The Greatest Female Stars of the 1930ies

The average IMDb vote of the best 5 films of each star gives the ranking. Maximum 100 Persons.
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1.
Jean Arthur
This marvelous screen comedienne's best asset was only muffled during her seven years' stint in silent films. That asset? It was, of course, her squeaky, frog-like voice, which silent-era cinema audiences had simply no way of perceiving, much less appreciating. Jean Arthur, born Gladys Georgianna Greene in upstate New York...
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2.
Beulah Bondi
Character actress Beulah Bondi was a favorite of directors and audiences and is one of the reasons so many films from the 1930s and 1940s remain so enjoyable, as she was an integral part of many of the ensemble casts (a hallmark of the studio system) of major and/or great films, including The Trail of the Lonesome Pine...
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3.
Spring Byington
The possessor of one of Hollywood's gentlest faces and warmest voices, and about as sweet as Tupelo honey both on-and-off camera, character actress Spring Byington was seldom called upon to play callous or unsympathetic (she did once play a half-crazed housekeeper in Dragonwyck). Although playing the part of Mrs...
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4.
Jean Harlow
The dentist's daughter eloped at age 16 with a young businessman and wound up in Los Angeles where she found work as an extra and bit player (examples: Moran of the Marines and Liberty) and somewhat more prominently in Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy shorts (Double Whoopee, Bacon Grabbers)...
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5.
Ginger Rogers
Actress, Top Hat
Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri on July 16, 1911. Her mother, known as Lelee, went to Independence to have Ginger away from her husband. She had a baby earlier in their marriage and he allowed the doctor to use forceps and the baby died. She was kidnapped by her father several times until her mother took him to court...
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6.
Miriam Hopkins
Born in Savannah, Georgia and brought up in nearby Bainbridge, Miriam Hopkins spent most of her formative years with her maternal grandmother. She received her secondary education in Barre, Vermont and then Syracuse University. Upon graduation, she went to New York to become a ballet dancer, but instead gravitated towards Broadway revues and vaudeville instead...
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7.
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...
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8.
Claudette Colbert
Screenwriter Allan Scott was one of Claudette Colbert's biggest fans after working with her on Skylark and So Proudly We Hail!. When she had trouble with one of his scenes she never said, "I can't play this scene"; her attitude was, "I think I'm missing something here", he recalled decades later when writing about Colbert's deep understanding as a friend...
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9.
Olivia de Havilland
Olivia Mary de Havilland was born July 1, 1916, in Tokyo, Japan, to British parents Lilian Augusta (Ruse), a former actress, and Walter Augustus de Havilland, an English professor and patent attorney. Her sister, Joan, later to become famous as Joan Fontaine, was born the following year. Her surname comes from her paternal grandfather...
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10.
Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy was born Myrna Adele Williams on August 2, 1905 in Helena, Montana, to Adelle Mae (Johnson) and David Franklin Williams. Her paternal grandparents were Welsh, and her mother was of Scottish and Swedish descent. Myrna was raised in Helena and nearby Radersburg. Her father, a rancher, was the youngest person ever elected to the Montana State legislature...
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11.
Joan Blondell
Actress, Grease
With blonde hair, big blue eyes and a big smile, Joan was usually cast as the wisecracking working girl who was the lead's best friend. Born into vaudeville to a comic named Eddie, Joan was on the stage when she was three years old. For years, she toured the circuit with her parents and joined a stock company when she was 17...
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12.
Hattie McDaniel
After working as early as the 1910s as a band vocalist, Hattie McDaniel debuted as a maid in The Golden West. Her maid-mammy characters became steadily more assertive, showing up first in Judge Priest and becoming pronounced in Alice Adams. In this one, directed by George Stevens and aided and abetted by star Katharine Hepburn...
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13.
Mary Astor
Mary Astor was born, Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke, on May 3, 1906 in Quincy, Illinois to a German immigrant father, Otto Ludwig Langhanke, and an American mother from Illinois, Helen Marie Vasconcellos, of Portuguese and Irish ancestry. Her parents were very ambitious for her as they recognized Mary's beauty and knowing if they played their cards right...
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14.
Paulette Goddard
Actress, Modern Times
Paulette Goddard was a child model who debuted in "The Ziegfeld Follies" at the age of 13. She gained fame with the show as the girl on the crescent moon, and was married to a wealthy man by the time she was 16. After her divorce she went to Hollywood in 1931, where she appeared in small roles in pictures for a number of studios...
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15.
Joan Bennett
Actress, Dark Shadows
Eighteen-year-old Joan Bennett had intended to avoid the Bennett tradition of acting but, divorced and with a child to support, had little choice; she accepted a role in her father's play "Jarnegan", then her first leading film role in Bulldog Drummond. Her popularity growing, she made 14 films under a Fox contract...
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16.
Katharine Hepburn
Born May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut, she was the daughter of a doctor and a suffragette, both of whom always encouraged her to speak her mind, develop it fully, and exercise her body to its full potential. An athletic tomboy as a child, she was also very close to her brother, Tom, and was devastated at age 14 to find him dead...
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17.
May Robson
Born Mary Jeanette Robison. She was the youngest daughter of Henry Robison of Penrith, Cumberland, England and Julia Schelesinger of Liverpool, Lancashire, England. Her father died in 1860 and her mother remarried. In 1866/67 they were living in St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and moved back to London...
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18.
Jane Darwell
Missouri-born Jane Darwell was the daughter of a railroad president and grew up on a ranch in Missouri. She nursed ambitions to be an opera singer, but put it off because of her father's disapproval (she eventually changed her name to Darwell from the family name of Woodward so as not to "sully" the family name)...
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19.
Kay Francis
Kay Francis is possibly the biggest of the 'forgotten stars' from Hollywood's Golden Era, yet, for a while in the 1930s, she ranked as one of the most popular actresses, tagged the 'Queen of Warner Brothers', by 1935 earning a yearly salary of $115,000 (compared to Bette Davis with $18,000). The daughter of actress Katherine Clinton and businessman Joseph Gibbs...
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20.
Maureen O'Sullivan
Maureen Paula O'Sullivan was born on May 17, 1911 in County Roscommon, Ireland, to Evangeline "Mary Eva" Lovatt (Frazer) and Charles Joseph O'Sullivan, an officer in the Connaught Rangers. She was of Irish, English, and Scottish descent. The future mother of Mia Farrow was educated in private Catholic girls schools in London...
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21.
Una Merkel
Una Merkel began her movie career as stand-in for Lillian Gish in the movie The Wind. After that, she performed on Broadway before she returned to movies for the D.W. Griffith film Abraham Lincoln. In her early years, before gaining a few pounds, she looked like Lillian Gish, but after Abraham Lincoln her comic potential was discovered...
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22.
Greta Garbo
Actress, Ninotchka
Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Anna Lovisa (Johansdotter), who worked at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a laborer. She was fourteen when her father died, which left the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and go to work in a department store...
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23.
Leila Hyams
Actress, Freaks
Leila Hyams was one of the top leading ladies of the early talkie pre-code years. She was a likable, pleasing actress with a charming presence. She had much spark, personality and charisma, and a touch of down-to-earthiness and naturalness that won over movie fans; they could relate to her. A versatile...
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24.
Sylvia Sidney
Actress, Sabotage
Sylvia Sidney was born in New York City, in the Bronx borough, on August 8, 1910 with the birth name of Sophia Kosow. Her father was Russian born and her mother was born in Romania. They divorced not long after her birth. Her mother subsequently remarried and Sylvia was adopted by her stepfather, Sigmund Sidney...
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25.
Marjorie Main
Her father was a minister, and when she joined a local stock company as a youngster she changed her name to avoid embarrassing her family. She worked in vaudeville and debuted on Broadway in 1916. Her film debut was in A House Divided. She repeated her stage role in Dead End as Baby Face Martin (Humphrey Bogart)'s mother...
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26.
Marlene Dietrich
Marie Magdelene Dietrich von Losch (aka Marlene) was born in Berlin, Germany on December 27, 1901. Her father was an army officer who had served in the Franco-Prussian War. Because of his constant absences from the family due to his army duties, Marlene and the rest had to rely on themselves. When he died...
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27.
Billie Burke
Billie Burke was born Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke on August 7, 1885 in Washington, D.C. Her father was a circus clown, and as a child she toured the United States and Europe with the circus (before motion pictures and after the stage, circuses were the biggest form of entertainment in the world)...
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28.
Carole Lombard
Carole Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on October 6, 1908. Her parents divorced in 1916 and her mother took the family on a trip out West. While there they decided to settle down in the Los Angeles area. After being spotted playing baseball in the street with the neighborhood boys by a film director...
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29.
Aline MacMahon
Actress, The Search
Aline MacMahon was born of Irish/Russian ancestry on May 3 1899, the daughter of William Marcus MacMahon and Jennie Simon MacMahon. Her father went on to become editor-in-chief of Munsey's Magazine, while her mother pursued a theatrical acting career from middle-age and lived to the ripe old age of 107...
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30.
Mae Clarke
Actress, Frankenstein
Vivacious, blonde Mae Clarke was exposed to cinema from an early age, her father being an organist in a motion picture theatre. Growing up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, she learned how to dance and, at the tender age of 13, was already performing in nightclubs and amateur theatricals. In 1924 she was one of "May Dawson's Dancing Girls"...
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31.
Glenda Farrell
Glenda Farrell began acting in the theater as a child. Her first major film role was in the gangster movie Little Caesar (1931) with Edward G. Robinson. In 1932, she became a Warner Bros. contract actor. She is perhaps best known for her role as Torchy Blane in the 1930s Warner Bros. film series, in which she appeared in seven Torchy Blane films...
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32.
Alice Brady
Alice Brady was born in New York City on November 2, 1892. She was interested in the stage from childhood, as her father was famed Broadway producer William A. Brady. After a few stage productions, Alice was discovered by movie producers in New York, since this was the film capital at the time. Her first film was at the age of 22 when she starred in As Ye Sow...
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33.
Irene Dunne
Irene Marie Dunne was born on December 20, 1898, in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Joseph Dunne, who inspected steamships, and Adelaide Henry, a musician who prompted Irene in the arts. Her first production was in Louisville when she appeared in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the age of five...
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34.
Merle Oberon
Merle Oberon was born in Bombay, of mixed Welsh-Indian parentage, as Estelle "Queenie" Thompson. According to Michael Korda, she "became a feature of Bombay nightlife while still in her early teens and eventually made her way to England as the girlfriend of a wealthy young Englishman." In London she...
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35.
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36.
Jeanette MacDonald
Actress, San Francisco
She was the third daughter of Daniel and Anne MacDonald, younger sister to Blossom (MGM's character actress Marie Blake), whom she followed to New York and a chorus job in 1920. She was busy in a string of musical productions. In 1928 Paramount tested and rejected her, but a year later Ernst Lubitsch saw her test and picked her to play opposite Maurice Chevalier in The Love Parade...
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37.
Edna May Oliver
She was born Edna May Nutter, a child of solid New England stock, on 9th November 1883 in Malden, Massachusetts. The daughter of Ida May and Charles Edward Nutter, Edna was a descendant of the 6th American president John Quincy Adams. Miss Oliver took an early interest in the stage, and she would quit school at the age of 14 to pursue her ambitions in the theater...
“ Vote: 7,384 ” - dziwnytenswiat
 
38.
Lilian Harvey
Lilian Harvey was born on January 19th, 1906 in London. Her mother was English and her father was German. When she was eight her family moved to Berlin shortly before the outbreak of WW1. She spent much of the war at school in Switzerland where she broadened her knowledge of languages and classical dance...
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39.
Karen Morley
Actress, Scarface
Born Mildred Linton in Ottumwa, Iowa on December 12, 1909, Karen Morley was adopted by a well-to-do family who moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1920s. She enrolled at Hollywood High School and studied for a career in medicine at UCLA, but a class in theater changed her career ambitions. After studying at Pasadena Playhouse...
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40.
Ann Miller
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 unable to hold a job...
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41.
Jane Wyman
Actress, Falcon Crest
Jane Wyman was born Sarah Jane Mayfield on January 5, 1917, in St. Joseph, Missouri (she was also known later as Sarah Jane Fulks). When she was only eight years old, and after her parents filed for divorce, she lost her father prematurely. After graduating high school she attempted, with the help of her mother...
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42.
Elsa Lanchester
Elsa Sullivan Lanchester was born into an unconventional a family at the turn of the 20th century. Her parents, James "Shamus" Sullivan and Edith "Biddy" Lanchester, were socialists - very active members of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) in a rather broad sense and did not believe in the institution of marriage and being tied to any conventions of legality for that matter...
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43.
Bonita Granville
Producer, Lassie
Daughter of Bernard Granville, Bonita Granville was born into an acting family. It's not surprising that she herself became a child actor, first on the stage and, at the age of 9, debuting in movies in Westward Passage. She was regularly cast as a naughty little girl, as in These Three where she played Mary...
“ Vote: 7,330 ” - dziwnytenswiat
 
44.
Anne Shirley
They didn't come packaged any sweeter and lovelier than Anne Shirley, a gentle and gracious 1930s teen film actress who didn't quite reach the zenith of front-rank stardom and retired all too soon at age 26. On film as a toddler, she went through a small revolving door of marquee names before legally settling (at age 16) on the name Anne Shirley...
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45.
Helen Vinson
Texas-born Helen Vinson was born Helen Rulfs in Beaumont on September 17, 1907, the daughter of an oil company exec. The family eventually settled in Houston, where her inflamed passion for acting was first ignited. While in her teens she married Harry N. Vickerman, a man fifteen years her senior who came from a well-to-do Philadelphia family...
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46.
Margaret Sullavan
Born in Norfolk, Virginia to wealthy stockbroker Cornelius Hancock Sullavan and heiress Garland Council Sullavan, Margaret Brooke overcame a muscle weakness in her childhood to go on to become a rebellious teenager at posh private schools. She went on to perform with the University Players at Harvard and made her Broadway debut in Hello...
“ Vote: 7,288 ” - dziwnytenswiat
 
47.
Virginia Cherrill
Actress, City Lights
Actress in US and UK films of the early 1930s. Born on a farm, Cherrill was discovered by Charles Chaplin while sitting beside him at a boxing match in Los Angeles; he introduced himself at intermission and hired her for her debut in City Lights. She met husband Cary Grant at the premiere of Blonde Venus and stopped working after their marriage in 1933...
“ Vote: 7,284 ” - dziwnytenswiat
 
48.
Barbara Stanwyck
Today Barbara Stanwyck is remembered primarily as the matriarch of the family known as the Barkleys on the TV western The Big Valley, wherein she played Victoria, and from the hit drama The Colbys. But she was known to millions of other fans for her movie career, which spanned the period from 1927 until 1964...
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49.
Rosalind Russell
The middle of seven children, she was named after the S.S. Rosalind at the suggestion of her father, a successful lawyer. After receiving a Catholic school education, she went to the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York, having convinced her mother that she intended to teach acting. In 1934...
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50.
Mary Boland
Actress, The Women
Lively, buxom character actress Mary Boland made a name for herself playing vacuous or pixillated motherly types during the 1930's. One of her most memorable performances was as the addle-brained Mrs. Rimplegar of Three Cornered Moon, who gives away her family fortune to a swindler because he seemed like 'such a nice young man'...
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51.
Ann Dvorak
Actress, Scarface
Ann Dvorak was the daughter of silent film star Anna Lehr and silents director Edwin McKim. She entered films at the start of sound, as a dance instructor for the lavish MGM musicals. She came to international prominence in Scarface with Paul Muni, but often complained about the lack of quality of her films...
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52.
Dorothy Comingore
Actress, Citizen Kane
Dorothy Comingore earned a place in motion picture history for her role as the second Mrs. Kane (the Marion Davies to Orson Welles's William Randolph Hearst) in Citizen Kane. It was an extraordinary performance, justifiably praised by critics and public alike. She was apparently slated to be on the short list for an Academy Award...
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53.
Madeleine Carroll
Actress, The 39 Steps
The original ash-blonde "iceberg maiden", Madeleine Carroll was a knowing beauty with a confident air, the epitome of poise and "breeding". Not only did she have looks and allure in abundance, but she had intellectual heft to go with them, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Birmingham University at the age of 20...
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54.
Arletty
Before Arlette-Leonie Bathiat went to the movies she was a secretary and had posed several times as a model for different painters and photographers. In 1920 she debuted on stage at a theatre. She only began to work in movies after 1930. After World War II she was condemned to prison for having been the lover of a German official during the ocupation of France...
“ Vote: 7,230 ” - dziwnytenswiat
 
55.
Margaret Lindsay
Actress, Jezebel
Picture-pretty brunette Margaret Lindsay was one of a number of pleasant, sweet-natured ingénues who could do no wrong in a score of 1930s stylish Hollywood pictures. Such altruistic love interests were often overlooked in pictures that were carried by the flashy histrionics of a jaunty James Cagney or temperamental Bette Davis...
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56.
Wendy Barrie
Wendy Barrie was born in Hong Kong of English-Irish parentage, the daughter of King's Counsel F.C. Jenkins. She received her education at a convent school in England and a finishing school in Switzerland. After working in a beauty parlour, she made her first foray into acting on the London stage in "Wonder Bar" (1930)...
“ Vote: 7,212 ” - dziwnytenswiat
 
57.
Joan Fontaine
Actress, Rebecca
Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland on October 22, 1917, in Tokyo, Japan, in what was known as the International Settlement. Her father was a British patent attorney with a lucrative practice in Japan, but due to Joan and older sister Olivia de Havilland's recurring ailments the family moved to California in the hopes of improving their health...
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58.
Fay Wray
Actress, King Kong
She was born Vina Fay Wray near Cardston, Alberta, Canada, on September 15, 1907. Fay was from a large family that included five siblings. She moved to Arizona when she was still small in order for her father to find better work than what was offered in Alberta. After moving again to California, her parents divorced...
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59.
Ruth Hussey
A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Drama, Ruth Hussey's first show-business job was as a fashion commentator on a local radio station. She journeyed to New York City, where she was signed as a model by the world-famous Powers agency. She obtained some stage roles with touring companies and was noticed by MGM...
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60.
Claire Trevor
Actress, Stagecoach
Claire Trevor was born Claire Wemlinger in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, NY, the only child of Fifth Avenue merchant-tailor Noel Wemlinger, an immigrant Frenchman from Paris who lost his business during the Depression, and his Belfast-born wife Betty. Trevor's interest in acting began when she was 11 years old...
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61.
Betty Grable
Elizabeth Ruth Grable was born on December 18, 1916 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Lillian Rose (Hofmann) and John Charles Grable, a stockbroker. She had German, English, Irish, and Dutch ancestry. Her mother was a stubborn and materialistic woman who was determined to make her daughter a star. Elizabeth...
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62.
Lucile Watson
Unsmiling character player Lucile Watson was one of Hollywood's most indomitable mothers of the 1930s and 1940s...and you can take that both ways. The archetypal matriarch who enhanced scores of plush, soapy, Victorian-styled drama, her prickly pears could be insufferable indeed and heaven help anyone who gathered up the courage to take them on...
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63.
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64.
Norma Shearer
Actress, The Women
She won a beauty contest at age fourteen. In 1920 her mother, Edith Shearer, took Norma and her sister Athole Shearer (Mrs. Howard Hawks) to New York. Ziegfeld rejected her for his "Follies," but she got work as an extra in several movies. She spent much money on eye doctor's services trying to correct her cross-eyed stare caused by a muscle weakness...
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65.
Frances Dee
Actress Frances Dee, hailed as one of the most beautiful women in motion pictures, was born Jane Dee in Los Angeles, on November 26, 1909. An "Army brat", her officer father was transferred to Chicago shortly thereafter. Her movie career was the result of her father's being re-assigned to L.A. in 1929...
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66.
Ann Rutherford
Ann Rutherford was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The daughter of a former Metropolitan Opera singer, John Rutherford, and her actress mother, Lillian Mansfield, was destined for show business. Not long after her birth, her family moved to California, where she made her stage debut in 1925...
“ Vote: 7,160 ” - dziwnytenswiat
 
67.
Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur on March 23, 1905, in San Antonio, Texas, to Anna Belle (Johnson) and Thomas E. LeSueur, a laundry laborer. By the time she was born, her parents had separated, and by the time she was a teenager, she'd had three stepfathers. It wasn't an easy life; Crawford worked a variety of menial jobs...
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68.
Loretta Young
Sweet, sweeter, sweetest. No combination of terms better describes the screen persona of lovely Loretta Young. A&E's Biography has stated that Young "remains a symbol of beauty, serenity, and grace. But behind the glamor and stardom is a woman of substance whose true beauty lies in her dedication to her family...
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69.
Fay Bainter
Fay Bainter's career began as a child performer in 1898. For some time, she was a member of the traveling cast of the Morosco Stock Company in Los Angeles. In 1912, she made her Broadway debut in 'The Rose of Panama', but this and her subsequent play 'The Bridal Path' (1913), were conspicuous failures...
“ Vote: 7,154 ” - dziwnytenswiat
 
70.
Ann Sheridan
Actress, Another World
Ann Sheridan won the "Search for Beauty" contest which carried with it a Paramount screen test. Signed to a contract at 18, she was put into a number of small roles under her real name of Clara Lou Sheridan. As she got better, her name was changed to Ann. In 1936, after two dozen films, she went to Warner Brothers...
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71.
Annabella
Actress, Le million
She arrived in the U.S. at a time when a great surge of foreign feminine mystique was invading Hollywood, led by Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman and Marlene Dietrich. A stunning and exceptionally gifted star beloved in her native France, Annabella was thrown into a string of mediocre films by her studio during her brief Hollywood courtship and...
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72.
Binnie Barnes
Her early work, beginning at age 15, included milkmaid, nurse, chorus girl, dance hostess and a vaudeville rope-twirling act in which she was known as "Texas Binnie Barnes." Her acting debut, with Charles Laughton, was in 1929 in Silver Tassie; her film debut was the English movie Night in Montmartre. She did 26 comedy shorts with Stanley Lupino...
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73.
Jean Parker
Jean Parker was born Lois Mae Green in Deer Lodge, MT, in 1915. Her father was Lewis Green, a gunsmith and hunter, and her mother was Melvina Burch, one of 18 children of a pioneer family that came to Deer Lodge from Missouri and Iowa. Jean's maternal grandfather was a Presbyterian minister. Jean was an accomplished gymnast and dancer...
“ Vote: 7,096 ” - dziwnytenswiat
 
74.
Andrea Leeds
Actress, Stage Door
She made only a handful of films within a span of four years (1936-1940), but gentle, soulful-eyed Andrea Leeds touched hearts with those few, culminating in an Oscar-nomination for Best Supporting Actress as the sensitive, aspiring young actress who doesn't survive the school of hard knocks in the 1937 movie version of Edna Ferber-George S. Kaufman's serio-comic play Stage Door...
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75.
Gladys George
One of the fine if relatively short-lived character actresses of Hollywood heydays of the 1930s and 1940s, Gladys George came into an acting family while literally on the road. Her parents were actually English and touring with a Shakespearean theater company in Patten, Maine when she was born (although usually noted as 1900...
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76.
Maria Ouspenskaya
Actress, The Wolf Man
The daughter of a lawyer, Ouspenskaya studied singing at the Warsaw Conservatory and acting at Adasheff's School of the Drama in Moscow. She received her practical training as an actress touring in the Russian provinces. She later joined the Moscow Art Theatre. It was here that she first worked under the direction of the great Konstantin Stanislavski...
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77.
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78.
Marie Dressler
Once you saw her, you would not forget her. Despite her age and weight, she became one of the top box office draws of the sound era. She was 14 when she joined a theater group and she went on to work on stage and in light opera. By 1892, she was on Broadway and she later became a star comedienne on the vaudeville circuit...
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79.
Vivien Leigh
Vivian Mary Hartley was born on November 5, 1913, in Darjeeling, India. She was to live in this beautiful country for the next six years. Her parents wanted to go home to England but because of World War I they opted to stay in India. At the end of the war the Hartleys headed back to their home country...
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80.
Virginia Bruce
American leading lady of the 1930s and 1940s, Virginia Bruce was born in Minnesota but grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and came to California to attend college. Her blond good looks got her an entry into films, and after a few extra roles and bit parts she began to make serious inroads as a leading woman in secondary films and as the "other" woman in more prestigious productions...
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81.
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...
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82.
Gale Sondergaard
Sly, manipulative, dangerously cunning and sinister were the key words that best described the roles that Gale Sondergaard played in motion pictures, making her one of the most talented character actresses ever seen on the screen. She was educated at the University of Minnesota and later married director Herbert J. Biberman...
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83.
Genevieve Tobin
The daughter of a stage entertainer, New York-born actress Genevieve Tobin started treading the boards as a child and appeared in the role of Little Eva in the silent short Uncle Tom's Cabin. Her older brother George Tobin and younger sister Vivian Tobin also became stage and film actors. By her teens Genevieve was appearing as a sparkling blonde ingénue on 20s Broadway...
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84.
Mary Duncan
Actress, City Girl
Mary Duncan went to Hollywood after critics praised her acting in the lead in "The Shanghai Gesture" on Broadway. While making Five and Ten (1931), she became friends with the film's lead, Marion Davies. The two attended a polo match, where Davies introduced Duncan to Stephen "Laddie" Sanford, an international polo star and director of the Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Company...
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85.
Estelle Taylor
Actress, Cimarron
A former typist, Estelle Taylor married a banker at age 14 and, after leaving him, moved to New York to study dramatic acting. She also modeled for artists and appeared in the chorus of a couple of Broadway shows. In the early 1920s she came to Hollywood and was noted as one of the film colony's most beautiful women...
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86.
Constance Bennett
Actress, Topper
Often described as the most beautiful of the Bennett sisters with her blonde hair and blue eyes, Constance Bennett was the daughter of actor Richard Bennett and actress Adrienne Morrison. Her sisters were Joan Bennett and Barbara Bennett. She was educated at Miss Shandor's school, Mrs. Merrill's school and Mme...
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87.
Marjorie Rambeau
Born July 15, 1889 in San Francisco, unappreciated character player Marjorie Rambeau worked on the stage from the age of 12. In the 1910s and 1920s, she became a prominent Broadway lead, noted for her serene beauty, elegant poise and touching theatrics. Around the same time she made a few silent films that went nowhere...
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88.
Nancy Carroll
Actress, Laughter
Born Ann Veronica LaHiff in New York on November 19, 1904, Nancy Carroll was to be one of the finest actresses ever to grace the silver screen. She was smitten, early, by the acting bug when she appeared as Fay Larkin in 1918's RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE a film that went absolutely no where. Prior to that she had limited experience on the stages surrounding NYC...
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89.
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90.
Kay Johnson
The personification of class and cultivation on the movie screen, comely actress Kay Johnson forsook a prominent stage and film career in order to play wife to actor John Cromwell and mother to their two children. Still and all, the elegant actress, reminiscent in looks and style to that of Irene Dunne and Judith Anderson...
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91.
Shirley Temple
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 her...
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92.
Ruth Chatterton
Actress, Dodsworth
Beginning as a chorus girl at age 14, Ruth Chatterton became a Broadway star with "Daddy Long Legs" in 1914. She appeared in such shows as "Mary Rose" and "Come Out of the Kitchen" before moving to Hollywood in 1925. As her film career faded in the late 1930s, she returned to the stage in revivals, and radio and TV performances...
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93.
Valerie Hobson
Elegant, quintessentially English (although born in Northern Ireland) Valerie Hobson was the daughter of a British army officer. She studied dancing at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and appeared on the stage for the first time at age 16, but she contracted a case of scarlet fever and decided to give up dancing for acting...
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94.
Priscilla Lane
Priscilla Lane attended the Eagin School of Dramatic Arts in New York before she began touring with her sisters in the Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians Dance Band. She was a popular singer with her sisters and, after 5 years, she was signed to a Hollywood contract with Warner Brothers in 1937...
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95.
Janet Gaynor
Actress, Sunrise
After graduating from high school in San Francisco, Janet moved to Los Angeles and enrolled at a Hollywood secretarial college. Eager to get into movies, she started working as an extra in comedy shorts. In 1925, she was hired by Fox and was cast in The Johnstown Flood. In 1927 she appeared in 7th Heaven as Diane and Sunrise as the wife in danger...
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96.
Helen Chandler
Actress, Dracula
Helen Chandler was born in Charleston, South Carolina on February 1, 1906. By the late 1920s she had become a hugely popular actress on the New York stage. That Hollywood should beckon was inevitable, but unfortunately whatever quality made Chandler a success on the stage did not survive the transition to film...
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97.
Florence Eldridge
Versatile character actress Florence Eldridge seemed often better served by the stage than by her roles in motion pictures. On the boards from the age of seventeen as a chorine in "Rock-a-Bye Baby" in 1918, she acted with touring companies and on Broadway and soon found herself playing leading parts...
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98.
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99.
Dame May Whitty
Born Mary Whitty on June 19, 1865 to a Liverpool newspaper editor and his wife, she became known as May Whitty to the world. She first stepped on the London stage in 1882. She worked as an understudy at the St. James Theatre, and then, began playing leading roles when she joined a traveling stock company...
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100.
Ida Lupino
Ida was born in London to a show business family. In 1933, her mother brought Ida with her to an audition and Ida got the part her mother wanted. The picture was Her First Affaire. Ida, a bleached blonde, came to Hollywood in 1934 and played small and insignificant parts. Peter Ibbetson was one of her...
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