Top 10 Country-to-Hollywood Crossover Stars

The history of country stars plying the acting craft is a mixed one. Memorable low point: when a critic deemed Glen Campell in ‘True Grit’ the ideal cowboy to chase a wooden Indian. Memorable high point…Well, here are our Top Ten Country-to-Hollywood Crossover Stars.

Tim McGraw. Hailed by critics for his solid performance supporting Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock in ‘The Blind Side,’ he now has ‘Love Don’t Let Me Down’ with Gwyneth Paltrow and Leighton Meester in the can. With past credits including ‘Friday Night Lights,’ ‘Flicka,’ ‘The Kingdom’ and ‘Four Christmases,’ he’s got a great career going not counting his music. But, by the way, where’s his wife’s acting career these days? Since getting stung with some nasty reviews in 2004’s ‘Stepford Wives,’ Faith Hill’s been sticking to singing.

Reba McEntire. The energetic red-haired songstress proved her TV mettle with the 2001-2007 ‘Reba’ sitcom, sure, but before that she conquered Broadway with ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and the big screen in the cult fave ‘Tremors,’ among other acting credits.

Dolly Parton. Icon. Legend. Superstar. One of America’s great songwriters. Yes, and she’s been a bona fide movie star — ‘9 to 5,’ ‘Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,’ ‘Steel Magnolias,’ etc. Nowadays, she’s known to Miley Cyrus’ fans as Aunt Dolly on ‘Hannah Montana.’

Billy Ray Cyrus. We can’t get too far away from ‘Hannah Montana’ without mentioning Miley’s achy breaky daddy. In addition to his own ‘Doc’ series, he’s racked up quite a few TV guest roles, telepics and movies, including the big screen ‘Mulholland Drive.’ Extra credit: ‘Dancing With the Stars.’

Dwight Yoakam. But let’s talk about real acting. ‘Sling Blade,’ anyone? Yoakam’s searing portrayal of an abusive alcoholic left moviegoers stunned. And it wasn’t a fluke. He really does have those chops, as he’s proven again and again, in films from ‘Panic Room’ to ‘Crank.’ He has ‘Provinces of Night’ hitting the festival circuit with Val Kilmer, Hillary Duff and Kris Kristofferson.

Kris Kristofferson. Kristofferson’s ’70s-’80s reign as a movie star included a string of memorable films — ‘Blume in Love,’ ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,’ ‘Vigilante Force,’ ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ and ‘A Star is Born.’ Even in the high-profile failure ‘Heaven’s Gate,’ Kristofferson’s performance was singled out as good.

Willie Nelson. Okay, he’s always Willie Nelson, no matter what his character’s name is. But that hasn’t kept crowds from loving the unrepentant old pot-smoking outlaw in such fare as ‘The Electric Horseman,’ ‘Honeysuckle Rose,’ ‘Barbarosa,’ ‘Bones,’ ‘The Colbert Report’ or any of his other movie or TV acting gigs.

LeAnn Rimes. In addition to her Lifetime movie ‘Northern Lights’ providing her with a new real-life leading man, Eddie Cibrian, the made-for-television film showed she’s a credible thespian. She also starred along with Luke Perry in the comedy ‘Good Intentions’ and says it’s her intention to do more acting.

Randy Travis. A recurring role on ‘Touched by An Angel’ and dozens of parts on TV and in films (‘Young Guns,’ ‘Frank & Jesse,’ ‘The Shooter,’ ‘The Visitation’) put the affable, deep-voiced star on the list.

Taylor Swift. No, she hasn’t done much yet, but mark her name in the Most Promising category thanks to her guest starring stint on ‘CSI’ last year. The show’s viewership jumped by three million when the 20-year-old hot country It Girl was on portraying a murder victim. Then she showed up in ‘Valentine’ with then-boyfriend Taylor Lautner. Next, she’s playing Barbie Roberts in ‘Barbie, the Movie.’ What a doll.

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About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

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