Forgotten Movie Stars of the Past

Forgotten Movie Stars of the PastGuest blogger Gary Koca writes:

I am always amazed by how little that Americans under 40 know about history, and this certainly extends to the history of American movies. Sure, everyone knows who John Wayne, James Stewart, Bette Davis, and Katharine Hepburn are, but how many are familiar with Robert Taylor, Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, or even Barbara Stanwyck?

For example, on the day after Glenn Ford died in 2006, I was listening to the local sports radio talk show in Chicago. The host – an old movie fan – digressed from talking about the Cubs to mentioning what a great western star Ford was. He invited callers to call in and give their impressions about Ford. Everyone over 50 called in to say how much they enjoyed him in movies like 3:10 to Yuma, Jubal, Blackboard Jungle, Experiment in Terror, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Man from the Alamo, and other hits. On the other hand, everyone 40 and under called in and said, “Who the Hell is Glenn Ford?”

This lack of knowledge of old movie actors beyond the top tier of stars led me to think that there was a book in the making here. So, six years later, I published a book called Forgotten Movie Stars of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s.It covers the careers of 25 of these stars who were pretty big stars in their era, but who are unknown by virtually everyone today under the age of 45. These were 25 leading men and women who – and here’s the catch – were also among my favorites. 

They include the following: 

Robert Taylor

Louis Hayward

Dana Andrews

Gene Tierney

Susan Hayward

Teresa Wright

Victor Mature

Paulette Goddard

Randolph Scott

Glenn Ford Barbara Stanwyck  Ray Milland

Joseph Cotten

John Garfield Myrna Loy
William Powell

Kathryn Grayson

Howard Keel

Tyrone Power Ronald Colman Jean Simmons 
Jean Authur Gail Russell

Lizabeth Scott

Marlene Dietrich

   

 

Again, in addition to the four mentioned above, I am excluding people like Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, James Cagney, Henry Fonda, Joan Crawford, and a few others who I still think are pretty well remembered today. But it’s that second tier of stars – the ones in my book – that I have focused on.

Movie Stars of the PastAs a clincher, I asked my older daughter, a huge movie fan who has seen all of the top 100 films on the AFI list of best American films, if she knew anything about Tyrone Power. She said, “The name sounds familiar.” These “forgotten stars” are people who definitely need to be remembered. Hopefully, my book will be one method of remembering them.

You can find out more about film buff (and MoveFanFare reader) Gary Koca’s book Forgotten Movie Stars of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s here. Which big-screen idols of days gone by do you think have been overlooked by today’s audiences?  Let us know in the comments section!

  • RVoss

    Second tier? Forgotten? Not in this lifetime. Who could forget Debra Paget (my first crush), Gloria Grahame, Teresa Wright, Claire Trevor, Maureen O’Sullivan, Lee Remick, Anne Baxter, Merle Oberon? You want tough guys, try Sterling Hayden, Gilbert Roland, Dan Duryea, George Raft. Smooth you say, include James Mason, George Sanders, Sydney Greenstreet or Charles Laughton.

    • Gord Jackson

      Love Claire Trevor and Lee Remick with Francis L. Sullivan being another smoothie, a bit of a poor man’s Sydney Greenstreet as it were.

      • wade

        love Claire Trevor and what about fantastic Claudette Colbert, the beautiful Lana Turner and Constance Bennett

        • Gord Jackson

          Especially Lana Turner. Indeed, I think she improved remarkably in the latter fifties/early sixties.

          • billyb34usa

            Lana’s Peyton Place and Imitation of Life were great comeback movies. Her Postman Always Rings Twice with John Garfield is a classic.

          • Gord Jackson

            My problem with POSTMAN is in the motivation for the bumping off of Cecil Kellaway. I can understand it in the remake as John Colicos plays Jessica Lange’s husband as a rather miserable, unkempt individual who seemingly drinks too much. In the Turner/Garfield, he’s such a nice old guy. Indeed, I think the whole picture (thanks to the Hays office) is far too ‘nice’ given the subject matter with which it is dealing.

          • wade

            yes but look so great especially in the late forties in The Three Musketeers and Green Dolphin Street

    • billyb34usa

      I was about to write and mention Charles Laughton. There were so many wonderful performances in the 30s, 40s and 50s. I thought Veronica Lake was so gorgeous. They found her working in a drug store in New York in the early 60s and were going to bring her back to CA but she died shortly after being found. Dorothy Maguire was another favorite of mine. June Allyson was so cute and perky. Randolph Scott was my favorite westerner. Remember Broderick Crawford?

  • SML

    Gary, You are correct in your comments. I teach high school and to my “kids” an “old movie” is something from the mid-’90s, such as Mrs. Doubtfire. However, one major perk as a teacher is we can introduce knowledge in many forms–and in Spanish class, we have watched such films as Treasure of Sierra Madre. Some of my kids have heard of Casablanca (I know, I know, pathetic!), so I can segue into the fact that Fred C. Dobbs was also Rick Blaine, etc. They now know Laurel & Hardy…and the difference between L&H and Abbott & Costello! It is a small step, yes, but a step. First I must overcome their natural aversion to ANYTHING black & white…I teach them how music is not just a background, but can be an integral part of the film…Imagine Psycho without that unsettling score–it would not be the same film. Anyway, some of us in the trenches are doing our best to get these films out there to young people. Thanks for your insightful, accurate post.

  • Wayne P.

    Good piece and comments so far! Even back in the late 80′s my ex-wife teacher would bring home stories that to her students Bette Davis was a song (Bette Davis Eyes;) and not a star from the golden age of the motion picture studios. Back in their day, stars like Tyrone Power and the famous trio of Barrymores (Lionel, Ethel, and John) were carrying on fine acting traditions handed down from the highest levels of the stage during the 19th century…or, in TP’s case, from the 18th century as he was fourth generation acting talent. They truly dont make ‘em like they used to; and, in more ways than one since your list above, whch could be subjectively added to as well, is more than well known to those of us who appreciate what they brought to the sliver screen!

  • RVoss

    Francis L. Sullivan—thanks for that. Never knew his name but was impossible not to watch when on-screen.

  • Donna

    Great idea…………………..anything on Gail Russell is brilliant.

  • frankiedc

    the so called stars of today are big nothings. When I look at the tabloids, I see nobody recognizable. And when did trash like the Kardashian girls become “stars”? I am appalled by the lack of knowledge of good films and legendary performers held by most people today. I have an intelligent friend who just turned fifty. He refuses to watch black and white films and has no idea of who Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Orson Welles or John Houston are. While I look forward to the schedule of TCM, he is addicted to the Sci Fy channel. I tried to introduce Young Frankenstein to my thirty five year old niece and her husband and they were bored to death. They say that with the deaths of Paul Newman and ELizabeth Taylor, the old star system died as well. I hate to admit it, but fear it is true.

    • Carolyn Ferrante

      I think what you say is right, more so for Elizabeth Taylor. In my opinion, Johnny Depp is the only living celebrity who has the quality of the “old school” of actors. (keep in mind that Albert Finney is still with us, thank goodness!)

  • Juanita Curtis

    Tyrone Power is my favourite star of the golden years of Hollywood and he was a huge star in the late 30′s and 40′s so its hard to believe he’s largely forgotten today. 1 have a copy of 50 of the most unforgettable actors of the studio era and he wasn’t included but Frank Sinatra was – go figure!!!!

  • RON

    THE TABLE OF CONTENTS HAS NO “GAIL USSELL” LISTED. GUESS I WON’T BUY THE BOOK AFTER ALL.

    • Gary Koca

      Gail Russell IS in the book.

  • Barbara Moss

    As an avid classic Movie nut, TCM is my main station. I was fortunate enough to attend the first TCM film festival in Hollywood a few years ago, and the first TCM cruise. You get to see tons of films on the big screen, as well as interviews with some of the important hollywood stars of the past who are still kicking. I was fortunate to hear Earnest Borgnine and Tony Curtis talk about life on the big screen and the history behind the films they were in before they passed away.

    But, at 9:00 a.m. one morning, while on the cruise, I slipped into one of the big screen theaters on the ship, and had the opportunity of seeing Harold Lloyd in “Speedy”. At one time Harold Lloyd was more popular than Chaplin, and after seeing this movie on the big screen, I understood why. The guy was amazing…Another was Buster Keaton, a genius. Some actors that come to mind are Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole, Orson Welles, James Cagney, Loretta Young, Irene Dunn, Ann Blythe, George Brent, Paul Muni, Edward G. Robinson and the great Rosalyn Russell, John Garfield, Tallulah Bankhead, (Lifeboat comes to mind) Jean Harlow, Lon Chaney, Dan Duryea. How many people under the age of 40 know the name Garbo? Louse Reiner? Henry Fonda, Olivia de Haviland. Or even heard of the book or movie, “The Good Earth”?

    I met a guy the other day (age 35) He is a scientist, well educated, and referenced Bogart. He never heard of him. So, I thought I would help him, so I said….”you know…Casablanca”, and he said “Oh yes, the cafe in Harvard Square”. OY Vey……I walked away, shaking my head…..

    There are so many many great actors of the past that worked like dogs to create a moment in time. Not only do young people under the age of 40 not know these great actors, they never heard of Thomas Jefferson. John Adams, or Teddy Roosevelt… History, is history. But for me, give me a “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, an “I Remember Mama”, and an “Auntie Mame” to get me through the day:

  • Carolyn Ferrante

    Tyrone Power forgotten? Oh, no! I recently sent away for a “Matinee Idol Collection” of his released by Cinema Classics Collection. I don’t think Marlene Dietrich is a forgotten celebrity. The film that was so popular in the 1950s and shown in elementary schools is “Mickey” starring Lois Butler, Bill Goodwyn, and Mryna Loy. They’ve buried this classic!

  • Gary Koca

    Marlene Dietrich is probably the closest of my 25 to not being forgotten. I would have thought that everyone has heard of Barbara Stanwyck, but I found that was not the case at all.

  • Cara

    Among those bygone actors who younger people wouldn’t recognize are James Mason, Greer Garson, Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Stewart Granger, Fredric March, Melvyn Douglas, Joan Fontaine and her sister Olivia De havilland. If you asked a 30 yr old who Olivia De havilland was, the only way that person would know her would be if he or she had seen GWTW. And you would have to explain that she was Ashley’s wife Melanie. An actor from a bygone era has to have starred in an iconic movie, and I mean a really iconic movie like Casablanca or Singing in the Rain for anyone under 40 to know who he or she was.

    Some of these actors carved out 50 yearlong careers with numerous excellent performances in excellent films. Yet, they aren’t remembered. Films are THE 20th Century art form, and ignorance of bygone movies and actors makes many young people culturally illiterate. I’m beginning to believe that a course in the history of films needs to added as a high school course, just as American and English literature are core courses.

    • apsutter

      When I was in high school(about 10 years ago) we had an absolutely wonderful history teacher who offered an elective that was all about learning history through great films. We watched Life is Beautiful. All Quiet on the Western Front, Bonnie and Clyde and many others. I also had the good fortune to take a music class where the teacher was big on musicals so we watched West Side Story, 42nd Street, and A Chorus Line. I do agree that there should be a class teaching it in the same way that they should offer life skills courses that teach kids how to get a loan, financial aid for college etc.

  • Stephen Dale

    As a “baby boomer”, I recognized almost all the names mentioned ( so far) except for Frances Sullivan. I can’t put a face to that name. Always liked Myrna Loy and Claire Trevor. However, the age of TALENT rather than gossip-column bait has long passed. Most of the celebs of today do not have the talent or simply haven’t worked at their craft long enough to be any good. Susan Sarendon and a few others could be stars in any age but, the vast majority of this eras so called stars get by on beauty and sex appeal and little else.

  • Andy

    I’m glad I grew up in a time that many great older movies were a part of the regular TV fare. In the 60s in New York we had The Million Dollar Movie and other programs on channels 11,9 &5 that featured great films ( both A,B &C tier) that today’s generation are missing out on.

  • Riccardo Cesare

    I know some 30 or younger that we will not watch any movie that was filmed in black and white. Talking about excluding classics.

  • Duke Togo

    A casual review of your list shows just two who were stars in the silents, Ronald Coleman and William Powell. That’s too bad, because actors such as Douglas Fairbanks, William S Hart, and even Harold Lloyd and actresses such as Lilian Gish, Gloria Swanson and Clara Bow are very influential on later screen actors. When you look at the screen today, you will today’s actors acting in a way the above actors pioneered.

  • Kiri

    The American star system may have died for the moment – but I can think of far more than a handful of decent british actors – Helen Mirren, Dame Judi Dench, just to name 2 of the top of my head. And if the Brits can do it, then the Yanks can too eventually. There is never a need for despair. (I’m an Aussie just in her 50′s and all these names are familiar to me and much loved).

  • Sjk1969

    You mention Randolph Scott, but not Joel McCray. They teamed up IATA the end of their careers for one of the greatest westerns (at least in my opinion ) of all time . The movie was Ride the high country. It was more than a western, it was a great character study.

  • Johnny Sherman

    I will watch any film starring William Powell or Claudette Colbert. The Treasure of Lost Canyon and Imitation of Life are hidden classics. My two sons are slowly working at appreciating older films. However, they preferred Abbot and Costello in Jack and the Beanstalk over Laurel and Hardy in Way Out West. The outrage of it all!!

  • Debbie

    They definitely don’t make stars like they used to. What about Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Dwight Frye, Stepin’ Fetchit, Willie Best? You can’t forget these people even if you tried. And then there are stars like Marjorie Main, Thelma Ritter, that steal the show from so many superstars of that era.

    • ic

      vincent price, peter cushing, ray milland, mary pickford, bo jangles, sofia loren, burgess meredith, burt lancaster ,robert mitchum, lana turner, robert taylor and the zillion character actors that have graced our screens. 3 stooges

  • Lisanne

    I was a kid of the 1970′s in San Jose, CA, and my parents used to take my sisters and I to a theatre in Los Gatos on Sat. nights called the Vitaphone Theatre. It was owned by a couple who worked in the film industry during the 20′s and 30′s. They played all films from those eras. I didn’t like all of them, but most of them entranced me. I grew up sneaking downstairs in the wee hours of the morning to watch these films when TV aired them.
    In the 1990′s, The Stanford Theatre opened in Palo Alto, CA. Again, my family would attend these showings of golden age films, only this time we were mostly meeting there instead of going together. There were many young folks in the audience who loved the films as much as we did.
    I think if more young folks have the opportunity to see these films on the big screen, they would
    like them as well. TV and YouTube are OK for repeat viewing, but for first timers, nothing can capture the elegance of this era like a theatre screen and sound system.
    Oh, and the list of forgotten actors- I don’t agree with any of them.

  • Trystan

    Where is Rosalind Russell ? Why leave her out ?

  • david b cordick

    I loved the story and all the comments following. I am over 70 so I remember all these stars, too bad that most of the stars of the serials never made it big. we used to go to the boys club on Wednesday nights and for a nickel watch a movie and and episode of a serial. good times. but of all the stars listed here, no one mentioned one of my favorites, peter lorre, he was great in all of his roles. its too bad that most of the young wont watch black and white, tcm is my favorite station and I buy a lot of the old movies. but they are just as happy as hell watching trash, like Jason and Freddie, chucky and all the other slasher movies. anything else they watch has to have great special effects that they take for granted or things being blown up and lots of killing. do you remember in the old movies when someone got shot or stabbed, there might be a spot of blood. but most of the time there were no signs of blood. its too bad they are missing out on such great films, just because they are black and white. none of my kids or grand or great grandkids will watch anything black and white.

    • Geoff Feller

      I love Peter Lorre, too! I even set up a fan page in his honor on Facebook.

    • apsutter

      Peter Lorre was fantastic!!! I just checked out his IMDB page and I’ve seen quite a few of his films but I had no idea that his career was so substantial. I remember that he did a couple episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and I always thought it was such a shame that he never got to be in, my favorite, Twilight Zone.

  • Geoff Feller

    When I was growing up in the 70s, old movies were still routinely shown on ordinary broadcast TV stations. Like reruns of television shows from the 50s, I think one reason this was commonplace is that not everyone had a color TV set back then. There wasn’t the resistance to anything in B&W like we often see among younger people today. So, at an early age, I was exposed to film actors from what was already a bygone age while I was in grade school. I continued the habit of watching movies from a time when everyone wore hats and smoked cigarettes, seeing them in revival theaters, on home video, cable channels, and now even on my laptop. So I am well-versed in the names you mentioned; I know of some even more obscure actors and have read about some stars whose movies I’ve never seen (especially if we take this back to the silent film era). I now write murder mysteries; the last name of my police detective heroine is derived from another forgotten actress, Ann Dvorak, who appeared in the 1932 “Scarface” and “Three On a Match”.

  • Mario Brescio

    I had a picture on my desk of an older Bette Davis sitting and holding a pillow that read, “Old Age Ain’t No Place for Sissies.” While changing desks one day I asked a fellow co-worker to please pass me the picture of Bette Davis. After several moments of looking over the desk I asked him what was wrong. He said all he sees is the picture of my Grandmother. It seems that everyone thought the picture on my desk was of my Grandmother. When I explained it was Bette
    Davis, my young co-workers looked at me as if I had two heads. I guess I’m getting old.

    • ntnon

      I, too, sadly fear that some of the REMEMBERED names above are overly optimistic among younger people. I can think of a couple, for instance, who – despite the publicity and near-constant comparisons – managed to remain ignorant that the Coean’s “True Grit”, was a remake, and appeared not to have even heard of John Wayne…

    • Christine Harrison

      Quite shocking no-one recognised Bette Davis. I must admit, I’d have been inclined to pretend she was my Grandmother and that I’d inherited her talent!

  • williamsommerwerck

    I was born in 1947, and the only person on that list I’m not sure of is Louis Hayward.
    Forgotten, my eye!

    • rob

      See the film “Ladies in Retirement” with Ida Lupino (his wife) for the best of Louis Hayward.

  • roger lynn

    Glenn Ford was my dad’s favorite,,why he never received an Honorary Oscar is a disgrace,,my fave of his films was POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES,,Barbara Stanwyck was my fave actress,,she is most remembered by younger people for he t v work in The Big Valley,,,and not of her great 5 decade film career where she earned 4 Oscar Nominations,,and her and Cary Grant go down as the greatest film stars never to of won an Oscar

  • Johnny V

    To answer your question: Young people don’t give a damn about anything that came before. It just ain’t cool.
    My son is only 32 and he very much likes a lot of the old movies I have in my collection. No CGI special effects, movies shot in B&W (he thinks it adds to the atmosphere of the story) and he thinks some of the actresses from the day were hotter than a thin-skinned skillet!!!
    So, I guess there’s hope for some.

    • apsutter

      To be fair, when you’re growing up 30 or 40 years after the fact it’s quite intimidating wading into the Hollywood vault. There are just SO MANY movies that were made during the Golden Age and it can be hard to know where to start and what you’ll like. Plus, whenever I introduce someone into the world of old movies I always try and scour for a movie that they’ll love because I don’t want to turn them off of these gems. But I do think that there is a significant portion of the youth population that simply doesn’t care about what came before because they think what is happening during their time is the pinnacle of culture(Ha!) Then again, these are typically the same lame brains who scorn reading and say “Why would you read when the movies are better?” lol

      • Johnny V

        LOL! So true!

  • Charles Lee

    The king of the sci-fi B movies, John Agar.

  • gingi

    john Garfield. he was a great actor, who died to young

  • apsutter

    I can’t believe that people have forgotten Gene Tierney! The woman was freaking gorgeous and commanded the screen. I discovered her during my college years when I first became very interested in old movies and saw “Leave Her to Heaven.” That movie blew me away and I was shocked that no one is talking about it! The way that (Spoilers? lol) she let her husband’s son drown to get him out of the way was incredible. Especially how the camera just stayed on her face with her eyes hidden behind those white sunglasses…talk about a femme fatale.

    I’m quite young and have always been a tv and movie buff and it always bums me out that so few people watch and cherish these movies. This is one of the reasons that I love Netflix so much because their Instant Play has always contained such a wealth of forgotten movies. And people have the nerve to complain that there is nothing good on Netflix!

    • Virginia

      I am NOT “quite young” , and “Leave Her to Heaven” is one of my favorite films as well. I agree that Gene Tierney is one of most beautiful and haunting stars of that era. She exuded “class”. She was also very good when she played someone with no money, as in “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”, or someone who was doing quite well as in “Laura”.

  • Jo

    Anyone who could forget any of those names mentioned were not movie fans. The younger generation, unless they watch Turner Classic Movies on cable or have any interest in the older stars are not going to know who they are and are missing actors who were actors in those days not the kind of actors of today who are few and far between being good actors and can do any kind of role. The closest thing to the old school actor of yesterday that we have today is Tom Hanks. My biggest pleasure is watching movies from the 30′s through 70′s where acting was great, stories were good and the violence and language was much more subdued. This generation has missed out on so much, so I suggest get the DVD’s which are available from those days past and watch what good actors and movies were.

  • paul c.

    As someone who teaches young people at the collegiate level, I will say that they do recall some of these actors if you mention some of their movies. If you say Jean Arthur was Senator Smith’s secretary In “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” they will often know who you mean. I am surprised that Irene Dunne is not on your list. A true A-list star, but largely unknown to many under 40.

  • fredsw

    When my daughter was old enough to understand, I “forced” her to watch older movies. Today she says that her friends are totally amazed at her knowledge of film. I am proud of that accomplishment.

  • Tom

    I wouldn’t have guess that some of those names are forgotten – Barbara Stanwyck? Marlene Dietrich? Even Gene Tierney? Gosh, I must be old, because I recall almost all these folk.

  • P.g. Hudsonjr

    WHAT THE HECK ABOUT GREGORY PECK? HOW DARE THEY!

    • P.g. Hudsonjr

      And STUART GRANGER, ONE OF MY FAVORITE FROM ACROSS THE ATLANTIC.

  • Daveroo

    my nephews wife asked me once what i wanted for christmas,i said id love to have a set of Hitchcock movies,she got mad and called me a name…my parents and i asked her what was the problem? and she said there was no reason i had to be dirty…took me a minute then it hit me,,i explained to her Alfred Hitchcock was a human and a great director,this was 5 or 6 years ago…and she still hasnt watched one of his movies because shes sure its “just disgusting old porn”….and my sisters new husband..who is in his mid 50s has stated he has never watched a black and white movie….he never had a tv when a kid,he got his first when he was married and the first wife wanted one,,was color ofcourse,and hes been the a movie theater once he claims and that was this past year with my sister…….hes sick….

    • Lorraine M.

      Yours is easily the most depressing comment I’ve read here. You have my deepest sympathies.

  • dardavis01

    Irene Dunne, Jeanette MacDonald, Myrna Loy, Ida Lupino, Thelma Ritter, George Brent, Olivia de Havilland (still alive at 97 and living in Paris), Maureen O’Hara (still alive at 93 and living in Idaho), Norma Shearer, Garbo… I could go on and on. Really tremendous actors. Today, the closest we come is Meryl Streep (who is wonderful in anything), Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren. Of course, today’s audiences seem to be interested more in the special effects of blowing things up than of a real story and real acting. Sad. Thank God for TCM and for AFI preserving the old movies and for the availability on DVD of so many great films.

  • Winston

    Commenting about the Golden Age, Bette Davis once said, “We had special effects back then, it was called TALENT!”

  • Rob

    Jeanne Crain, Charles Coburn, Greer Garson, Ronald Colman, Charles Boyer, Hedy Lamarr

  • NancyW

    How about Kay Francis, Anne Shirley, Priscilla Lane, Tom Brown, Gene Raymond, Joan Blondell, Frank McHugh, Paul Muni, Teresa Wright and Dana Andrews!!!!

  • Hildegard Brosseau

    Pier Angeli [aka Anna Maria Pierangeli].
    To P.g. Hudson jr.: You mean STEWART [not Stuart] Granger.

  • NancyW

    Oh, I almost forgot, Charles Boyer too!

  • JoAnne McMaster

    They aren’t forgotten to me. I turned my husband onto classic movies when he was 24 and that’s all we watch. (Mine began with a love affair with Fred Astaire when I was 17, I watch his movies all the time). It’s so sad to see society disintegrate into watching movies that are all computerized. You don’t even have to act anymore. Another favorite of mine is Warren William. That man was elegant, funny and could act. Watch his Perry Mason movies and you’ll see.

  • NancyW

    Leslie Howard, and Vivian Leigh

  • NancyW

    The great Claude Rains

  • L. Herter

    What about Alan Ladd? He was a huge star in the 1940′s, and again in 1953 when SHANE came out. Never hear of him anymore, and his old movies are hard to find. His name is not among those listed on the back of Mr. Koca’s book. How come?

    • Maggie.B

      At first I was glad not to read Alan Ladds name on the list, but I think you are right, he is a forgotten star. He was such an fine actor, and he had a lot of good movies, like THIS GUN FOR HIRE, THE BLUE DAHLIA, SAIGON, CALCUTTA and also some of the later films like, THE BIG LAND, THE PROUD REBEL, THE BADLANDERS, 13 WEST STREET and not to forget his last movie THE CARPETBAGERS, just to mention a few.. Some of these films are very underrated. I hope that more of his great work will be released on DVD in the near future, and I am sure a lot of people will re-discover this extraordinary actor.

  • NancyW

    Cliff Robertson, Van Heflin, Lee Remick, Jack Lemmon, Jean Harlow, Mary Astor, Sylvia Sydney, Donna Reed, Anne Rutherford, Montgomery Clift, James Mason

    • Lorraine M.

      Monty Clift forgotten? I don’t think so–certainly not by gay men! :-)

  • Fred B.

    When my 2 sons were 8 and 10 years old I introduced them to the Hope/Crosby “Road” films. Also to James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, William Powell “Thin Man” movies and Abbott & Costello. Today they are 34 and 32, they own all the “Road” films and the “Thin Man” films. My oldest son introduced his son , 10 years old, to Abbott & Costello. He walks around quoting some of their routines , I’ll say “Didn’t you go to school stupid” and he’ll reply “Yes, and I came home the same way”. It makes a Grandfather proud and next will be introducing them to Laurel and Hardy”. It so much fun sitting with him and listen to him roar with laughter at their comedies…

  • Sally Stark

    Fredric March, Jean Arthur, Walter Pidgeon, Greer Garson, Robert Donat, Gladys Cooper, Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, Dana Andrews, Jeanne Crain and Clifton Webb!

  • Daisybtoes

    Oh, they aren’t forgotten; they are just sort of on the back shelves of our memories until we see their movies on TV.

  • Sally Stark

    They’ll never be forgotten by me, either!

  • mdmphd

    So funny – I know everyone in that list and can name films or top rolles attached to them, so your book isn’t for me, but the one name that stumped me is Gail Russell. I know more about her personal life and the fact she died at 36 from drink and married hunky Guy Madison (who also didn’t have much in the way of acting til later in his career when he could shed that pretty image). I think her best roles were with John Wayne but I remember her mostly walking a ghostly house with Ray Milland – I don’t hear her voice in my head tho. Like you can hear John Wayne and Stanwyck and pretty much every other name in the list.
    Thank you for going about this tho – I’m constantly amazed at how much history just falls to the wayside and these actors need to be remembered.

  • cjf

    Where is William Holden? Not only was he a terrific, Academy Award winning actor, but he was also one of the top box office draws of the late 1940′s, 1950′s, and early 1960′s. He seems all but forgotten these days despite such classic films as “Sunset Boulevard”, “Stalag 17″, “The Bridge on the River Kwai”.

    • G.U.E.S.T.

      My 40+ year old son knows Casablanca and the song “As Time Goes By,” but it blew my mind that he doesn’t remember or can’t identify William Holden. I envy these unknowing people —and if and when they should finally discover the immense value of movies and movie-makers of the past …. Wow, what a gigantic treat they have in store — a gigantic new world of pure cinematic talent and thrills awaits them!!!!

      • cjf

        I’m in my late 40′s and I don’t know many people my own age who know William Holden…or many other stars before the mid-1960′s. I have to agree with the comments from several others that there were far fewer channels and choices to be had on television when those in my generation were growing up. I developed a love of older films early on, and they were plentiful on television in the 1970′s. Now Turner Classics and a few other cable stations are pretty much the only place to discover these older films.

    • Bruce Reber

      Re: William Holden – what about his great perfromances in “Picnic”, “The Wild Bunch” and “Network”?

      • cjf

        I completely agree, Bruce. Just didn’t want to go on and on…because I certainly could!

  • MaryLouiseC

    I recall reading an interview with Jean Simmons in which she commented on receiving fan mail for Gene Simmons. She’s so much more memorable than that guy!

  • MaryLouiseC

    Let’s not forget John Mills, Alec Guinness, Michael Redgrave and Ronald Coleman. I recently discovered the latter did a radio show called The Halls of Ivy with his wife, Benita Hume, which I highly recommend.

  • lee

    hey guys did you forget errol flynn? debbie reynolds,basil rathbone janet leigh? frank sinatra?

  • HCUA

    I have not read all of the posts, but, two people want to know why Dana Andrews is not on the list. Wake up, stupids. He IS on the list of the 25.

    • Virginia

      Why “stupids”? This is a friendly conversation. They probably just overlooked his name. Other commenters said Myrna Loy and Ronald Colman aren’t on the list, but they are. (There are probably others that were overlooked). Does that really make them “stupid”? Let’s have fun……

  • HCUA

    Most people under 40 and most people over 40 also do not know that the 20th century ended with the year 2000. MLB is one of the worst. They count a decade as, for instance, 1980-1989, which is ten years, but, the decade of the 80′s is 1981-1990.
    Hats off to public education.

  • Jordan Mohr

    What about some of the stars of foreign films such as Anna Magnani and Jean Gabin? “Pepe
    le Moko” is one of my top favorites (someone once said that without “Pepe” there would have
    been no “Casablanca”). When I was growing up, some of the TV stations in L.A. showed foreign
    film festivals and this was where I discovered these great actors. I had the honor of playing
    Simone Signoret in a play, and her Oscar-winning performance in “Room at the Top” stays with
    you forever (Bette Davis said “She is all women” about Signoret’s acting in this film). The leading
    man in this movie, Laurence Harvey, hasn’t been mentioned either. Frank Sinatra often said
    Harvey was underrated. I wrote and directed an indie film “Hollywood Mouth” as a tribute to the stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood (and I’m currently finishing up a second part). To me,
    these stars can never be forgotten, and I agree that high schools should offer history of film
    classes.

  • Georgeanne M

    How about Irene Dunne? Beautiful, with great comedic timing and very under-rated!

  • Christine Harrison

    Gary, I loved reading your article and all the comments people have made. It’s great that there are so many enthusiasts who want to pass on their knowledge to a younger generation … but also rather sad that so many great talents are being forgotten. I agree with all of the choices put forward so far and would like to add another name, that of Betty Field. I always enjoyed watching her, as she had a very interesting persona on film. She wasn’t a showy actress, and was rather quiet and subtle in her manner, but that was why I liked her. She gave a very moving performance in “Victory” and I always thought it a great pity she didn’t play the part of Jane Eyre in the 1940′s film version. Joan Fontaine had the part and, although I didn’t dislike her in that role, I did feel that Betty Field would have been perfect in capturing the essence of the character.

    • Phil from Fort Worth

      Betty Field was a wonderful actress — “King’s Row,” for example. She developed into a superb character actress. “Picnic” and “bus Stop” are probably her most famous character roles, but she was great in everything.

  • Eric O Allstrom

    I remember these folks, and was old enough to take dates to see their pictures on the first run. It’s important to understand that, besides perhaps Louis Hayward, Gail Russell, Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Lizabeth Scott and Paulette Goddard, every one of them was a top-tier star who could open a picture, and those exceptions received before-the-title billing when their co-stars were top-tier (look at the posters and compare Howard Keel’s billing in Ride Vaquero to what he received in Kismet two years later). In The Rounders, Glenn Ford was billed above Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews outranked Hank in Daisy Kenyon. At one time, only a few megastars were bigger than Bob Taylor, his ex-wife Stanwyck, Susan Hayward or Ty Power.

  • Graham Grasdal

    Ronald Coleman set the standard for all the leading men who followed. Clark Gable and David Niven were blatant copies of him.

    • Virginia

      Funny, I would NEVER mistake any of the 3 for the other. I never thought anyone could become a big star by “blatantly copying” another actor/actress, especially in those days. To me, that’s what made them STARS. But maybe you saw something that I didn’t see.

  • Alaska Sourdough

    As long as I live they will never be forgotten, especially Ronald Colman and Myrna Loy, two of my real favorites. Ronald’s voice was incredible and he was perfect for Double Life. Myrna was just class all the way and gave so many wonderful performances. The rest are no slouches either! “They just don’t make them like they used to.” has never been more true.

  • BILLHYBOY53

    IT’S A DARN GOOD THING WE STILL HAVE TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES TO SHOWCASE THESE GREAT STARS YOU LIST. AT LEAST THEIR FILMS GIVE THEM IMMORTALITY. THE PROBLEM IS TO GET THEIR FILMS SEEN AGAIN. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE NORMA SHEARER IN “MARIE ANTOINETTE” ON A BIG SCREEN IN A THEATER AGAIN. OR TYRONE POWER IN “THE RAINS CAME”. OR PAULETTE GODDARD IN “THE GREAT DICTATOR”. OR SUSAN HAYWARD IN JUST ABOUT ANY FILM SHE EVER MADE. AS NORMA DESMOND SAYS IN “SUNSET BOULEVARD”, “WE HAD FACES THEN”.

  • Paige

    How about Judy Holiday? I love her movies. She left us too soon. But Myrna Loy, really? Gone but certainly not forgotten. Or maybe its just me. Most of the names on the list I don’t agree with. William Powell? Ronald Coleman? Jean Arthur? I do have say though I was talking to a 27 year old at work and mentioned Jane Fonda. She asked whose that. I said Henry Fonda’s daughter. Nope didn’t know either one. So I guess without stations like TCM there wouldn’t be much hope for the younger generation. By the way I’m 46 and have had a love affair with old movies for longer then I can remember and still think Cary Grant is the greatest. I would watch his movies over anything being made today anytime. It may seem hokey to the young, the black and white, the stage acting in movies, no sex just your imagination but give me the old anyday. Take me back to a simpler time were movies were for enjoyment and actors were actors. Not celebraties forcing their thoughts and ideals on us. They had class and style, something lacking today.

  • Sarah

    Philips Holmes is my favourite forgotten star

  • Phil from Fort Worth

    Norma Shearer’s final moments in “Marie Antoinette” are unforgettable. I also have ab sentimental fondness for Paulette Goddard. Not a great actress but a vibrant personality. She tried to get Charlie Chaplin to be less strict with his kids, and Burgess Meredith said he never fell out of love with her.

  • Rosemari

    How about Irene Dunne, Claudette Colbert, Anne Sheridan, Myrna Loy, Loretta Young, Deborah Kerr, Olivia DeHavilland, Greer Garson, Dorothy Lamour, George Raft, James Cagney, Edmund G. Robinson, Clark Gable, Joel McCrea, Errol Flynn, Spencer Tracy, William Holden, and Gregory Peck, just to name a few more?

    • Virginia

      Myrna Loy is already on his list. But the writer says he’s list HIS favorite forgotten stars. (You’re probably referring to Edward G. Robinson, who would also be on my list.) But I wouldn’t put Gregory Peck on the list because his movies still run pretty regularly, especially “To Kill a Mockingbird”, which I sat in a movie theatre last year to watch on its 50 anniversary. The theatre was packed with local school children and their teachers. I also wouldn’t think that young people wouldn’t know Spencer Tracy, but I could be wrong.

  • awaywrdsn

    How’s about Alastair Sim ? They show A Christmas Carol once a year but this is by far the best and my favorite but people have forgotten he was also a great stage actor and some haven’t even heard of him cause they keep showing the modern ones which aren’t half as good. And everyone always gives William Powell all the credit for the Thin Man don’t get me wrong I liked him a lot but Myrna Loy’s character was smarter than everybody and sooo cool !

  • Kokr Spanielesko

    What happened to Robert Mitchum? The most electrifying male movie star ever! And don’t forget Toshiro Mifune.

  • Nicolas

    I think that for those under 40, the problem lies with the fact of more choices to watch on TV. The choices they make are not really to watch old movies, but to watch what they want to watch. Because there were fewer choices of what to watch in the 60, and even to the late 70′s, my generation (I’m 56) perhaps switched on the TV, and because of the fewer choices, would discover some of these stars. Think also about young children today, they can watch cartoons 24 hrs a day, something not available in my younger years, so we might watch a movie and discover Glen Ford.

    • Lorraine M.

      I think you’ve nailed it; I’m 55 and that sounds like the most reasonable (not to say charitable) explanation I’ve come across so far. Pretty sad, though, that so many great stars are so completely unknown by younger people. And there’s no guarantees with even some of the top tier famous–not long ago I found myself patiently explaining to a 30-something who Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy were. sigh.

  • Jersey Tomato

    I came Stateside from Puerto Rico (USA) to Brooklyn, NY when I was 9 years old and learned how to speak English by watching TV. In those days, there wasn’t too much original programming & movies from the 30s, 40s & early 50s were aired on all channels. I fell in love with those classic, not-so-classic & cult films. I learned that tough guys could sing & dance & do comedy, dramatic queens of the screen had great senses of humor & that the USA was the best country in the world for its freedoms & ability to not take itself too seriously & willingness to show its shortcomings to the world. Gotta love the country & the art form that captivated the world!

  • Joe G.

    Unfortunately too many people, mostly the younger generation (but not all), refuse to watch any film in black and white, or one that has smart dialogue, or one that doesn’t blow things up in the opening credits and most of the rest of the movie. I truly pity those people because they can’t appreciate classic films and are missing out on so much greatness, while settling for so much that is second rate or worse.

  • Black & White Critic in Color

    What about: Tim Holt; Raymond Massey; Charles Laughton; any of the Barrymores’ (Ethel, John); Montan Moreland; William Spenser. I don’t want to go too far back; however, who remember the Gish sisters(Lillian and Dorothy)?
    I wish Gary Koca had mentioned one of my favorite Glen Ford TV series “Cade’s County”. I would love to have this on DVD. Perhaps someone could steer me in the right direction to secure it.

    • Bruce Reber

      I remember “Cade’s County” also – it aired on CBS-TV on Sunday nights 10:00-11:00 PM (EST) for a single season (1971-1972). Glenn Ford played sheriff Sam Cade, keeping the peace in Madrid County, California in this contemporary Western. Edgar Buchanan (Uncle Joe on “Petticoat Junction”) co-starred. It was a pretty good series, too bad it didn’t stay on longer. I’d like to have this series on DVD also.

  • Lorraine M.

    Margaret Rutherford; Edith Evans; Burt Lancaster; Donald O’Connor; Gene Hackman…

  • TLady62

    This list could be extended to 50 and more, to include a lot of great Character actors (like Claude Rains, Arthur Kennedy, Hattie McDaniel, Eric Blore, and Edna Mae Oliver to name a few). But as far as the Leading Men and Ladies go, I have enjoyed watching Cornell Wilde (in “Leave Her To Heaven” with Gene Tierney), Clifton Webb (with Tierney in “Laura”, and “The Razor’s Edge” and “Titanic” with Stanwyck ), Paul Muni, and Franchot Tone; among the Ladies, Louise Rainer, Joan Blondell, Alice Faye, and Joan Bennett.

  • Antone

    I’m too lazy to try to come up with names from the past that have not been mentioned. However I can give an example of how pervasive the disrespect of history has become. I complimented the high school girl making my sandwich on her Veronica Lake over-the-eye hair style. “Who?”, she responded. I told her she had Jennifer Anniston hair before Jennifer was born. She stared at me blankly and repeated her “Who?” query. Apparently teenagers don’t even know 40′ish stars of current chick flicks.

  • Ken

    Not long ago I mentioned to a neighbor while watching my collie run, that my collie was the same color as TRIGGER. Blank stare. Who? I said Roy Rogers horse. Blank Stare. Roy who? I could go on and on. By the way, my neighbor did remember Lassie. He asked if Roy was related to Mr. Rogers ! I guess good taste is becoming extinct. I was going to mention TRIGGER’S first film role in Robin Hood, but he would’nt have know Errol or Olivia either. So sad……..

  • Susan

    Fred MacMurray, S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall , Charles Coburn, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre

  • jan

    I find this very sad. The problem with today’s population is they have no idea what real acting is. The idea that you actually have to show emotion on your face and in your body movements is like trying to talk to them in Latin (and you would be surprised just how many people don’t know what that is!) Thankfully there are others, besides me, who love the old movies and those who played in them. There are too many to name that are being forgotten. What a wonderful idea to remember them in a book. Now you just need a volumn 2 and 3 and 4……………

  • Bill Heyer

    Gene Tierney, forgotten? Not by me! Kiddee’s, let me have your attention, for a minute: Check out Ms. Tierney in “Laura,” and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” and THEN tell me that Gene Tierney WASN’T the Most Beautiful Actress, of ALL Time! Okay, class dismissed!!!

    • Bruce Reber

      She wasn’t too bad in “Leave Her To Heaven” either!

    • Richy

      When I was a magazine editor some years ago my 30-something associate editor didn’t know who Gary Cooper was. I tried to explain but was tongue-tied by shock

  • Bernie

    Gary, Are you related to GLEN FORD ? You look just like him!!!!!

  • peggy

    Claude Raines, Norma Shearer, George Brent and the brilliant Rosalind Russell. I was surprised to see Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich and Joseph Cotten on your forgotten list. I just saw Joseph Cotten recently on TCM in “Gaslight” and “The Third Man”, he was excellent! And “Witness For The Prosecution” with Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich is still one of my favorite movies. Speaking of, how about Charles Laughton? Another great actor!!

  • Bruce Reber

    Here are a few more: Lon Chaney Jr. (the Wolf Man), Joe E. Brown (“Well, nobody’s perfect” from Some Like It Hot), Sonny Tufts, Chester Morris (Jean Harlow’s co-star in a couple of MGM movies), Edmond O’Brien (“White Heat”, “The Barefoot Contessa”, “DOA”, “The Wild Bunch”), Tom Ewell (“The Seven Year Itch”, “Adam’s Rib”), Jeanne Crain (“Pinky”, “Leave Her To Heaven”), Barbara Bel Geddes (“Vertigo”), Brian Donlevy (“The Glass Key”, “Killer McCoy”), Eleanor Parker (“Caged”, “Interrupted Melody”, “The Sound Of Music”), Stephen Boyd (“Ben Hur”, “Fall Of The Roman Empire”, “The Oscar”), Jack Hawkins (“Ben Hur”, “Bridge On The River Kwai”, “Lawrence Of Arabia”), Lee Remick (“The Days Of Wine And Roses”, “The Long Hot Summer”, “Experiment In Terror”) – character actors and/or leading men/women.

    • laustcawz

      Regarding Tom Ewell & Edmond O’Brien, they both starred in the rock musical
      “The Girl Can’t Help It” with Jayne Mansfield.

  • RedHead918

    I imagine our parents and grandparents felt the same way about us. But I learned about and fell in love wiht all the old stars by watching them on Saturday afternoons and on “Snow” days and staying up late to watch them on The Late Show. Now, the child I babysit for screams if I try to get her to watch something in black and white!

  • BernardS

    Kocas’ book will definitely “resurrect” some of the very fine actors that had graced the movie
    screen, but let us not ram these “older” stars down the younger generation’s throat, after all
    they will soon be, if not already rhapsodized about Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts
    and Carey Mulligan (!). If any of the youngsters cringes at watching a black and white movie,
    let them wallow in those colorful explosion demolition sagas. Just be thankful that nowadays
    so much older product are available for us to discover and reassess, the journey of
    discovery will NOT be 100% enjoyable–you may like some or you may wonder what
    was all the fuss about some of those iconic stars from the studio days were only VERY,
    VERY bad actors !

    • wade

      watching some of the very first “talkies” of the thirties, discovered even the very bad ones were entertaining as some were unintentionally funny with the bad dialogue and over acting Some of the special effects of King Kong are laughable now but were innovative then and still entertaining for those who like old films

  • Frank

    Did anyone mention Jean Peters? Don’t miss her in “Niagara” (opposite Cotten), “Viva Zapata!” (opposite Brando) or “Pickup on South Street” (opposite Widmark).

  • Patricia

    How about Kay Francis, George Brent, Constance Bennett?

  • cjf

    I don’t know if he’s been mentioned already…but what about Kirk Douglas? I think some younger people may know him as the father of Michael Douglas, and may even recognize his face, but I don’t think they realize what a powerhouse actor he was in the 40′s and 50′s. I think he’s been overlooked for some time…but I guess you could say that about so many actors and actresses of these eras!

  • dirkwrestler

    I would like to add IRENE DUNN to the list — just terrific! Check out the humor & drama in PENNY SERENADE with Cary Grant!

  • oddissey

    I was lucky (my opinion) to have been raised in Hollywood in the 30′s and early 40′s — a time when movie stars, not athletes, rockers, or rappers, were the most most admired celebrities on the planet. I played sand-lot football with George “Spanky” McFarland, and Farley Granger was in my high-school class.

    My mother owned a beauty salon on Sunset Boulevard immediately across from Schwab’s Drug Store; Her clientele were some of the biggest stars of the day: Ginger Rogers, Myrna Loy, Dorothy Lamour, Lucille Ball (okay, she was only a starlet then), and others, were frequently ensconced in a beautician’s cubicle or under a hair dryer. Male stars, such as John Payne, Sydney Toler and Jack Mulhall, had their hair trimmed also. I mention these facts not to to blow my own horn, but to give credence to what I’m about to say.

    As a young kid who also admired these celebrities, I was not embarrassed to speak to, and with, them. Without their makeup, I found them to be regular people, caring and compassionate, with everyday problems of their own. Myrna Loy (my favorite) praised my attempts at cartooning. Ginger Rogers (on whom I had a huge crush) was a brunette when I first was introduced to her — that was before Flying Down To Rio and Fred Astaire. During those years I accompanied my parents to parties and met other film personalities they knew. Dad was friends with Warren Williams and Stan Laurel. They bet horses together. And I remember one evening while mom did Anne Shirley’s locks. My father and I sat in the lobby of the salon with John Payne, her husband, and cheered and yelled as we listened to a Joe Louis boxing match. John Payne was a very likable guy who probably would have gone farther up the star ladder if he hadn’t looked so much like Tyrone Power. In 1943 I met Glenn Ford. I was working in a theater in Studio City, California. He came up to the confection counter, and, while he deliberated, I told him how much I enjoyed his acting. I mentioned films he had appeared in, especially Rabid, which we had shown only weeks before, and that I thought Eleanor Powell, whom he’d recently married, was a beautiful, talented woman. I think he was surprised that a 16-year-old, pimply-faced kid would know so much about him, and converse so easily.

    I could mention other similar situations, but I think I’ve made my point — these people we held in such esteem were for the most part just human-beings who’d chosen acting as their career, and, for most, at heart were as down-to earth as the neighborhood grocer.

    • wade

      you should write a whole article about your experiences, people would be interested to read about someone who has met all these interesting stars

      • oddissey

        Thanks for the interest Wade. I guess I do have enough reminiscences to fill a page. Those 30′s and early 40′s years were certainly filled with many memorable occasions and circumstances. In fact, when I wrote my memoirs (at my children’s urging) I titled it: “Growing Up In Tinsel Town”.

        One afternoon I remember vividly was spent at Lucy and Desi’s San Fernando Valley ranch home. While my mother did Lucy’s hair, she, Desi, and another man, had a heated discussion about whether or not to get involved in TV. Whoever the man was, he kept telling them it was the entertainment media of future.

        Some of my school buddies and acquaintances, from elementary through secondary, were either in movies at the time (mostly in minor roles) or later in life. And, as I mentioned earlier, I met adult actors and actresses at parties, weddings, etc. — some even spent weekends at our home. If I thought there was significant interest from other bloggers, I’d write more on the subject.

    • Marguerite

      Wow, how lucky you were to be in such a position to be in the lives of such esteemed actors. Very enviable. Indeed ordinary folk who chose acting as a career but the Hollywood gloss made them super special and they should never ever be forgotten

  • wade

    I learned to love old movies from my mother who used to tell us old movie plots from movies she saw in her youth as bedtime stories so eventually I saw these movies on late shows on tv and later on TCM.. I now know more about older actors from the 30′s and on than she does . I lately discovered my 30 yr old daughter knows so little about any of the stars before the 80′s with a few exceptions like Marilyn Monroe and for some reason Mae West. I tried to get her to watch some old movies but she is just not interested but I have a 3 yr old grand-daughter to work on now.

  • Mick

    Genevieve Bujold. I know she is not from the golden age of movies but she started in the early 1970′s and is still making movies to this day. She should have been a much bigger star then she is. Check out Anne of the Thousand Days, Coma, King of Hearts, Obsession, Dead Ringers and Swashbuckler. She is perfect in every one of these films. But to see how really good an actress she is watch Earthquake. One of the most boring disaster movies of all time. Right up there with The Towering Inferno. But when Genevieve Bujold is on screen you can’t keep your eyes off of her. She was forced to make this movie by Universal. But she said it was the most fun she ever had making a movie.

  • Cal T. McDermid

    Alice Faye Kay Francis

  • laustcawz

    From more recent decades (’60s, ’70s), how about Pamela Franklin (“The Innocents”,”The Nanny”, “The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie”, “Necromancy”, “The Legend Of Hell House”)?

  • Carolyn Ferrante

    Doesn’t anyone remember Jennifer O’Neill’s sensitive performance in “Summer of ’42?” And whatever happened to Gary Grimes, her teenage “lover” during her time of mourning for her husband killed in war? The film came out in 1971.

  • Dana Thompson

    I got one for you, Frances Farmer and then there’s Ronald Colman (a master actor), John Barrymore (beautiful, “the profile), William Powell was sublime,

  • Dana Thompson

    If you haven’t seen Susan Hayward perform you have missed out
    “I’ll Cry T omorrow’

  • Antone

    My two nominees are Buster Keaton and Judy Garland, who were relentlessly and shamelessly overworked during their young & productive years and were then humiliated into doing awful films to cash in on their dwindling fame.

    I noticed in your summer film blog a poster for Beach Blanket Bingo with Keaton getting 13th billing [12 spots behind that classic actor, Frankie Avalon, and 1 ahead of gossip columnist, Earl Wilson]. Both deserved better endings; with Buster forgotten and Judy known only as Dorothy.

    • Antone

      One other part of the legacy for each of these superstars was a life-shortening substance addiction.

  • Gary Koca

    That is Glenn Ford in the picture, not me. I actually look more like Cary Grant or George Clooney. LOL Probably look more like Lon Chaney, Jr. after he changed into the werewolf.

  • Gary Koca

    I always get asked. “Why isn’t _________ in your book?” It had to be a leading man or woman whose major work was in the 30′s. 40′s, and 50′s. That would leave Buster Keaton out, for example. And it had to be someone I really liked. If there was one individual I wish I had added, it would probably be Greer Garson. Outstanding actress!