Old Time Actors

by mariisawsume-com | created - 24 Sep 2014 | updated - 4 months ago | Public

1. Cary Grant

Actor | Charade

Once told by an interviewer, "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant", Grant is said to have replied, "So would I."

Cary Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach on January 18, 1904 in Horfield, Bristol, England, to Elsie Maria (Kingdon) and Elias James Leach, who worked in a factory. His early years...

2. Gary Cooper

Actor | High Noon

Born to Alice Cooper and Charles Cooper (not in film business). Gary attended school at Dunstable school England, Helena Montana and Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa. His first stage experience was during high school and college. Afterwards, he worked as an extra for one year before getting a part in a...

3. 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 ...

4. Peter Elliott

Actor | The Island of Dr. Moreau

Peter Elliott is the film industry's primary primate. He works both as a performer, in films like Missing Link (1988) and The The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), and as a choreographer of other performers, as in Gorillas in the Mist (1988) and Congo (1995). He also teaches animal study at London's ...

5. Clark Gable

Actor | It Happened One Night

William Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio, to Adeline (Hershelman) and William Henry Gable, an oil-well driller. He was of German, Irish, and Swiss-German descent. When he was seven months old, his mother died, and his father sent him to live with his maternal aunt and uncle ...

6. Ingrid Bergman

Actress | Notorious

Ingrid Bergman was one of the greatest actresses from Hollywood's lamented Golden Era. Her natural and unpretentious beauty and her immense acting talent made her one of the most celebrated figures in the history of American cinema. Bergman is also one of the most Oscar-awarded actresses, tied with ...

7. 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. 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. In his late teens he set ...

8. Rita Hayworth

Actress | Gilda

Rita Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Cansino on October 17, 1918, in Brooklyn, New York, into a family of dancers. Her father, Eduardo Cansino Reina, was a dancer as was his father before him. He emigrated from Spain in 1913. Rita's American mother, Volga Margaret (Hayworth), who was of mostly ...

9. Ava Gardner

Actress | On the Beach

Ava Lavina Gardner was born on December 24, 1922 in Grabtown, North Carolina, to Mary Elizabeth (née Baker) and Jonas Bailey Gardner. Born on a tobacco farm, where she got her lifelong love of earthy language and going barefoot, Ava grew up in the rural South. At age 18, her picture in the window ...

10. Zsa Zsa Gabor

Actress | A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Undoubtedly the woman who had come to epitomize what we recognize today as "celebrity", Zsa Zsa Gabor, is better known for her many marriages, personal appearances, her "dahlink" catchphrase, her actions, life gossip, and quotations on men, rather than her film career.

Zsa Zsa Gabor was born Sári ...

11. Gloria Swanson

Actress | Sunset Blvd.

Gloria Swanson went to public schools in Chicago; Key West, Florida; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her film debut was as an extra in The Fable of Elvira and Farina and the Meal Ticket (1915). From the following year on, she had leading roles in pictures for Keystone, then a year with Triangle, and, in...

12. Clara Bow

Actress | Wings

Clara Gordon Bow, destined to become "The It Girl", was born on July 29, 1905 in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised in poverty and violence. Her often absentee and brutish father could not or did not provide and her schizophrenic mother tried to slit Clara's throat when the girl spoke of becoming ...

13. Lil Dagover

Actress | Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

A prominent German film actress born on 30 September 1887 at Madiven, Java, the daughter of a forest ranger in the service of the Dutch authorities. Sent at the age of ten to Baden-Baden to study, she later entered the cinema thanks to her marriage in 1917 to the actor Fritz Dagover who was 25 ...

14. Norma Shearer

Actress | The Divorcee

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 ...

15. Bebe Daniels

Actress | The Maltese Falcon

Bebe Daniels already had toured as an actor by the age of four in a stage production of "Richard III". 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 ...

16. Colleen Moore

Actress | Lilac Time

Colleen Moore was born Kathleen Morrison in Port Huron, Michigan. Her father was an irrigation engineer and his job was good enough to provide the family a middle-class environment. She was educated in parochial schools and studied at the famed Detroit Conservatory. Colleen's family moved to ...

17. Fay Wray

Actress | King Kong

Canadian-born Fay Wray was brought up in Los Angeles and entered films at an early age. She was barely in her teens when she started working as an extra. She began her career as a heroine in westerns at Universal during the silent era. In 1926 the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers ...

18. Brigitte Helm

Actress | Metropolis

After her role in Metropolis (1927) she made a string of movies in which she almost always had the starring role, easily making the transition to sound films. Her last film was An Ideal Spouse (1935) (An Ideal Spouse) in 1935.

19. Evelyn Brent

Actress | The Silver Horde

Petite, sultry leading lady of the 1920's and 30's, who was born and schooled in Tampa, Florida, until the age of ten when she lost her mother. She moved to New York with her dad and started modelling while still in her teens. Her original intention was to go into the teaching profession. Instead, ...

20. 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...

21. Jobyna Ralston

Actress | Lightning

Curly-locked, cherubic knockabout comedienne of the silent cinema. Her mother, portrait photographer Mrs. Kemp Raulston, named her after her favorite actress, Jobyna Howland. She harbored ambitions for her daughter to achieve similar fame and trained her to that end. After a failed teenage marriage...

22. Charles 'Buddy' Rogers

Actor | Wings

Charles 'Buddy' Rogers was born on August 13, 1904 in Olathe, Kansas, USA. He was an actor, known for Wings (1927), This Way Please (1937) and Follow Thru (1930). He was married to Beverly Ricono and Mary Pickford. He died on April 21, 1999 in Rancho Mirage, California, USA.

23. Marceline Day

Actress | The Arm of the Law

The younger sister of actress Alice Day, Marceline Day achieved stardom in the mid-'20s, appearing opposite such stars as John Barrymore and Lon Chaney. Adept at comedy, she also starred with such top comics as Buster Keaton and Harry Langdon. Her career faltered in the early '30s, however, and she...

24. John Barrymore

Actor | Twentieth Century

John Barrymore was born John Sidney Blyth on February 15, 1882 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An American stage and screen actor whose rise to superstardom and subsequent decline is one of the legendary tragedies of Hollywood. A member of the most famous generation of the most famous theatrical ...

25. Joan Crawford

Actress | What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Joan Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur on March 23, 1905, in San Antonio, Texas, to Anna Belle (Johnson) and Thomas E. LeSueur, a laundry laborer. By the time she was born, her parents had separated, and by the time she was a teenager, she'd had three stepfathers. It wasn't an easy life; ...

26. Laura La Plante

Actress | The Cat and the Canary

Laura La Plante was 15 years old when she entered films as a Christie Comedy Bathing Beauty. By 1921, she had played a number of roles including a Tom Mix Western called The Big Town Round-Up (1921) for Fox and The Old Swimmin' Hole (1921) for First National. Laura, now 17, next signed with ...

27. Vilma Bánky

Actress | The Eagle

Vilma Bánky appeared in Hungarian, Austrian and French movies between 1920 and 1925, the year in which Samuel Goldwyn signed her, in Budapest, to a Hollywood contract. In Hollywood she was billed as the "The Hungarian Rhapsody". In the mid and late 1920s she was Goldwyn's biggest money maker, ...

28. Rudolph Valentino

Actor | The Sheik

Hollywood's original Latin Lover, a term that was invented for Rudolph Valentino by Hollywood moguls. Alla Nazimova's friend,Natacha Rambova (nee Winifred Hudnut) became romantically involved with Rudy and they lived together in her bungalow, from 1921 (during the filming of Camille) until they ...

29. 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 ...

30. Pola Negri

Actress | Die Bergkatze

Pola Negri was born in Lipno, Poland, and moved to Warsaw as a child. Living in poverty with her mother, a teenage Pola auditioned and was accepted to the Imperial Ballet. Due to an illness that ended her dancing career, she soon switched to the Warsaw Imperial Academy of Dramatic Arts and became ...

31. Greta Garbo

Actress | Ninotchka

Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Anna Lovisa (Johansdotter), who worked at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a laborer. She was fourteen when her father died, which left the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and ...

32. Louise Brooks

Actress | Die Büchse der Pandora

Mary Louise Brooks, also known by her childhood name of Brooksie, was born in the midwestern town of Cherryvale, Kansas, on November 14, 1906. She began dancing at an early age with the Denishawn Dancers (which was how she left Kansas and went to New York) and then with George White's Scandals ...

33. Marion Davies

Actress | Going Hollywood

Marion Cecelia Douras was born in the borough of Brooklyn, New York on January 3, 1897. She had been bitten by the show biz bug early as she watched her sisters perform in local stage productions. She wanted to do the same. As Marion got older, she tried out for various school plays and did fairly ...

34. Lillian Gish

Actress | The Night of the Hunter

Lillian Diana Gish was born on October 14, 1893 in Springfield, Ohio. Her father James Lee Gish was an alcoholic who caroused around, was rarely at home and left the family to more or less to fend for themselves. To help make ends meet, Lillian, her sister Dorothy Gish and their mother Mary Gish ...

35. Edna Purviance

Actress | A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate

Edna Purviance began working as a stenographer in San Francisco. Charles Chaplin invited her to join him at Essanay Studio in 1915, the year of her film debut in Chaplin's His Night Out. Over the next seven years she appeared as his leading lady in over 20 Chaplin films made by Essanay, Mutual, and...

36. Mildred Davis

Actress | Safety Last!

Mildred Davis was born on February 22, 1901 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Mildred Hillary Davis. She was an actress, known for Safety Last! (1923), A Sailor-Made Man (1921) and Grandma's Boy (1922). She was married to Harold Lloyd. She died on August 18, 1969 in Santa Monica, California, ...

37. Peter O'Toole

Actor | Lawrence of Arabia

A leading man of prodigious talents, Peter O'Toole was raised in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, the son of Constance Jane Eliot (Ferguson), a Scottish nurse, and Patrick Joseph O'Toole, an Irish metal plater, football player and racecourse bookmaker. Upon leaving school, he decided to become a ...

38. Yul Brynner

Actor | The Ten Commandments

Exotic leading man of American films, famed as much for his completely bald head as for his performances, Yul Brynner masked much of his life in mystery and outright lies designed to tease people he considered gullible. It was not until the publication of the books "Yul: The Man Who Would Be King" ...

39. Ginger Rogers

Actress | The Major and the Minor

Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri on July 16, 1911. Her mother, known as Lelee, went to Independence to have Ginger away from her husband. She had a baby earlier in their marriage and he allowed the doctor to use forceps and the baby died. She was kidnapped ...

40. Gregory Peck

Actor | To Kill a Mockingbird

Eldred Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916 in La Jolla, California, to Bernice Mary (Ayres) and Gregory Pearl Peck, a chemist and druggist in San Diego. He had Irish (from his paternal grandmother), English, and some German, ancestry. His parents divorced when he was five years old. An only ...

41. Grace Kelly

Actress | Rear Window

On November 12, 1929, Grace Patricia Kelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to wealthy parents. Her girlhood was uneventful for the most part, but one of the things she desired was to become an actress which she had decided on at an early age. After her high school graduation in 1947, Grace ...

42. Jennifer Jones

Actress | The Towering Inferno

One of the world's most underrated Academy Award-winning actresses, Jennifer Jones was born Phylis Lee Isley on 2 March 1919 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Flora Mae (Suber) and Phillip Ross Isley, who ran a travelling stage show. As a young aspiring actress, she met and fell for young, handsome, aspiring ...

43. Jayne Mansfield

Actress | The Girl Can't Help It

One of the leading sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s, film actress Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, the only child of Vera J. (nee Palmer; later Peers) and Herbert W. Palmer. Her parents were well-to-do, with her father a successful attorney ...

44. Cleo Moore

Actress | Congo Bill

Cleo Moore was born Cleouna Moore on October 31, 1924 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her parents were deeply involved in Democratic politics. Politics, in Louisiana, was an all consuming passion with a lot of families in the 1920s and 1930s. Cleo began her trek to stardom when she participated in ...

45. Sacheen Littlefeather

Actress | The Trial of Billy Jack

Sacheen Littlefeather was born on November 14, 1946 in Salinas, California, USA as Maria Cruz. She is an actress, known for The Trial of Billy Jack (1974), Johnny Firecloud (1975) and Winterhawk (1975).

46. Elizabeth Taylor

Actress | Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was considered one of the last, if not the last, major star to have come out of the old Hollywood studio system. She was known internationally for her beauty, especially for her violet eyes, with which she captured audiences early on in her youth and kept the world hooked ...

47. Rita Moreno

Actress | West Side Story

Rita Moreno has had a thriving acting career for the better part of six decades. One of the very few performers (and the very first) to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy, she was born Rosita Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on December 11, 1931, to seamstress Rosa María (Marcano) ...

48. Lynda Carter

Actress | Wonder Woman

Lynda Carter was born on July 24, 1951 in Phoenix, Arizona, USA as Linda Jean Cordova Carter. She is an actress, known for Wonder Woman (1975), Sky High (2005) and The Dukes of Hazzard (2005). She has been married to Robert Altman since January 29, 1984. They have two children. She was previously ...

49. Pier Angeli

Actress | Battle of the Bulge

Anna Maria Pierangeli was born June 19, 1932, in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Anna and her twin sister, Marisa Pavan, both had their eyes on become film stars, since that was one of the big Italian pastimes. Anna adopted her surname and split it in half, and it was as Pier Angeli that she would find ...

50. Julie Christie

Actress | Doctor Zhivago

Julie Christie, the British movie legend whom Al Pacino called "the most poetic of all actresses," was born in Chabua, Assam, India, on April 14, 1940, the daughter of Rosemary (Ramsden), a painter, and Francis St. John "Frank" Christie, a tea planter. The young Christie grew up on her father's ...

51. Gail Bonney

Actress | Star Trek

Gail Bonney was born on December 15, 1901 in Columbus, Ohio, USA as Goldie Bonowitz. She was an actress, known for Star Trek (1966), The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962) and The Six Million Dollar Man (1974). She died on December 7, 1984 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

52. Betty Grable

Actress | How to Marry a Millionaire

Elizabeth Ruth Grable was born on December 18, 1916 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Lillian Rose (Hofmann) and John Charles Grable, a stockbroker. She had German, English, Irish, and Dutch ancestry. Her mother was a stubborn and materialistic woman who was determined to make her daughter a star. ...

53. Lauren Bacall

Actress | To Have and Have Not

Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in New York City. She was the daughter of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a Romanian Jewish immigrant, and William Perske, who was born in New Jersey, to Polish Jewish parents. Her family was middle-class, with her father working as a ...

54. Sylvia Sidney

Actress | Beetlejuice

Sylvia Sidney was born in New York City, in the Bronx borough, on August 8, 1910 with the birth name of Sophia Kosow. Her father was Russian born and her mother was born in Romania. They divorced not long after her birth. Her mother subsequently remarried and Sylvia was adopted by her stepfather, ...

55. Mari Aldon

Actress | Distant Drums

A former ballet dancer, graceful Mari Aldon married Hollywood director Tay Garnett, who encouraged her to become an actress. She did, but did not leave a deep imprint on film history, with one exception, the role of Judy Beckett, a prisoner of the Seminoles and Gary Cooper's charming romantic ...

56. Mari Blanchard

Actress | Destry

Petite, attractive Mari Blanchard rarely managed to get the lucky breaks. The daughter of an oil tycoon and a psychotherapist, she suffered from severe poliomyelitis from the age of nine, which denied her a hoped-for dancing career. For several years, she worked hard to rehabilitate her limbs from ...

57. Madlyn Rhue

Actress | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

American character actress Madlyn Rhue was one of television's most prolific actresses and has starred in everything from sitcoms to soap operas to drama series and films for nearly 40 years. Her beautiful looks, black/dark brown hair and hazel eyes got her the attention of television producers and...

58. Julie Adams

Actress | Creature from the Black Lagoon

Betty May Adams was the daughter of a travelling Iowa cotton buyer with a penchant for alcohol. Growing up in Arkansas, Betty expressed an early interest in acting and made her performing debut in a third grade play of "Hansel and Gretel". Beautiful, talented and determined, the freshly minted '...

59. 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...

60. Roger Moore

Actor | Moonraker

Roger Moore will perhaps always be remembered as the man who replaced Sean Connery in the James Bond series, arguably something he never lived down.

Roger George Moore was born on October 14, 1927 in Stockwell, London, England, the son of Lillian (Pope) and George Alfred Moore, a policeman. His ...

61. 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. ...

62. Marlene Dietrich

Soundtrack | Witness for the Prosecution

Her father was a police lieutenant and imbued in her a military attitude to life. Marlene was known in school for her "bedroom eyes" and her first affairs were at this stage in her life - a professor at the school was terminated. She entered the cabaret scene in 1920s Germany, first as a spectator ...

63. Mickey Rooney

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Mickey Rooney was born Joe Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. He first took the stage as a toddler in his parents vaudeville act at 17 months old. He made his first film appearance in 1926. The following year, he played the lead character in the first Mickey McGuire short film. ...

64. Danny Kaye

Soundtrack | The Danny Kaye Show

Danny Kaye left school at the age of 13 to work in the so-called Borscht Belt of Jewish resorts in the Catskill Mountains. It was there he learned the basics of show biz. From there he went through a series of jobs in and out of the business. In 1939, he made his Broadway debut in "Straw Hat Revue,...

65. Jack Haley

Actor | The Wizard of Oz

Jack Haley was a movie and vaudeville actor who is always remembered as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (1939). The Tin Man role was originally was going to Buddy Ebsen, but due to allergic reaction from the aluminum powder makeup, Ebsen was taken out of the casting and Haley replaced him. To avoid...

66. Ray Bolger

Actor | The Wizard of Oz

Ray Bolger was born Raymond Wallace Bolger on January 10, 1904 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, to Anne C. (Wallace) and James Edward Bolger, both Irish-Americans. Ray began his career in vaudeville. He was half of a team called "Sanford and Bolger" and also did numerous Broadway shows on his own. ...

67. Shelley Winters

Actress | The Poseidon Adventure

Shelley Winters was born Shirley Schrift of very humble beginnings on August 18, 1920 (some sources list 1922) in East St. Louis, Illinois. Her mother, Rose Winter, was born in Missouri, to Austrian Jewish parents, and her father, Jonas Schrift, was an Austrian Jewish immigrant. She had one sibling...

68. Thomas Gomez

Actor | Key Largo

After graduating from high school in 1923, Thomas Sabino Gomez answered a help wanted ad, which resulted in his joining the Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne theater group. Prior to that time he had not considered acting as a career. He continued working as an actor with the Lunts, traveling across ...

69. Dorothy Dandridge

Actress | Carmen Jones

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born on November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Ruby Dandridge (née Ruby Jean Butler), an entertainer, and Cyril H. Dandridge, a cabinet maker and minister. Under the prodding of her mother, Dorothy and her sister Vivian Dandridge began performing publicly, usually in ...

70. Mary Pickford

Actress | Coquette

Mary Pickford was born Gladys Louise Smith in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Elsie Charlotte (Hennessy) and John Charles Smith. She was of English and Irish descent. Pickford began in the theater at age seven. Then known as "Baby Gladys Smith", she toured with her family in a number of theater ...

71. Imelda Staunton

Actress | Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Imelda Staunton was born on January 9, 1956 in Archway, London, England as Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette Staunton. She is an actress, known for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Pride (2014). She has been married to Jim Carter since October 1983. ...

72. Laurence Olivier

Actor | Sleuth

Laurence Olivier could speak William Shakespeare's lines as naturally as if he were "actually thinking them", said English playwright Charles Bennett, who met Olivier in 1927.

Laurence Kerr Olivier was born in Dorking, Surrey, England, to Agnes Louise (Crookenden) and Gerard Kerr Olivier, a High ...

73. Max von Sydow

Actor | Flash Gordon

Max von Sydow was born Carl Adolf von Sydow on April 10, 1929 in Lund, Skåne, Sweden, to a middle-class family. He is the son of Baroness Maria Margareta (Rappe), a teacher, and Carl Wilhelm von Sydow, an ethnologist and folklore professor. His surname traces back to his father's partial German ...

74. Brian Doyle-Murray

Actor | Caddyshack

Brian Doyle-Murray was born on October 31, 1945 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Brian Murray. He is an actor and writer, known for Caddyshack (1980), JFK (1991) and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989). He has been married to Christina Stauffer since August 28, 2000.



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