Top Musical / Broadway Actresses Of all time

by josh_dukie | created - 14 Apr 2012 | updated - 14 Apr 2012 | Public

1. Judy Garland

Actress | The Wizard of Oz

One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals.

She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in ...

2. Julie Andrews

Actress | The Sound of Music

Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on October 1, 1935, in England. Her mother, Barbara Ward (Morris), and stepfather, both vaudeville performers, discovered her freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice and immediately got her a singing career. She performed in music halls throughout her...

3. Liza Minnelli

Soundtrack | Cabaret

Liza Minnelli was born on March 12, 1946, the daughter of Judy Garland and movie director Vincente Minnelli. She was practically raised at MGM studios while her parents worked long hours there and she made her film debut at fourteen months of age in the movie In the Good Old Summertime (1949). Her ...

4. Ethel Merman

Actress | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Born in the Astoria section of Queens, New York City, Ethel Merman surely is the pre-eminent star of 'Broadway' musical comedy. Though untrained in singing, she could belt out a song like quite no one else, and was sought after by major songwriters such as Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Having ...

5. Barbra Streisand

Soundtrack | Funny Girl

Barbra Streisand is an American singer, actress, director and producer and one of the most successful personalities in show business. She is the only person ever to receive all of the following: Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, National Endowment for the Arts, and Peabody awards,...

6. Carol Channing

Actress | Thoroughly Modern Millie

Carol Channing was born January 31, 1921, at Seattle, Washington, the daughter of a prominent newspaper editor, who was very active in the Christian Science movement. She attended high school in San Francisco and later worked as a model in Los Angeles. She attended prestigious Bennington College in...

7. Angela Lansbury

Actress | The Manchurian Candidate

British character actress, long in the United States. The daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a high-ranking politician, Lansbury studied acting from her youth, departing for the United States as the Second World War began. She was contracted by MGM while still a teenager and nominated ...

8. Shirley Jones

Actress | Elmer Gantry

Named after child star Shirley Temple, Shirley Jones started singing at the age of six. She started formal training at the age of 12 and would dream of singing with her idol, Gordon MacRae. Upon graduating from high school, Shirley went to New York to audition for the casting director of Rodgers & ...

9. Marilyn Monroe

Actress | Some Like It Hot

Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, comedienne, singer, and model. She became one of the world's most enduring iconic figures and is remembered both for her winsome embodiment of the Hollywood sex symbol and her tragic personal and professional struggles within the film industry. Her life and ...

10. Shirley Temple

Actress | Captain January

Shirley Temple was easily the most popular and famous child star of all time. She got her start in the movies at the age of three and soon progressed to super stardom. Shirley could do it all: act, sing and dance and all at the age of five! Fans loved her as she was bright, bouncy and cheerful in ...

11. Ann Miller

Actress | Mulholland Dr.

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 ...

12. Debbie Reynolds

Actress | Singin' in the Rain

Debbie Reynolds was born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Texas, the second child of Maxine N. (Harmon) and Raymond Francis Reynolds, a carpenter for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Her film career began at MGM after she won a beauty contest at age 16 impersonating Betty Hutton. Reynolds wasn't a ...

13. Doris Day

Soundtrack | Love Me or Leave Me

One of America's most prolific actresses was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Alma Sophia (Welz), a housewife, and William Joseph Kappelhoff, a music teacher and choir master. Her grandparents were all German immigrants. She had two brothers, Richard, who ...

14. Jane Russell

Actress | Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was born on June 21, 1921 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her father was a United States Army lieutenant and her mother had been a student of drama and an actress with a traveling troupe. Once Mr. Russell was mustered out of the service, the family took up residence in ...

15. Chita Rivera

Actress | Chicago

An accomplished and versatile actress/singer/dancer, Chita Rivera has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in a Musical and received eight additional Tony nominations for an exceptional 10 Tony nominations. She recently starred in The Visit, the final John Kander/Fred Ebb/Terrence McNally ...

16. Gwen Verdon

Actress | Cocoon

Gwen Verdon was born to the theater. Her mother, Gertrude, was a vaudevillian and dancer. Her father, Joseph, was an MGM studio electrician. She had to wear corrective boots as a child to straighten out her legs, which were misshapen by childhood illness. Nonetheless, she first appeared as a tapper...

17. Rosemary Clooney

Actress | White Christmas

Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, to Marie Frances (Guilfoyle) and Andrew Joseph Clooney. She was one of five children. Her father was of Irish and German descent, and her mother was of Irish and English ancestry. She grew up in Maysville, where she and her sister Betty Clooney used...

18. Ann-Margret

Actress | Bye Bye Birdie

Actress and singer Ann-Margret is one of the most famous sex symbols and actresses of the 1960s and beyond. She continued her career through the following decades and into the 21st century.

Ann-Margret was born Ann-Margret Olsson in Valsjöbyn, Jämtland County, Sweden, to Anna Regina (Aronsson) and ...

19. Betty Hutton

Actress | Annie Get Your Gun

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 ...

20. Judy Holliday

Actress | Born Yesterday

Judy Holliday was born Judith Tuvim in New York City on June 21, 1921. Her mother, a piano teacher, was attending a play when she went into labor and made it to the hospital just in time. Judy was an only child. By the age of four, her mother had her enrolled in ballet school which fostered a ...

21. Marni Nixon

Actress | The Sound of Music

"Loverly" soprano Marni Nixon has ensured herself a proper place in film history although most moviegoers would not recognize her if they passed her on the street. But if you heard her, that might be a horse of a different color. Marni is one of those unsung heroes (or should I say "much sung" ...

22. Bernadette Peters

Actress | The Jerk

Bernadette Peters was born Bernadette Lazzara on February 28, 1948 in Queens, New York City. Peters is one of the most critically-acclaimed Broadway performers, having received nominations for seven Tony Awards, winning two, and eight Drama Desk Awards, winning three. Four of the Broadway cast ...

23. Patti LuPone

Actress | Witness

A fireball of talent and a musical force to be reckoned with, singer/actress Patti LuPone was born on April 21, 1949 on Long Island, New York of Italian heritage. Her parents, Orlando LuPone, a school administrator, and mother Angela, a librarian, eventually divorced. She was christened Patti in ...

24. Carol Burnett

Actress | Annie

The entertainment world has enjoyed a five-decade love affair with comedienne/singer Carol Burnett. A peerless sketch performer and delightful, self-effacing personality who rightfully succeeded Lucille Ball as the carrot-topped "Queen of Television Comedy," it was Burnett's traumatic childhood that...

25. Barbara Cook

Actress | Thumbelina

Barbara Cook is best-loved and remembered for her work on the Broadway stage. An amazing singer and refreshingly impulsive actress, she made her debut at age 23 in the musical "Flahooley". Roles in "Plain and Fancy" and, the most famous flop of all time, "Candide" followed. In 1957, she created her...

26. Betty Buckley

Actress | Split

Betty Buckley, who has been called "The Voice of Broadway," is one of theater's most respected and legendary leading ladies. She is an actress/singer whose career spans theater, film, television and concert halls around the world. She is a 2012 Theatre Hall of Fame inductee and the 2017 recipient ...

27. Lena Horne

Soundtrack | Cabin in the Sky

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...

28. Olivia Newton-John

Soundtrack | Grease

Actress/singer Olivia Newton-John was born on September 26, 1948, in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. She lived there until she was five years old, and her family relocated to Australia when her father was offered a job as the dean of a college in Melbourne. When she was a teen she returned to ...

29. Rita Moreno

Actress | West Side Story

Rita Moreno has had a thriving acting career for the better part of six decades. One of the very few performers (and the very first) to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy, she was born Rosita Dolores Alverío in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on December 11, 1931, to seamstress Rosa María (Marcano) ...

30. Ann Reinking

Actress | Annie

Ann Reinking was born on November 10, 1949, in Seattle, Washington. Renowned more for her dancing than acting, Reinking has danced in many Broadway shows. She made her film debut in Movie Movie (1978) and the following year starred opposite Roy Scheider and Jessica Lange in the Bob Fosse biopic All...

31. Vera-Ellen

Actress | White Christmas

Vera-Ellen began dancing at the age of 10, and a few years later became one of the youngest Rockettes. She appeared in several Broadway musicals until she was spotted by film producer Samuel Goldwyn in 1945. She was only 24 years old when Goldwyn cast her opposite Danny Kaye in Wonder Man (1945). ...