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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 14:57 GMT
Acting like a singer
Will Smith
Will Smith has had a simultaneous film and music career
As Nicole Kidman and Kate Winslet begin their assault on the British music scene, BBC News Online charts the fate of other actors who swapped the camera for a microphone.

Robbie Williams persuaded woman-of-the-moment Nicole Kidman to join in his foray into the big band sound with their collaboration of Somethin' Stupid.

Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis took up the music challenge
Her vocal talents had already been displayed in the musical extravaganza Moulin Rouge.

And it was this film that spawned her first single Come What May with Ewan McGregor.

Kate Winslet is now joining the musical party as she prepares to release the single What If, taken from the animated version of A Christmas Carol.

But actors and actresses have long been unsatisfied with just their lot and have attempted to carve out musical careers - some with more rather more memorable success than others.

Soap stars are constantly breaking out from the small screen to the Top of the Pops stage, once again with varying success.


Music career certainly did not happen for Tracy Shaw
Kylie Minogue has come a long way since her Neighbours days, but thankfully Corrie's Tracy Shaw had the good sense to stay on the Street after she launched her dismal chart offensive with Happenin' All Over Again in 1999.

Groove

Hollywood stars have also tried their hand at warbling their way into the charts.

Two of the most successful actors to make the transition in recent times have been Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez.

J-Lo won critical acclaim for her role in Out of Sight before getting in the groove and releasing the number three hit If You Had My Love.

But as her music career has blossomed her choice of film roles has become more shaky with the likes of The Cell and the Wedding Planner not showing her at her feisty best.

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy wanted to Party All Night
Will Smith's music and acting career began to flourish around the same time.

Although he started out as one half of rapping duo Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince it was his time in the TV show Fresh Prince of Bel Air that brought him worldwide fame.

Vulcan

He has since gone on to become a solo rapper with a hugely successful string of hit films under his belt.

The two have often gone hand-in-hand as Men in Black spawned a single of the same name, as did Wild Wild West.

But can anybody really remember the musical offerings of Telly Savalas, William Shatner, Eddie Murphy or Robert Downey Jr?

Shatner released an album back in 1968 featuring renditions of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Mr Tambourine Man and Romeo and Juliet.

His Star Trek colleague Leonard Nimoy also swapped his Vulcan ears for the recording studio.

Action movie star Bruce Willis tried his hand at crooning, notching up two hit singles in the 80s.

William Shatner
William Shatner saw himself as a Beatles man
His biggest success was a cover of the Drifters classic Under the Boardwalk and saw Willis dance his way to number two in 1987.

German hit

But his pop career was shortlived and his next effort, Secret Agent Man, reached only number 43.

Baywatch and Knight Rider star David Hasselhoff was another who wanted to experience the adulation of screaming fans rather than the coldness of the camera.

Although his pop career stumbled in the UK, with his only release If I could Only Say Goodbye achieving a chart high of 35 in 1993, he continues to be a music sensation in Germany.

John Travolta achieved a rare feat of both film and music credibility when a succession of songs from the film Grease were released.

John Travolta
Grease was the word for John Travolta
Summer Nights and You're the One that I Want with Olivia Newton John both reached the top in 1978, followed by the ballad Sandy which got to number two.

One hit wonder

A pastel-suited Don Johnson temporarily swapped the rough streets of Miami Vice for a shot a musical fame.

In 1986 he released the track Heartbeat which went largely unnoticed.

It took the input of Barbara Streisand to get him into the top 40 with Til I Loved You (Love Theme from Goya).

But he wisely took the decision to roll up his suit sleeves and head on back to Hollywood.

Eddie Murphy may have had a long and varied film career but when it came to music he was a definite one-hit wonder with the US release Party All Night.

David Hasselhoff
David Hasselhoff has found musical fame in Germany
Following in his less than illustrious musical footsteps was Patrick Swayze who scored a 1988 UK hit with She's Like the Wind, taken from the blockbuster Dirty Dancing.

And the list goes on and on.

And as Kidman and Winslet vie for the Christmas number one, actors around the world will no doubt be keeping a close eye to see whether it could be their turn to extend their CV and take up that singing lark.

See also:

23 Nov 01 | Music
Race on for Xmas number one
05 Sep 01 | Music
Robbie thrills at Kidman duet
19 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Mendes confirms Winslet affair
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