This applies only to the BEST ACTRESS and BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Oscar.
Probably the most celebrated of all actresses, Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in the charity ward of the Los Angeles General Hospital. Prior to her birth, Marilyn's father bought a motorcycle and headed north to San Francisco, abandoning the family in Los Angeles. Marilyn grew up not knowing for sure who her father really was...
Spanish dancer Eduardo Cansino
's daughter Margarita studied dancing beginning in her girlhood. At age 12, the mature-looking Rita joined Eduardo's stage act, in which she was spotted three years later by Fox studio head Winfield R. Sheehan
, leading to her first studio contract and film debut at age 16 in Dante's Inferno
Mary Jane West was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 17, 1893, to parents involved in prizefighting and vaudeville. Mae herself worked on the stage and in vaudeville from the time she was five years old. She never was academically inclined because she was too busy performing. She studied dance as a child...
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...
Eighteen-year-old Joan Bennett had intended to avoid the Bennett tradition of acting but, divorced and with a child to support, had little choice; she accepted a role in her father's play "Jarnegan", then her first leading film role in Bulldog Drummond
. Her popularity growing, she made 14 films under a Fox contract...
Myrna Williams, later to become Myrna Loy, was born on August 2, 1905 in Radersburg, Montana. Her father was the youngest person ever elected to the Montana State legislature. Later on her family moved to Helena where she spent her youth. At the age of 13, Myrna's father died of influenza and the rest of the family moved to Los Angeles...
Ida was born in London to a show business family. In 1933, her mother brought Ida with her to an audition and Ida got the part her mother wanted. The picture was Her First Affaire
. Ida, a bleached blonde, came to Hollywood in 1934 and played small and insignificant parts. Peter Ibbetson
was one of her...
In addition to being Miss New Orleans in 1931, Dorothy Lamour worked as a Chicago elevator operator; band vocalist for her first husband, band leader Herbie Kaye
; and radio performer. In 1936 she donned her soon-to-be-famous sarong for her debut at Paramount, The Jungle Princess
, and continued to play female Tarzan-Crusoe-Gauguin-girl-with make-up parts through the war years and beyond...
Veronica Lake was born as Constance Frances Marie Ockleman on November 14, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the daughter of Constance Charlotta (Trimble) and Harry Eugene Ockelman, who worked for an oil company as a ship employee. Her father was of half German and half Irish descent, and her mother was of Irish ancestry...
Yvonne De Carlo
Yvonne De Carlo was born Margaret Yvonne Middleton on September 1, 1922 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She was three when her father abandoned the family. Her mother turned to waitressing in a restaurant to make ends meet--a rough beginning for an actress who would, one day, be one of Hollywood's elite...
Hedy Lamarr, the woman many critics and fans alike regard as the most beautiful ever to appear in films, was born Hedwig Eva Kiesler in Vienna, Austria. She was the daughter of Gertrud (Lichtwitz), from Budapest, and Emil Kiesler, a banker from Lviv. Her parents were both from Jewish families. Hedwig had a calm childhood...
She was the third daughter of Daniel and Anne MacDonald, younger sister to Blossom (MGM's character actress Marie Blake
), whom she followed to New York and a chorus job in 1920. She was busy in a string of musical productions. In 1928 Paramount tested and rejected her, but a year later Ernst Lubitsch
saw her test and picked her to play opposite Maurice Chevalier
in The Love Parade
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...
Lena Calhoun Horne was born June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York. In her biography she stated that on the day she was born, her father was in the midst of a card game trying to get money to pay the hospital costs. Her parents divorced while she was still a toddler. Her mother left later in order to find work as an actress and Lena was left in the care of her grandparents...
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...
As A&E's Biography put it, "She rose from the mean streets of New York's Hell's Kitchen to become the most famous singing actress in the world. When the pressures of fame became too much, she had the courage to leave Hollywood on her own terms". Alice Faye was born Alice Jeanne Leppert in NYC on May 5...
Maureen Paula O'Sullivan was born on May 17, 1911 in County Roscommon, Ireland, to Evangeline "Mary Eva" Lovatt (Frazer) and Charles Joseph O'Sullivan, an officer in the Connaught Rangers. She was of Irish, English, and Scottish descent. The future mother of Mia Farrow was educated in private Catholic girls schools in London...
Classic comedienne Zasu Pitts, of the timid, forlorn blue eyes and trademark woebegone vocal pattern and fidgety hands, was born to Rulandus and Nellie (Shay) Pitts, the third of four children on January 3, 1894. Her aged New York-native father, who lost a leg back in the Civil War era, had settled the family in Kansas by the time ZaSu was born but relocated to Santa Cruz...
Linda Darnell was born Monetta Eloyse Darnell in Dallas, Texas, one of five children of a post office worker and his wife. It was evident at an early age that she would be a ravishing beauty, and her mother encouraged her to model. By age 11 she was modeling clothes for an area department store. She had no trouble getting modeling jobs even at such a young age...
American leading lady whose sweet smile and sunny disposition made her the prototypical girl-next-door of American movies of the 1940s. Raised in semi-poverty in Bronx neighborhoods by her divorced mother, Allyson (nee Ella Geisman) was injured in a fall at age eight and spent four years confined within a steel brace...
Kay Francis is possibly the biggest of the 'forgotten stars' from Hollywood's Golden Era, yet, for a while in the 1930s, she ranked as one of the most popular actresses, tagged the 'Queen of Warner Brothers', by 1935 earning a yearly salary of $115,000 (compared to Bette Davis
with $18,000). The daughter of actress Katherine Clinton and businessman Joseph Gibbs...
Her father was Irish Philadelphian newspaperman, Benny McNulty. He was related to Jim Farley
Roosevelt's campaign managers and later Postmaster General. As a child, she sang songs at a silent movie theater. After the sixth grade she joined a touring vaudeville act called "The Kiddie Kabaret." Billed as Penny McNulty...
Elizabeth Ruth Grable was born on December 18, 1916 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Lillian Rose (Hofmann) and John Charles Grable, a stockbroker. She had German, English, Irish, and Dutch ancestry. Her mother was a stubborn and materialistic woman who was determined to make her daughter a star. Elizabeth...
started as a dancer on Broadway. After her marriage to Al Jolson
she moved to Hollywood and become a star in Warners musicals opposite Dick Powell
. After her divorce from Jolson she retired for almost 30 years, until she appeared in "No No Nanette" on Broadway in 1971 under the direction of Busby Berkeley
Jean Dorothy Seberg was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, to Dorothy Arline (Benson), a substitute teacher, and Edward Waldemar Seberg, a pharmacist. Her father was of Swedish descent and her mother was of English and German ancestry. One month before her eighteenth birthday, Jean landed the title role in Otto Preminger
's Saint Joan
after a much-publicized contest involving some 18,000 hopefuls...
Diminutive, fiery-tempered Simone Simon was born in France, but spent much of her early childhood in Madagascar, where her father managed a graphite mine. Her schooling was somewhat unsettled, her family moving from city to city (Berlin, Budapest, Turin) before finally establishing themselves in Paris in 1930...
American leading lady of musical westerns of the 1940s. Born Frances Octavia Smith in Uvalde, Texas. She was raised in Texas and Arkansas. Married at 14 and a mother at 15, she was divorced at 17 (some sources say widowed). Intent on a singing career, she moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and worked in an insurance company while taking occasional radio singing jobs...
Priscilla Lane attended the Eagin School of Dramatic Arts in New York before she began touring with her sisters in the Fred Waring
and the Pennsylvanians Dance Band. She was a popular singer with her sisters and, after 5 years, she was signed to a Hollywood contract with Warner Brothers in 1937...
A product of Marysvale, Utah, Marie Windsor attended Brigham Young University and trained for the stage under Maria Ouspenskaya
before she began playing leading roles in B pictures in the late 1940s. Her best work was in the "film noir" category, most notably her role as the manipulative, double-crossing...
Thespian Betty Field was born in Boston on February 8, 1916, the daughter of a salesman and his wife. Ancestors on her father's side were Mayflower colonists Priscilla and John Alden. Her parents divorced while she was still young and Betty eventually learned to speak Spanish while traveling with her mother to various Spanish-speaking countries during her childhood...
Betty Hutton was born Elizabeth June Thornburg on February 26, 1921, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Two years later Betty's father decided that the family way of life wasn't for him, so he left (he committed suicide 16 years later). Having to fend for themselves, Mrs. Thornburg moved the family to Detroit to find work in the numerous auto factories there...
Maria Montez, also known as The Caribbean Cyclone, was born Maria Africa Vidal de Santo Silas, on June 6, 1917, in Barahona, Dominican Republic, to a Spanish consul and his wife. After a stint in modeling, she made an attempt at Hollywood. Maria's exotic beauty landed her a contract in the movie colony...
A charming, elegant, and exceedingly popular international film star with a gentle, understated beauty, actress Lilli Palmer was born as Lilli Marie Peiser on May 24, 1914, in Posen, Prussia. She was the daughter of Rose Lissman, an Austrian Jewish actress, and Alfred Peiser, a German Jewish surgeon...
Known as "The Big Mouth" and considered the female equivalent to Bob Hope, Martha Raye was an American icon in her own right. She was born Margy Reed in Butte, Montana, to Maybelle Hazel (Hooper) and Peter Reed, Jr., vaudeville performers. She had Irish, German, and English ancestry. Raye made her...
Her real name was Frances "Fanny" Rose Shore, and she was born in Winchester, Tennessee. Stricken with polio at 18 months of age, she recovered after receiving the Sister Kenny treatment. She became a cheerleader at Hume-Fogg High School in Nashville and went on to graduate from Vanderbilt University in 1938...
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...
She was born Vina Fay Wray near Cardston, Alberta, Canada, on September 15, 1907. Fay was from a large family that included five siblings. She moved to Arizona when she was still small in order for her father to find better work than what was offered in Alberta. After moving again to California, her parents divorced...
One of the leading sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s, film actress Jayne Mansfield was born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19, 1933 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to Vera J. and Herbert W. Palmer. Her parents were well-to-do, with her father a successful attorney in Phillipburg, New Jersey, where Jayne began her girlhood...
Jane's first interest was in dress designing but on leaving high school she enrolled for a term at Max Reinhardt's Theatrical Workshop which changed her mind about being a dress designer. Later she signed for 6 months with Madame Ouspenskaya (an actress and coach) who fired her dramatic ambition. Although...
The daughter of a fur wholesaler in Norway, Sonja Henie received her first pair of ice skates when she was six. At 14 she was the Norwegian Skating Champion. At 15 she would win the Olympic gold medal in Skating, a feat she would repeat in 1932 and 1936. In 1936 she would turn professional and tour with her own ice show...
Peggy Ann Garner
Actress Peggy Ann Garner was was born Feb. 3, 1932, in Canton, Ohio. Her father was an English-born attorney, William H. Garner, who served as a U.S. Army officer during World War II. Virginia, her determined mother, got Peggy into summer stock and modeling before she was six. Estranged from her husband...
Kathryn Grayson was born Zelma Kathryn Elisabeth Hedrick in Winston-Salem, NC, on February 9, 1922. This pretty, petite brunette with a heart-shaped face was discovered by MGM talent scouts while singing on the radio. The studio quickly signed her to a contract, and she was given acting lessons along and had to pose for countless publicity photos...
Ann Miller was born Johnnie Lucille Ann Collier on April 12, 1923 in Chireno, Texas. She lived there until she was nine, when her mother left her philandering father and moved with Ann to Los Angeles, California. Even at that young age, she had to support her mother, who was hearing-impaired and unable to hold a job...
Ruth Roman was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the youngest of three daughters of Lithuanian-Jewish parents, Mary Pauline (Gold) and Abraham Roman. Her father, a carnival barker, died when she was a small child, forcing her mother to support the family by working as a waitress and cleaning woman. Ruth grew up in the poor tenement district of Boston...
Clara Lou Sheridan was born February 21, 1915, in Denton, Texas, to an automobile mechanic and his homemaker wife. The youngest of five children, she grew up in a normal childhood environment. She was a self-described tomboy and was very athletic, and played on the girls basketball team for North Texas State Teacher's College...
Statuesque, smart Canadian-born Alexis Smith, with her blue/green eyes and a seductively husky voice, lent a touch of class to her leading ladies of the 1940s and 1950s. After her family moved to California, Alexis grew into a precocious talent, performing ballet in public by the age of thirteen, dancing to 'Carmen' at the Hollywood Bowl...
A schoolteacher who became a stage actress (briefly), Lois Wilson entered films in 1916 at Paramount (her sisters, Diana Kane
and Connie Lewis
, also worked as actresses). Wilson played leading roles well into the sound era, and after she retired from the screen she worked sporadically in television and again appeared on stage.
Clara Kimball Young
Clara Kimball Young was born Clarisa Kimball on September 6, 1890, to Edward Kimball
and the former Mrs. E.M. Kimball
, traveling stock company actors with the Holden Co. Though she claimed Chicago as her birthplace, there are no records of her being born in Cook County--which includes Chicago--and she may have been born on one of her parents' tours...