Published On: Sep 30 2013 12:56:43 AM CDTUpdated On: Jun 25 2015 01:00:00 AM CDT
In the 1980s, Prince was briefly a bona fide movie star thanks to "Purple Rain," even earning an Oscar for his efforts, albeit for the movie's score rather than his acting. Further attempts at Hollywood glory with "Under the Cherry Moon" and "Graffiti Bridge" fell short though. He even returned to acting in February 2014, playing himself on an episode of the sitcom "New Girl" that aired following the Super Bowl.
Justin Timberlake, who got his start singing with the boy band 'N Sync, already had some TV experience from "The Mickey Mouse Club," but he started taking on more acting roles even after finding success as a solo artist. He had his first major role in the 2006 movie "Alpha Dogs" and built up some experience in movies like "Black Snake Moan" and "The Love Guru" before taking bigger roles in "The Social Network" (pictured) and "Bad Teacher" and then starring in "Friends with Benefits," "In Time" and "Runner Runner."
Rihanna made her acting debut in the 2012 sci-fi action blockbuster "Battleship" and also appeared as herself in 2013's "This Is the End." She had a cameo in the 2014 remake of "Annie" and voiced one of the main characters in the 2015 animated movie "Home."
After already conquering pop music, Madonna decided to try her hand at acting, starting with a starring role in 1985's "Desperately Seeking Susan." She followed that up with "Shanghai Surprise," "Who's That Girl," "Dick Tracy," "A League of Their Own" and "Body of Evidence," before receiving the best reviews of her career, and a Golden Globe, for playing Evita Peron in 1996's "Evita."
It may be hard to recall these days, but there was once a time when Will Smith wasn't a bona fide movie star. The rapper known as the Fresh Prince made the leap to TV in 1990 with his sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," before breaking out with roles in blockbuster action movies like "Bad Boys," "Independence Day" and "Men in Black." He's also shown his ability to deliver beyond just the wise-cracking action hero roles, earning Oscar nominations for "Ali" and "The Pursuit of Happyness."
He's better known these days as the Oscar-nominated actor whose credits include "Boogie Nights," "The Departed," "Ted," "The Italian Job" and "The Fighter," but Mark Wahlberg started out rapping as Marky Mark alongside his Funky Bunch.
LL Cool J made his acting debut playing, naturally, a rapper in the 1986 Goldie Hawn comedy "Wildcats." He's gone on to appear in movies such as "Deep Blue Sea," "Rollerball," "Any Given Sunday" (pictured), "S.W.A.T." and "Last Holiday" and the TV series "NCIS: Los Angeles."
Both Beyonce (center) and Jennifer Hudson (right) appeared in 2006's "Dreamgirls," with Hudson earning an Academy Award for her performance. Beyonce has also appeared in movies like "Austin Powers in Goldmember," "The Pink Panther," "Cadillac Records" and "Obsessed," with Hudson adding roles in "Sex and the City," "The Secret Life of Bees," "Winnie" and "The Three Stooges."
Elvis Presley was such a big, charismatic rock star that it wasn't long before Hollywood came calling. The King made his acting debut in the 1956 western "Love Me Tender" and made 31 movies overall, including the likes of "Jailhouse Rock" (pictured), "King Creole" and "Viva Las Vegas."
But before Elvis, there was Frank Sinatra, who turned his crooning stardom into a movie career that included movies such as "Anchors Aweigh," "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," "On the Town," "From Here to Eternity" (pictured, at right), "Guys and Dolls," "The Man with the Golden Arm," "Ocean's Eleven" and "The Manchurian Candidate." He even earned Academy Award nominations for "The Man with the Golden Arm" and "From Here to Eternity," winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the latter role.
The late pop singer Whitney Houston appeared in only a handful of movies, but made quite an impact with one in particular: 1992's "The Bodyguard." She also appeared in the movies "Waiting to Exhale," "The Preacher's Wife" and "Sparkle" before her 2012 death.
In the late 1960s, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger began acting with roles in movies like "Ned Kelly" (pictured) and "Performance." While it would be nearly another 20 years before his next movie role, he went on to star in films such as "Freejack," "Bent" and "The Man From Elysian Fields."
Jagger's friend David Bowie has done more than a little dabbling in acting himself, appearing in movies such as "The Man Who Fell to Earth" (pictured), "The Hunger," "Labyrinth," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Basquiat" and "The Prestige."
Alicia Keys made her movie debut in "Smokin' Aces" in 2006 and has also appeared in the movies "The Secret Life of Bees" and "The Nanny Diaries." But she made her actual acting debut much earlier in a classic 1980s sitcom.
Keys played one of Rudy Huxtable's friends in a 1985 episode of "The Cosby Show" during the show's first season.
One of Keys' co-stars in "Smokin' Aces" was rapper Common, who was also making his film debut. He has since appeared in movies like "American Gangster," "Street Kings," "Wanted," "Terminator Salvation," "Just Wright" (pictured), "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" and "Selma." He also is the star of the AMC western TV series "Hell on Wheels."
Usher made his movie debut in the 1998 horror movie "The Faculty." He's gone on to appear in movies like "She's All That," "Texas Rangers," "Killers" and "Scary Movie 5," and will play boxer Sugar Ray Leonard in the movie "Hands of Stone," tentatively set for release in 2016.
While Justin Bieber's lone movie credit has been his 2011 concert movie "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," Bieber has also tried his hand at acting, playing a troubled teen on two episodes of the show "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" in 2010 and 2011, with his character getting killed in his second appearance.
Harry Connick Jr. began his acting career as a tail gunner in the World War II film "Memphis Belle" in 1990, before going on to play a serial killer in "Copycat" and appear opposite Will Smith in "Independence Day." His first role as a leading man came in 1998's "Hope Floats," pictured here with Sandra Bullock, and his other movie credits include "P.S. I Love You," "New in Town" and "Dolphin Tale." He also played Grace's husband, Dr. Leo Markus, on the sitcom "Will & Grace" from 2002 to 2006.
Rapper Ludacris had a small role in "The Wash" before taking on bigger roles in "2 Fast 2 Furious" (pictured), "Crash" and "Hustle & Flow." He's also had roles in "RocknRolla," "Gamer," "No Strings Attached," "Fast Five" and "New Year's Eve."
Although Britney Spears has yet to appear in another movie since her starring debut in the 2002 flop "Crossroads," she has made cameos on episodes of "Will & Grace" and "How I Met Your Mother."
What started out with a small role as a truck driver in 1993's "Red Rock West" has become a second career for country music star Dwight Yoakam. He has since appeared in movies such as "Sling Blade," "The Newton Boys," "Panic Room" and, pictured here, "Crank."
Rocker Lenny Kravitz has an actress for a daughter in "X-Men: First Class" star Zoe Kravitz, but he has also dabbled himself, first appearing as a nurse in "Precious" and then tackling the role of Cinna in "The Hunger Games," as seen here, at left, with Woody Harrelson and Josh Hutcherson. He also reprised the latter role in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and appeared in 2013's "The Butler."
Rapper Eminem has made only one movie, but he made quite an impression in "8 Mile." He also won an Oscar for the song "Lose Yourself" from the movie's soundtrack.
Tupac Shakur broke through as a rapper with his 1991 solo debut, but he just as quickly was making a name for himself as an actor, starting with 1992's "Juice." In his relatively short career, he also made the movies "Poetic Justice" (pictured, with fellow moonlighting music star Janet Jackson), "Above the Rim," "Bullet," "Gridlock'd" and "Criminal Intent."
Before her film debut in "Poetic Justice," Janet Jackson was already a veteran child actor, appearing in the 1970s sitcom "Good Times" as well as "Diff'rent Strokes" and "Fame." It would be seven years between "Poetic Justice" and second film, 2000's "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps," but she has since become a favorite of director Tyler Perry, appearing in his "Why Did I Get Married?" and its sequel as well as his 2010 movie "For Colored Girls."
Jessica Simpson's acting roles have been few and far between, instead usually playing herself in movies like "The Master of Disguise" and "The Love Guru" or in the TV series "Entourage." But she has also taken on other roles, including playing Daisy Duke in "The Dukes of Hazzard" in 2005 and appearing in the movies "Employee of the Month" and "Blonde Ambition."
Mandy Moore had a supporting role in "The Princess Diaries," but carried her own movie in "A Walk to Remember" in 2002. She followed that up with starring roles in "How to Deal," "Chasing Liberty," "Saved!" and "License to Wed." She also provided the voice for Rapunzel in Disney's "Tangled" in 2010. She's also added TV stints on shows like "Entourage," "Scrubs," "How I Met Your Mother," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Red Band Society."
Pop star Christina Aguilera has played herself on the silver screen in "Get Him to the Greek" and "Pitch Perfect 2," but she took on a role opposite fellow music star Cher in 2010's "Burlesque." She also joined the primetime soap "Nashville" for a three-episode arc in the spring of 2015.
"Burlesque" is just the latest film role in a career for singer Cher that includes an Oscar win for 1987's "Moonstruck" and goes back to her film debut alongside then-husband and singing partner Sonny Bono in 1967's "Good Times."
Queen Latifah first's album, 1989's "All Hail the Queen," came out when she was 19. Shortly thereafter she launched her film career with supporting roles in the films "Jungle Fever," "House Party 2" and "Juice," before breaking out in the 1996 box-office hit "Set It Off." Her acting career has since taken priority over her music, earning an Oscar nomination for her role in "Chicago" and racking up credits in movies like "Bringing Down the House," "Taxi," "Beauty Shop," "The Secret Life of Bees," "Last Holiday," "Just Wright" and "Joyful Noise."
Latifah's co-star in 2012's "Joyful Noise" was Dolly Parton, another music star turned occasional actress. Parton made her film debut in 1980 with "9 to 5" before going on to star in movies like "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," "Rhinestone," "Steel Magnolias" and "Straight Talk."
Pop country star Taylor Swift's acting career is miniscule in comparison with her singing career, but she has guest starred on episodes of "CSI" and "New Girl," appeared in the movies "Valentine's Day" and "The Giver" and voiced a character in the animated movie "The Lorax."
Bob Dylan has made a handful of appearances in movies, including his movie debut in director Sam Peckinpah 1973's "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid," starring alongside country music star Kris Kristofferson. He's seen here on set with Peckinpah. Dylan has also appeared in the movies "Renaldo and Clara," "Hearts of Fire" and "Masked and Anonymous."
Kristofferson not only appeared in Peckinpah's "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid," playing the movie's title outlaw, but Peckinpah also used him for his films "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" and "Convoy." The country star responsible for songs such as "Me and Bobby McGee," "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and "Help Me Make it Through the Night," is almost as known today for his movie roles, including "A Star is Born," "Heaven's Gate," "Millennium," "Lone Star" and the "Blade" vampire movies.
In the four movies on her film resume, Tina Turner has played mostly smaller roles, with the exception of 1985's "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome."
Nicknamed "Little Steven," Steven Van Zandt, guitarist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, was a regular on the HBO mob drama "The Sopranos" from 1999 through 2007 and now stars in his own Netflix-distributed show "Lilyhammer."
Mos Def actually started his acting career at the age of 14, before breaking through as a star of the underground rap scene in the late 1990s. However, his roles in TV movies and short-lived shows such as "You Take the Kids" and "The Cosby Mysteries" failed to garner much attention. After small roles in the movies "Bamboozled" and "Monster's Ball," he re-invigorated his acting career with a role in the 2002 movie "Brown Sugar." Soon came bigger roles in movies such as "The Italian Job" (pictured, second from right), "The Woodsman," "16 Blocks" and "Be Kind Rewind," and a recurring role in the Showtime series "Dexter."
Sean "Diddy" Combs, the rapper variously known as Puff Daddy, P.Diddy and Sean John, made a surprisingly well-received acting debut in 2001's "Made" opposite Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau and went on to deliver solid performances in the movies "Monster's Ball" and "Get Him to the Greek."
It might have seemed a bit odd when legendary gangsta hip-hop emcee Ice-T first tried to break out of just playing rappers and other roles similar to his real-life music background, but he's since racked up nearly 100 acting credits, including movies such as "New Jack City," "Surviving the Game," "Ricochet" and "Tank Girl." But his biggest acting success has come on television, where he has portrayed NYPD Detective Odafin Tutuola since 2000 on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
Ice Cube shares more than just a cold-as-ice name and gangsta rap background with Ice-T. He made his acting debut in 1991's "Boyz n the Hood" and has gone on to star in movies such as "Friday," "Anaconda," "Three Kings," "Barbershop," "xXx: State of the Union" and "Are We There Yet?"
Rapper Snoop Dogg has also racked up the film credits to go along with his music career, appearing in movies like "Half Baked," "Baby Boy," "Training Day," "Bones," "The Wash," "Starsky & Hutch" and, as pictured here, "Soul Plane."
Rapper 50 Cent has also pursued an acting career, often billed by his real name of Curtis Jackson, appearing in the semi-autobiographical film "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," the Iraq War film "Home of the Brave," the Robert De Niro-Al Pacino-starring "Righteous Kill," and the football movie "All Things Fall Apart."
Flea, whose well-known day job is playing bass for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has also had small parts in movies like "Back to the Future Part II," "My Own Private Idaho," "The Chase" and "The Big Lebowski." Joining Flea in the Charlie Sheen-Kristy Swanson-starring "The Chase" was his band mate Anthony Kiedis, who also had small roles in "Point Break" and "Less Than Zero."
Also appearing in "The Chase" was rocker Henry Rollins, best known as the lead singer of the 1980s punk band Black Flag and for his work with the hard rock Rollins Band. Rollins has also appeared in movies such as "Johnny Mnemonic," "Heat," "The New Guy" and "Bad Boys II."
Since breaking into movies in 2004, country singing star Tim McGraw has mostly focused on subject material he's familiar with, namely football ("Friday Night Lights" and "The Blind Side") and country/rural themed material ("Flicka" and "Country Strong"). He's also appeared in 2007's "The Kingdom," 2008's "Four Christmases" and 2015's "Tomorrowland."
Sting has been nominated for three Oscars, albeit all of them for songs from the movies "The Emperor's New Groove," "Kate & Leopold" and "Cold Mountain." But he's also appeared in front of the camera too, in movies like "Dune" (pictured), "The Bride," "Plenty" and "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen."
Jon Bon Jovi, who did the soundtrack for the movie "Young Guns II," also made his uncredited acting debut in the 1990 movie, playing an inmate. He had a bigger role in 1995's "Moonlight and Valentino" (pictured) and then made his leading man debut in the 1996 romantic-drama "The Leading Man." He's also appeared in the movies "U-571," "Pay It Forward" and "New Year's Eve," and the TV show "Ally McBeal."
Rapper T.I., whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., made his acting debut in the 2006 movie "ATL" and has also appeared in the movies "American Gangster," "Takers" and "Identity Thief." He also was a regular on the Starz drama series "Boss," as seen here, and has had recurring roles on the shows "House of Lies" and "Single Ladies."
Courtney Love had appeared in several small roles in movies like "Sid and Nancy," "Basquiat" and "Feeling Minnesota" before receiving her best reviews for a co-starring role in 1996's "The People vs. Larry Flynt." Playing the real-life Althea Leasure Flynt, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt's fourth wife, to Woody Harrelson's Larry Flynt, she earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role. She's gone on to appear in movies like "200 Cigarettes" and "Man on the Moon."
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards played the father of Johnny Depp's character, Capt. Jack Sparrow, in the third and fourth installments of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film franchise. The role was especially fitting considering Depp has been quoted as saying part of the inspiration for Sparrow came from a combination of Richards and the cartoon skunk Pepé Le Pew.
Singer Aaliyah starred in the 2000 movie "Romeo Must Die" and had completed filming on "Queen of the Damned" before dying in a plane crash in The Bahamas in August 2001. The movie was released after her death.
Tom Petty had a minor role in the 1987 film "Made in Heaven" and played a bigger role in the Kevin Costner-directed 1997 sci-fi movie "The Postman."
Rock star Meat Loaf has appeared in more than 50 movies and television shows, most notably in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (pictured), "Leap of Faith," "Fight Club" and "Spice World."
Motown legend Diana Ross has appeared in three movies: "Lady Sings the Blues," "Mahogany" and "The Wiz." She earned an Academy Award and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of jazz singer Billie Holiday in 1972's "Lady Sings the Blues," a role that also won her a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer.
At the height of his fame, rapper Vanilla Ice starred in his own movie, 1991's "Cool as Ice." Although his fame faded rather quickly, he's made other movie appearances since, including playing himself in 2012's Razzie-nominated "That's My Boy."
Pop star Mariah Carey made her movie debut with a small part in in 1999's "The Bachelor" before going on to star in the 2001 flop "Glitter," earning a Razzie award for Worst Actress. After a few more indie and direct-to-video movies, she received much better reviews for her performance as a social worker in 2009's "Precious," winning the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and earning Black Reel and NAACP Image Award nominations. Like her "Precious" co-star Lenny Kravitz, she also appeared in 2013's "The Butler."
No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani played a minor role in "The Aviator," portraying Jean Harlow, whose roles included a starring turn in the Howard Hughes-directed "Hell's Angels" in 1930.