celebrities 36 Famous Movie Stars of the 1940s  

Ranker Film
149.8k views 37 items Embed

These black and white photos of 1940s movie stars prove it: the 40s was a great decade for film. Famous 1940s actors, such as Jimmy Stewart and Liz Taylor, lit up the silver screen. Alfred Hitchcock was really coming into his own as the master of suspense, and Frank Capra gave movie-goers a holiday film that would be loved even decades after its initial release. The movie stars of the 1940s had versatile talents, and were able to thrive in the captivating roles of the day.

Who is the most popular movie star of the 1940s? John Wayne tops our list. Known for his calm confidence in the face of great obstacles, John Wayne is one of the best Western actors to ever hit the silver screen. In the 1940s, he appeared in such films as She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Red River. Other great 1940s actors include James Stewart, Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart.

The 1940s also featured great actresses like Katharine Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman, who starred in one of the most popular films of the 1940s and beyond when she appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca in 1942. Later, she appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's movies Notorious and Spellbound. Rita Hayworth was also one of the 1940s biggest stars. She appeared in Gilda in 1946 and Cover Girl in 1944.

Which 1940s movie star is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

John Wayne is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 36 Famous Movie Stars of the 1940s
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Known for his calm confidence in the face of great obstacles, John Wayne is one of the best Western actors to ever hit the silver screen. In the 1940s, he appeared in such films as She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Red River.

Marion Mitchell Morrison, better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director, and producer. An Academy Award-winner, Wayne was among the top box office draws for three decades. An enduring American icon, he epitomized rugged masculinity and is famous for his demeanor, ...more

Credits (Film): The Searchers, The Longest Day, Stagecoach, True Grit, Rio Bravo, + more

Birthplace: Winterset, Iowa, United States of America

Age: Died at 72 (1907-1979)

Also Ranked

#81 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

#60 on The Best Actors in Film History

#12 on The Coolest Actors Ever

#30 on Which Actor Would You Bring Back for One Final Movie?

see more on John Wayne

Ingrid Bergman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 36 Famous Movie Stars of the 1940s
Photo: MGM/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Ingrid Bergman starred in one of the most popular films of the 1940s and beyond when she appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca in 1942. Later, she appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's movies Notorious and Spellbound.

Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and the Tony Award for Best Actress. She is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American ...more

Credits (Film): Casablanca, Notorious, Cinema Paradiso, Murder on the Orient Express, Spellbound, + more

Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden

Age: Died at 67 (1915-1982)

Also Ranked

#9 on The Best Actresses in Film History

#21 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

#48 on Which Actor Would You Bring Back for One Final Movie?

#42 on The Greatest Actress Performances of All Time

see more on Ingrid Bergman

Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 36 Famous Movie Stars of the 1940s
Photo: kate gabrielle/flickr/CC-BY 2.0
Notorious and His Girl Friday are just two of the great 1940s films that featured Cary Grant. He was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute, losing the top spot to fellow 1930s movie star Humphrey Bogart.

Cary Grant was an English stage and Hollywood film actor who became an American citizen in 1942. Known for his transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor and "dashing good looks", Grant is considered one of classic Hollywood's definitive leading men. Grant was named the second Greatest Male Star of All ...more

Credits (Film): North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia Story, Arsenic and Old Lace, + more

Birthplace: Horfield, United Kingdom

Age: Died at 82 (1904-1986)

Also Ranked

#14 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

#13 on The Best English Actors of All Time

#21 on The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

#27 on The Best Actors in Film History

see more on Cary Grant

Katharine Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 36 Famous Movie Stars of the 1940s
Photo:  skeeze/Pixabay/CC0 1.0
Katharine Hepburn was one of Hollywood's most beloved actresses for over 60 years and she did a ton of great movies in the 1940s, including The Philadelphia Story and The Sea of Grass. She appeared in nine films with her longtime love Spencer Tracy.

Katharine Houghton Hepburn was an American actress. Known for her fierce independence and spirited personality, Hepburn was a leading lady in Hollywood for more than 60 years. She appeared in a range of genres, from screwball comedy to literary drama, and received four Academy Awards for Best ...more

Credits (Film): Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, On Golden Pond, + more

Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States of America

Age: Died at 96 (1907-2003)

Also Ranked

#8 on The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

#1 on The Greatest American Actresses of All Time

#46 on Which Actor Would You Bring Back for One Final Movie?

#7 on The Most Influential People in Fashion

see more on Katharine Hepburn