Leading ladies

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1.
Madeleine Stowe
Actress, Revenge
Madeleine Stowe was born in Los Angeles, California, to Mireya Maria (Mora Steinvorth) and Robert Alfred Stowe, a civil engineer. Her mother was a from a prominent political family in Costa Rica. Stowe grew up in Eagle Rock, a working-class neighborhood of Los Angeles. At age ten she started practicing for a career as a concert pianist and trained every day for hours...
 
2.
Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson was born in New York City. Her mother, Melanie Sloan, is from a Jewish family from the Bronx, and her father, Karsten Johansson, is a Danish-born architect, from Copenhagen. She has a sister, Vanessa Johansson, who is also an actress, a brother, Adrian, a twin brother, Hunter Johansson...
 
3.
Natalie Portman
Actress, Black Swan
Natalie Portman is the first person born in the 1980s to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (for Black Swan). Natalie was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an American-born artist (from Cincinnati...
 
4.
Brooke Shields
"Want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing". If you have not heard of Brooke Shields before, this tagline from her Calvin Klein Jeans ad had to grab your attention. Not that she has not had a previously noteworthy resume. She was born on May 31, 1965 in New York City and, at age 12...
 
5.
Salma Hayek
Actress, Frida
One of Hollywood's most dazzling leading actresses, Salma Hayek was born on September 2, 1966, in the oil boomtown of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Hayek has freely admitted that she and her brother, Sami, were spoiled rotten by her well-to-do businessman father, Sami Hayek Dominguez, and her opera-singing mother...
 
6.
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...
 
7.
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, comedienne, singer, and model. She became one of the world's most enduring iconic figures and is remembered both for her winsome embodiment of the Hollywood sex symbol and her tragic personal and professional struggles within the film industry. Her life and death are still the subjects of much controversy and speculation...
 
8.
Gina Lollobrigida
Gina Lollobrigida was born on July 4, 1927 in Subiaco, Italy. Destined to be called "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World", Gina possibly had St. Brigid as part of her surname. She was the daughter of a furniture manufacturer, and grew up in the pictorial mountain village. The young Gina did some modeling and...
 
9.
Jane March
Actress, The Lover
March was born Jane March Horwood in Edgware, London. Her father, Bernard Horwood, is a secondary school teacher of English and Spanish ancestry. Her mother, Jean, is Vietnamese and Chinese. March has one brother. At age 14, March won a local "Become a Model" contest. She signed with Storm Model Management and began working as a print model using her middle name March...
 
10.
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...
 
11.
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...
 
12.
Linda Fiorentino
Actress, Men in Black
Linda Fiorentino born March 9, 1958 or 1960 is an American actress. She has starred in the films Vision Quest (1985), Gotcha! (1985), After Hours (1985), Jade (1995), Men in Black (1997), and Dogma (1999). For her performance in the 1994 film The Last Seduction, she won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress...
 
13.
Valeria Golino
Actress, Rain Man
The second child of an Italian germanist and a Greek painter, Valeria Golino grew up in Naples until her parents parted. After three years in Athens with her mother and another three in Naples with her father, she began to work as a model. She left high school after her first movie and didn't study performing arts at all...
 
14.
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...
 
15.
Alyssa Milano
Actress, Charmed
Alyssa Milano comes from an Italian-American family; her mother Lin Milano is a fashion designer and father Thomas Milano is a film music editor. Alyssa was born in a working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn and grew up in a modest house on Staten Island. One day her babysitter, who was an aspiring dancer...
 
16.
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...
 
17.
Sarah Wayne Callies
Sarah Wayne Callies was born in La Grange, Illinois, and was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, the daughter of Valerie Wayne, an professor of English, and David E. Callies, a law professor. She graduated from Dartmouth College and received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Denver's National Theatre Conservatory...
 
18.
Madonna
The remarkable, hyper-ambitious Material Girl who never stops reinventing herself, Madonna is a seven-time Grammy Award-winner who has sold over three hundred million records and CDs to adoring fans worldwide. Her film career, however, is another story. Her performances have consistently drawn scathing or laughable reviews from film critics...
 
19.
Jane Russell
Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was born on June 21, 1921 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her father was a United States Army lieutenant and her mother had been a student of drama and an actress with a traveling troupe. Once Mr. Russell was mustered out of the service, the family took up residence in Canada...
 
20.
Debra Messing
Messing was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, the daughter of Jewish American parents, Sandra (née Simons), who has worked as a professional singer, banker, travel and real estate agent, and Brian Messing, a sales executive for a jewelry manufacturer. When Messing was three, she moved with her parents and her older brother...
 
21.
Ally Sheedy
Ally Sheedy was born in New York City, to Charlotte (Baum), a press agent and writer, and John J. Sheedy, Jr., an advertising executive. She is of Russian Jewish (mother) and Irish (father) descent. While at New York's Bank Street School, 12-year-old Ally Sheedy wrote about a mythical encounter between Queen Elizabeth I and an inquisitive mouse...
 
22.
Marisa Tomei
Actress, The Wrestler
Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York, to Patricia "Addie" (Bianchi), an English teacher, and Gary Tomei, a lawyer. Marisa has a brother, actor Adam Tomei. As a child, Marisa's mother frequently corrected her speech as to eliminate her heavy Brooklyn accent. As a teen...
 
23.
Milla Jovovich
Milla Jovovich is an Ukrainian-born actress, supermodel, fashion designer, singer and public figure, who was on the cover of more than a hundred magazines, and starred in such films as The Fifth Element, Ultraviolet, and the Resident Evil franchise. Milica Bogdanovna Jovovich was born on December 17...
 
24.
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...
 
25.
Michelle Trachtenberg
Trachtenberg grew up in Brooklyn and started her acting career young; she began appearing in commercials at the age of 3. She continued to act and dance through her school years, making regular television appearances from the age of 10. She landed a recurring role in the kids' TV show The Adventures of Pete & Pete and starred in Harriet the Spy...
 
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27.
Rae Dawn Chong
Actress, Commando
Rae Dawn Chong was born February 28, 1961 in Edmonton, Canada to Maxine Sneed and Tommy Chong. After a few film and television spots, Rae Dawn earned a Genie for her performance in Jean-Jacques Annaud's prehistoric-drama Quest for Fire. She played the young, Ivaka prisoner, Ika. Other notables roles include Harpo's girlfriend "Squeek"...
 
28.
Alison Pill
Alison is a Canadian born TV, film and theater actress. She was born in Toronto, Ontario. Her father, who is Estonian, is a financier. She attended Vaughan Road Academy, and decided she wanted to be an actor when she was age 10. She was a member of the Toronto Children's Chorus and was chosen to narrate one of their performances. From there, she gained a job narrating children's audio books...
 
29.
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...
 
30.
Fairuza Balk
"Fairuza!" ("Turquoise" in Farsi), her father exclaimed as he saw her blue eyes: Fairuza Alejandra Balk had just been born on May 21, 1974 in Point Reyes, California. Her father, Solomon Feldthouse, was a traveling musician originally from Idaho, and her mother, Cathryn Balk, was a belly dancer. Her parents split up soon after...
 
31.
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...
 
32.
Virginia Madsen
Actress, Sideways
One of the hottest stars of the mid-1980s, Virginia Madsen has since played a variety of roles that have cemented her reputation as a fantastic actress who can adapt to any part. Virginia was born in Chicago, Illinois, and belongs to an acting family -- with her brother, Michael Madsen, also an actor...
 
33.
Virginia Hey
Award nominated Australian actress Virginia Hey has achieved prominence and success not only nationally throughout her native Australia , but also around the world. Virginia Hey, devotee of health and wellbeing, is best known worldwide for her roles on TV and film, however all throughout her adult life Virginia has also pursued her passion for studying natural therapies...
 
34.
Penélope Cruz
Known outside her native country as the "Spanish enchantress", Penélope Cruz Sánchez was born in Madrid to Eduardo Cruz, a retailer, and Encarna Sánchez, a hairdresser. As a toddler, she was already a compulsive performer, re-enacting TV commercials for her family's amusement, but she decided to focus her energies on dance...
 
35.
Anna Paquin
Actress, The Piano
Anna Paquin is the first millennial to have received an Academy Award nomination for acting, and the first to win. She was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1982, to Mary (Brophy), an English teacher from Wellington, New Zealand, and Brian Paquin, a Canadian phys-ed teacher. Anna moved to her mother's native country when she was four years old...
 
36.
Gloria Grahame
Gloria Hallward was born in Los Angeles, California. She was the daughter of Michael Hallward, an architect, and Jean MacDougall, an actress whose stage name was Jean Grahame. Her mother later became her acting coach. Descended from royalty--King Edward III through her father's side--she was bred for acting at an early age...
 
37.
Neve Campbell
Actress, Party of Five
Neve Campbell was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, to Marnie (Neve), a Dutch-born psychologist and yoga instructor (from Amsterdam), and Gerry Campbell, a Scottish-born teacher (from Glasgow). Campbell first came to our TV screens in the hit Drama series Party of Five. Described as TV's most believable teenager...
 
38.
Virginie Ledoyen
Actress, The Beach
Virginie Ledoyen was born Virginie Fernandez on 15 November 1976 in Aubervilliers, near Paris. At the age of 2, she was already shooting advertisements for television. At 9, she started going to the École des Enfants du Spectacle, and made her film debut at 10 in What Every Frenchwoman Wants. She was then nominated for the César (the French equivalent of an Oscar) for most promising actress in 1993...
 
39.
Gretchen Mol
Actress, Rounders
Gretchen Mol was born November 8, 1972, in Deep River, Connecticut, the daughter of a school principal and his artist wife. Deep River is a small community located on the Chester Bowles Highway (Rt. 9), nine miles northwest of Old Saybrook (home of the legendary Katharine Hepburn), within commuting distance of New York City...
 
40.
Alison Lohman
Alison Lohman was born in Palm Springs, California, to Diane (Dunham), a patisserie owner, and Gary Lohman, an architect. Her ancestry includes English, German, and Scottish. She grew up in a family with no showbiz connections but she always wanted to perform. By age 9, she had landed her first professional...
 
41.
Kristanna Loken
Kristanna Sommer Loken was born in Ghent, New York, to Rande (Porath) and Merlin "Chris" Loken. She is of half Norwegian and half German descent. She began her modeling career at the early age of 15. Encouraged by her mother, who was a model prior to her daughter's birth, Kristanna's modeling career...
 
42.
Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard was born on March 2, 1981, in Los Angeles, California. She was conceived in Dallas, Texas (the reason for her middle name). Her father, Ron Howard, is a former actor turned Oscar-winning director. Her mother is actress and writer Cheryl Howard (née Alley). Her famous relatives include her uncle...
 
43.
Maria Bello
Actress, Prisoners
Maria Bello was born on 18 April, 1967 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, to Kathy, a nurse and teacher, and Joe Bello, a contractor. She is of Italian and Polish descent. Maria went to Villanova University, majoring in political science. She had every intention of becoming a lawyer, but she took an acting class during her senior year...
 
44.
Monica Bellucci
Actress, Irreversible
Monica Anna Maria Bellucci was born on September 30, 1964 in the Italian village of Città di Castello, Umbria, the only child of Brunella Briganti and Pasquale Bellucci. She originally pursued a career in the legal profession. While attending the University of Perugia, she modeled on the side to earn money for school...
 
45.
Ziyi Zhang
Ziyi Zhang is a Chinese actress and model. She is best known for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Rush Hour 2 (2001), Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004), and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). She made her feature film debut in The Road Home (1999). For her work in Memoirs of a Geisha she was nominated for an Golden Globe for Best Actress.
 
46.
Amanda Seyfried
Actress, Mamma Mia!
Amanda Seyfried was born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Ann (Sander), an occupational therapist, and Jack Seyfried, a pharmacist. She is of German, and some English and Scottish, ancestry. She began modeling when she was eleven, and acted in high school productions as well as taking singing lessons...
 
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48.
Olivia Munn
Actress, The Newsroom
Lisa Olivia Munn was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Her mother, Kimberly Schmid, lived in Vietnam, and is of Chinese ancestry, while her father, Winston Barrett Munn, is from a family with deep roots in the American South. Olivia's parents divorced when she was two years old, and she was raised by her mother and stepfather...
 
49.
Jodi Lyn O'Keefe
Actress, Nash Bridges
Jodi Lyn O'Keefe was born in Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey, to Noreen and Jack O'Keefe, a director of labor relations for Merck. She began modeling at the age of 8 after seeing her eldest sister Heather modelling. She modeled for various companies such as Gitano Jeans and DreamPhone. When she reached her teen years she attended Saint John Vianney High School in Holmdel...
 
50.
Geena Davis
Actress, Beetlejuice
As a child, Geena dreamed of being an actress. While in high school, she felt left out and had low self-esteem because, at 6 feet, she was the tallest girl in school. After high school graduation, Geena entered New England College in New Hampshire and then transferred the next year to Boston University...
 
51.
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...
 
52.
Adrianne Palicki
Actress, John Wick
Adrianne Palicki was born on May 6, 1983 in Toledo, Ohio, to Nancy (French) and Jeffrey Palicki. Her father is of Polish and Hungarian descent, and her mother is of English and German ancestry. Adrianne graduated from Whitmer High School. She did not take the stage in her first play until she was a sophomore at Whitmer High School...
 
53.
Laura Prepon
Laura Helene Prepon was born on March 7, 1980, in Watchung, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Marjorie (Coll) and Michael Prepon. Her father died in 1993, when she was 13 years old. Laura is the youngest of five children--she has a brother named Brad and three sisters: Danielle, Jocelyn, and Stephanie...
 
54.
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Jennifer Love Hewitt was born in Waco, Texas, to Patricia Mae (Shipp), a speech-language pathologist, and Herbert Daniel Hewitt, a medical technician. She has English, Scottish, and German ancestry. She got her first name from her older brother Todd Daniel Hewitt (b. November 8, 1970), who picked the name after a little blonde girl he then had a crush on...
 
55.
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...
 
56.
Hayden Panettiere
Hayden Leslie Panettiere was born on August 21, 1989 in Palisades, New York, to actress Lesley Vogel and fire department captain Skip Panettiere. Her younger brother is actor Jansen Panettiere. Her parents are both of half Italian descent, along with German and English. Her mother got her started in the business by doing commercials when she was just 11 months old...
 
57.
Tina Majorino
Tina Majorino is clearly one of the most talented young actresses to come out of the early 1990s. She starred in three feature films that opened within three months of each other. She began her career by appearing in national television commercials before playing Sophie in the ABC television series...
 
58.
Amy Adams
Actress, Arrival
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...