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11 Actors Who Made It Big With One Role But Actually Have Other Great Parts Under Their Belts

In Hollywood, many actors spend most of their careers pursuing one memorable role that can define their careers. But it is quite difficult to achieve that. And even when actors are lucky enough to secure that one big role, it may sometimes become a curse that pigeon-holes them into being typecast for the rest of their careers.

Therefore, audiences will only remember them in that renowned role when they appear in other good movies and TV series. For example, few people know that famous actress Fiona Shaw played the perceptive Dr. Eileen Cole in “My Left Foot” after her iconic role as Harry Potter’s mean Aunt Petunia Dursley. Or who could remember the ambitious student Neil Perry of Robert Sean Leonard in “Dead Poets Society” after seeing him in “Dr. House”?

To help you know more about your favorite actors, we decided to recall the other great parts under their belts.

#1 Arnold Vosloo

Source: © The Mummy Returns / Universal Pictures and co-producers© G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra / Paramount Pictures and co-producers

Arnold Vosloo is known for playing the cunning and terrifying Imhotep in the famous movies”The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns”. Though he continues to act in movies to this day, he mostly plays supporting roles like Zartan in “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”, or Marko Jankowics in “The Blacklist”.

#2 Fiona Shaw

Source: © Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone / Warner Bros. and co-producers© My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown / Ferndale Films and co-producers© Killing Eve / BBC and co-producers

For Fiona Shaw, the Harry Potter universe has become a part of her reality. She is famous for her role as Harry Potter’s mean Aunt Petunia Dursley so much so that the children in the car driving by her father said, “Harry Potter’s grandfather lives in there.” But the actress also has made a name for herself on the theater scene. She has acted in many other popular films, playing the sensitive Dr. Eileen Cole in “My Left Foot” and Carolyn Martens in the series “Killing Eve”, for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award.

#3 Robert Sean Leonard

Source: Courtesy Everett Collection / East NewsEast News

In the 2000s, the series about the charismatic “Dr. House” was popular that ranked extremely high and even achieved 3 Guinness World Records. As a result, the actors starring in the series became incredibly famous. One of them is Robert Sean Leonard, who played Dr. James Wilson – Dr. House’s only true friend. Before this starring role, Leonard brilliantly acted in movies like “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Dead Poets Society”. Especially, his role as Neil Perry in “Dead Poets Society” was nominated by the Chicago Film Critics Association for Most Promising Actor.

#4 Kristanna Loken

Source: © Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines / Columbia Pictures and co-producers© BloodRayne / Herold Productions and co-producers

In 2003, Kristanna Loken rose to fame with the T-X destroyer in Jonathan Mostow’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”. 2 years later, she played the starring role in the movie, “BloodRayne”, which was based on the video game of the same name. Despite the film’s failure at the box office, some commentators noted Loken’s competent performance. For the film “Lime Salted Love”, Loken also took up the Feature Film Award for Best Supporting Actress.

#5 Kevin McNally

Source: © Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides / The Walt Disney Company and co-producers© Wuthering Heights / Mammoth Screen and co-producers

Kevin McNally is the king of supporting roles. He appeared in several movies such as “Downton Abbey”, “The Crown”, “Doctor Who”, “Johnny English”,… In the series “Wuthering Heights”, he portrayed Mr. Earnshaw, a rich man of high principles. And his most famous role was as a reckless pirate in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series. He is one of just three performers to feature in all five films. Despite his long filmography with different kinds of roles, the actor hasn’t won any awards yet.

#6 Ian McDiarmid

Source: © Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace / Lucasfilm and co-producers© Sleepy Hollow / Paramount Pictures and co-producers

In addition to portraying Emperor Palpatine in the “Star Wars” film series, Ian McDiarmid is also a popular theatre actor. Ian took part in the TV adaptation of “Crime and Punishment” and the horror movie, “Sleepy Hollow”, where he played Dr. Thomas Lancaster.

#7 Julian McMahon

Source: © Charmed / Paramount Network Television and co-producers© Fantastic Four / 20th Century Fox and co-producers

Julian McMahon is most known for playing the charismatic, cunning, and charming Cole in the popular television series “Charmed”. In the third season, he made an appearance as an assistant district attorney before revealing to the sister witches that he was Belthazor, a demon. Thanks to “Charmed”, McMahon rose to fame and became a highly sought-after actor. He played Dr. Doom in the superhero films “Fantastic Four”, but because he hid behind a mask, it was hard to identify him.

#8 Rachel Brosnahan

Source: © The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel / Amazon Studios and co-producers© The Courier / FilmNation Entertainment and co-producers

Rachel Brosnahan is primarily a TV actress, having appeared in series like “The Good Wife”, “CSI: Miami”, and “Grey’s Anatomy”. She got her big break in the Netflix series “House of Cards”, as Rachel Posner, for which she received an Emmy nomination. In 2018, she earned a Golden Globe and an Emmy for her role as Midge Maisel in the television series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. This TV role quickly eclipsed all of her earlier roles, including the one she shared with Benedict Cumberbatch in the film “The Courier”.

#9 John Rhys-Davies

Source: © The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / New Line Cinema and co-producers© Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade / Paramount Pictures and co-producers© Shōgun / Paramount Television and co-producers

“Dwarf Gimli” was a huge success thanks to the acting talent of John Rhys-Davies. The actor is also known for his role as Sallah in the “Indiana Jones” movies and famous TV shows, such as “The Shannara Chronicles” and “Star Trek: Voyager”. Additionally, the actor received an Emmy nomination for his performance in the miniseries “Shōgun”.

#10 Rose Leslie

Source: © Game Of Thrones / HBO and co-producers© Death on the Nile / 20th Century Studios and co-producers

In “Game Of Thrones”, Rose Leslie played the brave and courageous Wildling, Ygritte. For this portrayal, the actress was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, but she did not win. And very few people remember her in other roles, like as a housemaid in the series, “Downton Abbey” or as Maid Louise in the recent screen adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel, “Death on the Nile”.

#11 Paul Goddard

Source: © The Matrix / Warner Bros. Entertainment and co-producers© Babe / Universal Pictures and co-producers

Australian actor Paul Goddard played Agent Brown, one of three agents in the classic film “The Matrix”. He also participated in the epic chases and famous interrogation scenes of Trinity and Morpheus. But very few people are aware that the actor also had a little role as the son-in-law of the main character in the “Babe” movie about a cute piglet.