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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 9,996 Actors, 42 of which were born in New Zealand. This makes New Zealand the birth place of the 24th most number of Actors behind Austria and Denmark.

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 68.40, Russell Crowe is the most famous New Zealander Actor.  His biography has been translated into 108 different languages on wikipedia.

Russell Ira Crowe (born 7 April 1964) is an actor. He was born in New Zealand, spent 10 years of his childhood in Australia, and resided there permanently by age 21. He has earned various accolades, including an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and a British Academy Film Award. Crowe is considered by many to be one of the greatest actors of the 21st century. Crowe began acting in Australia and had his breakout role in the drama Romper Stomper (1992). He gained international recognition for his starring roles as a police detective in the thriller L.A. Confidential (1997) and Jeffrey Wigand in the drama The Insider (1999). Crowe gained wider stardom for playing the title role in the period film Gladiator (2000), winning the Academy Award for Best Actor. Further acclaim came for portraying mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. in the biopic A Beautiful Mind (2001). He has since starred in the war film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), the sports drama Cinderella Man (2005), the Western 3:10 to Yuma (2007), the crime drama American Gangster (2007), the thriller State of Play (2009), and the action film Robin Hood (2010). Crowe later starred as Javert in the musical Les Misérables (2012), as Jor-El in the superhero film Man of Steel (2013), as Noah in the biblical drama Noah (2014), and as Zeus in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor: Love and Thunder (2022). In 2014, he made his directorial debut with the drama The Water Diviner, in which he also starred. 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 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. 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. Since 2019, she has starred as Alexa in the television series My Life Is Murder. Lawless had recurring roles as Diane Lewis-Swanson on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation (2012–2014), 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 New Zealander Actor.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Bruce Robert Spence (born September 17, 1945) is a New Zealand-born Australian actor. [1] 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 New Zealander 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 starred in many high-profile movies, including as Éomer in the second and third installments of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Vaako in the second and third installments of the Riddick film series, Leonard McCoy in the Star Trek reboot film series, Kirill in The Bourne Supremacy (2004), John "Reaper" Grimm in Doom (2005), Judge Dredd in Dredd (2012), Gavin Magary in Pete's Dragon (2016), and Skurge in Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok (2017). 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 New Zealander 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 New Zealander 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 in his home country for playing Dr. Hone Ropata on the soap opera Shortland Street. He garnered 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 of 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, various Star Wars video games, and he would portray Boba fully in the second season of The Mandalorian (2019–present) and the spin-off show The Book of Boba Fett (2021–2022). In 2022, he also had a recurring role in the black ops thriller series Echo 3. 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 Tom Curry in the DCEU films Aquaman (2018), The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (both in 2023).

Photo of Manu Bennett

7. Manu Bennett (1969 - )

With an HPI of 53.17, Manu Bennett is the 7th most famous New Zealander 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 New Zealander 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), Nicolai Itchenko A.K.A. 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 New Zealander 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), Blow (2001), Training Day (2001), Whale Rider (2002), Collateral Damage (2002), Sunshine, Live Free or Die Hard (both 2007), Push, Crossing Over (both 2009), The Dark Horse (2014), for which he won the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actor, and Doctor Sleep (2019), also portraying James "Mac" Mackreides in The Meg (2018) and Meg 2: The Trench (2023) and Tonowari in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) and Avatar 3 (2025). 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 New Zealander 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-tih-tee), is a New Zealand filmmaker, actor and comedian. He is known for directing quirky comedy films and has expanded his career as a voice actor and producer on numerous projects. He has received numerous accolades including an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award and a Grammy Award, as well as two nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2022. 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 in 2019. The series has been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. His 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 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 directed, executive produced, and starred 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.