A list of my favorite actresses (no particular order)....
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...
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...
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...
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...
Rachel Weisz was born on 7th March 1970, in London, UK, to Edith (Teich), a psychoanalyst, and George Weisz, an inventor. Her father is a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and her Austrian-born mother, who left Vienna in the 1930s, is of Italian and Austrian Jewish heritage. Rachel has a sister, Minnie, a curator and photographer...
Amy Lou Adams was born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy, to American parents Kathryn (Hicken) and Richard Kent Adams, while her father was a U.S. serviceman. 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...
Rachel Anne McAdams was born on November 17, 1978 in London, Ontario, Canada, to Sandra Kay (Gale), a nurse, and Lance Frederick McAdams, a truck driver and furniture mover. She is of English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish descent. Rachel became involved with acting as a teenager and by the age of 13 was...
Swedish actress Noomi Rapace is the daughter of fellow Swedish actress Nina Norén
and Spanish Flamenco singer Rogelio Durán. Her parents did not stay together, and when Rapace was five she moved to Iceland with her mother and stepfather, where she lived for three years. When she was eight, she was cast in a small role in the Icelandic film...
Elegant redhead 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...
Elizabeth Banks was born Elizabeth Mitchell in Pittsfield, a small city in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts near the New York border, on February 10, 1974. She is the daughter of Ann (Wallace), who worked in a bank, and Mark P. Mitchell, a factory worker. Elizabeth describes herself as having been seen as a "goody two-shoes" in her youth who was nominated for the local Harvest Queen...
Thandie Newton was born in London. She is the daughter of a Zimbabwean mother, Nyasha, a health-care worker from the Shona tribe, and Nick Newton, a British father who worked as a lab technician. She lived in Zambia until political unrest caused her family to move back to the UK. She then lived in Cornwall in the southwest of Britain until the age of 11...
Sandra Annette Bullock was born in Arlington, a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. Her mother, Helga Bullock
(née Helga Mathilde Meyer), was a German opera singer. Her father, John W. Bullock, was an American voice teacher, who was born in Alabama, of Irish, English, French, and German descent. Sandra grew up on the road with her parents and younger sister...
Julie Benz was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on May 1, 1972. Julie's father is a Pittsburgh surgeon and her mother is a figure skater. The family settled in nearby Murrysville, when Julie was two, and she started ice skating at age three. She competed in the 1988 U.S. Championships in junior ice dancing with her partner David Schilling...
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...
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...
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Emmy Award-winning Sarah Michelle Gellar was born on April 14, 1977 in New York City, the daughter of Rosellen (Greenfield), who taught at a nursery school, and Arthur Gellar, who worked in the garment industry. Her maternal grandparents were Hungarian Jewish immigrants, and her father was also from a Jewish family...
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)...
Eva Gaëlle Green was born on July 6, 1980, in Paris, France. She has a fraternal twin sister. Her father, Walter Green, is a dentist who appeared in the 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar
. Her mother, Marlène Jobert
, is an actress turned children's book writer. Eva's mother was born in Algeria, of Sephardi Jewish heritage (during that time...
Julia O'Hara Stiles was born on March 28, 1981 in New York City, the outgoing daughter of a Greenwich Village artist mother, Judith Newcomb Stiles, and an elementary school teacher father, John O'Hara. She is the eldest of three children, and has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Encouraged to take modern dance lessons at an early age...
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...
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...
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...
Miranda Richardson was born in Southport, Lancashire, England on March 3, 1958, to Marian Georgina (Townsend) and William Alan Richardson, a marketing executive. She has one sister, eight years her senior. Her parents and sister are not involved in the performing arts. At an early age she performed in school plays...
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...
Born in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, to Michael and Sandra Cook, Andrea Joy Cook began acting at the age of 17. She has appeared in nearly a dozen films and several TV shows before the age of 25. Before taking up acting, she was a dancer, having started dancing competitively at age 4 in the styles of tap...
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...
Keira Christina Knightley was born in the South West Greater London suburb of Richmond on March 26th 1985. She is the daughter of actor Will Knightley
and actress turned playwright Sharman Macdonald
. An older brother, Caleb Knightley
, was born in 1979. Her father is English, while her Scottish-born mother is of Scottish and Welsh origin...
Scarlett Johansson was born in New York City. Her mother, Melanie Sloan
, is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, and her father, Karsten Johansson
, is Danish. She has a sister, Vanessa Johansson
, who is also an actress, a brother, Adrian, a twin brother, Hunter Johansson
, born three minutes after her, and a paternal half-brother, Christian. Her grandfather was writer Ejner Johansson
Regina Hall was born December 12, 1970 in Washington, D.C., to Ruby, a teacher, and Odie Hall, a contractor. In college, she earned a degree in journalism from N.Y.U. before starting a film career. In 1997, she began appearing in commercials at age 26, and then made the giant leap into movies. Her fame came with her role in the comedy-horror spoof Scary Movie...
Bridget Jane Fonda was born in Los Angeles, California, to Susan Brewer
and actor Peter Fonda
. She is the granddaughter of Henry Fonda
and niece of Jane Fonda
, both famous actors. Bridget made her film debut at age five as an extra in Easy Rider
, but first became interested in acting after appearing in a high school production of "Harvey." At age 18...
Amber Benson was born on January 8, 1977 in Birmingham, Alabama. As a young girl, she studied singing, dancing as well as acting. While still in her teens, she was involved in productions at the local community theatre. Her family moved to Los Angeles soon afterwards in 1992 so she could pursue a career in acting...
Saoirse Una Ronan was born in The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States, to Irish parents, Monica Ronan
(née Brennan) and Paul Ronan
, an actor. When Saoirse was three, the family moved to Ireland, and Saoirse grew up in its County Carlow. Saoirse made her first TV appearance with a small role in a few episodes of the TV series...
Liv Tyler was born in New York City, New York. She is the daughter of Steven Tyler
of the band Aerosmith
and Bebe Buell
, former model (and Playboy Playmate of the Month) and stalwart of the backstage rock scene of the 1970s. Liv grew up thinking that rock star Todd Rundgren
was her father...
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...
Ginnifer Goodwin was born Jennifer Michelle Goodwin on May 22, 1978, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Linda (Kantor), who worked at FedEx, and Tim Goodwin, who had a recording studio. Bright and talented, Ginnifer carried her love for theater and acting through her high school years. She graduated from Lausanne...
A small-town girl born and raised in rural Kalispell, Montana, Michelle Williams is the daughter of Carla Ingrid (Swenson), a homemaker, and Larry Richard Williams, a commodity trader and author. Her ancestry is Norwegian, as well as German, English, Swedish, Swiss-German, Danish, Welsh, and Scottish...
Karen was born and raised in Inverness, Scotland, the daughter of Marie (Paterson) and John Gillan, who is a singer and recording artist. She developed a love for acting very early on, attending several youth theatre groups and taking part in a wide range of productions at her school, Charleston Academy...