1. Ann Miller, 1923-2004. Ann Miller was a wonderful entertainer. She began working in movies in 1937 as a 14 year old claiming to be 18 (so that she could work without restrictions). She continued to work as late as 1998. I love her in On the Town when she is trying to get over her obsession with men, Kiss Me Kate as she sings Cole Porter's Why can't you behave, and in You Can't take it with you where she dances away as a married woman, of course, she was only 14 at the time...She may not play a married woman, but I think that she did.
2. Barbara Stanwyck, 1907-1990. Born in New York and partially raised in foster care, Barbara started working when she was 13. My favorites of her films are The Lady Eve, and Christmas in Connecticut. It was also her birthday this week.
3. Betty Garrett, born in 1919. She was always the kooky girl (on the Town), faithful sister (My sister Eileen or the girl who was madly in love with the boy who didn't even notice her (Take me out to the ballgame).
4. Bing Crosby, 1903-1977. The classic crooner. Mmm. I love his singing. He always managed to burst into song. High Society is one of my favorites. Holiday Inn is wonderful. And of course, there are the Road to movie, my favorite of those is Road to Bali.
5. Cary Grant, 1904-1986. Born in England. Cary Grant is the playful gentleman of classic films. Some of my favorites include to Catch a Thief, Philadelphia Story and Indiscreet.
6. Celeste Holm, born in 1917. She was wonderful. Try All About Eve and High Society.
7. Frank Sinatra, 1915-1998. The classic yet slightly more modern crooner. I could listen to him for hours, especially his earlier music. In Anchors Away he's a sailor on leave from the navy. There's always Guys and Dolls. Pal Joey is such a sad movie; if only he made better decisions.
8. Gene Kelly, 1912-1996. The man's dancer, where Fred Astaire was suave and gentlemanly, Kelly was manly and strong. Check out his footwork in the well known Singin' in the Rain, find a dark Kelly in For me and My Gal and fall in love in Take me out to the Ball Game.
9. Grace Kelly, 1929-1982. She was so beautiful and could be elegant or fun. It was unfortunate that her main stream acting career ended so early. I love her in To Catch a Thief, High Society and Hitchcock's Rear Window.
10. Marilyn Monroe, 1926-1962. The tragic miss Monroe. She was beautiful, but her life was a mess. Find her husband hunting in How to Marry a Millionaire, hear her sing her famous Diamonds are a girls best friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or see her cause a little bit of scandal when she wins a Miss contest even though she has a baby in We're not Married.
11. Peter Lawford, 1923-1984. He played my absolute favorite Laurie from Little Women. He was the original Jimmy in Oceans Eleven and though I haven't seen it, he played Nick in the Thin Man tv series.
12. Russ Tamblyn, born in 1934. I've mostly seen him in supporting roles, but have lately found him fascinating. If you're interested, start with The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and move on to Hit the Deck and West Side Story. Fun fact: he's also Amber Tamblyn's (Joan of Arcadia) father).
13. Vera-Ellen, 1921-1981. She was so cute! I enjoyed her in On the Town, White Christmas and Three Little Words.