My list of the 50 best actresses alive.
Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel, to a Jewish family. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an American-born artist (from Cincinnati, Ohio), who also acts as Natalie's agent. She left Israel for Washington...
Cate Blanchett was born on May 14, 1969 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, to June (Gamble), an Australian teacher and property developer, and Robert DeWitt Blanchett, Jr., an American advertising executive, originally from Texas. She has an older brother and a younger sister. When she was ten years old...
Annette Bening was born on May 29, 1958 in Topeka, Kansas, the youngest of four children of Shirley (Ashley), a soloist and church singer, and Arnett Grant Bening, an insurance salesman. She has German and English ancestry. Her family moved to California when she was young, and she grew up there. She...
Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter is an actress of great versatility, one of the UK's finest and most successful. Bonham Carter was born May 26, 1966 in Golders Green, London, England, the youngest of three children of Elena (née Propper de Callejón), a psychotherapist, and Raymond Bonham Carter, a merchant banker...
Monique received a standing ovation when she stepped on stage for the first time in the hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, giving her confidence to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. After numerous stand-up performances, she took a leap forward with one of the starring roles in The Parkers
Rachel Hannah Weisz was born on 7 March, 1970, in London, U.K., to Edith Ruth (Teich), a psychoanalyst, and George Weisz, an inventor. Her parents both came to England around 1938. Her father is a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and her mother, from Vienna, is of Italian and Austrian Jewish heritage. Rachel has a sister, Minnie, a curator and photographer...
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...
Elegant blonde Nicole Kidman, known as one of Hollywood's top Australian imports, was actually born in Honolulu, Hawaii, while her Australian parents were there on educational visas. Kidman is the daughter of Janelle Ann (Glenny), a nursing instructor, and Antony David Kidman, a biochemist and clinical psychologist...
Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe, the star of Precious
, was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley
, is a former special education teacher who gave up her career and became a street performer/singer, while her father, Ibnou Sidibe, is a cab driver. Her mother is African-American and her father is Senegalese...
Emily Olivia Leah Blunt is a British actress known for her roles in The Young Victoria
and The Devil Wears Prada
. Blunt was born on February 23, 1983, in Roehampton, South West London, England, the second of four children in the family of Joanna Mackie
, a former actress and teacher, and Oliver Simon Peter Blunt...
Academy Award-winning Actress Marion Cotillard was born on September 30, 1975 in Paris. Cotillard is the daughter of Jean-Claude Cotillard
, an actor, playwright and director, and Niseema Theillaud
, an actress and drama teacher. Her father's family is Breton and her mother has Kabyle ancestry. Raised in Orléans...
Diane Kruger was born Diane Heidkrüger in Algermissen, near Hildesheim, Germany, to Maria-Theresa, a bank employee, and Hans-Heinrich Heidkrüger, a computer specialist. She studied ballet with the Royal Ballet in London before an injury ended her career. She returned to Germany and became a top fashion model...
Juliette Lewis has been recognized as one of Hollywood's most talented and versatile actors of her generation since she first stunned audiences and critics alike with her Oscar-nominated performance as "Danielle Bowden" in Cape Fear
. To date, she has worked with some of the most revered directors in the industry...
Mélanie Laurent was born in Paris, France. She is the daughter of Annick, a ballet teacher, and Pierre, a voice actor, who is most recognized for the French version of The Simpsons
. She has a younger brother, Mathieu, and has both Sephardi Jewish (from Tunisia) and Ashkenazi Jewish (from Poland) ancestry...
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...
Academy Award-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal was born on November 16, 1977, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. Her parents, Naomi Foner
(née Achs) and Stephen Gyllenhaal
, are both filmmakers, and her brother is actor Jake Gyllenhaal
. Her mother is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, while her father has Swedish, English, Swiss-German, and German ancestry...
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...
Milla Jovovich is an Ukrainian-born actress, supermodel, fashion designer, singer and public figure, who was on the cover of more than a hundred magazines, and starred in such films as The Fifth Element
, and the Resident Evil
franchise. Milica Bogdanovna Jovovich was born on December 17...
Daryl Christine Hannah was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is the daughter of Susan Jeanne (Metzger), a schoolteacher and later a producer, and Donald Christian Hannah, who owned a tugboat/barge company. Her stepfather was music journalist/promoter Jerrold Wexler
. Her siblings are Page Hannah
Blond-haired, blue-eyed with an effervescent personality, Meg Ryan was born Margaret Mary Emily Hyra in Fairfield, Connecticut, to Susan (Duggan), an English teacher and one-time actress, and Harry Hyra, a math teacher. She has Polish, Irish, and German ancestry ("Hyra" is a Polish surname, and "Ryan" is her maternal grandmother's maiden name)...
Rose McGowan is an American actress and director, known for her contribution to independent film. Since the age of nineteen, she has appeared in acclaimed films by Gregg Araki, Wes Craven, Brian De Palma, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. In 2014, her directorial debut Dawn
was nominated for the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival...
Jodelle Micah Ferland has built up an impressive resume filled with roles in film, television and, at the beginning of her career, commercials. Born on October 9, 1994, she got her start in an episode of CTV's Cold Squad
, before landing the lead role in her first film, Mermaid
at an early age...
British actress Naomie Harris was born in London, the only child of television scriptwriter Lisselle Kayla
. Her father is from Jamaica and her mother is from Trinidad. She showed an interest in acting from an early age and attended the prestigious Anna Scher Theatre School. From here, Harris won roles in various projects...
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)...
Known in the mid to late nineties for her status as a fashion impresario and "it girl," with over a dozen art house films to her credit, Chloe Sevigny also stands out as one of the most prominent queens of contemporary independent cinema. Originally hailing from Darien, Connecticut, Sevigny attributes...
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...
This stunning and resourceful actress has been primarily a film player thus far. Only recently has she been opening herself up more to doing television (the series Gemini Division
, which she executive-produced), and animated voice-overs. Dawson's powerhouse talent stands out the most in edgy, urban filming that dates back to 1995 when she was only sixteen...
Famke Janssen was born on November 5, 1964 in Amstelveen, Netherlands, and has two siblings, director Antoinette Beumer
and actress Marjolein Beumer
. She studied economics for a year at the University of Amsterdam. Moving to America in 1984, Famke modeled for Chanel in New York City. Later, taking a break from modeling...
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...
Mary Elle Fanning was born on the 9th of April 1998 in Conyers, Georgia, USA, to Heather Joy (Arrington) and Steven J. Fanning. Her mother played professional tennis, and her father, now an electronics salesman, played minor league baseball. She is of German, Irish, English, French, and Channel Islander descent...
Chloë Grace Moretz
Chloë Grace Moretz was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Teri (Duke), a nurse, and McCoy Lee Moretz, a plastic surgeon. She has four brothers, all older, including actor Trevor Duke-Moretz
. Her ancestry is mostly German and English. Chloë's first two appearances were as Violet in two episodes of the series The Guardian
The talented Milena "Mila" Markovna Kunis was born to a Jewish family in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, USSR (now independent Ukraine). Her mother, Elvira, is a physics teacher, her father, Mark Kunis, is a mechanical engineer, and she has an older brother named Michael. After attending one semester of college between gigs...
The dark and classically beautiful British actress Julia Ormond was born into privileged surroundings as the daughter of a well-to-do laboratory technician. Her parents divorced when she was young; she was the second of five children. She attended Cranleigh, a private school, and showed interest in theatrics way back then...
The beat goes on ... and on ... and as strong as ever for this superstar entertainer who has well surpassed the four-decade mark while improbably transforming herself from an artificial, glossy "flashionplate" singer into a serious, Oscar-worthy, dramatic actress ... and back again! With more ups and downs than the 2008 Dow Jones Industrial Average...
Charlize Theron was born in Benoni, a city in the greater Johannesburg-area, in South Africa, the only child of Gerda Theron
(née Gerda Jacoba Aletta Maritz) and Charles Jacobus Theron. She was raised on a farm outside the city. Theron is of Afrikaner (Dutch, with some French Huguenot and German) descent, and Afrikaner military figure Danie Theron was her great-great-uncle...
Precocious, outspoken child-teen starlet of the 1990s, Christina Ricci was born in 1980 in Santa Monica, California, the youngest of four children of Sarah (Murdoch), a realtor, and Ralph Ricci, a lawyer and therapist. She is of Italian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, and Scots-Irish descent...
Laurie Holden was born Heather Laurie Holden in Los Angeles, California, to actors Glen Corbett
and Adrienne Ellis
. When she was five, her parents divorced, and her mother married director Michael Anderson
. Laurie then split her time between L.A. and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Holden traveled the world with her family on various locations growing up...