The Detectives

by karljhickey14 | created - 28 Jun 2014 | updated - 01 Jul 2014 | Public

Private Eyes and other investigators , amateur detectives , ace criminals turned sleuths , but no policemen . The best and the most memorable actors .

1. 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 ...

Maltese Falcon , Big Sleep

2. Dick Powell

Actor | Murder, My Sweet

Few actors ever managed a complete image transition as thoroughly as did Dick Powell: in his case, from the boyish, wavy-haired crooner in musicals to rugged crime fighters in films noir. Powell grew up in the town of Little Rock, Arkansas, one of three brothers (one of them, Howard, ended up as ...

Farewell My Lovely

3. Robert Mitchum

Actor | Out of the Past

Robert Mitchum was an underrated American leading man of enormous ability, who sublimated his talents beneath an air of disinterest. He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Ann Harriet (Gunderson), a Norwegian immigrant, and James Thomas Mitchum, a shipyard/railroad worker. His father died in a ...

Out of the Past , not exactly a great example of detecting skills mind you .

4. 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 ...

Philo Vance films , Thin Man films

5. Ralph Meeker

Actor | Kiss Me Deadly

Burly American character actor Ralph Meeker first acted on stage at his Alma mater, Northwestern University, alongside other budding performers Charlton Heston and Patricia Neal. He graduated as a music major, because his dean had discouraged him from pursuing a theatrical career. Ignoring that ...

Mike Hammer in Kiss Me Deadly .

6. Franchot Tone

Actor | Mutiny on the Bounty

President of the Dramatic Club at Cornell University, Franchot Tone gave up the family business for acting, making his Broadway debut in "The Age of Innocence".

Tone then went into movies for MGM, making his film debut in The Wiser Sex (1932). With his theatrical background, Tone became one of the ...

I Love Trouble , Jigsaw

7. James Garner

Actor | The Notebook

Amiable and handsome James Garner had obtained success in both films and television, often playing variations of the charming anti-hero/con-man persona he first developed in Maverick, the offbeat western TV series that shot him to stardom in the late 1950s.

James Garner was born James Scott ...

Marlowe 1969 , not to mention Jim Rockford .

8. Paul Newman

Actor | The Hustler

Screen legend, superstar, and the man with the most famous blue eyes in movie history, Paul Leonard Newman was born on January 26, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio, the second son of Theresa (Fetsko) and Arthur Sigmund Newman. Paul's father was Jewish, the son of emigrants from Poland and Hungary; he owned...

Moving Target and The Drowning Pool as Lew Archer , and Twilight 1998 .

9. Mark Stevens

Actor | The Street with No Name

Mark Stevens, a second-tier star during the 1940s and 1950s, was born Richard William Stevens in Cleveland, OH, in 1916 (the dates in reference books vary between 1915-20). Of Scottish and English heritage, the freckle-faced boy with the reddish hair had a father who was an American flyer. His ...

The Dark Corner

10. 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...

Mysterious Intruder , a great pastiche of the dodgy , rogue P. I.

11. Darren McGavin

Actor | A Christmas Story

A remarkably seasoned actor of stage, screen and television, Darren McGavin has notched in excess of 200 performances; however, he is most fondly remembered by cult TV fans as heroic newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak in the classic but short-lived horror TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974). ...

Mike Hammer on TV , and Kolchak perhaps ?

12. George Sanders

Actor | All About Eve

George Sanders was born of English parents in St. Petersburg, Russia. He worked in a Birmingham textile mill, in the tobacco business and as a writer in advertising. He entered show business in London as a chorus boy, going from there to cabaret, radio and theatrical understudy. His film debut, in ...

First as the Saint , then the Falcon

13. Tom Conway

Actor | Cat People

Tom Conway played "The Falcon" in ten of that series' entries. He starred in three Val Lewton horror classics. He appeared in comedies, musicals, two Tarzan films and even science fiction films.

He was early television's Detective Mark Saber, but Conway will probably be best remembered as George ...

the Falcon's brother .

14. Chester Morris

Actor | Tomorrow at Seven

The Academy Award-nominated film actor Chester Morris, who will forever be associated with the character Boston Blackie, was born John Chester Brooks Morris 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 ...

Boston Blackie

15. Ralph Bellamy

Actor | His Girl Friday

Ralph Bellamy was a veteran actor who was so well-liked and respected by his peers that he was the recipient of an honorary Oscar in 1987 for his contributions to the acting profession.

Ralph Rexford Bellamy was born June 17, 1904 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Lilla Louise (Smith), originally ...

Ellery Queen

16. Peter Lorre

Actor | Casablanca

Peter Lorre was born Laszlo Lowenstein on Roszahegy, Hungary. He was educated in elementary and secondary schools in Vienna, Austria. As a youth, he ran away from home, worked as a bank clerk and, after stage training in Vienna, made his acting debut in Zurich. He remained unknown, traveling for ...

Mr Moto

17. Craig Stevens

Actor | The Deadly Mantis

Born in Liberty, Missouri, as Gail Shikles Jr., tall, suave Craig Stevens will forever be remembered for his role as the cool, laid-back private eye Peter Gunn (1958), a ground-breaking show that ushered in the era of tough but smooth private eyes who were handy with their fists and with the ladies...

everybody's favourite Cary Grant impersonator , Peter Gunn .

18. James Mason

Actor | Lolita

James Mason was a great English actor of British and American films. He was born in Yorkshire, and attended Marlborough and Cambridge, where he discovered acting on a lark, and abandoned a planned career as an architect. Following work in stock companies, he joined the Old Vic under the guidance of...

This Man is Dangerous , 1941 British film .

19. George Peppard

Actor | Breakfast at Tiffany's

Handsome and elegant George Peppard occasionally displayed considerable talent through his career, but was too often cast in undemanding action roles. Following Broadway and television experience, he made a strong film debut in The Strange One (1957). He started getting noticed when he played ...

P. J.

20. Burt Reynolds

Actor | Boogie Nights

Enduring, strong-featured, and genial star of US cinema, Burt Reynolds started off in T.V. westerns in the 1960s and then carved his name into 1970s/1980s popular culture, as a sex symbol (posing nearly naked for "Cosmopolitan" magazine), and on-screen as both a rugged action figure and then as a ...

Hustle , Shamus

21. Gene Hackman

Actor | The French Connection

Eugene Allen Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Anna Lyda Elizabeth (Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman, who operated a newspaper printing press. He is of Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry, partly by way of Canada, where his mother was born. After ...

Night Moves

22. Elliott Gould

Actor | MASH

Elliott Gould is an American actor known for his roles in MASH (1970), his Oscar-nominated performance in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), and more recently, his portrayal of old-time con artist Reuben Tishkoff in Ocean's Eleven (2001), Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007)...

Marlowe in The Long Goodbye , much maligned .

23. Jack Nicholson

Actor | Chinatown

Jack Nicholson, an American actor, producer, director and screenwriter, is a three-time Academy Award winner and twelve-time nominee. Nicholson is also notable for being one of two actors - the other being Michael Caine - who have received Oscar nomination in every decade from the 1960s through the...

Jake Gittes in Chinatown and The Two Jakes .

24. Denzel Washington

Actor | Fences

Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He is the middle of three children of a beautician mother, Lennis, from Georgia, and a Pentecostal minister father, Denzel Washington, Sr., from Virginia. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at ...

Easy Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress , shame there wasn't a series .

25. Bob Hoskins

Actor | The Long Good Friday

Bob Hoskins was described by the director John Mackenzie as "an actor from the British tradition but with an almost American approach, an instinctive approach to acting and knowing how to work with the camera". He was born on October 26, 1942, in Bury St. Edmund's, Suffolk, where his mother was ...

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

26. Bob Hope

Actor | The Ghost Breakers

Comedian Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, London, England, the fifth of seven sons of Avis (Townes), light opera singer, and William Henry Hope, a stonemason from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. His maternal grandmother was Welsh. Hope moved to Bristol before emigrating with his parents...

My Favourite Brunette

27. Howard Duff

Actor | No Way Out

Tough, virile, wavy-haired and ruggedly handsome with trademark forlorn-looking brows that added an intriguing touch of vulnerability to his hard outer core, actor Howard Duff and his wife-at-the-time, actress Ida Lupino, were one of Hollywood's premiere film couples during the 1950s "Golden Age". ...

Radio's Sam Spade

28. Gerald Mohr

Actor | The Angry Red Planet

Bearing a strong resemblance to Humphrey Bogart certainly helped in typecasting the handsome, hairy-chested Gerald Mohr into "B" film noir. Born in New York City in 1914, he was the son of Sigmond Mohr and Henrietta Noustadt, a Viennese singer. In 1920 his father was killed in a tragic accident ...

Radio's Philip Marlowe .

29. Stacy Keach

Actor | Nebraska

Stacy Keach has played to grand success a constellation of the classic and contemporary stage's greatest roles, and he is considered a pre-eminent American interpreter of Shakespeare. His SRO run as "King Lear" at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. received the best reviews any ...

Mike Hammer on TV in the eighties

30. Ray Milland

Actor | The Lost Weekend

Ray Milland became one of Paramount's most bankable and durable stars, under contract from 1934 to 1948, yet little in his early life suggested a career as a motion picture actor.

Milland was born Alfred Reginald Jones in the Welsh town of Neath, Glamorgan, to Elizabeth Annie (Truscott) and Alfred ...

One of many Bulldog Drummonds .

31. Eddie Constantine

Actor | Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution

Iconic American-born singer and actor in international films since the 1950s. Born in L.A. to Russian immigrant parents, Constantine studied voice in Vienna. He returned to the US, where his singing career wavered and he found work as a film extra. Constantine first achieved fame in Paris, where he...

Lemmy Caution



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