Leading man

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For the film, see The Leading Man.

Leading man or leading gentleman is an informal term for the actor who plays a love interest to the leading actress in a film or play. A leading man is usually an all rounder; capable of singing, dancing, and acting at a professional level, outshining his female co-star. A good leading man could make a bad actress look better than she was and a good actress shine.

A leading man can also be an actor who is often seen in romantic roles. An example of this would be Bruce Cabot's role in King Kong. Less frequently, the epithet has been applied to an actor who is often associated with one particular actress, for example, Errol Flynn was Olivia de Havilland's leading man in several films, Spencer Tracy had a similar association with Katharine Hepburn; used in this sense, however, the woman is usually described as the leading lady of the man. The term is also used collectively, as in 'Hollywood's leading men' to refer to a group of notable, famous or popular actors. Some examples of modern leading men include Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, and Daniel Craig.

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