Singers That Became Movie Stars

Since the early days of the entertainment industry, many stars have found it beneficial to have more than one talent. If actors can sing and singers can act, the chance of getting hired is much better. 

From a classic icon like Frank Sinatra to a newer star like Harry Styles, many singers have the actors bite. From small guest roles on TV to leading roles in Oscar nominated movies, these singers prove that acting might be more than just a bite. 

POP STARS TO MOVIE STARS

Rihanna with a some of the cast of Ocean’s 8.

Harry Styles: We all know Harry Styles got his start in One Direction but since the band “took a hiatus” in 2015 he has taken up acting on a few occasions. In 2022, he played the lead role in Don’t Worry Darling along side Florence Pugh and Chris Pine. His first on screen role came in 2012 when he guest starred on iCarly with his then bandmates. Most recently he played another lead role in the movie My Policeman and is currently a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Eros/Starfox. 

Taylor Swift: While singing has always been Swift’s main job she has dipped her toe in the acting pool on several occasions. Her most well known role was most likely in the ensemble movie Valentine’s Day. She played opposite Taylor Lautner and worked with other stars like Ashton Kutcher, Bradley Cooper, and Jessica Alba. The star voiced one of the main characters in The Lorax opposite of Zac Efron. Swift also has had smaller roles in major movies like The Giver, Cats, and Amsterdam

Rihanna: Though Rihanna has only had a few acting roles they are all more memorable than the last. She started off with a few small roles in movies like Bring It On: All or Nothing, Battleship, and This Is the End, two of which she played herself. Her most notable role is in the ensemble cast of Ocean’s 8, also starring Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, and Sarah Paulson. She starred opposite of Jim Parsons in the animated movie Home. She also worked with Cara Delevingne and Ethan Hawke in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

THAT’S A RAP

LL Cool J in NCIS: LA

Will Smith: I did not take long for Smith to make the switch from music to acting. In 1985, he hit the ground running as one half of the hip hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. In 1990, Smith was approached by NBC to build the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Since then acting has been the star’s main job and has been hugely successful for him. He’s been the lead in many notable movies such as The Pursuit of Happyness, Suicide Squad, and King Richard.

Kid Cudi: Kid Cudi, whose real name is Scott Mescudi, started his rap career in 2003. He has since won countless awards including 2 Grammy’s. Cudi made his feature film debut in 2014 for the movie Need for Speed. That same year he had a smaller role in the romantic comedy Two Night Stand as Cedric, starring along side Miles Teller and Jessica Szohr. He starred in the 2021 ensemble movie Don’t Look Up opposite of Ariana Grande and most recently he starred in the 2022 movie X

LL Cool J: He released his first single in 1984 followed by his first studio album in 1985. He had his first actual acting role 1991 and continued a steady acting career after that. He’s starred in movies like Charlie’s Angels, Last Holiday and The Deal. Most notably he has played Special Agent Sam Hanna on NCIS: Los Angeles since 2009. 

triple threats

Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly in High Society.

Madonna: Madonna started working in the music industry in 1979 and worked her way up to her first album release in 1983. Dubbed the “Queen of Pop” Madonna is known mostly for her music but she is no stranger to the world of acting. She had her first role in 1985 in the movie A Certain Sacrifice. That same year she also starred as the title character in Desperately Seeking Susan. Since then she’s starred in several movies including A League of Their Own, Four Rooms, and Swept Away

Cher: Another single named icon! She rose to fame as one half of the musical duo Sonny & Cher. Cher had her first character film role in 1969 playing Chasity in the movie Chasity. Since then she’s starred in movies like Mask, Mermaids, Tea with Mussolini and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. 

Frank Sinatra: Sinatra started his music career when he was still a teenager in 1935. It took about 6 years for him to dip his toe in acting as an uncredited character in Las Vegas Nights. Sinatra has had an extensive movie career including rolls in Guys and Dolls, Ocean’s 11, and High Society. His last role was in 1995, shortly before his death in 1998.

This list only scratches the surface of singers that have tried their hand at acting. I personally love seeing a musician take on an acting role especially one that seems so different than their onstage persona. Do you think singers should stick to their jobs or should everyone get a chance to take a stab at acting? 

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