The 70 Best Actress in the last 20 years

Vote : Who's the BEST ACTRESS ?
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
Julia Roberts
Actress, Notting Hill
Julia Fiona Roberts never dreamed she would become the most popular actress in America. She was born in Smyrna, Georgia, to Betty Lou (Bredemus) and Walter Grady Roberts, one-time actors and playwrights, and is of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, and Swedish descent. As a child, due to her love of animals...
Angelina Jolie
Actress, Maleficent
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, Wanted, Salt and Maleficent. Off-screen, Jolie has become prominently involved in international charity projects, especially those involving refugees...
Sandra Bullock
Actress, Gravity
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...
Kate Winslet
Actress, Titanic
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...
Cameron Diaz
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...
Cate Blanchett
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...
Gwyneth Paltrow
Actress, Se7en
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...
Charlize Theron
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...
Halle Berry
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...
Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon was born Susan Abigail Tomalin in New York City, New York, to Lenora Marie (Criscione) and Phillip Leslie Tomalin, a television producer and advertising executive. She is of Italian (mother) and English, Irish, Welsh, and German (father) descent. Soon after the 1968 Democratic convention...
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Actress, Chicago
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)...
Kirsten Dunst
Actress, Spider-Man
Kirsten Caroline Dunst is an American actress, who also holds German citizenship. She was born on April 30, 1982 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, to parents Inez (née Rupprecht), who owned an art gallery, and Klaus Dunst, a medical services executive. She has a younger brother named Christian Dunst, born in 1987...
Meg Ryan
Blond-haired, blue-eyed with an effervescent personality, Meg Ryan was born Margaret Mary Emily Hyra in Fairfield, Connecticut, to Susan (Duggan), an English teacher and one-time actress, and Harry Hyra, a math teacher. She has Polish, Irish, and German ancestry ("Hyra" is a Polish surname, and "Ryan" is her maternal grandmother's maiden name)...
Nicole Kidman
Actress, Moulin Rouge!
Elegant blonde 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...
Renée Zellweger
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...
Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner, who catapulted into stardom with her lead role on the television series Alias, has come a long way from her birthplace of Houston, Texas. Raised in Charleston, West Virginia by her mother, Patricia Ann (née English), a retired teacher of English, and her father, William John Garner...
Jennifer Aniston
Actress, Friends
Jennifer Aniston was born in Sherman Oaks, California, to actors John Aniston and Nancy Dow. Her father is Greek, and her mother was of English, Irish, Scottish, and Italian descent. Jennifer spent a year of her childhood living in Greece with her family. Her family then relocated to New York City where her parents divorced when she was nine...
Meryl Streep
Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 19 times, and has won it three times. Meryl was born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, to Mary Wolf (Wilkinson), a commercial artist, and Harry William Streep...
Reese Witherspoon
Actress, Walk the Line
Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon was born on March 22, 1976 at Southern Baptist Hospital (now Memorial Medical Center) in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the second child of Mary Elizabeth "Betty" (Reese) and Dr. John Draper Witherspoon, Sr. Her father was a military surgeon specializing in ear, nose and throat...
Kate Beckinsale
Actress, Underworld
Kate Beckinsale was born on 26 July 1973 in England, and has resided in London for most of her life. Her mother is Judy Loe, who has appeared in a number of British dramas and sitcoms and continues to work as an actress, predominantly in British television productions. Her father was Richard Beckinsale...
Eva Mendes
Actress, Hitch
Eva Mendes was born in Miami, Florida but raised in Los Angeles, California of Cuban-American heritage. In college, she began acting, studying underneath acting coach Ivana Chubbuck. This led to her desire to appear in feature films. Though taking many smaller roles in movies, she was little known until playing the girlfriend of Denzel Washington's character in Training Day...
Naomi Watts
Actress, King Kong
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...
Penélope Cruz
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...
Sharon Stone
Actress, Casino
Sharon Yvonne Stone was born and raised in Meadville, a small town in Pennsylvania, to Dorothy Marie (Lawson), an accountant and homemaker, and Joseph William Stone II, a factory worker. Her father was strict. She was the second of four children, and has English, German, Scottish, and Irish ancestry...
Michelle Pfeiffer
Actress, Scarface
Michelle Pfeiffer was born in Santa Ana, California, to Donna Jean (Taverna) and Richard Pfeiffer, a heating and air-conditioning contractor. She has an older brother and two younger sisters - Dedee Pfeiffer and Lori Pfeiffer, who both dabbled in acting and modeling but decided against making it their life's work...
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Jennifer Love Hewitt was born in Waco, Texas, to Patricia Mae (Shipp), a speech-language pathologist, and Herbert Daniel Hewitt, a medical technician. She has English, Scottish, and German ancestry. She got her first name from her older brother Todd Daniel Hewitt (b. November 8, 1970), who picked the name after a little blonde girl he then had a crush on...
Jodie Foster
Alicia Christian Foster was born in Los Angeles on November 19, 1962. She is the daughter of Evelyn Ella "Brandy" (Almond) and Lucius Fisher Foster III, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and later real estate broker. Brandy had filed for divorce in 1959 after having three children with Lucius, but the exes had a brief re-encounter in 1962 which resulted in Alicia's birth...
Judi Dench
Actress, Skyfall
Judi Dench was born in York, England, to Eleanora Olive (Jones), who was from Dublin, Ireland, and Reginald Arthur Dench, a doctor from Dorset, England. She attended Mount School in York, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has performed with Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre...
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...
Sigourney Weaver
Actress, Aliens
Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver in Leroy Hospital in Manhattan, New York City. Her father, TV producer Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., originally wanted to name her Flavia, because of his passion for Roman history (he had already named her elder brother Trajan). Her mother, Elizabeth Inglis (née Desiree Mary Lucy Hawkins)...
Jessica Alba
Actress, Sin City
Jessica Marie Alba was born on April 28, 1981, in Pomona, CA, to Catherine (Jensen) and Mark David Alba, who served in the US Air Force. Her mother has Danish, Welsh, German, English, and French ancestry, while her father is of Mexican descent (including Spanish, Indigenous Mexican, and distant Sephardic Jewish...
Salma Hayek
Producer, Frida
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...
Milla Jovovich
Milla Jovovich is an Ukrainian-born actress, supermodel, fashion designer, singer and public figure, who was on the cover of more than a hundred magazines, and starred in such films as The Fifth Element, Ultraviolet, and the Resident Evil franchise. Milica Bogdanovna Jovovich was born on December 17...
Kate Hudson
Almost everyone who has spent time with Kate Hudson -including directors, family members, co-stars and interviewers - is quick to comment on her ability to light up a room. Through some combination of a winning smile, solid work ethic, and good old-fashioned talent, the young actress has gone from indie beginner to Vanity Fair cover girl in just three years...
Jessica Biel
Jessica Biel, with her good looks and talent, has become one of Hollywood's most sought-out actresses. She was born in Ely, Minnesota, to Kimberly (Conroe) and Jonathan Edward Biel, who is a business consultant and GM worker. She is of German, French, English, Irish, and some Choctaw ancestry. Biel was raised in Boulder...
Uma Thurman
Actress, Pulp Fiction
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)...
Anne Hathaway
Anne Jacqueline Hathaway was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Kate McCauley Hathaway, an actress, and Gerald T. Hathaway, a lawyer, both originally from Philadelphia. She is of mostly Irish descent, along with English, German, and French. Her first major role came in the short-lived television series Get Real...
Patricia Clarkson
This remarkable, one-of-a-kind actress has, since the early 1990s, intrigued film and TV audiences with her glowing, yet careworn eccentricity and old world-styled glamour. Very much in demand these days as a character player, Patricia Clarkson nevertheless continues to avoid the temptation of money-making mainstream filming while reaping kudos and acting awards in out-of-the-way projects...
Helen Hunt
Actress, Mad About You
Helen Hunt began studying acting at the age of eight with her father, respected director and acting coach Gordon Hunt. A year later she made her professional debut and afterwards worked steadily in films, theatre and television.
Emma Stone
Actress, The Help
Emily Jean "Emma" Stone was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, to Krista (Yeager), a homemaker, and Jeffrey Charles Stone, a contracting company founder and CEO. She is of Swedish (from her paternal grandfather), English, German, Scottish, and Irish descent. Stone began acting as a child as a member of the Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix...
Jennifer Lopez
Actress, Out of Sight
Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born in the Castle Hill section of the South Bronx on July 24, 1969. She is the middle of three musically-inclined sisters, Leslie Lopez, a homemaker, and Lynda Lopez (aka Lynda Lopez), a DJ on New York's WKTU, a VH1 VJ, and a morning news show correspondent on New York's Channel 11...
Monica Bellucci
Actress, Irreversible
Monica Anna Maria Bellucci was born on September 30, 1964 in the Italian village of Città di Castello, Umbria, the only child of Brunella Briganti and Pasquale Bellucci. She originally pursued a career in the legal profession. While attending the University of Perugia, she modeled on the side to earn money for school...
Rachel Weisz
Actress, The Mummy
Rachel Hannah Weisz was born on 7 March, 1970, in London, U.K., to Edith Ruth (Teich), a psychoanalyst, and George Weisz, an inventor. Her parents both came to England around 1938. Her father is a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and her mother, from Vienna, is of Italian and Austrian Jewish heritage. Rachel has a sister, Minnie, a curator and photographer...
Drew Barrymore
Producer, Donnie Darko
Since melting audiences' hearts - at the age of six - in Steven Spielberg's beloved sci-fi blockbuster, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 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 actors John Drew Barrymore and Jaid Barrymore (née Ildiko Jaid Mako)...
Katherine Heigl
Katherine Marie Heigl was born on November 24, 1978 in Washington, D.C., to Nancy Heigl (née Engelhardt), a personnel manager, and Paul Heigl, an accountant and executive. Her father is of German/Swiss-German and Irish descent, and her mother is of German ancestry. A short time after her birth, the family moved to New Canaan...
Mandy Moore
Actress, Tangled
Amanda Leigh Moore was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, on April 10, 1984, to Stacy (Friedman), a former news reporter, and Don Moore, an airline pilot. During her childhood, her family moved to Orlando, Florida, where she was raised. She has Russian Jewish (from her maternal grandfather), English, and some Scottish and Irish, ancestry...
Gillian Anderson
Actress, The X-Files
Gillian Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Rosemary Alyce (Lane), a computer analyst, and Homer Edward Anderson III, who owned a film post-production company. She has English, German, and Irish ancestry. Gillian started her career as a member of an amateur actor group while at high school. In 1987...
Megan Fox
Actress, Transformers
Megan Denise Fox was born in Rockwood, Tennessee, to Gloria Darlene (Cisson) and Franklin Thomas Fox, a parole officer. Megan began her training in drama and dance at age 5 and, at age 10, moved to St. Petersburg, Florida where she continued her training and finished school. Megan began acting and modeling...
Whoopi Goldberg
Self, The View
Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in the Chelsea section of Manhattan on November 13, 1955. Her mother, Emma (Harris), was a teacher and a nurse, and her father, Robert James Johnson, Jr., was a clergyman. Whoopi's recent ancestors were from Georgia, Florida, and Virginia. She worked in a funeral parlor and as a bricklayer while taking small parts on Broadway...
Jamie Lee Curtis
Actress, Halloween
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. After that, she became famous for roles in movies like Trading Places...
Amy Adams
Actress, Man of Steel
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...
Kristen Bell
Actress, Frozen
Kristen Anne Bell (born 1980) is an American actress and singer. She was born and raised in Huntington Woods, Michigan, and is the daughter of Lorelei (Frygier), a nurse, and Tom Bell, a television news director. Her ancestry is Polish (mother) and German, English, Irish, and Scottish (father). Kristen found her talent in entertainment at an early age...
Heather Graham
Actress, The Hangover
Heather Joan Graham was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Joan (Bransfield), a schoolteacher and children's book author, and James Graham, an FBI agent. She and her sister, actress Aimee Graham, were raised by their strictly Catholic parents. They relocated often, as a result of their father's occupation...
Julianne Moore
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...
Linda Hamilton
Born in Salisbury, Maryland, USA, following high school Linda studied for two years at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, before moving on to acting studies in New York. In New York she attended acting workshops given by Lee Strasberg. Her first parts where small parts in TV series, with her biggest break coming with her role in The Terminator...
Liv Tyler
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...
Christina Ricci
Actress, Sleepy Hollow
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...
Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy was born Brittany Anne Bertolotti on November 10, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia, to Sharon Kathleen Murphy and Angelo Joseph Bertolotti. Her father's ancestry is Italian, and her mother is of Irish and Slovak descent. Her father moved the family back to Edison, New Jersey as a native New Yorker and to be closer to other siblings from previous marriages...
Paris Hilton
Producer, The Simple Life
Socialite Paris Whitney Hilton was born on February 17, 1981 in New York City, into the Hilton family, and has three younger siblings, Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Barron Hilton and Conrad Hilton. She is the daughter of Kathy Hilton (née Kathleen Elizabeth Avanzino) and businessman Rick Hilton, and a great-granddaughter of hotel magnate Conrad Hilton...
Neve Campbell
Actress, Party of Five
Neve Campbell was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, to Marnie (Neve), a Dutch-born psychologist and yoga instructor (from Amsterdam), and Gerry Campbell, a Scottish-born teacher (from Glasgow). Campbell first came to our TV screens in the hit Drama series Party of Five. Described as TV's most believable teenager...
Pamela Anderson
Actress, V.I.P.
Pamela Denise Anderson was born on July 1, 1967 in Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada at 4:08 PST. During her childhood, she moved to the city of Vancouver with her parents, Barry Anderson and Carol Anderson. As a teenager, she went to Highland Secondary School. Pamela was first "discovered" at a British Columbia Lions football game...
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...
Scarlett Johansson
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...
Vanessa Williams
Actress, Eraser
Vanessa Lynn Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today. She has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures. She has sold millions of albums worldwide and she has achieved critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television...
Courteney Cox
Actress, Friends
Courteney Cox was born on June 15th, 1964 in Birmingham, Alabama, into an affluent Southern family. She is the daughter of Courteney (Bass) and Richard Lewis Cox (1930-2001), a businessman. She was the baby of the family with two older sisters (Virginia and Dottie) and an older brother, Richard, Jr...
Hilary Swank
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...
Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard was born on March 2, 1981, in Los Angeles, California. She was conceived in Dallas, Texas (the reason for her middle name). Her father, Ron Howard, is a former actor turned Oscar-winning director. Her mother is actress and writer Cheryl Howard (née Alley). Her famous relatives include her uncle...
Lucy Liu
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...
Katie Holmes
Actress, Batman Begins
Born two months premature at four pounds, Kate Noelle Holmes made her first appearance on December 18, 1978, in Toledo, Ohio. She is the daughter of Kathleen Ann (Craft), a philanthropist, and Martin Joseph Holmes, Sr., a lawyer. She is of German, Irish, and English ancestry. Her parents have said that her strong-willed personality is probably from being born premature...
Hilary Duff
Hilary Erhard Duff was born on September 28, 1987 in Houston, Texas, to Susan Duff (née Cobb) and Robert Erhard Duff, a partner in convenience store chain. When Hilary was six, she had been traveling in the Cechetti Ballet with her sister Haylie Duff but decided she wanted to fulfill her dream of acting...