Singers Turned Actors: Pop Stars Who Went from Stage to Screen

Will Smith and Lady Gaga are entering the awards race with "King Richard" and "House of Gucci." We celebrate them, and more great singers turned actors.

Matt Lissauer

By Matt Lissauer

Singers Turned Actors - Lady Gaga and Will Smith

© MGM / © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Since 2018, we've had some interesting, if unlikely, acting award contenders. That year saw pop star Lady Gaga amass critical praise for her acting turn in Bradley Cooper's original take on "A Star Is Born." The following year, the singer to see on the big screen was "Jenny from the Block," Jennifer Lopez, in "Hustlers." Last year, Broadway star Leslie Odom Jr. stunned critics with a compelling performance as soul singer Sam Cooke in "One Night in Miami." What connects these performers? They're all singers turned actors. And, this year is no different.

This week, the former Fresh Prince, and two-time Oscar nominee, Will Smith, hits the screen in "King Richard." Next week finds Lady Gaga back with another compelling performance in "House of Gucci." Both performances are already drawing Oscar buzz for the stars. They're also not the only singers going for Oscar gold this year. Will they do what Cher, Jennifer Hudson and Jared Leto had done before them and win an acting Oscar? Time will tell. And the perfect time is now to highlight Gaga, Smith, and other famous singers turned actors who found a second career in cinema.

Madonna in "Evita."
Godfrey C. Danchimah and Snoop Dogg in "Soul Plane."
Chris Bridges aka Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson in "F9."
Beyoncé in "Austin Powers in Goldmember."
Tom Waits in "The Dead Don't Die."
Dwight Yoakam in "Cry Macho."
Kris Kristofferson in "Blade."
LL Cool J in "Deep Blue Sea."
Will Smith and Harry Connick, Jr. in "Independence Day."
Meat Loaf in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."
Mandy Moore in "Midway."
Ice Cube in "21 Jump Street."

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Matt Lissauer

Matt Lissauer is a writer & data manager for Noovie. When he is not busy writing listicles, Matt is enjoying life in New Jersey with his lovely wife and three kids.

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