revitalised after he relocated to the United States in 2000. Since then, he has had roles in many American series including prominent parts in The O.C. (as Caleb Nichol) and Ugly Betty (as Bradford Meade), as well as recurring and guest roles in Lost, 24, NCIS, ER, The West Wing, The X-Files, Entourage and Once Upon a Time. Dale has also appeared in minor roles in films such as Star Trek: Nemesis, Hollywood Homicide, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as the London West End production of Spamalot. Dale has been married to former Miss Australia Tracey Pearson since 1990 and has four children. From 2017 to 2021, Dale starred in the soap opera Dynasty as Joseph Anders.

Photo of Bruce Spence

4. Bruce Spence (1945 - )

With an HPI of 65.19, Bruce Spence is the 4th most famous New Zealander Actor.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Bruce Spence (born 17 September 1945) is a New Zealand-Australian actor. Spence has amassed over 100 film and television credits and has also acted in theatre.

Photo of Karl Urban

5. Karl Urban (1972 - )

With an HPI of 64.43, Karl Urban is the 5th most famous New Zealander Actor.  His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.

Karl-Heinz Urban (born 7 June 1972) is a New Zealand actor. His career began with appearances in New Zealand films and TV series such as Xena: Warrior Princess. His first Hollywood role was in the 2002 horror film Ghost Ship. Since then, he has appeared in many high-profile movies, including the second and third installments of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the role of Éomer. He has also portrayed Leonard McCoy in the Star Trek reboot film series, Vaako in the Riddick film series, Judge Dredd in Dredd, and Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok. In 2013, he starred in the sci-fi series Almost Human. Since 2019, he has starred as Billy Butcher in Amazon's streaming television series The Boys.

Photo of Manu Bennett

6. Manu Bennett (1969 - )

With an HPI of 63.96, Manu Bennett is the 6th most famous New Zealander Actor.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Jonathan Manu Bennett (born 10 October 1969) is a New Zealand actor. He is primarily known for portraying characters in epic fantasy works, such as Crixus in the TV series Spartacus, Allanon in The Shannara Chronicles, Slade Wilson / Deathstroke in Arrow, and Azog the Defiler in the Hobbit trilogy.

Photo of Marton Csokas

7. Marton Csokas (1966 - )

With an HPI of 63.80, Marton Csokas is the 7th most famous New Zealander Actor.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Marton Paul Csokas (, Hungarian: Csókás Márton Pál; born 30 June 1966) is a New Zealand actor of film, stage, and television. A graduate of the Toi Whakaari drama school, he has worked extensively in Australia and Hollywood, along with his native country, and often portrays villainous roles.His notable roles include Celeborn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003), Yorgi in XXX (2002), Guy de Lusignan in Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Trevor Goodchild in Æon Flux (2005), Hora in Romulus, My Father (2007), Nico in Dead Europe (2012), Jack Barts in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), Teddy Rensen in The Equalizer (2014), and Quinn on the U.S. television series Into the Badlands. Earlier in his career, he played Leonard Dodds on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. Csokas is a three-time AACTA Award nominee, winning Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Romulus My Father. He was also nominated for Best Male Actor in a Play at the 2008 Helpmann Awards, for his portrayal of George in Belvoir's revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

Photo of Cliff Curtis

8. Cliff Curtis (1968 - )

With an HPI of 62.58, Cliff Curtis is the 8th most famous New Zealander Actor.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Clifford Vivian Devon Curtis (born 27 July 1968) is a New Zealand actor. His film credits include Once Were Warriors (1994), Three Kings (1999), Blow (2001), Training Day (2001), Whale Rider (2002), Sunshine (2007), Live Free or Die Hard (2007), The Dark Horse (2014), for which he won the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actor, and Doctor Sleep (2019). Curtis had television series roles on NBC's Trauma and ABC's Body of Proof and Missing. From 2015 to 2017, he portrayed Travis Manawa on the AMC horror drama series Fear the Walking Dead.Though Curtis is ethnically Māori, his many character roles have included a range of ethnicities, such as Mexican American, Samoan, Indian, Arab, and Anglo-Saxon. He is the co-owner of the independent New Zealand production company Whenua Films.

Photo of Taika Waititi

9. Taika Waititi (1975 - )

With an HPI of 61.89, Taika Waititi is the 9th most famous New Zealander Actor.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Taika David Cohen (born 16 August 1975), known professionally as Taika Waititi (listen), is a New Zealand filmmaker, actor and comedian. He is a recipient of an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Grammy Award, and has received two nominations at the Primetime Emmy Awards. His feature films Boy (2010) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) have each been the top-grossing New Zealand film.Waititi's 2003 short film Two Cars, One Night earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Live Action Short Film. He co-wrote, co-directed and starred in the horror comedy film What We Do in the Shadows (2014) with Jemaine Clement, which was adapted into a television series of the same name (2019–present). The series has been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. His most recent directing credits include the superhero film Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and the black comedy film Jojo Rabbit (2019), the latter of which he also wrote and starred in as an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler. Jojo Rabbit received six Academy Award nominations and won for Best Adapted Screenplay. Waititi also earned a Grammy Award for producing the film's soundtrack. In addition to directing an episode of the television series The Mandalorian (2019–present), he also voices the character IG-11, for which he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance. Rio Hackford portrayed the character.

Photo of Clive Revill

10. Clive Revill (1930 - )

With an HPI of 61.40, Clive Revill is the 10th most famous New Zealander Actor.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Clive Selsby Revill (born 18 April 1930) is a New Zealand actor. He is best known for his performances in musical theatre and the London stage. A veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he has also starred in numerous films and television programmes, often in character parts. He is a two-time Tony Award nominee; Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Irma La Douce and Best Actor in a Musical for Oliver! He was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Billy Wilder's Avanti! (1972). A distinguished voice actor, his roles include voicing the Emperor in the original theatrical edition of The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

Pantheon has 35 people classified as actors born between 1879 and 2000. Of these 35, 33 (94.29%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living actors include Russell Crowe, Lucy Lawless, and Alan Dale. The most famous deceased actors include Kevin Smith and Rupert Julian. As of October 2020, 4 new actors have been added to Pantheon including Rupert Julian, Aaron Jeffery, and Thomasin McKenzie.

Living Actors

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Deceased Actors

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Newly Added Actors (2020)

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