Bruce Lee remains the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure of modern popular media. Had it not been for Bruce Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, it's arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream North American and European cinema and audiences the way it has over the past four decades...
“ Enter the dragon ” - holdencurren
This athletically built, dark-haired American actor/screenwriter/director may never be mentioned by old-school film critics in the same breath as, say, Richard Burton
or Alec Guinness
; however, movie fans worldwide have been flocking to see Stallone's films for over 30 years, making "Sly" one of Hollywood's biggest-ever box office draws...
“ First Blood ” - holdencurren
Perhaps the icon of macho movie stars, and a living legend, Clint Eastwood has become a standard in international cinema. Born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the elder of two children in a middle-class family, Eastwood stayed in high school until the comparatively late age of nineteen and worked menial jobs over a period of several years before enrolling at Los Angeles City College...
“ Dirty Harry ” - holdencurren
With an almost unpronounceable surname and a thick Austrian accent, who would have ever believed that a brash, quick talking bodybuilder from a small European village would become one of Hollywood's biggest stars, marry into the prestigious Kennedy family, amass a fortune via shrewd investments and one day be the Governor of California!...
“ Commando ” - holdencurren
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)...
“ Mr. Majestyk ” - holdencurren
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...
“ The Octagon ” - holdencurren
Lee Van Cleef
One of the great movie villains, Clarence Leroy Van Cleef, Jr. was born in Somerville, New Jersey, to Marion Lavinia (Van Fleet) and Clarence LeRoy Van Cleef, Sr. His parents were both of Dutch ancestry. Van Cleef started out as an accountant. He served in the U.S. Navy aboard minesweepers and subchasers during World War II...
“ Sabata ” - holdencurren
Large, likable, and muscular actor Ken Foree was born as Kentotis Alvin Foree on February 29, 1948, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Foree attended Loyola University in Chicago and studied acting at Michael Shulman's Performing Gallery in New York City. He began his career in off-Broadway theater and worked as an assistant manager at a restaurant in Greenwich Village...
“ Dawn Of The Dead ” - holdencurren
Kurt Russell was born Kurt Vogel Russell in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Louise Julia (Crone), a dancer, and actor Bing Russell
(Neil Oliver Russell). He is of English, German, Scottish, and Irish descent. His first roles were as a child in television series, including a lead role in the Western series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
“ The Thing ” - holdencurren
In 1979 with his Detroit friends, Sam Raimi
and Rob Tapert
, Bruce Campbell raised $350,000 for a low-budget film, The Evil Dead
, in which he starred and co-executive produced. Completed piecemeal over four years, the film first gained notoriety in England where it became the best-selling video of 1983...
“ Evil Dead 2 ” - holdencurren
Actor and musician Bruce Willis is well known for playing wisecracking or hard-edged characters, often in spectacular action films. Collectively, he has appeared in films that have grossed in excess of $2.5 billion USD, placing him in the top ten stars in terms of box office receipts. Walter Bruce Willis was born on March 19...
“ Die Hard ” - holdencurren
Dwayne Douglas Johnson, also known as The Rock, was born on May 2, 1972 in Hayward, California, to Ata Johnson
(born Feagaimaleata Fitisemanu Maivia) and Canadian-born professional wrestler Rocky Johnson
(born Wayde Douglas Bowles). His father is black (of Black Nova Scotian descent), and his mother is of Samoan background (her own father was Peter Fanene Maivia
“ Doom ” - holdencurren
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...
“ The Cyclops ” - holdencurren
Dolph Lundgren was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to Sigrid Birgitta (Tjerneld), a language teacher, and Karl Johan Hugo Lundgren, an engineer and economist for the Swedish government. He lived in Stockholm until the age of 13, when he moved in with his grandparents in Nyland, Ångermanland, Sweden. Despite an early interest in music and the fine arts...
“ The Punisher ” - holdencurren
Jason Statham was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, to Eileen (Yates), a dancer, and Barry Statham, a street merchant and lounge singer. Statham has done quite a lot in a short time. He has been a Diver on the British National Diving Team and finished 12th in the World Championships in 1992. He has also been a fashion model...
“ The Expendables 2 ” - holdencurren
A remarkably seasoned actor of stage, screen and television, Darren McGavin has notched in excess of 200 performances; however, he is most fondly remembered by cult TV fans as heroic newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak in the classic but short-lived horror TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker
. In a long and varied career...
“ Kolchak: The Night Stalker ” - holdencurren
Joe Piscopo was cast on Saturday Night Live
in 1980 as part of an overall replacement of the original cast. However his team of players was not up to par in comedy and was quickly replaced except for him and Eddie Murphy
. Together they dominated the show for the next three years. Since then he's appeared in movies & TV infrequently. In the '80s he was treated for thyroid cancer.
“ Dead Heat ” - holdencurren
Michael Connell Biehn was born on July 31, 1956 in Anniston, Alabama, to Marcia (Connell) and Don Biehn, a lawyer. He grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and at age 14 moved with his family to Lake Havasu, Arizona, where he won a drama scholarship to the University of Arizona. He left prematurely two years later to pursue an acting career in Hollywood...
“ The Terminator ” - holdencurren
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...
“ The Veil (TV Series) ” - holdencurren
Late 1970s horror genre icon who's best known for his creepy performance as "Pluto" in the uncompromising Wes Craven
horror film The Hills Have Eyes
. Berryman (who suffers from Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia, a rare condition leaving him with no sweat glands, hair, fingernails or teeth) reminds...
“ The Hills Have Eyes ” - holdencurren
Chris Hemsworth was born in Melbourne, Australia, to Leonie (van Os), a teacher of English, and Craig Hemsworth, a social-services counselor. His brothers are actors Liam Hemsworth
and Luke Hemsworth
. He is of Dutch (from his immigrant maternal grandfather), Irish, English, Scottish, and German ancestry. His uncle, by marriage, was Rod Ansell, the bushman who inspired the film Crocodile Dundee
“ The Avengers ” - holdencurren
“ Lone Wolf Mcquade ” - holdencurren
Bill Murray is an American actor, comedian, and writer. The fifth of nine children, he was born William James Murray in Wilmette, Illinois, to Lucille (Collins), a mailroom clerk, and Edward Joseph Murray II, who sold lumber. He is of Irish descent. Among his siblings are actors Brian Doyle-Murray
, Joel Murray
“ Ghostbusters ” - holdencurren
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...
“ Monster In The Closet ” - holdencurren
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 troupe directed by Dorothy Brando...
“ Once Upon A Time In The West ” - holdencurren
Jack Nicholson, an American actor, producer, director and screenwriter, is a three-time Academy Award winner and twelve-time nominee. Nicholson is also notable for being one of two actors - the other being Michael Caine
- who have received Oscar nomination in every decade from the 1960s through the early 2000s...
“ The Shining ” - holdencurren
Hong Kong's cheeky, lovable and best known film star, Jackie Chan endured many years of long, hard work and multiple injuries to establish international success via his early beginnings in Hong Kong's manic martial arts cinema industry. Jackie was born Kong-sang Chan on Hong Kong's famous Victoria Peak on April 7...
“ Forbidden Kingdom ” - holdencurren
Jet Li born Li Lian Jie in Beijing, China. He started training at the Beijing wushu academy (wushu is China's national sport, largely a performance version of various martial art styles) at age eight. He won five gold medals in the Chinese championships, his first when he was only 11. In his teens, he was already a national coach...
“ Fearless ” - holdencurren
Blue-eyed and well-built Italian actor in international cinema, Franco Nero, was a painting photographer when he was discovered as an actor by director John Huston
. He has since appeared in more than 200 movies around the world, working with Europe's top directors, such as Luis Buñuel
, Rainer Werner Fassbinder
“ Django ” - holdencurren
Edward Matthew Lauter II was born on October 30, 1938 in Long Beach, New York. In a film career that extended for over four decades, Lauter starred in a plethora of film and television productions since making his big screen debut in the western Dirty Little Billy
. He portrayed an eclectic array of characters over the years...
“ Raw Deal ” - holdencurren
Son of Greek immigrants. Soldier during World War II. Studied psychology. Worked as journalist for ABC News. The bald-headed actor played character roles, often as sadistic or psychotic types. He became a TV favorite in the 1970s when his role as Det. Theo Kojak in the TV movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders
was expanded into the gritty Kojak
TV series, lasting from 1973-78.
“ The Dirty Dozen ” - holdencurren
Clu Gulager was born William Martin Gulager in Holdenville, Hughes County Oklahoma. His nickname was given to him by his father for the clu-clu birds (known in English as martins, like his middle name) that were nesting at the Gulager home at the time Clu was born. He grew up on his uncle's ranch as...
“ Return Of The Living Dead ” - holdencurren
Often mentioned as the greatest player in NFL history, this ruggedly handsome African American fullback for the Cleveland Browns first appeared on movie screens in the western Rio Conchos
, followed by a strong supporting role as convict commando "Jefferson" in the terrific WW2 action film The Dirty Dozen
“ Kid Vengeance (Vengeance) ” - holdencurren
Danny Trejo was born Dan Trejo in Echo Park, Los Angeles, to Alice (Rivera) and Dan Trejo, a construction worker. A child drug addict and criminal, Trejo was in and out of jail for 11 years. While serving time in San Quentin, he won the lightweight and welterweight boxing titles. Imprisoned for armed robbery and drug offenses...
“ Machete ” - holdencurren
Elisha Cook Jr.
One of the most familiar character actors of the mid-twentieth century, small-statured Elisha Cook Jr. would be a Hollywood immortal if only for his roles in The Maltese Falcon
. He attended St. Albans College and the Chicago Academy of Dramatic Art, and made his stage debut at age fourteen...
“ Rawhide ” - holdencurren
Martin Henry Balsam was born on November 4, 1919 in the Bronx, New York City, to Lillian (Weinstein) and Albert Balsam, a manufacturer of women's sportswear. He was the first-born child. His father was a Russian Jewish immigrant, and his mother was born in New York, to Russian Jewish parents. Martin caught the acting bug in high school where he participated in the drama club...
“ The Stone Killer ” - holdencurren
One of those familiar character actors who seems to have been born old, Will Wright specialized in playing crusty old codgers, rich skinflints, crooked small-town politicians and the like. A former newspaper reporter in San Francisco, he switched careers and entered vaudeville, then took to the stage...
“ Leave It To Beaver ” - holdencurren
Bill McKinney, the movie and television character actor who was one of the great on-screen villains, was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on September 12, 1931. He had an unsettled life as a child, moving 12 times before joining the Navy at the age of 19 during the Korean War. Once, when his family moved from Tennessee to Georgia...
“ The Outlaw Josey Whales ” - holdencurren
As one of Hollywood's tallest actors standing at 6' 4", he will always be noticed. Michael Moriarty is one of the great character T.V. actors of all time. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1941. Moriarty was to move to London, England, where he built up a name as a great stage actor. It was also...
“ Pale Rider ” - holdencurren
Norman Fell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1924. He graduated from Temple University with a bachelor's degree in drama. During World War II, he was an Air Force tail gunner in the Pacific. After the war, he studied acting and obtained small parts in television and on stage. His first regular TV appearance was in the comedy series Joe & Mabel
“ Bullitt ” - holdencurren
was born as Mario Girotti on March 29, 1939 in Venice, Italy to a chemist. His mother was German, and as a child the family lived near Dresden, Saxony, Germany where they survived the Allied bombings of World War II. Italian film-maker Dino Risi discovered him at a swimming meet and he made his first film at the age of 12...
“ My Name Is nobody ” - holdencurren
“ The Good The Bad And The Ugly ” - holdencurren
Mary Woronov was born on December 8, 1943, at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida (some sources cite New York as her birthplace). She was raised by her mother, Carol (Eschholz), and her stepfather, Victor D. Woronov, a surgeon, who adopted her. She grew up in Brooklyn Heights and attended Cornell University as a sculpting major...
“ Chopping Mall ” - holdencurren
Veteran character actor John Marley was one of those familiar but nameless faces that television and filmgoers did not take a shine to until the late 1960s, when he had hit middle age. Distinctive for his craggy face, dark bushy brows and upswept silvery hair, his life (born in 1907) started out amid tough surroundings in Harlem...
“ Godfather ” - holdencurren
“ Q: The Winged Serpeant ” - holdencurren
Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver in Leroy Hospital in Manhattan, New York City. Her father, TV producer Sylvester L. Weaver Jr.
, originally wanted to name her Flavia, because of his passion for Roman history (he had already named her elder brother Trajan). Her mother, Elizabeth Inglis
(née Desiree Mary Lucy Hawkins)...
“ Aliens ” - holdencurren
Gerrit Graham was born on November 27, 1949 in New York City. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, Chicago, Illinois and Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Gerrit made his acting debut at age eight in a Detroit Art Institute stage production of "Winnie the Pooh." Graham was the president of the dramatic association...
“ Terror Vision ” - holdencurren
Jack Palance exemplified evil incarnate on film -- portraying some of the most intensely despised villains witnessed in 50s westerns and melodrama. He received two Best Supporting Actor nominations early in his career, but it would take a grizzled, eccentric comic performance 40 years later for him to finally grab the coveted statuette...
“ Tango & Cash ” - holdencurren
Japanom Yeerum was born on February 5, 1976, in the northeastern province of Surin, Thailand. His parents were elephant herders. Jaa watched martial arts films as a young kid and began to emulate some of his idols, from Bruce Lee
to Jackie Chan
to Jet Li
. Jaa studied martial arts...
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...
“ Escape From New York ” - holdencurren
“ Massacre Time ” - holdencurren
Giuliano Gemma was born in Rome on 2 September 1938, grew up in Reggio Emilia but came back to Rome with his parents in 1944. While he was playing on the grass he found a WW II bomb that exploded and today the signs of injury are still visible on his face. He practiced many sports in his life, boxing...
“ Day of Anger ” - holdencurren
Ed Nelson was aiming for a career in the legal profession until he caught the acting bug during his second year of college. In 1952, he headed off to New York City, where he studied direction and production at the School of Radio Technique. He returned to his native New Orleans where he worked as an...
“ The Boneyard ” - holdencurren
“ The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly ” - holdencurren
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...
“ The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly ” - holdencurren
M. Emmet Walsh
Wonderfully talented, heavyset character actor (from New York, but regularly playing Southerners) M. Emmet Walsh has made a solid career of playing corrupt cops, deadly crooks, and zany comedic roles since the early 1970s. Michael Emmet Walsh was born in Ogdensburg, to Agnes Katharine (Sullivan) and Harry Maurice Walsh...
Solidly built, boyishly handsome American leading-man, Christopher George was the son of Greek immigrants. Weaned on stories of the legendary Greek heroes, George and his brother Nick (later a prominent fashion photographer) both quit high school to join the Marines. Completing his education after his tour of duty...
“ Day of the Animals ” - holdencurren
Born 1930 in Piolenc in south France as son of a wealthy industrialist. Studied law in Aix-en-Provence. Started theatrical acting in 1950, but was regarded untalented at first, until Roger Vadim
discovered him for the movies. When the press stalked him 1956 because of rumors of an affair with Brigitte Bardot
his partner in ...And God Created Woman
“ The Great Silence ” - holdencurren
Chuck Connors was born Kevin Joseph Connors in Brooklyn, New York, to Marcella (Londrigan) and Alban Francis "Allan" Connors. His parents were immigrants from the Dominion of Newfoundland (now part of Canada), and were of Irish descent. Chuck and his two-years-younger sister, Gloria, grew up in a working-class section of the west side of Brooklyn...
“ Kill Them All and Come Back Alone ” - holdencurren
Tomas Milian, an American actor born in Cuba; was trained at the Actors Studio. He appeared in a few plays on Broadway, as well as in a show by Jean Cocteau
in Spoleto. Mauro Bolognini
noticed him and that was the starting point of a rich cinematographic career in Italy, where he played in all manner of genres...
“ Companeros ” - holdencurren
Forever tagged as the super baaaaaaad "Super Fly," actor Ron O'Neal has spent his entire post 70s career trying to break the chains of a stereotype that made him his fortune. Of tough, humble beginnings, Ron was the son of a wannabe jazz musician who became a factory worker in order to support the family...
“ A Force of One ” - holdencurren
Talented and highly capable character actor Geoffrey Lewis, with rustic (sometimes sour-faced) looks, grew up in Rhode Island but was moved out to California at the age of ten. Lewis was very keen on the dramatic arts at high school, but often preferred to put on his own one-man shows rather than participate in larger school productions...
“ High Plains Drifter ” - holdencurren
An internationally famous and well respected bodybuilder / actor, Lou Ferrigno first appeared on TV screens in 1977 as the musclebound The Incredible Hulk
, the alter ego of meek scientist Bruce Banner. Ferrigno was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1951 and as a child suffered from an ear infection that resulted in permanent partial hearing loss...
“ Adventure Time ” - holdencurren
The blond, steely-eyed bad guy of European westerns and potboilers was born in Lübeck, Germany, the son of a porcelain painter. Horst Frank financed his acting studies by working part-time as a babysitter and night watchman. He actually failed his final exams at the Musikhochschule Hamburg, but nonetheless managed to secure an acting position in his home town...
“ Grand Duel ” - holdencurren
Played college football and broke color barrier at the same time as Kenny Washington
. Met his wife, a Hawaiian princess and stand-in for the swim sequences for Dorothy Lamour
. Woody played for the Los Angeles Rams after their move from Cleveland. He was also a professional wrestler, wrestling the likes of Gorgeous George
“ Jaguar Lives ” - holdencurren
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...
“ Horror of Dracula ” - holdencurren
Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer was born in Toronto, Ontario. He is the only child of Isabella Mary (Abbott), a secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University, and John Orme Plummer, who sold securities and stocks. He is a great-grandson of John Abbott, who was Canada's third Prime Minister (from 1891 to 1892)...
“ The Pyx ” - holdencurren