Household names suddenly become international stars: it happens all the time. However, making the jump is undoubtedly part of a carefully crafted and successfully executed career plan. Or maybe blind luck. Either way, here’s 10 TV celebrities that made the jump to cinema screens look easy.
Of course, the most famous story on this list is that of America’s ’90s TV hero, Will Smith. After crashing onto TV screens in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith has had a career that spans music and movies. Smith remains a celebrated TV celebrity and an iconic movie actor.
Another former sitcom-star (as with many on this list). Robin Williams rose to fame with Happy Days spin-off Mork & Mindy. By the ’80s Williams was working on much bigger projects, leading to his critically acclaimed role in Good Moring, Vietnam in 1987 and his iconic portrayal of the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin. Williams sadly passed away in 2014, but his legacy will be one not easily forgotten.
Outside of the hatred for his iconic role in Batman & Robin – on which we can all agree was a mistake – Clooney’s career has been the stuff of dreams. An almost endless string of B-movies lead him to playing Dr. Doug Ross on E.R., wherein Clooney became known for a while as ‘the sexiest man on TV’. From that point (excluding the poorly chosen superhero maneuver) it’s been hit after hit.
Willis made his acting debut in Moonlighting, a 1980’s comedy drama series with Cybil Shepard. However, it was his move into feature film’s with 1988’s Die Hard that brought Willis true fame, and since then his career has mostly revolved around action movies. Something which Willis himself says he’s become a bit bored of.
While it’s fairly common knowledge that Megan Fox got her big break on sitcom Hope & Faith in the US, the programme is relatively unknown internationally. After a few appearances in the likes of Two and a Half Men and uncredited extra work, 2003 saw Fox break onto television, and then quickly into movies with Transformers. Fox herself has stated that she would happily do another Transformers movie, acknowledging exactly what kind of film they are.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt may be the definition of a child actor, but unlike many of his era he’s managed to pursue a career without personal drama becoming the focus. From six seasons in 3rd Rock From the Sun, Gordon-Levitt has gone to leading roles in the likes of Looper, Don Jon and multiple Christopher Nolan films.
Alongside Will Smith, Woody Harrelson’s transition is probably the most famous of all TV celebrities. To those of a certain age he’ll always be the dimwitted bartender in Cheers. To others, he’s a modern day superstar. And rightly so, as Harrelson’s ability to transition between characters in a huge variety of roles is frequently astounding.