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He’s a man of little words, and even less media time – but that personality trait hasn’t deprived Johnny Depp of fame. With his catalog of a-list films, bizarre roles aside Tim Burton’s camera work and the conspirator of the Hollywood bad boy, Johnny Depp tops the list of Hollywood’s highest paid actors, just as the fourth installment of Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” film appears. Though he has managed to avoid the fairytale red carpet lifestyle by choosing roles less akin to Academy Award prestige – Edward Scissorhands, the Mad Hatter or Jack Sparrow –even without the nods, Depp has scored box office hit after hit.
The belle of the ball in 2009 for her leading role in the Academy Award winning film “The Blind Side,” Sandra Bullock hasn’t always been the respected leading lady she is today. Despite her name being seminal for blockbuster hits and shattering box office records, Bullock chose films for their box office appeal rather than artistic ability. That started to change when she was penned as the heartthrob tomboy in “Ms. Congeniality” and the stuck-up boss in “The Proposal.” When Hollywood started showering her with recognition, Bullock changed courses with various romantic comedies and serious dramas to prove that this leading lady was just as versatile as the rest of them. Proving her point even further, Bullock showed her strength during personal turmoil to reveal a strong woman persistent to her word and deed as an actress.
In the comedy circuit, Ben Stiller doesn’t need much introduction – the actor of famous pedigree has been in the industry for decades, but made a name for himself in 1998 with the comedy starring another woman on this list, Cameron Diaz. His role in the film “There’s Something About Mary” led to another set of impeccably played comedic sketches like “Meet the Parents,” “Meet the Fockers” and “Zoolander.” While Ben Stiller has sporadically stayed in the limelight for years, it’s his roles behind the scenes that have managed to keep him at the top of the list. With his work as a producer, writer and director, Stiller will continue to purvey films with his infectious comedic sense for years to come – just like his parents Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.
An actor synonymous with romance and drama, Tom Hanks started acting in high school and took Hollywood by storm with classic romantic favorites like “Splash,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Forest Gump,” “Apollo 13” and “Toy Story.” As Hanks has grown in the industry, the Academy Award winning actor has taken his role as a Hollywood heartthrob turned respected confidant to become one of the world’s most renowned producers. His work hasn’t just opened doors for the next generation, in films like “Band of Brothers” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” Hanks has taken his role to new extremes. While he continues to act in box office hits like “The Da Vinci Code” and “Charlie Wilson’s War,” he still has a role to play in the next generation of Hollywood stars.
It’s hard to take Adam Sandler seriously in his films, but as a businessman this Brooklyn native knows what he’s doing. While he might portray a childish adult in favorites like “Big Daddy” and “Water Boy,” Sandler has offered Hollywood an even greater contribution than in his films with his production skills. Creating a comedic group like that of the Rat Pack with his clan of comedians for films like “Grown Ups,” and “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” Sandler offers a lot to the world of comedy.
Despite the critical reviews for her latest film, Reese Witherspoon as been America’s sweetheart since she stole the screen in “Legally Blonde.” It had been a mere three years before when audiences were introduced to Witherspoon with her role in “Pleasantville,” once America caught sight of her blonde locks and winning smile, the Southern Belle was in high demand. With an Oscar win for her portrayal of June Carter in the 2005 hit “Walk the Line,” Witherspoon has continued to win over America’s hearts in box office hits as a leading lady.
She might have been initially hired for her svelte body and tender smile, but she’s proved that her good looks are just one attribute she brings to the table. We first fell in love with Diaz when she starred opposite Jim Carrey in “The Mask,” revealing Diaz as a formidable opponent to other leading ladies in the romantic comedy genre. She kept her charm strong through cliché hits like “There’s Something About Mary” to provide variety with roles in “Being John Malkovich,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Gangs of New York.”