The ten best Canadian actors represent the cream of Canada’s acting crop in all forms. From comedy to drama, from TV to movies, and with careers that span a total of over five decades, this list of actors shows that Canada has been fertile ground for nurturing prime talent.
- Mike Myers An Ontario native, Myers rose to fame as a member of “Saturday Night Live”, where he rose to fame as Wayne Campbell on the skit “Wayne’s World”, also a hit feature film. Myers would go on to further success as Austin Powers in “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” and its two sequels as well as the voice of Shrek in the animated movie series of the same name.
- Donald Sutherland A well-respected Canadian actor whose filmography boasts a very impressive list of movies, Sutherland has appeared in such films as “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, “The Italian Job”, “JFK”, and “Ordinary People”. He’s also won an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
- John Candy John Candy was one of the funniest and most respected comedians of his era. Born in Ontario, Candy was a member of the Toronto branch of the famed “Second City” improvisational troupe. His more popular roles included “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, “Uncle Buck”, and “The Great Outdoors”. Candy died from a heart attack in 1994.
- Jim Carrey Yet another Canadian actor hailing from Ontario, Carrey became famous on the TV series “In Living Color”, where he played a number of iconic roles ranging from Grandpa Jack McGee in the “Dysfunctional Home Show” skit, Vera de Milo, and his most popular, Fire Marshal Bill.
- Ryan Gosling Gosling, from London, Ontario, is regarded as one of the best actors of his generation. Critics took notice of Gosling after his performance as a neo-Nazi Jew in “The Believer” and the Academy showed that it noticed him, too, nominating him for his role as a drug-addicted teacher in 2006’ “Half Nelson”.
- Phil Hartman In his day, Ontario native Hartman was seen as a gifted comedian and actor, having risen to star status on “Saturday Night Live”, for which he won an Emmy in 1989. He transitioned into a role on “NewsRadio”, where he continued experiencing success, as well as voicing several episodes of “The Simpsons”. Tragically, Hartman was shot and killed by his wife in 1998.
- Christopher Plummer One of the most respected Canadian actors, Plummer gained stardom after his role in “The Sound of Music”. His success in acting would garner him several nominations and awards, most notably Tony and Emmy awards and several critics’ awards for roles in “Cyrano”, “The Moneychangers”, “The Thorn Birds”, and “The Insider”.
- Dan Aykroyd Few “Saturday Night Live” alums have enjoyed the level of success that Ottowa-born Dan Aykroyd has. Aykroyd is a prolific writer who won an Emmy for his writing on SNL and popularized several of his SNL characters during his tenure during the late ‘70’s. He used that popularity to star in a string of hit films, including “The Blues Brothers”, “Trading Places”, “Ghostbusters”, and “Spies Like Us”. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Boolie Werthan in 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy”.
- William Shatner William Shatner plays second fiddle to very few people, having become one of more popular of the best Canadian actors. Most known for his initial role in “Star Trek”, Shatner has starred in several other successful television shows and movies, including “The Twilight Zone”, “Third Rock from the Sun”, the “Star Trek” film franchise, and “Boston Legal”. He has also released two spoken word albums and has published a successful series of science fiction novels.
- Michael J. Fox Born in Edmonton, Michael J. Fox is arguably the most famous and one of the best Canadian actors of all time. Fox broke it big with the sitcom “Family Ties” and later exploded into super-stardom with his role as Marty McFly the “Back to the Future” series and “Teen Wolf”. He later resuscitated his career playing Mike Flaherty on the critically and commercially acclaimed TV show “Spin City”. He has spent much of his post-“Spin City” career appearing in cameos on several TV shows and as an advocate for Parkinson’s disease research.
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