Some may think of Hollywood movie stars as being the tallest and most handsome men around, it isn’t it! In fact, there have been many leading men throughout Hollywood history that have been shorter than the male average. Each of these stars has found some other unique attribute to make up for what they lack in height. As well, they often employ camera tricks and various effects to make them look taller. Join Facts Verse as we explore short actors who have to fake their height for Hollywood.
Tom Cruise 5’7”
The first shorter-than-average actor is Tom Cruise, who makes up for his short height with his larger-than-life personality. Bad genes can’t be the reason that Tom Cruise is 5 feet 7 inches tall. The actor seems to have impeccable genetic makeup. Tom didn’t seem to have aged a day for decades after his start in the entertainment industry. Though recent pictures show the actor starting to show his age.
Tom Cruise breaks the scene in the 1980s with star-making turns in the films, Top Gun, Cocktail, and Risky Business. One of these films is more successful than the next, and Tom is a full-blown media sensation by the 1990s. This success continues into the 2000s, and Tom is big of a star today as he’s ever been. Fans can look forward to the release of Top Gun: Maverick in 2021, the long-awaited sequel to the 1980s classic.
Tom Cruise is able to overcome his lack of height to achieve Hollywood stardom. Over the years also saw him as a sex symbol. Although the actor isn’t the tallest, he has traditionally maintained an incredibly impressive physique. As well, his movie roles have often taken advantage of his impeccable running abilities. Tom’s physique and camera tricks use to make the actor look taller than he is, he appears on the screen. Camera trick forces perspective. Two actors stand separately from the camera to make one or both appear shorter or larger than they are.
Tom became an all-out action star with the 1990s action hit Mission: Impossible, by director Brian De Palma. The film was loosely based upon the 1960s action series of the same name. Tom helps turn the old television series into a brand new film series, and several iterations since the initial film. Tom has starred in each installment and has gained notoriety for performing most of his own stunts. The actor stands as proof that the below-average when it comes to your height is no obstacle. Even if you’re aiming to become the sexiest man alive.
One example of how camera trickery uses to mask Tom Cruise’s height is in the film Top Gun, wherein the actor appears alongside 6-foot-tall Val Kilmer. Audiences balk if Tom appears that much shorter than Val on the screen. So effects use to make Tom more comparable in height to his costar. It’s worth noting that Kelly McGillis, who stands 5 feet 10 inches tall, plays Tom’s love interest in the film.
Al Pacino 5’7”
Al Pacino is the second actor we’ll be taking a look at in this video. Clocking in at the same height as Tom Cruise. Al is never an action star in the same way that Tom has become since starring in Mission: Impossible. He gains the reputation of being quite the intimidating figure in his own right… at least on the screen. In real life, Al says it’s more affable than his traditional on-screen persona. Sometimes, we saw him playing the roles of homicidal mobsters or streetwise cops.
One of Al’s big star-making turns came in the feature The Godfather. Francis Ford Coppola, who had been a big fan of Al’s work up until that point, directed the film. Paramount tells Francis that they didn’t think Al is right for it because of his height, and Francis defends him. Al ended up performing the role to great acclaim. The actor is able to intimidate the audience with his demeanor instead of his physicality. Most will agree that he still stands as one of the most imposing figures on film!
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Humphrey Bogart 5’8”
The next actor we’ll be taking a look at is actually the tallest featured in this video! At 5 foot 8 inches, Humphrey is only a single inch shorter than the average male height, which says to be around 5 foot 9 inches. One of Humphrey’s biggest film roles was in Casablanca, where he memorably featured alongside the stunning Ingrid Bergman. For those that don’t know, Ingrid Bergman was actually 5 foot 9 inches, making her two inches taller than her male costar in the film. However, viewers never notice that because various effects use to trick the audience. Whereas reduced height was a disadvantage to male actors, excessive height was a disadvantage to their female counterparts. Because of this, both Humphrey and Ingrid consider themselves too lucky to get their iconic parts to complain about their costar’s height.
Alan Ladd 5’6”
After Humphrey, Alan Ladd is another Golden Age star from Hollywood’s early years that wasn’t as tall as many of his contemporaries. At 5’6”, Alan is the shortest figure so far in this video, though you wouldn’t know it by watching his classic film noirs. According to legend, one of the ways that directors made Alan look taller than his female costars was by having them stand in trenches next to him.
Michael J. Fox 5’4”
While all of the aforementioned actors have been only a few inches below the average male height, Michael J. Fox is the first figure on this list that could really be considered strikingly short. However, that didn’t stop the actor from becoming one of the most highly sought-after leading men of his day, before having to depart the entertainment industry due to his on-setting Parkinson’s disease.
Michael broke onto the scene with his role on the classic sitcom Family Ties. On that show, Michael became somewhat of a teen idol. If the girls at home had known Michael’s true height, perhaps they wouldn’t have been so attracted to him! However, this wasn’t the case. From his role on Family Ties, Michael leveraged himself into superstardom when he got his role in Back to the Future.
After appearing in Back to the Future, Michael continued acting in large films and was considered a big box office draw. The actor’s unique charisma and relatable presence made him a hit with audiences, who found him charming.
Sadly, Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease later in his career, which caused him to have to retire soon after appearing in Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners. Michael’s appearance in that film proved to be his last major role, though he has subsequently done some voice work, such as in the film Stuart Little and it’s sequel. Michael has also made a cameo on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, with the cameo making light of his Parkinson’s disease.
Joe Pesci 5’4”
Like Al Pacino, Joe Pesci is a shorter-than-average actor that has made a name for himself playing intimidating gangsters. The two have appeared together in various films, such as Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Joe won an Academy Award for his performance in that film, and subsequently gave an acceptance speech that was even shorter than him! Besides Joe’s appearance in Goodfellas, he has also made memorable turns in films such as My Cousin Vinny and Home Alone. The actor doesn’t typically have to look much taller than he is to be intimidating, as his voice and demeanor are more than enough to get attention.
One of the most memorable scenes in Joe Pesci’s career remains the scene from Goodfellas where Joe’s character frightens Ray Liotta’s character at a nightclub. Ray’s character has simply started laughing at one of Joe’s many jokes during a friendly conversation, and Joe’s character switches his demeanor and starts asking Ray’s character why he’s laughing. Ray’s character isn’t sure whether Joe’s character is trying to pull one over on him or not, but he certainly gets pretty freaked out. One might wonder if Ray’s character would’ve been quite as freaked out if Joe’s character had been standing up at the table instead of sitting down, as Ray is 6 feet tall.
Danny DeVito 4’10”
Finally, at 4 feet 10 inches tall, Danny DeVito is the shortest actor that we’ll be taking a look at on this list. Like many of the figures before him, Danny has gotten by on his larger-than-life personality. As well, Danny is a creative force behind the scenes, having directed numerous features. Some of Danny’s directorial work includes the features Matilda, Throw Momma from the Train, and Death to Smoochy. However, it’s hard to deny that the actor is certainly better known for his iconic visage and voice.
If Danny’s appearance isn’t intimidating, his voice certainly carries. Danny’s unique growly voice has even seen him voice characters in memorable cartoon features, such as Disney’s Hercules. Although Danny’s character in that film was just as short as he is, he didn’t have any trouble whipping Hercules into shape. More recently, Danny has had a career renaissance thanks to his long tenure on the FX comedy series. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Although all of the aforementioned actors grew up to be shorter than the average male height, they are recognized culturally as some of the most iconic actors to have ever graced the screen. Comment down below to share if you were surprised to learn the true height of any of these Hollywood stars, or if you think there’s someone that should’ve been included in this video but wasn’t! As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!