Actresses - When I hear their names, I watch

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Tilda Swinton
The iconoclastic gifts of the visually striking and fiercely talented actress Tilda Swinton have been appreciated by a more international audience of late. She was born Katherine Mathilda Swinton on November 5, 1960, in London, England. Her mother, Judith Balfour, Lady Swinton (née Killen), was Australian...
Vera Farmiga
Actress, The Conjuring
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...
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...
Frances McDormand
Actress, Fargo
Frances Louise McDormand was born on June 23, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. She was adopted by Canadian-born parents Noreen Eloise (Nickleson), a nurse from Ontario, and Vernon Weir McDormand, a minister from Nova Scotia, who raised her in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. She earned her B.A. in Theater from Bethany College in 1979 and her MFA from Yale in 1982...
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...
Rachel McAdams
Rachel Anne McAdams was born on November 17, 1978 in London, Ontario, Canada, to Sandra Kay (Gale), a nurse, and Lance Frederick McAdams, a truck driver and furniture mover. She is of English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish descent. Rachel became involved with acting as a teenager and by the age of 13 was...
Catherine Keener
Catherine Keener is an American actress, Oscar-nominated for her roles in the independent films Being John Malkovich and Capote. 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...
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...
Shirley MacLaine
Actress, The Apartment
Shirley MacLaine was born Shirley MacLean Beaty in Richmond, Virginia. Her mother, Kathlyn Corinne (MacLean), was a drama teacher from Nova Scotia, Canada, and her father, Ira Owens Beaty, a professor of psychology and real estate agent, was from Virginia. Her brother, Warren Beatty, was born on March 30, 1937. Her ancestry includes English and Scottish...
Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton was born Diane Hall in Los Angeles, California, to Dorothy Deanne (Keaton), an amateur photographer, and John Newton Ignatius "Jack" Hall, a civil engineer and real estate broker. Her ancestry includes Irish, English, German, and Scottish. Keaton studied Drama at Santa Ana College before dropping out to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York...
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer Jason Leigh was born Jennifer Lee Morrow in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of writer Barbara Turner and actor Vic Morrow. Her father was of Russian Jewish descent and her mother was of Austrian Jewish ancestry. She is the sister of Carrie Ann Morrow and half-sister of actress Mina Badie...
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...
Bridget Fonda
Actress, Jackie Brown
Bridget Jane Fonda was born in Los Angeles, California, to Susan Brewer and actor Peter Fonda. She is the granddaughter of Henry Fonda and niece of Jane Fonda, both famous actors. Bridget made her film debut at age five as an extra in Easy Rider, but first became interested in acting after appearing in a high school production of "Harvey." At age 18...
Carey Mulligan
Actress, Drive
Carey Mulligan is a British actress, born May 28, 1985, in Westminster, London, England, to Nano (Booth), a university lecturer, and Stephen Mulligan, a hotel manager. Her father is of Irish descent and her mother is Welsh, originally from Llandeilo. Her first major appearance was playing Kitty Bennet in Pride & Prejudice alongside Keira Knightley...
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...
Kathy Bates
Actress, Titanic
Multi-talented Kathleen Doyle Bates was born on June 28, 1948, and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls born to Bertye Kathleen (Talbot), a homemaker, and Langdon Doyle Bates, a mechanical engineer. Her grandfather was author Finis L. Bates. Kathy has English, as well as Irish...
Chloë Sevigny
Known in the mid to late nineties for her status as a fashion impresario and "it girl," with over a dozen art house films to her credit, Chloe Sevigny also stands out as one of the most prominent queens of contemporary independent cinema. Originally hailing from Darien, Connecticut, Sevigny attributes...
Claire Danes
New Yorker Claire Danes was born in Manhattan, the daughter of Carla (Hall), a day-care provider and artist, and Christopher Danes, a computer consultant and photographer. She has an older brother, Asa. Her paternal grandfather, Gibson Andrew Danes, was a Dean of the Yale School of Art and Architecture, and Claire has English, German, Scottish, Irish, and Austrian ancestry...
Toni Collette
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)...
Diane Lane
Actress, Man of Steel
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...
Robin Wright
Actress, Forrest Gump
Robin Virginia Wright was born in Dallas, Texas, to Gayle (Gaston), a national director at Mary Kay, and Freddie Wright, a pharmaceutical executive. She grew up in San Diego, California. She started her professional career as a model in 1980 at age 14, and worked both in Paris and Japan. After finishing high school she decided to become an actress...
Elisabeth Shue
Elisabeth Shue was born in Wilmington, Delaware, to Anne Brewster (Wells), who worked for the Chemical Banking Corporation, and James William Shue, a lawyer and real estate developer. She is of German and English ancestry, including descent from Mayflower passengers. Shue's parents divorced while she was in the fourth grade...
Ellen Burstyn
Actress, Interstellar
Ellen Burstyn was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Correine Marie (Hamel) and John Austin Gillooly. She is of mostly Irish, German, and French-Canadian descent. Ellen worked a number of jobs before she became an actress. At 14, she was a short-order cook at a lunch counter. After graduating from Detroit's Cass Technical High School...
Emily Blunt
Actress, Sicario
Emily Olivia Leah Blunt is a British actress known for her roles in The Young Victoria and The Devil Wears Prada. Blunt was born on February 23, 1983, in Roehampton, South West London, England, the second of four children in the family of Joanna Mackie, a former actress and teacher, and Oliver Simon Peter Blunt...
Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson was born in London on April 15, 1959, into a family of actors - her father was Eric Thompson, who has passed away, and her mother, Phyllida Law, has co-starred with Thompson in several films (her sister, Sophie Thompson, is an actor as well). Her father was English-born and her mother is Scottish-born...
Judy Davis
Judy Davis was born April 23, 1955 in Perth, Western Australia. She was educated at Loreto Convent and the Western Institute of Technology, and graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 1977. She came to prominence as Sybylla Melvyn in the film adaptation of Miles Franklin's novel...
Famke Janssen
Actress, X-Men
Famke Beumer Janssen was born on November 5, 1964 in Amstelveen, Netherlands, and has two siblings, director Antoinette Beumer and actress Marjolein Beumer. She studied economics for a year at the University of Amsterdam. Moving to America in 1984, Famke modeled for Chanel in New York City. Later, taking a break from modeling...
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...
Parker Posey
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...
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...
Helen Mirren
Actress, The Queen
Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. Mirren attended St...
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.
Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter was born in Conyers, Georgia, to Opal Marguerite (Catledge), a homemaker, and Charles Edwin Hunter, a part-time sporting goods company representative and farmer with a 250 acre farm. She is the youngest of seven children. Her parents encouraged her talent at an early age, and her first acting part was as Helen Keller in a fifth-grade play...
Jennifer Connelly
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...
Jessica Chastain
Actress, The Martian
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...
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...
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...
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...
Kristin Scott Thomas
Kristin Scott Thomas was born in Redruth, Cornwall, England, to Deborah (Hurlbatt) and Lieutenant Commander Simon Scott Thomas. Her ancestry includes Welsh, English, and Dutch. Her father was a pilot for the British Royal Navy and died in a flying accident in 1964. Her stepfather was also a pilot and died six years later under similar circumstances...
Laura Linney
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)...
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...
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Academy Award-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal was born on November 16, 1977, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. Her parents, Naomi Foner (née Achs) and Stephen Gyllenhaal, are both filmmakers, and her brother is actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Her mother is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, while her father has Swedish, English, Swiss-German, and German ancestry...
Marion Cotillard
Actress, Inception
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...
Marisa Tomei
Actress, The Wrestler
Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York to mother Patricia "Addie" Tomei, an English teacher and father Gary Tomei, a lawyer. Marisa also has a brother, actor Adam Tomei. As a child, Marisa's mother frequently corrected her speech as to eliminate her heavy Brooklyn accent...
Mary-Louise Parker
Actress, Weeds
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...
Cécile De France
Actress, Hereafter
Cecile de France was born in Namur in Belgium in 1975 and discovered her vocation at the early age of six. As soon as she was seventeen, she was off to Paris with the ambition of beginning a career on the stage. She studied drama with Jean-Paul Denizon, actor and assistant to Peter Brook, before being admitted to the Ecole National Supérieure des Arts et Techniques du Théâtre...
Kelly Macdonald
Actress, Brave
Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald was born and raised in Glasgow. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was raised by her mother, a sales executive in the garment industry. She has one brother, David. As a hobby, she acted in an amateur theatrical club, which she enjoyed a great deal. Macdonald was working as a barmaid...
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...
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...
Minnie Driver
Amelia Fiona J. Driver was born January 31, 1970 in Finsbury Park, London. Her mother, Gaynor Churchward (née Millington), was a designer and former couture model, and her father, Charles Ronald "Ronnie" Driver, was a businessman. She has a sister, Kate Driver, who is a model and a producer. Minnie's mother was her father's mistress...
Mira Sorvino
Actress, Mimic
Mira Katherine Sorvino was born on September 28, 1967 in Manhattan. She is the daughter of Lorraine Davis, an actress turned drama therapist, and veteran character actor Paul Sorvino. Her father's family were Italian immigrants. The young Sorvino was intelligent, an avid reader and an exceptional scholar...
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...
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel, to a Jewish family. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an American-born artist (from Cincinnati, Ohio), who also acts as Natalie's agent. She left Israel for Washington...
Natascha McElhone
Natascha McElhone was born in Walton on Thames, London. She attended several schools, Camden School for Girls being the last. Natascha McElhone established herself as a talented leading actress when she left drama school in 1993 to play the lead in her first film, Merchant Ivory's Surviving Picasso, opposite Anthony Hopkins...
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...
Patricia Arquette
Actress, Medium
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...
Juliette Lewis
Juliette Lewis has been recognized as one of Hollywood's most talented and versatile actors of her generation since she first stunned audiences and critics alike with her Oscar-nominated performance as "Danielle Bowden" in Cape Fear. To date, she has worked with some of the most revered directors in the industry...
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...
Samantha Morton
Actress, John Carter
Born in Nottingham, England and trained at the Central Junior Television Workshop, Samantha's first television work came at the age of 13. Since then, she has played many minor TV roles in such dramas as Cracker, Peak Practice, Boon, Soldier Soldier and Medics, before reaching the big time with major roles in such TV movies and mini-series as Band of Gold...
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...
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...
Sissy Spacek
Actress, Carrie
As a kid, Sissy Spacek climbed trees, rode horses, swam, and played in the woods. She was born Mary Elizabeth Spacek on December 25, 1949, in Quitman, Texas, to Virginia Frances (Spilman) and Edwin Arnold Spacek, Sr., a county agricultural agent. Her father's family was of Czech and German origin. Sissy attended Quitman High School and was homecoming queen...
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...
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...
Carice van Houten
Actress, Black Book
Carice Anouk van Houten was born in Leiderdorp (near Leiden) on 5 September 1976. Her parents are Margje Stasse, who is on the board of Dutch educational TV, and writer and broadcaster Theodore van Houten. She is the elder sister of actress and designer Jelka van Houten. Her paternal grandmother was Scottish...
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...
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...
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Actress, Melancholia
Charlotte Gainsbourg was born in London, England in 1971. She is an Anglo-French actress and singer. The daughter of English actress Jane Birkin and French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, she was raised in Paris. Gainsbourg made her motion picture debut in 1984. In 1986, Gainsbourg won a César Award for "Most Promising Actress"...
Thandie Newton
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...
Amber Heard
Actress, Zombieland
Amber Laura Heard was born in Austin, Texas, to Patricia Paige (Parsons), an internet researcher, and David Clinton Heard, a contractor. She has English, Irish, Scottish, German, and Welsh ancestry. Heard appeared in the Academy Award-nominated film, North Country, in which she played Charlize Theron's character in flashbacks...
Shannyn Sossamon
Shannyn Sossamon, who credits her striking looks to a mix of English, French, Hawaiian, Dutch, Irish, Filipino, and German ancestry, was born Shannon Marie Kahololani Sossamon in Honolulu, Hawaii. At the age of one, Shannyn and her family moved to a new locale: Reno, Nevada. Her youth was spent at a dance studio...