Date of Death between 1981-01-01 and 1981-12-31 (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)


1-50 of 1,536 names. | Next »


1. Vera-Ellen

Actress | White Christmas

Vera-Ellen began dancing at the age of 10, and a few years later became one of the youngest Rockettes. She appeared in several Broadway musicals until she was spotted by film producer Samuel Goldwyn in 1945. She was only 24 years old when Goldwyn cast her opposite Danny Kaye in Wonder Man (1945). ...

2. Natalie Wood

Actress | Rebel Without a Cause

Natalie Wood was born on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, California, as Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko. Her parents, Maria Stepanovna (Zudilov) and Nikolai Stepanovich Zakharenko, were Russian-born émigrés, of Ukrainian and Russian descent, who spoke barely comprehensible English; they changed the ...

3. Gloria Grahame

Actress | The Bad and the Beautiful

Gloria Hallward, an acting pupil of her mother (stage actress and teacher Jean Grahame), acted professionally while still in high school. In 1944 Louis B. Mayer saw her on Broadway and gave her an MGM contract under the name Gloria Grahame. Her debut in the title role of Blonde Fever (1944) was ...

4. William Holden

Actor | Stalag 17

William Holden was born William Franklin Beedle, Jr. in O'Fallon, Illinois, to Mary Blanche (Ball), a schoolteacher, and William Franklin Beedle, Sr., an industrial chemist. He came from a wealthy family (the Beedles) that moved to Pasadena, California, when he was three. In 1937, while studying ...

5. Jim Davis

Actor | Big Jake

Tall, rangy Jim Davis spent much of his early career in westerns, mainly at Republic Pictures. The Missouri-born and -raised Davis' relaxed, easygoing manner and Southern drawl easily fit most moviegoers' image of the cowboy, and Republic put him in a ton of them over the years (the fact that, ...

6. Jack Albertson

Actor | Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

A former song-and-dance man and veteran of vaudeville, burlesque and Broadway, Jack Albertson is best known to audiences as "The Man" in the TV series Chico and the Man (1974), for which he won an Emmy. In 1968 Albertson, the brother of actress Mabel Albertson, won the Oscar for Best Supporting ...

7. Ann Harding

Actress | Love from a Stranger

Ann, born Dorothy Gatley, spent most of her childhood as an "army brat" constantly moving around before the family finally settled in New York. Ann first appeared on the stage while she spent a year attending Bryn Mawr College. She became a clerk and freelance script reader with a film company ...

8. Richard Boone

Actor | The Richard Boone Show

Richard Allen Boone was born in Los Angeles, California, to Cecile Lillian (Beckerman) and Kirk Etna Boone, a wealthy corporate lawyer. His maternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants, while his father was descended from a brother of frontiersmen Daniel Boone and Squire Boone.

Richard was a...

9. Margaret Lindsay

Actress | Scarlet Street

Picture-pretty brunette Margaret Lindsay was one of a number of pleasant, sweet-natured ingénues who could do no wrong in a score of 1930s stylish Hollywood pictures. Such altruistic love interests were often overlooked in pictures that were carried by the flashy histrionics of a jaunty James Cagney...

10. Beulah Bondi

Actress | It's a Wonderful Life

Character actress Beulah Bondi was a favorite of directors and audiences and is one of the reasons so many films from the 1930s and 1940s remain so enjoyable, as she was an integral part of many of the ensemble casts (a hallmark of the studio system) of major and/or great films, including The Trail...

11. Frank DeKova

Actor | The Ten Commandments

Frank DeKova parlayed a sinister scowl, piercing eyes and an all-around menacing attitude into a long career of playing cold-blooded trigger-men, rampaging Indian chiefs, brutal Mexican army officers and the like. So it would probably come as a shock to those who know his work to discover that, ...

12. Wanda Hendrix

Actress | Ride the Pink Horse

Born Dixie Wanda Hendrix in Jacksonville, Florida to a logging camp boss (Max Sylvester Hendrix) and his wife (Mary Bailley), wholesome, green-eyed, dark-haired Wanda Hendrix was involved in her hometown's little theater group when she was "discovered" by a passing talent agent and signed up by ...

13. Sara Haden

Actress | The Bishop's Wife

Sara Haden was born on November 17, 1898 in Galveston, Texas, USA as Catherine Haden. She was an actress, known for The Bishop's Wife (1947), She-Wolf of London (1946) and The Shop Around the Corner (1940). She was married to Richard Abbott. She died on September 15, 1981 in Woodland Hills, Los ...

14. Melvyn Douglas

Actor | Being There

Two-time Oscar-winner Melvyn Douglas was one of America's finest actors. In addition to his two Oscars, he also won a Tony Award and an Emmy. Douglas would enjoy cinema immortality if for no other reason than his being the man who made Greta Garbo laugh in Ernst Lubitsch's classic comedy Ninotchka ...

15. Edith Head

Costume Department | All About Eve

Edith Head was born on October 28, 1897 in San Bernardino, California, USA as Edith Claire Posener. She is known for her work on All About Eve (1950), Sabrina (1954) and Roman Holiday (1953). She was married to Wiard Ihnen and Charles Head. She died on October 24, 1981 in Los Angeles, California.

16. William Wyler

Director | The Best Years of Our Lives

William Wyler was an American filmmaker who, at the time of his death in 1981, was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema. The winner of three Best Director Academy Awards, second again only to Ford's four, Wyler's reputation has unfairly suffered as the ...

17. Ross Martin

Actor | The Wild Wild West

Born in Grodek, Poland, Ross Martin grew up on New York City's Lower East Side. He spoke Yiddish, Polish, and Russian before even learning English and later added French, Spanish, and Italian to his amazing repertoire.

Despite academic training (and receiving honors in) business, instruction, and ...

18. Robert Montgomery

Actor | Night Must Fall

As a child, Robert Montgomery enjoyed a privileged life, as his father was the president of the New York Rubber Co. When he died, the fortune was gone and Robert worked at a number of jobs. He later went to New York to be a writer, and on the advice of a friend tried acting. He worked with George ...

19. Bernard Lee

Actor | Live and Let Die

Best remembered as 'M' in the James Bond films, Bernard Lee was a popular character player in British films throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Born into a theatrical family, he made his stage debut at age six and later attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He first appeared on the West End stage...

20. Frank McHugh

Actor | All Through the Night

The parents of Frank McHugh ran their own stock company and he was on the stage as a child. When he was 10 he was part of an act that include his brother Matt McHugh and sister Kitty McHugh. After vaudeville and other stock companies, Frank debuted on Broadway "The Fall Guy" (1925). In 1930 he was ...

21. Matthew 'Stymie' Beard

Actor | Free Wheeling

Matthew 'Stymie' Beard was born on January 1, 1925 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Matthew Beard Jr. He was an actor, known for Free Wheeling (1932), Mush and Milk (1933) and A Lad an' a Lamp (1932). He was married to Annie. He died on January 8, 1981 in Los Angeles.

22. Torin Thatcher

Actor | Witness for the Prosecution

Associated with gritty, flashy film villainy, veteran character actor Torin Thatcher was born in Bombay, India to British parents on January 15, 1905, and was educated in England at the Bedford School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. A former schoolteacher, he appeared on the London stage in ...

23. Arthur O'Connell

Actor | Anatomy of a Murder

Though veteran character actor Arthur O'Connell was born in New York City in 1908, he looked as countrified as apple pie, looking ever more comfy in overalls than he ever did in a suit. He made his stage debut in the mid 1930s and came into contact with Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre. As a result, ...

24. Chief Dan George

Actor | Little Big Man

Chief Dan George was born with the names Geswanouth Slahoot (which was anglicised as 'Dan Slaholt') to a tribal chief on Burrard Indian Reserve Nº. 3 in North Vancouver. His last name was changed to 'George' when he entered a mission boarding school at the age of 5, where the use of his native ...

25. Hoagy Carmichael

Soundtrack | To Have and Have Not

Award-winning songwriter ("Stardust", "Ole Buttermilk Sky", "Georgia on My Mind"), composer, pianist, actor and singer, educated at Indiana University (LL.B). He played piano in the college bands, and later gave up a law practice for a career in songwriting. He joined ASCAP in 1931, and his chief ...

26. Paddy Chayefsky

Writer | Network

Author, producer and composer who earned a Bachelor of Science degree from CCNY, then a Purple Heart during World War II while serving in the US Army. Joining ASCAP in 1955, his chief musical collaborators included George Bassman and Harry Warren. His popular-song compositions include "Marty" and "...

27. George Voskovec

Actor | 12 Angry Men

From the theatre, distinguished Czech actor/producer/director/author George Voskovec was born Jirí Wachsmann on June 19, 1905, the son of Jirina Valentina Marie (Pinkasová) and Vilem Eduard Voskovec (Wachsmann). His ancestry was Czech, German, and French. Prior to George's birth, the spelling of ...

28. Bob Marley

Soundtrack | Strange Days

Bob Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in Nine Miles, Saint Ann, Jamaica, to Norval Marley and Cedella Booker. His father was a Jamaican of English descent. His mother was a black teenager. The couple planned to get married but Norval left Kingston before this could happen. Norval died in 1955, ...

29. Lotte Lenya

Actress | From Russia with Love

Lotte Lenya was a Tony Award-winning and Academy award-nominated actress and singer who is best remembered for her supporting role as Rosa Klebb in the classic Bond film From Russia with Love (1963).

She was born Karoline Wilhelmine Charlotte Blaumauer on October 18, 1898, in Vienna, Austria (at ...

30. Jenny Maxwell

Actress | Blue Hawaii

Jenny Maxwell was born on September 3, 1941 in New York City, New York, USA as Jennifer Helene Maxwell. She was an actress, known for Blue Hawaii (1961), Hawaiian Eye (1959) and The Wild Wild West (1965). She was married to Ervin "Tip" Roeder and Paul W. Rapp. She died on June 10, 1981 in Los ...

31. Don Megowan

Actor | Blazing Saddles

Don Megowan was born on May 24, 1922 in Inglewood, California, USA. He was an actor, known for Blazing Saddles (1974), The Creation of the Humanoids (1962) and The Devil's Brigade (1968). He was married to Alva Megowan and Betty Eleanor Wright. He died on June 26, 1981 in Panorama City, California.

32. Allen Ludden

Self | Password

Allen Ludden was born on October 5, 1917 in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, USA as Allen Packard Ellsworth. He was an actor, known for Password (1961), It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman! (1975) and Futureworld (1976). He was married to Betty White and Margaret Frances McGloin. He died on June ...

33. Patsy Kelly

Actress | Rosemary's Baby

Patsy Kelly was born Bridget Sarah Veronica Rose Kelly on January 12, 1910, in Brooklyn, New York. She began performing in vaudeville when she was just twelve years old. Patsy worked with comedian Frank Fay and starred in several Broadway shows. She was discovered by producer Hal Roach who paired ...

34. Jack Warner

Actor | Scrooge

Jack Warner started acting with the Sutton Amateur Dramatics Club after the end of World War I. From 1935, performed in cabaret at the London West End as half of the double act of Warner & Darnell. In addition to starring as Dixon of Dock Green (1955), which ran for over 20 years, he achieved ...

35. Brenda de Banzie

Actress | Hobson's Choice

The daughter of a musical conductor, fair-haired, matronly Brenda de Banzie appeared in just a handful of films. As the result of two outstanding performances she became an unexpected star when well into her middle age. Brenda first came to public notice as a sixteen year old chorine on the London ...

36. Reiko Sato

Actress | Flower Drum Song

Reiko Sato was born on December 19, 1931 in Los Angeles County, California, USA. She was an actress, known for Flower Drum Song (1961), The Ugly American (1963) and Achtervolging in Frisco (1950). She died on May 28, 1981 in Los Angeles, California.

37. Nigel Patrick

Actor | Raintree County

This droll, dry-witted London-born gent came from a family of actors. He made his stage debut in 1932 and established his reputation in stylish plays. He progressed to films in 1939 but his career was immediately interrupted after only one movie appearance by WWII, serving as a lieutenant colonel ...

38. Stanley Clements

Actor | Racing Luck

Stanley Clements realized he wanted a show-business career while he was in grammar school, and when he graduated he toured in vaudeville for two years. He then joined the touring company of Edward Bowes' (aka Major Bowes) Amateur Hour. In 1941 he was signed to a contract by 20th Century-Fox and ...

39. Enid Markey

Actress | Tarzan of the Apes

Enid Markey was born on February 22, 1894 in Dillon, Colorado, USA as Enid Virginia Markey. She was an actress, known for Tarzan of the Apes (1918), The Romance of Tarzan (1918) and Sink or Swim (1920). She was married to George W. Cobb. She died on November 15, 1981 in Bay Shore, Long Island, New ...

40. William Edmunds

Actor | It's a Wonderful Life

Despite his Anglicized name, Edmunds was usually cast as dark or Latin types: Spaniards, Mexicans, Frenchmen, Gypsies, Arabs, Polynesians, and other exotic nationalities and functioned as a sort of poor-man's 'J. Carroll Naish'. Born in Italy in 1891, Edmunds is especially remembered for his ...

41. Madge Evans

Actress | Dinner at Eight

Lovely Madge Evans was the perennial nice girl in films of the 1930's. By then, she had been in front of the camera for many years, starting with Fairy Soap commercials at the age of two (she sat on a bar of soap holding a bunch of violets with the tag line reading "have you a little fairy in your ...

42. George Jessel

Actor | Lucky Boy

George Jessel gained fame in vaudeville, where it was not uncommon for him--and other performers, such as Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor--to perform in blackface, and in fact at age 11 Jessel was Cantor's vaudeville partner. Jessel acted in several movies in the '30s and became a respected film producer. ...

43. John Warburton

Actor | Secret File: Hollywood

John Warburton was born on June 18, 1899 in Maghull, Liverpool, England. He was an actor, known for Secret File: Hollywood (1962), Headline Hunters (1955) and The Wild Wild West (1965). He was married to Lucille Morrison. He died on October 27, 1981 in Sherman Oaks, California, USA.

44. Kipp Hamilton

Actress | Mike Hammer

Kipp Hamilton was born on August 16, 1934 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Rita Marie Hamilton. She was an actress, known for Mike Hammer (1958), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964) and The Unforgiven (1960). She was married to Donald Thorman Rosenfeld and Dave Geisel. She died on January 29, 1981 in ...

45. Richard Hale

Actor | To Kill a Mockingbird

Richard Hale was born on November 16, 1892 in Rogersville, Tennessee, USA as James Richards Hale. He was an actor, known for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Scaramouche (1952) and Star Trek (1966). He was married to Kathryn Hamill and Temple Duncan. He died on May 18, 1981 in Northridge, California, ...

46. Savitri

Actress | Narthanasala

Savitri was born on December 6, 1937 in Chirravuru, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India. She was an actress and director, known for Narthanasala (1963), Deepavali (1960) and Devadasu (1953). She was married to Gemini Ganesan. She died on December 26, 1981 in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.

47. Dorothy Dwan

Actress | The Wizard of Oz

Dorothy Dwan was born on April 26, 1906 in Sedalia, Missouri, USA as Dorothy Illgenfritz. She was an actress, known for The Wizard of Oz (1925), Bashful Buccaneer (1925) and Spuds (1927). She was married to Paul Northcutt Boggs Jr., Larry Semon and Fred Buckels. She died on March 17, 1981 in ...

48. Harold Bennett

Actor | Are You Being Served?

Harold Bennett was born on November 17, 1898 in Hastings, East Sussex, England as Harold Frank Bennett. He was an actor, known for Wordt u al geholpen? (1972), Wordt u al geholpen (1977) and Whack-O! (1956). He died on September 15, 1981 in London, England.

49. Lola Lane

Actress | The Big Fight

Lola Lane, born Dorothy Mullican, grew up Indianola, Iowa. Small-town life was not to her taste and she yearned to be in show business. She was also a bit of a rebel. At one time, in her teens, she 'scandalized' the townsfolk by dancing a particularly suggestive Charleston right in front of the ...

50. Eddie Byrne

Actor | Star Wars

Eddie Byrne was born on January 31, 1911 in Birmingham, England. He was an actor, known for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Island of Terror (1966) and Mutiny on the Bounty (1962). He died on August 21, 1981 in Dublin, Ireland.


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