Articles: AFI's Top 50 Actors of the Last 100 Years




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Laurence Washington

  You may recall the American Film Institute's controversial list of the all-time top 100 movies eariler this year. Well here we go again. The AFI has recently announced the 50 greatest movie stars ever.

  The criteria? Actors whose screen debut occurred in or before 1950, or whose screen debut occurred after 1950, but whose death marked a completed body of work.

  Although the legendary Sidney Poitier made the AFI's list, black actors/actresses such as Dorothy Dandridge , Hattie McDaniel and Sammy Davis Jr. were suspiciously missing.

  More than 1,800 film historians, critics and industry insiders decided who made the cut.

Here's the complete list of AFI's top 50 stars:

1. Humphrey Bogart
  Katharine Hepburn

2. Cary Grant
  Bette Davis

3. James Stewart
  Audrey Hepburn

4. Marlon Brando
  Ingrid Bergman

5. Fred Astaire
  Greta Garbo

6. Henry Fonda
  Marilyn Monroe

7. Clark Gable
  Elizabeth Taylor

8. James Cagney
  Judy Garland

9. Spencer Tracy
  Marlene Dietrich

10. Charlie Chaplin
   Joan Crawford

11. Gary Cooper
   Barbara Stanwyck

12. Gregory Peck
   Claudette Colbert

13. John Wayne
   Grace Kelly

14. Laurence Olivier
   Ginger Rogers

15. Gene Kelly
   Mae West

16. Orson Welles
   Vivien Leigh

17. Kirk Douglas
   Lillian Gish

18. James Dean
   Shirley Temple

19. Burt Lancaster
   Rita Hayworth

20. The Marx Brothers
   Lauren Bacall

21. Buster Keaton
   Sophia Loren

22. Sidney Poitier
   Jean Harlow

23. Robert Mitchum
   Carole Lombard

24. Edward G. Robinson
   Mary Pickford

25. William Holden
   Ava Gardner

     Here's a list of black actors that should have been added to the AFI's top 50 stars list had the criteria allowed contemporary stars as well:

1. Denzel Washington: One of Hollywood's best Oscar-winning dramatic actors. Period.
2. Andre Braugher: Braugher's dramatic prowess is too good for television where he seems most comfortable.
3. James Earl Jones: That voice. Jones is the dramatic actor's actor.
4. Samuel L. Jackson: From bit parts, to starring roles, Oscar-nominee (Pulp Fiction) Samuel L. Jackson has come into his own the past five years. It won't be long before Jackson has a gold statue on his rocky mantelpiece.
5. Cicely Tyson: In a word, majestic. Tyson received an Oscar-nomination for her portrayal of a sharecropper's wife in Sounder -- a breakthrough role that led to other legendary performances in Roots, Fried Green Tomatoes and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
6. Louis Gossett Jr.: A talented versatile Oscar-winning actor and one of the leading black voices in American movies. Gossett is known for his portrayal of warm-hearted characters with a tough exterior.
7. Morgan Freeman: Like Samuel L. Jackson, Oscar-nominee (Street Smart) Freeman has come into his own as one of Hollywood's great dramatic actors. In Deep Impact Freeman played the President, and we believed it.
8. Alfre Woodard: A versatile dramatic actress, who like Halle Berry, has received mainstream recognition.
9. Laurence Fishburne: From a kid in Apocalypse Now to one of Hollywood's favorite leading men, Fishburne turned his dramatic acting up a notch when he went from Larry to Laurence.
10. Halle Berry: Talented Berry is one of the few black actors, like Washington and Snipes, who is accepted in Hollywood playing mainstream roles.
11. Cuba Gooding Jr.: It was the phrase, "Show me the money," that finally got Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., the gold statue to take home.
12. Delroy Lindo: Probably one of the most underrated black actors in Hollywood. Lindo should have gotten a supporting Oscar nod for his role in Get Shorty and Clockers.
13. Oprah Winfrey: You would think that it could be like Phil Donahue acting, however, Oprah Winfrey has proven her dramatic dexterity in The Color Purple, Women of Brewster Place and Beloved.
14. Angela Bassett: Waiting to exhale, Bassett is on the brink of receiving an Oscar nod.
15. Tupac Shakur: What a wasted life. A close look at Shakur's films reveals a great untapped actor in the making.


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