Of course, my last post was quite long. However, I promise that my later posts in this series won’t take up as much space as the last one since the first one was just introductory. Not to mention, there will be some star profiles that won’t be quite as long. Now this selection pertains to some other famous screen legends you may or may not be familiar with. Yet, they weren’t as noteworthy as the previous ten you’ve just seen. To start off, you have two pioneering African American actresses Dorothy Dandridge and Lena Horne who’ve both achieved fame as black leading ladies during segregation and Jim Crow. Then we have William Powell and Myrna Loy who appeared in 14 films together but are best known as the Dashiell Hammett characters Nick and Nora Charles. Next, you have Richard Widmark and Fred MacMurray who both usually play nice guys but their greatest performances usually consist them playing evil men. After that you have legendary song and dance man Gene Kelly as well as 6 time Academy Award loser Deborah Kerr best known for playing Boris Karloff’s great-aunt from The King and I (I’m not kidding, look it up). Then you have Swedish actress Greta Garbo best known for her sexual allure, husky Swedish voice, and her reclusive nature after she retired in the 1940s. And finally, there’s the one and only Peter Lorre best known for being one of the creepiest men on earth as well as having a voice cartoons have imitated ever since. So for your pleasure, here are 10 more movie stars who never made their Oscar speech after being announced for beating their fellow nominees during the ceremony.
11. Richard Widmark
Personal Life: (1914-2008) Born in Sunrise Township, Minnesota and grew up in Princeton, Illinois. Father was a traveling salesman of Swedish ancestry. Studied and taught acting at Lake Forest College. First acting jobs were for radio in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Debuted on Broadway in 1943 and film in 1947. Married for 45 years to Jean Hazelwood and had a daughter married to Sandy Colfax from 1969-1982. In 1999, he married Susan Blanchard, the former 3rd Mrs. Henry Fonda and stepdaughter to Oscar Hammerstein II. Retired in 2001 and died in Roxbury, Connecticut after a long illness 7 years later at 93.
Famous for: American actor originally typecast as villains or antiheros in film noir but later branched out into leading and support heroic roles in westerns, mainstream dramas, and horror films among others. Notable roles are Tommy Udo from Kiss of Death, Dude from Yellow Sky, Harry Fabian from Night and the City, Ray Biddle from No Way Out, Jim Bowie from The Alamo, Col. Tad Lawson from Judgment at Nuremberg, Captain Thomas Archer from Cheyenne Autumn, and Ratchet/Cassetti from Murder on the Orient Express as well as countless cowboys, gangsters, police officers, and military men.
Nominated for: Only nominated as Best Supporting Actor in 1947 for Kiss of Death.
Most Crushing Loss: Sure Widmark may have had stiff competition against Edmund Gwenn and Robert Ryan in 1947, but you have to admit playing a complete psycho and losing the Oscar race to Santa Claus as particularly humiliating. Still, his Tommy Udo might’ve been the inspiration for Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight and is every bit as villainous. It’s no question he should’ve won.
Reasons: For one, Kiss of Death was Widmark’s first film. Secondly, I’m not sure if the Hollywood establishment was ready to award an Oscar for to an actor playing a psychopathic gangster who pushes a wheelchair bound woman down the stairs just for giggles. He was also subject to a lot of typecasting afterwards.
Trivia: Was a big Batman fan and his Tommy Udo performance might’ve inspired the Joker. Had a ranch during the 1950s and 1960s near Green City, Missouri where he raised funds for an airport named in honor. Despite that his characters were mostly armed, was as staunch supporter of gun control.
12. Fred MacMurray
Personal Life: (1908-1991) Born in Kankakee, Illinois and grew up in his mother’s hometown of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Attended Carroll College on a full scholarship but didn’t graduate though he participated in local bands and even played the saxophone. Before Hollywood, he’d recorded songs as a featured vocalist for the Gus Arnheim Orchestra as well as with Bob Hope and Sydney Greenstreet on Broadway. Married twice but was never divorced. Adopted 2 children with first wife Lillian Lamont and adopted twin girls with second wife June Haver to whom he was married to for 37 years. Retired in 1978. Suffered throat cancer in the 1970s and late 1980s. Suffered from a severe stroke in 1988 which left his right side paralyzed though he managed a 90% with therapy. Died of pneumonia at 83 after a battle with leukemia for over a decade.
Famous for: American actor who appeared in more than 100 films and a successful TV show during a career spanning nearly half a century. Originally typecast nice guys in romantic comedies, melodramas, and musicals, he broke that with Double Indemnity as well as played outright scumbags in The Caine Mutiny and The Apartment. Spent a lot of his later career making Disney movies. Notable roles are Arthur Russell from Alice Adams, Walter Neff from Double Indemnity, Lt. Tom Keefer from The Caine Mutiny, Jeff Sheldrake from The Apartment, Wilson Daniels from The Shaggy Dog, and Professor Ned Brainard from The Absent-Minded Professor. Also known for playing the Steven Douglas from My Three Sons.
Nominated for: Murray was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Not being nominated for Best Supporting Actor in The Caine Mutiny (also the same for Jose Ferrer as well) or The Apartment. Also, not being nominated for Double Indemnity for Best Actor. Often said that his best roles were when he played against type.
Reasons: For one, he spent his early career being typecast and I’m sure playing assholes didn’t go well with the Hollywood establishment at the time. Also, made Disney movies.
Trivia: Said to be one of the wealthiest actors in Hollywood mostly because he had a reputation for being cheap as well as bringing a brown paper bag lunch with a hard-boiled egg, sometimes a leftover dyed one from Easter. Was also a skillful investor in California real estate. Appeared in commercials for Greyhound and Korean chesinbop math calculation program. Insisted that all his scenes for My Three Sons be filmed first so he could have plenty of time making movies and playing golf. Established the MacMurray Ranch in Northern California where he raised prize winning Aberdeen Angus cattle. Sold the ranch to Gallo in 1996 which planted vineyards for wine sold in the MacMurray Ranch name. First person honored as a Disney Legend in 1987. Played saxophone on The Jack Benny Program.
13. Lena Horne
Personal Life: (1917-2010) Born in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York City. Father was a numbers kingpin and gambler. Mother was an actress from a black theater troupe. Lived in New York, Pittsburgh, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Moved to Pittsburgh at 18 and lived there for 5 years until she joined the Cotton Club as a chorus girl. Made her first film in 1938 and her first recording some time before that. Married twice and had 2 children to her first husband Louis Jordan. Second husband was a white man named Lennie Hayton for 24 years (yet they separated in the 1960s and she said she only married him to advance her career but she loved him very much). Retired in 1980. Died in New York City of heart failure at 92.
Famous for: American singer, actress, dancer, and civil rights activist. From a Cotton Club chorus girl at 16 and nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood where he had both bit and substantial roles. Notable roles are Ethel Andrews from The Duke Is Tops, Georgia Brown from Cabin in the Sky, and Glinda the Good from The Wiz.
Nominated for: Horne was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Not receiving an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement due to making so few films. Yet, I really think she should’ve gotten one since she refused to play maids.
Reasons: She was black. She refused to play maids (which really limited the quantity of movies she made). And she found herself blacklisted for a time due to her left leaning views and civil rights activism during the Red Scare that she only made 2 movies during the 1950s.
Trivia: Uncle was an adviser to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Granddaughter of inventor Samuel R. Scottron. Refused to perform to segregated audiences and was only able to do a show for the US during WWII in front of African American servicemen and German POWs. Lost her father, husband, and son in the same year. Worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws. Spoke and performed during the March on Washington. Was not thrilled about the potential prospect of Janet Jackson playing her in a biopic, especially after her 2004 Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction. Granddaughter was the screenwriter for Rachel Getting Married. Daughter became a best-selling author.
14. Dorothy Dandridge
Personal Life: (1922-1965) Born in Cleveland. Mother was an aspiring entertainer. Father was a cabinet maker and minister. Mother created a song and dance act for her and her 2 sisters called “The Wonder Children” who appeared in nightclubs for several years as well as later became The Dandridge Sisters. Made her first film in 1935. Married twice and had a daughter to first husband Harold Nicholas. Second husband was a white man, abuser, and gold digger who used all her money before abandoning her. Was swindled by those who handled her finances of $150,000 and was in $139,000 debt in back taxes that she was forced to sell her Hollywood home. Daughter was officially diagnosed with brain damage but was probably autistic (problems were associated with social and verbal skills) and eventually sent to a state mental institution when she couldn’t afford to keep her. Was also plagued by drinking problems later in life. Died either of an embolism or drug overdose at 42.
Famous for: American actress, singer, and dancer. Mostly appeared in uncredited roles before stardom. Notable roles are Dorothy from Teachers Beau, Thalia from Bahama Passage, Kipsang’s Bride from Sundown, Felice from Lady from Louisiana, Melmendi, Queen of the Ashuba from Tarzan’s Peril, Jane Richards from Bright Road, Ann Carpenter from The Harlem Globetrotters, Carmen Jones, Margot Seaton from Island in the Sun, Aiché, Reiker’s mistress from Tamango, Mahia from The Decks Ran Red, Bess from Porgy and Bess, and Gianna from Malaga.
Nominated for: Dandridge was nominated for Best Actress in 1954 for Carmen Jones.
Most Crushing Loss: Losing to Grace Kelly for Best Actress in 1954. Sure I know she wasn’t going to win but she should’ve at least lost to Judy Garland. Yet, what’s more crushing about this is that she was probably the nominee who received the least amount of votes which was probably due to her skin color.
Reasons: Most of the time, African American actresses nominated for Best Actress usually never win, even today with the sole exception of Halle Berry in 2002. Since Dandridge was nominated for Best Actress during segregation in the 1950s, her race was an even bigger mark against her. Not to mention, the Hollywood Studio System and the Hays Code made it even more difficult for her to get any good non-stereotypical parts as well. Her career also declined after her nomination.
Trivia: First African American actress nominated for an Oscar in a leading role. She and Maureen O’Hara were the only two stars who testified against Hollywood Research Inc. for libel, a tabloid magazine company that gave blatantly false accounts of them having casual sex with multiple individuals. Was romantically linked to Otto Preminger.
15. William Powell
Personal Life: (1892-1984) Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but attended high school in St. Louis, Missouri where lived a few blocks away from his future fiancée Jean Harlow’s family whom he didn’t meet until after they were established actors. Attended the American Academy for Dramatic Arts after graduating high school and got his start on vaudeville, stock companies, and Broadway. Married 3 times with his second marriage being to Carole Lombard (yet even though they divorced after 2 years, he was still devastated when she died in a 1942 plane crash). Had a son who became a producer and writer to Eileen Wilson. Yet his son would commit suicide in 1968. Married to Diana Lewis for 44 years. As far as his personal life goes, he’s best known for marrying Carole Lombard and dating Jean Harlow. Survived a bout of cancer in 1937. Retired from acting in 1955. Died from heart failure at 91.
Famous for: American actor who typically played highly self-confident characters, with sophistication and sense of wit. Originally started acting in movies in 1922 mostly playing in a supporting capacity until talkies. Made 14 films with Myrna Loy including the six Thin Man films. Notable roles are Nick Charles from the Thin Man series, Godfrey Parke from My Man Godfrey, Lev Andreyev from The Last Command, Philo Vance from The Canary Murder Case, Bill Chandler from Libeled Lady, George Carey from I Love You Again, Clarence Day Sr. from Life with Father. J. D. Hanley from How to Marry a Millionaire, and Lt. “Doc” from Mister Roberts.
Nominated for: Powell was nominated 3 times for Best Actor consisting of: 1934 for The Thin Man, 1936 for My Man Godfrey, and 1948 for Life with Father.
Most Crushing Loss: It’s hard to say Oscar wise since he lost to guys like Clark Gable, Paul Muni (whose Oscar was long overdue), and Ronald Colman who were all very talented actors. Yet, what probably stings the most is that he died at 91 without an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.
Reasons: Most of Powell’s films were comedies, which doesn’t win Oscars even today. Not to mention, being burned by the competition whenever he was nominated.
Trivia: Married wife #3 after knowing her for 3 weeks (luckily this one worked out). Said to place a white gardenia and unsigned note reading, “Good night, my dearest darling” in Jean Harlow’s hands before she was interred in the $25,000 9 x 10-ft private room he paid for in the “Sanctuary of Benediction” of the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (then again, she was the love of his life).
16. Gene Kelly
Personal Life: (1912-1996) Born Eugene Curran Kelly in the East Liberty in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Father was a phonograph salesman. Mother made him and his brother James take dance lessons. Graduated high school at 16. Attended Penn State for journalism but dropped out to help his family due to the crash of 1929. He and his brother Fred performed in local talent contests for prizes and nightclubs. Studied economics at the University of Pittsburgh, member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Cap and Gown Club, and was admitted to Pitt Law School (but dropped out after 2 months). Also worked as a dance teacher in his family dance studio at Squirrel Hill for 7 years soon called the Gene Kelly School of Dance. Started his show biz career on Broadway and the stage before signing on to David O. Selznick. Married 3 times with Betsey Blair as his first wife. Had 3 children including a daughter to Blair as well as a daughter and son to second wife Jeanne Coyne. Retired in 1994 due to a stroke and would die in his sleep at 83.
Famous for: American dancer, actor, singer, film director, producer, and choreographer. A dominant force in Hollywood musical films from the mid-1940s until it fell out of fashion in the late 1950s. His many innovations transformed the Hollywood musical film and is almost single handedly credited with making ballet form commercially acceptable to audiences. Notable roles are Joseph Brady from Anchors Aweigh, D’Artagnan from The Three Musketeers (1948), Joe D. Ross from Summer Stock, Gabey from On the Town, Jerry Mulligan from An American in Paris, Don Lockwood from Singin’ in the Rain, Tommy Albright from Brigadoon, Ted Riley from It’s Always Fair Weather, E. K. Hornbeck from Inherit the Wind, Barry Nichols from Les Girls, and Danny McGuire from Xanadu.
Nominated for: He was only nominated for Best Actor in 1945 for Anchors Aweigh. Luckily he received an honorary Oscar for 1952.
Most Crushing Loss: The fact that Singin’ in the Rain managed to only be nominated for 2 Oscars and didn’t win either in 1952. This is one of the best musicals of all time and should at least set a record Academy Award nominations at the time. Not to mention, Kelly shouldn’t have been snubbed for Best Actor or Best Director with Stanley Donen. Also, the fact that Pittsburgh still won’t erect that fucking statue of him (c’mon, just do it already).
Reasons: Well, this might’ve been due to Kelly’s politics as well as that by the Red Scare he basically threatened MGM that he’d pull out from It’s Always Fair Weather if his wife Blair didn’t get the lead female role in Marty. At the time, she was under considerable pressure to withdraw from the American Legion because she was suspected as a Communist sympathizer. Still, 1950s film awards were the stuff of brutal competition. Not to mention, Kelly’s glory days were over by 1960.
Trivia: Stopped attending Mass when the Catholic Church sided with the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War in 1939 (then again, the other side wasn’t much better). But he was said to have donated money to the IRA during the 1970s. Was a huge Pittsburgh Pirates fan (and had a childhood dream of playing shortstop for the team). Him and Blair held weekly parties with an intensely physical completion of charades they called, “The Game.” Part of the Committee for the First Amendment that protested during the House Committees on Un-American Activities hearings. The Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera has an award named after him.
17. Myrna Loy
Personal Life: (1905-1993) Born Myrna Adele Williams in Helena, Montana. Father was banker, real estate developer, and youngest man ever elected to the Montana state legislature. Spent her childhood living between Montana and California and took up dancing lessons. Made her stage debut at Helena’s Operetta Theater at 12. Father died of Spanish flu, in 1918 and family moved to California permanently. Performed at Grauman’s Chinese Theater at 18. Was discovered by Rudolph Valentino when he was looking for a co-star in Cobra while both visited a photography studio. Made her first film in 1925. Married 4 times. Had 2 mastectomies for breast cancer in 1970s. Died from surgical complications at 88.
Famous for: American actor, once trained as a dancer devoted herself fully to an acting career following a few minor roles in silent films. Originally typecast in exotic roles, often as a vamp or a woman of Asian descent, but her career prospects improved greatly following her portrayal of Nora Charles in The Thin Man. Appeared with William Powell in 14 movies. Notable roles are Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair, Fah Lo See from The Mask of Fu Manchu,
Gertie Waxted from Penthouse, Eleanor from Manhattan Melodrama, Nora Charles from The Thin Man series, Linda from Wife vs. Secretary, Connie Allenbury from Libeled Lady, Milly Stephenson from The Best Years of Our Lives, Margaret from The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, Kay Wilson from I Love You Again, Muriel Blandings from Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Alice Tiflin from The Red Pony, Mrs. Lillian Gilbreth from Cheaper By the Dozen, Aunt Bea from Midnight Lace, Mrs. Devaney from Airport 1975, and Maureen Lawson from The End.
Nominated for: Loy was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Not being nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 1946 for The Best Years of Our Lives. Yes, she’s not much of an overburdened wife on the receiving end of her husband’s PTSD yet she’s a wife whose husband can no longer relate to. It’s pretty crushing that she wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award despite all the work she did both on and off screen. It’s nice that she had celebrity friends who lobbied extensively for the Academy to give her an honorary Oscar, which she greatly deserved.
Reasons: Loy is probably one of the most surprisingly underrated Hollywood actresses ever and she was enormously popular in her lifetime even voted as the Queen of Hollywood by her fans in the 1930s while Clark Gable was voted King. Of course, she had a deceptively straightforward artistry that kept her from getting the types of flashy roles that usually netted nominations.
Trivia: Romantically linked to Spencer Tracy and Leslie Howard. Father sold a considerable amount of land to Charlie Chaplin where he constructed his studio. Posed for her high school sculpture in the Fountain of Education, which stood for decades which has been featured in Grease. Was John Dillinger’s favorite actress and was shot to death after seeing one of her films. Worked with the Red Cross during WWII and was so fiercely outspoken against Hitler her name appeared on his blacklist. Also helped run the Naval Auxiliary Canteen and toured to raise funds for the troops. Championed the rights of black actors and characters to be depicted with dignity on film. Was Co-Chairman of the Advisory Council of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing and the first Hollywood celebrity to become a member of UNESCO in 1948. Had a performing arts center in Helena, Montana named after her. Was a personal friend of Eleanor Roosevelt.
18. Greta Garbo
Personal Life: (1905-1990) Born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson in Stockholm, Sweden. Father was a laborer who worked as a street cleaner, grocer, factory worker and butcher’s assistant while her mother soon worked in a jam factory. Was a shy day dreamer as a child who hated school but was interested in theater at an early age. Grew up in the city’s working class district regarded as the municipal slum. Dropped out of school at 13 and never attended high school. Father became ill with Spanish flu in 1919 that resulted in him losing his job and died in 1920. Worked as a soap lather girl in a barbershop and ran errands in the millinery department at the PUB Department Store. Soon started modeling hats and became a fashion model for the store’s catalog. Later filmed commercials advertising the store’s women’s clothing. Studied at The Royal Dramatic Theatre’s Acting School in Stockholm and made her first film in 1924. Was discovered by Louis B. Mayer the next year. Retired in 1941 and spent the rest of her life as a recluse in which made no public appearances. Suffered from depression and moodiness as well as gastrointestinal and periodontal ailments. Became a US citizen in 1951. Was successfully treated for breast cancer in 1984. Died of pneumonia and renal failure at 84.
Famous for: Swedish American actress as well as international star and icon during Hollywood’s silent and classic film periods. Husky Swedish voice gave her an easy transition from silents to talkies. Appeared in 28 films. Notable roles are Elena from The Temptress, Felicitas from Flesh and the Devil, Marianne from The Divine Woman, Tania Fedorova from The Mysterious Lady, Anna Christie, Madame Rita Cavallini from Romance, Mata Hari, Grusinskaya from Grand Hotel, Queen Christina, Katrin Koerber Fane from The Painted Veil, Anna Karenina, Marguerite Gautier from Camille, Countess Marie Walewska from Conquest, Nina Ivanovna “Ninotchka” Yakushova from Ninotchka, and Karin Borg Blake from Two-Faced Woman.
Nominated for: Garbo was nominated 3 times for Best Actress consisting of 1930 for Anna Christie and Romance, 1936 for Camille, and 1939 for Ninotchka.
Most Crushing Loss: Losing to Luise Rainer during the 1936 Best Actress race, since Rainier was a white actress playing a Chinese woman. Garbo really should’ve won that year even if she did play a high class call girl slowly dying of tuberclerosis.
Reasons: Well, she didn’t have a long career and retired at 35 due to the failure of Two-Faced Woman. Not to mention, during her whole career, she signed no autographs, avoided industry social functions, answered no fan mail, refused permission to arrange publicity contracts with the studio, and never made any appearances at awards ceremonies, even when she was nominated. Rumored to be gay or bisexual (which is unproven though she did have lesbian friends and played Queen Christina). Not to mention, she was a 1930s sex symbol.
Trivia: Was unable to speak any English when she first arrived in Hollywood in 1925. Contrary to the conventional reclusive image, she had many friends with whom she socialized and traveled. Was an avid art collector who purchased paintings by Renoir, Rouault, Kandinsky, Bonnard, and Jawlensky which was worth millions when she died. Was a White House dinner guest in 1963. Wore large sunglasses in her later years and was known for taking long walks. Romantically linked to Louise Brooks, John Gilbert, Marlene Dietrich, Josephine Baker, and Mercedes de Acosta. Estate was worth $57,000,000 due to her wise investments in stocks and bonds. Highest paid actress at MGM during most of her career. Designated as the most beautiful woman who ever lived by Guinness Book of World Records.
19. Deborah Kerr
Personal Life: (1921-2007) Born Deborah Jane Kerr-Trimmer in Helensburgh, Scotland. Father was a WWI veteran captain who lost a leg during the Battle of the Somme and later became a naval architect and engineer. Trained as a ballet dancer and first appeared on stage in 1937. Trained in acting by her aunt who ran the Hicks-Smale Drama School in Bristol. Made her West End debut in 1943. Made her first film in 1940. Married twice and had 2 daughters with her first husband Anthony Bartley. Married to second husband Peter Viertel for 47 years (though they lived apart in later years so she could be closer to her children as her health began to deteriorate). Retired in 1986 possibly due to suffering Parkinson’s Disease that would later claim her life at 86.
Famous for: Scottish actress best known for being nominated 6 times for Oscars and never won. Specialized in playing high souled ladies of quality and one of Hollywood’s favorite redheads from the 1940s to 1960s. Made a lot of period films and starred in 4 movies with Robert Mitchum. Notable roles are Jenny Hill from Major Barbara, Edith Hunter/Barbara Wynne/Johnny Cannon from The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Sister Clodagh from Black Narcissus, Kay Dorrance from The Hucksters, Evelyn Boult from Edward, My Son, Elizabeth Curtis from King Solomon’s Mines, Lygia from Quo Vadis, Princess Flavia from The Prisoner of Zenda, Catherine Parr from Young Bess, Portia from Julius Caesar, Karen Holmes from From Here to Eternity, Anna Leonowens from The King and I, Laura Reynolds from Tea and Sympathy, Sister Angela from Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, Terry McKay from An Affair to Remember, Sibyl Railton-Bell from Separate Tables, Sarah Miles from The End of the Affair, Sheilah Graham from Beloved Infidel, Miss Giddens from The Innocents, Hannah Jelkes from Night of the Iguana, and Agent Mimi/Lady Fiona McTarry from Casino Royale.
Nominated for: Kerr was nominated for Best Actress 6 times consisting of 1949 for Edward, My Son, 1953 for From Here to Eternity, 1956 for The King and I, 1957 for Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, 1958 for Separate Tables, and 1960 for The Sundowners.
Most Crushing Loss: Losing to Elizabeth Taylor in 1960 for Best Actress. I mean Taylor is a great actress but Butterfield 8 is one of her more forgettable films. Not to mention, even Taylor felt she only received the Oscar because she had to undergo a tracheotomy. Still, Kerr should’ve at least lost to Shirley MacLaine or Greer Garson. I’d also add losing to Ingrid Bergman in 1956 since Anastasia is perhaps one of the most historically inaccurate movies of all time and not nearly as memorable as The King and I or The Bad Seed or as controversial as Baby Doll.
Reasons: Kerr was simply burned by the competition most of the time she was nominated. And even if the best actress didn’t win, there was always one who was better than her. She also suffered from typecasting as a proper English woman or nun. Luckily she received an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.
Trivia: Recipient of the Sarah Siddons Award for Tea and Sympathy (so yes, the award Eve received in All About Eve is a real thing). Romantically linked to Burt Lancaster.
20. Peter Lorre
Personal Life: (1904-1964) Born László Löwenstein in the present day Slovakia town Ružomberok during the waning days of the Austrian Hungarian Empire. Father was a Jewish chief bookkeeper at a textile mill and served as a lieutenant in the Austrian army reserve. Mother died when he was 4, possibly of food poisoning. Father remarried his mom’s best friend to help raise his 4 motherless sons but he didn’t get along with his stepmother. Moved to Vienna in 1913 and father served on the eastern front during the winter of 1914-15 and was put in charge of a prison camp. Started acting on stage at after a stint as a bank clerk performing in Vienna, Poland, and Zurich. Career took off when he caught the eye of Bertolt Brecht and moved to Berlin in the late 1920s. Yet, he was forced to flee in 1933 due to the rise of Nazism and his Jewish heritage. First went to Paris and then London but eventually settled in London with a contract from Columbia Pictures. Moved to Warner Brothers in 1941 when he became a US citizen and legally changed his name. Married 3 times and had a daughter Catherine to Anne Marie Brenning. She would make headlines in 1977, in which a noted serial killer confessed to stop her with an intent to kidnap and murder her but let her go when they realized who she was. Suffered from a chronic gall bladder infection for years which led to a morphine addiction, which he successfully overcame but didn’t fully recover. Later in his career he would gain 100lbs. Died of a stroke at 59.
Famous for: Hungarian-American actor who became an international sensation in the Fritz Lang film M where plays a serial killer who targets little girls. Yet, he’d soon find himself in enforced exile and have to learn English for Hitchcock’s first filming of The Man Who Knew Too Much. Once in Hollywood, he’d be a featured player in movies ranging from crime, mystery, film noir, and horror since he was one of the creepiest men ever. Yet, he’d also appear in a Disney movie and do an occasional comedy. Frequently typecast as a sinister foreigner, his post war career was erratic. Notable roles are Hans Beckert from M, Abbott from The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dr. Gogol from Mad Love, Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment, The General from Secret Agent, Col. Glimpy from Crack-Up, Mr. Moto from the Mr. Moto series, Joel Cairo from The Maltese Falcon, Ugarte from Casablanca, Victor Emmeric from The Verdict, Dr. Karl Roth from The Lost One, and Conseil from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Nominated for: Lorre was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Not getting at least a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 1941 for The Maltese Falcon.
Reasons: For one, the Hollywood establishment simply not interested in giving film prizes for foreign film performances. Not to mention, Lorre’s friendship with blacklisted playwright Bertolt Brecht didn’t help either and actually got him kicked out of Warner Brothers. This put his career on the decline and declare personal bankruptcy in 1949.
Trivia: Was a supporter of the Committee for the First Amendment during the Red Scare. Played a James Bond villain on television. Was referred to as “the World’s Greatest Actor,” by Charlie Chaplin and got along famously with Hitchcock. Vincent Price did the eulogy at his funeral. Tried to help many of his Jewish friends get out of Europe and was an ardent anti-Nazi. Refused to entertain in a hospital during WWII, opting to sit with the troops and listen to their stories instead. Reputed to have said at Bela Lugosi’s funeral, “Do you think we should drive a stake through his heart just in case?”