The Golden Age of Hollywood was something truly special. Here, we saw amazing acting talent bring to life the places and storylines audiences could only dream about — all on the silver screen, and for a relatively small price to see. These actors and actresses are beloved in our hearts to this day, and there’s plenty of reason to see why: they made the industry what it is today, and set the standard for how movies should be done.
Here’s a list of stars from that Golden Age that are still with us today (and a few who have just recently departed). Sadly, many have passed away, and as each year passes, we lose more stars. But we can celebrate and appreciate the ones we still have with us!
Vera Lynn’s Songs Are Still Heard In Hollywood At 102!
Vera Lynn is a formidable singer whose classic songs are still heard today in Hollywood’s best movies. Her most recognizable song, We’ll Meet Again, has been featured in films from Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, and one of the Muppet movies, as well as many, many more.
Lynn was born in 1917, and even though she’s over 100 years old now, she’s shown no signs of going away anytime soon. She’s long since settled down, and the English singer, whose iconic voice helped soothe the nation’s anxieties during World War II on the radio, presently enjoys good health and resides in Sussex.
Mel Brooks Continues To Play In Iconic Jokester Roles
Mel Brooks made a name for himself as the director and producer of many films that parodied other genres. He took on the monster film in Young Frankenstein, Hitchcock in High Anxiety, and most notably, the western genre in Blazing Saddles. He’s been nominated for Academy Awards on several occasions, winning in 1967 for his film The Producers, which was remade not too long ago.
These days, the actor is in his 90s, so he’s not doing dance numbers like he used to. But he’s still lending his voice to many films, including with Adam Sandler in the Hotel Transylvania series of movies.
Tippi Hedren became famous for her role in the famous Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds in 1963. The thriller helped her make her mark on Hollywood, and the actress hasn’t stopped since. She’s still in films to this day!
Recently, she was in a movie called The Ghost and the Whale. The film is set in Bodega Bay, and the plot centers around a man who tries to convince the rest of the world that a whale was responsible for his wife’s death. Hedren has been active in Hollywood since 1950 — it’s mighty impressive that she’s still making films to this day!
Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van Dyke (born in 1925) is one of the most iconic faces of television from the 1960s. But the entertainer’s career began long before that. In the 1940s, he starred in stage shows and on radio. He began making TV appearances the following decade, and in 1961 The Dick Van Dyke Show debuted on CBS.
The show lasted for five seasons, but his career kept going. He was in Mary Poppins, Night at the Museum, and many other films. He’s also made cameo appearances on a variety of TV shows, including showing up on Scrubs as a doctor in 2003.
Angela Lansbury Recently Was In Mary Poppins Returns
It’s hard to believe, but Angela Lansbury has never won an Academy Award for her acting career! Still, she has had a storied career, and her persona on stage (in film or in theater) is undeniably grand.
Lansbury, who was born in 1925, is perhaps remembered mostly for her role in the television series Murder She Wrote, but she’s been in a number of different movies before and after that. She voiced Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, and more recently, joined the cast of Mary Poppins Returns. Now in her 90s, the beloved actress still shows no signs of slowing down, although she does take on considerably fewer roles nowadays.
Bob Newhart Was Iconic Long Before His Guest Appearances On The Big Bang Theory
Comedian Bob Newhart had an iconic show that lasted for six seasons, appropriately named after him, called The Bob Newhart Show. He took on the old adage of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” and starred in another show beginning in 1982 titled Newhart. Newhart’s character from these shows even made a cameo appearance in 1994 on Murphy Brown.
Newhart has remained relevant through guest appearances and cameos since that time, including in 2013 when he appeared as “Professor Proton” on The Big Bang Theory. The character was someone Sheldon idolized as a child, so when the spin-off Young Sheldon began, Newhart once again portrayed the professor on that show’s pilot.
Clint Eastwood Continues Acting
The Mule is a film that Clint Eastwood starred and directed in, which was released in 2018. It was the actor’s 72nd credited role. Although it was his first film he acted in four years, the actor doesn’t show any signs of stopping his passion anytime soon.
Eastwood, born in 1930, made his debut in Revenge of the Creature. Although the film was a science fiction movie, Eastwood was more known in this time period as being a western actor — he also had a role on the TV series Rawhide. Of course, his most famous line is regularly quoted by fans everywhere, from Dirty Harry: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky?”
Jacqueline White Quit Acting In 1952
While many actors and actresses on this list have performed well into their golden years, not all of them did. Jacqueline White had starred in a few films during Hollywood’s Golden Age, including in Dr. Gillespie’s New Assistant, which was her first film, produced in 1942. Her final appearance came in The Narrow Margin, which was released in 1952. Following that film’s release, however, White has not appeared in another film ever since.
White and her husband, Neal Bruce Anderson, married in 1948, and moved out to Wyoming to start an oil business. She returned to LA to give birth to her first child, where she was spotted at RKO visiting with some old friends.
Sidney Poitier was born in 1927, in Miami, Florida. In 1964 he became the first black male actor to win an Academy Award, which he won for his role in Lilies of the Field. That role helped get him many others, and by the end of the 1960s, Poitier was a huge draw at movie theaters.
Poitier hasn’t limited his career to acting in front of the camera, but has also directed as well. In Buck and Preacher, Poitier starred alongside Harry Belafonte, but Poitier directed that film as well. He later went on to direct the film Stir Crazy, starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor.
Olivia De Havilland Is 102 Years Old
Olivia de Havilland was an amazing talent who retired from acting in 1988. Her storied career began in the 1930s, with a role in Gone With The Wind. She’s appeared in 48 other films besides that one. Although she was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in that film, she didn’t win that year. However, she would go on to win two Oscars later on in her career, including for her role in the film To Each His Own, which was made in 1946.
De Havilland was born in July 1916, and doesn’t act much these days anymore. However, she still maintains a strong connection with Hollywood.
Marsha Hunt Was Blacklisted
Marsha Hunt was born in Chicago, the daughter of a lawyer in that city. She has always acknowledged her upbringing as being immensely helpful to her pursuing her career in acting. She starred in many films, including Pride and Prejudice, Raw Deal, and Born To The West.
Hunt was blacklisted by studio executives in the 1950s due to the rise of McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee, but her career picked back up after the senator from Wisconsin was discredited. She appeared in many smaller roles, many of them on television, and in 1988 even appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Jackie Mason Is A Funny Guy
Jackie Mason has a long career that spans decades. A lot of people remember him because of his funny television appearances (did you know he plays Krusty the Clown’s father on The Simpsons?). But he’s not just a funny actor — Mason is also a brilliant stand-up comedian, who was busting guts long before he was on TV or in films.
How good is Mason? Comedy Central’s list of the greatest comedians ever put him at number 63. Sure, there are 62 other comics purportedly funnier than him, but being the 63rd funniest person the world has ever known is a pretty high honor.
Dean Stockwell, born in 1936, began doing movies as a 9 year old in 1945, appearing in The Vally of Decision in that year. The acting bug stuck with him, and Stockwell continued acting into adulthood. In 1988, he was nominated for his role as Tony “the Tiger” Russo in the film Married to the Mob.
But that’s not what you probably remember Stockwell from, especially if you’re a science-fiction fan. Stockwell starred in the program Quantum Leap one year later. The series ran for four seasons, and has gained a tremendous cult following. Unfortunately, even though he has done it for almost his entire life, Stockwell had to step aside from acting recently due to suffering a stroke.
Eva Marie Saint, Born In 1924
Eve Marie Saint is one of those actresses who has spent her entire life in the movies. Born in 1924, she went on to act in many classics, including in 1955 with Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront. Her role in that film led to her winning an Academy Award. She also was in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller film, North by Northwest, and won an Emmy for the miniseries People Like Us.
Saint has had a storied career that transcends many generations. Most recently, she has done voice roles, playing Katara in six episodes of the celebrated Nickelodeon cartoon series The Legend of Korra.
Goodness, Gracious, Jerry Lee Lewis Is Still Performing!
Jerry Lee Lewis was one of the pioneers of Rock and Roll in the 1950s. His song Great Balls of Fire debuted in 1957, and made him a star across the globe (oddly, it never reached number one in the singles charts). Controversy hit the star, however, when on a 1959 tour in England it was revealed he had married his cousin — and that she was just 13 years old at the time.
It took decades for Lewis to regain his notoriety, but he did so by the 1980s, being one of the first individuals inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lewis is still performing, albeit on a much lighter schedule, to this day. Now in his late 80s, Lewis even opened up a club in Memphis in 2013.
Norman Lloyd Still Acts, Even Past 100 Years Old
Norman Lloyd is a prolific actor who started his career in 1923. He’s been in over 60 films and television shows during this time, but it wasn’t only acting that he was interested in. Lloyd also produced and directed for Alfred Hitchcock’s television series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, from the 1950s to the 1070s.
Lloyd began acting as a means to help his family with financial struggles. He came of age during the Great Depression, after all. Lloyd got noticed in New York City, and in 1939 made the trip to the other coast in Hollywood. Some of his more noticeable roles came when he was older. He played a supporting role in the Robin Williams film Dead Poets Society, and starred on the television medical drama St. Elsewhere in the 1980s. Being in his hundreds hasn’t stopped him, either: he’s had roles as recently as 2015.
Shirley MacLaine Is Still In Films
Shirley MacClaine has been nominated for an Academy Award six times. Like her career, these nominations have spanned several decades themselves, starting in 1959 for her role in Some Came Running. The last nomination she received — and the only role she won an Oscar for — was for her part in 1984’s Terms of Endearment.
A person with a career that spans so long might be expected to settle down — but not MacClaine. It was announced in 2016, for instance, that she will have a role in Disney’s upcoming live-action version of The Little Mermaid. Presently, MacClaine is 85 years old, and not showing any signs of stopping her career.
Julie Gibson — The World’s Oldest Celebrity Just Passed
For years, Julie Gibson held the title of ‘World’s Oldest Celebrity.’ In her heyday of the 1940s, where she truly made a name for herself, she was a double threat — a prolific singer and a talented actress. Sadly, Gibson passed on October 2, 2019, at the incredible age of 106.
She’s noted for performing in such films as Nice Girl? and The Feminine Touch, but she got her big start in singing with the Jimmie Grier Orchestra before moving on to radio roles. She also had a few roles with other noteworthy comedians.
Gibson Was Also A Voice Teacher
How old is Hollywood’s oldest known living performer from the Golden Age? Well, that would be the great Julie Gibson who’s birthday is on September 6, 1913. Gibson started in 1942 and wouldn’t retire until 1984.
Gibson is also well known for having performed with the Three Stooges in many of their films! While she hasn’t been in many roles lately, she does boast of one more skill: teaching. In addition to acting during the Golden Age, she also was a voice coach, helping other actors to learn to pronounce words with accents that their characters had to take on.
Rhonda Fleming’s Six Marriages
Rhonda Fleming, born in 1923, was discovered in 1941. It was the same year she graduated from high school. She later went on to star in the film Spellbound, which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Not a bad start to her career! In honor of her life of acting, Fleming received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.
Notably, Fleming has been married a total of six times. Throughout all six marriages (her first was in 1940), between all six husbands Fleming has only had one child, Kent Lane, who himself went on to become an actor.
Jane Withers is known more for her commercial work than anything else. Most will remember her by her other name: Josephine the Plumber, the spokeswoman for Comet Cleanser. Withers was the face of the brand through most of the 60s and 70s. She didn’t just do commercials, however, and got into voice work as well.
Many have made the comparison of Jane (as Josephine) to Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials — including Jane herself. Said Withers of Flo, she “is a weirdly sincere, post-modern Josephine the Plumber who just really wants to help. She has: The brand is flourishing.” We think a crossover is long overdue…
Carl Reiner Is Tweeting
Some actors find other hobbies to take on when they’ve decided they’re done acting. Carl Reiner, who is in his mid-to-late 90s, has found himself promoting political causes online, and has even signed onto Twitter with an account to promote his views.
Before he started tweeting, Reiner performed on Broadway, with his big break happening in the play Call Me Mister. He also co-wrote and starred on programs like Your Show of Shows and The Dick Van Dyke Show. More recently, he was one of the members involved in heists in the Oceans 11 series of films.
After Acting, Honor Blackman Had A Career In Politics
English actress Honor Blackman is best known for her work in the James Bond franchise and in The Avengers. Born August 22, 1925, Blackman made her film debut in 1947 in Fame is the Spur. She also had roles in 1963’s Jason and the Argonauts, 1968’s Shalako, and the television series The Upper Hand from 1990 to 1996.
Blackman is also a singer and had a hit with the single “Kinky Boots,” which she recorded with her Avengers co-star Patrick Macnee. Today, she’s politically active and declined a CBE in 2002. Here, she stands in front of a photo of herself and Sean Connery.
Dusty Anderson — Actress, And Pin-Up Model
Dusty Anderson played a cover girl in a movie, and was a cover girl in real life. Anderson began her career as a model, and was a pin-up girl in magazines, including in YANK, which was published by the U.S. military. It probably helped pave the way to her role in the film Cover Girl, starring Rita Hayworth, in 1944 — Anderson played one of the girls in the film.
After the war, Anderson married a Marine Corps Captain, but that marriaged didn’t last. She remarried, to film director Jean Negulesco, the two eventually settling in the city of Paris after they wed. Anderson is now in her 100s.
Diana Serra Cary: The Last Star From The Silent Film Era
Very few stars from the silent film era of movie-making are alive today. In fact, Diana Serra Cary is considered the last surviving star from that time, as she was a child actress when she got her start in it. Known as Baby Peggy, she starred in over 150 films between 1921 and 1923, when she was around 4 years old.
She had a remarkable salary at the time — around $1.5 million annually — but like some child stars from the modern era, she lost most of her income. By the 1930s, she was working as an extra. But she found a new career from her misfortunes, as an author and silent film historian.
Darryl Hickman, born in 1931, is the older brother of Dwayne Hickman. Between the two actors, Dwayne later became the more popular of the two, but Darryl had his moments of stardom, too. In fact, as children, it was Darryl who many thought was the more talented of the duo.
Darryl starred in a number of films, including The Human Comedy and The Grapes of Wrath. Beyond acting, Darryl found a second career — passing on the secrets of his craft by becoming an acting coach himself in Los Angeles. They say “those who can’t do, teach,” by Darryl could both act and teach others how to as well!
William Smith is an actor who has starred in many film roles. Before going into acting, however, he graduated cum laude at UCLA, and before that, he served in the Air Force upon finishing high school.
His acting career is as varied as his life just before college. Smith started acting in 1942, with a role as a village boy in a courtroom. But he has played many other (more noticeable) roles, including a vampire hunter, bare-knuckle boxer, and a cowboy. You may know him best from his role as Falconetti in the 1976 film Rich Man, Poor Man.
Collins Was Acted Often, But Retired Young
Cora Sue Collins was born in 1927. At the age of just five, she made her acting debut in The Unexpected Father. She earned about $250 per week for her acting duties.
It wasn’t the only film she starred in as a child. She also appeared in The Strange Case of Clara Deane in the same year, and two years later, she played the illegitimate daughter of Colleen Moore in 1934’s The Scarlett Letter. Collins didn’t stay in the film industry for long, however: after 13 years in the business, Collins retired from acting at the young age of just 18 years old.
Hal Holbrook Has Won Five Primetime Emmy Awards
Beginning his career as a Mark Twain impersonator, Hal Holbrook went on to experience much success in film and on television (although Mark Twain is his most well-known role).
Holbrook made his film debut in The Group in 1966. He also starred as the informant named “Deep Throat” in All the President’s Men and has made appearances in such varied works as Into the Wild, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, Hawaii Five-0, Wall Street, The Firm, Hercules, and Men of Honor.
More On Marsha Hunt’s Blacklisting
As we mentioned earlier, Marsha Hunt had been blacklisted in the early 1950s. It was a very difficult time for actors in that period, because their political beliefs or attitudes were put on trial essentially, making them seem like liabilities to studios that would ordinarily employ them. Hunt was a low-profile actress to begin with, so this didn’t help her to reach a level of stardom others had dreamed of at the time.
That didn’t end her career completely, however. We already discussed that she had a role in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but she also focused her acting toward the stage in the 1960s and small parts on television, too, around that time.
Norman Lloyd Did It All
Norman Lloyd wasn’t just an actor or a producer — he was an entertainer, who had a hand in almost every imaginable media you can think of. In addition to being onb television, he was in radio, performed in staged theater, and showed up in films on occasion as well. His career began in 1923 and has lasted up until very recently.
His mose recent film was Trainwreck, which was made in 2015. It’s hard to imagine having a career that lasts that long, in any industry, but Lloyd has made it work, and has been very successful doing it, too!
Marge Champion was a great actress. She was also a stellar dancer. She and her husband, Gower Champion, were well known for dancing in MGM’s musical years of movie-making.
Champion, who was born in 1919, would have her first role on the screen in 1939. Before that, however, she was a dance model for Walt Disney Studios’ animated films. She also had a television show in the 1950s that centered around dancing. She would later go on to become a dance teacher in New York, and re-marry, to television and film director Boris Sagal. He passed away in 1981, but Champion is still alive to this day, at 100 years old.
Poitier’s Influence Goes Beyond Acting
Sidney Poitier truly was a groundbreaking actor in film. His first film debut came when he was 22 years old, but shortly after that, he became a hot commodity in Hollywood. As mentioned already, he was the first black man to win an Academy Award (Hattie McDaniel was the first black woman to do so, in 1939 for her role in Gone With The Wind).
Beyond acting, Poitier has been a film director as well. Outside of film, he’s been a diplomat and has authored books. He is also a knight, having received the honor from Queen Elizabeth in 1974.
June Lockhart was an actress who was mainly active in the 1950s and 1960s. You might recognize her if you’ve ever seen Lost in Space or Lassie. But her first role, when she was just 8 years old, was in a Metropolitan Opera stage version of the film Peter Ibbetson.
Lockhart’s acting chops have been recognized by her peers. She’s won the Tony award for Outstanding Performance by a Newcomer for her role in For Love or Money. She’s also been nominated for an Emmy award twice. Lockhart, who is in her late 80s, has remained in films for small parts, appearing in a small-budget film from 2016 called The Remake.
Jimmy Lydon — Actor, Writer, And Producer
Jimmy Lydon had to overcome a lot of challenges in his life to gain success. He was the middle child of nine brothers and sister. His father was an alcoholic. He himself had a birth defect he had to deal with. In spite of this all, he started a successful career on Broadway in 1937 (at the age 14), and later appeared on screen in 1939.
Lydon went on to work on television shows as a producer. These shows included such hits as 77 Sunset Strip, and the military medical show M*A*S*H. To this day, he still writes and produces.
Gene Reynolds was born in 1923. He has been an actor, writer, director, and producer for some pretty important programs, including the show M*A*S*H. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Detroit, Michigan, his family moved the LA in 1934, where Reynolds began his acting career.
He debuted in the Our Gang short Washee Ironee. He appeared in a number of films after that, and during this time, he was contracted to work for MGM, until he entered the U.S. Army during World War II. He later went on to make appearances in shows like I Love Lucy, before doing more behind the scenes work on shows like Leave It To Beaver and The Andy Griffith Show. In his later career, he served as the President of the Directors Guild of America from 1993 to 1997.
Queen Of Technicolor
Rhonda Fleming was one of the most popular and glamorous actresses of the 1940s and 1950s. She has more than 40 films credited to her name from this time. This was also an era where color was just beginning to show up in films, especially in the 50s. Because of this, she earned a special nickname: the Queen of Technicolor, due to her visibly red hair.
Rhonda Fleming has been married six times during her life. In 1991, she and her husband (at that time, it was Ted Mann) opened the Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic, which focused on women’s comprehensive care.
Making A Child Star
The Great Depression was, well, depressing for millions of Americans. For many, the movies represented a form of escapism, a way to forget about the troubles in the world at the time. Child stars, like Shirley Temple, were dominating the medium too, their charm making things simpler for people to think about for an hour or so in the theater.
Long before she had success as a commercial spokeswoman, Jane Withers was an attempt to replicate that feeling. She was brought in to be a child actress, much like Temple was, although to be sure, Withers was not the same caliber as child star as Temple had been. Still, as time went by, Withers developed into her own roles, and had a flourishing career of her own in Hollywood.
Terry Kilburn, Another Child Star
Terry Kilburn was another child actor. Born in London, he and his family moved to Los Angeles when he was just 10 years old. From there, life would never be the same for young Terry…
Kilburn went on to star in films like Goodbye Mr. Chips, and is well-known for his portrayal as Tiny Tim in the film A Christmas Carol, which was released in 1938. He would also go on to star in the family-friendly film, The Swiss Family Robinson. His last feature film was Lolita, in 1962. Today, he lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His partner of 50 years, Charles Nolte, who was a stage actor from that era, died in 2010.
The Multi-talented Carpenter
Carleton Carpenter was born in 1926, and was an actor in film and television roles. Beyond that, he was also a novelist, songwriter, and even a magician. He debuted in 1949, playing a character named Andy in a film called Lost Boundaries.
Carpenter went on to have a prolific songwriting career for the movies beyond his own acting. Among the voices he wrote for include Kaye Ballard, Marlene Dietrich, Debbie Reynolds, and Hermione Gingold. He recently published a memoir entitled The Absolute Joy of Work, in 2016. In 2012, he received a lifetime achievement award from former co-star and actress for whom he wrote music for, Debbie Reynolds, from the Hollywood organization Cinecon.