My favorite character actresses.

Certainly, I can't leave the ladies out. These actresses know how to light up the screen.
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Glenne Headly
Actress, Don Jon
For the past fourteen years, she has said that family has been the most important thing to her and she has set most of her time aside to be a "present" mother to her son. Movies, plays and television are chosen, for the most part, when they occur in town or on a school break. She has taken the current year to homeschool her son for his seventh grade...
Joan Cusack
Actress, Working Girl
Actress Joan Cusack was born in New York City, New York, and is the daughter of Nancy (née Carolan) and Dick Cusack. Her father was an advertising executive, writer and actor, and her mother was a math teacher. Her siblings - Susie Cusack, John Cusack, Ann Cusack and Bill Cusack also act. Her family is of Irish descent...
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...
Nancy Travis
Nancy Travis was born in New York City, to Theresa, a social worker, and Gordon Travis, a sales executive. She lived in Baltimore and Boston before returning to her birthplace to study drama at New York University. Her first job out of school was with New York's American Jewish Theater, after which she hit the road...
Jane Lynch
Actress, Glee
Lin Shaye
Lin attended the University of Michigan, where she was an Art History major, although acting in as many University productions as possible, including "Bye Bye Birdie" and "On The Town". After U of M, she attended Columbia University School of the Arts, and acquired a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting...
Edie McClurg
Actress, Frozen
Edie McClurg began her performing career at age five with the oxymoronic Kansas City Rhythm Kids. She retired when the dance teacher was arrested on a morals charge for "dating" the tall and lissome, yet underage, star dancer in the troupe. That girl's big number culminated with a back-bend where Edie drank a soda upside down (of course)...
CCH Pounder
Actress, Avatar
CCH Pounder (the CCH standing for Carol Christine Hilaria, her birth name). As can be said of other similarly styled actresses such as Alfre Woodard and Cicely Tyson, most of Pounder's characters are enriched with these same positive attributes and it is a testament to this actress' abilities that she continues on such a high plane in a nearly three-decade career...
Mary Wickes
Actress, Sister Act
From the grand old school of wisecracking, loud and lanky Mary Wickes had few peers while forging a career as a salty scene-stealer. Her abrupt, tell-it-like-it-is demeanor made her a consistent audience favorite on every medium for over six decades. She was particularly adroit in film parts that chided the super rich or exceptionally pious...
Veronica Cartwright
Actress, Alien
Born in Bristol, England, Veronica is the older sister of the popular child actress Angela Cartwright. In her early career, Veronica was cast in a number of popular movies such as The Children's Hour, Spencer's Mountain and Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. As such, she was cast as "Jemima Boone" in the popular television series Daniel Boone...
Loretta Devine
Actress, Crash
Loretta Devine was born August 21, 1949 in Houston, Texas, to Eunice O'Neal (née Toliver), a beautician, and James Devine, who worked as a laborer. Loretta grew up in the Acres Home area of Houston and later enrolled at the University of Houston, where she earned a a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Drama...
Frances Sternhagen
Actress, Misery
Raised in Washington, D.C., Frances Sternhagen taught acting, singing and dancing to school children before first performing herself with the Arena Stage Group. Since that time, she has been seen in numerous Broadway show, has been nominated five times for a Tony Award and received one for "The Good Doctor"...
Catherine O'Hara
Born March 4, 1954 in Ontario, Canada. Attended Burnhamthorpe Collegiate Institute. Began career with starring on television series SCTV. Notable films roles include: the over-dramatic and self-centered Delia Deetz in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice, Kate McCallister, Macaulay Culkin's on-screen mother in Home Alone and its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York...
Brenda Vaccaro
A leading lady on screen, stage and sometimes television, Brenda Vaccaro, was born in Brooklyn but was actually raised in Dallas, Texas. Her appetite for acting increased following several appearances in high school productions, and she finally started a professional career in the 1960s. Memorable to many in Supergirl...
Kathleen Freeman
Actress, Shrek
Kathleen Freeman's introduction to show business came very early in life. Her parents were vaudevillians, and she made her debut at age 2 in their act. Later she attended UCLA with intentions of becoming a pianist, but was bitten by the acting bug and never looked back. She gained experience on stage in various stock and repertory companies...
Madeline Kahn
Madeline Kahn was born Madeline Gail Wolfson on September 29, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Freda (Goldberg) and Bernard B. Wolfson, a garment manufacturer. She was of Russian Jewish descent. Madeline began her acting career in high school and went on to university where she trained as an opera singer and starred in several campus productions...
Wendie Malick
The actress Wendie Malick was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1950 and attended Ohio Wesleyan University, from which she graduated in 1972. The 5-foot, 10-inch beauty was a Wilhelmina model in the 1970s, giving it up to go to work for Buffalo-area Congressman Jack Kemp. She quickly left Washington, DC, behind to act in the theater...
Andrea Martin
Actress, SCTV
Jennifer Coolidge
Actress, 2 Broke Girls
Jennifer Coolidge is a versatile character actress and experimental comedienne, best known for playing Stifler's mom in American Pie. She was born on August 28, 1961, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, to Gretchen (Knauff) and Paul Constant Coolidge, a plastics manufacturer. Young Coolidge was dreaming of becoming a singer...
Jessica Walter
Actress, Archer
A graduate of New York's High School of the Performing Arts and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, Walter's extensive theater credits include productions both on- and off-Broadway. On Broadway, she has appeared in Peter Ustinov's "Photo Finish" (which earned her the Clarence Derwent Award as Most Promising Newcomer)...
Colleen Camp
Colleen Camp was born in San Francisco, California. She began working as a juvenile actress at the age of 3 and was eventually 'discovered' while working as a bird trainer at Busch Gardens. She appeared on The Dean Martin Show and made her film debut in Battle for the Planet of the Apes. She has since gone on to appear in over 100 major motion pictures and television productions.
Carol Kane
Actress, Annie Hall
Carol Kane was born Carolyn Laurie Kane on June 18, 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Elaine Joy (Fetterman), a jazz singer and pianist, and Michael Myron Kane, an architect. Her family is Jewish (from Russia, Poland, and Austria). Due to her parents' divorce, Carol spent most of her childhood in boarding schools...
Marian Seldes
Tony Award-winner Marian Hall Seldes, one of the premier stage actresses in America, was born on August 23, 1928 in Manhattan, New York, to writer and journalist Gilbert Seldes, and his socialite wife, the former Alice Wadhams Hall. Her paternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants, and her mother was from an Episcopalian family with deep roots in the United States...
Bebe Neuwirth
Actress, Jumanji
Beatrice "Bebe" Neuwirth is the daughter of Sydney Anne, an artist, and Lee Paul Neuwirth, a mathematician. Born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, she started out as a dancer. Her New York career started out in "A Chorus Line". She won a Tony Award for her part in "Sweet Charity" and two Emmy Awards...
Linda Hunt
Veteran character actress Linda Hunt was Born April 2, 1945 in Morristown, New Jersey to Raymond Davy Hunter and Elsie Doying Hunter. She attended the Interlochen Arts Academy, and the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago (now part of DePaul University). Her film debut was in Robert Altman's Popeye...
Jean Smart
Blonde, buxom and noticeably tall Seattle native Jean Smart was born on September 13, 1951. Not your average-looking ingénue, she earned her stardom taking another route. Attending the University of Washington after high school, she received her BA degree in fine arts. Her first professional season...
Holland Taylor
Holland Taylor was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the third-born (and last) daughter of her mother, Virginia (Davis), a painter, and the only child of her father, C. Tracy Taylor, an attorney. She spent her teen years in nearby Allentown, PA, where Holland got the nickname, "Penny Taylor" because of her coppery hair color...
Jenifer Lewis
Jenifer Lewis Jenifer Lewis is one of Hollywood's most familiar faces, with more than 300 appearances in film and television. Dubbed a "national treasure" by TV, Jenifer currently stars on the hit show Black-ish (ABC), where her hilarious portrayal of "Ruby Johnson" earned her a nomination for the 2016 Critics Choice Award...
Nora Dunn
Nora Dunn got her start working at the famous Second City comedy troupe, where she was eventually spotted by Saturday Night Live casting directors, and she joined the SNL cast (among them Joan Cusack, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Michael Hall, Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller, Randy Quaid, Terry Sweeney...
Kathy Najimy
Kathy Najimy was born and raised in San Diego, California. She is the daughter of Samia (Massery) and Fred Najimy, a postal worker, both of Lebanese ancestry. Kathy attended Crawford High School, and began her film career in the early 1990s, with several minor roles. Kathy got her breakthrough screen role as "Sister Mary Patrick" in Sister Act...
Allison Janney
Actress, The West Wing
Allison Janney is an award-winning actress who has earned a solid reputation in stage productions and in many supporting roles on screen, and who more recently has become prominent by portraying one of the major characters in the popular TV series The West Wing. Entertainment Weekly magazine describes Janney's screen presence as "uncommonly beautiful and infinitely expressive"...
Lily Tomlin
Lily Tomlin was born September 1, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, to Lillie Mae (Ford) and Guy Tomlin, who moved to Michigan from Paducah, Kentucky, during the Great Depression. Her mother was a nurse's aide and her father was a factory worker. She graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1957, and later enrolled at Wayne State University...
Ruth Gordon
When Ruth Gordon convinced her father, a sea captain, to let her pursue acting she came to New York and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She acted in a few silents made at Fort Lee, New Jersey, in 1915. She made her Broadway debut in "Peter Pan" as Nibs the same year. The next 20 years she spent on stage...
Miriam Margolyes
Actress, Babe
A veteran of stage and screen, award-winning actress Miriam Margolyes has achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic. Winner of the BAFTA Best Supporting Actress award in 1993 for The Age of Innocence she also received Best Supporting Actress at the 1989 LA Critics Circle Awards for her role in Little Dorrit and a Sony Radio Award for Best Actress on "Radio" in 1993...