Actresses who've amazed us with their contribution to cinema.
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...
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...
Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 19 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...
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...
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...
Alicia Christian Foster was born in Los Angeles on November 19, 1962. She is the daughter of Evelyn Ella "Brandy" (Almond) and Lucius Fisher Foster III, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and later real estate broker. Brandy had filed for divorce in 1959 after having three children with Lucius, but the exes had a brief re-encounter in 1962 which resulted in Alicia's birth...
Natalie Portman 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, Ohio), who also acts as Natalie's agent. She left Israel for Washington...
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...
Demi Moore was born on November 11, 1962, in Roswell, New Mexico. Her father, Charles Foster Harmon, Sr., left her mother, Virginia Beverly (King), before Demi was born. Her stepfather, Danny Guynes, did not add much stability to her life, either. He frequently changed jobs and made the family move a total of 40 times...
American actress and political activist Ashley Judd was born Ashley Tyler Ciminella on April 19, 1968, in Granada Hills, California. She grew up in a family of successful performing artists as the daughter of country music singer Naomi Judd and the sister of Wynonna Judd. While she is best known for an ongoing acting career spanning more than two decades...
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
, and the Resident Evil
franchise. Milica Bogdanovna Jovovich was born on December 17...
Sharon Yvonne Stone was born and raised in Meadville, a small town in Pennsylvania, to Dorothy Marie (Lawson), an accountant and homemaker, and Joseph William Stone II, a factory worker. Her father was strict. She was the second of four children, and has English, German, Scottish, and Irish ancestry...
Danish beauty Connie Nielsen consistently lights up the screen with an eclectic bevy of film roles. She was born in Frederikshavn, Denmark, to a mother who worked as an insurance clerk, and a father, Bent Nielsen, who was a bus driver. Nielsen began her acting career working alongside her mother on the local revue and variety scene...
Diana Rigg is an English actress. She has had an extensive career in film and theatre, including playing the title role in Medea, both in London and New York, for which she won the 1994 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Rigg made her professional stage debut in 1957 in The Caucasian Chalk Circle...
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 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...
Frances Louise McDormand was born on June 23, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. She was adopted by Canadian-born parents Noreen Eloise (Nickleson), a nurse from Ontario, and Vernon Weir McDormand, a minister from Nova Scotia, who raised her in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. She earned her B.A. in Theater from Bethany College in 1979 and her MFA from Yale in 1982...
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 are second only to Katharine Hepburn
Elegant blonde Nicole Kidman, known as one of Hollywood's top Australian imports, was actually born in Honolulu, Hawaii, while her Australian parents were there on educational visas. Kidman is the daughter of Janelle Ann (Glenny), a nursing instructor, and Antony David Kidman, a biochemist and clinical psychologist...
Audrey Justine Tautou was born on August 9, 1976 in Beaumont, France, to Evelyne Marie Laure (Nuret), a teacher, and Bernard Tautou, a dental surgeon. Audrey showed an interest for comedy at an early age and started her acting lessons at 'Cours Florent'. In 1998 she won the best young actress award in the ninth 'Jeune Comedien de Cinema Festival' in Bezier...
Julia Fiona Roberts never dreamed she would become the most popular actress in America. She was born in Smyrna, Georgia, to Betty Lou (Bredemus) and Walter Grady Roberts, one-time actors and playwrights, and is of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, and Swedish descent. As a child, due to her love of animals...
Naomi Ellen Watts was born on September 28, 1968 in Shoreham, England, to Myfanwy Edwards "Miv" (Roberts), an antiques dealer and costume/set designer, and Peter Watts
(Peter Anthony Watts), the road manager to Pink Floyd
. Her maternal grandfather was Welsh. Her father died when Naomi was seven and she began to follow her mother and her brother around England...
Catherine Zeta-Jones was born September 25, 1969 in Swansea, West Glamorgan, Wales, UK. She is the daughter of Patricia (Fair) and David James "Dai" Jones, who formerly owned a candy factory. Her father is of Welsh descent and her mother is of English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Her brothers are David Jones (born 1967)...
Susan Sarandon was born Susan Abigail Tomalin in New York City, New York, to Lenora Marie (Criscione) and Phillip Leslie Tomalin, a television producer and advertising executive. She is of Italian (mother) and English, Irish, Welsh, and German (father) descent. Soon after the 1968 Democratic convention...
Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver in Leroy Hospital in Manhattan, New York City. Her father, TV producer Sylvester L. Weaver Jr.
, originally wanted to name her Flavia, because of his passion for Roman history (he had already named her elder brother Trajan). Her mother, Elizabeth Inglis
(née Desiree Mary Lucy Hawkins)...
Winona Ryder is an American actress. One of the most profitable and iconic 1990s actresses, she made her film debut in the 1986 film Lucas. In 1988 she stars as a goth teenager in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice. She later appeared in the coming of age drama Mermaids (1990), earning a Golden Globe nomination...
Anna Kendrick was born in Portland, Maine, to Janice (Cooke), an accountant, and William Kendrick, a teacher. She has an older brother, Michael Cooke Kendrick
, who has also acted. She is of English, Irish, and Scottish descent. For her role as "Dinah" in "High Society" on Broadway, Anna Kendrick was nominated for a Tony Award (second youngest ever)...
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...
Anne Jacqueline Hathaway was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Kate McCauley Hathaway
, an actress, and Gerald T. Hathaway
, a lawyer, both originally from Philadelphia. She is of mostly Irish descent, along with English, German, and French. Her first major role came in the short-lived television series Get Real
New Yorker Claire Danes was born in Manhattan, the daughter of Carla (Hall), a day-care provider and artist, and Christopher Danes, a computer consultant and photographer. She has an older brother, Asa. Her paternal grandfather, Gibson Andrew Danes, was a Dean of the Yale School of Art and Architecture, and Claire has English, German, Scottish, Irish, and Austrian ancestry...
Jessica Marie Alba was born on April 28, 1981, in Pomona, CA, to Catherine (Jensen) and Mark David Alba, who served in the US Air Force. Her mother has Danish, Welsh, German, English, and French ancestry, while her father is of Mexican descent (including Spanish, Indigenous Mexican, and distant Sephardic Jewish...
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...
Diane Lane was born on January 22, 1965, in New York. She is the daughter of acting coach Burton Eugene "Burt" Lane and nightclub singer/centerfold Colleen Farrington. Her parents' families were both from the state of Georgia. Diane was acting from a very young age and made her stage debut at the age of six...
Olivia Williams was born July 26, 1968 in Camden Town, London. She was educated at South Hampstead High School, an independent school for girls in Hampstead, North London, followed by Newnham College at the University of Cambridge. She graduated with a degree in English literature. She went on to study...
Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York to mother Patricia "Addie" Tomei, an English teacher and father Gary Tomei, a lawyer. Marisa also has a brother, actor Adam Tomei
. As a child, Marisa's mother frequently corrected her speech as to eliminate her heavy Brooklyn accent...
An extremely gifted and versatile performer adept at both comedy and drama, actress/singer Katey Sagal became a household name in the late 1980s as the fabulously brazen, undomesticated Peg Bundy on the enduring Fox series Married with Children
. During its lengthy run, she received three Golden Globe and two American Comedy Award nominations...
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)...
Mira Katherine Sorvino was born on September 28, 1967 in Manhattan. She is the daughter of Lorraine Davis
, an actress turned drama therapist, and veteran character actor Paul Sorvino
. Her father's family were Italian immigrants. The young Sorvino was intelligent, an avid reader and an exceptional scholar...
Rene Russo was born in Burbank, California, to Shirley (Balocca), a barmaid and factory laborer, and Nino Russo. She grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Her father, a sculptor and mechanic, left the family when Rene was just two, and thus her mother raised Rene and her sister, Toni, as a single mom...
Rebecca Alie Romijn was born on November 6, 1972 in Berkeley, California. Her father was Dutch-born and worked as a custom-furniture maker. Her mother was American-born, with Dutch and English ancestry, and was a teacher of English. Rebecca attended Berkeley High School where her nickname was the "Jolly Blond Giant"...
Elizabeth Jane Hurley was born in Basingstoke, Hampshire, to Angela Mary (Titt), a teacher, and Roy Leonard Hurley, an army major. Wanting to be a dancer, Hurley went to ballet boarding school at 12, but soon returned home. When it came time to go to college, Hurley won a scholarship to the London Studio Centre which taught courses for dance and theater...
Christina Applegate was born in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, to record producer/executive Robert William Applegate and singer-actress Nancy Priddy
. Her parents split-up shortly after her birth. She has two half-siblings from her father's re-marriage - Alisa (b. 10 October 1977) & Kyle (b. 15 July 1981)...
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...
Kim Basinger was born December 8, 1953, in Athens, Georgia, the third of five children. Both her parents had been in entertainment, her dad had played big-band jazz, and her mother had performed water ballet in several Esther Williams movies. Kim was introspective, from her father's side. As a schoolgirl...
Brit Heyworth Marling was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Heidi (Johnson) and John Marling, both of whom work in real estate. She graduated from Georgetown University, with a bachelor's in economics, and was offered a job with Goldman Sachs, which she turned down in favour of a career as an artist. She moved to Los Angeles to act and...
Julie Christie, the British movie legend whom Al Pacino
called "the most poetic of all actresses", was born in Chukua, Assam, India, on April 14, 1941, the daughter of a tea planter, Frank St. John Christie, and his wife, Rosemary (Ramsden), who was a painter. Her family was of English, and some Scottish...
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)...
Robin Virginia Wright was born in Dallas, Texas, to Gayle (Gaston), a national director at Mary Kay, and Freddie Wright, a pharmaceutical executive. She grew up in San Diego, California. She started her professional career as a model in 1980 at age 14, and worked both in Paris and Japan. After finishing high school she decided to become an actress...
Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on October 1, 1935, in England. Her mother, Barbara Ward (Morris), and stepfather, both vaudeville performers, discovered her freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice and immediately got her a singing career. She performed in music halls throughout her childhood and teens...
Scarlett Johansson was born in New York City. Her mother, Melanie Sloan
, is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, and her father, Karsten Johansson
, is Danish. She has a sister, Vanessa Johansson
, who is also an actress, a brother, Adrian, a twin brother, Hunter Johansson
, born three minutes after her, and a paternal half-brother, Christian. Her grandfather was writer Ejner Johansson
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...
Antje Traue was born in Mittweida, Saxony, East Germany. Her mother was a musician and dancer. Traue was raised speaking Russian. She discovered her love for acting at an early age. As a teenager, Traue attended the "International Munich Art Lab", where she was cast in the lead role in the theatre play...