Actors (*1920-1929)

by bahcsas | created - 16 Dec 2011 | updated - 14 Jul 2019 | Public

1. 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 Arthur Sigmund Newman (died 1950) and Theresa Fetsko (died 1982). His elder brother was Arthur S. Newman Jr., named for ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1987 9 Academy Award Nominations

Academy Honorary Award 1986

2. Marlon Brando

Actor | Apocalypse Now

Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1955 & 1973 8 Academy Award Nominations

3. Jack Lemmon

Actor | The Apartment

Jack Lemmon was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Mildred Lankford Noel and John Uhler Lemmon, Jr., the president of a doughnut company. His ancestry included Irish (from his paternal grandmother) and English. Jack attended Ward Elementary near his Newton, MA home. At age 9 he was sent to Rivers ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1974 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1956 8 Academy Award Nominations

AFI Life Achievement Award: 1988

4. Richard Burton

Actor | Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Probably best-remembered for his turbulent personal life with Elizabeth Taylor (whom he married twice), Richard Burton was nonetheless also regarded as an often brilliant British actor of the post-WWII period.

Burton was born Richard Walter Jenkins in 1925 into a Welsh (Cymraeg)-speaking family in ...

7 Academy Award Nominations

5. George C. Scott

Actor | Patton

George C. Scott was an immensely talented actor, a star of the big screen, stage and television. He was born on October 18, 1927 in Wise, Virginia, to Helena Agnes (Slemp) and George Dewey Scott. At the age of eight, his mother died, and his father, an executive at Buick, raised him. In 1945, he ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1971 4 Academy Award Nominations

6. Montgomery Clift

Actor | From Here to Eternity

Edward Montgomery Clift (nicknamed 'Monty' his entire life) was born on October 17, 1920 in Omaha, Nebraska, just after his twin sister Roberta (1920-2014) and eighteen months after his brother Brooks Clift. He was the son of Ethel "Sunny" Anderson (Fogg; 1888-1988) and William Brooks Clift (1886-...

4 Academy Award Nominations

7. 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. ...

4 Academy Award Nominations

Academy Honorary Award 1939 & 1983

8. Peter Ustinov

Actor | Spartacus

Peter Ustinov was a two-time Academy Award-winning film actor, director, writer, journalist and raconteur. He wrote and directed many acclaimed stage plays and led numerous international theatrical productions.

He was born Peter Alexander Freiherr von Ustinow on April 16, 1921 in Swiss Cottage, ...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1961 & 1965 3 Academy Award Nominations

9. Jason Robards

Actor | All the President's Men

Powerful and highly respected American actor Jason Nelson Robards, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Hope Maxine (Glanville) and stage and film star Jason Robards Sr. He had Swedish, English, Welsh, German, and Irish ancestry. Robards was raised mostly in Los Angeles. A star athlete at ...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1977 & 1978 3 Academy Award Nominations

10. Walter Matthau

Actor | The Odd Couple

Walter Matthau was best known for starring in many films which included Charade (1963), The Odd Couple (1968), Grumpy Old Men (1993), and Dennis the Menace (1993). He often worked with Jack Lemmon and the two were Hollywood's craziest stars.

He was born Walter Jake Matthow in New York City, New York...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1967 3 Academy Award Nominations

11. Martin Landau

Actor | Ed Wood

Oscar-winning character actor Martin Landau was born on June 20, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York. At age 17, he was hired by the New York Daily News to work in the promotions department before he became a staff cartoonist and illustrator. In his five years on the paper, he served as the illustrator for ...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1995 3 Academy Award Nominations

12. Christopher Plummer

Actor | Beginners

Legendary actor Christopher Plummer, perhaps Canada's greatest thespian, delivered outstanding performances as Sherlock Holmes in Murder by Decree (1979), the chilling villain in The Silent Partner (1978), the iconoclastic Mike Wallace in The Insider (1999), the empathetic psychiatrist in A ...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 2012 3 Academy Award Nominations

13. Marcello Mastroianni

Actor | La dolce vita

Marcello Mastroianni was born in Fontana Liri, Italy in 1924, but soon his family moved to Turin and then Rome. During WW2 he was sent to a German prison camp, but he managed to escape and hide in Venice. He debuted in films as an extra in Marionette (1939), then started working for the Italian ...

3 Academy Award Nominations

14. Sidney Poitier

Actor | In the Heat of the Night

A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas (although born, two months prematurely, in Miami during a visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of farmers Evelyn (nee Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, who also drove a cab. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1964 2 Academy Award Nominations

Academy Honorary Award 2002 AFI Life Achievement Award: 1992

15. Rod Steiger

Actor | In the Heat of the Night

Rodney Stephen Steiger was born in Westhampton, New York, to Augusta Amelia (Driver) and Frederick Jacob Steiger, both vaudevillians. He was of German and Austrian ancestry. After his parents' divorce, Steiger was raised by his mother in Newark, New Jersey. He dropped out of Westside High school at...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1968 2 Academy Award Nominations

16. Paul Scofield

Actor | A Man for All Seasons

Though his number of film roles amount to a bit over 30, Paul Scofield has cast a giant shadow in the world of stage and film acting. He grew up in West Sussex, the son of a schoolmaster. He attended the Varndean School for Boys in Brighton. The love of acting came early. While still high school ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1967 2 Academy Award Nominations

17. Peter Sellers

Actor | Being There

Often credited as the greatest comedian of all time, Peter Sellers was born Richard Henry Sellers to a well-off acting family in 1925 in Southsea, a suburb of Portsmouth. He was the son of Agnes Doreen "Peg" (Marks) and William "Bill" Sellers. His parents worked in an acting company run by his ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

18. 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 was 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 partial German ancestry.

...

2 Academy Award Nominations

19. 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" ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1957

20. Charlton Heston

Actor | Ben-Hur

With features chiseled in stone, and renowned for playing a long list of historical figures, particularly in Biblical epics, the tall, well built and ruggedly handsome Charlton Heston was one of Hollywood's greatest leading men and remained active in front of movie cameras for over sixty years. As ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1960

21. James Coburn

Actor | The Great Escape

Lanky, charismatic and versatile actor with an amazing grin that put everyone at ease, James Coburn studied acting at UCLA, and then moved to New York to study under noted acting coach Stella Adler. After being noticed in several stage productions, Coburn appeared in a handful of minor westerns ...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1999

22. Lee Marvin

Actor | The Dirty Dozen

Prematurely white-haired character star who began as a supporting player of generally vicious demeanor, then metamorphosed into a star of both action and drama projects, Lee Marvin was born in New York City, the son of Courtenay Washington (Davidge), a fashion writer, and Lamont Waltman Marvin, an ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1966

23. Cliff Robertson

Actor | Spider-Man

Clifford Parker Robertson III became a fairly successful leading man through most of his career without ever becoming a major star. Following strong stage and television experience, he made an interesting film debut in a supporting role in Picnic (1955). He then played Joan Crawford's deranged ...

Academy Award for Best Leading Actor: 1969

24. Tony Curtis

Actor | Some Like It Hot

Tony Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz, the eldest of three children of Helen (Klein) and Emanuel Schwartz, Jewish immigrants from Hungary. Curtis himself admits that while he had almost no formal education, he was a student of the "school of hard knocks" and learned from a young age that the only ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

25. Rock Hudson

Actor | Giant

Rock Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. in Winnetka, Illinois, to Katherine (Wood), a telephone operator, and Roy Harold Scherer, an auto mechanic. He was of German, Swiss-German, English, and Irish descent. His parents divorced when he was eight years old. He failed to obtain parts in school ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

26. Oskar Werner

Actor | Fahrenheit 451

Remote, somewhat morose and, as a result, intriguing, Viennese talent Oskar Werner was born in 1922, not far from the birthplace of "Waltz King" Johann Strauss, and christened Oskar Josef Bschließmayer. His parents divorced when he was fairly young.

While growing up, Oskar found performing in school...

1 Academy Award Nomination

27. John Cassavetes

Actor | Love Streams

John Cassavetes was a Greek-American actor, film director, and screenwriter. He is considered a pioneer of American independent film, as he often financed his own films.

Cassavetes was born in New York City in 1929 to Nicholas John Cassavetes (1893-1979) and his wife, Katherine Demetre (1906-1983). ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

28. 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 ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

29. Hal Holbrook

Actor | Into the Wild

Hal Holbrook was an Emmy- and Tony-Award winning actor who was one of the great craftsmen of stage and screen. He was best known for his performance as Mark Twain, for which he won a Tony and the first of his ten Emmy Award nominations. Aside from the stage, Holbrook made his reputation primarily ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

30. Jackie Cooper

Actor | Superman

Jackie Cooper was born John Cooper in Los Angeles, California, to Mabel Leonard, an Italian-American stage pianist, and John Cooper. Through his mother, he was the nephew of actress Julie Leonard, screenwriter Jack Leonard, and (by marriage) director Norman Taurog. Jackie served with the Navy in ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

31. James Whitmore

Actor | The Shawshank Redemption

Born on October 1, 1921, in White Plains, New York, gruff veteran character actor James Whitmore earned early and widespread respect with his award-winning dramatic capabilities on Broadway and in films. He would later conquer TV with the same trophy-winning results.

The son of James Allen Whitmore ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

32. Anthony Franciosa

Actor | A Hatful of Rain

Franciosa was born Anthony Papaleo on October 25, 1928, in New York City. The son of a construction worker and seamstress who divorced when he was a year old, he seldom saw his father after this and never man really got to know the other. After graduating high school, during a visit to a YMCA to ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

33. Laurence Harvey

Actor | The Manchurian Candidate

Laurence Harvey was a British movie star who helped usher in the 1960s with his indelible portrait of a ruthless social climber, and became one of the decade's cultural icons for his appearances in socially themed motion pictures.

Harvey was born Zvi Mosheh Skikne on October 1, 1928 in Joniskis, ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

34. Theodore Bikel

Actor | My Fair Lady

Theodore Bikel is one of the most versatile and respected actors and performers of his generation. A master of languages, dialects and accents, he has played every sort of film villain and semi-bad guy imaginable, and always adds depth, dimension and even sympathy to characters that would end up as...

1 Academy Award Nomination

35. Don Murray

Actor | Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

Don Murray is an American actor. He is best known for playing Governor Breck, the authoritarian ruler in the science fiction film "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" (1972).

Murray was born in 1929 to Dennis Aloisius Murray and his wife Ethel Cook. Dennis worked as a dance director and stage ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

36. Stuart Whitman

Actor | The Comancheros

American leading man Stuart Maxwell Whitman was known for his rugged roles. He was born in San Francisco, California, the elder of two sons of Cecilia (Gold) and Joseph Whitman, a realtor. His mother was a Russian Jewish immigrant, while his paternal grandparents were Polish Jews. His family moved ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

37. Ron Moody

Actor | Oliver!

Equipped with a crooked, leering smirk and devilish gleam in his eye, the homely, yet beautifully expressive mug of actor Ron Moody will be most assuredly remembered for one signature role, despite the fact that the talented comedian had much, much more to offer. Carol Channing may have had her ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

38. George Kennedy

Actor | Cool Hand Luke

George Harris Kennedy, Jr. was born on February 18, 1925 in New York City, to Helen A. (Kieselbach), a ballet dancer, and George Harris Kennedy, an orchestra leader and musician. Following high school graduation, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army in 1943 with the hope to become a fighter ...

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor: 1968

39. Peter Falk

Actor | Columbo

Peter Michael Falk was born on September 16, 1927, in New York City, New York. At the age of 3, his right eye was surgically removed due to cancer. He graduated from Ossining High School, where he was president of his class. His early career choices involved becoming a certified public accountant, ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

40. Jack Kruschen

Actor | The Apartment

Canadian-born Jack Kruschen entered films after years on the stage, and became a dependable character actor both in movies and on television. Often cast as ethnic comedy relief, Kruschen occasionally landed a role as a villain, but was more often the volatile, emotional Italian or Jewish neighbor ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

41. Telly Savalas

Actor | Kojak

Of Greek descent on both sides, the son of immigrants, Savalas was a soldier during World War II, although most of his enlistment records were destroyed in a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1973. He later studied psychology at Columbia University under the ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

42. Ian Bannen

Actor | Waking Ned

Scottish character actor and occasional leading man who enlivened scores of fine films in Britain and America. His father was a lawyer in a small town in Lanarkshire. Bannen served in the army and attended Ratcliffe College, Leicestershire. His first acting role came in a 1947 Dublin production of ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

43. Frank Finlay

Actor | The Pianist

One of Britain's finest products of the stage, film and TV, actor Frank Finlay, he with the dark and handsomely serious-to-mordant looks, was born on August 6, 1926, in Farnworth, England, the son of Josiah, a butcher, and Margaret Finlay. Of English, Irish and Scottish descent, Frank attended St. ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

44. Robert Shaw

Actor | A Man for All Seasons

Robert Archibald Shaw was born on August 9, 1927, in Westhoughton, Lancashire, England, the eldest son of Doreen Nora (Avery), a nurse, and Thomas Archibald Shaw, a doctor. His paternal grandfather was Scottish, from Argyll. Shaw's mother, who was born in Piggs Peak, Swaziland, met his father while...

1 Academy Award Nomination

45. Rupert Crosse

Actor | Shadows

Rupert Crosse was an African-American actor. In 1969, Crosse was the first African American to receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Crosse was born in New York City, but was raised on the island of Nevis by his grandparents. Nevis is one of the Leeward Islands of the...

1 Academy Award Nomination

46. Michael V. Gazzo

Actor | The Godfather: Part II

Michael Vincente Gazzo was born in Hillside, New Jersey, on April 5, 1923. He attended Erwin Piscator's Dramatic Workshop at the New School on the GI Bill after being demobilized from the US Army Air Force after World War II.

Gazzo's first major success was as a playwright. His play about drug ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

47. Richard Jaeckel

Actor | The Dirty Dozen

Stocky tough-guy character actor Richard Jaeckel was one of Hollywood's most prolific supporting stars. Born in Long Island, New York, on October 10, 1926, Jaeckel's family moved to Los Angeles when he was still in his teens. After graduation from Hollywood High School, Jaeckel was discovered by a ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

48. Vincent Gardenia

Actor | Moonstruck

He was honored twice off-Broadway with Distinguished Performance OBIE Award, first in 1960 for "Machinal" and again in 1969 for "Passing Through From Exotic Places." In 1972 he won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a play for "Prisoner on 2nd Avenue." In 1979 he was nominated for Best Actor ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

49. Jack Warden

Actor | 12 Angry Men

Jack Warden was born John Warden Lebzelter, Jr. on September 18, 1920 in Newark, New Jersey, to Laura M. (Costello) and John Warden Lebzelter. His father was of German and Irish descent, and his mother was of Irish ancestry. Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of seventeen, young Jack ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

50. Richard Farnsworth

Actor | The Straight Story

An American stuntman who, after more than 30 years in the business, moved into acting and became an acclaimed and respected character actor, Richard Farnsworth was a native of Los Angeles. He grew up around horses and as a teenager was offered an opportunity to ride in films. He appeared in ...

2 Academy Award Nominations

51. Dexter Gordon

Actor | Round Midnight

Dexter Gordon was considered one of the greatest jazz saxophonists ever, During his heyday, namely `45-`80, he played tenor sax with many of the all-time jazz greats, including Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Billy Eckstine and many others. In the 60s, he left his vices behind and created some ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

52. Charles Durning

Actor | Dog Day Afternoon

WWII veteran, dance instructor and diversely talented stage & screen actor were all inclusions on the resume of this perpetually busy US actor who didn't get in front of the cameras until around the time of his fortieth birthday. The stockily built Charles Durning was one of Hollywood's most ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

53. Denholm Elliott

Actor | A Room with a View

Much-loved character actor who specialised in playing slightly sleazy/slightly eccentric and often flawed upper middle class English gentlemen. His career spanned nearly 40 years, becoming a well-known face both in Britain and in the States.

1 Academy Award Nomination

54. William Hickey

Actor | National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Son of Edward & Nora Hickey. Best known as the ancient Mafia don in Prizzi's Honor (1985), Hickey had a long, distinguished career in film, television, and the stage. Began career as a child actor on the variety stage. Made Broadway debut as walk-on in George Bernard Shaw's "Saint Joan" (1951 ...

1 Academy Award Nomination

55. Nigel Hawthorne

Actor | The Madness of King George

Widely regarded as one of the greatest stage and screen actors both in his native UK and internationally, the unparalleled Nigel Hawthorne was born in Coventry, England on 5 April 1929, raised in South Africa and returned to the UK in the 1950s with his extensive work as a great gentleman of acting...

1 Academy Award Nomination

56. Mel Brooks

Actor | Spaceballs

Mel Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in WWII, and afterwards got a job playing the drums at nightclubs in the Catskills. Brooks eventually started a comedy act and also worked in radio and as Master Entertainer at Grossinger's Resort before going to ...

AFI Life Achievement Award: 2013

57. Hardy Krüger

Actor | Hatari!

At thirteen years, German-born and raised Hardy Kruger became a member of the "Hitler Jugend" (Hitler Youth), as did all 13-year-old boys in Germany then. The purpose of the organization was to prepare the boys for military service. At age 15, Hardy made his film debut in a German picture (Young ...

58. Warren Oates

Actor | The Wild Bunch

Warren Oates was an American character actor of the 1960s and 1970s and early 1980s whose distinctive style and intensity brought him to offbeat leading roles.

Oates was born in Depoy, a very small Kentucky town. He was the son of Sarah Alice (Mercer) and Bayless Earle Oates, a general store owner. ...

59. Yves Montand

Soundtrack | Le salaire de la peur

Yves Montand was born on October 13, 1921 in Monsummano Terme, Tuscany, Italy as Ivo Livi. He was married to Simone Signoret. He died on November 9, 1991 in Senlis, Oise, France.

60. Klaus Kinski

Actor | Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht

Klaus Kinski was born as Klaus Günter Karl Nakszynski in Zoppot, Free City of Danzig (now Sopot, Poland), to Susanne (Lutze), a nurse, and Bruno Nakszynski, a pharmacist. He grew up in Berlin, was drafted into the German army in 1944 and captured by British forces in Holland. After the war he began...

61. Harry Dean Stanton

Actor | Alien

Stanton was born in West Irvine, Kentucky, to Ersel (Moberly), a cook, and Sheridan Harry Stanton, a barber and tobacco farmer. He lived in Lexington, Kentucky and graduated from Lafayette Senior High School with the class of 1944. Drafted into the Navy, he served as a cook in the U.S. Navy during ...

62. Charles Bronson

Actor | C'era una volta il West

The archetypal screen tough guy with weatherbeaten features--one film critic described his rugged looks as "a Clark Gable who had been left out in the sun too long"--Charles Bronson was born Charles Buchinsky, one of 15 children of struggling parents in Pennsylvania. His mother, Mary (Valinsky), ...

63. Christopher Lee

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was perhaps the only actor of his generation to have starred in so many films and cult saga. Although most notable for personifying bloodsucking vampire, Dracula, on screen, he portrayed other varied characters on screen, most of which were villains, whether it ...

64. Lee Van Cleef

Actor | Escape from New York

One of the great movie villains, Clarence Leroy Van Cleef, Jr. was born in Somerville, New Jersey, to Marion Lavinia (Van Fleet) and Clarence LeRoy Van Cleef, Sr. His parents were both of Dutch ancestry. Van Cleef started out as an accountant. He served in the U.S. Navy aboard minesweepers and sub ...



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