I very much enjoyed reading the post above that lists actors from my two favourite film periods who are still alive . I have spent so much of my life watching these actors on television; by the age of 10, I was completely immersed in the films of the 1930s and 1940s. I’m not sure when my love affair for older films started, but at a tender age, I already knew more about these films than my grandparents who had lived through these times.
A number of these actors have made a lasting impression on me. The exquisite and elegant Olivia de Havilland, the star of my favourite film (The adventures of Robin Hood) and her many pairings with the dashing Errol Flynn. Sister Joan Fontaine did not make the same impression on me, although her work in films such as Rebecca and Suspicion was excellent.
Who can forget the lovely Maureen O’Hara in the Charles Laughton Hunchback of Notre Dame? My maternal grandfather, bless him, used to say that I reminded him of Maureen (yes, he was my favourite grandparent), no doubt because of the hair.
Lizabeth Scott and her endearing lisp, and very much of the Veronica Lake lookalike school of actresses.
Rhonda Fleming, with the flaming red hair, was always such a strong presence on screen and my father’s Hollywood crush. I’ve seen a recent interview with her and she is still incredibly stunning and beautiful.
The classy Celeste Holm, who still looks amazing. Celeste always seemed so patrician on the screen, but without being stuffy.
And, of course, the incomparable Kirk Douglas. Douglas was a mannered actor in many ways but, as they say, what a manner. You simply couldn’t take your eyes off the man when he was on screen; his voice alone was so distinctive that you could identify him instantly. Of Douglas’ films, Ace in the Hole and Paths of Glory are my favourites.
I know it sounds like a cliche, but they really don’t make film stars like this anymore. In a CSI episode, someone refers to an actor in a series of action films as a movie star. Gil Grissom (aka William Petesen) retorted: “X is an actor; Clark Gable was a movie star.” Amen.