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Actors Born in 1937 a Career Comparison - Warren Beatty and peers

Updated on February 29, 2012

So just who was born in 1937? and why are we talking about them?

Pick almost any year from the last 100 or so and you will find a host of names familiar to fans of film and television. 1940 for example would give you Al Pacino amongst many others but for the purposes of this article we are talking about 1937.

The reason we are talking about 1937 is because that is the year Warren Beatty was born, we will be discuss many other actors besides Mr Beatty but it is his CV that has inspired this comparison.

Some of the people we will be discussing who were born in 1937 include.

and the list can go. We will be for the purposes of this article be keeping our discussion to the male members of this list. This is in no way a reflection of Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave who are both outstanding talents, nor is intended to be sexist merely that it serves the purposes of the article to focus on those specific 5 actors with the shared year of birth.

Other notable actors born in 1937 include Silence of The Lambs star Anthony Hopkins, Bill Cosby and George Carlin. Although they are prime for discussion and have done a great deal of interesting work between them we will leave them for another discussion.

Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty | Source

Warren Beatty

Since his big break in 1961 (51 years ago at the time of writing) Warren Beatty has appeared in just 22 films. That is an average of approx 0.4 films per year and that average reduces dramatically if you look at the work for the last 20 years or even 30.

Why is this notable? Because Warren Beatty remains a star, he may not have appeared on screen for more than a decade however his name is still known to most cinema fans. His name continues to be one of note within the industry and gossip about potential projects continues. At one time he was suggested as the lead for Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill before backing out and the part going to the late David Carradine. Arguably a better choice for the role.

Unlike some of his peers fame and success appeared to come easy to Mr Beatty a fame he maintains despite inactivity.

It is worth noting Warren Beatty is also an accomplished Director and Screen writer. Directing amongst other Dick Tracy, Bulworth and the Oscar winning Reds. Check out his page on IMDB it makes interesting reading.

Warren Beatty recieved the Irving G Thalberg Memorial Academy Award in 2000 for his body of work.

Jack Nicholson


Jack Nicholson

It is notable in the case of Jack Nicholson that although established as a major star since 1969's Easy Rider he had worked extensively prior to this in many B-movies for the likes of Roger Corman. Although certainly more prolific than Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson has only featured in 6 feature films in the last 10 years.

In his time as a major movie star he has managed to amass an impressive 12 oscar nominations and 3 wins. The first of which was the afore mentioned Easy Rider the last of which was for 2002's About Schmidt.

As this piece acts as a comparison it is also worth noting that one of the oscar nominations was for best supporting actor in the Movie Reds which was written and Directed by Warren Beatty for which Warren Beatty won the best directer Academy Award.

Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman


Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman's career has recently seen him return to television in "Luck" something which at one time would have been considered a failing given that TV was considered a lesser art form. Given the quality of many high end television productions and high production values this is no longer the case.

The winner of 2 Oscars in a leading role a feat not shared by many Dustin Hoffman's place amongst the best of Hollywood is secure. His career path is in interesting one breaking out in The Graduate which was followed throughout the 1970's by a brace of critically acclaimed turns such as Lenny Bruce in Lenny or opposite Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man.

Unlike some of his peers Dustin Hoffman has a busy CV averaging over 2 projects a year for the last decade. His last Oscar nominated performance was in 1998 Barry Levinson Directed Wag The Dog opposite Robert De Niro with whom he has shared the screen more than once.

Unlike some of his peers Dustin Hoffman has demonstrated that he has never been afraid to share the limelight. Working alongside younger actors in supporting roles or disappearing behind makeup as he did in Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy adaption. Ego seems to have very little to do with how Dustin Hoffman operates his career.

Quotation from Dustin Hoffman - "I became an actor because I believed I was a failure. In acting, because so few of us ever get work, I could feel proud and fail with dignity. I was born into what I now know was a dysfunctional family. I found that out in therapy three weeks ago."


Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman

Compared to others discussed Morgan Freeman came to prominence late in his career. Already 50 when Street Smart was released but it was perhaps 1994's Shawshank Redemption and the following years Seven which promoted Morgan Freeman from respected supporting player to lead in his own right.

Throughout the 1970's whilst Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson were notching up more and more oscar nominations Morgan Freeman was notching up 780 episodes of The Electric Company.

However recent or short his success compared to his peers Morgan Freeman now ranks equal alongside Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson, both of whom he has shared screen time with. The former in Outbreak (Wolfgang Peterson Pandemic Action Drama) and the Latter in The Bucket List.

Morgan Freeman's most recent Oscar Nomination was for the Clint Eastwood directed Invictus. He also received one of other of his 5 nomination for the Eastwood directed Million Dollar Baby, on that occasion walking away with the shiny statue.

Morgan Freeman continues to be prolific both as a lead and supporting actor with considerable box office appeal. Be sure to check out the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises.


Aside from fame, year of birth and nationality what similarities do these all highly successful actors share? They are all award winning, they are all held in high regard and all have many millions of fans world wide. Each of their respective careers is markedly different from the others and each has built their own working relationships with other actors and directors.

For Example.

  • Dustin Hoffman has made numerous films with director Barry Levinson.
  • Morgan Freeman has been directed by Clint Eastwood on 3 occassions.
  • Jack Nicholson has starred twice in fellow actor Sean Penn's movies.

These facts and statistics in fact reveal very little, but what remains is the perception of the audience. How you and i interpret their work and why we love or possible hate them.

Who is your favourite 1937 born star?

See results


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    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      this is a hard list to vote on. I'm a big fan of Dustin hoffman, but I don't like Luck. Morgan Freeman is great, but Bill Cosby is my favorite comedian... and who's cooler then Jack Nicholson?

    • ThoughtMonkey profile image

      ThoughtMonkey 5 years ago from United Kingdon

      Thank you annart, they are some of my favourites too. Coincidental that they were born at approx the same time. Perhaps I will investigate other years when I have time

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      A good read. It was great that you pulled together some of my favourite actors of all time - how did you know?! Voted up and interesting.