Archive for the ‘10 Favorite Actresses of the 1950’s’ category

Favorite Actress of the 1950’s ~ #1 ~ Elizabeth Taylor

April 29, 2007

Hair of ebony, eyes of violet, and stunning today as she was as a child, Elizabeth Taylor was in her prime in the 1950’s. Young and vibrant, and full of life, she was a true Star. 6 Academy Award nominations with two wins, Elizabeth not only starred with some of the most handsome men in Hollywood, she befriended them and married others. Lifelong friends with Rock Hudson, Roddy McDowell, Montgomery Clift and even in his short life, James Dean, Elizabeth reigned in the 50’s as the star everyone wanted to be like and everyone wanted to be with.

Her roles in the 50’s included Southern Belle, Susanna Drake in Raintree County; Maggie the Cat in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; the insane Catherine Holly in Suddenly Last Summer; the rich easterner turned cattle heiress as Leslie Benedict in Giant; and as the prostitute, Gloria Wondrous, in 1960’s Butterfield8. Her versatility and engaging good looks made her one of the hottest stars that ever hit Hollywood.

Favorite Actresses of the 1950’s ~ Katharine Hepburn ~ #2

April 24, 2007

By the time the 1950’s came along, Katharine Hepburn was already a legend and film goddess. in the 1951 film she was nominated for the fifth time for her role in African Queen. 1955 she was nominated for the 6th time for her leading role in the film, Summertime, two more nominations came in 1957 and 1959 for the her roles in Suddenly Last Summer and The Rainmaker. In her long career she would be nominated for a total of 12 times, and win a record 4 awards.
Katharine Hepburn was not only a star in the 1950’s but every decade from her debut in 1931 in A Bill of Divorcement, to her last role in 1994 in Love Affair. No favorite list of movie stars would be complete without her.

Favorite Actresses of the 1950’s ~ Grace Kelly ~ #3

April 20, 2007

Regal, elegant, beautiful, grace… What better name as she was the epitome of grace on the screen and in real life. Grace Kelly was the most powerful female in Hollywood in the 1950’s, next to Elizabeth Taylor. She was wanted by every director and producer. From 1950 to 1956 when she wed Prince Rainer of Monaco and retired from Hollywood, she starred in 11 Motion Pictures, and numerous television programs. She was Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite female leading lady.

After only 4 years in the big screen, Grace walked away as the Academy’s Best Actress for her role in Country Girl, beating out big names such as Jane Wyman, Audrey Hepburn, Dorothy Dandridge and Judy Garland.

My favorite Grace Kelly role was Dial M for Murder. She was just spectacular.

Grace left Hollywood royalty for royalty in 1956, but her name, her talent, her grace lives on.

Favorite Actresses of the 50’s ~ Audrey Hepburn ~ #4

April 15, 2007

Roman Holiday and Sabrina were two of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies. Her style, her raw talent and her glamour came to life in those two roles. America loved Audrey. The fifties were the decade that made Audrey Hepburn a household name. Unlike the other starlets in the 50’s, she was not a teen idol, or just a name, she was an actress.

Five time Oscar nominee, and one time winner for her leading role in Roman Holiday, Hepburn became not only an actress but a leading lady in real life. Her humanitarian efforts brought hunger, and poverty to us, and she did something about it. Audrey Hepburn was a rare breed indeed.

Favorite Actresses of the 50’s ~ Bette Davis ~ #5

April 10, 2007

What favorite list of any decade would be complete without the immortal Bette Davis? From 1931 to 1989, Davis played in over 120 films. But in my opinion, her greatest role was that of Margo Channing in the 1950 classic, All About Eve.

Manipulative, deceptive and mysteriously charming, Bette Davis was the real Margo Channing. She controlled the screen and the role with such venom, it made you love her even more. At the end of the movie, you almost actually felt sorry for her. The role garnered her a 9th out of a career 11 Academy Award nominations, however she lost her bid for a third win that year due to the nominations being a split vote between her and her on screen nemesis, Anne Baxter and the award went to Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday, even though the film All About Eve won 6 out of it’s record 14 nominations.

Favorite Actresses of 50’s ~ Natalie Wood~ #6

April 4, 2007

From a child star to teen idol to adult actresses Natalie Wood will forever be etched in my mind as James Dean’s girl, Judy in Rebel Without a Cause, and of course as Maria in West Side Story.

Natalie played roles from the sweet little innocent girl to a stripper (Gypsy) and played them well. Unfortunately as she aged, her roles were limited and her performances were lackluster.

Natalie was nominated for three acting Oscars but never won. Ironically she won a Golden Globe in 1957 for Most Promising Female Newcomer, and she had already been making movies almost 15 years by then. Natalie was known as Hollywood’s bad girl in the 1950’s and she dated a slew of Hollywood elite, many of them older, such as her director on Rebel, Nicholas Ray, who according to the book Live Fast Die Young, also slept with James Dean. Natalie also dated Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty, Raymond Burr and Dennis Hopper.

Natalie married actor, Robert Wagner in 1957, They divorced in 1962, later to remarry. Natalie began work on Brainstorm in 1981 with Christopher Walken. She did not live to see it released. On November 29, 1981, she was sailing on the yacht she shared with her husband, Robert Wagner, and their friend Walken, when Natalie fell in the ocean while trying to board the dinghy tied up alongside the yacht and drowned. She was 43 years old.

Favorite Actresses of the 50’s ~ Lana Turner ~ #7

March 31, 2007

Turner’s film career began — so the story goes — when she was discovered sipping soda at the fountain in Schwab’s Drug Store. She was dubbed “The Sweater Girl” after an on screen appearance walking down the street in a tight skirt and sweater in the appropriately titled 1937 film, “They Won’t Forget.” A favorite pin-up girl during World War II, Turner embodied the beautiful blonde, passionate and troubled, with a shadowy past.

In real life, there were many shadows in Turner’s world. Her father was murdered, reputedly for gambling debts, when she was a child. She struggled with alcoholism all her life and had many famous and a few notorious boyfriends, including billionaire Howard Hughes, pretty-boy actor Tyrone Power, and Tarzan star Lex Barker. Turner eventually married seven times.
In 1958 Turner’s only child, Cheryl Crane, stabbed and killed Johnny Stompanato with a kitchen knife. Turner was trying to break off the relationship. The judge ruled justifiable homicide after hearing evidence of the violence and threats made by Stompanato. Despite the unstable environment of the Turner household, Cheryl was reunited with her mother.

Turner’s scandalous personal life played havoc with her professional advancement in the studio-driven image-conscious world of Hollywood. Her glamour girl reputation overshadowed her talent as an actress. Although directors were aware of her ability, the “women’s roles” Turner was so often type-cast in, prevented her from achieving the greatness many thought her capable of.

Turner’s most notable screen successes were as the “Ziegfeld Girl” (1941), gorgeous in feathers and a fan, as the steamy double-dealing housewife in “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1946), and later in the noir classic, “Madame X” (1966). She was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress for “Peyton Place” in 1957. My most favorite role of Lana’s was in 1959’s, Ironically titled “Imitation of Life”

Even after her original film glamour faded, Turner continued to act. She had a recurring role in the nighttime TV Soap Opera, “Falcon Crest” from 1981 to 1990. Until illness stopped her, she performed at dinner theaters around the country.

Her daughter, who grew up to write a book about her traumatic childhood and successful adulthood in partnership with her lesbian lover, was close to her mother in the final years. Cheryl was at her mother’s bedside when Lana Turner died.

Favorite Actress of the 1950’s ~ Eva Marie Saint~#8

March 25, 2007

In the early 1950’s Eva Marie Saint was known as “the Helen Hayes of television,” as her acting and acclamation was such a high level. She was nominated twice for the Emmy Awards and starred beside, Paul Newman, Frank Sinatra and E. G. Marshall.

But her fame took off in her first big screen role, beating out other stars such as, Grace Kelly, Janice Rule, and Elizabeth Montgomery in Elia Kazan’s 1954, On the Waterfront, which won Best Picture that year at the Oscars and Eva Marie Saint went home with the award for Best Supporting Actresses.

She went on to star in A Hateful Rain in 1957, which garnered her the Best Foreign Actress” from the British Academy of Film and Television. She also starred in Raintree County that same year, starring with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. Legendary director Alfred Hitchcock surprised many by choosing the stately and serious Saint over dozens of other candidates for the femme fatale role in what was to become a suspense classic North by Northwest with Cary Grant and James Mason.

Saint went on to star in numerous films and TV movies and most recently gained a new audience of her portrayal of Martha Kent in Superman Returns.

Favorite Actresses of the 1950’s ~ #9 ~ Thelma Ritter

March 13, 2007

Thelma Ritter first role in the classic 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street was not even credited, although her work as a frustrated mother unable to find the toy that Kris Kringle promised her son. She was 45 at the time and although she had made a mark in theater she was on the verge of becoming a star.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz put her in his next film, A Letter to Three Wives. Again her part was not even credited, but Mankiewicz liked what Ritter could do and he cast her as the outspoken, brash maid to Bette Davis’ Margo Channing in All About Eve. She became a household name and also received her first of six Academy Award nominations for Supporting actress. Ritter never won an award, but she would become known as one of the greatest and best known supporting, charecter actresses ever put on film. She even co-hosted the awards show with Bob Hope in 1954.

I became a fan of Thelma the first time I ever saw All About Eve, and continued to seek her films. Each film she palyed with the same commitment and vigor of the first. Her honesty and truth came through with each role. In occasional non-comedic turns, she projected an unglamorous world-weariness, notably in Pickup on South Street (1953).
Some of her best-known roles included Bette Davis’s devoted maid in All About Eve (1950) as Gene Tierney’s maid – mother in law in The Mating Season (1951), James Stewart’s nurse in Rear Window (1954), and as Doris Day’s housekeeper in Pillow Talk (1959). Her turn in John Huston’s The Misfits (1961), where she played opposite Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, also garnered favorable reviews

Shortly after a 1968 performance on The Jerry Lewis Show, Ritter suffered a heart attack which eventually proved fatal. She was 9 days shy of her 67th birthday.

Favorite Actresses of the 50’s ~ Marilyn Monroe ~ #10

March 8, 2007

She was beautiful, voluptuous, sexy, and one of the hottest actresses in the 1950’s. With her appearing in 23 films in the 1950’s, Marilyn soon became one of the, if not the most celebrated actresses of all time. It wasn’t due to her outstanding acting ability, which in all honesty wasn’t that bad at all, but due to her personality and sex symbol image.

She made apperances in All About Eve in 1950, As Young as You Feel in 1951, Don’t Bother to Knock and Monkey Business in 1952; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and How to Marry a Millionaire in 1953; Then came the big roles that catapulted her even further upward as well as into a downward spiral, The Seven Year Itch, Some Like it Hot and Bus Stop.

Unfortunately she became an even bigger star and legend due to her untimely death after filming what some say was her greatest role of her career, matched with the greatest leading man of all time, Clark Gable in The Misfits.


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