Noir Leading Men

by karljhickey14 | created - 02 Jun 2014 | updated - 15 Jun 2014 | Public

1. 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 ...

2. John Garfield

Actor | Four Daughters

John Garfield was born Jacob Julius Garfinkle on the Lower East Side of New York City, to Hannah Basia (Margolis) and David Garfinkle, who were Jewish immigrants from Zhytomyr (now in Ukraine). Jules was raised by his father, a clothes presser and part-time cantor, after his mother's death in 1920,...

3. James Cagney

Actor | Angels with Dirty Faces

One of Hollywood's preeminent male stars of all time, James Cagney was also an accomplished dancer and easily played light comedy. James Francis Cagney was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, to Carolyn (Nelson) and James Francis Cagney, Sr., who was a bartender and amateur ...

4. Edward G. Robinson

Actor | Key Largo

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...

5. George Raft

Actor | Some Like It Hot

George Raft was born and grew up in a poor family in Hell's Kitchen, at the time one of the roughest, meanest areas of New York City. He was born George Ranft, and was the son of Eva (Glockner) and Conrad Ranft, a department store deliveryman. His parents were both of German descent. In his youth, ...

6. Robert Mitchum

Actor | Out of the Past

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 ...

7. Alan Ladd

Actor | Shane

Alan Walbridge Ladd was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the only child of Ina Raleigh (aka Selina Rowley) and Alan Ladd, a freelance accountant. His mother was English, from County Durham, and his paternal grandparents were Canadian. His father died when he was four. At age five, he burned his ...

8. Dick Powell

Actor | Murder, My Sweet

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.

9. Tom Neal

Actor | Detour

Tom Neal is best remembered for his off-screen exploits, which involved scandal, mayhem and a charge of murder. Before his 1938 screen debut in MGM's Out West with the Hardys (1938), Neal had been a member of the boxing team at Northwestern University, had debuted on the Broadway stage in 1935 and ...

10. 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...

11. Fred MacMurray

Actor | Double Indemnity

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 ...

12. Dana Andrews

Actor | Laura

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 ...

13. Ray Milland

Actor | The Lost Weekend

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 ...

14. Richard Conte

Actor | The Godfather

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 ...

15. Richard Basehart

Actor | Moby Dick

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 (1948), among others, and proved his versatility in several international productions, most notably in Federico Fellini's poignant masterpiece...

16. Broderick Crawford

Actor | All the King's Men

Broderick Crawford is best remembered for two roles: his Oscar-winning turn as Willie Stark in All the King's Men (1949), and as Chief Dan Mathews on the syndicated TV series Highway Patrol (1955). He was also memorable as Judy Holliday's boisterous boyfriend in Born Yesterday (1950).

He was born ...

17. John Ireland

Actor | All the King's Men

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 ...

18. 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 on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. ...

19. Burt Lancaster

Actor | From Here to Eternity

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 ...

20. Dennis O'Keefe

Actor | T-Men

Tall, cheerful, outdoorsy leading man of Hollywood B movies who started in show business as an infant accompanying his vaudevillian parents ("Flanagan and Edwards, the Rollicking Twosome") on the stage. In his teens, Dennis started to write film scripts while attending college. He then tried to ...

21. John Payne

Actor | Miracle on 34th Street

Perhaps not so surprisingly, John Payne maintained that his favorite movie of all time was one of his own -- Miracle on 34th Street (1947) -- simply because it reflected his own strong and spiritual belief system. Today, of course, the film, which co-stars beautiful Maureen O'Hara, Oscar-winning ...

22. Charles McGraw

Actor | Spartacus

Gravel voiced, stoney faced & grizzled looking actor Charles McGraw notched up dozens of TV and film appearances often portraying law enforcement figures or military officers, plus the odd shifty gangster. Noted appearances include as dogged cop Det. Sgt. Walter Brown protecting a mob witness in ...

23. Frank Lovejoy

Actor | In a Lonely Place

Square-jawed, intense, no-nonsense Frank Lovejoy played a succession of detectives, street cops, reporters, soldiers and such over his career. Born in the Bronx, New York, in 1912, he worked on Wall Street as a teenager, but the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929 cost him his job, and to make ends ...

24. Edmond O'Brien

Actor | The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Oscar-winner Edmond O'Brien was one of the most-respected character actors in American cinema, from his heyday of the mid-1940s through the late 1960s. Born on September 10, 1915, in the New York City borough of The Bronx, O'Brien learned the craft of performance as a magician, reportedly tutored ...

25. Robert Ryan

Actor | The Wild Bunch

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 ...

26. Van Heflin

Actor | Shane

Craggy-faced, dependable star character actor Van Heflin never quite made the Hollywood "A" list, but made up for what he lacked in appearance with hard work, charisma and solid acting performances. He was born Emmett Evan Heflin in Oklahoma in December 1908, the son of Fanny Bleecker (Shippey) and...

27. John Hodiak

Actor | Lifeboat

Pittsburgh-born John Hodiak was one of several up-and-coming male talents who managed to take advantage of the dearth of WWII-era superstars (MGM's Clark Gable, Van Johnson, Robert Taylor and James Stewart, among others) who were off serving their country. John's early death at age 41, however, ...

28. Lawrence Tierney

Actor | Reservoir Dogs

Legendary Hollywood "tough guy", on screen and off. Remembered as the title character in Dillinger (1945) and as the consummately brutal lover of Claire Trevor in Born to Kill (1947). Notorious also for his frequent, well-publicized past involvements in public altercations - like barroom brawls - ...

29. Scott Brady

Actor | Gremlins

He had the manly good looks and rugged appeal to make it to top stardom in Hollywood and succeeded quite well as a sturdy leading man of standard action on film and TV. Born in Brooklyn on September 13, 1924, Irish-American Scott Brady was christened Gerard Kenneth Tierney (called Jerry) by parents...

30. Robert Taylor

Actor | Waterloo Bridge

Born Spangler Arlington Brugh, Robert Taylor began displaying a diversity of talents in his youth on the plains of Nebraska. At Beatrice High School, he was a standout track athlete, but also showed a talent for using his voice, winning several oratory awards. He was a musician and played the cello...

31. Cary Grant

Actor | North by Northwest

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 on January 18, 1904 in Horfield, Bristol, England, to Elsie Maria (Kingdon) and Elias James Leach, who worked in a factory. His early years...

32. 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...

33. Tony Curtis

Actor | Some Like It Hot

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 ...

34. Hugh Beaumont

Actor | Leave It to Beaver

Beaumont began his career in show business by perfoming in theatres, nightclubs, and on the radio in 1931. He attended the University of Chattanooga, but left when his position on the football team was changed. He later attended the University of Southern California, and graduated with a Master of ...

35. Lloyd Bridges

Actor | Airplane!

The star of many land and underwater adventures, Lloyd Vernet Bridges, Jr. was born on January 15, 1913 in San Leandro, California, to Harriet Evelyn (Brown) and Lloyd Vernet Bridges, Sr., who owned a movie theater and also worked in the hotel business. He grew up in various Northern California ...

36. Robert Cummings

Actor | Dial M for Murder

Effective light comedian of '30s and '40s films and '50s and '60s TV series, Robert Cummings was renowned for his eternally youthful looks (which he attributed to a strict vitamin and health-food diet). He was educated at Carnegie Tech and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Deciding that ...

37. Richard Widmark

Actor | Kiss of Death

Richard Widmark established himself as an icon of American cinema with his debut in the 1947 film noir Kiss of Death (1947) in which he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination as the killer "Tommy Udo". Kiss of Death (1947) and other noir thrillers established Widmark as part of a new ...

38. Gregory Peck

Actor | To Kill a Mockingbird

Eldred Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916 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 ...

39. Cliff Robertson

Actor | Spider-Man

A serious and talented actor, at his best playing somewhat troubled characters, Cliff Robertson has been a fairly successful leading man through most of his career without ever becoming a major star. Following strong stage and television experience, he made an interesting film debut in a supporting...

40. Ralph Meeker

Actor | Kiss Me Deadly

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 ...

41. Sterling Hayden

Actor | Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

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 ...

42. Mark Stevens

Actor | The Street with No Name

Mark Stevens, a second-tier star during the 1940s and 1950s, was born Richard William Stevens in Cleveland, OH, in 1916 (the dates in reference books vary between 1915-20). Of Scottish and English heritage, the freckle-faced boy with the reddish hair had a father who was an American flyer. His ...

43. Joseph Cotten

Actor | The Third Man

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...

44. Dan Duryea

Actor | Too Late for Tears

Dan Duryea was educated at Cornell University and worked in the advertising business before pursuing his career as an actor. Duryea made his Broadway debut in the play "Dead End." The critical acclaim he won for his performance as Leo Hubbard in the Broadway production of "The Little Foxes" led to ...

45. Howard Duff

Actor | No Way Out

Tough, virile, wavy-haired and ruggedly handsome with trademark forlorn-looking brows that added an intriguing touch of vulnerability to his hard outer core, actor Howard Duff and his wife-at-the-time, actress Ida Lupino, were one of Hollywood's premiere film couples during the 1950s "Golden Age". ...

46. William Holden

Actor | Stalag 17

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 ...

47. Victor Mature

Actor | Samson and Delilah

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 ...

48. Barry Sullivan

Actor | The Bad and the Beautiful

Barry Sullivan was born Patrick Barry Sullivan on August 29, 1912 in New York City. He was the seventh son of a seventh son, a birth order with mystical significance in Celtic families. While never a major movie star, he established himself as a well-known and highly regarded character lead and ...

49. Gene Barry

Actor | The War of the Worlds

With effortless class and elegant charm Gene Barry took 50's and 60's TV by storm, after a rather lackluster start on the musical stage and in films. Born Eugene Klass in New York City on June 14, 1919, to Martin (an amateur violinist), and Eva (an amateur singer), he showed a gift at an early age ...

50. Jeff Chandler

Actor | Broken Arrow

Jeff was born in Brooklyn and attended Erasmus High School. After high school, he took a drama course and worked in stock companies for two years. His next role would be that of an officer in World War II. After he was discharged from the service, he became busy acting in radio drama's and comedies...

51. James Stewart

Actor | Vertigo

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 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 ...

52. 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 (1920) by Marcel L'Herbier) he used his chance in Hollywood after several filming stations ...

53. Gary Merrill

Actor | All About Eve

Gary Merrill was born August 2, 1915, in Hartford, Connecticut. He began his career acting in summer stock plays. He married Barbara Leeds, an actress, and then served a brief stint in the army. After the army, he landed in New York, where he was chosen to join the already popular play "Born ...

54. 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 ...

55. Steve Cochran

Actor | White Heat

Born Robert Alexander Cochran, son of a California lumberman, he worked mostly in the theatre before landing a contract with Samuel Goldwyn in 1945. His debut was Wonder Man (1945) with Virginia Mayo and Danny Kaye. From 1949 to 1952, he was signed to Warner Brothers, then started up his own ...

56. Steve Brodie

Actor | Out of the Past

Primarily known as a "B" movie bad guy of hundreds of films, husky actor Steve Brodie was born John Daugherty Stephens on November 25, 1919, in El Dorado, Kansas. Raised in Wichita, he dropped out of school and raced cars, boxed and worked on oil rigs to get by. He initially entertained a criminal ...

57. Zachary Scott

Actor | Mildred Pierce

American leading man of suave or sinister roles. A collateral relative of George Washington and William Barclay 'Bat' Masterson, Scott was the son of a wealthy surgeon. Intending to follow his father into medicine, Scott studied at the University of Texas, but found he preferred the theater. He ...

58. Cornel Wilde

Director | No Blade of Grass

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 ...

59. Brian Donlevy

Actor | Beau Geste

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 ...

60. Tyrone Power

Actor | Witness for the Prosecution

Tyrone Power was one of the great romantic swashbuckling stars of the mid-twentieth century, and the third Tyrone Power of four in a famed acting dynasty reaching back to the eighteenth century. His great-grandfather was the first Tyrone Power (1795-1841), a famed Irish comedian. His father, known ...

61. George Sanders

Actor | All About Eve

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 ...

62. Tom Conway

Actor | The Seventh Victim

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 ...

63. Cameron Mitchell

Actor | The High Chaparral

Cameron Mitchell was the son of a minister, but chose a different path from his father. Prior to World War II, in which he served as an Air Force bombardier, Mitchell appeared on Broadway, and, in 1940, an experimental television broadcast, "The Passing of the Third Floor Back". He made his film ...

64. James Mason

Actor | Lolita

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...

65. Charles Laughton

Actor | Witness for the Prosecution

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 ...

66. Peter Lorre

Actor | Casablanca

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 (...

67. Turhan Bey

Actor | The Mummy's Tomb

Popular leading man in 1940's Hollywood who, with his suave demeanor, exotically handsome looks and well-modulated voice, was first called upon to portray mysterious or villainous characters. Soon he would be teamed with other "exotics" (e.g. Maria Montez and Sabu) in a series of escapist ...

68. Albert Dekker

Actor | Kiss Me Deadly

A stage actor from 1927, Albert Dekker was an established Broadway star when he made his film debut ten years later. Tall and with rugged good looks, he often played aggressive character roles, a prime example being his double-crossing gang leader in the classic The Killers (1946). From 1944-46 he ...

69. DeForest Kelley

Actor | Star Trek

Jackson DeForest Kelley was born on January 20, 1920 in Toccoa, Georgia, to Clora (Casey) and Ernest David Kelley. He graduated from high school at age 16 and went on to sing at the Baptist church where his father was a minister. At age 17, he made his first trip outside the state to visit an uncle...

70. Biff Elliot

Actor | I, the Jury

Biff Elliot was born on July 26, 1923 in Lynn, Massachusetts, USA as Leon Shalek. He was an actor, known for I, the Jury (1953), PT 109 (1963) and Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955). He was married to Constance K. Bandy and Elizabeth A. Dole. He died on August 15, 2012 in Studio City, Los Angeles, ...

71. Anthony Quinn

Actor | Alexis Zorbas

Anthony Quinn was born Antonio Rudolfo Oaxaca Quinn on April 21, 1915, in Chihuahua, Mexico, to Manuela (Oaxaca) and Francisco Quinn, who became an assistant cameraman at a Los Angeles (CA) film studio. His paternal grandfather was Irish, and the rest of his family was Mexican. After starting life ...

72. Gig Young

Actor | They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Gig Young was born Byron Barr to parents John and Emma Barr in Minnesota, and raised in Washington, DC, where he developed a passion for theatre while appearing in high school plays. After gaining some amateur experience, he applied for and received a scholarship to the acclaimed Southern ...

73. Jack Palance

Actor | City Slickers

Jack Palance exemplified evil incarnate on film -- portraying some of the most intensely despised villains witnessed in 50s westerns and melodrama. He received two Best Supporting Actor nominations early in his career, but it would take a grizzled, eccentric comic performance 40 years later for him...

74. Orson Welles

Actor | Citizen Kane

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 nine) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr....

75. William Powell

Actor | The Thin Man

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 ...

76. Dane Clark

Actor | Destination Tokyo

Dane Clark was born Bernard Elliot Zanville in Brooklyn, New York City, to Rose (Korostoff) and Samuel Zanville, who were Russian Jewish immigrants. He graduated from Cornell University and St. John's Law School (Brooklyn). When he had trouble finding work in the mid-1930s he tried boxing, baseball,...

77. Rod Cameron

Actor | Trigger Trail

The well-worn phrase "Tall in the saddle" is certainly one easy way of describing (and perhaps pigeon-holing) leathery, wiry-framed 1940s and early 1950s western film star Rod Cameron, although he proved quite capable in crime stories, horrors and even swing-era musicals.

The 6'4" Canadian-born ...

78. Preston Foster

Actor | Kansas City Confidential

Actor, composer, songwriter, guitarist and author. He moved from Broadway acting (1928-1932) into films, touring America with his wife and daughter, and did some recordings. He was the executive producer at the El Camino Playhouse in California. Joining ASCAP in 1953, his chief musical collaborator...

79. Forrest Tucker

Actor | The Trollenberg Terror

Forrest Tucker, best known to the Baby Boom generation as Sergeant O'Rourke on the classic TV sitcom F Troop (1965), was born on February 12, 1919, in Plainfield, Indiana. He began his performing career at age 14 at the 1933 Chicago "Century of Progress" World's Fair, pushing big wicker tourists' ...

80. Stephen McNally

Actor | No Way Out

"B" actor Stephen McNally forsook a thriving career as a practicing attorney in the late 1930s when he made the decision to switch gears and pursue acting, which he did avidly. He began his career on stage using his real name of Horace McNally and earned minor status in World War II-era films as ...

81. Charles Bronson

Actor | C'era una volta il West

The archetypal screen tough guy with weatherbeaten features--one film critic described his rugged looks as "a Clark Gable who had been left out in the sun too long"--Charles Bronson was born Charles Buchinsky, one of 15 children of struggling parents in Pennsylvania. His mother, Mary (Valinsky), ...

82. Paul Henreid

Actor | Casablanca

Paul Henreid was born Paul Georg Julius Freiherr von Hernreid Ritter von Wasel-Waldingau in Trieste, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was the son of Marie Luise Heilig (Lendecke) and Baron Karl Alphons Hernreid. His father was an aristocratic banker, who was born to a Jewish family whose surname ...

83. Claude Rains

Actor | Casablanca

William Claude Rains, born in the Clapham 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...

84. John Agar

Actor | Fort Apache

John Agar was born in Chicago, the eldest of four children. In World War II, Sgt. John Agar was a United States Army Air Force physical instructor. His 1945 marriage at the Wilshire Memorial Church to "America's Sweetheart" Shirley Temple put him in the public eye for the first time, and a movie ...

85. Hugo Haas

Actor | Bílá nemoc

A portly, somewhat grubby and bohemian-looking character star, Hugo Haas was one of the most celebrated Czech actors back in the 30s, a comic star who only grew in stature as he delved creatively into writing, directing and producing. The Nazi invasion forced him to leave his beloved country and ...

86. 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...

87. Farley Granger

Actor | Strangers on a Train

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 (1943). He followed...

88. Laird Cregar

Actor | I Wake Up Screaming

Seemingly suave, cultivated actor by nature, definitely huge in both talent and girth, and capable of playing much older than he was, Hollywood of the early '40s tragically lost Laird Cregar before it could fully comprehend on how to best utilize his obvious gifts. He was born Samuel Laird Cregar ...

89. William Lundigan

Actor | Pinky

The athletic William Lundigan stood 6' 2" and weighed 170 pounds. He played football, basketball and tennis at Syracuse (NY) University. He was discovered by Charles R. Rogers, head of production at Universal Studios. Rogers happened to tune into radio station WFBL in Syracuse. He was so intrigued ...

90. Fredric March

Actor | The Best Years of Our Lives

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 ...

91. Gerald Mohr

Actor | The Angry Red Planet

Bearing a strong resemblance to Humphrey Bogart certainly helped in typecasting the handsome Gerald Mohr into "B" film noir. Born in New York City in 1914, he was the son of Sigmond Mohr and Henrietta Noustadt, a Viennese singer. In 1920 his father was killed in a tragic accident while at work when...

92. John Cassavetes

Actor | Love Streams

John Cassavetes was born on December 9, 1929 in New York City, New York, USA as John Nicholas Cassavetes. He was an actor and director, known for Love Streams (1984), The Dirty Dozen (1967) and A Woman Under the Influence (1974). He was married to Gena Rowlands. He died on February 3, 1989 in Los ...

93. Lew Ayres

Actor | Holiday

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 (1929), but it was the role of Paul ...

94. Errol Flynn

Actor | The Adventures of Robin Hood

Errol Flynn was born to parents Theodore Flynn, a respected biologist, and Marrelle Young, an adventurous young woman. Young Flynn was a rambunctious child who could be counted on to find trouble. Errol managed to have himself thrown out of every school he was enrolled in. In his late teens he set ...

95. Michael Rennie

Actor | The Day the Earth Stood Still

The British actor Michael Rennie worked as a car salesman and factory manager before he turned to acting. A meeting with a Gaumont-British Studios casting director led to Rennie's first acting job - that of stand-in for Robert Young in Secret Agent (1936) directed by Alfred Hitchcock. He put his ...

96. Robert Loggia

Actor | Independence Day

Born and raised in New York City, Robert Loggia studied journalism at the University of Missouri before moving back to New York to pursue acting. He trained at the Actors Studio while doing stage work. From the late 1950s he was a familiar face on TV, usually as authoritative figures. Loggia also ...

97. Vince Edwards

Actor | The Killing

Born in Brooklyn, the son of Italian immigrant parents, Vince Edwards early aspired to the theater. He was a swimming champion in high school, attended Ohio State University on an athletic scholarship, and was on their National Championship swimming team. Olympics were on the horizon, but an ...

98. Ralph Bellamy

Actor | Trading Places

Ralph Bellamy was a veteran actor who was so well-liked and respected by his peers that he was the recipient of an honorary Oscar in 1987 for his contributions to the acting profession.

Ralph Rexford Bellamy was born June 17, 1904 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Lilla Louise (Smith), originally ...

99. Lloyd Nolan

Actor | Julia

It would no doubt be a real shock to most people to discover that the rich baritone Bronx-like accent of great veteran character actor Lloyd Nolan was a product of the San Francisco streets--not the urban jungle of New York City. Nolan was born in the City by the Bay, and his father, James Nolan, ...

100. John Bromfield

Actor | The Furies

The name may be hard-pressed to anyone but the most devoted film buffs, but dark-haired actor John Bromfield was a "B"-level leading man during the late 1950s. Possessed with a fine build and square-faced handsomeness, he was somewhat of a blend between Steve Cochran and Rory Calhoun, both 1950s ...