Special Report

What Famous Actors Did Next After Their Breakout Role

Source: Courtesy of Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment

Denzel Washington
> First very famous movie: Glory (1989)

Denzel Washington first became noticed on the ’80s medical drama “St. Elsewhere,” but his road to becoming one of Hollywood’s strongest leading men started with his star turn as a private in one of the first all-black Union Army regiments in 1989’s “Glory.” He won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance, which he followed up in the ’90s with hits including “Malcolm X,” “Philadelphia,” “He Got Game,” and “Hurricane.”

Source: Courtesy of Embassy Pictures

Dustin Hoffman
> First very famous movie: The Graduate (1967)

One of the most famous actors of his generation was largely unknown before being plucked from obscurity by director Mike Nichols to star in 1967’s seminal “The Graduate,” in which he played an aimless college graduate who’s seduced by an older woman. It was the highest-grossing film of the year, and led to starring roles in now-classic films including “Midnight Cowboy,” “All the President’s Men,” “Marathon Man,” “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Tootsie,” “Rain Man,” and, of course, “Meet the Fockers.”

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Emma Watson
> First very famous movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Emma Watson had only acted in school plays before she was cast at the age of 9 as Hermione Granger in 2001’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Her star only continued to rise throughout the series, and she was a solid A-listed by the time it wrapped up in 2011. Since then, she’s starred in a wide array of films from the 2014 biblical epic “Noah” to 2017’s live action “Beauty & The Beast” to 2019’s adaptation of “Little Women,” and we have a hunch there’s a lot more to come.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Harrison Ford
> First very famous movie: Star Wars (1977)

Throughout the 1970s, Harrison Ford struggled with bit parts and a couple memorable small roles in “American Graffiti” and “The Conversation,” but it wasn’t until he was hired by “American Graffiti” director George Lucas to read lines for actors auditioning for his “space opera” that Lucas realized that he’d be perfect for the role of Han Solo. The role catapulted him to stardom, and it turned him into one of the era’s top leading men, starring in the “Indiana Jones” films and other classics including “Blade Runner,” “The Fugitive,” “Clear and Present Danger,” and “Air Force One.”

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Humphrey Bogart
> First very famous movie: The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Before he was one of the biggest stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Bogie spent more than a decade playing bit parts, mostly no-name gangsters. His breakthrough came in 1941, when he starred in the one-two punch of “High Sierra” (his last turn as a gangster) and the classic film noir “The Maltese Falcon.” “The Maltese Falcon” was quickly hailed as a masterpiece, and Bogart’s performance as a private detective made him one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors. The following year’s “Casablanca” was his first romantic leading role, and classics including “The Big Sleep,” “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” “The African Queen,” and “The Caine Mutiny” followed.

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