Idris Elba

A versatile actor who boasts a second career as a disc jockey and hip-hop recording artist, Idris Elba was born Sept. 6, 1972, in London. He left school at 16 after joining the National Youth Music Theatre and paid his bills in part by spinning records inside London clubs at night.

Although Elba is a familiar face in Britain thanks to his work on the soap opera "Family Affairs" and the vampire serial "Ultraviolet," in the United States, he's best known for his starring role on the acclaimed HBO drama "The Wire" (2002-04). He also played Steve Carell's no-nonsense boss during a short guest run on the American version of "The Office" in 2009.

In 2010, Elba earned his first Golden Globe nod in the title role of the BBC crime drama "Luther," portraying a homicide detective recovering from a nervous breakdown. He also co-produced a track on rapper Jay-Z's concept album "American Gangster."