Some seriously awesome actresses, not new to the game. Alphabetically.
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...
Jane Adams has performed theatre at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. The plays include "Love Diatribe", "The Nice and the Nasty", and "Greetings From Elsewhere Cabaret". She also performed in "Careless Love" at the Empty Space Theatre, "Candide/Len Jenkin" at the Pioneer Square Theatre", "Talking With" at the Group Theatre and "Camino Real" at the Juilliard School...
Her father is Tariq Anwar
and her mother is Shireen Anwar
. Anwar attended Laleham Church of England Primary and Middle School from 1975 to 1982. Trinian's sketch in the school concert of 1982 gave an early indication of her theatrical leanings. She studied at the London drama and dance school...
With her expressive blue eyes, soft, Southern-tinged voice and an acting range that can carry her from hysterically funny to terrifying in seconds, Patricia Arquette is one of the most underrated and talented actresses of her generation. Though she has been working for years, she's always stayed just under the radar of true stardom, despite a 1995 marriage to Nicolas Cage
Jennifer Beals was born in December 1963 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in the city. With a life-long desire for acting, Beals first appeared in small high school plays and even got an uncredited bit part in My Bodyguard
in 1980. After graduation, she enrolled in college at Yale University, studying American literature...
Maria Bello was born on 18 April, 1967 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, to Kathy, a nurse and teacher, and Joe Bello, a contractor. She is of Italian and Polish descent. Maria went to Villanova University, majoring in political science. She had every intention of becoming a lawyer, but she took an acting class during her senior year...
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 named Heidi Berry
Juliette Binoche was born in Paris, France, to Monique Yvette Stalens, a director, teacher, and actress, and Jean-Marie Binoche, a sculptor, director, and actor. Her mother was born in Czestochowa, Poland, of French, Walloon Belgian, and Polish descent, while her father is French. Juliette was only 23 when she first attracted the attention of international film critics with The Unbearable Lightness of Being
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...
Lara Flynn Boyle
Lara Flynn Boyle was born in Davenport, Iowa on March 24, 1970 to 21-year old Sally Boyle
. For Sally and young Lara, money was not plentiful so Sally was required to work three jobs in addition to raising baby Lara by herself. Since Lara was mostly around Sally, they developed a bond that still binds Lara and Sally today...
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...
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...
Toni Collette is an Academy Award-nominated Australian actress, best known for her roles in The Sixth Sense
and Little Miss Sunshine
. Collette was born Toni Collett (she later added an "e") on November 1, 1972, in Blacktown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She is the first of three children of Judith (Cook)...
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...
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 and her mother has Kabyle ancestry. Raised in Orléans...
Known outside her native country as the "Spanish enchantress", Penélope Cruz Sánchez was born in Madrid to Eduardo Cruz, a retailer, and Encarna Sánchez, a hairdresser. As a toddler, she was already a compulsive performer, re-enacting TV commercials for her family's amusement, but she decided to focus her energies on dance...
Davis, second of three children, was born in Englewood, New Jersey, the daughter of Joan, a librarian (at one time, for the elementary section of Elisabeth Morrow School), and William Davis, an engineer. Davis has described her mother as a "great storyteller" who would take Davis and her siblings to museums or to "something cultural" every Sunday after church...
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...
Laura Dern was born on February 10, 1967 in Los Angeles, the daughter of actors Bruce Dern
and Diane Ladd
. Dern was exposed to movie sets and the movie industry from infancy, and obtained several bit parts as a child. Her parents divorced when Dern was two and Dern lost contact with her father for several years as a result...
A tall, strikingly attractive blue-eyed natural blonde, Cameron Diaz was born in 1972 in San Diego, the daughter of a Cuban-American father and an Anglo-German mother. Self described as "adventurous, independent and a tough kid," Cameron left home at 16 and for the next 5 years lived in such varied locales as Japan...
Vera Farmiga is an American actress who received an Academy Award nomination for best performance in her supporting role, opposite George Clooney
, in Up in the Air
. She was born Vera Ann Farmiga, second of seven children, on August 6, 1973, in Clifton (Passaic County), New Jersey, USA, to Ukrainian parents...
Jorja Fox has become a familiar face by playing major roles in three of the most successful television dramas in history: ER
, The West Wing
and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
. As a teenager, Fox had a career as a fashion model. She then turned to formal study of the acting craft at the Lee Strasberg
Institute in New York...
One of Hollywood's most dazzling leading actresses, Salma Hayek was born on September 2, 1966, in the oil boomtown of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Hayek has freely admitted that she and her brother, Sami, were spoiled rotten by her well-to-do businessman father, Sami Hayek Dominguez, and her opera-singing mother...
Angelina Jolie is an Oscar-winning actress who became popular after playing the title role in the "Lara Croft" blockbuster movies, as well as Mr. & Mrs. Smith
. Off-screen, Jolie has become prominently involved in international charity projects, especially those involving refugees...
Catherine Keener is an American actress, Oscar-nominated for her roles in the independent films Being John Malkovich
. Acclaimed in her community for her quirky roles in independent film and mainstream such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin
, Keener got her start as a casting director in New York City...
Diane Lane was born on January 22, 1965, in New York. She is the daughter of acting coach Burton Eugene "Burt" Lane and nightclub singer/centerfold Colleen Farrington. Her parents' families were both from the state of Georgia. Diane was acting from a very young age and made her stage debut at the age of six...
Born in the southern city Cheng Du of China, Bai Ling began her career at the age of 14. She enlisted In the Chinese People's Liberation Army where she spent three years in a performance troop entertaining soldiers stationed in Tibet. Bai Ling first gained the attention of audiences and critics alike when she won the coveted lead role opposite Richard Gere in Jon Avnet
's Red Corner
Laura Leggett Linney was born in New York City on February 5, 1964, into a theatre family. Her father was prominent playwright Romulus Linney
, whose own great-grandfather was a congressman from North Carolina. Her mother, Miriam Anderson (Leggett), is a nurse. Although she did not live in her father's house (her parents having divorced when she was an infant)...
Born to immigrants in Queens, New York, Lucy Liu has always tried to balance an interest in her cultural heritage with a desire to move beyond a strictly Asian-American experience. Lucy's mother, Cecilia, a biochemist, is from Beijing, and her father, Tom Liu, a civil engineer, is from Shanghai. Once relegated to "ethnic" parts...
Julianne Margulies was born on June 8, 1966 in Spring Valley (near New York City), as the youngest of three daughters of Francesca (Goldberg), a teacher and dancer in American Ballet, and Paul Margulies, an advertising writer and philosopher. She is of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage (from Romania, Austria...
Marlee Beth Matlin was in Morton Grove, Illinois, to Libby (Hammer) and Donald Matlin, an automobile dealer. She has two older brothers. Her family is of Russian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent. Marlee lost much of her hearing at the age of eighteen months. That did not stop her from acting in a children's...
began her acting career performing in a stage production of Gian Carlo Menotti
's Christmas opera, "Amahl and the Night Visitors". "I was twelve but looked like an eight-year-old boy" she recalls. "As luck would have it, none of the boys in town could sing, so I got the part and wore a hat"...
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...
Carrie-Anne Moss was born on August 21, 1967, in Vancouver, British Columbia, as youngest of two children of Barbara and Melvyn Moss. At age 20, she moved to Europe to pursue a career in modeling; in Spain she was cast in a regular role in the TV show Dark Justice
, which was produced in Barcelona for its first season...
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 Oh was born to Korean parents in the Ottawa suburb of Nepean, Ontario, Canada. Her father, Oh Junsu, a businessman, and her mother, Oh Young-nam, a biochemist, were married in Seoul, South Korea. They both attended graduate school at the University of Toronto. Sandra began her career as a ballet dancer and eventually studied drama at the National Theatre School in Montreal...
Grace Park (born March 14, 1974) is an American-Canadian actress. She gained recognition as Sharon "Boomer" Valerii and Sharon "Athena" Agathon on Battlestar Galactica, as well as Shannon Ng in the Canadian television series teen soap Edgemont. Park stars as Officer Kono Kalakaua in the CBS television series Hawaii Five-0...
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...
Molly Parker, the extremely talented and versatile Canadian actress is best known in the United States for playing the Western widow "Alma Garret" on the cable-TV series Deadwood
. Raised on a commune, she described as "a hippie farm" in Pitt Meadows, B.C., Parker got the acting bug when she was 16 years old...
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker was born March 25, 1965, in Nelsonville, Ohio, to Barbra Forste (née Keck), a teacher who ran a nursery school, and Stephen Parker, a journalist. Her parents divorced, and her mother later remarried to Paul Forste and had four more children, bringing the total to eight. Sarah now had 3 full siblings and 4 half siblings...
Amanda Peet was born and raised in New York City. She is the daughter of Penny (Levy), a social worker, and Charles Peet, a lawyer, and has an older sister. Her father was of mostly English and German ancestry, and her mother was from a Jewish family (from Germany, Russia, and Hungary). Peet's maternal great-grandfathers were politician Samuel Levy and showbiz impresario S.L. Rothafel
Born on January 27, 1979 in London, England, actress Rosamund Mary Elizabeth Pike is the only child of a classical violinist mother, Caroline (Friend), and an opera singer father, Julian Pike. Due to her parents' work, she spent her early childhood traveling around Europe. Pike attended Badminton School in Bristol...
Ellen Kathleen Pompeo was born in Everett, Massachusetts, to Kathleen B. (O'Keefe) and Joseph E. Pompeo, a salesman. She is of Italian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, and some English, ancestry. Pompeo made her major studio screen debut in Brad Silberling
's Moonlight Mile
, starring alongside Susan Sarandon
Parker Posey was born 2 months premature in Baltimore, Maryland, to Lynda (Patton) and Chris Posey. The family moved to Monroe, La. and then Laurel, Mississippi, where Chris became owner of Laurel's own Posey Chevrolet. Parker attended high school at R. H. Watkins High School in Laurel, Mississippi...
Franka Potente was born on 22 July 1974 in the German town of Dülmen, to Hildegard, a medical assistant, and Dieter Potente, a teacher. After her graduation in 1994, she went to the Otto-Falckenberg-Schule, a drama school in Munich, but soon broke off to study at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York...
Elizabeth Ann Reaser was born June 15, 1975 in Bloomfield, Michigan, to Karen (Weidman) and John Reaser. As the middle child in a trio of sisters, she grew up in rural Milford, MI. Her mother, a homemaker, and her father, an attorney turned restaurateur turned substitute teacher, divorced, and her stepfather was businessman Bill Davidson
Kyra Minturn Sedgwick was born on August 19, 1965 in New York City, to Patricia (Rosenwald), a family and speech therapist, and Henry Dwight Sedgwick V, a venture capitalist. Her mother was from an upper-class German Jewish family, and her father was from a wealthy Massachusetts clan of English descent...
Spencer is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, which she claims is the proverbial buckle of the Bible belt. She's the sixth of seven siblings and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University. A "closet" lover of acting, this practical Alabamian knew that she'd someday work in the film industry, but never dreamed it would be in front of the camera...
Hilary was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, to Judith Kay (Clough), a secretary, and Stephen Michael Swank, who served in the National Guard and was also a traveling salesman. Her maternal grandmother, Frances Martha Dominguez, was of Mexican descent, and her other roots include German, English, and Scottish...
Lili Taylor is a well-known and successful American actress. She acts in film, TV and stage. She was born in Glencoe, Illinois, to Marie (Lecour) and George Park Taylor, an artist and hardware store operator. Lili graduated from New Trier High School in 1985. Then, she attended the Theatre School at DePaul University and the Piven Theatre Workshop...
Audrey Justine Tautou was born on August 9, 1976 in Beaumont, France, to Evelyne Marie Laure (Nuret), a teacher, and Bernard Tautou, a dental surgeon. Audrey showed an interest for comedy at an early age and started her acting lessons at 'Cours Florent'. In 1998 she won the best young actress award in the ninth 'Jeune Comedien de Cinema Festival' in Bezier...
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...
Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York, to Patricia Adelaide "Addie" (Bianchi), an English teacher, and Gary A. Tomei, a lawyer. Marisa has a brother, actor Adam Tomei
. Her parents are both of Italian descent, with roots in Tuscany, Sicily, Campania, and Calabria. As a child...
Robin Tunney studied acting at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, spending her summer performing in such plays as "Bus Stop" and "Agnes of God". She moved to Los Angeles at the age of eighteen and shortly landed roles in such television shows as Life Goes On
, Class of '96
(recurring), Law & Order
Lauren Luna Vélez
Velez was born in Brooklyn and later grew up in Queens, New York with her eight siblings, including twin sister, actress Lorraine Velez. Velez's aspirations began to transition into reality when both Velez and her twin sister, Lorraine ("Rent"), were awarded scholarships to attend Alvin Ailey Dance School...
Emily Watson was born and raised in London, the daughter of Katharine (Venables), an English teacher, and Richard Watson, an architect. After a self-described sheltered upbringing, Watson attended university for three years in Bristol, studying English literature. She applied to drama school and was rejected on her first attempt...
Naomi Ellen Watts was born on September 28, 1968 in Shoreham, England, to Myfanwy Edwards "Miv" (Roberts), an antiques dealer and costume/set designer, and Peter Watts
(Peter Anthony Watts), the road manager to Pink Floyd
. Her maternal grandfather was Welsh. Her father died when Naomi was seven and she began to follow her mother and her brother around England...
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...
Olivia Williams was born July 26, 1968 in Camden Town, London. She was educated at South Hampstead High School, an independent school for girls in Hampstead, North London, followed by Newnham College at the University of Cambridge. She graduated with a degree in English literature. She went on to study...
Houston, Texas native Chandra Wilson began performing in musicals at the age of five with Theatre Under the Stars. She attended Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and later went on to acquire her BFA in Drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts through which she spent four years at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute...
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...
Born as Yang Zi Qiong in the mining town of Ipoh, in West Malaysia, in the lunar year of the Tiger, Michelle is the daughter of Janet Yeoh and Yeoh Kian Teik, a lawyer and politician. She is of Han Chinese (Hokkien) descent, and spoke English and Malay before Chinese. A ballet dancer since age 4, she moved to London...
Renée Kathleen Zellweger was born on April 25, 1969, in Katy, Texas, USA. Her mother, Kjellfrid Irene (Andreassen), is a Norwegian-born former nurse and midwife, of Norwegian, Kven (Finnish), and Swedish descent. Her father, Emil Erich Zellweger, is a Swiss-born engineer. The two married in 1963. Renée has a brother named Drew Zellweger...
Catherine Zeta-Jones was born September 25, 1969 in Swansea, West Glamorgan, Wales, UK. She is the daughter of Patricia (Fair) and David James "Dai" Jones, who formerly owned a candy factory. Her father is of Welsh descent and her mother is of English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Her brothers are David Jones (born 1967)...