Famous Actors Of The 19th Century

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

The Industrial Revolution of the 1800 witnessed a huge surge in the demand for art and entertainment. Theatre gradually became a dominant force in the world of entertainment as more and more people embarked to make a career in acting. Interestingly, acting style in the early 19th century was prone to exaggerated movement, gestures, grandiose effects, spectacular drama, physical comedy and gags and outlandish costumes. It was from the middle of the 19th century, theatre began to take on a new respectability and draw in more middle class audiences. Pictorial drama was most sought after for its great use of properties, carefully studied costume detail and a fashionable interest in archaeology and history. In America, theatre was fuelled by the spirit of nationalism. Probably this explains as to why most of the American theatre of the era revolved around themes of patriotism, optimism and idealism. Furthermore, it was in the mid-19th century that theatres worldwide became sharply influenced by the classic English tradition, as Shakespearean play and other Standard English plays dominated the scene. The century marked the rise of some of the most famed and respected actors including George Burns, Groucho Marx, Boris Karloff, Fred Astaire and so on. With this section, find out some of the most famous actors of the 19th century.
Vote for Your Favourite Actors Of The 19th Century
 1 
Charlie Chaplin
(The Greatest Comic Artist Ever & One of the Most Important Figures in Motion-Picture History)
Charlie Chaplin
22
Birthdate: April 16, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Walworth, London, England
Died: December 25, 1977

Cinema lovers around the world hold Charlie Chaplin in high esteem. One of the biggest stars of the silent film era and an icon, he left the audience in splits with his comedic performances. Even today, his performances in movies like Modern Times and The Gold Rush are considered classic. The legendary actor was also a writer, director and producer.

 2 
John Barrymore
(Best Known for His Silent Films: ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘The Sea Beast’)
John Barrymore
4
Birthdate: February 15, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: May 29, 1942
John Barrymore, father of actor Drew Barrymore, began his career as a stage actor, appearing in plays such as Hamlet. He was nicknamed “the Great Profile” and starred in films such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Sherlock Holmes. He struggled with alcoholism throughout his life.
 3 
Edward Burns
(Actor)
Edward Burns
5
Birthdate: September 21, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glendive, Montana, United States
Died: July 4, 1954
Recommended Lists:
 4 
Matthew Lewis
10
Birthdate: June 27, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
 5 
Will Rogers
(Vaudeville Performer, Humorist)
Will Rogers
5
Birthdate: November 4, 1879
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oologah, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma)
Died: August 15, 1935
 6 
Lionel Barrymore
(Actor & Director Best Known for His Role as ‘Mr. Potter’ in the Film ‘It's a Wonderful Life’)
Lionel Barrymore
5
Birthdate: April 28, 1878
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: November 15, 1954

One of the earliest members of the famous Barrymore family of actors, Lionel Barrymore remains best known for his portrayal of Mr. Potter in the 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life. Unlike many of his descendants, Barrymore also composed music. For his contribution to motion picture and radio, Barrymore was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 7 
Douglas Fairbanks
3
Birthdate: May 23, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States
Died: December 12, 1939
 8 
Jack Haley
(Vaudevillian)
Jack Haley
3
Birthdate: August 10, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Died: June 6, 1979
 9 
Ed Wynn
(Actor)
Ed Wynn
3
Birthdate: November 9, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: June 19, 1966
 10 
Georges Méliès
(One of the First Filmmakers to Use Storyboards & Fictional Narratives in Movies)
Georges Méliès
3
Birthdate: December 8, 1861
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 21, 1938

Initially a professional illusionist and later a film director, Georges Méliès became interested in motion pictures after watching the first real film made by Lumière brothers. Realizing the potential of film-making as an art, he soon started experimenting, making technical and narrative developments. Among the 400 films he made were Christ Walking on Water, A Trip to the Moon etc

 11 
Frank Morgan
3
Birthdate: June 1, 1890
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: September 18, 1949
 12 
Bud Abbott
(Comedian)
Bud Abbott
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Asbury Park, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 24, 1974
 13 
Bert Lahr
(Actor)
Bert Lahr
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1895
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: December 4, 1967
 14 
George M. Cohan
(Entertainer, Playwright and Composer Who is Considered to be ‘The Father of American Musical Comedy’)
George M. Cohan
3
Birthdate: July 3, 1878
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died: November 5, 1942
 15 
Walter Pidgeon
(Former Actor who starred in The Bad and the Beautiful and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea)
Walter Pidgeon
3
Birthdate: September 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint John, Canada
Died: September 25, 1984
 16 
Chico Marx
(American comedian)
Chico Marx
3
Birthdate: March 22, 1887
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: October 11, 1961
 17 
Sessue Hayakawa
(Actor, Novelist, Screenwriter, Film director)
Sessue Hayakawa
5
Birthdate: June 10, 1889
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chiba
Died: November 23, 1973

Sessue Hayakawa was a Japanese actor who became a popular Hollywood star during the silent film era. He was the first Asian actor to achieve stardom in Europe and the United States of America. Renowned for portraying sexually dominant villains, Sessue Hayakawa became a heartthrob among American women; he was also one of Hollywood's first male sex symbols.

 18 
Konstantin Stanislavski
(Co-founder of ‘Moscow Art Theatre’ and Developer of Stanislavski's System of Acting)
Konstantin Stanislavski
4
Birthdate: January 17, 1863
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: August 7, 1938
 19 
John Rogan
(Second tallest person in history)
John Rogan
5
Birthdate: February 16, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hendersonville, Tennessee, United States
Died: September 12, 1905
 20 
Sydney Greenstreet
2
Birthdate: December 27, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sandwich, Kent, England
Died: January 18, 1954
 21 
Wallace Beery
2
Birthdate: April 1, 1885
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clay County
Died: April 15, 1949
 22 
Tom Mix
(Actor)
Tom Mix
2
Birthdate: January 6, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mix Run, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: October 12, 1940
 23 
Ronald Colman
2
Birthdate: February 9, 1891
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Richmond, Surrey, England
Died: May 19, 1958
 24 
Arnold Ridley
3
Birthdate: January 7, 1896
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bath, Somerset, England, UK [now Bath and North East Somerset, England, UK]
Died: March 12, 1984
 25 
Max Schreck
2
Birthdate: September 6, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: February 20, 1936
 26 
Tom Dempsey
(Actor)
Tom Dempsey
2
Birthdate: January 20, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 6, 1947
 27 
Paul Muni
(American Stage and Film Actor)
Paul Muni
2
Birthdate: September 22, 1895
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lviv
Died: August 25, 1967

Paul Muni was an Austro-Hungarian American actor best remembered for his portrayal of Louis Pasteur in the 1936 biographical film The Story of Louis Pasteur, which earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor. Muni is also remembered for his performance in the play Inherit the Wind, which earned him the prestigious Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.

 28 
Bill James
(Actor)
Bill James
2
Birthdate: March 6, 1886
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 25, 1947
 29 
Eddie Cantor
(comedian)
Eddie Cantor
2
Birthdate: January 31, 1892
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: October 10, 1964
 30 
Harry Carey
2
Birthdate: January 16, 1878
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States
Died: September 21, 1947
 31 
Hal Roach
(Film producer, Actor, Film director, Screenwriter)
Hal Roach
2
Birthdate: January 14, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City
Died: November 2, 1992
 32 
John Laurie
2
Birthdate: March 25, 1897
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, UK
Died: June 23, 1980
 33 
John Gilbert
2
Birthdate: July 10, 1897
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Logan, Utah, United States
Died: January 9, 1936
 34 
Henry Travers
(Best Known for His Role as ‘Clarence Odbody’ in the Film ‘It's a Wonderful Life’)
Henry Travers
2
Birthdate: March 5, 1874
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Prudhoe, Northumberland, England
Died: October 18, 1965
Travers John Heagerty, better known as Henry Travers, is best remembered as Clarence Odbody from It's a Wonderful Life. He had started his career as a stage actor and appeared frequently on Broadway. He won an Academy Award for Mrs. Miniver and was known for playing friendly old men.
 35 
William Desmond Taylor
(Director and Actor Known for His Films: ‘The Diamond from the Sky’, ‘A Woman Scorned’ and ‘Ben Blair’)
William Desmond Taylor
2
Birthdate: April 26, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Carlow, Ireland
Died: February 1, 1922
Actor-director William Desmond Taylor, a popular figure from the silent era of Hollywood, made headlines when he was found murdered in his LA bungalow. The case, which initiated a media frenzy, remains unsolved to date due to lack of evidence, in spite of a deathbed confession from actor Patricia Palmer.
 36 
Jesse E. James
(Lawyer, Actor)
Jesse E. James
2
Birthdate: August 31, 1875
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nashville
Died: March 26, 1951
 37 
Ivor Novello
(Actor, Playwright, Composer, Writer, Screenwriter, Songwriter)
Ivor Novello
2
Birthdate: January 15, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cardiff
Died: March 6, 1951
 38 
Leo G. Carroll
(Actor Known for His Roles in the TV Series ‘Topper’ & ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E')
Leo G. Carroll
2
Birthdate: October 25, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire, England
Died: October 16, 1972
 39 
Ted Healy
(Actor, Screenwriter, Stage actor)
Ted Healy
2
Birthdate: October 1, 1896
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kaufman
Died: December 21, 1937
 40 
Barry Fitzgerald
2
Birthdate: March 10, 1888
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: January 14, 1961
 41 
James Whale
(Director, Actor)
James Whale
2
Birthdate: July 22, 1889
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Worcestershire, England
Died: May 29, 1957
 42 
Thomas H. Ince
(Film Producer)
Thomas H. Ince
2
Birthdate: November 16, 1880
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Died: November 19, 1924
 43 
Isaac Singer
(Actor, Inventor)
Isaac Singer
2
Birthdate: October 27, 1811
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York
Died: July 23, 1875
 44 
Bert Williams
(Actor, Screenwriter, Stage actor)
Bert Williams
2
Birthdate: November 12, 1874
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nassau
Died: March 4, 1922

Bert Williams was an American entertainer and comedian. One of the greatest entertainers of the Vaudeville era, Bert Williams was also regarded as one of the most famous comedians of his time. In 1914, he was cast to play the leading role in Darktown Jubilee, making him the first Black man to play the main role in a film.

 45 
Bill Pickett
(Cowboy)
Bill Pickett
2
Birthdate: December 5, 1870
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Williamson County, Texas, United States
Died: April 2, 1932
 46 
Barry Ward
(Film actor)
Barry Ward
2
Birthplace: Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland
 47 
Warner Oland
4
Birthdate: October 3, 1879
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bjurholm Municipality, Sweden
Died: August 6, 1938
 48 
Cecil Kellaway
(Screenwriter, Stage actor, Film actor, Television actor)
Cecil Kellaway
2
Birthdate: August 22, 1890
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cape Town
Died: February 28, 1973
 49 
Walter Lantz
(Cartoonist)
Walter Lantz
2
Birthdate: April 27, 1899
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, United States
Died: March 22, 1994
 50 
Ira Aldridge
1
Birthdate: July 24, 1807
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: August 7, 1867