Now while I did put some stars from the silent era, I only focused on ones who appeared on sound pictures. Yet the reason for this is that there were no Oscars awarded during the Silent Era and that many of the silent stars didn’t transition to sound either. And there were even some like Rudolph Valentino who were dead by the time The Jazz Singer came out in the late 1920s. Sure silent movies may have dialogue cards instead of subtitles yet for awhile, it was quite an art form in the 1920s with films ranging from silent epics, German expressionist pieces, and comedies by Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin. And then there’s D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, which should only be seen for its artistic merits and only for required viewing, because it’s so racist that it makes Gone With the Wind look like Glory in comparison. In this selection, I bring you 10 more actors and actresses who have never received a competitive Academy Award. First, we have Frank Morgan who’s best known as the not so wonderful Wizard of Oz. Second, is German actor Conrad Veidt whose career spanned from playing German horror villains to Nazis followed by African American entertainment legend and blacklisted civil rights activist Paul Robeson. Third, comes Mae West who was the master of the double entendre and whose scandal ridden public life put Madonna to shame. Then we have Jill Clayburgh whose career spanned 40 years and is best remembered by my generation for playing Kristen Wiig’s mom on Bridesmaids. After that is Jack Hawkins who appeared in films like Ben Hur and The Bridge on the River Kwai yet his career and life was hurt by smoking followed by Indian actor Sabu best known for playing Mowgli yet suffered a case from typecasting after WWII. Then there’s Irish acting legend David Kelly who was Charlie’s grandpa as well as the most recognizable voices from stage and screen as well as Scottish actor Ian Bannen who was nominated for an Oscar before Sean Connery. And last but not least, is June Allyson whose career in Hollywood was of the girl next door but in later years was the spokeswoman for Depends. So for your reading pleasure, here are 10 more Oscar less actors and actresses I’ve listed in this installment.
171. Frank Morgan
Personal Life: (1890-1949) Born Francis Phillip Wuppermann in New York City. Father was a Venezuelan born German immigrant of Spanish and German descent. Youngest of 11 children. Family earned its wealth through distributing Angostura bitters. Attended Cornell University before following his brother to the Broadway stage who was Ralph Morgan. Made his first film in 1916. Married to Alma Muller for 35 years and had a son. Was widely known to have a drinking problem and would carry briefcase to work fully equipped with a small mini bar. Died of a heart attack at 59.
Famous for: American character actor best known for playing the Wizard of Oz. Notable roles are Mayor John Hastings from Hallelujah I’m a Bum, Alessandro – Duke of Florence from The Affairs of Cellini, Mellersh Wilkins from Enchanted April, Jesse Kiffmeyer from Saratoga, Professor Marvel / The Wizard of Oz / The Gatekeeper / The Carriage Driver / The Guard from The Wizard of Oz, Professor Roth from The Mortal Storm, The Pirate from Tortilla Flat, Willie Grogan from The Human Comedy, Hugo Matuschek from The Shop Around the Corner, King Louis XIII from The Three Musketeers, Fire Chief Duggan from Key to the City.
Nominated for: Morgan was nominated twice once for Best Actor and once for Best Supporting Actor in 1935 for The Affairs of Cellini and in 1943 for Tortilla Flat.
Most Crushing Loss: Losing to Van Heflin in the 1943 Best Supporting Actor race. Seriously, his role as the Mexican guy with the dogs is the only reason why that movie is still watchable. Not to mention, he had a Hispanic grandmother. Still, he should’ve at least lost to Walter Huston or Henry Travers since people still watch Yankee Doodle Dandy and Mrs. Miniver.
Reasons: He was more likely burned by the competition than anything. Also, possibly being Latino on his paternal grandmother’s side (the first Hispanic to win an acting Oscar was Anthony Quinn in 1952 for Viva Zapata!).
Trivia: Starred in a play written by his brother who died in 1919 during his duty in the Army of Occupation.
172. Conrad Veidt
Personal Life: (1893-1943) Born Hans Walter Conrad Veidt in Berlin. Conscripted and rose to a non-commissioned officer in WWI on the Eastern Front in 1915. But was out a year later due to jaundice which didn’t improve. Yet, this led the army to let him join the theater and entertain the troops. Was discharged in 1917 after being deemed unfit for service. Made his first movie in 1917. Married 3 times and had a daughter with second wife Felicitas Radke. Left Germany for Britain in 1933 during the rise of Nazism due to his third wife being Jewish. Became a British citizen in 1938 but moved to the US in 1941. Died of a massive heart attack while playing golf in Los Angeles at 50.
Famous for: German-British actor who started in German Expressionist silent films and was once the best paid stars at Ufa in the early 1930s. Appeared in well over 100 films and usually played villains, especially in his later career. Notable roles are Caesare from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Orlac from The Hands of Orlac, Gwynplaine / Lord Clancharlie from The Man Who Laughs, Ivan the Terrible from Waxworks, Jaffar from The Thief of Bagdad, Otto Becker / Baron Hugo Von Detner from Nazi Agent, Major Heinrich Strasser from Casablanca, and Hassert Seidel from Above Suspicion.
Nominated for: Veidt was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Not being nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1942 for Casablanca.
Reasons: Let’s face it. Veidt was a German actor whose most memorable work up to Casablanca was in German Expressionist silent films. And most of these were horror movies.
Trivia: Vehemently opposed the Nazi regime and fled Germany to Britain because his third wife was Jewish. Donated much of his fortune to assist the British war effort during WWII as well as his life savings before he left for the US. Loved animals, fast cars, gardening, and pastries. Face from The Man Who Laughs was an inspiration for the Joker from Batman and his character on The Thief of Baghdad for Jafar in Disney’s Aladdin. Starred in the first pro-gay rights film.
173. Mae West
Personal Life: (1893-1980) Born Mary Jane West in Brooklyn, New York City. Father was a prizefighter known as “Battlin’ Jack West” who later worked as a “special policeman”, and later had his own private investigations agency. Mother was a corset and fashion model who was supportive of her career unlike some of her family members for obvious reasons. Got her start in amateur shows at 7 and won prizes in local talent contests. Began performing professionally for the Hal Clarendon Stock Company in 1907 at 14. Debuted on Broadway in 1911. Made her first film in 1932. Married to Frank Szatkus for 31 years but it’s doubtful whether they even living together as husband and wife before their divorce (yet she had many boyfriends). Died from a couple strokes and a bout of pneumonia at 87.
Famous for: American actress, singer, playwright, and screenwriter whose entertainment career spanned 7 decades. Master of bawdy double entendres. Notable roles are Maudie Triplett from Night After Night, Lady Lou from She Done Him Wrong, Tira from I’m No Angel, Ruby Carter from Belle of the Nineties, Peaches O’Day from Every Day’s a Holiday, Flower Belle Lee from My Little Chickadee, and Leticia Van Allen from Myra Beckinridge.
Nominated for: West was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Not earning an honorary Oscar for her career and contributions to movies and comedy in general.
Reasons: For one, West was a comedy star as well as a sex symbol. Second, she encountered a lot of problems in her day like censorship and her glory days in Hollywood were over by then (and she was also banned from NBC radio for her Adam and Eve sketch with Don Ameche, which was deemed “vulgar and indecent” by the FCC. Oh, and she served 8 days in prison for “corrupting the morals of youth” over her play Sex). Not to mention, her personal life was basically tabloid fodder throughout her life, even as a senior citizen. In short, she was basically a combination of Bette Midler and Madonna of her day.
Trivia: Early supporter of gay rights and feminism (though never said she was a feminist). Recorded 3 rock albums in the late 1960s. Wrote plays under the pen name Jane Mast. Performed “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Rock Hudson at the 1958 Academy Awards telecast. When approached for permission to allow her likeness on the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, she initially refused, asking “What would I be doing in a Lonely Heart’s Club”. The Beatles wrote her a personal letter declaring themselves great admirers of the star and persuaded her to change her mind. Also has her name linked to vocabulary: WWII Allied aircrews called their yellow inflatable, vest-like life jackets “Mae Wests” partly from rhyming slang for “breasts” and “life vest” and partly because of the resemblance to her torso. A “Mae West” is also a type of round parachute malfunction (partial inversion) which contorts the shape of the canopy into the appearance of an extraordinarily large brassiere. Also, graph depicting the probability of uranium or other fissionable materials producing specific fission products has two peaks with a “valley” in the middle, and is known as the Mae West curve.
174. Jack Hawkins
Personal Life: (1910-1973) Born in London. Father was a builder. Made his stage debut at 12 and Broadway debut at 18. Made first film in 1930. Served in WWII and rose to the rank of colonel in the British Army with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Married twice with first wife being Jessica Tandy which produced one child. Married to second wife Doreen Lawrence for 26 years and had 3 children with her. Smoked 3 packs a day and began experiencing voice problems in the late 1950s. Underwent cobalt treatment in 1959 for what might have been cancer of the larynx and used a mechanical one to aid his speech. Diagnosed with throat cancer in 1965 and his larynx was removed the following year that his films after that were dubbed. Died of cancer during an operation to insert an artificial voice box at 62.
Famous for: British actor whose career spanned from the 1930s to 1970s. Usually played sympathetic authority figures. Notable roles are Detective Ames from The Fallen Idol, Lord George Murray from Bonnie Prince Charlie, Tristram Griffin from The Black Rose, the Interrogator from The Prisoner, Major Warden from The Bridge on the River Kwai, Quintus Arrius from Ben-Hur, Hyde from The League of Gentlemen, General Cornwallis from Lafayette, General Allenby from Lawrence of Arabia, Marlow from Lord Jim, Otto Witt from Zulu, General Sir Thomas Picton from Waterloo, Pharaoh Khufu from Land of the Pharaohs, and Mr. Welldon from Young Winston.
Nominated for: Hawkins was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Not being nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1957 for The Bridge on the River Kwai. Sending William Holden back just makes you hate him.
Reasons: Well, Hawkins is far more famous in Britain as well as made most of his films there. Also, he was starting to lose his voice by The Bridge on the River Kwai due to smoking too many cigarettes (and never quitting).
Trivia: Despite his conservative screen image, was a political liberal. Was friends with Sir Alec Guinness. Appeared in 3 Best Picture winners.
175. Jill Clayburgh
Personal Life: (1944-2010) Born in New York City. Mother was an actress and theatrical production secretary for producer David Merrick. Father was a manufacturing executive. Attended Sarah Lawrence College and joined the Charles Street Repertory Theater in Boston. Made her Broadway debut in 1968 and her first film in 1969 (or 1963). Married to writer David Rabe for 31 years and had 2 children. Had chronic lymphocytic leukemia for more than 20 years which killed her in Salisbury, Connecticut at 66.
Famous for: American actress whose career spanned over 40 years. Notable roles are Josephine from The Wedding Party, Naomi from Portnoy’s Complaint, Jackie from The Thief Who Came to Dinner, Angela Black from The Terminal Man, Carole Lombard from Gable and Lombard, Hilly Burns from Silver Streak, Erica from An Unmarried Woman, Caterina Silveri from La Luna, Marilyn Holmberg from Starting Over, Ruth Loomis from First Monday in October, Nan Whitman from Fools Rush In, Agnes Finch from Running with Scissors, Mrs. Randall from Love & Other Drugs, and Judy Walker from Bridesmaids.
Nominated for: Clayburgh was nominated twice for Best Actress in 1978 for An Unmarried Woman and 1979 for Starting Over.
Most Crushing Loss: Losing to Jane Fonda in 1978. Sure Fonda’s a decent actress but Coming Home seems like obvious Oscar bait, you know love triangle between Vietnam vets, one of whom is paralyzed. She should’ve at least lost to Geraldine Page.
Reasons: For one, she was burned by the competition. Second, she didn’t have the name recognition her fellow nominees had.
Trivia: Romantically linked to Al Pacino. Grandmother was an opera singer. Won the Best Actress Award at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival. Starred in Dirty Sexy Money for 2 years.
176. Ian Bannen
Personal Life: (1928-1999) Born in Airdrie, Lanarkshire in Scotland. Father was a lawyer. Served in the British Army. Made acting debut in 1947. Made his first film in 1951. Married to Marilyn Salisbury for 23 years. Died in a car accident at Loch Ness at 71 (which his wife was responsible for).
Famous for: Scottish character actor and occasional leading man. Notable roles are Gabelle from A Tale of Two Cities, Crow from The Flight of the Phoenix, Godliman from Eye of the Needle, Senior Police Officer from Gandhi, Riley Wyndham from The Prodigal, Grandfather George from Hope and Glory, Matt Mason from Crossing the Line, Robert Bruce Sr. from Braveheart, and Jackie O’Shea from Waking Ned Devine.
Nominated for: Bannen was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1966 for The Flight of the Phoenix.
Most Crushing Loss: Not being nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1987 for Hope and Glory.
Reasons: Bannen was primarily a British actor who primarily appeared in British films whom most Americans are unfamiliar with.
Trivia: Appeared in 2 Best Picture winners. First Scottish actor nominated for an Oscar.
177. June Allyson
Personal Life: (1917-2006) Born Eleanor Geisman in The Bronx, New York City. Father was an alcoholic janitor who abandoned the family when she was only 6 months old. Mother was a telephone operator and restaurant cashier. Grew up in near poverty, raised by her maternal grandparents and other relatives. At 8, she was involved in an accident when a tree branch fell on her while riding her tricycle, injuring her back and skull but killing her pet terrier. Was confined to a heavy steel brace as well as wheelchairs, braces, and crutches. Yet, she regained her health and enrolled in dancing school and competitions under “Elaine Peters” despite being told by doctors that she’d never walk again. After her stepfather’s death, she dropped out of high school at 16 even though she initially wanted to be a doctor and thought acting would pay the bills for medical school. Worked a stint as a tap dancer at a Montreal nightclub and was an actress in short subject films for Educational Pictures. Was even a before girl in a swimsuit magazine ad as well as did Vitaphone musical shorts in Brooklyn and worked for the Copacobana. Debuted on Broadway in 1943 and in Hollywood in 1943. Married 4 times (twice to the same man) with her first husband being Dick Powell with whom she had 2 children. Married to David Ashrow for 30 years. Struggled with alcoholism in the 1970s. Had hip replacement surgery in 2003. Died in Ojai of pulmonary respiratory failure and acute bronchitis at 88.
Famous for: American actress, singer, and dancer whose “girl next door” image made her a star in films during the 1940s and 1950s. Career spanned 75 years. Notable roles are Ethel from Best Foot Forward, Patsy Deyo from Two Girls and a Sailor, Leslie Odell from Her Highness and the Bellboy, Connie Lane from Good News, Constance Bonacieux from The Three Musketeers, Martha Terryton from The Bride Goes Wild, Josephine “Jo” March from Little Women, Cynthia Potter from Too Young to Kiss, Dr. Emily Barringer from The Girl in White, Helen Burger Miller from The Glenn Miller Story, Mary Blemond Walling from Executive Suite, Sally Holland from Strategic Air Command, Pearl “Butch” Brown from The McConnell Story, Kay Hillard from The Opposite Sex, and Helen Banning from Interlude.
Nominated for: Allyson was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Not receiving an honorary Oscar for her career or at least the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her work in promoting awareness for championing the importance of research in urological and gynecological diseases in seniors.
Reasons: For one, she was typecast as the wholesome girl next door and was mainly cast in comedies and musicals (or anything appealing to people under 30). Second, Louis B. Mayer tried to ship her with Van Johnson but ended up marrying Dick Powell to his consternation (but at least he was happy she wanted him to give her away). Third, after Powell’s death she was involved in a bitter custody battle with her mother because she named her boyfriend at the time as her children’s legal guardian.
Trivia: Established the June Allyson Foundation for Public Awareness and Medical Research and worked to raise money for research for urological and gynecological diseases affecting senior citizens. Was a spokeswoman for Depends. Never mastered reading music. Hosted and starred in her own TV anthology series. Romantically linked to Peter Lawford and John F. Kennedy. Friends with Jimmy Stewart, Judy Garland, and the Reagans. Was appointed her to the Federal Council on Aging by Ronald Reagan during the 1980s.
178. Sabu Dastagir
Personal Life: (1924-1963) Born in Karapur, Mysore in British India. Father was an elephant driver. Was discovered by documentarian Robert Flaherty who gave him his first acting gig. Became a US citizen in 1944. Joined the US Army Air Forces, serving as a tail gunner and ball turret gunner on B-24 Liberators as well as flew on several missions in the Pacific. Married to Marilyn Cooper for 15 years and had 2 children. Died of a heart attack at 39.
Famous for: British Indian-American actor who was known primarily for his work in British and American films during the 1930s and 1940s. Notable roles are Toomai from The Elephant Boy, Abu from The Thief of Baghdad, Mowgli from The Jungle Book, The Young General from Black Narcissus, Manoel from The End of the River, Ali Ben Ali from Arabian Nights, Talib from Rampage, and Ram Singh from A Tiger Walks.
Nominated for: Sabu was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Not being nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1947 for Black Narcissus. What’s even more crushing is that this was probably his best film in which he’s portrayed as a three dimensional character and there aren’t a lot of people in the US who know it exists save maybe TCM fans.
Reasons: He was an Indian actor who was raised Muslim. Also was subject to a paternity suit and his career declined after WWII that he had to appear in a circus elephant act at one point. Not to mention, he was often typecast into stereotypical roles and had limited opportunity in Hollywood and British films, especially during the Hays Code. He should’ve went back to India for at least he’d get steady work in Bollywood. But he’d left that country far behind him by then.
Trivia: Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his valor and bravery during WWII. Son was a 1980s rock musician. Co-owned a furniture store with his brother.
179. David Kelly
Personal Life: (1929-2012) Born in Dublin, Ireland. Began acting at 8 at the Gaiety Theatre and attended The Abbey School of Acting. Made his first film in 1958. Married to Laurie Morton for 51 years and had 2 children. Died after a short illness at 82.
Famous for: Irish actor and one of the most recognizable voices on stage and screen in that country. Notable roles are O’Brien from Young Cassidy, Garrett Deasy from Ulysses, Vicar from The Italian Job, Grandfather Reilly from Into the West, Michael O’Sullivan from Waking Ned Devine, Fergus Wilks from Greenfingers, and Grandpa Joe from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Nominated for: Kelly was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Not being nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 2000 for Greenfingers.
Reasons: Kelly was primarily an Irish actor who mostly appeared in British and Irish media.
Trivia: Was trained in drafting, calligraphy, and watercolor.
180. Paul Robeson
Personal Life: (1898-1976) Born in Princeton, New Jersey. Father was a Presbyterian minister, yet was forced to resign his church position in 1901 after a disagreement with white backers that contained apparent racial undertones and was stuck doing menial jobs until he found another church to work at in 1910. Mother was nearly blind and died in a house fire when he was 6. Worked a summer job as a waiter in Rhode Island after graduation. Attended Rutgers on a full scholarship and went on to Columbia Law School. Supported himself as a professional football player, coach, and singer. Tried to practice law but racism prevented that. Made his theatrical debut in the 1920s and his film debut in 1924. Married to Eslanda Goode for 44 years and had a son. Retired due to health problems in 1963. Died of stroke complications in Philadelphia at 77.
Famous for: American actor and singer and one of the most influential black pioneers of music and cinema. Notable roles are Reverend Isaiah T. Jenkins / His brother Sylvester from Body and Soul, John Zinga from Song of Freedom, Joe from Showboat, King Umpoba from King Solomon’s Mines, David Goliath from The Proud Valley, and Luke from Tales of Manhattan.
Nominated for: Robeson was never nominated for an Oscar.
Most Crushing Loss: Not receiving an honorary Oscar for his achievements in film as well as being a pioneer for African Americans in cinema.
Reasons: Other than being black and having limited acting opportunities in Hollywood in general, Robeson was a civil rights activist who was an advocate for anti-imperialism, as well affiliated with Communism and a bit too friendly with the Soviets. This led to him being investigated by the FBI during the Red Scare and because he didn’t recant his income and passport were taken away from him. He was also blacklisted for 3 years. And while it was restored in 1958, his health would later break down that he had to retire in 1963 and spend the rest of his life in seclusion.
Trivia: Was an outstanding football player at Rutgers being an All-American. Also graduated from Rutgers as valedictorian. Would take over for his father during sermons when he was called away as a teenager. Befriended Fritz Pollard who was the first African American NFL football coach. Had an affair with Peggy Ashcroft during his time on Othello on Broadway. Involved in the Civil Rights Movement.