Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Top 10 Favourite (classic) Actors/Actresses

I've gone through my favourite modern actors and actresses, and y'all seemed to enjoy that. As promised, I am now going to relive my past and go through my favourite actors and actresses from the classic movies (to be eligible they had to have their debut before 1955). Oh, I should point out that this list isn't in order of likeability - I couldn't possibly do that - but instead it's in alphabetical order. It's a lot easier, that way!
P.S. You wouldn't believe how I long I took looking for photos of these people. It was hard to just pick one!

Honourable mentions: Barbara Stanwyck, Carole Lombard, Clark Gable, Laurence Olivier, Greta Garbo, James Dean, Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn, Olivia De Havilland, Lauren Bacall, Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara, William Holden, Gene Kelly, Janet Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor.

Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman was such an interesting person. She was Alfred Hitchcock's go-to-girl, as she starred in Notorious, Spellbound and Under Capricorn. She became a star for her spell binding performance in Casablanca. She won three Oscars for her performances in the creepy Gaslight, Anastasia and Murder on the Orient Express. She was outed from Hollywood due to an affair she had with film-maker Roberto Rossellini. And she died on her 67th birthday. All the while, she became an iconic, devestatingly flawless Swedish star who may just be one of the greatest actresses who ever lived. I wish I could be her.
Favourite performance: Gaslight
Favourite film: Casablanca

Humphrey Bogart
Who doesn't love Humphrey Bogart? He was one of the most widely used, versatile actors around in the Golden Age. And chances are, if you've seen a classic, then you have probably seen Casablanca (if not, you need to see it, now). It's the original love triangle movie with some of the best lines ever. But we're not here to talk about the greatness of Casablanca, but rather the greatness of it's leading man, Mr. Bogart. Now he is the original tough guy. He's the original gun-toting no nonsense bad-ass. And that's why I love him.
Favourite performance: The Big Sleep
Favourite film: Casablanca

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando is by far the best example of a legend. His talent, his remarkable voice, his choice of roles, his looks...they all contribute to the icon he is remembered as. I remember when I first saw him in A Streetcar Named Desire, where he plays a powerful, troubled Stanley Kowalski and I couldn't get over what an actor he was, especially considering that this was only his second feature film. I personally think that this is his best performance, but that's not forgetting about his Oscar winning work in the likes of On the Waterfront and The Godfather.
Favourite performance: A Streetcar Named Desire
Favourite film: A Streetcar Named Desire

Bette Davis
How does one even begin to describe Bette Davis? Well, her nicknames were 'The First Lady of Film' and 'The Fifth Warner Brother', so if that is anything to go by, Davis sure made her mark on Hollywood. In my opinion, she was one of the greatest actresses who ever lived. She was never the kind of actress who played the shy types. Instead, she was as tough as nails, as seen in her much acclaimed films All About Eve and Jezebel. One of my favourite films of hers, though, was the brilliant Now, Voyager, in which she plays an old spinster who blossoms under therapy and even finds romance. She was so unusually sweet in that movie. One of her most memorable roles, though, was in the ultra scary What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? which she did with Joan Crawford, better known as her arch nemesis. I will never forget that movie simply because Davis was so scary!
Favourite performance: All About Eve
Favourite film: All About Eve

Cary Grant
Cary Grant, to me, is basically the epitome of a classic film. I can just hear his voice muffled by the dated sound system that classic movies used to have, and I can picture his cracking smile in a black and white film. If I think of classic movies, I think of Cary Grant, pure and simple. He's also the man who never seemed to age. One of the earliest films I saw him in was the hilarious The Awful Truth, and he didn't seem to change between them and 1959's North by Northwest. He was still the same suave, handsome, romantic guy, up for anything. His comic skills were amazing, and are some which the likes of rom-com wannabes Josh Duhamel can not live up to. The worst thing? He never won an Oscar for his acting.
Favourite performance: North by Northwest
Favourite film: The Philadelphia Story

Katharine Hepburn
 It's interesting because the first Katharine Hepburn movie I attempted to watch was The Iron Petticoat, and I turned it off within the first 10 minutes because she drove me nuts. Since then, I watched some of her most acclaimed works, and it became more apparent to me as to why she was rated #1 on AFI's top classic stars. Just look at the movies she was Oscar nominated for. She won the first time she was nominated for Morning Glory in 1933, then was nominated another eight times, and then won the last three times she was nominated. And she still holds that record. She was a truly wonderful, bold actress, with brilliant comedic and dramatic ability. How could you not love her?
Favourite performance: Bringing Up Baby
Favourite film: The Philadelphia Story

Grace Kelly
Though Grace Kelly only made 11 feature films, she was amazing. Her cool exterior was totally boss. I used to have the mega obsession with her in late 2007/early 2008, so I saw nearly all of her films and read three biographies on her. So yeah, if you wanna know useless facts about Grace, I'm your man. I thought it was kinda ironic that she went through her short film career basically looking like a princess, and BAM! Prince Rainier of Monaco wants to marry her and she becomes a princess. Isn't that a dream come true? Also, she starred in three Hitchcock films, and Hitch himself described her as one of his favourite actresses. She made a big mark in such a short time.
Favourite performance: The Country Girl
Favourite film: Rear Window

Vivien Leigh
If I were to be called an expert on anyone, it would definitely have to be Vivien Leigh. I've seen most of her films, read at least five biographies on her, even written a biography on her myself, made an 100 page project on get the picture. I was - and still am - in love with this woman. To the point I would call her my favourite actress of all time. Of course, my love for her came from her performance in Gone with the Wind, but she is just as good in everything else. Especially A Streetcar Named Desire, which I think was her best performance. As a person, she certainly wasn't dull, dealing with recurring bouts of tuberculosis (which caused her death in 1967), a highly publicized marriage to Laurence Olivier and suffering from manic depression which plagued the latter part of her career. And she was so devastatingly beautiful too.
Favourite performance: A Streetcar Named Desire
Favourite film: Gone with the Wind

Paul Newman
I remember the first time I saw Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which was around the time I went through a huge Paul Newman phase. Jesus, could this guy act! And those blue eyes...stunning. He has such a complex and interesting resume, right up to his final film Cars in 2006. I guess you could say his films are highly accessible by all, and he's just so damn likeable you can't help but fall in love with him. And hey, you can't argue with a guy who has his own salad dressing, can you? Paul Newman was the man.
Favourite performance: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Favourite film: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

James Stewart
James Stewart was such a good guy. Anything he is in makes me exponentially happy. He could just be in anything and make it 10 times better. And I've seen my fair share of Jimmy Stewart movies. I guess, after the 50's he started playing the non-good guy roles, which was cool, but I like nice Jimmy. I like him especially when he is in comedies, my favourite being The Philadelphia Story. And I liked him a lot in It's A Wonderful Life, which is like one of the coolest movies ever. And I like him in Hitchcock movies, especially Rear Window. Consensus: I like James Stewart. Don't you?
Favourite performance: It's A Wonderful Life
Favourite film: It's A Wonderful Life

Any objections to this list? Next weekend, I'm gonna round things out with my favourite directors list. Anyone wanna start placing bets on the winner? Haha.


  1. Really like this list! And in the words of Derek Zoolander, they're all "ridiculously goodlooking." I'd have to definitely give way to James Dean and Natalie Wood, though. Saw Splendour in the Grass yesterday and my God, WHY HAVE I NOT SEEN THAT FILM BEFORE? Natalie Wood was amazing in it, so was Warren Beaty. If you haven't seen it, I urge you to watch it now!

    Also, I need to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, like, now! I am ashamed to have not seen it. This has definitely been the year where I catch up on classics, and you've just reminded me I need to see so many more God damn classics!

  2. Was your project on Vivien for school? 100 pages... made me speechless.

  3. AWESOME! Some of your favorites are my favorites as well including Bette, Grace, Cary, Vivien,a nd Jimmy.

  4. Hoo boy. Do I dare mention who's on my list? Screw it. I will.

    Burt Lancaster
    Marlon Brando
    Tony Curtis
    Jack Lemmon
    Richard Burton
    Kirk Douglas
    Humphrey Bogart
    Montgomery Clift
    Henry Fonda
    Robert Mitchum
    James Cagney
    Paul Newman
    James "Jimmy" Stewart
    William Holden
    Cary Grant

    Katharine Hepburn
    Elizabeth Taylor
    Audrey Hepburn
    Ingrid Bergman
    Barbara Stanwyck
    Patricia Neal
    Deborah Kerr
    Ava Gardner
    Vivien Leigh
    Rita Hayworth
    Marlene Dietrich
    Janet Leigh
    Lee Remick

    PS Think you'll do a director post?

  5. Love seeing Ingrid Bergman on the list. She's my favorite actress ever. Also love Grant, Kelly. Davis, Hepburn and Bogart.

    My list would probably have Janet Gaynor, maybe James Cagney and Audrey Hepburn.

  6. Cherokee - I shall put that in my already overflowing Fatso (like Netflix) queue. I love Natalie Wood. She was so beautiful.
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is one of my most absolute favourite films. I loved Paul and Elizabeth in it, they just worked so well together! I'm catching up on quite a few classics too. Which is always good.

    Lesya - Yeah, it was. I did it when I was 13. Lets just say...I know a lot about Vivien Leigh and she was a very interesting topic!

    Monty - Nice to see another Vivien fan. She was amazing, wasn't she?

    Anna - Nice lists! I should really get up to speed on Marlene Dietrich movies, I haven't seen a lot of them. And yes, next weekend I'm doing a directors post.

    James - Ingrid Bergman was amazing! So, so beautiful and talented. Of course...Janet Gaynor. I haven't seen many Cagney flicks, I will get onto him one day!

  7. I always argue that Vivien Leigh is the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

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