Film Stars on Stage

by Matriplex | created - 25 Oct 2017 | updated - 01 Nov 2017 | Public

I've been fortunate to see a number of great film actors in some remarkable performances on stage. Here's a sampling with the shows I was lucky enough to see them in.

1. Henry Fonda

Actor | 12 Angry Men

Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, Henry Fonda started his acting debut with the Omaha Community Playhouse, a local amateur theater troupe directed by Dorothy Brando. He moved to the Cape Cod University Players and later Broadway, New York to expand his theatrical career from 1926 to 1934. His first ...

"Clarence Darrow", a one-man tour de force on the life of the legendary attorney 1975

2. Sally Field

Actress | Forrest Gump

Sally Margaret Field was born in 1946 in Pasadena, California, to actress Margaret Field (née Morlan) and salesman Richard Dryden Field. Her parents divorced in 1950 and her mother then married stuntman Jock Mahoney, and they had a daughter, Princess O'Mahoney. She also has a brother, Richard Field...

As Amanda Wingfield in a high-concept production of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" 2017

3. 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 ...

As Iago to James Earl Jones' "Othello" 1982

4. Jessica Tandy

Actress | Driving Miss Daisy

A beloved, twinkly blue-eyed doyenne of stage and screen, actress Jessica Tandy's career spanned nearly six and a half decades. In that span of time, she enjoyed an amazing film renaissance at age 80, something unheard of in a town that worships youth and nubile beauty. She was born Jessie Alice ...

In D.L. Coburn's "The Gin Game" opposite E.G. Marshall 1970's

5. 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 ...

As Scottie Templeton in "Tribute", a play unworthy of Lemmon's extraordinary talents 1980

6. Bette Midler

Soundtrack | The First Wives Club

Multi Grammy Award-winning singer/comedienne/author Bette Midler has also proven herself to be a very capable actress in a string of both dramatic and comedic roles. Midler was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 1, 1945. She is the daughter of Ruth (Schindel), a seamstress, and Fred Midler, a ...

As Dolly Levi in "Hello, Dolly!" 2017

7. Anthony Perkins

Actor | Psycho

Anthony Perkins was born April 4, 1932 in New York City to Janet Esselstyn (Rane) and Osgood Perkins, an actor of both stage and film. His paternal great-grandfather was noted engraver Andrew Varick Stout Anthony.

Perkins attended the Brooks School, the Browne & Nichols School, Columbia University ...

As Alan Dysart in Peter Shaffer's "Equus" 1975

8. Geraldine Page

Actress | Sweet Bird of Youth

Considered by many to be one of the greatest American actresses of all time, Geraldine Page was a master craftswoman who seemed to bring out the most inner detail of the character she was playing. Her dedication to her craft has earned her the respect of many of today's great actors including Meryl...

As Mother Miriam Ruth in "Agnes of God" 1982

9. 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 ...

As Garry Essendine in "Present Laughter" 1982

10. Natalie Portman

Actress | Black Swan

Natalie Portman is the first person born in the 1980s to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (for Black Swan (2010)).

Natalie was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, a Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an American-born...

As Anne Frank in "The Diary of Anne Frank" 1998

11. Alec Guinness

Actor | Star Wars

Alec Guinness was an English actor. He is known for his six collaborations with David Lean: Herbert Pocket in Great Expectations (1946), Fagin in Oliver Twist (1948), Col. Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor), Prince Faisal in Lawrence...

"Yahoo", based on the writings of Jonathan Swift 1977

12. Angela Lansbury

Actress | The Manchurian Candidate

In 1925, Angela Lansbury was born in Regent's Park, one of the Royal Parks of London. The park was developed by John Nash (1752-1835), James Burton (1761-1837), and Decimus Burton (1800-1881), with construction starting c. 1818. It was first opened to the general public in 1835. It was named after ...

As Mrs. Lovett in the original production of "Sweeney Todd" 1979

13. Brian Cox

Actor | X2

Brian Cox is an Emmy Award-winning Scottish actor. He was born on June 1, 1946 in Dundee, Scotland, to Mary Ann Guillerline Cox, maiden surname McCann, a spinner, and Charles McArdle Campbell Cox, a shopkeeper and butcher. His father was of Irish ancestry and his mother was of Irish and Scottish ...

As Brutus in "Julius Caesar" at the National Theatre in London 1977

14. Frances Sternhagen

Actress | Misery

Raised in Washington, D.C., the great-granddaughter (on her father's side) of German immigrants, Frances Hussey Sternhagen taught acting, singing and dancing to schoolchildren before first performing herself with the Arena Stage Group.

Since then, she has been seen in numerous Broadway and ...

As Dora Strang in "Equus", a splendid performance 1975

15. James Earl Jones

Actor | Rogue One

Widely regarded as the one of greatest stage and screen actors both in his native USA and internationally, James Earl Jones was born on January 17, 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi. At an early age, he started to take dramatic lessons to calm himself down. It appeared to work as he has since starred ...

In the title role of "Othello" 1982

16. Dianne Wiest

Actress | Hannah and Her Sisters

One of three children (she has two brothers, Greg and Don), Dianne Wiest was born in Kansas City, Missouri, USA on 28 March 1946. Her original ambition was to be a ballerina, but she was bitten by acting bug after some stage work, most notably playing Desdemona to James Earl Jones' Othello on ...

Desdemona to James Earl Jones' "Othello" 1982

17. Pat Hingle

Actor | The Quick and the Dead

Pat Hingle (real name: Martin Patterson Hingle) was born in Miami, Florida, the son of a building contractor. His parents divorced when Hingle was still in his infancy (he never knew his father) and his mother supported the family by teaching school in Denver. She then began to travel (with her son...

As the Coach in "That Championship Season" 1974

18. Glenda Jackson

Actress | Women in Love

Few in modern British history have come as far or achieved as much from humble beginnings as Glenda Jackson has. From acclaimed actress to respected MP (Member of Parliament), she is known for her high intelligence and meticulous approach to her work. She was born to a working-class household in ...

As Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth" opposite Christopher Plummer 1990's

19. John Travolta

Actor | Pulp Fiction

John Joseph Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey, one of six children of Helen Travolta (née Helen Cecilia Burke) and Salvatore/Samuel J. Travolta. His father was of Italian descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. His father owned a tire repair shop called Travolta Tires in Hillsdale, ...

As Doody in the touring company of "Grease" in a production that also featured Marilu Henner and Jeff Conway 1972-ish

20. Jill Clayburgh

Actress | Bridesmaids

It came as no surprise to film aficionados when, in 1999, Entertainment Weekly named Jill Clayburgh on its list of Hollywood's 25 Greatest Actresses. For decades, she delivered stellar performances in a wide variety of roles.

Jill Clayburgh was born in 1944 in New York City, into a wealthy family, ...

As Catherine in "Pippin" 1973

21. John Malkovich

Actor | In the Line of Fire

John Gavin Malkovich was born in Christopher, Illinois, to Joe Anne (Choisser), who owned a local newspaper, and Daniel Leon Malkovich, a state conservation director. His paternal grandparents were Croatian. In 1976, Malkovich joined Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, newly founded by his friend Gary ...

As Captain Bluntschli in "Arms and the Man" 1985

22. Christine Lahti

Actress | Chicago Hope

Christine Lahti was born April 4, 1950 in Birmingham, Michigan, to Elizabeth Margaret (Tabar), a painter and nurse, and Paul Theodore Lahti, a surgeon. She is of half Finnish and half Austro-Hungarian descent. She studied fine arts at Florida State University and received a bachelors degree in ...

As Joanna Lyppiatt in "Present Laughter" with George C. Scott 1982

23. Daniel Radcliffe

Actor | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Daniel Jacob Radcliffe was born on July 23, 1989 in Fulham, London, England, to casting agent Marcia Gresham (née Jacobson) and literary agent Alan Radcliffe. His father is from a Northern Irish Protestant background, while his mother was born in South Africa, to a Jewish family (from Lithuania, ...

As Billy in "The Cripple of Inishmaan" 2014

24. Amy Irving

Actress | Traffic

Naturally brunette/blue-eyed beauty Amy Davis Irving was born in Palo Alto, California. She is the youngest of three children, and the daughter of influential theatrical/television director and producer Jules Irving, and actress Priscilla Pointer. Her father was of Russian Jewish descent, and her ...

As Constanze in "Amadeus" 1981

25. Brian Dennehy

Actor | First Blood

Imposing, barrel-chested and often silver-haired Brian Dennehy was a prolific US actor, well respected on both screen and stage over many decades. He was born in July 1938 in Bridgeport, CT, and attended Columbia University in New York City on a football scholarship. Brian majored in history, ...

As Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman" 1999

26. Teresa Wright

Actress | Shadow of a Doubt

A natural and lovely talent who was discovered for films by Samuel Goldwyn, the always likable Teresa Wright distinguished herself early on in high-caliber, Oscar-worthy form -- the only performer ever to be nominated for Oscars for her first three films. Always true to herself, she was able to ...

As Cora Swanson in "Mornings at Seven" 1980

27. Danny Glover

Actor | Lethal Weapon

Actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 35 years.

Glover was born in San Francisco, California, to Carrie (Hunley) and James Glover, postal workers who were also active in civil rights. Glover trained at the Black ...

As Willie in "MASTER HAROLD"…and the boys" 1983

28. Maureen O'Sullivan

Actress | The Thin Man

Of Irish, English, and Scottish descent, Maureen Paula O'Sullivan was born on May 17, 1911 in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland. Her father was Charles Joseph O'Sullivan, an officer in the Connaught Rangers, and his wife, the former Mary Fraser (or Frazer). She was educated at Catholic schools in ...

As Esther Crampton in "Mornings at Seven" 1980

29. Jake Gyllenhaal

Actor | Nightcrawler

Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal was born in Los Angeles, California, to producer/screenwriter Naomi Foner (née Achs) and director Stephen Gyllenhaal. He is the brother of actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, who played his sister in Donnie Darko (2001). His godmother is actress Jamie Lee Curtis. His mother is from...

As George Seurat in "Sunday in the Park with George" 2017

30. Peggy Ashcroft

Actress | A Passage to India

Academy Award-winning, legendary English actress - who maintained her status in the British acting elite for decades. Made a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1956. Almost always on stage, she appeared rarely in film, her first being The Wandering Jew (1933). On stage she was cast...

As Lidya Vasilyevna in "Old World" in London 1977

31. Chris Cooper

Actor | August: Osage County

Christopher Walton Cooper was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Mary Ann (Walton), a homemaker, and Charles Sherwood Cooper, a cattleman and internist who served as a doctor in the US Air Force. His parents were from Texas, where Cooper was raised.

Educated at the University of Missouri school of ...

As Torvald in "A Doll's House, Part 2" 2017

32. Laurie Metcalf

Actress | Lady Bird

Laurie Metcalf was born June 16, 1955 in Carbondale, Illinois, the oldest of three children of Libby (Mars), a librarian, and James Metcalf, a budget director. She was raised in Edwardsville, Illinois. Laurie attended Illinois State University, where she obtained her bachelor of arts in theater in ...

As Nora in "A Doll's House, Part 2" 2017

33. John Gielgud

Actor | Arthur

Born in London, England, John Gielgud trained at Lady Benson's Acting School and RADA, London. Best known for his Shakespearean roles in the theater, he first played Hamlet at the age of 26. He worked under the tutelage of Lilian Bayliss with friend and fellow performer Laurence Olivier and other ...

As Caesar in "Julius Caesar", National Theatre in London 1977

34. Saoirse Ronan

Actress | Hanna

Saoirse Una Ronan was born in The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States, to Irish parents, Monica Ronan (née Brennan) and Paul Ronan, an actor. When Saoirse was three, the family moved back to Dublin, Ireland. Saoirse grew up in Dublin and briefly in Co. Carlow before moving back to Dublin ...

As Abigail Williams in "The Crucible" 2016

35. Kevin Kline

Actor | Wild Wild West

Kevin Kline was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Margaret and Robert Joseph Kline, who owned several stores. His father was of German Jewish descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. After attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Kline studied at the Juilliard School in New York. In 1972, ...

As Bruce Grant in "On the Twentieth Century" 1978

36. Elizabeth Wilson

Actress | The Graduate

Elizabeth Wilson was born April 4, 1921, in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Marie Ethel and Dunning Wilson. She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, and studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse. Elizabeth's debut film appearance was an uncredited role in ...

As Aaronetta Gibbs in "Mornings at Seven" 1980



Recently Viewed