Famous Immigrant Actors

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Many of Hollywood’s sweethearts are immigrants. Learn about five of the most famous actors in America, all immigrants — Mila Kunis, Audrey Hepburn, Will Arnett, Antonio Banderas and Charo.

Mila Kunis

  • Life: born August 14, 1983
  • Country of birth: Ukraine
  • Year of U.S. immigration: 1991

Mila Kunis is an American actress beloved by many. She stared in the hit television show That 70’s Show playing the hilarious character “Jackie Burkhart” who has a spoiled rich girl hanging out with a group of teenage friends in a small town, mostly in Eric Forman’s basement. The show ended in 2006 and Kunis has since stared in several films, most notably the Oscar-winning Black Swan which was released in 2010.

Kunis was born into a Jewish family in Ukraine at a time when Jews were experiencing religious persecution. Kunis’ family, both parents prolific in their careers, decided to uproot their life and move to the U.S.  where young Mila began her career as an actress.

Audrey Hepburn

  • Life: May 4, 1929 — January 20, 1993
  • Country of birth: Belgium
  • Year of U.S. immigration: 1951

Audrey Hepburn is a famed actress and fashion icon. Admired for her elegance and talent, she stared in many films, most famously Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and Funny Face (1957) where she costarred with Fred Astaire. Hepburn is also remembered for her work as a philanthropist, mainly working with disenfranchised children.

Hepburn was born just before the start of the Second World War in Belgium. Her family, who was Jewish, moved to the Netherlands to avoid Nazi persecution but unfortunately the country fell to Germany and they were forced to go into hiding. She eventually escaped to Britain where she continued her studies in ballet. At age 22 moved to the U.S. where she stared in her first Broadway place Gigi.

Will Arnett

  • Life: born May 4, 1970
  • Country of birth: Canada
  • Year of U.S. immigration: 1990

Will Arnett is an actor mostly notably known for his work in television comedies. His break out role was as the character “Gob” in the cult favorite Arrested Development. Arnett played the lost-cause brother who had a flare for magic, or rather hilariously ruining magic tricks. He also starred in a few films including Blades of Glory and Semi-Pro alongside Will Ferrell. He’s now working on the fourth season of the television show Up All Night, co-staring with Christina Applegate.

Arnett moved to New York City to pursue acting at age 20 after dropping out of Concordia University in Montreal, having completed only one semester. He has lived in the U.S. since, between Los Angeles and New York.

Antonio Banderas

  • Life: born August 10, 1960
  • Country of birth: Spain
  • Year of U.S. immigration: 1991

Antonio Banderas is an actor best known for his work in films. His breakout role is considered to be the American film Philadelphia (1993), but he did have considerable fame in his home country, Spain, before that.  His first role in an American film was in Mambo Kings (1992) for which he had to learn the script phonetically as he spoke little English at the time.

Banderas enjoyed a flourishing film career in Spain, working with the prolific director Pedro Almodóvar. He moved to Hollywood in the early 1990’s to break into the American film scene.


  • Life: born January 15, 1951
  • Country of birth: Spain
  • Year of U.S. immigration: 1977

Charo, born Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza, is a Spanish-American actress, musician and comedian. She’s best known by her trademark phrase “Cuchi-cuchi” and her flamboyant performances. She had her own special television show and a recurring role on The Love Boat. Later in life she has been recognized for incredible musical talent as a classical and flamenco guitarist.

Charo grew up in Murica, Spain where she intensely studied classical guitar. At a young age (her actual age is debated as somewhere between 13 and 22) she married famous bandleader Xavier Cugat who was four times her senior. With him she moved to the U.S. where she grew her fame as a performer and eventually became a citizen.

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