Pre-Stardom: Depp was 21 when he got swallowed by a demonic bed in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. A year later, he starred in the spring break flick Private Resort, remembered today only because of the actor’s quick flash of bare bottom.
Breakthrough: Fox’s 21 Jump Street. Who would have thought he’d still be gracing magazine covers 17 years later? The then 24-year-old could have been just another passing teen idol, but Depp had bigger plans. “I think it occurred to him that Marlon Brando was never on the cover of Teen Beat,” says series co-creator Stephen J. Cannell.
The Follow-Up: Depp moved beyond the pages of teenybopper rags with 1990’s Edward Scissorhands and has since fashioned a career that’s the envy of every take-me-seriously hunk in Hollywood. Now he’s a best actor Oscar nominee—for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.