Women who have played beside James Stewart
Born in Iowa, Betty May Adams grew up in Arkansas and made her acting debut in a third grade play, "Hansel and Gretel". When she grew up and decided to become an actress, she moved to California, where she worked three days a week as a secretary (to support herself) and spent the remainder of her time taking speech lessons and making the rounds at the various studios' casting departments...
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...
Eve was born just north of San Francisco in Mill Valley and was interested in show business from an early age. At 16, she made her stage debut after quitting school to joined a stock company. After appearing in minor roles in two films under her real name, Eunice Quedens, she found that the stage offered her the same minor roles...
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...
Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in New York City. She is the daughter of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a Romanian Jewish immigrant, and William Perske, who was born in New Jersey, to Polish Jewish parents. Her family was middle-class, with her father working as a salesman and her mother as a secretary...
Carroll Baker was born Karolina Piekarski on May 28, 1931 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the daughter of a traveling salesman. She attended community college for a year and then worked as a dancer and magician's assistant. After a brief marriage, she had a small part in Easy to Love
, did TV commercials...
Wendy Barrie was born in Hong Kong of English-Irish parentage, the daughter of King's Counsel F.C. Jenkins. She received her education at a convent school in England and a finishing school in Switzerland. After working in a beauty parlour, she made her first foray into acting on the London stage in "Wonder Bar" (1930)...
Anne Baxter was born in Michigan City, Indiana, on May 7, 1923. She was the daughter of a salesman and his wife, Catherine, who herself was the daughter of Frank Lloyd Wright
, the world-renowned architect. Anne was a young girl of 11 when her parents moved to New York City, which at that time was still the hub of the entertainment industry even though the film colony was moving west...
Barbara Bel Geddes
Arguably best remembered for her role as Miss Ellie, the Ewing family matriarch on the long-running TV series Dallas
, Barbara Bel Geddes had earlier scored success on stage and screen long before gaining more lasting fame on television. Born in New York City on Halloween Day 1922, the daughter of noted theatrical and industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes
Character actress Beulah Bondi was a favorite of directors and audiences and is one of the reasons so many films from the 1930s and 1940s remain so enjoyable, as she was an integral part of many of the ensemble casts (a hallmark of the studio system) of major and/or great films, including The Trail of the Lonesome Pine
American leading lady of the 1930s and 1940s, Virginia Bruce was born in Minnesota but grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and came to California to attend college. Her blond good looks got her an entry into films, and after a few extra roles and bit parts she began to make serious inroads as a leading woman in secondary films and as the "other" woman in more prestigious productions...
Billie Burke was born Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke on August 7, 1885 in Washington, D.C. Her father was the internationally famous clown, Billy Burke, and she would spend most of her early years touring Europe before the family settled in London. In 1903, she appeared on the stage as an actress and came to America in 1907 to star opposite John Drew in "My Wife"...
Statuesque, seductive French leading lady who underwent several early career changes before settling on the acting profession. Corinne Calvet first ventured into the field of criminal law (at the Sorbonne), then gained qualification as an interior decorator with an appreciation of fine arts and antiques...
Brunette, delicately featured leading lady, who briefly made an impact through memorable back-to-back appearances in the films Humoresque
. Joan grew up in Butler, Pennsylvania, where her family had a car dealership. Very little is known of her private life, but at least one of her two sisters was a musician...
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"...
In a career that covered six decades, Constance Collier evolved into one of Broadway and London's finest tragediennes during the first half of the 1900s. While the regal, dark-featured beauty who bore classic Romanesque features enjoyed a transcontinental career like a number of her contemporaries, her theatre success did not encourage an enviable film career...
Valentina Cortese was born in Milan, Lombardy, Italy, in 1923. She made her movie debut in 1940 and played many "ingenue" parts in Italian films of that period, before making a real sensation in Les Misérables
and Tempesta su Parigi
, playing both female leads, Fantine and Cosette (the film was a competent screen adaptation of the Victor Hugo classic "Les misérables")...
Redhead Inez Courtney was the quintessential coquettish soubrette of Broadway musical comedy in the 1920's. Having left school, she abandoned plans to become a milliner and instead embarked on a career as a 'specialty dancer' in vaudeville (where she acquired the nickname 'Mosquito'),serving a five-year apprenticeship...
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...
Linda Cristal will always be remembered for her great performance in The High Chaparral
TV series. She was a movie star in Mexico and Italy. In the United States, she worked in such production such as The Alamo
and Mr. Majestyk
, among others. In 1985 she returned to her home country of Argentina to star in the soap opera Rossé
. Since then, she has not returned to acting.
One of America's most prolific actresses was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Alma Sophia (Welz), a housewife, and William Joseph Kappelhoff, a music teacher and choir master. Her grandparents were all German immigrants. She had two brothers, Richard, who died before she was born and Paul, a few years older...
Olivia de Havilland
Olivia Mary de Havilland was born July 1, 1916, in Tokyo, Japan, to British parents Lilian Augusta (Ruse), a former actress, and Walter Augustus de Havilland, an English professor and patent attorney. Her sister, Joan, later to become famous as Joan Fontaine
, was born the following year. Her surname comes from her paternal grandfather...
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...
Dolores del Rio
Dolores del Rio was the first Mexican movie star with international appeal and had a meteoric career in 1920s Hollywood (an extraordinary accomplishment for an Hispanic female on those years). She came from an aristocratic family in Durango. In the Mexican revolution of 1916, however, the family lost everything they had and emigrated to Mexico City...
Marie Magdelene Dietrich von Losch (aka Marlene) was born in Berlin, Germany on December 27, 1901. Her father was an army officer who had served in the Franco-Prussian War. Because of his constant absences from the family due to his army duties, Marlene and the rest had to rely on themselves. When he died...
This Universal-International player had the beauty, brains and talent to go the distance, only to surprise herself by choosing marriage and family over her career. Now remembered more for her charitable work than her Hollywood roles, pretty and wholesome blonde Peggy Dow was christened Peggy Josephine Varnadow on March 18...
The daughter of a West Virginia druggist, Joanne Dru came to New York in 1940. In New York she worked as a model and was cast by Al Jolson
as one of the showgirls in his Broadway play "Hold Onto Your Hats." When the show closed in 1941, she married popular singer Dick Haymes
and went with him to Hollywood...
Alice Faye started her career as singer with Rudy Vallee
's band in the early 1930s in New York. She went with Vallee to Hollywood, when he was able to get a number for her in George White's Scandals
. When the female star of this film, Lilian Harvey
left the set, Faye got her role. In her early years in Hollywood...
Born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland on October 22, 1917, in Tokyo, Japan, in what was known as the International Settlement. Her father was a British patent attorney with a lucrative practice in Japan, but due to Joan and older sister Olivia de Havilland
's recurring ailments the family moved to California in the hopes of improving their health...
A tall, slender, highly attractive blonde, Canadian-born leading lady Rosemary Forsyth was born in Montreal. In the mid 1960s, she was groomed by Universal after a stretch as a model and a sprinkling of small time TV parts. The soft, demure beauty showed quite a bit of promise amid the rugged surroundings as the young ingénue or romantic co-star to a number of top male veterans...
A curvaceous and comely lead and second lead actress of the 1950s and 1960s screen, Dianne Foster was born with the unlikely stage name of Olga Helen Laruska on October 31, 1928 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Of Ukranian parentage, she began her stage career performing in high school plays and in local community theater productions...
One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland
was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals. She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in Minnesota...
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...
One of stage, screen, radio and TV's most delightful, inimitable eccentrics, Hermione Ferdinanda Gingold was born the daughter of an upscale Austrian financier and English homemaker. She made her stage debut in 1908, thus beginning a long, commanding presence in London playing everything from Jessica...
Pauline Marion Goddard Levy was born in Whitestone Landing, New York, on 3 June 1910. She was a beautiful child who began to model for local department stores before she made her debut with Florenz Ziegfeld's Follies at the age of 13. For three years she astounded audiences with her talent. She married Edgar James when she was 15...
Gloria Hallward, an acting pupil of her mother (stage actress and teacher Jean Grahame), acted professionally while still in high school. In 1944 Louis B. Mayer
saw her on Broadway and gave her an MGM contract under the name Gloria Grahame. Her debut in the title role of Blonde Fever
A pert, vivacious and absolutely stunning brunette, the former Kathryn Grant (nee Olive Kathryn Grandstaff) is now known publicly as Kathryn Crosby. She was born in the Deep South in 1933 and appeared on stage from age 3. A graduate of the University of Texas and a student nurse at one point, she found her way into films via the beauty pageant circuit...
Academy Award winner Lee Grant was born Lyova Haskell Rosenthal on October 31, 1926 in Manhattan, New York City, to Witia (Haskell), a teacher and actress, and Abraham Rosenthal, an educator and realtor. Her father was of Romanian Jewish descent, and her mother was a Russian Jewish immigrant. Lee made her stage debut at age 4 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City...
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 Lassie
TV series. After Wrather's death in 1984, she took over as chairman of the board...
Jean Shirley Verhagen (later shortened to Hagen) was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 3, 1923. Her father was a Dutch immigrant. Hagen and her family moved to Elkhart, Indiana when she was twelve; she subsequently graduated from Elkhart High School. Afterwards, she graduated from Northwestern University, where she studied drama and was a roommate of fellow actress Patricia Neal
Barbara was born on 18 April 1922, as one of two children. As a young girl, Ms. Hale intended to major in art and drawing; she began her professional career as a model for a comic strip called "Ramblin' Bill", during the time she was working her way through The Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. She married actor Bill Williams
in 1946, and had son William Katt
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...
Josephine Sherwood changed her name after marrying stage actor Shelly Hull
in 1910. She studied drama at Radcliffe College -- much to the dismay of her parents -- and first worked on the stage in a stock company in Boston. Her husband died in 1919, aged 35, of Spanish influenza. Josephine left the...
A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Drama, Ruth Hussey's first show-business job was as a fashion commentator on a local radio station. She journeyed to New York City, where she was signed as a model by the world-famous Powers agency. She obtained some stage roles with touring companies and was noticed by MGM...
Betty Hutton was born Elizabeth June Thornburg on February 26, 1921, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Two years later Betty's father decided that the family way of life wasn't for him, so he left (he committed suicide 16 years later). Having to fend for themselves, Mrs. Thornburg moved the family to Detroit to find work in the numerous auto factories there...
Husky voiced Glynis is the daughter of actor Mervyn Johns
. Best known for her light comedy roles and often playful flirtation, Glynis was born in South Africa while her parents were on tour there (her mother was a concert pianist) but was always proud of her Welsh roots and took delight in playing the female lead (opposite Richard Burton
) in the classic Under Milk Wood
Carolyn Jones was born April 28, 1930, in Amarillo, Texas. Her mother was Jeannette and her sister was Bette (Moriarty). She was an imaginative child, much like her mother. In 1934, her father abandoned the family and her mother moved them in with her parents, also in Amarillo. As a child Carolyn suffered from severe asthma...
Named after child star Shirley Temple
, Shirley Jones started singing at the age of six. She started formal training at the age of 12 and would dream of singing with her idol, Gordon MacRae
. Upon graduating from high school, Shirley went to New York to audition for the casting director of Rodgers & Hammerstein...
Grace Patricia Kelly was born on November 12, 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to wealthy parents. She was the daughter of Margaret Katherine (Majer), a physical education instructor, and John Brendan Kelly, Sr., a three-time Olympic Gold winner for rowing. Her uncle was playwright George Kelly
Matronly, grandmotherly character actress, in films 1935-47, best known as head nurse Molly Byrd in the "Dr. Kildare/Dr. Gillespie" films of the 1930s and '40s. 64 years old when she made her film debut in William Wyler's "These Three" in 1935, she lived to be 88, dying in 1960.
Hedy Lamarr, the woman many critics and fans alike regard as the most beautiful ever to appear in films, was born Hedwig Eva Kiesler in Vienna, Austria. She was the daughter of Gertrud (Lichtwitz), from Budapest, and Emil Kiesler, a banker from Lviv. Her parents were both from Jewish families. Hedwig had a calm childhood...
In addition to being Miss New Orleans in 1931, Dorothy Lamour worked as a Chicago elevator operator; band vocalist for her first husband, band leader Herbie Kaye
; and radio performer. In 1936 she donned her soon-to-be-famous sarong for her debut at Paramount, The Jungle Princess
, and continued to play female Tarzan-Crusoe-Gauguin-girl-with make-up parts through the war years and beyond...
Elsa Sullivan Lanchester was born into an unconventional a family at the turn of the 20th century. Her parents, James "Shamus" Sullivan and Edith "Biddy" Lanchester, were socialists - very active members of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) in a rather broad sense and did not believe in the institution of marriage and being tied to any conventions of legality for that matter...
Sue Ane Langdon
Perky American actress with a sexy style and a flair for comedy. Born in New Jersey, she was raised by her singer mother in New York, Michigan, and Oregon. She began acting as a child, in school and local productions. After college at North Texas State and the University of Idaho, she went to New York...
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...
Born in Indiana, she was eight years old when her parents divorced, and her mother took her and her two older brothers to L.A. to start a new life. At age twelve she was spotted playing baseball in the street by director Allan Dwan
who cast her as a tom-boy in "A Perfect Crime". Bitten by the movie bug...
Myrna Williams, later to become Myrna Loy, was born on August 2, 1905 in Radersburg, Montana. Her father was the youngest person ever elected to the Montana State legislature. Later on her family moved to Helena where she spent her youth. At the age of 13, Myrna's father died of influenza and the rest of the family moved to Los Angeles...
Barbara Ann Luna was born on March 2, 1939 in Manhattan and virtually grew up on Broadway. Her Italian, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese and Filipino background has led her to portray a variety of roles. Richard Rodgers
and Oscar Hammerstein II
cast her in the Broadway hit musical "South Pacific", as Ngana...
She was the third daughter of Daniel and Anne MacDonald, younger sister to Blossom (MGM's character actress Marie Blake
), whom she followed to New York and a chorus job in 1920. She was busy in a string of musical productions. In 1928 Paramount tested and rejected her, but a year later Ernst Lubitsch
saw her test and picked her to play opposite Maurice Chevalier
in The Love Parade
Audrey Meadows was born, the youngest of four children, as Audrey Cotter, New York City. After she was born, her family returned to Wu'chang, China were they worked as missionaries. Her family returned to the US and settled in New England when Audrey was age 6, and sister Jayne Meadows
and Audrey attended an all-girls boarding school...
Patricia Paz Maria Medina was born on July 19, 1919 in Liverpool, England to a Spanish father and an English mother. She began acting as a teenager in the late 1930s and worked her way up to leading roles in the mid-1940s, where she left for Hollywood. Medina teamed up with British actor Louis Hayward
and they appeared together in Fortunes of Captain Blood
Sarah Miles is an English actress whose career flourished during the Swinging Sixties and in the early Seventies. The high point of her career came when her husband, screenwriter Robert Bolt
, adapted "Madame Bovary" into a story set during the 1916 Easter Rebellion in Ireland. Directed by David Lean
Born in Boise City, Oklahoma, Vera Miles attended school in Pratt, Kansas and Wichita, Kansas. The patrician beauty of Miss Miles won her the title of "Miss Kansas" in 1948, leading soon to small roles in Hollywood films and television series. Fame came to the forthright, spirited Miles when she attracted the attention of two master directors...
Ann Miller was born Johnnie Lucille Ann Collier on April 12, 1923 in Chireno, Texas. She lived there until she was nine, when her mother left her philandering father and moved with Ann to Los Angeles, California. Even at that young age, she had to support her mother, who was hearing-impaired and unable to hold a job...
An English actress of stage, screen and television, sister to Hayley Mills
and daughter of Sir John Mills
, Juliet first came to notice in films, actually after her sister Hayley started her career. Juliet, however, was first plucked onto the screen and signing a contract with Warner Brothers and taking small roles in comedies like Nurse on Wheels
and Carry on Jack
Of Irish/English ancestry, Agnes was born near Boston, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister (her mother was a mezzo-soprano) who encouraged her to perform in church pageants. Aged three, she sang 'The Lord is my Shepherd' on a public stage and seven years later joined the St. Louis Municipal Opera as a dancer and singer for four years...
began her acting career in the Pasadena Community Playhouse and, while a student at Los Angeles City College, made her radio debut in 1932 in "Omar Khayyam", the first transcontinental broadcast from station KHJ. Her film debut was probably also her best part, Lady Macbeth opposite director/actor Orson Welles
Kim Novak was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 13, 1933 with the birth name of Marilyn Pauline Novak. She was the daughter of Joseph Novak, a former teacher turned transit clerk and his wife, Blanche Kral Novak, also a former teacher. Throughout elementary and high school, Kim did not get along well with teachers...
She was in Alabama until age 12, Ann Steely attended high school and college in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, then worked as a stenographer to finance a trip to Hollywood, where fortune favored her with a contract at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer under Samuel Goldwyn
. Recognizing her talent and appeal through a thick Southern accent...
In America, the early performing arts accomplishments of young Maureen FitzSimons (who we know as Maureen O'Hara) would definitely have put her in the child prodigy category. However, for a child of Irish heritage surrounded by gifted parents and family, these were very natural traits. Maureen made her entrance into this caring haven on August 17...
Debra Paget was born Debralee Griffin on August 19, 1933 in Denver Colorado. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was a child. Debra's mother was a former actress who encouraged all her children to go into show business. At the age of fifteen Debra made her film debut in Cry Of The City. Her big break came when she was cast opposite James Stewart in the 1950 western Broken Arrow...
Lauri played the young and startlingly cute "Mayblossom Haggan", the sweet, down-home, Texas cousin promised to marry "Festus Haggan", in the 1964 episode Mayblossom
. She also appeared in a second Gunsmoke
episode, Take Her, She's Cheap
, in 1964, where she portrayed "Allie". She acted well, was endearing in her portrayals...
Eleanor Powell was born in 1912 in Springfield, Massachussetts, and got her professional start in Atlantic City clubs, from where she moved into in revue in New York at the Ritz Grill and Casino de Paris at the age of sixteen. She started her career on Broadway in 1929, where her machine-gun foot work gained her the title of world champion in tapping...
Eclectic British stage actress Diana Quick was trained at Oxford University and has included both the classics and musical theatre in her repertoire over the years, ranging from "Troilus and Cressida" to "The Threepenny Opera". Though not a potent name in America, she has occasionally graced films and TV...
Kathleen Quinlan was born in Pasadena, California, the only child of Josephine (Zachry), a military supply supervisor, and Robert Quinlan, a television sports director. She grew up in Mill Valley, Ca, and got her break in acting when George Lucas
came to her high school to cast for his movie American Graffiti
Donna Reed was born in the midwestern town of Denison, Iowa, on January 27, 1921, as Donna Belle Mullenger. A small town - a population of less than 3,000 people - Denison was located by the Boyer River, and was the county seat of Crawford County. Donna grew up as a farm girl, much like many young girls in western Iowa...
Lee Remick was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, to Gertrude Margaret (Waldo), an actress, and Francis Edwin Remick, a department store owner. She had Irish and English ancestry. Remick was educated at Barnard College, studied dance and worked on stage and TV, before making her film debut as a sexy Southern majorette in Elia Kazan
's A Face in the Crowd
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
She was everything you could want in a love interest -- pretty, wholesome, reliable, true-blue. Porcelain blonde Florence Rice would come to films in the mid-'30s but disappear within a decade, having made little of the impression she might have made. She was introduced to the limelight practically from the beginning as the daughter of famous sportswriter...
Thelma Ritter appeared in high school plays and was trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In the 1940s she worked in radio. Her movie career was started with a bit part in the 1946 Miracle on 34th Street
. In the movie she played a weary Xmas shopper. Her performance in the short scene was noticed by Darryl F. Zanuck
who insisted her role be expanded...
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...
Ruth Roman was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the youngest of three daughters of Lithuanian-Jewish parents, Mary Pauline (Gold) and Abraham Roman. Her father, a carnival barker, died when she was a small child, forcing her mother to support the family by working as a waitress and cleaning woman. Ruth grew up in the poor tenement district of Boston...
Katharine Juliet Ross was born on January 29, 1940 in Hollywood, California, to Katharine W. (Hall) and Dudley T. Ross. Her father, who also worked for the Associated Press, was away in the US Navy when she was born. His navy career shuttled the family around to Virginia, then Palo Alto, and finally to Walnut Creek...
The middle of seven children, she was named after the S.S. Rosalind at the suggestion of her father, a successful lawyer. After receiving a Catholic school education, she went to the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York, having convinced her mother that she intended to teach acting. In 1934...