5 Hollywood Actors of South African Origin - HollywoodsMagazine

5 Hollywood Actors of South African Origin

Do you know how far South Africa is from Los Angeles? It’s more than 10,000 miles! This makes it all the more amazing that there are South African actors who made a name for themselves in Hollywood. From action movies to fantasy and sci-fi, they have played lovable characters and most hated villains over the years.

Arnold Vosloo

Born in Pretoria to Afrikaner parents, Vosloo began his acting career in the 1980s on stage. He won several Dalro Awards for his performances both on stage and screen. His first movie appearance was in the 1987 sci-fi/fantasy flick Gor, followed by the title role in two Darkman sequels. He mostly played villains or anti-heroes, having played everything from secret agents to terrorists. His big break, in turn, was the 1999 film “The Mummy”, alongside Brendan Frasier and Rachel Weisz, turning him into one of the most beloved and hated villains in the early 2000s.

John Kani

Bonisile John Kani is an Eastern Cape native. In the 1960s, he was part of a group of performers called “The Serpent Players” staging plays in a former snake pit in the Port Elizabeth Zoo.

Kani is a prolific actor and playwright. His career as an actor was reignited by his roles in “Captain America: Civil War” and “Black Panther”, where he played King T’Chaka.

Charlize Theron

A Gauteng native, Theron grew up on his parents’ farm in Benoni, near Johannesburg. She learned acting at the National School of the Arts. She saw herself as a dancer but also did modelling – she won a one-ye ar modelling contract at the age of 16, which took her to Italy. A year later, she moved to the US. Here, she trained as a ballet dancer until a knee injury ended her career. So, she decided to transition to the film industry and moved to LA. She was discovered by a producer by pure chance, which spawned her impressive movie career.

Sharlto Copley

Director Neil Blomkamp is often credited with starting Sharlto Copley’s acting career. But as you might expect, things are more complicated than that. Copley met Blomkamp shortly after high school and allowed him to use his computers to pitch projects and pursue his passion for 3D animation. This relationship culminated in Blomkamp creating “District 9” and Copley playing the main role.

Since then, he has played everything from  “Howling Mad” Murdock in “The A-Team” remake to Ted Kaczynski in the historical crime drama “Ted K”. He is set to play in Rupert Wyatt’s “Desert Warrior” set to be released soon.

Alice Krige

A Northern Cape native, Alice Krige trained as a clinical psychologist at Rhodes University before discovering her passion for the scene. She graduated with a BA Hons in Drama and emigrated to London to continue her studies. She got her big break in 1981, thanks to a role in the Oscar-winning film “Chariots of Fire”. And she has been unstoppable ever since.

Over the years, she has become a sort of a geek icon, having starred in several science fiction productions. Perhaps her most memorable role was that of the Borg Queen in several Star Trek series.

These South African actors found fame and fortune 10,000 miles away from Cape Town. Who knows, one day you may stumble upon them when you walk through the streets of Joburg or check out one of the many South African casinos across the country.


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