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View Full Version : Actors who are also (successful) musicians



maestrowork
03-07-2009, 12:38 AM
Or vice versa... great musicians who also become successful actors.

I wouldn't call people like Beyonce or Eddie Murphy cross-over successes because they're still mostly known (and have reasonable success) for one thing or another. Someone like David Bowie is actually a very good actor, but he's still mostly limited to his music career with the occasional foray into movies.

In the good old days we had people like Frank Sinatra or Barbara Streissand who are/were extremely successful in both music and acting.

I'm trying to think who, currently, can do both... All I can think of is Queen Latifah, but recently her music career has been taking a backseat as well.

And how about actors who successfully cross over to music?

Joaquin Phoenix wants to abandon his acting and focus on music. We'll see how that goes.

Prozyan
03-07-2009, 12:45 AM
Mos Def pops into my mind, but he's kind of in the same boat as Queen Latifah in that his music career is kind of in the backseat.

scarletpeaches
03-07-2009, 12:48 AM
My lovely, lovely Jared. :D

Bmwhtly
03-07-2009, 12:53 AM
Mos Def pops into my mind
Having watched '16 Blocks' recently, I'll agree that he is a good actist.
But his music is before my time *Walks about looking young*

Bubastes
03-07-2009, 12:57 AM
Kevin Bacon has a band, but I don't know how good he is as a musician.

James81
03-07-2009, 01:07 AM
Will Smith.

scarletpeaches
03-07-2009, 01:09 AM
I notice no-one's mentioning Madonna. :D

TheIT
03-07-2009, 01:10 AM
I believe Bill Mumy and Hugh Laurie are also musicians.

escritora
03-07-2009, 01:15 AM
The guy in the Sopranos who is also part of Springteen's (spelling?) band.

mscelina
03-07-2009, 01:25 AM
Harry Connick Jr.

TheIT
03-07-2009, 01:27 AM
Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) & her father

Bubastes
03-07-2009, 01:28 AM
Jack Black.

Hillary
03-07-2009, 01:30 AM
My first thought was Jennifer Hudson. Academy Award, BAFTA, SAG Award, Golden Globe, and a Grammy. She's not all that well-established in terms of staying power, but I'd have to say her crossover was pretty darn successful, no?

J Lo has done all right for herself in both arenas too, I guess. Please note I'm not saying she's phenomenally talented, just that she has had number one albums and number one box office releases (at the same time too, I believe), so success...

I have a soft spot for Harry Connick Jr., as well.

Hrm... Now I'm not going to be able to stop trying to think of people!

Hillary
03-07-2009, 01:34 AM
Oh, can we count Jamie Foxx? Hrm...

Must stop thinking about this, and get on with doing my laundry...

maestrowork
03-07-2009, 04:32 AM
Yeah Will Smith... but is he still doing music? I hardly hear about his albums anymore.

J.Lo has kind of died down a bit. But for a while she had both going very strongly.

Another one is Mandy Moore. I'm not familiar with her singing career but I think it's still going. And I've seen a couple of her films.

Williebee
03-07-2009, 04:41 AM
Bon Jovi has done some turns in movies. (U-571, Pay it Forward, Vampires)

Willie Nelson & Kristofferson have, as well.

ETA: Although Willie is pretty much playing "Willie" in most stuff. :)

maestrowork
03-07-2009, 04:42 AM
I actually think Tim McGuire is excellent in the few films he's been in. He really impressed me in Friday Night Lights. And his comic turn on SNL had me in stitches.

Marina Snow
03-07-2009, 04:43 AM
Joaquin Phoenix wants to abandon his acting and focus on music. We'll see how that goes.

Joaquin has a great voice. I think he sings Johnny Cash's songs better than Johnny Cash.

:tongue

maestrowork
03-07-2009, 04:44 AM
Joaquin has a great voice. I think he sings Johnny Cash's songs better than Johnny Cash.

:tongue

He wants to do RAP, though.

mscelina
03-07-2009, 04:46 AM
I think you have to count Madonna. She was surprisingly brilliant in Evita IMO.

You could also count Courtney Love as far as that goes.

As for actors who are successful musicians simply because they've done a musical, add Richard Gere, Renee' Zellweiger, Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago) Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge) Hugh Jackman (he does musicals in the theatre) Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter (Sweeney Todd) Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane (The Producers) and Gerard Butler (Phantom.)

Ice-T counts too.

TheIT
03-07-2009, 04:48 AM
Meat Loaf has done some acting, too.

Bubastes
03-07-2009, 04:49 AM
Under mscelina's definition, we have to add Meryl Streep (Mamma Mia and Prairie Home Companion)

mscelina
03-07-2009, 04:52 AM
My definition doesn't exactly fit the qualifications of the OP. I just wanted a good reason to type Ewan McGregor and Gerard Butler. I'm sure you understand. ;)

Johnny Cash counts. so does Dolly Parton.

Jersey Chick
03-07-2009, 04:55 AM
Russell Crowe? I know he had a band (still has one) but I don't know how good/successful they are/were -

maestrowork
03-07-2009, 04:57 AM
Under mscelina's definition, we have to add Meryl Streep (Mamma Mia and Prairie Home Companion)

Nah, nothing against you, mscelina ;) but I am not accepting that definition. Actors who sing in films are different. Meryl Streep, for example, does not have a singing career.

So let's stick with people who actually have BOTH careers going.

Now, I would accept Hugh Jackman because he was/is a Broadway star, doing musicals, etc. and have recordings before he became a movie star.

As for actors who have bands... same thing. Many people have or are in bands, but I think we need to keep the definition more pure: people who actually made it as a band. Say:


Bono or Bon Jovi...

thethinker42
03-07-2009, 04:59 AM
I'm going to second scarletpeaches about Jared Leto. All fangurl drooling aside, the man is a very talented musician. His voice is incredible.

And for that matter, his brother qualifies as an actor, since he's done some bit parts in his brother's films/TV shows (especially 'My So-Called Life')...and he's fantastic drummer.

As for Joaquin Phoenix...very talented musician and actor, who has suddenly gone batshit crazy. Hopefully he'll get help (*cough*rehab*cough*) and get back to either singing (NOT RAPPING, YOU BASTARD) and/or acting.

mscelina
03-07-2009, 05:13 AM
Oh crap. How could we forget Cher? Good grief.

Meat Loaf has done more than a little acting. He was on Broadway in "Hair." and has been in dozens of movies and TV roles. Rick Springfield (although I hate Jessie's Girl, it still counts).

And we all forgot Bernadette Peters. For shame.

maestrowork
03-07-2009, 05:18 AM
Yeah, leaving off Cher and Peters seems.... so wrong.

And Vanessa Williams. Yup, her singing career seems to have died already -- still, she was having it all for a while.

Justin Timberlake happens to be a very good actor, too, I think. He was pretty intense in Alpha Dog.

TheIT
03-07-2009, 05:22 AM
I know you specified contemporary actors/musicians, but here's a nod to Jerry Orbach and Ray Walston.

ETA:

Also Angela Lansbury, Len Cariou, and Kenny Rogers.

mscelina
03-07-2009, 05:34 AM
Nah, nothing against you, mscelina ;) but I am not accepting that definition. Actors who sing in films are different. Meryl Streep, for example, does not have a singing career.

So let's stick with people who actually have BOTH careers going.

Now, I would accept Hugh Jackman because he was/is a Broadway star, doing musicals, etc. and have recordings before he became a movie star.

As for actors who have bands... same thing. Many people have or are in bands, but I think we need to keep the definition more pure: people who actually made it as a band. Say:


Bono or Bon Jovi...

Oh, I know. I mentioned that point myself right after the initial post. I just like typing Ewan McGregor and Gerard Butler. *grin* I was just providing a list of actors who can sing their asses off. Hugh Jackman is a surprising man to me--a serious triple threat who's making big bucks in Hollywood. If he did release an album, however, I bet he'd make it. His voice is BIG and he proved that by keeping up with and in some instances outshining Beyonce during the Oscars. Unfortunately, though, I also have to add 80s pop idol Debbie Gibson to the list, because using the adult moniker Deborah Gibson she had a successful run on Broadway in Les Mis.

Jersey Chick
03-07-2009, 05:37 AM
See, that's why I specified I didn't know how good Crowe's band was - they may be huge in Australia...

What about David Hasselhoff? He's huge in Germany. He's the Hoff

mscelina
03-07-2009, 05:45 AM
Mark Wahlberg. Scary, yes, but true.

kristin724
03-07-2009, 07:23 AM
Hehe. Dolly Parton and Rick Springfield? What I wonder is why back in the day with the Sinatras and Dean Martins and Elvis types it was considered an ace, tag team, one two punch almost required to be a multi tasker. Today, some people are always considered a joke when they move one way or the other. Bon Jovi isn't going to win any Oscars any more than Don Johnson should have won a Grammy for Heartbeat. ;0) Do we like to box and pigeon hole people that much? It's even news to us when a actor 'comes down' to television or 'quits his tv day job' ahemDavidCarusoahem for films.

dolores haze
03-07-2009, 07:34 AM
Tom Waits. Probably he's more of a successful musician who also acts, rather than an actor who is also a musician. I loved him in 'Short Cuts.'

Williebee
03-07-2009, 07:36 AM
mark wahlberg, yes. And his brother Donnie.

Jersey Chick
03-07-2009, 07:37 AM
ZOMG, I saw the Don Johnson video the other night on VH1 Classics - was it that lame back in 1985 (or whatever year it was????) :D

SirBiatch
03-07-2009, 08:48 AM
the answer is none.

Like Maestro said, Frank Sinatra is probably the only good example I can think of, and that's old school.

Mos Def is not a great actor by any means. He's a way better rapper. His first album is pretty incredible, but he's fallen off since then.

Queen Latifah hasn't had a music career in a WHILE. But she has some amazing rap songs (e.g. Just Another Day)

Will Smith... lmao.

BenPanced
03-07-2009, 08:53 AM
Julie London comes to mind. (Kids! Ask your parents!)

childeroland
03-07-2009, 09:24 AM
Lindsay Lohan. :roll:

benbradley
03-07-2009, 09:45 AM
There was Sting, I think at the time (early '80's?) he was famous (infamous, maybe?) for being in "Dune," a movie I couldn't follow and found to be boring. Was he in anything else? Regardless, he obviously didn't become a major actor.

the answer is none.

Like Maestro said, Frank Sinatra is probably the only good example I can think of, and that's old school.
Speaking of old school, there are the others in the Rat Pack, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., though I have no clue what all movies they did (though Wikipedia verifies they did do movies together) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_Pack). Sammy co-starred in some late '70's movie, something about race cars? My main memory of it is the takeouts at the end as the credits scrolled up, whoever was supposed to say "those beads" around Sammy's neck but said "those bleeds" and Sammy replied "These bleeds? You mean THESE bleeds?"

And do "The Monkees" count? How about "The Partridge Family?"

eyeblink
03-07-2009, 12:12 PM
Sting was in quite a few films - he's good in Stormy Monday (using his native Newcastle accent).

Sissy Spacek won an Oscar for Coal Miner's Daughter playing Loretta Lynn, and did all her own singing. She followed it up with a country album, Hangin' Up My Heart. Her daughter (Schuyler Fisk) has done singing and acting. Not really hugely "successful" (apart from the acting) but worth mentioning.

Do we count stars of film musicals, like Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers? All of whom did "straight" roles as well.

maestrowork
03-07-2009, 08:15 PM
I'm not sure if I would count musical stars unless they have a career outside of their musical theater/movies.

For example, Judy Garland and her daughter. They both had parallel movie and singing careers. Both very successful in their times. Or Barbara Streissand, as I mentioned before.

Jersey Chick
03-07-2009, 08:30 PM
Speaking of old school, there are the others in the Rat Pack, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., though I have no clue what all movies they did (though Wikipedia verifies they did do movies together) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_Pack). Sammy co-starred in some late '70's movie, something about race cars? My main memory of it is the takeouts at the end as the credits scrolled up, whoever was supposed to say "those beads" around Sammy's neck but said "those bleeds" and Sammy replied "These bleeds? You mean THESE bleeds?"
The Cannonball Run movies, maybe???

Jersey Chick
03-07-2009, 08:30 PM
Olivia Newton-John?



Ack - I thought of the Hoff and Olivia Newton-John... WTF kind of dork am I? ;)

maestrowork
03-07-2009, 08:44 PM
I would contend (as much as some people hate her) that Madonna managed to achieve music superstardom and a semi-successful acting career back in the 80s and 90s.

The same can't be said about the wannabes such as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson...

benbradley
03-07-2009, 09:34 PM
The Cannonball Run movies, maybe???
THat sure sounds familiar, that must have been it. There were several? I only saw one .I haven't really thought about it since I saw the movie, and that was only .... counting the decades ...

Prozyan
03-08-2009, 02:27 AM
The rat pack was in the original Ocean's 11.

robeiae
03-08-2009, 02:40 AM
Shanghai Surprise is my favorite movie, ever...

Anyway, apart from Frank and Dean, I'd say there is Akroyd and Belushi, no? A flash in the pan in some respects, but a legitmate act imo.

Did anyone say Ice-T? I think he qualifies.

Then, there's Liza Minneli. Not my cup-o-tea, but still.

Frankie Avalon? Pretty big in both worlds.

And of course, Elvis.

maestrowork
03-08-2009, 04:22 AM
Speaking of Ice-T, LL Cool J is actually pretty good actor. And then there is Ludacris. And Ice Cube. Some of these Rap people can really act.

thethinker42
03-08-2009, 04:26 AM
Speaking of Ice-T, LL Cool J is actually pretty good actor. And then there is Ludacris. And Ice Cube. Some of these Rap people can really act.

And some, without a doubt, can NOT (http://www.imdb.com/media/rm953064448/tt0101615).

scarletpeaches
03-08-2009, 04:29 AM
Yeah, but he be a white boyee.

White men can't jump act. Or rap.

Except Eminem.

maestrowork
03-08-2009, 04:35 AM
Funny Eminem only made one film, and it's about his own life story... Too bad, he was actually pretty good in it.

triceretops
03-08-2009, 04:46 AM
Who is the musician is Joe Dirt? He ain't half bad--can't remember his name.

How about one of my favorite babes, Bette Middler. (Did I spell that right?). she had it goin' on in the Rose.

Tri

Prozyan
03-08-2009, 05:30 AM
And some, without a doubt, can NOT (http://www.imdb.com/media/rm953064448/tt0101615).

Act or sing? ;)

thethinker42
03-08-2009, 05:51 AM
Act or sing? ;)

Yes. :D

maestrowork
03-08-2009, 06:48 AM
I can't believe you brought him up, Lori. Shame, shame, shame. He qualifies neither singer/musician nor actor.

Shame!

thethinker42
03-08-2009, 11:27 AM
I can't believe you brought him up, Lori. Shame, shame, shame. He qualifies neither singer/musician nor actor.

Shame!

Well, I was just clearing up the fact that he can neither sing NOR act, since YOU are the one who said that a lot of the rap guys are talented in both departments WITHOUT the caveat that some most definitely are NOT. I just wanted to make sure there was NO room for error on this one.

kristin724
03-09-2009, 07:20 AM
MY favorite Rat Pack movie is Robin and The Seven Hoods, but Bing Crosby is in that one instead of Peter Lawford. I like the old school folks and I like old music.

I don't its a surprise if someone went to an acting or theater school that they *can* sing. Travolta could sing in Grease, but he didn't really have a music career. Jessica Lange sang as Patsy Cline in Sweet Dreams, but not again no long term crossover success.

Blink-I love Stormy Monday. You mention SM when I have a Bean avatar! I prefer Sting in The Bride, though. I think Madonna peaked with Evita. Best acting acclaim and the top of her music. I think a musician in a musical role is easy, but in a straight dramatic part is different. How many movies did Elvis make in which he didn't sing? Flaming Star? I love King Creole myself.

kuwisdelu
03-09-2009, 09:53 AM
So let's stick with people who actually have BOTH careers going.

Now, I would accept Hugh Jackman because he was/is a Broadway star, doing musicals, etc. and have recordings before he became a movie star.

As for actors who have bands... same thing. Many people have or are in bands, but I think we need to keep the definition more pure: people who actually made it as a band.

I know you wouldn't really consider it a "career" but mscelina's previously mentioned Johnny Depp is a quite successful musician.

He used to belong to a band, he has a guitar solo on a couple songs of Oasis's "What's the Story? (Morning Glory)" album, and (I think) some other records, and played on the Chocolat soundtrack. There are some musical recordings with him (possibly pre-dating) his acting career, I believe.

It's not really a separate career, but it seems (to me) he'd be successful at it if he took any time away from acting to focus on it instead.

eyeblink
03-09-2009, 10:59 AM
Steve Martin is rated as a banjo player - he's just released an album.

Jersey Chick
03-09-2009, 04:51 PM
And who can forget King Tut (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP7AJiQM2RI)?

gabbleandhiss
03-10-2009, 11:17 PM
John Doe (Great Balls of Fire!, Boogie Nights, Carnivale)
Dwight Yoakam (Sling Blade, Panic Room)
Steven Van Zandt (Sopranos)
Ice Cube (Friday, Boyz N the Hood, Three Kings)

Mariah Carey, Fred Durst, and Fergie have acted in a few movies, too. Don't know that I'd consider them 'successful' at acting, though.