Some of you may not know this, but Denzel Washington began his illustrious career as a television star on St. Elsewhere. So, with The Equalizer 3 coming out this month, we figured we'd rank some of the biggest names to make the jump from TV to the silver screen. For inclusion on this list, the actor in question had to have a regular role on a series prior to hitting it big as a movie star.
Each writer ranks his or her top 15 actors in the category. Those lists are then weighted on a reverse point system. After all the points are tallied up, the entries with the most total points make up the Bitesize Top Five.
5. GEORGE CLOONEY
After Michael J. Fox (a travesty he didn't make this list), there is really only one other actor who truly conquered both mediums: George Clooney. His Emmy-nominated role as Doug Ross in 109 episodes of ER may be his most notable, but he also featured heavily in Roseanne, The Facts of Life, and numerous other series. This makes it all the more impressive that he's become one of the true movie stars of my generation. You have the Ocean's franchise, Up in the Air, Syriana, Gravity, and many, many others. Plus, being maybe the most charming man in Hollywood on top of that? No brainer. - Nick
4. ROBIN WILLIAMS
As someone I consider to be one of the two most entertaining people in Hollywood history (the other was recently in They Cloned Tyrone), it’s no surprise that Robin Williams is on this list. Damn near anything you ask him to do, he’s doing it at 100%. It’s not that he transitioned from TV’s Mork to the funniest of movie stars, but that he also transitioned from stand-up comic to TV star to comedic film actor to dramatic film actor to voice actor to put-him-in-anything-and-he-will-be-the-best-at-everything actor. We miss you, big guy. Saying a big ol’ “toodalooooo” for ya! - Amarú
3. TOM HANKS
If A Man Called Otto proved anything, it was that Tom Hanks’ movie star power has no chance of waning any time soon, at least not by any significant measure. From his beginnings on Bosom Buddies to his numerous SNL hosting stints to his “America’s Dad” film persona, Hanks’ cinematic everyman quality makes him infinitely compelling to watch, and he remains one of the increasingly few faces in American movies that can drive box office success without needing the superhero bump to do so. - Jacob
2. WILL SMITH
Controversy aside, Will Smith is undoubtedly one of the biggest movie stars in the world. From big budget franchises like Men in Black and Bad Boys, to fan favourites like Independence Day and I Am Legend, to Oscar-caliber roles in Pursuit of Happyness and King Richard (which won him his first Academy Award), Smith has dominated the film industry for decades. And yet, for me, I will always remember him most for portraying a loose version of himself in one of my favourite sitcoms of all time, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a show that turned him from a rapper to superstar. - Adriano
1. LEONARDO DICAPRIO
You’d be forgiven if you didn’t realize Leonardo DiCaprio, arguably the best actor working today, started his career as an early 90s sitcom star. First, in Parenthood, a series based on the 1989 film that was cancelled after one season, and second, the final season of Growing Pains. However, you won’t be forgiven for thinking anyone else belongs at the top of this list. Leo has been nominated for six Oscars, six BAFTAs, and 13 Golden Globes during a 32-year film career that has seen him make the transition from no-name TV actor to bonafide movie star, all while avoiding the dreaded Child Actor Curse. And at just 48 years old, who knows what else he may accomplish? - Quentin
Photo Credits: Photo 1, 4 - NBC; Photo 2, 3, 5 - ABC