40 Golden Age Hollywood Celebrities Whose Careers Spanned Two Centuries - too cool 2 be true

40 Golden Age Hollywood Celebrities Whose Careers Spanned Two Centuries

The Golden Age of Hollywood was absolutely unforgettable. We watched incredible acting talent bring to life places and themes that spectators could only dream of – all on the big screen. These actors and actresses are still adored in our hearts, and it’s easy to understand why: they helped shape the business and set a high standard for how movies should be created.

The Golden Age may be over, but some of the performers that defined it are still alive and well. Many have died, and with each passing year, we lose more celebrities. But we can still cherish and celebrate those who are with us!

Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart is a stand-up comedian and actor from the Chicago area who is recognized for his deadpan delivery. He burst onto the scene with a collection of monologues titled The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, which he recorded with Warner Bros. The album rocketed to the top of the pop charts.

George Pimentel/WireImageThe Bob Newhart Show ran for six seasons. Since then, Newhart has remained active through guest appearances and cameos, including his role as Professor Proton in The Big Bang Theory in 2013.

Chuck Yeager

Chuck Yeager, born in Myra, West Virginia, was the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. He was a Brigadier General in the United States Air Force. Yeager shot down nearly a dozen German planes during WWII.

U.S. Air ForceIn 1983, Sam Shepard played Yeager, bringing to life his distinguished military career. The fighter pilot smashes the sound barrier in the opening sequence, kicking off The Right Stuff with a boom. The renowned actor passed away in 2020, but he is still remembered and revered by many.

Honor Blackman

Honor Blackman was an English actress best recognized for her roles in The Avengers and the James Bond franchise. Blackman, who was born on August 22, 1925, made her film début in 1947 with Fame is the Spur. She also appeared in the films Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Shalako (1968).

Guy Bell/ShutterstockBlackman dabbled in TV as well, appearing in The Upper Hand from 1990 to 1996. She was also a vocalist, and her song “Kinky Boots” was a hit. She died in England in 2020 at the age of 94.

Dick Van Dyke

The actor, born Richard Wayne Van Dyke, began his career on The Phil Silvers Show and also performed as a sketch actor on The Ed Sullivan Show. The entertainer had his own program by 1961, which lasted until 1966.


His early films include 1963’s Bye Bye Birdie and 1964’s Mary Poppins. He even popped up again in 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns. He voiced a character on the 2020 TV series Kidding and has signed on for an upcoming comedy called Capture the Flag.

Loretta Lynn

This American music phenomenon was born and bred in Kentucky and has so far enjoyed a 60-year career. Loretta Lynn is a prolific musician with chart-topping singles such as “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

Source: The bootLoretta Lynn got married at the age of 15 and shortly had her first kid. When her husband handed her a guitar for Christmas, she quickly took to it and began writing and performing songs. She released her first album, Honky Tonk Girl, seven years later.

Sally Field

Sally Field made a name for herself in the television series Gidget. She went on to star in another TV series, The Flying Nun, where she solidified her newfound celebrity. She went on to have a successful career, winning two Academy Awards for Best Actress, two Golden Globes, and a SAG Award.


Sally Field was born in Pasadena, California, to an army officer/salesman father and an actress mother. When she was four years old, her mother divorced and remarried. The new stepfather, unfortunately, was abusive.

Katharine Ross

Katharine Ross made her film debut in the Civil War drama Shenandoah. She became famous after starring in Games and later The Graduate. Her celebrity spread like wildfire, and she embodied the ideal of beauty for the hippie generation.

Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Though Ross has been divorced four times, she has one of Hollywood’s most romantic love stories with her current spouse, Sam Elliott. They married in 1984 after appearing in a few films together. They have been married for over 30 years and have one daughter.

Kim Novak

From Chicago, Illinois, Marilyn Pauline Novak was born on February 13, 1933. In high school, she modeled teen clothes and liked painting. During a university vacation, Kim and some friends traveled to Los Angeles, where she was discovered by an agent and began her Hollywood career.

Florent Dupuy/Sipa/Shutterstock

She was encouraged to lose weight and alter her name in order to launch her career as a sex symbol. She made her cinematic debut in Pushover, a detective drama. Her most renowned film role was in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Shirley MacLaine

Shirley MacLaine, an American film, television, and theater actor, dancer, activist, and author, was born in 1934 into a “cliched and loving middle-class Virginia family.” Known for her portrayal of quirky, headstrong, and eccentric women, MacLaine won a Primetime Emmy Award, an Academy Award, six Golden Globe Awards, and two British Academy Film Awards during her seven-decade career.


Aside from performing, MacLaine authored several books on spirituality, reincarnation, and metaphysics, as well as her best-selling autobiography entitled Out on a Limb.

Tippi Hedren

Tippi Hedren, born Nathalie Kay Hedren, was found in a TV commercial by legendary director Alfred Hitchcock. Hedren appeared in two Alfred Hitchcock films – The Birds and Marnie – before moving on to appear in numerous television programs over the next decades.


Her father, who operated the local general store, called her “Tippi.” Tippi’s parents relocated to California with the whole family while she was in high school. For seven years, she was married to actor Peter Griffith, with whom she had Melanie Griffith.

Paul Michael Glaser

Paul Michael Glaser, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an American actor and filmmaker best known for his role as Detective Dave Starsky in the 1970s television series Starsky & Hutch. He earned his bachelor’s degree in theater and English at Tulane and his master’s degree in acting and directing at Boston University.

Wikimedia commons

He married his wife, Elizabeth, in 1980. Unfortunately, she caught HIV through a blood transfusion, which took her life a few years later. Elizabeth Glaser died not long after establishing her Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Vera Lynn

Vera Lynn was a powerful singer whose iconic melodies may still be heard in the best movies today. Vera Lynn made her stage debut at the age of seven, launching a career that spanned eight decades. “We’ll Meet Again” was her most famous song, and it was featured in several films.


She had one of the longest marriages in Hollywood, and her renowned voice helped soothe the nation’s fears on the radio during World War II. The English singer passed away in the UK in 2020. 

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger rose to prominence as a national security specialist and an American scholar. From 1973 until 1977, he was President Nixon’s Secretary of State. During the anti-Vietnam War hippie days in the United States, he was quite controversial as a pro-war campaigner.


It was extremely controversial for him to get the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating the conclusion of the Vietnam War. Kissinger even tried to hand back the award. He later became a political ally of Hillary Clinton, complimenting her work. Kissinger will reach his hundredth birthday in 2023. 

Ali MacGraw

Elizabeth “Ali” MacGraw is an activist and actress who rose to prominence in the late 1960s and achieved international acclaim in 1970 with her performance in Love Story. She enjoyed a boost of fame after appearing in the film Goodbye, Columbus, for which she received the Golden Globe Award.

Laurent Vu/SIPA/Shutterstock

MacGraw, who was born in New York, began her career as a fashion model, posing for Vogue and becoming a stylist for the magazine. MacGraw is also well-known for her marriage to pop culture actor Steve McQueen.

Norman Lloyd

Norman Lloyd appeared in over 60 films and TV shows, but he was interested in more than just acting. From the 1950s to the 1970s, Lloyd produced and directed Alfred Hitchcock’s television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents.


Lloyd rose to prominence in New York City before moving to Hollywood in 1939. Some of his most notable jobs came later in his career. He appeared as a supporting actor in Robin Williams’ film Dead Poets Society and as a regular on the 1980s television hospital drama St. Elsewhere.

Carl Reiner

Carl Reiner had a seven-decade career. The best-known effort of the comedian, screenwriter, actor, director, and publisher was The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Phil McCarten/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

He grew up in the Bronx, the son of Jewish immigrants, seeing his favorite comedians in films, including Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and the Marx Brothers. During WWII, he received his training as a performer by entertaining the troops. Reiner married his high school love, Estelle Lebost, in 1943. She was his true love till she died in 2008.


Ann-Margret was born in Sweden and immigrated to the United States with her parents after WWII, eventually settling on the West Coast in 1946. George Burns helped launch her singing career, and she soon moved on to acting, starring alongside big names like Elvis Presley, John Wayne, and Jack Nicholson. She even earned an Oscar nomination.


After appearing in Viva Las Vegas, she became an American sex symbol. She is still working now, with roles in Madmen, The Kominsky Method, and Happy!

Joanne Woodward

Joanne Woodward is an actress known best for her award-winning film, The Three Faces of Eve. She is also a producer, activist, and philanthropist. Throughout her long and lucrative career, she has played a range of parts, demonstrating her diversity as a character actress.


She approached every character with the same earnestness, whether she was a woman suffering from a serious personality disorder or a meek schoolteacher. In 1957, she received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Three Faces of Eve.

Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks’ long and varied career has included acting, comedic writing, producing, directing, and writing. His most well-known comedies include Blazing Saddles, The Producers, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Young Frankenstein. He also has executive producer and acting credits on 2021’s computer-animated action-adventure comedy Blazing Samurai, as well as working on the long-awaited sequel to History of the World, Part I.


He received the EGOT award in 2001, joining a very short and exclusive list. Mel Brooks was born into a Jewish household in New York, and he turned 96 in 2022.

Richard Dreyfuss

Richard Stephen Dreyfuss is an American film actor best known for portraying ordinary characters driven to emotional extremes. Dreyfuss came to California with his family after spending his early years in Queens and Brooklyn, New York.


In the George Lucas film American Graffiti, Dreyfuss played brilliant, angst-ridden high school graduate Curt Henderson in 1973. This led to roles in blockbuster smashes like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jaws. Even in his 70s, he is continually working on new ideas.

Ed Asner

Eddie Asner was an American actor mostly known for his roles as Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Lou Grant. With seven Primetime Emmy Awards, Asner is the most honored male artist in the history of the award show.


Asner has been politically engaged and controversial at times. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, he actively opposed American involvement in Central America. The actor has four children and said, “Raising children is part joy, part guerrilla warfare.”

Terry Moore

Terry Moore is an American actress who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards for her role in Come Back, Little Sheba. Burt Lancaster was her co-star in the film. More went on to appear in Mighty Joe Young, Batman, and, most recently, Saving Flora.

Chelsea Lauren/REX/Shutterstock

Moore’s celebrity status dates back many years. At the age of 55, she posed for Playboy magazine. She’s also recognized for her numerous marriages. Her relationship with the elderly Howard Hughes was the most contentious. She is one of the few remaining Hollywood stars from the Golden Age.

Claudia Cardinale

Claudia Cardinale appeared in a number of notable European films, acting in French, Italian, and English. In the 1960s and 1970s, she acted in several critically regarded films, including The Leopard and Rocco and His Brothers. It all began in 1957 when she was crowned “Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia.”


The reward included a trip to Italy’s Venice Film Festival. Claudia met film producer Franco Cristaldi and got her first contract immediately. She appeared in The Pink Panther, starring David Niven, and in several American-themed films.

Loni Anderson

Anderson was born a brunette and then became blonde, and this helped her land traditional bombshell parts in television sitcoms such as Three’s Company, S.W.A.T., and The Bob Newhart Show. This led to her work in the WKRP sitcom.


Her film début was in the 1966 picture Nevada Smith, starring Steve McQueen. She first appeared in two episodes of S.W.A.T. before moving on to the sitcom Phyllis, and the detective shows Police Woman and Harry O.

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis was a pioneer of rock & roll in the 1950s. His notable song “Great Balls of Fire” was released in 1957, bringing him worldwide fame. However, the celebrity was embroiled in controversy when it was revealed that he had married his cousin.


It took decades for Lewis to reclaim his fame, but he did it by the 1980s. Lewis continues to perform today, albeit on a considerably less intensive schedule. Lewis, now in his late 80s, even launched a club in Memphis in 2013.

Beverly Cleary

Ramona Quimby was a character created by American author Beverly Cleary. Ramona and Beezus is a cinematic adaptation starring the character who appears in so many of Cleary’s books. The film adaptation was released in 2010.

Image Oregon Public Broadcasting

Cleary started out as a children’s librarian. She soon found herself wanting to write more engaging stories that would be relatable to regular kids who are occasionally mischievous. Her children’s books garnered numerous accolades, including the National Book Award and the Newbery Medal. Sadly, she died in 2021.

Richard Dean Anderson

Richard Dean Anderson is an actor and producer from the United States. Anderson started his career on the daytime soap opera General Hospital, which he featured in from 1976 to 1981. He also worked on three Stargate films.

imago images / Future Image

Soon after, he became famous as the lead actor in the TV series MacGyver. The TV character, a government spy and all-around genius, became a household name and was the coolest guy on TV in the 1980s. Nowadays, he’s a big supporter of Challengers Girls and Boys Club.

Betty White

Betty White’s career spanned eight decades, and she was one of the first women to have creative authority both behind and in front of the camera, thanks to her creation of the sitcom Life with Elizabeth. In 1954, she produced and hosted her own NBC talk show, The Betty White Show.

Photo: Shutterstock

She is recognized as the “First Lady of Game Shows,” and she went on to enjoy prominent roles such as Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls and Sue Nivens in The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Sir Sean Connery

Sir Sean Connery, a Scottish actor, grew up as the son of a cleaner and a lorry driver. He was on track to becoming a professional actor by the age of 23. Between 1962 and 1983, he took on the iconic James Bond role. Playing the fictional British secret agent in seven Bond films catapulted him to global fame.

David Cheskin/PA

Connery played Bond in six Eon Productions films, beginning with Dr. No and concluding with Never Say Never Again. Sean’s career spanned almost six decades. He passed away in October 2020. 

Eva Marie Saint

Born in 1924, Eve Marie Saint was one of those celebrities who spent her entire career in the spotlight. She went on to star in numerous iconic films, including On The Waterfront (opposite Marlon Brando) in 1955. She was able to earn an Academy Award for this major role. She also appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller North by Northwest and the miniseries People Like Us.


Her most recent voice work was as Katara in six episodes of the popular Nickelodeon animated series The Legend of Korra.

Bob Barker

Robert William Barker is a retired American game show host. From 1972 through 2007, he hosted CBS’s The Price Is Right, which was the longest-running daytime game show in the history of North American television. From 1956 through 1975, he was also the host of Truth or Consequences.

Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

Barker turned 98 in 2022, long after retiring as one of the country’s most successful game show hosts in 2007. Barker previously hosted the Miss USA and Miss Universe Beauty Pageants but quit after the pageants refused to stop using fur coats.

Cloris Leachman

Cloris Leachman was an American comedienne and actress who worked for over seven decades. She played Phyllis Lindstrom, her most famous role, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.


She received numerous honors, including eight Primetime Emmy Awards out of 22 nominations. Along with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, this makes her the most decorated performer in Emmy history. Leachman also acted in Mel Brooks’ picture Young Frankenstein and worked with him for many years after that. Her most recent performance was in the 2020 film Jump, Darling. She died soon after in 2021. 

Jackie Mason

Jackie Mason had a long and successful career. Many people remember him for his amusing television appearances. Mason was also a fantastic stand-up comedian who was cracking people up long before he appeared in films or on TV.

Picture: REX/Shutterstock

Mason made appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and can be seen in the film The Jerk alongside Steve Martin. His one-man show, The World According to Me, was a huge success and won multiple accolades. The beloved comedian passed away in 2021.

Barbara Eden

Barbara Eden is best known for her role as a genie who granted wishes to an astronaut who freed her from a bottle in the 1960s. I Dream of Jeannie garnered a cult following and remains a popular classic to this day.


Barbara Jean Morehead, who was born in Tucson, Arizona, has appeared in a number of television movies over her career. In 2019, she portrayed Mrs. Claus in My Adventures with Santa and appeared as herself on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Olivia de Havilland

Olivia de Havilland was an incredible actress who resigned from the stage in 1988. Her illustrious career began in the 1930s when she appeared in Gone With The Wind. She went on to appear in 48 more films.

Thibault Camus/AP/Shutterstock

She was nominated for her supporting role in that picture, but she did not win. She would, however, go on to win two Oscars later in her career, including one for her appearance in the 1946 picture To Each His Own. Olivia passed away in 2020. 

Leonard Whiting

Leonard Whiting is a former British actor and singer best remembered for his portrayal of Romeo in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, for which he won the New Star of the Year Award at the Golden Globes. In 2014, he reunited with his Romeo and Juliet co-star Olivia Hussey to make the movie Social Suicide.

Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

Leonard Whiting’s voice was first recognized at the age of 12 when he sang at a wedding event. That same year, he landed a role as the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist. He continued in this role for the next 18 months. 

Marla Gibbs

Marla Gibbs is a five-decade veteran of the entertainment scene. She is an American actress, writer, and television producer. Gibbs is best known for her role as Florence Johnston, George Jefferson’s maid, in the CBS sitcom The Jeffersons.

Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

Gibbs soon landed her own sitcom, 227, as a result of her excellent work in The Jeffersons. From 1985 through 1990, the show was on the air, giving people a glimpse into life in 1950s Chicago. Gibbs has seven NAACP Image Awards to her name. She’s also the owner of a jazz club in South Central Los Angeles. 

William Smith

William Smith (not to be mistaken for Will Smith) was a well-known actor who appeared in numerous films. Before finding fame, he graduated from UCLA with honors and served in the Air Force after high school.

courtesy of Universal Television

His acting career was as eclectic as his life before college. Smith debuted as an actor in 1942, playing a peasant lad in a courtroom. Over the course of his career, he also portrayed a bare-knuckle boxer, a vampire hunter, and a cowboy. His most well-known role was as Falconetti in the 1976 movie Rich Man, Poor Man.

Dean Stockwell

Dean Stockwell, who was born in 1936, began acting in movies when he was nine years old. Stockwell carried the acting bug with him into adulthood. He received an Oscar nomination in 1988 for his performance as Tony “the Tiger” Russo in the movie Married to the Mob.


One year later, Stockwell appeared on the show Quantum Leap. The show aired for four seasons and gained a massive cult following. Sadly, after acting for his entire life, Stockwell had to retire due to a stroke. He passed away in 2021.

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood starred in and directed The Mule, which was released in 2018. It was the 72nd credited role for the actor. Despite the fact that this was his first feature in four years, the actor shows no signs of retiring from the industry.


Eastwood made his film debut in Revenge of the Creature in 1930. Although the picture featured science fiction, Eastwood was better recognized at the time as a western actor, having appeared in the TV series Rawhide.