Famous names of the 1950s!

March 12, 2020

How many 1950s movie stars can you name? 

From Marlon Brando to Marilyn Monroe, the 50s produced some of the most iconic movie stars of the century.

In the 50s Post-war culture, many individuals had more leisure time than in previous decades. This, combined with the rise of middle-class citizens who had disposable income to spend on entertainment created an environment for Hollywood to thrive. Going to the cinema was a popular social past time, with thousands of people flocking to go see classics such as Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Singin' in the Rain (1952). 

Films often portrayed highly idealized ways of life, offering viewers a sense of hope and optimism. Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, James Stewart, and Marlon Brando were some of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time. Romantic comedies and musicals were all the rage, with the occasional suspenseful thriller.

Here's quick a look into some of the popular movie stars of the era. 

Alexis Smith

Born in Canada, Alexis grew up in Los Angeles where she worked hard to carve out a name for herself in the film industry. She was scouted by Warner Bros while attending college. Although she never enjoyed the critical acclaim akin to that of Audrey Hepburn, Smith developed a notable career in Hollywood throughout the 40s and 50s. She played smaller roles in the films Here Comes the Groom (1951) and The Turning Point (1952), but was most proud of her work in The Young Philadelphians (1959).

Robert John Wagner Jr.

Robert began his path to fame when he was discovered by a talent scout in the 1950s. After his role in The Happy Years (1950) Robert was signed by 20th Century Fox, which lead to numerous roles in romances. His role as a shell shocked soldier in With a Song in My Heart (1952) was his first real claim to fame. He went on to take roles in Prince Valiant (1954) and A Kiss Before Dying (1956) where he played a cold-blooded murderer. 

Shelley Winters

Nicknamed the Blonde Bombshell in Hollywood, Shelley's dream of being an actor developed while participating in High School plays. Throughout her teen years she undertook a variety of jobs from being a store clerk to modeling to pay for her acting lessons. By the 1940s her hard work had begun to pay off with minor roles in movies such as Racket Man (1944) and Cover Girl (1944). Her great breakthrough in the film industry was her portrayal of a frumpy-looking Alice Tripp, in A Place in the Sun (1951). 

Tony Curtis

Tony's birth name was Bernard Schwartz. He grew up in an impoverished family and spent some time in an orphanage. His path to fame was far from straightforward, as he spent his early years doing various hard labor jobs as well as a stint in the navy. In 1945 he went to acting school and eventually changed his name. His acting career began to flourish in the 50s, after his significant role in the western film, Sierra (1950).

I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment and let me know if you learned anything new. 

What are your favorite 1950s films?

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