My Favorite or Most Admired Comedy Actors in Movies

by fcullen | created - 21 Dec 2011 | updated - 20 Feb 2016 | Public

Comedians devise their own personae. Comedy actors interpret roles. In practise, the dividing line between the categories of comedians and comedy actors is permeable. Were Marie Dressler, Mae West, Charolotte Greenwood, James Barton, Lucille Ball, Reginald Gardiner, Bette Midler, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and Dudley Moore comedians or comedy actors? Caveat: The first 10 on my list are in my order of admiration. As for the other 90, my ranking could change from day to day.

I'd like to read your comments, but IMDB will not allow me to read your comments unless I join Facebook. I refuse to join any social media: FB, Twits, etc. So if you'd like to comment directly to me, please e-mail me at showbiz@lobo.net, and I'll try to post your comments within my intro to my lists.

1. Alastair Sim

Actor | Scrooge

The son of Alexander Sim JP and Isabella McIntyre, Alastair Sim was educated in Edinburgh. Always interested in language (especially the spoken word) he became the Fulton Lecturer in Elocution at New College, Edinburgh University from 1925 until 1930. He was invited back and became the Rector of ...

2. Margaret Rutherford

Actress | The V.I.P.s

One is always at pains to locate a reference to Margaret Rutherford which does not characterize her as either jut-chinned, eccentric or both. But such, taken together, made for the charm of the woman. The combination of those most mundane of attributes has led some to suggest that she was made for ...

3. Marie Dressler

Actress | Min and Bill

Once you saw her, you would not forget her. Despite her age and weight, she became one of the top box office draws of the sound era. She was 14 when she joined a theater group and she went on to work on stage and in light opera. By 1892, she was on Broadway and she later became a star comedienne on...

4. Alec Guinness

Actor | Star Wars

Alec Guinness was an English actor. He is known for his six collaborations with David Lean: Herbert Pocket in Great Expectations (1946), Fagin in Oliver Twist (1948), Col. Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor), Prince Faisal in Lawrence ...

5. Cary Grant

Actor | North by Northwest

Once told by an interviewer, "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant", Grant is said to have replied, "So would I."

Cary Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach on January 18, 1904 in Horfield, Bristol, England, to Elsie Maria (Kingdon) and Elias James Leach, who worked in a factory. His early years...

6. Glenda Farrell

Actress | Mystery of the Wax Museum

Glenda Farrell began acting in the theater as a child. Her first major film role was in the gangster movie Little Caesar (1931) with Edward G. Robinson. In 1932, she became a Warner Bros. contract actor. She is perhaps best known for her role as Torchy Blane in the 1930s Warner Bros. film series, ...

7. Joan Blondell

Actress | Grease

With blonde hair, big blue eyes and a big smile, Joan was usually cast as the wisecracking working girl who was the lead's best friend. Born into vaudeville to a comic named Eddie, Joan was on the stage when she was three years old. For years, she toured the circuit with her parents and joined a ...

8. Ginger Rogers

Actress | The Major and the Minor

Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri on July 16, 1911. Her mother, known as Lelee, went to Independence to have Ginger away from her husband. She had a baby earlier in their marriage and he allowed the doctor to use forceps and the baby died. She was kidnapped ...

9. Donald MacBride

Actor | The Seven Year Itch

Best known for his work in slapstick comedy and detective whodunits, character actor Donald MacBride lent his serious, craggy mug and determined professionalism to scores of 30s and 40s crimers. Born in Brooklyn, he first appeared on the vaudeville and Broadway stages as a teenage singer in such ...

10. Ned Sparks

Actor | 42nd Street

Ned Sparks proved himself a top character support whose style would be imitated for decades to come. Although less remembered now, he was an inimitable cinematic player back in 1930s Hollywood. The nasal-toned, deadpan comedian Sparks was born Edward A. Sparkman in Guelph, Canada, and was raised ...

11. Walter Catlett

Actor | A Tale of Two Cities

Walter Catlett carved out a career for himself playing excitable, officious blowhards, and few actors did it better. A San Francisco native, he started out in vaudeville - with a detour for a while in opera - before breaking into films in the mid-1920s. Two of his best remembered roles were as the ...

12. Binnie Barnes

Actress | The Time of Their Lives

British-born actress who appeared in both British and American films, but who found her greatest success in Hollywood second leads. After a variety of jobs, including nurse, chorus girl and milkmaid, Barnes entered vaudeville. She appeared in more than a score of short comedies with comedian ...

13. Judy Holliday

Actress | Born Yesterday

Judy Holliday was born Judith Tuvim in New York City on June 21, 1921. Her mother, a piano teacher, was attending a play when she went into labor and made it to the hospital just in time. Judy was an only child. By the age of four, her mother had her enrolled in ballet school which fostered a ...

14. Lucille Ball

Actress | I Love Lucy

The woman who will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their ...

15. Rosalind Russell

Actress | Auntie Mame

The middle of seven children, she was named after the S.S. Rosalind at the suggestion of her father, a successful lawyer. After receiving a Catholic school education, she went to the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York, having convinced her mother that she intended to teach acting. In 1934...

16. Eve Arden

Actress | Our Miss Brooks

Eve was born just north of San Francisco in Mill Valley and was interested in show business from an early age. At 16, she made her stage debut after quitting school to joined a stock company. After appearing in minor roles in two films under her real name, Eunice Quedens, she found that the stage ...

17. Franklin Pangborn

Actor | Hail the Conquering Hero

Franklin Pangborn - a name more befitting a fictionalized bank president rather than a great comedic actor - was a singular character actor but little is known of his early years. He spent some time in developing acting talent prior to appearing on Broadway by March of 1911, and would do six plays ...

18. Nat Pendleton

Actor | The Thin Man

Brawn won out over brain as well when it came to wrestler athlete Nat Pendleton's professional movie career. For two decades, this massively-built, dark-haired, good-looking lug played a number of kind-hearted lunkheads, goons, henchmen and Joe Palooka-like buffoons.

Nathaniel Greene Pendleton was ...

19. Eric Blore

Actor | Top Hat

Born in London, Eric Blore came out of college and started his working life as an insurance agent. But while touring in Australia he took an interest in the stage and theater. He gave up his insurance job and turned to acting after returning to England. With his elfish long, straight nose, ...

20. Robert Morley

Actor | Marie Antoinette

English character actor Robert Morley was educated in England, Germany, France and Italy. His family planned for him to go into the diplomatic service but he liked the idea of acting more. After studying at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London he appeared on the London stage in 1929 ...

21. Margaret Dumont

Actress | Duck Soup

Margaret Dumont would probably consider it a tragedy that she is best-known for her performances as the ultimate straight woman in seven of the Marx Brothers' films (including most of their best). By all accounts she never understood their jokes (offscreen and on), which is of course a major reason...

22. Sig Ruman

Actor | Stalag 17

Wonderfully talented German-born actor, capable of tremendous comedic and dramatic performances, usually as some type of pompous bureaucrat or similarly arrogant individual. Ruman was born on October 11, 1884, in Hamburg, Germany, and actually studied electrotechnology in college before making the ...

23. Mary Boland

Actress | The Women

Lively, buxom character actress Mary Boland made a name for herself playing vacuous or pixillated motherly types during the 1930's. One of her most memorable performances was as the addle-brained Mrs. Rimplegar of Three Cornered Moon (1933), who gives away her family fortune to a swindler because ...

24. Alice Brady

Actress | In Old Chicago

Alice Brady was born in New York City on November 2, 1892. She was interested in the stage from childhood, as her father was famed Broadway producer William A. Brady. After a few stage productions, Alice was discovered by movie producers in New York, since this was the film capital at the time. Her...

25. William Powell

Actor | The Thin Man

William Powell was on the New York stage by 1912, but it would be ten years before his film career would begin. In 1924 he went to Paramount Pictures, where he was employed for the next seven years. During that time, he played in a number of interesting films, but stardom was elusive. He did ...

26. Bill Nighy

Actor | Love Actually

Bill Nighy is an award-winning British character actor. He was born William Francis Nighy on December 12, 1949 in Caterham, Surrey, England, to Catherine Josephine (Whittaker), a psychiatric nurse from Glasgow, and Alfred Martin Nighy, who was English-born and managed a garage in Croydon.

At school,...

27. Joan Cusack

Actress | Grosse Pointe Blank

Actress Joan Cusack was born in New York City, New York, and is the daughter of Nancy (née Carolan) and Dick Cusack. Her father was an advertising executive, writer and actor, and her mother was a math teacher. Her siblings - Susie Cusack, John Cusack, Ann Cusack and Bill Cusack also act. Her ...

28. Mischa Auer

Actor | My Man Godfrey

Mischa Auer, the American screen's supreme exponent of the "Mad Russian" stereotype so dear to Yankee hearts before and after World War II, was born Mischa Ounskowsky on November 17, 1905, in St. Petersburg, Russia, the grandson of violinist Leopold Auer, whose surname he took when he became a ...

29. Helen Broderick

Actress | Swing Time

Helen Broderick was a deliciously funny character comedienne with vaudeville and stage experience, a close friend of Jeanne Eagels. The story goes that, at the age of 14, she ran away from home because her mother (who featured in operatic comedy) was totally obsessed by the theatre. Ironically, all...

30. Jimmy Conlin

Actor | Anatomy of a Murder

Jimmy Conlin was born on October 14, 1884 in Camden, New Jersey, USA as James Patrick Conlin. He was an actor, known for Anatomy of a Murder (1959), The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947) and Calling Philo Vance (1940). He was married to Myrtle Glass and Dorothy Ryan. He died on May 7, 1962 in Encino,...

31. Ruth Donnelly

Actress | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Feisty, ebullient character comedienne who, for three decades, enlivened Hollywood films with her drollery and quick-fire repartee. The daughter of a newspaper editor and music critic, Ruth made her stage debut in the chorus of the touring production 'The Quaker Girl' in 1913. Four years later, she...

32. Billy Gilbert

Actor | His Girl Friday

The son of singers in the Metropolitan Opera, Billy Gilbert began performing in vaudeville at age 12. He developed a drawn-out, explosive sneezing routine that became his trademark (he was the model for, and voice of, Sneezy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)). Gilbert's exquisite comic ...

33. Edgar Kennedy

Actor | Duck Soup

Edgar Kennedy, who was born on April 26, 1890, near Monterey, California, hit the road as a young man and traveled across the country, working in a succession of jobs. He became a professional boxer, claiming to have gone 14 rounds against The Manassas Mauler, Jack Dempsey.

In addition to his ...

34. Tom Kennedy

Actor | The Adventurous Blonde

Once a boxer, brawny character actor Tom Kennedy began his film career early in the silent era. He frequently played big, dumb, likable, working-class types, such as in The Case of the Stuttering Bishop (1937). He also worked with W.C. Fields, The Marx Brothers, and Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in ...

35. Una Merkel

Actress | 42nd Street

Una Merkel began her movie career as stand-in for Lillian Gish in the movie The Wind (1928). After that, she performed on Broadway before she returned to movies for the D.W. Griffith film Abraham Lincoln (1930). In her early years, before gaining a few pounds, she looked like Lillian Gish, but ...

36. Victor Moore

Actor | Make Way for Tomorrow

Victor Moore was born on February 24, 1876 in Hammonton, New Jersey, USA as Victor Frederick Moore. He was an actor, known for Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), Swing Time (1936) and The Seven Year Itch (1955). He was married to Shirley Paige and Emma Littlefield. He died on July 24, 1962 in East Islip...

37. Alan Mowbray

Actor | The Man Who Knew Too Much

Alan Mowbray, the American film actor who was one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild, was born Ernest Allen on August 18, 1896, in London, England, to a non-theatrical family. He served in the British army during World War I and received the Military Medal and the French Croix De ...

38. Una O'Connor

Actress | Witness for the Prosecution

Delightful character actress who held her own against such acting heavyweights as Charles Laughton, Boris Karloff, Tyrone Power, Barbara Stanwyck, and Sydney Greenstreet. Often cast by studio heads as comic relief thanks to her thick Irish accent and rubber-faced expressions, most notably in ...

39. Edna May Oliver

Actress | The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, & Observation of David Copperfield the Younger

She was born Edna May Nutter, a child of solid New England stock, on 9th November 1883 in Malden, Massachusetts. The daughter of Ida May and Charles Edward Nutter, Edna was a descendant of the 6th American president John Quincy Adams. Her father's stepfather, Samuel Oliver, did have a mother named ...

40. Eugene Pallette

Actor | The Adventures of Robin Hood

Gargantuan-bellied, frog-voiced character actor who was a staple in forties movies. After World War II his ultra-right-wing political views fuelled his 'bomb' paranoia and he bought a property in Oregon which he turned into a well-stocked compound in case the Russians attacked. Many of his old ...

41. Edward Everett Horton

Actor | Arsenic and Old Lace

It seemed like Edward Everett Horton appeared in just about every Hollywood comedy made in the 1930s. He was always the perfect counterpart to the great gentlemen and protagonists of the films. Horton was born in Brooklyn, New York City, to Isabella S. (Diack) and Edward Everett Horton, a ...

42. Larry Storch

Actor | The Great Race

As a kid in the 1930s growing up in a tough New York neighborhood, kinetic wiseguy Larry Storch took in the multi-ethnic flavor of his surroundings and started blurting out various accents as a juvenile to provoke laughs and earn attention. Little did he know that this early talent would take him ...

43. Hugh Grant

Actor | Love Actually

Hugh Grant, one of Britain's best known faces, has been equally entertaining on-screen as well as in real life, and has had enough sense of humor to survive a media frenzy. He is known for his roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), with Andie MacDowell, Notting Hill (1999), opposite Julia ...

44. Lee Patrick

Actress | The Maltese Falcon

Lee Patrick could play a tough, scrapping, hard-bitten dame as she did in the gritty women's prison drama Caged (1950), or the meek and twittery socialite wife as exemplified as Doris Upson in the freewheeling farce Auntie Mame (1958). The versatile character actress had plenty of places to go in ...

45. Zasu Pitts

Actress | Greed

Classic comedienne Zasu Pitts, of the timid, forlorn blue eyes and trademark woebegone vocal pattern and fidgety hands, was born to Rulandus and Nellie (Shay) Pitts, the third of four children on January 3, 1894. Her aged New York-native father, who lost a leg back in the Civil War era, had settled...

46. Thelma Ritter

Actress | Rear Window

Thelma Ritter appeared in high school plays and was trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In the 1940s she worked in radio. Her movie career was started with a bit part in the 1946 Miracle on 34th Street (1947). In the movie she played a weary Xmas shopper. Her performance in the short ...

47. May Robson

Actress | Bringing Up Baby

Born Mary Jeanette Robison. She was the youngest daughter of Henry Robison of Penrith, Cumberland, England and Julia Schelesinger of Liverpool, Lancashire, England. Her father died in 1860 and her mother remarried. In 1866/67 they were living in St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and moved ...

48. Charles Ruggles

Actor | Ruggles of Red Gap

Charles Ruggles had one of the longest careers in Hollywood, lasting more than 50 years and encompassing more than 100 films. He made his film debut in 1914 in The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914) and worked steadily after that. He was memorably paired with Mary Boland in a series of comedies in the ...

49. Grady Sutton

Actor | The Bank Dick

Grady Sutton was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He arrived in California in 1924. He got his first break in Hollywood from director William A. Seiter who used him as an extra in The Mad Whirl (1925) starring May McAvoy. Grady remained a Hollywood staple for the next 55 years.

He specialized in ...

50. Mary Wickes

Actress | Sister Act

From the grand old school of wisecracking, loud and lanky Mary Wickes had few peers while forging a career as a salty scene-stealer. Her abrupt, tell-it-like-it-is demeanor made her a consistent audience favorite on every medium for over six decades. She was particularly adroit in film parts that ...

51. Roland Young

Actor | Topper

Best remembered for the many meek characters he played -- think Cosmo Topper, of the screwball classic ­­Topper (1937) -- this balding, short, yet distinguished actor was born in London, England, to an architect and his wife. Young was educated at Sherborne College and London University and trained...

52. Willie Best

Actor | High Sierra

One of the hard-working, unappreciated African-American actors of Hollywood's "Golden Era" who produced good work with what he was given. He starred alongside some of film's great comedians including the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Laurel and Hardy and three films with Shirley Temple. In addition to ...

53. Peggy Cass

Actress | Auntie Mame

Mary Margaret Cass was born May 21, 1924, in Boston, Massachusetts. After three years in the Cambridge Latin School drama club without one speaking part, she moved to New York, where she worked as a secretary, telephone operator, advertising solicitor and model. She joined a USO troupe that took ...

54. Cliff Edwards

Actor | His Girl Friday

Becoming popular with playing the ukulele, his unique singing and supplying the voice of animated movies, Cliff Edwards was one of the most popular singers in America.

Born in Hannibal, Missouri, Edwards left school at the age of 14, moved to St. Louis, and started to work as a singer in saloons. ...

55. Josephine Hull

Actress | Harvey

Josephine Sherwood changed her name after marrying stage actor Shelly Hull in 1910. She studied drama at Radcliffe College -- much to the dismay of her parents -- and first worked on the stage in a stock company in Boston. Her husband died in 1919, aged 35, of Spanish influenza. Josephine left the ...

56. Roscoe Karns

Actor | It Happened One Night

On stage since age 15, Roscoe Karns parlayed his machine-gun delivery and street-wise demeanor (although many thought of him as a New Yorker, he was actually from San Bernardino, California) into character roles in dozens of films from the 1920s to the 1960s. His peak period, though, was in the ...

57. Sam Levene

Actor | After the Thin Man

Sam Levene was the actor who originated "craps-shooter extraordinaire" Nathan Detroit in the seminal American musical "Guys and Dolls" on the Great White Way in the original 1950 production. Levene was not a good singer and had trouble staying in key, so his solo number "Sue Me" had to be written ...

58. Cecil Parker

Actor | The Lady Vanishes

An air of almost smug disdain would hang over his characters like a grey cloud. Yet he could end up being a ray of sunshine with that cloud. Stage or screen, comedy or drama, playing butler or Lord Commander, Englishman Cecil Parker was born in 1897 and took an avid interest in performing following...

59. Dave O'Brien

Writer | The Red Skelton Show

Former chorus boy who would become a star in "B" westerns, and later a successful comedy writer (under the name David Barclay) and TV director. O'Brien is notable as one of the relatively few success stories to emerge out of the drek of poverty row, where he blissfully worked for nearly a decade ...

60. Alison Skipworth

Actress | Six of a Kind

Born in London on July 25, 1863. Originally a Broadway actress with extensive experience portraying grand dames. Skipworth shifted to Hollywood as character actress of the 30's, specializing in playing aristocratic types. She is better remembered, however, in association with her antagonist in ...

61. Arthur Treacher

Actor | Mary Poppins

Born Arthur Veary Treacher in Brighton, East Sussex, England, he was the son of a lawyer. He established a stage career after returning from World War I, and by 1928, he had come to America as part of a musical-comedy revue called Great Temptations. When his film career began in the early 1930s, ...

62. Iris Adrian

Actress | The Odd Couple

Sugar, Pepper, Pearl, Sunny, Goldie, Bubbles, all those are nicknames borne by petite actress Iris Adrian in several of the 160 movies she made. With such names, don't expect to see her playing Joan of Arc or Electra but it remains that all these pet names reflect her winning femininity, its ...

63. Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

The son of a minstrel and circus tightrope walker, Eddie Anderson developed a gravel voice early in life which would become his trademark to fame. He joined his older brother Cornelius as members of "The Three Black Aces" during his vaudeville years, singing for pennies in the hotel lobby. He ...

64. Hans Conried

Actor | Peter Pan

Hans Conried was born in Baltimore and raised both there and in New York City. He studied acting at Columbia University, and played many major classical roles onstage. After having been a member of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre Company, he was heard as Prof. Kropotkin on the radio show "My Friend ...

65. Vernon Dent

Actor | Malice in the Palace

Familiar to many as the frustrated cop, businessman or landlord in countless two-reel comedies by The Three Stooges, Vernon Dent got his start in show business as a member of a singing troupe traveling in Southern California in the early 1920s. He was befriended by comedian Hank Mann, a member of ...

66. Gale Gordon

Actor | Our Miss Brooks

Gale Gordon was born on February 20, 1906 in New York City, New York, USA as Charles Thomas Aldrich Jr. He was an actor, known for Our Miss Brooks (1952), The 'Burbs (1989) and The Lucy Show (1962). He was married to Virginia Gordon. He died on June 30, 1995 in Escondido, California, USA.

67. Alice Ghostley

Actress | To Kill a Mockingbird

Whether portraying a glum, withering wallflower, a drab and dowdy housewife, a klutzy maid or a cynical gossip, eccentric character comedienne Alice Ghostley had the ability to draw laughs from the skimpiest of material with a simple fret or whine. Making a name for herself on the Tony-winning ...

68. Jack Oakie

Actor | The Great Dictator

"America's Joyboy," beefy, plump-faced comedian Jack Oakie, was one of the funniest top and second banana jokesters of stage, radio and especially film's "Golden Age." He would accomplish so much despite the fact that he was "functionally deaf" throughout his career and performed primarily with the...

69. Carol Kane

Actress | The Princess Bride

Carol Kane was born Carolyn Laurie Kane on June 18, 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Elaine Joy (Fetterman), a jazz singer and pianist, and Michael Myron Kane, an architect. Her family is Jewish (from Russia, Poland, and Austria). Due to her parents' divorce, Carol spent most of her childhood in ...

70. Julie Kavner

Actress | The Simpsons

Julie Kavner was born on September 7, 1950 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Julie Deborah Kavner. She is an actress, known for The Simpsons (1989), The Simpsons Movie (2007) and Click (2006).

71. Patsy Kelly

Actress | Rosemary's Baby

Patsy Kelly was born Bridget Sarah Veronica Rose Kelly on January 12, 1910, in Brooklyn, New York. She began performing in vaudeville when she was just twelve years old. Patsy worked with comedian Frank Fay and starred in several Broadway shows. She was discovered by producer Hal Roach who paired ...

72. Leonid Kinskey

Actor | Casablanca

Leonid Kinskey, originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, performed across Europe and much of Latin America before his arrival in the United States. By 1932 he landed a small role as a radical in Ernst Lubitsch's comedy, Trouble in Paradise (1932). The next year he played an agitator in Duck Soup (...

73. Richard Libertini

Actor | Fletch

Richard Libertini was born in E. Cambridge, Massachusetts, to parents who had come to America from southern Italy. Having grown up in a household where both Italian and English were spoken, he developed an ear for foreign accents. A facility he would later use to advantage on stage and in films.

He ...

74. Hattie McDaniel

Actress | Gone with the Wind

After working as early as the 1910s as a band vocalist, Hattie McDaniel debuted as a maid in The Golden West (1932). Her maid-mammy characters became steadily more assertive, showing up first in Judge Priest (1934) and becoming pronounced in Alice Adams (1935). In this one, directed by George ...

75. Polly Moran

Actress | Show People

She was one rowdy, no-holds-barred entertainer. Comedienne Polly Moran was considered second only to perhaps Louise Fazenda as Mack Sennett's funniest lady during her silent-era heyday. Born in 1883, Polly was made for vaudeville, touring all over the world, notably Europe. Sennett snapped her up ...

76. Frank McHugh

Actor | All Through the Night

The parents of Frank McHugh ran their own stock company and he was on the stage as a child. When he was 10 he was part of an act that include his brother Matt McHugh and sister Kitty McHugh. After vaudeville and other stock companies, Frank debuted on Broadway "The Fall Guy" (1925). In 1930 he was ...

77. Nancy Walker

Actress | Rhoda

They say big things often come in small packages, and never was that saying more true than when sizing up the talents of that diminutive dynamo Nancy Walker. Born Anna Myrtle Smoyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 10, 1922, she lived a born-in-a-trunk existence as the daughter of vaudevillian ...

78. Virginia Weidler

Actress | The Philadelphia Story

Delightful child/juvenile actress Virginia Weidler (her friends called her "Ginny") had that knowing gleam in her eye that usually spelled trouble in one form or another for anyone at arm's reach. Born in Eagle Rock, California in 1926, she was one of six children born to Alfred Weidler, an ...

79. Rhys Ifans

Actor | The Amazing Spider-Man

Rhys Ifans was born and raised in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, the son of teacher parents, Beti Wyn (Davies) and Eirwyn Evans. He was educated in two Welsh language schools - Ysgol Pentrecelyn, where his mother taught, and Ysgol Maes Garmon. During his childhood, Ifans showed an interest in...

80. David Hyde Pierce

Actor | Frasier

David Hyde Pierce was born on 3 April 1959 in Saratoga Springs, New York, USA. He is the youngest child of George and Laura Pierce (both deceased) and has two older sisters (Barbara and Nancy) and an older brother (Thomas). As a child, he was very interested in music (particularly piano) and ...

81. Jeffrey Tambor

Actor | Transparent

An incisive talent when it comes to playing bent, off-the-wall characters, Jeffrey Tambor has been captivating audiences for nearly four decades.

Tambor was born and raised in San Francisco, to Eileen (Salzberg) and Michael Bernard Tambor, a flooring contractor. His family is Jewish (from Hungary ...

82. Ed O'Neill

Actor | Married with Children

Ed O'Neill is an American actor best known for playing Al Bundy on Married with Children (1986), the most iconic working class character on television since Archie Bunker. Upon his debut on the world stage in Youngstown, Ohio on April 12, 1946, he was christened Edward Philip O'Neill, Jr. Both his ...

83. Woody Allen

Writer | Manhattan

Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...

84. Roseanne Barr

Producer | Roseanne

Roseanne Barr, one of America's funniest comedians, has another side that not many people have seen. She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. During her teenage years, she worked as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. She married Bill Pentland and they had three children together. They remained ...

85. Betty White

Actress | The Proposal

Betty White was born in Oak Park, Illinois, to Christine Tess (Cachikis), a homemaker, and Horace Logan White, a lighting company executive. She is of Danish, Greek, English, and Welsh descent.

Although best known as the devious Sue Ann Nivens on the classic sitcom Mary Tyler Moore (1970) and the ...

86. Tracey Ullman

Actress | The Tracey Ullman Show

Tracey Ullman (born Trace Ullman) is a multiple award-winning television, stage and film actress who performs as a comedian, singer, dancer, as well as works as a screenwriter, producer, director, author, and businesswoman. She holds dual British and American citizenship.

Ullman's early appearances ...

87. Mary Tyler Moore

Actress | Ordinary People

Mary Tyler Moore was born on December 29, 1936, in Flatbush, Brooklyn, to Marjorie (Hackett) and George Tyler Moore, a clerk. Her maternal grandparents were English immigrants, and her father was of English, Irish, and German descent. Moore's family relocated to California when she was eight. Her ...

88. Mickey Rooney

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Mickey Rooney was born Joe Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. He first took the stage as a toddler in his parents vaudeville act at 17 months old. He made his first film appearance in 1926. The following year, he played the lead character in the first Mickey McGuire short film. ...

89. James Finlayson

Actor | Pardon Us

Alongside Ben Turpin, diminutive Scots-born Jimmy Finlayson was, arguably, the most instantly recognisable of the many clowns of silent screen slapstick who made their living as comic foil to stars like Laurel & Hardy, or Harold Lloyd. The perpetually exasperated, squinting, bald-pated master of ...

90. Mary Boland

Actress | The Women

Lively, buxom character actress Mary Boland made a name for herself playing vacuous or pixillated motherly types during the 1930's. One of her most memorable performances was as the addle-brained Mrs. Rimplegar of Three Cornered Moon (1933), who gives away her family fortune to a swindler because ...

91. Jean Arthur

Actress | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

This marvelous screen comedienne's best asset was only muffled during her seven years' stint in silent films. That asset? It was, of course, her squeaky, frog-like voice, which silent-era cinema audiences had simply no way of perceiving, much less appreciating. Jean Arthur, born Gladys Georgianna ...

92. Claudette Colbert

Actress | It Happened One Night

One of the brightest film stars to grace the screen was born Emilie Claudette Chauchoin on September 13, 1903, in Saint Mandé, France where her father owned a bakery at 57, rue de la République (now Avenue Général de Gaulle). The family moved to the United States when she was three. As Claudette ...

93. Billy Crystal

Actor | Forget Paris

Billy Crystal was born on March 14, 1948 in Long Beach, Long Island, New York. He is the youngest of three sons born to Helen (Gabler) and Jack Crystal. His father was a well-known concert promoter who co-founded Commodore Records and his mother was a homemaker. His family were Jewish immigrants ...

94. Doris Day

Soundtrack | Love Me or Leave Me

One of America's most prolific actresses was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Alma Sophia (Welz), a housewife, and William Joseph Kappelhoff, a music teacher and choir master. Her grandparents were all German immigrants. She had two brothers, Richard, who ...

95. William Demarest

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, William Demarest was a prolific actor in movies and TV, making more than 140 films. Demarest started his acting career in vaudeville and made his way to Broadway. His most famous role was in My Three Sons (1960), replacing a very sick William Frawley. Demarest was ...

96. Danny DeVito

Actor | Matilda

Danny DeVito has amassed a formidable and versatile body of work as an actor, producer and director that spans the stage, television and film.

Daniel Michael DeVito Jr. was born on November 17, 1944, in Neptune, New Jersey, to Italian-American parents. His mother, Julia (Moccello), was a homemaker. ...

97. Teri Garr

Actress | Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Teri Garr can claim a career in show business by birthright. She was born in Lakewood, Ohio, the daughter of Eddie Garr (born Edward Leo Gonnoud), a Broadway stage and film actor, and Phyllis Garr (née Emma Schmotzer), a dancer. Her maternal grandparents were Austrian, and her father was of Irish ...

98. Jack Gilford

Actor | Cocoon

Jack Gilford was born in Brooklyn, New York, as Yankel Gellman. He began his career in the Amateur Nights of the 1930s moving on to nightclubs as an innovative comedian doing satire and pantomime. He was a regular at the Greenwich Village nightspot, Cafe Society and hosted shows featuring Zero ...

99. Peter Sellers

Actor | Being There

Often credited as the greatest comedian of all time, Peter Sellers was born to a well-off English acting family in 1925. His mother and father worked in an acting company run by his grandmother. As a child, Sellers was spoiled, as his parents' first child had died at birth. He enlisted in the Royal...

100. Tom Hanks

Producer | Cast Away

Thomas Jeffrey Hanks was born in Concord, California, to Janet Marylyn (Frager), a hospital worker, and Amos Mefford Hanks, an itinerant cook. His mother's family, originally surnamed "Fraga", was entirely Portuguese, while his father was of mostly English ancestry. Tom grew up in what he has ...