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.
With an HPI of 69.94, Klaus Kinski is the most famous Actor. His biography has been translated into 53 different languages on wikipedia.
Klaus Kinski (German: [klaʊ̯s kɪns.ki] (listen), born Klaus Günter Karl Nakszynski; 18 October 1926 – 23 November 1991) was a German actor, equally renowned for his intense performance style and notorious for his volatile personality. He appeared in over 130 film roles in a career that spanned 40 years, from 1948 to 1988. He played leading parts in five films directed by Werner Herzog (Aguirre, the Wrath of God, 1972; Nosferatu the Vampyre, 1979; Woyzeck, also 1979; Fitzcarraldo, 1982; Cobra Verde, 1987), who later chronicled their tumultuous relationship in the documentary My Best Fiend (1999).Kinski's roles spanned multiple genres, languages, and nationalities, including many Spaghetti Westerns (such as For a Few Dollars More, 1965; A Bullet for the General, 1966; The Great Silence, 1968; And God Said to Cain, 1970), horror films, war movies, dramas, and Edgar Wallace krimi pictures. His infamy was elevated by a number of eccentric creative endeavors, including a one-man show based on the life of Jesus Christ, a self-directed biographical film of violinist Niccolò Paganini, and over 20 spoken word albums.During his lifetime, Kinski was a controversial and aggressive figure, prone to emotional and often violent outbursts directed at his directors and fellow cast members, issues further complicated by a history of mental illness. Herzog described him as "one of the greatest actors of the century, but also a monster and a great pestilence." Posthumously, his legacy has been further tangled by accusations of physical and sexual abuse of his daughters Pola and Nastassja, themselves actresses. His notoriety and prolific output has developed into a widespread cult following and a reputation as a popular icon.
With an HPI of 68.07, Pola Negri is the 2nd most famous Actor. Her biography has been translated into 48 different languages.
Pola Negri (; born Apolonia Chalupec [apɔˈlɔɲa xaˈwupɛt͡s]; 3 January 1897 – 1 August 1987) was a Polish stage and film actress and singer. She achieved worldwide fame during the silent and golden eras of Hollywood and European film for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles and was acknowledged as a sex symbol.Raised in the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Negri's childhood was marked by several personal hardships: After her father was sent to Siberia, she was raised by her single mother in poverty, and suffered tuberculosis as a teenager. Negri recovered, and went on to study ballet and acting in Warsaw, becoming a well-known stage actress there. In 1917, she relocated to Germany, where she began appearing in silent films for the Berlin-based UFA studio. Her film performances for UFA came to the attention of Hollywood executives at Paramount Pictures, who offered her a film contract. Negri signed with Paramount in 1922, making her the first European actress in history to be contracted in Hollywood. She spent much of the 1920s working in the United States appearing in numerous films for Paramount, establishing herself as one of the most popular actresses in American silent film. In the 1930s, during the emergence of sound film, Negri returned to Europe, where she appeared in multiple films for Pathé Films and UFA, and also began a career as a recording artist. She made only two films after 1940, her last screen credit being in Walt Disney's The Moon-Spinners (1964). Negri spent her later life largely outside the public sphere. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1951, and spent the remainder of her life living in San Antonio, Texas, where she died of pneumonia secondary to a brain tumor for which she refused treatment, in 1987, aged 90.
With an HPI of 63.23, Hanna Schygulla is the 3rd most famous Actor. Her biography has been translated into 39 different languages.
Hanna Schygulla (German: [ˈha.na ʃyˈɡʊ.la] (listen); born 25 December 1943) is a German actress and chanson singer associated with the theater and film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. She first worked for Fassbinder in 1965 and became an active participant in the New German Cinema. Schygulla won the 1979 Berlin Silver Bear for Best Actress for Fassbinder's The Marriage of Maria Braun, and the 1983 Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress for the Marco Ferreri film The Story of Piera.
With an HPI of 56.89, Barbara Brylska is the 4th most famous Actor. Her biography has been translated into 20 different languages.
Barbara Brylska (born 5 June 1941) is a Polish actress who gained critical acclaim in 1960s and was featured in numerous films throughout the countries of the Warsaw Pact including the Soviet Union. She is noted especially for her role as Nadya in the 1976 Soviet comedy film Irony of Fate.
With an HPI of 56.65, Daniel Olbrychski is the 5th most famous Actor. His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.
Daniel Marcel Olbrychski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈdaɲɛl ˈmart͡sɛl ɔlˈbrɨxskʲi]; born 27 February 1945) is a Polish actor best known for leading roles in several Andrzej Wajda movies and also known for playing a defector and spymaster Vassily Orlov alongside Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie in the movie Salt.
With an HPI of 56.37, Anny Ondra is the 6th most famous Actor. Her biography has been translated into 21 different languages.
Anny Ondra (born Anna Sophie Ondráková; 15 May 1903 – 28 February 1987) was a Czech film actress. She began her career in 1920 and appeared in Czech, German, Austrian, French and English films. In 1933, she married German boxing champion Max Schmeling.
With an HPI of 55.89, Dita Parlo is the 7th most famous Actor. Her biography has been translated into 18 different languages.
Dita Parlo (born Grethe Gerda Kornstädt or Gerda Olga Justine Kornstädt; 4 September 1908 – 12 December 1971) was a German film actress.
With an HPI of 55.83, Izabella Scorupco is the 8th most famous Actor. Her biography has been translated into 36 different languages.
Izabella Scorupco (born Izabela Dorota Skorupko; 4 June 1970) is a Polish-Swedish actress, singer and model. She is best known for having played Bond girl Natalya Simonova in the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye. She is also known for her cover of the Shirley & Company song "Shame, Shame, Shame" which was released in 1992 and became a European hit.
With an HPI of 55.10, Beata Tyszkiewicz is the 9th most famous Actor. Her biography has been translated into 29 different languages.
Countess Beata Tyszkiewicz (Beata Maria Helena Tyszkiewicz-Kalenicka; born 14 August 1938) is a retired Polish actress and TV personality.
With an HPI of 54.80, Peter van Eyck is the 10th most famous Actor. His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.
Peter van Eyck (born Götz von Eick; 16 July 1911 – 15 July 1969) was a German-born film actor. He was perhaps best known (in English-language films) for his roles in the 1960s features The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Shalako and The Bridge at Remagen.
Pantheon has 76 people classified as actors born between 1757 and 1992. Of these 76, 42 (55.26%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living actors include Hanna Schygulla, Barbara Brylska, and Daniel Olbrychski. The most famous deceased actors include Klaus Kinski, Pola Negri, and Anny Ondra. As of April 2022, 26 new actors have been added to Pantheon including Matthias Habich, Ingrid van Bergen, and Grażyna Szapołowska.
1943 - Present
1941 - Present
1945 - Present
1970 - Present
1938 - Present
1947 - Present
1928 - Present
1955 - Present
1952 - Present
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1940 - Present
1931 - Present
1926 - 1991
1897 - 1987
1903 - 1987
1906 - 1971
1911 - 1969
1928 - 1971
1941 - 2012
1882 - 1948
1874 - 1948
1840 - 1909
1929 - 2014
1893 - 1946
1940 - Present
1931 - Present
1953 - Present
1935 - Present
1906 - 2008
1905 - 1987
1928 - 2013
1925 - 2013
1952 - Present
1889 - 1972
1972 - Present
1901 - 1959
Which Actors were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Actors since 1700.