1-50 of 1,196 names.

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1. Walter Brennan Walter Brennan Actor, The Real McCoys In many ways the most successful and familiar character actor of American sound films and the only actor to date to win three Oscars for Best Supporting Actor, Walter Brennan attended college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, studying engineering. While in school he became interested in acting and performed in school plays...
2. John Ford John Ford Director, The Searchers John Ford came to Hollywood following one of his brothers, an actor. Asked what brought him to Hollywood, he replied "The train". He became one of the most respected directors in the business, in spite of being known for his westerns, which were not considered "serious" film. He won six Oscars, counting (he always did) the two that he won for his WWII documentary work...
3. Zasu Pitts Zasu Pitts Actress, The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna Classic comedienne Zasu Pitts, of the timid, forlorn blue eyes and trademark woebegone vocal pattern and fidgety hands, was born to Rulandus and Nellie (Shay) Pitts, the third of four children on January 3, 1894. Her aged New York-native father, who lost a leg back in the Civil War era, had settled the family in Kansas by the time ZaSu was born but relocated to Santa Cruz...
4. Jack Benny Jack Benny Actor, The Jack Benny Program The son of a saloonkeeper, Jack Benny (born Benny Kubelsky) began to study the violin at the age six, and his "ineptness" at it later become his trademark (in reality, he was a very accomplished player). When given the opportunity to play in live theatre professionally, Benny quit school and joined vaudeville...
5. Jean Renoir Jean Renoir Writer, La Grande Illusion Son of the famous Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste, he had a happy childhood. Pierre Renoir was his brother, and Claude Renoir was his nephew. After the end of World War I, where he won the Croix de Guerre, he moved from scriptwriting to filmmaking. He married Catherine Hessling, for whom he began to make movies; he wanted to make a star of her...
6. Warren William Warren William Actor, The Wolf Man Warren William, the stalwart leading man of pre-Production Code talkies, was born Warren William Krech on December 2, 1894 in Aitkin, Minnesota, the son of a newspaper publisher. William originally planned to become a journalist, but he had a change of heart, and instead went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and trained to become an actor...
7. Percy Helton Percy Helton Actor, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea One of the most familiar faces and voices in Hollywood films of the 1950s. Percy Helton acted almost from infancy, appearing in his father's vaudeville act. The famed Broadway producer David Belasco cast Helton in a succession of child roles over several years, giving the boy an invaluable grounding in the technique and spirit of the theatre...
8. William Fawcett William Fawcett Actor, Fury "Doc T". as he was known, was a Ph.D., and Professor of Theatre at Michigan State University in the early 1940's, just before World War II. He often spoke about leaving academia and actually trying his hand at the craft he taught. After the war, he got his chance and never looked back.
9. Will Wright Will Wright Actor, Adam's Rib One of those familiar character actors who seems to have been born old, Will Wright specialized in playing crusty old codgers, rich skinflints, crooked small-town politicians and the like. A former newspaper reporter in San Francisco, he switched careers and entered vaudeville, then took to the stage...
10. Arthur Treacher Arthur Treacher Actor, Mary Poppins Born Arthur Veary Treacher in Brighton, East Sussex, England, he was the son of a lawyer. He established a stage career after returning from World War I, and by 1928, he had come to America as part of a musical-comedy revue called Great Temptations. When his film career began in the early 1930s, Treacher was Hollywood's idea of the perfect butler...
11. King Vidor King Vidor Director, War and Peace
12. Henry Daniell Henry Daniell Actor, The Great Dictator One of Hollywood's greatest screen villains, Charles Henry Daniell had the profound misfortune to make his professional theatrical debut on the eve of World War I. His life thus interrupted, he served in the trenches on the Western Front with the 2nd Battalion of the British Army's Norfolk Regiment...
13. Mae Marsh Mae Marsh Actress, The Birth of a Nation Mae Marsh's father was an auditor for the railroad who died when she was four. Her family moved to San Francisco, where her stepfather was killed in the 1906 earthquake. Her great-aunt then took Mae and her sister to Los Angeles. With her show business background, Mae's aunt took them to the various movie studios for work as extras...
14. Rondo Hatton Rondo Hatton Actor, The Brute Man An only child, Rondo Hatton was born to Stewart and Emily Hatton in Hagerstown, Maryland. The family moved to Tampa, Florida, in 1912, when he was a high-school senior, and his father joined a family-owned business there. Rondo was apparently popular and a good athlete, especially in football. After leaving high school...
15. Josef von Sternberg Josef von Sternberg Director, The Blue Angel Josef von Sternberg split his childhood between Vienna and New York City. His father, a former soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army, could not support his family in either city; Sternberg remembered him only as "an enormously strong man who often used his strength on me." Forced by poverty to drop out of high school...
16. Ben Hecht Ben Hecht Writer, His Girl Friday Ben Hecht, one of Hollywood's and Broadway's greatest writers, won an Oscar for best original story for Underworld at the first Academy Awards in 1929 and had a hand in the writing of many classic films. He was nominated five more times for the best writing Oscar, winning (along with writing partner and friend Charles MacArthur...
17. Frank Borzage Frank Borzage Director, A Farewell to Arms
18. Fred Allen Fred Allen Self, What's My Line? Fred Allen, the well-known comedian who went on to star in radio, television, and film, was born John Florence Sullivan in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894 and educated at Boston University. His Broadway shows include "The Passing Show of 1922" and "The Greenwich Village Follies". He produced...
19. Billy Gilbert Billy Gilbert Actor, The Great Dictator The son of singers in the Metropolitan Opera, Billy Gilbert began performing in vaudeville at age 12. He developed a drawn-out, explosive sneezing routine that became his trademark (he was the model for, and voice of, Sneezy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). Gilbert's exquisite comic timing made him the perfect foil for such comedians as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy...
20. Minerva Urecal Minerva Urecal Actress, The Adventures of Tugboat Annie A stage actress, Urecal made her screen debut in 1934. For the remainder of her career and two hundred plus movies, she played cleaning women, landladies, shopkeepers and the like. She was known as a Marjorie Main type actress and later went on to a career in television playing in such shows as "Tugboat Annie" and "Peter Gunn." Minerva claimed her name was an amalgam of her hometown...
21. Norma Talmadge Norma Talmadge Actress, Going Straight Norma Talmadge was born on May 26, 1895, in Jersey City, New Jersey. The daughter of an unemployed alcoholic and his wife, Norma did not have the idyllic childhood that most of us yearn for. Her father left the family on Christmas Day and his wife and three daughters had to fend for themselves. Her mother...
22. Harold Miller Harold Miller Actor, Souvenirs
23. Billy Bletcher Billy Bletcher Actor, Dry and Thirsty Billy Bletcher, standing 5' 2", was known as the little guy with the big voice, who, ironically, started his film career during the silent era. Billy's show business career began in 1913 at the age of 19 in vaudeville, and within a year, he went to work for Vitagraph Studios in Brooklyn where he both acted and directed...
24. James A. FitzPatrick James A. FitzPatrick Producer, Minnesota: 'Land of Plenty' American documentary film director. After completing training in the dramatic arts, he worked for a while as a journalist. In 1925 he entered films and specialized throughout his career in travel documentaries. Besides directing, he also wrote, produced, and narrated many of his films. MGM distributed...
25. Dimitri Tiomkin Dimitri Tiomkin Music Department, It's a Wonderful Life Dimitri Tiomkin was a Russian Jewish composer who emigrated to America and became one of the most distinguished and best-loved music writers of Hollywood. He won a hallowed place in the pantheon of the most successful and productive composers in American film history, earning himself four Oscars and sixteen Academy Awards nominations...
26. Aldous Huxley Aldous Huxley Writer, The Devils Aldous Leonard Huxley was born on July 26, 1894, at Laleham in Godalming, Surrey, England. He was the third of four children. His brother Julian Huxley was a biologist known for his theories of evolution. His grandfather, named Thomas Henry Huxley, was a naturalist known as "Darwin's Bulldog." His father...
27. Beatrice Lillie Beatrice Lillie Self, Beatrice Lillie Dubbed "the funniest woman in the world", comedienne Beatrice Lillie was born the daughter of a Canadian government official and grew up in Toronto. She sang in a family trio act with her mother, Lucy, and her piano-playing older sister, Muriel. Times were hard and the ambitious mother eventually took the girls to England to test the waters...
28. Dashiell Hammett Dashiell Hammett Writer, The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett was born May 27, 1894, in St. Mary's County, Maryland, to Richard Hammett and Mary Bond. He joined the Baltimore branch of the Pinkerton Detective Agency in 1915. He enlisted in the US Army's Ambulance Corps in June 1918 and was posted to a camp 20 miles from Baltimore, where he caught the flu...
29. Ernst Ziegler Ernst Ziegler Actor, Something for Everyone
30. Corinne Griffith Corinne Griffith Actress, The Divine Lady Corinne Griffith was a popular star of the silent movies. She started her film career at Vitagraph in 1916 and later moved to First National, where she became one of that studio's biggest stars. At the height of her popularity she was known as the "Orchid Lady of the Screen." Black Oxen was one of her most popular films...
31. Olive Thomas Olive Thomas Actress, The Flapper Oliva R. Duffy was born on October 20, 1894, in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. Ollie, as she was known to family and friends, did not have much of a childhood. Life in industrial Pittsburgh was depressing and grim, with its smoky factories and hard living. Olive's father died while she was still young, forcing her to leave school to help earn her keep...
32. Estelle Taylor Estelle Taylor Actress, Cimarron A former typist, Estelle Taylor married a banker at age 14 and, after leaving him, moved to New York to study dramatic acting. She also modeled for artists and appeared in the chorus of a couple of Broadway shows. In the early 1920s she came to Hollywood and was noted as one of the film colony's most beautiful women...
33. David Butler David Butler Director, Leave It to Beaver
34. J.B. Priestley J.B. Priestley Writer, Last Holiday John Boynton Priestley was one of England's last great writers--he was a member of the last generation of freethinking British "sages" who contemplated both science and philosophy in their literary output. Today his books are mostly out of print and his name is all but forgotten except in the dusty...
35. Aleksandr Dovzhenko Aleksandr Dovzhenko Writer, Arsenal
36. Ken Christy Ken Christy Actor, Meet Corliss Archer
37. Kathleen Lockhart Kathleen Lockhart Actress, A Christmas Carol
38. Arthur Freed Arthur Freed Soundtrack, Léon: The Professional Producer, songwriter and author, brother to Ralph Freed, Walter and Ruth Freed. He was educated at the Phillips Exeter Academy, and became associated with Gus Edwards musical acts. He performed in vaudeville with Louis Silvers, with whom he wrote revues for New York restaurants. During World War I...
39. Martin Garralaga Martin Garralaga Actor, Lonely Are the Brave
40. Lois Wilson Lois Wilson Actress, Guiding Light A schoolteacher who became a stage actress (briefly), Lois Wilson entered films in 1916 at Paramount (her sisters, Diana Kane and Connie Lewis, also worked as actresses). Wilson played leading roles well into the sound era, and after she retired from the screen she worked sporadically in television and again appeared on stage.
41. Enid Markey Enid Markey Actress, The Naked City
42. Bobby Barber Bobby Barber Actor, The Medicine Men
43. Nita Naldi Nita Naldi Actress, Blood and Sand Nonna Dooley, the future silent screen star, began her career as a showgirl in a Shubert revue in the Winter Garden, later went on to the famed Ziegfeld Follies. After a successful career on the stage with the Follies, Nita decided to try her hand with films in Hollywood. Her rise to fame was very quick...
44. Symona Boniface Symona Boniface Actress, Micro-Phonies An American actress most frequently seen in bit parts in comedy shorts, mostly at Columbia Pictures, particularly those of The Three Stooges, Symona Boniface entered the theatre as a playwright and actress, and produced plays as well. After the stock market crash of 1929 she began taking bit parts in films...
45. Dave Fleischer Dave Fleischer Director, Gulliver's Travels
46. Joe Dominguez Joe Dominguez Actor, The Ride Back
47. Cliff Hall Cliff Hall Actor, At This Moment
48. James P. Johnson James P. Johnson Soundtrack, The Great Gatsby
49. Albert Lewin Albert Lewin Writer, The Picture of Dorian Gray
50. Moms Mabley Moms Mabley Self, Killer Diller One the most successful entertainers of the Black vaudeville stage, also known as the Chitlin Circuit, was Jackie "Moms" Mabley, born Loretta Mary Aiken in 1894. At the apex of her long career, she was earning $10,000 a week at Harlem's Apollo Theatre. Mabley focused on conventional topics such as family and others not normally covered by comedians of the era...
1-50 of 1,196 names.