Cute, quirky, perky, free-spirited, full of life (or merely annoying) the MPDG is a longtime showbiz staple. These actresses have nailed the role at least once. The term (according to Wikipedia) was coined by critic Nathan Rabin after seeing Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown (2005). All-Time. Alphabetically (except for Kirsten Dunst).
Note: Some might miss one adjective or another but fit the spirit of the list. In Progress.
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...
“ Elizabethtown ” - peterdi315
Amy Lou Adams was born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy, to American parents, Kathryn (Hicken) and Richard Kent Adams, a U.S. serviceman who was stationed at Caserma Ederle in Italy at the time. 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...
“ Enchanted ” - peterdi315
“ The Burns and Allen Show & her career persona: "Say, goodnight, Gracie." "Goodnight, Gracie." ” - peterdi315
Jennifer Aniston was born in Sherman Oaks, California, to actors John Aniston
and Nancy Dow
. Her father is Greek, and her mother was of English, Irish, Scottish, and Italian descent. Jennifer spent a year of her childhood living in Greece with her family. Her family then relocated to New York City where her parents divorced when she was nine...
“ Along Came Polly ” - peterdi315
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...
“ I Love Lucy ” - peterdi315
Rachel Bilson was born in Los Angeles, to Janice (Stango), a sex therapist, and Danny Bilson
. Her father is Ashkenazi Jewish and her mother is of Italian descent. She began acting while still at Notre Dame High School. She graduated high school in 1999 and went to Grossmont College but dropped out after a year and was encouraged to pursue a career in acting by her father...
“ The Last Kiss ” - peterdi315
When it came to bright and polished, they didn't get much spiffier than singer/actress Janet Blair -- perhaps to her detriment in the long haul. At Columbia, she was usually overlooked for the roles that might have tested her dramatic mettle. Nevertheless, she pleased audiences as a pert and perky co-star to a number of bigger stars...
“ My Sister Eileen ” - peterdi315
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...
“ Speed, Forces of Nature ” - peterdi315
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 ” - peterdi315
Claudette Colbert was born in Paris and brought to the United States as a child three years later. Born Lily Claudette Chauchoin, she went to high school in New York. She was studying at the Art Students League when, in 1923, she took the name Claudette Colbert for her first Broadway role in "The Wild Westcotts"...
“ The Palm Beach Story ” - peterdi315
Elisha Ann Cuthbert (born November 30, 1982) is a Canadian actress and model. She became internationally known for playing Kim Bauer in the series 24
; Danielle in the teen comedy film The Girl Next Door
and Carly Jones in the 2005 in of House of Wax
. She was voted the sexiest actress in the world in 2015 by the magazine Glam'Mag...
“ My Sassy Girl ” - peterdi315
Sandra Dee was born Alexandria Zuck on April 23, 1942 in Bayonne, New Jersey, to Mary (Cymboliak) and John Zuck. She was of Carpatho-Rusyn descent. Her mother envisioned a show business career for her daughter and would often lie about her age in order to get Sandy where she wanted to go. For example...
“ Gidget, Tammy Tell Me, True, etc. ” - peterdi315
It would not be easy for anyone to out-do one of American theater's finest thespians, but somehow actress Sandy Dennis managed to even out-quirk the legendary Geraldine Page
when it came to affecting nervous ticks and offbeat mannerisms on stage and in film. She and Page had few peers when it came to the neurotic-dispensing department...
“ Sweet November ” - peterdi315
“ (500) Days of Summer, New Girl ” - peterdi315
A tall, strikingly attractive blue-eyed natural blonde, Cameron Diaz was born in 1972 in San Diego, the daughter of a Cuban-American father and an Anglo-German mother. Self described as "adventurous, independent and a tough kid," Cameron left home at 16 and for the next 5 years lived in such varied locales as Japan...
“ There's Something About Mary ” - peterdi315
“ Every Girl Should Be Married ” - peterdi315
This wholesome "Chatty Cathy" delight had all the earmarkings of becoming a dithery TV star in the early 70s and a couple of sitcom vehicles were handed to her with silver platter-like enthusiasm. Neither, however, made the best use of her elfin charm and both series died a quick death. Nonetheless...
“ Funny Face, Star Spangled Girl, ” - peterdi315
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...
“ My Favorite Wife ” - peterdi315
Barbara Eden was born as Barbara Jean Morehead in Tucson, Arizona, went on and become one of America's most endearing and enduring actresses. A graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California. Eden would go on to study at San Francisco's City College as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Elizabeth Holloway School of Theatre...
“ I Dream of Jeannie ” - peterdi315
Sally Margaret Field was born in 1946 in Pasadena, California, to actress Margaret Field
(née Morlan) and salesman Richard Dryden Field. Her parents divorced in 1950 and her mother then married stuntman Jock Mahoney
, and they had a daughter, Princess O'Mahoney
. She also has a brother, Richard Field. Sally attended Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, California...
“ Gidget, The Girl with Something Extra ” - peterdi315
Born in New York City to legendary screen star Henry Fonda
and New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw, Jane Seymour Fonda was destined early to an uncommon and influential life in the limelight. Although she initially showed little inclination to follow her father's trade, she was prompted by...
“ Barefoot in the Park ” - peterdi315
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 and Maude ” - peterdi315
Melanie Griffith was born on August 9, 1957 in New York City, to then model/future actress Tippi Hedren
and former child actor turned advertising executive Peter Griffith
. Her parents' marriage ended in 1961 and Tippi brought Melanie to Los Angeles to get a new start. Tippi caught the eye of the great director Alfred Hitchcock
“ Something Wild ” - peterdi315
Daryl Christine Hannah was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is the daughter of Susan Jeanne (Metzger), a schoolteacher and later a producer, and Donald Christian Hannah, who owned a tugboat/barge company. Her stepfather was music journalist/promoter Jerrold Wexler
. Her siblings are Page Hannah
“ Splash ” - peterdi315
“ Blondie ” - peterdi315
Sally Hawkins was born in 1976 in Lewisham hospital, London, England, to Jacqui and Colin Hawkins, authors and illustrators of children's books. She is of English and Irish descent. Hawkins was brought up in Greenwich, in southeast London. She attended James Allen's Girls' School in Dulwich. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1998...
“ Happy-Go-Lucky ” - peterdi315
Goldie Jeanne Hawn was born in Washington D.C., to Laura Hawn
(née Steinhoff), a jewelry shop/dance school owner, and Rut Hawn
(Edward Rutledge Hawn), a band musician. She has a sister, Patti Hawn
, and a brother, Edward, who died before she was born. She was raised in the Jewish religion...
“ Cactus Flower, Butterflies Are Free, There's a Girl in My Soup ” - peterdi315
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...
“ Breakfast at Tiffany's ” - peterdi315
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...
“ Bringing Up Baby ” - peterdi315
Rejected by the Yale Drama School, Judy began in the theater as a backstage operator for Orson Welles' Mercury Theater. She made her stage debut when she joined Betty Comden
and Adolph Green
in a cabaret group called the Revuers. Working their way up through the circuit, the group was hired by 20th Century Fox to appear in the film Greenwich Village
“ Bells Are Ringing ” - peterdi315
Zoe Swicord Kazan was born in Los Angeles, California, to screenwriters Nicholas Kazan
and Robin Swicord
. She is the granddaughter of director Elia Kazan
. She is of Greek (from her paternal grandfather), English, and German descent. Kazan received her BA in Theater from Yale University. In the fall of 2006...
“ Ruby Sparks ” - peterdi315
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...
“ Annie Hall ” - peterdi315
Veronica Lake was born as Constance Frances Marie Ockleman on November 14, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the daughter of Constance Charlotta (Trimble) and Harry Eugene Ockelman, who worked for an oil company as a ship employee. Her father was of half German and half Irish descent, and her mother was of Irish ancestry...
“ I Married a Witch ” - peterdi315
Janet Leigh was the only child of a couple who often moved from town to town. Living in apartments, Janet was a bright child who skipped several grades and finished high school when she was 15. A lonely child, she would spend much of her time at movie theaters. She was a student, studying music and psychology...
“ My Sister Elileen ” - peterdi315
, the 5' 2" beauty was a comedy hit during the 30s and 40s. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on October 6, 1908 under the name of Jane Alice Peters. Young Jane Alice loved the Friday night movie night with her family and would perform the night before's show in the morning. Her mother and her father divorced in October of 1914...
“ My Man Godfrey ” - peterdi315
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...
“ The Apartment ” - peterdi315
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson at the Los Angeles County Hospital on June 1, 1926. Her mother Gladys Pearl Baker was a film-cutter at Consolidated Film Industries. Marilyn's father's identity was never known. Because Gladys was mentally and financially unable to care for young Marilyn...
“ Some Like It Hot ” - peterdi315
When people gave Louis Malle
credit for making a star of Jeanne Moreau in Elevator to the Gallows
immediately followed by The Lovers
, he would point out that Moreau by that time had already been "recognized as the prime stage actress of her generation." She had made it to the Comédie Française in her 20s...
“ Jules and Jim ” - peterdi315
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...
“ The Divorce of Lady X ” - peterdi315
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker was born March 25, 1965, in Nelsonville, Ohio, to Barbra Forste (née Keck), a teacher who ran a nursery school, and Stephen Parker, a journalist. Her parents divorced, and her mother later remarried to Paul Forste and had four more children, bringing the total to eight. Sarah now had 3 full siblings and 4 half siblings...
“ L.A. Story ” - peterdi315
Natalie Portman is the first millennial to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (for Black Swan
). Natalie 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...
“ Garden State ” - peterdi315
Jane Powell was singing and dancing at an early age. She sang on the radio and performed in theaters before her screen debut in 1944. Through the 1940s and 1950s, she had a successful career in movie musicals. However, in 1957, her career in films ended, as she had outgrown her innocent girl-next-door image...
“ Luxury Liner, Athena ” - peterdi315
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 dancer until she was selected to be Gene Kelly
's partner in Singin' in the Rain
“ Susan Slept Here, Athena, Tammy and the Bachelor ” - peterdi315
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...
“ The Major and the Minor ” - peterdi315
Blond-haired, blue-eyed with an effervescent personality, Meg Ryan was born Margaret Mary Emily Hyra in Fairfield, Connecticut, to Susan (Duggan), an English teacher and one-time actress, and Harry Hyra, a math teacher. She has Polish, Irish, and German ancestry ("Hyra" is a Polish surname, and "Ryan" is her maternal grandmother's maiden name)...
“ Joe Versus the Volcano ” - peterdi315
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...
“ Autumn in New York ” - peterdi315
Her father was Irish Philadelphian newspaperman, Benny McNulty. He was related to Jim Farley
Roosevelt's campaign managers and later Postmaster General. As a child, she sang songs at a silent movie theater. After the sixth grade she joined a touring vaudeville act called "The Kiddie Kabaret." Billed as Penny McNulty...
“ Bondie, etc. ” - peterdi315
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...
“ The Mad Miss Manton, The Lady Eve ” - peterdi315
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,...
“ What's Up, Doc? ” - peterdi315
Leigh Taylor-Young was born in Washington, DC, to a diplomat father and raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, the older sister of future actress Dey Young
and writer/director Lance Young
. She studied classical ballet and, following high school, attended Northwestern University where she initially majored in economics...
“ I Love You Alice B. Toklas ” - peterdi315
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...
“ Sweet November ” - peterdi315
Many well-known and highly identifiable actresses have tried and failed to make the arduous crossover from fizzy TV sitcom star to mature, dramatic artist. Usually, it was their hardcore fans who refused to accept them in any other light. Sally Field
and Elizabeth Montgomery
come to mind first as two actresses who somehow managed to make the none-too-easy adjustment...
“ That Girl ” - peterdi315
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 ” - peterdi315
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...
“ Bridget Jones's Diary, etc. ” - peterdi315
Julie Hagerty's unique personality and talent likely would have been better served had she worked under the Hollywood studio system. As it is, her place in cinema history is secure with her role of stewardess Elaine Dickinson in the comedy classic Airplane!
. Hagerty should have evolved into a latter-day Jean Arthur
, or become a highly valued supporting player a la Zasu Pitts
Kristin Chenoweth is an American stage, screen and television actress, though, depending on who you ask, Cheno fans may disagree on what her most famous roles are. Since Chenoweth began her career, she has been credited with roles in musicals and plays on and off-Broadway, on various television shows and can be seen in movies on television and the big screen...