1-50 of 731 names.

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1. Edmund Gwenn Edmund Gwenn Actor, Miracle on 34th Street There are very few character actors from the 1930s, '40s or '50s who rose to the rank of stardom. Only a rare man or woman reached the level of renown and admiration, and had enough audience appeal, to be the first name in a cast's billing, a name that got marquee posting. Charles Coburn comes to mind, but there aren't many others. However, one who made it was Edmund Gwenn...
2. Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer Actor, The Defiant Ones
3. Errol Flynn Errol Flynn Actor, The Adventures of Robin Hood Errol Flynn was born to parents Theodore Flynn, a respected biologist, and Marrelle Young, an adventurous young woman and descendant of a midshipman of HMS Bounty fame. Young Flynn was a rambunctious child who could be counted on to find trouble. Errol managed to have himself thrown out of every school he was enrolled in...
4. George Reeves George Reeves Actor, Gone with the Wind George Reeves was raised in Pasadena, California, and educated at Pasadena Junior College. He was a skilled amateur boxer and musician. He interned as an actor at the famed Pasadena Playhouse, and was discovered there. He was cast as Stuart Tarleton in Gone with the Wind. Over the next ten years he was contracted to Warners...
5. Victor McLaglen Victor McLaglen Actor, The Quiet Man Rambunctious British leading man (contrary to popular belief, he was of Scottish ancestry, not Irish) and later character actor primarily in American films, Victor McLaglen was a vital presence in a number of great motion pictures, especially those of director John Ford. McLaglen (pronounced Muh-clog-len...
6. Cecil B. DeMille Cecil B. DeMille Producer, The Ten Commandments His parents Henry C. DeMille and Beatrice DeMille were playwrights. His father died when he was 12, and his mother supported the family by opening a school for girls and a theatrical company. Too young to enlist in the Spanish-American War, Cecil followed his brother William C. de Mille to the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts...
7. Philip Tonge Philip Tonge Actor, Miracle on 34th Street
8. Una O'Connor Una O'Connor Actress, Witness for the Prosecution Delightful character actress who held her own against such acting heavyweights as Charles Laughton, Boris Karloff, Tyrone Power, Barbara Stanwyck, and Sydney Greenstreet. Often cast by studio heads as comic relief thanks to her thick Irish accent and rubber-faced expressions, most notably in Universal's horror classics...
9. Lou Costello Lou Costello Actor, Africa Screams Born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey, Lou Costello dropped out of high school and headed west to break into the movies. He got a job as a carpenter at MGM and Warners. He went from there to stuntman and then to vaudeville as a comic. In 1931, while working in Brooklyn, his straight man became ill and the theater cashier...
10. James Gleason James Gleason Actor, The Night of the Hunter James Gleason was born in New York City to William Gleason and Mina Crolius, who were both in the theatre. He was married to Lucile Gleason (born Lucile Webster), and had a son, Russell Gleason. As a young man James fought in the Spanish-American War. After the war he joined the stock company at the Liberty Theater in Oakland...
11. Max Baer Max Baer Actor, Africa Screams Max Baer is arguably best known today for siring Max Baer Jr., the actor who played Jethro Bodine on the classic TV series The Beverly Hillbillies. However, old-timers, followers of the sweet science and viewers of the film Cinderella Man all know that Max Sr. was boxing's heavyweight champion of the world for all of 364 days...
12. Wayne Morris Wayne Morris Actor, Paths of Glory American actor who had early success as a sunny juvenile, but whose career declined following World War II, in which he was a highly-decorated hero. A native of Los Angeles, Morris played football at Los Angeles Junior College, then worked as a forest ranger. Returning to school, he studied acting at Los Angeles Junior College and at the acclaimed Pasadena Playhouse...
13. Helen Broderick Helen Broderick Actress, Top Hat Helen Broderick was a wonderfully funny character comedienne with vaudeville and stage experience, a close friend of Jeanne Eagels. The story goes, that at the age of 14 she ran away from home, because her mother, who appeared in operatic comedy, was totally obsessed by the theatre. Paradoxically...
14. Mario Lanza Mario Lanza Soundtrack, Zodiac Mario Lanza's life, sadly, has all the markings of an epic Shakespearean tragedy. The story is truly incredible: a wild, incendiary Philadelphia kid who can sing better than Enrico Caruso sets out to become the greatest dramatic opera singer who ever lived, is detoured by MGM honcho Louis B. Mayer and vixen Hollywood...
15. Preston Sturges Preston Sturges Writer, Sullivan's Travels Preston Sturges' own life is as unlikely as some of the plots of his best work. He was born into a wealthy family. As a boy he helped out on stage productions for his mother's friend, Isadora Duncan (the scarf that strangled her was made by his mother's company, Maison Desti). He served in the U.S...
16. Les Clark Les Clark Actor, Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home?
17. Ethel Barrymore Ethel Barrymore Actress, Portrait of Jennie Ethel Barrymore was the second of three children seemingly destined for the actor's life of their parents Maurice and Georgiana. Maurice Barrymore had emigrated from England in 1875, and after graduating from Cambridge in law had shocked his family by becoming an actor. Georgiana Drew of Philadelphia acted in her parents' stage company...
18. Paul Douglas Paul Douglas Actor, Panic in the Streets A rare breed this guy. Paul Douglas became an unlikely middle-aged cinema star by simply capitalizing on his big, burly, brash and boorish appeal to the nth degree. The 5'11", 200 lb. actor was a bold, unabashed risk taker. He forsook an extremely successful career as one of the country's top radio/sports announcers to prove his value as an actor...
19. Raymond Chandler Raymond Chandler Writer, Double Indemnity An American novelist, writer of crime fiction featuring the private detective Philip Marlowe, Raymond (Thornton) Chandler was born in Chicago of an American father and an Anglo-Irish mother. He moved to England when his parents divorced. He attended Dulwich College and studied languages in France and Germany before returning to England in 1907 and becoming a naturalized British subject...
20. Taylor Holmes Taylor Holmes Actor, Sleeping Beauty Taylor Holmes, the American stage and film actor, was born on May 16, 1878, in Newark, New Jersey. He made his Broadway debut in February 1900 in the controversial play "Sapho", which was closed down by the New York Police Department for immorality after 29 performances. In the April 1900 trial, the play was adjudged not obscene, and it reopened and ran for an additional 55 performances...
21. Billie Holiday Billie Holiday Soundtrack, Schindler's List Billie Holiday was a true artist of her day and rose as a social phenomenon in the 1950s. Her soulful, unique singing voice and her ability to boldly turn any material that she confronted into her own music made her a superstar of her time. Today, Holiday is remembered for her masterpieces, creativity and vivacity...
22. Buddy Holly Buddy Holly Soundtrack, Big Fish
23. Eric Blore Eric Blore Actor, Top Hat Born in London, Eric Blore came out of college and started his working life as an insurance agent. But while touring in Australia he took an interest in the stage and theater. He gave up his insurance job and turned to acting after returning to England. With his elfish long, straight nose, squint-eyed demeanor and a crisp voice...
24. Grant Withers Grant Withers Actor, Rio Grande Appeared in over 200 films. He had worked as a salesman and newspaper reporter before breaking into movies near the end of the silent era. Tall and tough, his starring roles in major pictures soon gave way to supporting parts, mainly as a villain, in B movies and serials. His elopement to Yuma, Arizona...
25. Edward Keane Edward Keane Actor, It's a Wonderful Life
26. Charles Halton Charles Halton Actor, The Shop Around the Corner A respected stage actor -- he trained at the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts -- since the 1920s, birdlike Charles Halton's thinning hair, rimless glasses and officious manner were familiar to generations of moviegoers. Whether playing the neighborhood busybody, a stern government bureaucrat or weaselly attorney...
27. Ritchie Valens Ritchie Valens Soundtrack, Grease
28. Gérard Philipe Gérard Philipe Actor, Fan-Fan the Tulip In 1940 Gerard left school and his parents wanted him be a lawyer. But soon his mother noticed that he was only interested in acting, although his father was against the idea. After timely intervention from Mark Allégret, who decided he showed some promise, Gerard's debut was in Claude Dauphin's play "One plain girl"...
29. Kay Kendall Kay Kendall Actress, Les Girls
30. Lock Martin Lock Martin Actor, The Day the Earth Stood Still One of the tallest actors ever, he held various odd jobs before his debut on the silver screen. He worked for Spike Jones and his City Slickers, Ardens Dairy (in California,) as a Cowboy for Public Relations and at Knotts Berry Farm, (in California) also as a Cowboy. It was while he was working as a...
31. Ray McDonald Ray McDonald Actor, Good News Indefatigable Ray McDonald was born to dance and dance he did. A New York City native born June 27, 1921, Ray was still in grade school when he and older sister (by three years) Grace McDonald formed a popular vaudeville tap dancing act. By the age of 16 Ray had made it to Broadway in the musical "Babes in Arms"...
32. Charles Vidor Charles Vidor Director, Gilda Hungarian-born Karoly Vidor spent the First World War as a lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian infantry. Following the armistice, he made his way to Berlin and worked for the German film company Ufa, as editor and assistant director. In 1924, he emigrated to the U.S. and, for several years, earned his living as a singer in Broadway choruses and (at one time) with a Wagnerian troupe...
33. Edmund Goulding Edmund Goulding Writer, The Devil's Holiday Director, songwriter ("Love, Your Magic Spell Is Everywhere", "Mam'selle"), composer, producer and author. He came to the US in 1919 and joined ASCAP in 1947. His chief musical collaborators included Elsie Janis and 'Mack Gordon (I)', and his other popular song compositions include "Sweetest Moment"...
34. Sidney Bechet Sidney Bechet Soundtrack, Midnight in Paris
35. Russell Simpson Russell Simpson Actor, The Grapes of Wrath His grim, beady-eyed, sharp-nosed, weatherbeaten face was always familiar despite the small roles he appeared in. Every once in a while character actor Russell Simpson would stand out in a small scene, but his main purpose seemed to be adding rustic authenticity to his westerns or small-town dramas...
36. Noel Francis Noel Francis Actress, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
37. Werner Krauss Werner Krauss Actor, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
38. Brick Sullivan Brick Sullivan Actor, The Talking Clue
39. Olin Howland Olin Howland Actor, Gone with the Wind Olin Howland had a career in movies that stretched from the 20s through the 50s. After a few attempts at films in the silent era, Olin began appearing regularly in the sound pictures of the 30s. His roles were usually in mysteries and dramas, and he became a Western character actor in the 40s with Republic. He also worked in television from 1956-58 in the adventure Circus Boy.
40. William Bishop William Bishop Actor, Short Cut to Hell William attended grammar and high schools in New York and New Jersey. Upon graduation, he enrolled at West Virginia University where he planned to study law and played football and tennis. One summer, his uncle got him a job at the Suffern County (in New York) Theatre. He worked with actors Broderick Crawford...
41. G. Pat Collins G. Pat Collins Actor, All Quiet on the Western Front
42. Maxwell Anderson Maxwell Anderson Writer, Meet Joe Black James Maxwell Anderson was born in Atlantic, Pennsylvania, on December 15, 1888 to William Lincoln Anderson and Charlotte Perrimela (Stephenson) Anderson. The second child born to the couple, Anderson spent his formative years on his maternal grandmother's farm in Atlantic before the family moved to Andover...
43. Everley Gregg Everley Gregg Actress, Brief Encounter Thin-lipped, dark-haired British character actress, whose gallery of strong-minded women included nosy neighbours, snivelling sycophants and acidulous spinsters. Trained at RADA, she was primarily active on the English stage, with roles in "Grand Hotel" (1931) and "The Importance of Being Earnest" (1946)...
44. Harold Huber Harold Huber Actor, The Thin Man
45. Adrian Adrian Costume Designer, The Wizard of Oz Adrian Adolph Greenburg, born in Naugatuck, Connecticut, March 3, 1903, to Gilbert and Helena (Pollack) Greenburg. He began his professional career while still attending the New York School for Fine and Applied Arts by contributing to the costumes for "George White's Scandals" in 1921. He is credited for that production by his created name of Gilbert Adrian...
46. Charlie Hall Charlie Hall Actor, Tit for Tat Born in Birmingham, England, Charlie Hall was a member of the famed Fred Karno vaudeville troupe, which gave the world Charles Chaplin and Stan Laurel. Hall arrived in the U.S. in the early 1920s, after Chaplin and Laurel, and entered films playing a foil for many of the era's top comics. He is best remembered...
47. Benjamin Christensen Benjamin Christensen Director, Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages
48. Gilda Gray Gilda Gray Actress, Piccadilly The creator of 'the Shimmy' was a voluptuous blonde dancer with mischievous eyes, born Marianna Michalska in Kracow, Poland. Her parents died tragically and she was eventually adopted from an orphanage. Her foster-parents took her to the U.S. in 1909, where she commenced her career singing in her father-in-law's Chicago saloon...
49. Jean Grémillon Jean Grémillon Director, The Love of a Woman
50. John Merton John Merton Actor, The Ten Commandments
1-50 of 731 names.