Movie Stars of the 1930s Still Alive: Oscar Winners Luise Rainer, Olivia de Havilland

Movie stars of the 1930s still alive Olivia de Havilland Luise RainerMovie stars of the 1930s still alive include Oscar winners Olivia de Havilland and Luise Rainer (image: Best Actress Oscar winners Luise Rainer, Olivia de Havilland, Jennifer Jones, Barbra Streisand, and Meryl Streep, and other Oscar-winning actors and actresses at the 2003 Academy Awards)

With the passing of Deanna Durbin this past April, as of May 7, '13, only a handful of movie stars of the 1930s remain on Planet Earth. Below is a (I believe) full list of surviving Hollywood “movie stars of the 1930s,” in addition to a handful of secondary players, chiefly those who achieved stardom in the ensuing decade. (Death dates updated as needed.)

  • Two-time Oscar winner and London resident Luise Rainer (The Great Ziegfeld, The Good Earth, The Great Waltz), 103 last January 12.
  • Minor 1930s leading lady and supporting player Mary Carlisle (College Humor, Double or Nothing, Kind Lady), 101 last February 3.
  • Patricia Morison (Persons in Hiding, The Magnificent Fraud), who would find better roles in the '40s, 99 last March 19.
  • Two-time Oscar winner and Paris resident Olivia de Havilland (The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Gone with the Wind), 97 next July 1.
  • Los Angeles-area resident Marsha Hunt turns 96 next October 17. A supporting player in the '30s (These Glamour Girls, Winter Carnival), Hunt became a leading lady in the '40s at MGM and elsewhere (The Affairs of Martha, None Shall Escape, A Letter for Evie). (See also Marsha Hunt shows her support for equal rights with her “gay marriage song.”)
  • Olivia de Havilland's sister Joan Fontaine, a Carmel, Calif., resident, turns 96 next October 22. Fontaine had several leads and supporting roles in the '30s (Music for Madame, Gunga Din, The Women) before becoming both an Oscar winner (Suspicion) and a full-fledged star in the '40s (Rebecca, Jane Eyre, Letter from an Unknown Woman). Fontaine died on Dec. 15, 2013.
  • Maureen O'Hara (Jamaica Inn, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), 93 next August 17. O'Hara recently moved to Idaho after decades in Ireland.
  • Four-time Academy Award nominee Mickey Rooney (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love Finds Andy Hardy, Babes in Arms), 93 next September 23. Rooney died on April 6, 2014.
  • Minor '30s actress Joan Leslie (Two Thoroughbreds, Winter Carnival), who would become a Warner Bros. star in the '40s, 88 last January 26.
  • Child actor Dickie Moore (Blonde Venus, Peter Ibbetson, The Story of Louis Pasteur), Jane Powell's husband, turns 88 next September 12.
  • Two 87-year-old former child stars: Jane Withers (Pepper, Gentle Julia, The Holy Terror), last April 12; and Gloria Jean (The Under-Pup), last April 14, whose modest career was to take off in the '40s. Additionally, child actress Marilyn Knowlden (Les Misérables, Angels with Dirty Faces, Marie Antoinette) turns 87 next May 12.
  • Child actresses Cora Sue Collins (The Dark Angel, Magnificent Obsession) and Ann Gillis (Beau Geste, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer), turned 86; Collins on April 19 and Gillis on February 12.
  • Shirley Temple (Little Miss Marker, Poor Little Rich Girl, Wee Willie Winkie), 85 last April 23. Shirley Temple died on February 10, 2014.

Surviving non-Hollywood movie stars of the 1930s

In France, Danielle Darrieux (Mayerling, Club de femmes, The Rage of Paris) turned 96 on May 1, while Michèle Morgan (Gribouille, Port of Shadows, Orage) turned 93 on February 29 (or 28 or March 1). Also, Micheline Presle was a minor player in the '30s (Girls in Distress) before becoming a top star in the '40s (Angel and Sinner, Devil in the Flesh). Presle turns turns 91 next August 22.

Soprano Marta Eggerth (For Me and My Gal), 101 last April 17, was featured in about 30 German and Austrian movies in the '30s (The Emperor's Waltz, The Blue from the Sky). Eggerth died on December 26, 2013.

In the UK, Alfred Hitchcock leading lady Nova Pilbeam (The Man Who Knew Too Much, Young and Innocent) turns 94 next November 19. Mexican star Lupita Tovar (the Spanish-language Dracula; the first Mexican talkie, Santa), turns 103 next July 27. Tovar is the mother of Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Susan Kohner (Imitation of Life) and the grandmother of Paul Weitz (About a Boy, American Pie) and Chris Weitz (New Moon, A Better Life).

Oscar-winning actors and actresses at the 75th Academy Awards

Check out full-size image of Oscar-winning actors and actresses at the 75th Academy Awards ceremony here. Below is the list of those seen in the group photo.

Top Row: Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins), Kathy Bates (Misery), Halle Berry (Monster's Ball), Ernest Borgnine (Marty), Red Buttons (Sayonara), Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas), Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters, The Cider House Rules), George Chakiris (West Side Story), Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind), Sean Connery (The Untouchables), Geena Davis (The Accidental Tourist), Daniel Day-Lewis (My Left Foot – and later There Will Be Blood, Lincoln), Olivia de Havilland (To Each His Own, The Heiress), Kirk Douglas (Honorary Oscar), Michael Douglas (Wall Street), Robert Duvall (Tender Mercies), Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).

Second Row: Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot), Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman), Joel Grey (Cabaret), Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, Forrest Gump), Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock), Dustin Hoffman (Kramer vs. Kramer, Rain Man), Celeste Holm (Gentleman's Agreement), Anjelica Huston (Prizzi's Honor), Claude Jarman Jr. (Academy Juvenile Award), Jennifer Jones (The Song of Bernadette), Shirley Jones (Elmer Gantry), George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke), Ben Kingsley (Gandhi), Martin Landau (Ed Wood), Cloris Leachman (The Last Picture Show).

Third Row: Karl Malden (A Streetcar Named Desire), Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God), Hayley Mills (Academy Juvenile Award), Rita Moreno (West Side Story), Patricia Neal (Hud), Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Terms of Endearment, As Good as It Gets), Margaret O'Brien (Academy Juvenile Award), Tatum O'Neal (Paper Moon), Jack Palance (City Slickers), Luise Rainer (The Great Ziegfeld, The Good Earth), Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich), Cliff Robertson (Charly), Mickey Rooney (Honorary Oscar), Eva Marie Saint (On the Waterfront), Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking).

Bottom Row: Maximilian Schell (Judgment at Nuremberg), Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner's Daughter), Mary Steenburgen (Melvin and Howard), Meryl Streep (Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie's Choice — and later The Iron Lady), Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl), Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry — and later Million Dollar Baby), Jon Voight (Coming Home), Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter), Denzel Washington (Training Day), Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting), Teresa Wright (Mrs. Miniver).

Standing at left stage: Adrien Brody (The Pianist). On the right: Chris Cooper (Adaptation), Nicole Kidman (The Hours), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago), Peter O'Toole (Honorary Oscar).

Image featuring Olivia de Havilland, Luise Rainer, and other Oscar-winning actors and actresses at the 75th Academy Awards: © A.M.P.A.S.

Movie Stars of the 1930s Still Alive: Oscar Winners Luise Rainer, Olivia de Havilland © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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12 Comments to Movie Stars of the 1930s Still Alive: Oscar Winners Luise Rainer, Olivia de Havilland

  1. Victoria wheeler

    These beautiful and gracious stars have filled my life with joy and entertainment and in many cases inspired me to be a better and more gentle person, starting with Olivia de Havilland in her role as a true Southern lady in GWTW. Thank you so much for allowing me to express my humble gratitude. I watched classics as a child and still prefer them as a senior citizen!

  2. murry

    nice list! I would just add Jean Rouverol who played W. C. Fields' daughter in the classic It's a Gift in 1934.

  3. Lets remember HERB JEFFRIES - not only the sole surviving member of Duke Ellington's Orchestra and Earl Hines' Orchestra - he was the Bronze Buckaroo in the 1930s; the first African/American singing cowboy movie star. He will turn 100 years old this month. I interviewed not long ago :
    Herb Jeffries - Sep 24, 1913

  4. Mike

    Baby Peggy Montgomery is also still alive, one of the few, if only, remaining “stars” from the silent era. I know you are only covering the 30's, but I thought I'd mention her anyway.

  5. Gerald Michael

    Don't forget Baby Peggy, (Diana Serra Carey) the last surviving Silent Star, who lives in Merced, California and makes appearances still. She is 94.

  6. Alt Film Guide

    We're sticking to the '30s here … but we've posted an article about Eleanor Parker just a few days ago — and will be posting more in the coming weeks, as she's TCM's Star of the Month.


  7. Brendan G Carroll

    That's terrific! I'm not sure if you also want to include Eleanor Parker, hale and hearty at 91 and living quietly in Palm Springs? She started in films about 1942.

  8. altfilmguide

    Thank you, Brendan. I've added Marta Eggerth to the list.


    Don't forget Marta Eggerth, still very much alive and performing at 101! She lives in Rye, New York. A huge star of stage and screen in Austria & Germany in the 1930s (with 30+ movies to her credit) before Hitler forced her to emigrate, and Judy Garland's co-star in 2 classic MGM films of the 40s - FOR ME AND MY GIRL and PRESENTING LILY MARS. She left Hollywood and returned to the stage in 1944, starring in THE MERRY WIDOW on Broadway, with her husband, Polish tenor Jan Kiepura. She is still singing and teaching to this day!

  10. Andre

    Will add those two, thank you.

  11. Mat Ether

    Patricia Morison?
    Ann Gillis?

  12. alana

    you forgot Taylor Swift