In Hollywood, size really does matter, but not in the way you might think.
Millions of dollars were spent in special effects to make actors like Dominic Monaghan and Elijah Wood seem considerably smaller than their co-stars in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Shorter male Hollywood stars have been known to either stand on boxes or demand that their female co-stars stand in holes in the ground so that they don’t appear taller than them on-screen. It is a virtual guarantee that you will never see a Hollywood actress walking a red carpet without high heels.
With height such a focus of scrutiny in the industry, how do actors of extremely short or tall stature find success? In the case of the people included on this list, they utilize the unique skills and personalities they have to leave the most important impression they can on filmmakers, casting directors, and audiences: a fantastic performance.
Check out this list of performers who haven’t let the “standard” Hollywood height requirements stop them from turning in thoughtful, fantastic, and powerful performances.
Here are the 8 Tallest (And 7 Shortest) Stars In Hollywood.
15 Vince Vaughn
Vince Vaughn’s unique look and lanky 6’5” frame made landing roles tough early in his career. He popped up in ABC Afterschool Specials and TV series like 21 Jump Street and Doogie Howser, M.D. However, it was the indie film Swingers, written by fellow struggling actor Jon Favreau, that featured Vaughn’s distinct personality and led to mainstream popularity.
He followed Swingers immediately with the blockbuster sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park. However, even after gaining audience recognition, he still struggled to find his on-screen persona. He tried a few dramatic performances in The Locusts and Return to Paradise; the best use of his thin frame and awkward energy was in the 1998 remake of Psycho.
However, it was Old School that helped him find his comedy niche, and he began a series of ensemble comedies with other powerhouse performers. He was the perfect fit for the larger-than-life characters in Dodgeball, Wedding Crashers, and Couples Retreat. He’s made a recent dramatic resurgence with appearances in True Detective and Hacksaw Ridge.
14 Anna Kendrick
At an even five feet, Anna Kendrick makes a much stronger impression than her diminutive stature warrants. In only her fifth on-screen appearance, she’d already landed a huge franchise with Twilight in 2008. One year later, she was celebrating a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Up in the Air opposite George Clooney.
She’d been performing long before her film career, though, and was Tony-nominated for her performance in the Broadway musical High Society. She brought her singing skills to the big screen in the popular Pitch Perfect series. In 2014, she did back-to-back musicals with screen adaptations of the stage plays The Last Five Years and Into the Woods.
Her tiny size and powerful presence also translate well into comedy. Kendrick has made a series of funny turns in Rapture-Palooza, Mr. Right, and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. She blended her comedy and singing skills in Trolls, a film about tiny animated creatures.
13 Christopher Lee
At 6’5”, Christopher Lee is one of horror’s most intimidating presences, but his body of work casts an even longer shadow. After a decade of small but memorable appearances in British films, he appeared in his first Hammer horror film The Curse of Frankenstein. He became synonymous with Hammer’s horror output, playing Dracula seven times and appearing in Rasputin the Mad Monk and The Hound of the Baskervilles.
He had a memorable role in the haunting cult film The Wicker Man, and he crossed over into family fare with Disney’s Return to Witch Mountain. He had a strangely successful career in heavy metal music, but he came into a popular resurgence in the U.S. due to Tim Burton.
After appearing in Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, Lee’s star was once again on the rise, playing major villains in Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and doing voice work in Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland.
12 Danny DeVito
An enormous presence in a small package, the 4’10” Danny DeVito was memorable from the moment viewers saw him as Martini in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. With films like Romancing the Stone and TV series like Taxi, DeVito bucked the odds for an actor of his stature by continually finding meaty comedic and dramatic acting roles.
He often took roles that played on his size, from Batman Returns to Twins, but just as often, he simply played compelling characters. He was lovably sad in Throw Momma from the Train and irredeemably sleazy in The War of the Roses. He moved from acting to directing in Hoffa and Death to Smoochy.
He became a successful producer on Pulp Fiction and Man on the Moon, and won an Oscar for producing Erin Brockovich. He is most well-known to modern TV audiences as the weird but entertaining Frank Reynolds on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
11 Brooke Shields
At six feet tall with striking features, it’s no surprise that Brooke Shields’ career began as a child model. After small roles in TV movies, she got a big break playing a young prostitute in Pretty Baby. The film was controversial due to her underage nude scene, and led to another risqué role in The Blue Lagoon.
By the late 1990s, Shields found success as a television staple, with roles on Suddenly Susan, Widows, and That ‘70s Show. She still occasionally popped up on the big screen in films like The Midnight Meat Train and The Other Guys, but television gave her several great roles.
From Lipstick Jungle to Army Wives to Hannah Montana, Shields continued to stretch her TV resume, even doing voice performance work in Mr. Pickles and Creative Galaxy. Most recently, she can be seen in the recurring role of Rita Glossner on ABC’s The Middle.
10 Kristin Chenoweth
At 4’11”, Kristin Chenoweth may have small shoes, but it would take five talented people to fill all the roles she has taken on. Her career on Broadway began in 1997, and she won a Tony for her 1999 performance in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. That led to a television sitcom opportunity called Kristin, which lasted only 13 episodes.
After wowing Broadway audiences with her role in Wicked, Chenoweth moved to the small screen for a role on The West Wing. In 2007, her unique gifts for comedy and music were combined in Pushing Daisies, where she played lovesick waitress Olive Snook. After a run on Glee and the fun but failed series GCB, Chenoweth lent her voice to Gabi, a bird in the animated film Rio.
9 James Cromwell
Though he is often well-remembered for his kind, quiet performance in Babe, the 6’7” James Cromwell has been known to use his intimidating height to counteract his naturally compassionate look. He towered over his castmates as villainous Dr. Arden in American Horror Story: Asylum, and he even made the 6’5” Lee Pace look small on Halt and Catch Fire.
His career is as varied as it is long, with appearances in Star Trek: The Next Generation (and its movie spinoffs), Six Feet Under, and 24. He has played Cardinals in two films, the biopic Pope John Paul II and The Young Pope, and portrayed Prince Philip in The Queen.
Cromwell had a role in the Oscar-nominated The Artist and played Andrew Mellon on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He recently appeared as J.R. on the hilarious TBS series The Detour, did voice work for the animated film Big Hero 6, and will soon be seen in the upcoming Jurassic World sequel, Fallen Kingdom.
8 Hayden Panettiere
Though Hayden Panettiere never grew taller than 5’0”, she was already racking up the impressive performances when she was very young. She appeared on One Life to Live and Guiding Light early on, as well as providing voices for Disney’s Dinosaur and Pixar’s A Bug’s Life.
Her breakout came as Sheryl, the tiny coach-in-training in Remember the Titans, followed by a run on Ally McBeal. She returned to the Disney fold with Racing Stripes, and she played the voice of Kairi in Kingdom Hearts. However, her fame exploded when she played indestructible cheerleader Claire Bennet in Heroes.
The popularity of the series led to roles in Scream 4 and more voice work in Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil and Alpha and Omega. Her most beloved role is that of rising star Juliette Barnes on the TV series Nashville. Like Anna Kendrick and Kristin Chenoweth, she shocked viewers with the powerful voice that didn’t seem to match her small frame.
7 Carel Struycken
Picked off the street to appear in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band because of his impressive 7’0” height, Carel Struycken turned what could have been a fun cameo into an impressive film and television career. From his appearances in the Star Wars spinoff Ewoks: The Battle for Endor to The Witches of Eastwick, he has cultivated an awe-inspiring resume of genre work.
Though he is most famous for his role as Lurch in The Addams Family remake films, he also had a recurring role as Mr. Homn in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sci-fi buffs might recall him from Babylon 5, the Oblivion films, and Men in Black as well.
He recently popped back up on primetime television with an appearance on Gotham and the NBC hit The Blacklist. However, he will always be remembered fondly for his role as The Giant on Twin Peaks, a role he is currently playing again in David Lynch’s relaunch of the series.
6 Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith was once told that, at 5’0”, she was too short to play Will Smith’s love interest on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air because he was 6’2”. She didn’t let that stop her love life nor her career, later marrying Smith and going on to great screen success.
Pinkett Smith appeared in A Different World for three years, but got her big-screen break in Menace II Society. That led to action roles in A Low Down Dirty Shame and Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight. She joined Neo and Morpheus in The Matrix Reloaded and voiced Gloria in the Madagascar series. She starred in the medical TV drama Hawthorne, and had a role in the male stripper sequel film Magic Mike XXL.
Recently, audiences remember her as the deadly Fish Mooney on Gotham. Pinkett Smith plays a mob boss as intelligent and clever as she is deadly, and Pinkett Smith’s size doesn’t diminish the intensity of the character one bit.
5 Brad Garrett
Before he appeared on-screen, most viewers knew Brad Garrett as a disembodied voice from animated shows like Bonkers, Where’s Waldo, Rock n’ Wrestling, and The Transformers. However, even if viewers were to judge him just on work like 2 Stupid Dogs and Finding Nemo, they’d guess that voice belonged to a big guy.
Maybe they wouldn’t expect the 6’8” Brad Garrett that they saw on the hit show Everybody Loves Raymond, where he towered over 6’2” Ray Romano, his TV brother. He voiced the exceedingly dumb Easter Island Head in the Night at the Museum movies, and followed up his run on Everybody Loves Raymond with the long-running ‘Til Death and the short-lived The Crazy Ones.
He did additional voice work in the Pixar spinoff Planes: Fire & Rescue, and he appeared as Mafia leader Joe Bulo on season two of Fargo. Recently, he appeared as a network executive on the NBC smash hit This Is Us.
4 Peter Dinklage
Peter Dinklage has made such an impact on the television landscape due to his role on Game of Thrones that his 4’5” height barely registers as a footnote in his biography. His film career began with Living in Oblivion, a comedy in which he plays an actor who complains about the fact that his character is a dwarf.
After a few small roles, he had his big break with The Station Agent, an award-winning drama from director Tom McCarthy. It led Dinklage to more prominent roles in Elf, Lassie, and an appearance on Entourage playing an exaggerated version of himself. He appeared on TV in Threshold and Nip/Tuck, and played in both the British and American versions of the comedy Death at a Funeral.
From Underdog to The Chronicles of Narnia to voice work in Ice Age: Continental Drift, Dinklage’s performances are always committed and effective. He appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past, is wrapping out his Golden Globe-winning run on Game of Thrones, and will be appearing in Avengers: Infinity War.
3 Dwayne Johnson
Six foot five is tall in everyday life, but Dwayne Johnson came from the world of wrestling. With Kevin Nash, The Undertaker, and The Big Show all taller than him by several inches, it was Johnson’s larger-than-life character and personality that made him a phenomenon in the ring. The same holds true for his acting career.
After wrestling-related cameos on That ‘70s Show and Star Trek: Voyager, he began his film career with The Mummy Returns, playing a character who spun into his own series, The Scorpion King. Since then, he has continued to appear in successful franchises from Fast and the Furious to G.I. Joe.
Johnson can seemingly do it all: television (HBO’s hit series Ballers), children’s films (Moana and Race to Witch Mountain), comedy (Be Cool and Baywatch), remakes (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), even comic books (he will be appearing in both Shazam! and Doc Savage). He even produces, too, with the new wrestling comedy/biography Fighting with My Family.
2 Ellen Page
At 5’1”, Ellen Page is small enough that, when she was asked to play a 14-year-old in Hard Candy at the age of 18, no one questioned that she might actually be that age on screen. Though she’d appeared on the Canadian series Trailer Park Boys, it was the combination of X-Men: The Last Stand and Juno that put Ellen Page on the audience’s radar.
Unwilling to fall into a cliché Hollywood career trajectory, Page jumped from indie films like Whip It and Super to big-budget releases like Inception. She reprised her role as Kitty Pride in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and teamed up with Evan Rachel Wood for the post-apocalypse thriller Into the Forest.
Page has always championed social issues, and her films Freeheld and Tallulah touch on serious societal problems; Page can also be seen hosting the Vice channel travel series Gaycation. She is working on a zombie film called The Third Wave, and has already finished filming the remake of Flatliners.
1 Gwendoline Christie
In a cast of lovable and terrifying characters in Game of Thrones, Gwendoline Christie’s performance as Brienne of Tarth is uniquely memorable for more than just her impressive 6’3” presence. Her career began on the stage, performing in versions of Pravda, Cymbeline, and Dr. Faustus, where she made a memorable impression.
Her film and television career began, strangely, with two tiny roles in the Terry Gilliam films The Zero Theorem and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. The same year she first appeared in Game of Thrones, she also had a recurring role in Wizards vs. Aliens, a children’s show from Doctor Who’s Russell T. Davies.
Christie also appears in the second season of Jane Campion’s TV series Top of the Lake, and she had a small role in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2. She secured her second major franchise by appearing as Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it has already been announced that she will return in The Last Jedi.
Can you think of any other tall or short actors that we missed? Let us know in the comment section!
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