This list takes an "if I had a time machine" perspective and isn't necessarily in any particular order.
Catherine Breillat is a Paris based filmmaker and writer who became famous for her distinctively personal films on sexuality, gender trouble and sibling rivalry. Accused of being a "porno auteuriste", Breillat allowed for an unbiased view of sexuality and extended the language of mainstream movies. She is also a best-selling novelist and wrote her first novel...
Shannen Doherty was born in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, on April 12, 1971, to Rosa (Wright) and John Doherty. Her father worked in a bank, while her mother owned a beauty parlor. She has an older brother, Sean. Her ancestry includes Irish, English, Scottish, and remote French. In 1978, at the tender age of seven...
Jo Frost is a global parenting and family expert who is best known as "Supernanny," and has returned to television in the states as the star and executive producer of "Jo Frost: Nanny on Tour." Frost has over 25 years of experience in childcare. In 2004, Frost rose to international fame by producing...
Deborah Reed is best known for her over the top portrayal of the Queen of Goblins in cult classic Troll 2
. Her love of performing began at an early age, when she would create zany characters for anyone willing to be a captive audience. A native of Utah, at five years old she moved with her family to Lafayette...
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...
Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. Mirren attended St...
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...
Christina Maria Aguilera was born on December 18, 1980, in Staten Island, New York, to Shelly Loraine (Fidler) and Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera. Her father is Ecuadorian and her mother, who is American-born, has English, Scots-Irish, and German ancestry. Her parents divorced when she was young and she lived with her mother...
Felicia Day was born on June 28, 1979 in Huntsville, Alabama, USA as Kathryn Felicia Day. She is an actress and producer, known for her work on TV and the web video world. She has appeared in mainstream television shows and films, including "Supernatural", and a two-season arc on the SyFy series "Eureka"...
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...
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...
Spanish dancer Eduardo Cansino
's daughter Margarita studied dancing beginning in her girlhood. At age 12, the mature-looking Rita joined Eduardo's stage act, in which she was spotted three years later by Fox studio head Winfield R. Sheehan
, leading to her first studio contract and film debut at age 16 in Dante's Inferno
Jessica Phyllis Lange was born 1949 in Cloquet, Minnesota, to Dorothy Florence (Sahlman) and Albert John Lange, a traveling salesman and teacher. She is of Finnish (mother) and Dutch and German (father) descent. She obtained a scholarship to study art at the University of Minnesota, but instead went to Paris to study drama...
Jennifer Hudson is a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Academy Award-winning actress and best-selling author. Bright and booming talent Hudson is a perfect example of how NOT winning the title of American Idol
can actually be a boon to your career and not necessarily the end of a childhood dream...
Danai Gurira was born in Grinnell, Iowa to parents from Zimbabwe, when her father was teaching Chemistry at Grinnell College. When she was 5, the family moved back to Zimbabwe. Gurira studied social psychology at Macalaster College, and received an MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She is the co-author of the play, "In the Continuum", with Nikkole Salter
Christina Rene Hendricks was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho. Her father, Robert, originally from England, worked for the U.S. Forest Service, while her mother, Jackie Sue (Raymond), was a psychologist. At the age of 13 her father transferred to the Forest Service Washington...
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...
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...
Aubrey Christina Plaza (born June 26, 1984) is an American actress and comedian known for her deadpan style. She portrayed April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation
, and after appearing in supporting roles in several films, had her first leading role in the 2012 comedy Safety Not Guaranteed
. Plaza began her career as an intern...
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...
Emmy-nominated actress Jenna Fischer, known for playing the character of receptionist Pam Beesley in The Office
, was born Regina Marie Fischer on March 7, 1974 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is the daughter of Anne (Miller), a teacher, and James E. Fischer, a plastic engineer. Her ancestry includes German...
Lillian Diana Gish was born on October 14, 1893 in Springfield, Ohio. Her father James Lee Gish was an alcoholic who caroused around, was rarely at home and left the family to more or less to fend for themselves. To help make ends meet, Lillian, her sister Dorothy Gish
and their mother Mary Gish
Senta Berger was born in 1941 in Vienna, Austria to her father Josef Berger who was a musician and her mother Therese Berger, a school teacher. Senta and her father performed together when she was just four years old. She sang and her dad played the piano. At five years old, she took ballet lessons and at 14...
Bettie Page's life was filled with cult myth, mystery and sadness. Her image captured the imagination of a generation with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality, during an era of strong sexual repression. She was the quintessential pin-up, tacked up on walls in military barracks and garages; five decades later...
Laura Leggett Linney was born in New York City on February 5, 1964, into a theatre family. Her father was prominent playwright Romulus Linney
, whose own great-grandfather was a congressman from North Carolina. Her mother, Miriam Anderson (Leggett), is a nurse. Although she did not live in her father's house (her parents having divorced when she was an infant)...
This remarkable, one-of-a-kind actress has, since the early 1990s, intrigued film and TV audiences with her glowing, yet careworn eccentricity and old world-styled glamour. Very much in demand these days as a character player, Patricia Clarkson nevertheless continues to avoid the temptation of money-making mainstream filming while reaping kudos and acting awards in out-of-the-way projects...
Stephanie Courtney is main company member of the famed Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles, regularly performing in their sketch and improv shows. She hails from Stony Point, New York. After graduating from the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, she started doing stand up, which brought her to Los Angeles...
Laurie Holden was born Heather Laurie Holden in Los Angeles, California, to actors Glen Corbett
and Adrienne Ellis
. When she was five, her parents divorced, and her mother married director Michael Anderson
. Laurie then split her time between L.A. and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Holden traveled the world with her family on various locations growing up...
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...
Betsy Blair was born in Cliffside, New Jersey, a child model before finding work as a chorus dancer at the early age of 15. She received her first mini-break on Broadway in "Panama Hattie" in 1940 delivering a single line, but by the next year she had copped the ingénue lead in William Saroyan
's "The Beautiful People." At around the same time...
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Aishwarya Rai (Ash) is one of Bollywood's pre-eminent leading ladies. This Indian darling burst upon the world stage when her striking beauty, poise and commanding intelligence won her the Miss World crown in 1994. This former architecture major soon became one of India's most famous models, landing a prestigious Pepsi-Cola campaign and appearing in Vogue Magazine...
Born in a Marathi-speaking Koknastha Hindu Brahmin family consisting of dad, Shankar, mom, Snehlata, sisters, Rupa and Bharati, and brother, Ajit. An acclaimed Kathak dancer, acting was not her goal, for she wanted to be a Micro-biologist, and did study in that course in Bombay's Parle College, in Vile Parle (East), Bombay...
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...
Marlee Beth Matlin was in Morton Grove, Illinois, to Libby (Hammer) and Donald Matlin, an automobile dealer. She has two older brothers. Her family is of Russian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent. Marlee lost much of her hearing at the age of eighteen months. That did not stop her from acting in a children's...
Catherine Deneuve was born October 22, 1943 in Paris, France. Her parents were actors. She made her movie debut in 1957, when she was thirteen and continued with small parts in minor films, until Roger Vadim
gave her a meatier role in Vice and Virtue
. But her breakthrough came with the excellent musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
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...
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...
Emilie de Ravin
Emilie was born on 27th December 1981, and grew up in Mount Eliza, Victoria, Australia. When she was 15, she was accepted at the highly selective Australian Ballet School in Melbourne. However, after only a year, she dropped out and undertook acting courses. Her first starring role was on the fantasy drama...
Melissa Ivy Rauch was born in Marlboro, New Jersey, to Susan and David Rauch. She has a brother, Ben, and was raised in a Jewish household. Rauch attended Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, where she received a BFA degree. While going to school, Melissa performed stand-up comedy around Manhattan...
Amber Nash is an actor and improviser who is most known for her role as Pam Poovy on the hit animated series Archer on the FX Network. Her role as the boozing, gossiping and promiscuous head of Human Resources for ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service) on the series is a stand-out and fan favorite where she works regularly with such recognized...
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...
Best known as Hammer Films' most seductive female vampire of the early 1970s, the Polish-born Pitt possessed dark, alluring features and a sexy figure that made her just right for Gothic horror! Ingrid Pitt (born Ingoushka Petrov) survived World War II and became a well-known actress on the East Berlin stage...
Two-time Emmy Award winner Sarah Silverman is one of the most versatile talents in entertainment, with credits including that of actress, creator, writer, executive producer, comedian, and author. Silverman will next be seen in both The Book of Henry and The Lonely Island's Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping...
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...
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...
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...
New Yorker Lena Dunham is the daughter of a painter, Carroll Dunham
and Laurie Simmons
, a designer and photographer. Dunham was educated at Oberlin College, Ohio, graduating with a creative writing degree. It was while at Oberlin that she began writing shorts and feature films. In 2009, Dunham created the web series Delusional Downtown Divas
, which gained a cult following...
One of the brightest film stars to grace the screen was born Emilie Claudette Chauchoin on September 13, 1903, in Saint Mandé, France where her father owned a bakery at 57, rue de la République (now Avenue Général de Gaulle). The family moved to the United States when she was three. As Claudette grew up...
Alyson Hannigan was born in Washington, D.C., to Emilie (Posner), a real estate agent, and Al Hannigan, a truck driver. She began her acting career in Atlanta at the young age of 4 in commercials sponsoring such companies as McDonald's, Six Flags, and Oreos. She is a seasoned television actress veteran...
Alison Brie was born in Hollywood, California, to Joanne (Brenner), who worked at a non-profit child care agency, and Charles Terry Schermerhorn, a musician and entertainment reporter. Her mother is Jewish and her father has Scottish, Dutch, English, German, and Norwegian ancestry. Brie grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of South Pasadena...
At age 15, when most young women are nurturing dreams of romance, Olivia Hussey was giving life to Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli
's Romeo and Juliet
. Her performance in one of the most celebrated roles ever written in the English language won her the Golden Globe and two successive Best Actor Donatello Awards (Italy's Oscar equivalent), an incredible achievement for an actress in only her third film...
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...
Later to become the personification of the flaming Roaring Twenties, Clara Bow was born and brought up in near poverty in Brooklyn, New York. She won a photo beauty contest which started a movie career of some 56 feature films. Best known as the uninhibited flapper, she reached the top as the "It Girl" in 1927...
Petula Sally Olwen Clark was born in West Ewell Surrey, England on November 15, 1932. Petula made her first broadcast as a singer for the BBC Radio Overseas Service in October 1942, and became an overnight star on BBC National Radio in December 1942 at the age of 10. After many radio shows for the BBC during World War 2...
Lupita Amondi Nyong'o was born March 1, 1983 in Mexico City, Mexico, to Kenyan parents, Dorothy and Peter Anyang' Nyong'o. Her father, a senator, was then a visiting lecturer in political science. She was raised in Kenya. At age 16, her parents sent her back to Mexico for seven months to learn Spanish...
America's Sweetheart and star of the wildly popular Hunger Games series, Jennifer Lawrence is the first, and thus far only, person born in the 1990s to have received an acting Oscar (for Silver Linings Playbook
). Lawrence was born Jennifer Shrader Lawrence on August 15, 1990 in Louisville, Kentucky, to Karen (Koch)...
Josephine Baker was born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, MO, in 1906 to Carrie McDonald, a laundress, and Eddie Carson, a musician. Her early life hinted at her future career. She first danced for the public on the streets of St. Louis for nickels and dimes. Later she became a chorus girl on the St...