Some actors are so talented that nearly everyone appreciates their work. Whether they portray comedic leads, hardened criminals, or love interests, the most popular actors in Hollywood often have a huge following of diehard fans. (Unfortunately, a big name star doesn’t always spell success for a film. Here are some A-list actors’ biggest box office flops.)
To compile a list of the most popular actors of all time in the U.S., 24/7 Tempo reviewed the results of a survey conducted by YouGov, an international market and data analytics website. The survey was conducted using an online interview completed by more than 1,200 American respondents, based on a master list that included 886 actors, all but a handful of them male and predominantly English-speaking. Participants were shown a picture and given the name of each actor and asked to what extent they liked or disliked each one of them. Possible responses were “really like,” “somewhat like,” “neither like or dislike,” “somewhat dislike,” or “really dislike.” We included all those who were liked by at least 70% of the respondents.
To determine the best movie starring each actor on the list, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using ratings from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, weighing all ratings equally. Data is current as of March 2023. Only movies where the actor was credited among the leading three actors on IMDb were considered. Domestic ticket sales, adjusted for inflation, are from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by Nash Information Services.
Many of the most well-liked actors of all time, including late greats Sidney Poitier and Paul Newman, were most popular in the ‘60s but are still remembered as some of the most impactful performers to ever hit the silver screen. Others, including Dwayne Johnson and Robert Downey, Jr., are enjoying current success as prolific action heroes.
Popular actors including Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, and Jack Nicholson are among the performers with the most Academy Award wins and nominations. Some of the top 10 most popular actors are also among the top 10 highest grossing actors of all time, including Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, and Tom Hanks. (These are the most bankable actors in America right now.)
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