Actors (*1940-1949)

by bahcas | created - 16 Dec 2011 | updated - 9 months ago | Public

1. Al Pacino

Actor | Serpico

One of the greatest actors in all of film history, Al Pacino established himself during one of film's greatest decades, the 1970s, and has become an enduring and iconic figure in the world of American movies.

Alfredo James Pacino was born on April 25, 1940, in the Bronx, New York, to an ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1993 8 Academy Award Nominations

AFI Life Achievement Award: 2007

2. Robert De Niro

Actor | Cape Fear

One of the greatest actors of all time, Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is English, Dutch, German, French and Irish. He was trained at...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1981 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1975 7 Academy Award Nominations

AFI Life Achievement Award: 2003

3. Jeff Bridges

Actor | The Big Lebowski

Jeffrey Leon Bridges was born on December 4, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, the son of well-known film and TV star Lloyd Bridges and his long-time wife Dorothy Dean Bridges (née Simpson). He grew up amid the happening Hollywood scene with big brother Beau Bridges. Both boys popped up, without ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 2010 7 Academy Award Nominations

4. Tommy Lee Jones

Actor | The Fugitive

Tommy Lee Jones was born in San Saba, Texas, the son of Lucille Marie (Scott), a police officer and beauty shop owner, and Clyde C. Jones, who worked on oil fields. Tommy himself worked in underwater construction and on an oil rig. He attended St. Mark's School of Texas, a prestigious prep school ...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1994 4 Academy Award Nominations

5. Ben Kingsley

Actor | Gandhi

Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Bhanji on December 31, 1943 in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England. His father, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, was a Kenyan-born medical doctor, of Gujarati Indian descent, and his mother, Anna Lyna Mary (Goodman), was an English actress. Ben began to act in stage plays during ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1983 4 Academy Award Nominations

6. Nick Nolte

Actor | Warrior

Nick Nolte was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Helen (King) and Franklin Arthur Nolte, who worked in irrigation pump sales. He has German and British Isles ancestry. Nolte began his career on stage at the Pasadena (California) Playhouse and in regional theatre productions. His breakthrough role was in ...

3 Academy Award Nominations

7. Christopher Walken

Actor | The Deer Hunter

Nervous-looking lead and supporting actor of the American stage and films, with sandy colored hair, pale complexion and a somewhat nervous disposition. He won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Deer Hunter (1978), and has been seen in mostly supporting roles, often ...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1979 2 Academy Award Nominations

8. Joe Pesci

Actor | Goodfellas

Compact Italian-American actor Joe Pesci was born February 9, 1943 in Newark, New Jersey, to Mary (Mesce), a part-time barber, and Angelo Pesci, a bartender and forklift driver. Pesci first broke into entertainment as a child actor, and by the mid-1950s, was starring on the series "Star Time Kids"....

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1991 2 Academy Award Nominations

9. Richard Dreyfuss

Actor | The Goodbye Girl

Richard Dreyfuss is an American leading man, who has played his fair share of irritating pests and brash, ambitious hustlers.

He was born Richard Stephen Dreyfus in Brooklyn, New York, to Geraldine (Robbins), an activist, and Norman Dreyfus, a restaurateur and attorney. His paternal grandparents ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1978 2 Academy Award Nominations

10. Sylvester Stallone

Actor | Rocky

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 ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

11. James Woods

Actor | Vampires

James Howard Woods was born on April 18th, 1947 in Vernal, Utah, the son of Martha A. (Smith) and Gail Peyton Woods, a United States Army intelligence officer who died during Woods' childhood. James is of Irish, English, and German descent. He grew up in Warwick, Rhode Island, with his mother and ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

12. John Hurt

Actor | Nineteen Eighty-Four

This transatlantic talent was born John Vincent Hurt on January 22, 1940 in Shirebrook, a coal mining village near the busy market town of Chesterfield, in Derbyshire, England. He is the son of Phyllis (Massey), an engineer and one-time actress, and Arnold Herbert Hurt, an Anglican clergyman and ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

13. John Lithgow

Actor | 3rd Rock from the Sun

If "born to the theater" has meaning in determining a person's life path, then John Lithgow is a prime example of this truth. He was born in Rochester, New York, to Sarah Jane (Price), an actress, and Arthur Washington Lithgow III, who was both a theatrical producer and director. John's father was ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

14. Tom Wilkinson

Actor | Michael Clayton

Popular British character actor Tom Wilkinson was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, and comes from a long line of urban farmers. He is the son of Marjorie (Percival) and Thomas Wilkinson. Economic hardships forced his family to move to Canada for a few years when Wilkinson was a child; after ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

15. Michael Douglas

Actor | Wall Street

An actor with over forty years of experience in theatre, film, and television, Michael Douglas branched out into independent feature production in 1975 with the Academy Award-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Since then, as a producer and as an actor-producer, he has shown an uncanny ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1988

AFI Life Achievement Award: 2009

16. Kevin Kline

Actor | Wild Wild West

Kevin Kline was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Margaret and Robert Joseph Kline, who owned several stores. His father was of German Jewish descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. After attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Kline studied at the Juilliard School in New York. In 1972, ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1989

17. Jeremy Irons

Actor | Dead Ringers

British actor Jeremy Irons was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England. He is the son of Barbara Anne Brereton (Sharpe) and Paul Dugan Irons, an accountant. Young Jeremy didn't prove very fond of figures. He visited mainland England only once a year. He wound up ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1991

18. Jim Broadbent

Actor | Moulin Rouge!

One of England's most versatile character actors, Jim Broadbent was born on May 24, 1949, in Lincolnshire, the youngest son of furniture maker Roy Laverick Broadbent and sculptress Doreen "Dee" (Findlay) Broadbent. Jim attended a Quaker boarding school in Reading before successfully applying for a ...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 2002

19. James Caan

Actor | The Godfather

A masculine and enigmatic actor whose life and movie career have had more ups and downs than the average rollercoaster and whose selection of roles has arguably derailed him from achieving true superstar status, James Caan is New York-born and bred.

He was born in the Bronx, to Sophie (Falkenstein) ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

20. Samuel L. Jackson

Actor | Pulp Fiction

Samuel L. Jackson is an American producer and highly prolific actor, having appeared in over 100 films, including Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Unbreakable (2000), Shaft (2000), Formula 51 (2001), Black Snake Moan (2006), Snakes on a Plane (2006), and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005), ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

21. Harrison Ford

Actor | Raiders of the Lost Ark

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,...

1 Academy Award Nomination

AFI Life Achievement Award: 2000

22. Gérard Depardieu

Actor | Cyrano de Bergerac

Gérard Depardieu was born in Châteauroux, Indre, France, to Anne Jeanne Josèphe (Marillier) and René Maxime Lionel Depardieu, who was a metal worker and fireman. Young delinquent and wanderer in the past, Depardieu started his acting career at the small traveling theatre "Cafe de la Gare", along ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

23. Peter Fonda

Actor | Easy Rider

Peter Henry Fonda was born in New York City, to legendary screen star Henry Fonda and New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw. He is the brother of actress Jane Fonda and the father of actress Bridget Fonda. His ancestry includes Dutch, English, Scottish, and distant French and Italian.

Fonda made...

1 Academy Award Nomination

24. Ryan O'Neal

Actor | Paper Moon

Ryan O'Neal was born on April 20, 1941 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Charles Samuel Eldridge Patrick Ryan O'Neal III. He is an actor, known for Paper Moon (1973), Love Story (1970) and What's Up, Doc? (1972). He was previously married to Leigh Taylor-Young and Joanna Moore.

1 Academy Award Nomination

25. Albert Brooks

Actor | Drive

Albert Brooks was born on July 22, 1947 in Beverly Hills, California, USA as Albert Lawrence Einstein. He is an actor and writer, known for Drive (2011), Defending Your Life (1991) and Lost in America (1985). He has been married to Kimberly Shlain since March 15, 1997. They have two children.

1 Academy Award Nomination

26. Richard Jenkins

Actor | The Visitor

Richard Jenkins was born on May 4, 1947 in DeKalb, Illinois, USA. He is an actor, known for The Visitor (2007), Step Brothers (2008) and Let Me In (2010). He has been married to Sharon R. Friedrick since August 23, 1969. They have two children.

1 Academy Award Nomination

27. James Cromwell

Actor | The Green Mile

Born in Los Angeles but raised in Manhattan and educated at Middlebury College and Carnegie-Mellon University, James Cromwell, the son of famous film director John Cromwell, studied acting at Carnegie-Mellon. He went into the theater (like both his parents) doing everything from Shakespeare to ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

28. David Strathairn

Actor | Good Night, and Good Luck.

David Russell Strathairn was born on January 26, 1949 in San Francisco, California. He is the son of Mary Frances (Frazier), a nurse, and Thomas Scott Strathairn, Jr., a physician. He has two siblings, Tom and Anne. His ancestry includes English, Scottish, Irish, Portuguese, Native Hawaiian, and ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

29. Burt Young

Actor | Rocky

Burly, talented character actor who has remained consistently busy playing "rough at the edge" type characters, often on the wrong side of the law. Young was born on April 30 1940 in New York City, the son of a high school shop teacher. He is of Italian descent. Young received his dramatic arts ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

30. Klaus Maria Brandauer

Actor | Out of Africa

Gave his debut as an actor in 1962. Member of the 'Wiener Burgtheater' in Vienna since 1972. Played at the 'Salzburger Festspiele' since 1975. Directed plays since 1977. Debuted as a movie actor in 1972.

1 Academy Award Nomination

31. Sam Shepard

Actor | August: Osage County

Sam Shepard was born Samuel Shepard Rogers in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, to Jane Elaine (Schook), a teacher, and Samuel Shepard Rogers, a teacher and farmer who was also in the army. As the eldest son of a US Army officer (and WWII bomber pilot), Shepard spent his early childhood moving from base to ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

32. Robert Forster

Actor | Jackie Brown

Robert Forster was born Robert Wallace Foster, Jr. in Rochester, New York, to Grace Dorothy (Montanarella) and Robert Wallace Foster, Sr., who worked as an elephant trainer and baking supply company executive. He is of English, Irish, and Italian descent. Forster first become interested in acting ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

33. Tom Berenger

Actor | Platoon

Born in Chicago, Oscar nominee, Golden Globe and Emmy winner Tom Berenger was raised in a working class home as the son of a printer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Tom attended the University of Missouri to study journalism. It was there he first auditioned for a role in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf...

1 Academy Award Nomination

34. Stephen Rea

Actor | The Crying Game

Stephen Rea was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He attended Belfast High School and the Queen's University, where he studied English. He later trained at the Abbey Theatre School in Dublin. In 1970s, he acted in the Focus Company in Dublin with the talented Gabriel Byrne and Colm Meaney. After ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

35. Steve Martin

Writer | Roxanne

Steve Martin was born on August 14, 1945 in Waco, Texas, USA as Stephen Glenn Martin to Mary Lee (née Stewart; 1913-2002) and Glenn Vernon Martin (1914-1997), a real estate salesman and aspiring actor. He was raised in Inglewood and Garden Grove in California. In 1960, he got a job at the Magic ...

Academy Honorary Award 2014

AFI Life Achievement Award: 2015

36. Martin Sheen

Actor | The Departed

Multiple Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner Martin Sheen is one of America's most celebrated, colorful, and accomplished actors. Moving flawlessly between artistic mediums, Sheen's acting range is striking.

Sheen was born Ramón Antonio Gerard Estevez in Dayton, Ohio, to Mary-Ann (Phelan), an Irish ...

37. John Belushi

Actor | Saturday Night Live

John Belushi was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on January 24, 1949, to Agnes Demetri (Samaras) and Adam Anastos Belushi, a restaurant owner. His father was an Albanian immigrant, from Qytezë, and his mother was also of Albanian descent. He grew up in Wheaton, where the family moved when he was ...

R.I.P.

38. Jean Reno

Actor | Léon

Jean Reno was born Juan Moreno y Herrera-Jiménez in Casablanca, Morocco, to Spanish parents (from Andalucía) who moved to North Africa to seek work. His father was a linotypist. Reno settled in France at 17. He began studying drama and has credits in French television and theater as well as films. ...

39. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Actor | Terminator 2: Judgment Day

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...

40. Malcolm McDowell

Actor | A Clockwork Orange

Malcolm John Taylor was born on June 13, 1943 in Leeds, England, to working-class parents Edna (McDowell), a hotelier, and Charles Taylor, a publican. His father was an alcoholic. Malcolm hated his parents' ways. His father was keen to send his son to private school to give him a good start in life...

41. Sam Neill

Actor | Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Sam Neill was born in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to army parents, an English-born mother, Priscilla Beatrice (Ingham), and a New Zealand-born father, Dermot Neill. His family moved to the South Island of New Zealand in 1954. He went to boarding schools and then attended the universities ...

42. Bill Nighy

Actor | Love Actually

Bill Nighy is an award-winning British character actor. He was born William Francis Nighy on December 12, 1949 in Caterham, Surrey, England, to Catherine Josephine (Whittaker), a psychiatric nurse from Glasgow, and Alfred Martin Nighy, who was English-born and managed a garage in Croydon.

At school,...

43. Danny DeVito

Actor | Matilda

Danny DeVito has amassed a formidable and versatile body of work as an actor, producer and director that spans the stage, television and film.

Daniel Michael DeVito Jr. was born on November 17, 1944, in Neptune, New Jersey, to Italian-American parents. His mother, Julia (Moccello), was a homemaker. ...

44. Alan Rickman

Actor | Die Hard

Alan Rickman was born on a council estate in Acton, West London, to Margaret Doreen Rose (Bartlett) and Bernard Rickman, who worked at a factory. He had English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Alan had an older brother David, a younger brother Michael and a younger sister Sheila. When Alan was 8 years ...

R.I.P.

45. Ian McShane

Actor | Deadwood

From a lawless, foul-mouthed saloon owner in "Deadwood" to a tough, no-nonsense British gangster in "Sexy Beast," Ian McShane has virtually cornered the market on playing rogues, villains, and all-around badasses.

A natural at portraying complex anti-heroes and charismatic heavies, the classically ...

46. Rutger Hauer

Actor | Blade Runner

Blonde, blue-eyed, tall and handsome Dutch actor Rutger Hauer has an international reputation for playing everything from romantic leads to action heroes to sinister villains. Hauer was born in Breukelen, a town in the province of Utrecht, the Netherlands. He is the son of Teunke (Mellema) and ...

47. R. Lee Ermey

Actor | Full Metal Jacket

A talented character actor known for his military roles, Ronald Lee Ermey was in the United States Marine Corps for 11 years. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and later was bestowed the honorary rank of Gunnery Sergeant by the Marine Corps, after he served 14 months in Vietnam and later did ...