Some of the greatest character actresses in the movies and tv according to santarosie.

by santarosie | created - 14 May 2011 | updated - 23 May 2011 | Public

1. Elsa Lanchester

Actress | Witness for the Prosecution

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 ...

2. Peggy Rea

Actress | Grace Under Fire

Trivia Item.

Peggy Rae acted in Bonanza. She was a general store owner in Bonanza who adopted an orphaned little girl.

Peggy Rae was a recurring actress in Gunsmoke. She acted in at least six episodes of Gunsmoke. She play Bess Roniger in Gunsmoke. She also was a dressmaker in Gunsmoke. She played as...

3. Reta Shaw

Actress | Mary Poppins

Reta Shaw is best known to television audiences as Hope Lange's housekeeper in the TV series The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (1968). Disney fans will remember her as one of the singing domestics in the Oscar-winning masterpiece Mary Poppins (1964). While she never achieved stardom as a leading lady, she ...

4. Hermione Baddeley

Actress | The Secret of NIMH

A brash character actress who specialized in cinema, television, and theater, Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton-Baddeley was born on November 13, 1906 in Broseley, Shropshire. She was the youngest of four sisters - including Angela Baddeley, also an actress - and her half-brother, Very Rev William ...

5. Lucille Benson

Actress | 1941

Lucille Benson was a plump, distinctive, and marvelously quirky character actress with a heavy down-home Southern accent who portrayed an offbeat and enjoyable array of colorful supporting dotty old lady roles in both films and TV shows alike. Benson was born on July 17, 1914 in Scottsboro, Alabama...

6. Verna Felton

Actress | Sleeping Beauty

Verna Felton had extensive experience on the stage and in radio before she broke into film and television. Her trademarks was her distinctive husky voice and her no-nonsense attitude. She was quite in demand for voiceover work, as evidenced by her roles in Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (...

7. Maudie Prickett

Actress | Hazel

Maudie Prickett was born on October 25, 1914 in Portland, Oregon, USA as Maude Merrie Doyle. She was an actress, known for Hazel (1961), The 20th Century-Fox Hour (1955) and Time Out of Mind (1947). She was married to Cyril Bernard Cooper, Eakle W. Cartwright and Charles Fillmore Prickett II. She ...

8. Mary Wickes

Actress | Sister Act

From the grand old school of wisecracking, loud and lanky Mary Wickes had few peers while forging a career as a salty scene-stealer. Her abrupt, tell-it-like-it-is demeanor made her a consistent audience favorite on every medium for over six decades. She was particularly adroit in film parts that ...

9. Sara Seegar

Actress | The Music Man

Sara Seegar was born on July 1, 1914 in Greentown, Indiana, USA as Sara Frances Seegar. She was an actress, known for The Music Man (1962), Bewitched (1964) and Dennis the Menace (1959). She was married to Ezra Stone. She died on August 12, 1990 in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, USA.

10. Marjorie Main

Actress | The Egg and I

Her father was a minister, and when she joined a local stock company as a youngster she changed her name to avoid embarrassing her family. She worked in vaudeville and debuted on Broadway in 1916. Her film debut was in A House Divided (1931). She repeated her stage role in Dead End (1937) as Baby ...

11. Hermione Gingold

Actress | Gigi

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 ...

12. Bea Benaderet

Actress | The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show

Bea Benaderet had a remarkable career in radio and television. In the earlier days of radio, before television, she provided the voice for numerous names of characters on the radio, on shows like "Fibber McGee and Molly," "My Favorite Husband" with Lucille Ball & the Jack Benny Show. She was born ...

13. Ellen Corby

Actress | The Waltons

Ellen Corby was born Ellen Hansen on June 3, 1911, in Racine, Wisconsin. She began her career as a bit player in the film Speed Limited (1935) in 1940. Ellen would not be seen on the big screen again until 1945 in Cornered (1945). In 1946, she appeared in 14 films, although mostly in small, minor ...

14. Eve Arden

Actress | Our Miss Brooks

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 ...

15. Conchata Ferrell

Actress | Two and a Half Men

It took 30 years since it was first predicted, but Conchata Ferrell finally achieved television stardom, albeit of the supporting variety, as the housekeeper "Berta" in the situation-comedy Two and a Half Men (2003). Ferrell originally had been tipped for stardom with her turn as the prostitute "...

16. Margaret Hamilton

Actress | The Wizard of Oz

Margaret Hamilton was born December 9, 1902 in Cleveland, Ohio to Jennie and Walter Hamilton. She later attended Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and practiced acting doing children's theater while a Junior League of Cleveland member. Margaret had already built her resume with several...

17. Mildred Natwick

Actress | Dangerous Liaisons

A disarming character lady quite capable of scene-stealing, Mildred Natwick was a well-rounded talent with distinctively dowdy features and idiosyncratic tendencies who, over a six-decade period, assembled together a number of unforgettable matrons on stage and (eventually) film and TV. Whimsical, ...

18. Irene Tedrow

Actress | Empire of the Ants

Denver-born supporting actress Irene Tedrow is another in a long line of "I know the face...but not the name" character actors whose six-decade career was known more for its durability than for the greatness of roles she played. Born in 1907, she was a lady primarily of the stage, beginning her ...

19. Thelma Ritter

Actress | Rear Window

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 (1947). In the movie she played a weary Xmas shopper. Her performance in the short ...

20. Spring Byington

Actress | You Can't Take It with You

The possessor of one of Hollywood's gentlest faces and warmest voices, and about as sweet as Tupelo honey both on-and-off camera, character actress Spring Byington was seldom called upon to play callous or unsympathetic (she did once play a half-crazed housekeeper in Dragonwyck (1946)). Although ...

21. Pert Kelton

Actress | The Music Man

Vaudevillain, Broadway player and, for one decade from 1929, screen actress often in comedic roles. She also appeared in character parts in a handful of 60s films. She is memorable as the original - and the most believable - Alice Kramden, wife of Ralph Kramden (immortalized by Jackie Gleason), in ...

22. Ruth McDevitt

Actress | The Birds

Delightfully daffy and an apple dumpling of a darling, wizened character actress Ruth McDevitt was born Ruth Shoecraft in Michigan but raised in Ohio where her father served as a county sheriff. She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Art with designs of becoming an actress but married a ...

23. Frances Bavier

Actress | The Day the Earth Stood Still

Frances Bavier was born in New York City on December 14, 1902. Her first Broadway appearance was in April 1925 in "The Poor Nut", the start of a successful Broadway career. She traveled with the USO to entertain the U.S. troops in the Pacific during World War II. Her last appearance on Broadway was...

24. Anne Seymour

Actress | Field of Dreams

The daughter of a copper expert (William Stanley Eckert) and an actress and museum curator (May Davenport), character actress Anne Seymour was born on September 11, 1909 in New York City. She was the seventh generation of a theatrical family that could be tracked back to Ireland in 1740. Her ...

25. Virginia Gregg

Actress | Operation Petticoat

Virginia Gregg was born on March 6, 1916 in Harrisburg, Illinois, USA. She was an actress, known for Operation Petticoat (1959), Police Story (1973) and Emergency! (1972). She was married to Jaime Del Valle. She died on September 15, 1986 in Encino, Los Angeles, California, USA.

26. Gale Sondergaard

Actress | The Mark of Zorro

Sly, manipulative, dangerously cunning and sinister were the key words that best described the roles that Gale Sondergaard played in motion pictures, making her one of the most talented character actresses ever seen on the screen. She was educated at the University of Minnesota and later married ...



Recently Viewed