1-50 of 1,419 names.

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1. Irene Ryan Irene Ryan Actress, My Dear Secretary Before becoming known to millions as Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies, Irene Ryan was already an established vaudeville, radio and movie actress, though not as famous prior to her television stint. She accompanied Bob Hope on his famous military tours and she was known as "the gal who makes Bob Hope laugh." After being cast as Granny...
2. Miriam Hopkins Miriam Hopkins Actress, Trouble in Paradise Born in Savannah, Georgia and brought up in nearby Bainbridge, Miriam Hopkins spent most of her formative years with her maternal grandmother. She received her secondary education in Barre, Vermont and then Syracuse University. Upon graduation, she went to New York to become a ballet dancer, but instead gravitated towards Broadway revues and vaudeville instead...
3. Tallulah Bankhead Tallulah Bankhead Actress, Lifeboat Tallulah Brockman Bankhead was born on January 31, 1902 in Huntsville, Alabama. Her father was a mover and shaker in the Democratic Party who served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from June 4, 1936, to September 16, 1940. Tallulah had been interested in acting and, at age 15...
4. Margaret Hamilton Margaret Hamilton Actress, The Wizard of Oz Margaret Hamilton was Born December 9, 1902 in Cleveland, Ohio to Jennie and Walter Hamilton. She later attended Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and practiced acting doing children's theater while a Junior League of Cleveland member. Margaret had already built her resume with several performances in film before she came to her most memorable and astronomically successful role...
5. Norma Shearer Norma Shearer Actress, The Women She won a beauty contest at age fourteen. In 1920 her mother, Edith Shearer, took Norma and her sister Athole Shearer (Mrs. Howard Hawks) to New York. Ziegfeld rejected her for his "Follies," but she got work as an extra in several movies. She spent much money on eye doctor's services trying to correct her cross-eyed stare caused by a muscle weakness...
6. Elsa Lanchester Elsa Lanchester Actress, Mary Poppins Elsa Sullivan Lanchester was born into an unconventional a family at the turn of the 20th century. Her parents, James "Shamus" Sullivan and Edith "Biddy" Lanchester, were socialists - very active members of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) in a rather broad sense and did not believe in the institution of marriage and being tied to any conventions of legality for that matter...
7. Frances Bavier Frances Bavier Actress, The Day the Earth Stood Still Frances Bavier was born in New York City on December 14, 1902. Her first Broadway appearance was in April 1925 in "The Poor Nut", the start of a successful Broadway career. She traveled with the USO to entertain the U.S. troops in the Pacific during World War II. Her last appearance on Broadway was in the 1951 play, "Point of No Return" starring Henry Fonda. It ran for 356 performances...
8. William Wyler William Wyler Director, Ben-Hur William Wyler was an American filmmaker who, at the time of his death in 1981, was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema. The winner of three Best Director Academy Awards, second again only to Ford's four, Wyler's reputation has unfairly suffered as...
9. Thelma Ritter Thelma Ritter Actress, Rear Window Thelma Ritter appeared in high school plays and was trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In the 1940s she worked in radio. Her movie career was started with a bit part in the 1946 Miracle on 34th Street. In the movie she played a weary Xmas shopper. Her performance in the short scene was noticed by Darryl F. Zanuck who insisted her role be expanded...
10. Will Geer Will Geer Actor, Jeremiah Johnson Will Geer admired his grandfather, a man who said hello to trees by their Latin names and who had used what he brought back to Indiana from the California gold rush to build Frankfort's first opera house. Will pursued a college major in botany, from Chicago through a Master's degree at Columbia, but ultimately gave in to his need to perform...
11. John Houseman John Houseman Actor, The Fog Academy Award-winning actor John Houseman's main contribution to American culture was not his own performances on film but rather, his role as a midwife to one of the greatest actor-directors-cinematic geniuses his adopted country ever produced (Orson Welles) and as a midwife to a whole generation of actors as head of the drama division of the Juilliard School...
12. Brian Aherne Brian Aherne Actor, I Confess Brian Aherne was an Oscar-nominated Anglo-American stage and screen actor who was one of the top cinema character actors in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Born on May 2, 1902 in King's Norton, Worcestshire, England, Aherne performed as an actor as a child. At age 18 he made his debut as an adult with the company that would evolve into the world-famous Birmingham Repertory Theatre...
13. Ralph Richardson Ralph Richardson Actor, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes Ralph Richardson was one of the greatest actors of the 20th Century English-language theater, ascending to the height of his profession in the mid-1930s when he became a star in London's West End. He became the first actor of his generation to be knighted. He became Sir Ralph in 1947 and was quickly followed Laurence Olivier in 1948 and then by by John Gielgud in 1953...
14. Harry Earles Harry Earles Actor, Freaks Harry/Kurt (stage name/real name) came over to the U.S. from Germany around 1915 with his sister, Grace/Freida. Once they arrived, they worked for a man named Earles, at which time they adopted his last name. in the early 1920's, their sister Daisy/Hilda joined them and in the mid- to late- 1920's, their sister Tiny/Elly arrived...
15. Leon Ames Leon Ames Actor, Meet Me in St. Louis Leon Ames was born Harry Wycoff in Portland, Indiana, to Cora Alice (DeMoss) and Charles Elmer Wycoff. He had always wanted to be an actor and he did it the hard way, serving a long apprenticeship in touring amateur theatre companies, even selling shoes for a while on 42nd Street in the 1920's. It took him until 1933 to make his debut on Broadway...
16. Larry Fine Larry Fine Actor, Disorder in the Court Larry began performing as a violinist at a young age. During his teenage years, he earned his living as a singer and boxer. At 18, Larry began working vaudeville with "The Haney Sisters and Fine" and in 1925, he joined Ted Healy and Moe Howard in the act that would eventually become The Three Stooges. Fine made more than 200 films before a stroke forced him to retire in 1970.
17. George Murphy George Murphy Actor, This Is the Army After giving up college, George Murphy decided to become a dancer. Since 1927 was he with his wife and partner Julie Johnson on Broadway, since 1934, after his wife retired from show business, in Hollywood, where he worked with Shirley Temple, Eleanor Powell, Fred Astaire, and Ronald Reagan. A Republican since 1939...
18. Jack La Rue Jack La Rue Actor, A Farewell to Arms Discovered on Broadway by director Howard Hawks, La Rue was originally brought to Hollywood to play a gangster in Scarface. He lost that role to George Raft, and similarly was replaced by Humphrey Bogart in the film version of The Petrified Forest. Eventually, he became well-known to movie-goers as a mean...
19. Ray Teal Ray Teal Actor, Judgment at Nuremberg Most familiar to TV audiences as no-nonsense Sheriff Roy Coffee on the long-running western series Bonanza, Ray Teal was one of the most versatile character actors in the business. In his almost 40-year career he played everything from cops to gunfighters to sheriffs to gangsters to a judge at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials...
20. Lloyd Nolan Lloyd Nolan Actor, Hannah and Her Sisters 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, was a successful shoe manufacturer of hard-working Irish stock...
21. Leni Riefenstahl Leni Riefenstahl Producer, Triumph of the Will Leni Riefenstahl's show-biz experience began with an experiment: she wanted to know what it felt like to dance on the stage. Success as a dancer gave way to film acting when she attracted the attention of film director Arnold Fanck, subsequently starring in some of his mountaineering pictures. With Fanck as her mentor, Riefenstahl began directing films...
22. Lyle Talbot Lyle Talbot Actor, Glen or Glenda Lyle Talbot, who appeared in scores of movies from leads in Warner Bros.' "B" pictures to supporting roles in Edward D. Wood Jr.'s legendary kitsch, was born Lysle Henderson on February 8, 1902, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up in a small town in Nebraska, where after the early death of his mother, he was raised by her mother, Mary Hollywood Talbot, whose name he later bore professionally...
23. Chill Wills Chill Wills Actor, Giant Colorful character actor of American Westerns. Named "Chill" as an ironic comment on his birth date being the hottest day of 1903. A musician from his youth, he performed from the age of 12 with tent shows, in vaudeville, and with stock companies. While performing in vaudeville in Kansas City, he married ballet dancer Betty Chappelle...
24. Barton MacLane Barton MacLane Actor, The Maltese Falcon Barton MacLane graduated from Wesleyan University, where he displayed a notable aptitude for sports, in particular football and basketball. Not surprisingly, his physical prowess led to an early role in The Quarterback with Richard Dix. MacLane once commented that, as an actor, he needed to have the physical strength to tear the bad guys "from limb to limb"...
25. Walter Slezak Walter Slezak Actor, One Life to Live Tall, portly Viennese character actor Walter Slezak simultaneously pursued two different careers after his arrival in America in 1930: one, as a star of musical comedy on the stage, and another, as a portrayer of villains, impish rogues or pompous buffoons on screen. Born of a musical family in May 1902...
26. Philip Ober Philip Ober Actor, North by Northwest Philip Ober's bald head, stern bearing and booming voice made him a natural for the roles of business executives, high-ranking military officers and other authority figures he played so well. A Princeton University graduate, Ober spent years as an advertising executive for several different national magazines before switching careers to acting...
27. John Steinbeck John Steinbeck Writer, The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck was the third of four children and the only son born to John Ernst and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. His father was County Treasurer and his mother, a former schoolteacher. John graduated from Salinas High School in 1919 and attended classes at Stanford University, leaving in 1925 without a degree...
28. Victor Jory Victor Jory Actor, Papillon Victor Jory was the boxing and wrestling champion of the Coast Guard during his military hitch, and never lost his big, burly physique. His sinister looks and distinctive voice typed him as a heavy, at which he excelled, but he did occasionally play sympathetic leads, one of which was, oddly enough, the sci-fi cult classic Cat-Women of the Moon.
29. Louise Beavers Louise Beavers Actress, Holiday Inn 1930s and 1940s film actress Louise Beavers was merely one of a dominant gallery of plus-sized and plus-talented African-American character actresses forced to endure blatant, discouraging and demeaning stereotypes during Depression-era and WWII Hollywood. It wasn't until Louise's triumphant role in...
30. Max Ophüls Max Ophüls Director, The Earrings of Madame de... Director Max Ophüls was born Max Oppenheimer in Saarbrücken, Germany. He began his career as a stage actor and director in the golden twenties. He worked in cities such as Stuttgart, Dortmund, Wuppertal, Vienna, Frankfurt, Breslau and Berlin. In 1929 his son Marcel Ophüls was born in Frankfurt, Germany...
31. David O. Selznick David O. Selznick Producer, Gone with the Wind David O. Selznick was a son of the silent movie producer Lewis J. Selznick. David studied at Columbia University until his father lost his fortune in the 1920s. David started work as an MGM script reader, shortly followed by becoming an assistant to Harry Rapf. He left MGM to work at Paramount then RKO...
32. Eduard Franz Eduard Franz Actor, The Ten Commandments Born Eduard Franz Schmidt in Milwaukee, WI, this stern-faced character actor had originally planned to be a commercial artist, but a stint with a local theatrical troupe set him on the road to an acting career. In 1925 he moved to New York City and joined up with a Greenwich Village theatrical group...
33. Mantan Moreland Mantan Moreland Actor, King of the Zombies Although his brand of humor has been reviled for decades, black character actor Mantan Moreland parlayed his cocky but jittery character into a recognizable presence in the late 1930s and early 1940s, appearing in a long string of comedy thrillers . . . and was considered quite funny at the time! Born just after the turn of the century in Louisiana...
34. Flora Robson Flora Robson Actress, Black Narcissus Flora Robson knew she was no beauty, but her wise and sympathetic face would become a familiar - indeed, shining - ornament of the 1930s and 40s silver screen. Though not sure of acting as a career in her early years, she nevertheless appeared on stage for the first time at 5 years old. She was educated...
35. Carl Esmond Carl Esmond Actor, Ministry of Fear Born Willy Eichberger in Vienna, Austria, he changed his name to the ethnically nondescript Carl Esmond and went on to become a well-regarded actor both here and in Europe, a career that sustained itself for nearly 50 years. He initially studied drama in Vienna at the State Academy of Dramatic Arts and started things off with the German film The Emperor's Waltz [The Emperor's Waltz]...
36. Roy Barcroft Roy Barcroft Actor, Oklahoma! Incredibly prolific American character actor of low-budget Westerns and serials, most frequently seen as a villain. He was born in either Weeping Waters, Nebraska or Crab Orchard, Nebraska, depending on the source (the two towns are within a few miles of each other), to a farm family. In 1917, he joined the Army at the age of 15 and was wounded in action in France...
37. Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck Producer, All About Eve One of the kingpins of Hollywood's studio system, Zanuck was the offspring of the ill-fated marriage of the alcoholic night clerk in Wahoo, Nebraska's only hotel and the hotel owner's promiscuous daughter. Both parents had abandoned him by the time he was 13. At 15, he joined the U.S. Army, and he fought in Belgium in World War I...
38. Mary Philbin Mary Philbin Actress, The Phantom of the Opera Mary Philbin's life should be a lesson to domineering parents. Mary was born on July 16, 1903, in Chicago, Illinois, to John Philbin and his first wife and namesake, Mary. The child was regarded as a little beauty from an early age and her mother was exceedingly proud of her and loved to show her off...
39. Shirley Grey Shirley Grey Actress, The Hurricane Express Born Agnes Zetterstrand in 1902 in the small industrial town of Naugatuck, Connecticut, Grey was the seventh surviving and youngest child of Swedish immigrants. Her life and that of her family was sent into turmoil when her father died suddenly of a heart attack in 1911. Grey's family eventually moved to Waterbury...
40. Gustav Fröhlich Gustav Fröhlich Actor, Metropolis
41. Esther Ralston Esther Ralston Actress, Peter Pan Projected as wholesome but fun-loving, Maine-born leading lady Esther Ralston enjoyed a prime silent age career and, at her peak, was packaged and publicized as "The American Venus" by none other than that of showman Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. after appearing as a dazzling beauty queen in the film of the same name (The American Venus). A decade later, the blonde beauty's career, however, had tapered off...
42. Anny Ondra Anny Ondra Actress, Blackmail Anny Ondra was a Polish-Czech-Austrian-German-French singer, film and stage actress. As a child she lived in Prague. Her father was an Austro-Hungarian Army Colonel. After the convent school that she visited in Prague she studied to be an actress with Professor Bor. Already as a child and teenager she had big parts throughout the stages of Czechoslovakia, where she was discovered at the age of 16...
43. Ben Lessy Ben Lessy Actor, The Jackie Robinson Story
44. Trevor Bardette Trevor Bardette Actor, Gun Crazy Wavy-haired, articulate, quietly-spoken Bardette was one of Hollywood's archetypal villains of westerns and cliffhanger serials. He initially aspired to become a mechanical engineer after graduating from Oregon State University in June 1925. However, by the late 1920's, he had changed his name from Terva Gaston Hubbard to Trevor Bardette and embarked on a brief...
45. Richard Rodgers Richard Rodgers Soundtrack, American Beauty
46. Paul Guilfoyle Paul Guilfoyle Actor, The Grapes of Wrath American character actor. Upon his entry into films in 1930, he was typecast as a weakling or criminal type. He received great acclaim for his role as Garth Esdras, the haunted and hunted accessory to murder in Winterset. Memorable as the weaselly convict who tries to kill James Cagney at Steve Cochran's behest...
47. Anatole Litvak Anatole Litvak Director, The Snake Pit The distinguished film director Anatole Litvak was born in the Ukrainian city of Kiev, the son of Jewish parents. His very first job was as a stage hand, and in 1915 he became an actor, performing at a little-known experimental theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a teenager he witnessed the 1917 Russian Revolution and the consequent nationalization of all theaters and drama schools...
48. Heinz Rühmann Heinz Rühmann Actor, It Happened in Broad Daylight
49. Emeric Pressburger Emeric Pressburger Writer, The Red Shoes Educated at the Universities of Prague and Stuttgart, Emeric Pressburger worked as a journalist in Hungary and Germany and an author and scriptwriter in Berlin and Paris. He was a Hungarian Jew, chased around Europe (he worked on films for UFA in Berlin and Paris) before World War II, finally finding sanctuary in London--but as a scriptwriter who didn't speak English...
50. Charles Lloyd Pack Charles Lloyd Pack Actor, Horror of Dracula Charles Lloyd Pack was a noted British character actor. He invariably played Church of England vicars, a role which seems to have started with 'ITV's Play of the Week' in the 1950s, through 1960s films such as "Bedazzled" and continued down to the early 1980s, e.g. "The Mirror Crack'd". When not playing a vicar...
1-50 of 1,419 names.