Sunday, December 28, 2008

20 Favorite Actors

I thought during the holidays it would be fun to do a followup post to my 20 Favorite Actresses. (Click the title of this post for the link to that list.)

I found this list somewhat least up to No. 18 or so! Then it became very difficult deciding who to include and who will have to linger just outside the Top 20.

Generally speaking, these are movie actors whose primary work was done up through the early '60s. As with the Favorite Actresses list, I'm willing to try watching them in the majority of their films, even if it's a bad one...but I exclude from that movies made after the mid-'60s. For instance, as much as I love Charlton Heston, you couldn't pay me to watch PLANET OF THE APES or SOYLENT GREEN.

Virtually all the actors on the list worked primarily as leading men, sometimes moving into supporting roles later in their careers, but there's one longtime character actor I enjoy so much I had to include him on my list.

The list is in no particular order, although the first two names are my favorites, and the list is very roughly divided into the Top 10 and then the next 10 names.

My Favorite Top 20 Actors:

Cary Grant:

Tyrone Power:

Dana Andrews:

Robert Montgomery:

William Powell:

Joel McCrea:

Robert Taylor:

Robert Mitchum:

Richard Widmark:

Ray Milland:

James Stewart:

Stewart Granger:

John Wayne:

Gene Kelly:

Fred Astaire:

Clark Gable:

Charlton Heston:

Ward Bond:

Fredric March:

Randolph Scott:

I didn't list one of my all-time favorite actors, James Garner, as most of his movies were made after the early '60s...while I love several of his movies, I most appreciate his TV work.

Other names lingering just outside the Top 20: Robert Ryan, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., George Brent, Franchot Tone, Howard Keel, Errol Flynn, Dennis Morgan, Dick Powell, Walter Pidgeon, Robert Young, Claude Rains, Ricardo Montalban, James Cagney, Van Heflin, Gregory Peck, Joseph Cotten, and Van Johnson.

If anyone else would like to put together a Top 20 Actors list or post, be sure to let us know about it in the comments!

Monday Update: Here's a list from the Classic Maiden.

Monday Night Update: And here's Anne's list at Just Muttering -- which seems to have been recently renamed Still Muttering.

Update: David has made a list at Classic Flix, which includes interesting choices such as Harold Lloyd and Thomas Mitchell. He also includes Mickey Rooney; a few days ago my dad mentioned that Cary Grant was once quoted as saying Rooney was the finest actor he knew.

January 11th Update: Here's a brand-new list by Lauren at The Life Cinematic.

January 13th Update: Here's an interesting list posted by Campaspe at Self-Styled Siren.

January 21st Update: Here is Raquelle's list at Out of the Past.

January 27th Update: Here is Jacqueline's interesting list at Another Old Movie Blog.

January 30th Update: And here's a great list from The Shelf.

New 2015 Post: 20 More Favorite Actors.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Laura, it's wonderful to see your list! And it's a wonderful list. I liked finding Ward Bond's picture--wondered who the character actor would be. It's so much fun to have him around, even just for a bit, like in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT ("Oh, yeah?" says he, to Gable's reply: "You got me. Yeah!").

I certainly know what you mean about having no interest in a mid/post-'60s film of a favorite. I found myself enforcing a similar cut-off date with my actresses list: even for Rita, I don't want "Road to Salina" (1971) to be among the movies I've seen. ;)

Have you any other ideas for lists? (I like 'em.) I thought maybe a Favorite Characters list would be fun to do, sometime.


9:23 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Carrie!

I think it was in "G" MEN where Ward Bond doesn't even have a line, but I got the biggest kick out of recognizing him being one of the machine-gunning gangsters. I love to see his face turn up...which it did in nearly 275 movies! :) I also enjoy knowing that he attended my daughter's university, USC, along with John Wayne; they played together on the football team.

There are a few exceptions to watching films by favorites after my arbitrary mid-'60s cutoff...for instance, last New Year's Eve we got a big kick out of watching Charlton Heston in the '70s movie SKYJACKED. But generally, after the mid-'60s the number of ugly, violent, or unpleasant films really jumped, as you know...and I'm much less inclined to try a film of that era unless I know it's going to be good.

I really enjoy lists...always have, and in the case of the "Favorites" lists it gives a fun peek into various bloggers' tastes, including the interests which make them unique compared to other bloggers. Favorite Characters could be fun...or Favorite Character actors, too. I'm sure there are more we can come up with over time! :)

Loved the beautiful Loretta Young photo you've posted from ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL. I so agree about her voice.

Best wishes,

10:46 PM  
Blogger Classic Maiden said...

Great list, I just did one as well :)
I was so glad to see Richard Widmark and Randolph Scott on your list!

5:40 AM  
Blogger jau said...

Hey Laura,
I'm with you almost entirely but I'd put Robert Taylor in place of Tyrone Power. For some reason I've never been able to stand T.P. and adore most of Taylor's films (not the westerns). Also I don't especially like Dana Andrews and would probably put Robert Mitchum in his place. I'll have to reciprocate, I think! Thanks for this!!!
Hope you had a splendid holiday.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

It was a great Christmas, Anne, thank you! Great to hear from you. Hope you had a wonderful holiday as well.

Enjoyed your comments on your favorites. If you post a list be sure to let me know and I'll link to it. :)

Happy New Year,

2:32 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Whaaaat??!!! Gregory Peck, a... fringe dweller?? Say it ain't so! That voice! That look! The dark eyes! Sigh.

At least Cary Grant is top dog. Laura, I received a dvd of Houseboat and that has to be one of my favorite Cary Grant films. Also, Move Over Darling, so I'll think of you when chuckling over James Garner's antics as the man with two wives.

Great fun to see your list!

8:37 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I know, Dana, it's terrible! So many great actors, so little room in the Top 20...I admit I was having second thoughts today about Peck in particular. :)

I love both HOUSEBOAT and MOVE OVER, DARLING...happy viewing!!

Best wishes,

8:56 PM  
Blogger David K. said...

Took your challenge and made one too. You're right Laura -- so many great actors, so little room. I think a top 50 would've vexed me less!!!


11:39 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good lists! I'd say:
Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Ronald Reagan, John Payne, Mickey Rooney,
Joel McRae, Howard Keel, Dick Powell, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power, Bing Crosby,
Don Ameche, Clifton Webb, Bob Cummings, Fred Astaire, William Powell, Fred MacMurray, and -if they count as two- Abbott and Costello!

7:29 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Grable, I love your list. Many of your favorites were actors I wished I could include in a Top 20. :)

Happy New Year,

10:40 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Laura, what a wonderful list! I would have had Gene Kelly, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart vying for the number one spot.

4:38 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

This is a great list! LOVE Cary Grant, Ray Milland, Clark Gable, AND Fred Astaire!!


9:13 PM  

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