50 Favorite Actresses

In no order, not "the best actresses" ever- just my favorites with my favorite work of theirs in the description. I also take into account their other creative work.
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1.
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...
“ Harold & Maude ” - bemh7793
 
2.
Rita Hayworth
Actress, Gilda
Margarita Carmen Cansino was born on October 17, 1918, in Brooklyn, New York, into a family of dancers. Her father, Eduardo was a dancer as was his father before him. He emigrated from Spain in 1913. Rita's mother met Eduardo in 1916 and were married the following year. Rita, herself, studied as a dancer in order to follow in her family's footsteps...
“ Gilda ” - bemh7793
 
3.
Bette Davis
Actress, All About Eve
Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born April 5, 1908, in Lowell, Massachusetts, to Ruth Augusta (Favor) and Harlow Morrell Davis, a patent attorney. Her parents divorced when she was 10. She and her sister were raised by their mother. Her early interest was dance. To Bette, dancers led a glamorous life, but then she discovered the stage...
“ All About Eve ” - bemh7793
 
4.
Audrey Tautou
Actress, Amélie
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...
“ Amelie ” - bemh7793
 
5.
Liza Minnelli
Actress, 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. Her parents divorced in 1951 and...
“ Cabaret ” - bemh7793
 
6.
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...
“ The Silence of the Lambs ” - bemh7793
 
7.
Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn was born Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston on May 4, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. She was a blue-blood and a cosmopolitan from birth. Her mother, Ella van Heemstra, was a Dutch baroness; Audrey's father, Joseph Victor Anthony Hepburn-Ruston, was born in Úzice, Bohemia, of English and Austrian descent, and worked in business...
“ Basically any Audrey movie. ” - bemh7793
 
8.
Meryl Streep
Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 20 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...
“ I really love her in a lot of movies.
Out of Africa/Kramer v Kramer/It's Complicated/A Prairie Home Companion/etc ” - bemh7793
 
9.
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...
“ Irma La Douce ” - bemh7793
 
10.
Julie Andrews
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 childhood and teens...
“ Victor/Victoria ” - bemh7793
 
11.
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...
“ Legally Blonde ” - bemh7793
 
12.
Kristen Wiig
Actress, The Martian
Kristen Carroll Wiig was born on August 22, 1973 in Canandaigua, New York, to Laurie J. (Johnston), an artist, and Jon J. Wiig, a lake marina manager. She is of Norwegian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, English, and Scottish descent. The family moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, before settling in Rochester...
“ SNL and Bridesmaids ” - bemh7793
 
13.
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...
“ Much Ado About Nothing ” - bemh7793
 
14.
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...
“ Hard to chose, but Misery ” - bemh7793
 
15.
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...
“ The Kids Are Alright & The Big Lebowski ” - bemh7793
 
16.
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...
“ Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ” - bemh7793
 
17.
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...
“ I haven't seen her in a lot, but she is amazing. ” - bemh7793
 
18.
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...
“ Fight Club ” - bemh7793
 
19.
Ingrid Bergman
Actress, Casablanca
Ingrid Bergman was one of the greatest actresses from Hollywood's lamented Golden Era. Her natural and unpretentious beauty and her immense acting talent made her one of the most celebrated figures in the history of American cinema. Bergman is also one of the most Oscar-awarded actresses, tied with Meryl Streep, both second only to Katharine Hepburn...
“ Spellbound ” - bemh7793
 
20.
Maggie Smith
One of the world's most famous and distinguished actresses, Dame Maggie Smith was born Margaret Natalie Smith in Essex. Her Scottish mother, Margaret (Hutton), worked as a secretary, and her English father, Nathaniel Smith, was a teacher at Oxford University. Smith has been married twice: to actor Robert Stephens and to playwright Beverley Cross...
“ Gosford Park ” - bemh7793
 
21.
Molly Shannon
Molly Shannon has successfully become one of Hollywood's most sought-after talents on television and the silver screen. Shannon was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, to Mary Margaret (Keating), a teacher, and James Francis Shannon, a sales manager. Her parents were both of Irish descent. She earned a BFA in drama from New York University's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts...
“ SNL ” - bemh7793
 
22.
Lucille Ball
Actress, I Love Lucy
The woman who will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their grandparents...
“ The Long, Long Trailer ” - bemh7793
 
23.
Gilda Radner
Gilda Radner was one of the great comic geniuses of the 20th century, ranked up with Lucille Ball and other comedy legends of the highest caliber. She was born on June 28, 1946, in Detroit, Michigan, the younger of two children of Henrietta (Dworkin), a legal secretary, and Herman Radner, a businessman...
“ SNL/Haunted Honeymoon ” - bemh7793
 
24.
Maya Rudolph
Actress, Bridesmaids
Maya Rudolph was born in Gainesville, Florida, on July 27th, 1972, to Dick Rudolph, a music producer, and soul singer Minnie Riperton. Her mother was African-American and her father is Ashkenazi Jewish (from a family from Lithuania, Russia, Germany, and Hungary). In 1973, Maya, her parents, and her older brother...
“ Most everything she's in. ” - bemh7793
 
25.
Amy Poehler
Actress, Inside Out
Amy Meredith Poehler was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to high school teachers Eileen Frances (Milmore) and William Grinstead Poehler. Her brother is comedian Greg Poehler. She is of Irish (from her mother) and English, German, and Portuguese (from her father) descent. Amy was first involved with sketch comedy when she joined the group My Mother's Flea Bag when she was attending Boston College...
“ Parks & Rec ” - bemh7793
 
26.
Judy Garland
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 Minnesota...
“ Meet Me In St. Louis ” - bemh7793
 
27.
Leslie Caron
Actress, Gigi
French ballet dancer Leslie Caron was discovered by the legendary MGM star Gene Kelly during his search for a co-star in one of the finest musicals ever filmed, the Oscar-winning An American in Paris, which was inspired by and based on the music of George Gershwin. Leslie's gamine looks and pixie-like appeal would be ideal for Cinderella-type rags-to-riches stories...
“ I love Gigi and An American In Paris equally ” - bemh7793
 
28.
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)...
“ Alien ” - bemh7793
 
29.
Shelley Duvall
Actress, The Shining
Shelley Alexis Duvall was born in Houston, Texas, to Bobbie Ruth (Massengale) and Robert Richardson Duvall, a lawyer. During her childhood, Shelley's mother humorously gave Shelley the nickname "Manic Mouse", because she would often run around her house and tip over furniture. Shelley however was more than a mouse...
“ The Shining ” - bemh7793
 
30.
Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood was born on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, California, as Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko. Her parents, Maria Stepanovna (Zudilova) and Nikolai Stepanovich Zakharenko, were Russian-born émigrés, of Ukrainian and Russian descent, who spoke barely comprehensible English; they changed the family name to Gurdin after becoming US citizens...
“ Rebel Without a Cause ” - bemh7793
 
31.
Tina Fey
Elizabeth Stamatina Fey was born in 1970 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, just west of Philadelphia, to Xenobia "Jeanne" (Xenakes), a brokerage employee, and Donald Henry Fey, who wrote grant proposals for universities. Her mother is Greek, born in Piraeus, while her father had German, Northern Irish, and English ancestry...
“ 30 Rock ” - bemh7793
 
32.
Cheryl Hines
Cheryl Ruth Hines was born on September 21, 1965 in Miami Beach, Florida, to Rosemary (Graham) and James Hines, and grew up in Tallahassee, Florida. She went to West Virginia University, Florida State University and graduated from the University of Central Florida. She studied theater and television production...
“ Curb Your Enthusiasm ” - bemh7793
 
33.
Rashida Jones
Rashida Jones was born in Los Angeles, the younger daughter of media mogul, producer, and musician Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton. She has an older sister, Kidada Jones, and five half-siblings by her father's other relationships. Her father is African-American, and also has Welsh ancestry...
“ Parks & Rec ” - bemh7793
 
34.
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...
“ The Princess Bride ” - bemh7793
 
35.
Melissa McCarthy
Actress, Gilmore Girls
Melissa McCarthy was born in Plainfield, Illinois, to Sandra and Michael McCarthy, a farmer. McCarthy began her performing career as a stand-up comedian in New York where she appeared at the famous clubs, Stand Up New York and The Improv. She worked on her acting skills at The Actors Studio and appeared in many stage productions in the city before moving to Los Angeles in the late-1990s...
“ Bridesmaids ” - bemh7793
 
36.
Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder was born Winona Laura Horowitz in Olmsted County, Minnesota, and was named after a nearby town, Winona, Minnesota. She is the daughter of Cynthia (Istas), an author and video producer, and Michael Horowitz, a publisher and bookseller. Her father's family is Russian Jewish and Romanian Jewish...
“ Heathers ” - bemh7793
 
37.
Marion Cotillard
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...
“ Les Jeux D'Enfants ” - bemh7793
 
38.
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...
“ Iron Jawed Angels ” - bemh7793
 
39.
Alia Shawkat
Alia Shawkat was born in Riverside, California, to Dina Burke and actor Tony Shawkat. Her maternal grandfather, Paul Burke, was also an actor. Her father is from Baghdad, Iraq, and her mother has Irish, Italian, and Norwegian ancestry. Success arrived early for Alia. Her career began at the young age of 11 when she landed a role on the ABC Family series State of Grace...
“ Arrested Development ” - bemh7793
 
40.
Jane Lynch
Actress, Glee
“ Best In Show ” - bemh7793
 
41.
Lizzy Caplan
Actress, Cloverfield
Actress Elizabeth Anne "Lizzy" Caplan was born in Los Angeles, California, to Barbara (Bragman), a political aide, and Richard Caplan, a lawyer. She has two older siblings, Julie and Benjamin, and was raised in a Jewish household. Her mother was a cousin of publicist Howard Bragman. Caplan was educated at Alexander Hamilton High School...
“ Party Down/Mean Girls ” - bemh7793
 
42.
Vera Farmiga
Actress, The Conjuring
Vera Farmiga is an American actress who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Up in the Air and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Bates Motel. She was born Vera Ann Farmiga, the second of seven children...
“ Up In The Air ” - bemh7793
 
43.
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...
“ Best In Show/other projects ” - bemh7793
 
44.
Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth Banks was born Elizabeth Mitchell in Pittsfield, a small city in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts near the New York border, on February 10, 1974. She is the daughter of Ann (Wallace), who worked in a bank, and Mark P. Mitchell, a factory worker. Elizabeth describes herself as having been seen as a "goody two-shoes" in her youth who was nominated for the local Harvest Queen...
“ Zach and Miri & 30 Rock ” - bemh7793
 
45.
Kristen Schaal
Actress, Bob's Burgers
Kristen Schaal is an American actress, voice artist, writer, and comedian. She is best known for her roles as Mel on the HBO series Flight of the Conchords, Louise Belcher on FOX animated comedy Bob's Burgers, and Mabel Pines on Gravity Falls. Other notable roles include her appearances as a commentator on The Daily Show...
“ She's hilarious. ” - bemh7793
 
46.
Ashley Jensen
Ashley Jensen (born on 11 August 1969) is a Scottish actress and narrator. She was nominated for an Emmy for her role on the television series Extras, on which she appeared from 2005-2007. She was also a cast member on the ABC show Ugly Betty and the brief-lived CBS sitcom Accidentally on Purpose.
“ Extras ” - bemh7793
 
47.
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...
“ Secretary ” - bemh7793
 
48.
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...
“ Easy A ” - bemh7793
 
49.
Emily Blunt
Actress, Sicario
Emily Olivia Leah Blunt is a British actress known for her roles in The Devil Wears Prada, The Young Victoria, Edge of Tomorrow, and The Girl on the Train, among many others. Blunt was born on February 23, 1983, in Roehampton, South West London, England, the second of four children in the family of Joanna Mackie...
“ The Five Year Engagement ” - bemh7793
 
50.
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...
“ Thelma & Louise ” - bemh7793