Top 300 American Actors

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1.
Robert Harron
Today screen actor Robert (Bobby) Harron is one of Hollywood's forgotten souls, although he was a huge celebrity in his time and graced some of the silent screen's most enduring masterpieces. A talented, charismatic star in his heyday, Bobby had everything going for him but died far too young to make the longstanding impression he certainly deserved...
 
3.
Elmer Clifton
He acted on the stage from 1907 and worked with D.W. Griffith in various capacities between 1913 and 1922, including appearances in The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages. He became a director in 1917, with his best-known production probably being the big-budget whaling epic Down to the Sea in Ships, which brought Clara Bow to the attention of audiences...
 
4.
Douglas Fairbanks
Douglas Fairbanks was born Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman in Denver, Colorado, to Ella Adelaide (Marsh) and Hezekiah Charles Ullman, an attorney. His paternal grandparents were German Jewish immigrants, while his mother was from an Anglo family from the South. He was raised by his mother, who had separated from his father when he was five...
 
5.
Erich von Stroheim
Erich von Stroheim was born Erich Oswald Stroheim in 1885, in Vienna, Austria, to Johanna (Bondy), from Prague, and Benno Stroheim, a hatmaker from Gliwice, Poland. His family was Jewish. After spending some time working in his father's hat factory, he emigrated to America around 1909. Working in various jobs he arrived in Hollywood in 1914 and got work in D.W...
“ An Austrian immigrant ” - minalex
 
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7.
Norman Kerry
Popular leading man or villain in the silent era. He often wore fancy wax mustaches. Made a sucessful transtion to sound. Retired from films in 1941 concluding a thirty five year career.
 
8.
Buster Keaton
When at six months of age he tumbled down a flight of stairs unharmed, he was given the name "Buster" by Harry Houdini who, along with W.C. Fields, Bill Robinson ("Bojangles"), Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson shared headlines with "The Three Keatons": Buster, his father Joe Keaton and mother Myra Keaton...
 
9.
“ A British actor with significant roles in American films, including Greed and The Phantom of the Opera. ” - minalex
 
10.
Joe Keaton
Joe Keaton and wife Myra were grade-Z vaudeville performers in the early 1900s. Their son Buster joined the act when he was only a few months old. The act was a rough-and-tumble one, with Buster being thrown around on stage most of the time. As the years went by, Joe Keaton became an alcoholic, which forced Buster to quit the act by the time he was a teenager...
 
12.
Lon Chaney
Although his parents were deaf-mutes, Leonidas Chaney became an actor and also owner of a theatre company (together with his brother John). He made his debut at the movies in 1912, and his filmography is vast. Lon Chaney was especially famous for his horror parts in movies like e.g. Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame...
 
13.
George O'Brien
Actor, Sunrise
Handsome American leading man of classic silent films who became a different kind of star in B-Western talkies. The son of a policeman who later became police chief of San Francisco and then California Director of Penology, O'Brien was raised around police stables and quickly became adept at horsemanship...
 
14.
Lew Ayres
Lew Ayres was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and raised in San Diego, California. A college dropout, he was found by a talent scout in the Coconut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles and entered Hollywood as a bit player. He was leading man to Greta Garbo in The Kiss, but it was the role of Paul Baumer in All Quiet on the Western Front that was his big break...
 
15.
Charles Chaplin
Writer, Modern Times
Charlie Chaplin, considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular "Little Tramp" character; the man with the toothbrush mustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane, and a funny walk...
“ A British immigrant ” - minalex
 
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18.
Colin Clive
Who could forget Colin Clive's "It's Alive! It's Alive!" as he melted to the floor mumbling the same over and over in ecstasy after his success at animating the Monster in the first sound version of Frankenstein. Film history - horror film history - but part of a short history for actor Colin Clive - he died at 37 years of age...
“ A British actor who worked mostly in the United States during his brief life, most notably starring in Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. ” - minalex
 
19.
Boris Karloff
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...
“ A British actor with significant roles in American films, including Frankenstein, Scarface, The Lost Patrol, Bride of Frankenstein and The Body Snatcher ” - minalex
 
20.
Paul Muni
Actor, Scarface
Paul Muni was born Sept. 22, 1895, in Lemberg, Austro-Hungarian Empire, to Salli and Phillip Weisenfreund, who were both professionals. His family was Jewish, and spoke Yiddish. Paul was educated in New York and Cleveland public schools. He was described as 5 feet 10 inches, with black hair and eyes...
 
21.
Herbert Marshall
Herbert Marshall had trained to become a certified accountant, but his interest turned to the stage. He lost a leg while serving in World War I, he was rehabilitated with a wooden leg. This did not stop him from making good his decision to make the stage as his vocation. He used a very deliberate square-shouldered and guided walk - largely unnoticeable - to cover up his disability...
“ A British actor with significant roles in American films, including Trouble in Paradise, Angel, The Letter, Foreign Correspondent, The Little Foxes, Duel in the Sun, Angel Face and The Fly ” - minalex
 
22.
Claude Rains
Actor, Casablanca
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...
“ A British actor with significant roles in American films, including The Invisible Man, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk, Casablanca and Notorious. ” - minalex
 
23.
Bruce Cabot
Actor, King Kong
Hollywood stalwart Bruce Cabot's main claim to fame, other than rescuing Fay Wray from King Kong, is that he tested for the lead role of The Ringo Kid in John Ford's Western masterpiece Stagecoach. John Wayne got the role and became the most durable star in Hollywood history...
 
24.
Robert Armstrong
Actor, King Kong
Robert Armstrong is familiar to old-movie buffs for his case-hardened, rapid-fire delivery in such roles as fast-talking promoters, managers, FBI agents, street cops, detectives and other such characters in scores of films--over 160--many of them at Warner Brothers, where he was part of the so-called "Warner Brothers Stock Company" that consisted of such players as James Cagney...
 
25.
Gene Raymond
Gene Raymond was born on August 13, 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 classics...
 
26.
James Flavin
Actor, King Kong
Jut-jawed and jaunty-looking Irish-American character actor appeared in countless Hollywood films of the 1930s and '40s in which he almost always portrayed a keeper of order: e.g., a ship's second mate or a US Marine platoon sergeant or a big-city police investigator. The only exception to his good-guy rule was his brief appearance as a thug in the comedy _Brother Orchid (1940)_.
 
27.
Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard Stainer was born in London, to Lilian (Blumberg) and Ferdinand "Frank" Steiner. His father was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and his English mother was of German Jewish, and mostly English, descent. Leslie went to Dulwich College. After school, he worked as a bank clerk until the outbreak of World War I...
“ Another British actor with significant roles in American films, including Of Human Bondage and Gone with the Wind ” - minalex
 
28.
Fred Astaire
Actor, Top Hat
Fred Astaire was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Johanna (Geilus) and Fritz Austerlitz, a brewer. Fred entered show business at age 5. He was successful both in vaudeville and on Broadway in partnership with his sister, Adele Astaire. After Adele retired to marry in 1932, Astaire headed to Hollywood. Signed to RKO...
 
29.
William Powell
William Powell was on the New York stage by 1912, but it would be ten years before his film career would begin. In 1924 he went to Paramount Pictures, where he was employed for the next seven years. During that time, he played in a number of interesting films, but stardom was elusive. He did finally attract attention with The Last Command as Leo...
 
30.
Chester Conklin
Iowa-born Chester Conklin was raised in a coal-mining area by a devoutly religious father who hoped that his son would go into the ministry. However, Chester got the performing bug one day when he gave a recitation at a community singing festival and won first prize. Knowing his father would never approve of his desire to become a comedian...
 
31.
Tiny Sandford
Stanley J. Sandford better known as "Tiny" Sandford was born in Iowa, U.S.A in 1894. He went into films in 1910 for Mack Sennett and joined Charlie Chaplin in 1916 appearing in "The Count", "The Immigrant" & "The Adventurer" (1916-17). He later appeared in Chaplin's productions such as "The Gold Rush" (1925)...
 
33.
Melvyn Douglas
Two-time Oscar-winner Melvyn Douglas was one of America's finest actors. In addition to his two Oscars, he also won a Tony Award and an Emmy. Douglas would enjoy cinema immortality if for no other reason than his being the man who made Greta Garbo laugh in Ernst Lubitsch's classic comedy Ninotchka, but he was much, much more...
 
34.
Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn (1909-1959) was an Australian-born film star who gained fame in Hollywood in the 1930s as the screen's premier swashbuckler. Tall, athletic and exceptionally handsome, Flynn personified the cavalier adventurer in a string of immensely popular films for Warner Brothers, most often co-starring...
 
35.
Clark Gable
Clark Gable was an American film actor, often referred to as "The King of Hollywood" or just simply as "The King." The 1930s saw him at the peak of his acting ability and his popular appeal, as he often portrayed down-to-earth, bravado characters with a carefree attitude. He was known as the epitome of masculinity with his unmatched charm and knowing smile...
 
36.
Charles Laughton
Actor, Spartacus
Charles Laughton was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England, to Eliza (Conlon) and Robert Laughton, hotel keepers of Irish and English descent. He was educated at Stonyhurst, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (received gold medal). His first appearance on stage was in 1926. Laughton formed own film company...
“ A British actor with significant roles in American films, including Mutiny on the Bounty, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Paradine Case, Witness for the Prosecution, Spartacus and Advise & Consent ” - minalex
 
37.
Victor McLaglen
Rambunctious British leading man (contrary to popular belief, he was of Scottish ancestry, not Irish) and later character actor primarily in American films, Victor McLaglen was a vital presence in a number of great motion pictures, especially those of director John Ford. McLaglen (pronounced Muh-clog-len...
“ Another British actor with significant roles in American films, including The Lost Patrol, The Informer, Gunga Din, Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and The Quiet Man ” - minalex
 
38.
Stan Laurel
Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson on the 16th of June in Ulverston, Cumbria in England, 1890. His father was a vaudeville performer and this led Arthur to being a stage performer too. He didn't get much schooling and this led to the joining of Fred Karno's Troupe where Arthur understudied the future star...
“ A British immigrant ” - minalex
 
39.
Oliver Hardy
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...
 
40.
Thomas Mitchell
Thomas Mitchell was one of the great American character actors, whose credits read like a list of the greatest films of the 20th century: Lost Horizon; Stagecoach; The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Gone with the Wind; It's a Wonderful Life and High Noon. His portrayals are so diverse and convincing that most people don't even realize that one actor could have played them all...
 
41.
Cedric Hardwicke
Actor, Rope
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...
“ A British actor with significant roles in American films, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Suspicion, Rope, The War of the Worlds and The Ten Commandments ” - minalex
 
42.
Cary Grant
Once told by an interviewer, "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant", Grant is said to have replied, "So would I." Cary Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach in Horfield, Bristol, England, to Elsie Maria (Kingdon) and Elias James Leach, who worked in a factory. His early years in Bristol would have been an ordinary lower-middle-class childhood...
“ A British immigrant ” - minalex
 
43.
Laurence Olivier
Actor, Rebecca
Laurence Olivier could speak William Shakespeare's lines as naturally as if he were "actually thinking them", said English playwright Charles Bennett, who met Olivier in 1927. Laurence Kerr Olivier was born in Dorking, Surrey, England, to Agnes Louise (Crookenden) and Gerard Kerr Olivier, a High Anglican priest. His surname came from a great-great-grandfather who was of French Huguenot origin...
“ A British actor with significant roles in American films, including Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, Spartacus, Marathon Man and Clash of the Titans ” - minalex
 
44.
Raymond Massey
Educated at the University of Toronto & Balliol College, Oxford, he joined the Canadian Field Artillery in World War I, served in France & was wounded. His first appearance was in a stage production in Siberia, during its occupation by American Forces in 1918. Raymond returned to Canada & the farm implement business after the war...
 
45.
Orson Welles
His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was seven) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr...
 
46.
Walter Pidgeon
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 and Sumuru. When talkies arrived...
 
47.
Robert Montgomery
As a child, Robert Montgomery enjoyed a privileged life, as his father was the president of the New York Rubber Co. When he died, the fortune was gone and Robert worked at a number of jobs. He later went to New York to be a writer, and on the advice of a friend tried acting. He worked with George Cukor on the stage and his first film...
 
48.
Ray Collins
Ray Bidwell Collins was an American actor in film, stage, radio and television. One of his best remembered roles was that of Lt. Arthur Tragg in the long-running series Perry Mason. Collins was born in Sacramento, California, to Lillie Bidwell and William C. Collins, a newspaper drama editor. He started acting on stage at the age of 14...
 
50.
Humphrey Bogart
Actor, Casablanca
Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born in New York City, New York, to Maud Humphrey, a famed magazine illustrator and suffragette, and Belmont DeForest Bogart, a moderately wealthy surgeon (who was secretly addicted to opium). Bogart was educated at Trinity School, NYC, and was sent to Phillips Academy in Andover...
 
51.
Tim Holt
As they say, like father, like son. Cowboy hero Tim Holt avidly followed in the boots of his famous character-actor dad, the granite-jawed Jack Holt (b. Charles John Holt), who appeared in hundreds of silents and talkies (many of them westerns) over the years. The two actually appeared together as father and son in the western The Arizona Ranger...
 
52.
Brian Donlevy
It seems that Brian Donlevy started out life as colorfully as any character he ever played on the stage or screen. He lied about his age (he was actually 14) in 1916 so he could join the army. When Gen. John J. Pershing sent American troops to invade Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa--Mexican rebels under Villa's command raided Columbus...
“ A British actor with significant roles in American films, including Hangmen Also Die! and The Big Combo. ” - minalex
 
53.
Tom Conway
Actor, Peter Pan
Tom Conway played "The Falcon" in ten of that series' entries. He starred in three Val Lewton horror classics. He appeared in comedies, musicals, two Tarzan films and even science fiction films. He was early television's Detective Mark Saber, but Conway will probably be best remembered as George Sanders' brother...
“ A British actor with significant roles in American films, including Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, Peter Pan (voice) and One Hundred and One Dalmatians (voice). ” - minalex
 
54.
Walter Huston
Walter Huston, who was born Toronto, Ontario, established himself as one of the great actors of the English-speaking stage and cinema. He established himself as a well-respected and much-sought-after character lead beginning with the early talkies and continuing through the 1930s & '40s. Huston originally studied engineering before seeking a life in the theater...
 
55.
Fred MacMurray
Fred MacMurray was likely the most underrated actor of his generation. True, his earliest work is mostly dismissed as pedestrian, but no other actor working in the 1940s and 50s was able to score so supremely whenever cast against type. Frederick Martin MacMurray was born in Kankakee, Illinois, to Maleta Martin and Frederick MacMurray...
 
56.
Dick Powell
In the 1930s , Dick Powell was the juvenile lead in the Warner backstage musicals opposite such rising stars as Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell. After his career in musicals, he was cast in private-eye roles and became a producer and director for both TV and movies.
 
57.
Charles Boyer
Actor, Gaslight
Charles Boyer studied philosophy before he went to the theater where he gave his debut in 1920. Although he had at first no intentions to pursue a career at the movies (his first movie was L'homme du large by Marcel L'Herbier) he used his chance in Hollywood after several filming stations all over Europe...
“ A French actor with significant roles in American films, including Gaslight, Around the World in Eighty Days and Barefoot in the Park. ” - minalex
 
58.
Henry Daniell
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 British actor with significant roles in American films, including The Philadelphia Story, The Great Dictator, The Sea Hawk, Jane Eyre, The Body Snatcher, Lust for Life and Witness for the Prosecution. ” - minalex
 
59.
Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson arrived in the United States at age ten, and his family moved into New York's Lower East Side. He took up acting while attending City College, abandoning plans to become a rabbi or lawyer. The American Academy of Dramatic Arts awarded him a scholarship, and he began work in stock...
 
60.
Fredric March
Fredric March began a career in banking but in 1920 found himself cast as an extra in films being produced in New York. He starred on the Broadway stage first in 1926 and would return there between screen appearances later on. He won plaudits (and an Academy Award nomination) for his send-up of John Barrymore in The Royal Family of Broadway...
 
61.
Dana Andrews
American leading man of the 1940s and 1950s, Dana Andrews, was born Carver Dana Andrews on a farm by Collins, Covington County, Mississippi. He was the son of Annis (Speed) and Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister. He was one of thirteen children, including actor Steve Forrest. Andrews studied business administration at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Texas...
 
62.
Victor Mature
American leading man Victor John Mature was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Clara P. (Ackley) and Marcellus George Mature, a cutler and knife sharpener. His father, born Marcello Gelindo Maturi in Pinzolo, Trentino, was Italian, and his mother was of Swiss-German and German descent. Mature worked as a teenager with his father as a salesman for butcher supplies...
 
63.
Glenn Ford
Actor, Superman
Legendary actor Glenn Ford was born Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford in Sainte-Christine-d'Auvergne, Quebec, Canada, to Hannah Wood (Mitchell) and Newton Ford, a railroad executive. His family moved to Santa Monica, California when he was eight years old. His acting career began with plays at high school, followed by acting in West Coast, a traveling theater company...
 
64.
Robert Mitchum
Robert Mitchum was an underrated American leading man of enormous ability, who sublimated his talents beneath an air of disinterest. He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Ann Harriet (Gunderson), a Norwegian immigrant, and James Thomas Mitchum, a shipyard/railroad worker. His father died in a train accident when he was two...
 
65.
John Dall
Actor, Rope
John Dall was born John Dall Thompson (some sources state John Jenner Thompson) on May 26, 1918. He made his Broadway debut in Norman Krasna's comedy "Dear Ruth," directed by Moss Hart, in 1944. The show was a hit, running for over a year and a half and 680 performances. He next appeared on Broadway in Jean-Paul Sartre's "Red Gloves" in 1948...
 
66.
Dean Stockwell
Dean Stockwell is one of only a few people left that were alive and acting during the golden age of Hollywood. Over a long career he has worked with many of Hollywood's greatest talents. He's stared with Orson Welles in the court drama Compulsion. Worked with Gene Kelly & Frank Sinatra in the film Anchors Aweigh...
 
67.
Pat O'Brien
Although he came to be called "Hollywood's Irishman in Residence"--and, along with good friends James Cagney, Allen Jenkins, Frank McHugh and a few others were called "The Irish Mafia"--and he often played Irish immigrants, Pat O'Brien was US-born and -bred. As a young boy the devoutly Roman Catholic O'Brien considered entering the seminary to study for the priesthood...
 
68.
Joseph Cotten
Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Jr. was born in Petersburg, Virginia, into a well-to-do Southern family. He was the eldest of three sons born to Sally Whitworth (Willson) and Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Sr., an assistant postmaster. Jo (as he was known) and his brothers Whit and Sam spent their summers at their aunt and uncle's home at Virginia Beach...
 
69.
Broderick Crawford
Broderick Crawford is best remembered for two roles: his Oscar-winning turn as Willie Stark in All the King's Men, and as Chief Dan Matthews on the syndicated TV series Highway Patrol. He was also memorable as Judy Holliday's boisterous boyfriend in Born Yesterday. He was born William Broderick Crawford on December 9...
 
70.
Robert Ryan
Distinguished U.S. actor and longtime civil rights campaigner Robert Bushnell Ryan was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Mable Arbutus (Bushnell), a secretary, and Timothy Aloysius Ryan, whose wealthy family owned a real estate firm. His father was of Irish ancestry, and his mother was of English and Irish descent...
 
71.
John Ireland
Actor, Spartacus
Born in Canada, John Ireland was raised in New York. Performing as a swimmer in a water carnival, he moved into the legitimate theater, often appearing in minor roles in Broadway plays. His first big break in pictures came in 1945 when he appeared as Windy the introspective letter-writing G.I. in the classic war epic A Walk in the Sun...
 
72.
Richard Widmark
Richard Widmark established himself as an icon of American cinema with his debut in the 1947 film noir Kiss of Death in which he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination as the killer "Tommy Udo". Kiss of Death and other noir thrillers established Widmark as part of a new generation of American movie actors who became stars in the post-World War II era...
 
73.
Farley Granger
Farley Earle Granger was born in 1925 in San Jose, California, to Eva (Hopkins) and Farley Earle Granger, who owned an automobile dealership. Right out of high school, he was brought to the attention of movie producer Samuel Goldwyn, who cast him in a small role in The North Star. He followed it up with a much bigger part in The Purple Heart and then joined the army...
 
74.
Gary Cooper
Actor, High Noon
Born to Alice Cooper and Charles Cooper (not in film business). Gary attended school at Dunstable school England, Helena Montana and Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa. His first stage experience was during high school and college. Afterwards, he worked as an extra for one year before getting a part in a two reeler by Hans Tissler (an independent producer)...
 
75.
Gene Kelly
Eugene Curran Kelly was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the third son of Harriet Catherine (Curran) and James Patrick Joseph Kelly, a phonograph salesman. His father was of Irish descent and his mother was of Irish and German ancestry. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the largest and most powerful studio in Hollywood when Gene Kelly arrived in town in 1941...
 
76.
Cornel Wilde
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...
 
78.
Donald O'Connor
Born into a vaudeville family, O'Connor was the youthful figure cutting a rug in several Universal musicals of the 1940s. His best-known musical work is probably Singin' in the Rain, in which he did an impressive dance that culminated in a series of backflips off the wall. O'Connor was also effective in comedic lead roles, particularly as the companion to Francis the Talking Mule in that film series.
 
79.
Burt Lancaster
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...
 
80.
Montgomery Clift
Edward Montgomery Clift (nicknamed 'Monty' his entire life) was born on October 17, 1920 in Omaha, Nebraska, just after his twin sister Roberta and eighteen months after his brother Brooks Clift. He was the son of Ethel "Sunny" Anderson (Fogg) and William Brooks Clift. His father made a lot of money in banking but was quite poor during the depression...
 
81.
Gregory Peck
Eldred Gregory Peck was born in La Jolla, California, to Bernice Mary (Ayres) and Gregory Pearl Peck, a chemist and druggist in San Diego. He had Irish (from his paternal grandmother), English, and some German, ancestry. His parents divorced when he was five years old. An only child, he was sent to live with his grandmother...
 
82.
James Mason
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...
“ A British actor with significant roles in American films, including Julius Caesar, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, North by Northwest, The Fall of the Roman Empire, Heaven Can Wait and The Verdict ” - minalex
 
83.
Spencer Tracy
Spencer Tracy was born four years after his brother Carroll to truck salesman John Edward and Caroline Brown Tracy. He attended Marquette Academy along with Pat O'Brien and the two left school to enlist in the Navy at the start of World War I. He was still at Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia at the end of the war...
 
84.
James Dean
James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931 in Marion, Indiana, to Mildred Marie (Wilson) and Winton A. Dean, a farmer turned dental technician. His mother died when Dean was nine, and he was subsequently raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. After grade school, he moved to New York to pursue his dream of acting...
 
85.
Rock Hudson
Actor, Giant
Rock Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. in Winnetka, Illinois, to Katherine (Wood), a telephone operator, and Roy Harold Scherer, an auto mechanic. He was of German, Swiss-German, English, and Irish descent. His parents divorced when he was eight years old. He failed to obtain parts in school plays because he couldn't remember lines...
 
86.
Edmund Gwenn
There are very few character actors from the 1930s, '40s or '50s who rose to the rank of stardom. Only a rare man or woman reached the level of renown and admiration, and had enough audience appeal, to be the first name in a cast's billing, a name that got marquee posting. Charles Coburn comes to mind, but there aren't many others. However, one who made it was Edmund Gwenn...
“ A British actor with significant roles in American films, including Foreign Correspondent, Miracle on 34th Street, Life with Father and The Trouble with Harry. ” - minalex
 
87.
Ralph Meeker
Burly American character actor Ralph Meeker first acted on stage at his Alma mater, Northwestern University, alongside other budding performers Charlton Heston and Patricia Neal. He graduated as a music major, because his dean had discouraged him from pursuing a theatrical career. Ignoring that advice...
 
88.
John Wayne
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...
 
89.
Sterling Hayden
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...
 
90.
Jeffrey Hunter
Jeffrey Hunter (born in Louisiana as Henry Herman McKinnies Jr.) was an only child. His parents met at the University of Arkansas, and when he was almost four his family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In his teens he acted in productions of the North Shore Children's Theater, and from 1942 to 1944 performed in summer stock with the local Port Players...
 
91.
Leslie Nielsen
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...
“ A Canadian actor with significant roles in American films, including Forbidden Planet, Airplane! and The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. ” - minalex
 
92.
Kevin McCarthy
Handsome, chisel-jawed character actor Kevin McCarthy appeared in nearly 100 movies in a career that spanned seven decades. He also had some starring roles, most notably the horror cult classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He played the disillusioned son Biff Loman in the 1951 screen adaptation of Arthur Miller's classic Death of a Salesman...
 
93.
Kirk Douglas
Actor, Spartacus
Cleft-chinned, steely-eyed and virile star of international cinema who rose from being "the ragman's son" (the name of his best-selling 1988 autobiography) to become a bona fide superstar, Kirk Douglas, also known as Issur Danielovitch Demsky, was born in Amsterdam, New York, in 1916. His parents, Bryna (Sanglel) and Herschel Danielovitch...
 
94.
William Holden
William Holden was born William Franklin Beedle, Jr. in O'Fallon, Illinois, to Mary Blanche (Ball), a schoolteacher, and William Franklin Beedle, Sr., an industrial chemist. He came from a wealthy family (the Beedles) that moved to Pasadena, California, when he was three. In 1937, while studying chemistry at Pasadena Junior College...
 
95.
Steve Cochran
Actor, White Heat
Husky, hirsute, darkly handsome Steve Cochran was all man -- and a slick ladies' guy to boot. They didn't come much rougher and tougher than he both off- and on-camera. Throughout post-WWII Hollywood and the 1950s, he played the swarthiest and sexiest of coldhearted villains, with mustache or without...
 
96.
James Stewart
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)...
 
97.
Charlton Heston
Actor, Ben-Hur
With features chiseled in stone, and renowned for playing a long list of historical figures, particularly in Biblical epics, the tall, well built and ruggedly handsome Charlton Heston was one of Hollywood's greatest leading men and remained active in front of movie cameras for over sixty years. As a Hollywood star...
 
98.
Tony Curtis
Tony Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz, the eldest of three children of Helen (Klein) and Emanuel Schwartz, Jewish immigrants from Hungary. Curtis himself admits that while he had almost no formal education, he was a student of the "school of hard knocks" and learned from a young age that the only person who ever had his back was himself...
 
99.
Jack Lemmon
Jack Lemmon was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Mildred Burgess LaRue (Noel) and John Uhler Lemmon, Jr., the president of a doughnut company. His ancestry included Irish (from his paternal grandmother) and English. Jack attended Ward Elementary near his Newton, MA home. At age 9 he was sent to Rivers Country Day School...
 
100.
Dean Martin
If there had to be an image for cool, the man to fit it would be Dean Martin. Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio, to Angela (Barra) and Gaetano Alfonso Crocetti, a barber. His father was an Italian immigrant, and his mother was of Italian descent. He spoke only Italian until age five...