These are my all time favorite actresses. I consider most of them the best in the business but there are others that are not known for the quality of their work but have given me so much pleasure over the years. All of these are the ladies I enjoy most watching on the screen.
As a kid, Sissy Spacek climbed trees, rode horses, swam, and played in the woods. She was born Mary Elizabeth Spacek on December 25, 1949, in Quitman, Texas, to Virginia Frances (Spilman) and Edwin Arnold Spacek, Sr., a county agricultural agent. Her father's family was of Czech and German origin. Sissy attended Quitman High School and was homecoming queen...
Few in modern British history have come as far or achieved as much from humble beginnings as Glenda Jackson has. From acclaimed actress to respected MP (Member of Parliament), she is known for her high intelligence and meticulous approach to her work. She was born to a working-class household in Birkenhead...
Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born April 5, 1908, in Lowell, Massachusetts, to Ruth Augusta (Favor) and Harlow Morrell Davis, a patent attorney. Her parents divorced when she was 10. She and her sister were raised by their mother. Her early interest was dance. To Bette, dancers led a glamorous life, but then she discovered the stage...
Today Barbara Stanwyck is remembered primarily as the matriarch of the family known as the Barkleys on the TV western The Big Valley
, wherein she played Victoria, and from the hit drama The Colbys
. But she was known to millions of other fans for her movie career, which spanned the period from 1927 until 1964...
Mia Farrow was born in Los Angeles, California, to director John Farrow
and actress and Tarzan-girl Maureen O'Sullivan
. Her father was Australian-born (of English descent) and her mother was Irish-born (of Irish, Scottish, and English ancestry). Farrow debuted at the movies in 1959 in very small roles...
Harlean Carpenter, who later became Jean Harlow, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 3, 1911. She was the daughter of a successful dentist and his wife. In 1927, at the age of 16, she ran away from home to marry a young businessman named Charles McGrew, who was 23. The couple pulled up stakes and moved to Los Angeles...
Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Anna Lovisa (Johansdotter), who worked at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a laborer. She was fourteen when her father died, which left the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and go to work in a department store...
Born May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut, she was the daughter of a doctor and a suffragette, both of whom always encouraged her to speak her mind, develop it fully, and exercise her body to its full potential. An athletic tomboy as a child, she was also very close to her brother, Tom, and was devastated at age 14 to find him dead...
Isabelle Huppert was born in 1953, in Paris, France, but spent her childhood in Ville d'Avray. Encouraged by her mother (who was a teacher of English), she followed the Conservatory of Versailles and won an acting prize for her work in Alfred de Musset
's "Un caprice". She then studied at the Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique and followed an illustrious theatrical career...
Born Deborah Jane Kerr-Trimmer in Scotland in 1921, she was the daughter of a soldier who had been gassed in World War I. A shy, insecure child, she found an outlet for expressing her feelings in acting. Her aunt, a radio star, got her some stage work when she was a teenager, and she came to the attention of British film producer Gabriel Pascal
Shelley Alexis Duvall was born in Houston, Texas, to Bobbie Ruth (Massengale) and Robert Richardson Duvall, a lawyer. During her childhood, Shelley's mother humorously gave Shelley the nickname "Manic Mouse", because she would often run around her house and tip over furniture. Shelley however was more than a mouse...
Shelley Winters was born Shirley Schrift of very humble beginnings on August 18, 1920 (some sources list 1922) in East St. Louis, Illinois. Her mother, Rose (Winter), was born in Missouri, to Austrian Jewish parents, and her father, Jonas Schrift, was an Austrian Jewish immigrant. Her father moved the family to Brooklyn when she was still young so that he...
Patricia Neal, the Oscar- and Tony Award-winning actress, was born Patricia Louise Neal in Packard, Kentucky. Her father managed a coal mine and her mother was the daughter of the town doctor. She grew up in Knoxville, where she attended high school. She was first bit by the acting bug at the age of 10...
Joan Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur on March 23, 1905, in San Antonio, Texas, to Anna Belle (Johnson) and Thomas E. LeSueur, a laundry laborer. By the time she was born, her parents had separated, and by the time she was a teenager, she'd had three stepfathers. It wasn't an easy life; Crawford worked a variety of menial jobs...
Her father was a police lieutenant and imbued in her a military attitude to life. Marlene was known in school for her "bedroom eyes" and her first affairs were at this stage in her life - a professor at the school was terminated. She entered the cabaret scene in 1920s Germany, first as a spectator then as a cabaret singer...
Part of the original motley crew of cast players in underground shock master John Waters
' bare-bones 8mm, 16mm and 35mm cult perversions during the late 60s and early 70s, Mink Stole was born Nancy Stoll in the late 1940s in Baltimore, Maryland. Waters took her under his wing in 1966 wherein she...
Mary Astor was born, Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke, on May 3, 1906 in Quincy, Illinois to a German immigrant father, Otto Ludwig Langhanke, and an American mother from Illinois, Helen Marie Vasconcellos, of Portuguese and Irish ancestry. Her parents were very ambitious for her as they recognized Mary's beauty and knowing if they played their cards right...
Love her or hate her, this comic diva is a one-of-a-kind, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners artiste. Racy, confrontational, offensive, cynical, off-putting and angst-ridden to a T, this flinty stand-up from Flint, Michigan was born on June 6, 1955, the daughter of Jerome Bernhard, a proctologist, and his wife Jeanette...
On January 30, 1937, renowned theatre actor Michael Redgrave
was performing in a production of Hamlet in London. During the curtain call, the show's lead, Laurence Olivier
, announced to the audience: "tonight a great actress was born". This was in reference to his co-star's newborn daughter, Vanessa Redgrave...
Demure British beauty Jean Simmons was born January 31, 1929 in Crouch End, London. As a 14-year-old dance student, she was plucked from her school to play Margaret Lockwood
's precocious sister in Give Us the Moon
, and she went on to make a name for herself in such major British productions as Caesar and Cleopatra
One of the world's most famous and distinguished actresses, Dame Maggie Smith was born Margaret Natalie Smith in Essex. Her Scottish mother, Margaret (Hutton), worked as a secretary, and her English father, Nathaniel Smith, was a teacher at Oxford University. Smith has been married twice: to actor Robert Stephens
and to playwright Beverley Cross
was born in Queens, New York, to "Battling Jack" West and Matilda Doelger. She began her career as a child star in vaudeville, and later went on to write her own plays, including "SEX", for which she was arrested. Though her first movie role was a small part in Night After Night
, her scene has become famous...
If a film were made of the life of Vivien Leigh, it would open in India just before World War I, where a successful British businessman could live like a prince. In the mountains above Calcutta, a little princess is born. Because of the outbreak of World War I, she is six years old the first time her parents take her to England...
Of Irish/English ancestry, Agnes was born near Boston, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister (her mother was a mezzo-soprano) who encouraged her to perform in church pageants. Aged three, she sang 'The Lord is my Shepherd' on a public stage and seven years later joined the St. Louis Municipal Opera as a dancer and singer for four years...
Tessa Charlotte Rampling was born 5 February 1946 in Sturmer, England, to Isabel Anne (Gurteen), a painter, and Godfrey Lionel Rampling, an Olympic gold medalist, army officer, and colonel, who became a NATO commander. She was educated at Jeanne d'Arc Académie pour Jeunes Filles in Versailles, France and at the exclusive St...
Dame Judith Anderson was born Frances Margaret Anderson on February 10, 1897 in Adelaide, South Australia. She began her acting career in Australia before moving to New York in 1918. There she established herself as one of the greatest theatrical actresses and was a major star on Broadway throughout the 1930s...
Born in New York City to legendary screen star Henry Fonda
and New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw, Jane Seymour Fonda was destined early to an uncommon and influential life in the limelight. Although she initially showed little inclination to follow her father's trade, she was prompted by...
This marvelous screen comedienne's best asset was only muffled during her seven years' stint in silent films. That asset? It was, of course, her squeaky, frog-like voice, which silent-era cinema audiences had simply no way of perceiving, much less appreciating. Jean Arthur, born Gladys Georgianna Greene in upstate New York...
Descendant of the conservative Spanish politician Antonio Maura, Carmen lead an art gallery and appeared in various roles in night- clubs. With Tigres de papel
she had her first successful appearance on the movie screen and thereafter she worked at the theatre, the movies and in TV productions. Although she played dramatic roles...
Along with the legendary Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Eva Dahlbeck, and Harriet Andersson, icy blonde Ingrid Thulin became one of the preeminent Swedish femme stars of Ingmar Bergman's grim, emotional film masterpieces. Born in northern Sweden, she studied ballet as a child and attended the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm...
Susan Ker Weld was born on August 27, 1943, in New York City. When her father, Lathrop Motley Weld, died three years later at the age of 49, the cute little girl, whose name by then had somehow been transmogrified into "Tuesday", took over the role of the family breadwinner, which included her mother Yosene Balfour Ker...
Once you saw her, you would not forget her. Despite her age and weight, she became one of the top box office draws of the sound era. She was 14 when she joined a theater group and she went on to work on stage and in light opera. By 1892, she was on Broadway and she later became a star comedienne on the vaudeville circuit...
Marion Cecelia Douras was born in the borough of Brooklyn, New York on January 3, 1897. She had been bitten by the show biz bug early as she watched her sisters perform in local stage productions. She wanted to do the same. As Marion got older, she tried out for various school plays and did fairly well...
Piper Laurie was born Rosetta Jacobs in Detroit, Michigan, on January 22, 1932, to Charlotte Sadie (Alperin) and Alfred Jacobs, a furniture dealer. Her father was a Polish Jewish immigrant and her mother was of Russian Jewish descent. Her father moved the family to Los Angeles, California, when she was 6-years-old...
Judy Davis was born April 23, 1955 in Perth, Western Australia. She was educated at Loreto Convent and the Western Institute of Technology, and graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 1977. She came to prominence as Sybylla Melvyn in the film adaptation of Miles Franklin
Tallulah Brockman Bankhead was born on January 31, 1902 in Huntsville, Alabama. Her father was a mover and shaker in the Democratic Party who served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from June 4, 1936, to September 16, 1940. Tallulah had been interested in acting and, at age 15...
Catherine Deneuve was born October 22, 1943 in Paris, France. Her parents were actors. She made her movie debut in 1957, when she was thirteen and continued with small parts in minor films, until Roger Vadim
gave her a meatier role in Vice and Virtue
. But her breakthrough came with the excellent musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Setsuko Hara became one of Japan's best-loved stars over her 30-year film career. Her signature character type, variations on a daughter devoted to her parents and home, inspired the nickname that stayed with her until retirement: the Eternal Virgin. To some extent, reality mirrored her roles in these films...
Considered by many to be one of the greatest American actresses of all time, Geraldine Page was a master craftswoman who seemed to bring out the most inner detail of the character she was playing. Her dedication to her craft has earned her the respect of many of today's great actors including Meryl Streep and Michelle Pfeiffer...
Hardly the dumb blonde of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
, Lisa was born in Encino, California on July 30, 1963. Her mother, Nedra S. (Stern), was a travel agent, and her father, Lee N. Kudrow, was a physician. Her parents are both from Jewish immigrant families (from Belarus, Russia, and Hungary). Lisa was raised in Tarzana and played varsity-level tennis in high school and college...
Margaret Dumont would probably consider it a tragedy that she is best-known for her performances as the ultimate straight woman in seven of the Marx Brothers' films (including most of their best). By all accounts she never understood their jokes (offscreen and on), which is of course a major reason why she's so funny...
Multi Grammy Award-winning singer/comedienne/author Bette Midler has also proven herself to be a very capable actress in a string of both dramatic and comedic roles. Midler was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 1, 1945. She is the daughter of Ruth (Schindel), a seamstress, and Fred Midler, a painter...
Gloria Hallward, an acting pupil of her mother (stage actress and teacher Jean Grahame), acted professionally while still in high school. In 1944 Louis B. Mayer
saw her on Broadway and gave her an MGM contract under the name Gloria Grahame. Her debut in the title role of Blonde Fever
Audrey Hepburn was born Audrey Kathleen Ruston on May 4, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. She was a blue-blood and a cosmopolitan from birth. Her mother, Ella van Heemstra, was a Dutch baroness, and her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, was born in Úzice, Bohemia, of English and Austrian descent, and worked in business...
A natural and lovely talent who was discovered for films by Samuel Goldwyn
, the always likable Teresa Wright distinguished herself early on in high-caliber, Oscar-worthy form -- the only performer ever to be nominated for Oscars for her first three films. Always true to herself, she was able to earn Hollywood stardom on her own unglamorized terms...
Alicia Christian Foster was born in Los Angeles on November 19, 1962. She is the daughter of Evelyn Ella "Brandy" (Almond) and Lucius Fisher Foster III, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and later real estate broker. Brandy had filed for divorce in 1959 after having three children with Lucius, but the exes had a brief re-encounter in 1962 which resulted in Alicia's birth...
Arlette Pinheiro Esteves da Silva was born on 16th October 1929 in Rio de Janeiro. She adopted the name "Fernanda" because she thought it sounded good. "Montenegro" came after her family doctor. In late 40s she was translating and adapting famous theater plays to radio. She begun her artistic life in the theater with the play "Alegres Canções nas Montanhas" in 1950...
Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. Mirren attended St...
Margaret Hamilton was Born December 9, 1902 in Cleveland, Ohio to Jennie and Walter Hamilton. She later attended Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and practiced acting doing children's theater while a Junior League of Cleveland member. Margaret had already built her resume with several performances in film before she came to her most memorable and astronomically successful role...
Emily Watson was born and raised in London, the daughter of Katharine (Venables), an English teacher, and Richard Watson, an architect. After a self-described sheltered upbringing, Watson attended university for three years in Bristol, studying English literature. She applied to drama school and was rejected on her first attempt...
Samantha Morton has established herself as one of the finest actors of her generation, winning Oscar nominations for her turns in Woody Allen
's Sweet and Low Down" (1999) and Jim Sheridan's "In America" (2002). She has the talent to become one of the major performers in the cinema of this young century...
Ingrid Bergman was one of the greatest actresses from Hollywood's lamented Golden Era. Her natural and unpretentious beauty and her immense acting talent made her one of the most celebrated figures in the history of American cinema. Bergman is also one of the most Oscar-awarded actresses, tied with Meryl Streep
, both are second only to Katharine Hepburn
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)...
Kathleen Turner was born June 19, 1954 in Springfield, Missouri, to Patsy (Magee) and Allen Richard Turner, a U.S. Foreign Service officer. She graduated from American School in London in 1972. After the death of her father, the Turner family moved back to the United States where Kathleen later enrolled at Missouri State University for two years...
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...
American actress-author-composer Jessica Harper was born on October 10, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois, to Eleanor (Emery), a writer, and Paul Church Harper, Jr., a painter who was chairman of the Needham Harper Worldwide advertising agency in NY. Jessica launched her professional acting career soon after graduating from Sarah Lawrence...
The lovely Susannah York, a gamin, blue-eyed, cropped blonde British actress, displayed a certain crossover star quality when she dared upon the Hollywood scene in the early 1960s. A purposefully intriguing, enigmatic and noticeably uninhibited talent, she was born Susannah Yolande Fletcher on January 9...
Shirley Henderson grew up in Fife, Scotland. She began performing young and at the age of 13 found herself singing in a boxing ring between bouts after winning a local singing competition. She went on to sing in the local working men's clubs on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. After deciding upon acting as a career, she uprooted to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama...
Beautiful, swift and tough-tongued British character actress Rachel Roberts gained notice for her roles on the English stage, before she hit it largely in films. Born in Wales and married to actor Rex Harrison
in 1962, Roberts made her film debut in a key role in J. Lee Thompson
's Young and Willing
a drama film about the life of women in prison...
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"...
Alfre Woodard was born on November 8, 1952 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the youngest of three children of Constance, a homemaker, and Marion H. Woodard, an interior designer. She was named by her godmother, who claimed she saw a vision of Alfre's name written out in gold letters. A former high school cheerleader and track star...
Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York, to Patricia Adelaide "Addie" (Bianchi), an English teacher, and Gary A. Tomei, a lawyer. Marisa has a brother, actor Adam Tomei
. Her parents are both of Italian descent, with roots in Tuscany, Sicily, Campania, and Calabria. As a child...
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
Mary Woronov was born on December 8, 1943, at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida (some sources cite New York as her birthplace). She was raised by her mother, Carol (Eschholz), and her stepfather, Victor D. Woronov, a surgeon, who adopted her. She grew up in Brooklyn Heights and attended Cornell University as a sculpting major...
Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on October 1, 1935, in England. Her mother, Barbara Ward (Morris), and stepfather, both vaudeville performers, discovered her freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice and immediately got her a singing career. She performed in music halls throughout her childhood and teens...
Barbra Streisand is an American singer, actress, director and producer and one of the most successful personalities in show business. She is the only person ever to receive all of the following: Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, National Endowment for the Arts, and Peabody awards,...
Irene Marie Dunne was born on December 20, 1898, in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Joseph Dunne, who inspected steamships, and Adelaide Henry, a musician who prompted Irene in the arts. Her first production was in Louisville when she appeared in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the age of five...
Deanna Durbin was born Edna Mae Durbin on December 4, 1921, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her British-born parents moved to California while she was still young, and her singing voice soon had talent scouts knocking at her door. She signed a contract with MGM in 1936, at the age of 14, which resulted in her appearance in Every Sunday
Myrna Loy was born Myrna Adele Williams on August 2, 1905 in Helena, Montana, to Adelle Mae (Johnson) and David Franklin Williams. Her paternal grandparents were Welsh, and her mother was of Scottish and Swedish descent. Myrna was raised in Helena and nearby Radersburg. Her father, a rancher, was the youngest person ever elected to the Montana State legislature...
Pat was a native New Yorker who worked as a receptionist and clerk in a box factory. She met Andy Warhol later and starred in his film "Heat" with Joe Dallesandro and Sylvia Miles. Later she met a fashion designer, Roy Halston and worked in his Madison Avenue store. From there, she decided to move to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s and appeared in such films as "Reform School Girls"...
Nancy Parsons, was born in Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, to Mary and Charles Parson. She had two siblings -- Mary Parsons and Theresa Macrae. When she was 17, her father remarried Genevieve Stack and moved with the three girls to South Pasadena, California. It was here that the acting bug first bit, when...
Southern-bred Mary-Louise Parker, from Fort Jackson, South Carolina, was born on August 2, 1964, the youngest of four born to Judge John Morgan Parker and the former Caroline Louise Morell. She comes from Swedish, English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, German, and Dutch ancestry. Her father's occupation took the family both around the country and abroad while growing up...
One of Broadway and Hollywood's cleverer talents who tends to shine a smart, cynical light on her surroundings, Stockard Channing was born Susan Williams Antonia Stockard on February 13, 1944, in New York City, to a Catholic family, with English and Irish ancestry. The daughter of Lester Napier Stockard...
Mary Debra Winger was born May 16, 1955 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Ruth (Felder), an officer manager, and Robert Jack Winger, a meat packer. She is from a Jewish family (originally from Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire). Her maternal grandparents called her Mary, while her parents called her Debra (her father named her Debra after his favorite actress...
Diane Keaton was born Diane Hall in Los Angeles, California, to Dorothy Deanne (Keaton), an amateur photographer, and John Newton Ignatius "Jack" Hall, a civil engineer and real estate broker. Her ancestry includes Irish, English, German, and Scottish. Keaton studied Drama at Santa Ana College before dropping out to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York...
Intriguing, inspiring, and never less than interesting -- key adjectives in describing the career of Beverly D'Angelo, which has well passed the three-decade mark. Perhaps deserving better movies than she generally found herself in, she nevertheless was always an object of fascination and the one to watch...
Born and raised in Hollywood--her father was veteran character actor Fred Graff
--Erica Gavin spent her teenage years as, she says, "a stoned-out hippie", and at 19 was dancing at a topless bar called Losers (with future colleagues Haji
and Tura Satana
). One day while waiting at her dentist's office she saw an ad in "Variety" for girls to audition for a new Russ Meyer
One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland
was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals. She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in Minnesota...
Wendy Hiller, daughter of Frank and Marie Hiller, was born on 15th August 1912 in Bramhall, near Stockport, Cheshire, England. She was educated at Winceby House School, Bexhill then moved on to Manchester Repertory Theatre. She appeared on stage in Sir John Barry's tour of Evensong, then as Sally Hardcastle in Love on the Dole...
Lead icon of the influential New German Cinema of the 70's & 80's, Schygulla's natural blonde beauty and amazing versatility keep her among the world's top actresses. She won best actress at Cannes in 1983 for The Story of Piera
(aka "The Story of Piera"), an Italian/German co-production. The Turkish/German co-production...
A genuine model of sincerity, practicality and dignity in most of the roles she inhabited, actress Dorothy McGuire offered Tinseltown more talent than it probably knew what to do with. A quiet, passive beauty, she had a soothing quality to her open-faced looks and voice. She was a natural when he came...