An A-Z of Actors : Z

Finally at the end of this alphabet challenge, with ‘Z’. There are more surnames with ‘Z’ than you might expect, but I will limit my selection to three, for this last entry.

Zhang Ziyi (double Z!) is a Chinese actress who is famous for her starring role in ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'(2000). But she has made many more outstanding films, including ‘The Road Home’ (1999), ‘Memoirs of A Geisha’ (2005), ‘House of Flying Daggers’ (2004), and ‘Hero’ (2002). More recent films include her multi-award winning part in ‘The Grandmaster’ (2013), and she will be seen in the forthcoming ‘Godzilla’ film, in 2019. She is still just 39 years old, and will no doubt continue to work for a long time yet.

Another double Z is the Chinese actress Zhu Zhu, star of film and television in both her native country, and in international productions. She starred in the remake of the Mel Gibson film ‘What Women Want’, in 2011, ‘Shanghai Calling’ (2012), and the Wachowski Brothers’ film ‘Cloud Atlas’ in the same year. Also released in 2012, she co-starred with Russell Crowe, in ‘The Man With The Iron Fists’. Her most recent international role was in ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ in 2018.

Back to Britain for my last choice, and the gorgeous Catherine Zeta Jones. This Welsh actress was much loved for her television appearances in the UK long before she achieved fame in America, and married Michael Douglas. She began as a child actress in stage productions and musicals, achieving star status with the musical ’42nd Street’, in 1987. From 1991-1993, she was in the popular long-running television series ‘The Darling Buds Of May’, after which she left Britain to try her luck in Los Angeles. Since then, her career has been unstoppable, with films like ‘Entrapment’ (1999), ‘The Haunting’ (1999), ‘Traffic’ (2000), and ‘Chicago’ (2002). Very much an A-list star, she continues to work in the industry, now aged 48.

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44 thoughts on “An A-Z of Actors : Z

  1. Mai Zetterling – Swedish actress who came to England and had a long career as both actress and director. I only remember one of her later films, Hidden Agenda, directed by Ken Loach about terrorism in Britain during the Irish troubles. You might not have seen it as Francis Mcwhatserface is the star who I believe you don’t like much.

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  2. Well, I have to concur when it comes to Catherine Zeta-Jones. I saw “Entrapment” at the movie theater, and own the following Zeta-Jones films on DVD. I do have: “The Mask of Zorro” / “The Legend of Zorro” / “High Fidelity” / “Chicago” / “Intolerable Cruelty.” There are some other films of hers I’d like to have, but my DVD shelf is bursting at the seams (it seems).

    I’m a huge fan of “Chicago,” and, of course, Renรฉe Zellweger shares top billing with her fellow Z-named A-lister. The only other Zellweger film I have on DVD is “Nurse Betty,” but I’ve seen “Cold Mountain” and the first two “Bridget Jones” films.

    I also have to concur with some others here when it comes to Billy Zane. He’s great in “Dead Calm,” “Tombstone,” and “Titanic,” all of which are on my DVD shelf.

    I guess I’ll throw another nameโ€”one that hasn’t been mentionedโ€”into the mix: Anthony Zerbe. The actor was everywhere to be seen on television for years, but he also has starred in a number of films, including: “Papillon” / “Star Trek: Insurrection” / “The Matrix Reloaded / Revolutions.” He may not be an A-lister, but he always gives solid performances.

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  3. Again I concur with those mentioned in your post and added by commenters. I was particularly happy to see Cindy Bruchman add Vera Zorina who starred in a number of films in the 1930s and 1940 or should I say danced in the films?
    Warmest regards, Theo

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    1. This got dragged out because of getting involved in that fiction serial, but the A-Z series never feel a chore. Catherine is very ‘Welsh’ when it suits her to be. ๐Ÿ™‚
      No idea what comes next. The football world cup finishes soon, so I might get to watch some films, and write about those. (I don’t watch sport, but my wife and stepson have been watching the games)
      No Z choice from you today, Cindy?
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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  4. Pete, you must have accidentally forgotten the legendary Actress Pia Zadora, who got her start in the 1964 classic “Santa Claus Conquers The Martians” – then won the Golden Globe “New Star Of The Year” award for the bomb “Butterfly” – rumored to have been bought for her by her rich Husband – oh, and she simultaneously won the “Worst Actress” Razzie Award for th same film!

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  5. You had to mention House of Flying Daggers….My number 1 favorite martial arts movie. It was such a great film, and part of that reason definitely was Zhang Ziyi. Sad to see this series ending now….but you know the saying: All good things must come to an end ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  6. I was sure I had it with Zeta-Jones, but I’ll let it slide since it’s the last letter and it IS your site!! I will also include Renee Zellweger, and that’s all this old brain can manager.

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  7. I have to say that I snickered mightily when I was living in the UK at the start of the 90s and Catherine Zeta Jones, pre-internet, once said that the ‘Zeta’ was a ‘goddess of love and beauty’, and everyone jumped on the interview gleefully and pointed out that it means the letter zed/z. It did colour my view of her intelligence for a long long time–

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    1. Her character was called Helena Ayala, playing the pregnant wife of the drug lord, Carl Ayala.
      If you ever get a chance to watch the old TV series โ€˜The Darling Buds Of Mayโ€™, I recommend it as a pleasant, and very English, experience.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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