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34 Famous Movie Stars of the 1950s

Updated April 9, 2021 416.4k views41 items

The 1950s featured the rise of blonde bombshells, their beautiful brunette counterparts, method actors, and zany comedians. Musicals and romantic comedies were still wildly popular throughout the decade, but suspense thrillers and dark dramas were also bringing in money at the box office.

Who is the most popular movie star from the 1950s? James Stewart tops our list. In the 1950s, he starred in the Hitchcock classics Rear Window and Vertigo. Known for acting with intensity and candor, Marlon Brando first gained a reputation for being one of the great male actors from the 50s. On the Waterfront and The Wild One still go down as two of his best films. James Dean, Jerry Lewis, and William Holden were also popular 1950s male actors. 

Several famous actresses also thrived in the 1950s. With her iconic looks and wispy voice, Marilyn Monroe defined the classic Hollywood actress. She appeared in such 1950s films as Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Elizabeth Taylor started as a child actress in the 1940s, and by the 1950s, she was a bona fide movie star. A Place in the Sun and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof are just a few of her films from the decade.

Scroll through below to learn a little bit about some of the legendary actors and actresses from the 50s.

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  • Photo: Movie studio / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Clark Gable was still a bona fide move star in the 1950s, appearing in such films as The Tall Men and Band of Angels. Sadly, he died in 1960.

    • Credits (Film): Gone with the Wind, It Happened One Night, Mutiny on the Bounty, Cinema Paradiso, The Misfits
    • Birthplace: Cadiz, Ohio, United States of America
    • Age: Dec. at 59 (1901-1960)

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  • Photo: Paramount Pictures / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Gary Cooper was a man of few words, and that's what movie-goers loved about him. He took home an Academy Award for his performance in the 1952 film High Noon.

    • Credits (Film): High Noon, Cinema Paradiso, The Pride of the Yankees, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Wings
    • Birthplace: Helena, Montana, United States of America
    • Age: Dec. at 60 (1901-1961)

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  • Photo: The Minneapolis Tribune / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Humphrey Bogart is the type of actor who women want and men want to be. In the 1950s, he appeared in such films as The African Queen and The Harder They Fall.
    • Credits (Film): Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, The Big Sleep, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Age: Dec. at 58 (1899-1957)

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  • The 1950s belonged to William Holden, as he appeared in great romantic comedies, film noirs, and war films. Sabrina, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Sunset Blvd. were all released during that fantastic decade of film.

    • Credits (Film): The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Wild Bunch, Sunset Boulevard, The Towering Inferno, Network
    • Birthplace: O'Fallon, Illinois, United States of America
    • Age: Dec. at 63 (1918-1981)

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