50 Cent

Rapper-turned-actor-turned-entrepreneur Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson not only typified the street thug persona in his music and film roles, he actually came from the New York streets where he sold crack, robbed street corner rivals and escaped attempts on his life. But without his checkered past, which he routinely mined for lyrics and self-promotion, Jackson might not have become a top-selling artist. As it turned out, Jackson parlayed his huge musical success into business ventures as a producer and founder of clothing and shoe lines. It was natural that the popular performer would try his hand at acting, and his first major outing in the fact-based autobiography "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" (2005) was a moderate box office hit. He stuck close to home with follow-up roles as violent characters who have run-ins with the law in the Iraq War drama "Home of the Brave" (2007) and "Righteous Kill" (2008). While his music career went on hold due to ongoing disagreements with his label, 50 Cent started to become better known for his acting than his rapping.