Who Was the Biggest Movie Star of the 50s?

The 1950s was a golden era for Hollywood, with the film industry experiencing a surge in popularity and profitability. During this time, numerous actors and actresses rose to fame, but who was the biggest movie star of the 50s? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most prominent names of the decade.

Marilyn Monroe

Undoubtedly one of the most iconic actresses of all time, Marilyn Monroe was at her peak in the 1950s. With her sultry voice and captivating beauty, she starred in numerous box office hits such as “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953) and “Some Like It Hot” (1959). Her untimely death in 1962 only added to her legendary status.

James Dean

Although his career was tragically cut short by his death in a car accident at just 24 years old, James Dean left an indelible mark on Hollywood with his brooding persona and captivating performances. In the 50s, he starred in three major films – “East of Eden” (1955), “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), and “Giant” (1956).

Elizabeth Taylor

A child star turned leading lady, Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most bankable actresses of the decade. She starred in several popular films such as “Giant” (1956) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958) alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Audrey Hepburn

Known for her elegance and grace, Audrey Hepburn became a household name after starring in “Roman Holiday” (1953) alongside Gregory Peck. She went on to star in other classics such as “Sabrina” (1954) and “Funny Face” (1957).

John Wayne

No list of 50s movie stars would be complete without John Wayne. The iconic actor starred in several popular westerns such as “Rio Bravo” (1959) and “The Searchers” (1956). His rugged persona and strong presence made him a fan favorite.

Honorable Mentions

Of course, there were many other notable actors and actresses of the 50s who deserve recognition. Some honorable mentions include:

  • Grace Kelly
  • Humphrey Bogart
  • Burt Lancaster
  • Marlon Brando
  • Doris Day


In conclusion, while there were many famous movie stars in the 1950s, the biggest star is subjective depending on personal preference. However, Marilyn Monroe stands out as one of the most iconic figures not just in Hollywood but in popular culture as a whole. Other actors and actresses like James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and John Wayne also left an indelible mark on the decade and continue to be remembered for their contributions to film history.