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Recognizable actors and actresses whose names we don't know

Updated on September 20, 2014
Peter Sarsgaard has been seen at the US Open 2014 finals.
Peter Sarsgaard has been seen at the US Open 2014 finals.
He was spotted and announced on the big screen.
He was spotted and announced on the big screen.

Gary Sinise

If you're a fan of criminal investigation series, then you probably remember him from CSI: New York. But you've also seen him in a number of other movies. The only problem is his name, who we easily forget. My brother and I used to come across his face so often on TV that we developed a nickname for him: The one who plays in every movie. His frequent appearance in different movies made his face so recognizable that he cannot hide from general public. However, how many of you would remember his name right away? And how many of you can pronounce it correctly?

Peter Sarsgaard

If you saw him, you would know he's a Hollywood actor. However, would you have remembered his Danish last name? Or even where you saw him? Well, one movie might come to your mind immediately, that is the excellent horror movie Orphan where he plays the adoptive father of young Esther. And even though he's a great actor with a face that naturally attracts cameras and therefore rightfully earns a name in the world of Hollywood, his name we very often tend to forget, or mispronounce.

Famke Janssen

We loved this beautiful actress from the Netherlands in both parts of the movie Taken, where she played the role of Liam Neeson's character's wife. We've also seen her in Rounders, starring with Matt Damon, X-Men, and a brilliant horror Hide and Seek, where she plays the psychiatrist of Robert De Niro's troubled character. Some of the more dedicated movie fanatics do know her name. However, many others have seen her but don't know her name or are very likely to forget it, due to its uniqueness. May from now on we never forget the sound of exoticness that her name produces.

Famke Janssen
Famke Janssen
Famke was seen in NYC in July.
Famke was seen in NYC in July.

Craig T. Nelson

I have mentioned the movie Poltergeist in one of the previous blogs as a movie that had a big influence on me while growing up, where Craig T. Nelson stars as the main character. The name of the movie might stick to our heads, but not his name. If you're a type to watch television, you might have also seen him in a TV series The District where he plays the commissioner of the DC police. He also stars in The Proposal, alongside Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, and Blades of Glory, also starring comedians Will Ferrell and Will Arnett.

Craig T. Nelson in Poltergeist

How many of these actors could you have named before reading the article?

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Patrick Wilson

Patrick Wilson is a name very few of us can associate with an actor who has had a lead role in any of the big movies. However, when you see him you might know exactly the movie you've seen him in. Lakeview Terrace is one such movie and Wilson's role of a protagonist who comes into conflict with Samuel L. Jackson's antagonist character will surely leave a great impression on you. Having a lead role alongside a big name such as Sammy Jackson's is no small deal and Wilson proved to be worthy of it. But his name still stays forgettable and we shouldn't blame it on him. When you're having a role in a movie with great names, such as Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman in The Switch, you will find yourself in a great struggle to break through. Although Patrick's handsomeness has already done it.

Patrick Wilson at St. Jude Children's Hospital charity event.
Patrick Wilson at St. Jude Children's Hospital charity event.
Viggo Mortensen at Toronto International Film Festival, September 2014.
Viggo Mortensen at Toronto International Film Festival, September 2014.
Ethan Hawke promoting his new movie Boyhood.
Ethan Hawke promoting his new movie Boyhood.

Viggo Mortensen

Another great actor who's name traces its origins in Denmark, Viggo Mortensen does not tend to stay in one's head vocally, but visually. He had a lead role in Eastern Promises, movie about Russian mafia, The Road, a post-apocalyptic drama, and probably the most well-known The Lord of the Rings. His strong facial features definitely secured him a place among the most recognizable Hollywood actors. His name did not however, unfortunately. Although I'm pretty sure that The Lord of the Rings fans would know right away exactly who he is and would burst out his Danish name without any second thoughts.

Ethan Hawke

If you've been to the movies lately you most likely came across the movie definitely worth paying the ticket for Boyhood where Ethan Hawke plays the father of the main character. You might also remember him from Training Day, with Denzel Washington, and Brooklyn's Finest, with Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Wesley Snipes. And even though Hawke's face is very recognizable when seen on big screen, his name is not so much. And maybe it's only our ignorance to blame for it, or weak memory, but ask somebody who's not sunk into the world of Hollywood if they like Ethan Hawke and watch them trying to figure out who you're talking about. Then show them a picture of this man, who has a great unique smile, and they will confirm positively to your question.

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood.
Patricia Arquette in Boyhood.

Patricia Arquette

Another star of the movie currently in the theaters Boyhood, Patricia Arquette's name is not as recognizable as her blue eyes are. In fact, her name might not be recognizable at all to some of us. Nevertheless, she is a great actress and she proves it once again as a mother of the boy around who the whole story of Boyhood develops and which was filmed for twelve years. Therefore, you can witness her talent that has been consistent for over a decade at least and never betrayed her. She has also played Girl in Progress, with Eva Mendez, Little Nicky, alongside Adam Sandler, and horror movie Stigmata.

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