The decade of the 1950s saw the development of blonde bombshells, stunning brunette equivalents to those blonde bombshells, and wacky comedians.
Throughout the decade, musicals and romantic comedies were extremely popular, but suspense thrillers and dark dramas also brought in a lot of money at the box office.
Scrolling through the following information, you may learn a little about some of the most famous performers and actresses from the 1950s.
1. James Stewart
|Name||James Maitland “Jimmy” Stewart|
|Born||May 20, 1908|
|Die||July 2, 1997|
James Maitland “Jimmy” Stewart was an American actor and military pilot. He was born on May 20, 1908, and died on July 2, 1997.
It was the first of Stewart’s five times to be nominated for an Academy Award. He was only nominated for one other Oscar during his career, but he took home the trophy for Best Actor.
He was one of the most famous actors working in Hollywood throughout the 1950s, and the vast majority of his movies were commercially successful.
He was presented with several honorary prizes, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Academy Honorary Award, which were given to him in 1985.
In 1999, the American Film Institute (AFI) placed him in the third spot on their list of the best male American performers.
James Stewart was a legendary American actor whose career spanned 55 years, making him one of the most enduring and beloved actors in Hollywood history. He is best known for his roles in classic films such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Rear Window.” If you want to learn more about other iconic stars from the 1930s, check out this article on the Top 20 Famous Movie Stars Of The 1930s.
2. Marilyn Monroe
|Born||June 1, 1926|
|Die||August 4, 1962|
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, singer, and model. She was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, and passed away on August 4, 1962.
Because of her reputation for performing comedic characters as “blonde bombshells,” she rose to notoriety as one of the most prominent sex symbols of the 1950s and early 1960s and an emblem of that era’s sexual revolution.
When she passed away in 1962, she had been a leading actress for the previous ten years, during which time her films had earned a total of $200 million (or $2 billion in 2021 dollars). Even decades after her passing, Marilyn Monroe remains a significant symbol of popular culture.
She was rated sixth on the list of the best female film legends from the Golden Age of Hollywood, compiled by the American Film Institute in 1999.
In 2009, she was recognized by The Guardian as one of the most outstanding performers ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.
3. John Wayne
|Name||Marion Robert Morrison|
|Born||May 26, 1907|
|Die||June 11, 1979|
Marion Robert Morrison, better known professionally as John Wayne and fondly referred to as The Duke, was an American actor born on May 26, 1907, and passed away on June 11, 1979.
He rose to fame due to the significant parts he played in movies produced during Hollywood’s Golden Age, particularly those in the genres of westerns and battle pictures.
He was one of the most popular attractions at the box office for the better three decades, and he collaborated with many other significant Hollywood performers of his day.
The American Film Institute named Wayne one of the finest male stars of vintage American film in the year 1999.
If you are a fan of John Wayne’s films and want to know more about his life, check out this list of 50 Legendary American White Actors Of All Time. It features some of the most iconic actors in the industry, including John Wayne, and provides insights into their careers. Whether you are interested in classic Hollywood cinema or simply want to learn more about the legends who dominated the industry, this article is a great resource.
4. Elizabeth Taylor
|Name||Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor|
|Born||February 27, 1932|
|Die||March 23, 2011|
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond “Liz” Taylor DBE was a British and American actress. She was born on February 27, 1932, and passed away on March 23, 2011.
She began her career in the early 1940s as a child actor and rose to become one of the most popular stars of traditional Hollywood films in the 1950s. Her career began in the early 1940s.
She became the highest-paid movie star in the world throughout the 1960s, and she continued to be a prominent public figure throughout the remainder of her life.
She was ranked as the seventh-greatest female screen legend of Classic Hollywood films by the American Film Institute in 1999.
She received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal in her final picture for MGM, which won the award.
5. Edmund Gwenn
|Name||Edmund Gwenn (Edmund John Kellaway)|
|Born||September 26, 1877|
|Die||September 6, 1959|
Edmund Gwenn was an English actor. He was born Edmund John Kellaway on September 26, 1877, and passed away on September 6, 1959.
On the big screen, he is most recognized for his performance as Kris Kringle in the Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street (1947). For this portrayal, he was awarded both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In recognition of his work on the comedy picture Mister 880, he was nominated for two more awards: the Golden Globe and the Academy Award (1950).
As a theatrical actor in the West End and on Broadway, he was involved with various works by modern writers. These authors include J. B. Priestley, Bernard Shaw, and John Galsworthy.
6. Donna Reed
|Name||Donna Reed (Donna Belle Mullenger)|
|Born||January 27, 1921|
|Die||January 14, 1986|
Donna Reed was an American actress. She was born Donna Belle Mullenger on January 27, 1921, and passed away on January 14, 1986.
Her acting career extended more than 40 years, and she appeared in more than 40 films during her career.
Recognizing her work in this character, she was nominated for many Emmy Awards and won the Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star in 1963.
The W. A. McHenry Museum in Denison is now housing Reed’s Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. On the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at the location 1610 Vine Street, is a star for Reed.
Donna Reed rose to fame in the 1950s with her role in the TV show “The Donna Reed Show”. If you’re a fan of vintage TV shows and want to explore more options, check out our list of Top 25 Greatest Shows Of The 1950s. These shows offer a glimpse into the cultural and social values of that era and provide great entertainment to modern audiences.
7. Marlon Brando
|Name||Marlon Brando Jr.|
|Born||April 3, 1924|
|Die||July 1, 2004|
Marlon Brando Jr. (April 3, 1924 – July 1, 2004) was an American actor.
Considered one of the most influential actors of the 20th century, he received numerous accolades throughout his career, including two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, one Cannes Film Festival Award, and three British Academy Film Awards.
The American Film Institute ranked Brando as the fourth-greatest movie star among male movie stars whose screen debuts occurred in or before 1950.
He was one of only six actors named in 1999 by Time magazine in its list of the 100 Most Important People of the Century. Time also designated Brando as the “Actor of the Century” in this list.
8. Joan Blondell
|Name||Joan Blondell (Rose Joan Bluestein)|
|Born||August 30, 1906|
|Die||December 25, 1979|
Joan Blondell was an American actress with a career spanning half a century in the film and television industries. She was born Rose Joan Bluestein on August 30, 1906, and passed away on December 25, 1979.
Pictures of her are in sassy and witty parts, and she has been in more than a hundred different movies and television shows.
Blondell remained active as an actress throughout the remainder of her life, working primarily in supporting little parts in cinema and television.
She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “The Blue Veil” (1951).
9. Jack Lemmon
|Name||John Uhler Lemmon III|
|Born||February 8, 1925|
|Die||June 27, 2001|
John Uhler Lemmon III was an American actor born on February 8, 1925, and died on June 27, 2001.
In 1960, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Screen Actors Guild bestowed its Life Achievement Award upon Lemmon.
In 1986, Jack Lemmon was presented with a “Career Achievement” award by the United States National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. Two years later, in March 1988, the American Film Institute presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award for all his work in the film industry.
In 1995, Lemmon was honored with the very first Harvard Arts Medal that was given out. At the 46th Berlin International Film Festival in 1996, Lemmon was presented with the Honorary Golden Bear award for his work in the film industry.
10. Audrey Hepburn
|Name||Audrey Hepburn (Audrey Kathleen Ruston)|
|Born||May 4, 1929|
|Die||January 20, 1993|
|Year Active||1948–1989 (actress)|
Audrey Hepburn was a British actress and philanthropist. She was born Audrey Kathleen Ruston on May 4, 1929, and passed away on January 20, 1993.
She was elected into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in addition to being named by the American Film Institute as the third-greatest female screen legend from Classical Hollywood film.
She was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and the Special Tony Award for her work in the film industry.
She is one of just seventeen persons in history to have won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, and a Tony Award.
Later in her life, Hepburn devoted a significant portion of her time to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which she had supported financially since 1954.
In appreciation of her service as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the United States in December 1992.
11. Montgomery Clift
|Name||Edward Montgomery Clift|
|Born||October 17, 1920|
|Die||July 23, 1966|
Edward Montgomery Clift was an American actor born on October 17, 1920, and died on July 23, 1966.
According to The New York Times, he was well-known and had been nominated for the Academy Awards four times.
Clift went on to star in three different films, all of which had their world premieres in 1953 and garnered Clift a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
12. Ingrid Bergman
|Born||August 29, 1915|
|Die||August 20, 1982|
Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress known for her roles in a range of European and American films, television programs, and plays. She was born on August 29, 1915, and passed away on August 29, 1982.
She has had a career spanning five decades, so she is frequently considered one of film’s most significant screen personas.
She was honored with several prestigious awards, including three Oscars, two Primetime Emmys, a Tony Award, four Golden Globes, a BAFTA Award, and a Volpi Cup, among others.
She is one of just three actresses who have ever won three acting Oscars, making her one of a select group. She was awarded a posthumous Emmy for her performance as the year’s best actress.
After receiving an Emmy Award, Ingrid Bergman became the second actress in the United States to achieve the honor of having won the American Triple Crown of Acting in the year 1960.
13. Cary Grant
|Name||Cary Grant (Archibald Alec Leach)|
|Born||January 18, 1904|
|Die||November 29, 1986|
Archibald Alec Leach, better known as Cary Grant, was an English-American actor born on January 18, 1904, and passed away on November 29, 1986.
Grant was regarded as one of the most famous leading men in classic Hollywood history from the 1930s through the middle of the 1960s.
At the 42nd Academy Awards in 1970, his good friend Frank Sinatra gave him an Honorary Oscar.
In 1981, he was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors for his contributions to the entertainment industry.
The American Film Institute ranked him as the second greatest male star of films from Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1999, and he received this honor.
14. Olivia de Havilland
|Name||Dame Olivia Mary de Havilland|
|Born||July 1, 1916|
|Die||July 26, 2020|
Dame Olivia Mary de Havilland DBE is an American-born actress (July 1, 1916 – July 26, 2020).
From 1935 through 1988, she made several influential films. She was one of the most prominent actresses of her day, having featured in 49 full-length films.
She was the last big Hollywood star from the Golden Age to be still alive and the oldest person to win an Academy Award.
In addition to the two New York Cinematic Critics Circle Awards, the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress, and the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival, de Havilland won several more accolades during her film career.
She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in film. Only she and her sister have won major acting Academy Awards, and both times she was the only one in the family.
If you are a fan of the iconic actress Olivia de Havilland, you might want to check out the list of the oldest living celebrities in 2023. Olivia de Havilland, known for her Academy Award-winning performances in “To Each His Own” and “The Heiress,” is one of the notable names on the list.
15. Humphrey Bogart
|Name||Humphrey DeForest Bogart|
|Born||December 25, 1899|
|Die||January 14, 1957|
Bogie was the stage and screen name of Humphrey DeForest Bogart, an American actor born on December 25, 1899, and passed away on January 14, 1957.
Because of his work in classic Hollywood films, he is revered as an essential figure in American popular culture.
In 1999, the American Film Institute named Bogart the best male star of traditional American film and gave him the Golden Globe Award for his achievement.
It was the first time he had been considered for an Academy Award nomination, and it was for the role of Best Actor.
At Grauman’s Chinese Theatre ceremony on August 21, 1946, he imprinted his handprints and footprints on the cement there.
In 1960, Bogart was honored with a Hollywood Walk of Fame star for his contributions to the film industry.
16. Grace Kelly
|Name||Grace Patricia Kelly|
|Born||November 12, 1929|
|Die||September 14, 1982|
Grace Patricia Kelly was an American actress born on November 12, 1929, and passed away on September 14, 1982.
After making her debut in New York City stage performances, Kelly went on to star in more than 40 live drama productions broadcast during the Golden Age of Television in the early 1950s.
She was up for the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, but she ultimately took home the Oscar for Actress.
According to the American Film Institute’s ranking of the 25 Greatest Female Stars of Classical Hollywood Cinema, she is ranked thirteenth.
Kelly is one of the most graceful ladies in the history of the film industry and the globe.
Joan McIver included Kelly as one of the “30 Irish-American Women Who Changed Our World” on her list published in 1999.
Grace Kelly was one of the most iconic actresses of the 1950s and a timeless beauty. If you want to achieve her classic, polished look, try a Hollywood waves hairstyle. This hairstyle was a popular choice among Hollywood starlets during the ’50s, and it remains a timeless and elegant option for special occasions. With its soft, voluminous waves and sleek texture, Hollywood waves can give you Grace Kelly’s signature glamour.
17. Ernest Borgnine
|Name||Ernest Borgnine (Ermes Effron Borgnino)|
|Born||January 24, 1917|
|Die||July 8, 2012|
Ernest Borgnine was an American actor whose career stretched over six decades and began on January 24, 1917. He was born Ermes Effron Borgnino and died on July 8, 2012.
The Academy recognized Borgnine as the year’s best actor for his performance as Marty Piletti in the movie Marty, which earned him the award in 1955.
He had the distinction of being the Oscar winner for Best Actor, who had been alive the longest up to his passing.
In recognition of his work in the film business, Ernest Borgnine was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of motion pictures in 1960.
The 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were held on January 30, 2011, and he was presented with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award at that ceremony.
18. Joanne Woodward
|Name||Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward|
|Born||February 27, 1930|
|Origin||Thomasville, Georgia, U.S.|
Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward is a well-known American actress, producer, and philanthropist. She was born on February 27, 1930, in the United States.
Woodward has been a Hollywood star since the Golden Age of Hollywood, but her professional peak didn’t come until the 1950s. She won admiration and respect by playing sophisticated characters with a characteristic delicacy and depth of character. Woodward has been a celebrity since the Golden Age of Hollywood.
She was nominated for the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her performance in Woodward.
Woodward had a career that spanned more than six decades, and during that time, he starred in or co-starred in many feature films. For his work, he was nominated for four Academy Awards and won one of them, ten Golden Globe Awards, four BAFTA Film Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, and nine Primetime Emmy Award nominations (winning three).
She was the first to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which she received in 1960.
19. Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness de Cuffe, born Alec Guinness on April 2, 1914, passed away on August 5, 2000. Sir Alec Guinness CH CBE was an English actor.
Guinness received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 50th Academy Awards for his work in the picture released in 1977.
The Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award, and the Tony Award were all bestowed upon Guinness.
In recognition of his contributions to the arts, Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 1959.
In 1960, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1980, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented him with an Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement.
In 1989, the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award was given to him.
20. Helen Hayes
|Name||Helen Hayes MacArthur|
|Born||October 10, 1900|
|Die||March 17, 1993|
Helen Hayes MacArthur was an American actress whose career spanned 80 years. She was born on October 10, 1900, and passed away on March 17, 1993.
She was the second person overall and the first woman to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award. Eventually, she became known as the “First Lady of American Theatre,” and she was the first person to win all four of those awards.
Hayes was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed in the United States, by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.
Helen Hayes is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished actresses to play the leading lady role in 20th-century theater.
She was honored with the Golden Plate Award by the American Academy of Achievement in 1972. Hayes was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame the year after she passed away, which was 1973.
In 1979, she was honored by the University of Notre Dame with the Laetare Medal for her achievements. She was presented with the National Medal of Arts in the year 1988.
On the Hollywood Walk of Fame, you can see her star at 6220 Hollywood Boulevard. The American Theatre Hall of Fame also includes Hayes as a member.
Did you know that some of the most famous celebrities had deformities? Check out these 50 celebrities with deformities list to be surprised. Some of the celebrities listed might even surprise you.
21. Burt Lancaster
|Name||Burton Stephen Lancaster|
|Born||November 2, 1913|
|Die||October 20, 1994|
Burton Stephen Lancaster (born November 2, 1913 – die October 20, 1994) was known as an American actor and producer. His year active was from 1935–1991. For over 45 years in acting, he was famous for many roles range from tough guys with a tender heart to more complex and challenging guys in films, television.
He was quite successful with many achievements such as: a four-time nominee for the Academy Award for Best Actor (winning once), two BAFTA Awards and one Golden Globe Award for Best Lead Actor and so on.
In late 1950s, he earned a Best Actor Golden Globe nomination for The Rainmaker (1956), with Katharine Hepburn and he was highly successful in producing film Hecht-Hill-Lancaster. His final film role was in the Oscar-nominated Field of Dreams.