Actors have to work just like everybody else, and they can’t always be Shakespeare in the Park. The reality is that many talented, versatile and classically trained actors have to take the acting jobs available to them, even if this means starring in a soap opera or (gasp!) a horror movie. In fact, some extremely talented and well-known actors and actresses have made their name and reputation in the horror genre. We’re not talking about actors who did one horror movie at the start of their career and then never looked back as they sped towards the top of the Hollywood A-list. We’re talking about actors who made multiple horror movies during their career and have become well-known in the genre.
10. Jack Nicholson
Believe it or not, three-time Oscar-winning actor Jack Nicholson started his career and earned his reputation, starring in a string of low-budget horror movies made by B-movie king Roger Corman. These included movies such as The Little Shop of Horrors, The Raven, The Terror and Back Door to Hell. These were usually quickie movies made fast and on the cheap. And Jack Nicholson not only starred in the films, he often performed other behind-the-scenes roles as well, including co-directing the 1963 movie The Terror. Schlocky and poorly acted, these movies helped Jack Nicholson pay the bills and got him valuable experience in the movie business, but they are certainly not great films. Interestingly, Jack Nicholson transitioned out of the horror genre in the mid-1960s only to find himself starring in a string of low budget biker movies until one of those biker films, 1969’s Easy Rider, earned him his first Oscar nomination and sent him on a path to better projects and stardom. Yet it was because of his connection to the horror movie genre that director Stanley Kubrick cast Jack Nicholson in his 1980 film The Shining, based on the Stephen King book.