This started with a hypothesis. As all good pieces of research tend to. And the hypothesis was my girlfriend insisting that “all famous people are small” (it came after being surprised by the height of David Beckham in real life). I wondered if this applied to the top film stars. Is it true that film actors have some kind of ‘short man syndrome’ driving them to success on the screen? One immediately thinks of Tom Cruise and figures there must be something in it…
What’s a good proxy for fame? Box office success seemed to fit the bill, so I found the top ten grossing male and female actors at the time of writing and compared their heights. One edit: Bonnie Hunt (“who?” you ask – check the Pixar credits) pops up in the women’s top ten but as her success has come through being a voice actress, her height is irrelevant so I ignored her. Anyway I’ve then compared these top ten with the US average heights (as the majority are American).
The results? The men’s ten somewhat match the average with six over and four under, which actually brings the group out at 3cm above. But the women are notably taller, coming in at a whole 6cm higher than the women’s average height in the US, with eight stars above it. Even if the very top grossing actress bucks this trend by a significant amount.
So there you have it, to be a successful film actor you need to be tall. Maybe.
18 November 2013