Bogart and Hepburn `greatest film stars'
Thursday 17 June 1999
Cary Grant, known as Archie Leach when he left Britain aged 16 in 1920, comes second to Humphrey Bogart in a list that the institute says it hopes will cause many a dinner party debate.
Other Britons to make the top 50 list - divided into 25 men and 25 women - include Charlie Chaplin, who also left these shores as a child, at number 10, and Laurence Olivier, who was deemed the 14th greatest star of all time.
On the women's list Britons fared even worse, with just Elizabeth Taylor, at number 7, and Vivien Leigh, at 16, on the list. Katherine Hepburn makes the top slot on the women's star chart.
Nominees for the list were compiled by institute historians, who suggested 250 names to 1,800 members of what the institute describes as the American "film community" for them to vote on. But the only names eligible were actors who made their screen debut before 1950 or died after 1950.
Names such as Montgomery Clift did not make it and while Marilyn Monroe is on there, Louise Brooks is not. Charlie Chaplin is there; John Huston is not. Absent also are Peter Sellers, Steve McQueen and Laurel & Hardy. But the institute says it wants people to argue about its selection.
"There's no better result for AFI in terms of what it wanted to accomplish than controversy," said a spokesman, Seth Oster. "We embrace any controversy about this year's list because it shows people are passionate about the movies."
But much of the passion across the Atlantic is to do with the institute's collaboration with CBS Television to make the list and to make money from a television programme based on it, which was shown on Tuesday night. The institute was a highly respected, publicly funded arts body. It encouraged and supported the study of film as an art form until its government grant was cut two years ago.
Then it collaborated with CBS last year to make a programme based on the top 100 films of all time - won by Orson Welles' Citizen Kane.
This was a ratings success and CBS asked it to make more capital from its name with another list. The shows have been estimated to be worth $2m (pounds 1.2m) each to the institute. Corporate Sponsors such as Pepsi and General Motors have linked up with the institute and critics say its lists are both meaningless and a way of selling its soul. The institute says its lists do the job they have always done - raising the profile of movies as art. "The week before we released our top 100 films list, Citizen Kane was not among the 1,000 most-rented videos," says Mr Oster. "The week after, and subsequently, rentals of the movie soared by more than 1,600 per cent."
The Top 50 Screen Actors
1. Humphrey Bogart
2. Cary Grant
3. James Stewart
4. Marlon Brando
5. Fred Astaire
6. Henry Fonda
7. Clark Gable
8. Jimmy Cagney
9. Spencer Tracy
10. Charlie Chaplin
11. Gary Cooper
12. Gregory Peck
13. John Wayne
14. Laurence Olivier
15. Gene Kelly
16. Orson Welles
17. Kirk Douglas
18. James Dean
19. Burt Lancaster
20. The Marx Brothers
21. Buster Keaton
22. Sidney Poitier
23. Robert Mitchum
24. Edward G Robinson
25. William Holden
1. Katharine Hepburn
2. Bette Davis
3. Audrey Hepburn
4. Ingrid Bergman
5. Greta Garbo
6. Marilyn Monroe
7. Elizabeth Taylor
8. Judy Garland
9. Marlene Dietrich
10. Joan Crawford
11. Barbara Stanwyck
12. Claudette Colbert
13. Grace Kelly
14. Ginger Rogers
15. Mae West
16. Vivien Leigh
17. Lillian Gish
18. Shirley Temple
19. Rita Hayworth
20. Lauren Bacall
21. Sophia Loren
22. Jean Harlow
23. Carole Lombard
24. Mary Pickford
25. Ava Gardner
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