American Film Institute’s Top 50 American Film Legends

1 Humphrey Bogart 1 Katharine Hepburn
2 Cary Grant 2 Bette Davis
3 James Stewart 3 Audrey Hepburn
4 Marlon Brando 4 Ingrid Bergman
5 Fred Astaire 5 Greta Garbo
6 Henry Fonda 6 Marilyn Monroe
7 Clark Gable 7 Elizabeth Taylor
8 James Cagney 8 Judy Garland
9 Spencer Tracy 9 Marlene Dietrich
10 Charlie Chaplin 10 Joan Crawford
11 Gary Cooper 11 Barbara Stanwyck
12 Gregory Peck 12 Claudette Colbert
13 John Wayne 13 Grace Kelly
14 Laurence Olivier 14 Ginger Rogers
15 Gene Kelly 15 Mae West
16 Orson Welles 16 Vivien Leigh
17 Kirk Douglas 17 Lillian Gish
18 James Dean 18 Shirley Temple
19 Burt Lancaster 19 Rita Hayworth
20 The Marx Brothers 20 Lauren Bacall
21 Buster Keaton 21 Sophia Loren
22 Sidney Poitier 22 Jean Harlow
23 Robert Mitchum 23 Carole Lombard
24 Edward G. Robinson 24 Mary Pickford
25 William Holden 25 Ava Gardner

AFI’s 100 Years…100 Stars
Facts about some of the 25 greatest men and 25 greatest women screen legends

  • Lillian Gish has the longest screen career of any legend, male or female – 75 years.
  • Laurence Olivier has the longest career span of any male legend – 59 years.
  • There are four female living legends: Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Temple, Lauren Bacall and Sophia Loren.
  • There are two male living legends: Kirk Douglas and Sidney Poitier.
  • Legends Marlon Brando, Sidney Poitier and Sophia Loren all had screen debuts in the cut-off year of 1950. Stars whose screen debuts occurred just after 1950, and therefore did not qualify as legends, include Jack Lemmon, Paul Newman, Shirley MacLaine and Clint Eastwood.
  • Ten of the screen legends also comprised five legendary duos: Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. The Marx Brothers are the sole legendary team.
  • There are 13 legends that made the transition from silent pictures to the “talkies.” They are: Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck, Lillian Gish, Carole Lombard, Mary Pickford, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, the Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton and Edward G. Robinson.
  • Thirteen screen legends were born outside the United States: Audrey Hepburn, Belgium; Elizabeth Taylor, England; Ingrid Bergman, Sweden; Greta Garbo, Sweden; Marlene Dietrich, Germany; Claudette Colbert, France; Vivian Leigh, India; Sophia Loren, Italy; Mary Pickford, Canada; Cary Grant, England; Charlie Chaplin, England; Laurence Olivier, England; and, Edward G. Robinson, Romania.
  • Eight screen legends were born in New York City: Barbara Stanwyck, Mae West, Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Burt Lancaster and the Marx Brothers.
  • TALES OF MANHATTAN (1942) is the feature film that boasts the largest collection of screen legends: Henry Fonda, Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth and Edward G. Robinson. A 20-minute short film to benefit a Tuberculosis sanitarium entitled SLIPPERY PEARLS (or STOLEN JOOLS) from 1931 contains five AFI screen legends: Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Buster Keaton and Edward G. Robinson.

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