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 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
“ There never was quite an actor like THE MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES, he never has been and never will be topped in such an astounding method of acting. ” - www1125
From the late 1940s through 1961, he was the highly successful host of You Bet Your Life
a quiz show on radio and television. His son, Arthur Marx
, is a successful writer of biographies and TV scripts. Arthur complained about his father always being "on". If he asked Groucho about something serious or personal, Groucho would reply with one-liners.
“ Probably the wittiest man who ever lived, Groucho could spew out quick jokes that went along with anything you had to say, no matter what the subject was. ” - www1125
Long acknowledged as one of the best "straight men" in the business, Bud Abbott was born William Alexander Abbott in Asbury Park, New Jersey, to Rae (Fisher) and Harry Abbott, who had both worked for the Barnum and Bailey Circus. He himself worked in carnivals while still a child and dropped out of school in 1909...
“ Most certainly the greatest straight man in comedy history! ” - www1125
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 break into the movies...
“ You can't help but love Lou, the funniest man who ever lived! ” - www1125
Along with fellow actors Lon Chaney
, Bela Lugosi
and Vincent Price
, Boris Karloff is recognized as one of the true icons of horror cinema, and the actor most closely identified with the general public's perception of the "monster" from the classic Mary Shelley
book, "Frankenstein". William Henry Pratt was born on November 23...
“ Mostly regarded as a "horror" actor, but was an excellent actor as well, as proved with his over the top performance in THE LOST PATROL. ” - www1125
It's ironic that Martin Landau
won an Oscar for impersonating Bela Lugosi (in Ed Wood
) when Lugosi himself never came within a mile of one, but that's just the latest of many sad ironies surrounding Lugosi's career. Bela Lugosi was born Béla Ferenc Dezsö Blaskó on October 20, 1882, Lugos...
“ Very unique actor. His career went downhill in the latter part of his life, but he treated every role he played like it was going to win him an Academy Award. ” - www1125
Vivid, strikingly beautiful actress Anne Gwynne arrived in Hollywood a typical starry-eyed model looking to become a big film star and ended up one of Universal Studio's favorite screamers in "B" horror films. Born in Waco, Texas, but raised in Missouri, she first modeled Catalina swimwear and appeared in local community theater productions to gain experience...
“ Strikingly beautiful actress, deserved far better roles than she was given. She could be funny, a good girl, or a "meanie" as she herself put it. ” - www1125
From small-town Oklahoma native to internationally acclaimed actor and musician, Wes Studi credits his passion and multi-faceted background for his powerful character portrayals that forever changed a Hollywood stereotype. Within a few years of his arrival in Hollywood, Studi caught the attention of the public in Dances with Wolves
“ Excellent actor who always steals the show. Most notably in LAST OF THE MOHICANS ” - www1125
Actor, writer, and gourmet, Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. was born in St Louis, Missouri, to Marguerite Cobb (Wilcox) and Vincent Leonard Price, Sr., president of the National Candy Company. He traveled through Europe, studied at Yale and became an actor. He made his screen debut in 1938, and after many minor roles...
“ The "Versatile Villain", with his trademark voice, and witty acting style, he made a sadistic grin, and the occasional evil eye, and art form. ” - www1125
She was born Vina Fay Wray near Cardston, Alberta, Canada, on September 15, 1907. Fay was from a large family that included five siblings. She moved to Arizona when she was still small in order for her father to find better work than what was offered in Alberta. After moving again to California, her parents divorced...
“ One of the most under rated actresses, her acting talent was undeniable, but forever foreshadowed by her role in KING KONG. ” - www1125
Stan Laurel came from a theatrical family, his father was an actor and theatre manager, and he made his stage debut at the age of 16 at Pickard's Museum, Glasgow. He traveled with Fred Karno
's vaudeville company to the United States in 1910 and again in 1913. While with that company he was Charles Chaplin
“ With his childlike qualities that made him absolutely lovable, along with his trademark crying fits, Stan has taken his place as one of the greatest comics of all time. He also wrote many of the routines used in his films at the Hal Roach Studio. ” - www1125
Although his parents were never in show business, as a young boy Oliver Hardy was a gifted singer and, by age eight, was performing with minstrel shows. In 1910 he ran a movie theatre, which he preferred to studying law. In 1913 he became a comedy actor with the Lubin Company in Florida and began appearing in a long series of shorts; his debut film was Outwitting Dad
“ A unique straight man in every sense. Although he pushed his partner around all the time, you never got to where you were actually mad at him for it. You felt it was more like a tough love, brother relationship they had. ” - www1125
Lon Chaney Jr.
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...
“ A very under rated actor, who never escaped the shadow of his father, but always gave a terrific performance. ” - www1125
Evelyn Ankers, a beautiful movie actress who was a staple of Universal's horror films in the 1940s, was born in Chile to English parents in 1918. Her parents repatriated the family back to England in the 1920s, and it was in Old Blighty that Ankers developed a desire to become an actress. She began appearing in small roles in English movies in the mid-1930s while she was still in school...
“ The beautiful "Scream Queen" of the 1940s, was so much more than just a screamer. A terrific actress in every aspect. ” - www1125
Elegant, quintessentially English (although born in Northern Ireland) Valerie Hobson was the daughter of a British army officer. She studied dancing at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and appeared on the stage for the first time at age 16, but she contracted a case of scarlet fever and decided to give up dancing for acting...
“ Even when this beautiful actress was seventeen, first starting her film career, she had a natural talent that grabbed you. You wouldn't believe she was that young in those films, and she retained this talent throughout her career. ” - www1125
Peter was born in Rózsahegy, Hungary, to Alois and Elvira Löwenstein. He was educated in elementary and secondary schools in Vienna, Austria. He ran away from home when he was 17 and joined an improvised theater. In 1922, he worked as a bank clerk. Did bits with a company in Breslau, then secured a part in Galsworthy's "Society" in Zurich...
“ Far more than just a "horror" actor, he could do anything from drama, to mystery, to being hysterically funny. ” - www1125
Peter Wilton Cushing was born on May 26, 1913 in Kenley, Surrey, England, to Nellie Maria (King) and George Edward Cushing, a quantity surveyor. He and his older brother David were raised first in Dulwich Village, a south London suburb, and then later back in Surrey. At an early age, Cushing was attracted to acting...
“ No matter how evil his characters may be, he is always likable, with his gentlemanly voice, and acting style. He didn't fit with the time period he was born into, and that made his roles all the more enjoyable. ” - www1125
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was perhaps the only actor of his generation to have starred in so many films and cult saga. Although most notable for personifying bloodsucking vampire, Dracula, on screen, he portrayed other varied characters on screen, most of which were villains, whether it be Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film...
“ With an impressive film career behind him, this man of many talents goes on acting in many important films. Amazingly, he'd never thought about acting until he was an adult. ” - www1125
On October 14, 1942, Lionel Atwill was sentenced to five years' probation on a perjury conviction stemming from his grand jury testimony the previous year on a morals charge stemming from his showing pornographic movies to party goers at his home during his 1940 Christmas party. Atwill, the victim of an attempted shakedown...
“ Known as the king of mad scientists, he was so much more, and was a highlight to whatever film he was in. ” - www1125
At 22, George Zucco decided to begin his stage career in earnest in the Canadian provinces in 1908. In the course of the following decade, he also performed in an American vaudeville tour with his young wife, Frances, in a routine called "The Suffragette." As World War I grew in scale, Zucco returned to England to join the army...
“ One of the most under rated actors, he was such a professional in every film he was in. If you see his name in the credits, you know he won't disappoint. ” - www1125
Mel Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in WWII, and afterwards got a job playing the drums at nightclubs in the Catskills. Brooks eventually started a comedy act and also worked in radio and as Master Entertainer at Grossinger's Resort before going to television...
“ Truly gifted comedian. Knows how to take a very serious scene from a film, and turn it into the funniest moment in movie history. ” - www1125
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. Arriving in Los Angeles in 1927...
“ One of the most familiar faces in Hollywood history. He acted in films of every genre from the 30s to the 80s. ” - www1125
William Claude Rains, born in the Camberwell area of London, was the son of the British stage actor Frederick Rains. The younger Rains followed, making his stage debut at the age of eleven in "Nell of Old Drury." Growing up in the world of theater, he saw not only acting up close but the down-to-earth business end as well...
“ One of the best supporting stars of the 30s and 40s, he always steals the entire film without even trying to. ” - www1125
Charles Laughton was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England, to Eliza (Conlon) and Robert Laughton, hotel keepers of Irish and English descent. He was educated at Stonyhurst, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (received gold medal). His first appearance on stage was in 1926. Laughton formed own film company...
“ Certainly one of the most enjoyable actors, he hams up every film he's in, and totally gets away with it. Not many actors can boast that. ” - www1125
“ Very excellent actress, often cast as a villainess, and very good at it. She never achieved star billing that she deserved, but she's enjoyable in every film she's in. ” - www1125
Don Knotts, the legendary television character actor, was born Jesse Donald Knotts on July 21, 1924 in Morgantown, West Virginia, to William Jesse Knotts and the former Elsie L. Moore. He was the youngest of four sons in a family that had been in America since the 17th century. His first stint as an entertainer was as a ventriloquist...
“ Good ol' reliable Barney Fife! He was most known for his ability to cause hysterical laughter from the audience by simply acting nervous. ” - www1125
Funny man Tim Conway was born on December 15th, 1933 in Willoughby, Ohio. He was a fraternity man at Bowling Green State University, served in the army, and started his career working for a radio station. Conway got into comedy when he started writing and performing comedy skits between morning movies on CBS...
“ One of the funniest of the comedians Hollywood's had to offer over the years, whether he's goofing up the naval base on MCHALE'S NAVY, or failing miserably at being a dentist on THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, Conway always knows how to get a laugh, even from his co-stars. ” - www1125
Ernest Borgnine was born Ermes Effron Borgnino on January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut. His parents were Anna (Boselli), who had emigrated from Carpi (MO), Italy, and Camillo Borgnino, who had emigrated from Ottiglio (AL), Italy. As an only child, Ernest enjoyed most sports, especially boxing, but took no real interest in acting...
“ An actor of many talents. He's played both good and bad guys over the years, and each time he knows how to steal the show. He even won the award for Best Actor for the film MARTY, a movie that wasn't even expected to be successful. ” - www1125
Born in Iowa, Betty May Adams grew up in Arkansas and made her acting debut in a third grade play, "Hansel and Gretel". When she grew up and decided to become an actress, she moved to California, where she worked three days a week as a secretary (to support herself) and spent the remainder of her time taking speech lessons and making the rounds at the various studios' casting departments...
“ Very talented and lovely actress, who despite her undeniable talent, will always be remembered for one film, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. ” - www1125
“ Very funny character actor, best known for his roles in DEEP RISING, THE MUMMY, and VAN HELSING. ” - www1125
Timothy Allen Dick was born on June 13, 1953, in Denver, Colorado, USA, to Martha Katherine (Fox) and Gerald M. Dick. His father, a real-estate salesman, was killed in a collision with a drunk driver while driving his family home from a University of Colorado football game, when Tim was eleven years old...
“ Best remembered as "The Tool Man", he boasts fans of all ages, and knows how to get a laugh. ” - www1125