The voice is an actor's most important tool. Here is a list of the best, most unique and coolest actors voices ever in the history of film and television. Non-English names are German and Danish, primarily.
Although Richard Kiley's rich baritone and strong vocal talent was much in evidence and received due respect with his award of a Tony for "Man of La Mancha", it was little used in his television and movie appearances. Won two Tony Awards as Best Actor (Musical): in 1959 for "Redhead" and in 1966 for his signature role...
Born on April 30, 1938 in Venice, California, Gary Collins was one of the most versatile actors in the entertainment industry. Gary attended Santa Monica City College and then enlisted in the United States Army for two years. While in uniform, Gary discovered acting and performed as a radio and television personality for the Armed Forces Network...
"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)...
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 Sir Tyrone Guthrie
and of Alexander Korda
Anthony Quayle was born in Ainsdale in September 1913, the son of a Lancashire lawyer. He completed his education at Rugby School and had a brief spell at RADA, before treading the boards for the first time as the straight man in a music hall comedy act in 1931. Tall, burly, round-faced and possessed of a powerful and resonant voice...
His father was the Judge of Mayence (Mainz) and his mother, who was half-English, was a singing teacher. Since the family was Jewish, the teenage Ferdinand was sent to England to stay with his aunt Lee Hutchinson, a noted photographer and sculptress. His parents were briefly interned in Buchenwald, but his mother's English connections enabled them also to get to England before war broke out.
The British character actor Tom Baker, best known as the fourth incarnation of The Doctor, was born in 1934 in Liverpool, England, to Mary Jane (Fleming) and John Stewart Baker. His father was of English and Scottish descent, while his mother's family was originally from Ireland. Tom, along with his younger sister...
British leading man who achieved some success in American films, as well. Born in Ireland as the son of a British officer, Todd grew up in Devon and attended Shrewsbury Public School. His interest in theatre led him to small roles in stock in England and Scotland, following which he helped found the Dundee Repertory Theatre in 1939...
was born on Thursday, June 1st, 1944, five days before D-Day, on Tuesday, June 6th, 1944, in Salford, Manchester, England. In 1964, he started his acting career while attending Manchester University. In 1967, he made his film debut, and later landed his first starring role in The Italian Job
The great, great nephew of the renowned French scientist Louis Pasteur developed into a strangely handsome dark haired, pale complexioned English actor. Ralph Bates was born in 1940 in Bristol, England and attended the University of Dublin and studied at the Yale Drama School. His dramatic talents first...
Henry Hull, the actor who created the role of Jeeter on Broadway in "Tobacco Road," was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 13, 1890, the son of a drama critic. Originally intending to become an engineer, Hull became an actor and made his Broadway debut in "Green Stockings" less than two weeks before his 21st birthday...
Peter Howell was born to Owen, a solicitor, and his wife Nora, nee Mally, on 25 October 1919. He attended Winchester College and Christ Church college, Oxford but left his study course when he was called up in 1939. Invalided out of the service in 1943 he became interested in acting through his sister Gillian...
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 Arnould Herbert Hurt, an Anglican clergyman and mathematician...
Anton Diffring was a character actor who worked continuously in motion pictures due to his aristocratic, German face and cool, clipped diction, making him ideal for typecasting in British and later American motion pictures as Nazis and other vile, despicable characters. What was ironic about his typecasting as a Nazi is that Diffring...
A stalwart, subtle presence of British stage and screen, Gerald Sim's work was both prolific and varied. Nonetheless, he will be best remembered by the majority of viewers as the wily rector of To the Manor Born
. The son of a Barings Bank employee, Gerald was born in Liverpool on June 4, 1925. His elder sister was the actress Sheila Sim
Peter Wilton Cushing was born on May 26, 1913 in Kenley, Surrey, England, to Nellie Maria (King) and George Edward Cushing, a quantity surveyor. He and his older brother David were raised first in Dulwich Village, a south London suburb, and then later back in Surrey. At an early age, Cushing was attracted to acting...
Walter Pidgeon, a handsome, tall and dark-haired man, began his career studying voice at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He then did theater, mainly stage musicals. He went to Hollywood in the early 1920s, where he made silent films, including Mannequin
. When talkies arrived...
Whit Bissell came to Hollywood in the 1940s, and by the time he retired he had appeared in more than 200 movies and scores of TV series. He is best known for playing the evil scientist who turned Michael Landon
into a half beast in the 1957 cult classic film I Was a Teenage Werewolf
. Bissell specialized in playing doctors...
Tony Award-winning English actor Michael Gough, best known for playing the butler Alfred Pennyworth in the first four of Batman
's (1992) (1995) (1997) movies and for playing the arch-criminal Dr. Clement Armstrong in The Avengers
episode "The Cybernauts", was an accomplished performer on both stage and screen...
Vic Morrow was born in the Bronx, New York, to Jean (Kress) and Harry Morrow, an electrical engineer. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants. Morrow dropped out of high school at 17 to join the U.S. Navy. When he left the Navy, he used the G.I. Bill to study pre-law at Florida State. While Morrow was working on his degree in Law...
Roger Moore will perhaps always be remembered as the man who replaced Sean Connery
in the James Bond series, arguably something he never lived down. Roger George Moore was born on October 14, 1927 in Stockwell, London, England, the son of Lillian (Pope) and George Alfred Moore, a policeman. He first wanted to be an artist...
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...
John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in Iowa, to Mary Alberta (Brown) and Clyde Leonard Morrison, a pharmacist. He was of English, Ulster-Scots, and Irish ancestry. Clyde developed a lung condition that required him to move his family from Iowa to the warmer climate of southern California, where they tried ranching in the Mojave Desert...
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...
Sir John Gielgud, arguably the greatest Shakespearean actor of the 20th Century, had a theatrical career that spanned 64 years, from a role in a 1924 London production of "The Constant Nymph" to the 1988 production of " Sir Sydney Cockerell: The Best of Friends," and an even-longer film career that lasted 77 years...
Michael York was born in Fulmer, England, 27 March 1942. He performed on stage with the National Youth Theatre in London's East End and on international tour. Other early acting experience came through the Oxford University Dramatic Society (he graduated Oxford 1964), the Dundee Repertory, and Laurence Olivier's National Theater Company - where he worked with Franco Zeffirelli
William Claude Rains, born in the Camberwell area of London, was the son of the British stage actor Frederick Rains. The younger Rains followed, making his stage debut at the age of eleven in "Nell of Old Drury." Growing up in the world of theater, he saw not only acting up close but the down-to-earth business end as well...
Born on 26 May 1923 in Wuppertal, he served with the Nazi German Waffen-SS in World War II. After attending acting lessons at the theater in Stendal, where he also made his stage debut, he performed on several important stages in Germany, but became widely popular as cinema and television actor in the late 1950s and 1960s...
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.
An extremely versatile character actor and originator of several memorable characterizations in the horror film genre, Dwight Frye had a notable theatrical career in the 1920s, moving from juvenile parts to leads before entering film. A favorite actor of Broadway theatrical producer-director Brock Pemberton
David Janssen was born David Harold Meyer in 1931 in Naponee, Nebraska, to Berniece Mae (Graf) and Harold Edward Meyer, a banker. He was of German, and some Swiss-German and Scottish-Irish, descent. David took the surname of his stepfather, Eugene Janssen. The Janssen family settled in Hollywood when he was a teenager and he attended Fairfax High School...
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...
Sir Cedric Hardwicke, one of the great character actors in the first decades of the talking picture, was born in Lye, England on February 19, 1893. Hardwicke attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his stage debut in 1912. His career was interrupted by military service in World War I, but he returned to the stage in 1922 with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre...
One of the most memorable of actors, distinguished-looking Richard Vernon completed his training at the Central School of Speech and Drama. From the early 1950's, he enjoyed a very successful career on the stage in London in productions ranging from 'Peter Pan' (as Mr.Darling) to Noël Coward
's 'Hay Fever' (as Richard Greatham)...
One of Hollywood's greatest screen villains, Charles Henry Daniell had the profound misfortune to make his professional theatrical debut on the eve of World War I. His life thus interrupted, he served in the trenches on the Western Front with the 2nd Battalion of the British Army's Norfolk Regiment...
A grand, robust, highly theatrical British classical actor, Maurice Evans was the son of a justice of the peace who enjoyed amateur playwriting on the side. In fact, his father adapted several adaptations of Thomas Hardy
's novels and Evans would often appear in them. Early interest also came in London choirs as a boy tenor...
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...
Sir John Standing is one of England's most respected stage, film and television actors. From a distinguished acting dynasty which includes his great-grandfather Herbert Standing
(1846-1923) and his grandfather Sir Guy Standing
(1873-1937) and his mother, the actress Kay Hammond
. He succeeded his father Sir Ronald Leon...
John Forysthe was born Jacob Lincoln Freund in Penns Grove, New Jersey, the son of Blanche Materson (Blohm) and Samuel Jeremiah Freund, a Wall Street businessman. He chose to pursue acting over the objections of his father. He did some work in radio soaps and on Broadway before signing a movie contract with Warner Bros...
Born in Upminster, Essex, England in 1927, Richard Johnson attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and then performed in John Gielgud
's repertory company until joining the navy in 1945 until 1948. After the war, he appeared successfully in the West End and made his film debut in the early 1950s...
John Carson is a hugely prolific actor who appeared constantly on UK screens throughout the mid-50s until the mid-80s. He has appeared alongside many of the UK's stars and became hugely popular as a villain or hero. The secret of John's success has been his versatility and his wonderful silky voice...
Basil Rathbone was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1892, but three years later his family was forced to flee the country because his father was accused by the Boers of being a British spy at a time when Dutch-British conflicts were leading to the Boer War. The Rathbones escaped to England, where Basil and his two younger siblings...
Tall, thin, wiry Sam Elliott is the classic picture of the American cowboy. Elliott began his acting career on the stage and his film debut was in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
. Although his future wife, Katharine Ross
co-starred in the film, the two did not meet until they filmed The Legacy
Together. Over the years there would be few opportunities to act in feature westerns...
Laurence Harvey was a British movie star who helped usher in the 1960s with his indelible portrait of a ruthless social climber, and became one of the decade's cultural icons for his appearances in socially themed motion pictures. Harvey was born Zvi Mosheh Skikne on October 1, 1928 in Joniskis, Lithuania...
The refined and debonair English actor Jeremy Brett will forever be best remembered for his long-running and critically acclaimed portrayal of Sherlock Holmes for Britain's Granada Television. From a privileged background, Brett was educated at England's most prestigious independent school, Eton College...
Basil Henson was a prominent stage actor in Britain for over 40 years. His love of theatre began at the age of 12 while playing "Portia" at St. Cuthbert's Prep School. After World War II broke out, he joined the Indian Army and was a Major with the Royal Gharwal Rifles. His professional stage debut was in 1946 at the London Casino...
Lowe, rotund and professionally indefatigable, rightly gained acclaim as an accomplished comedy character actor; fondly remembered as the irascible "Captain Mainwaring" in the Home Guard comedy series Dad's Army (1968-1977), and as Coronation Street
's "Leonard Swindley". The only child of a Derbyshire railworker...
Roderick McDowall was born in London, the son of a Merchant Mariner father and a mother who had always wanted to be in movies. He was enrolled in elocution courses at age five and by ten had appeared in his first film, Murder in the Family
, playing Peter Osborne, the younger brother of sisters played by Jessica Tandy
and Glynis Johns
He was one of Hollywood's more interesting curiosities. Kent Smith, by most standards, had the makings of a topflight 40s and 50s film star -- handsome; virile; personable; highly dedicated; equipped with a rich stage background; no slouch in the talent department. For some reason all these fine qualities...
A former telephone engineer who dabbled in amateur dramatics, John Gregson served aboard a minesweeper with the Royal Navy during World War II. After demobilisation, he joined the Liverpool Old Vic, making his stage debut in 'The Knight of the Burning Pestle'. Freshly married, he moved to London and...
Suave and handsome Australian actor who came to Hollywood in the 1950s, and built himself up from a supporting actor into taking the lead in several well-remembered movies. Arguably his most fondly remembered role was that as George (Herbert George Wells), the inventor, in George Pal
's spectacular The Time Machine
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...
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
Rik Mayall, one of the first and foremost alternative comedians in the UK, was born in a village called Matching Tye, just outside Harlow in Essex. His parents, John and Gillian were both drama teachers. His acting debut was at the age of seven when he appeared in one of his father's stage plays. He met his comedy partner and best friend Adrian "Ade" Edmondson at Manchester University in 1975...
Don Ameche was a versatile and popular American film actor in the 1930s and '40s, usually as the dapper, mustached leading man. He was also popular as a radio master of ceremonies during this time. As his film popularity waned in the 1950s, he continued working in theater and some TV. His film career...
Ray Milland became one of Paramount's most bankable and durable stars, under contract from 1934 to 1948, yet little in his early life suggested a career as a motion picture actor. Milland was born Alfred Reginald Jones in the Welsh town of Neath, Glamorgan, to Elizabeth Annie (Truscott) and Alfred Jones...
Though born in America, Irish actor Patrick McGoohan rose to become the number-one British TV star in the 1950s to 1960s era. His parents moved to Ireland when he was very young and McGoohan acquired a neutral accent that sounds at home in British or American dialogue. He was an avid stage actor and...
James Maitland Stewart was born on 20 May 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth Ruth (Johnson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. He was of Scottish, Ulster-Scots, and some English, descent. Stewart was educated at a local prep school, Mercersburg Academy, where he was a keen athlete (football and track)...
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...
One of England's most enduringly successful character actors, Robert Hardy is noted for his versatility and depth. Born in Cheltenham in 1925, he studied at Oxford University and, in 1949, he joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon. Television viewers most fondly remember him...
John Barry Foster's acting career began and ended on the stage. At the age of 20, he won a scholarship to the Central School of Speech and Drama, where he befriended future playwright Harold Pinter
. After two years training, Barry went on tour with Andrew McMaster
and fellow actors Patrick Magee
and Kenneth Haigh
through the Republic of Ireland...
Jim Siedow was a marvelously quirky and distinctive character actor who achieved instant cult favorite status with his terrific portrayal of the weary and irascible the Cook in Tobe Hooper's immortal and outstanding horror classic "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Siedow was born on June 12th, 1920 in Cheyenne...
As a youth Peter Lorre ran away from home, worked as a bank clerk and, after stage training in Vienna, made his acting debut in Zurich. He remained unknown, traveling for several years and acting in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, until Fritz Lang
cast him as the psychopathic child killer in M
Although his parents were never in show business, as a young boy Oliver Hardy was a gifted singer and, by age eight, was performing with minstrel shows. In 1910 he ran a movie theatre, which he preferred to studying law. In 1913 he became a comedy actor with the Lubin Company in Florida and began appearing in a long series of shorts; his debut film was Outwitting Dad
An intense, versatile actor as adept at playing clean-cut FBI agents as he is psychotic motorcycle-gang leaders, who can go from portraying soulless, murderous vampires to burned-out, world-weary homicide detectives, Lance Henriksen has starred in a variety of films that have allowed him to stretch his talents just about as far as an actor could possibly hope...
Klaus Kinski was born Klaus Günter Karl Nakszynski in Zoppot, Free City of Danzig (now Sopot, Poland), to Susanne (Lutze), a nurse, and Bruno Nakszynski, a pharmacist. He grew up in Berlin, was drafted into the German army in 1944 and captured by British forces in Holland. After the war he began acting on the stage...
George Harris Kennedy, Jr. was born on February 18, 1925 in New York City, to Helen A. (Kieselbach), a ballet dancer, and George Harris Kennedy, an orchestra leader and musician. Following high school graduation, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army in 1943 with the hope to become a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps...
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...
Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van Dyke was born Richard Wayne Van Dyke in West Plains, Missouri, to Hazel Victoria (McCord), a stenographer, and Loren Wayne Van Dyke, a salesman. His younger brother is entertainer Jerry Van Dyke
. His ancestry includes English, Scottish, German, Swiss-German, and Dutch. Although he'd had small roles beforehand...