Though there are thousands of black actors who have graced the hall of Hollywood, a few of them possess exceptional skills that enabled them to fit perfectly into the characters they portray in movies. As a result of this, the memory of their roles remains fresh, which has made them the best black actors of all time. They have distinguished themselves through their outstanding performance in many high-profile movies where they have starred in.
The Hollywood entertainment industry has been blessed with lots of stars who are black. While some of them are still alive and celebrated for their contributions to the movie industry, some others have died, yet their impact is still felt to date. On different occasions, many of these black characters have received several awards for their outstanding performance. Reading about them is worth your time.
Who is the greatest black actor of all time?
The entertainment industry is blessed with lots of black actors who have helped to reshape the industry in various ways. Even though a few of them are dead, their impact is still felt in the industry. Read through this list to see if your favorite one is there. It consists of comedic performers, box-office stars, and great performers.
20. Djimon Hounsou
Djimon is originally from the Benin Republic. His parents are Albertine and Pierre Hounsou. He is a former model who later transitioned into acting, and has since made several appearances in movies. Currently, Djimon Hounsou net worth of $12 million is quite impressive.
As one of the seasoned actors of our time, Djimon Hounsou movies, where his skills have received lots of praise, include Amistad released in 1997 by Steven Spielberg, and Gladiator, which was released in 2000 by Ridley Scott. He then relocated to Lyon in France at the age of thirteen. His modeling career took him to many places like London and Paris.
19. Dennis Haysbert
The tall black actor called Dennis Haysbert is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) and San Mateo High School in San Mateo, California. He is a certified deep-sea diver and was the host and narrator for Discovery's Secrets of Pearl Harbor.
Who is the most popular male actor? With his role in the series, 24, Dennis moved to the list of most popular male actors in Hollywood. Haysbert was married to Lynn Griffith, and the union produced two beautiful kids whose names are Charles and Katharine. While in school, he played on the school football team. Since he started his career, Dennis Haysbert net worth is estimated at $20 million, which is proof that he truly has a successful career.
18. Adolph Caesar
Adolph is best known for his role in the motion picture, A Soldier's Story, as Sergeant Vernon C. Waters. He won many awards since the beginning of his career. For his role in A Solider’s Story, he was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor award from the Motion Picture Academy.
After his high school, Adolph was recruited to serve in the United States Navy. From there, he proceeded to New York University to study drama. He died as a result of a heart attack, which he had while on the set of movie production. He was 52 years old at the time of his death, and Adolph Caesar net worth was estimated at $6 Million
17. Richard Pryor
Richard Franklin Lennox Pryor III was born in Peoria, Illinois, on the 1st of December, 1940. His mother abandoned him at the age of ten, and as a result, he was raised in a brothel belonging to his grandmother. The controversial black American performer was best known for his choice of words on his comedy shows. At the time of his death, Richard Pryor net worth was $40 million.
Today, he is recognized by many comedians as a motivation in their careers. Beside that, unfortunately, Richard Pryor scandals are traced to several failed marriages that he had in the past and battled drug addiction on different occasions. Before his comedy career, he was a singer in various small clubs.
16. Jeffrey Wright
Jeffrey has been on the screen since the 1990s with an appearance in Presumed Innocent and Angels in America. Though Wright was a student of Political Science at Amherst, he opted for acting after his graduation in 1987. Jeffrey Wright news of emerging as a winner of the Tony Award shortly after his first movie appearance was a surprise to those ahead of him.
The legend of Hollywood was born and raised in Washington, DC. He has been admired by many for his exceptional skills on the screen. His first big on-screen performance was in Julian Schnabel’s film, Basquiat, in 1996. Currently, Jeffrey Wright net worth is estimated at $8 million.
15. Ivan Dixon
Ivan Nathaniel Dixon III was born on the 6th of April, 1931. He was raised in the South. His interest in acting helped him turn away from crime at a very young age. Dixon is a graduate of North Carolina Central University (in Durham), where he majored in drama.
Dixon featured in many movies and a major TV series alongside Bill Cosby and Greg Morris in the 1960s. When Ivan Dixon death news hit the airwaves, it was a shock to some of his fans, even though some others felt he had lived long enough. How did Ivan Dixon die? He reportedly died of complications from kidney failure and hemorrhage at 76 years of age at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina. As of the time of his death, Ivan Dixon net worth was $500,000.
14. Billy Dee Williams
Talk about Hollywood celebs who have been on the screen for a long time, and Billy Dee's name will be on the list. Billy is well known for his exemplary performance in movies and other television series. He was born in the city of New York on the 6th of April, 1937. His face has been on television and films for more than fifty years.
Some of Billy Dee Williams films include Star Wars, Nighthhwaks, Batman, Undercover Brother, and Lady Sings the Blues. He is internationally known as Lando Calrissian in the original Star Wars. Since he started his career, Billy Dee Williams net worth is estimated to be about $9 million.
13. Eddie Murphy
Though Eddie Murphy seems to have diminished in his popularity in the past years, his legacy still lingers. He is seen as a natural clown for his feature in many comedy films. Eddie Murphy news about the death of his father, who was a policeman, was broken to him when he was only eight years old. Because of this loss, his mother and her new husband raised him.
Who is the best black male actor? Eddie Murphy may be the answer for many people. The African-American comedian started his career at the age of 15, doing gigs for a fee of 25 to 30 dollars. His name soon began appearing on news headlines. He won a Grammy in 1983. He is known to many people for his big project, Coming to America, which he released in 1987. Today, Eddie Murphy net worth is estimated at $200 million.
12. Chiwetel Ejiofor
Ejiofor is best known for the movie 12 Years a Slave. He is one of the most popular black British actors. His parents are from Nigeria, but the award-winning actor was born in Forest Gate, East London. By the time he was 13 years of age, the black British performer has started featuring in different stage plays. He got a clearer vision of his career while he was at Dulwich College.
Chiwetel graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Then, he became involved in many high-profile movie productions at the Royal National Company and the Almeida Theater Company. Chiwetel Ejiofor movies include It Was an Accident and Mind Games (both in 2000) and Greenwich Mean Time (1999).
11. Wesley Snipes
Who is the most popular black actor? Wesley Trent Snipes, who was raised in South Bronx in New York City, is one of the most popular and cherished black actors. At a very young age, he developed a deep interest in dance and acting. For this reason, he attended the High School for Performing Arts.
Wesley's mother, Marian, was a teacher’s assistant, and his father, Wesley Rudolph Snipes, was an aircraft engineer. His roles in Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues and Jungle Fever brought him into the limelight. He has featured in many other movies like The Blade.
10. Will Smith
The list cannot be complete without mentioning Willard Carroll. Known to many as Will Smith Jr., the name of this American comedian, actor, producer, rapper, and songwriter is a household name in Hollywood. He is one of the famous black guys in the industry. Newsweek referred to him as the "most powerful actor" in Hollywood in April 2007.
How many Grammys do Will Smith have? Will has won four Grammys, and has also been nominated for five Golden Globe awards and two Academy Awards. One of Will Smith latest news is the fact that he has made a name as the only actor with eight straight films whose gross income was above $100 million in the domestic box office. He has been famous as a rapper and producer since the 1980s. As of 2018, Will Smith Forbes net worth was $42 million. Today, Will Smith net worth is about $350 million.
9. James Earl Jones
The talented actor has won the Emmy Award two times. He has had a fantastic career in the industry. James had a speech challenge as a child. He would stutter, but then, he was able to overcome the challenge in his high school days.
James Earl Jones was born in Arkabutla, Mississippi, on the 17th of January, 1931. He has starred in several movies, including The Great White Hope and Fences. He was more popular for his role as the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars. What is James Earl Jones net worth? Currently, James Earl Jones net worth is $45 million.
8. Forest Whitaker
Forest Steven Whitaker is recognized mostly for playing the role of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, a movie released in 2006. He won a Golden Globe, an Academy Award and a BAFTA for his role in the movie. After Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, and Jamie Foxx, he was the next African-American man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. The news of Forest Whitaker divorce scandal with his wife Keisha Nash after 22 years of marriage in 2018 was one thing that broke the heart of his fans.
Whitaker went to college through a football scholarship. He was a good athlete as a teenager. He was born in Longview, Texas, in the year 1961. His father, Forest Steven Walker, was an insurance salesman, and his mother, Laura Francis, was a teacher. In 1965, they relocated to South Central Los Angeles. At the moment, Forest Whitaker net worth is estimated at $30 million.
7. Ossie Davis
Davis was an American actor, poet, director, playwright, author, and civil rights activist. In 2004, Ossie received the Kennedy Center Honors. John Williams, Elton John, Joan Sutherland, Warren Beatty, and wife Ruby Dee were among the other recipients. He was an invited speaker at the funeral of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
Ossie, with Ruby Dee, had three kids whose names are Nora Day, Guy Davis, and Hasna Muhammad. In 1989, Ossie and Ruby were inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame. Until his death in 2005, Ossie Davis net worth was $2 million.
6. Samuel L. Jackson
Who holds the record for the most movies made as an actor? Samuel L. Jackson may not be the one, but he has featured in over 100 films. Apart from Samuel L. Jackson career as an actor, he is also a producer. He was born in Washington, D.C., USA, and was raised by his grandmother, who was a disciplinarian. Samuel is a graduate of Morehouse College. He started his acting career on the stage.
Some of Samuel L. Jackson movies include Unbreakable (2000), Shaft (2000), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), The 51st State (2001), Black Snake Moan (2006), and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005). In 2017, based on Samuel L. Jackson Forbes ranking, he was named as one of the highest-earning actors with over $30.5 million as his wealth. He was a great friend of Spike Lee.
5. Paul Robeson
Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the U.S., in the year 1898. He had four siblings, who are Benjamin, William, Reeve, and Marian. At the age of six, Paul lost his mum to a fire outbreak. He was a Hollywood celebrity with charisma. His eloquence earned him the job of an interpreter in the Eugene O'Neill's plays. Paul Robeson filmography includes Body and Soul, Camille, Borderline, Emperor Jones, and Sanders of the River.
Unfortunately, Paul’s acting career was brought to ruins as a result of his civil rights movement. How did Paul Robeson die? He died as a result of complications from a stroke, but he is still remembered today as an icon of racial pride and black consciousness. His voice was heard as he spoke against the abuse of human rights during the Cold War era. Apart from that, Paul Robeson net worth was $20 Million until his death.
4. Don Cheadle
Don Cheadle was born on the 29th of November, 1964. His family moved to Denver when he was only a child. From Denver, they moved to Nebraska. Don is a celebrated actor with many exceptional qualities that always distinguished him from other actors. He has a subtle way of stealing the show each time he appears on the screen, and at the same time, he does an excellent job of complementing his co-stars in a movie.
Cheadle had an early childhood interest in acting. His parents were always supportive of him. His father was a psychologist while his mother was a bank manager. Aside from acting, he has an interest in jazz music. How much is Don Cheadle's net worth? Presently, Don Cheadle net worth is estimated at $35 million.
3. Morgan Freeman
Morgan is one of the best black Hollywood celebrities ever. He has earned so much respect in the U.S. cinema with great composure and exceptional performance. He is the son of Morgan Porterfield Freeman and Mayme Edna (Revere). They were a barber and teacher respectively. Morgan was born on the 1st of June, 1937, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. He graduated from Los Angeles City College, and then served as a mechanic in the U.S. Air Force from 1955 to 1959.
Morgan is one of the black people who have featured in many movies. His first appearance as an actor was a stage performance. Since then, he has featured in many other movies, including the Driving Miss Daisy released in 1989, Street Smart released in 1987, Batman Begins released in 2005, and Unforgiven, which was released in 1992.
2. Denzel Washington
What black actor has played in most movies? Denzel Washington is one of them. He was born to a Pentecostal pastor on the 28th of December, 1954, in Mount Vernon, New York. He appeared on the stage at the age of seven for the first time. He did not have it all glorious as a child with his two siblings as their parents got separated when he was only 14. However, that did not stop him from striving for excellence in life. Denzel is a graduate of Fordham University, where he majored in Journalism. He did not continue on that career path after his graduation but chose acting instead.
Washington's debut film was A Carbon Copy (1981), a comedy film. He won Oscars for his feature in Glory and Training Day. If you also ask: Who is the most successful actor in Hollywood?, Washington fits into the category. He has featured in many other movies since the beginning of his career to date. Some of them include The Book of Eli, Man on Fire, Philadelphia, American Gangster, and Flight.
1. Sidney Poitier
Who are the oldest black actors alive? Sidney Poitier is a Black-American actor and a director. He was born in Miami, Florida, on the 20th of February, 1927. Before joining the American Negro Theatre, he had a brief career in the U.S. Army. Shortly after, he relocated to New York to pursue acting. Soon, he started getting roles in Hollywood. He was the first African-American to win the Best Actor award from the Academy.
His performance in the movie Lilies of the Field (1963) got him the award. In 1974, he became a knight, and also, in 2009, the legendary performer was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Sidney was the director of Stir Crazy and Buck and the Preacher. He is one of the oldest black Hollywood celebs alive. Sidney Poitier age is 92 years. He will clock 93 years on the 20th of February, 2020.
Part of what has characterized these best black actors is that, apart from their excellent performances in different movies, some of them were on top of their game when it was rare to see blacks on the screen. We will always appreciate their impact in the movie entertainment industry. At the same time, their lives are an inspiration to younger generations who are determined to do better than what the older generation has done.