Hello and thank you for being a DL contributor. We are changing the login scheme for contributors for simpler login and to better support using multiple devices. Please click here to update your account with a username and password.

Hello. Some features on this site require registration. Please click here to register for free.

Hello and thank you for registering. Please complete the process by verifying your email address. If you can't find the email you can resend it here.

Hello. Some features on this site require a subscription. Please click here to get full access and no ads for $1.99 or less per month.

With a minuscule exception most foreign born actors and actresses tried and failed to become Hollywood Icons remembered today.

I’m talking Old Hollywood, not today. I can’t think of a single foreign-born actor who came to build a career during Hollywood's Golden Age, who has the statue of John Wayne, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Liz Taylor….the list goes on and on….

Here are some foreign-born exceptions. Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Maurice Chevalier, Charles Boyer, Audrey Hepburn (Netherlands) Leslie Caron, Omar Sharif, please fill in…..

Most foreign actors fate in Hollywood….They came, they played, they failed, they went home: Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Louis Jourdan, Victor Gassman, Bridget Bardot, Gerard Depardieu, Jean Gabin...please add

by Anonymousreply 42January 13, 2022 12:11 PM

It seems like we are living in peak times for foreign born actors right now. Almost every lead is Australian or English.

by Anonymousreply 1January 13, 2022 1:58 AM

Excuse me??

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 2January 13, 2022 1:59 AM

Wasn't Liz Taylor born in London?

by Anonymousreply 3January 13, 2022 1:59 AM

Loren, Lollobrigida, and Jourdan all had long careers. They didn't fail

by Anonymousreply 4January 13, 2022 2:01 AM

Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Vivian Leigh, Mary Pickford, Olivia de Havilland, Errol Flynn...

by Anonymousreply 5January 13, 2022 2:02 AM

Cary Grant? Vivien Leigh? Laurence Olivier? Errol Flynn? Marlene Dietrich? Hedy Lamarr?

by Anonymousreply 6January 13, 2022 2:02 AM

Even Merle Oberon.

Norma Shearer, Olivia deHavilland, Joan Fontaine were also foreign born.

by Anonymousreply 7January 13, 2022 2:04 AM

Sophia has received two Oscars. That's a failure?

by Anonymousreply 8January 13, 2022 2:04 AM

You forgot Dietrich.

Loren and Lollobrigida are as well known today as Audrey Hepburn, better known than Jean Harlow and WAY better known than Omar Sharif. Brigitte Bardot is also legendary: at least some people can still spell her name.

The reason the list of American stars of the golden age goes on and on is that the people who became and remained stars were the people the studio heads said would become and remain stars. If you didn't have studio backing you couldn't make it then. Studios quite obviously went through fads with foreign actors. You had to completely captivate the public to live through and beyond a fad.

I'd argue that Garbo, Dietrich and to a lesser extent Bergman did this, while the others on your "exceptions" list were only pushed during the relevant fad. If they are still known, it's because during that short time their names became attached to one or two still-famous films. No ordinary filmgoer would know who Chevalier and Boyer were today if not for Gigi, nor Sharif if not for Lawrence and Funny Girl.

Audrey Hepburn was brought up in London before and after the War, so it's very arguable she should be on the list in the first place. She was not promoted as a foreign star. (By foreign-born you appear to mean "non English-speaking" - if you want to admit Vanessa Redgrave, Viven Leigh, Laurence Olivier, John Geilgud, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman et al, your argument totally crumbles.)

by Anonymousreply 9January 13, 2022 2:07 AM

Maurice Chevalier (especially in the late 20s-early 30s), Hedy Lamarr, Greer Garson...

by Anonymousreply 10January 13, 2022 2:07 AM

Deborah Kerr, Jeanette MacDonald

by Anonymousreply 11January 13, 2022 2:09 AM

[quote] Hedy Lamarr?

It’s Hedley!

by Anonymousreply 12January 13, 2022 2:09 AM

Claudette Colbert

by Anonymousreply 13January 13, 2022 2:10 AM

Most foreign-born actors who succeeded during the Golden Age were British (Empire) by birth, and enjoyed the popularity of your examples (though possibly not the everlasting fame): Robert Donat, Greer Garson, George Arliss, Hedy Lamarr, Walter Pidgeon, Raymond Massey, Laurence Olivier (originally a failure, but he came back strong), and loads of successful character actors -- C. Aubrey Smith, Dame May Whitty, May Robson, Sidney Greenstreet, many others. Also Peter Lorre.

The failures were noticeable: Luise Rainer and Anna Sten spring to mind. The silent screen made international stars much more viable.

by Anonymousreply 14January 13, 2022 2:11 AM

Ronald Colman's career in Hollywood started in the silent era and carried on through the 50s.

by Anonymousreply 15January 13, 2022 2:11 AM

Then there are those who don’t really need Hollywood.

by Anonymousreply 16January 13, 2022 2:15 AM

And Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine were also Japanese!

by Anonymousreply 17January 13, 2022 2:16 AM

[quote] the statue of John Wayne

Is this the one, OP?

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 18January 13, 2022 2:17 AM

Julie Andrews

David Niven

Charlie Chaplin

Sessue Hayakawa

Paul Muni

by Anonymousreply 19January 13, 2022 2:18 AM

That was one of the least successful theories in DL history, OP.

by Anonymousreply 20January 13, 2022 2:22 AM

R17, Olivia de Havilland was born in Japan, worked in American pictures, retired to France, and knighted a Dame!

by Anonymousreply 21January 13, 2022 2:38 AM


Nato a Castellaneta (IT)

by Anonymousreply 22January 13, 2022 2:41 AM

OP, your foreign examples include absolute legends. You dismiss Sophia Loren?!

by Anonymousreply 23January 13, 2022 3:49 AM

I was talking to a dialect coach once and she said it is almost impossible to completely adopt an American accent and cadence if English wasn't your first language.

She thought that is why people like Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz etc. never really could act as well in English as they did in spanish.

Marion Cotillard did the best she thought. Once Cotillard won the Oscar and was suddenly getting offers for American roles she took time off and had extensive dialect training.

by Anonymousreply 24January 13, 2022 4:42 AM

I'm talking about Hollywood Icons, reply 23. That means you stay in Hollywood to build that status. Obviously, she was under the thumb of Carlo Ponti. Plus she decided to have kids. That's is a semi careerkiller.

by Anonymousreply 25January 13, 2022 4:48 AM

[quote]That's is a semi careerkiller.

Meryl had 4 kids and a career.

by Anonymousreply 26January 13, 2022 5:00 AM

[quote] Audrey Hepburn (Netherlands)

Hepburn was born in BELGIUM, spent part of her childhood in the Netherlands

Jean Dujardin: Won an Oscar for The Artist, then hopped and a plane and went home to work in France, because he could barely speak English and couldn't be bothered to learn.

Mathias Schoenaerts: Belgian actor who speaks French, Flemish and English. They kept trying to make him happen in the US, but he's not as popular as he wants to be.

Alicia Vikander: Swedish actress, another one whose US career is going no-where.

Noomi Rapace: Swedish actress, who did a few films in English, but works far more in Scandanavia.

by Anonymousreply 27January 13, 2022 5:08 AM

Salma Hayek had a so-so career.

by Anonymousreply 28January 13, 2022 5:16 AM

Hayek has been working in America for over 25 years. I'd say she did pretty well!

by Anonymousreply 29January 13, 2022 5:19 AM

Rudolf Valentino. Lupe Velez.

by Anonymousreply 30January 13, 2022 5:31 AM

R19: mostly dreck.

by Anonymousreply 31January 13, 2022 5:32 AM

Hayley Mills

by Anonymousreply 32January 13, 2022 6:05 AM

Ingrid Bergman.

by Anonymousreply 33January 13, 2022 7:15 AM

Ann Margret

by Anonymousreply 34January 13, 2022 8:18 AM

R3: Elizabeth Taylor was born in London to American parents. Her family moved back to the U.S. when she was 6. Although she was foreign-born and some Brits act like she was one of their own, the bulk of her formative years was spent in L.A. and American culture, which makes her an American actress.

by Anonymousreply 35January 13, 2022 8:44 AM

R35 liz Taylor is English like Nicole Kidman is Hawaiian

by Anonymousreply 36January 13, 2022 8:56 AM

Sophia Loren???!!! you crazy!!!!!!!!

by Anonymousreply 37January 13, 2022 9:02 AM

36: LOL, yup.

Mel Gibson is another one. He was born and lived in New York state until he was 12, when his family moved to Australia. He is definitely an Aussie at heart, as well as a Hollywood star.

by Anonymousreply 38January 13, 2022 9:07 AM

Until recently, to score Hollywood roles you pretty much had to live in Los Angeles. A lot of foreign players had no time for Los Angeles. e.g. Dietrich who preferred New York, where she kept a pied-a-terre, but spend most of her time in Paris. Look at the foreign-born stars these days: almost none of them live in L.A.

by Anonymousreply 39January 13, 2022 9:26 AM

R25, Your reply is weird. I mean, what's its point---that only staying in America counts as having a successful career?

Moreover, your entire premise is weird, for it could as equally be written in reference to Americans who have gone to Hollywood but failed to become icons.

R37, Her Oscar says I'm not.

R31, And John Wayne's output wasn't?

by Anonymousreply 40January 13, 2022 12:01 PM

OP and r37, The American Film Institute would beg to differ in assessment:

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 41January 13, 2022 12:05 PM


Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 42January 13, 2022 12:11 PM
Need more help? Click Here.

Yes indeed, we too use "cookies." Take a look at our privacy/terms or if you just want to see the damn site without all this bureaucratic nonsense, click ACCEPT. Otherwise, you'll just have to find some other site for your pointless bitchery needs.


Become a contributor - post when you want with no ads!