Actors who have portrayed villains in westerns !

by Retro_Movies | created - 29 Nov 2016 | updated - 21 Jan 2017 | Public

1. Lee Van Cleef

Actor | Escape from New York

One of the great movie villains, Clarence Leroy Van Cleef, Jr. was born in Somerville, New Jersey, to Marion Lavinia (Van Fleet) and Clarence LeRoy Van Cleef, Sr. His parents were both of Dutch ancestry. Van Cleef started out as an accountant. He served in the U.S. Navy aboard minesweepers and sub ...

2. Lee Marvin

Actor | The Dirty Dozen

Prematurely white-haired character star who began as a supporting player of generally vicious demeanor, then metamorphosed into a star of both action and drama projects, Lee Marvin was born in New York City, the son of Courtenay Washington (Davidge), a fashion writer, and Lamont Waltman Marvin, an ...

3. Richard Widmark

Actor | The Alamo

Richard Widmark established himself as an icon of American cinema with his debut in the 1947 film noir Kiss of Death (1947) in which he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination as the killer "Tommy Udo". Kiss of Death (1947) and other noir thrillers established Widmark as part of a new ...

4. Henry Silva

Actor | The Manchurian Candidate

Henry Silva was born on September 15, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York City. He quit public school to attend drama classes at age 13, supporting himself as a dishwasher in a Manhattan hotel. By 1955, Silva had moved up from dishwasher to waiter, and felt ready to audition for the Actors Studio. He was ...

5. Jack Palance

Actor | City Slickers

Jack Palance often exemplified evil incarnate on film -- portraying some of the most intensely despised villains witnessed in 1950s westerns and melodrama, enhanced by his tall, powerful build, icy voice, and piercing eyes. He received two Best Supporting Actor nominations early in his career, but ...

6. Ernest Borgnine

Actor | Marty

Ernest Borgnine was born Ermes Effron Borgnino on January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut. His parents were Anna (Boselli), who had emigrated from Carpi (MO), Italy, and Camillo Borgnino, who had emigrated from Ottiglio (AL), Italy. As an only child, Ernest enjoyed most sports, especially boxing, ...

7. Eli Wallach

Actor | Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo

One of Hollywood's finest character / "Method" actors, Eli Wallach was in demand for over 60 years (first film/TV role was 1949) on stage and screen, and has worked alongside the world's biggest stars, including Clark Gable, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, Yul Brynner, Peter O'Toole,...

8. Rod Steiger

Actor | In the Heat of the Night

Rodney Stephen Steiger was born in Westhampton, New York, to Augusta Amelia (Driver) and Frederick Jacob Steiger, both vaudevillians. He was of German and Austrian ancestry. After his parents' divorce, Steiger was raised by his mother in Newark, New Jersey. He dropped out of Westside High school at...

9. Robert Vaughn

Actor | The Magnificent Seven

Robert Francis Vaughn was born on November 22, 1932 at Charity Hospital in New York City, the son of show business parents, Marcella Frances (Gaudel) and Gerald Walter Vaughn. His father was a radio actor and his mother starred on stage. Robert came to the public's attention first with his ...

10. Telly Savalas

Actor | Kojak

Of Greek descent on both sides, the son of immigrants, Savalas was a soldier during World War II, although most of his enlistment records were destroyed in a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1973. He later studied psychology at Columbia University under the ...

11. Gene Hackman

Actor | The French Connection

Eugene Allen Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Anna Lyda Elizabeth (Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman, who operated a newspaper printing press. He is of Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry, partly by way of Canada, where his mother was born. After ...

12. Geoffrey Lewis

Actor | The Devil's Rejects

Talented and highly capable character actor Geoffrey Lewis, with rustic (sometimes sour-faced) looks, grew up in Rhode Island but was moved out to California at the age of ten. Lewis was very keen on the dramatic arts at high school, but often preferred to put on his own one-man shows rather than ...

13. John Russell

Actor | Rio Bravo

Handsome, rugged American leading man John Russell (whose credits are often confused with those of child actor Johnny Russell) attended the University of California, where he was a student athlete. Serving in the US Marine Corps in WW II, he earned a battlefield commission and decorations for valor...

14. Charles Bronson

Actor | C'era una volta il West

The archetypal screen tough guy with weatherbeaten features--one film critic described his rugged looks as "a Clark Gable who had been left out in the sun too long"--Charles Bronson was born Charles Buchinsky, one of 15 children of struggling parents in Pennsylvania. His mother, Mary (Valinsky), ...

15. Neville Brand

Actor | Stalag 17

Neville Brand joined the US Army in 1939, bent on a career in the military. It was while he was in the army that he made his acting debut, in Army training films, and this experience apparently changed the direction of his life. Once a civilian again, he used his GI Bill education assistance to ...

16. George Maharis

Actor | Route 66

Tall, dark and handsome, not to mention a charismatic rebel of 60s Hollywood, actor George Maharis (real Greek family name is Mahairas) was born in 1928 in Astoria, New York as one of seven children. His immigrant father was a restaurateur. George expressed an early interest in singing and ...

17. Emile Meyer

Actor | Shane

Emile Meyer was born on August 18, 1910 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. He was an actor, known for Shane (1953), Paths of Glory (1957) and Sweet Smell of Success (1957). He died on March 19, 1987 in Covington, Louisiana.

18. Ben Johnson

Actor | The Last Picture Show

Born in Oklahoma, Ben Johnson was a ranch hand and rodeo performer when, in 1940, Howard Hughes hired him to take a load of horses to California. He decided to stick around (the pay was good), and for some years was a stunt man, horse wrangler, and double for such stars as John Wayne, Gary Cooper ...

19. Warren Oates

Actor | The Wild Bunch

Warren Oates was an American character actor of the 1960s and 1970s and early 1980s whose distinctive style and intensity brought him to offbeat leading roles.

Oates was born in Depoy, a very small Kentucky town. He was the son of Sarah Alice (Mercer) and Bayless Earle Oates, a general store owner. ...

20. Robert Ryan

Actor | The Wild Bunch

Distinguished U.S. actor and longtime civil rights campaigner Robert Bushnell Ryan was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Mable Arbutus (Bushnell), a secretary, and Timothy Aloysius Ryan, whose wealthy family owned a real estate firm. His father was of Irish ancestry, and his mother was of English and ...

21. L.Q. Jones

Actor | The Edge

Tall, sandy haired, mustachioed actor from Texas born Justus McQueen, who adopted the name of the character he portrayed in his first film, Battle Cry (1955). Jones, with his craggy, gaunt looks, first appeared in minor character roles in plenty of WWII films including The Young Lions (1958), The ...

22. Edward Asner

Actor | Up

Ed Asner is a television legend, the winner of seven acting Emmy Awards (which puts him tied with Mary Tyler Moore, both of whom rank second to their "The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970) Show" co-star, Cloris Leachman who has nine). In all, he has been nominated 20 times for an Emmy Award, with 17 ...

23. Bruce Dern

Actor | Nebraska

Two-time Oscar nominee Bruce Dern's tremendous career is made up of playing both modern day heroes and legendary villains. Through decades of lauded performances, Dern has acquired the reputation of being one of the most talented and prolific actors of his generation. Dern has several high profile ...

24. Richard Dysart

Actor | The Thing

Richard Dysart served for four years in the Air Force during the Korean War. He was a founding member of the American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco. He received the Drama Desk Award in 1972 and a Emmy Award in 1992. He was good friends with Diana Muldaur, who played Rosalind Shays on L.A. Law.

25. Dan Vadis

Actor | High Plains Drifter

Dan Vadis was born on January 3, 1938 in Shanghai, China as Constantine Daniel Vafiadis. He is known for his work on High Plains Drifter (1973), The Ten Gladiators (1963) and Rebel Gladiators (1962). He was married to Sharon Jessup. He died on June 11, 1987 in Lancaster, California, USA.

26. John Carradine

Actor | The Grapes of Wrath

John Carradine, the son of a reporter/artist and a surgeon, grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. He attended Christ Church School and Graphic Art School, studying sculpture, and afterward roamed the South selling sketches. He made his acting debut in "Camille" in a New Orleans theatre in 1925. ...

27. Ed Begley

Actor | 12 Angry Men

Charismatic character star Edward James Begley was born in Hartford, Connecticut of Irish parents and educated at St.Patrick's school. His interest in acting first surfaced at the age of nine, when he performed amateur theatricals at the Hartford Globe Theatre. Determined to make his own way, he ...

28. Emilio Fernández

Writer | La perla

Emilio "El Indio" Fernández Romo is the most famous person in the history of Mexican movies. For an era he symbolized Mexico due to his violent machismo, rooted in the Revolution of 1910-17, and because of his staunch commitment to Mexican cultural nationalism. Born to a Mexican (Mestizo) father ...

29. Robert Duvall

Actor | The Apostle

Veteran actor and director Robert Selden Duvall was born on January 5, 1931, in San Diego, CA, to Mildred Virginia (Hart), an amateur actress, and William Howard Duvall, a career military officer who later became an admiral. Duvall majored in drama at Principia College (Elsah, IL), then served a ...

30. Omar Sharif

Actor | Lawrence of Arabia

Omar Sharif, the Egyptian actor best known for playing Sherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and the title role in Doctor Zhivago (1965), was born Michel Demitri Shalhoub on April 10, 1932 in Alexandria, Egypt to Joseph Shalhoub, a lumber merchant, and his wife, Claire (Saada). Of Lebanese and ...

31. Donald Pleasence

Actor | Halloween

Balding, quietly-spoken, of slight build and possessed of piercing blue eyes -- often peering out from behind round, steel-rimmed glasses -- Donald Pleasence had the necessary physical attributes which make a great screen villain. In the course of his lengthy career, he relished playing the ...

32. Bill McKinney

Actor | First Blood

Bill McKinney, the movie and television character actor who was one of the great on-screen villains, was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on September 12, 1931. He had an unsettled life as a child, moving 12 times before joining the Navy at the age of 19 during the Korean War. Once, when his family ...

33. DeForest Kelley

Actor | Star Trek

Jackson DeForest Kelley was born on January 20, 1920 in Toccoa, Georgia, to Clora (Casey) and Ernest David Kelley. He graduated from high school at age 16 and went on to sing at the Baptist church where his father was a minister. At age 17, he made his first trip outside the state to visit an uncle...

34. Anthony James

Actor | Unforgiven

Character actor Anthony James was born on July 22nd, 1942 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Tall and lanky, with a rough, pockmarked face, a lean, stringy build, greasy dark hair and an extremely edgy'n'intense screen presence, James was often cast in Westerns as really scary, sleazy and disgusting ...

35. Richard Crenna

Actor | Rambo III

Richard Donald Crenna was born in Los Angeles, California, into a modest-income family, the only child of Edith J. (Pollette) and Domenick Anthony Crenna, a pharmacist. His parents were both of Italian descent. His mother managed a small hotel in downtown Los Angeles, where Richard and his family ...

36. Charles Durning

Actor | Dog Day Afternoon

WWII veteran, dance instructor and diversely talented stage & screen actor were all inclusions on the resume of this perpetually busy US actor who didn't get in front of the cameras until around the time of his fortieth birthday. The stockily built Charles Durning was one of Hollywood's most ...

37. Clint Walker

Actor | The Dirty Dozen

Clint Walker was born Norman Eugene Walker in Hartford, southwestern Illinois, to Gladys Huldah (Schwanda), a Czech immigrant, and Paul Arnold Walker, who was from Arkansas. Walker almost single-handedly started the western craze on TV in the 1950s as Cheyenne Bodie in Cheyenne (1955). Growing up ...

38. Victor Buono

Actor | What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Larger than life, Laughtonesque, and with an eloquent, king-sized appetite for maniacal merriment, a good portion of the work of actor Victor Buono was squandered on hokey villainy on both film and television. Ostensibly perceived as bizarre or demented, seldom did Hollywood give this cultivated ...

39. William Holden

Actor | Stalag 17

William Holden was born William Franklin Beedle, Jr. in O'Fallon, Illinois, to Mary Blanche (Ball), a schoolteacher, and William Franklin Beedle, Sr., an industrial chemist. He came from a wealthy family (the Beedles) that moved to Pasadena, California, when he was three. In 1937, while studying ...

40. Jack Elam

Actor | C'era una volta il West

Colorful American character actor equally adept at vicious killers or grizzled sidekicks. As a child he worked in the cotton fields. He attended Santa Monica Junior College in California and subsequently became an accountant and, at one time, manager of the Bel Air Hotel. Elam got his first movie ...

41. Elisha Cook Jr.

Actor | Rosemary's Baby

Although this pint-sized actor started out in films often in innocuous college-student roles in mid-30s rah-rahs, playing alongside the likes of a pretty Gloria Stuart or a young, pre-"Oz" Judy Garland, casting directors would soon enough discover his flair for portraying intense neurotics or ...

42. Brian Keith

Actor | The Parent Trap

Son of character actor Robert Keith and stage actress Helena Shipman. He grew up on the road with his parents while they toured in plays. First appeared at age 3 in film Pied Piper Malone (1924) with his father. Began acting in radio programs and on stage before World War II. Joined the Marines and ...

43. John Quade

Actor | La Bamba

Character actor John Quade was born John William Saunders on April 1, 1938 in Kansas City, Kansas. Quade transferred from Perry Rural High School in Perry, Kansas to Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kansas in 1954. John was a football tackle and participated in both track and basketball at ...

44. Don Stroud

Actor | Licence to Kill

He's the son of Vaudeville great, Clarence Stroud, of the Stroud Twins and singer Ann McCormack, who toured the world with Frank Sinatra.

Don grew up on the beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, where his stepfather, Paul Livermore, and his mother, Ann, owned and operated the popular "Embers Steak House" and ...

45. Dennis Hopper

Actor | Easy Rider

With an amazing cinematic career of more than five decades, Dennis Hopper was a multi-talented and unconventional actor/director, regarded by many as one of the true "enfants terribles" of Hollywood. Hopper was born on May 17, 1936 in Dodge City, Kansas, to Marjorie Mae (Davis) and James Millard ...



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