500 Legendary Old Hollywood Actors

by jordanhores | created - 13 Mar 2016 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public

The greatest actors of the pre-60's, Hollywood's Golden Age. Here are all the actors worth mentioning from this era. There were some I had to exclude because they did not have a picture here on IMDB and there were also those who begun their career in the fifties but who made it big after 1960. Also not including actors only known best in television. Excluded AFI's 500 Stars:AnnaMagnani, AnnaNeagle, Annabella, BarbaraBelGeddes, BettyGarrett, DaleEvans, DanielleDarrieux, EstelleWinwood, FrancesFarmer, GeraldinePage, GracieFields, IreneWorth, JayneMansfield, JeanSeberg, JessicaTandy, KimHunter, LeeRemick, LilliPalmer, MercedesMcCambridge, RuthGordon, Divine, EmilJannings, GeneAutry, HaroldRussell, JerryLewis, JohnBelushi, JohnCassavetes, JohnGielgud, JohnHouseman, LaurenceHarvey, MaxVonSydow, PeterFinch, RaulJulia, RexHarrison, RobertShaw, RoyRogers, TabHunter & TrevorHoward

Should've been listed AFI's 500 Stars List=AnitaPage, AnneShirley, BettyBlythe, CaroleLandis, ClaireWindsor, DianaSerraCary, EdnaMayOliver, EllenDrew, EstelleTaylor, GladysGeorge, IreneHervey, JeanParker, KarenMorley, KimNovak, LeatriceJoy, LouiseFazenda, MaeBusch, MarcelineDay, MarieOsborne, VirginiaWeidler, AlbertDekker, BrockPeters, ChesterMorris, ClarenceMuse, FrancisLederer, FranklinPangborn, GuyKibbee, HarryDavenport, HenryTravers, JamesDunn, JeanHersholt, NobleJohnson, PaulNewman, RaymondGriffith, SZSakall, ThomasMeighan, WarrenWilliam & WilliamDemarest=&&

-Bio.com (156) -=New Hollywood Quotes *=Singer *FrankSinatra *PaulRobeson GregoryPeck WilliamMarshall JamesDean GrouchoMarx RonaldReagan ClintEastwood OrsonWelles GeorgeBurns *DeanMartin HumphreyBogart *DannyKaye PeterLawford ClarkGable^ LonChaney^ *BingCrosby LaurenceOlivier KirkDouglas GummoMarx *RoyRogers *SammyDavisJr BuddyEbsen YulBrynner *MickeyRooney^ AlecGuinness LloydBridges TyronePower WalterHuston^ SalMineo RayRalston JackLemmon OmarSharif BobNewhart BusterKeaton^ SidneyPoitier AnthonyQuinn TonyCurtis ClaytonMoore JackPalance JackBenny JimmyStewart PeterLorre^ BojanglesRobinson^ *ElvisPresley AudieMurphy JamesGarner *JimmyDurante^ JosephCotten *BobHope PeterSellers DonAmeche GlennFord *DickPowell RockHudson JohnHuston DonKnotts AnthonyPerkins DonaldO'Connor JackieGleason *GeneKelly PaulNewman SteveMcQueen JohnWayne^ DesiArnaz CaryGrant^ MarlonBrando RichardBurton RudolphValentino^ CharltonHeston LouCostello ErrolFlynn ChicoMarx ZeppoMarx EdmundGwenn GeorgeMurphy SydneyGreenstreet^ MaxSchreck BudAbbott HarpoMarx JonathanWinters ClaudeRains^ KarlMalden BurgessMeredith TonyRandall JohnCarradine TellySavalas LeeMarvin LeeJCobb WilliamHolden *FredAstaire EddieAlbert CesarRomero ErnestBorgnine RichardWidmark JoeyBishop FredMacMurray RoddyMcDowall *GeneAutry PeterUstinov SpencerTracy^ RodSteiger RedSkelton PhilSilvers FredricMarch^ EdwardGRobinson^ VincentPrice DavidNiven PaulMuni^ ZeroMostel TomMix^ *RobertMitchum WalterMatthau BelaLugosi^ HaroldLloyd^ OscarLevant CharlesLaughton BurtLancaster BorisKarloff^ *AlJolson^ *BurlIves *CarlosGardel MontgomeryClift HenryFonda WCFields^ DouglasFairbanksSr.^ OssieDavis HumeCronyn GaryCooper^ JackieCoogan^ RonaldColman^ *MauriceChavalier^ ArtCarney *HoagyCarmichael *EddieCantor^ *JamesCagney^ RaymondBurr WalterBrennan^ CharlesBoyer MiltonBerle LionelBarrymore^ JohnBarrymore^ JamesArness JackieCooper^ LonChaneyJr. AlanKing MoeHoward BruceCabot VictorMature RedButtons WoodyStrode WillRogers^ WilliamPowell^ JoseFerrer BasilRathbone^

1. Humphrey Bogart

Actor | Casablanca

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born in New York City, New York, to Maud Humphrey, a famed magazine illustrator and suffragette, and Belmont DeForest Bogart, a moderately wealthy surgeon (who was secretly addicted to opium). Bogart was educated at Trinity School, NYC, and was sent to Phillips Academy ...

2. Cary Grant

Actor | Charade

Once told by an interviewer, "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant", Grant is said to have replied, "So would I."

Cary Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach on January 18, 1904 in Horfield, Bristol, England, to Elsie Maria (Kingdon) and Elias James Leach, who worked in a factory. His early years...

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3. James Stewart

Actor | Anatomy of a Murder

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth Ruth (Johnson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. He was of Scottish, Ulster-Scots, and some English, descent. Stewart was educated at a local prep school, Mercersburg Academy, where he ...

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4. Marlon Brando

Actor | Apocalypse Now

Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in ...

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5. Fred Astaire

Actor | The Towering Inferno

Fred Astaire was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Johanna (Geilus) and Fritz Austerlitz, a brewer. Fred entered show business at age 5. He was successful both in vaudeville and on Broadway in partnership with his sister, Adele Astaire. After Adele retired to marry in 1932, Astaire headed to Hollywood. ...

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6. Henry Fonda

Actor | 12 Angry Men

Henry Jaynes Fonda was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, to Elma Herberta (Jaynes) and William Brace Fonda, who worked in advertising and printing. His recent ancestry included Dutch, English, and Scottish.

Fonda started his acting debut with the Omaha Community Playhouse, a local amateur theater ...

7. Clark Gable

Actor | It Happened One Night

William Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio, to Adeline (Hershelman) and William Henry Gable, an oil-well driller. He was of German, Irish, and Swiss-German descent. When he was seven months old, his mother died, and his father sent him to live with his maternal aunt and uncle ...

8. James Cagney

Actor | The Roaring Twenties

One of Hollywood's preeminent male stars of all time, James Cagney was also an accomplished dancer and easily played light comedy. James Francis Cagney was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, to Carolyn (Nelson) and James Francis Cagney, Sr., who was a bartender and amateur ...

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9. Spencer Tracy

Actor | Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Spencer Tracy was born four years after his brother Carroll to truck salesman John Edward and Caroline Brown Tracy. He attended Marquette Academy along with Pat O'Brien and the two left school to enlist in the Navy at the start of World War I. He was still at Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia at the ...

10. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

11. Gary Cooper

Actor | High Noon

Born to Alice Cooper and Charles Cooper (not in film business). Gary attended school at Dunstable school England, Helena Montana and Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa. His first stage experience was during high school and college. Afterwards, he worked as an extra for one year before getting a part in a...

12. Gregory Peck

Actor | To Kill a Mockingbird

Eldred Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916 in La Jolla, California, to Bernice Mary (Ayres) and Gregory Pearl Peck, a chemist and druggist in San Diego. He had Irish (from his paternal grandmother), English, and some German, ancestry. His parents divorced when he was five years old. An only ...

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13. John Wayne

Actor | True Grit

John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in Iowa, to Mary Alberta (Brown) and Clyde Leonard Morrison, a pharmacist. He was of English, Ulster-Scots, and Irish ancestry.

Clyde developed a lung condition that required him to move his family from Iowa to the warmer climate of southern California, ...

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14. Laurence Olivier

Actor | Sleuth

Laurence Olivier could speak William Shakespeare's lines as naturally as if he were "actually thinking them", said English playwright Charles Bennett, who met Olivier in 1927.

Laurence Kerr Olivier was born in Dorking, Surrey, England, to Agnes Louise (Crookenden) and Gerard Kerr Olivier, a High ...

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15. Gene Kelly

Soundtrack | Singin' in the Rain

Eugene Curran Kelly was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the third son of Harriet Catherine (Curran) and James Patrick Joseph Kelly, a phonograph salesman. His father was of Irish descent and his mother was of Irish and German ancestry.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the largest and most powerful studio in...

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16. Orson Welles

Actor | Citizen Kane

His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was six) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr. ...

17. Kirk Douglas

Actor | Spartacus

Cleft-chinned, steely-eyed and virile star of international cinema who rose from being "the ragman's son" (the name of his best-selling 1988 autobiography) to become a bona fide superstar, Kirk Douglas, also known as Issur Danielovitch Demsky, was born on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. ...

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18. James Dean

Actor | East of Eden

James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931 in Marion, Indiana, to Mildred Marie (Wilson) and Winton A. Dean, a farmer turned dental technician. His mother died when Dean was nine, and he was subsequently raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. After grade school, he moved to ...

19. Burt Lancaster

Actor | From Here to Eternity

Burt Lancaster, one of five children, was born in Manhattan, to Elizabeth (Roberts) and James Henry Lancaster, a postal worker. All of his grandparents were immigrants from Northern Ireland. He was a tough street kid who took an early interest in gymnastics. He joined the circus as an acrobat and ...

20. Chico Marx

Actor | A Night at the Opera

As a kid trying to negotiate his way through various gang territories to a floating crap game or a new pool hall where he was not yet known as a hustler, Leonard (Chico) Marx learned to fake several accents. Because he later employed an Italian accent in the Marx Brothers' act, people assumed his ...

21. Harpo Marx

Actor | A Night at the Opera

With the big, poofy, curly red hair, a top hat, and a horn, the lovable mute was the favorite of the Marx Brothers. Though chasing woman was a favorite routine of his in the movies, Harpo was a devoted father and husband. He adopted the mute routine in vaudeville and carried it over to the films. ...

22. Groucho Marx

Actor | A Night at the Opera

The bushy-browed, cigar-smoking wise-cracker with the painted-on moustache and stooped walk was the leader of The Marx Brothers. With one-liners that were often double entendres, Groucho never cursed in any of his performances and said he never wanted to be known as a dirty comic. With a great love...

23. John Barrymore

Actor | Twentieth Century

John Barrymore was born John Sidney Blyth on February 15, 1882 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An American stage and screen actor whose rise to superstardom and subsequent decline is one of the legendary tragedies of Hollywood. A member of the most famous generation of the most famous theatrical ...

24. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine ...

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25. Sidney Poitier

Actor | In the Heat of the Night

A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas (although born, two months prematurely, in Miami during a visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of farmers Evelyn (nee Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, who also drove a cab. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to...

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26. Robert Mitchum

Actor | Out of the Past

Robert Mitchum was an underrated American leading man of enormous ability, who sublimated his talents beneath an air of disinterest. He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Ann Harriet (Gunderson), a Norwegian immigrant, and James Thomas Mitchum, a shipyard/railroad worker. His father died in a ...

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27. Edward G. Robinson

Actor | Key Largo

Emanuel Goldenberg arrived in the United States from Romania at age ten, and his family moved into New York's Lower East Side. He took up acting while attending City College, abandoning plans to become a rabbi or lawyer. The American Academy of Dramatic Arts awarded him a scholarship, and he began ...

28. William Holden

Actor | Stalag 17

William Holden was born William Franklin Beedle, Jr. in O'Fallon, Illinois, to Mary Blanche (Ball), a schoolteacher, and William Franklin Beedle, Sr., an industrial chemist. He came from a wealthy family (the Beedles) that moved to Pasadena, California, when he was three. In 1937, while studying ...

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29. Paul Newman

Actor | The Hustler

Screen legend, superstar, and the man with the most famous blue eyes in movie history, Paul Leonard Newman was born on January 26, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio, the second son of Arthur Sigmund Newman (died 1950) and Theresa Fetsko (died 1982). His elder brother was , Arthur S. Newman Jr., named for ...

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30. William Powell

Actor | The Thin Man

William Powell was on the New York stage by 1912, but it would be ten years before his film career would begin. In 1924 he went to Paramount Pictures, where he was employed for the next seven years. During that time, he played in a number of interesting films, but stardom was elusive. He did ...

31. Fredric March

Actor | The Best Years of Our Lives

Fredric March began a career in banking but in 1920 found himself cast as an extra in films being produced in New York. He starred on the Broadway stage first in 1926 and would return there between screen appearances later on. He won plaudits (and an Academy Award nomination) for his send-up of ...

32. Montgomery Clift

Actor | From Here to Eternity

Edward Montgomery Clift (nicknamed 'Monty' his entire life) was born on October 17, 1920 in Omaha, Nebraska, just after his twin sister Roberta (1920-2014) and eighteen months after his brother Brooks Clift. He was the son of Ethel "Sunny" Anderson (Fogg; 1888-1988) and William Brooks Clift (1886-...

33. Lon Chaney

Actor | The Phantom of the Opera

Although his parents were deaf-mutes, Leonidas Chaney became an actor and also owner of a theatre company (together with his brother John). He made his debut at the movies in 1912, and his filmography is vast. Lon Chaney was especially famous for his horror parts in movies like e.g. Quasimodo in ...

34. John Garfield

Actor | Four Daughters

John Garfield was born Jacob Julius Garfinkle on the Lower East Side of New York City, to Hannah Basia (Margolis) and David Garfinkle, who were Jewish immigrants from Zhytomyr (now in Ukraine). Jules was raised by his father, a clothes presser and part-time cantor, after his mother's death in 1920,...

35. Douglas Fairbanks

Actor | Robin Hood

Douglas Fairbanks was born Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman in Denver, Colorado, to Ella Adelaide (nee Marsh) and Hezekiah Charles Ullman, an attorney and native of Pennsylvania, who was a captain for the Union forces during the Civil War. Fairbanks' paternal grandparents were German Jewish immigrants, ...

36. Alan Ladd

Actor | Shane

Alan Walbridge Ladd was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the only child of Ina Raleigh (aka Selina Rowley) and Alan Ladd, a freelance accountant. His mother was English, from County Durham, and his paternal grandparents were Canadian. His father died when he was four. At age five, he burned his ...

37. Paul Muni

Actor | Scarface

Paul Muni was born Sept. 22, 1895, in Lemberg, Austro-Hungarian Empire, to Salli and Phillip Weisenfreund, who were both professionals. His family was Jewish, and spoke Yiddish. Paul was educated in New York and Cleveland public schools. He was described as 5 feet 10 inches, with black hair and ...

38. Bob Hope

Actor | The Ghost Breakers

Comedian Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, London, England, the fifth of seven sons of Avis (Townes), light opera singer, and William Henry Hope, a stonemason from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. His maternal grandmother was Welsh. Hope moved to Bristol before emigrating with his parents...

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39. Robert Taylor

Actor | Quo Vadis

Born Spangler Arlington Brugh, Robert Taylor began displaying a diversity of talents in his youth on the plains of Nebraska. At Beatrice High School, he was a standout track athlete, but also showed a talent for using his voice, winning several oratory awards. He was a musician and played the cello...

40. Ronald Colman

Actor | Random Harvest

British leading man of primarily American films, one of the great stars of the Golden Age. Raised in Ealing, the son of a successful silk merchant, he attended boarding school in Sussex, where he first discovered amateur theatre. He intended to attend Cambridge and become an engineer, but his ...

41. Joel McCrea

Actor | Foreign Correspondent

One of the great stars of American Westerns, and a very popular leading man in non-Westerns as well. He was born and raised in the surroundings of Hollywood and as a boy became interested in the movies that were being made all around. He studied acting at Pomona College and got some stage ...

42. Charles Boyer

Actor | Gaslight

Charles Boyer studied philosophy before he went to the theater where he gave his debut in 1920. Although he had at first no intentions to pursue a career at the movies (his first movie was L'homme du large (1920) by Marcel L'Herbier) he used his chance in Hollywood after several filming stations ...

43. Frank Sinatra

Actor | The Manchurian Candidate

Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Italian immigrants Natalina Della (Garaventa), from Northern Italy, and Saverio Antonino Martino Sinatra, a Sicilian boxer, fireman, and bar owner. Growing up on the gritty streets of Hoboken made Sinatra determined to work hard to get ahead. ...

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44. John Gilbert

Actor | Downstairs

John Gilbert was born into a show-business family - his father was a comic with the Pringle Stock Company. By 1915 John was an extra with Thomas H. Ince's company and a lead player by 1917. In those days he was assistant director, actor or screenwriter. He also tried his hand at directing. By 1919 ...

45. Rock Hudson

Actor | Giant

Rock Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. in Winnetka, Illinois, to Katherine (Wood), a telephone operator, and Roy Harold Scherer, an auto mechanic. He was of German, Swiss-German, English, and Irish descent. His parents divorced when he was eight years old. He failed to obtain parts in school ...

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46. Mickey Rooney

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Mickey Rooney was born Joe Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. He first took the stage as a toddler in his parents vaudeville act at 17 months old. He made his first film appearance in 1926. The following year, he played the lead character in the first Mickey McGuire short film. ...

47. Errol Flynn

Actor | The Adventures of Robin Hood

Errol Flynn was born to parents Theodore Flynn, a respected biologist, and Marrelle Young, an adventurous young woman. Young Flynn was a rambunctious child who could be counted on to find trouble. Errol managed to have himself thrown out of every school he was enrolled in. In his late teens he set ...

48. Jack Lemmon

Actor | The Apartment

Jack Lemmon was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Mildred Lankford Noel and John Uhler Lemmon, Jr., the president of a doughnut company. His ancestry included Irish (from his paternal grandmother) and English. Jack attended Ward Elementary near his Newton, MA home. At age 9 he was sent to Rivers ...

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49. Rudolph Valentino

Actor | The Sheik

Hollywood's original Latin Lover, a term that was invented for Rudolph Valentino by Hollywood moguls. Alla Nazimova's friend,Natacha Rambova (nee Winifred Hudnut) became romantically involved with Rudy and they lived together in her bungalow, from 1921 (during the filming of Camille) until they ...

50. Anthony Quinn

Actor | Alexis Zorbas

Anthony Quinn was born Antonio Rudolfo Oaxaca Quinn on April 21, 1915, in Chihuahua, Mexico, to Manuela (Oaxaca) and Francisco Quinn, who became an assistant cameraman at a Los Angeles (CA) film studio. His paternal grandfather was Irish, and the rest of his family was Mexican. After starting life ...

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51. Steve McQueen

Actor | The Great Escape

He was the ultra-cool male film star of the 1960s, and rose from a troubled youth spent in reform schools to being the world's most popular actor. Over 25 years after his untimely death from mesothelioma in 1980, Steve McQueen is still considered hip and cool, and he endures as an icon of popular ...

52. James Mason

Actor | Lolita

James Mason was a great English actor of British and American films. He was born in Yorkshire, and attended Marlborough and Cambridge, where he discovered acting on a lark, and abandoned a planned career as an architect. Following work in stock companies, he joined the Old Vic under the guidance of...

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53. Bing Crosby

Actor | White Christmas

Bing Crosby was born Harry Lillis Crosby, Jr. in Tacoma, Washington, the fourth of seven children of Catherine Helen "Kate" (Harrigan) and Harry Lowe Crosby, a brewery bookkeeper. He was of English and Irish descent. Crosby studied law at Gonzaga University in Spokane but was more interested in ...

54. Bud Abbott

Actor | Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein

Long acknowledged as one of the best "straight men" in the business, Bud Abbott was born William Alexander Abbott in Reading, Pennsylvania to Rae (Fisher) and Harry Abbott, who had both worked for the Barnum and Bailey Circus. When Bud was three his family moved to Asbury Park, New Jersey, which he...

55. Lou Costello

Actor | Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein

Lou Costello was born Louis Francis Cristillo in Paterson, New Jersey, to Helen (Rege) and Sebastiano Cristillo. His father was from Calabria, Italy, and his mother was an American of Italian, French, and Irish ancestry. Raised in Paterson, Costello dropped out of high school and headed west to ...

56. Brian Aherne

Actor | Juarez

Brian Aherne was an Oscar-nominated Anglo-American stage and screen actor who was one of the top cinema character actors in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Born on May 2, 1902 in King's Norton, Worcestshire, England, Aherne performed as an actor as a child. At age 18 he made his debut as an adult with ...

57. Don Ameche

Actor | Cocoon

Don Ameche was a versatile and popular American film actor in the 1930s and '40s, usually as the dapper, mustached leading man. He was also popular as a radio master of ceremonies during this time. As his film popularity waned in the 1950s, he continued working in theater and some TV. His film ...

58. Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

The son of a minstrel and circus tightrope walker, Eddie Anderson developed a gravel voice early in life which would become his trademark to fame. He joined his older brother Cornelius as members of "The Three Black Aces" during his vaudeville years, singing for pennies in the hotel lobby. He ...

59. Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson

Director | The Infant at Snakeville

American actor-director-writer-producer Gilbert M. Anderson, father of the movie cowboy and the first Western star, was born Maxwell Henry Aronson in Little Rock, Arkansas. His parents, Esther (Ash) and Henry Aronson, were from New York. His father was from a German Jewish family, and his mother ...

60. Dana Andrews

Actor | Laura

American leading man of the 1940s and 1950s, Dana Andrews was born Carver Dana Andrews on New Years Day 1909 on a farmstead outside Collins, Covington County, Mississippi. One of thirteen children, including fellow actor Steve Forrest, he was a son of Annis (Speed) and Charles Forrest Andrews, a ...

61. Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle

Actor | The Butcher Boy

Roscoe Arbuckle, one of nine children, was the baby of the family who weighed a reported 16 pounds at birth. Born in Smith Center, Kansas, on March 24, 1887, his family moved to California when he was a year old. At age eight he appeared on the stage. His first part was with the Webster-Brown Stock...

62. George Arliss

Actor | Disraeli

One of the oldest actors on the screen in the 1920s and 1930s, George Arliss starred on the London stage from an early age. He came to the United States and starred in several films, but it was his role as British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in Disraeli (1929) that brought him his greatest ...

63. Louis Armstrong

Actor | High Society

Louis Armstrong grew up poor in a single-parent household. He was 13 when he celebrated the New Year by running out on the street and firing a pistol that belonged to the current man in his mother's life. At the Colored Waifs Home for Boys, he learned to play the bugle and the clarinet and joined ...

64. Edward Arnold

Actor | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Edward Arnold was born as Gunther Edward Arnold Schneider in 1890, on the Lower East Side of New York City, the son of German immigrants, Elizabeth (Ohse) and Carl Schneider. Arnold began his acting career on the New York stage and became a film actor in 1916. A burly man with a commanding style ...

65. Albert Dekker

Actor | The Wild Bunch

A stage actor from 1927, Albert Dekker was an established Broadway star when he made his film debut ten years later. Tall and with rugged good looks, he often played aggressive character roles, a prime example being his double-crossing gang leader in the classic The Killers (1946). From 1944-46 he ...

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66. Lew Ayres

Actor | Holiday

Lew Ayres was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and raised in San Diego, California. A college dropout, he was found by a talent scout in the Coconut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles and entered Hollywood as a bit player. He was leading man to Greta Garbo in The Kiss (1929), but it was the role of Paul ...

67. Lionel Barrymore

Actor | Key Largo

Famed actor, composer, artist, author and director. His talents extended to the authoring of the novel "Mr. Cartonwine: A Moral Tale" as well as his autobiography. In 1944, he joined ASCAP, and composed "Russian Dances", "Partita", "Ballet Viennois", "The Woodman and the Elves", "Behind the Horizon...

68. Richard Barthelmess

Actor | Only Angels Have Wings

Richard Barthelmess was born into a theatrical family in which his mother was an actress. While attending Trinity College in Connecticut, he began appearing in stage productions. While on vacation in 1916, a friend of his mother, actress Alla Nazimova, offered him a part in War Brides (1916), and ...

69. William Bendix

Actor | Lifeboat

William Bendix was not a son of Brooklyn, New York, although because of his stereotypical "Brooklyn accent" it has been widely supposed that he was. Bendix was actually born in the Borough of Manhattan (New York City proper), in a midtown flat hard by the tracks of the long-since defunct ...

70. Jack Benny

Actor | The Jack Benny Program

The son of a saloon keeper, Jack Benny (born Benny Kubelsky) began to study the violin at the age six, and his "ineptness" at it, would later become his trademark (in reality, he was a very accomplished player). When given the opportunity to play in live theatre professionally, Benny quit school ...

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71. Edgar Bergen

Actor | Fun & Fancy Free

Edgar Bergen was born on February 16, 1903 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Edgar John Berggren. He was an actor, known for Fun and Fancy Free (1947), The Muppet Movie (1979) and Letter of Introduction (1938). He was married to Frances Bergen. He died on September 30, 1978 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

72. Milton Berle

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Milton Berle was born Milton Berlinger on July 12, 1908, in New York City, to Sarah (Glantz) and Moses Berlinger, a paint and varnish salesman. He was educated at New York Professional Children's School and began performing at age 5. His first stage appearance was in "Florodora" in Atlantic City, ...

73. Ray Bolger

Actor | The Wizard of Oz

Ray Bolger was born Raymond Wallace Bolger on January 10, 1904 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, to Anne C. (Wallace) and James Edward Bolger, both Irish-Americans. Ray began his career in vaudeville. He was half of a team called "Sanford and Bolger" and also did numerous Broadway shows on his own. ...

74. Ward Bond

Actor | The Quiet Man

Gruff, burly American character actor. Born in 1903 in Benkelman, Nebraska (confirmed by Social Security records; sources stating 1905 or Denver, Colorado are in error.) Bond grew up in Denver, the son of a lumberyard worker. He attended the University of Southern California, where he got work as ...

75. William Boyd

Actor | Call of the Prairie

The son of a day laborer, William Boyd moved with his family to Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he was seven. His parents died while he was in his early teens, forcing him to quit school and take such jobs as a grocery clerk, surveyor and oil field worker. He went to Hollywood in 1919, already gray-haired. ...

76. Eddie Bracken

Actor | Hail the Conquering Hero

This owl-faced comic actor enjoyed his first featured film role in the RKO production Too Many Girls (1940), in which he reprised the role of "JoJo Jordan" that he had played in the Broadway stage version of that musical. (Into the pantheon of pop-music standards came one that Bracken had ...

77. Walter Brennan

Actor | Red River

In many ways the most successful and familiar character actor of American sound films and the only actor to date to win three Oscars for Best Supporting Actor, Walter Brennan attended college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, studying engineering. While in school he became interested in acting and ...

78. Lloyd Bridges

Actor | Airplane!

The star of many land and underwater adventures, Lloyd Vernet Bridges, Jr. was born on January 15, 1913 in San Leandro, California, to Harriet Evelyn (Brown) and Lloyd Vernet Bridges, Sr., who owned a movie theater and also worked in the hotel business. He grew up in various Northern California ...

79. Joe E. Brown

Actor | Some Like It Hot

Joe E. Brown happily claimed that he was the only youngster in show business who ran way from home to join the circus with the blessings of his parents. In 1902, the ten-year-old Brown joined a circus tumbling act called the Five Marvellous Ashtons, which toured various circuses and vaudeville ...

80. Yul Brynner

Actor | The Ten Commandments

Exotic leading man of American films, famed as much for his completely bald head as for his performances, Yul Brynner masked much of his life in mystery and outright lies designed to tease people he considered gullible. It was not until the publication of the books "Yul: The Man Who Would Be King" ...

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81. George Burns

Actor | Oh, God!

George Burns was born on January 20, 1896 in New York City, New York, USA as Nathan Birnbaum. He was an actor and producer, known for Oh, God! (1977), Going in Style (1979) and The Sunshine Boys (1975). He was married to Gracie Allen and Hannah Siegel. He died on March 9, 1996 in Beverly Hills, Los...

82. Richard Burton

Actor | Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Probably best-remembered for his turbulent personal life with Elizabeth Taylor (whom he married twice), Richard Burton was nonetheless also regarded as an often brilliant British actor of the post-WWII period.

Burton was born Richard Walter Jenkins in 1925 into a Welsh (Cymraeg)-speaking family in ...

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83. Francis X. Bushman

Actor | Sabrina

Francis X. Bushman was born on January 10, 1883 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA as Francis Xavier Bushman. He was an actor and director, known for Sabrina (1954), Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) and Romeo and Juliet (1916). He was married to Iva Millicient Richardson, Norma Emily Atkin, Beverly ...

84. Eddie Cantor

Soundtrack | Kid Millions

Singer, songwriter ("Merrily We Roll Along"), comedian, author and actor, educated in public schools. He made his first public appearance in Vaudeville in 1907 at New York's Clinton Music Hall, then became a member of the Gus Edwards Gang, later touring vaudeville with Lila Lee as the team Cantor &...

85. John Carradine

Actor | The Grapes of Wrath

John Carradine, the son of a reporter/artist and a surgeon, grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. He attended Christ Church School and Graphic Art School, studying sculpture, and afterward roamed the South selling sketches. He made his acting debut in "Camille" in a New Orleans theatre in 1925. ...

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86. Leo G. Carroll

Actor | North by Northwest

One of the most indispensable of character actors, Leo G. Carroll was already involved in the business of acting as a schoolboy in Gilbert & Sullivan productions. Aged 16, he portrayed an old man in 'Liberty Hall'. In spite of the fact, that he came from a military family, and , perhaps, because of...

87. Jack Carson

Actor | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

When Jack Carson arrived in Hollywood in 1937, he found work at RKO as an extra. His first major acting role came alongside Humphrey Bogart in the romantic comedy Stand-In (1937). After a few years, he developed into a popular character actor who would be seen in a large number of comedies, ...

88. Lon Chaney Jr.

Actor | High Noon

American character actor whose career was influenced (and often overshadowed) by that of his father, silent film star Lon Chaney. The younger Chaney was born while his parents were on a theatrical tour, and he joined them onstage for the first time at the age of six months. However, as a young man,...

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89. Maurice Chevalier

Soundtrack | The Love Parade

Maurice Chevalier's first working job was as an acrobat, until a serious accident ended that career. He turned his talents to singing and acting, and made several short films in France. During World War I he enlisted in the French army. He was wounded in battle, captured and placed in a POW camp by...

90. Lee J. Cobb

Actor | 12 Angry Men

Lee J. Cobb, one of the premier character actors in American film for three decades in the post-World War II period, was born Leo Jacoby in New York City's Lower East Side on December 8, 1911. The son of a Jewish newspaper editor, young Leo was a child prodigy in music, mastering the violin and the...

91. Charles Coburn

Actor | The More the Merrier

A cigar-smoking, monocled, swag-bellied character actor known for his Old South manners and charm. In 1918 he and his first wife formed the Coburn Players and appeared on Broadway in many plays. With her death in 1937, he accepted a Hollywood contract and began making films at the age of sixty.

92. Jackie Coogan

Actor | The Kid

Jackie Coogan was born into a family of vaudevillians where his father was a dancer and his mother had been a child star. On the stage by four, Jackie was touring at the age of five with his family in Los Angeles, California.

While performing on the stage, he was spotted by Charles Chaplin, who then...

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93. Jackie Cooper

Actor | Superman

Jackie Cooper was born John Cooper in Los Angeles, California, to Mabel Leonard, an Italian-American stage pianist, and John Cooper. Through his mother, he was the nephew of actress Julie Leonard, screenwriter Jack Leonard, and (by marriage) director Norman Taurog. Jackie served with the Navy in ...

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94. Joseph Cotten

Actor | The Third Man

Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Jr. was born in Petersburg, Virginia, into a well-to-do Southern family. He was the eldest of three sons born to Sally Whitworth (Willson) and Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Sr., an assistant postmaster.

Jo (as he was known) and his brothers Whit and Sam spent their summers at their...

95. Buster Crabbe

Actor | Buck Rogers

Buster Crabbe graduated from the University of Southern California. In 1931, while working on That's My Boy (1932) for Columbia Pictures, he was tested by MGM for Tarzan and rejected. Paramount Pictures put him in King of the Jungle (1933) as Kaspa, the Lion Man (after a book of that title but ...

96. Broderick Crawford

Actor | All the King's Men

Broderick Crawford is best remembered for two roles: his Oscar-winning turn as Willie Stark in All the King's Men (1949), and as Chief Dan Mathews on the syndicated TV series Highway Patrol (1955). He was also memorable as Judy Holliday's boisterous boyfriend in Born Yesterday (1950).

He was born ...

97. Hume Cronyn

Actor | Cocoon

Hume Cronyn was born on July 18, 1911 in London, Ontario, Canada as Hume Blake Cronyn Jr. He was an actor and producer, known for Cocoon (1985), Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and *batteries not included (1987). He was married to Susan Cooper, Jessica Tandy and Emily Woodruff. He died on June 15, 2003 in...

98. Robert Cummings

Actor | Dial M for Murder

Effective light comedian of '30s and '40s films and '50s and '60s TV series, Robert Cummings was renowned for his eternally youthful looks (which he attributed to a strict vitamin and health-food diet). He was educated at Carnegie Tech and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Deciding that ...

99. Tony Curtis

Actor | Some Like It Hot

Tony Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz, the eldest of three children of Helen (Klein) and Emanuel Schwartz, Jewish immigrants from Hungary. Curtis himself admits that while he had almost no formal education, he was a student of the "school of hard knocks" and learned from a young age that the only ...

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100. Dan Dailey

Actor | You're My Everything

Born in New York City, Dan Dailey started his career in vaudeville, later making his Broadway debut in the stage version of "Babes in Arms".

When signed to MGM, the studio initially casted him as a Nazi in The Mortal Storm (1940). The studio realized their mistake and cast him in musical films, ...



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