This is a list of my favorite actresses from decades of film and TV.
The woman who will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their grandparents...
Karen Black was born Karen Blanche Ziegler in Park Ridge, Illinois, to Elsie Mary (Reif), who wrote children's books, and Norman Arthur Ziegler, an engineer and businessman. She was of Norwegian (from her paternal grandmother), German, and Bohemian (Czech) descent. Karen entered Northwestern University at 15 and left two years later...
Betty White was born in Oak Park, Illinois, to Christine Tess (Cachikis), a homemaker, and Horace Logan White, a lighting company executive. She is of Danish, Greek, English, and Welsh descent. Although best known as the devious Sue Ann Nivens on the classic sitcom Mary Tyler Moore
and the ditzy Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls
Margaret Colin was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised on Long Island. She graduated from Baldwin Senior High School in 1976. Margaret began acting in The Edge of Night
(her character was a heiress and former terrorist, with seven murder attempts), and was employed next on As the World Turns
, portraying character Margo Montgomery...
This attractive, happy go lucky blonde actress, educated at the University of Kansas and a former ballet soloist, first broke into both TV and cinema screens in the mid 1970s and through her appearances in several well remembered horror and sci-fi films, and Dee quickly gained a cult following among the fantasy film fans...
British character actress, long in the United States. The daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a high-ranking politician, Lansbury studied acting from her youth, departing for the United States as the Second World War began. She was contracted by MGM while still a teenager and nominated for an Academy Award for her first film...
Though probably not to her liking, actress Priscilla Barnes is best-known for her bittersweet replacement of TV goddess Suzanne Somers
during the tension-riddled times of the popular ABC slapstick comedy series, Three's Company
-- bittersweet in that although the lovely, stringy-framed blonde did become a TV name as a result...
Actress and singer Ann-Margret is one of the most famous sex symbols and actresses of the 1960s and beyond. She continued her career through the following decades and into the 21st century. Ann-Margret was born Ann-Margret Olsson in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, Sweden, to Anna Regina (Aronsson) and Carl Gustav Olsson...
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was born on January 13, 1961, in the New York City borough of Manhattan, to Judith (LeFever), a special needs tutor and author, and Gérard Louis-Dreyfus, a billionaire businessman. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she spent her childhood in Washington, D.C., and New York. She met her husband, Brad Hall
, while in college...
Joyce Anne DeWitt was born the second oldest of four to parents Paul and Norma DeWitt on April 23, 1949 in Wheeling, West Virginia but grew up in Indiana. Joyce began taking acting lessons when she was in high school. Although her father was hardly thrilled at his daughter's ambition, she persuaded him to let her major in theater in college...
A New York stage actress in the 1950s, McClanahan was plucked from the stage by Norman Lear
for roles on All in the Family
and later Maude
. For two years (1982 - 1984), she played "Aunt Fran" on Mama's Family
until her character was killed off and she joined the cast of Golden Girls. She hit her comedic stride as a sharp tongued oversexed Southern belle on The Golden Girls
Suzanne Somers is the third of four children born to Frank and Marion Mahoney
. Her father worked loading beer onto boxcars, and her mother was a homemaker. She grew up living in constant fear of being hurt or even killed at the hands of her verbally and physically abusive alcoholic father. She was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was young...
Madeline Kahn was born Madeline Gail Wolfson on September 29, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Freda (Goldberg) and Bernard B. Wolfson, a garment manufacturer. She was of Russian Jewish descent. Madeline began her acting career in high school and went on to university where she trained as an opera singer and starred in several campus productions...
Born in Boise City, Oklahoma, Vera Miles attended school in Pratt, Kansas and Wichita, Kansas. The patrician beauty of Miss Miles won her the title of "Miss Kansas" in 1948, leading soon to small roles in Hollywood films and television series. Fame came to the forthright, spirited Miles when she attracted the attention of two master directors...
A supremely gifted, versatile player who could reach dramatic depths, as exemplified in her weary-eyed, good-hearted waitress in The Last Picture Show
, or comedy heights, as in her sadistic drill captain in Private Benjamin
, Eileen Brennan managed to transition from lovely Broadway singing ingénue to respected film and television character actress within a decade's time...
Julia Fiona Roberts never dreamed she would become the most popular actress in America. She was born in Smyrna, Georgia, to Betty Lou (Bredemus) and Walter Grady Roberts, one-time actors and playwrights, and is of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, and Swedish descent. As a child, due to her love of animals...
Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis was born on November 22, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of legendary actors Janet Leigh
and Tony Curtis
. She got her big break at acting in 1978 when she won the role of Laurie Strode in Halloween
. After that, she became famous for roles in movies like Trading Places
Audra Lindley was born in Los Angeles, California, to a show-business family--her father, Bert Lindley
, was a stage and film actor. She got her early start in Hollywood by being a stand-in, which eventually progressed to stunt work. After a while, however, she found stunt work not to her liking and went to New York in her mid-20s to take her talent to the stage...
Julianne Moore was born Julie Anne Smith in Fort Bragg, North Carolina on December 3, 1960, the daughter of Anne (Love), a social worker, and Peter Moore Smith, a paratrooper, colonel, and later military judge. Her mother moved to the U.S. in 1951, from Greenock, Scotland. Her father, from Burlington, New Jersey, has German, Irish, German-Jewish, and English ancestry...
Mariska (Ma-rish-ka) Magdolna Hargitay was born on January 23, 1964, in Santa Monica, California. Her parents are Mickey Hargitay
and Jayne Mansfield
. She is the youngest of their three children. In June 1967, Mariska and her brothers Zoltan and Mickey Jr. were in the back seat of a car when it was involved in the fatal accident which killed her mother...
Sally Margaret Field was born in 1946 in Pasadena, California, to actress Margaret Field
(née Morlan) and salesman Richard Dryden Field. Her parents divorced in 1950 and her mother then married stuntman Jock Mahoney
, and they had a daughter, Princess O'Mahoney
. She also has a brother, Richard Field. Sally attended Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, California...
Felicity toiled away for 20 years in ill fated television shows, Broadway plays and independent films in the shadow of her successful husband, actor William H Macy, then she got the part of Lynette Scavo in the television series Desperate Housewives and the film Transamerica resulting in a Golden Globe nomination for both.
Michelle Pfeiffer was born in Santa Ana, California, to Donna Jean (Taverna) and Richard Pfeiffer, a heating and air-conditioning contractor. She has an older brother and two younger sisters - Dedee Pfeiffer
and Lori Pfeiffer
, who both dabbled in acting and modeling but decided against making it their life's work...
Laura Leggett Linney was born in New York City on February 5, 1964, into a theatre family. Her father was prominent playwright Romulus Linney
, whose own great-grandfather was a congressman from North Carolina. Her mother, Miriam Anderson (Leggett), is a nurse. Although she did not live in her father's house (her parents having divorced when she was an infant)...
This remarkable, one-of-a-kind actress has, since the early 1990s, intrigued film and TV audiences with her glowing, yet careworn eccentricity and old world-styled glamour. Very much in demand these days as a character player, Patricia Clarkson nevertheless continues to avoid the temptation of money-making mainstream filming while reaping kudos and acting awards in out-of-the-way projects...
For someone who has made an award-winning impact in all three mediums (stage, film and TV), actress Kathy Baker has been strangely denied all-out stardom, yet continues to demonstrate her versatility in whatever material comes her way. The comely blonde was born Katherine Whitton Baker in Midland, Texas...
"Want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing". If you have not heard of Brooke Shields before, this tagline from her Calvin Klein
Jeans ad had to grab your attention. Not that she has not had a previously noteworthy resume. She was born on May 31, 1965 in New York City and, at age 12...
Six time Academy Award-nominated actress Glenn Close was born and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut. She is the daughter of Elizabeth Mary Hester "Bettine" (Moore) and William Taliaferro Close (William Close
), a prominent doctor. Both of her parents were from upper-class northeastern families. Glenn...
Allison Janney is an award-winning actress who has earned a solid reputation in stage productions and in many supporting roles on screen, and who more recently has become prominent by portraying one of the major characters in the popular TV series The West Wing
. Entertainment Weekly magazine describes Janney's screen presence as "uncommonly beautiful and infinitely expressive"...
Ellen Philpotts-Page was born on February 21, 1987, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Martha Philpotts, a teacher, and Dennis Page, a graphic designer. Page wanted to start acting at an early age and attended the Neptune Theater School. She began her career at the age of 10 on the award-winning television series Pit Pony
For the past fourteen years, she has said that family has been the most important thing to her and she has set most of her time aside to be a "present" mother to her son. Movies, plays and television are chosen, for the most part, when they occur in town or on a school break. She has taken the current year to homeschool her son for his seventh grade...
Swoosie is the only child of author Margo and Frank Kurtz. As her father was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, she moved often during her school years, living in eight different states. At the University of Southern California she majored in drama; later she attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art...
Marcia Gay Harden
Marcia Gay Harden was born on August 14, 1959, in La Jolla, California, the third of five children. Her mother, Beverly (Bushfield), was a homemaker, and her father, Thad Harold Harden, was in the military. The family relocated often -- she first became interested in the theater when the family was living in Greece...
She was born Vivian Roberta Jones, with a brother and four sisters. After the family moved from Cherryvale to Independence, Kansas, she studied drama under Anna Ingleman and William Inge
. Their next move, to Albuquerque, New Mexico brought her to the Albuquerque Little Theatre, which provided her the money she needed to study under Eva Le Gallienne
in New York...
Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 20 times, and has won it three times. Meryl was born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, to Mary Wolf (Wilkinson), a commercial artist, and Harry William Streep...
Ask Kate Winslet what she likes about any of her characters, and the word "ballsy" is bound to pop up at least once. The British actress has made a point of eschewing straightforward pretty-girl parts in favor of more devilish damsels; as a result, she's built an eclectic resume that runs the gamut from Shakespearean tragedy to modern-day mysticism and erotica...
Multi-talented Kathleen Doyle Bates was born on June 28, 1948, and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls born to Bertye Kathleen (Talbot), a homemaker, and Langdon Doyle Bates, a mechanical engineer. Her grandfather was author Finis L. Bates. Kathy has English, as well as Irish...
Uma Karuna Thurman was born in Boston, Massachusetts, into a highly unorthodox and Eurocentric family. She is the daughter of Nena Thurman
(née Birgitte Caroline von Schlebrügge), a fashion model and socialite who now runs a mountain retreat, and of Robert Thurman
(Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman)...
Joan Allen was born on August 20, 1956 in Rochelle, Illinois, the youngest of four children. She is the daughter of homemaker Dorothea Marie (Wirth) and gas station owner James Jefferson Allen. Her mother's family was German, and her father had English, Scots-Irish, and German ancestry. She attended Rochelle Township High School where she was voted most likely to succeed...
It's fair to say that after 20 years and over 50 film appearances, Mimi Rogers should be praised for her variety of roles and acting capabilities, not for a brief marriage to a Hollywood star. In the early 1980s she began to carve a niche for herself in Hollywood, appearing on television and in films...
Mercedes Ruehl was born February 28, 1948 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City to Mercedes Ruehl, a school teacher, and Vincent Ruehl, an FBI agent. She made several film and television appearance before coming to her most successfully received role in Terry Gilliam
's The Fisher King
. She played the part of Jeff Bridges
's on-screen supportive yet neurotic girlfriend...
Dinah Manoff was born in New York City, New York, to screenwriter Arnold Manoff
and actress, director, and writer Lee Grant
. She began her professional career in the PBS production of "The Great Cherub Knitwear Strike". After subsequent guest appearances on various television series, she received...
Hilary was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, to Judith Kay (Clough), a secretary, and Stephen Michael Swank, who served in the National Guard and was also a traveling salesman. Her maternal grandmother, Frances Martha Dominguez, was of Mexican descent, and her other roots include German, English, and Scottish...
Perhaps best known for her trademark curly blond tresses and her faithful appearances at L.A. Lakers basketball games, Dyan Cannon has enjoyed nearly fifty years in the entertainment industry. Born Samille Diane Friesen in Tacoma, Washington, Cannon had early dreams of becoming an actress. She made her screen debut with a small part in the critically acclaimed crime drama The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond
Susan Sarandon was born Susan Abigail Tomalin in New York City, New York, to Lenora Marie (Criscione) and Phillip Leslie Tomalin, a television producer and advertising executive. She is of Italian (mother) and English, Irish, Welsh, and German (father) descent. Soon after the 1968 Democratic convention...
Seattle native Jean Smart was born on September 13, 1951. Attending the University of Washington after high school, she received her BA degree in fine arts. Her first professional season was with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where she performed in "Much Ado About Nothing," among others. During this...
Jennifer Connelly was born in the Catskill Mountains, New York, to Ilene (Schuman), a dealer of antiques, and Gerard Connelly, a clothing manufacturer. Her father had Irish and Norwegian ancestry, and her mother was from a Jewish immigrant family. Jennifer grew up in Brooklyn Heights, just across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan...
Janeane, the petite woman with the acerbic wit, was born in Newton, New Jersey, in 1964, to Joan, a secretary, and Carmine Garofalo, an Exxon executive. She is of Italian and Irish descent. Janeane had many jobs before breaking into show biz. She worked as a bike messenger, a shoe salesperson, waitress and temp secretary...