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Actors Whose Images/Personas Have Not Aged Well


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As for a young handsome guy like Cary Grant sidling up to her- I see lots of goofy 20 year old guys desperate for their first experience with a woman falling all over girls they'd never really want otherwise. They just see these girls as "easy" so they give it a go. Same thing.

 

Yeah, but Cary Grant didn't look like he was either 20 years old, or desperate for his first experience.  It just doesn't pass the smell test in this case.

 

Don't get me wrong:  As a comedienne of a certain limited type, West is terrific.  But give me Harlow or Hepburn or Stanwyck any day if you want to go beyond the repertory of easy one liners and get into the realm of genuine situational humor.

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Well why not? Melissa McCarthy is a big star now.

True, but, (and I know this is going to sound very superficial, but bear with me) Melissa McCarthy is pretty. People just tend to overlook that because of her size. I'm not sure that you can even call Marie Dressler a "handsome" woman. And Wallace Beery....

 

One thing that all three do have in common is that they have been pigeonholed into very specific niches as character actors, which may be good or bad, depending on one's perspective.

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True, but, (and I know this is going to sound very superficial, but bear with me) Melissa McCarthy is pretty. People just tend to overlook that because of her size. I'm not sure that you can even call Marie Dressler a "handsome" woman. And Wallace Beery....

 

One thing that all three do have in common is that they have been pigeonholed into very specific niches as character actors, which may be good or bad, depending on one's perspective.

The standards of beauty were different back then  in the 1930s. Even though Hollywood was filled with skinny ingenues, by today's superficial standards they were more voluptuous. Marie Dressler had a place because she was a great actress and an excellent comedian(and not much has changed regarding women of a certain girth going into comedy). 

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True, but, (and I know this is going to sound very superficial, but bear with me) Melissa McCarthy is pretty. People just tend to overlook that because of her size. I'm not sure that you can even call Marie Dressler a "handsome" woman. And Wallace Beery....

 

One thing that all three do have in common is that they have been pigeonholed into very specific niches as character actors, which may be good or bad, depending on one's perspective.

 

I'm not convinced that things have changed much as it relates to actors.   Back in the day beauty gave someone a leg up but most of the time if they didn't have talent or connections they didn't get very far.   Non-handsome people had to have a load of talent to get far.

 

I don't see it being much different today expect related to reality T.V.

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The standards of beauty were different back then  in the 1930s. Even though Hollywood was filled with skinny ingenues, by today's superficial standards they were more voluptuous. Marie Dressler had a place because she was a great actress and an excellent comedian(and not much has changed regarding women of a certain girth going into comedy).

 

Because of course, fat equals hilarious (sarcasm). There's such a double standard when it comes to men versus women in reference to size. Look at Walter Slezak. His career actually took off AFTER he got chubby, and hardly anyone (save for hardcore film fans)remembers what he was like in his slimmer days. And he played both comedic as well as dramatic roles with no issue.

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I'm not convinced that things have changed much as it relates to actors.   Back in the day beauty gave someone a leg up but most of the time if they didn't have talent or connections they didn't get very far.   Non-handsome people had to have a load of talent to get far.

 

I don't see it being much different today expect related to reality T.V.

I agree about non-conventionally attractive people needing to prove themselves by working twice as hard. I think the main difference between now and the days of yesteryear is that actors found ways to compensate for the fact that they weren't considered gorgeous, emphasizing their talent. Cedric Hardwicke used his voice (although I find him pleasant to look at), Ernest Borgnine was extremely versatile (I like looking at him, too), and Dame May Whitty just did her thing. Now, I feel that in order to succeed, an actor has to be "beautiful", at lest according to the current standards, which are ridiculous. If they don't fit that standard, they don't get any attention at all, or get relegated to certain roles. There's no leeway for actual talent, and people aren't given a chance to show what they can do if they don't measure up in terms of appearance.

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Because of course, fat equals hilarious (sarcasm). There's such a double standard when it comes to men versus women in reference to size. Look at Walter Slezak. His career actually took off AFTER he got chubby, and hardly anyone (save for hardcore film fans)remembers what he was like in his slimmer days. And he played both comedic as well as dramatic roles with no issue.

Jack Nicholson still gets work (although now, its more like still gets offers), and he's old and curvy. Actresses his age who are barely doing movies because of that double standard are either character actors on television or reprising their stage work. Kathleen Turner is only a couple of years younger than Jack, and she's in London doing a play! 

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Jack Nicholson still gets work (although now, its more like still gets offers), and he's old and curvy. Actresses his age who are barely doing movies because of that double standard are either character actors on television or reprising their stage work. Kathleen Turner is only a couple of years younger than Jack, and she's in London doing a play!

 

And the thing is that Jack Nicholson doesn't have to work in order to stay relevant; if he takes a role it's just because he wants to do it.

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And the thing is that Jack Nicholson doesn't have to work in order to stay relevant; if he takes a role it's just because he wants to do it.

Exactly. The only actress who has that freedom is Meryl Streep. 

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I agree about non-conventionally attractive people needing to prove themselves by working twice as hard. I think the main difference between now and the days of yesteryear is that actors found ways to compensate for the fact that they weren't considered gorgeous, emphasizing their talent. Cedric Hardwicke used his voice (although I find him pleasant to look at), Ernest Borgnine was extremely versatile (I like looking at him, too), and Dame May Whitty just did her thing. Now, I feel that in order to succeed, an actor has to be "beautiful", at lest according to the current standards, which are ridiculous. If they don't fit that standard, they don't get any attention at all, or get relegated to certain roles. There's no leeway for actual talent, and people aren't given a chance to show what they can do if they don't measure up in terms of appearance.

Well.even then, most of the unconventional looking types.were."relegated" to certain roles, that of character actors. This is what Slezak, Hardwicke, Dame May, etc. mostly did. It was a very occasional character actor who broke.through to become a genuine movie star: Dressler, Beery, Clifton Webb, etc.

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Well.even then, most of the unconventional looking types.were."relegated" to certain roles, that of character actors. This is what Slezak, Hardwicke, Dame May, etc. mostly did. It was a very occasional character actor who broke.through to become a genuine movie star: Dressler, Beery, Clifton Webb, etc.

True. But at least they were given a chance back then; now it's just so automatic the way that people are cordoned off.

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I agree about non-conventionally attractive people needing to prove themselves by working twice as hard. I think the main difference between now and the days of yesteryear is that actors found ways to compensate for the fact that they weren't considered gorgeous, emphasizing their talent. Cedric Hardwicke used his voice (although I find him pleasant to look at), Ernest Borgnine was extremely versatile (I like looking at him, too), and Dame May Whitty just did her thing. Now, I feel that in order to succeed, an actor has to be "beautiful", at lest according to the current standards, which are ridiculous. If they don't fit that standard, they don't get any attention at all, or get relegated to certain roles. There's no leeway for actual talent, and people aren't given a chance to show what they can do if they don't measure up in terms of appearance.

 

Remember back in the day Hollywood made a lot more movies,  a lot more, than they do today.   So studios needed actors for character \ supporting roles.   The studio system also resulted in actors being under fix termed contracts.   So once a studio had an actor under contract they had to use them (i.e. they were paying them regardless).

 

But 90% plus of the leading stars were good looking people.     Today there isn't as much opportunity and that may be why there are less 'average' looking people in film today.

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Remember back in the day Hollywood made a lot more movies,  a lot more, than they do today.   So studios needed actors for character \ supporting roles.   The studio system also resulted in actors being under fix termed contracts.   So once a studio had an actor under contract they had to use them (i.e. they were paying them regardless).

 

But 90% plus of the leading stars were good looking people.     Today there isn't as much opportunity and that may be why there are less 'average' looking people in film today.

And the attractiveness of some if those leading men and women is debatable. (I'd name a few of them, but I don't want to start a mini-war on here ).

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And the attractiveness of some if those leading men and women is debatable. (I'd name a few of them, but I don't want to start a mini-war on here ).

 

Well I did say 90% plus.   Hey, I'm not asking you to list 100 leading men and women and point out at least 11 that are not 'hot'.  

 

But really,  are you saying you don't feel that 90% isn't in the ball park? 

 

PS:  And please don't say Bette Davis wasn't attractive or you will have a war on your hands.  :)

 

Ok,  she wasn't in the Rita or Ava league but she was above average. 

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Well I did say 90% plus.   Hey, I'm not asking you to list 100 leading men and women and point out at least 11 that are not 'hot'.  

 

But really,  are you saying you don't feel that 90% isn't in the ball park? 

 

PS:  And please don't say Bette Davis wasn't attractive or you will have a war on your hands.  :)

 

Ok,  she wasn't in the Rita or Ava league but she was above average.

 

I found Bette Davis to be quite pretty; I don't think the studio gave her enough opportunities to glam it up. Let's bring the number down to 70% and then I'd be good. I'm picky, I know.

The reason why I'm so skeptical regarding the attractiveness of leading men and women is because I feel that Hollywood ( and I know that this was/ is their business, "beautiful pictures for beautiful people" and all that jazz) played a major part in manufacturing and shaping what was supposed to be the definition of gorgeous. While it validated some people and their looks, it left others who didn't fit that bill in the dust, and never gave them a chance in the spotlight themselves. There are/were different types of beauty, but when it came to leading actors, unless it was a picture that reflected "real-life", only one form was seen.

A few examples: Rosalind Russell was much prettier than Norma Shearer, in my opinion. Yet she's relegated to wisecracking comic relief in "The Women", and readily admitted that she never fit the idea of the glamorous movie starlet they were looking for. Theresa Harris is just as if not prettier than (and I know I might be playing with fire here) Barbara Stanwyck in "Baby Face", but because if her race and the time, was never given the opportunity to be a leading lady. I don't recall Leo Genn ever being in a starring role, and don't get me started on Louise Beavers; some are shocked if you mention her name and "beautiful" in the same sentence, like it's a foreign concept. Of course, I am a female, so my perspective is going to be a little different.

 

And I think that Rita Hayworth was actually prettier before she got the full-blown star treatment.

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Jack Nicholson still gets work (although now, its more like still gets offers), and he's old and curvy. Actresses his age who are barely doing movies because of that double standard are either character actors on television or reprising their stage work. Kathleen Turner is only a couple of years younger than Jack, and she's in London doing a play! 

Nicholson was actually considered quite a handsome guy when he was young, although for years his looks didn't help him move up the Hollywood ladder.

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I found Bette Davis to be quite pretty;

 

Indeed she was, up through about The Petrified Forest.  After that she faded rather quickly, though she didn't really reach the stage of total frumpiness until All About Eve in 1950.  If Davis hadn't been (after Stanwyck, of course) the second finest actress in the history of Hollywood, her career would have been over before she left her 30's.  In that respect, she's much like the equally talented, equally glamorous-while-young, but not-so-glamorous after that Jeanne Moreau.

 

Not that this is any knock on Davis or Moreau, or any other actress in their position.   Once you get past a tiny number of Loretta Youngs and Lilli Palmers and Lena Hornes, how many actresses had the same conventional "prettiness" once they passed 40 that they had earlier in life?  It's an impossible double standard that actresses are held to.

 

Theresa Harris is just as if not prettier than (and I know I might be playing with fire here) Barbara Stanwyck in "Baby Face", but because if her race and the time, was never given the opportunity to be a leading lady.

 

No question about that, and while you're at it, you can throw in Ruby Dee, who could have had a "Stanwyck" level career if she'd only been given the opportunity to play Stanwyck's infinite variety of characters.

 

 

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Who is Melissa McCarthy? Coud you post a photo?

 

She's that fat woman who plays sexually aggressive roles - like in 'Bridesmaids'. I haven't seen her in anything other than her SNL appearances, so I'm not sure how good an actress she is. On SNL, she's somewhat funny in a skit here and there, but she's also kinda gross at times. A little of her goes a long way and most of the time I find her to be unpleasant to watch.

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Who is Melissa McCarthy? Coud you post a photo?

 

Here ya go, finance...

 

melissa-mccarthy.jpg

 

She became a star when the Chuck Lorrie sitcom "Mike and Molly"(and I think one of the funnier sitcoms around lately) became a hit a couple of years ago, and for which she's won a couple of Emmys as lead actress in a comedy.

 

(...she's actually very funny and quite talented...though of course she COULD benefit from goin' to those Spin classes you're so hooked on!) 

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I found Bette Davis to be quite pretty; I don't think the studio gave her enough opportunities to glam it up. Let's bring the number down to 70% and then I'd be good. I'm picky, I know.

The reason why I'm so skeptical regarding the attractiveness of leading men and women is because I feel that Hollywood ( and I know that this was/ is their business, "beautiful pictures for beautiful people" and all that jazz) played a major part in manufacturing and shaping what was supposed to be the definition of gorgeous. While it validated some people and their looks, it left others who didn't fit that bill in the dust, and never gave them a chance in the spotlight themselves. There are/were different types of beauty, but when it came to leading actors, unless it was a picture that reflected "real-life", only one form was seen.

A few examples: Rosalind Russell was much prettier than Norma Shearer, in my opinion. Yet she's relegated to wisecracking comic relief in "The Women", and readily admitted that she never fit the idea of the glamorous movie starlet they were looking for. Theresa Harris is just as if not prettier than (and I know I might be playing with fire here) Barbara Stanwyck in "Baby Face", but because if her race and the time, was never given the opportunity to be a leading lady. I don't recall Leo Genn ever being in a starring role, and don't get me started on Louise Beavers; some are shocked if you mention her name and "beautiful" in the same sentence, like it's a foreign concept. Of course, I am a female, so my perspective is going to be a little different.

 

And I think that Rita Hayworth was actually prettier before she got the full-blown star treatment.

 

Ok,  I can accept that 70% based on comparing Hollywood stars 'without the Hollywood wizards working their magic' to the everyday American women.    In fact the percentage would even be lower if instead of the everyday American women we used American women on their wedding day!     That is only fair because with Hollywood wizards everyday was their wedding day for the stars.

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I think Bette Davis looks great in ALL ABOUT EVE (AndyM108 wrote she didn't reach "total frumpiness"  until ALL ABOUT EVE).  Her characters did not call for her to be glamorous.  I like Stanwyck's looks, too (my favorite actress with Bette #2), and both she and Theresa Harris are very pretty in BABY FACE.  It is shameful that Black actors and actresses couldn't get better roles back in those days.  Every once in a while you'll come across Black characters in early cinema who aren't maids or butlers and it it quite refreshing and surprising (case in point if memory serves me correctly:  SAFE IN HELL).  I agree Roz Russell is pretty but I really like Norma Shearer's looks, especially in the early '30s.  Minor correction to Dargo:  Melissa McCarthy has won one leading actress in a comedy Emmy (Mike & Molly) thus far.  I like Melissa but sometimes I think she is trying too hard to be a female Fatty Arbuckle.

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