Top 10 Black Actors of All Time

Whether it is a prime-time television, Broadway, Hollywood film, or any other entertainment-type, black actors have worked hard to break the barriers. While the black makes up 12.5% of Hollywood shows roles, a percentage close to a certain proportion of representation in the United States. Many black actors do reinforce the stereotypes with an overrepresentation of mimicked Black culture and domestic work. The roles usually reflect the ideas of the white writers instead of the lived experiences.

A list of black actors who have made history in entertainment is compiled through profiles and news articles and represents actors of different genders and various countries of origin. Every black actor has achieved a particular milestone in other waves, genres, and TV and film decades. Some of the top black actors of all times include:


1. Will Smith

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Will Smith is one of the names among the current fine actors in Hollywood films. He is a forty-seven-year-old actor born in Philadelphia, U.S. Besides acting, Will Smith also sings, produces films, and writes songs’ lyrics. His acting career has made him one of the top black actors due to his spectacular performances in various films like The Pursuit of Happyness and Ali.  In 1993 Will Smith landed his first significant role in Six Degrees of Separation, which was later followed by an action film Bad Boys. Some of his other achievements are the nominations for Academy Awards, four Grammys wins, and Golden Globes.

2. Morgan Freeman

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The actor has always held a top position in Hollywood films due to his tremendous performance. He is seventy-eight years old, born in June 1937 in Tennessee.  Morgan Freeman has an innate, inborn talent since his acting started when he was a child. At nine years, he would participate in the school play as a lead. The role marked his debut. He moved to California, where he enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse to pursue his dreams. Finally, in 1968, he participated in a Broadway play Hello, Dolly! The theater performance brought him into light in his titular role in Coriolanus and other plays alike, which made him, earn Obie Award.

Despite his relentless work in television and theater, his acting career began with a silver screen. Additionally, his acting depicted a kind and wise fatherly figure in all his films. The Shawshank Redemption is among the films in which he played a different role of a redeemed convict. His excellent performance in this play and Driving Miss Daisy made him win nominations in the Academy Awards as the Best Supporting Actor. He finally earned an Oscar award for a Million Dollar Baby. His deep and distinctive voice does play an essential role in making him land in several prominent like the narrator of the award-winning documentary; March of the Penguins.

3. Samuel Jackson

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Samuel Jackson is another name in the top of the black actors in American cinema. The sixty-six-year-old actor was raised in Tennessee and did not need much introduction due to his popularity. Samuel Jackson is known for his diverse roles and monumental work. He intended to pursue a marine biology course, but he switched to acting as he also developed a great interest in marine biology. He started his acting career with theater and then moved on to television films and finally to the silver screen with his appearance in Together for Days in 1972. Some of the work that made him at the top of the list of actors includes Die Hard with a Vengeance, Pulp Fiction, Jurassic Park, and the Star Wars. He also had a recurring role as Nick Fury in the film Marvel Cinematic Universe.

4. Denzel Washington


He is a black actor who has taken the entire Hollywood films by storm due to his mesmerizing performances. Denzel Washington was born on December 28, 1954, and is an award-winning filmmaker and actor. He received his acting education from institutions such as the American Conservatory Theater and the Lincoln Center campus. Denzel Washington took a break from acting when after getting a role in a medical drama, St. Elsewhere. His praise-worthy roles include Cry Freedom’s appearance, where he acted as a political activist and possessed ex-slave soldier in the film Glory. The two performances earned him nominations for Oscar award, and the latter made him win the prestigious award. His other appearances were in The Hurricane, The Great Debaters, the Malcolm X, and Flight.

5. Jamie Foxx

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He is a prominent black actor who proved his worth due to his numerous outstanding performances. Foxx was raised in Terrell, Texas, and his critically acclaimed performances include playing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Django Unchained in Oscar-nominated film. He won the BAFTA Award and the Academy Award for his role in the biopic Ray.

6. Eddie Murphy

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Eddie Murphy is among the black actors who Hollywood incomplete without them. Since the early eighties, he is a comic and a standup actor and comedian known for his Saturday Night Live appearances. He was the one nominated for several Golden Globe awards due to his performances in Trading Places and the Beverly Hills Cop series, a

7. Danny Glover

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He is a sixty-nine-year-old black actor born in California. Besides acting, he directs the films and found involved in humanitarian work and political causes. He is known for his iconic film series like The Color Purple, Predator 2, Lethal Weapon, and Angels in the Outfield.

8. Cuba Gooding Jr.

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Cuba Gooding Jr. is among the top black actors of all time. He has appeared in many notable projects like The Butler, A Few Good Men, and Good as It Gets. He is a forty-seven-year-old actor New, who is a New York City native. He has won the most prestigious Academy Award for his marvelously playing Rod Tidwell role in Jerry Maguire

9. Forest Whitaker

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He is considered among the top black actors. He was born in July 1961 and grew up in Texas. His acclaimed performance works in plays such as Bird, The Butler, and Platoon. The performances earned his reputation for his intensive study of his character. Due to his notable performances, he won various awards such as British Academy Film Award, Academy Award, and Golden Globe Award.

10. Laurence John Fishburne III

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He is another well-known black actor involved in working several radical works in films such as Apocalypse Now, Boyz n the Hood, the celebrated Matrix trilogy,  and Hannibal. His performance in the Two Trains Running made him earn a Tony Award as the Best Featured Actor in a Play