best martial artist actors in tv series and in movies in no particular order

by georgeszaslavsky | created - 02 Jan 2014 | updated - 03 Jan 2014 | Public

The very best martial artist actors playing either in tv series or in movies

1. Bruce Lee

Actor | Meng long guo jiang

Bruce Lee remains the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure of modern popular media. Had it not been for Bruce Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, it's arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream North American and ...

2. Bolo Yeung

Actor | Bloodsport

Bolo Yeung was born in China. He began his martial arts training at the age of 10. Growing up he took an interest in bodybuilding. Later he became know as Chinese Hercules after becoming Mr. Hong Kong bodybuilding champion. He held the title for ten years. Because of his impressively muscular ...

3. Jet Li

Actor | The One

Jet Li born Li Lian Jie in Beijing, China. He started training at the Beijing wushu academy (wushu is China's national sport, largely a performance version of various martial art styles) at age eight. He won five gold medals in the Chinese championships, his first when he was only 11. In his teens,...

4. Collin Chou

Actor | The Matrix Reloaded

Collin Chou was born on August 11, 1967 in Taiwan as Hsiao-Lung Chou. He is known for his work on The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Matrix Revolutions (2003) and The Forbidden Kingdom (2008). He has been married to Wanda Yung since December 10, 1997. They have two children.

5. Byung-Hun Lee

Actor | Dalkomhan insaeng

Byung-hun Lee was born in 1970 in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in a wealthy family, thanks to his father, who was a successful businessman. He never dreamed of pursuing acting until a friend of his mother's suggested it. He auditioned for the KBS television network in 1991 and was accepted. His ...

6. Jackie Chan

Actor | Ngo si seoi

Hong Kong's cheeky, lovable and best known film star, Jackie Chan endured many years of long, hard work and multiple injuries to establish international success after his start in Hong Kong's manic martial arts cinema industry.

Jackie was born Kong-sang Chan on April 7, 1954, on Hong Kong's famous ...

7. Brandon Lee

Actor | The Crow

Born on February 1, 1965 to Bruce Lee (Martial Arts idol) and Linda Lee Cadwell. Brother to Shannon Lee. In 1970-71, they moved to Hong Kong where Brandon became fluent in Cantonese by the age of 8. He attended Boston's Art-Oriented Emerson College in Massachusetts. He studied Martial Arts and ...

8. Pat Morita

Actor | The Karate Kid

Abundantly busy and much loved Asian-American actor who became an on-screen hero to millions of adults and kids alike as the wise and wonderful Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid (1984), the sparkling Noriyuki Morita was back again dishing out Eastern philosophy and martial arts lessons for The Karate ...

9. David Carradine

Actor | Kill Bill: Vol. 2

David Carradine was born in Hollywood, California, the eldest son of legendary character actor John Carradine, and his wife, Ardanelle Abigail (McCool). He presided over an acting family that included brothers Keith Carradine and Robert Carradine as well as his daughters Calista Carradine and ...

10. Matthias Hues

Actor | Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich

Matthias Hues was born on Valentine's Day in Waltrop, Germany, to the late Dr. Josef Hues and Maria Humperdinck Hues who still resides in Germany. Maria is the niece of Engelbert Humperdinck, composer of the opera Hansel and Gretel.

Matthias was very involved in sports from an early age on. By the ...

11. Dolph Lundgren

Actor | Rocky IV

Dolph Lundgren was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to Sigrid Birgitta (Tjerneld), a language teacher, and Karl Johan Hugo Lundgren, an engineer and economist for the Swedish government. He lived in Stockholm until the age of 13, when he moved in with his grandparents in Nyland, Ångermanland, Sweden. ...

12. Gary Daniels

Actor | The Expendables

Action film star Gary Daniels was a real-life kick-boxing champion. With rugged good-looks, a muscular build and a charming personality, it was a natural for him to move from the world of fighting to that of acting.

Born Gary Edward Daniels on May 9, 1963 in Woking, Surrey, England, Daniels was a ...

13. Ray Park

Actor | Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Ray Park was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He moved with his parents, younger brother and sister to London, England, at the age of seven. Ray always wanted to be in the movies, and be like their heroes. He also began to nurture a love for martial arts from the age of seven, when his father's fondness ...

14. Scott Adkins

Actor | Boyka: Undisputed IV

Scott Edward Adkins was born on June 17, 1976 in Sutton Coldfield, England, into a family that for generations were butchers. Along with his elder brother Craig, he was raised by their parents, John and Janet (Sanders) Adkins, in a loving middle-class family. Scott attended Bishop Vesey's Grammar ...

15. Jean-Claude Van Damme

Actor | Double Impact

Van Damme was born Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg in Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Brussels, Belgium, to Eliana and Eugène Van Varenberg, an accountant. "The Muscles from Brussels" started martial arts at the age of eleven. His father introduced him to martial arts when he saw his son was ...

16. Richard Norton

Stunts | The Suicide Squad

A powerful screen presence, Richard Norton wins the applause of international audiences with his engaging ability to play either the hero or the heavy. Rare versatility and focused work ethic have enabled him to build an expanding library of almost 100 film and television titles. The disciplines ...

17. Billy Blanks

Actor | The Last Boy Scout

Muscular African American sports star, actor, media identity and inventor of the phenomenally popular "Tae Bo" fitness system, derived from his extensive martial arts training. Blanks was born in Eerie, Pennsylvania in 1955 amongst humble backgrounds and grew up as one of 15 children, battling ...

18. Sammo Kam-Bo Hung

Stunts | Yip Man

Born in Hong Kong, Sammo Hung's acting career began while he was training in acrobatics, martial arts and dance as a child at the China Drama Academy, and he received acclaim for his performance with a troupe called "The Seven Little Fortunes." He made his feature film debut as an actor at the age ...

19. Daniel Bernhardt

Actor | Atomic Blonde

Daniel Bernhardt was born on the 31st August 1965 in Worblaufen, Bern in Switzerland. After finishing high school, he studied architectural design for four years and graduated in Bern. At the same time he opened a martial arts school with his brother. After completing his studies, Daniel moved to ...

20. Martin Kove

Actor | The Karate Kid

Martin Kove was born on March 6, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York. Strong-featured, narrow-eyed actor who has portrayed a mixed bag of both good guys and bad guys! First turned up on screen in several minor roles, and got himself noticed as the villainous Nero the Hero in the low-budget road race Death ...

21. Michael Bernardo

Actor | Batman & Robin

Michael Benardo started his martial arts training at the age of 8. His parents put him on to Judo, to gain self confidence, and from there he became interested in Karate at the same school. Michael trained at four schools and got his black belt from Richard Kim in California.

At the age of 17, he ...

22. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

Actor | Mortal Kombat

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa got his first big break as an actor when he was cast in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor (1987). A US Army brat, he was born in Tokyo and lived in various cities while growing up. His father was in the army, stationed at Ft. Bragg (NC), Ft. Polk (LA) and Ft. Hood (TX). His...

23. Michael Jai White

Actor | Black Dynamite

Michael Jai White is an American actor and martial artist who has appeared in numerous films and television series. He is the first African American to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture, having starred as Al Simmons, the protagonist in the 1997 film Spawn. White ...

24. Jeff Wincott

Actor | The Night Of

Jeffrey Wincott (born May 8, 1956) is a Canadian actor and martial artist best known for his Gemini Award-nominated lead role in the television series Night Heat.

Wincott was also the star of several martial arts films in the 1990s. In 1996 he was named one of the "Martial Arts Movie Stars of the ...

25. Mark Dacascos

Actor | Le pacte des loups

Mark Dacascos is an actor, director, martial artist, and television personality. Whether seen on the big screen or small, playing the good guy or the bad, Mark has been making audience stand up and take notice for many years.

This May, Mark will be seen in highly anticipated film John Wick: Chapter ...

26. Wesley Snipes

Actor | Blade

Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, to Marian (Long), a teacher's assistant, and SMSGT Wesley Rudolph Snipes, an aircraft engineer. He grew up on the streets of the South Bronx in New York City, where he very early decided that dance and the theatre were to be his career. He attended ...

27. Donnie Yen

Actor | Yip Man

Donnie Yen was born in Guangzhou, China. His mother, Bow-sim Mark, was a kung fu master and his father, Kylster Yen, a newspaper editor and amateur musician. When Donnie was just two years old, the family moved to Hong Kong and then, when he was 11, to Boston, Massachusetts.

There, Master Bow-sim ...

28. Michelle Yeoh

Actress | Wo hu cang long

Born as Yang Zi Qiong in the mining town of Ipoh, in West Malaysia, in the lunar year of the Tiger, Michelle is the daughter of Janet Yeoh and Yeoh Kian Teik, a lawyer and politician. She is of Han Chinese (Hokkien) descent, and spoke English and Malay before Chinese. A ballet dancer since age 4, ...

29. Kelly Hu

Actress | The Scorpion King

On February 13th, 1968, a girl of Chinese, English, and Hawaiian ancestry was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her father, Herbert, was a salesman and her mother, Juanita, worked many odd jobs to help support the family. She has one older brother, Glenn. She is a former Miss Teen USA, and modeled in Japan...

30. Louis Mandylor

Actor | My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Louis Mandylor

is most recognized for his leading credits throughout a variety of highly acclaimed, award winning films and television series, including the Academy Award-nominated box office smash hit comedy, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and its sequel Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.

Additionally, he is known...

31. Dustin Nguyen

Actor | Virtuosity

Dustin Tri Nguyen, after moving to the US from Vietnam in 1975, went on to establish himself as one of Hollywood's premiere Asian-American actors coming out of the martial arts world, having starred on such hit TV shows as "21 Jump Street," "Seaquest DSV," "VIP," as well as feature films like MAN ...

32. Daniel Dae Kim

Actor | Lost

Daniel Dae Kim has made a career of creating multifaceted and stereotype-breaking roles as an actor, director and now, producer. Prior to his seven-season portrayal of Chin Ho Kelly on "Hawaii Five-0," Kim was best known for his role as Jin Soo Kwon on the hit TV series "Lost," for which he shared ...

33. James Lew

Stunts | Luke Cage

Raised in South Central Los Angeles, James Lew's destiny was to answer a cattle call in Hollywood for the hugely popular Kung Fu (1972) television series. He went on to star in the now collectible Hong Kong film, Young Dragon (1979). He made the move to big budget studio films in 1984. John ...

34. Ian Jacklin

Producer | Small Town Bands

Ian Jacklin is a great martial artist and former Kickboxing champion, mostly popular for the martial arts genre. He started playing bad guys, but turned good later. In 1994 he was the hero in "Death Match". A great action movie in which he starred alongside WMAC-Masters' Michele 'Mouse' Krasnoo. ...

35. Michele Krasnoo

Actress | Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor

Michele Krasnoo was born on July 1, 1974 in Culver City, California, USA. She is known for her work on Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor (1994), Full Contact (1993) and Death Match (1994). She is married to Stephen Lax. They have three children.

36. Jeff Speakman

Actor | The Perfect Weapon

Jeff Speakman was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where he became a All-American springboard diver in high school. He broke records in his school's district and conference all without ever having a coach. Determined to go to college, he worked for six years and graduated with honors from ...

37. Benny Urquidez

Actor | Grosse Pointe Blank

Benny Urquidez was raised in a very athletic family. His mother was a professional wrestler and his father a professional boxer, with all of his siblings black belts. He has earned black belts in nine different martial arts and trained in other styles.

The Jet decided to pursue full-contact karate ...

38. Lorenzo Lamas

Actor | Grease

Lorenzo Fernando Lamas was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of actors Arlene Dahl and Fernando Lamas. His father was Argentinian and his mother was American, of Norwegian descent. Lorenzo was raised in Pacific Palisades, California. In 1968, his family moved to New York. He attended ...

39. Cynthia Rothrock

Actress | Cui hua kuang mo

Cynthia Rothrock was born on March 8, 1957 in Wilmington, Delaware, USA as Cynthia Ann Christine Rothrock. She is an actress and producer, known for Undefeatable (1993), Lady Dragon (1992) and Honor and Glory (1993).

40. Jalal Merhi

Producer | Tiger Claws

Jalal Merhi is recognized worldwide as a premiere action-film producer / director after successfully delivering over 20 films worldwide within a decade, and numerous short film projects. Born in Brazil from to Lebanese parents, Jalal emigrated to Canada to study and eventually built an extension of...

41. Gina Carano

Actress | Haywire

From pioneering women's MMA to blazing a trail in movies, GINA CARANO is one of Hollywood's most unique rising stars. Carano began her training with Muay Thai to competitive MMA, where she competed in Strikeforce and EliteXC. Her popularity led to her being called the "Face of Women's MMA" and she ...

42. Steven Seagal

Actor | On Deadly Ground

Steven Frederic Seagal was born in Lansing, Michigan, to Patricia Anne (Fisher), a medical technician, and Samuel Seagal, a high school math teacher. His paternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants, and his mother had English, German, and distant Irish and Dutch, ancestry. The enigmatic ...



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