1-50 of 1,025 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. 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...
3. 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...
4. 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...
5. Carl Theodor Dreyer Carl Theodor Dreyer Writer, The Passion of Joan of Arc The illegitimate son of a Danish farmer and his Swedish housekeeper, Carl Theodor Dreyer was born in Copenhagen on the 3th of February, 1889. He spent his early years in various foster homes before being adopted by the Dreyers at the age of two. Contrary to popular belief (perhaps nourished by the fact...
6. 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...
7. 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...
8. 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...
9. 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...
10. Victor Fleming Victor Fleming Director, The Wizard of Oz Victor Fleming entered motion pictures as a combination driver and stunt man at the Flying A studio in Santa Barbara, California, in 1912, following a series of jobs that included bicycle mechanic, taxi driver, auto mechanic (He also did a little racing on the side), chauffeur and auto salesman. Allan Dwan took credit for hiring him after he repaired Dwan's car...
11. 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...
12. 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...
13. 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...
14. Franklin Pangborn Franklin Pangborn Actor, Sullivan's Travels Franklin Pangborn - a name more befitting 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...
15. Clarence Muse Clarence Muse Actor, Shadow of a Doubt
16. 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...
17. 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...
18. Martha Wentworth Martha Wentworth Actress, 101 Dalmatians
19. Charles King Charles King Actor, The Broadway Melody
20. 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...
21. 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)...
22. 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...
23. Walter Baldwin Walter Baldwin Actor, The Best Years of Our Lives
24. Joseph Egger Joseph Egger Actor, A Fistful of Dollars
25. Mae Murray Mae Murray Actress, The Merry Widow Dubbed "The Girl with the Bee Stung Lips", silent-era screen star Mae Murray began her career on stage partnered with ballroom dancing extraordinaire Vernon Castle in the 1906 Broadway show "About Town." Born the daughter of émigrés, she began studying dance at a young age. Two years later she joined the "Ziegfeld Follies" chorus line and moved up to headliner status by 1915...
26. 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...
27. 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...
28. 'Snub' Pollard 'Snub' Pollard Actor, Limelight The slight frame (5' 6"), pale, serious countenance, and dark, droopy mustache are unmistakable, 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...
29. 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...
30. 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...
31. 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...
32. Pearl White Pearl White Actress, The Perils of Pauline She met her first husband when they were touring together in the Trousdale Stock Company, a repertoire group. Her second husband was an actor and war hero. Her second husband was distraught over the dissolution of the marriage, and disappeared only weeks after the divorce. It was believed that he had committed suicide...
33. 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...
34. 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...
35. Elmo Lincoln Elmo Lincoln Actor, Tarzan of the Apes He was the first Tarzan. A former Arkansas peace officer, Elmo Linkenhelt worked in D.W. Griffith's "The Battle of Elderbush Gulch" (1912). In a fight scene his shirt was partially torn off, displaying his powerful chest. Griffith noticed, called him over, and told him "That's quite a chest you have there"...
36. 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...
37. Tom Dugan Tom Dugan Actor, To Be or Not to Be
38. 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...
39. 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...
40. Pierre Watkin Pierre Watkin Actor, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Pierre Watkin was one of a stable of tall, distinguished-looking and sophisticated character actors (such as Russell Hicks, Jonathan Hale, Selmer Jackson and Samuel S. Hinds) whom Hollywood kept steadily employed playing political leaders, army officers, lawyers, wealthy businessmen and the like...
41. 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...
42. Richard Boleslawski Richard Boleslawski Director, Les Misérables Inventing a stage name "Boleslawski" (later spelled also "Boleslavsky"), young Pole Boleslaw Ryszard Srzednicki left his second home (Odessa, Russian Empire) to study theatre and train as an actor at the world-famous Moscow Art Theatre before and during WW I. He also acted in a few early Russian films...
43. George S. Kaufman George S. Kaufman Writer, A Night at the Opera George S. Kaufman, one of the most famous and successful American playwrights of the 20th century, was born on November 16, 1889 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With the possible exception of Neil Simon, no other comic playwright enjoyed more popular success or exerted more influence over the American stage and cinema than did Kaufman...
44. Cliff Clark Cliff Clark Actor, The Grapes of Wrath
45. 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...
46. 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...
47. 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.
48. 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...
49. Isabel Randolph Isabel Randolph Actress, The Missing Corpse
50. Alfred E. Green Alfred E. Green Director, The Jackie Robinson Story One of the more prolific American directors, Alfred E. Green entered films in 1912 as an actor for the Selig Polyscope Co. He became an assistant to director Colin Campbell and started directing two-reelers, turning to features in 1917. His career lasted into the mid-1950s but his output was mostly routine...
1-50 of 1,025 names.