Singers that Became Actors

There seems to be a current trend of singers getting into acting such as Lady Gaga (“A Star is Born” (2018), “Joker: Folie à Deux” coming in 2024), Harry Styles (“Don’t Worry Darling”, “My Policeman”), and Taylor Swift (“Amsterdam”) so I thought I’d comment on some of the actors and actresses who were previously singers.

Originally, a some of the performers could sing and dance and act such as Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.  Then it changed into separate groups but that didn’t stop people like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Barbara Streisand from jumping from one category to another.  Now it seems like a lot of popular singers and band members try their hand at acting.  Even Bruce Springsteen has had a cameo in a couple things (“Broken Poet”, “Lillyhammer” TV series).

These are 10 popular singers that have also acted.  In alphabetical order:

  1. Beyonce: She’s been in a few comedies (“Austin Powers Goldmember”) and a few dramas (“Dreamgirls”) and a few dramas (“Dreamgirls”) and she’s done a good job in the movies I’ve seen her in but I don’t think she’s really looking to be a full time actress.  Other than a voice in some movies (including 2019 “The Lion King”) I don’t think she’s acted in any movies since 2009s “Obsessed”. 
  1. Lady Gaga:  She started with a few small roles in movies like “Machete Kills” and “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” but then she jumped into leading roles in “A Star is Born” (where she won a few acting awards but mostly won awards for “Best song” including an Academy Award), and the TV series “American Horror Story” (she won a Golden Globe for her role).  I didn’t see that movie or that TV show but I saw “House of Gucci” where I think much better actors like Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons made her acting look terrible by comparison.
  1. Jennifer Hudson: She was a singer and an actress at almost the same time.  Just a couple years after she came in 7th place on “American Idol” she won’t a best supporting actress Academy Award for her role in “Dreamgirls”.  After that she’s continued to act in a few movies including playing Aretha Franklin in “Respect”.  I haven’t seen many of her movies but the couple I’ve seen I thought she did OK.
  1. Mariah Carey: She had one starring role in “Glitter” (2001) which bombed and then she had a few smaller parts in movies like “Precious”, “Tenessee”, and “Mob Girls”.  I haven’t personally seen any of her movies.
  1. Rihanna: I don’t think she’s really interested in being an actress although she has acted in small roles in a few movies including “Battleship”, “Oceans 8”, and the TV series “Bates Motel”.  I thought she did a good job in the TV series, where she played Marion Crane but DIDN’T DIE in the shower.
  1. Will Smith: The rap singer first got into acting by starring in the TV series “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”.  Then he jumped to the big screen in the action movie ‘Bad Boys” and the sci fi movie “Independence Day”.  After some more action, comedy, and sci-fi movies such as “Men In Black”, he started acting in the occasional drama like “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happiness” which got him the occasional Academy Award nomination.  He finally won this year with “King Richard”.  I’ve seen several of his movies and always thought he did a fair to good job although some of the movie he chose to do were terrible.
  1. Harry Styles: He started with small parts in “Dunkirk”, and during the end credits of “The Eternals” and then he recently jumped into lead roles with the recent “Don’t Worry Darling” and the upcoming “My Policeman”.  I haven’t seen the latest movie he was in, but I saw “Dunkirk” a few times.  I remember Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance in the movie, but I don’t really remember him.  He was in a scene with a group of people I believe.  Also, I saw “Eternals”, but he was only in an end credit scene which introduces a new character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Not much of a role.
  1. Taylor Swift: She done a few movie roles including the terrible “Cats”.  Most recently she had a small part in “Amsterdam”.  I just saw the movie and I thought she was terrible acting with Christian Bale.
  1. Justin Timberlake: He’s starred in a few movies including “Friends with Benefits” and “In Time” but he’s taken a lot of smaller roles to work with big name directors in movies like “The Social Network” (directed by David Fincher), “Trouble with the Curve” (starring Clint Eastwood), and “Wonder Wheel” (directed by Woody Allen).  I thought he was decent in the movies I’ve seen him in. 
  1. Mark Wahlberg: He essentially gave up his “Marky Mark” singing career and is working in movies full time acting in several major movie roles such as “Boogie Nights”, “The Departed”, “Ted”, and “The Fighter”.  He’s gotten a few nominations for the movies he’s been in.  Some younger people don’t even know that he was a singer years ago.  I think he’s been good in a few of the movies he’s done.  

This is just a small sample of all the singers who have acted in movies or TV shows because a complete list would go to maybe 50 singers (including Madonna, Britney Spears, Snoop Dog, Eminem, Mandy Moore, Christina Aguilera, Elton John, Paula Abdul, etc, etc, etc) and the list is getting bigger all the time.