Top 20 Performances of 1951

by Aunt-Peg | created - 01 Oct 2011 | updated - 01 Oct 2011 | Public

These are my top 20 performances listed in order for each category (lead actor, lead actress, supporting actor & supporting actress).

1. 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 and eighteen months after his brother Brooks Clift. He was the son of Ethel "Sunny" Anderson (Fogg) and William Brooks Clift. His father made a lot of ...

in From Here to Eternity (best performance by an actor in a lead role 1951)

2. 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 ...

in A Streetcar Named Desire (2nd choice)

3. 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...

in Pandora and the Flying Englishman (3rd choice)

4. Alastair Sim

Actor | Scrooge

The son of Alexander Sim JP and Isabella McIntyre, Alastair Sim was educated in Edinburgh. Always interested in language (especially the spoken word) he became the Fulton Lecturer in Elocution at New College, Edinburgh University from 1925 until 1930. He was invited back and became the Rector of ...

in A Christmas Carol (4th choice)

5. Arthur Kennedy

Actor | Lawrence of Arabia

Arthur Kennedy, one of the premier character actors in American film from the late 1940s through the early 1960s, achieved fame in the role of Biff in Elia Kazan's historic production of Arthur Miller's Pultizer-Prize winning play "Death of a Salesman." Although he was not selected to recreate the ...

in Bright Victory (5th choice)

6. Vivien Leigh

Actress | A Streetcar Named Desire

If a film were made of the life of Vivien Leigh, it would open in India just before World War I, where a successful British businessman could live like a prince. In the mountains above Calcutta, a little princess is born. Because of the outbreak of World War I, she is six years old the first time ...

in A Streetcar Named Desire (best performance by an actress in a lead role 1951)

7. Anna Magnani

Actress | The Rose Tattoo

Anna Magnani was born in Rome, Italy (not in Egypt, as some biographies claim), on March 7, 1908. She was the illegitimate child of Marina Magnani and an unknown father, often said to be from Alexandria, Egypt, but whom Anna herself claimed was from the Calabria region of Italy although she never ...

in Bellissima (2nd choice)

8. Shelley Winters

Actress | The Poseidon Adventure

Shelley Winters was born Shirley Schrift of very humble beginnings on August 18, 1920 (some sources list 1922) in East St. Louis, Illinois. Her mother, Rose (Winter), was born in Missouri, to Austrian Jewish parents, and her father, Jonas Schrift, was an Austrian Jewish immigrant. Her father moved ...

in A Place in the Sun (3rd choice)

9. Ava Gardner

Actress | The Night of the Iguana

Ava Lavina Gardner was born on December 24, 1922 in Grabtown, North Carolina, to Mary Elizabeth (née Baker) and Jonas Bailey Gardner. Born on a tobacco farm, where she got her lifelong love of earthy language and going barefoot, Ava grew up in the rural South. At age 18, her picture in the window ...

in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (4th choice)

10. Thelma Ritter

Actress | Rear Window

Thelma Ritter appeared in high school plays and was trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In the 1940s she worked in radio. Her movie career was started with a bit part in the 1946 Miracle on 34th Street (1947). In the movie she played a weary Xmas shopper. Her performance in the short ...

in The Model and the Marriage Broker (5th choice)

11. Robert Walker

Actor | Strangers on a Train

He possessed the same special brand of rebel/misfit sensitivity and charm that made superstars out of John Garfield and (later) James Dean and Montgomery Clift. In the war-torn 1940s, Robert Walker represented MGM's fresh, instinctive breed of up-and-coming talent. His boyish good looks combined ...

in Strangers on a Train (best performance by an actor in a supporting role 1951)

12. John Charlesworth

Actor | Scrooge

John Charlesworth was born on November 12, 1935 in Hull, England. He was an actor, known for A Christmas Carol (1951), Tom Brown's Schooldays (1951) and The Children of the New Forest (1955). He died on April 2, 1960 in Birmingham, England.

in Tom Brown's School Days (2nd choice)

13. Henry Nakamura

Actor | Athena

Henry Nakamura is an actor, known for Athena (1954), Lafayette Escadrille (1958) and Westward the Women (1951).

in Westward the Women (3rd choice)

14. Will Geer

Actor | The Waltons

Will Geer was born William Aughe Ghere in Frankfort, Indiana, to Katherine (Aughe), a teacher, and Roy Aaron Ghere, a postal worker. Will admired his grandfather, a man who said hello to trees by their Latin names and who had used what he brought back to Indiana from the California gold rush to ...

in Bright Victory (4th choice)

15. Keenan Wynn

Actor | Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

The talented scion of a show-business family, Keenan Wynn's father was the great burlesque and television buffoon Ed Wynn while his maternal grandfather, Frank Keenan, earned distinction on the other side of the entertainment ladder as a Shakespearean tragedian. Mother Hilda Keenan was also a minor...

in Kind Lady (5th choice)

16. Hope Emerson

Actress | Caged

Although there may have been "bigger" actresses in Hollywood's history, there were few "larger" than Hope Emerson. At 6' 2" and 230 pounds, she towered over many of her male co-stars, and her size, brusque voice and stern demeanor typed her for a career in villainous roles, such as her star turn as...

in Westward the Women (best performance by an actress in a supporting role 1951)

17. Nancy Kulp

Actress | The Beverly Hillbillies

Nancy Kulp wore many hats: Publicity person, actress, linguist, would-be politician and teacher. Originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Kulp attended college in Florida, then headed for Hollywood to work in publicity for the movies, not star in them. Soon after arriving in Hollywood, Kulp was ...

in The Model and the Marriage Broker (2nd choice)

18. Kim Hunter

Actress | A Streetcar Named Desire

Her father, Donald Cole, was a consulting engineer, and died in 1926 when Kim was only 3 years old. Her mother, Grace Lind, once performed as a concert pianist. She had one brother who was eight years older than she, and she was educated at Miami Beach High.

According to an in-depth article on Kim ...

in A Streetcar Named Desire (3rd choice)

19. Peggy Dow

Actress | Harvey

This Universal-International player had the beauty, brains and talent to go the distance, only to surprise herself by choosing marriage and family over her career. Now remembered more for her charitable work than her Hollywood roles, pretty and wholesome blonde Peggy Dow was christened Peggy ...

in Bright Victory (4th choice)

20. Thelma Ritter

Actress | Rear Window

Thelma Ritter appeared in high school plays and was trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In the 1940s she worked in radio. Her movie career was started with a bit part in the 1946 Miracle on 34th Street (1947). In the movie she played a weary Xmas shopper. Her performance in the short ...

in The Mating Season (5th choice)