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34 Famous Movie Stars of the 1950s

Updated April 9, 2021 417.1k 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: Studio publicity still / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Known for playing everyday men with real-life problems, James Stewart appeared in some of the most popular films of all-time in his over 50-year career. In the 1950s, he starred in the Hitchcock classics' Rear Window and Vertigo.

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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 1950s, he appeared in such films as The Searchers and Rio Bravo.

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      • Known for acting with intensity and candor, Marlon Brando first gained a reputation for being a great actor in the 1950s. On the Waterfront and The Wild One still go down as two of his best films.

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        • 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.

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