Classic Actors/Actresses Who Never Quite Reached Their Full Potential

by Thecluelessone022 | created - 20 Apr 2016 | updated - 14 Apr 2017 | Public

1. Frances Farmer

Actress | Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake

Born in Seattle, Frances Farmer studied drama at the University of Washington, Seattle. In 1935, she went to Hollywood where she secured a seven-year contract with Paramount. In 1943, she was wrongfully declared mentally incompetent and committed by her parents to a series of asylums and public ...

Zodiac: Virgo Ox

2. Veronica Lake

Actress | Sullivan's Travels

Veronica Lake was born as Constance Frances Marie Ockleman on November 14, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the daughter of Constance Charlotta (Trimble) and Harry Eugene Ockelman, who worked for an oil company as a ship employee. Her father was of half German and half Irish descent, and her ...

Zodiac: Scorpio Dog

3. Marilyn Monroe

Actress | Some Like It Hot

Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, comedienne, singer, and model. She became one of the world's most enduring iconic figures and is remembered both for her winsome embodiment of the Hollywood sex symbol and her tragic personal and professional struggles within the film industry. Her life and ...

Zodiac: Gemini Tiger

4. River Phoenix

Actor | My Own Private Idaho

River Phoenix was born River Jude Bottom in Madras, Oregon. His mother, Arlyn (Dunetz), a Bronx-born secretary, and his father, John Bottom, a carpenter, met in California in 1968. They worked as itinerant fruit pickers, and later joined the Children of God religious group (John was originally ...

Zodiac: Virgo Dog My Favorite of His Movies: Stand By Me

5. Gail Russell

Actress | The Uninvited

Gail Russell was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 21, 1924. She remained in the Windy City, going to school until her parents moved to California when she was 14. She was an above-average student in school and upon graduation from Santa Monica High School was signed by Paramount Studios.

...

Zodiac: Virgo Rat My Favorite Of Her Movies: The Uninvited

6. Alan Ladd

Actor | Shane

Alan Walbridge Ladd was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the only child of Ina Raleigh (aka Selina Rowley) and Alan Ladd, a freelance accountant. His mother was English, from County Durham, and his paternal grandparents were Canadian. His father died when he was four. At age five, he burned his ...

Zodiac: Virgo Ox

7. Barbara Payton

Actress | Bride of the Gorilla

One of the saddest tales ever to come out of Hollywood has to be that of Barbara Payton. A blue-eyed, peroxide blonde sexpot who had a lot going for her, her life eventually disintegrated, mostly by her own doing. Things started out well enough for Barbara Lee Redfield, born on November 26, 1927, ...

Zodiac: Scorpio Rabbit

8. Carole Landis

Actress | I Wake Up Screaming

Carole Landis was born on New Year's Day in 1919 in Fairchild, Wisconsin, as Frances Lillian Mary Ridste. Her father, a railroad mechanic, was of Norwegian descent and her mother was Polish. Her father walked out, leaving Carole, her mother and an older brother and sister to fend for themselves.

...

Zodiac: Capricorn Horse

9. Vivien Leigh

Actress | A Streetcar Named Desire

If a film were made of the life of Vivien Leigh, it would open in India just before World War I, where a successful British businessman could live like a prince. In the mountains above Calcutta, a little princess is born. Because of the outbreak of World War I, she is six years old the first time ...

My Favorites of Her Movies: Gone With the Wind, Waterloo Bridge Zodiac: Scorpio Ox

10. Maria Montez

Actress | Cobra Woman

In a world weary of war and dispirited by the ravages of the Great Depression, Hollywood at the turn of the 1940's concocted a wildly popular, effective lot of escapist fare (though often cheaply made) to regale the sick at heart worldwide. Universal Pictures, more often than not, led in producing ...

Zodiac: Gemini Rat

11. Clara Bow

Actress | Wings

Clara Gordon Bow, destined to become "The It Girl", was born on July 29, 1905 in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised in poverty and violence. Her often absentee and brutish father could not or did not provide and her schizophrenic mother tried to slit Clara's throat when the girl spoke of becoming ...

Zodiac: Leo Snake (I think) My Favorite Of Her Movies: It

12. Lupe Velez

Actress | The Girl from Mexico

Lupe Velez was born on July 18, 1908, in San Luis de Potosi, Mexico, as Maria Guadalupe Villalobos Velez. She was sent to Texas at the age of 13 to live in a convent. She later admitted that she wasn't much of a student because she was so rambunctious. She had planned to become a champion ...

Zodiac: Cancer Monkey

13. Montgomery Clift

Actor | From Here to Eternity

Edward Montgomery Clift (nicknamed 'Monty' his entire life) was born on October 17, 1920 in Omaha, Nebraska, just after his twin sister Roberta (1920-2014) and eighteen months after his brother Brooks Clift. He was the son of Ethel "Sunny" Anderson (Fogg; 1888-1988) and William Brooks Clift (1886-...

Zodiac: Libra Monkey

14. John Garfield

Actor | Four Daughters

John Garfield was born Jacob Julius Garfinkle on the Lower East Side of New York City, to Hannah Basia (Margolis) and David Garfinkle, who were Jewish immigrants from Zhytomyr (now in Ukraine). Jules was raised by his father, a clothes presser and part-time cantor, after his mother's death in 1920,...

Zodiac: Pisces Ox

15. Virginia Bruce

Actress | The Invisible Woman

American leading lady of the 1930s and 1940s, Virginia Bruce was born in Minnesota but grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and came to California to attend college. Her blond good looks got her an entry into films, and after a few extra roles and bit parts she began to make serious inroads as a leading...

Zodiac: Libra Dog

16. Peg Entwistle

Actress | Thirteen Women

Peg Entwistle's name as her birth occurred, was Lillian Millicent Entwistle, on Wednesday, July 1st, 1908 in Port Talbot, Wales, United Kingdom. Growing up, she was interested in the stage and when she became older she worked primarily as a stage actress. Peg wanted to have a shot at Hollywood. She...

Zodiac: Monkey

17. Sal Mineo

Actor | Rebel Without a Cause

Salvatore (Sal) Mineo Jr. was born to Josephine and Sal Sr. (a casket maker), who emigrated to the U.S. from Sicily. His siblings were Michael, Victor and Sarina. Sal was thrown out of parochial school and, by age eight, was a member of a street gang in a tough Bronx neighborhood. His mother ...

Zodiac: Capricorn Horse

18. James Dean

Actor | East of Eden

James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931 in Marion, Indiana, to Mildred Marie (Wilson) and Winton A. Dean, a farmer turned dental technician. His mother died when Dean was nine, and he was subsequently raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. After grade school, he moved to ...

Zodiac: Aquarius Horse My Favorite of His Movies: East of Eden

19. Natalie Wood

Actress | Rebel Without a Cause

Natalie Wood was born on July 20, 1938 in San Francisco, California as Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko. Her parents, Maria Zudilov and Nikolai Zakharenko, were Russian-born émigrés who spoke barely comprehensible English; they changed the family name to Gurdin after becoming US citizens. When she was...

Zodiac: Cancer Tiger

20. Sally Eilers

Actress | They Made Her a Spy

Sally Eilers enjoyed lunch with a classmate from drama school, Jane Peters (who would later become known as Carole Lombard), at the Sennett Studios cafeteria. There she was spotted by Mack Sennett and instantly became one of his "discoveries". Having already appeared in several bit parts, beginning...

Zodiac: Sagittarius Monkey

21. Isabel Jewell

Actress | Gone with the Wind

Isabel Jewell, like other actresses in Hollywood in the 1930s, suffered from chronic typecasting. The diminutive, platinum-haired daughter of a doctor and medical researcher seemed to be forever playing hard-boiled, tough-talking broads: gangster's molls, dumb blondes, prostitutes and, of course, ...

Zodiac: Cancer Goat

22. Lizabeth Scott

Actress | Too Late for Tears

Lizabeth Scott was born Emma Matzo on September 29, 1922 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the oldest of six children of Mary (Pennock) and John Matzo, who were Slovak immigrants. Scott attended Marywood Seminary and the Alvienne School of the Theatre in New York City, where she adopted the stage name of ...

Zodiac: Libra Dog

23. John Gilbert

Actor | Flesh and the Devil

John Gilbert was born into a show-business family - his father was a comic with the Pringle Stock Company. By 1915 John was an extra with Thomas H. Ince's company and a lead player by 1917. In those days he was assistant director, actor or screenwriter. He also tried his hand at directing. By 1919 ...

Zodiac: Cancer Rooster

24. Linda Darnell

Actress | No Way Out

Linda Darnell, one of five children of a postal clerk, grew up fast. At 11, she was modeling clothes, giving her age as 16. At 13, she was appearing on the stage with little theater groups. Her mother encouraged her to audition when Hollywood talent scouts came to Dallas. She went to California and...

Zodiac: Libra Pig

25. Frances Gifford

Actress | Tarzan Triumphs

Frances Gifford had a somewhat unorthodox introduction to the movie business. Born and raised in Long Beach, California, she had no ambition to be an actress, and in fact had applied to UCLA when, at age 16, she and a friend got to visit the Samuel Goldwyn Studios, where they watched a movie being ...

Zodiac: Sagittarius Monkey

26. Tallulah Bankhead

Actress | Lifeboat

Tallulah Brockman Bankhead was born on January 31, 1902 in Huntsville, Alabama. Her father was a mover and shaker in the Democratic Party who served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from June 4, 1936, to September 16, 1940. Tallulah had been interested in acting and, at age ...

Zodiac: Aquarius Ox My Favorite Movie of Hers: Lifeboat

27. Jayne Mansfield

Actress | The Girl Can't Help It

One of the leading sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s, film actress Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, the only child of Vera J. (nee Palmer; later Peers) and Herbert W. Palmer. Her parents were well-to-do, with her father a successful attorney ...

Zodiac: Aries Rooster

28. Jeanette Loff

Actress | Flirtation

Jeanette Loff was born Janette Lov in Orofino, Idaho, on October 9, 1906. Her father Maurice was a successful violinist from Denmark who moved their family to Canada when Jeanette was a child. She loved to sing and she studied music at the Ellison-White Conservatory in Portland, Oregon. At age ...

Zodiac: Libra Horse

29. Barbara Bates

Actress | All About Eve

The lovely Barbara Bates, a demure but very troubled young spirit, began her career at age 19. Groomed in obscure starlet bits, it wasn't until Warner Bros. signed her up in 1947 and perpetuated an appealing girl-next-door image that things started happening for her.

She was born Barbara Jane Bates,...

Zodiac: Leo Ox

30. Gloria Dickson

Actress | They Won't Forget

Gloria Dickson was born Thais Alalia Dickerson on August 13, 1917, in Pocotello, Idaho. After her father died her mother took Gloria and her sister to California. During high school she started acting in local theater productions. When she was nineteen a Warner Brothers talent scout saw one of her ...

31. Dorothy Dandridge

Actress | Carmen Jones

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born on November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Ruby Dandridge (née Ruby Jean Butler), an entertainer, and Cyril H. Dandridge, a cabinet maker and minister. Under the prodding of her mother, Dorothy and her sister Vivian Dandridge began performing publicly, usually in ...

32. Tom Neal

Actor | Detour

Tom Neal is best remembered for his off-screen exploits, which involved scandal, mayhem and a charge of murder. Before his 1938 screen debut in MGM's Out West with the Hardys (1938), Neal had been a member of the boxing team at Northwestern University, had debuted on the Broadway stage in 1935 and ...

33. Barbara Nichols

Actress | Sweet Smell of Success

She was the archetypal brassy, bosomy, Brooklynesque bimbo with a highly distinctive scratchy voice. Barbara Nichols started life as Barbara Marie Nickerauer in Queens, New York on December 10, 1928, and grew up on Long Island. Graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School, the dame with the shapely ...

Totally should have been Oscar nominated for her performance in Sweet Smell of Success, in my opinion



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