For this list, we're avoiding the obvious—the handsome gents who are household names, like Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn and William Holden. Here, we take a look at a group of actors who are somewhat lesser known but blessed with stunning good looks and sometimes lengthy, popular and acclaimed careers in their own right.
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Dorothy Dandridge dies of a barbiturate overdose in West Hollywood, 1965.
One of the first parts to come her way in a rather uneven, 25-year screen career was a small singing role in the Marx Brothers comedy A Day at the Races (1937). She then graced the screen in a handful of minor films and performed a few nightclub gigs, which she hated. Acting and singing came easily to Dandridge; finding work in movies did not.
Then Carmen Jones (1954) came her way. “[It] was the best break I ever had,” the actress once said of the Otto Preminger film. For playing the title role, she became the first African-American woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. (Nineteen-year-old Marilyn Horne tackled the singing demands of the character.) After that, Dandridge was considered for Tuptim in The King and I (1956), ultimately dissuaded by Preminger to accept any film in which she was not the star. She made Island in the Sun (1957) with her Carmen Jones co-star Harry Belafonte and Porgy and Bess (1959) with Sidney Poitier. Malaga (1960) marked the last time she would appear on the big screen.
Financial problems and substance abuse plagued her in later years. She was 42 when she died.