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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...
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...
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Excellent, prolific and versatile character actor Peter Jason was born on July 22, 1944, in Hollywood, CA, and grew up in Balboa. He attended Newport Beach Elementary School, Horace Ensign Junior High and Newport Harbor High School. He originally planned on being a football player, but fell in love...
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 worked there until he was injured...
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...
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Enjoyably larger-than-life character actor Hugh Emrys Griffith was born in Marianglas, Anglesey, North Wales, to Mary (Williams) and William Griffith. Griffith left the world of banking (having been employed as a teller) after winning a scholarship to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art...
Diana Dors was born Diana Mary Fluck on October 23, 1931 in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. She and her mother both nearly died from the traumatic birth. Because of the trauma, her mother lavished on Diana anything and everything she wanted--clothes, toys and dance lessons were the order of the day. Diana's love of films began when her mother took her to the local movies theaters...
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 the family to Brooklyn when she was still young so that he...
Born in Oakland, California, Kenneth Tobey was headed for a law career when he first dabbled in acting at the University of California Little Theater. That experience led to a year and a half of study at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse, where his classmates included Gregory Peck
, Eli Wallach
and Tony Randall
Dick Randall was a jolly and colorful film producer who specialized in blithely trashy low-budget exploitation pictures. Randall was born as Irving Reuben on March 3, 1926, in the Catskill Mountains, New York. He started his show-business career as a writer: he penned gags for Milton Berle
and contributed to various 1950s television quiz shows...
Saul Rubinek was born in a refugee camp in Germany, after WWII, where his father ran a Yiddish Repertory Theatre company. Saul started his professional career as a child actor in theatre and radio in Canada. He was a member of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival company in Stratford, Ontario (1969-70) and...
Richard Basehart came to Hollywood in 1947, after beginning an acting career on Broadway. He made his mark in the gritty film-noir classic He Walked by Night
, among others, and proved his versatility in several international productions, most notably in Federico Fellini
's poignant masterpiece La Strada
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 Theresa (Fetsko) and Arthur Sigmund Newman. Paul's father was Jewish, the son of immigrants from Poland and Hungary; he owned a successful sporting goods store...
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...
Tall, sandy haired, mustachioed actor from Texas born Justus McQueen, who adopted the name of the character he portrayed in his first film, Battle Cry
. Jones, with his craggy, gaunt looks, first appeared in minor character roles in plenty of WWII films including The Young Lions
, The Naked and the Dead
Barry's full given name is Leonard Barrie Corbin, and he was born on October 16, 1940 in Lamesa, Texas, to Kilmer Blain Corbin, an attorney, and Alma Corbin, an elementary school teacher. Barry has a daughter named Shannon Ross, with whom he shares his 15-acre ranch in Fort Worth, Texas, when he isn't working. He says that he rides horses there every chance he gets.
Once an overweight comic from Canada, Rick Ducommun slimmed down in the late 1980s and went on to tackle solid co-starring roles in feature films and TV, as well as headline several HBO and other pay-cable specials. Ducommun grew up on a farm, the son of an entrepreneur father with whom he did not get along...
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...
Sy Richardson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Chicago Illinois. He attended fourteen elementary schools, five high schools and three colleges before he figured it out. An artist is a free spirit and boredom is a breath away from than death. He is married to a former Blue Satin model. Sy has one step daughter and two granddaughters...
Del Zamora was raised in various locations across the Southwest of the United States of America. His family dates back to the 1500's, and even further back, on the Mescalero Apache side of his family; in what is now known as Lincoln County, New Mexico. Del is a Mescalero Apache/Chicano mix. His great...
Robert Adame Beltran was born in Bakersfield, California. He is the seventh of ten children, of Mexican-Native American ancestry, though Robert describes his heritage as Latindio. After finishing high school, he attended Fresno State College, where he graduated with a degree in theater arts. Beltran landed his first film role in Luis Valdez
's Zoot Suit
Jeffrey Lynn Goldblum was born October 22, 1952 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of four children of Shirley (Temeles), a radio broadcaster who also ran an appliances firm, and Harold L. Goldblum, a doctor. His father was of Russian Jewish descent and his mother was of Austrian Jewish ancestry. Goldblum began his career on the New York stage after moving to the city at age seventeen...
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...
When Ruth Gordon convinced her father, a sea captain, to let her pursue acting she came to New York and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She acted in a few silents made at Fort Lee, New Jersey, in 1915. She made her Broadway debut in "Peter Pan" as Nibs the same year. The next 20 years she spent on stage...
Katherine Marie Helmond was born on July 5, 1929, in Galveston, Texas. She was raised by her mother, Thelma Malone, and her grandmother; they were Irish Catholics. Young Katherine attended Catholic school, and appeared in numerous school plays and pageants. She took a job at a local theater while still in high school...
Karen Jane Allen was born in Carrollton, rural southern Illinois, to Patricia (Howell), a teacher, and Carroll Thompson Allen, an FBI agent. Karen spent her first 10 years traveling around the country with her parents and two sisters. She was always "the new girl in school". Acting did not really cross...
Nancy Anne Allen was the daughter of a police lieutenant from Yonkers, New York. At a young age, she trained for a dancing career at the High School of Performing Arts, and then attended Jose Quintano's School for Young Professionals. In dozens of television commercials from the age of 15, Nancy made her first film appearance in The Last Detail
with Jack Nicholson
Margot Kidder was born Margaret Ruth Kidder in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, to Jocelyn Mary "Jill" (Wilson), a history teacher from British Columbia, and Kendall Kidder, a New Mexico-born mining engineer and explosives expert. Margot was a delightful child who took pride in everything she did...
Teri Garr can claim a career in show business by birthright. She was born in Lakewood, Ohio, the daughter of Eddie Garr
(born Edward Leo Gonnoud), a Broadway stage and film actor, and Phyllis Garr
(née Emma Schmotzer), a dancer. Her maternal grandparents were Austrian, and her father was of Irish descent...
Keith David was born Keith David Williams in New York City's Harlem district, and was raised in East Elmhurst, in the Queens section of the city. He is the son of Dolores (Dickenson), a New York Telephone manager, and Lester Williams, a payroll operations director. As a child, he realized he wanted...
Yale-educated Dick Cavett established his reputation as the most erudite of American talk show hosts in the late 1960s and early '70s. Although there were many contenders who took on Johnny Carson
, the undisputed heavyweight champion of late-night TV, Cavett generally was considered the most successful of the pretenders to Carson's throne...
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...
Gene Wilder was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Jeanne (Baer) and William J. Silberman, who manufactured miniature whiskey and beer bottles. His father was a Russian Jewish immigrant, while his Illinois-born mother was of Russian Jewish descent. Wilder caught his first big break playing...
"I am too old to die young, and too young to grow up," Marty Feldman told a reporter -- a week before he died. This beloved comedian, who poked fun at himself, as well as others, was born Martin Alan Feldman on July 8, 1934, in London, England. His parents were of Ukrainian Jewish heritage (from Kiev)...
Frank Langella was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, to Angelina and Frank A. Langella, a business executive. He is of Italian descent. A stage and screen actor of extreme versatility, Frank Langella won acclaim on the New York stage in "Seascape" and followed it up with the title role in the Edward Gorey
production of "Dracula"...
Even though he had burned up the London stage for nearly a decade--and appeared in several films--Michael Sheen was not really "discovered" by American audiences until his critically-acclaimed turn as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
in the 1999 Broadway revival of "Amadeus". Sheen was born in Newport, Wales, the only son of Irene (Thomas) and Meyrick Sheen...
Johnny Depp is perhaps one of the most versatile actors of his day and age in Hollywood. He was born John Christopher Depp II in Owensboro, Kentucky, on June 9, 1963, to Betty Sue (Wells), who worked as a waitress, and John Christopher Depp, a civil engineer. Depp was raised in Florida. He dropped out of school when he was 15...
Peter Michael Falk was born on September 16, 1927, in New York City, New York. At the age of 3, his right eye was surgically removed due to cancer. He graduated from Ossining High School, where he was president of his class. His early career choices involved becoming a certified public accountant, and...
Alan Arkin is an Academy Award-winning American actor who is also an acclaimed director, producer, author, singer and composer. He was born Alan Wolf Arkin on March 26, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York. His family were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Germany. In 1946 the Arkins moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles...
Anthony Marcus Shalhoub was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin. His father, Joe Shalhoub, who owned a grocery chain, emigrated from Lebanon to the United States as an orphan at the age of ten, later marrying Shalhoub's mother, Helen (Seroogy), who herself was born in Wisconsin, to Lebanese parents...
David Lemuel Keith was born on May 8, 1954 in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Lemuel Grady Keith Jr. and Hilda Earle. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Theater. Keith had a supporting role in The Rose
starring Bette Midler
, had a supporting role in Brubaker
Harrison Ford was born on July 13, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, to Dorothy (Nidelman), a radio actress, and Christopher Ford (born John William Ford), an actor turned advertising executive. His father was of Irish and German ancestry, while his maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Minsk, Belarus...
Known for his breakthrough starring role on Freaks and Geeks
, James Franco was born in Palo Alto, California on April 19, 1978. His mother, Betsy Franco
, is Jewish, and his father, Douglas Eugene "Doug" Franco, was of Portuguese and Swedish descent, and ran a Silicon Valley business. James's mother, a writer, has occasionally acted...
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...
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...
Perhaps best known for his chilling performance as "Candyman", the charismatic 6' 5" actor Tony Todd has consistently turned in compelling performances since his debut in the fantasy film Sleepwalk
. Born in Washington, D.C., Todd spent two years on a scholarship at the University of Connecticut...
Marianne Sägebrecht, aka, "mother of Munich's sub-culture", a name that was dubbed to her while she was working as a producer and performer in avant garde theater productions, was discovered by Percy Adlon
in 1977. The director gave her a minor part in his feature "The Swing" before he gave her the leading role of Marianne...
CCH Pounder (the CCH standing for Carol Christine Hilaria, her birth name). As can be said of other similarly styled actresses such as Alfre Woodard
and Cicely Tyson
, most of Pounder's characters are enriched with these same positive attributes and it is a testament to this actress' abilities that she continues on such a high plane in a nearly three-decade career...
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Above all, Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a rebel whose life and art was marked by gross contradiction. Openly homosexual, he married twice; one of his wives acted in his films and the other served as his editor. Accused variously by detractors of being anticommunist, male chauvinist, antiSemitic and even antigay...
The most famous Soviet film-maker since Sergei M. Eisenstein
, Andrei Tarkovsky
(the son of noted poet Arseniy Tarkovsky) studied music and Arabic in Moscow before enrolling in the Soviet film school V.G.I.K. He shot to international attention with his first feature, Ivan's Childhood
, which won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival...
John C. Reilly
Character actor, dramatic leading man, or hilarious comic foil? With an astonishing range of roles already under his belt, John C. Reilly has played an eclectic host of rich characters to great effect over the years, from seedy ne'er-do-wells, to lovable, good-natured schlepps. The fifth of six children...
John William Ferrell was born in Irvine, California, to Betty Kay (Overman), a teacher, and Roy Lee Ferrell
, Jr., a musician. His parents were both originally from Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Ferrell became interested in performing while a student at University High School in Irvine...
Eric Braeden is a German actor in America who began his career playing Nazis and eventually became a star of daytime soap operas. Born Hans Gudegast in Kiel, Germany, during the Second World War, he was a superb athlete who excelled in track-and-field events. As a teenager, he immigrated to the United States and worked in Texas and Montana as a translator...
Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1941, Jürgen Prochnow is a leading actor of the German stage and screen. He was memorable as the submarine captain in the gritty WW II film Das Boot
, which brought him to international prominence. He has since starred in many well-received European and Hollywood productions.
Canadian actor Ryan Gosling is the first person born in the 1980s to have been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar (for Half Nelson
). He was born Ryan Thomas Gosling on November 12, 1980, in London, Ontario, Canada. He is the son of Donna (Wilson), a secretary, and Thomas Ray Gosling, a traveling salesman...
A third-generation actress on both sides of her family, Robin was born in a trunk. Actually, she was almost born in a taxi on the Brooklyn Bridge but traffic was good that day so she made her actual debut at Beth Israel hospital in New York City. Her parents, both professional actors, owned and ran legit theaters...
Madeline Kahn was born Madeline Gail Wolfson on September 29, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Freda (Goldberg) and Bernard B. Wolfson, a garment manufacturer. She was of Russian Jewish descent. Madeline began her acting career in high school and went on to university where she trained as an opera singer and starred in several campus productions...
Her father was a police lieutenant and imbued in her a military attitude to life. Marlene was known in school for her "bedroom eyes" and her first affairs were at this stage in her life - a professor at the school was terminated. She entered the cabaret scene in 1920s Germany, first as a spectator then as a cabaret singer...
The youngest of three children, Edythe Marrenner was born in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. Her father and mother, who were of Irish and Swedish descent respectively, endowed her with the milky complexion and ruby mane that would become her trademark. She grew up in poverty in the shadow of her older sister Florence who was her mother's favorite...
One of the leading sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s, film actress Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to Vera J. and Herbert W. Palmer. Her parents were well-to-do, with her father a successful attorney in Phillipburg, New Jersey, where Jayne began her girlhood...
Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was born on June 21, 1921 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her father was a United States Army lieutenant and her mother had been a student of drama and an actress with a traveling troupe. Once Mr. Russell was mustered out of the service, the family took up residence in Canada...
Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in New York City. She is the daughter of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a Romanian Jewish immigrant, and William Perske, who was born in New Jersey, to Polish Jewish parents. Her family was middle-class, with her father working as a salesman and her mother as a secretary...
Leggy, brunette-maned pin-up actress Caroline Munro was born in Windsor and lived in Rottingdean near Brighton where she attended a Catholic Convent School. By chance, her mother and a photographer entered her picture in a "Face of the Year" competition for the British newspaper The Evening News and won...
Best known as Hammer Films' most seductive female vampire of the early 1970s, the Polish-born Pitt possessed dark, alluring features and a sexy figure that made her just right for Gothic horror! Ingrid Pitt (born Ingoushka Petrov) survived World War II and became a well-known actress on the East Berlin stage...
The most beautiful star of the greatest horror masterpiece of Italian film, Black Sunday
: Barbara Steele was born on December 29, 1937 in Birkenhead, Cheshire, England. Barbara is loved by her fans for her talent, intelligence, and a dark, mysterious beauty that is unique; her face epitomizes either sweet innocence...
Born in Birmingham, England, Hazel Court carried on a love affair with the world of movies and make-believe that made her a leading student at her hometown's School of Drama and later helped her land a contract with the J. Arthur Rank Organisation. Graduating from bits to supporting roles to leads, Court worked in English films from the mid-'40s until the early 1960s...
Performer whose career has spanned over 30 years. Particularly called upon to play various delinquents, wackos and psychos in his earlier years, he has matured into a fine screen character actor. His career began in the early 80s with a number of bit parts in movies such as Escape from New York
with Kurt Russell
Adrienne Jo Barbeau is an American actress and author best known for her roles on the TV series Maude
and in horror films, especially those directed by John Carpenter
, with whom she was once married. She was born on June 11, 1945 in Sacramento, California, the daughter of an executive for Mobil Oil...
Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis served as an honorary chairperson for the Building Resilience for Young Children Dealing with Trauma program held at the Shakespeare Theatre - Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C. She was an inspiration for the youth that were celebrated. Jessey Love-Wadkins (formerly known...
Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow
was born Carl Adolf von Sydow on April 10, 1929 in Lund, Skåne, Sweden, to a middle-class family. He is the son of Baroness Maria Margareta (Rappe), a teacher, and Carl Wilhelm von Sydow, an ethnologist and folklore professor. His surname traces back to his father's partial German ancestry...
It's fair to say that after 20 years and over 50 film appearances, Mimi Rogers should be praised for her variety of roles and acting capabilities, not for a brief marriage to a Hollywood star. In the early 1980s she began to carve a niche for herself in Hollywood, appearing on television and in films...
Born in Indiana, she was eight years old when her parents divorced, and her mother took her and her two older brothers to L.A. to start a new life. At age twelve she was spotted playing baseball in the street by director Allan Dwan
who cast her as a tom-boy in "A Perfect Crime". Bitten by the movie bug...
"Straight Shooting" - whether skeet shooting, or portraying Eliot Ness
, Robert Stack always tells it like it is, and shoots straight. Robert was the 2nd child of Elizabeth Modini Wood (who named him Charles after his grandfather) and James Langford Stack (who changed his name to Robert, after no one in particular)...
For decades, Dabney Coleman has often appeared as a smarmy, selfish, nervous person, often with money, who is mostly out for himself. He did such a good job in this type of part that he's made a career of it in film. Dabney Wharton Coleman was born in Austin, Texas, to Mary Wharton (Johns) and Melvin Randolph Coleman...
Tanya Roberts came from modest beginnings in the Bronx, New York, the daughter of a pen salesman (Irish) and a mother (Jewish) who were divorced before she reached high school. Tanya dropped out of high school at age 15, got married and hitchhiked around the country until her mother-in-law had the marriage annulled...
A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Drama, Ruth Hussey's first show-business job was as a fashion commentator on a local radio station. She journeyed to New York City, where she was signed as a model by the world-famous Powers agency. She obtained some stage roles with touring companies and was noticed by MGM...
Frances Louise McDormand was born on June 23, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. She was adopted by Canadian-born parents Noreen Eloise (Nickleson), a nurse from Ontario, and Vernon Weir McDormand, a minister from Nova Scotia, who raised her in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. She earned her B.A. in Theater from Bethany College in 1979 and her MFA from Yale in 1982...