20 TV Actors Who Always Deliver Unmissable Performances

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Television entertainment is a massive industry comprised of thousands of talented actors. But some actors have a talent that transcends the screen, leaving a lasting mark on the audiences who behold them. Today, we would like to look at some of these fantastic figures.

From compelling dramas to over-the-top comedies, these 20 actors bring something special to their performances, and their names have been etched in TV history. While many actors have been forgotten over the years, these creators have stood the test of time as the best of the best. 

1. Brian Cranston

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This actor has provided audiences with hilarious family comedies and deeply moving dramatic roles. Brian Cranston has proved himself to be one of the most talented actors of a generation. Cranston is best known for his role as Walter White in the groundbreaking drama series Breaking Bad.

But before that, he warmed viewers’ hearts with his comedic role as Hal in Malcolm in the Middle. His lovable oaf character brought something unique to the primetime series that cannot be beat. Brain Cranston has proved that he can tackle any role he is handed and make it a spectacular performance. 

2. Lucille Ball

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This legendary TV star is known for her impeccable timing, relatable characters, and timeless performances. Lucille Ball has a charm and wit that were destined for TV greatness. The star has a history of making unmissable performances that have left a lasting mark on the industry. 

Lucille Ball has a myriad of comedic shows with her name in the title. Fans fondly remember her performances in hits such as I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, and Here’s Lucy. Lucille Ball passed away on April 26, 1989. She will always be remembered as one of the greatest TV performers of all time. 

3. Ted Danson

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This versatile and immensely talented actor always delivers his best. Ted Danson has graced the audience’s TV screens for over forty years and is considered one of the best living TV actors still on the air. Danson can bring nuanced characters to life in an unparalleled way.

Ted Danson has been in some of the biggest TV shows to ever air. His portfolio includes Cheers, Becker, The Good Place, Fargo, Bored to Death, Mr. Mayor, The Orville, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigations. Danson can switch effortlessly between comedy and drama, making him an actor that TV audiences can’t stay away from.

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4. Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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This Emmy-winning actor is a treasure in the world of entertainment. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been featured in some of the most iconic television shows of all time. Her performance as Elaine on Seinfeld got her worldwide recognition as a comedic wonder. 

After appearing on one of the most successful TV shows ever, Julia branched out. She appeared in series like The New Adventures of Old Christine, Watching Ellie, and Veep. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s impeccable comedic timing and remarkable range have made her a standout star in the world of television. 

5. Betty White

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This beloved TV star has been in the industry for over eighty years. Betty White was a terrific TV actor who always delivered unmissable performances. She is most well remembered for her roles in The Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Betty White passed away on December 31, 2021. She was 99 years old. Betty will always be remembered for bringing her charm to the screen and improving the lives of anyone who viewed her content. 

6. Carol Burnett

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Carol Burnett may just be the funniest person to have ever lived. This iconic star is famous for her sketch comedy and performances in shows like The Carol Burnett Show, Mama’s Family, A Little Help, Palm Royal, and The Entertainers

Carol Burnett brings an earnestness to her performance, allowing audiences to be genuinely moved by her work. Her improvisation skills and charming demeanor have made her a fan favorite for over 70 years. Carol Burnet is an acting legend that has never been replicated. 

7. Tom Selleck

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This quintessential leading man has graced home viewers for over 60 years. Tom Selleck is instantly recognizable for his charming demeanor and otherworldly mustache. He is well-known for performing in Magnum, P.I., Blue Bloods, Friends, and Las Vegas.

Over his career, Tom Selleck has been featured in nearly forty TV shows, making him one of the most iconic TV actors ever. Fans love Selleck for his charm, screen presence, and ability to bring authenticity to his characters. 

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8. Alan Alda

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Alan Alda is considered by many to be a master of his craft. His ability to bring humor and humility to complex characters is unrivaled in the world of TV acting. Alan brings a versatility to his roles that always provides an unmissable performance.

Although many fans remember Alan for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the hit series Mash, Alan still works in television today. The actor has continued his career and can be found in shows such as The West Wing, The Blacklist, The Good Fight, and Ray Donovan

9. Dick Van Dyke

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This entertainment legend has been working in the industry for over 70 years. Dick Van Dyke has an incredible range that allows him effortlessly to switch from impeccable comedy to inspiring dramatic performances. 

Dick Van Dyke has made appearances in over 65 Television programs. These include The Dyck Van Dyke Show, Days of Our Lives, Matlock, Diagnosis: Murder, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and The Carol Burnett Show. 

10. Patrick Stewart

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This regal actor brings a flair of authority to all of his roles. Patrick Stewert lures in audiences by acting with profound depth and gravitas. Fans love Stewert for his ability to bring theater acting to the small screen.

While he is best known for his role as Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Patrick continues to appear in significant TV roles. He has been featured in American Dad, Family Guy, and Futurama.

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11. Idris Elba

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After his brilliant performance as Stringer Bell in The Wire, Idris Elba quickly became one of the best stars working in Television. Idris brings intensity and seriousness to his performances, making him stand out in whatever role he plays. 

Idris has appeared in some of the most iconic shows to grace the small screen, including Luther, Hijack, The Big C, In the Long Run, and Idris Elba’s Fight School. With each new performance, Idris further cements himself as one of his generation’s greatest actors. 

12. Edie Falco

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Many actors would have hung up the towel after appearing in the most incredible TV show ever made, The Sopranos. But Edie Falco wasn’t done granting viewers outstanding performances just yet. She has continued to make a name for herself as one of the most iconic people on television.

Edie Falco brings emotional depth and vulnerability to her roles to pull viewers in and refuse to let go. She has been featured in shows such as Nurse Jackie, Bupkis, Law and Order: True Crime, New York Undercover, and Tommy.

13. Hugh Laurie

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People often forget that Hugh Laurie was considered a comedic genius before he played the dramatic Dr. House. Hugh’s versatility and acting prowess have made him a household name in the world of TV acting.

Hugh Laurie has a unique ability to bring depth and complexity to complicated characters. He has been featured in shows such as Blackadder, Jeeves and Wooster, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Roadkill, and The Young Ones.

14. Henry Winkler

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Henry Winkler is a comedic genius who will always be remembered for his iconic role as The Fonz on Happy Days. Winkler’s unique charm and wholesome atmosphere continue to delight audiences to this day.

Henry Winkler has been in the acting game for over fifty years, showing up in some of the most highly acclaimed TV series of all time. Some of his performances include Barry, Arrested Development, Royal Pains, Better Late Than Never, MacGyver, and Parks and Recreation.

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15. Mark Harmon

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Best known for his no-nonsense role on NCIS, Mark Harmon is a force to be reckoned with in the world of TV acting. Mark has over 75 acting credits to his name and has been in the scene since his first role on Ozzie’s Girls in 1973.

Mark Harmon brings focus and determination to his roles, which fans adore. Mark has been featured in shows like Adam-12, Chicago Hope, St. Elsewhere, Flamingo Road, NCIS, Reasonable Doubts, and Centennial.

16. Charlie Sheen

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Despite their controversy, Charlie Sheen has proven they are an acting icon that cannot be stopped. Charlie often plays damaged or controversial characters whom he brings to life in a nuanced way that few others would be capable of.

Charlie Sheen is best known for his role as Charlie Harper in Two and A Half Men. The actor has also appeared in shows like Anger Management, Bookie, Spin City, The Goldbergs, Friends, and Overhaulin.

17. Kelsey Grammer

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This magnificent actor always brings his A-game to his performances. Kelsey Grammer is a legend in the world of TV acting. He has appeared in hits like Frasier, Cheers, Wings, The Simpsons, and Modern Family.

Kelsey Grammer began his career in acting with a performance in the 1981 Broadway revival of Macbeth. His classically trained acting style brings a level of regality and professionalism to the craft that cannot be topped.

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18. Martin Sheen

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Martin Sheen first broke into TV acting on an episode of The Outer Limits in 1964. He has since proved himself to be one of the greatest dramatic performers of his generation. While he is primarily known for his roles in films like Badlands and Apocalypse Now, the actor also has some impressive TV appearances.

Martin transfers his gravitas to the small screen in a way that is rarely seen in television action. He has been in hit shows such as The West Wing, Anger Management, Grace and Frankie, The Streets of San Francisco, and Hawaii Five-0.

19. Jean Smart

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This Broadway actress’s first big break happened after a TV taping of her performance in Piaf garnered her Hollywood interest. Jean Smart has since become one of the best television performers to date.

Jean Smart is most widely known for her role as Charlene in the hit show Designing Women. The actor has also appeared in Hacks, Watchmen, Fargo, Mare of Eastown, Frasier, and 24.

20. Katey Sagal

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Most well-known for her role as Peggy Bundy in Married… with Children, Katey Sagal has been in the acting arena for over fifty years. Her comedic timing and ability to portray complex characters has made her a fan favorite over the years.

Katey continues to showcase her extraordinary acting prowess in hit shows like Sons of Anarchy, 8 Simple Rules, Futurama, The Conners, and Dead to Me. With the recent return of Futurama, fans will be able to spend even more time with this beloved TV star.

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