Though California is where most actors and actresses will call "home" at some point during their film or television careers, it's not where many of them are born. Most aspiring movie stars were raised in small towns or suburban communities a world away from the mansions of Beverly Hills and glamorous parties of Tinseltown. Would-be actors relocate to Hollywood because, love it or hate it, Los Angeles is home to roughly 80% of all acting jobs.
Once they make a name for themselves, some of these California residents choose to abandon their adopted state and relocate back to their hometowns or countries, as Thor actor Chris Hemsworth did in 2015. Now a household name thanks to the success of the Marvel superhero films, Chris no longer needs to remain in LA in order to attend auditions. He has since abandoned the chaos of the California coast to live a quiet existence in his native Australia.
Though Yanks tend to assume every actor with a flawless US accent is from there, that is not always the case. As this list of 23 famous faces demonstrates, some of the most loved actors in Hollywood are actually from England, Canada, Germany or somewhere in between.
23 Emma Watson—Paris, France
Did you know that Harry Potter star Emma Watson actually hails from France? Yes? Then ten points for Gryffindor! This Ivy League-educated British actress, known the world over for her outstanding portrayed of Hermione Granger in the wildly successful Harry Potter franchise, was born in Paris and lived there until the age of five. She moved to the land of castles and magical broomsticks after her parents divorced.
Emma has gone on to star in mega-hits like Beauty and the Beast, and more modest roles like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and My Week With Marilyn. Emma was appointed as a UN Goodwill Ambassador in 2014 and helped to launch the global campaign HeForShe, which calls on men to advocate for gender equality. Professor Dumbledore would be proud.
22 Jim Carrey—Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
While he has been dubbed “The funniest man in America," Jim Carrey’s roots were once firmly planted elsewhere. The hilarious slapstick comedian, artist, and actor is a proud dual citizen of both America and Canada.
The star of popular comedies Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, The Truman Show, and Bruce Almighty was born in Newmarket, Ontario in 1962. ALLLLRIGHTY THEN!
Many mistakenly assume the pop-star Rihanna is from the US, but tell that to the black-haired beauty and she'd be the first to tell you “I Love The Way You Lie." Rihanna’s exotic good looks and her flair for fashion can be traced all the way back to her roots in Saint Michael and Bridgetown, Barbados.
The Platinum songstress known for the number one hits like “Pon de Replay”, “SOS”, and “Unfaithful,” was discovered by record producer Evan Rogers and signed by none other than Def Jam President, Jay-Z. Since then, the Grammy Award winner has become an icon of music and fashion, earning 14 number one hits along the way.
20 Natalie Portman—Jerusalem, Israel
Though Natalie Portman speaks fluent and unaccented US English, she was actually born in Israel and lived there until she was three years old. In addition to fluent Hebrew and English, Natalie also speaks conversational Spanish, German, French and Japanese.
This Academy Award winner made her film debut to critical acclaim in 1994’s hit thriller Leon: The Professional. Since then, she hasn’t looked back. Known for her roles in the universally popular Star Wars franchise as Padme Amidala, she eventually branched out to star in dramatic hits like V for Vendetta, Black Swan, and The Other Boleyn Girl. Most recently Natalie has starred in another mega-franchise within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, reprising roles in Thor and the sequel Thor: The Dark World.
Lest you think Ms. Portman is only a pretty face, know this: She is universally known as one of the smartest people in Hollywood. She graduated with honors from prestigious Harvard University.
19 Liam and Chris Hemsworth—Australia
This dynamic brother duo has taken the world by storm. Chris is most known for his role as Thor in the highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe films and Liam earned a name for himself after starring in The Hunger Games franchise and in The Last Song alongside Miley Cyrus.
The world is likely to see a lot more from these Aussie hunks, as both their stars continue to burn white-hot. Today, Liam lives in Los Angeles while Chris recently left Hollywood to return to Australia with his wife and three children.
18 Millie Bobby Brown—Spain
The unquestionable breakout star of the groundbreaking Netflix series Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown found herself directly in the spotlight for the first time two years ago, at the tender age of 12.
The actress born in Marbella, Spain, took what could have been a cheesy 80’s SciFi series and turned it into one of the most talked about shows on television. Although her career is still in its infancy, she continues to show range and charisma beyond her age.
While Millie was born in Spain and lived there until she was four years old, she later spent several years in England and Florida. Today, the 14-year-old splits her time between London and Georgia (the filming location for Stranger Things).
17 Isla Fisher—Muscat, Oman
Though actress Isla Lang Fisher is now internally known for such Hollywood hits as The Great Gatsby, Wedding Crashers and Confessions of a Shopaholic, Isla's upbringing was as far from a US actress as you can get. Born in Oman, Isla, was raised by parents from Scotland and grew up in Australia.
Long before she starred in Scooby-Doo or I Heart Huckabees, Isla was making a name for herself as a teenage soap opera star in Australia. She later attended university in Paris and in 2010, married comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Today, Isla's mother and siblings live in Greece while her father lives in both Nicaragua and Germany. Isla currently resides in the Hollywood Hills.
16 Rose McGowan—Florence, Italy
Rose McGowan's early childhood is as unique and colorful as her quirky and offbeat film and television roles. Born in Tuscany, Italy, Rose spent the first ten years of her life living in a religious commune and traveling Europe with her parents and siblings. Her parents were both US bohemians—her father was an artist and her mother, a writer.
Model, actress, author, singer, and activist, Rose McGowan does it all. She hit the big time for her roles in 90’s teen horror films Scream and Jawbreaker. This led to great fame and a wider audience as she took up the role as Paige Matthews in WB’s hit television drama Charmed. Rose has graced the covers of several fashion and pop culture magazines, including Seventeen, Maxim, GQ and Rolling Stone. In 2017, Time Magazine recognized her as "Person of the Year" for being one of Hollywood’s Silence Breakers.
15 Portia de Rossi—Geelong, Australia
Though you wouldn't know it from watching her play California socialite Lindsay Bluth Fünke on Arrested Development, actress Portia de Rossi was born and raised in the Land Down Under.
Perhaps best known as the partner and wife of talk show megastar Ellen DeGeneres, Portia has a sterling resume in her own right. This model, actress, and philanthropist was launched squarely into the international spotlight when she was cast in the hit TV drama Ally McBeal. Her career really took off, however, when she joined the cast of the Fox Television quirky hit comedy Arrested Development.
Now completely devoted to philanthropic causes, Portia sadly retired from acting in May 2018, with one exception. She would be open to future seasons of Arrested Development on Netflix.
14 Dominic Monaghan—Berlin, Germany
Best known for his role as Merry in the wildly successful Lord of the Rings trilogy, surprisingly, this famous English actor wasn't originally from England. He was born Dominic Bernard Patrick Luke Monaghan on December 8, 1976 in Berlin, Germany, and lived in several cities in Germany before relocating with his family to England when he was 11 years old.
Among his other popular acting credits is the memorable role as Charlie Pace in TV’s Lost and Chris Bradley in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
13 Kim Cattrall—Widnes, England
Many would be surprised to know that this Golden Globe-winning actress is not a native New Yorker like her Sex and the City character might lead people to believe. In fact, Kim Cattrall is a well-known actress with roots from Canada and England, and was born deep in the English countryside.
Although her role as vixen Samantha Jones propelled her to stardom, she was very accomplished before palling up to Sarah Jessica Parker on set. She has dozens of movie and TV credits to her name, including guest spots on The Simpsons, Starsky & Hutch, Charlie’s Angels and even the 90’s kids animated favorite Rugrats.
12 Mila Kunis—Kiev, Ukraine
Born Milena Markovna “Mila” Kunis, this Ukrainian beauty rose to stardom as Jackie Burkhart in the late 90’s sitcom That 70’s Show. From there, she parlayed her fame to new heights starring alongside fellow lister, Natalie Portman, in Black Swan. Among her other notable credits include voicing the character Meg in the cartoon TV sitcom Family Guy and starring alongside Justin Timberlake in Friends With Benefits.
Though Mila's parents held prestigious jobs in Soviet Ukraine, they felt they would be able to create a better future for their children if they moved to the US. When Mila was seven years old, her family immigrated to Los Angeles with just $250. Mila speaks both fluent English and Russian.
11 Kiefer Sutherland—London, England
Before keeping America safe as TV superhero Jack Bauer, Kiefer William Fredrick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland was born to acting royalty Donald Sutherland in London, England. Although best known for his iconic role in TV’s 24, Kiefer made quite the name for himself as an actor in the 80’s. Generation Y will forever remember him in classics like Stand By Me, The Lost Boys, Young Guns and A Few Good Men.
Though Kiefer was born in the UK, most of his childhood was spent living in California and Toronto, Canada.
10 Amy Adams—Vicenza, Italy
America’s newest sweetheart wasn’t born in America. The town of Vicenza, Italy, gets this accolade. Before she was winning awards and American’s hearts, Amy Lou Adams was born the fourth of seven siblings. Amy was an army brat, living in bases around the world before her family finally settled in Colorado. Classically trained as a ballerina, Amy rose to stardom in Steven Spielberg’s biopic Catch Me If You Can.
Since then, the sky has been the limit as Amy has reached the upper echelon of Hollywood A-listers. Her work in critically-acclaimed films American Hustle, The Fighter, Julie & Julia and The Arrival have made her a household name in Italy, America, and the world over.
9 Charlize Theron—Benoni, South Africa
Her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos in the dramatic hit Monster may have won Charlize an Academy Award, but it’s her work in The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) that makes Charlize truly special. Her runway model good looks and exceptional acting prowess brought her to the forefront of Hollywood stardom in the movies Monster, Atomic Blonde, Mad Max: Fury Road and countless others.
CTAOP was created in 2007 to battle diseases within Africa’s youth community. Her work has drawn praise from the international community as well, and Theron was named a UN Messenger of Peace in 2007.
8 Keanu Reeves—Beirut, Lebanon
Superstar Renaissance Man Keanu Reeves embodies American Alpha dog status through his kick butt and take names roles as Neo in The Matrix, John Wick, and Constantine. Take the blue pill and you'll learn the truth. Ready for it? Singer, songwriter, actor, and artist Keanu Reeves was not made in the USA. Keanu was born far away in Beirut, Lebanon, proving a surfer boy like Ted doesn't have to be homegrown.
7 Idris Elba—London, England
Up-and-coming superstar actor Idris Elba has made a name for himself recently with the A-List Crowd in Hollywood, appearing in the Avengers franchise and in the Stephen King drama The Dark Tower. The actor first received acclaim for playing the role of drug trafficker Stringer Bell is the HBO series The Wire. He even appeared as Michael Scott’s replacement in NBC’s The Office for six episodes in 2009.
Unlike the employees of Dunder Mifflin, Elba resides in his hometown of London, England, and not in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
6 Rose Byrne—Sydney, Australia
Known for her ability to act across all genres, Rose Byrne has made a name for herself throughout the acting community. This Aussie sensation was born in 1979 in Balmain, New South Wales, Australia.
The two-time Golden Globe winner first drew acclaim for her role as Ellen Parsons in the cable drama Damages alongside Glenn Close. She quickly vaulted to stardom appearing in the films Troy, Insidious, Bridesmaids, and Spy.
5 Will Arnett—Toronto, Canada
Another actor who hails from America's neighbors to the north, Will Arnett was born William Emerson Arnett to loving parents in Toronto, Canada, in 1970.
Known for his voiceovers in the animated movies Ratatouille, Monsters vs Aliens, Despicable Me and for comedic roles as Gob in Arrested Development, Will has made quite the name for himself. Another reason to sing “O, Canada!"
4 Christian Bale—Haverfordwest, Wales
Christian Bale certainly needs no introduction. One of the most respected and versatile leading men in Hollywood, Christian got noticed at 13 near his hometown in Haverfordwest, Wales.
His fame skyrocketed after as he took on the challenging role as Batman in the Dark Knight Trilogy. The film series grossed over two billion dollars, making it the eighth-highest grossing film franchise of all time. Christian gained further acclaim and an even Academy Award for best supporting actor in the biopic The Fighter.
3 Bruce Willis— Idar-Oberstein, West Germany
Nobody personifies the tough guy better than Bruce “John McClane” Willis. Thus, you may be shocked to learn that this award-winning actor actually was born outside of North America, in Idar-Oberstein, West Germany.
Bruce's father was a US soldier stationed abroad and his mother was a native of a Germany. Bruce moved to New Jersey when he was still in diapers, after his father retired from his duties.
2 Milla Jovovich—Kiev, Ukraine
Actress, model and musician Milla Jovovich was born December 17, 1975 in Kiev, Ukraine. Known primarily for her acting, you may be surprised to learn that according to Forbes, Milla was the highest paid model in the world as recently as 2004.
Along with her highly successful roles in action SciFi movies like The Fifth Element, Resident Evil, and Dazed and Confused, you’d understand why VH1 dubbed her the “reigning queen of kick-butt."
1 Martin Lawrence—Frankfurt, Germany
Hilarious stand-up comedian and successful actor Martin Lawrence came to fame in the 1990’s through a hot comedic career that launched a successful television series loosely based on his own life. He doubled down on his television success to become a mainstay in cinema, with blockbuster movies like Bad Boys, Blue Streak, Big Momma’s House and Wild Hogs.
As authentic to the US as Martin Lawrence is, however, that doesn’t mean he was born in the Land of the Free. Lawrence was born in 1965 in Frankfort, Germany.
Sources: Hollywood Sapien, Wikipedia, Ranker.com