Great Performances

They came; we saw them; they conquered. Here are seven people who raise acting to a living art

"Audiences don't know somebody sits down and writes a picture," says the cynical scenarist played by William Holden in Billy Wilder's 1950 Sunset Blvd. "They think the actors make it up as they go along." O.K., most actors don't write their own dialogue. But they are more than handsome lugs and ladies. They are the script's words made flesh, the director's dreams embodied. And for us people out there in the dark, actors are our best, our baddest, our deepest and most glamorous selves.

An actor doesn't need to think up a picture. He can just take it over, make its...

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