1-50 of 949 names.

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1. Charles Chaplin 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...
2. Beulah Bondi Beulah Bondi Actress, It's a Wonderful Life Character actress Beulah Bondi was a favorite of directors and audiences and is one of the reasons so many films from the 1930s and 1940s remain so enjoyable, as she was an integral part of many of the ensemble casts (a hallmark of the studio system) of major and/or great films, including The Trail of the Lonesome Pine...
3. Claude Rains 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...
4. Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler Self, Triumph of the Will Born the fourth of six children to Austrian customs officer Alois Hitler--who had been married twice before--and the former Klara Polzl, Adolf Hitler grew up in a small Austrian town in the late 19th century. He was a slow learner and did poorly in school. He was frequently beaten by his authoritarian father...
5. Clifton Webb Clifton Webb Actor, Laura Already trained in dance and theater, he quit school at age 13 to study music and painting. By 19 he was a professional ballroom dancer in New York, and by his mid-twenties he was performing in musicals, dramas on Broadway and in London, and in silent movies. His first real success in film came in middle age as the classy villain Waldo Lydecker in Laura...
6. Ray Collins Ray Collins Actor, Citizen Kane 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...
7. Carl Theodor Dreyer Carl Theodor Dreyer Writer, The Passion of Joan of Arc The illegitimate son of a Swedish farmer and his housekeeper, Dreyer spent his early years in Danish foster homes before being adopted by a strict Lutheran family. He became a journalist in 1910, and entered films as a title writer, then scriptwriter and eventually director. His first film showed little promise or talent...
8. Victor Fleming Victor Fleming Director, The Wizard of Oz Victor Fleming entered the film business as a stuntman in 1910, mainly doing stunt driving - which came easy to him, as he had been a mechanic and professional race-car driver. He became interested in working on the other side of the camera, and eventually got a job as a cameraman on many of the films of Douglas Fairbanks...
9. Sessue Hayakawa Sessue Hayakawa Actor, The Bridge on the River Kwai Sessue Hayakawa was born in Chiba, Japan. His father was the provincial governor and his mother a member of an aristocratic family of the "samurai" class. The young Hayakawa wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and become a career officer in the Japanese navy, but he was turned down due to problems with his hearing...
10. James Whale James Whale Director, Frankenstein James Whale, who grew up poor in an English mining town, learned to put on plays in a World War I German POW camp. Postwar theatre work took him to the London stage, then Broadway, then a contract with Paramount, as dialog director for Howard Hughes' Hell's Angels. He began his contribution to the horror film genre with his move to Universal...
11. Jean Cocteau Jean Cocteau Writer, Beauty and the Beast Jean Cocteau was one of the most multi-talented artists of the 20th century. In addition to being a director, he was a poet, novelist, painter, playwright, set designer, and actor. He began writing at 10 and was a published poet by age 16. He collaborated with the "Russian Ballet" company of Sergei Diaghilev...
12. Eugene Pallette Eugene Pallette Actor, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Gargantuan-bellied, frog-voiced character actor who was a staple in forties movies. After World War II his ultra-right-wing political views fuelled his 'bomb' paranoia and he bought a property in Oregon which he turned into a well-stocked compound in case the Russians attacked. Many of his old Hollywood friends...
13. Clarence Muse Clarence Muse Actor, Shadow of a Doubt
14. Douglass Dumbrille Douglass Dumbrille Actor, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Distinguished character villain Douglass (R.) Dumbrille, whose distinctive stern features, beady eyes, tidy mustache, prominent hook nose and suave, cultivated presence graced scores of talking films, was born on October 13, 1889, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He was first employed as a bank clerk in...
15. Martha Wentworth Martha Wentworth Actress, 101 Dalmatians
16. Moroni Olsen Moroni Olsen Actor, Notorious Even his more courteous, somewhat friendlier types gave one pause for concern. The tall, beefy, balding, icy-eyed character actor Moroni Olsen was one of Hollywood's more popular and imposing performers of film during the late 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. The versatile player was born Moroni Olsen and raised in Utah to Mormon parents (Edward Arenholt Olsen and Marsha Holverholst)...
17. Vladimir Sokoloff Vladimir Sokoloff Actor, The Magnificent Seven Familiar character actor of Russian heritage who played in scores of films, mostly in the U.S. He studied at the University of Moscow but left there to attend the Moscow Academy of Dramatic Art. He joined the world- renowned Moscow Art Theatre, where he worked for the next decade as an actor and assistant director...
18. Warner Baxter Warner Baxter Actor, 42nd Street Warner Baxter claimed to have an early pre-disposition toward show business: "I discovered a boy a block away who would eat worms and swallow flies for a penny. For one-third of the profits, I exhibited him in a tent." When he was age 9, his widowed mother moved to San Francisco where, following the earthquake of 1906...
19. Abel Gance Abel Gance Writer, Napoleon Born an illegitimate son of a wealthy physician, Abel Flamant, and a working class mother, Francoise Perethon. He was raised by his mother and her boyfriend, who later became her husband, Adolphe Gance. Pressured by his parents, he began his working career as a lawyer's clerk in hopes of achieving a prosperous career in law...
20. Robert Barrat Robert Barrat Actor, Captain Blood Robert Barrat pursued a stage career on Broadway from 1918 to 1932. He did sample a scant three silent movies starting in 1915, but returned to stage work. Barrat had a distinguished enough visage but also a well knit physique that would foretell a busy career in films with many featured character roles which he turned to in 1932...
21. Alan Dinehart Alan Dinehart Actor, Baby Take a Bow Tall, heavy-set character actor Alan Dinehart dropped out of school to join a repertory company. He had extensive stage experience (including some 27 appearances on Broadway) and, by the time he was signed by Fox in 1931, he had worked not only as an actor but as a stage manager and writer. On screen he appeared for the most part in "B" pictures...
22. 'Snub' Pollard 'Snub' Pollard Actor, Limelight The slight frame (5' 6"), pale, serious countenance, and dark, droopy mustache are unmistakeable, definitive identification badges in recalling silent comedian Harry "Snub" Pollard. Born in Australia as Harry Fraser, he joined a vaudeville troupe, which toured the United States around 1910. The troupe broke up there and Harry decided to stay...
23. Minor Watson Minor Watson Actor, Woman of the Year Minor Watson was a jovial, grandfatherly actor specializing in playing warm-hearted doctors, affable small-town businessmen, concerned army officers and other such characters. Watson wasn't as prolific as many other actors of his type; while he made slightly more than 100 films, his colleagues such as Russell Hicks and Pierre Watkin had over 300 to their credit...
24. Franklin Pangborn Franklin Pangborn Actor, Sullivan's Travels Franklin Pangborn - a name more be-fitting a fictionalized bank president rather than a great comedic actor - was a singular character actor but little is known of his early years. He spent some time in developing acting talent prior to appearing on Broadway by March of 1911 and would do six plays until mid-1913...
25. W.S. Van Dyke W.S. Van Dyke Director, The Thin Man For the better part of his career, Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke lived up to his sobriquet "One-Take Woody" by steadfastly adhering to his credo of shooting each scene as quickly and efficiently as possible. Over his 25-year career, he economically directed over 90 diverse entertainments, which not only...
26. Merie Earle Merie Earle Actress, Fatso
27. Robert Benchley Robert Benchley Actor, Foreign Correspondent Although by his own account Benchley was not quite a writer and not quite an actor, he managed to become one of the best-known humorists and comedians of his time. As a Harvard undergraduate, Benchley gave his first comic performance, impersonating a befuddled after-dinner speaker. The act made him a campus celebrity -- and remained in Benchley's repertoire for the rest of his life...
28. Lloyd Bacon Lloyd Bacon Director, 42nd Street One of the workhorses in Warner Brothers' stable of directors in the 1930s, Lloyd Bacon didn't have a career as loaded with classic films as many of his more famous contemporaries. What few "classics" he had his hand in (42nd Street, Footlight Parade) are so overshadowed by the dazzling surrealistic...
29. Pearl White Pearl White Actress, The Perils of Pauline Born on her father's farm in Green Ridge, Missouri, the youngest of five children. Moved with her family to Springfield, Missouri, where she grew up. Joined the Diemer Theatre Company during her second year of high school, and went on the road with a touring stock company at age 18, in 1907. Signed by the Powers Film Co...
30. Donald MacBride Donald MacBride Actor, The Seven Year Itch Best known for his work in slapstick comedy and detective whodunits, character actor Donald MacBride lent his serious, craggy mug and determined professionalism to scores of 30s and 40s crimers. Born in Brooklyn, he first appeared on the vaudeville and Broadway stages as a teenage singer in such shows as "George White's Scandals" and "Room Service." Taking a chance on Hollywood...
31. Paul Bern Paul Bern Writer, The Beloved Rogue Paul Bern is undoubtedly more famous today for being found shot to death in his bathroom barely 2 months after his marriage to proto-sex symbol Jean Harlow in 1932. Born in Hamburg, Germany as Paul Levy, he came to the United States with his family as a child. His mother committed suicide in the fall of 1920...
32. Mae Murray Mae Murray Actress, The Merry Widow Dubbed "The Girl with the Bee Stung Lips", silent screen actress Mae Murray began her career on stage partnered with ballroom dancing extraordinaire Vernon Castle in the 1906 Broadway show "About Town." Born the daughter of émigrés, she began studying dance at a young age. Two years later she joined the "Ziegfeld Follies" chorus line and moved up to headliner status by 1915...
33. Walter Baldwin Walter Baldwin Actor, The Best Years of Our Lives
34. Eduardo Ciannelli Eduardo Ciannelli Actor, Foreign Correspondent Eduardo Ciannelli was born on the beautiful island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples, which is renowned for its thermal baths. His father, a physician, owned a health spa there and Eduardo briefly followed the same career path and studied medicine at the University of Naples, graduating as a fully qualified doctor...
35. Eddy Waller Eddy Waller Actor, The Grapes of Wrath Eddy Waller worked in vaudeville and the theater before he entered movies in 1936. Within a few years he was being cast in character parts. In the 1940s he would be a mainstay in the westerns of Republic Pictures and would work with just about every cowboy actor from Tim Holt to Rocky Lane...
36. Walter Catlett Walter Catlett Actor, Bringing Up Baby Walter Catlett carved out a career for himself playing excitable, officious blowhards, and few actors did it better. A San Francisco native, he started out in vaudeville - with a detour for a while in opera - before breaking into films in the mid-1920s. Two of his best remembered roles were as the stage...
37. Erle Stanley Gardner Erle Stanley Gardner Writer, Perry Mason Erle Stanley Gardner, the prolific pulp fiction writer best known for creating the fictional lawyer Perry Mason; Della Street, Mason's secretary; private detective Paul Drake, Mason's favorite investigator; and Hamilton Burger, the district attorney with the worst won-lost record in the history of fictional jurisprudence...
38. Felix Aylmer Felix Aylmer Actor, Henry V British character actor Felix Aylmer was educated at Oxford and later studied drama, making his stage debut at the London Coliseum in 1911. During World War I he served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and resumed his stage career after the war ended. He entered films in 1930 and stayed in them for the next 40 years...
39. Joseph Egger Joseph Egger Actor, A Fistful of Dollars
40. Ernest Truex Ernest Truex Actor, His Girl Friday The ultimate milquetoast and ineffectual boss in comedy outings, meek character actor Ernest Truex was a small (5'3"), adenoidal, very well-dressed fellow, a popular avuncular type in later years who enjoyed a seven-decade-long career. He was born September 19, 1889, in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of a physician...
41. Arthur Hohl Arthur Hohl Actor, The Scarlet Claw Solemn-demeanored Hollywood character actor in films for two decades from 1929.
42. Larry Semon Larry Semon Director, The Wizard of Oz Slapstick comedian known for his charming, white-painted face and clownish smile, mugged his way to being a very highly paid and popular actor. His career was marred by personal problems, and his fortune was lost to high spending. By the time he died, he'd already been hospitalized for a nervous breakdown and was penniless. He was 39 years old.
43. Robert Z. Leonard Robert Z. Leonard Director, The Great Ziegfeld Chicago-born Robert Z. Leonard studied law at the University of Colorado, but the legal profession proved not to be his forte and he dropped out in favour of a career in the theatre. When his family moved to Hollywood in 1907, Leonard sought work in the fledgling film industry, starting as an actor with Selig Polyscope...
44. James Stephenson James Stephenson Actor, The Letter British stage actor James Stephenson made his film debut quite late in life, at the age of 49, in 1937, making four pictures that year. Warner Bros. got a glimpse of this distinguished gent and signed him to a contract where he indulged himself in urbane villainy. Proving a reliable support in such films as Boy Meets Girl...
45. Inez Palange Inez Palange Actress, Scarface
46. George S. Kaufman George S. Kaufman Writer, A Night at the Opera American playwright of acerbic wit. Twice won the Pulitzer Prize, and is best known for his collaborative authorship of "Once in a Lifetime," with Moss Hart (1930); "Of Thee I Sing," with Morrie Ryskind and Ira Gershwin (1931); "Dinner at Eight," with Edna Ferber (1932); "You Can't Take It with You" and "The Man Who Came to Dinner," again with Hart (1936 and 1939...
47. Marjorie Rambeau Marjorie Rambeau Actress, A Man Called Peter Born July 15, 1889 in San Francisco, unappreciated character player Marjorie Rambeau worked on the stage from the age of 12. In the 1910s and 1920s, she became a prominent Broadway lead, noted for her serene beauty, elegant poise and touching theatrics. Around the same time she made a few silent films that went nowhere...
48. Herman Bing Herman Bing Actor, The Great Ziegfeld Character actor in 30's and 40's Hollywood who was not unknown to burlesque his own Deutsch accent.
49. Harry Woods Harry Woods Actor, Monkey Business
50. Tom London Tom London Actor, Zorro's Black Whip A character actor and veteran of hundreds of Hollywood westerns, Tom London seemed to be born in the saddle. As a trick rider he performed riding specialties in a number of films. His career started in the teens and through the 1920s he alternated between good guy and bad. He made appearances in non-westerns such as All Quiet on the Western Front and Platinum Blonde...
1-50 of 949 names.