What Famous Actors And Actresses Used To Look Like In Their Twenties

Would you have recognized these now-famous actors and actresses when they initially began their careers? We frequently forget how they appeared in their first film, and with fame and success comes the money to spend on stylists, make-up artists, and/or age-defying plastic surgery, et cetera. Some of them look different as time passes, and some don't seem to change pretty much at all.
Look down the list below for a trip down memory lane as we recount these actors' career paths from when they first started up until now. Some of them didn't even start out in movie acting, but in theatre, music, and modeling. Some even came from a career in beauty pageants! It's incredible how much fame takes you places.

#1 Martin Lawrence

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He debuted on ABC's "What's Happening Now" when he was 22 years old, and went on to star in his own smash comedy, Fox's "Martin," shortly after. Lawrence is most recognized for his parts in the "Bad Boys," "Big Mamma's House," and "Death at a Funeral" series. He then went on to "Panthers" on CBS.

#2 Will Smith

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He rose to prominence in the late 1980s as The Fresh Prince, and he was cast as Will Smith on NBC's "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" shortly before his 22nd birthday, catapulting him to mainstream popularity.
He then appeared in films such as "Men in Black," "Bad Boys," "Ali," "Hitch," "The Pursuit of Happyness," and "I Am Legend." The actor has lately acted in films such as "Suicide Squad," "Aladdin," and "King Richard."

#3 Meg Ryan

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She began her career in a few minor film and television roles before landing a position on CBS' "As the World Turns" at the age of 20.
Ryan is recognized for her roles in films such as "Top Gun," "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," "Anastasia," and "You've Got Mail."

#4 Jada Pinkett Smith

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She made her start on TV Shows like Fox's "True Colors" when she was in her late teens. She won a recurring role on NBC's "A Different World" shortly after turning 20.
Following that, she appeared in films such as "The Nutty Professor," "Ali," "The Matrix Reloaded," and "Girls Trip." She also appeared in "Hawthorne" on TNT and "Gotham" on Fox.
Smith, Willow, and her mother launched the popular web discussion program "Red Table Talk" in 2018, where they address social and cultural topics.

#5 Queen Latifah

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Latifah began her rap career in high school with the album "All Hail the Queen," and by the age of 21, she had made her feature film debut in "Jungle Fever."
When she started hosting "The Queen Latifah Show" at the age of 29, the celebrity added yet another medium to her resume.
She's developed legendary acting and music careers in her early 50s. She went on to star in Fox's "Living Single," "Chicago," "Last Holiday," "Hairspray," "The Secret Life of Bees," and Fox's "Star," among other films and TV shows.

#6 Regina Hall

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Before turning 30, Hall appeared in films such as "Love and Basketball" and "Scary Movie" after a one-episode stint on "New York Undercover." The actress is best known for her performances in the "Scary Movie" trilogy, in which she appears in the second, third, and fourth installments, as well as "Death at a Funeral," "Think Like a Man," "Girls Trip," and "The Hate U Give," among others.
Hall's television credits include Fox's "Ally McBeal," ABC's "Black-ish," and HBO's "Insecure."
She's still acting in her early 50s, most recently in "Breaking News in Yuba County" and Showtime's "Black Mondays."

#7 Nicolas Cage

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In his twenties was when his acting career took off.
The actor got his start in TV movies like "The Best of Times" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" while he was in his late teens, and he went on to star in films like "Valley Girl," "Peggy Sue Got Married," "Moonstruck," and "Time to Kill" before reaching 30.
His roles in films such as "Con-Air," "Face/Off," "National Treasure," "Ghost Rider," and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" have made him a household name.

#8 Regina King

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The actress began her career as Brenda Jenkins on NBC's "227" when she was 14 years old, and at the age of 20, she secured a role in "Boyz n the Hood."
The actress acted in a variety of films during her twenties, including "Jerry Maguire" and "Enemy of the State."
King went on to star in "Legally Blonde 2," "A Cinderella Story," and "If Beale Street Could Talk," among other films. She also appeared on ABC's "American Crime," CBS' "The Big Bang Theory," and HBO's "Watchmen," among others.
She made her directorial debut in 2013 and most recently starred in the Oscar-nominated film "One Night in Miami."

#9 Catherine O'Hara

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When she succeeded Gilda Radner in the cast at the age of 20, the actor was working as a server at Second City Toronto (a famous improv theater). At the theater, she met longtime acting partner Eugene Levy, and the two moved on to roles on Global's "SCTV," Second City Canada's sketch comedy TV show.
"Beetlejuice," "Home Alone," "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Waiting for Guffman," and "Best in Show" were among the films in which O'Hara appeared.

#10 Sir Ian McKellen

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He grew up acting in school plays before earning a Bachelor of Arts from Cambridge in 1961 and pursuing a career on the stage.
McKellen made his debut television and film performances in 1964. He earned the title part in BBC One's "David Copperfield" in 1966, when he was 26 years old.
The English actor went on to star in films like "X-Men," "The Lord of the Rings," and "The Hobbit," among others. He also starred in Disney's live-action rendition of "Beauty and the Beast" in 2017 as well as the film adaptation of "Cats."

#11 Halle Berry

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Berry competed in Miss USA pageants before working in television and cinema. She won Miss Teen All American in 1985 and Miss Ohio USA in 1986. Berry made her acting debut on ABC's "Living Dolls" in 1989, shortly after quitting from pageants. Berry earned an Academy Award for her performance in "Monster's Ball" in 2002. Since then, she's been well-known for her roles in the "X-Men" and "James Bond" franchises.

#12 Jane Fonda

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She had her breakthrough performance in "Tall Story," which earned her a Golden Globe for most promising newcomer in 1962, when she was in her mid-20s. "Period of Adjustment," "Fun With Dick and Jane," "9 to 5," "Monster-in-Law," and "Lee Daniels' The Butler" were among the actress's memorable roles.
Fonda is best known now for her work as a feminist and environmental activist, as well as her starring role in Netflix's "Grace and Frankie."

#13 Barbra Streisand

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Streisand began performing in Off-Broadway shows in her late teens, and her first Broadway part came shortly before her 20th birthday in 1962's "I Can Get It For You Wholesale."
The actress went on to play Fanny Brice in the musical "Funny Girl" two years later.
The actress made her film debut in the film adaptations of the musicals "Funny Girl" and "Hello, Dolly!" while she was in her late twenties.
She's starred in films including "A Star Is Born," "Yentl," "Meet the Fockers," and "The Guilt Trip" since then, as well as recording albums.

#14 Daniel Day-Lewis

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Day-Lewis attended Bristol Old Vic Theatre School before obtaining his first credited film part at the age of 25 in 1982's "Gandhi." He performed in films like "The Bounty," "My Beautiful Laundrette," and "A Room With a View" throughout the rest of his twenties. Day-Lewis has chosen his roles carefully throughout his career, but his deep character work in "My Left Foot," "There Will Be Blood," and "Lincoln" earned him Oscar nominations. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in "Phantom Thread," his final film before announcing his retirement from acting.

#15 John Travolta

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Travolta's four-year stint as Vinnie Barbarino on ABC's "Welcome Back, Kotter" propelled him into mainstream recognition at the age of 21. He went on to star in films including "Carrie," "Saturday Night Fever," "Grease," and "Urban Cowboy" over the next five years. Travolta is still well-known for those early parts decades later, and he's gone on to feature in films like "Pulp Fiction," "Face/Off," "Hairspray," and FX's "American Crime Story."

#16 Steve Buscemi

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He studied acting with John Strasberg in New York City after graduating from high school before landing his big break at the age of 28 in "Parting Glances." Buscemi, who is now in his early 60s, is best remembered for his roles in films such as "Reservoir Dogs," "Pulp Fiction," "Fargo," and "The Big Lebowski." He's also worked on "Monsters Inc.," "Spy Kids," "Grown Ups," and "Hotel Transylvania," among other family-friendly films. Buscemi rose to prominence outside of film by acting in HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."

#17 Whoopi Goldberg

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The film was released shortly after Goldberg turned 30, but she had already begun performing stand-up comedy earlier that year. She went on to star in shows like "A funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "Xanadu" on Broadway. In Hollywood, Goldberg earned an Academy Award for her part in "Ghost" and went on to star in both "Sister Act" films, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" on CBS, and "The Little Rascals."

#18 Shirley MacLaine

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She came to New York City after high school and, at the age of 20, won a role in the 1954 musical "The Pajama Game" before deciding to pursue a career in Hollywood. "Around the World in 80 Days" and "Some Come Running" were early successes for MacLaine. "Sweet Charity," "Terms of Endearment," "Steel Magnolias," "Bewitched," and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" were among her later films.

#19 Shirley MacLaineJames Earl Jones

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Jones had a few minor parts on Broadway and on television shows during his twenties. He received his big break at the age of 37, starring in the Tony-winning play "The Great White Hope." "The Iceman Cometh," "Othello," "Fences," and "You Can't Take It With You" were among the Broadway shows he appeared in. Jones is most recognized for his roles as Darth Vader in the "Star Wars" saga and Mufasa in "The Lion King" (both 1994 and 2019).

#20 Dame Judi Dench

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Dench made her Broadway debut in the performance of "Twelfth Night," which opened on her 24th birthday. She's received nominations for her roles in films such as "Mrs. Brown," "Chocolat," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," and "Philomena" in the years since. She also won an Academy Award for her role in "Shakespeare in Love." Dench has kept busy with roles in films such as "Victoria and Abdul," "Murder on the Orient Express," and the Bond franchise.

#21 Betty White

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After graduating from high school, White made a brief cameo on television, but she sacrificed her acting career to serve in the military during WWII. White gained money reading radio advertising and voiced small roles in radio series when she was in her twenties. The actress co-hosted the variety show "Hollywood on Television" when she was 27 years old. White didn't start hosting her own show, "The Betty White Show," until she was in her 30s, and she went on to star in other sitcoms. White's acting career spanned eight decades, including appearances on sitcoms such as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Life With Elizabeth," and, most notably, NBC's "Golden Girls."

#22 Robert De Niro

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He earned his first acting part at the age of 20, but the film "The Wedding Party" didn't come out until 1969, six years later. De Niro was cast in "Bloody Mama" at the age of 27, followed by "Bang the Drum Slowly" and "Mean Streets" just before he turned 30. He didn't get his big break until 1974, when he played Vito Corleone in "The Godfather II," for which he won an Oscar for best supporting actor. De Niro, who is now in his late 70s, is a talented actor and director who is best remembered for his roles in "Raging Bull," "Taxi Driver," and "Goodfellas."

#23 Angela Bassett

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Bassett had her debut television appearance in the TV movie "Doubletake" when she was 27 years old, in Second Stage Theater's production of "Black Girl." She relocated to Los Angeles to pursue film acting full-time after playing a news reporter in the film "F/X" a year later. Bassett, now in her early 60s, has established herself as a sought-after actress in Hollywood thanks to her roles in films such as "Malcolm X," "What's Love Got to Do With It," "Notorious," and "Black Panther."

#24 Jackie Chan

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Chan had his first starring part in the film "Little Tiger of Canton" soon before he turned 20. He had a few small roles in films as a child and early teen. Chan starred in a number of martial arts films throughout the next decade, including "New Fist of Fury," "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow," and "Drunken Master." Chan began starring in Hollywood films at the age of 26, including "The Big Brawl" and "The Cannonball Run." Chan, who is now in his late 60s, has appeared in over 150 films and has established himself as one of the world's most well-known actors.

#25 Rita Moreno

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Despite having her first Broadway part at the age of 13, Moreno mostly acted in modest cinema roles until she was 21 and starred in "Singin' in the Rain." Moreno's career took off four years later because to her supporting part in "The King and I." The actress was cast as Anita in "West Side Story" when she was 29 years old, and her performance earned her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress. Moreno has continued to work in film and television in the years since. She recently appeared in Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story" adaptation.

#26 Amitabh Bachchan

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Bachchan made his film debut as a voice narrator in "Bhuvan Shome" at the age of 27 in 1969, and his first on-screen appearance in "Saat Hindustani" the following year. Bachchan won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in "Anand" at the age of 29 and went on to star in two more films, "Parwana" and "Reshma Aur Shera." Bachchan did not receive widespread acclaim for his efforts till the action picture "Zanjeer" a few years later. His career took off from there, and he went on to become one of Bollywood's most popular actors. He has since appeared in over 190 Indian films.

#27 Sally Field

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Field debuted on television at the age of 19 in the ABC sitcom "Gidget," and two years later she was cast in ABC's "The Flying Nun." The actress was cast as the titular character on CBS' "Sybil" when she was 29, and her performance earned her an Emmy Award for best dramatic actress. Field, who is now in her mid-70s, has established a reputation as a top actress because to her roles in films such as "Norma Rae," "Steel Magnolias," "Mrs. Doubtfire," and "Forrest Gump."

#28 Jeff Bridges

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He made brief appearances on his father's productions as a child, but his first major acting part was in the 1971 film "The Last Picture Show," for which he received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor at the age of 22. He went on to have a successful cinematic career, even starring alongside Clint Eastwood in the 1974 picture "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot." Bridges was cast with Lange in the 1976 version of "King Kong" at the age of 27. Bridges, who is now in his early 70s, has a diverse playing career that includes tragedies like "True Grit" and dark comedy like "The Big Lebowski."

#29 Maggie Smith

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At the age of 22, Smith made her cinematic and Broadway debuts. For her work in the film "Nowhere to Go," she received her first BAFTA nomination in 1958. At the age of 26, she appeared in the Royal National Theatre's performance of "Othello," opposite Laurence Olivier. Smith continued to act in high-profile parts in theater and films well into her late twenties. Smith, who is now in her mid-80s, is one of the most well-known actresses of her time, having appeared in numerous films such as the "Harry Potter" series and "A Room With a View."

#30 Harrison Ford

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Ford traveled to California at the age of 22 to seek a career in acting, and in his early twenties, he was cast in a few modest film roles. He had his first acknowledged role in the Western "A Time for Killing" when he was 25 years old. Ford's career stopped in his late twenties, so he took up carpentry full-time to support his wife and two children. Ford's breakthrough in the Entertainment industry came in 1973, when he was cast in "American Graffiti," which led to leading roles in blockbuster franchises like "Indiana Jones" and "Star Wars."

#31 Julie Andrews

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She made her Broadway debut in "The Boy Friend" on her 19th birthday. She went on to star in big Broadway productions like "My Fair Lady" and television programs like "Cinderella" during her 20s. Andrews began filming the Disney film musical "Mary Poppins" at the age of 28, and the picture would go on to become an iconic touchstone in her oeuvre. Andrews, who is now in her mid-80s, had a long and illustrious acting career that includes classics such as "The Sound of Music," "Victor/Victoria," and "The Princess Diaries."

#32 Robert Downey Jr.

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At the age of five, he appeared in Robert Downey Sr.'s film "Pound" (1970). At the age of 27, he played Charlie Chaplin in the biopic "Chaplin" (1992). Downey struggled with drug addiction throughout his twenties and thirties. He's been honest about it and his recovery as he's gotten older. Downey is most recognized for his role as Tony Stark, a billionaire superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

#33 Jessica Lange

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Lange relocated to New York City when she was 24 and began modeling, which led to her cinematic debut as the leading lady in 1976's "King Kong." Lange won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for her portrayal in the film at the age of 27. Lange's career took off from there, and she currently has award-winning performances in films including "Tootsie," "Frances," "Grey Gardens," and FX's "American Horror Story."

#34 Samuel L. Jackson

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Following a career in theatrical plays, Jackson participated in a few television films in his early twenties before making his feature film debut with "Together for Days" at the age of 24. Since then, the actor has been known for his roles in "Goodfellas," "Jurassic Park," "Pulp Fiction," and the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Nick Fury.

#35 Diane Keaton

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At the age of 24, Keaton landed her first film part in "Lovers and Other Strangers" (1970), after receiving a Tony nomination for the Broadway play "Play It Again, Sam." Her major break came in Francis Ford Coppola's film masterpiece "The Godfather" a few years later. She was cast in a number of films in her late twenties, including "The Godfather Part II," "Sleeper," and "Love and Death." Keaton won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in "Annie Hall" in 1978, and she has since received critical acclaim for her roles in "Because I Said So," "And So It Goes," and HBO's "The Young Pope."

#36 Denzel Washington

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At the age of 28, Washington had his first film debut in the comedy "Carbon Copy," and was shortly cast as Dr. Philip Chandler in the hospital drama "St Elsewhere." Since then, Washington's career has taken off, with roles ranging from biopics like "Malcolm X" to thrillers like "Training Day," for which he earned an Oscar for best actor in a major role. Washington continues to appear in films such as "Fences," "The Magnificent Seven," and "The Equalizer 2."

#37 Sigourney Weaver

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Despite having a theatrical experience, Weaver was cast in her first film at the age of 27 in 1977, playing a minor role in "Annie Hall." She was cast as Ellen Ripley in Ridley Scott's space thriller "Alien" just two years later, and it became one of her most memorable roles to date. Weaver has risen to popularity in the decades since, starring in films such as "Galaxy Quest," "Avatar," and "Finding Dory."

#38 Forest Whitaker

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Whitaker made his film debut at the age of 21 in Cameron Crowe's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," followed by appearances in "The Color of Money," "Platoon," and "Good Morning, Vietnam." Whitaker has received praise for his acting ability in dramas such as "Bird," "The Last King of Scotland," and "The Butler" as he has grown older. Whitaker has recently been in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," "Black Panther," and "Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey," among other films.

#39 Meryl Streep

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Streep arrived to New York City at the age of 26 and was quickly cast in many Broadway productions. Streep made her feature film debut in 1977 alongside Jane Fonda in "Julia," and her work in "The Deer Hunter" earned her an Academy Award nomination in 1978. Streep, who is now in her 70s, has starred in a slew of films, including "Sophie's Choice," "The Devil Wears Prada," "Into the Woods," "The Post," and "Don't Look Up."

#40 Tom Hanks

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In his 20s, Hanks moved to New York City from California and got his first film role in the slasher "He Knows You're Alone" (1980). In 1981, he met actress Rita Wilson while filming the show "Bosom Buddies." Then at age 29, Hanks acted alongside Wilson again in the film "Volunteers." The pair later married in 1988. Decades later, Hanks is best known for his work in "Big," "A League of Their Own," "Cast Away," and the "Toy Story" franchise.
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