Part 6: The Players

The Forgotten Stars

In reality, these stars are not forgotten. They live on in late night T.V. movies and still muster fans on the internet. Their careers are over, however. You will not find their faces on the latest entertainment magazine covers as others have long since taken their places in the spotlight. Almost all have passed on now. Last time I checked, only one on this page remains. Turn back the clock 60 years or so, and here are a few of the household faces that graced the movie magazines.

Mary Astor
Mary was very prolific in both the 30s and 40s. The most memorable from the former decade in my mind are Red Dust(1932) and Dodsworth(1936).
Warner Baxter
A key player in one of my favorites 42nd Street(1933).
Joan Blondell
None of Joan's performances jump out as outstanding but she was memorable, especially in musical comedies. Remember the likes of Gold Diggers of 1933(1933), Footlight Parade(1933), and Gold Diggers of 1937(1937).
Clive Brook
Clive Brook may have appeared somewhat staid but he fit the bill in Shanghai Express(1932). He was more colorful and had a key role in the Hollywood version of Noel Coward's Cavalcade(1933).
Nancy Carroll
Although she was a big star in the 30s, she is barely known today. My favorite is 1934's Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round.
Ruth Chatterton
Ruth came from Broadway and was successful in many pre-code films in the early thirties, most notably Female(1933). Her star faded later in the decade but she did have a key performance in the well acted Dodsworth(1936).
Dolores Del Rio
Try watching Flying Down to Rio(1933).
Alice Faye
She began her Hollywood career trying to be 'made up' as a saucy glamour-doll but graduated to dramatic and musical roles that suited her much better. Her best came later in the decade in On the Avenue(1937), In Old Chicago(1937), and Alexander's Ragtime Band(1938).
Kay Francis
Some people would go to the movies just to see what new things Kay Francis was wearing. See for yourself in movies like One Way Passage(1932) and Trouble in Paradise(1932).
Ann Harding
Her beautiful face looked as if it were chiseled from pure white marble. She played self sacrificing roles that epitomized strength of character. Her choosiness left less than a large body of work, the most notable being The Animal Kingdom(1932), Peter Ibbetson(1935), and Love From a Stranger(1937).
Ruby Keeler
Seemingly always paired with Dick Powell, she was clearly a better dancer than actress. Several of her classics include 42nd Street(1933), Gold Diggers of 1933(1933), Footlight Parade(1933), Dames(1934), and Colleen(1936).
Priscilla Lane
The youngest Lane sister was a late arrival in the thirties with such entries as Four Daughters(1938), Daughters Courageous(1939), Dust Be My Destiny(1939), and The Roaring Twenties(1939).
Fredric March
A very prolific 30s actor with my favorite credits including The Sign of the Cross(1932), The Eagle and the Hawk(1933), Design for Living(1933), and Nothing Sacred(1937) .
Herbert Marshall
Although he never really stood out, Herbert Marshall was at his best with Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus(1932) and Angel(1937). Lets not forget Lubistch's Trouble in Paradise(1932) though.
Ray Milland
Although he was more memorable in the 40s and 50s, a few 30s films come to mind such as The Gilded Lily(1935), and Easy Living(1937).
Robert Montgomery
Sadly forgotten today, Robert Montgomery came across with a charismatic boyishness in many of his films. A few examples: The Divorcee(1930), Private Lives(1931), Riptide(1934), and Forsaking All Others(1935).
Merle Oberon
After starting in British films, Merle Oberon moved on to Hollywood and such films as The Private Life of Don Juan(1934), The Scarlet Pimpernel(1935), Folies Bergere(1935), These Three(1935), The Divorce of Lady X(1938), and Wuthering Heights(1939).
Luise Rainer
Talk about a 'forgotten star', Luise Rainer made only eight films in the 1930s but won two academy awards for The Great Ziegfeld(1936) and The Good Earth(1937).
Ann Sheridan
Beautiful yet down-to-earth, Ann Sheridan became a star after changing her name from Clara Lou Sheridan. Her best 30s films were Black Legion(1936), San Quentin(1937), Angels With Dirty Faces(1938), and They Made Me a Criminal(1939).
Ann Sothern
Ann paid her dues with lesser roles and B-movies but her comedic talents could not be kept down. Acclaim in Trade Winds(1938) led to a contract with MGM and her most memorable role, Maisie(1939). More Maisie films were to follow in the forties.
Thelma Todd
A very successful comedienne who died too young. My favorites are Monkey Business(1931), and Horse Feathers(1932).
Warren William
Played a part in some fine 30s films including Skyscraper Souls(1932), Three on a Match(1932), Employees' Entrance(1933), and Cleopatra(1934).
Fay Wray
Fay Wray obviously isn't totally forgotten. Her passing in 2004 still drew attention in the news. But can you name one of her movies other than King Kong(1933)? Some of my favorites are Dirigible(1931), The Unholy Garden(1931), and The Clairvoyant(1935).
Robert Young
Baby Boomers may remember Marcus Welby on T.V. but how about all those old films? Not a lot stand out but I do remember I Met Him in Paris(1937).

It is not my intention to be exhaustive in commenting on 'forgotten stars'. I know that there are many others who would fit into this page quite nicely. My next step, however, is to explore the slightly more obscure area of Lesser Knowns. These are players who never really reached stardom for one reason or another.

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Other STARS of the 1930s
Lesser known STARS from the 1930s<--next
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