Australia has always been a force to be reckoned with when it comes to providing world-class talent.
Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, singing and acting great Olivia Newton-John, and actress, singer, dancer, and all-around nice guy Hugh Jackman have long been household names across the world for their skill, talents, and that amiable, down-to-earth attitude that comes with growing up in Australia.
Australia has a history of developing its talents before seeing them fly to international success in movies, TV, music, or on the catwalk, thanks to launching pads like TV’s Home & Away and Neighbours, as well as respected theatre schools like Sydney’s NIDA.
The greatest of the best are gathered here. From a lengthy list, we’ve narrowed it down to 25 of Australia’s most successful and well-known actors, musicians, models, and television personalities.
- Sam Worthington
Worthington was raised in Rockingham, Western Australia, and attended NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) before securing parts in Australian television and cinema, including Gettin’ Square in 2003.
He became an international sensation and one of the most well-known male Australian celebrities in Hollywood after playing Jack Sully in James Cameron’s movie Avatar (2009). The actor and his model wife Lara Worthington, as well as their two children, were believed to have returned to Australia late last year.
- Rebel Wilson
Long before she was a movie star or even a TV personality, she had audiences rolling in the aisles.
Before moving to the US and landing roles in Bridesmaids, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and the Pitch Perfect franchise, the former comic portrayed the iconic Toula on SBS’s Pizza and had previous appearances on Australian TV shows.
- Liam Hemsworth
Liam Hemsworth, like his brothers Chris and Luke, began his acting career in an Australian soap opera before moving on to significant roles in Hollywood.
The Melbourne-born actor set his sights on Hollywood after portraying Josh Taylor in Neighbours. He co-starred in The Last Song alongside his ex-wife Miley Cyrus in 2010, and his performance as Gale Hawthorne in The Hunger Games brought him a large fanbase.
Hemsworth, who splits his time between the United States and Australia, has also appeared in films such as Empire State and Independence Day: Resurgance.
- Simon Baker
Before Hollywood called, he was a recognisable figure on Australian television, with appearances in E Street, A Country Practice, Home and Away, and other shows.
Baker appeared in a number of films after a sleazy part in the classic L.A. Confidential, with Australians Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, before earning his trademark role in TV’s The Mentalist.
With his ex-wife, Australian actress Rebecca Rigg, he has three children.
- Rachel Griffiths
Rachel Griffiths was almost unknown when she was hired as Muriel’s closest friend Rhonda in the iconic Australian comedy Muriel’s Wedding in 1994, and she hasn’t looked back since.
My Best Friend’s Wedding, Saving Mr Banks, and Hacksaw Ridge are among her cinematic credits. She also starred in the hit television show Six Feet Under. Rachel Taylor resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her three children and husband Andrew Taylor.
- Rose Byrne
At the age of 13, the Sydney-born actress made her Australian film debut in Dallas Doll. She acted in many films beginning in 1999, including Gregor Jordan’s Two Hands, in which she co-starred with Heath Ledger, before landing her first Hollywood role as a background handmaiden in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
By 2007, she was routinely cast in Hollywood studio films, and her part in Nicolas Cage’s film Knowing made her a blockbuster star in 2009. She’s been in films such as Insidious, Bridesmaids, X Men: First Class, Neighbours, and Peter Rabbit since then. With her husband, American actor Bobby Cannavale, she has two children.
- Hugo Weaving
He was a go-to actor in Australia, featuring in films including the Bodyline TV series, Proof, and Bangkok Hilton (with Nicole Kidman). Then, in 1999, when The Matrix debuted in theatres, his performance as the virtual Agent Smith catapulted him to prominence.
Hugo, who is married to Katrina Greenwood and has a son and a daughter, now works in both Australian and Hollywood projects.
- Isla Fisher
The former Home and Away actor is one of Hollywood’s most well-known Australians, having starred in films like as Wedding Crashers, The Great Gatsby, and Now You See Me.
The actress, who was born in Perth, Australia, has three children with her husband, Sacha Baron Cohen. They live in London and Los Angeles.
- Naomi Watts
She’s come a long way since she turned down Tom Cruise in a TV commercial for a lamb roast in the 1980s.
Following brief appearances on Australian television, she moved to the United States and appeared in a number of films before landing her big break in David Lynch’s critically acclaimed Mulholland Drive.
Naomi has appeared in films such as 21 Grams, King Kong, The Wave, and others since then. She has two children with ex-husband Liev Schreiber.
- Keith Urban
Keith Urban, who was born in New Zealand and raised in Queensland, was relatively unknown in Australia before he met Nicole Kidman. He has been a country music celebrity in the United States since the 1990s, when he relocated in 1992.
He was once a judge on American Idol and is presently a mentor on The Voice. He is a dual citizen of Australia and the United States, and he and his wife, Nicole, have two children.
- Guy Pearce
Guy was one of the drag queens in the 1994 Australian blockbuster film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, alongside Hugo Weaving.
Following that road journey, the former Neighbours star landed parts in films including L.A. Confidential, Memento, The King’s Speech, and Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus.
With Dutch actress Carice van Houten, the former Geelong boy has one kid.
- Toni Collette
Collette’s breakout role as Muriel in Muriel’s Wedding catapulted her into a career that includes leading parts in films including About a Boy, The Hours, and Little Miss Sunshine.
She was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000 for her portrayal of a distraught mother in the box office hit The Sixth Sense.
She has received several accolades for her performance as Tara Gregson in Showtime’s United States of Tara, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
- Miranda Kerr
Miranda Kerr has become one of the most well-known models in the world since her debut as a Victoria’s Secret Angel in 2007.
Flynn is her son with ex-husband Orlando Bloom, and Hart is her son with wealthy husband Evan Spiegal.
- Margot Robbie
alumnus of Neighbours Margot Robbie, a Dalby, Queensland native, wowed viewers with her performance (and impeccable Brooklyn accent) in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013 and has since gone on to become a Hollywood celebrity.
She was nominated for an Academy Award in 2018 for her performance as Tonya Harding in I, Tonya. With her husband Tom Ackerley, she splits her time between Los Angeles and the Gold Coast.
- Chris Hemsworth
Hemsworth rose from modest origins in Melbourne and the Northern Territory outback to become one of the world’s top cinematic stars, best known for his role as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
People magazine dubbed him the “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2014. In Byron Bay, New South Wales, he lives with his wife Elsa Pataky and their three children.
- Kylie Minogue
While many celebrities utilised Neighbours to begin their acting careers, Kylie had different plans.
Minogue became one of Australia’s most popular music artists after releasing her first song Locomotion in 1987, with singles including I Should Be So Lucky, Better The Devil You Know, and I Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.
The Londoner’s 14th album, Golden, was released in 2018.
- Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman is most recognised for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise, but he can do a lot more than grow hair on his face.
Jackman, a brilliant singer and dancer from Sydney, received a Tony Award for his role as Peter Allen in the Broadway production of The Boy From Oz.
He’s also appeared in films such as Les Misérables, Van Helsing, The Prestige, and The Greatest Showman, which was released in 2017. With his wife, actress Deborra-Lee Furness, he has two children.
- Cate Blanchett
The NIDA graduate began her acting career on stage in 1992 opposite Geoffrey Rush in the Sydney Theatre Company production of David Mamet’s Oleanna. She is one of Australia’s most successful and highly praised actors.
Her debut film performance was in Paradise Road in 1997, and she became an international phenomenon the following year after portraying Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award (many critics believe she should have won, with the gong handed to Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love).
She has been nominated for seven Academy Awards and has won two of them (Blue Jasmine and The Aviator). Cate and her four children are still residing in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, playwright and screenwriter Andrew Upton.
- Paul Hogan
He rose to fame in Australia thanks to Nine’s The Paul Hogan Show, and as Crocodile Dundee demonstrated in 1986, his humour is universal. The film is still Australia’s highest-grossing film.
Paul divorced Noelene in 1986 and afterwards married Linda Kozlowski, his Dundee co-star. He resides in the United States and has six children from his two marriages.
- Heath Ledger
His popularity was still rising when he died tragically young in 2008, yet his legacy lives on. Following his breakout performance in the Australian film Two Hands, Ledger starred opposite Mel Gibson in 10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight’s Tale, and The Patriot.
He was nominated for an Academy Award for his acclaimed performance in Brokeback Mountain, and in 2008, he won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Matilda, his daughter with actress Michelle Williams, survives him.
Heath was discovered deceased in New York City on January 22, 2008.
- Elle MacPherson
Elle MacPherson hasn’t done anything yet. The former supermodel, who was born in Sydney, Australia, is now a businesswoman, television personality, and actor.
MacPherson first appeared in a Tab cola commercial in 1982, and went on to join a new generation of supermodels that included Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford.
In 1989, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine, where she was dubbed “The Body,” a moniker that stayed.
MacPherson has two children and is said to have relocated to the United States after years in London.
- Olivia Newton-John
The singer, one of Australia’s darlings, had a great singing career in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until she starred in the film adaptation of the Broadway smash Grease that the world fell madly in love with her.
After a lengthy fight with breast cancer, the mother of one now lives in the United States with her husband, John Easterling.
- Russell Crowe
Despite the fact that he was not born in Australia, the Oscar winner nevertheless calls the country home.
Russell landed parts in Hollywood, including L.A. Confidential, before receiving an Oscar nod in 1999 for his inspirational depiction of tobacco industry whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand, after appearing in TV and film roles in Australia, notably his famous appearance in 1992’s Romper Stomper.
He lost, but won the award the following year for Gladiator. In addition to Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, and Robin Hood, he has been in a number more films. He resides in Sydney with his ex-girlfriend Danielle Spencer and their two children.
- Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson, who was born in the United States and grew up in Sydney, is one of Hollywood’s most successful directors and performers, despite his troubles. He sprang to prominence in 1979 with George Miller’s Mad Max, and his career continued to rise with films like Gallipoli, The Year of Living Dangerously, and the Lethal Weapon trilogy.
He won Oscars for Best Director and Best Film for his work in the historical epic Braveheart, which he directed and acted in in 1995. Hacksaw Ridge, his 2016 war epic, demonstrated that he is still one of the world’s greatest directors. He is presently working on a Resurrection sequel to The Passion of the Christ, which was published in 2004 and is set to be released in 2022.
- Nicole Kidman
Who’d have guessed the redhead from the Bop Girl music video would achieve such fame? Following her juvenile appearances (remember BMX Bandits?) in Philip Noyce’s Dead Calm, Kidman starred with her future husband Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder in 1990.
With parts in To Die For and Batman Forever, she was one of the greatest movie actresses in the world by 1995. Throughout her varied career, the brilliant actress has shown equally at ease in tragic (The Portrait of a Lady; Rabbit Hole) and comedic roles (Bewitched, Paddington). She was a four-time Oscar nominee who won for her performance as Virginia Woolf in The Hours in 2002.
She received a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series for her performance in HBO’s Big Little Lies in 2018. She splits her time between Australia and the United States with her husband Keith Urban and their two children. She has an adopted son and daughter with her ex-husband, Tom Cruise.