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36 Famous Movie Stars of the 1940s

Updated October 15, 2019 297.4k views37 items

These black and white photos of 1940s movie stars prove it: the '40s were great years for film. Famous 1940s actors, such as Jimmy Stewart and Liz Taylor, lit up the silver screen throughout the decade. Alfred Hitchcock was really coming into his own as the master of suspense, and Frank Capra gave moviegoers a holiday film that would be loved 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 this 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.

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  • 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.
    • Credits (Film): The Searchers, The Longest Day, Stagecoach, True Grit, Rio Bravo
    • Birthplace: Winterset, Iowa, United States of America
    • Age: Dec. at 72 (1907-1979)

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  • 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.
    • Credits (Film): Casablanca, Notorious, Cinema Paradiso, Murder on the Orient Express, Spellbound
    • Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
    • Age: Dec. at 67 (1915-1982)

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  • Cary Grant
    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.
    • Credits (Film): North by Northwest, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia Story, Arsenic and Old Lace
    • Birthplace: Horfield, United Kingdom
    • Age: Dec. at 82 (1904-1986)

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  • 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.
    • Credits (Film): Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, On Golden Pond
    • Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States of America
    • Age: Dec. at 96 (1907-2003)

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