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9 Movie actors turned TV stars

More often than not, it’s small screen actors that aim to make the leap from television to movies. However, some incredible movie actors have decided to jump from film to TV. These are our favorite movie-to-television actors.

Kevin Spacey


Kevin’s career in Hollywood as an actor, director, screenwriter and producer spans more than 40 years. In the 1990s and early 2000s, his movie career exploded with films like American Beauty, L.A. Confidential, The Usual Suspects, Pay It Forward and a laundry list of others. As of late, however, Kevin is lighting up the small screen (or the computer screen, iPad screen… you get the point) with his starring role in the Netflix original series House of Cards, which he also produces.

Zooey Deschanel


Since the tail end of the 1990s, Zooey Deschanel has been making a name for herself on the big screen in movies like Mumford, Almost Famous, Elf, Failure to Launch and (500) Days of Summer. These days you can catch her on Fox’s comedy series, New Girl, where she plays the quirky girl Jess, a character you’ll be glad you found.

Alec Baldwin


Undoubtedly the most successful of the Baldwin brothers, at least where Hollywood is concerned, Alec originally came into our lives as Joshua Rush on Knot’s Landing. He then transitioned to film acting with funny films like 1988’s Beetlejuice and dramatic ones like The Hunt for Red October, and more recently, Pearl Harbor and The Departed. Alec dominated the small screen, however, with his guest spots on Saturday Night Live and his iconic role as Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock, which ran for seven seasons.

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Kyra Sedgwick


In the 1980s, Kyra Sedgwick made her debut on the big screen as Tom Cruise’s high school sweetheart in Born on the Fourth of July. She then went on to star in Miss Rose White and Something to Talk About, both which earned her Golden Globe nominations. After tackling the big screen, Kyra lit up the small screen as deputy chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on TNT’s The Closer for seven seasons.

Robin Williams


Robin Williams started his career in the 1970s with a guest spot on Happy Days, which led to his own sitcom, Mork & Mindy. He then starred in major films like Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Jack, Patch Adams and Hook. After spending 30 years away from the small screen, Robin is now set to take it on once again with his highly-anticipated series, The Crazy Ones, which airs this fall on CBS.

Teri Hatcher


Originally starring as Amy on the small screen’s The Love Boat, Teri then jumped onto the big screen scene with films like Tango & Cash, Soapdish and Tomorrow Never Dies. She has done a host of other films, but it wasn’t until the small screen’s Desperate Housewives came calling in 2004 that she really got the boost her career desperately needed.

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Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland stole hearts in his early roles in Stand by Me and The Lost Boys in the 1980s. In the 1990s and 2000s, Kiefer found success with roles in Flatliners, A Few Good Men, A Time to Kill, Young Guns and Young Guns II, L.A. Confidential and countless others. Then in 2001, he captured our attention — and held it for eight on-the-edge-of-your-seat seasons — in his small-screen role as Jack Bauer in 24. If you haven’t seen 24, start with season one — like now.

Charlie Sheen


Charlie Sheen has commanded serious roles in films like Platoon and Wall Street, as well as funny ones in movies like Hot Shots! and Hot Shots! II. He then reignited his career with small-screen hits Spin City. It was his role as pretty much himself on Two and a Half Men, however, that earned him the spot of becoming the highest paid actor on television in 2010 when he raked in $1.8 million per episode. He currently stars on Anger Management.

Jane Lynch


Jane began lighting up the big screen with comedic performances in 40-Year-Old Virgin, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Role Models. But when she donned that iconic tracksuit to play Sue Sylvester on Fox’s Glee, she secured a name for herself as a powerhouse of the small screen.

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More TV and movies

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The Lone Ranger bombs: Is the small screen the new big screen?
Large to small: Film stars who have made the jump to TV

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