Part two of my list of the best actors never nominated for a Oscar. This list is of actors who sadly have past away. No particular order except for the first one.
Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson arrived in the United States 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 work in stock...
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 aunt and uncle's home at Virginia Beach...
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 experience at the Pasadena Community Playhouse...
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 an...
Raul Julia was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Olga Arcelay, a mezzo-soprano singer, and Raúl Juliá, an electrical engineer. He graduated from Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola High School in San Juan. Here he studied the rigorous classical curriculum of the Jesuits and was always active in student dramatics...
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...
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 family in America, he was also its most acclaimed star. His father was Maurice Blyth (or Blythe; family spellings vary)...
In Britain, special Christmas plays called pantomimes are produced for children. Jack Hawkins made his London theatrical debut at age 12, playing the elf king in "Where The Rainbow Ends". At 17, he got the lead role of St. George in the same play. At 18, he made his debut on Broadway in "Journey's End"...
Warren Oates was an American character actor of the 1960s and 1970s and early 1980s whose distinctive style and intensity brought him to offbeat leading roles. Oates was born in Depoy, a very small Kentucky town. He was the son of Sarah Alice (Mercer) and Bayless Earle Oates, a general store owner...
Harvard-educated stage and screen actor Richard Jordan was born into a socially prominent family on July 19, 1937 in New York City, the grandson of Learned Hand
, the greatest American jurist never to have served on the U.S. Supreme Court. Newbold Morris, his stepfather, was a member of the New York City Council during Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia
Highly influential, and always controversial, African-American actor/comedian who was equally well known for his colorful language during his live comedy shows, as for his fast paced life, multiple marriages and battles with drug addiction. He has been acknowledged by many modern comic artist's as a key influence on their careers...
Candy was one of Canada's greatest and funniest character actors. His well-known role as the big hearted buffoon earned him classics in Uncle Buck
and Planes, Trains & Automobiles
. His career has handed him some dry spells but Candy always rebounded. Born in Newmarket, Ontario, in the year 1950, Candy was the son of Evangeline (Aker) and Sidney James Candy...
George Macready--the name probably doesn't ring any bells for most but the voice would be unmistakable. He attended and graduated from Brown University and had a short stint as a New York newspaperman, but became interested in acting on the advice of colorful Polish émigré classical stage director Richard Boleslawski
Handsome leading man who developed into one of Hollywood's greatest and most popular western stars. Born to George and Lucy Crane Scott during a visit to Virginia, Scott was raised in Charlotte, North Carolina in a wealthy family. He attended Georgia Institute of Technology but, after being injured playing football...
Fred MacMurray was likely the most underrated actor of his generation. True, his earliest work is mostly dismissed as pedestrian, but no other actor working in the 1940s and 50s was able to score so supremely whenever cast against type. Frederick Martin MacMurray was born in Kankakee, Illinois, to Maleta Martin and Frederick MacMurray...
Balding, quietly-spoken, of slight build and possessed of piercing blue eyes -- often peering out from behind round, steel-rimmed glasses -- Donald Pleasence had the necessary physical attributes which make a great screen villain. In the course of his lengthy career, he relished playing the obsessed...
Born to George & Frances Simonson Walter, and named Sterling Relyea Walter. Father died in 1925. Adopted by stepfather 'James Hayden' renamed Sterling Walter Hayden. Grew up in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and Maine. Though very poor, attended prep school at Wassookeag School in Dexter...
The archetypal screen tough guy with weatherbeaten features--one film critic described his rugged looks as "a Clark Gable
who had been left out in the sun too long"--Charles Bronson was born Charles Buchinsky, one of 15 children of struggling parents in Pennsylvania. His mother, Mary (Valinsky)...
Zero Mostel was born Samuel Joel Mostel on February 28, 1915 in Brooklyn, New York, one of eight children of an Orthodox Jewish family. Raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the young Zero, known as Sammy, developed his talent for painting and drawing at art classes provided by the Educational Alliance...
Murray Hamilton was one of those character actors whose face would be familiar to most movie buffs at an instant, yet his name may not. That's a shame, because Hamilton was one of the most versatile and prolific of performers who was never anything less than completely convincing in any role he took on...
An athlete turned actor, Strode was a top-notch decathlete and a football star at UCLA. He became part of Hollywood lore after meeting director John Ford
and becoming a part of the Ford "family," appearing in four Ford motion pictures. Strode also played the powerful gladiator who does battle with Kirk Douglas
American character actor who achieved considerable fame in the last decade of his life. A native of Kokomo, Indiana, Strother Martin Jr. was the youngest of three children of Strother Douglas Martin, a machinist, and Ethel Dunlap Martin. His family moved soon after his birth to San Antonio, Texas, but quickly returned to Indiana...
Harvey Korman was a lanky, popular TV comedy veteran with a flair for broad comic characterizations, who shone for a decade as leading man and second banana par excellence on The Carol Burnett Show
but failed to find much success in his own projects. Harvey Herschel Korman was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Ellen (Blecher) and Cyril Raymond Korman...
James Gandolfini was born in Westwood, New Jersey, to Santa (Penna), a high school lunchlady, and James Joseph Gandolfini, Sr., a bricklayer and head school janitor. His parents were both of Italian origin. Gandolfini began acting in the New York theater. His Broadway debut was in the 1992 revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire" with Jessica Lange
and Alec Baldwin
Richard Allen Boone was born in Los Angeles, California, to Cecile Lillian (Beckerman) and Kirk Etna Boone, a wealthy corporate lawyer. His maternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants, while his father was descended from a brother of frontiersmen Daniel Boone and Squire Boone. Richard was a college student...
Legendary actor Glenn Ford was born Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford in Sainte-Christine-d'Auvergne, Quebec, Canada, to Hannah Wood (Mitchell) and Newton Ford, a railroad executive. His family moved to Santa Monica, California when he was eight years old. His acting career began with plays at high school, followed by acting in West Coast, a traveling theater company...
Harry Morgan was a prolific character actor who starred in over 100 films and was a stage performer. Known to a younger generation of fans as "Col. Sherman T. Potter" on M*A*S*H
. Also known for his commanding personality throughout his career, he tackled movies and television in a way no other actor would do it...
Keenan Wynn was also the father to Edwina "Wynnie" Wynn, (his father, Ed Wynn's name sake). Wynnie, as she is known to her friends and family, is employed by MusiCares (a charity founded by The Recording Academy). Keenan Wynn is also the grandfather to Jessica Keenan Wynn (Wynnie's daughter) who is a singer/actress on Broadway.
One of Hollywood's finest character / "Method" actors, Eli Wallach was in demand for over 60 years (first film/TV role was 1949) on stage and screen, and has worked alongside the world's biggest stars, including Clark Gable
, Clint Eastwood
, Steve McQueen
, Marilyn Monroe
, Yul Brynner
, Peter O'Toole
, and Al Pacino
, to name but a few...
A bold, blunt instrument of hatred and violence at the onset of his film career, Peter Boyle recoiled from that repugnant, politically incorrect "working class" image to eventually play gruff, gentler bears and even comedy monsters in a career that lasted four decades. He was born on October 18, 1935...
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...
Lee played Danny (opposite of Hilda Simms, who played Anna) in Anna Lucasta on Broadway in 1944. Anna Lucasta was the first non-black written play performed by an all black cast on Broadway. He became an actor after careers as a jockey, boxer and musician. Lee was a civil rights activist, following in the footsteps of Paul Robeson.
John McIntire possessed the requisite grit, craggy features and crusty, steely-eyed countenance to make for one of television and film's most durable supporting players of western settings. Born in Spokane, Washington in 1907 and the son of a lawyer, he grew up in Montana where he learned to raise and ride broncos on the family homestead...
Leslie William Nielsen was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and raised in Tulita (formerly Fort Norman), Northwest Territories. His mother, Mabel Elizabeth (Davies), was Welsh. His father, Ingvard Eversen Nielsen, was a Danish-born Mountie and a strict disciplinarian. Leslie studied at the Academy of Radio Arts in Toronto before moving on to New York's Neighborhood Playhouse...
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 towns...
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...
Son of character actor Robert Keith
and stage actress Helena Shipman. He grew up on the road with his parents while they toured in plays. First appeared at age 3 in film Pied Piper Malone
with his father. Began acting in radio programs and on stage before World War II. Joined the Marines and served as a machine gunner...
Carroll was born in Manhattan and raised in Forest Hills, a community of Queens, New York. After high school in 1942, he joined the Merchant Marines and worked on ships in the Atlantic. In 1946, he enrolled at the University of Montana to study English. While there, he became interested in theater. During one of the amateur productions...
Toshiro Mifune achieved more worldwide fame than any other Japanese actor of his century. He was born in Tsingtao, China, to Japanese parents and grew up in Dalian. He did not set foot in Japan until he was 21. His father was an importer and a commercial photographer, and young Toshiro worked in his father's studio for a time after graduating from Dalian Middle School...
Colorful American character actor equally adept at vicious killers or grizzled sidekicks. As a child he worked in the cotton fields. He attended Santa Monica Junior College in California and subsequently became an accountant and, at one time, manager of the Bel Air Hotel. Elam got his first movie job by trading his accounting services for a role...
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 out to find gold...
William Claude Dukenfield was the eldest of five children born to Cockney immigrant James Dukenfield and Philadelphia native Kate Felton. He went to school for four years, then quit to work with his father selling vegetables from a horse cart. At eleven, after many fights with his alcoholic father (who hit him on the head with a shovel)...
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 and superb baritone voice...
It would no doubt be a real shock to most people to discover that the rich baritone Bronx-like accent of great veteran character actor Lloyd Nolan was a product of the San Francisco streets--not the urban jungle of New York City. Nolan was born in the City by the Bay, and his father, James Nolan, was a successful shoe manufacturer of hard-working Irish stock...
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, Dekker often played aggressive character roles, and was memorable as the double-crossing gang leader in the classic The Killers
. From 1945 to 1946 he served a term in the California legislature representing the Hollywood district...
Harold Clayton Lloyd was born in Burchard, Nebraska on the 20th of April 1893. When Harold was 12 he joined the theatre usually just performing with his high school. Harold's father (nick-named 'Foxy') was not successful at business and Harold's mother regretted marrying him. Later, actor John Lane Connor asked Lloyd to go to Los Angeles with him...
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.
Pat Hingle (real name: Martin Patterson Hingle) was born in Miami, Florida, the son of a building contractor. His parents divorced when Hingle was still in his infancy (he never knew his father) and his mother supported the family by teaching school in Denver. She then began to travel (with her son in tow) in search of more lucrative work; by age 13 Hingle had lived in a dozen cities...
John Cazale was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to an Irish-American mother, Cecilia (Holland), and an Italian-American father, John Cazale. Cazale only made five feature films in his career, all which many fans and critics alike call classics. But before his film debut, the short The American Way
, he won numerous Obie Awards for his stage performances in "The Indian Wants the Bronx" and "The Line"...
Buddy Ebsen began his career as a dancer in the late 1920s in a Broadway chorus. He later formed a vaudeville act with his sister Vilma Ebsen
, which also appeared on Broadway. In 1935 he and his sister went to Hollywood, where they were signed for the first of MGM's Eleanor Powell
movies, Broadway Melody of 1936
A rare breed this guy. Paul Douglas became an unlikely middle-aged cinema star by simply capitalizing on his big, burly, brash and boorish appeal to the nth degree. The 5'11", 200 lb. actor was a bold, unabashed risk taker. He forsook an extremely successful career as one of the country's top radio/sports announcers to prove his value as an actor...
Burly American character actor Ralph Meeker first acted on stage at his Alma mater, Northwestern University, alongside other budding performers Charlton Heston
and Patricia Neal
. He graduated as a music major, because his dean had discouraged him from pursuing a theatrical career. Ignoring that advice...
Millard Mitchell was born of American parents in Havana, Cuba. He was a popular stage and radio actor in the 1930s in New York. His first cinema appearances were in industrial short features, filmed in New York. His first Hollywood role was in Mr. and Mrs. North
. After World War II, Mitchell acted in a goodly number of movies...
Native New Yorker and Italianate Bruno Kirby tended towards assertive, pushy, streetwise characters and was armed with a highly distinctive scratchy tenor voice that complemented his slim eyes and droopy puss and accentuated his deadpan comedic instincts on film and TV. The well-regarded character actor was born Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu--his father is actor Bruce Kirby
--on April 28...
Born of African and West Indian ancestry on July 2, 1927 in New York City, Brock Peters set his sights on a show business career early on, at age ten. A product of NYC's famed Music and Arts High School, Peters initially fielded more odd jobs than acting jobs as he worked his way up from Harlem poverty...
The son of Joseph Livesey and Mary Catherine (nee Edwards), Roger was educated at Westminster City School, London. His first stage appearance was the office boy in Loyalties at St. James' theatre in 1917. Subsequently, he played in everything from Shakespeare to modern comedies. He played various roles in the West End from 1920 to 1926...
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...
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...
British character actor Harry Andrews had the sort of massive granite face and square jaw that would stamp that career, but he set himself apart with brilliant stage and screen work. He had graduated from Wrekin College in Shropshire and then moved on to the stage, appearing with Liverpool Repertory in 1933 and focusing on Shakespearean roles...
Ben Gazzara's screen career began with two critically acclaimed roles as heavies in the late 1950s. He turned to television in the 1960s but made a big screen comeback with roles in three John Cassavetes
films in the 1970s. The 1980s and 1990s saw Gazzara work more frequently than ever before in character parts...
Luis Antonio Damaso de Alonso, later known as Gilbert Roland, was born in 1905 in Mexico. Following his parents to the USA, he did not become the bullfighter he had dreamed of being but became an actor instead. His Mexican roots, his half macho half romantic ways, his handsome virile figure helped him land roles in movies from the early twenties to 1982...
Everett Sloane, the actor most known for playing Mr. Bernstein in Orson Welles
classic Citizen Kane
as a member of Welles' Mercury Players, was born in New York, New York on October 1, 1909. Sloane was bitten by the acting bug quite early, and first went on-stage when he was seven years old. After high school...
Born in Mexican revolution times, Pedro Armendáriz was the first child of Mexican Pedro Armendáriz García-Conde and American Adele Hastings. He was raised in Churubusco, then a suburb of Mexico City, before the family traveled to Laredo, Texas. They lived there until 1921, the year Armendáriz' parents died...
Ray Bidwell Collins was an American actor in film, stage, radio and television. One of his best remembered roles was that of Lt. Arthur Tragg in the long-running series Perry Mason
. Collins was born in Sacramento, California, to Lillie Bidwell and William C. Collins, a newspaper drama editor. He started acting on stage at the age of 14...
Nigel was, from the beginning, typecast as bumbling English aristocrats, military types or drawing room society snobs and, within the narrow parameters of his range, he was very, very good at playing these parts. Nigel Bruce was born in Mexico, where his father, Sir William W. Bruce, worked as an engineer...
Gary Merrill was born August 2, 1915, in Hartford, Connecticut. He began his career acting in summer stock plays. He married Barbara Leeds, an actress, and then served a brief stint in the army. After the army, he landed in New York, where he was chosen to join the already popular play "Born Yesterday"...