1-50 of 1,508 names.

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1. Walt Disney Walt Disney Producer, Peter Pan At age 16, during World War I, he lied about his age to join the American Red Cross. He soon returned home, where he won a scholarship to the Kansas City Art Institute. There, he met a fellow animator, Ub Iwerks. The two soon set up their own company. In the early 20s, they made a series of animated shorts for the Newman theater chain...
2. Clark Gable Clark Gable Actor, It Happened One Night Clark Gable's mother died when he was seven months old. At 16 he quit high school, went to work in an Akron (Ohio) tire factory and decided to become an actor after seeing the play "The Bird of Paradise". He toured in stock companies, worked oil fields and sold ties. In 1924 he reached Hollywood with the help of Portland...
3. Marlene Dietrich Marlene Dietrich Soundtrack, Witness for the Prosecution Marie Magdelene Dietrich von Losch (aka Marlene) was born in Berlin, Germany on December 27, 1901. Her father was an army officer who had served in the Franco-Prussian War. Because of his constant absences from the family due to his army duties, Marlene and the rest had to rely on themselves. When he died...
4. Gary Cooper Gary Cooper Actor, High Noon "Dad was a true Westerner, and I take after him", Gary Cooper told people who wanted to know more about his life before Hollywood. Dad was Charles Henry Cooper, who left his native England at 19, became a lawyer and later a Montana State Supreme Court justice. In 1906, when Gary was 5, his dad bought the Seven-Bar-Nine...
5. Melvyn Douglas Melvyn Douglas Actor, Being There Two-time Oscar-winner Melvyn Douglas was one of America's finest actors. In addition to his two Oscars, he also won a Tony Award and an Emmy. Douglas would enjoy cinema immortality if for no other reason than his being the man who made Greta Garbo laugh in Ernst Lubitsch's classic comedy Ninotchka, but he was much, much more...
6. Maurice Evans Maurice Evans Actor, Planet of the Apes A grand, robust, highly theatrical British classical actor, Maurice Evans was the son of a justice of the peace who enjoyed amateur playwriting on the side. In fact, his father adapted several adaptations of Thomas Hardy's novels and Evans would often appear in them. Early interest also came in London choirs as a boy tenor...
7. George Raft 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. In his youth he showed a great interest in, and aptitude for, dancing. That, combined with his dark good looks and sharp dressing, made him a local favorite at such spots as the El Fey Club with Texas Guinan...
8. Paul Fix Paul Fix Actor, To Kill a Mockingbird Paul Fix, the well-known movie and TV character actor who played "Marshal Micah Torrance" on the TV series The Rifleman, was born Peter Paul Fix on March 13, 1901 in Dobbs Ferry, New York to brew-master Wilhelm Fix and his wife, the former Louise C. Walz. His mother and father were German immigrants who had left their Black Forest home and arrived in New York City in the 1870s...
9. Chester Morris Chester Morris Actor, The Big House The Academy Award-nominated film actor Chester Morris, who will forever be associated with the character Boston Blackie, was born John Chester Brooks Morris in on February 16 1901 in New York City, the son of actor William Morris and comedienne Etta Hawkins. Chester Morris made his Broadway debut as a teenager in 1918 in the play "The Copperhead," in support of the great Lionel Barrymore...
10. Ed Begley Ed Begley Actor, 12 Angry Men Charismatic character star Edward James Begley was born in Hartford, Connecticut of Irish parents and educated at St.Patrick's school. His interest in acting first surfaced at the age of nine, when he performed amateur theatricals at the Hartford Globe Theatre. Determined to make his own way, he left home aged eleven and drifted from job to job...
11. Louis Armstrong Louis Armstrong Soundtrack, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Louis Armstrong grew up poor in a single-parent household. He was 13 when he celebrated the New Year by running out on the street and firing a pistol that belonged to the current man in his mother's life. At the Colored Waifs Home for Boys, he learned to play the bugle and the clarinet and joined the home's brass band...
12. Lee Strasberg Lee Strasberg Actor, The Godfather: Part II Famed acting teacher Lee Strassberg was born in Budzanov, Austria-Hungary (now Budanov, Ukraine). Brought to America as a child, he had a brief acting career, before becoming one of the founders of the Group Theatre in 1931, directing a number of plays there. His greatest influence, however, was through the Actors Studio...
13. Vittorio De Sica Vittorio De Sica Director, Bicycle Thieves Vittorio De Sica grew up in Naples, and started out as an office clerk in order to raise money to support his poor family. He was increasingly drawn towards acting, and made his screen debut while still in his teens, joining a stage company in 1923. By the late 1920s he was a successful matinee idol of the Italian theatre...
14. Ed Sullivan Ed Sullivan Self, Episode #17.19 The beloved graven image of TV variety from 1948 to 1971 on CBS, Ed Sullivan originally made his name as a newspaper sportswriter, radio broadcaster and theater columnist for the New York Daily News. His column focused primarily on Broadway shows and juicy items about its stars. Hired in 1932 by the CBS network as a rival of radio commentator Walter Winchell...
15. Ann Harding Ann Harding Actress, The Animal Kingdom Ann, born Dorothy Gatley, spent most of her childhood as an "army brat" constantly moving around before the family finally settled in New York. Ann first appeared on the stage while she spent a year attending Bryn Mawr College. She became a clerk and freelance script reader with a film company before she made her stage debut in Greenwich Village...
16. Hank Worden Hank Worden Actor, The Searchers Raised on a cattle ranch in Montana. Educated at Stanford and the University of Nevada as an engineer. Washed out as an Army pilot. Toured the country in rodeos as a saddle bronc rider. Broke his neck in a horsefall in his 20s, but didn't know it until his 40s. Chosen along with Tex Ritter from a rodeo at Madison Square Garden in New York to appear in the Broadway play "Green Grow the Lilacs"...
17. George Tobias George Tobias Actor, Sergeant York American character actor who specialized in none-too-bright pals of the lead, though his range included villains and ethnic types. A native of New York City, he began acting at 15. He studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse and played on Broadway with the Theatre Guild, and with the Provincetown Players...
18. Robert Bresson Robert Bresson Writer, A Man Escaped Robert Bresson trained as a painter before moving into films as a screenwriter, making a short film (atypically a comedy), Public Affairs in 1934. After spending more than a year as a German POW during World War II, he made his debut with Angels of Sin in 1943. His next film, Les dames du Bois de Boulogne would be the last time he would work with professional actors...
19. Bebe Daniels Bebe Daniels Actress, 42nd Street Bebe Daniels already had toured as an actor by the age of four in a stage production of Richard III the US, she had her first leading role at the age of seven and started her film career shortly after this in movies for Imperial, Pathe and others. At 14 she was already a film veteran, and was enlisted...
20. Brian Donlevy Brian Donlevy Actor, Hangmen Also Die! 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 rebels under Villa's command raided Columbus...
21. Glenda Farrell Glenda Farrell Actress, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang After gaining acting experience on the stage, Glenda Farrell became a Warner contract actor in the early 1930s. In spite of her later casting as a hard-boiled reporter in Mystery of the Wax Museum or successful gold digger Gold Diggers of 1935, one of her first roles was the romantic interest of Edward G. Robinson's former partner in Little Caesar...
22. Rudy Vallee Rudy Vallee Soundtrack, Bonnie and Clyde Rudy Vallee started his career as a saxophone player and singer and later became a band leader. In the 1920s and early 30s he had a hit radio program, The Fleishmann's Yeast Hour (where he was hated by his cast and crew due to his explosive ego-driven personality). In the early 1930's he was ranked with the likes of Bing Crosby and the tragic Russ Columbo in the Hit Parade...
23. Mabel Albertson Mabel Albertson Actress, Barefoot in the Park When, at 50, Mabel Albertson was given the supporting role of Mrs. Carter, young actress Aileen Stanley Jr.'s mother in a Warner Bros. Technicolor musical romance, little did she know that she was starting out a movie and TV career in which she would shine as "the ultimate haughty judgmental (often wealthy) mother-in-law (or mother...
24. Paul Ford Paul Ford Actor, The Music Man If any man ever had a character face absolutely made for TV and film, it was Paul Ford. Small-eyed, lugubrious, pot-bellied, balding and with a plum nose to rival Karl Malden, Ford was a rather wanderlust family man who decided to give acting a try in his early 40. He excelled at puppetry and found work staging such shows at the World's Fair...
25. Zeppo Marx Zeppo Marx Actor, Duck Soup When Milton "Gummo" Marx left the troupe of brothers early in their vaudeville days to become a manufacturer, Zeppo, the youngest of the five Marx Brothers, joined the troupe as the new Marx Brother. Zeppo was the least zany of the quartet and would play the straight man to the other brothers. After doing five movies (Duck Soup was the last)...
26. Lee Patrick Lee Patrick Actress, Vertigo Lee Patrick could play a tough, scrapping, hard-bitten dame as she did in the gritty women's prison drama Caged, or the meek and twittery socialite wife as exemplified as Doris Upson in the freewheeling farce Auntie Mame. The versatile character actress had plenty of places to go in films and TV and she did...
27. Sammee Tong Sammee Tong Actor, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
28. Nelson Eddy Nelson Eddy Soundtrack, Make Mine Music The only career Nelson Eddy ever considered was singing. His parents were singers, his grandparents were musicians. Unable to afford a teacher, he learned by imitating opera recordings. At age 14 he worked as a telephone operator in a Philadelphia iron foundry. He sold newspaper advertising and performed in amateur musicals...
29. Ben Welden Ben Welden Actor, The Fighting Seabees Character actor of distinctly American persona who nevertheless made several films in Britain before returning to the U.S. to carve out a career as a familiar face in American movies. Short, bald and built like a tank with a streetwise character and a Damon Runyan accent, Welden played countless gangsters and smalltime hoods...
30. Lila Lee Lila Lee Actress, Blood and Sand A performer since childhood (she was widely known then as "Cuddles"), pert and pretty, raven-haired Lila Lee was brought to Hollywood by Paramount mogul Jesse L. Lasky and debuted in a starring role with The Cruise of the Make-Believes as a poor girl supported by a rich admirer. Following her appearance as a servant wench in Cecil B. DeMille's Male and Female...
31. Ben Blue Ben Blue Actor, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Ben Blue was a movie and TV comedian born on September 12, 1901, in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Emigrating to the US, he became a dance instructor and dance school owner, as well as a nightclub proprietor. He began his film career in short subjects for Warner Brothers in 1926, and later worked at the Hal Roach Studios...
32. Ub Iwerks Ub Iwerks Visual Effects, The Birds Ub Iwerks worked as a commercial artist in Kansas City in 1919 when he met Walt Disney who was in the same profession. When Disney decided to form an animation company, Ub Iwerks was the first employee he had due to his skill at fast drawing as well as being a personal friend. When Charles Mintz raided Disney's animation studio and stole the rights to their character Oswald the Rabbit...
33. Florence Eldridge Florence Eldridge Actress, Inherit the Wind Versatile character actress Florence Eldridge seemed often better served by the stage than by her roles in motion pictures. On the boards from the age of seventeen as a chorine in "Rock-a-Bye Baby" in 1918, she acted with touring companies and on Broadway and soon found herself playing leading parts...
34. Jester Hairston Jester Hairston Actor, In the Heat of the Night Composer, songwriter, conductor, singer and actor, educated at Tufts University, Juilliard, and the University of the Pacific (hon. Mus. D.). He acted on radio and television besides on film, and played Leroy on the "Amos 'n Andy" radio series for fifteen years. He directed the Federal Theatre Project...
35. Stella Adler Stella Adler Actress, Shadow of the Thin Man The one teacher who truly introduced the Konstantin Stanislavski System for acting in America, Stella Adler was committed to the art like nobody since her first attempts to make a career as an actress in the 1930s. After a decisive journey to Russia, where Adler personally studied under Konstantin Stanislavski, her ideas began to take form when she related with the Group Theater...
36. Kenneth MacDonald Kenneth MacDonald Actor, The Ten Commandments Kenneth MacDonald began his career as a stage actor in the 1920s. In the early 1930s he came to Hollywood to break into motion pictures, but after several bit parts, he found employment difficult to come by. He hit upon the idea of a little self-promotion, and wrote a pamphlet called "The Case of Kenneth MacDonald," and distributed it to as many producers as he could find...
37. Mildred Harris Mildred Harris Actress, The Magic Cloak
38. Mildred Dunnock Mildred Dunnock Actress, The Trouble with Harry Petite American character actress who was celebrated for her definitive portrayal of long-suffering Linda Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman", a part she played opposite Lee J. Cobb at the Morosco Theatre for 742 consecutive performances between 1949 and 1950. Mildred recreated her...
39. Donald Cook Donald Cook Actor, The Public Enemy
40. Connie Gilchrist Connie Gilchrist Actress, Long John Silver With more than two decades of stage experience in France, England and on Broadway behind her, this moon-faced, heavy-set character actress first entered films in 1940. But no matter a film's genre - contemporary drama, historical costumer or shoot 'em up western - her Brooklyn roots always sounded through.
41. James Dunn James Dunn Actor, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Versatile actor of stage, screen and television, James Howard Dunn was the only child of a prominent New York stockbroker and homemaker. He grew up and attended public schools in New Rochelle, New York. Dunn's interest in pursuing a career in acting became apparent when he started playing hooky from high school...
42. Juano Hernandez Juano Hernandez Actor, Kiss Me Deadly He was the son of a Puerto Rican seaman. He was self-educated and spent much of his childhood in Brazil singing on the streets to raise money for food. He became an actor after having been a circus performer, radio actor, and vaudeville performer. He worked in the chorus of the 1927 stage production of the musical "Show Boat"...
43. Sylvia Field Sylvia Field Actress, Search for Tomorrow
44. Gavin Gordon Gavin Gordon Actor, The Bride of Frankenstein
45. Alfred Newman Alfred Newman Music Department, The King and I
46. Mary Philips Mary Philips Actress, A Farewell to Arms Brunette, convent-educated Mary Philips was an accomplished actress on the New York stage by the time she met the actor Humphrey Bogart in 1924 and became his 'speakeasy touring companion'. While both encouraged each other's prodigious affinity for alcohol, Mary proved beneficial in getting Bogie to approach his craft more seriously...
47. Ben Lyon Ben Lyon Actor, Hell's Angels Ben Lyon was your average boyish, easy-going, highly appealing film personality of the Depression-era 1930s. Although he never rose above second-tier stardom, he would enjoy enduring success both here and in England. Born Ben Lyon, Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, the future singer/actor was the son of a pianist-turned-businessman and youngest of four...
48. Schlitze Schlitze Self, Freaks Schlitze's actual birth date and name remain unknown. Schlitze suffered from the condition microcephaly and mental retardation, commonly referred to as a "pinhead". It is also rumored that he had a sister, who also was a microcephalic. He was exhibited by Barnum as Maggie, the last of the Aztecs. Because...
49. Frieda Inescort Frieda Inescort Actress, The Letter Tall, dark and regal Frieda Inescort's placid loveliness and dignified patrician features bode her well in Hollywood during the late 30s and 40s. Born on June 29, 1901, in Edinburgh, Scotland, the stage-established actress didn't arrive in Hollywood until age 34 (then considered too late for leading...
50. Naunton Wayne Naunton Wayne Actor, The Lady Vanishes Linked inextricably with actor Basil Radford, Welsh-born character actor Naunton Wayne, together with Radford, struck such a major chord with film audiences as an inept, uppercrust pair of cricket-obsessed British gents, that the two were invariably teamed up time and time again in a host of "veddy" popular film comedies. The perennial partners would prove equally popular on radio...
1-50 of 1,508 names.