Classic Actresses

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1.
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...
 
2.
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...
 
3.
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...
 
4.
Ann Sothern
Ann Sothern, born Harriet Lake on January 22,1909 in Valley City, North Dakota, and her film career started as an extra-bit part in the film Broadway Nights in 1927. She would work as an extra for the next six years. It barely paid the bills. Finally, Ann got her break with Columbia Pictures when they signed her to a contract in 1934...
 
5.
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...
 
6.
June Allyson
American leading lady whose sweet smile and sunny disposition made her the prototypical girl-next-door of American movies of the 1940s. Raised in semi-poverty in Bronx neighborhoods by her divorced mother, Allyson (nee Ella Geisman) was injured in a fall at age eight and spent four years confined within a steel brace...
 
7.
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...
 
8.
Constance Bennett
Actress, Topper
Independent, outspoken Constance Bennett, the first of the Bennett sisters to enter films, appeared in New York-produced silents before a chance meeting with Samuel Goldwyn led to her Hollywood debut in Cytherea. She abandoned a burgeoning career in silents for marriage to Philip Plant in 1925; after they divorced...
 
9.
Marian Marsh
Actress, Svengali
One of the early sound era's most attractive young leading ladies, doll-faced Marian Marsh enjoyed a short yet significant film career as the star of several memorable 1930s melodramas opposite some of the cinema's best, most charismatic lead actors. Her youthful, wide-eyed innocence combined with an...
 
10.
Bonita Granville
Producer, Lassie
After her marriage to oil millionaire Jack Wrather in 1947, she appeared in only three more movies. She became an executive in the Wrather Corp., and first associate producer, then executive producer of the LassieTV series. After Wrather's death in 1984, she took over as chairman of the board...
 
11.
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...
 
12.
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...
 
13.
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...
 
14.
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...
 
15.
Veronica Lake
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...
 
16.
Susan Strasberg
Actress, Picnic
Susan Strasberg was born in New York City on May 22, 1938. From the time of her birth, she was destined to be an actress. Her father was Lee Strasberg, acting coach at the famed Actors Studio in New York. In 1953, Susan made her acting debut in the episode, Catch a Falling Star, of the Goodyear Playhouse...
 
17.
Patty Duke
Patty Duke was born Anna Marie Duke on December 14, 1946 in Elmhurst, New York, to Frances Margaret (McMahon), a cashier, and John Patrick Duke, a cab driver and handyman. She is of Irish, and one eighth German, descent. Her acting career began when she was introduced to her brother Ray Duke's managers...
 
18.
Clara Bow
Actress, Wings
Clara Bow was born in a run-down tenement in old Brooklyn, to a schizophrenic Mother and a chronically destitute, physically abusive father. As a child, she was a tomboy and played games in the streets with the boys; since her clothes were so ragged and dirty other girl children wouldn't play with her...
 
19.
Grace Bradley
A petite and extremely lovely blonde "B" film actress who eventually deserted her career in favor of standing by her man (cowboy icon William Boyd, aka, "Hopalong Cassidy"), Grace Bradley spent the rest of her life in his shadow and devoting herself to her husband's career. Bill's Hoppy was the longest span of any fictional character played by the same actor...
 
20.
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...
 
22.
Phyllis Calvert
Actress, Kate
Phyllis Hannah Bickle was born in Chelsea in 1915 and studied dancing at the Margaret Morris school of dance, until an injury forced her to give up dancing and turn instead to acting. Her 70 year film career began with a bit part in The Arcadians when she was just 12 years old. Along with over 40 movies...
 
23.