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The Five: Pop Singers Turned Movie Stars


Who is that pint-sized, camouflaged Naval officer wielding massive machine guns and programming missiles to take out alien war crafts in Battleship? Why, it’s Billboard sensation (and tabloid fodder) Rihanna, following in the footsteps of countless who’ve come before her by making the transition from the recording booth to the movie set. 
In Battleship, Rihanna flexes her acting and physical muscles to play Petty Officer Cora 'Weps' Raikes, a soldier with an attitude who helps Lieutenant Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) fend off marauding extraterrestrials off the coast of Hawaii. It’s her first feature-film role, which she’ll follow up with The End of the World and a rumored part in the sixth Fast & Furious movie.  
But who, among the many, ranks as the most successful music-to-movie superstar. We decided to rank our five favorite singers-turned-actors (one of whom actually has a blockbuster reaching theaters next week – synergy!) Who did we forget? Let us know below:
1. Will Smith
Before he became the undisputed heavyweight of the summer box office, Smith laid down beats as the Fresh Prince, transitioning to television and, later, to movies. And he never looked back, headlining massive hits in Men in BlackBad BoysI Am LegendHancock and Hitch. Ironically, it was the alien-invasion thriller Independence Day that rocketed Smith’s acting career to the stratosphere. Can the similar sci-fi actioner Battleship do the same for Rihanna? 
2. Barbra Streisand
A force to be reckoned with in virtually every medium, Streisand is an eight-time Grammy Winner, a five-time Emmy winner, and the holder of records for albums sold on the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) Top Selling Artists list. And when she tried her hand at movies, she won our hearts. Streisand has two Academy Awards (for Funny Girl and A Star is Born), plus three additional nominations. And later this year, she returns to the silver screen for the Seth Rogen comedy The Guilt Trip … likely another hit!
3. Whitney Houston
The late Whitney Houston had one huge hit in The Bodyguard, and that was enough to land the singer at No. 3 on this list. The film was a pop-culture sensation when it came out, cementing its status as a modern-classic with the help of Houston’s soulful rendition of Dolly Parton’s “And I Will Always Love You.” It was the pinnacle of Houston’s career … which tragically was cut short but can be celebrated one more time in August when she appears on screen in Sparkle, with American Idol winner Jordin Sparks. 
4. Mark Wahlberg
No one – and I mean no one – who saw the video for Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations” in 1991 would have guessed we’d still be talking about the Vanilla Ice wannabe in the Calvin Kleins, and celebrating him for his comedic and dramatic outputs as an actor. But Mark Wahlberg’s a survivor, holding his own in films by Martin Scorsese (The Departed), David O. Russell (Three KingsThe Fighter) or Adam McKay and Will Ferrell (The Other Guys). And the Academy continues to notice, nominating Wahlberg for Departed and Fighter … and missing out on nominating him for the outstanding Boogie Nights
5. Elvis Presley
Perhaps the world’s most famous singer, as well as Hollywood’s most prolific actor, if only because the industry did everything in its power to capitalize on Presley’s star power and capture his raw charisma. Presley’s silver-screen career started with Love Me Tender in 1956, and spanned 33 total features. They weren’t all gems, but films like Jailhouse Rock and Blue Hawaii proved “The King” could have thrived as an actor if he wanted to hang up his blue suede shoes.  
For a list of a few of our other favorite singers-turned-actors, visit a photo gallery we ran on the site a while ago. And tell us, who are your favorites?

Follow along on Twitter @Sean_OConnell and @Fandango

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