Movie Stars of Old

Who is your favorite actor from a pre-1980 movie? I’m watching old movies this week as part of my research for my WIP. It’s hard tough work, let me tell you. Cue tiny violins. As you can tell from the picture, mine is Gregory Peck.

I have a soft spot for old movies and the actors in them, because they seem so much bigger than life, compared to today’s actors and the nitty gritty details we know about them. Even without reading celebrity magazines and following celebrities on the internet, we can’t escape all the information thrown at us. I click on the news headlines update and get a link to an article about why George Clooney might have been in a bad mood at the Oscars. I don’t want to know, especially if it comes out that he was unhappy because his cat coughed up a hairball and he stepped in it with his favorite pair of lucky socks. Too much information.

So join me in old movie appreciation and tell me your favorite star.

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20 Responses to Movie Stars of Old

  1. Cl says:

    I’ll watch anything with David Niven in it.

  2. sue says:

    I adore Bette Davis. She lit up a screen in a way no other actor of her generation did. She wasn’t even pretty or beautiful, in a conventional sense, but she was a force of nature.
    I also have a soft spot for James Mason. He had the most wonderful, rich voice and those gorgeous, smouldering eyes.

  3. Bryn says:

    Humphrey Bogart. I get all swoony when I see him. My two favorite of his movies are The Big Sleep and African Queen, of course. I especially love his casting as Marlowe, because in the books, Marlowe is tall, and well, Bogart was not, and yet he inhabits that role.

  4. Lara says:

    Oh my god. I have a total crush on this guy named Joel McCrea. He was in a few Preston Sturges farces, like the Palm Beach Story (where he plays opposite Claudette Colbert and looks wonderful in a tuxedo) and then he mostly did Westerns till he died.

    I saw him in this movie called “Colorado Territory” where Virginia Mayo played a half-breed Indian girl (I know right?) and she had to dig a bullet out of his shoulder. I swear I fell in love with him watching that film for some odd reason. I’ve never had a serious crush on a movie actor before.

    I read somewhere that McCrea was kind of seen as the poor man’s Gary Cooper. He’s that type. *sighs wistfully*

  5. Tracey says:

    Katherine Hepburn. She was a great actress, but beyond that she was always her own person in world where that wasn’t necessarily appreciated. Strong and talented = winner.

  6. Pisarz says:

    So many to choose from! Yes to Humphrey Bogart, but also Jimmy Stewart. And Peter Lorre was one hck of a character actor.

  7. deegarretson says:

    You all are bringing up great ones. I think I may have to extend my research!

  8. Alice says:

    Ronals Colman FTW! I love everything of his–including the sappy romances. He could have read the phone book and I would’e listened in rapture. His Sydney Carton was unmatchable.

  9. Bryn says:

    Oh and speaking of Katherine Hepburn, one of my other old movie star crushes is in Holiday with her. Sure, it’s a Hepburn/Grant vehicle, but Hepburn’s alcoholic brother is played by the utterly charming Lew Ayres. I fell so hard for him in that movie, and then went and saw him in All Quiet on the Western Front. *sigh* Oh and interesting thing about Lew Ayres. In the 50s he had a hard time getting movie roles, because he refused to smoke or do movies with cigarette sponsorships.

  10. Heidi Gillmore says:

    I have 2 – Cary Grant, particularly in Father Goose. And the other is Spencer Tracy in Guess Whos Coming to Dinner – his mannerisms and some of his lines in that movie remind me of Grandpa. His monologue at the end is incredible, especially the look he exchanges with Katherine Hepburn (knowing the history between them and the backstory of how sick he was during filming and that he died soon afterwards)

  11. kim says:

    Oh, love the old stars and their class. Bogie and Bacall. Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde. Deborah Kerr.

  12. hope101 says:

    Mae West. I know nothing about her in real life, but that gutsy and sexual attitude, always firmly rooted in humour, made me a convert.

  13. suki says:

    Without question, Katharine Hepburn – the look, the voice…fantastic. 🙂

  14. He was pre- and post-1980s, but I would have to say Paul Newman.

  15. Otherlisa says:

    James Mason! That voice…

  16. Jeanne says:

    Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Katherine Hepburn and Audrey, too.

    Hope all is well with you and yours. We should try to schedule a dinner now that the weather has finally broken.

  17. Without question for me is Rod Taylor–The Birds, and The Time Machine sealed it for me. James Mason in Journey to the Center of the Earth. I don’t know if Renne Russo qualifies, but she has my heart and soul. A young Judy Garland–those brown eyes!

  18. matthew wodicka says:

    Fatty Arbuckle! They don’t make’m like that anymore! And he was framed by the movie studios right here in San Francisco at the Saint Francis Hotel. Fascinating story- they tried to ruin him, but he fought back and prevailed in the end.

  19. Maryellen says:

    Gene Kelly–swoon–need I say more?

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