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From stage to screen: 5 Musicians who moonlight as actors

Taylor Swift stars in "The Giver."
Taylor Swift stars in "The Giver."Walden Media

Phillip Noyce’s adaptation of Lois Lowry’s Newberry Medal winning dystopian young adult novel “The Giver,” in theaters Aug. 15, features a talented cast that includes Academy Award winners Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep and promising young actors like Brenton Thwaites and Odeya Rush. In addition, singer/songwriter Taylor Swift also a small but pivotal role in the film, making her one in a long line of musicians who’ve branched out into acting. Here are five of the singers who have established secondary careers in film and television.

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift Walden Media

Taylor Swift

Seven-time Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift made her entrance into the acting world with a performance on the ninth season of the CBS crime drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” as one of the show's many celebrity murder victims. Swift followed up that appearance with small roles in the 2010 ensemble romantic comedy “Valentine’s Day” and the 2012 blockbuster Dr. Seuss adaptation “The Lorax.”

Harry Connick Jr.
Harry Connick Jr. Warner Bros.

Harry Connick Jr.

Multi-platinum selling jazz singer and current American Idol judge Harry Connick Jr. got his first film credit by acting in the 1990 World War II drama “Memphis Belle,” where he played a laconic Army Air Force officer who just happens to have a lovely singing voice. Connick has gone to star in the compelling 1995 psychological thriller “Copycat” and the 1998 romantic comedy “Hope Floats.” Connick can next be seen in the Warner Bros. family comedy Dolphin Tale 2, which will hit theaters in September of this year.

Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake Destination Films

Justin Timberlake

Former ‘N Sync member and hugely successful solo artist Justin Timberlake broke into the entertainment industry as a featured player on the early ‘90s revival of “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club” along with future stars like Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling and Christina Aguilera. After a series supporting roles in films like the 2006 science fiction satire “Southland Tales” and the 2010 tech industry evisceration “The Social Network,” Timberlake got his leading in the 2011 black comedy “Bad Teacher.” Timberlake’s most recent film appearance was in the 2013 musical drama “Inside Llweyn Davis.”

Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey Lionsgate

Mariah Carey

R&B singer Mariah Carey’s multitude of hits have made her the third best-selling recording artist of all time, but her appeal didn’t initially extend to the silver screen as her first two films, the 1999 romantic comedy flop “The Bachelor” and widely panned 2001 musical drama bomb “Glitter” did dreadful business at the box office. Carey has since rebounded with acclaimed work in the 2009 literary adaptation “Precious” and the 2013 historical drama “The Butler.” Carey’s latest acting credit was a voice role in the FOX animated sitcom “American Dad!”

Will Smith
Will Smith Columbia Pictures

Will Smith

While multi-platinum selling rapper Will Smith’s most famous television role is that of West Philadelphia to Bel-Air transplant Will Smith on the hit ‘90s NBC sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” his first TV credit was a supporting role on the cheesy anthology program “ABC Afterschool Special” in 1990. Smith would later go on to become so successful as an actor with performances in blockbusters like 1996’s “Independence Day” and 2008’s “Hancock,” he would abandon his music career after releasing his ambivalently received 2005 album Lost & Found.

 

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