One of the greatest loves of my life is reading: Agatha Christie Mysteries, historical non-fiction, Cookbooks, health and fitness books, etc. But the type of book I’d walk three miles in sensible shoes to get my hands on would be a biography. I read my first biography, about a personal heroine Harriet Tubman, in Grade School, and I have been deliriously hooked on biographies and autobiographies since.
When you read about the life of someone who is no longer with us, it’s as though they are being given the chance to live again. Their voice can once again be heard and their emotions can be felt as though they were being felt for the first time. By reading about their lives, we get to walk along with them in their steps and see the world through their eyes.
Some of the most fascinating biographies and auto-biographies are the ones from Classic Hollywood…. Hollywood Yesterday. A day really doesn’t seem complete to me unless I’ve spent time with someone from this time on the pages of a great biography and watching them in their element in a great old movie or television classic. I say “and” because each of my days include old Hollywood biographies as well as movies or classic television.
Years ago, while reading a Lucille Ball biography (love her, love her, love her), I realized how many priceless stories lie within these books. These remarkable stars have given so much joy to so many of us for so many years – they deserve to be kept alive and allowed to shine as brightly today as they did then.
This is where the idea for Hollywood Yesterday was born. In the middle of a Lucille Ball biography – I closed the book, opened my train of thoughts, and BOOM… the deal was sealed.
Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland
Hollywood Yesterday is, at its heart, my tribute to Classic Hollywood, Classic TV, and (more recently) old radio shows. More importantly it’s a tribute to the men and women who have, through the years, entertained us, made us laugh, made us smile, made us cry, and made us feel emotions we didn’t even know we had.
Like everyone, I have my own particular favorites when it comes to the stars of Old Hollywood, Classic TV, and Classic Radio Shows but I plan to devote time and space to everyone’s favorites, not just my own.
I will, no doubt, have to remind myself of this from time to time.
I am utterly obsessed with all movies from Old Hollywood – from Westerns to Musicals and from Barbara Stanwyck dramas to the side-splitting antics of Lucille Ball, Abbott and Costello, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, and Laurel and Hardy. From Jimmy Stewart pulling at my heartstrings to Rita Hayworth making trouble for every man in town. From Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton to Rock Hudson and Humphrey Bogart.
Utterly and completely obsessed with all things “old Hollywood” – or could you tell?
I will say this, too… I will (undoubtedly) add to the lists on this page from time to time. There are still wonderful stars I’ve yet to truly get to know. Often I’ll see an actor or actress in one or even two films but they may not crack into my favorites until the third film. Other times, I’ll see a single scene and know that I’ll love them forever and ever, amen. (Looking at you Barbara, Jimmy, Lucille, Hattie, Maureen, Rita, Buster…).
FAVORITE CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD MOVIE ACTRESSES
(in absolutely no particular order – silent movie actresses are below)
- Lucille Ball
- Audrey Hepburn
- Rita Hayworth
- Maureen O’Hara
- Barbara Stanwyck
- Lauren Bacall
- Dorothy Dandridge
- Judy Garland
- Ann Sheridan
- Hattie McDaniel
- Marion Davies
- Marilyn Monroe
- Ingrid Bergman
- Ava Gardner
- Agnes Moorehead
- Claudette Colbert
- Dorothy Lamour
- Ida Lupino
- Claire Trevor
- Olivia de Havilland
- Mitzi Gaynor
- Ginger Rogers
- Lauren Bacall
- Helen Hayes
- Ann Miller
- Joan Crawford
- Jane Wyman
FAVORITE SILENT MOVIE ACTRESSES
- Georgia Hale
- Mary Pickford
- Marion Davies
- Zasu Pitts
FAVORITE CLASSIC TELEVISION ACTRESSES
- Lucille Ball
- Vivian Vance
- Barbara Stanwyck
- LaWanda Page
- Elizabeth Montgomery
- Agnes Moorehead
- Irene Ryan
- Barbara Eden
- Carol Burnett
- Rue McClanahan (not exactly from the “classic” era, but I adore her to distraction, so here she is… I’m not always reasonable, you should know that about me)
(My favorite actors and movies are below the beautiful redhead…)
FAVORITE CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD MOVIE ACTORS
(Again, no particular order – Silent Movie actors are below)
- Humphrey Bogart
- James Stewart
- Jack Lemmon
- Sydney Greenstreet
- Barry Fitzgerald
- Peter Lorre
- Rock Hudson
- Danny Kaye
- Ray Milland
- Fred Astaire
- Dean Martin
- Jerry Lewis
- Henry Fonda
- John Wayne
- George Sanders
- Bing Crosby
- Sidney Poitier
- Abbott & Costello
- Laurel & Hardy
- Glenn Ford
- Cary Grant
- Dick Powell
FAVORITE SILENT MOVIE ACTORS
- Charlie Chaplin
- Buster Keaton
- Lothar Mehnert
FAVORITE CLASSIC TELEVISION ACTORS
- Redd Foxx
- Andy Griffith
- Don Knotts
- Dick Van Dyke
- Desi Arnaz
- Buddy Ebsen
(Favorite Old Movies are below the gorgeous Olivia de Havilland…)
Olivia de Havilland
PERSONAL FAVORITE OLD MOVIES
(This list is forever growing…. again, not in any particular order – the ones at the end are as dearly loved as the ones at the beginning)
- Christmas in Connecticut (Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet)
- It’s a Wonderful Life (James Stewart, Donna Reed)
- Some Like it Hot(Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis)
- The Quiet Man (Maureen O’Hara, John Wayne)
- Top Hat (Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire)
- Casablanca (Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart)
- Lured (Lucille Ball, George Sanders)
- Lone Star (Clark Gable, Ava Gardner)
- It Happened One Night (Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert)
- You Were Never Lovelier (Rita Hayworth, Fred Astaire)
- Gilda (Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford)
- Rio Bravo (John Wayne, Dean Martin, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, Ricky Nelson)
- The Undefeated (John Wayne, Rock Hudson)
- Stagecoach (John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine)
- The Stooge (Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Polly Bergen)
- El Dorado (John Wayne, James Caan, Robert Mitchum, Charlene Hole, Michele Carey, Arthur Hunnicutt, Ed Asner)
- Miracle on 34th Street (Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood, William Frawley)
- My Fair Lady (Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison)
- The Big Sleep (Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Martha Vickers)
- Autumn Leaves (Joan Crawford) Admittedly not a movie you see pop up on favorite movie lists, but I love, love, love, love this one. Joan is so wonderful and vulnerable – she’s mesmerizing in this role.
- The Major and the Minor (Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland)
- The Lost Weekend (Ray Milland, Jane Wyman)
- The Pirate (Judy Garland, Gene Kelly)
- Speed (James Stewart, Wendy Barrie, Una Merkel) – An underrated, wildly fun and entertaining movie.
- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders)
- Hearts Divided (Marion Davies, Dick Powell) – I cannot find this wonderful movie on DVD anywhere!
- Yours, Mine, and Ours (Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda)
- Gone With the Wind (Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland, Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen
- ALL Charlie Chaplin Movies
- ALL Buster Keaton Movies
- ALL Abbott and Costello movies
- ALL Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin movies
- ALL Laurel and Hardy movies
- ALL Elvis movies… except for the one where he plays identical cousins (Kissin’ Cousins)! I’d rather eat glass than watch that one.
Hollywood Yesterday’s “Vibe”
I do not have any intention of publishing anything ugly, gossip-y, or in any way overly personal or unduly negative. For one thing, I’m a ridiculously positive person (to the tune of being an annoyingly Mary Poppins type, by nature). For another, it isn’t remotely fair to speak negatively of someone who is no longer here to defend or explain themselves. When we haven’t walked in another’s shoes, who are we to judge where they stepped?
Mostly, however, if I’m going to do my part to keep these beautiful stars’ shining brightly, I want them to do so at their very best. With each post I publish on this blog, I keep and old quote by Rita Hayworth in the back of my mind. She once told someone, “Whatever you write about me, don’t make it sad.”
I have no intention of casting a sad or negative shadow on Rita or any of the rest. They wouldn’t want it that way and neither would I.
I hope you enjoy walking down Memory Lane on Hollywood Yesterday as much as I enjoy it from this side of the words.
Contact information below Mr. Stewart….
James Stewart photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1934
If you’d like to contact me – whether it’s in regard to Old Hollywood book reviews (an obsession!), information or photos you’d like to share, or simply to say, “Hi!” – please feel free to e-mail me any time. The best e-mail to reach me at is actually my personal e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have contacted me before, you’ll notice that this is a change of e-mail.
You can also find me (OFTEN) on Twitter. I’m @JoiTaniaSigers and I’m almost always there talking about my favorite things in life – my family (which includes more than a few cats – in addition to the many humans who make my world go around), old movies, baseball, cooking, coffee, tea, college basketball, football, animals, children, chocolate…
People and things that make my heart skip a beat.
Thank you so much for visiting Hollywood Yesterday and for doing your part to keep these magical stars, films, and television stars alive and shining as brightly as ever!
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the celebrity pictures I use on Hollywood Yesterday. I find them through searches for “Public Domain” images of celebrities. I exercise extreme caution when using pictures I feel are free to use – however, if any picture of an actress or actor slips in that is not free to use, please, please, please let me know and I’ll remove it immediately. Also, if you are a photographer (or a family member of a photographer) and have taken any of these wonderful pictures and would like credit for them, let me know! I’d love to be able to give the photographers the credit they richly deserve.
I use these photos for one reason and one reason alone – to promote these stars (along with their films) and keep them shining brightly for new generations to come.