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Added by Fraterlucis on 18 Mar 2013 04:34
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Favorite Actors & Actresses -- Today & Yesteryear

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Actors

Average listal rating (280 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Born: Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907
Place of Birth: Winterset, Iowa
Died: July 11, 1979
Place of Death: Los Angeles, California


In 1930, Marion Morrison took the stage name "John Wayne" at the suggestion of Raoul Walsh to star in Walsh's epic Western The Big Trail. At this time, Wayne's weekly salary was raised to $105. While this film would raise Wayne's standing in the film industry, providing him with a prolific amount of work (about eighty A-pictures by his own estimation), it wasn't until 1939 when Wayne was propelled to stardom by John Ford's classic Stagecoach. Wayne would go on to make 142 movies, primarily Westerns, receiving the Oscar in 1969 for his role as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit.

Favorite Films: True Grit, El Dorado, Dark Command, The Fighting Kentuckian, The Shootist

I tried to restrict the list of favorite films of Wayne to a handful, but really, there are so many I loved growing up, it's quite hard to narrow down. The Duke played a very large role in my life growing up. My father was a huge fan of him, and I fondly recall so many nights and early morning we spent into the wee hours watching his films. And one thing I can certainly say about Wayne is he had integrity and loyalty as so few actors today seem to have. Whatever else you can say about him, I have huge respect for him.
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Born: James Maitland Stewart on May 20, 1908
Place of Birth: Indiana, Pennsylvania
Died: July 2, 1997
Place of Death: Beverly Hills, California


Stewart was descended from veterans of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the American Civil War, and would himself become a veteran of WWII and the Cold War, rising to Brigadier General in the United States Air Force Reserve. Early on, Stewart learnt to play the accordion, which became a fixture offset for him. In his early acting career, he had trouble being cast because of his shy, humble presence on stage. That would soon change upon meeting up with Margaret Sullavan, who encouraged him to use his boyish manners and charms as a part of his own style. His career took off in 1938 upon meeting Frank Capra, whose Mr. Smith Goes to Washington would earn him his first Academy Award nomination. Stewart would go on to be nominated four more times, and to make 92 films, television programs and shorts.

Favorite Films: Mr. Smith Goes to Washingon, The Philadelphia Story, It's a Wonderful Life, Broken Arrow, Bend in the River

As with Wayne, there are numerous Stewart movies I love and grew up watching, but I tried to keep the selections to five and to those I watched and enjoyed most often. All the same, I hated having to narrow it down. Of all the westerns I watched growing up as a child with my father, Broken Arrow is probably one of my all-time favorites of any actor, with few others I enjoyed so much. I'm not sure I have to say much about Stewart personally. He was a man many people respected, both for his humble and honorable nature and for his immense acting talent.
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Born: Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn on June 20, 1909
Place of Birth: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Died: October 14, 1959
Place of Death: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Early on, Flynn developed a love of boats and the sea, originating on his mother's family side, whom he described as "seafaring folk." Flynn has a fiery school experience, having been expelled from numerous schools, often for fighting and even once for a romantic assignation with a laundress, according to Flynn. After a couple failed business ventures in Australia, he would make his way to England and begin acting. In 1934 on the set of a lost film Murder at Monte Carlo, Flynn was discovered by a Warner Bros. executive. In his first film after signing in 1935, Captain Blodd, he was an instant sensation. Throughout his career, he became known for his physical roles, but interestingly enough, he suffered from numerous health issues throughout his life, including an enlarged heart and murmur. This prevented him from enlisting in any branch of U.S. military following his naturalization in 1942, despite applying to every single one available. The strange absence of Flynn from the military while continuing to make war films led to the odd image of himself as a parody of what he formerly was.

Favorite Films: Captain Blood, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk, Against All Flags

Of the action films actors from this period, Flynn has always been one of my favorites. Of course I grew up loving The Adventures of Robin Hood (in my opinion, still the best of the Robin Hood films to date), but there are so many other wonderful action films by Flynn. Perhaps not as big in my life as Ladd or Wayne or even Stewart, nonetheless, I still consider him one of my favorite actors.
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Average listal rating (51 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Born: Alan Walbridge Ladd on September 3, 1913
Place of Birth: Hot Springs, Arkansas
Died: January 29, 1964
Place of Death: Palm Springs, California


Ladd's father died when he was only four. Subsequently, his mother relocated the family to Oklahoma City and then to North Hollywood, CA after remarrying. There Ladd would become a high school swimming and diving champion, as well as taking part in his high schools dramatics program. Early on he was released from work by Universal Pictures as too blond and too short. Determined to act, his manager and future wife Sue Carol obtained a role for him as "Raven" in This Gun for Hire, a role that would both launch his career as an actor as well as help to redefine the gangster image in film. For the next decade, Ladd enjoyed great popularity, but this would soon wane in the late fifties and sixties. Posed to make a comeback with a supporting role in the hit The Carpetbaggers, Ladd would never see the release of the film, dying shortly before in 1964 of an accidental overdose of alcohol and a cocktail of three drugs.

Favorite Films: This Gun for Hire, Two Years Before the Mast, The Iron Mistress, Shane, All the Young Men

Much like Wayne, Ladd played a large role in my early childhood, but not for the number of movies I watched by him. I did indeed enjoy several of his movies, but only one played a central role in my life: Shane. This classic of the western genre was an all-time favorite of my father, and many nights and mornings I recall watching this film with him. In fact, we wore out a VHS tape of it. For those of you who remember VHS, I am sure you can recall the small number of movies that you also work out watching growing up. For me, Shane was one of the few.
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Born: Richard St John Harris on October 1, 1930
Place of Birth: Limerick City, Irish Free State
Died: October 25, 2002
Place of Death: London, England, UK


Born into a middle-class, staunchly Roman Catholic family, Harris played on several rugby teams until he caught tuberculosis in his teens and was forced to quit. He subsequently became interested in acting, applied to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He would direct his first play, Winter Journey while still a student, which would be a huge critical success, but a financial failure. He would spend nearly a decade learning the craft on stage, before playing in his first starring role in This Sporting Life. Harris also achieved success in music and poetry, one of his songs, "MacArther's Park" reaching #2 on the American Billboard Hot 100. Later in his career, he was in a number of box office films, two of which won an Academy Award for Best Film, Unforgiven and Gladiator.

Favorite Films: The Guns of Navarone, Cromwell, Unforgiven, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Count of Monte Cristo

I can't honestly say his older films had much influence on me. I came to them much later, after I became a fan of his through other roles. The one that started my interest in his films was Unforgiven and his supporting role of English Bob. A masterful film by Clint Eastwood, as I began to see Harris in other roles, I became intrigued of his earlier films. Of those, two stood out to me as being ones I particularly enjoyed. Interesting, I cannot stand one of his more famous films, Camelot, as I am not a huge fan of musicals.
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Born: Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger on July 30, 1947
Place of Birth: Thal, Austria
Died: -----------
Place of Death: --------


Arnold began weight training when he was 15, and by the age of twenty won Mr. Universe, the biggest amateur body building title, before going on to win seven Mr. Olympia contests. In the late 60s, he starred in his first film, Hercules in New York, though that film is, thankfully, largely forgotten. His breakthrough role came in the eighties, in his role as Conan in Conan the Barbarian. A few years later, he would play in his signature role of the terminator. Arnold has been hugely successful in the role of action films, but has also experimented with comedy and other genres, achieving some success. Later in his career he would become governor of California, and became embroiled in a divorce from Maria Shriver. Most recently, he has restarted his movie career.

Favorite Films: Conan the Barbarian, Predator, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Jingle All the Way

Narrowing down my favorite films of Arnold was no easy task, as there are numerous films I enjoy. He has played a large part in my childhood; aside from his early sword and sorcery films, which I love, one of his earliest films that I remember enjoy was his comedy with Danny DeVito, Twins. I know I have included one of his less popular comedies in Jingle All the Way, and perhaps it's not the timeless classic as are some other great Christmas movies, but all the same, there is enough in that film for me to love and relate to about the holidays, it still remains one of my favorite Schwarzenegger films.
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Born: Michael Sylvester Gardenzio on July 6, 1946
Place of Birth: New York, New York
Died: ----------
Place of Death: -------


One interesting fact of Stallone's background are the occupations of his parents. His father was a hairdresser, and his mother was an astrologer, former dancer, and promoter of women's wrestling. At birth, due to complications, the doctors were forced to use two forceps, and accidentally severed a nerve, causing paralysis in the lower left side of his face. After struggling for money with small, bit parts in several movies, he finally achieved success after writing the script for Rocky after seeing a boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner. Following the film, he later played in several more Rocky films, as well as his other famous role as Rambo. While his career has seemingly dipped, of recent years he's had a resurgence with his series of films The Expendables.

Favorite Films: Rocky, First Blood, Cobra, Demolition Man, Rocky Balboa

I can't honestly say how much he was a part of my childhood. For me, his movies have always been there. I grew up loving the Rocky films, and they have remained an often annual part of each year, if not the entire series then at least one of them. I have enjoyed a number of his other films over the years, although I'll admit, he has made more than a few that aren't so good. Is he the greatest actor all time, by acting talent standards? Probably not. But as far as being one of my favorites, it's hard to find many movies that have such a large place in my life.
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Born: Mel Colm-Cille Gerard Gibson on January 3, 1956
Place of Birth: Peekskill, New York
Died: ---------
Place of Death: -------


While born in New York, Gibson began his career known as an Australian actor in Mad Max. Following its success, his career took off with the Lethal Weapon series, and since has produced, both as an actor, but also as a director and producer, numerous successful films, from the epic Braveheart to his directing and producing films Apocalypto and Passion of the Christ. Of late, Gibson has had a falling out with Hollywood, brought on by incendiary remarks he's made, but also by his marital trouble with Oksana Grigorieva, a Russian pianist often cited as a "gold miner." The law suit was eventually dropped, however, in 2011.

Favorite Films: Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, Braveheart, The Patriot, We Were Soldiers

Favorite Directorial Films: Braveheart, Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto

Regardless of what his personal life has become, it's hard to find a better actor and director from his generation. There are certainly others up there, but for me, he has produced so many great films, both as an actor and director, I find him to be one of the greats in the industry. His Lethal Weapon films were a mainstay of my childhood years, and I remember being blown away by his film Braveheart, for which I feel he was robbed of an Academy Award. His depiction of Christ's suffering in Passion of the Christ truly has no equal among religious movies, although there are others I would consider up there that are a different manner of story telling. In all, I hope he will produce many more epic films, as he seems to have a penchant for that kind of film.
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Average listal rating (372 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
Born: John Franklin Candy on October 31, 1950
Place of Birth: Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Died: March 4, 1994
Place of Death: Durango, Mexico


Candy was born and raised in Canada by working class, Roman Catholic parents. He has Polish and Scottish root, and attended parochial schools through high school. Throughout the seventies he played in a number of small films, until finally gaining wide spread recognition in the hit seventies show Second City Television. Throughout the eighties, he often played small or supporting roles in such movies as The Blues Brothers, Stripes, and National Lampoon's Vacation. The mid- to late-eighties saw him play his most memorable roles, in such titles as Spaceballs, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and Uncle Buck. His career declined in the early nineties, despite appearing in a few successes, such as Home Alone and Cool Runnings.

Favorite Films: Summer Rental, Spaceballs, The Great Outdoors, Who's Harry Crumb?, Uncle Buck

Probably the first movie I came to love by Candy was Spaceballs. One of the funniest movies I've ever scene, and that I grew up watching over and over, so often that I wore out a VHS tape. Beyond that movie, Candy has played a large role in my childhood and even beyond. I often return to his movies, from Uncle Buck to Delirious and Who's Harry Crumb? His movies are classics and some of the few comedies that are still largely clean and free of vulgarity and potty jokes. By far one of my favorite comedy actors of all time.
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Born: William Shatner on March 22, 1931
Place of Birth: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died: ---------
Place of Death: --------


Born in Canada, Shatner was raised in Conservative Judaism, and faced anti-semitism while growing up in Montreal. After earning a degree in economics, he trained as a Shakespearean actor, and began taking part in the Stratford Festival of Canada, performing in various Shakespearean plays. Throughout his early career, Shatner willingly took small and forgettable parts, often to the detriment to his career, but shot to fame for his signature role of Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek series from 1966 to 1969. He would reprise this role again in an animated series in the 70s and again in the late 70s/80s series of Star Trek movies, ending in the Next Generation movie Star Trek: Generation.

Favorite Films: Twilight Zone (series), Star Trek (series), Airplane II, Star Trek II, Star Trek IV

While there were a few other pieces of Shatner's that I enjoyed, by far his largest impression on me are his Star Trek movies and series. Yes, I know, the series was long before I grew up, but I still love it, and the several movies he played in during the 80s. Captain James T. Kirk is still my favorite starship captain of all the Trekkie universe, followed closely by Jean Luc Placard. For me, it was his attitude towards the no-win scenario in life and the chemistry between his character and Spock and Macoy.
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Born: Leonard Simon Nimoy on March 26, 1931
Place of Birth: Boston, Massachusetts
Died: ---------
Place of Death: --------


Nimoy is the son of Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union (now the Ukraine). He began acting early, at the age of eight, in a neighborhood theatre, and would steadfastly pursue acting at the encouragement of his grandfather. In his early twenties, he taught acting classes in Hollywood and played in minor films. It wasn't until is iconic role as Spock in the series Star Trek that he garnered national and international attention. His character earned him two Emmy Award nominations, as well as appearances on stage at various conventions and events. He reprized his role in the latest Star Trek role in a sort of cameo appearance and a "passing of the torch" to the younger actor.

Favorite Films: Star Trek (series), Star Trek II, The Transformers: The Movie, Star Trek IV, Star Trek

Much like Shatner, Nimoy's main place in my collection is from Star Trek. I can think of no other character from the Star Trek universe that even comes close for me, which isn't to say I don't love some other characters from the various series. But Spock is such a unique and iconic role, it's hard to see any other character who has achieved such international impact. He had a huge role in my childhood, not only from my love of the movies growing up, but also because a close friend often dressed in full Star Trek regalia in high school, including the signature Vulcan ears. On a side note, he does a simply amazing job in Civilization IV as the narrator for much of the spoken material.
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Born: Jackson DeForest Kelley on January 20, 1920
Place of Birth: Atlanta, Georgia
Died: June 11, 1999
Place of Death: Woodland Hills, Los Angeles


Named after pioneering electronics engineer Lee De Forest, DeForest was born in his parents home. He spent much time working in his father's mission in Conyers. Kelley spent time serving in the United States Army Air Forces from 1943 to 1946. He was noticed by Paramount Pictures while shooting a training video for the United States Navy. While he achieved initial success in a small budget film called Fear of the Night, he would never achieve leading star status, leaving Hollywood for New York for a time before returning and playing in many films and shows, successfully, as a villain. However, it was his role in the original Star Trek series that truly catapulted him to fame in the 60s. Shy by his own admission, he was the only original series cast member not to write or publish an autobiography.

Favorite Films: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Star Trek (series), Star Trek II, Star Trek IV

DeForest Kelley's main inclusion here, for me, is his role as Doctor Macoy in the original Star Trek series. I can't say I've seen many of his other films that I recall, although it's possible I have and do not remember him from those films. It is difficult to say if he is my favorite doctor from the Trekkie series, although he is by far one of the most colorful. I also enjoy the doctor in Star Trek: Voyager immensely.
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Born: Patrick Stewart on July 13, 1940
Place of Birth: Mirfield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died: ---------
Place of Death: --------


Stewart grew up in a poor household rife with domestic strife and violent. His father served in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and suffered from shell shock, contributing to the chaos that often erupted at home. Early on, an English teacher handed Stewart a copy of Shakespeare and told him to "get up on your feet and perform." Stewart was a true Shakespearean actor, being a member of Royal Shakespearean Company from 1966 to 1982. He played in some minor roles before landing the role of Jean Luc Placard, a role that would change his life, along with millions of viewers' lives. He knew nothing of the iconic status of the original series when he signed that contract, and had trouble adjusting to life on Hollywood sets. However, it proved to be one of his career changing and defining roles for him, as he later admitted. He also played in other shows and films, most notably the X-Men series of films.

Favorite Films: Excalibur, Star Trek: The Next Generation (series), Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Star Trek: First Contact, X-Men

I only later realized Stewart was in a favorite of my childhood films, Excalibur much later, but much like several actors here, his main claim to my viewing experience as a child is his role in Star Trek. Of all the ST series, The Next Generation is a very close second for me. I did immensely enjoy Voyager but for me, Generations is the only one that compares to the original series. I understand that many prefer the newer series, in large part because of special effects, or its longer running by several seasons. All the same, this series and the films associated with it hold a special place in my pantheon of sci-fi series/films.
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Average listal rating (1188 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
Born: Ian Murray McKellen on May 25, 1939
Place of Birth: Burnley, Lancashire, England, UK
Died: ---------
Place of Death: --------


McKellen was born shortly before the start of the second World War, and his early experiences would prove to have a lasting affect on him. He grew up in a strongly Christian, but unorthodox family, from a long line of lay preachers and preachers, dating back to his great-great-grandfather. His mother died when he was but 12 and his father when he was 24. His parents encouraged his interest in theatre from an early age. In 1979 McKellen was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. While his career in film began in the late 60s with A Touch of Love, it wasn't until the 90s. While he achieved critical success and widespread fame, his most notable remembered roles were in the X-men series as the character Magneto and his role as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.

Favorite Films: X-Men, LotR: Fellowship of the Ring, LotR: The Two Towers, LotR: Return of the King

I'll readily admit that before X-Men and LotR, I had very little idea who McKellen was. He was not a huge part of my childhood. But that matters little to me, as he did an amazing job with the role of Gandalf, a work very dear to my heart. I do have some issues with the film versions, but his character was not one of them. Gandalf was one of the few characters they got just about right in the movies, unlike some other beloved characters that were so deformed as to be unrecognizable (most notable, Faramir and Treebeard, but there are many others).
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Born: Morgan Porterfield Freeman on June 1, 1937
Place of Birth: Memphis, Tennessee
Died: ---------
Place of Death: --------


As an infant, Morgan was sent to his paternal grandmother in Mississippi. It would be the first of many moves for him growing up. At the age of nine he made his acting debut, winning a statewide drama competition at the age of 12. Freeman enjoyed a long theatre career through the late 80s. While his first screen credit was in 71 in the film Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow?, he became more widely known for his role on the soap opera Another World and the children's PBS show The Electric Company. In the late eighties, his screen career began to take off with roles in films such as Driving Miss Daisy and Glory. Even though he was nominated three times prior, his first Academy Award came for his supporting role in Million Dollar Baby.

Favorite Films: Driving Miss Daisy, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Unforgiven, Bruce Almighty, Million Dollar Baby

Freeman has played in many famous films, but for me, role I first began taking a notice of him for was Unforgiven Probably one of the best modern western ever made (post-western heyday films), he was as much a part of its success as its lead actor, Clint Eastwood (another brilliant actor). Freeman is also, to my mind, one of the best narrators alive today. I put him up there with the likes of Leonard Nimoy and James Earl Jones.
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Average listal rating (1306 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Born: William James Murray on September 21, 1950
Place of Birth: Wilmette, Illinois
Died: ---------
Place of Death: --------


Murray was raised in a Catholic Irish American family with his eight siblings. At age 17, Bill's father died from complications due to diabetes. During his teen years, Murray worked as a golf caddy, and was the lead singer in a rock band called Dutch Masters. Murray got his start as a comedian in the group The Second City, before hitting it big in Saturday Night Live. Murray played in a number of hit movies early on in his career, including Caddyshack and Stripes. In 1984, he started in the blockbuster hit Ghostbusters. Due to the flop of his first film adaptation The Razor's Edge, Murray took a hiatus from acting for four years, before turning in 1988 in the movie Scrooged. Murray played in a number of hit comedies in the 90s, but in 96 decided to take his acting in the direction of more dramatic roles, first starting in the film Lost in Translation, for which he received numerous awards. Rumors abound of his possible return to the Ghostbusters franchise, although he has denied such claims.

Favorite Films: Ghostbusters, Scrooged, What About Bob?, Groundhog Day, The Man Who Knew Too Little

I would perhaps put Murray on the same level as John Candy for me, at least in terms of his important to my childhood. I can still remember the Ghostbusters cake I had for a birthday party in the eighties, and my Halloween costume as a Ghostbuster that same year. All the same, I miss his comedy. He created so many of my childhood favorites in the 80s and early 90s. Then he decided to go dramatic and for me, at least, created some horridly dull or just plain bizarre movies. I miss his comedy. I don't know how many feel the same as I do, but I wish he would return to his roots as a comedian.
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Average listal rating (2308 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Born: James Eugene Carrey on January 17, 1962
Place of Birth: Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Died: ---------
Place of Death: --------


Carrey grew up in a Catholic family in Canada, the son of a homemaker mother and a musician and accountant father. When his father lost his "regular" job, as he described it in an interview, "our family went from lower middle class to poor." Carrey never finished high school due to having to help support his family during those years as a janitor. Carrey struggled to make a go of his comedy career, partly due to his family's inability to financially support his ambitions. Once his family's situation stabilized, he slowly built up a reputation as a stand-up comedian, eventually being noticed by Rodney Dangerfield. Once he moved to Hollywood, Carrey turned his attention to film, taking small roles before meeting Damon Wayans and accepting a role on the show In Living Color. However, it wasn't until his first starring role in the blockbuster film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective that he would be launched as a star. He would go on to work on numerous other blockbuster films for which he would receive critical acclaim and awards, including Dumb and Dumber and The Truman Show.

Favorite Films: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb & Dumber, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, The Truman Show, Bruce Almighty

While I'm not as much a fan of some of his newer movies, Carrey remained a large part of my teen years, beginning with Ace Ventura. For me, his best movie was the odd comedy The Truman Show, not only hugely hilarious for me, but also a commentary on our obsession with reality tv and our obsession with knowing everything about the life of a celebrity. This isn't to say I haven't enjoyed many of his other movies as well. Carrey always struck me as one of the more down to earth actors, although lately with his odd political rants, I'm having to rethink my impressions of him.
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Born: Rowan Sebastion Atkinson on January 6, 1955
Place of Birth: Consett, County Durham, England, UK
Died: ---------
Place of Death: -------


Atkinson was raised Anglican in England, one of three siblings to parents Eric Atkinson and Ella May. He earned an MSc in Electrical Engineering degree from Newcastle University. Atkinson had a long career in acting before first winning national attention in the Oxford Revue at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1976. While successful in several films and shows, it wasn't until 1983 when he played in one of his two major roles on the show The Black Adder. His other role, Mr. Bean, was his own creation, partly influenced by silent films and by the earlier comedy character Monsieur Hulot created by French comedian and director Jacques Tati. The first episode of Mr. Bean aired in 1990 and the last in 1995. He would make two other films reprising the role of Mr. Bean in the films Bean (1990) and Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007).

Favorite Films: Hot Shots! Part Deux, Bean (series), Bean (movie), Johnny English, Mr. Bean's Holiday

Atkinson's main reason for being on this list is his role as Mr. Bean. I have never seen The Black Adder, but it's enough that he has the one character that I love so much to watch. This isn't to say I didn't enjoy his other smaller roles, particularly his role in Hot Shots! Part Deux, but few of his other roles compare, in my mind. The one exception to that, for me, is his role as Johnny English. I have yet to see the second of those films, but it was brilliant, and one of my favorite comedies of recent years.
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Actresses

Average listal rating (147 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
Born: Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff on April 3, 1924
Place of Birth: Cincinnati, Ohio
Died: ---------
Place of Death: --------


Doris Day was named by her mother in honor of her mother's favorite actress, Doris Kenyon, a silent screen star. Her parents separated early due to her father's alleged infidelity. Early on Doris developed an interest in dance, but that path was cut short by a car accident in 1937 that damaged her legs. While recovering, Doris discovered her talent for singing, and with the help of her mother and singing instructor Grace Raine, Doris successfully launched a long and successful singing career. Her success as a singer directly led to her development of a career on film. The combination of her singing and new acting career led to success on both fronts. In 1951, Doris Day made the decision to work under the management of her third husband, Marty Melcher. Day enjoyed much success in the late 50s and throughout the 60s. When her husband Melcher died in 1968, Day learned that her husband had squandered her earnings and left her heavily in debt. She also learned that he had signed her on to work on television, a deal she was not happy with, but nevertheless, "gave it 100 percent anyway. (Because) that's the only way I know how to do it." Following the end of The Doris Day Show, she largely retired from acting and performing, but would continue her work as an animal rights activist.

Favorite Films: Lullaby of Broadway, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Teacher's Pet, Pillow Talk

Doris Day's largest influence on me growing up was her music. I had an odd combination of musical tastes, on the one hand growing up with hard rock and heavy metal during the 80s and 90s, and on the other with musical influence from my father and his era. Also largely responsible for my keen interest in older films and older movie stars, I came to enjoy many of Day's old films. She never played as large a role as an actress in my life as some other actresses and actors, but she remained a large part of my life nonetheless.
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Born: Maureen FitzSimons on August 17, 1920
Place of Birth: Ranelagh, Dublin, Ireland
Died: ---------
Place of Death: -------


From early on, Maureen's dream had been to be a stage actress. Beginning at the age of six, she began training as an actress, joining the Rathmines Theatre Company at the age of ten. Upon receiving her first screen test, she was adorned in a "gold lamé dress with flapping sleeves like wings and heavy make-up with an ornate hair style." Needless to say, she was not taken with her first experience with film. Fortunately, she was noticed by actor Charles Laughton, and soon had signed a contract with Mayflower Pictures. After a brief time with RKO studios shortly after the start of WWII, she was rescued from low budget films by John Ford. Due to her success as an actress already, she never was cast in musical roles, although her love of singing was given release in the release of two successful recordings in the 1960s.

Favorite Films: Sinbad the Sailor, Miracle on 34th Street, Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, McLintock!,

Being a huge fan of John Wayne, it is only natural that one of his closest friends in life also shared a large role on my television sets. And these is much to like about Maureen O'Hara, apart from her movies with John Wayne. Of course, I love her chemistry with Wayne, but her other roles, markedly in Miracle on 34th Street were also quiet memorable and brilliant movies. I won't say I ever listened to her music. In fact, I didn't even know of her albums before researching for this list. But regardless, she was a central figure in my life growing up and remains a favorite of mine.
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Born: Audrey Kathleen Ruston on May 4, 1929
Place of Birth: Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium
Died: January 20, 1993
Place of Death: Tolochenaz, Vaud, Switzerland


Hepburn had ties with the Dutch aristocracy, being related to Elbrig Willemine Henriette, Baroness van Asbeck. Hepburn spent much of her childhood moving between Belgium, England, and the Netherlands, including German-occupied Arnhem during WWII. Due in large part her families many moves, Hepburn became fluent in several languages, including English, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Italian. From the age of 5, Hepburn studied ballet, an avocation that would remain a large part of her life for many years. While she played in a number of smaller roles in British film, it wasn't until her casting in Roman Holiday that her acting career took off. She would go on to play in several critically acclaimed and successful films, although as the years passed, she would take part in fewer films, instead turning more to her work with UNICEF, for which she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom shortly before her death in 1993 to appendiceal cancer.

Favorite Films: Roman Holiday, Sabrina, The Nun's Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's

I'm not sure when I first grew interested in Hepburn's films; perhaps it was after I saw Roman Holiday several years back. She was never a major part of my childhood, but since I first saw Roman Holiday, I made it a point to seek out her other films, many of which I enjoyed, though not all. I have a close friend, on the other hand, who is obsessed with her, and perhaps my own interest stems partly from his incessant discussion of her so often. Be that as it may, I have to admit I am quite fond of her, and consider her one of the great American actresses.
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Born: Olivia Mary de Havilland on July 1, 1916
Place of Birth: Tokyo, Japan
Died: ---------
Place of Death: -------


Born to British parents in Tokyo, de Havilland's parents would marry in 1914, but the marriage would not be a happy one. A few years after her birth, her mother Lillian convinced her father to return to England, but during a stop in California to treat an illness of Olivia's, her sister Joan developed pneumonia. Olivia's mother decided to remain in California, settling in Saratoga. Olivia's mother was largely responsible for her interest in the arts, including theatre, which she pursued throughout her school career. Her career in theatre would eventually lead to her transition to the big screen in her first role in the film A Midsummer Night's Dream. After a few films with mixed reviews and reception, she was paired with then unknown actor Errol Flynn, leading to many collaborations with Flynn in film. After playing in Gone With the Wind, Olivia decided to move towards more dramatic roles, but received no support in doing so from Warner Bros. After completing her seven year contract with Warner Bros., she was informed that her contract had been extended because of periods of suspension. She would ultimately win her court case against Warner Bros., which was considered a monumental case that shifted power away from studios. Although blacklisted by Warner Bros., a couple years later she signed a new contract with Paramount Pictures, and the success of her films improved once again. By the 50s and 60s, her career in film began to slow down, but she began to work more in television, working until the late 80s.

Favorite Films: Captain Blood, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Adventures of Robin Hood, To Each His Own, My Cousin Rachel

Of the golden era actresses, de Havilland is definitely one of my favorites. Perhaps it lay in her pairing with Errol Flynn, but in her own right, she was an amazing actress, and I happen to love many of her films, even beyond the eight she made with Flynn. She was a major figure for me growing up, in large part due to my father. But beyond those years, I have come to appreciate her more as I've grown older and seen more of her films than the action/adventure type that she often starred in early on.
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Born: Ingrid Bergman on August 29, 1915
Place of Birth: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: August 29, 1982
Place of Death: London, England, UK


Ingrid had a tumultuous childhood. When she was only three years old, her mother died. At the age of thirteen, her father died. At that time, she was sent to live with an aunt, who also died, six months after her arrival. While her father was still alive, he encouraged her to train to become an opera singer, although even then she knew she wanted nothing else but to be an actress. At the age of 17, Ingrid competed in an acting competition to enter the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. She was accepted without even finishing her audition. This would ultimately lead to her career in Swedish films. Her first film in the United States was Intermezzo, which made her a huge success overnight. Following this role she would play in the iconic movie Casablanca. She followed with numerous critically acclaimed films. During the late forties and fifties she would have a series of tumultuous relationships and marriages, including an infamous affair with Roberto Rossellini. Following a divorce from Rossellini, she made a triumphant return to films in the movie Anastasia. Her final role was on a tv mini-series called A Woman Called Golda.

Favorite Films: Casablanca, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Bell's of St. Mary's, Murder on the Orient Express, Notorious

Ingrid is another of Hollywood's actresses whom I grew up admiring. For me, I first remember seeing her in the movie The Bell's of St. Mary's, a favorite of my father's. After that, I found myself asking him for other films with her, and found very few that I did not enjoy. I do think I enjoyed much of her earlier work better, but even her later films, such as Murder on the Orient Express were great, and she remains one of my all-time favorite actresses.
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Average listal rating (300 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
Born: Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko on July 20, 1938
Place of Birth: San Francisco, California
Died: November 29, 1981
Place of Death: Santa Catalina Island, California


Born to Russian immigrants in San Francisco, Natalie would begin her career in acting early, in large part due to her mother's ambitions for her. Early on in her career, producers at RKO Studios changed her stage name to Wood, a name she never liked. At the age of five, Natalie played in her first role, a fifteen second bit in Happy Land, but it was enough to be noticed by Irving Pichel. A few years later at the age of eight, she would play in the Christmas icon Miracle on 34th Street. She would go on to play in 20 films as a child, but unlike too many child stars, she would easily make the transition as she grew older, playing in yet another iconic movie, this time co-starring with James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. In the early 60s, Natalie would take a role in the hit musical Westside Story. However, in the 70s, Wood would go into semi-retirement and focus instead on raising her family. Mystery surrounds her drowning death in 1981, being uncertain whether it was accidental or murder.

Favorite Films: Miracle on 34th Street, Rebel Without a Cause, The Searchers,

Natalie Wood has the distinction of playing in some of my favorite movies, such as Miracle on 34th Street and one of my least favorite in Westside Story. That is not because of her acting in that movie, but rather, I simply don't like very many musicals. And I have a bit of a grudge with Westside Story, being forced to watch it numerous times as I progressed from elementary school to middle school to high school. I was just darn sick of it by the time I graduated and could never bring myself to watch it again since.
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Average listal rating (133 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
Born: Betty Marion White on July 17, 1922
Place of Birth: Oak Park, Illinois
Died: ---------
Place of Death: -------


Betty's family moved to Los Angeles, California during the Great Depression. Early on, during the production of a play she wrote, White discovered her love of performing. Shortly after her acting career began, it was interrupted with the start of WWII, during which she volunteered with the American Women's Voluntary Service. Throughout the 40s, White played parts in several radio programs popular during the time, including Blondie, The Great Gildersleeve, and This is Your FBI. In the 50s, White took part in a few television shows, as well as briefly hosting her own The Betty White Show. Her fame in the 60s and early 70s was largely a result of her serving as a hostess and commentator for the Tournament of Roses Parade. Beginning in the mid-70s, White played a role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, staying with the show until the mid-80s. In 1985, she began her other most famous role on the sitcom The Golden Girls. Since then, White's career has seen a resurgence with a role on Hot in Cleveland and her own show she hosts called Betty White's Off Their Rockers.

Favorite Films: The Golden Girls (series), Betty White's Off Their Rockers

I came to know and appreciate Betty White long after her heyday, and in essence, mostly came to love, much to my own surprise, her character on The Golden Girls. I didn't watch my first episode of that show until the 2000s, so she did not play any real role in my childhood. However, since then I do watch reruns of The Golden Girls as well as some episodes of her new show Betty White's Off Their Rockers.
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Average listal rating (186 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
Born: Jeri Lynn Zimmermann on February 22, 1968
Place of Birth: Munich, West Germany
Died: ---------
Place of Death: -------


Ryan grew up a "military brat," moving across several states growing up, until her father finally retired and they settled in Paducah, Kentucky. In 1989 she was chosen as Miss Illinois, and placed third in the 1990 Miss America Pageant. After graduating college, Ryan pursued acting full-time in Los Angeles, first appearing on the sitcom Who's the Boss?. Her first big break was on the show Dark Skies, although her most famous role came later as the former borg Seven of Nine on the show Star Trek: Voyager from 1997 to 2001. Ryan has appeared on a number of shows since then, including Boston Legal and presently Body of Proof.

Favorite Films: Star Trek Voyager (series)

Ryan's sole reason for inclusion on this list is her role in one of my favorite tv series, Star Trek:Voyager. While the series itself is only third for me as far as Trekkie shows go, I did love the show, and her character was definitely one of the most intriguing there. And yes, I'm human and a guy, so it didn't hurt that I found her very attractive on the show. But it was definitely more than just her looks on the show. The experience of being re-introduced to society after living so long as a sort of "worker bee" in the collective is quite fascinating.
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Born: Catherine Zeta Jones on September 25, 1969
Place of Birth: Swansea, Wales
Died: ---------
Place of Death: -------


Catherine is Welsh and Irish in decent, with the Irish coming from her mother's side. Early on in her childhood, Catherine began her acting career; her interest in pursing such a career also motivated her to leave the school she was attending, the Dumbarton House School, to attend The Arts Educational Schools, to pursue a three-year, full-time course in musical theater. Throughout her teens, she played in numerous plays, leaving England for France in 1989 where she played in her film debut in the French film Les 1001 Nuits. In the early nineties, she played in the tv series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. However, it wasn't until 1998, after playing roles in moderately successful films, that she found big success with her part in the film The Mask of Zorro. Since she has played in a number of critically acclaimed and successful films, including Traffic, Chicago, and The Terminal.

Favorite Films: The Mask of Zorro, The Terminal, Ocean's Twelve

I first noticed Zeta-Jones in the film The Mask of Zorro, and while I can't say I've seen or enjoyed all of her films, she has played in some of my favorites, including my favorite of hers The Terminal. Perhaps it's as much Tom Hanks' performance in the movie that makes it, but I have to say, she played her role perfectly. And in a Hollywood that abound in divorce and quick relationships, I have much respect for her marriage, which by Hollywood standards, is fairly long.
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Average listal rating (1266 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Born: Rachel Hannah Weisz on March 7, 1970
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Died: ---------
Place of Death: -------


Weisz's grew up in England, her parents having fled from Germany before the outbreak of WWII. Her father was an inventor from Hungary and her mother a teacher turned psychotherapist from Vienna, Austria. Her father was Jewish, but her mother was raised Roman Catholic, converting to Judaism later. Weisz's parents encouraged their children to form opinions growing up. Weisz claimed she was a bad student until she was inspired by an English teacher at the age of 16. She gained public attention when she turned down a role in King David alongside Richard Gere. Her television career began in the early 90s, with Weisz appearing on tv films and shows, including Advocates II, Inspector Morse, and Scarlet and Black. Her first major role came in the 1996 film Chain Reaction. However, Weisz didn't achieve international fame until starring in the movie The Mummy. It was a financial success, but she was often criticized for the direction of the film as being outside her natural domain. She followed with the even more financially successful The Mummy Returns, as well as a number of other notable films, including About a Boy and The Constant Gardener.

Favorite Films: The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, About a Boy, The Bourne Legacy

Weisz has been one of those actresses I was attracted to more for her looks initially. She has often been referred to as an "English rose" and I won't deny that claim. But beyond that, I came to appreciate her acting much more in the film About a Boy, a film that I've heard mixed reactions to, but one which I absolutely love. It's quite a hilarious film in my book, and she played her part brilliantly in the film.
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Average listal rating (461 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 0
Born: Helen Elizabeth Hunt on June 15, 1963
Place of Birth: Culver City, California
Died: ---------
Place of Death: -------


Though born in California, Hunt was largely raised in New York City, where she attended play performances several times a week where her father directed. She grew up in a family with a lot of connections to the performing arts, with a father, uncle, and grandmother a part of the industry as directors, acting coaches, or voice coaches. In the 70s, Hunt began her acting career on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She had several smaller parts in shows such as The Bionic Woman, Ark II, and The Facts of Life. She achieved critical success first for her role on the show Mad About You, winning several Emmy Awards for her performances. In 1998, she won an Emmy for her role in the film As Good As It Gets. Since she has played in numerous films, most notably Twister, Pay It Forward, What Women Want, Cast Away, and Surfer Soul.

Favorite Films: Twister, As Good As It Gets, Cast Away, Soul Surfer

Helen Hunt is one of those actresses I admire purely for her acting ability. I find her to be one of my favorites in most every movie I've seen her in. She's a phenomenal talent, playing in two of my favorite movies in As Good As It Gets and Cast Away. While pretty, I wouldn't put her on the level of some other actresses I find stunning, but her ability as an actress has made her a favorite of mine since I first as her in As Good As It Gets.
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Born: Elizabeth Judson Shue on October 6, 1963
Place of Birth: Wilmington, Delaware
Died: ---------
Place of Death: -------


Shue was born into a well-to-do family, with her mother being vice president of the private banking division of the Chemical Banking Corporation, and her father being a lawyer and real estate developer and president of the International Food and Beverage Corporation. Her mother was descended from Pilgrim leader William Brewster. Early on, when Shue was nine, her parent divorced. During her junior year at Wellesley College Shue began work in television commercials as a way to pay for college. After transferring to Harvard, she would leave in 1988 to actively pursue her acting career, the same year her brother William died in a swimming accident. Shue first achieved critical acclaim and fame in the 1984 film The Karate Kid. Her first starring role came later in the 1987 film Adventures in Babysitting. In the late 80s and early nineties, she reprized the role of Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future II, and III. She received an Academy Award nomination for her part in the film Leaving Las Vegas and subsequently received numerous offers in diverse films, including The Trigger Effect, Deconstructing Harry, The Saint, and Palmetto. Most recently Shue has played as Julie Finlay on the long-time series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Favorite Films: The Karate Kid, Adventures in Babysitting, Back to the Future Part II, The Saint

Shue has been a favorite of mine since I saw her in my childhood film The Karate Kid. I remember my father finding her beautiful, and I can't say I disagreed at the time. She also played in some fun and favorite films of mine, including the cult classic Adventures in Babysitting. I don't watch a whole lot of newer shows on tv, so I can't speak to her current role on CSI, but she's an actress that I enjoy watching, although I haven't seen nearly so many of her later films.
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I've put together, the beginnings at least, of a list of my favorite actors and actresses from the past and the present. This list initially is including a mere 30, and partly this is because of the work that went into creating this one. I intend to slowly expand this over time, between working on other lists. For now, this is a good start, and hopefully this will give some glimpse into the life of some of these great actors and actresses. Thank you for viewing and for your support. Remember to remain respectful to others and to myself when posting comments on here.

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