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What is your definition of a movie star?


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There are different classifications. First, I think that a star can be forgotten. Helen Twelvetrees was a hugely popular motion picture star in the 1930s. Most people today do not know much about her.


Also, a star can be someone who made a series of hit B-movies. Harold Peary was a star as Gildersleeve on radio and in a batch of B-movies at RKO.


A star does not have to be a human. Rin Tin Tin was most definitely a star, and so was Lassie. And Mickey Mouse. Don't forget Kermit and Miss Piggy.


A star can be someone who was more successful in other areas of entertainment but crossed over and made a few films. Rosemary Clooney comes to mind. So does O.J. Simpson.


A character actor can be a star. I think most people would agree that Jean Hersholt was a star. And Walter Brennan, too.


A star can also be someone who made many hit movies in their native country, even if they didn't really catch on in America. Think of Anna Sten and Elisabeth Mueller.

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To me a *star* is anyone whose *name* would be instantly recognizable during his or her career, even to someone who's never been to any of his or her movies and doesn't read the gossip columns. A *superstar* is one whose *face* would also be recognizable by those people. It's an actor or actress whose name and face just permeate the atmosphere of the world at large, and not just the world of the movie-going public. And a *mega-superstar* is one whose name *and* face are recognizable to most people many years *after* his or her death, even if only film buffs can remember the names of any of their movies.


*Stars:* Spencer Tracy, Barbara Stanwyck

*Superstars:* Edward G. Robinson, Betty Grable, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra

*Mega-Superstars:* John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley


Needless to say, there's zero correlation between the level of recognition and any demonstrable acting talent, at least with those above examples!





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Ya know TB, this is a good question and one which I'm not really sure has a definitive answer to it.


BUT, it appears this guy HERE knows the difference between a true thespian and a "movie star", anyway...








(...sorry...couldn't resist...this is one of my favorites of O'Toole's roles) ;)

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To me, Jonathan Winters was Not a Movie Star, he was a comedian but did not have the charisma that a movie star has.


Zsa Zsa, on the other hand could not act, but she did light up the screen and she did 'act' like a Movie Star.



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Zsa Zsa in a way , had equal standing with someone like Tom Cruise...


In a way, she did, if not more so !


In her day, she had a tremendous amount of publicity, probably more so then Cruise, which is conducive with being a Star, most notably her love for diamonds, (and JFK).


Only someone with 'Star Power' can comand this much publicity.



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Zsa-Zsa at an equal standing with TOM CRUISE?



I guess they WOULD be the same height!



But in some seriousness, I guess what constitutes a "star" apart from just an "actor" might just BE the box office draw. Some stars are good actors with mass appeal. Many other stars had mass appeal and NO talent.



It is somewhat hard to explain.






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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}Peter O'Toole was a thespian?...I thought only women could be thespians. :|

There's a legend in Florida that a candidate for office tried to discredit his opponent, whose sister was an actress, by calling her "a thespian in New York". The listeners were supposed to confuse thesp with lesb and combined with their mistrust of NYC transfer that to the candidate and vote against him. Your post reminded me of this. (I've since heard this was just a tall tale rather than the truth but it's still a good story).


I agree that a film star is a performer who is known in places where movies are rarely if at all shown, whose name and films are revered long after they've died, and made a real difference in cinema. This can also be applied to those in other entertainment genres and of course those who have made it in more than one. Some can qualify as actors as well; these are the ones who can really stand tall. Of the two I'd rather be known for the second.

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