1. Bette Midler – Bette Midler is loud, overbearing, and has interestingly large teeth, but with them she can belt a mean ballad and headline a great movie. Not content with lining her shelves with Grammys, in the early ’80s Midler turned her sights to those little golden men, and threw herself into acting. After a bit of a bumpy start with “Jinxed!,” Midler soon found her niche as a funny woman in “Ruthless People” and “Outrageous Fortune.” She then combined her singing/acting talents into her most memorable role ever — C.C. Bloom in “Beaches” — and had us crying tears that didn’t stem from laughter.
2. Courtney Love – Once upon a time, our interest in Love was sparked by her talent, not her personal life. Yes, Courtney Love gets a lot of stick for her less-than-conventional, extrovert behaviour, but low-blow Love gags aside, the girl can actually act. Don’t believe us? Check out “The People vs. Larry Flynt.” Love’s superb portrayal of Althea Flynt, wife of “Hustler” magnate Larry, earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Three years later, she repeated the unanimous acclaim she received with “Flynt” by shocking everyone with her sobriety and normalcy in “Man on the Moon” alongside Jim Carrey.
3. Queen Latifah – As another “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” graduate, Queen Latifah began her acting career with minor movie roles and recurring television appearances. She then moved on to the multi-million dollar gigs, landing parts in “The Bone Collector” and, of course, her breakout movie “Chicago.” After overshadowing RenÃ©e Zellwegger and blowing us all away with her sassy performance as Matron “Mama” Morton, Latifah once again got our feet tapping in “Hairspray,” proving that she and movie musicals go together like Hugh Jackman and Broadway.
4. Will Smith – Will Smith has been one of Hollywood’s most bankable actors for so long now, it’s easy to forget his early years MC-ing and “all shooting some b-ball outside of the school.” He kicked alien ass as THE man in black, milked our tears in “The Pursuit of Happyness,” and lived up to the title of “I Am Legend.” Regardless of the genre, Smith makes everything look good, and while this is said often, he’s truly one of those people who women want to be with and men want to be.
If you’re suffering withdrawals since his last flick, you can see Smith reprise his role as Agent J in “Men In Black III” this May. Until then, he’s busy working on another musician/actor hybrid project: his son Jayden.
5. Taylor Swift — the wide-eyed country darling known for singing about the heartbreaks of every eighth-grader — will be donning some street urchin rags to play the role of Ã‰ponine in the upcoming film adaptation of “Les Miserables.” Despite her rÃ©sumÃ© only containing one other movie gig, “Valentine’s Day” (if you blinked then you would have missed her in the sea of famous faces also in the movie), Swift still managed to beat out much more established actors for the part, including Lea Michele, Scarlett Johansson and Evan Rachel Wood. We don’t want to relegate the inexperienced Swift to the division of musicians who can’t act for Razzies just yet; after all, if you put aside the JLo’s, Madonna’s, and Mariah Carey’s of this world, there are quite a few artists who have made darn good actors.
6. Mos Def – There have been a plethora of rappers-turned-actors, but Mos Def has to stand out as one of the best (second only to Snoop Dogg in “Starsky & Hutch”?). Mos’ beginnings are rooted in the music industry, however, he hasn’t released an album for over two years . Still, we can forgive him for his musical tardiness because of quality appearances in “Monster’s Ball”, “The Italian Job,” “The Woodsman,” and “Cadillac Records.” Mos has also been spending a lot of time on our TV’s, with cameos in “House” and “Chuck.” Oh, and did we mention that he also does theatre? His 2002 role as Booth in Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog” solidifies him as a quadruple-threat.
7. Marky Mark, the awesomely awful Vanilla Ice wanna-be and leader of the Funky Bunch, is really a great actor. No really. He has the Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor (in Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed”) to prove it. After a breakout role as loser-turned-porn star Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights,” Mark went on to engross us in both “The Departed” and “The Fighter.”
But clearly the acting bug thrives in Wahlberg blood as Mark’s brother, New Kids On The Block’s Donnie, has also gained credits from “The Sixth Sense,” “Band of Brothers” and “Blue Bloods.” We wouldn’t say that Donnie is as remarkable as his older sibling, but perhaps Mark will one day send some “Good Vibrations” his way.
8. David Bowie – David Bowie is The Chameleon of Rock, however, his reinvention skills are just as transferrable to acting. After his first major film role in “The Man Who Fell to Earth” earned him critical acclaim, Bowie followed suit with a host of other notable hits. For years, he seamlessly moved from alien to goblin to vampire, landing titles such as “The Hunger,” “Basquiat” and, probably his most striking movie, “Labyrinth.” But fantasy creatures aside, Bowie has also been known to leave his comfort zone and play himself — his most challenging role to date — in the hilarious “Zoolander.”
9. Zooey Deschanel – She’s cute, she’s sexy in a kooky kind of way, and she’s everywhere right now. While Zooey Deschanel can hold a decent tune and bears an uncanny resemblance to Katy Perry, the similarities end there. Deschanel is an indie music queen, reigning over an empire with her She & Him king M. Ward. True, she pursued music after gaining prominence in acting, however, the doe-eyed Deschanel’s original career plans had always been to sing. Acting was just a scenic detour.
Deschanel first caught our eye when she somehow managed to make a jingle bell hat look cute in the comedy “Elf.” She then went on to break hearts — particularly Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s — in the 2009 award-winning rom-com-drama “(500) Days of Summer.” But now taking a break from blockbusters, Deschanel has turned her attention to TV, gaining positive reviews as the star of Fox’s “New Girl.”
10. Barbra Streisand – From “Funny Girl,” to “Funny Lady,” to a whole load of “Fockers,” Barbra Streisand has been a constant screen presence since the ’60s. With her big voice and even bigger personality, the singer/actor/director is one of the few stars to pick up Oscar nominations and wins for Best Picture (“The Prince of Tides”), Best Song (“A Star is Born”) and Best Actress (“Funny Girl”). This is alongside her countless other accolades, which include eight Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony, and just so she doesn’t seem completely perfect, three Razzie nominations. Babs surely deserves an entire galaxy on the Walk of Fame.