Hollywood is a magical place where you can go from the mail room to the board room. It takes time to build a career and a lot of small roles before the big break. But one major role can turn you into a household name. Some of Hollywood’s hottest actors have small roles in memorable movies that will leave you shocked you missed them.
Melissa McCarthy in Charlie’s Angels
McCarthy is a comedic powerhouse who became a household name after 2011's Bridesmaids. It may be hard to believe that she was once a near-extra who called Lucy Liu a b**ch in Charlie’s Angels. She also had a small role in Go and was featured in the trailer.
Jennifer Lawrence on My Super Sweet 16 promos
Lawrence is so successful at the young age of 23, it can be hard to believe she's been in the business for years already. Lawrence started off playing the title character's daughter on The Bill Engvall Show, and found a spot in these promos for a particularly regrettable reality series.
Paula Patton in Hitch
Patton's relationship with Robin Thicke post-Blurred Lines has put her name on everyone’s lips. She has found success in the Mission Impossible films and has some buzz around her film career. But back in 2005, her first role was in this questionably funny Will Smith comedy.
Christina Hendricks on Undressed
Hendricks found the role of a lifetime as Mad Men's waning queen bee Joan Holloway. Long before playing the strong but unfortunate advertising agency secretary, however, Hendricks appeared on MTV’s sex-fueled soap Undressed.
Rooney Mara in Youth in Revolt
Before her ascension to films like The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Side Effects, Mara starred in this forgettable Michael Cera offbeat comedy. With this movie, she kicked off her pattern of playing intense, intelligent, and sexual characters... a pratice that has served her well.
Rashida Jones & Steven Moyer in Ny-Lon
Granted, you wouldn't really call a starring role in a series a "small" one. However, this British TV show is widely unknown in the States, so we'll count it. Jones played a New Yorker in a long-distance relationship with a British businessman (Moyer).
Jane Krakowski in Vacation
People remember Krakowski for 30 Rock and her role on Ally McBeal, but she began the trade as a child actor. She delivers one of the most memorable lines in this popular 1980s comedy.
Steve Carell in Curly Sue
Now one of Hollywood’s biggest comedy actors, Carell started his film career with a non-speaking role. He might not be the first actor to play a background waiter, but very few of those were called "Tesio."
After last week’s column on The Cotton Club, I want to take a bit of a break from our trip through the films of Francis Ford Coppola and write a bit about a television phenomenon unparalleled in the history of the medium. This TV show has broadcast more episodes than any other science fiction program in history. It ran uninterrupted from 1963 to 1989, then started up again in 2005. During its initial run it averaged over 10 million viewers per episode, with a high of 14 million. Today the show averages 12 million viewers and is a cultural phenomenon in its home country. The theme music to the series is so iconic and so recognizable that is has been endlessly remixed by some of the most hip pop musicians on the planet.
The show is Doctor Who. The new season premiered this past weekend, and it’s a show that dips back so far in my childhood, it functions like an imaginary friend.
In the past I’ve talked about my stepfather, with his bookshelf of VHS tapes filled with movies recorded off of HBO and Showtime. My stepfather was a strange guy. He was a big African American guy with an afro and a red 1974 Corvette Stingray. He drove trucks for a living and loved NASCAR racing and football. But he also had a strange and pervading love for Doctor Who.
When I was a kid in the San Francisco Bay Area, Doctor Who was in syndication on KTEH Public Television at 11:15 PM every Saturday night. I remember the time because it was so strange. My mom didn’t let me stay up that late, but on Sunday morning my stepfather would fire up the VCR and we’d watch the new episode of Doctor Who.
Doctor Who is about the ongoing adventures of the Doctor. That’s what he goes by. 'The Doctor'. But he doesn’t have a stethoscope or anything. He’s just called the Doctor. He goes around in a big blue Police Box, which is this thing that apparently used to sit around in street corners in England in the Early 60s. It’s got doors and a phone and you use it to escape danger or call for the cops. Except the Doctor’s Police Box only looks like a Police Box. Open the door and you discover that it’s bigger on the inside than the outside. You’re in a big room with a hexagonal control console in the middle, and in the center of that control console is a big white column that goes up and down.
The Police Box is actually a TARDIS – Time and Relative Dimensions in Space. It’s a time machine that can go anywhere in the universe, and when the center column (the “time forge”) starts to go up and down the TARDIS makes the best sound in the universe, disappears, and reappears one another planet or in the far past or in the distant future. The Doctor sort of tools around and saves planets, which gets him in all sorts of trouble. He’s from a race called the Time Lords who monitor all of time and space and preach nonintervention. The Doctor never liked that. So he stole a TARDIS and went around saving the universe, spending an inordinate amount of time on a little planet that took his fancy: Earth. He’s funny and smart and mercurial and mysterious and ironic and one of the greatest heroes who ever lived. He doesn’t use guns, his ship is a big blue box, and he when he gets lonely walking through eternity on his own he takes on companions to go around with him.
Craig Ferguson, in a wonderful and sadly un-aired Doctor Who cold opening hit the nail on the head when he said that the show is all about “the triumph of intellect ant romance over brute force and cynicism.”
And how is it that this same character has been in a series that’s been broadcast on and off for over 40 years? It turns out that Time Lords can regenerate 12 times. That means that at the point of death they get a new body that has the same basic values and memories and motivations, but a different personality, sense of humor, emotional make-up, and, inevitably, a different outfit. To date the Doctor has been played by eleven actors, all of whom put their own mark on the character.
So I’m something like eight or nine years old, and my stepfather plops me down in front of the TV and shows me this completely insane television series from England. At the time PBS was broadcasting the Tom Baker incarnation of the Doctor (his fourth regeneration). Tom Baker’s doctor was sort of a bohemian, with a big floppy hat, a long trenchcoat, curly hair, and the longest scarf you’ve ever seen in your life. This guy goes around the universe and defeats bad guys with irony and humor, with flashes of passion and anger, and always fighting to make the beings around him better, even his enemies. He’s the Doctor and that’s what he does. Make people better.
He was immediately my hero.
Doctor Who fell into disfavor in the late 80s. The spirit of the times had strayed away from romanticism and into materialism, and the showrunners couldn’t find a way to bring the show up to date. Call it another victim of Thatcher’s England, maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it just got campy and bad. After a strange Americanization attempt in 1996, Doctor Who disappeared for another nine years, until it was brought back by Russel T. Davies, creator of Queer as Folk. Davies took the original series and made it faster, sleeker, and far more emotional than the original series had been, creating the “family of friends” one needs in today’s television world.
Five seasons and two regenerations later, the series is going strong. And I love it.
When I think of a hero, I don’t think of soldiers or scientists or political activists. I think of a funny man in a blue box that makes the best sound in the entire universe. I think of the Doctor, who makes people better.
Ryan O'Neal paid tribute to his beloved partner Farrah Fawcett in an emotionally "stirring" funeral service for the Charlie's Angels star.
The actress' son Redmond also gave a moving reading during the ceremony at Los Angeles' Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Tuesday afternoon.
The 24-year-old and his father were pallbearers who held the star's casket aloft as it was carried into the Roman Catholic church ahead of the service.
Redmond O'Neal -- who was granted a three-hour release from jail, where he's serving time on drug charges -- gave the first speech of the ceremony in memory of his mother.
Ryan O'Neal sported a gold band on his wedding finger, despite never marrying Fawcett, as he read a verse from the Bible shortly after his son's tribute.
The star's longtime friend Alana Stewart gave a self-prepared eulogy about Fawcett, as did her doctor Lawrence Piro.
Fawcett's Charlie's Angels co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith were also at the ceremony to pay their last respects to the actress, who lost her battle with anal cancer last week at age 62.
The church and the coffin were decorated with orange and yellow flowers -- the actress' favorite colors -- and the funeral program featured a photograph of a smiling Fawcett in her hey-day, with a full head of her trademark curly hair and wearing a silk and sequined dress.
Around 500 people were at the service, according to entertainment journalist Eliot Tiegel, who attended with his wife, Bonnie.
He says, "It was one of the most musical funerals I've ever been to, and that's what happens when you go to a show-business funeral. Overall, it was very stirring."
The intimate service lasted for an hour and the street outside the church was flanked with fans wanting to pay their last respects to Fawcett.
As the star's family and friends left the church after the funeral, Fawcett's 90-year-old father James had to be helped to a waiting limousine as he struggled to contain his grief.
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MORE NEWS: Stars Invited To Join Oscars Organization
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' baby daughter Suri has made her first public outing, after reportedly attending a party thrown by Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
The four-month-old has been at the center of media speculation over her appearance, because of no photographs of Suri have been released since her birth on April 18.
But a partygoer assures British newspaper The Sun Cruise and Holmes have simply been protective of their child: "Suri is a beautiful baby with no deformities that I could see.
"She has gorgeous dark, curly hair and looks like Tom."
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Who’s the fairest of them all? According to Industry analyst James Ulmer, it’s the Pretty Woman with the (sometimes) long, curly red locks. A Georgia peach by the name of Julia Fiona Roberts tops Ulmer’s Y2K list of the 200 hottest actors and actresses in show business. His roster is due out in book form, titled "James Ulmer’s Hollywood Hot List: The Complete Guide to Star Power," in the fall.
The only other woman to crack the Top 20 is the recently single Meg Ryan, who clocks in at No. 8.
Occupying the No. 2 through No. 7 spots between Roberts and Ryan are Hollywood heavy-hitters Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, John Travolta and Brad Pitt. Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith round out the Top 10.
Among Ulmer’s criteria in determining the Hot List are bankability, professionalism, willingness to travel and promote, acting talent, acting range and career management.
And who’s at the bottom of Ulmer’s list?
Helena Bonham Carter is No. 191, followed by Halle Berry, Jean Reno, Vince Vaughan, Andy Garcia, Elisabeth Shue, Greg Kinnear, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McKellen and Steven Seagal.
Hot, hot, hot, indeed.