My Favourite Actresses

A personal selection of actresses that I love in one or several films. This list is in order, but don't take it too seriously. Work in progress.

If you are interested, you can check My Favourite Films list.
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1.
Jessica Chastain
Actress, The Martian
Jessica Michelle Chastain was born in Sacramento, California, and was raised in a middle-class household in a northern California suburb. Her mother, Jerri Chastain, is a vegan chef whose family is originally from Kansas, and her stepfather is a fireman. She discovered dance at the age of nine and was in a dance troupe by age thirteen...
 
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4.
Catherine Deneuve
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...
 
5.
Françoise Dorléac
Actress, The Soft Skin
The radiant Francoise Dorleac is better remembered today as the elder, ill-fated sister of French film star Catherine Deneuve. The Paris-born actress, however, was actually the first to become a star and had quite a formidable career of her own in the 1960s until it was cut short. Born into a theatrical family in 1942 (her father was actor Maurice Dorléac)...
 
6.
Setsuko Hara
Actress, Tokyo Story
Setsuko Hara became one of Japan's best-loved stars over her 30-year film career. Her signature character type, variations on a daughter devoted to her parents and home, inspired the nickname that stayed with her until retirement: the Eternal Virgin. To some extent, reality mirrored her roles in these films...
 
8.
Emily Watson
Actress, Corpse Bride
Emily Watson was born and raised in London, the daughter of Katharine (Venables), an English teacher, and Richard Watson, an architect. After a self-described sheltered upbringing, Watson attended university for three years in Bristol, studying English literature. She applied to drama school and was rejected on her first attempt...
 
9.
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Charlotte Gainsbourg was born in London, England in 1971. She is an Anglo-French actress and singer. The daughter of English actress Jane Birkin and French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, she was raised in Paris. Gainsbourg made her motion picture debut in 1984. In 1986, Gainsbourg won a César Award for "Most Promising Actress"...
 
10.
Anna Karina
Born in Denmark, she came to Paris at 18. She met Coco Chanel and Pierre Cardin and started as a top model. She met Jean-Luc Godard about a cameo in Breathless, but she had to be naked and she refused to play in the movie. One year later, they got married and she became famous with the "Nouvelle vague" movies directed by him, Jacques Rivette or Agnès Varda...
 
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12.
Irène Jacob
This beautiful, dark-haired Swiss actress made a hit with a supporting role in her first film, as the piano teacher in Louis Malle's "Au revoir, les enfants" (1987). Educated in London and Geneva, and a Paris resident since the age of 18, Jacob became a promising starlet with her Malle success and followed...
 
13.
Rita Hayworth
Actress, Gilda
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...
 
14.
Joan Bennett
Actress, Dark Shadows
Joan Geraldine Bennett was born on February 27, 1910, in Palisades, New Jersey. Her parents were both successful stage actors, especially her father, Richard Bennett, and often toured the country for weeks at a time. In fact, Joan came from a long line of actors, dating back to the 18th century. Often...
 
16.
Bibi Andersson
Actress, Persona
Her artistic dreams came early in life and were further supported by her older sister Gerd Andersson who became a ballet dancer at the Royal Opera and made her acting debut in 1951. Bibi, on the other side, had to make do with bit parts and commercials. She debuted in Dum-Bom, playing against Nils Poppe...
 
17.
Liv Ullmann
Actress, Persona
Liv Ullmann's father was a Norwegian engineer who used to work abroad, so as a child she lived in Tokyo, Canada, New York and Oslo. In the mid-'50s she made her stage debut and in 1957 made her film debut. She really became successful, however, when she began to work for Swedish director Ingmar Bergman in such films as Persona...
 
18.
Carmen Maura
Actress, Volver
Descendant of the conservative Spanish politician Antonio Maura, Carmen lead an art gallery and appeared in various roles in night- clubs. With Tigres de papel she had her first successful appearance on the movie screen and thereafter she worked at the theatre, the movies and in TV productions. Although she played dramatic roles...
 
19.
Maggie Cheung
Maggie Cheung was born on September 20, 1964, in Hong Kong, and moved at the age of eight with her family to England. After finishing secondary school, she returned to Hong Kong, where she began modeling and appearing in commercials. In 1983 she participated in the Ms. Hong Kong pageant, winning first runner-up...
 
20.
Evan Rachel Wood
Actress, The Wrestler
Evan Rachel Wood was born September 7, 1987, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her father, Ira David Wood III, is a theatre actor, writer and director, and her mother, Sara Wood, is an actress and acting coach. She has two older brothers--Dana Wood, a musician, and Ira David Wood IV, who has also acted...
 
21.
Jenny Agutter
Actress, The Avengers
Jenny Agutter was born on December 20, 1952, in Taunton, Somerset, England, UK. The daughter of an army officer, she spent her childhood traveling and living in different countries. Her film career began at the age of 12 in East of Sudan, which was quickly followed by Ballerina: Part 1 and Ballerina: Part 2...
 
22.
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...
 
23.
Do-yeon Jeon
Actress, Milyang
Jeon Do-yeon spent five years starring in television dramas before achieving instant star status with her film debut opposite Han Seok-gyu in The Contact. She has since gone on to take a wide variety of roles, from her performance as a schoolgirl in Harmonium in My Memory to that of a wife having an adulterous affair in Happy End...
 
24.
Leila Hatami
Award-winning actress, Leila Hatami, was born on October 1, 1972 in Tehran, Iran, to legendary Iranian Director, Ali Hatami, and actress mother, Zari Khoshkam (Zahra Hatami). During her childhood, she appeared in several of her father's films including the historical TV series, Hezardastan...
 
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30.
Ana Torrent
Actress, Thesis
 
31.
Björk
Born in 1965 in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik, the daughter of Gudmundur Gunnarsson (an electrician) and Hildur Hauksdóttir who divorced before her second birthday, Björk grew up in a hippie-type community with her mother and her seven siblings. She started to study classical music at the...
 
32.
Nicole Kidman
Actress, Moulin Rouge!
Elegant redhead 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...
 
33.
Elizabeth Olsen
Elizabeth Chase "Lizzie" Olsen (born February 16, 1989) is an American actress. She is known for her roles in the films Silent House (2011), Liberal Arts (2012), Godzilla (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Captain America: Civil War (2016). For her role in the critically acclaimed Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)...
 
34.
Kirsten Dunst
Actress, Spider-Man
Kirsten Caroline Dunst is an American actress, who also holds German citizenship. She was born on April 30, 1982 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, to parents Inez (née Rupprecht), who owned an art gallery, and Klaus Dunst, a medical services executive. She has a younger brother named Christian Dunst, born in 1987...
 
38.
Jennifer Lawrence
Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence is best known for playing Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Tiffany Maxwell in Silver Linings Playbook, and Rosalyn Rosenfeld in American Hustle. Jennifer Shrader Lawrence was born on August 15, 1990 in Louisville, Kentucky, to Karen (Koch), who manages a children's camp...
 
39.
Dominique Sanda
Dominique Sanda was born in 1948, in Paris, France. When she was 16, she left her upper-class family and married, but divorced two years later. She found a temporary job as a Vogue model, when Robert Bresson gave her the starring part in his absorbing drama A Gentle Woman; she was quite impressive...
 
40.
Carina Lau
Actress, 2046
Carina Lau moved to Hong Kong with her family at the age of 14 and at the the time could not speak the local Cantonese and was often teased by other people the "Mainland Girl". She would eventually gave her best effort to learn the language and then was re-accepted at the TVB actors training program when she had improved her speaking ability...
 
41.
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...
 
42.
Geraldine Chaplin
Actress, Chaplin
Geraldine Leigh Chaplin was born in Santa Monica, California, to Oona Chaplin (née O'Neill) and legendary entertainer Charles Chaplin (A.K.A. Charlie Chaplin). She is a granddaughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill and a great-granddaughter of stage actor James O'Neill. She attended the Royal Ballet Academy in London...
 
43.
Icíar Bollaín
Director, Te doy mis ojos
Born in Madrid, Iciar Bollain has worked as an actress in films such El Sur (1983), directed by Víctor Erice; Sublet (1991) directed by Chus Gutiérrez, Malaventura (1988) directed by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón; El Mejor de los Tiempos (1990) and Un Paraguas para Tres (1992) directed by Felipe Vega, Tierra y Libertad (1995) directed by Ken Loach...
 
44.
Kara Hayward
Kara Hayward was born to John and Karen Hayward on November 17, 1998 in Massachusetts. She is the older of two children. She acted in her first play during summer camp, discovering a passion for acting. Later she was discovered at an open call, landing her first movie role,in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom,.and...
 
45.
Saoirse Ronan
Actress, Atonement
Saoirse Una Ronan was born in The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States, to Irish parents, Monica Ronan (née Brennan) and Paul Ronan, an actor. When Saoirse was three, the family moved to Ireland, and Saoirse grew up in its County Carlow. Saoirse made her first TV appearance with a small role in a few episodes of the TV series...
 
46.
Keira Knightley
Keira Christina Knightley was born in the South West Greater London suburb of Richmond on March 26th 1985. She is the daughter of actor Will Knightley and actress turned playwright Sharman Macdonald. An older brother, Caleb Knightley, was born in 1979. Her father is English, while her Scottish-born mother is of Scottish and Welsh origin...
 
47.
Chloë Sevigny
Known in the mid to late nineties for her status as a fashion impresario and "it girl," with over a dozen art house films to her credit, Chloe Sevigny also stands out as one of the most prominent queens of contemporary independent cinema. Originally hailing from Darien, Connecticut, Sevigny attributes...
 
48.
Uma Thurman
Actress, Pulp Fiction
Uma Karuna Thurman was born in Boston, Massachusetts, into a highly unorthodox and Eurocentric family. She is the daughter of Nena Thurman (née Birgitte Caroline von Schlebrügge), a fashion model and socialite who now runs a mountain retreat, and of Robert Thurman (Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman)...
 
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51.
Joan Fontaine
Actress, Rebecca
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...
 
52.
Valerie Chow
Valerie Chow was born in Hong Kong as Ka-Ling Chow, the only daughter of a well-off family. In 1991, she won Miss Hong Kong Pageant as the first runner up. She went back to Hong Kong University to finish her law degree before returning, in 1993, to her acting career. Chow's career kicked off with a good start with "Wan 9 Zhao 5" (Twenty Something)...
 
53.
Thora Birch
From Monkey Trouble to American Beauty-- that's Hollywood "Hocus Pocus"! Thora Birch was born on Thursday (as in Thor's Day) March 11, 1982. Her father, Jack Birch, and mom, Carol Connors, named her after the Norse God Thor ("Thora" being the feminine), the God of Thunder; she has a younger brother named Bolt Birch...
 
54.
Emily Mortimer
English actress Emily Kathleen Anne Mortimer was born in Hammersmith, London, England, to writer and barrister Sir John Mortimer and his second wife, Penelope (née Gollop). She was educated at St Paul's Girls' School in West London, and it was whilst there she began acting. Mortimer moved on from school to Lincoln College...
 
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57.
Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow was born in Los Angeles, California, to director John Farrow and actress and Tarzan-girl Maureen O'Sullivan. Her father was Australian-born (of English descent) and her mother was Irish-born (of Irish, Scottish, and English ancestry). Farrow debuted at the movies in 1959 in very small roles...
 
58.
Kim Novak
Actress, Vertigo
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...
 
59.
Delphine Seyrig
Delphine was born in Beirut on the 10th April 1932 into an intellectual Protestant family. Her Alsatian father, Henri Seyrig, was the director of the Archaeological Institute and later France's cultural attaché in New York during World War Two. Her Swiss mother, Hermine De Saussure, was an adept of Rousseau's theories...
 
60.
Louise Brooks
Actress, Pandora's Box
Mary Louise Brooks, also known by her childhood name of Brooksie, was born in the midwestern town of Cherryvale, Kansas, on November 14, 1906. She began dancing at an early age with the Denishawn Dancers (which was how she left Kansas and went to New York) and then with George White's Scandals before joining the Ziegfeld Follies...
 
61.
Marlene Dietrich
Her father was a police lieutenant and imbued in her a military attitude to life. Marlene was known in school for her "bedroom eyes" and her first affairs were at this stage in her life - a professor at the school was terminated. She entered the cabaret scene in 1920s Germany, first as a spectator then as a cabaret singer...
 
62.
Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood was born on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, California, as Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko. Her parents, Maria Stepanovna (Zudilova) and Nikolai Stepanovich Zakharenko, were Russian-born émigrés, of Ukrainian and Russian descent, who spoke barely comprehensible English; they changed the family name to Gurdin after becoming US citizens...
 
63.
Emma Watson
Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson was born in Paris, France, to English parents, Jacqueline Luesby and Chris Watson, both lawyers. She moved to Oxfordshire when she was five, where she attended the Dragon School. From the age of six, Emma knew that she wanted to be an actress and, for a number of years, she trained at the Oxford branch of Stagecoach Theatre Arts...
 
66.
Nico
Model and singer Nicol was born in Cologne, Germany in 1938. She was a part of the Andy Warhol "scene" in the 1960s. A member of The Velvet Underground experimental rock band (with John Cale), circa 1967, she made several solo albums during the 1970s. A heroin addict for the latter part of her life...