Actors (*1890-1899)

by bahcas | created - 16 Dec 2011 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

1. Paul Muni

Actor | Scarface

Paul Muni was born Sept. 22, 1895, in Lemberg, Austro-Hungarian Empire, to Salli and Phillip Weisenfreund, who were both professionals. His family was Jewish, and spoke Yiddish. Paul was educated in New York and Cleveland public schools. He was described as 5 feet 10 inches, with black hair and ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1937 6 Academy Award Nominations

2. Fredric March

Actor | The Best Years of Our Lives

Fredric March began a career in banking but in 1920 found himself cast as an extra in films being produced in New York. He starred on the Broadway stage first in 1926 and would return there between screen appearances later on. He won plaudits (and an Academy Award nomination) for his send-up of ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1932 & 1947 5 Academy Award Nominations

3. Walter Brennan

Actor | Red River

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 ...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1937 & 1939 & 1941 4 Academy Award Nominations

4. Ronald Colman

Actor | Random Harvest

British leading man of primarily American films, one of the great stars of the Golden Age. Raised in Ealing, the son of a successful silk merchant, he attended boarding school in Sussex, where he first discovered amateur theatre. He intended to attend Cambridge and become an engineer, but his ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1948 4 Academy Award Nominations

5. Charles Boyer

Actor | Gaslight

Charles Boyer studied philosophy before he went to the theater where he gave his debut in 1920. Although he had at first no intentions to pursue a career at the movies (his first movie was L'homme du large (1920) by Marcel L'Herbier) he used his chance in Hollywood after several filming stations ...

4 Academy Award Nominations

6. James Cagney

Actor | The Roaring Twenties

One of Hollywood's preeminent male stars of all time, James Cagney was also an accomplished dancer and easily played light comedy. James Francis Cagney was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, to Carolyn (Nelson) and James Francis Cagney, Sr., who was a bartender and amateur ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1943 3 Academy Award Nominations

AFI Life Achievement Award: 1974

7. Humphrey Bogart

Actor | Casablanca

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born in New York City, New York, to Maud Humphrey, a famed magazine illustrator and suffragette, and Belmont DeForest Bogart, a moderately wealthy surgeon (who was secretly addicted to opium). Bogart was educated at Trinity School, NYC, and was sent to Phillips Academy ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1952 3 Academy Award Nominations

8. Charles Laughton

Actor | Witness for the Prosecution

Charles Laughton was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, to Eliza (Conlon) and Robert Laughton, hotel keepers of Irish and English descent, respectively. He was educated at Stonyhurst (a highly esteemed Jesuit college in England) and at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (received gold medal). ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1934 3 Academy Award Nominations

9. William Powell

Actor | The Thin Man

William Powell was on the New York stage by 1912, but it would be ten years before his film career would begin. In 1924 he went to Paramount Pictures, where he was employed for the next seven years. During that time, he played in a number of interesting films, but stardom was elusive. He did ...

3 Academy Award Nominations

10. Charles Bickford

Actor | The Song of Bernadette

American character actor of gruff voice and appearance who was a fixture in Hollywood pictures from the earliest days of the talkies. The fifth of seven children, he was born in the first minute of 1891. He was a boisterous child, and at nine was tried and acquitted for attempted murder in the ...

3 Academy Award Nominations

11. Thomas Mitchell

Actor | Stagecoach

Thomas Mitchell was one of the great American character actors, whose credits read like a list of the greatest films of the 20th century: Lost Horizon (1937); Stagecoach (1939); The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939); Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939); Gone with the Wind (1939); It's a Wonderful Life...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1940 2 Academy Award Nominations

12. Richard Barthelmess

Actor | Only Angels Have Wings

Richard Barthelmess was born into a theatrical family in which his mother was an actress. While attending Trinity College in Connecticut, he began appearing in stage productions. While on vacation in 1916, a friend of his mother, actress Alla Nazimova, offered him a part in War Brides (1916), and ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

13. Leslie Howard

Actor | Pygmalion

Leslie Howard Steiner was born in London, to Lilian (Blumberg) and Ferdinand "Frank" Steiner. His father was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and his English mother was of German Jewish, and mostly English, descent. Leslie went to Dulwich College. After school, he worked as a bank clerk until the ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

14. Walter Pidgeon

Actor | Forbidden Planet

Walter Pidgeon, a handsome, tall and dark-haired man, began his career studying voice at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He then did theater, mainly stage musicals. He went to Hollywood in the early 1920s, where he made silent films, including Mannequin (1926) and Sumuru (1927). ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

15. Frank Morgan

Actor | The Wizard of Oz

Jovial, somewhat flamboyant Frank Morgan (born Francis Wuppermann) will forever be remembered as the title character in The Wizard of Oz (1939), but he was a veteran and respected actor long before he played that part, and turned in outstanding performances both before and after that film. One of ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

16. Basil Rathbone

Actor | The Adventures of Robin Hood

Basil Rathbone was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1892, but three years later his family was forced to flee the country because his father was accused by the Boers of being a British spy at a time when Dutch-British conflicts were leading to the Boer War. The Rathbones escaped to England, ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

17. Akim Tamiroff

Actor | Touch of Evil

Though born in Russia and having a Russian-sounding name, Akim Tamiroff is actually of Armenian descent. At 19 he decided to pursue acting as a career and was chosen from among 500 applicants to the Moscow Art Theater School. There he studied under the great Konstantin Stanislavski, and launched a ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

18. J. Carrol Naish

Actor | Sahara

One of the most versatile character actors in the business, Joseph Patrick Carrol Naish (pronounced Nash) was born of Irish descent in New York City. His illustrious ancestors hailed from county Limerick and were listed in Burke's Peerage. He had a Catholic education at St. Cecilia's Academy, but ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

19. Paul Lukas

Actor | Watch on the Rhine

Oscar-winning actor Paul Lukas was born in Hungary and graduated from the School for Dramatic Arts. In 1916 he went to Kosice (Kassa) to be an actor; in 1918 he became an actor specializing in comedy. For ten years he was the most popular character player and romantic lead of the company. In 1918 ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1944

20. Cecil Kellaway

Actor | Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Though a native of South Africa, Cecil Kellaway spent many years as an actor, author and director in Australian live theatre until he tried his luck in Hollywood in the 1930s. Finding he could get only gangster bit parts, he got discouraged and returned to Australia. Then William Wyler called and ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

21. Joseph Schildkraut

Actor | The Diary of Anne Frank

An imposing Austrian import-turned-matinée idol on the silent screen, Hollywood actor Joseph Schildkraut went on to conquer talking films as well -- with Oscar-winning results. Inclined towards smooth, cunning villainy, his Oscar came instead for his sympathetic portrayal of Captain Alfred Dreyfus ...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1938

22. George Burns

Actor | Oh, God!

George Burns was born on January 20, 1896 in New York City, New York, USA as Nathan Birnbaum. He was an actor and producer, known for Oh, God! (1977), Going in Style (1979) and The Sunshine Boys (1975). He was married to Gracie Allen and Hannah Siegel. He died on March 9, 1996 in Beverly Hills, Los...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1976

23. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin 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 character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

Academy Honorary Award 1929 & 1972

24. Fred Astaire

Actor | The Towering Inferno

Fred Astaire was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Johanna (Geilus) and Fritz Austerlitz, a brewer. Fred entered show business at age 5. He was successful both in vaudeville and on Broadway in partnership with his sister, Adele Astaire. After Adele retired to marry in 1932, Astaire headed to Hollywood. ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

Academy Honorary Award 1950 AFI Life Achievement Award: 1981

25. Lawrence Tibbett

Actor | New Moon

One of the great voices of the Metropolitan Opera, Lawrence Mervil Tibbet was born in Bakersfield, California, in 1896. Born at the end of the "wild west" era, he was only six when his father, who was a Kern County deputy sheriff, was killed by bandits. After training with, among others, ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

26. Richard Dix

Actor | Cimarron

Richard Dix was a major leading man at RKO Radio Pictures from 1929 through 1943. He was born Ernest Carlton Brimmer July 18, 1893, in St. Paul, Minnesota. There he was educated, and at the desires of his father, studied to be a surgeon. His obvious acting talent in his school dramatic club led him...

1 Academy Award Nomination

27. Adolphe Menjou

Actor | Paths of Glory

The words "suave" and "debonair" became synonymous with the name Adolphe Menjou in Hollywood, both on- and off-camera. The epitome of knavish, continental charm and sartorial opulence, Menjou, complete with trademark waxy black mustache, evolved into one of Hollywood's most distinguished of artists...

1 Academy Award Nomination

28. Alfred Lunt

Actor | The Magnificent Yankee

Alfred Lunt was born on August 12, 1892 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. He was an actor, known for The Magnificent Yankee (1965), The Guardsman (1931) and Stage Door Canteen (1943). He was married to Lynn Fontanne. He died on August 3, 1977 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

1 Academy Award Nomination

29. Raymond Massey

Actor | Arsenic and Old Lace

Educated at the University of Toronto & Balliol College, Oxford, he joined the Canadian Field Artillery in World War I, served in France & was wounded. His first appearance was in a stage production in Siberia, during its occupation by American Forces in 1918. Raymond returned to Canada & the farm ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

30. Gene Lockhart

Actor | His Girl Friday

Gene Lockhart was born on July 18, 1891, in London, Ontario, Canada, the son of John Coates Lockhart and Ellen Mary (Delany) Lockhart. His father had studied singing and young Gene displayed an early interest in drama and music. Shortly after the 7-year-old danced a Highland fling in a concert ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

31. Michael Chekhov

Actor | Spellbound

Michael Chekhov was a Russian actor in the Moscow Art Theatre who emigrated to America and made a career in Hollywood, earning himself an Oscar nomination.

He was born Mikhail Aleksandrovich Chekhov in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1891. His mother, Natalya Golden, was Jewish, and his father, Aleksandr ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

32. William Demarest

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

A stocky, serious-looking character, Carl William Demarest started off in vaudeville in 1905 along with two older brothers. At one time he also performed in a stage act with his wife Estelle Collette (billed as 'Demarest and Collette') and then moved on to Broadway. He entered movies in 1926 and ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

33. Oskar Homolka

Actor | The Seven Year Itch

Because of his heavy generically "European" accent and Slavic-sounding surname (not an uncommon one among Czechs or Slovaks), many people assumed Oscar Homolka was Eastern European or Russian. In fact, he was born in Vienna (then Austria-Hungary), the multicultural capital of a large multi-ethnic ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

34. Louis Calhern

Actor | Duck Soup

Tall, distinguished, aristocratic Louis Calhern seemed to be the poster boy for old-money, upper-crust urban society, but he was actually born Carl Vogt, to middle-class parents in New York City. His family moved to St. Louis when he was a child, and it was while playing football in high school ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

35. Sam Jaffe

Actor | The Day the Earth Stood Still

Born Shalom Jaffe in New York City, he became known to the world as Sam Jaffe. From a Jewish family as a child he appeared in Yiddish theater productions with his mother, a well-known regional stage actress. He graduated from the City College of New York and then studied engineering at Columbia ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

36. Lee Tracy

Actor | The Best Man

Rangy, red-headed and straightforward to the bone while possessing distinctively adenoidal vocal tones, this actor with a voracious appetite for high living was a fine cinematic representation of the racy and race-paced style of pre-Code Hollywood. Lee Tracy patented with peerless skill the ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

37. Stanley Holloway

Actor | My Fair Lady

Stanley Holloway was a British actor and singer, primarily known for comic monologues and songs. In 1890, Holloway was born in Manor Park, Essex. In 1965, Manor Park was incorporated into Greater London, as part of an administrative reform. It is currently part of the London Borough of Newham, in ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

38. Chief Dan George

Actor | Little Big Man

Chief Dan George was born with the names Geswanouth Slahoot (which was anglicised as 'Dan Slaholt') to a tribal chief on Burrard Indian Reserve Nº. 3 in North Vancouver. His last name was changed to 'George' when he entered a mission boarding school at the age of 5, where the use of his native ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

39. Edward G. Robinson

Actor | Key Largo

Emanuel Goldenberg arrived in the United States from Romania at age ten, and his family moved into New York's Lower East Side. He took up acting while attending City College, abandoning plans to become a rabbi or lawyer. The American Academy of Dramatic Arts awarded him a scholarship, and he began ...

Academy Honorary Award 1973

40. Groucho Marx

Actor | A Night at the Opera

The bushy-browed, cigar-smoking wise-cracker with the painted-on moustache and stooped walk was the leader of The Marx Brothers. With one-liners that were often double entendres, Groucho never cursed in any of his performances and said he never wanted to be known as a dirty comic. With a great love...

Academy Honorary Award 1974

41. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine ...

Academy Honorary Award 1960

42. Stan Laurel

Actor | Sons of the Desert

Stan Laurel came from a theatrical family, his father was an actor and theatre manager, and he made his stage debut at the age of 16 at Pickard's Museum, Glasgow. He traveled with Fred Karno's vaudeville company to the United States in 1910 and again in 1913. While with that company he was Charles ...

Academy Honorary Award 1961

43. Oliver Hardy

Actor | Sons of the Desert

Although his parents were never in show business, as a young boy Oliver Hardy was a gifted singer and, by age eight, was performing with minstrel shows. In 1910 he ran a movie theatre, which he preferred to studying law. In 1913 he became a comedy actor with the Lubin Company in Florida and began ...



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