This is a list of living film and TV legends -- those actors, actresses, directors, writers, etc. who made significant contributions to the cinematic and television arts in or before 1968 and are still with us today.
To be added to this list, a person must have begun working in films or television in or prior to 1968 (the death of the production code and the birth of the "New Hollywood" era). They also should have a reasonable amount of renown due to A.) their place in the history of film and/or television; B.) their involvement with one or more classic and/or important films and/or TV shows; C.) their prolific body of work; D.) their impact on society and/or pop culture; or E.) all of the above. Oh, and they have to be alive.
Obviously, when a legend listed here dies, he or she will be removed from the list. For a list of persons removed from the "Living Legends" list since its creation on Aug. 14, 2013, go here: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls07631527
Born in Iowa, Betty May Adams grew up in Arkansas and made her acting debut in a third grade play, "Hansel and Gretel". When she grew up and decided to become an actress, she moved to California, where she worked three days a week as a secretary (to support herself) and spent the remainder of her time taking speech lessons and making the rounds at the various studios' casting departments...
Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...
David Amram has been described as "the Renaissance man of American music." He has composed over 100 orchestral and chamber works, written two operas, and many scores for theatre and films. He has collaborated with such notables as Leonard Bernstein, Dizzy Gillespie, Dustin Hoffman, Charlie Mingus, Elia Kazan...
Richard Anderson appeared in high school plays, served a hitch in the Army and, upon his discharge, began doing summer stock, radio work, a movie bit part (a wounded soldier in Twelve O'Clock High
) and all the other minor jobs required of your basic struggling actor. He did comedy scenes on a "screen test"-like TV series called Lights, Camera, Action!
and impressed the right people at MGM...
came to Malmö Stadsteater and met Ingmar Bergman
in 1953. Her career is strongly tied to Bergman. Especially her film career in which she often appeared as strong, independent women, not rarely from the working class, with an erotic charisma. Andersson got her breakthrough with the title role in Summer with Monika
The quintessential jet-set Euro starlet, Ursula Andress was born in the Swiss canton of Berne on March 19, 1936, one of six children in a strict German Protestant family. Although often seeming icily aloof, a restless streak early demonstrated itself in her personality, and she had an impetuous desire to explore the world outside Switzerland...
Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on October 1, 1935, in England. Her mother, Barbara Ward (Morris), and stepfather, both vaudeville performers, discovered her freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice and immediately got her a singing career. She performed in music halls throughout her childhood and teens...
Kenneth Anger grew up in Hollywood and started out as a child actor, but his interest in filmmaking was evident at an early age: he made his first film, "Who's Been Rocking My Dreamboat?", at age 9. Anger developed into one of the pioneers of the American underground film movement. His gritty, violent...
Actress and singer Ann-Margret is one of the most famous sex symbols and actresses of the 1960s and beyond. She continued her career through the following decades and into the 21st century. Ann-Margret was born Ann-Margret Olsson in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, Sweden, to Anna Regina (Aronsson) and Carl Gustav Olsson...
Dario Argento was born on September 7, 1940, in Rome, Italy, the first-born son of famed Italian producer Salvatore Argento
and Brazilian fashion model Elda Luxardo. Argento recalls getting his ideas for filmmaking from his close-knit family from Italian folk tales told by his parents and other family members...
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...
Love her or not, award-winning actress Elizabeth Ashley can always be counted on to give her all. Grand in style, exotic in looks, divinely outgoing in personality and an engaging interpreter of Tennessee Williams
' florid Southern-belles on stage, she was born Elizabeth Ann Cole on August 30, 1939, in Ocala...
Ed Asner is a television legend, the winner of seven acting Emmy Awards (which puts him tied with Mary Tyler Moore
, both of whom rank second to their "Mary Tyler Moore
Show" co-star, Cloris Leachman
who has nine). In all, he has been nominated 20 times for an Emmy Award, with 17 nods for a Primetime Emmy and three for a Daytime award...
Beloved French chanson entertainer Charles Aznavour, who wrote more than 800 songs, recorded more than 1,000 of them in French, English, German and Spanish and sold over 100 million records in all, was born Chahnour Varinag Aznavourian on May 22, 1924, in Paris, the younger of two children born to Armenian immigrants who fled to France...
Silent moppet star Jackie Coogan
, immortalized as Charles Chaplin
's The Kid
, had only one screen rival during the early 1920s, and that was none other than Baby Peggy. She was "discovered" while visiting the Century Studios lot on Sunset Boulevard with her mother when she was a mere 19-months-old...
Max Baer Jr.
The son of former heavyweight boxing champion Max Baer, Max Baer Jr. is a classic (except probably to him) example of Hollywood typecasting. Known around the world as "Jethro Bodine" in the smash TV series The Beverly Hillbillies
, Baer did not find work as an actor in Hollywood for three years after the Hillbillies went off the air...
Barbara Bain was born in Chicago, graduating from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology. She then relocated to New York City where she gained work as a dancer and high-fashion model. Ms. Bain studied with Martha Graham
, permanently cementing her love of dance; however, it was with Lee Strasberg
at the prestigious Actors Studio that she discovered her true first love...
Carroll Baker was born Karolina Piekarski on May 28, 1931 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the daughter of a traveling salesman. She attended community college for a year and then worked as a dancer and magician's assistant. After a brief marriage, she had a small part in Easy to Love
, did TV commercials...
Actress with a notable career in films and television. Born and raised in Hollywood, she moved to New York at eighteen to study acting with Charles Conrad and ballet with Nina Fonaroff. She continued her training in Los Angeles at the Estelle Harman Workshop, securing a contract with Twentieth Century Fox...
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...
Singing funny girl Kaye Ballard was born to perform...and perform she has in a career now broaching seven decades. With a strong comedy background and tunnel mouth to rival Martha Raye
, the broad and bouncy trouper has drawn laughs on the musical stage, in night clubs, in recordings and on TV. As the archetypal over-emotive...
Brigitte Bardot was born on September 28, 1934 in Paris, France. Her father had an engineering degree and worked with his father in the family business. Brigitte's mother encouraged her daughter to take up music and dance, and she proved to be very adept at it. By the time she was 15, Brigitte was trying a modeling career...
For 35 years Bob Barker had been the host of The Price Is Right
game show. Not only is it the highest-rated daytime game show, it's also the longest-running game show in TV history, surpassing the prime-time hit What's My Line?
, which ran for 18 years. He also served the show's executive producer since 1987...
Chicago-born, Texas-raised Barbara Barrie already had a prolific theater career behind her when she came to prominence as the lead in One Potato, Two Potato
, for which she received the award for Prix d'interprétation féminine (best actress - tied with Anne Bancroft
) at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival.
Bonnie Bartlett grew up in Moline, Illinois. Her father E.E. was a failed Shakespearean actor who became an insurance salesman. Her mother Carrie was a homemaker. At an early age, Bonnie became determined to fulfill her father's failed acting career. She went to Northwestern University to study acting...
Orson Bean, the American actor, television personality and author, was born Dallas Frederick Burrows on July 22, 1928 in Burlington, Vermont to George Burrows, a policeman who later went on to become the chief of campus police at Harvard University, and the former Marian Pollard. The newborn Dallas Burrows was a second cousin once removed to Calvin Coolidge
Since starring in his first film, Splendor in the Grass
, Warren Beatty has been said to have demonstrated a greater longevity in movies than any actor of his generation. Few people have taken so many responsibilities for all phases of the production of films as producer, director, writer, and actor, and few have evidenced so high a level of integrity in a body of work...
Actor, composer, author, producer and singer, educated at the New York Dramatic Workshop. He grew up in Jamaica, British West Indies, and did folk-singing in night clubs and theatres, and on television and records. His debut was at the Village Vanguard in New York. Also, he appeared in the Broadway revues "John Murray Anderson
's Almanac" and "Three for Tonight"...
The son of the renowned French sculptor Paul Belmondo, he studied at Conservatoire National Superieur d'Art Dramatique (CNSAD); after the minor stage performances he made his screen debut in À pied, à cheval et en voiture
but the episodes with his participation were cut before release. However, the breakthrough role in Jean-Luc Godard
made him one of the key figures in the French New Wave...
Prolific songwriter ("Nice 'n' Easy", "Yellow Bird"), composer and author, educated at UCLA and the University of Northern Carolina (BA). During WW II, he wrote and directed Special Services shows, then directed TV shows for CBS in Philadelphia, PA from 1945-1953. He joined ASCAP in 1955 and wrote TV production numbers for Jo Stafford special shows...
Shelley Berman began studying acting shortly after he was honorably discharged from the US navy. He enrolled as a drama student at Chicago's Goodman Theater, where he met Sarah Herman, another aspiring thespian. They fell in love and were married in 1947. After graduating from the Goodman Theater, Shelley joined the Woodstock Players...
Dancing and the military were a large part of Ken Berry's life. When he was 13 he attended a carnival at his grade school; the dancers impressed him so much that he decided that's what he wanted to do with his life. His parents were supportive, and his dad even booked Ken into variety type shows. At 16 Ken got to join the Horace Heidt
Youth Opportunity Program...
Born in Avoca, Iowa and moved with his parents to Hollywood, California in the late 1940s, Richard Beymer acted in various films while attending North Hollywood High School. He enjoys making his own films and has a film used in a PBS series on the civil rights movement.
Comparing this sultry-eyed blonde to Greta Garbo
and Marlene Dietrich
may seem a bit overzealous, but Honor Blackman's stylish allure over the years cannot be denied. One of four children, Blackman was born in London's East End to a statistician father employed with the civil service and a homemaker mother...
Age has not taken the flower off this Bloom. The well-known and respected stage, screen and television actress Claire Bloom, originally named Patricia Claire Blume, continues to be in demand as a septuagenarian actress and looks as beautiful as ever. She was born Patricia Claire Bloom on February 15...
Londoner John Bloom was born on September 12th 1935, the younger brother of the actress Claire Bloom
. He began his film career as a script reader in the story department at Pinewood studios but became interested in film editing, starting out as assistant to John Trumper
on Heart of a Child
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...
Attended Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-Mellon U) as a playwriting major. Barbara Bosson
, Michael Tucker
, Bruce Weitz
and Charles Haid
were classmates; he and Tucker drove cross-country to Hollywood for full-time jobs at Universal, where Bochco would remain for 12 years. In 1978, he moved to MTM Enterprises...
Peter Bogdanovich was conceived in Europe but born in Kingston, New York. He is the son of immigrants fleeing the Nazis, Herma (Robinson) and Borislav Bogdanovich, a painter and pianist. His father was a Serbian Orthodox Christian, and his mother was from a rich Austrian Jewish family. Peter originally was an actor in the 1950s...
Actor, singer, author and songwriter ("Exodus") Pat Boone was educated at David Lipscombe College, North Texas State College and Columbia University (from which he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1958). His career in entertainment began when he emceed a teenage talent show on radio and television in Nashville...
John Boorman attended Catholic school (Salesian Order) although his family was not, in fact, Roman Catholic. His first job was for a dry-cleaner. Later, he worked as a critic for a women's journal and for a radio station until he entered the television business, working for the BBC in Bristol. There...
Philip Michael Bosco was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, to Margaret Remunde Thek, a policewoman, and Philip Lupo Bosco, a carnival worker. He is of Italian and German descent. Bosco graduated from Saint Peter's Prep School, 1948, and from the Catholic University of America, A.B. 1957. He served as a private in the U.S...
Michel Bouquet is an actor born in the 14th arrondissement of Paris on the 6 November 1925. His father, Georges Bouquet, was a World War One veteran and a wine-maker. His mother Marie was a milliner. He had three older brothers: Georges, Bernard and Serge. Michel's father was always a shadowy figure in his life: having been deeply affected by the war...
Born in London, Peter was educated at Westminster, and Magdalen College Oxford. He has staged numerous productions for Birmingham Rep, Stratford Upon Avon and Broadway. In 1962 he was appointed Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, a position he held for 2 decades. His most famous stage productions have been Marat/Sade...
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...
Often mentioned as the greatest player in NFL history, this ruggedly handsome African American fullback for the Cleveland Browns first appeared on movie screens in the western Rio Conchos
, followed by a strong supporting role as convict commando "Jefferson" in the terrific WW2 action film The Dirty Dozen
The entertainment world has enjoyed a five-decade love affair with comedienne/singer Carol Burnett. A peerless sketch performer and delightful, self-effacing personality who rightfully succeeded Lucille Ball
as the carrot-topped "Queen of Television Comedy," it was Burnett's traumatic childhood that set the stage for her comedy...
Ellen Burstyn was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Correine Marie (Hamel) and John Austin Gillooly. She is of mostly Irish, German, and French-Canadian descent. Ellen worked a number of jobs before she became an actress. At 14, she was a short-order cook at a lunch counter. After graduating from Detroit's Cass Technical High School...
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) and Arthur Caan...
Michael Caine was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite in London, to Ellen Frances Marie (Burchell), a charlady, and Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, a fish-market porter. He left school at age 15 and took a series of working-class jobs before joining the British army and serving in Korea during the Korean War...
Like many other female Italian film stars, Claudia Cardinale's entry into the business was by way of a beauty pageant. She was 17 years old and studying at the Centro Sperimentale in Rome when she entered a beauty contest, which resulted in her getting a succession of small film roles. Her earthy interpretations of Sicilian women got her noticed by Italian producers...
She was the standard prototype of the porcelain-pretty collegiate and starry-eyed romantic interest in a host of Depression-era films and although her name may not ring a bell to most, Mary Carlisle enjoyed a fairly solid decade in the cinematic limelight. The Boston-born, blue-eyed blonde was brought to Hollywood in 1916...
French ballet dancer Leslie Caron was discovered by the legendary MGM star Gene Kelly
during his search for a co-star in one of the finest musicals ever filmed, the Oscar-winning An American in Paris
, which was inspired by and based on the music of George Gershwin
. Leslie's gamine looks and pixie-like appeal would be ideal for Cinderella-type rags-to-riches stories...
Actor, songwriter ("Christmas Eve"), composer and author, educated at Bennington (VT) High School. He appeared on Broadway, in "Bright Boy", "Three to Make Ready", and "John Murray Anderson's Almanac". He appeared on television, and made many records. He wrote special material for Debbie Reynolds, Kaye Ballard...
John Howard Carpenter was born in Carthage, New York, to mother Milton Jean (Carter) and father Howard Ralph Carpenter. His family moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where his father, a professor, was head of the music department at Western Kentucky University. He attended Western Kentucky University and then USC film school in Los Angeles...
One of television's premier African-American series stars, elegant actress, singer and recording artist Diahann Carroll was born Carol Diann (or Diahann) Johnson on July 17, 1935, in the Bronx, New York. The first child of John Johnson, a subway conductor, and Mabel Faulk Johnson, music was an important part of her life as a child...
She has played everything from chatterbox wives to wicked stepsisters on TV, and from Gertrude Stein to Shakespeare's Falstaff on stage. At age 80 plus, the plucky comedienne shows no signs of stopping any time soon. The riotous Pat Carroll was born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1927, the daughter of Kathryn Angela Meagher and Maurice Clifton Carroll...
George Chakiris made his film debut at the age of 12 singing in the chorus of Song of Love
. Following his graduation from high school, he supported his night-time dancing, singing and dramatic lessons with a daytime job clerking in a Los Angeles department store. Later he started his acting/dancing...
One of the great dancer and choreographers in both movies and stage, Marge Champion is best known today as the former wife of Gower Champion
, when they worked together as a highly successfully dancing team in the MGM musical years. After retiring from movies, Champion now works as a dance teacher and as a choreographer in New York.
Carol Channing was born January 31, 1921, at Seattle, Washington, the daughter of a prominent newspaper editor, who was very active in the Christian Science movement. She attended high school in San Francisco and later worked as a model in Los Angeles. She attended prestigious Bennington College in...
A multi-talented performer--as well as being an actor, he is an accomplished singer. He released a new music CD in late 2000 on which he sings American and Italian standards.
Julie Christie, the British movie legend whom Al Pacino
called "the most poetic of all actresses", was born in Chukua, Assam, India, on April 14, 1941, the daughter of a tea planter, Frank St. John Christie, and his wife, Rosemary (Ramsden), who was a painter. Her family was of English, and some Scottish...
Born in France, Robert Clary
early suffered the pangs of war, being interned in a Nazi concentration camp as a child. After WWII he became a singing star in France, and in 1949 came to the United States to promote his career. He appeared on The Ed Wynn Show
; still learning English he performed in a French language comedy skit...
John Cleese was born on October 27, 1939, in Weston-Super-Mare, England, to Muriel Evelyn (Cross) and Reginald Francis Cleese. He was born into a family of modest means, his father being an insurance salesman; but he was nonetheless sent off to private schools to obtain a good education. Here he was often tormented for his height...
Anne V. Coates
After harrowing experiences as a nurse at Sir Archibald McIndoe's pioneering plastic surgery hospital in East Grinstead, Anne Coates started to fulfil her long-held ambition to be a film director with a company called Religious Films. The work consisted of patching up prints of devotional shorts before sending them out to Britain's churches...
Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, Phyllis Coates moved to Hollywood as a teenager with intentions of enrolling at UCLA. A chance encounter with Ken Murray
in a Hollywood & Vine restaurant landed her in the comedian's vaudeville show. She started out as a chorus girl and worked her way up to doing skits before moving on to work for veteran showman Earl Carroll
and later touring with the USO...
Robert Conrad was a graduate of Northwestern University, spending his first few years out of school supporting himself and his family by driving a milk truck and singing in a Chicago cabaret. Conrad befriended up-and-coming actor Nick Adams during this period, and it was Adams who helped Conrad get his first Hollywood work in 1957...
Award-winning Greek-American actor Michael Constantine (born 22 May 1927) is best known for his portrayal of the Windex bottle-toting family patriarch "Gus Portokalos" in the sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding
. Before his appearance in that movie and the subsequent TV series based on it, he was primarily known for his portrayal of principal "Seymour Kaufman" in the series Room 222
Funny man Tim Conway was born on December 15th, 1933 in Willoughby, Ohio. He was a fraternity man at Bowling Green State University, served in the army, and started his career working for a radio station. Conway got into comedy when he started writing and performing comedy skits between morning movies on CBS...
Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola
, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola
(née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated with a degree in drama from Hofstra University...
The actress was born Marilyn Watts in Santa Monica, California, 17 years before she put her foot on the bottom step of the show biz ladder, dancing in the back row of the chorus in "Earl Carroll's Revue" at the famed showman's theater-restaurant in Hollywood. Modeling for photographers led to wider exposure and ultimately to TV roles and bit parts in low-budget movies...
Roger William Corman was born April 5, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan. Initially following in his father's footsteps, Corman studied engineering at Stanford University but while in school, he began to lose interest in the profession and developed a growing passion for film. Upon graduation, he worked a total of three days as an engineer at US Electrical Motors...
Valentina Cortese was born in Milan, Lombardy, Italy, in 1923. She made her movie debut in 1940 and played many "ingenue" parts in Italian films of that period, before making a real sensation in Les Misérables
and Tempesta su Parigi
, playing both female leads, Fantine and Cosette (the film was a competent screen adaptation of the Victor Hugo classic "Les misérables")...
Bill Cosby is one of the world's most well-known entertainers and comedians. William Henry Cosby, Jr. was born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Anna Pearl (Hite), a maid, and William Henry Cosby, Sr., a U.S. Navy sailor. After tenth grade, Cosby joined the Navy and completed high school through a correspondence course...