The Nine Groups of Actors Cut from Maltin’s “Star Index”

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

The previous List of Nine covered those lucky young stars who were recently deemed big enough by critic Leonard Maltin to be added to his "Star Index" at the back of his popular paperback movie review guide. As promised, however, here is a much more interesting (and much larger) list of – how should I put this? – the forgotten and the washed-up. At least according to Maltin & Co. Presumably the editors cut out these legions of actors and actresses in order to save a few precious pages in their brick-thick book. You can imagine them poring through their old star index and asking each other, "So is anybody really interested in so-and-so's movies? No? Okay, axe him." There are so many names that I have to group them, in order to conform with this list's rigid number.

  1. Male screen "legends" that nobody remembers. Maybe they were popular in their day, but their names don't ring a bell for today's moviegoers. Cary Grant and John Wayne are immortal, but that's not the case with Melvyn Douglas, Nelson Eddy, Ralph Richardson, or Victor Mature.
  2. Female screen "legends" that nobody remembers. Greta Garbo and Bette Davis are immortal, but that's not the case with June Allyson, Paulette Goddard, Jennifer Jones, Ruby Keeler, or Betty Hutton.
  3. Artsy British actors with no following. Back in the '60s and '70s, these thespians were cherished by critics for their work in acclaimed British productions. However, American video watchers have no interest in renting their movies, and those are the people who buy Maltin's book. Say "toodle pip" to Alan Bates, Julie Christie, Richard Harris, Peter Finch, and Dirk Bogarde.
  4. Bye bye, Brat Pack. Frankly, I'm surprised that Maltin and his editors still considered these people "hot stars" as recently as the 1996 edition of their book. They're certainly nowhere to be found in the 2000 edition. Later, Ally Sheedy, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, and Patrick Swayze!
  5. Character actors who were never stars. These people are all fine performers, but they rarely had leading roles, and your typical movie fan makes no great effort to hunt down films starring Robert Shaw, Jack Palance, Randy Quaid, Roy Scheider, Willem Dafoe, or James Earl Jones.
  6. Momentarily faded from glory. These legendary actors all have cult followings, and though currently removed from the Star Index, I have a feeling that they may all receive a resurgence in popularity and get back in. Cross your fingers for Bridget Bardot, Rex Harrison, Anne Bancroft, Don Ameche, David Niven, and Veronica Lake.
  7. Simply washed up men. Sadly, their careers held greater promise in 1996 than they do in 2000. Say adios to Tom Selleck, Ray Liotta, Christian Slater, Michael J. Fox, George Segal, and Dudley Moore.
  8. Simply washed up women. Similarly failing to live up to their reputations of a few years ago are Kathleen Turner, Barbara Hershey, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
  9. Odds and ends. How does one explain the strange exclusion of actor/director John Huston? As a mistake. Maltin used to list notable directors in previous editions of the book, but now all the directors have been removed. John Huston's entry in the actor's list instructs you to check his "director listing" – which of course no longer exists. As for Cheech and Chong? Yes, they were once considered stars not so many years ago, and now they are gone. Maltin, etc. probably figured that if one wanted to find a Cheech & Chong movie, one would just have to look under "C", as the comic duo's film titles all helpfully begin with the words "Cheech & Chong".