Favorite actresses from the last 40 years

Top 50 favorite actresses of the last 40 years.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon was born Susan Abigail Tomalin in New York City, NY, to Lenora Marie (Criscione), no profession, and Phillip Leslie Tomalin, an advertising executive. She is of Italian (mother) and English, Irish, Welsh, and German (father) descent. Soon after the 1968 Democratic convention, there was...
 
2.
Anne Hathaway
Anne Jacqueline Hathaway was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Kate McCauley Hathaway, an actress, and Gerald T. Hathaway, a lawyer, both originally from Philadelphia. She is of mostly Irish descent, along with English, German, and French. Her first major role came in the short-lived television series Get Real...
 
3.
Sean Young
Actress, Blade Runner
Mary Sean Young was born on November 20, 1959 in Louisville, Kentucky. She is the daughter of Lee Guthrie (née Mary Lee Kane), an Emmy-nominated producer, screenwriter, public relations executive, and journalist, and Donald Young, Jr., an Emmy award winning television news producer and journalist. She has Irish...
 
4.
Jessica Chastain
Actress, The Martian
Jessica Michelle Chastain was born in Sacramento, California, and was raised in a middle-class household in a northern California suburb. Her mother, Jerri Chastain, is a vegan chef whose family is originally from Kansas, and her stepfather is a fireman. She discovered dance at the age of nine and was in a dance troupe by age thirteen...
 
5.
Ellen Burstyn
Actress, Interstellar
Ellen Burstyn was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Correine Marie (Hamel) and John Austin Gillooly. She is of mostly Irish, German, and French-Canadian descent. Ellen worked a number of jobs before she became an actress. At 14, she was a short-order cook at a lunch counter. After graduating from Detroit's Cass Technical High School...
 
6.
Gena Rowlands
Actress, The Notebook
Virginia Cathryn "Gena" Rowlands is an American film, stage, and television actress, whose career in the entertainment industry has spanned over six decades. A four-time Emmy and two-time Golden Globe winner, she is known for her collaborations with her late actor-director husband John Cassavetes in 10 films...
 
7.
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman is the first person born in the 1980s to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (for Black Swan). Natalie was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an American-born artist (from Cincinnati...
 
8.
Maggie Gyllenhaal
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...
 
9.
Marisa Tomei
Actress, The Wrestler
Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York, to Patricia "Addie" (Bianchi), a teacher of English, and Gary Tomei, a lawyer, both of Italian descent. Marisa has a brother, actor Adam Tomei. As a child, Marisa's mother frequently corrected her speech as to eliminate her heavy Brooklyn accent...
 
10.
Meryl Streep
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...
 
11.
Mädchen Amick
Born and raised in Sparks, Nevada, Madchen Amick was encouraged by her parents to follow her own creative instincts where she learned the skill of playing the piano, bass, violin and guitar as well as being able to do tap, ballet, jazz and modern dancing. In 1987 at the age of 16, she traveled to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting
 
12.
Elisabeth Shue
Elisabeth Shue was born in Wilmington, Delaware, to Anne Brewster (Wells), who worked for the Chemical Banking Corporation, and James William Shue, a lawyer and real estate developer. She is of German and English ancestry, including descent from Mayflower passengers. Shue's parents divorced while she was in the fourth grade...
 
13.
Kate Winslet
Actress, Titanic
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...
 
14.
Jennifer Aniston
Actress, Friends
Jennifer Aniston was born in Sherman Oaks, California, to actors John Aniston and Nancy Dow. Her father is Greek, and her mother was of English, Irish, Scottish, and Italian descent. Jennifer spent a year of her childhood living in Greece with her family. Her family then relocated to New York City where her parents divorced when she was nine...
 
15.
Gwyneth Paltrow
Actress, Se7en
A tall, wafer thin, delicate beauty, Gwyneth Kate Paltrow was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of noted producer and director Bruce Paltrow and Tony award-winning actress Blythe Danner. Her father was from a Jewish family, while her mother has German, and some English and Irish, ancestry. When Gwyneth was eleven...
 
16.
Halle Berry
Halle Berry was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, Jerome Jesse Berry, was African-American, and worked as a hospital attendant. Her mother, Judith Ann (Hawkins), who is Caucasian, has English and German ancestry, and is a retired psychiatric nurse. Halle has an older sister, Heidi Berry. Halle first came into the spotlight at seventeen years when she won the Miss Teen All-American Pageant...
 
17.
Kirsten Dunst
Actress, Spider-Man 2
Kirsten Caroline Dunst is an American actress, who also holds German citizenship. She was born on April 30, 1982 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, to parents Inez (née Rupprecht), who owned an art gallery, and Klaus Dunst, a medical services executive. She has a younger brother named Christian Dunst, born in 1987...
 
18.
Jodie Foster
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...
 
19.
Reese Witherspoon
Actress, Walk the Line
Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon was born on March 22, 1976 at Southern Baptist Hospital (now Memorial Medical Center) in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the second child of Mary Elizabeth "Betty" (Reese) and Dr. John Draper Witherspoon, Sr. Her father was a military surgeon specializing in ear, nose and throat...
 
20.
Kate Hudson
Almost everyone who has spent time with Kate Hudson -including directors, family members, co-stars and interviewers - is quick to comment on her ability to light up a room. Through some combination of a winning smile, solid work ethic, and good old-fashioned talent, the young actress has gone from indie beginner to Vanity Fair cover girl in just three years...
 
21.
Rachel Weisz
Actress, The Mummy
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...
 
22.
Sigourney Weaver
Actress, Aliens
Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver in Leroy Hospital in Manhattan, New York City. Her father, TV producer Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., originally wanted to name her Flavia, because of his passion for Roman history (he had already named her elder brother Trajan). Her mother, Elizabeth Inglis (née Desiree Mary Lucy Hawkins)...
 
23.
Marion Cotillard
Actress, Inception
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. Raised in Orléans, France, she made her acting debut as a child with a role in one of her father's plays...
 
24.
Diane Ladd
Actress, Chinatown
Southern belle Diane Ladd was born Rose Diane Ladner in Meridian, Mississippi. Her mother, Mary Bernadette (Anderson), was a former actress, from a Norwegian and German immigrant family, and her father, Preston Paul Ladner, was a veterinarian, from a family with deep roots in the American South. Ladd has earned recognition for her Academy Award-nominated performance as the comical...
 
25.
Faye Dunaway
Actress, Chinatown
She is one of the great models who transitioned successfully into acting! "Thomas Crown Affair" being one of the greatest performances causing all to take notice! Playing intelligent women with ability to match her contemporary male powerful counterparts into in-depth presence of the changes appearing...
 
26.
Cate Blanchett
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...
 
27.
Amy Adams
Actress, Arrival
Amy Lou Adams was born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy, to American parents, Kathryn (Hicken) and Richard Kent Adams, a U.S. serviceman who was stationed at Caserma Ederle in Italy at the time. She was raised in a Mormon family of seven children in Castle Rock, Colorado, and has English, as well as smaller amounts of Danish, Swiss-German, and Norwegian, ancestry...
 
28.
Viola Davis
Actress, The Help
Actress Viola Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, at the then-Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina. When she was two months old her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father, Dan Davis, worked as a horse groomer and trainer. Her mother, Mary Alice (Logan), a maid and factory worker...
 
29.
Judi Dench
Actress, Skyfall
Judi Dench was born in York, England, to Eleanora Olive (Jones), who was from Dublin, Ireland, and Reginald Arthur Dench, a doctor from Dorset, England. She attended Mount School in York, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre...
 
30.
Jennifer Connelly
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...
 
31.
Angelina Jolie
Actress, Maleficent
Angelina Jolie is an Academy Award-winning actress who became popular after playing the title role in the "Lara Croft" blockbuster movies, as well as Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Wanted, Salt and Maleficent. Off-screen, Jolie has become prominently involved in international charity projects...
 
32.
Sharon Stone
Actress, Casino
Sharon Yvonne Stone was born and raised in Meadville, a small town in Pennsylvania, to Dorothy Marie (Lawson), an accountant and homemaker, and Joseph William Stone II, a factory worker. Her father was strict. She was the second of four children, and has English, German, Scottish, and Irish ancestry...
 
33.
Ingrid Bergman
Actress, Casablanca
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 second only to Katharine Hepburn...
 
34.
Sophia Loren
Actress, Two Women
Sophia Loren was born as Sofia Scicolone at the Clinica Regina Margherita in Rome, Italy, on September 20, 1934. Her father, Riccardo Scicolone, was married to another woman and refused to marry her mother, Romilda Villani, despite the fact that she was the mother of his two children (Sophia and her younger sister Maria Scicolone)...
 
35.
Sofía Vergara
Actress, Modern Family
Sofía Margarita Vergara Vergara was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her mother, Margarita Vergara Dávila de Vergara, is a housewife. Her father, Julio Enrique Vergara Robayo, provides cattle to the meat industry. She has five siblings. She was educated at a private bilingual Spanish/English school...
 
36.
Gabourey Sidibe
Actress, Precious
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...
 
37.
Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder was born Winona Laura Horowitz in Olmsted County, Minnesota, and was named after a nearby town, Winona, Minnesota. She is the daughter of Cynthia (Istas), an author and video producer, and Michael Horowitz, a publisher and bookseller. Her father's family is Russian Jewish and Romanian Jewish...
 
38.
Jessica Lange
Actress, Big Fish
Jessica Lange was born in 1949, in Cloquet, Minnesota, USA, where her father worked as a traveling salesman. She obtained a scholarship to study art at the University of Minnesota, but instead went to Paris to study drama. She moved to New York, working as a model, until producer Dino De Laurentiis cast her as the female lead in King Kong...
 
39.
Drew Barrymore
Producer, Donnie Darko
Since melting audiences' hearts - at the age of six - in Steven Spielberg's beloved sci-fi blockbuster, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Drew Barrymore has emerged as one of the most endearing and talented actresses of her generation. Drew Blyth Barrymore was born in Culver City, California, to actors John Drew Barrymore and Jaid Barrymore (née Ildiko Jaid Mako)...
 
40.
Gina Gershon
Actress, Face/Off
Since making her uncredited debut as a dancer in Beatlemania, Gina Gershon has established herself as a character actress and one of the leading icons of American camp. For it was fourteen years after her movie debut that Gina made movie history as the predatory bisexual who was the leading light of a Las Vegas leg-line in director Paul Verhoeven's kitsch classic Showgirls...
 
41.
Mary-Louise Parker
Actress, Weeds
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...
 
42.
Penelope Ann Miller
Actress, The Artist
Penelope Ann Miller is an acclaimed and diverse actor, who has stood the test of time, working in every medium and genre, with some of the most legendary actors and directors of all time. Most recently she took on the role of Elizabeth Turner in the controversial true story of Nat Turner's 1831 slave rebellion...
 
43.
Mary Stuart Masterson
Born in Los Angeles, Mary Stuart Masterson grew up in New York City. Her parents, Peter Masterson (dir.) and Carlin Glynn, (actress) are both known for their quality work in both theater and film. Mary Stuart Masterson's film, TV and theater career, includes roles in At Close Range, Some Kind of Wonderful...
 
44.
Joanna Cassidy
Actress, Blade Runner
The very lovely, vivacious and smart-looking Joanna Cassidy was born in Camden, New Jersey, and raised in nearby Haddonfield, a borough located in Camden County. She grew up in a creative environment as the daughter and granddaughter of artists. At an early age she engaged in painting and sculpture and went on to major in art at Syracuse University in New York...
 
45.
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...
 
46.
Juliette Lewis
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...
 
47.
Charlize Theron
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...
 
48.
Amanda Seyfried
Actress, Mamma Mia!
Amanda Seyfried was born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Ann (Sander), an occupational therapist, and Jack Seyfried, a pharmacist. She is of German, and some English and Scottish, ancestry. She began modeling when she was eleven, and acted in high school productions as well as taking singing lessons...
 
49.
Anna Paquin
Actress, The Piano
Anna Paquin is the first millennial to have received an Academy Award nomination for acting, and the first to win. She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1982, to Mary (Brophy), an English teacher from Wellington, New Zealand, and Brian Paquin, a Canadian phys-ed teacher. Anna moved to her mother's native country when she was four years old...