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Updated by Rajashri Venkatesh on Sep 05, 2015
Headline for Top 10 Big Time Comedians Turned Actors
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Top 10 Big Time Comedians Turned Actors

Yes, this is a list of all those comedians who started their lives as a stand-up artists and made it huge in the film industry. Some of them are know for their comic roles while some of them have nailed the serious drama as well. So make sure you vote for your favourite comedian.

Robin Williams

Actor and comedian Robin McLaurin Williams was born on July 21, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois. Eventually becoming one of America's funniest performers, Williams attended Claremont Men's College and College of Marin before enrolling at the Juilliard School in New York City. There he befriended and became roomies with fellow actor Christopher Reeve. Williams later experimented with comedy in San Francisco and Los Angeles, developing a successful stand-up act. A string of successful film roles for Williams followed over the years, showcasing his stellar comedic talents as well as his ability to take on serious work. He played the title character in 1982's The World According to Garp as well as a Russian musician who defects to America in Moscow on the Hudson (1984). Later, in Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Williams portrayed irreverent radio DJ Adrian Cronauer, while in Dead Poets Society (1989) he played free-thinking teacher John Keating. Both projects earned him Academy Award nods for lead actor.

Steve Martin

As a teenager, Martin sold guidebooks and performed magic tricks at Disneyland and at Knotts Berry Farm. He enrolled in Long Beach State College to study philosophy, but soon transferred to the theater program at the University of California, Los Angeles. He left college altogether to be a comedy writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967-68), winning an Emmy Award in 1969. In the 1970s, Martin performed stand-up comedy in local clubs, wrote for The Sonny and Cher Show (1972-73) and had the first of his many appearances on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson. Martin's big break came when he was guest host on NBC's Saturday Night Live in 1977. His offbeat and irreverent humor made him an instant celebrity.

Bill Murray

Bill Murray relocated to New York City, where he took his comedic talents on air in the radio show National Lampoon Hour (1973-74) alongside Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner and John Belushi. In 1975, both Murray brothers were in an off-Broadway spin-off of the radio show when Bill was spotted by sportscaster Howard Cosell, who recruited him for the cast of his ABC variety program Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell (1975-76). On NBC, a program also named Saturday Night Live (1975- ) was creating a much bigger sensation. A year later, producer Lorne Michaels tapped Murray to replace Chevy Chase, who had moved on to pursue a film career.

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy was born in Brooklyn on April 3, 1961. He began doing stand-up comedy as a teenager and later joined the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live. At age 21, Murphy co-starred with Nick Nolte in 48 Hours and went on to further box-office success with Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop. He continues to star in many movies, including comedies, dramas and family films.

Amy Poehler

After graduation, she moved to Chicago in 1993 to pursue a professional career in comedy, joining the comedy theaters ImprovOlympics and Second City, which have produced famous alumni including Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Mike Myers and Tina Fey. Poehler and Fey, who would later become famous together on Saturday Night Live (SNL), met each other through an improv group called Inside Vladimir, which someone had named after an adult video found at a local convenience store. "I believe there was some kind of Russian theme, but the story was lost on me very quickly," Poehler recalled. The two became friends immediately

Tina Fey

Comedian, writer, producer and actress Tina Fey was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey on May 18, 1970, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, to parents Donald and Jeannec Fay. Jeannec Fey worked in a brokerage firm and Donald Fey wrote grants for the University of Pennsylvania. At the age of five, Fey was in her front yard when a stranger approached her and slashed her face with a knife, leaving her with the signature scar she still carries today. But Fey did not allow this incident to define or hinder her. Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Tina recalls a dorky adolescence filled with unplucked eyebrows and perms. In lieu of dating, Fey would have friends over to play party games like Celebrity. This self-proclaimed supernerd went on to study drama at the University of Virginia.

Adam Sandler

Actor, comedian, musician. Born on September 9, 1966, in New York City. Raised in Manchester, New Hampshire, as one of seven children, Sandler was always the class clown. However, he never aspired to be a comedian until age 17 when his brother encouraged him to perform at a Boston comedy club. Sandler continued to perform after he left Boston to attend New York University. After graduation, he became a regular on MTV's game show, Remote Control. In 1989, he starred in his first film, Going Overboard. He was later spotted by Saturday Night Live cast member Dennis Miller who got him a job on the show, which lasted from 1990 to 1995. It was there that Sandler created such characters as Cajun Man, Opera Man and Canteen Boy.

Jim Carrey

Actor and comedian James Eugene Carrey was born on January 17, 1962, in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. Carrey got his start with a spot doing stand-up at a Toronto comedy club when he was just 15 years old. By 1979, he had left the factory job as a janitor he had taken in 1978 to help support his family and was making his living as the opening act for successful comics Buddy Hackett and Rodney Dangerfield. In 1983, Carrey headed west to Hollywood where he starred in a made-for-television movie called Introducing...Janet. Carrey's appearances on TV in programs such as The Duck Factory and Jim Carrey's Unnatural Act (1991) led to a regular role on the hit comedy In Living Color.

Rebel Wilson

Comedic actress Rebel Melanie Elizabeth Wilson, born on March 2, 1980, in Sydney, Australia, didn't have the most conventional childhood. Her parents were professional dog handlers. The family constantly traveled across the country to sell canine products from a caravan, a lifestyle Wilson later compared to carnie life. Surprisingly, Wilson was a shy kid but great at people-watching, which helped her develop her comedy later on

Ben Stiller

Raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Stiller is the son of comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. After leaving the University of California at Los Angeles in 1984 (he had been there only nine months), he made his acting debut in a Broadway revival of The House of Blue Leaves in 1985. Two years later, Stiller made his big-screen debut in Fresh Horses, starring alongside aging Brat Pack members Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy. The fact that the film was a disaster didn't phase Stiller, whose next gig, in 1989, was as a writer for the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL). He described the backstage atmosphere there as "very negative" and, disillusioned, left for Los Angeles after just five weeks as an SNL writer.