Triple threat. While nowadays in Hollywood this phrase refers to a writer-actor-director, back in the Golden Age of Film performers were expected to sing, dance and act with equal ability. Today if you look west of Broadway, such multifaceted talents are few and far between.
But they do exist. We've narrowed things down to three actors who can portray a bona fide tough guy with panache but who have been known to sing and dance proficiently.
First, Hugh Jackman. This performer has become the epitome of the modern day triple threat. Jackman was the subject of Oscar talk for his performance in Les Miserables. As a tough guy, he gained huge fanboy base as the brooding Wolverine in the X-Men film franchise. He'll reprise this popular role in The Wolverine, due out this year.
Up next, John Travolta. Already a household name with his song and dance performances in Grease and Saturday Night Fever, it wasn't until the '90's when Quentin Tarantino revived Travolta's career with his tough guy role in Pulp Fiction.
Ever-versatile, in 2007 John Travolta showed up in drag as Edna Turnblad in Shampoo and reminded a new generation that the actor was a superlative song and dance man. His partner in terpsachore? Christopher Walken, a fabulous hoofer who can be one tough customer, as he demonstrated in the 2012 fiilm Stand Up Guys.
This list wouldn't be complete without Patrick Swayze. When he pulled Baby out of corner he made movie history as the Catskills dance instructor Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing. Swayze earned his tough guy street creds for his back to back roles in Road House and Point Break.
While they probably couldn't shoot straight, Fred Astaire and Maurice Chevalier certainly were traditional Hollywood triple threats.
Watch Astaire pull his best moves in Royal Wedding. Then watch Chevalier put a Gallic spin on things in Black Tights.
Movie Watch will tell you when you may enjoy these full-blown classic triple threat musicals.