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THE 100 COOLEST ACTORS OF ALL TIME
by Robert Berry rberry@retrocrush.com
100 Michael Madsen
As Mr. Blonde in  Reservoir Dogs, he became the most famous ear cutter since...that artist dude that cut his ear off

COOLEST STUFF: Reservoir Dogs, Species

99 Ed Norton
The cool nerd next door of film, Ed scores more points for adding Salma Hayek, Courtney Love, and Drew Barrymore (before Tom Green came inside of her) to his "Chicks I've Banged" collection

COOLEST STUFF: Fight Club, American History X

98 Duane Jones
Helped break through the race barrier kicking zombie ass in Night of the Living Dead playing the hero in one of the first lead roles not necessarily written for a black man.  His ultra cool vampire take in Ganja and Hess is a thing of beauty as well

COOLEST STUFF: Ganja and Hess, Night of the Living Dead

97 Sir Alec Guinness
How often can a real life Knight play a Jedi Knight?  Until Mark Hamill gets Knighthood, his legacy is safe.  Once made a kid who bragged about seeing Star Wars 200 times promise to never see it again

COOLEST STUFF: Bridge Over The River Kwai

96 Matt Dillon
Though Rumblefish, and The Outsiders helped cement him as cool, his threesome scene with Neve Campbell and Denise Richards shot him into the cool stratosphere

COOLEST STUFF: Rumblefish, The Outsiders

95 Will Sampson
His quiet cool as Chief in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest was a thing of beauty

COOLEST STUFF: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Poltergeist 2

94 Nick Nolte
Sure, he makes a lot of shitty films, but his tough drunk bastard persona is a work of art

COOLEST STUFF: North Dallas Forty, 48 Hrs

93 Bela Lugosi
Single-handedly launched the gothic movement and the Hollywood Heroin craze.  Way to go, Bela!

COOLEST STUFF: Dracula, Bride of The Monster

92 Paul Reubens
Pee Wee's Big Adventure made it cool to be uncool, and his non Pee Wee roles in Buffy and Blow were impressive as well

COOLEST STUFF: Pee Wee's Big Adventure

91 Andre The Giant
His oafish charm in The Princess Bride showed that not all wrestlers in films have to settle for Hulk Hoganesque ridiculousness

COOLEST STUFF: The Princess Bride, Wrestlemania III

90 Fess Parker
Daniel Boone AND Davy FREAKING Crockett!  NUFF SAID!

COOLEST STUFF: Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett

89 Hugh Jackman
Could there have been a cooler guy on earth to play Wolverine?  Kate and Leopold cost him cool points, though, let's pray for an X-Men sequel soon

COOLEST STUFF: X-Men

88 Vince Vaughn
Helped make martini culture cool again in a way that hasn't been seen since The Rat Pack was around in Swingers and Made...and I don't care what you say, but he was a damn fine Norman Bates, as well.

COOLEST STUFF: Swingers, Psycho, Made

87 Elvis
Jailhouse Rock! Come on now, forget Blue Hawaii and the later films, but Elvis totally rocked in his first few movies

COOLEST STUFF: Jailhouse Rock

86 Joe Don Baker
From Walking Tall to Mitchell, Joe Don Baker helped fat slobs everywhere feel important again

COOLEST STUFF: Walking Tall, Mitchell 

85 Kyle McLaughlan
Though Agent Cooper was largely a TV character, Kyle's quirky charms in other David Lynch films like Blue Velvet and Dune were remarkable
 

COOLEST STUFF: Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks

84 Ken Foree
Best zombie asskicker in film history! 

COOLEST STUFF: Dawn of the Dead

83 John Malkovich
One of the more slick and creepy actors around
82 Ernest Borgnine
Blue collar cool personified, and still going strong.

COOLEST STUFF: Marty

81 Johnny Depp
Transitioned from TV to movies so well, nobody even remembers he started out on 21 Jump Street

COOLEST STUFF: Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands

80 Frank Sinatra
Sure, The Chairman is better known for his singing, but his screen presence was always fantastic.

COOLEST STUFF: Robin and The 7 Hoods

79 Jim Brown
A real-life badass on the football field, made for a damn imposing actor, as well

COOLEST STUFF: Mars Attacks

78 Martin Sheen
His quiet cool in Apocalypse Now was fantastic, and he held his own against Brando

COOLEST STUFF: Apocalypse Now

77 George Clooney
So cool, straight guys want to have sex with him.

COOLEST STUFF: From Dusk Til Dawn, Ocean's Eleven

76 Ving Rhames
When he told his Pulp Fiction rapist that he was "going to get Medieval on his ass", you cringed in your seat.

COOLEST STUFF: Pulp Fiction, Rosewood

75 Val Kilmer
His portrayal of Doc Holliday was so cool, you'll forgive him for every other shitty movie he's made/will make

COOLEST STUFF: Tombstone

74 Dustin Hoffman
The grand old dork of Hollywood, gets in to his characters like no other except DeNiro

COOLEST STUFF: Papillon, Marathon Man

73 Kris Kristofferson
His bearded, grizzled look defined cool for the 70s, even though he had to make out with Barbara Streisand

COOLEST STUFF: Convoy, Big Top Pee Wee

72 Willem Dafoe
Best ass-kicking Jesus ever, and gave ugly people everywhere hope that they could sleep with Madonna, too

COOLEST STUFF: Last Temptation of Christ, Platoon

71 Alec Baldwin
Cool not only for continuing Hollywood's tradition of beating up paparazzi, but he's one of the more versatile comedic/drama actors around.  His scene in Glengarry Glenn Ross is fantastic.

COOLEST STUFF: Glengarry Glenn Ross, The Shadow

70 Morgan Freeman
From the slick "Easy Reader" on TV's Electric Company, to quiet cool performances in later films, Freeman is a great elder statesmen of Hollywood

COOLEST STUFF: Shawshank Redemption, Seven

69 Ice Cube
Sometimes you're not sure if he's acting, or just playing himself, but his thug next door roles are always fun

COOLEST STUFF: Friday, Boyz N The Hood

68 John Voight
A modern day Lon Chaney, Voight plays a wide variety of roles with a wide variety of appearances.  His line in Anaconda, "The River Can Kill You in a Thousand Ways" is still one of my favorites

COOLEST STUFF: Midnight Cowboy

67 Robert Shaw
As the salty bastard Quint in JAWS, Shaw inspired a generation of wannabee shark hunters, and crappy writers from aintitcoolnews.com

COOLEST STUFF: Jaws

66 Dennis Hopper
So consistently crazy, you wonder if he's really even acting.  From the one legged freak with an inflatable girlfriend Simon Feck (River's Edge), to the nutcase in Apocalypse Now, Hopper never ceases to amaze.  Nobody else could shout "I'll F*CK ANYTHING THAT MOVES" (Blue Velvet) and get away with it.

COOLEST STUFF: Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet

65 Christopher Lee
Best Dracula, ever...period.  And with prominent roles in LORD OF THE RINGS and the new STAR WARS flick, he's still going strong

COOLEST STUFF: All Hammer Dracula Movies

64 Charles Bronson
His Deathwish films helped redefine the sleazy revenge flick, and unlike Bobby Blake, he waited until his wife died of natural causes

COOLEST STUFF: Deathwish

63 Billy Dee Williams
Made Colt 45 cool to drink again, thanks man!

COOLEST STUFF: Empire Strikes Back

62 James Gandolfini
His movies have been forgettable, but as Tony Soprano, Gandolfini created one of the best mafioso characters ever

COOLEST STUFF: The Sopranos, Get Shorty

61 R Lee Ermey
Just for saying, "How about I gouge out your eyes and SKULL F*CK YOU?" (Full Metal Jacket), he deserves to be ranked

COOLEST STUFF: Full Metal Jacket

60 Jim Kelley
His work with Bruce Lee and his own film (Black Belt Jones) were fan-freaking-tastic.  And props for having the best Afro in film history

COOLEST STUFF: Enter The Dragon, Black Belt Jones

59 James Coburn
Hell, even when you just hear his voice in Dodge commercials, you can tell how cool he is

COOLEST STUFF: In Like Flint

58 Cheech Marin
Made pot-smoking cool again, his work in Cheech and Chong flicks, and cameos in Desperado and From Dusk 'til Dawn almost make you forget about Nash Bridges and Shrimp on The Barbie

COOLEST STUFF: Up In Smoke, From Dusk 'til Dawn

57 Lee Van Cleef
Best Western Villain of all time, and a longtime vet of cowboy movies going all the way back to 1952's High Noon

COOLEST STUFF: The Good Bad & Ugly, Escape from New York

56 Bruce Campbell
Crazy comic book cool personified!  Part Elvis, Part Buster Keaton, and all COOL!  Takes abuse better than anyone else save The Three Stooges!

COOLEST STUFF: Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness

55 Mel Gibson
From Mad Max to Lethal Weapon to Braveheart, Mel continues to wow the ladies without alienating his male fans.  His great sense of humor is a plus, too.

COOLEST STUFF: Mad Max, Braveheart

54 Vincent Price
The best horror actor of all time, Price's creepy classiness was never equaled.  Even his narrative contribution to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was cool.

COOLEST STUFF: House of Wax, Edward Scissorhands

53 Burt Reynolds
Sure, he's had more than his share of dog films, but in his prime, he was the shit.  Without Burt, we'd have had to watch Ned Beatty get raped in Deliverance even longer.

COOLEST STUFF: Deliverance, Smokey & The Bandit

52 Larry Fishburne
After cutting his teeth as a young punk solider in Apocalypse Now, Fishburne has added a huge body of cool work portraying everyone from Ike Turner to Morpheus.

COOLEST STUFF: Deep Cover, The Matrix

51 Harvey Keitel
Perhaps no actor short of Ron Jeremy has been able to show his cock off on the big screen as much as Keitel. He's one sleazy cool muthafuhka.  Who else could play "The Wolf" in Pulp Fiction with his class?

COOLEST STUFF: Reservoir Dogs, The Piano

50 James Garner
Definitely one I'll get email about here, but I always thought Garner was fanstastically cool.  His work in TV's Maverick, and The Rockford Files was fantastic.  And he's the spokesperson for BEEF, too.  What more do you want?
 

COOLEST STUFF: Maverick, The Rockford Files

49 Groucho Marx
Quick on his feet with some of the best one liners in film history, Groucho is an American icon.  And who else is cool enough to still have popular novelty glasses 25 years after his death?

COOLEST STUFF: Duck Soup

48 Warren Beatty
All time King of the Hollywood players.  Rumored to have slept with every actress in Hollywood except the late Shirley Hemphill.  I love his solution to racism in Bullworth, "We just need to keep f*cking each other until we're all the same color."

COOLEST STUFF: Bonnie and Clyde,  Bullworth

47 Cesar Romero
Sure, as the Joker in TV's Batman, he was cooler than hell, already, but his work in over 100 films including my favorite as a rascally gambling addict in Weekend In Havana with Carmen Miranda, is awesome.

COOLEST STUFF: TV's Batman

46 Bill Murray
Another great everyman comedian made good.  He was certainly one of the best things to ever happen to SNL.  Stripes is another favorite of mine.

COOLEST STUFF:  Caddyshack, Meatballs, Ghostbusters

45 Brandon Lee
Lee's accidental death on the set of The Crow was perhaps the greatest loss of potential talent since James Dean.  He had all the charisma of his father, and the moves to match.  Thankfully The Crow was completed post mortem, as a testament to his phenomenal talent.

COOLEST STUFF: The Crow

44 Richard Roundtree
Come on now...who else can get away with having a character's theme song call you "the black private dick that's a sex machine to all the chicks?"  Damn right.

COOLEST STUFF: SHAFT

43 Peter O'Toole
One of Hollywood's great rascals.  I once saw him on Letterman plugging his biography drunk out of his skull.  When Dave asked him who a strange bald man pictured inside with no caption was, he replied, "I don't rightly know."

COOLEST STUFF: Lawrence of Arabia, My Favorite Year

42 Chow Yun Fat
Though not a martial arts actor ala Jackie Chan and Jet Li, Fat pulled it off beautifully with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.  And his John Woo directed twin guns a blazing epics are epics of beautiful mayhem.

COOLEST STUFF: The Killers, Hard Boiled

41 Bruce Willis
With his smartass, "Yippie Ki Yay Muthafuhka!" style in Die Hard, Willis established himself as a genuine trash talking badass.  His scenes with Ving Rhames in Pulp Fiction are equally cool. 

COOLEST STUFF: Die Hard

40 Jimmy Stewart
Forget Harvey, Jimmy's the man.  Nobody plays the cool everyman as good as Stewart.  Mr. Smith goes to Washington is a great example, as well as the syrupy Chirstmas standard, It's a Wonderful Life.

COOLEST STUFF: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

39 Mickey Rourke
The underrated Barfly, written by Charles Bukowski, was the role of a lifetime for Rourke, who already wallowed in cool sleaziness with 9 1/2 Weeks.   The fact that he's a nutjob in real life and even tried his hands at legit amateur boxing in-between films only adds to his mystique.

COOLEST STUFF: Barfly, 9 1/2 Weeks

38 Sidney Pointier
Everything said about him during his honorary Oscar presentation this year is true.  Nobody broke ground with the style, grace, and class of Pointier.  He'd be ranked much higher, had he not directed Bill Cosby's GHOST DAD in 1990.

COOLEST STUFF:  Call Me Mr. Tibbs, The Defiant Ones

37 Buster Keaton
His groundbreaking stunt-work in Hollywood's golden age was jaw-dropping, making him the original Jackie Chan.    The real-life train wrecks and mayhem he coordinated in 1927's The General are unbelievable.

COOLEST STUFF: The General

36 John Travolta
Sure, he's given us crap like Moment By Moment, Two of a Kind, Swordfish, Lucky Numbers, and a (shudder) Battlefield Earth, but with his classic work in Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Pulp Fiction, it's all forgiven.

COOLEST STUFF:  Pulp Fiction, Grease, Saturday Night Fever

35 Gary Cooper
As the star of 1952's High Noon, Cooper established himself as an infinitely cool western star, but his versatility in roles like Lou Gherig in Pride of The Yankees, and Sgt. York rounded him out even more.  You know you're cool when you're mentioned in the lyrics of "Putting on The Ritz".

COOLEST STUFF:

34 Dean Martin
"If people want to think I get drunk and stay out all night, let 'em. That's how I got here, you know."  Though known as a loveable alcoholic, Martin's coolness took off when he dumped partner Jerry Lewis and churned out classics like Rio Bravo.  And let's not forget his fantastic roasts.

COOLEST STUFF: Rio Bravo

33 Cary Grant
Though one wonders how cool he would have been had he used his real name, Archibald Leach, Grant was the king of suave.  And for someone born in England, he had surprisingly nice teeth.

COOLEST STUFF: North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief

32 Jack Palance
One handed push ups at The Academy Awards aside, Palance is always a great tough old bastard.  Even his hosting gig on TV's Believe it or Not was great stuff.

COOLEST STUFF: City Slickers, Batman, Shane

31 Harrison Ford
It's impossible to think of anyone else playing Indiana Jones with the coolness of Harrison, who in his prime was the ultimate modern day swashbuckler.  Let's hope Part IV of the series isn't too embarrassing.

COOLEST STUFF: Raiders of the Lost Ark

30 Kurt Russell
With his entire life under the camera in some form, Russell has grown from childhood Disney roles to genuine badass parts with almost no growing pains.  His portrayal of Wyatt Earp is the best ever.

COOLEST STUFF: Tombstone, Escape from New York

29 Boris Karloff
The best monster actor ever (save Bea Arthur), his near wordless work as Frankenstein's Monster achieved more sympathy with gestures and grunts than most actors could with a great script. 

COOLEST STUFF: Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein

28 Lee Marvin
"Ah, stardom! They put your name on a star in the sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard and you walk down and find a pile of dog manure on it. That tells the whole story, baby."  This attitude solidifies his coolness for me.  He also got a Purple Heart as a Marine invading Sai-Pan!

COOLEST STUFF: The Dirty Dozen, Paint Your Wagon

27 Brad Pitt
Another great actor that seems to be equally admired by women and men alike. His groundbreaking performance as Tyler Durden in Fight Club is one of the coolest of all time.

COOLEST STUFF: Fight Club, Seven

26 Anthony Hopkins
Hannibal Lecter is the coolest badguy, ever, thanks to Hopkins.  His evil educated delivery is chilling beyond comprehension.

COOLEST STUFF: Silence of the Lambs

25 Gregory Peck
From Atticus Finch to Captain Ahab, Peck's wide range of roles are impressive.  And he even offered to do Chrysler commercials for free to help prevent layoffs at the company, how cool is that?

COOLEST STUFF: To Kill a Mockingbird, Moby Dick

24 Sean Penn
He was great in Bad Boys as a juvenile offender who gets pushed so far he beats the crap out of someone with a pillowcase full of soda cans. 

COOLEST STUFF: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Bad Boys

23 Christopher Walken
Walken's cool is almost inexplicable.  Resembling some quirky reanimated corpse, his deadpan style makes it hard to figure out if you should laugh or scream.  His appearances on Saturday Night Live typically rank as TV's finest moments.

COOLEST STUFF:  The Dead Zone, King of New York

22 Toshiro Mifune
With over 140 films to his name, Toshiro is one of the world's great actors of all time.  His work in Japanese classics like The Seven Samurai, and Rashomon are fantastic. 

COOLEST STUFF:  THE SEVEN SAMURAI

21 Errol Flynn
The prototype swashbuckler, Flynn lived life to the fullest, inspiring the phrase, "In Like Flynn."  His dying words were, "I've had a hell of a lot of fun and I've enjoyed every minute of it."

COOLEST STUFF:  CAPTAIN BLOOD, ROBIN HOOD

20 Jack Nicholson
Despite being a Laker fan, Nicholson reeks of coolness.  Nicholson does more with a smirk than most actors can with their whole body. 

COOLEST STUFF:  The Shining, Batman, Five Easy Pieces

19 Samuel L. Jackson
Perhaps the only man worthy enough to take up the Shaft mantle.  Who else could have a wallet, like his character Jules in Pulp Fiction, that said, "Bad Mother Fucker!" on it?

COOLEST STUFF: Pulp Fiction, Jungle Fever

18 Robert Mitchum
One of Hollywood's original badboys, Mitchum's sleepy eyed looks and blue collar charm were fantastic.  Ran away from home at an early age, and even spent time on a chain gang before starting his film career. 

COOLEST STUFF:  Night of the Hunter

17 Mel Blanc
Without a doubt, Mr. Mel Blanc is the greatest voice actor of all time.  Just listen to how crappy all the Warner Brothers characters he originally voiced sound now, and you'll know.  Every bit of Bugs Bunny's cocky bastard coolness is thanks to Mel.

COOLEST STUFF:  Where do you start?

16 Kirk Douglas
Even though he's made a ton of films, Spartacus alone is enough to rank him this high on the cool chart.  Definitely one of the most passionate actors ever.

COOLEST STUFF:  Spartacus

15 John Belushi
His popularizing food fights and toga parties in Animal House are some of the most significant contributions to American culture.  Easily the best actor to ever appear on Saturday Night Live, and his genuine love of blues helped bring Jake Blues to life.

COOLEST STUFF:  Animal House, The Blues Brothers

14 Charlton Heston
What actor wouldn't kill to scream lines like, "Get your hands off me, you damn dirty ape!" or "SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!"  From Ben Hur to Moses, Heston's always got to play some of the coolest roles in film history.  Just don't take his guns away.

COOLEST STUFF:  Planet of the Apes

13 Robert DeNiro
So cool Bananarama wrote a song about him, and he stayed cool despite it.  Whether he's playing a mobster, or a twisted psycho (which admittedly is about 95% of his film career), DeNiro dominates the screen like nobody else.  His "You Talking to Me" speech in Taxi Driver is one of film's finest moments.

COOLEST STUFF:  Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Cape Fear

12 Marlon Brando
It's easy to laugh at the guy when you see his Hutt-esque body waddling about today, but when you see what a cool badass he was back in the day in films like On The Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Wild Ones, you forgive all. 

COOLEST STUFF:  The Waterfront, The Wild Ones

11 Paul Newman
Not only a great cool actor, but his salad dressing kicks some serious ass. 

COOLEST STUFF:  The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke

10 Al Pacino
I love how Pacino can play roles like Michael Corleone with such a controlled simmering flair, then totally throw his balls to the wall with an over the top character like Tony Montana.  For a good laugh, see him as a cop going undercover in the "gay underworld" in CRUISIN'.

COOLEST STUFF:  The Godfather 1 & 2, Scarface

9 Steve McQueen
Another great TV star turned phenomenal movie star.  A true badass who's love of racing added a great edge to many of his performances.  Check out Bullitt for one of the greatest car chases of all time.

COOLEST STUFF:  The Great Escape, Bullitt, Papillion

8 James Cagney
From gangster to Yankee Doodle Dandy, Cagney was a great actor who chewed up scenery like nobody else.  His closing scene in White Heat, shouting "Top of the World, Ma!" as fire and gunshots erupt around him, is pure magic.

COOLEST STUFF: Angels With Dirty Faces, White Heat

7 Clint Eastwood
Quite simply, the best Hollywood tough guy ever, but his work in films like Dirty Harry and other tough guy roles are fantastic as well. 

COOLEST STUFF:  Dirty Harry, The Unforgiven, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

6 James Dean
With only a few films before his untimely death, his coolness endears to this day.  Perhaps it's the wonderment of what might of been that adds to his mystique.  Lord knows if he were bald and 70 now, we wouldn't be as enamored of him.

COOLEST STUFF: Rebel Without a Cause

5 John Wayne
His inimitable swagger and vocal delivery make Wayne of America's true legends.  Cleary the best cowboy actor of all time. Wayne's leading role status in 142 films is a record that's been unbeaten to this day.

COOLEST STUFF:  McClintock, The Green Berets

4 The Three Stooges
Moe, Larry, and Curly, are cool in a way that only men can understand.  Their violent physical humor makes every man happy, while women only shake their heads in disgust.  Perhaps no single thing separates the genders as much as these 3 gods of slapstick.

COOLEST STUFF: Every film they ever did

3 Bruce Lee
The one actor that every man in the world would be scared to fight.  Like his son, he died WAYYYYYY to early with much potential greatness in store.  His charm, looks, and ability to kick the ass of 50 people at the same time has never been paralleled. 

COOLEST STUFF:  Return of the Dragon

2 Humphrey Bogart
So cool, his first name was "Humphrey" and he was still cool!  And his ability to look cool smoking passed on to pot culture (Don't "Bogart" that joint).  And how could you not love a guy who's last words were, "I should never have switched from scotch to martinis."

COOLEST STUFF:  The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca

1 Sean Connery
There's absolutely no cooler actor in the world, ever!  So cool as James Bond, that most people would STILL prefer him in the role.   His rugged good looks have endeared through the years, as People even voted him "1989's Sexiest Man Alive".   Long after he left the Bond series behind, he's still commanding top dollar in Hollywood, earning $20 Million for 1999's entrapment.  Never afraid to show off his machismo, he once told Barbara Walters in an interview that it was OK to hit a lady if they deserved it, or to keep them in line. 

COOLEST STUFF:  James Bond 007, Robin and Marian

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com