14 of the Most Entertaining Acting Roles Played By a Musician

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It's an unfortunate reality that some folks are incredibly multitalented. Some people train their whole lives to deliver an incredible acting performance, and sometimes the right casting at the right time creates a memorable character just as well. If you only knew these music stars from their stints in Hollywood, you would be forgiven for not thinking they were veteran film or television performers. Here are 14 of the best (but not only) great acting performances by amazing music stars.

Elvis Presley - King Creole

Elvis had both hits and some less-than-stellar entries in his film, but King Creole is an undeniable smash with direction from Michael Curtiz and an energetic performance from the King of Rock and Roll. Elvis famously shot this film in 1958 before his military service and was granted a 60-day deferment in his draft to do so.

on the set of 'king creole'
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Barbra Streisand - Funny Girl

Barbra Streisand came out swinging with her film debut role as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, reprising her Broadway performance. It's still one of the great musicals, and Streisand (deservingly) won the Academy Award for Best Actress for embodying the classic comedienne.

barbra streisand
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Diana Ross & Michael Jackson - The Wiz

This vibrant take on The Wizard of Oz got an unfairly mixed reception upon its initial release, but has become a beloved cult classic over the years. Diana Ross and Michael Jackson both did great in both acting and singing as Dorothy and the Scarecrow respectively.

the wiz
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David Bowie - Labyrinth

Bowie embodied a now-iconic fantasy character as Jareth the Goblin King in this wild film directed by Jim Henson. Some critics were lukewarm on the film, but Bowie's performance is undeniable and the movie has become more and more beloved over time for its imaginative setting.

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Cher - Moonstruck

Cher's performance in this romantic dramedy rightfully won an Oscar for Best Lead Actress. She plays an Italian-American bookkeeper who is newly-engaged after becoming a widow, but falls for her fiancé's estranged brother.

60th annual academy awards
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Debbie Harry - Hairspray

The Blondie front woman has some incredible acting roles to her name, including Videodrome, Union City, and this role in John Waters' fantastic comedy Hairspray. She played Velma Von Tussle the stuck up and racist mother of hero Tracy Turnblad's classmate Amber.

scene from 'hairspray'
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Björk - The Juniper Tree

The Icelandic singer's acting debut The Juniper Tree is a totally cool watch and feels right at home with her prior line of work. In this medieval fantasy drama, She plays one of two sisters left on their own after their mother is stoned to death for witchcraft.

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Whitney Houston - Waiting to Exhale

Whitney Houston holds her own in Waiting to Exhale's incredible cast alongside Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon, Loretta Devine, Donald Faison and Dennis Haybert. This film, which centers on the friendship of four women living in Phoenix and their romantic relationships, was the directorial debut of Forest Whitaker.

whitney houston
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Madonna - A League of Their Own

Madonna already had a few acting jobs under her belt before joining the star-studded cast of Penny Marshall's A League of Their Own. Her performance as the team's center fielder Mae Morabello is a career highlight and still impresses to this day.

o'donnell madonna attend 'a league of their own' premiere
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Jennifer Hudson & Beyoncé - Dreamgirls

This excellent musical drama was the acting debut for Jennifer Hudson, hot off her strong American Idol season. It's also an early acting role for Beyoncé, who had also appeared in films like Carmen: A Hip Hopera and Austin Powers in Goldmember previously. They played members (along with Anika Noni Rose) of a fictional girl group inspired by the Supremes in particular.

64th annual golden globe awards press room
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Eminem - 8 Mile

Even if you're acting in a story that contains autobiographical elements, portraying those scenes realistically on camera is super difficult. That said, Eminem totally went the extra mile to sell his performance as the up and coming rapper Jimmy in 8 Mile.

premiere of 8 mile
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Tom Waits - Seven Psychopaths

Waits plays Zachariah Rigby, one of many killers we encounter in this pitch-black comedy from the mind Martin McDonagh. He's not in the film for a huge amount of time, but leaves a great impression as one of the first serial killers our film's protagonists encounter while seeking inspiration for their screenplay.

seven psychopaths
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50 Cent - Southpaw

Another acting veteran at this point, 50 Cent has appeared in tons of awesome flicks through a variety of genres. His turn as a slick and scummy sports manager Jordan Mains in Antoine Fuqua's sports drama Southpaw shows his solid dramatic range.

southpaw new york premiere
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Jennifer Lopez - Hustlers

This wasn't Lopez's first time delivering a great performance, but she really commanded the screen in her leading part in Hustlers. If you haven't seen it, this is a chaotic and fantastic crime comedy-drama about a group of strippers who begin drugging their high-earning clients to rob them.

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