The 20 Greatest Male Celebrity Role Models

Leonardo DiCaprio

There are many celebrities that make good role models, particularly for young men. There are several important qualities that make a celebrity influential. These include honesty, values, hard work, ethics, kindnesss, humility, generosity, humor, encouragement and talent. We all look up to celebrities, but some have truly proven to be good influences.

1. Bob Saget

When he passed away of a heart attack at age 65 on January 9, it became clear how much comedian and actor Bob Sagat meant to so many. Known as “America’s Dad” for his role as widower Danny Tanner on ABC’s Full House, Saget maintained a friend and father figure to his co-stars. He also has three daughters of his own. Tragically Sagat died during the launch of his comedy shows. He is also known for his roles as the narrator Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother and the original host of America’s Funniest videos. The showing of love from his family, co-stars and friends proves that Bob Saget was a great role model.

2. Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves is well known in Hollywood for his generosity and humility. The quiet actor stays out of the spotlight as much as possible. Reeves shows his incredible talent in movies including Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Devil’s Advocate, Speed, and the franchises The Matrix and John Wick. He’s also known to be caught on camera giving up his seat on the subway and starting a cancer foundation in honor of his sister who has leukemia. Reeve’s also did not want the foundation to be named for him because Keanu Reeve’s is filled with a kind, generous and humble heart. Reeve’s is truly a celebrity that we can all look up to as a role model.

3. LeBron James

Professional basketball player LeBron James may be one of the greatest players of all time. However, he’s also the most controversial as of late, and many prefer he stick to basketball than being outspoken about his personal opinions. He’s also proven to be a good family man and generous to the children of his home town, Akron, Ohio. James began his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers as the number one pick of the 2003 NBA draft. He played for the Miami Heat before becoming a free agent, returned to the Cavs and now plays with the LA Lakers. He won four MVP awards and two Olympic gold medals. Being present at as many of his three children’s basketball and gymnastic events is important to him. James opened a school, a housing complex and a community center in Akron with his LeBron James Family Foundation.

4. Barack Obama

The 44th President of the United States of America is certainly a celebrity that we can all look up to if you prefer his politics and his dismal economy. He was an attorney before his election to the US Senate. President Obama served two terms as the President of the US. He is the first African American to be elected President. During his terms, President Obama advocated to relieve the global financial crisis, decrease government spending, reform healthcare, and help immigrants. He also helped defeat terrorist Osama Bin Laden. President Obama continues to advocate for the causes he believes in. Presidents are not always great role models. President Obama’s integrity, moral compass, hard working, honesty, and values prove he is a great role model for young people.

5. Tom Hanks

Who doesn’t look up to actor and producer Tom Hanks? He’s been called an “American Cultural Icon”. He began his career in theater before getting roles on television including episodes of Happy Days and Family Ties and the hit series Bosom Buddies. Ron Howard cast Hanks in the movie Splash. He went on to star in movies including Big and A League of Their Own. Hanks won two consecutive Oscars for his roles in Philadelphia and Forest Gump. Hanks was a success in romantic comedies including Sleepless In Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Other hit films include Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13, Cast Away, and Captain Phillips. Of course, Hanks is beloved as the voice of Woody in the Toy Stories movies. Tom Hanks is known for his political activism and his support of the space program. Wanting to be an astronaut as a young boy, Hanks is a member of the National Space Society.

6. Robert Downey, Jr.

Actor and producer Robert Downey, Jr. proves that even if you hit rock bottom, you can get yourself together and become successful. Downey began his career in movies including Weird Science and Less Than Zero and on television in the series Ally McBeal. Unfortunately his addiction to drugs led him to lose roles because he couldn’t get an insurance bond to work. His addiction led him to scary situations and eventually jail time. Downey spent time in rehab and has been sober since 2003. Not only does he live a healthy lifestyle and work at his sobriety, Downey is one of the most bankable actors in Hollywood today. He is Tony Stark or Iron Man in the Marvel Comics movies and plays. He’s once personally delivered an Iron Man robotic arm to a seven year old child. Robert Downey, Jr. is the perfect example that one can turn their life around after they hit rock bottom.

7. Brad Pitt

Actor and producer Brad Pitt has won multiple awards for his work, but he’s also a great humanitarian. The actor was noticed for his small role in Thelma and Louise in 1991. He went on to star in Legends of the Fall, Interview With a Vampire, 12 Monkeys, Fight Club, Money Ball and the Ocean’s Eleven movies among others. He supports the Global Green campaign and was one of several stars to support the One Campaign to advocate for AIDS and poverty victims in developing countries. Following Hurricane Katrina, Pitt built houses for those displaced by the disaster. Since his causes include climate change and advocating for children and disaster victims. Pitt’s acting career remains strong and he’s produced movies including Moneyball, 12 Years a Slave, Selma, and The Departed. If you overlook his infidelities, he’s a great guy.

8. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is someone who all young people can look up to as a celebrity male role model. He’s intelligent and kind. Tyson is an ambassador to science. He heads the Hayden Planetarium in New York City that is part of the American National History Museum. Tyson founded the Department of Astrophysics in 1997. He has written several books on the subject including Death By Black Hole and Astrophysics For People In A Hurry. Tyson wrote monthly articles for Natural History Magazine from 1995 through 2005. He hosted a NOVA show on PBS. He was awarded the Public Welfare Medal by the United States National Academy of Sciences in 2015.

9. Morgan Freeman

Actor, director and narrator Morgan Freeman is one of the most well known voices in Hollywood. He started his career in the 1970’s on televisions The Electric Company. He performed Shakespeare in the theater before starting his movie career. Freeman’s breakout role was in Driving Miss Daisy which he won an Oscar. He’s been in many films since including Unforgiven, Amistad, and Million Dollar Baby. Freeman won a second Oscar for his role as prisoner Red in The Shawshank Redemption. Freeman has received several awards and honors during his career including the Kennedy Center Honor. Freeman supports environmental causes and narrated a clip featured at the Climate Summit. After learning about the danger to honeybees, he started a large honeybee farm. Best known for his deep voiced narrations of film and books, Morgan Freeman is role model.

10. Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill is one of the most well known Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom. He has been called one of the most influential leaders in the world. He served as Prime Minister during World War II and known as a great wartime leader who fought against facism. Born into an aristocratic family, Churchill served in the British military. He wrote many books and was an artist. Sir Winston Churchill modeled great wisdom and integrity throughout his life. He considered himself a “man of destiny” and will forever be remembered as a great world leader.

11. Steve Jobs

There are many IT developers today, but Steve Jobs stands out as one of the first and most progressive. With his partner Steve Wozniac, Jobs founded Apple, Inc. The company developed the first personal computers during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Steve Jobs later partnered with Pixar. He left Apple, Inc. for a while but returned as the company was failing due to competition. Jobs helped develop the iPod, iTunes, iMac, the iPhone, and the iPad. Apple, Inc. is thriving today. Some feel that Steve Jobs was a great marketer of Apple products. He was also innovative and intelligent.

12. Michael Phelps

Olympic swimmer is the most decorated athlete of all time. Of his 22 medals, 18 of Phelps are gold. Phelps story is one of rising high quickly and dropping quickly only to get his life back together and be stronger than ever. After becoming one of the biggest stars in swimming, Michael Phelps life took a downfall due to drug use and evenutally a DUI in 2014 which led to his suspension from swimming for the United States. Since getting his life back on track, Phelps has maintained the focus and integrity that led to his initial swimming career. He created the Michael Phelps Foundation which promotes swimming and a healthy lifestyle. He works with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. In 2017 he joined the board of Medibio which helps diagnose mental disorders. He continues to swim and train youth and works closely with the Special Olympics.

13. Eli Manning

Since retiring from his career as an NFL quarterback for the New York Giants, Eli Manning has continued a successful in broadcasting and maintains his commitment to philanthropy. Manning volunteered in Louisiana and Missouri following the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. He regularly helps raise money for children’s clinics and hospitals. Since 2008, Manning hosts the Guiding Eyes For the Blind Golf Classic. He volunteered with the President’s Council for Physical Fitness and Sports. Manning is a family man and a great celebrity role model.

14. Will Smith

As half the rap duo with pal DJ Jazzy Jeff, Will Smith was successful. He began acting in the hit 1990’s series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. From the hit television series, Will Smith transformed his career becoming a successful movie actor. He starred in movies including Bad Boys, Men In Black, Independence Day, Pursuit of Happiness, and I Am Legend. Smith recently won a Golden Globe playing Richard Williams in King Richard. With his wealth, Will Smith donated millions to Christian ministries and churches. He and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith started New Village Leadership Academy, a private elementary school that offers alternative teaching methods in California.

15. Terri Crews

NFL star, actor and television personality Terri Cruise has proven his integrity, honesty and values. He became famous playing football for the LA Rams, the San Diego Chargers, and the Washington Redskins. After retiring from football, he appeared in the TV series Everybody Hates Chris and as the hose of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and America’s Got Talent. When the Me Too Movement began, Crews was one of the few men who openly advocated for sexual assault victims. Crews openly shared a story about a male Hollywood executive “playfully” groped him. Time Magazine listed Crews as one of a group of Persons of the Year in 2017 for sharing his story. Crews continues to advocate for victims of sexual assault and spoke before the US Senate in support of H.R. 5578 which supports sexual assault survivors.

16. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson began his athletic career as a football player in the Canadian League and as a professional wrestler with the WWE. He became an actor with his role in 2002’s The Scorpion King. He’s acted in several films appealing to kids and adults alike including The Tooth Fairy, and Jumanji as well as the HBO series Ballers which he also produced. He voiced a character in Disney’s Moana. Johnson has spoken out publicly about his struggles with depression bringing to light that men often hide those feelings. Johnson gives to causes he believes in. He founded Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation that helps at risk and terminally ill children. He’s donated money for athletic facilities at the University of Miami and a military base in Oahu, Hawaii.

17. Lin-Manual Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda is one of the greatest play writes of our time. He dreamed of becoming a film director until he saw Jonathan Larson’s Broadway production of Rent when he was 17 years old. He decided to write musicals that were emotionally honest. Miranda wrote, starred and directed the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Miranda uses history and diversity in his work. Since the release of Hamilton, Miranda collaborated with Walt Disney Company. In 2021 he directed the film Tick, Tock…Boom!. He helped the efforts for reconstruction in Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. He works with Graham Windham, a non-profit adoption agency.

18. Nick Jonas

The talented Nick Jonas began his career acting in the theater on Broadway. His talented singing abilities led to an album. Seeing the potential, not just in Nick but his brothers as well, Columbia Records signed a recording deal with the Jonas Brothers. The band was successful recording and touring with singer Miley Cyrus. They appealed not just to tween girls but also to young boys. The Jonas Brothers made great music and had strong Christian values. When they disbanded in 2013, Nick recorded a second solo album. He appeared in the movie Jumanji. more recently, Nick was an executive producer on the television series Dash and Lily. What stands out about Nick more than his talent is his dedication to Diabetes awareness. He was 13 years old when he was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1 and advocates for kids to overcome their disabilities.

19. John Legend

Singer and songwriter John Legend advocates for men to show their feelings which makes the celebrity a great role model for young boys. Legend partners with AXE’s “Create Your Magic” initiative which supports self-expression in young people. Legend continues to have a successful career. He’s the youngest to be an EGOT, a winner of the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards. The talented musician is currently a coach on The Voice. He supports causes including sustainable development, Teach For America, and FREEAMERICA which advocates to reform incarceration.

20. Leonardo DiCaprio

Actor and producer Leonardo DiCaprio is best known as being a teen idol turned into a talented actor famous for his period films and biopic. DiCaprio is considered one of the greatest actors of his generation. He started his career in television appearing on various sitcoms during the 1980’s. In 1993 he starred in his first film, A Boy’s Life. He then starred in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, Romeo and Juliet, and Titanic, which made people see him as, not just a teen idol, but a serious actor. DiCaprio’s movies include Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Djago Unchained, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Revenant which earned him an Oscar. In 2016 Time Magazine named DiCaprio as one of the Most 100 Most Influential People. DiCaprio supports many causes including the environment, schools, and GLAAD.

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