The 50 Greatest Babes of Cult Cinema

by jimiwirth | created - 20 Jun 2011 | updated - 13 Sep 2012 | Public

My list of the lovely ladies that make cult films great! The B-movie bombshells, cult film kittens, and the sirens of exploitation.

1. Pam Grier

Actress | Jackie Brown

Pam Grier was born in Winston-Salem, NC, one of four children of Gwendolyn Sylvia (Samuels), a nurse, and Clarence Ransom Grier Jr., an Air Force mechanic. Pam has been a major African-American star from the early 1970s. Her career started in 1971, when Roger Corman of New World Pictures launched ...

Coffy, Foxy Brown, Friday Foster, The Arena

2. Mamie Van Doren

Actress | The Navy vs. the Night Monsters

Mamie Van Doren was born on February 6, 1931 in Rowena, South Dakota, USA as Joan Lucille Olander. She is an actress, known for The Navy vs. the Night Monsters (1966), Teacher's Pet (1958) and Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968). She has been married to Thomas Dixon since June 26, 1979...

Girlstown, Sex Kittens Go To College, Untamed Youth, Navy vs the Night Monsters

3. Tura Satana

Actress | Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Tura Satana started exotic dancing when she was only 13 years old. She integrated acrobatics, humor, and sensual beauty to her dancing art form. As a dancer, she started doing guest appearances in films such as Our Man Flint (1966) and Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963) and made several films ...

Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, Astro Zombies, Doll Squad

4. Raquel Welch

Actress | The Three Musketeers

A new reigning 1960s international sex symbol took to the cinematic throne as soon as Raquel Welch emerged from the sea in her purposely depleted, furry prehistoric bikini. Tantalizingly wet with her garb clinging to all the right amazonian places, One Million Years B.C. (1966), if nothing else, ...

Fantastic Voyage, One Million Years BC, Myra Breckinridge, Kansas City Bomber

5. Gloria Hendry

Actress | Live and Let Die

Born in Florida and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Gloria's first job was as an assistant to the legal secretary in the New York office of the NAACP. She also became a model around this time and worked at the Playboy Club as a "Bunny." This exposure led to her being cast in her first movie, For Love...

Black Belt Jones, Savage Sisters, Hell In Harlem, Black Ceasar

6. Barbara Steele

Actress |

The most beautiful star of the greatest horror masterpiece of Italian film, Black Sunday (1960): Barbara Steele was born on December 29, 1937 in Birkenhead, Cheshire, England. Barbara is loved by her fans for her talent, intelligence, and a dark, mysterious beauty that is unique; her face ...

7. Pia Zadora

Actress | The Lonely Lady

Pia Zadora was born on May 4, 1954 in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA as Pia Alfreda Schipani. She is an actress, known for The Lonely Lady (1983), Butterfly (1982) and Voyage of the Rock Aliens (1984). She has been married to Michael Jeffries since January 7, 2006. She was previously married to Jonathan ...

Butterfly, The Lonely Lady, Nevada Heat

8. Linda Blair

Actress | The Exorcist

From the age of five, Linda Blair had to get used to the spotlight, first as a child model and then as an actress, when out of 600 applicants she was picked for the role of Regan, the possessed child, in The Exorcist (1973). Linda quickly rose to international fame, won the Golden Globe, and seemed...

Chained Heat, Savage Streets, Hell Night

9. Maila Nurmi

Actress | Plan 9 from Outer Space

The original glamour ghoul herself, "Vampira", of late night 1950s television, was actually born Maila Syrjäniemi (later changed to the easier surname Nurmi) on December 11, 1922 in Petsamo, Finland. Her uncle was the multiple Olympic medal runner Paavo Nurmi. Maila arrived in the United States ...

Plan 9 from Outer Space, Sex Kittens Go To College, The Magic Sword

10. Mink Stole

Actress | Serial Mom

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 ...

Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living, Female Trouble, Polyester

11. Marrie Lee

Actress | Cleopatra Wong

Marrie Lee was born Doris Young on November 25, 1959 in Singapore. Marrie has an older brother named Jimmy and an older sister named Betty. Her father died when she was six and her mother passed away when she was sixteen. Lee was working as a receptionist in a Shenton Way nightclub when she was ...

Cleopatra Wong, Return of the Bionic Boy, Mean Business

12. Jeannie Bell

Actress | Mean Streets

Jeannie Bell was born on November 23, 1943 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. She is an actress, known for Mean Streets (1973), TNT Jackson (1974) and The Muthers (1976).

TNT Jackson, The Muthers, Police Woman

13. Anitra Ford

Actress | Messiah of Evil

Sultry, slinky and slender brunette knockout Anitra Ford was born as Anitra Joy Weinstein in 1942 in California. Anitra began her career in the 60s as a model. She made her film debut in an uncredited small role as a model in "The Love Machine." Ford gave a funny and spirited performance as cheery ...

Invasion of the Bee Girls, Women in Cages, Messiah of Evil

14. Susan Tyrrell

Actress | Cry-Baby

A bizarre, gloriously one-of-a-kind Hollywood gypsy and self-affirmed outcast, San Francisco-born actress Susan Tyrrell (born Susan Jillian Creamer) was a teenager when she made her stage debut in "Time Out for Ginger" in 1962. A product of the entertainment industry, her father was a top agent at ...

The Forbidden Zone, Andy Warhol's Bad, Killer Inside Me

15. Sybil Danning

Actress | Battle Beyond the Stars

Tall, leggy, buxom and statuesque 5'7" blonde beauty Sybil Danning reigns supreme as one of the sexiest, most dynamic and commanding actresses to achieve cult B-movie queen status. She was born Sybille Johanna Danninger on May 24, 1952, in Wels, Austria, the daughter of a US Army major father and ...

Battle Beyond the Stars, Reform School Girls, Hercules, Chained Heat

16. Jessica Harper

Actress | Suspiria

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 ...

Suspiria, Phantom of the Paradise, Shock Treatment

17. Tamara Dobson

Actress | Cleopatra Jones

Tamara Dobson was born on May 14, 1947 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA as Tamara Janice Dobson. She is known for her work on Cleopatra Jones (1973), Chained Heat (1983) and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975). She died on October 2, 2006 in Baltimore.

Cleopatra Jones, Norman Is That You?, Chained Heat, Cleopatra Jones Casino of Gold

18. Cheri Caffaro

Actress | Ginger

Slim, shapely and well-tanned blonde bombshell Cheri Caffaro was born in 1945 in Miami, Florida. Caffaro won a "Lifetime" magazine Brigitte Bardot lookalike contest when she was a teenager and worked as a model throughout the 60s. Cheri achieved a substantial amount of 70s exploitation cinema ...

Ginger, Savage Sisters, Girls Are For Loving, Too Hot To Handle

19. Juanita Brown

Actress | Foxy Brown

Juanita Brown is an actress, known for Foxy Brown (1974), Caged Heat (1974) and Playa azul (1982).

Caged heat, Foxy Brown, Black Starlet

20. Margaret Markov

Actress | Black Mama White Mama

Tall, graceful and willowy, with a shapely, slender figure, lengthy straw blonde hair, very precise and delicate facial features, quite solid and capable acting skills, a bright, sunny, upbeat persona, and, most refreshingly, a strong, durable, take-charge attitude, the strikingly statuesque ...

The Hot Box, Black Mama White Mama, The Arena

21. Haji

Actress | Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Haji was a Cando-American actress renowned for starring in Russ Meyer's sexploitation classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), in which she made her theatrical film debut. Barbarella Catton was born in Quebec City, Quebec on January 24, 1946, and at the age of 14, began dancing topless. The ...

Motor-Psycho, Beyond The Valley of the Dolls, Faster Pussycat Kill Kill

22. Mary Woronov

Actress | Eating Raoul

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 ...

Cover Girl Models, Hollywood Boulevard, Rock and Roll High School, Night of the Comet

23. Sondra Currie

Actress | The Hangover

Beautiful, spirited and personable redhead actress Sondra Currie greatly enlivened a handful of delightfully down'n'dirty drive-in exploitation features made in the early to mid-70s. Born in Los Angeles, Sondra is the daughter of 40s movie actress Marie Harmon and the sister of twin singers/...

Police Woman, Jessi's Girls, Mama's Dirty Girls

24. Jayne Mansfield

Actress | The Girl Can't Help It

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 ...

Dog Eat Dog, The Fat Spy, Promises Promises, Hercules vs the Hydra

25. Catherine Mary Stewart

Actress | The Last Starfighter

Catherine Mary Stewart's career has spanned more than 30 years and over 50 different productions, from film to television to theater, in England, Canada and the United States. She was living in London studying dance, acting and singing when she was cast in her first professional acting role as the ...

Night of the Comet, The Last Starfighter, Mischief

26. Ingrid Pitt

Actress | The Wicker Man

Best known as Hammer Films' most seductive female vampire of the early 1970s, the Polish-born Pitt possessed dark, alluring features and a sexy figure that made her just right for Gothic horror! Ingrid Pitt (born Ingoushka Petrov) survived World War II and became a well-known actress on the East ...

27. Dyanne Thorne

Actress | Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS

Strikingly buxom, ravishing and voluptuous redheaded stunner Dyanne Thorne will forever live on in cult exploitation cinema infamy for her ferocious and frightening portrayal of wicked Nazi villainess Ilsa in the notoriously nasty "Ilsa" features made throughout the 1970s.

Dyanne was born on October...

Ilsa She-Wold of the SS

28. Joan Collins

Actress | Dynasty

Joan Collins was born on May 23, 1933 in Paddington, London, England as Joan Henrietta Collins. She is an actress and producer, known for Dynasty (1981), Empire of the Ants (1977) and Land of the Pharaohs (1955). She has been married to Percy Gibson since February 17, 2002. She was previously ...

Empire of the Ants, The Stud, The Bitch, Fear in the Night

29. Wendy O. Williams

Actress | Reform School Girls

Wendy O. Williams was born on May 28, 1949 in Rochester, New York, USA as Wendy Orleans Williams. She was an actress, known for Reform School Girls (1986), Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog (1989) and MacGyver (1985). She died on April 6, 1998 in Storrs, Connecticut, USA.

Reform School Girls

30. Candy Darling

Actress | Flesh

Candy Darling was born on November 24, 1944 in Long Island, New York, USA as James Lawrence Slattery. She was an actress, known for Flesh (1968), Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972) and Women in Revolt (1971). She died on March 21, 1974 in New York City, New York.

Women In Revolt, Flesh, Silent Night Deadly Night, Lady Liberty

31. Jillian Kesner

Actress | The Student Body

Sunny, dynamic and beautiful slender blonde actress Jillian Kesner was born on August 9, 1949 in Portsmouth, Virginia and grew up primarily in Denver, Colorado. Her father was a Navy officer. Jillian received a B.A. in business from a Colorado university in 1967. In 1969 Kesner moved to Los Angeles...

Firecracker, Kung Fu Cannibals, The Student Body

32. Jamie Lee Curtis

Actress | True Lies

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 (1978). After that, she became famous for roles in movies like Trading...

33. Liz Renay

Actress | Desperate Living

Liz Renay's extraordinary life could almost be a movie script. Raised by fanatically religious parents, she ran away from home to win a Marilyn Monroe lookalike contest, and become a showgirl during World War II. She eventually became a "moll" to Los Angeles gangster Mickey Cohen, and when he was ...

Desperate Living, Year of the Woman, Corpse Grinders II

34. Dolores Fuller

Actress | Jail Bait

Dolores Fuller first got the idea that she wanted to get into the picture business at the age of ten, when she was an extra in the motel sequence of It Happened One Night (1934). She acted in school plays, modeled and landed a few jobs on TV. In the early 1950s, she and her actress-friend, Mona ...

Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster, Corpse Grinders II

35. Heather Langenkamp

Actress | A Nightmare on Elm Street

Heather Langenkamp was born on July 17, 1964 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. She is known for her work on A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) and New Nightmare (1994). She has been married to David LeRoy Anderson since 1990. They have two children. She was ...

Nightmare on Elm Street, New Nightmare, Nightmare on Elm Street III Dream Warriors

36. Chesty Morgan

Actress | Double Agent 73

Chesty Morgan was born on October 15, 1937 in Poland as Liliana Wilczkowska. She is an actress, known for Double Agent 73 (1974) and Deadly Weapons (1974). She was previously married to Dick Stello and Joseph Wilczkowski.

Double Agent 76, Deadly Weapons

37. Judith Brown

Actress | The Big Doll House

Judith Brown was born on August 11, 1944 in Los Angeles, California, USA. She is known for her work on The Big Doll House (1971), Falcon Crest (1981) and International Assassin (1976).

Women in Cages, Big Doll House, Man Handlers

38. Renée Estevez

Actress | Heathers

Renée Pilar Estevez was born in New York City on April 2, 1967. She is the youngest child and only daughter of Janet Sheen (née Templeton), an artist, and Martin Sheen, an actor. Her three older brothers - Emilio Estevez (b. 1962), Ramon Estevez (b. 1963), and Charlie Sheen (b. 1965) - also act.

...

Sleepaway Camp II Unhappy Campers, Intruder, Heathers

39. Christina Lindberg

Actress | Furyô anego den: Inoshika Ochô

Gorgeous and voluptuous brunette beauty Britt Christina Marinette Lindberg was born on December 6, 1950, in Gothenburg, Sweden, to a working-class family, with one sister and two brothers. She studied Latin at school and initially planned on being an archaeologist. Doing some modeling while still ...

Thriller, Anita

40. Jayne Kennedy

Actress | Body and Soul

Jayne Kennedy (born Jane Harrison on October 27, 1951 in Washington, D.C.) is an American actress, model and sportscaster.

Jayne was crowned Miss Ohio USA 1970 (she was the first African American woman to win the title), and was one of the 10 semi-finalists in the 1970 Miss USA pageant. It was rare ...

The Muthers, Big Time, Body and Soul

41. Cornelia Sharpe

Actress | Serpico

Cornelia Sharpe was born on October 18, 1943 in Selma, Alabama, USA as Cornelia Lynn Sharpe. She is an actress, known for Serpico (1973), The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975) and The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002). She has been married to Martin Bregman since 1981. They have one child. She was ...

Cover Girls, SHE, The Next Man

42. Kelli Maroney

Actress | Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Kelli Maroney began her career acting and studying at the Guthrie Theater in her native Minneapolis, MN., then went to New York to study at the National Shakespeare Company Conservatory. Two weeks after she arrived in Manhattan, Kelli was cast as evil adolescent "Kimberly Harris" on the daytime ...

Chopping Mall, Night of the Comet

43. Tawny Kitaen

Actress | Bachelor Party

Tawny Kitaen was born on August 5, 1961 in San Diego, California, USA as Julie Kitaen. She is an actress and producer, known for Bachelor Party (1984), The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak (1984) and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995). She was previously married to Chuck Finley ...

Perils of Gwendeline and the Land of Yik Yak

44. Diana Dors

Actress | The Long Haul

Diana Dors was born Diana Mary Fluck on October 23, 1931 in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. She and her mother both nearly died from the traumatic birth. Because of the trauma, her mother lavished on Diana anything and everything she wanted--clothes, toys and dance lessons were the order of the day. ...

Babylove, Blonde Sinner, Berserk!

45. Pamela Springsteen

Actress | Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers

Pam Springsteen was born on 8 February 1962 in Freehold, New Jersey as part of a big family. Her brother, Bruce Springsteen, became a nationwide rock star in the early 70s and Pam sometimes went on tour with him. When she got older, she became a still photographer and photographed the pictures for ...

Sleepaway Camp II Unhappy Campers, Sleepaway Camp III Teenage Wasteland

46. Drew Barrymore

Producer | Never Been Kissed

Since melting audiences' hearts - at the age of six - in Steven Spielberg's beloved sci-fi blockbuster, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), 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 ...

Guncrazy, Poison Ivy, Motorama, The Amy Fisher Story

47. Rose McGowan

Actress | Planet Terror

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 (2014) was ...

Doom Generation, Devil in the Flesh, Phantoms, Jawbreaker

48. Dorothy Stratten

Actress | Galaxina

Dorothy Stratten's story was brief, glorious and tragic. She was born Dorothy Ruth Hoogstraten on February 28, 1960 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She grew up in a rough neighborhood in Vancouver, but kept out of trouble and went through the motions of school. While not a beauty as a child...

Galexina, Autumn Born

49. Amanda Wyss

Actress | A Nightmare on Elm Street

Amanda Wyss was born and raised in Manhattan Beach, California, a cool coastal enclave south of Los Angeles. She was one of the five children of a contractor father and homemaker mother. Discovered by an agent as a teen while starring in the play, "The Bad Seed" at a local LA theatre, she went on ...

50. Pamela Anderson

Actress | Barb Wire

Pamela Denise Anderson was born on July 1, 1967 in Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada at 4:08 PST, to young newlywed parents who are still married. During her childhood, she moved to the city of Vancouver with her parents, Barry Anderson and Carol Anderson. She has a younger brother Gerry, born ...

Barb Wire, Snap Dragon, Naked Souls