Classic actors and actresses whose films I would like to see more of.. Some of these people I've seen in a few films so far (max. 5), some only as supporting characters. But something about each of them caught my interest..
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...
Grace Patricia Kelly was born on November 12, 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to wealthy parents. She was the daughter of Margaret Katherine (Majer), a phys ed instructor, and John Brendan Kelly, Sr., a three-time Olympic Gold winner for rowing. Her uncle was playwright George Kelly
. She was of half Irish and half German descent...
As a baby, she was winning beauty contests; as a teenager, with good looks and an attractive contralto voice, she was singing with big bands (most notably Enric Madriguera's orchestra in Latin Club Del Rio in Washington, D.C.. She met Rudy Vallee
, her first husband, on the radio where she also enjoyed a brief stint as a singer...
Cheshire-born actress Wendy Hiller soared to Cinderella-like stardom in her West End theatre debut of "Love on the Dole" (1934). The critical applause she received for this stellar performance led to an expressed introduction to legendary playwright George Bernard Shaw
. She went on to give life to a number of his greatest creations (Joan of Arc...
Charles 'Buddy' Rogers
Born to Maude and Bert Henry Rogers. Attended Olathe high school and Univ. of Kansas. He trained at the Paramount Picture School.
George Sanders was born of English parents in St. Petersburg, Russia. He worked in a Birmingham textile mill, in the tobacco business and as a writer in advertising. He entered show business in London as a chorus boy, going from there to cabaret, radio and theatrical understudy. His film debut, in 1936...
Eleanor Jean Parker was born on June 26, 1922, in Cedarville, Ohio, the last of three children born to a mathematics teacher and his wife. Eleanor caught the acting bug early and began performing in school plays. She was was so serious about becoming a thespian, she attended the Rice Summer Theatre on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts beginning when she was 15 years old...
Karachi-born Margaret Lockwood, daughter of a British colonial railway clerk, was educated in London and studied to be an actress at the Italia Conti Drama School. Her first moment on stage came at the age of 12, when she played a fairy in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 1928. She had a bit part in the Drury Lane production of "Cavalcade" in 1932...
Ethel Barrymore was the second of three children seemingly destined for the actor's life of their parents Maurice and Georgiana. Maurice Barrymore had emigrated from England in 1875, and after graduating from Cambridge in law had shocked his family by becoming an actor. Georgiana Drew of Philadelphia acted in her parents' stage company...
Ida was born in London to a show business family. In 1933, her mother brought Ida with her to an audition and Ida got the part her mother wanted. The picture was Her First Affaire
. Ida, a bleached blonde, came to Hollywood in 1934 and played small and insignificant parts. Peter Ibbetson
was one of her...
"Film after film took advantage of the saddest eyes in Hollywood", says the photo caption for a portrait of Sylvia Sidney published with a 1978 interview conducted by Columbia University film instructor Karyn Kay. Sidney told what it was like working with Hitchcock on Sabotage
. She asked him: "How do we do the end of the scene before we've even rehearsed?" Once she learned his methods...
Rejected by the Yale Drama School, Judy began in the theater as a backstage operator for Orson Welles' Mercury Theater. She made her stage debut when she joined Betty Comden
and Adolph Green
in a cabaret group called the Revuers. Working their way up through the circuit, the group was hired by 20th Century Fox to appear in the film Greenwich Village
Elegant, quintessentially English (although born in Northern Ireland) Valerie Hobson was the daughter of a British army officer. She studied dancing at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and appeared on the stage for the first time at age 16, but she contracted a case of scarlet fever and decided to give up dancing for acting...
Edna May Oliver
She was born Edna May Nutter, a child of solid New England stock, on 9th November 1883 in Malden, Massachusetts. The daughter of Ida May
and Charles Edward Nutter, Edna was a descendant of the 6th American president John Quincy Adams. Miss Oliver took an early interest in the stage, and she would quit school at the age of 14 to pursue her ambitions in the theater...
Alice Faye started her career as singer with Rudy Vallee
's band in the early 1930s in New York. She went with Vallee to Hollywood, when he was able to get a number for her in George White's Scandals
. When the female star of this film, Lilian Harvey
left the set, Faye got her role. In her early years in Hollywood...
Born into a prominent Mormon family in Utah, Laraine Day's acting career began after her parents moved to Long Beach, California, where she joined the Long Beach Players. She appeared in her first film in 1937 in a bit part, then did leads in several George O'Brien
westerns. Signing a contract with MGM...
Sir Michael Redgrave was of the generation of English actors that gave the world the legendary John Gielgud
, Ralph Richardson
and Laurence Olivier
, Britain three fabled "Theatrical Knights" back in the days when a knighthood for thespian was far more rare than it is today. A superb actor, Redgrave...
Brian Aherne was an Oscar-nominated Anglo-American stage and screen actor who was one of the top cinema character actors in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Born on May 2, 1902 in King's Norton, Worcestshire, England, Aherne performed as an actor as a child. At age 18 he made his debut as an adult with the company that would evolve into the world-famous Birmingham Repertory Theatre...
In America, the early performing arts accomplishments of young Maureen FitzSimons (who we know as Maureen O'Hara) would definitely have put her in the child prodigy category. However, for a child of Irish heritage surrounded by gifted parents and family, these were very natural traits. Maureen made her entrance into this caring haven on August 17...
Beginning as a chorus girl at age 14, Ruth Chatterton became a Broadway star with "Daddy Long Legs" in 1914. She appeared in such shows as "Mary Rose" and "Come Out of the Kitchen" before moving to Hollywood in 1925. As her film career faded in the late 1930s, she returned to the stage in revivals, and radio and TV performances...
Robert Donat's pleasant voice and somewhat neutral English accent were carefully honed as a boy because he had a stammer and took elocution lessons starting at age 11 to overcome the impediment. It was not too surprising that freedom from such a vocal embarrassment was encouragement to act. His other handicap...
Van Johnson was the well-mannered nice guy on screen you wanted your daughter to marry. This fair, freckled and invariably friendly-looking MGM song-and-dance star of the 40s emerged a box office favorite (1944-1946) and second only to heartthrob Frank Sinatra
during what gossipmonger Hedda Hopper
dubbed the "Bobby-Soxer Blitz" era...
Dashing actor Cornel Wilde was born Kornel Lajos Weisz on October 13, 1912, in Prievidza, Hungary (now part of Slovakia), to a Jewish family. In 1920, he immigrated to New York City with his parents, Rayna (Vid) and Vojtech Béla Weisz, and elder sister, Edith. His family Americanized their names and Kornel took the name Cornelius Louis Wilde...
The dark, petulant beauty of this petite American film and musical star worked to her advantage, especially in her early dramatic career. Ann Marie Blyth was born of Irish stock to Harry and Nan Blyth on August 16, 1928, in Mt. Kisco, New York. Her parents split while she was young and she, her mother and sister moved to New York City...
Known as "The First lady of the American Theater", Helen Hayes had a legendary career on stage and in films and television that spanned over eighty years. Hayes was born in Washington, D.C., to Catherine Estelle "Essie" Hayes, an actress who worked in touring companies, and Francis van Arnum Brown, a clerk and salesman...
Gene Raymond was born on August 13th, 1908 in New York City, as Raymond Guion. He was a child performer and a Broadway veteran by the age of 12. Gene a blond, husky, handsome actor had his greatest popularity in the 30s and early 40s. His big break came in Personal Maid
. He was soon cast in classic...
Born Agnes Zetterstrand in 1902 in the small industrial town of Naugatuck, Connecticut, Grey was the seventh surviving and youngest child of Swedish immigrants. Her life and that of her family was sent into turmoil when her father died suddenly of a heart attack in 1911. Grey's family eventually moved to Waterbury...
Richard Conte was born Nicholas Richard Conte on March 24, 1910, in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of an Italian-American barber. The young Conte held a variety of jobs before becoming a professional actor, including truck driver, Wall Street clerk and singing waiter at a Connecticut resort. The gig as a singing waiter led to theatrical work in New York...
Lee Bowman made his reputation as a suave, polished leading man opposite glamorous stars like Rita Hayworth
and Jean Arthur
in the 1940's. The columnist Jack Sher
(later a noted writer and director) referred to him in 1944 as 'a very hot commodity' in Hollywood. A graduate from the University of Cincinnati...
One of the many "also rans" or "might-have-beens" in 1930's Hollywood was a blonde beauty queen of Swedish/Austrian ancestry, named Irene Ware. She was actually born Irene Ahlberg in Pelham, New York and first plied her trade as a stenographer before other endeavours piqued her interest. Aged eighteen...
Sir John Mills, one of the most popular and beloved English actors, was born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills on February 22, 1908, at the Watts Naval Training College in North Elmham, Norfolk, England. The young Mills grew up in Felixstowe, Suffolk, where his father was a mathematics teacher and his mother was a theater box-office manager...
Clarine Seymour born to Albert and Florence Seymour in Brooklyn, New York in 1898. Her father ran a ribbon manufacturing business, in 1917 her father became so ill that he had no choice but to close his successful business and so Clarine secured work through the Thanhouser Film Company, which was located in New Rochelle...
Husky voiced Glynis is the daughter of actor Mervyn Johns
. Best known for her light comedy roles and often playful flirtation, Glynis was born in South Africa while her parents were on tour there (her mother was a concert pianist) but was always proud of her Welsh roots and took delight in playing the female lead (opposite Richard Burton
) in the classic Under Milk Wood
“ Her earlier films.. ” - I_Won-t_Dance
Betty Compson was born Eleanor Luicime Compson on March 19, 1897, in Beaver, Utah. After her father's death she dropped out of school to help her family. She began her show business career as a violinist and toured with her mother in vaudeville. Betty was offered a contract with Al Christie in 1915...
Ann Harding was born Dorothy Walton Gatley on August 7, 1901, in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The daughter of an Army captain and his wife, Ann spent a lot of time traveling around the US whenever her West Point-educated father was transferred. Moving to such places as Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, Cuba and Pennsylvania made it very hard to put down roots...
, the internationally famous star of the Metropolitan Opera, Broadway, motion pictures, radio and recordings, was born December 5, 1898, in Del Río near Newport, Tennessee. Her family moved to Jellico when she was a young girl. She attended Jellico High School where she was captain of the girls basketball team in 19l6...
Canadian comedienne, a former vaudevillian, Majorie White appeared in a few films but died before making a real mark. Born in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1904 (according to her birth certificate), she was the daughter of a railroad worker. She entered show business at the age of 4 as one of the Winnipeg Kiddies...
Coming from a musical family - her mother was a concert soprano - Constance Cummings made her show business debut in 1926 in regional stock theater, and by 1928 had appeared in her first Broadway play. Her success in the theater resulted in an invitation to Hollywood, where she went 1931. Although she played in more than 20 films...
Vivacious, hazel-eyed, strawberry-haired Jean Kent was a popular star of British films in the 1940's and early 50's. The daughter of variety performers Norman Field and Nina Norre, she was convent-educated. By the age of ten, she accompanied her mother on tour, then spent several years in the chorus line at London's Windmill Theatre in the West End...
Phyllis Hannah Bickle was born in Chelsea in 1915 and studied dancing at the Margaret Morris school of dance, until an injury forced her to give up dancing and turn instead to acting. Her 70 year film career began with a bit part in The Arcadians
when she was just 12 years old. Along with over 40 movies...
Dubbed "The Girl with the Bee Stung Lips", silent-era screen star Mae Murray began her career on stage partnered with ballroom dancing extraordinaire Vernon Castle
in the 1906 Broadway show "About Town." Born the daughter of émigrés, she began studying dance at a young age. Two years later she joined the "Ziegfeld Follies" chorus line and moved up to headliner status by 1915...