Of course, I can’t just stop at 20 since the Golden Age of Hollywood has produced its share of screen legends that it’s shocking to see which ones have never received a competitive Oscar win or lost to people who weren’t nearly as good. Sometimes it’s understandable and there are other times when it had nothing to do with their talents (like race, Red Scare, and just being very bad to work with). Now this selection pertains to even more legends I haven’t covered yet in my first two posts. First we have John Barrymore who was well known for his theatrical and film career but is better known nowadays for being Drew Barrymore’s alcoholic grandfather. Second, there’s Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas who both starred together in movies like The Vikings and Spartacus. Also known for fathering children who also went into show business like Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Douglas. Third, you have Natalie Wood and James Dean, famous for not only starring in Rebel Without a Cause together but also falling to untimely deaths whether it be through drowning or reckless driving. Then there’s Fred Astaire best known for singing and dancing with Ginger Rogers as well as became a fashion icon for decades. Next we have Lew Ayres who was married to Ginger Rogers and causing a public outcry when he tried to get out of WWII as a conscientious objector. After that is Gene Tierney known for playing femme fatales and leading ladies as well as suffering a terrible tragedy in her life because she didn’t get vaccinated (since an MMR and rubella vaccine wasn’t available yet). Next, we have Vincent Price who is well known for his horror movies with his signature voice and is Tim Burton’s hero. Finally, we have Rock Hudson best known for playing alongside Doris Day, being trapped in the celluloid closet, and dying of AIDS. So for your pleasure, here are 10 more actors and actresses who’ve never won a competitive Oscar.
21. John Barrymore
Personal Life: (1882-1942) Born John Sidney Blyth in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Younger brother of Lionel and Ethel. Father was an Indian born British actor who adopted “Barrymore” as a stage name after seeing it on poster for the Haymarket Theater in London but he was a mostly absentee womanizing drunk. Mother was from a theatrical family. He was a badly behaved child that he was sent away to schools in attempts to instill discipline but kept getting thrown out. At 10, his maternal grandmother who raised him lost control of the theater she owned causing disruption among the family. At 11, mother died from tuberculosis which compelled Lionel and Ethel to seek work as professional actors. At 15, he lost his virginity to his stepmother and his grandmother died. Was basically forced into acting by his father. At 19, his father had a mental breakdown as a result from 3rd stage syphilis in which he was institutionalized. Worked as an illustrator for The New York Journal and as a poster designer. Decided to go into acting full time only for the money. Stage career began in 1903 and made his first movie in 1913. Married 4 times and had 3 children including a daughter Diana (who died at 38 due to drugs and alcohol) to second wife Blanche Oelrichs (a.ka. Michael Strange), as well as a daughter and son to third wife Dolores Costello. Grandfather of Drew Barrymore through son John Drew. Was notoriously known for his alcoholism which he struggled with since 14, which wrecked his marriages and contributed to his decline and death. He also ran enormous debts with his lavish lifestyle which drove him into bankruptcy. Died of pneumonia, kidney failure, and liver cirrhosis at 60.
Famous for: American actor who tried to avoid the stage but appeared with his father and sister. First gained attention as a stage actor then high drama with his portrayal of Hamlet led him being called, “the greatest living American tragedarian.” During the 1920s, he was the most celebrated Shakespearean actor in the world as well as influenced a generation of actors such as Sirs Alec Guinness, John Gielgud, and Laurence Olivier. In 1925, he left his 14 year stage career to devote himself to films and made an easy transition to sound. Notable film roles are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the 1920 version, Sherlock Holmes from the 1922 version, Beau Brummel, Captain Ahab Ceely from The Sea Beast, Don Juan, Svengali, Arsene Lupin, Hilary Fairfield from A Bill of Divorcement, Oscar Jaffe from Twentieth Century, the Baron from Grand Hotel, Larry Renault from Dinner at Eight, and Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet.
Nominated for: He is the only Barrymore sibling not to win or even be nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: He should’ve at least received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 1934 for Twentieth Century.
Reasons: If there was anything keeping him from getting that gold statuette it was probably his lifelong struggle with alcoholism. From 1936 on his heavy drinking would greatly affect his performances in which he start forgetting his lines that he had to read them on black boards behind the camera. This made it difficult for him to get work and would later be reduced to lampooning himself for money as a washed up has been. Of course, out of the Barrymore siblings, he was the dysfunctional one.
Trivia: During his days as a struggling actor, he had a fling with and proposed to Evelyn Nesbit but her mom sent her to New Jersey to break of the relationship. Yet, he was expected to testify at her then husband’s murder trial after his public murder of her ex-boyfriend architect Stanford White. Witnessed the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
22. James Dean
Personal Life: (1931-1955) Born in Marion, Indiana. Father was a farmer and dental technician. Moved to Santa Monica, California at 6. Mother died of uterine cancer when he was 9 years old and was sent back to Fairmount, Indiana to live with his sister. Moved back to California after graduating high school. Attended Santa Monica College for pre-law but transferred to UCLA for drama leading to estrangement from his father. Yet, he dropped out to pursue acting full time. Got his start through acting on television and bit parts. Studied method acting under James Whitmore and Lee Strasberg. Starred in only 3 films. Sexual orientation was a contested subject among his contemporaries and is still debated to this day though his best remembered relationship was with Pier Angeli. Known for his extreme mood swings and might’ve been bipolar. Died when he wrecked his Porsche 550 Spyder called, “Lil’ Bastard” at the junction of California State Routes 46 and 41 at 24.
Famous for: American actor and culture icon of teenage disillusionment. His performances in his 3 films and fatal car crash at 24 cemented his enduring popularity and legendary status to this day. Notable roles are Cal Trask from East of Eden, Jim Stark from Rebel Without a Cause, and Jett Rink from Giant.
Nominated for: Had 2 nominations for Best Actor both posthumously: 1955 for East of Eden and 1956 for Giant.
Most Crushing Loss: While it’s crushing enough that Dean lost to Ernest Borgnine and Yul Brynner after his death, it’s not at all surprising since his age would’ve made him a long shot anyway. Yet, I think the biggest loss for him would be dying before he could make more movies.
Reasons: Posthumously or not, Best Actor Oscars never go to guys under 30. Adrien Brody for his performance as Wladyslaw Szpilpman in The Pianist in 2003 is the notable exception and as a nominee, he was considered a long shot against Michael Caine, Nicholas Cage, Jack Nicholson, and Daniel Day Lewis. His well-deserved win was a total upset (and even he was shocked). Nevertheless, Brody is considered the youngest Best Actor winner to date at 29, 5 years older than Dean at his death. But his win in 2003 helps explain why Dean never won an Oscar. Still, I think Dean probably would’ve won an Oscar had he lived longer (or not fatally crashing his Porsche at 24).
Trivia: Was an auto racing enthusiast and would also compete in actual races that Warner Bros. had to bar him from racing activities during Giant’s production (for good reason). Still, in a twist of tragic irony, while filming Giant just 13 days before his death, Dean appeared in a TV PSA with Gig Young warning kids about driving fast on the highway. Should’ve listened to his own advice.
23. Natalie Wood
Personal Life: (1938-1981) Born Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko in San Francisco, California to Russian immigrant parents. Father was a day laborer and carpenter while mother once dreamed of becoming an actress or ballet dancer. Family moved to Santa Rosa and changed their name to “Gurdin” shortly after her birth where she was discovered during a film shoot. Made her first film in 1943 at 4. Fell in a river and nearly drowned at 9 which left her with a permanently weakened left wrist with a slight bone intrusion that she hid with large bracelets for the rest of her life whether filming or out in public. Married 3 times, most notably twice to Robert Wagner and had 2 children. Struggled with depression and in 1966 may have tried to commit suicide through a sleeping pill overdose. Was afraid of water and never learned to swim. Drowned during a weekend boating trip at 43 under mysterious but probably accidental circumstances (like falling off the boat while drunk and on medication while or after arguing with her husband).
Famous for: American actress who became a successful adult film star after working in movies as a child as well as receiving 3 Academy Award nominations before she was 25 years old. Made 20 films by 16. Notable roles are Susan Walker from Miracle on 34th Street, Anna Muir as a child from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Judy from Rebel Without a Cause, Debbie Edwards from The Searchers, Marjorie Morganstern from Marjorie Morningstar, Maria from West Side Story, Wilma Dean Loomis from Splendor in the Grass, Louise Hovick aka Gypsy Rose Lee from Gypsy, Helen Gurley Brown from Sex and the Single Girl, Maggie DuBois from The Great Race, Penelope Elcott from Penelope, Alva Starr from This Property Is Condemned, Carol Sanders from Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Daisy Clover from Inside Daisy Clover, and Karen Brace from Brainstorm.
Nominated for: Wood was nominated 3 times twice for Best Actress and once for Best Supporting Actress consisting of 1955 for Rebel Without a Cause, 1961 for Splendor in the Grass, and 1963 for Love with the Proper Stranger.
Most Crushing Loss: Not being nominated for Best Actress in 1962 for Gypsy for I think she should’ve had some recognition for a role which she actually does her own singing, instead of having her voice dubbed by Marni Nixon.
Reasons: For one, Wood wasn’t even 25 years old and had spent most of the late 1950s and early 1960s playing teenagers. While more women under 30 have won Oscars for leading roles than men (by 28 to 1 or just Adrien Brody. Luise Rainier and Jodie Foster were under 30 at both their wins so this has happened 30 times.), this isn’t always the case particularly if they’re against a much more established actress. And whenever Wood was nominated, she was usually burned by the competition. Also, she died young before she could make a decent comeback.
Trivia: Spoke English and Russian with an American accent. Sister was a Bond girl and played the same character she did in The Searchers. Called, “Natasha” by her family. Attended high school with Robert Redford. Christopher Walken was on the boating trip when she drowned. Romantically linked to Nicholas Ray and Warren Beatty. Yacht was called the Splendor. Had a grandfather who worked in a chocolate factory and died during the Russian Revolution. Was invited to appear in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after appearing in Miracle on 34th Street.
24. Fred Astaire
Personal Life: (1899-1987) Born Frederich Austerlitz in Omaha, Nebraska. Father was an Austrian Jewish convert to Catholicism and brewer. Mother was a German Lutheran willing to use her children’s talents to escape Omaha as soon as his sister Adele showed talent as an instinctive dancer and singer. Thus, he basically started dancing and singing almost as soon as he could walk and talk appearing on vaudeville with his sister as later appeared on the Orpheum Circuit. Yet had to take 2 years off due to child labor laws. Mother used Astaire as a stage name. At 17, he met a song plugger for Jerome H. Remick’s music publishing company named George Gershwin, which affect both of their careers. Debuted on Broadway with Adele the next year and continued a stage career until she married the Duke of Devonshire in 1932. Retired for good in 1981. Married twice and had 2 children with first wife Phyllis Potter. Second wife was jockey Robyn Smith. Died of pneumonia at 88.
Famous for: American dancer, choreographer, musician, and actor with a career spanning 76 years in which he made 31 musical films and several award winning television specials and issued numerous recordings. Named 5th Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute. Best known for his 11 movies with Ginger Rogers which transformed the genre. Gave up musicals to focus on straight acting from 1957-1981. Notable roles are Guy Holden from The Gay Divorcee, Jerry Travers from Top Hat, John “Lucky” Garnett from Swing Time, Peter P. “Petrov” Peters from Shall We Dance, Vernon Castle from The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, Jim Hardy from Holiday Inn, Bob Davis from You Were Never Lovelier, Don Hewes from Easter Parade, Josh Barkley from The Barkleys of Broadway, Tom Bowen from Royal Wedding, Tony Hunter from The Band Wagon, Dick Avery from Funny Face, Finian McLonergan from Finian’s Rainbow, Julian Osborn from On the Beach, and Harry Claiborne from The Towering Inferno.
Nominated for: He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1974 for The Towering Inferno.
Most Crushing Loss: Not getting a nomination for any of his movies with Ginger Rogers. At least he got an honorary Oscar in 1950.
Reasons: The Hollywood establishment probably wasn’t too keen with awarding prestigious film prizes to song and dance guys. Hell, Ginger Rogers had to appear in a drama to receiver her Oscar for Best Actress in 1941.
Trivia: Could also play piano, clarinet, drums, and accordion. Was a lifelong golf and Thoroughbred horse racing enthusiast. His horse Triplicate won the prestigious Hollywood Gold Cup and San Juan Capistrano Handicap in 1946. Remained a male fashion icon exchanging his top hat and tails for a breezy casual style of tailored sports jackets, colored shirts, cravats, and slacks held by a tie. Was physically active well into his 80s and injured his left wrist while riding his grandson’s skateboard. Never wanted his life to be a biopic and last request was to thank his fans for their years of support. Successfully wooed a socialite away from her husband against his mother and sister’s wishes (though she was his wife for 21 years so it worked out). Starred in the Christmas special, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. He and his sister have an award named after them sponsored by Anglo-American Contemporary Dance Foundation.
25. Tony Curtis
Personal Life: (1925-2010) Born Bernard Schwartz in the Bronx of New York City to Hungarian Jewish parents. Father was a tailor and the family resided in the back of his shop. Mother was an abusive schizophrenic who was later institutionalized as well as his brother Robert. Didn’t learn English until he was 6 due to delayed schooling. At 8, he and his brother Julius were placed in an orphanage because their parents couldn’t afford to feed them. At 12, lost his brother Julius who was struck and killed by a truck. After that, he joined a local gang known for skipping school and petty thievery. But he managed to settle down after a friendly neighbor sent him to Boy Scout camp. Enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor, served on a submarine, and witnessed Japan’s surrender on his ship’s bridge in Tokyo Bay. After the war, attended City College of New York and studied acting at The New School in Greenwich Village. Discovered by David O. Selznick’s niece who said he was the handsomest of the boys. Signed on to Universal Pictures and moved to Hollywood at 23. Married 6 times with Janet Leigh being his first marriage. Had 6 kids with 2 daughters to Leigh (Jamie Lee and Kelly Curtis), 2 daughters to second wife Christine Kaufman, and 2 sons to third wife Leslie Allen (including Nicholas who died of a drug overdose in 1994). Had problems with alcohol and drug abuse but managed to check in a Betty Ford Clinic in the mid-1980s and stay sober. Nevertheless, later years were plagued with various health problems including heart attacks a bout of pneumonia that nearly killed him, and COPD. Died of cardiac arrest at 85.
Famous for: American actor whose career spanned 6 decades and over 100 films covering a wide range of genres from light comedies to serious drama. Though his early roles were more or less based on his good looks, he soon became a notable and strong screen presence when given the chance. Notable roles are Sidney Falco from Sweet Smell of Success, Joe/Josephine/Shell Oil Junior from Some Like It Hot, Bob Weston from Sex and the Single Girl, Antoninus from Spartacus, Ira Hayes from The Outsider, Andrei Bulba from Taras Bulba, John “Joker” Jackson from The Defiant Ones, Rodriguez from The Last Tycoon, Erik from The Vikings, and Albert DeSalvo from The Boston Strangler.
Nominated for: Nominated for Best Actor in 1958 for The Defiant Ones.
Most Crushing Loss: Though I can’t blame him for losing to David Niven, I think it’s a shame that he wasn’t nominated for Best Actor for The Boston Strangler.
Reasons: Of course, in 1958, he was just burned by the competition. However, he probably never won an Oscar because he was originally seen as a pretty boy and it took a while for him to gain recognition as a serious actor. Not to mention, despite how funny Some Like It Hot is, Oscars just don’t go to comedies either.
Trivia: Mother appeared on You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx. Father-in-law to Sir Christopher Guest (Jamie Lee’s husband by the way). He and Jamie Lee helped raise funds for rebuilding the “Great Synagogue” and founded Emanuel Foundation for Hungarian Culture that helps restore synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in Hungary, which he dedicated to the 60,000 Hungarian Jews who died in the Holocaust. Also helped promote Hungary’s national image in commercials. Worked to rescue horses from slaughterhouses. Wrote 2 books. Enjoyed painting and made it a second career since the early 1980s. Work commands more than $25,000. Jerry Lewis attended his first wedding as a witness.
26. Kirk Douglas
Personal Life: (1916-present) Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky in Amsterdam New York to Yiddish speaking Jewish immigrants from Russia. Father was a ragman. Sold snacks to mill workers as a boy to help his struggling family. Talked his way into attending St. Lawrence University where he paid his tuition through working as a janitor, gardener, and wrestling one summer at a carnival. Said he wanted to be an actor as a kid. Attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts on a scholarship. Changed his name to Kirk Douglas before entering the Navy during WWII and was medically discharged in 1944 due to injuries. Made his Hollywood debut in 1946. Married twice and fathered 4 sons (2 with Dill and 2 with Anne) including Michael Douglas with his first wife Diana Dill. Married to second wife Anne Buydens for 60 years as of 2015. Suffered a severe stroke in 1996s which took his voice though he partially regained his ability to speak. Will be 100 in 2016 if he’s still alive by then. Retired in 2003.
Famous for: American actor, producer, and author with his cinematic career spanning 50 years. Now is one of the last remaining stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood as well as the highest ranked person on AFI’s list of Greatest Male Stars. Known for playing tough guys and demonstrating an independent streak that he broke studio contracts to gain control over his projects. Formed his own movie company Bryna Productions named after his mother. Was a major box office star in the 1950s and 1960s and appeared in 7 films with Burt Lancaster. Notable roles are Walter O’ Neil from The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Whit Sterling from Out of the Past, George Phipps from A Letter to Three Wives, Michael “Midge” Kelly from Champion, Jim O’Connor from The Glass Menagerie, Chuck Tatum from Ace in the Hole, Jonathan Shields from The Bad and the Beautiful, Ned Land from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Vincent van Gogh from Lust for Life, Doc Holliday from Gunfight at the O. K. Corral, Colonel Dax from Paths of Glory, Richard “Dick” Dudgeon from The Devil’s Disciple, Spartacus, Colonel Jiggs Casey from Seven Days in May, and so many others.
Nominated for: Nominated 3 times for Best Actor consisting of 1949 for Champion, 1952 for The Bad and the Beautiful, and 1956 for Lust for Life.
Most Crushing Loss: Though I can’t blame Douglas for losing to guys like Broderick Crawford, Gary Cooper, and Yul Brynner, I think his most crushing loss was not being nominated for Best Actor for Spartacus. At least he received an Honorary Oscar in the 1990s and at least his son Michael won 2 (as an actor and producer).
Reasons: Well, he was most likely burned by the competition yet he also demonstrated an independent streak and broke many studio contracts just to have control over his own projects. Also, his role in ending the Hollywood Blacklist might’ve been a reason Spartacus didn’t get the nominations it should.
Trivia: Was a classmate of Lauren Bacall who helped him land his first film role. Father-in-law to Catherine Zeta Jones. Has written 11 books. Embraced Judaism after surviving a helicopter crash in 1991, which killed 2 other people. Presented the Best Supporting Actress Oscar to Melissa Leo for The Fighter. Blogs semi-regularly and is believed to be the oldest celebrity blogger in the known world. Played an important role in ending the Hollywood Blacklist when he insisted that Dalton Trumbo be credited under his real name for his screenplay for Spartacus. Played a 4 spring banjo on The Jack Benny Program. Starred in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on Broadway and gave the rights to his son Michael. In 1986, he and Angela Lansbury co-hosted the New York Philharmonic’s tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. And an autobiographical one man show in 2009.
27. Vincent Price
Personal Life: (1911-1993) Born in St. Louis. Father was president of the National Candy Company while grandfather invented “Dr. Price’s Baking Powder,” the first cream of tartar baking powder. In 1933, he graduated from Yale in art history. Began his theatrical career in 1935 and performed with Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater Company. Married 3 times. Had a son to first wife Edith Barrett and a daughter to second wife Mary Grant Price. Was a lifelong smoker who suffered from emphysema, lung cancer, and Parkinson’s. Died of lung cancer at 82.
Famous for: American actor well known for his distinctive voice as well as for his serio-comic performances in a series of horror films during the latter part his career. Was originally a character actor. Made his first horror film in 1939. Notable roles are Duke of Clarence from Tower of London, Clifford Pyncheon from The House of the Seven Gables, Prosecutor Vital Dutour from The Song of Bernadette, Shelby Carpenter from Laura, Angus Mealey from The Keys to the Kingdom, Sir Walter Raleigh from The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Russell Quinton from Leave Her to Heaven, Nicholas Van Ryn from Dragonwyck, James Reavis from The Baron of Arizona, Professor Henry Jarrod from House of Wax, Baka from The Ten Commandments, Frederick Loren from House on Haunted Hill, Dr. Erasmus Craven from The Raven, Matthew Hopkins from Witchfinder General, Professor Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective, the Inventor from Edward Scissorhands, Mr. Maranov from The Whales of August, and so many characters from horror movies.
Nominated for: Price was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Never securing a nomination for The Song of Bernadette for Best Supporting Actor or some of his horror movies.
Reasons: Even during the horror heyday during the Golden Age of Hollywood, horror movies weren’t taken as a serious art form. And since most new horror movies are slasher films now, that’s probably not going to change.
Trivia: Was an art aficionado and collector who opened a gallery with Edward G. Robinson and sold 50,000 pieces of fine art to the general public including works by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Dali to between 1962 and 1971. Also donated hundreds of artworks and money to the East Los Angeles College in the early 1960s to endow the Vincent Price Art Museum there. Worked as a consultant to Sears Roebuck in the early 1960s, which he saw it as an opportunity to bring art to the American public. Did a monologue in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” as well as a voiceover in Alice Cooper’s, “Welcome to my Nightmare” as well as for other groups like Deep Purple. Hosted the PBS show Mystery! From 1981 to 1989. In a 1950 NBC Radio production he denounced racial and religious prejudice as a form of poison and claimed Americans must actively fight against it because racial and religious prejudice within the United States fuels support for the nation’s enemies Despite being a Democrat, was appointed to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board under President Dwight D. Eisenhower (yet he was perfect for the job since he was such a big art fan and collector). Converted to Catholicism to please his 3rd wife Australian Carol Browne who then in turn became a US citizen for him. Performed the eulogy at Peter Lorre’s funeral. Though he usually played bad guys, was a generally a warm person with a quirky sense of humor and took pains to make sure children weren’t frightened by him when performing alongside them. Wrote and published several cookbooks.
28. Gene Tierney
Personal Life: (1920-1991) Born in Brooklyn, New York City. Father was a successful insurance broker and mother a former gym teacher. Attended schools in Connecticut and Europe. Debuted in society at 17 and pursued acting in Greenwich Village, studying at a small studio. Debuted on Broadway in 1938 and made her first film in 1940. Married twice and had 2 daughters with first husband Oleg Cassini. Married to second husband Howard W. Lee for 21 years. Had a daughter who was severely disabled due to contracting rubella from a fan while pregnant with her. Suffered from depression and saw a psychiatrist as well as went through 27 shock treatments. May have tried to jump out of a 14 story ledge and was institutionalized. Retired in 1980. Died from emphysema at 70.
Famous for: American actress, acclaimed as a great beauty. Notable roles are Ellie Mae Lester from Tobacco Road, Belle Starr, Martha Strabel Van Cleve from Heaven Can Wait, Laura Hunt from Laura, Ellen Brent Harland from Leave Her to Heaven, Lucy Muir from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Ann Sutton from Whirlpool, Miranda Wells Van Ryn from Dragonwyck, Isabel Bradley Maturin from The Razor’s Edge, Mary Bristol from Night and the City, Morgan Taylor (Payne) from Where the Sidewalk Ends, Maggie Carleton McNulty from The Mating Season, Dorothy Bradford from Plymouth Adventure, Baketamon from The Egyptian, Anne Scott from The Left Hand of God, and Dolly Harrison from Advise and Consent.
Nominated for: Tierney was nominated for Best Actress in 1945 for Leave Her to Heaven.
Most Crushing Loss: Not being nominated for Best Actress in 1946 for The Razor’s Edge. Boy, if anyone can play a bad girlfriend, it was her.
Reasons: Tierney struggled for years with depression which sometimes kept her from doing her job as an actress such as concentrating and sometimes dropped out of projects due to stress. She was also institutionalized on 2 occasions. And at one time, Humphrey Bogart helped feed her lines during the making of The Left Hand of God. She was just an emotional wreck. Also, when nominated for Leave Her to Heaven she was simply burned by the competition because there was no way she was going to win against Joan Crawford.
Trivia: Named after her uncle who died young. Wrote poetry. Spoke fluent French. Romantically linked to Spencer Tracy and John F. Kennedy. Became an outspoken opponent against shock treatments, claiming that they destroyed significant portions of her memory. The Mirror Crack’d was partially based on an incident in her life with her daughter. Was friends with Howard Hughes who paid for her daughter Daria’s care. Second husband was once married to Hedy Lamarr.
29. Lew Ayres
Personal Life: (1908-1996) Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At 4, his parents divorced. Father was an amateur musician and court reporter. As a teenager moved to San Diego with his mother and stepfather. After dropping out of high school, he started a band which traveled to Mexico. Played banjo and guitar for big bands and recorded one of the earliest Vitaphone movie shorts with the Henry Halstead Orchestra. Eventually pursued acting full time. Married 3 times with Ginger Rogers as his second wife. Had one son to third wife Diana Hall whom he was married to for 32 years. Died of complications from a coma at 88.
Famous for: American Actor best known for playing Dr. Kildare in 9 movies and Paul Baumer in All Quiet on the Western Front. Spent a time typecast as doctors. Career spanned nearly 65 years. Notable roles are Paul Baumer from All Quiet on the Western Front, Dr. Kildare from the series’ first 9 movies, Ned from Holiday, Dr. Scott Elliott from Dark Mirror, Pat Gilbert from State Fair, Larry Hannaford from The Unfaithful, Dr. Robert Richardson from Johnny Belinda, and Vice President Harley Hudson from Advise & Consent.
Nominated for: Ayres was only nominated for Best Actor in 1948 for Johnny Belinda.
Most Crushing Loss: Not getting at least an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for All Quiet on the Western Front. For playing a young German soldier who loses all his friends and becomes alienated from the world outside the WWI trenches, his performance is utterly heartbreaking and should’ve won.
Reasons: In 1930, he was only 22 and early in his film career which is understandable. Yet, after filming All Quiet on the Western Front, he became an ardent pacifist and caused tremendous public outcry when he applied for CO 4E status. Though he eventually settled in serving as a medic in the Pacific with heroic distinction and enjoyed a comeback after the war, he would never reach the peak of his Hollywood stardom in his early years. Still, if it weren’t for his impressive war record, his conscientious objector stance would’ve destroyed his career.
Trivia: It’s said that Jane Wyman dumped Ronald Reagan for him but their affair was brief. During WWII, he was one of 16 medics who arrived during the invasion of Leyte to set up evacuation hospitals under fire as well as provided care for soldiers and civilians in the Philippines and New Guinea. After serving 3 ½ years in the Medical Corps, he won 3 battle stars and donated his service money to the American Red Cross. Is buried next to Frank Zappa. Was a believer in eastern philosophy and directed a 1976 documentary called Altars of the World. Was turned down and to play Dr. Kildare on TV after because he requested there be no cigarette advertising on the show in 1961.
30. Rock Hudson
Personal Life: (1925-1985) Born Roy Scherer Jr. in Winnetka, Illinois. Mother was a telephone operator and father was an auto mechanic who deserted the family during the Great Depression. Stepfather adopted him and changed his name to Fitzgerald. Delivered newspapers, ran errands, and worked as a golf caddy. After graduating high school, he served as a US Navy aircraft mechanic in the Philippines during WWII. In 1946, he moved to Los Angeles and tried to study acting at USC but was rejected for poor grades. When discovered by future agent Henry Willson, he was working as a truck driver. Though he used Rock Hudson as a stage name, he hated it. Was married for 3 years to his agent’s secretary Phyllis Gates but it was a publicity used to conceal his sexual orientation when Confidential Magazine threatened to expose him. Had at least 3 known lovers (not including Jim Nabors) and was a heavy smoker and drinker for years. Died from AIDS at 59 and was the first major celebrity to die from the disease.
Famous for: American actor who was known as a leading man during the 1950s and 1960s, notably in romantic comedies with Doris Day as well as serious dramatic roles. Career spanned nearly 40 years and 70 films as well as several TV productions. Notable roles are Bob Merrick from Magnificent Obsession, Jordan “Bick” Benedict, Jr. from Giant, Ron Kirby from All that Heaven Allows, Mitch Wayne from Written on the Wind, Lt. Frederick Henry from Farewell to Arms, Brad Allen from Pillow Talk, Michael “Tiger” McDrew from Pretty Maids All in a Row, and Jason Rudd from The Mirror Crack’d.
Nominated for: Hudson was nominated for Best Actor in 1956 for Giant (which was well deserved).
Most Crushing Loss: Basically not receiving any film award from a gay rights organization (which didn’t exist in public until the 1960s) or being nominated for Best Actor for Pillow Talk in which he plays a straight guy pretending to be gay. As for losing the Oscar for Giant, well, he was facing tough competition.
Reasons: In case you don’t know, he was gay and his sexual orientation was an open secret in Hollywood for years.
Trivia: Was a good friend to Ronald and Nancy Reagan who called him personally in his Paris hospital room where he was being treated for AIDS and made sure he had the best possible care available. Kissing Linda Evans on Dynasty led to widespread panic in the TV industry when it was revealed that he had AIDS during that time, too, but she suffered from no ill effects. Appeared in a cigarette commercial. Contrary to rumors, he and Jim Nabors were never more than just good friends (and Nabors was in a committed relationship with another man whom he eventually married in 2013).