18 Spellbinding Men From Old Hollywood That Modern Actors Continue to Look Up To
The Golden Age of Hollywood was a time when actors were not only required to show off in scenes but they also had to be extremely talented by nature. This period started in 1927 with the movie, The Jazz Singer, the first film with sound — even if it was just a few minutes of vocals — that lasted till the 1950s. It was then that the style of filmmaking that exists today was born. Here at Bright Side, we’ve made a brief review of all the handsome guys from Old Hollywood. Back then they’d simply be stopped on streets, offered to take roles in movies and were even taught how to act right on the spot. Most of them have not only become the standard of male beauty, but they’ve also transformed into idols for future generations of actors.
1. Marlon Brando
© Allpix Press / Eastnews © Archive Photos/Getty Images There’s a concept that says cinematography can be split into 2 parts: the time before Brando and the time after. And this isn’t for nothing. Marlon had given 60 years of his life to the development of the Golden Age of Hollywood and he was also one of the first people who started the use of flash cards for memorizing his lines. Marlon received 2 Oscars for “Best Actor” — one of which was for his legendary role of Don Corleone in The Godfather and the other for his role in On the Waterfront.
2. James Stewart
© Everett Collection / Eastnews © Everett Collection / Eastnews James Stewart is listed among the top 3 of the most talented actors of the Golden Age of Hollywood. He won an Academy Award for his role in The Philadelphia Story. He introduced a type of literary hero known as the “little man” which implies a middle-class character without any outstanding abilities but rather, a big heart that envokes support and empathy among viewers. He also worked with incredibly talented people like Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Mann. Additionally, for quite a long time, he had been an ambassador for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio — the one that has the famous lion roaring in the introduction of movies.
3. Christopher Plummer
© Photoshot / Eastnews © Capital Pictures / Eastnews Plummer was a true man of his profession and got a much deserved Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actor” at the old age of 82 for his role in Beginners. Despite his age, the actor is still in the game. He’s acted in more recent hit movies such as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011) and All the Money in the World (2017). Could it be that he’s aiming for one more Academy Award?
4. Sean Connery
© Terence Donovan © Unifrance.org Yes, it was Connery who played James Bond 7 times. However, he got his Oscar for a different role, The Untouchables. He finished his career in 2003 despite offers to play Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also refused to continue acting in movies about Agent 007.
5. Gary Cooper
© Everett Collection / Eastnews © Everett Collection / Eastnews Gary was one of the most handsome guys of his epoch. Within 35 years he managed to have leading roles in 84 movies! He started his career in silent film and had a “till death parts us” attitude toward his job. He won 3 Oscars despite all the illnesses he was struggling with and trauma he endured on set. He was considered the most high-paid actor over a course of 18 years.
6. Gregory Peck
© Everett Collection / Eastnews © Everett Collection / Eastnews It wasn’t for nothing that Gregory Peck was called the “phenomenon of his century” — he was one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood. Over the 50 years of his mind-blowing career, he managed to act in 50 movies and won an Oscar for his role as an advocate in the movie, To Kill a Mockingbird.
7. Kirk Douglas
© Allpix Press / Eastnews © Album Online / Eastnews © Sipa USA / Eastnews The oldest living actor from the Golden Age of Hollywood will turn 102 this year. In 1996, he received the Honorary Award for his 50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture industry. Douglas is active on MySpace and was recognized as one of the oldest celebrity bloggers in the world at the age of 94.
8. Cary Grant
© Album Online / Eastnews © Everett Collection / Eastnews Believe it or not, the actor’s real name is Archibald Alec Leach. Cary Grant started his career with a troupe of stray acrobatic dancers, “The Penders” as a stilt walker. After that, he started to work on himself and managed to develop a unique manner of speech that is now known as the Mid-Atlantic accent and was often copied by others. It was a film executive from Paramount Pictures that first noticed the actor and came up with his stage name. Grant became famous thanks to the actress Mae West who demanded that he play her lover in the movies, She Done Him Wrong and I’m No Angel. In 1970, he was awarded an Oscar for his outstanding achievements in cinematography.
9. Laurence Olivier
© Album Online / Eastnews © Album Online / Eastnews Not only did this handsome man conquer many girls’ hearts, but he represented Hollywood as a whole! Laurence Olivier was a talented actor as well as a remarkable director, scriptwriter, and producer. He received 4 Academy Awards; one for “Best Actor”, one for “Best Picture” (Hamlet), and 2 more for “Special Merits in Cinematography”. In 1970, he was the first actor to become a life peer on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
10. Clark Gable
© Everett Collection / Eastnews © Everett Collection / Eastnews This talented playboy of the ’30 and ’40s was known as the King of Hollywood. Gable received his Oscar 10 years after he started his career for “Best Actor in a Leading Role” in It Happened One Night.
11. Montgomery Clift
© Everett Collection / Eastnews © Everett Collection / Eastnews Montgomery Clift was Marlon Brando’s biggest competitor. The movie Lonelyhearts became his pass to the world of cinematography. Unfortunately, he didn’t receive any Academy Awards even though he was nominated 4 times. In 1956, he suffered severe trauma as a result of a bad car accident. After that, he started to behave strangely and this stage of his life was referred to as the longest suicide in Hollywood’s history.
12. Paul Newman
© Everett Collection / Eastnews © Album Online / Eastnews Paul is one of Hollywood’s biggest pillars and was an avid racer who gave voices to cars on common movies for Disney and Pixar Studios. After his death, his records were used again for the voices in the famous cartoon, Cars 3. He received an Academy Award at the age of 62 for “Best Actor” in the movie, The Color of Money. He also founded a summer camp for children with serious illnesses and has always done a lot of charity.
13. Henry Jaynes Fonda
© Album Online / Eastnews © Album Online / Eastnews Henry managed to play 106 roles within 50 years of his career. He was awarded 2 Oscars several months before his death. Fonda received one Academy Award for “Best Male Role” in On Golden Pond and the second for his contribution to cinematography. He was a patriarch in his family as well as in the families of his children and grandchildren. Regarding the actor, President Ronald Reagan said, “He graced the screen with a sincerity and accuracy which made him a legend.”
14. Charlie Chaplin
© Everett Collection / Eastnews © Everett Collection / Eastnews Not only was Charlie Chaplin an incredibly talented actor, but he was also a very attractive man who was loved by many women. He stood at the birth of cinematography, breathed life into it, and helped shape it into what it was. It was his followers who continued his legacy. Chaplin received 3 Academy Awards and worked till his death. George Bernard Shaw called him “the only genius in cinematography”.
15. William Holden
© Album Online / Eastnews © Associated Press / Eastnews The actor’s real name was William Franklin Beedle Jr. He didn’t receive any special education and was taught how to act by Barbara Stanwyck while on set. His first significant role was as the boxer Joe Bonaparte in the Golden Boy which served as his business card that attracted many other offers. One of these offers was the leading role in Stalag 17 for which he won a “Best Actor” Academy Award. He had loved Audrey Hepburn all his life and the feeling was mutual but unfortunately, the couple never married.
16. James Dean
© Giant / Warner Bros. © Allpix Press / Eastnews James Dean was one of the youngest actors of the Golden Age of Hollywood who never actually grew up due to his tragic death in a car accident at the age of 24. Dean had a contract with Warner Brothers and acted in films like East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Actor” in 2 of the films post mortem.
17. Yul Brynner
© Everett Collection / Eastnews © Everett Collection / Eastnews Being born in Russia, Yuliy Borisovich Briner moved to Hollywood thanks to his future wife whom he couldn’t live apart from. At first, he was primarily seen in romances and gypsy songs, but later, he was invited to the world of Broadway theater. Several years later, he and his wife became full owners of the first television talk show ever, Mr. and Mrs. It was broadcast daily over the course of 3 months. Brynner got an Oscar for his role in the movie, The King and I which was based on the Broadway play of the same name. Sadly, the actor died of lung cancer. Shortly before his death, he recorded a video message for social advertising about the dangers of smoking which the whole world saw on the day of his death.
18. Jack Lemmon
© Everett Collection / Eastnews © Everett Collection / Eastnews Jack Lemmon was called a “heavenly clown” who received world fame thanks to the famous comedy, Some Like It Hot where he played alongside Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis. Lemmon got his first Oscar for his comedic role in the movie, Mister Roberts and a second award for his dramatic role in Save the Tiger. He was a master of transformation and his huge role in the thriller, Glengarry Glen Ross proves it — he won a Volpi Cup for “Best Actor” at the Venice Film Festival. Which of these spellbinding men do you like most? Is there anyone you’d like to add to this list? We’d be glad to hear from you in the comments! Preview photo credit Album Online / Eastnews, Sipa USA / Eastnews