The 1950s was the era of blonde and brunette actors and actresses, and zany comedians. The genres like romantic comedies and musicals had not lost their spark till this time, and people still loved watching such shows and movies. However, in this decade, the dark dramas and suspense thrillers marked their way into the industry and brought a lot of money to the box office. With all the popularity this era of entertainment enjoyed, the most asked question about the 50s is who were the most famous television stars of these times.
We all know the names of Marlon Brando, James Stewart, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and many more actors and actresses whose names still shine in Hollywood. Along with these actors and actresses, several other talented and beautiful stars thrived during the 50s.
To make it easier for Hollywood lovers to know about the famous stars of the 1950s, check out the following list of all the legendary actors and actresses of that era:
1. James Stewart (1932-1991)
James Stewart, an actor from Indiana, Pennsylvania, US, was one of the most famous stars of the 1950s. He was especially known for his roles as an everyday man facing real-life issues. During the 1950s, he appeared in the famous film “Rear Window” by Hitchcock classics. Throughout his fifty years of career as an actor, Stewart starred in several hit films. Some of these famous films include “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Vertigo,” “The Philadelphia Story,” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
Along with being an actor, Stewart was also a veteran military officer. Due to this, he was one of Hollywood’s most respected and honored stars. Stewart was popular for his extremely down-to-earth personality and signature everyday man acting style. Stewart’s career as an actor spanned fifty-five years with starring in over 80 films.
2. Clark Gable (1918-1960)
Clark Gable, also popularly known as “The King of Hollywood,” became one of the most renowned names of Hollywood in the 1950s, after starring in films like “Band of Angels” and “The Tall Men.” Gable started his acting career appearing in Hollywood silent films as an extra between 1924 and 1926. Later on, he starred as a leading role in some famous films like “It Happened One Night,” “The Misfits,” “Cinema Paradiso,” and one of the longest Hollywood movies ever made “Gone with the Wind. ” Tragically, Gable’s prolific acting career was cut short by his untimely passing in 1960 at the age of 59.
3. Marilyn Monroe (1945-1962)
There would be hardly any Hollywood fan who doesn’t know about Marilyn Monroe. We can say that she was an actress who got famous as the most admired sex symbol in the 50s. Monroe rose to the heights of popularity after playing the comic role of “Blonde Bombshell.” This was also the role that made her the popular sex symbol of Hollywood.
Monroe was the perfect example of a classic Hollywood actress. the 1950s was the start of the Golden Age of Television. During this time Monroe graced the silver screen in a series of beloved films, including “The Seven Year Itch,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “Some Like It Hot,” “The Misfits,” and “All About Eve.”
Regrettably, her promising career was cut short by her untimely passing at the age of 36 in 1962. Nevertheless, Marilyn Monroe remains an enduring symbol of classic Hollywood, and her captivating performances continue to captivate audiences worldwide.
4. Humphrey Bogart (1921-1956)
Humphrey Bogart was considered the “Greatest Male Star of Classic American Cinema.” His magnetic appeal made him the embodiment of what every woman desired and every man aspired to become. Besides giving us Treasure Island, the 1950s witnessed Bogart’s meteoric rise to fame, establishing him as a beloved figure among Hollywood’s male actors.
During the 50s, Bogart worked in several hit films and became a popular name. The most famous films that he starred in include “The Big Sleep,” “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” “Casablanca,” “The African Queen,” “The Harder They Fall,” and “The Maltese Falcon.” Each role showcased his exceptional talent and contributed to his enduring legacy in the annals of cinematic history, firmly securing his place among Hollywood’s most celebrated male actors.
Bogart broke through the supporting roles to the lead roles after appearing in movies like “The Maltese Falcon” and “High Sierra.” His role in Casablanca is considered the most significant romantic role he played until this date, as this role was the reason behind his first-ever nomination for the Academy Award for the Best Actor.
5. Shirley MacLaine (1952-present)
Shirley started her acting career in 1955 with the film “The Trouble with Harry.” She got nominated six times for the Oscars throughout her career and at last won one in 1984. Beyond her acting prowess, MacLaine is celebrated as a versatile artist, venturing into singing, writing, and activism. Notable films in her repertoire encompass “Steel Magnolias,” “The Apartment,” “Valentine’s Day,” “Terms of Endearment,” and “Being There.”
In the 50s, her eccentric, quirky, and headstrong roles played a significant part in portraying strong and independent women. Shirley MacLaine’s seven decades of contributions to the industry bear testimony to her multifaceted talents, yet her enchantment in the ’50s remains an indelible chapter in her storied career.
6. Audrey Hepburn (1948-1989)
Audrey Hepburn, the British actress who reigned over Hollywood in the 1950s, remains an enduring symbol of both fashion and film. Her journey in the world of entertainment began in 1948, portraying minor roles in films and gracing the stage as a chorus girl. It was in 1951 that she landed her first substantial role in the Broadway play “Gigi.”
Hepburn’s stellar career reached its pinnacle in 1953 when she made history as the first Academy Award Winner for her captivating performance in the beloved romantic comedy “Roman Holiday.” This milestone catapulted her to international fame, and she continued to enchant audiences in iconic films like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Charade,” “My Fair Lady,” “Sabrina,” “Funny Face,” and “Wait Until Dark.”
Audrey Hepburn’s legacy endures, celebrated for her timeless beauty, fashion sensibility, and unparalleled acting skills. Her unique blend of talent and charm has left an indelible mark on Hollywood, making her an irreplaceable figure in the world of cinema.
7. Elizabeth Taylor (1942-2007)
Elizabeth Taylor, who started her acting career as a child actor in the 1940s, reached the heights of fame during the 50s. Her name is still known in the entertainment industry as the “seventh greatest female screen legend of Classic Hollywood Cinema.”
If we talk about the films she starred in during the 1950s, “Father of the Bride,” “Giant,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “A Place in the Sun,” and “Suddenly, Last Summer” are just a few out of all the amazing films she was a part of. She was an actress who was critically acclaimed for almost all her roles and won several awards during her active years as an actress.
8. Sophia Loren (1950-Present)
At the tender age of sixteen in 1950, Sophia Loren embarked on her acting journey, starting as a child actress. Before signing with Paramount in 1956, she had already garnered experience, appearing in several films portraying small and supporting roles. The 1950s marked the early days of Loren’s ascent to stardom, showcasing her talent in films like “It Started in Naples,” “Houseboat,” and “The Pride and the Passion.”
Despite it being the decade of her debut, Sophia Loren’s magnetic allure and remarkable acting captivated the hearts of thousands of fans, hinting at the illustrious career that was yet to unfold. Her beauty and undeniable talent left an indelible mark, laying the foundation for a remarkable legacy in the world of cinema.
9. James Dean (1950-1955)
Although James Dean worked as an actor only for five years, he still became the only Actor who posthumously received Oscar Nominations more than once. He was an actor who would go off-limits for his work, which is why Dean rose to the heights of fame in the short span of just five years. With top 50s Sci fi movies around,Dean’s portfolio of work included celebrated films such as “Giant,” “Trouble along the Way,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Sailor Beware,” and “East of Eden.”
Unfortunately, in 1955, Dean died in a car crash near Cholame, California, while heading to a sports car racing competition. He endures as a “Cultural Icon,” symbolizing the teenage disillusionment of the 1950s, and remains an unforgettable figure in the annals of Hollywood history.
10. Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball, a trailblazer in comedy, achieved unprecedented success with “I Love Lucy.” The show, which she co-created, became a timeless classic and the first scripted sitcom to be filmed before a live audience. Ball’s impeccable comedic timing and innovation in television production earned her numerous accolades, making her a pioneering figure in the entertainment industry.
11. Milton Berle
Known as “Mr. Television,” Milton Berle was a dominant force in the 1950s with “The Texaco Star Theater.” His variety show became a cultural phenomenon, attracting millions of viewers each week. Berle’s influence extended beyond entertainment; he played a pivotal role in popularizing television and showcasing its potential as a powerful medium.
12. Jackie Gleason
Jackie Gleason’s impact on television is epitomized by “The Honeymooners,” a groundbreaking sitcom. Gleason’s portrayal of Ralph Kramden showcased his versatile talents, and the show’s enduring humor made it a cornerstone of American television. Gleason’s contributions to the medium’s artistic and comedic development remain influential.
The 1950s were undoubtedly the Golden years of the film industry, as this decade gave the world of entertainment plenty of gems. During this decade, several extraordinary and talented stars ruled the industry and enjoyed the heights of fame. The list of the famous actors and actresses of the 50s is so long that we can never fit it all in one article.
However, most of the actors and actresses we listed are not among us anymore, but their work and the talent they had are still known and praised, and it will stay the same for many coming years.