10 Actors Who Got Their Breakout Roles In The 90s

The ‘90s gave us some of the best movies and television shows we’ve had to date. Back then, life was simpler, there was no social media to provide any spoilers and people had to wait in line to get to see movies. Besides Titanic, a cult classic that still gets younger generations to tears, the ‘90s also brought us the cast of Friends. How the younger generation wishes to have experienced the six friends in real-time! Thankfully, technology is here to ensure we have a piece of ’90s magic. Apart from Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston, and her Friends crew, here are more stars who got their life-changing roles in the ‘90s:

1. Sandra Bullock (‘Speed’)

Sandra Bullock’s acting on the big screen began with the 1987 movie, Hangmen, where she portrayed the role of Lisa Edwards. Bullock would appear in more movies and a couple of episodes of television shows before she landed the role that made the most difference in her life. As Annie Porter in Speed, Bullock, who starred alongside Keanu Reeves, revealed that she had a crush on her co-star. She, in conversation with Ellen, revealed that the pair didn’t get to date. Unknown to her, Reeves also happened to have a crush on the Ocean’s 8 star.

2. Cameron Diaz (‘The Mask’)

Cameron Diaz has been missing in action in recent years. Her reason; she got tired of simply being the talent everyone looked up to. While she enjoys time away from the limelight, it doesn’t hurt to remember where it all began. Diaz began her career as a model, featuring in advertisements for top brands. It’s not every day that actors get a big break on their first try. That is exactly what happened for Diaz, who caught a big break by starring alongside Jim Carrey in The Mask.

3. Angelina Jolie (‘Gia’)

Angelina Jolie was born into a family of actors. Just like Diaz, Jolie began by modeling but things did not work out. Acting, in the beginning, was no good either, as most casting directors thought Jolie was a little too dull for their liking. She beat those odds and managed to appear in a couple of movies and music videos. It wasn’t until 1998 that Jolie landed a breakthrough with Gia, a film based on the life of supermodel Gia Carangi.

4. Samuel L. Jackson (‘Jungle Fever’)

Samuel L. Jackson is a history maker, not only for his films, which have grossed $27 billion throughout the world, subsequently making him the world’s greatest actor in terms of sales but also for being one of the most quoted actors of social media. You know the phrase, we have no reason to repeat it. Though he’d previously appeared in films such as Coming to America, it wasn’t until Jackson portrayed Gator in the Spike Lee film Jungle Fever that he gained ultimate recognition.

5. Brad Pitt (‘Thelma and Louise’)

The film Thelma and Louise is one for the books for two reasons; one, it is one of the few films to have two actors nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress all at once, and two, it marks the first time the Brad Pitt gained significant recognition for appearing in a film. Pitt, who played a cowboy hitchhiker, has gone on to star in top productions and win two Academy Awards while at it.

6. Jared Leto (‘My So-Called Life’)

Jared Leto made a move to Hollywood in 1992, landing roles in episodes of Camp Wilder and Almost Home. It wasn’t until 1994 that Leto managed to get a break in the industry. He rose to stardom following his portrayal of Jordan Catalano in My So-Called Life. Though the show only lasted a single season, it was all Leto needed to kickstart a stellar career that has seen him appear in more movies than we can count. Leto has earned a reputation for staying in character through his scenes on-set and off the camera, sometimes taking it to extremes.

7. Kirsten Dunst (‘Interview with the Vampire’)

Kirsten Dunst began her career on a different end of the lens as a child model. Her acting debut, however, came on Saturday Night Live. In 1994, Dunst found her place in the spotlight following her portrayal of Claudia in Interview with the Vampire. For her exemplary performance in the film, Dunst earned herself a Golden Globe Award nomination in the category of Best Supporting Actress.

8. Gwyneth Paltrow (‘Seven’)

Gwyneth Paltrow has had a more than illustrious career as an actress. For her years in the business, she has had numerous awards to show, including an Oscar, a Golden Globe Award, and an Emmy. Paltrow’s big break in Hollywood came in 1995 when she portrayed the role of Tracy Millis in Seven. Produced on a $33 million budget, the film was the seventh grossing of all time that year, and it earned Paltrow a Saturn Award nomination.

9. George Clooney (‘E.R’)

It’s hard to imagine that, when he first appeared on screen, George Clooney’s first role was as an extra. The actor has since come a long way from his extra days, and is able to command insane paychecks, thanks to his commitment to the craft. Though he began his career in 1978, it wasn’t until 1994 that Clooney managed to get his big breakthrough. For his role as Dr. Doug Ross on E.R, Clooney earned himself not one, but two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. As of 2021, Clooney has a ton of awards to his name, including an Academy Award.

10. Don Cheadle (‘Devil in a Blue Dress’)

Born to a teacher and a clinical psychologist, Don Cheadle made his acting debut in the 1984 film, 3 Days. For his second appearance in Moving Violations, Cheadle had a test of success when he was singled out to potentially earn a Screen Actors Guild Award. However, the real breakthrough came when he played the role of Mouse Alexander in Devil in a Blue Dress, for which he not only received a Screen Actors Guild nomination but also an NAACP Image Award nomination and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association nomination in the category of Best Supporting Actor.

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