The Most Famous

ACTORS from New Zealand

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This page contains a list of the greatest Actors. The pantheon dataset contains 9,996 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 Actors of all time. This list of famous 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 Actors.

Photo of Russell Crowe

1. Russell Crowe (1964 - )

With an HPI of 68.40, Russell Crowe is the most famous Actor.  His biography has been translated into 108 different languages on wikipedia.

Russell Ira Crowe (born 7 April 1964) is an actor and filmmaker. 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 mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. 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 biographical 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), the action comedy The Nice Guys (2016), portrayed Zeus Panhellenios in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), and will portray Nikolai Kravinov in the Sony's Spider-Man Universe (SSU) film Kraven the Hunter (2023). 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 56.68, Lucy Lawless is the 2nd most famous 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. Lawless 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 Bruce Spence

3. Bruce Spence (1945 - )

With an HPI of 56.02, Bruce Spence is the 3rd most famous Actor.  His biography has been translated into 25 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

4. Karl Urban (1972 - )

With an HPI of 55.42, Karl Urban is the 4th most famous Actor.  His biography has been translated into 47 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 Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok. In 2013, he starred in the sci-fi series Almost Human. Since 2019, he has starred as Billy Butcher in Amazon's superhero streaming television series The Boys.

Photo of Alan Dale

5. Alan Dale (1947 - )

With an HPI of 54.97, Alan Dale is the 5th most famous Actor.  His biography has been translated into 27 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 Temuera Morrison

6. Temuera Morrison (1960 - )

With an HPI of 54.14, Temuera Morrison is the 6th most famous Actor.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Temuera Derek Morrison (born 26 December 1960) is a New Zealand actor who first gained recognition for his role as Dr. Hone Ropata on the soap opera Shortland Street. He gained critical acclaim for his starring role as Jake "The Muss" Heke in the 1994 film Once Were Warriors and its 1999 sequel What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? Outside New Zealand, Morrison is best known for his work in the Star Wars multimedia franchise, playing the roles of Jango Fett as well as his many genetic clones, including the clone troopers and Jango's clone son Boba. He originated the role of Jango in the 2002 film Attack of the Clones. Morrison would go on to provide the voice of Boba Fett in the 2004 re-release of The Empire Strikes Back, and then portray Boba fully in the second season of The Mandalorian (2019–present) and the spin-off show The Book of Boba Fett (2021–present). Morrison is also known for voicing Chief Tui, the father of the title character in Disney's Moana (2016), and for playing Arthur Curry's father Thomas Curry in the DCEU films Aquaman (2018), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023), and The Flash (2023).

Photo of Manu Bennett

7. Manu Bennett (1969 - )

With an HPI of 53.17, Manu Bennett is the 7th most famous Actor.  His biography has been translated into 34 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

8. Marton Csokas (1966 - )

With an HPI of 53.05, Marton Csokas is the 8th most famous Actor.  His biography has been translated into 26 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

9. Cliff Curtis (1968 - )

With an HPI of 51.45, Cliff Curtis is the 9th most famous Actor.  His biography has been translated into 31 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), Training Day (2001), Whale Rider (2002), Collateral Damage (2002), Sunshine, Live Free or Die Hard (both 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.He is the co-owner of the independent New Zealand production company Whenua Films.

Photo of Taika Waititi

10. Taika Waititi (1975 - )

With an HPI of 50.80, Taika Waititi is the 10th most famous Actor.  His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

Taika David Cohen (born 16 August 1975), known professionally as Taika Waititi ( TY-kə WY-tee-tee), 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. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world on its annual list in 2022. 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 in 2019. The series has been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. His most recent directing credits include the superhero films Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) as well as the black comedy film Jojo Rabbit (2019), the last 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 television, Waititi co-created and executive produces the dramedy series Reservation Dogs, and directs, executive produces, and stars in the comedy Our Flag Means Death. In addition to directing an episode of the series The Mandalorian, he also voiced the character IG-11, for which he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance.

Pantheon has 42 people classified as actors born between 1879 and 2000. Of these 42, 39 (92.86%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living actors include Russell Crowe, Lucy Lawless, and Bruce Spence. The most famous deceased actors include Kevin Smith, Rupert Julian, and Terence Bayler. As of April 2022, 7 new actors have been added to Pantheon including Terence Bayler, Antony Starr, and Sarah McLeod.

Living Actors

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Deceased Actors

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Newly Added Actors (2022)

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Which Actors were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 3 most globally memorable Actors since 1700.