During the golden age of the studio system in the 1930 and ‘40s, all the major movie studios were overflowing with gorgeous leading ladies, handsome leading men, slap happy comedians and irreplaceable and irresistible character actors.
So much so that MGM touted that it had “more stars than there are in the heavens.” The heavens and the planets must been in some delicious alignment to have all of these performers find stardom in Hollywood.
MGM had Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Jimmy Stewart, Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, just to name a few. 20th Century Fox boasted such box office champs as Shirley Temple, Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, Alice Faye and Betty Grable. Paramount made a superstar out of Marlene Dietrich and produced the Marx Brothers funniest and most anarchic movies. RKO had enormous success with its Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals. Warner Bros.’ stable of stars included tough guys Jimmy Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield and Edward G. Robinson, as well as one of the greatest actresses of the era, Bette Davis.
The studio system faded away in the 1950s when movies were losing in competition with television. But countless stars from the “Classic Hollywood” era have endured the ages. In fact, several of them are still with us today, including Lauren Bacall, Kirk Douglas, sisters Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, Leslie Caron, Lena Horne, Patricia Neal, Sidney Poitier and Elizabeth Taylor.
— Susan King, who has covered Hollywood for the Los Angeles Times for more than 25 years.
Here's a look at some of the classic stars of Hollywood. If you do not see the person you are looking for below please search our complete list of the stars on the Walk of Fame. And, if you haven’t yet, check out The Times virtual tour of the stars.