The Best Actresses Ever - 1920sby dziwnytenswiat | created - 8 months ago | updated - 1 week ago | Public
Points from my "The Best Films Ever Made"-Lists. Only Actresses in films from 1920s. Vol. 1 = 100%, Vol. 2 = 50%, Vol. 3 = 33%, Vol. 4 = 25%, Vol. 5 = 20 %, Vol. 6 = 17%
1. Greta Garbo
Actress | Ninotchka
Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Anna Lovisa (Johansdotter), who worked at a jam factory, and Karl Alfred Gustafsson, a laborer. She was fourteen when her father died, which left the family destitute. Greta was forced to leave school and ...
2. Janet Gaynor
Actress | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Janet Gaynor was born Laura Gainor on October 6, 1906, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a child, she & her parents moved to San Francisco, California, where she graduated from high school in 1923. She then moved to Los Angeles where she enrolled in a secretarial school. She got a job at a shoe ...
Actress | Metropolis
After her role in Metropolis (1927) she made a string of movies in which she almost always had the starring role, easily making the transition to sound films. Her last film was An Ideal Spouse (1935) (An Ideal Spouse) in 1935.
4. Jane Winton
Actress | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Statuesque, gorgeous Jane Winton was billed as the "Green-eyed Goddess of Hollywood". The former Ziegfeld Follies dancer appeared in a good number of films from 1925--if not as the nominal star then, at least, very high up the list of credits. Her aloof beauty was tailor-made for playing patrician ...
5. Dale Fuller
Actress | The Cossacks
Dale Fuller was born on June 17, 1885 in Santa Ana, California, USA as Marie Dale Phillipps. She was an actress, known for The Cossacks (1928), Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) and Lady of the Night (1925). She died on October 14, 1948 in Pomona, California.
Actress | A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate
Edna Purviance began working as a stenographer in San Francisco. Charles Chaplin invited her to join him at Essanay Studio in 1915, the year of her film debut in Chaplin's His Night Out. Over the next seven years she appeared as his leading lady in over 20 Chaplin films made by Essanay, Mutual, and...
7. Lil Dagover
Actress | Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
A prominent German film actress born on 30 September 1887 at Madiven, Java, the daughter of a forest ranger in the service of the Dutch authorities. Sent at the age of ten to Baden-Baden to study, she later entered the cinema thanks to her marriage in 1917 to the actor Fritz Dagover who was 25 ...
Actress | Der letzte Mann
Maly Delschaft was born on December 4, 1898 in Hamburg, Germany as Amalie Köster-Delschaft. She was an actress, known for The Last Laugh (1924), Die drei Portiermädel (1925) and The White Horse Inn (1926). She died on August 20, 1995 in Berlin, Germany.
Actress | The Navigator
Kathryn McGuire was born on December 6, 1903 in Peoria, Illinois, USA. She was an actress, known for The Navigator (1924), Sherlock Jr. (1924) and Midnight Faces (1926). She was married to George Landy. She died on October 10, 1978 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
10. Yvette Guilbert
Actress | Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage
Yvette Guilbert was born on January 20, 1865 in Paris, France. She was an actress, known for Faust (1926), Iceland Fisherman (1934) and The Two Orphans (1933). She was married to Dr. Max Schiller. She died on February 3, 1944 in Aix-en-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône, France.
11. Marion Davies
Actress | Going Hollywood
Marion Cecelia Douras was born in the borough of Brooklyn, New York on January 3, 1897. She had been bitten by the show biz bug early as she watched her sisters perform in local stage productions. She wanted to do the same. As Marion got older, she tried out for various school plays and did fairly ...
12. Mary Philbin
Actress | The Man Who Laughs
Mary Philbin's life should be a lesson to domineering parents. Mary was born on July 16, 1903, in Chicago, Illinois, to John Philbin and his first wife and namesake, Mary. The child was regarded as a little beauty from an early age and her mother was exceedingly proud of her and loved to show her ...
13. Claire McDowell
Actress | The Big Parade
Claire McDowell was born on November 2, 1877 in New York City, New York, USA. She was an actress, known for The Big Parade (1925), Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) and The Mark of Zorro (1920). She was married to Charles Hill Mailes. She died on October 23, 1966 in Hollywood, California, USA.
14. Norma Shearer
Actress | The Divorcee
She won a beauty contest at age fourteen. In 1920 her mother, Edith Shearer, took Norma and her sister Athole Shearer (Mrs. Howard Hawks) to New York. Ziegfeld rejected her for his "Follies," but she got work as an extra in several movies. She spent much money on eye doctor's services trying to ...
15. Eleanor Boardman
Actress | Souls for Sale
Philadelphia-born Eleanor Boardman had always wanted to be an actress, and as soon as she graduated high school she headed for New York to conquer Broadway. When Broadway proved not quite ready to be conquered yet, she took whatever jobs she could find, including one as an artist's model. In that ...
16. Gloria Swanson
Actress | Sunset Blvd.
Gloria Swanson went to public schools in Chicago; Key West, Florida; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her film debut was as an extra in The Fable of Elvira and Farina and the Meal Ticket (1915). From the following year on, she had leading roles in pictures for Keystone, then a year with Triangle, and, in...
17. Lillian Gish
Actress | The Night of the Hunter
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 ...
18. Jobyna Ralston
Actress | Lightning
Curly-locked, cherubic knockabout comedienne of the silent cinema. Her mother, portrait photographer Mrs. Kemp Raulston, named her after her favorite actress, Jobyna Howland. She harbored ambitions for her daughter to achieve similar fame and trained her to that end. After a failed teenage marriage...
19. Anna May Wong
Actress | Piccadilly
Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American movie star, was born Wong Liu Tsong on January 3, 1905, in Los Angeles, California, to laundryman Wong Sam Sing and his wife, Lee Gon Toy. A third-generation American, she managed to have a substantial acting career during a deeply racist time when the ...
20. Renée Adorée
Actress | The Big Parade
Renee Adoree was born Jeanne de la Fontein in Lille in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, on September 30, 1898. She had what one could call a normal childhood. Her background is, perhaps, one of the most difficult to find information on any actress in existence. What we do know that her interest in ...
21. Barbara Kent
Actress | Lonesome
A pretty, diminutive (4'11") actress of the silent and early sound era, Barbara Cloutman (later Kent) was born in Gadsby, Alberta, Canada on December 16, 1907. Upon graduating from Hollywood High School in 1925, Kent won the Miss Hollywood Pageant, and set her sights on a career in the movies. She ...
22. Marcelle Corday
Actress | The Great Ziegfeld
Touted by contemporary studio publicity as a 'native Parisian', Marcelle was in fact born in Brussels on January 8 1890. Her father, who was most definitely French, had her packed off to be educated at private schools in Paris and Geneva. She began her acting career on stage in her home town before...
23. Louise Brooks
Actress | Die Büchse der Pandora
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 ...
24. Astrid Holm
Actress | Körkarlen
Trained as a ballet dancer she turned to acting. Stage work at Det ny Teater and Det kongelige Teater without much success. Started acting in films in 1917 with much more appeal. In her silent film career, she worked with some of the worlds most prominent directors. Her low key but intense acting ...
25. Greta Schröder
Actress | Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens
Greta Schröder was a German actress. She is best known for the role of Thomas Hutter's wife in the 1922 silent film Nosferatu. In the fictionalized 2000 film, Shadow of the Vampire, she is portrayed as having been a famous actress during the making of Nosferatu, but in fact she was little known.
26. Olga Baclanova
Actress | Freaks
Born Olga Vladimirovna Baklanova, one of six children of Vladimir Baklanoff and his wife Alexandra, later billed as the Russian Tigress in her early talking films, was born August 19, 1893. She graduated from the Cherniavsky Institute in Moscow prior to her selection in 1912 at age 19 to apprentice...
Josephine Crowell was a Canadian-born character actress. She appeared in vaudeville as early as 1879. On screen, she is best remembered for her dramatic portrayal of the mother in D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915), her comedic performances in Harold Lloyd's Speedy (1928) and Stan Laurel ...
28. Hanna Ralph
Actress | Helena
Born in Bad Kissingen, Germany, in 1885, Hanna Ralph made her stage debut in 1913 and her film debut in 1917. She was quite active in silent films, and worked for such directors as Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau, and at one point was married to Emil Jannings (they later divorced). She made her final ...
29. Gwen Lee
Actress | Laugh, Clown, Laugh
She was one of the archetypal flappers of the Jazz Age. Blonde, blue-eyed and impeccably coiffured, we recall Gwen Lee as tall, blonde flibbertigibbets and gold-digging vamps in films of the late 1920's and early 30's. Gwen was born in Nebraska and attended school in Omaha. Having suitably ...
30. Georgia Hale
Actress | The Gold Rush
Georgia Theodora Hale was born on June 27, 1900 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Her parents were George Washington Hale and Laura Imbrie, and her two older sisters were Eugenia and Helen. Soon, her family moved to Illinois. In 1922, she won a beauty contest in Chicago and despite strong disapproval from ...
31. Marion Mack
Actress | The General
Many recognise Marion Mack as the beautiful but brainless heroine Annabelle Lee, of Buster Keaton's classic 'The General'. However, few realise that Marion was also a talented screenwriter who, with her husband, formed a successful production team. Born Joey Marion McReery, she began her career as ...
32. Marceline Day
Actress | The Cameraman
The younger sister of actress Alice Day, Marceline Day achieved stardom in the mid-'20s, appearing opposite such stars as John Barrymore and Lon Chaney. Adept at comedy, she also starred with such top comics as Buster Keaton and Harry Langdon. Her career faltered in the early '30s, however, and she...
33. Hilda Borgström
Actress | Körkarlen
Hilda Borgström was born on October 13, 1871 in Stockholm, Sweden as Hilda Teresia Borgström. She was an actress, known for The Phantom Carriage (1921), Ingeborg Holm (1913) and Lady of the Camellias (1925). She died on January 2, 1953 in Stockholm.
34. Maria Falconetti
Actress | La passion de Jeanne d'Arc
Maria Falconetti was born on July 21, 1892 in Pantin, Seine [now Seine-Saint-Denis], France as Renee Jeanne Falconetti. She was an actress, known for The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), La comtesse de Somerive (1917) and Le clown (1917). She died on December 12, 1946 in Buenos Aires, Federal ...
Actress | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Margaret Livingston was born on November 25, 1895 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. She is known for her work on Sunrise (1927), God's Gift to Women (1931) and The Last Warning (1928). She was married to Paul Whiteman. She died on December 13, 1984 in Warrington, Pennsylvania, USA.
36. Camilla Horn
Actress | Schloß Königswald
The daughter of a railroad official, Camilla Horn was educated in Germany and Switzerland. She initially trained as a dressmaker and received her first job experience in a fashion salon in Erfurt. This was merely a stepping stone for a performing career which began with dance lessons in Berlin and ...
37. Merna Kennedy
Actress | The Big Chance
Merna Kennedy was born on September 7, 1908 in Kankakee, Illinois, USA as Merna Kahler. She was an actress, known for The Big Chance (1933), The Circus (1928) and Jimmy the Gent (1934). She was married to Forrest Brayton and Busby Berkeley. She died on December 20, 1944 in Los Angeles, California, ...
38. Ruth Dwyer
Actress | Crack o' Dawn
Ruth Dwyer was born on January 25, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. She was an actress, known for Crack o' Dawn (1925), The Reckless Age (1924) and The Lurking Peril (1919). She was married to William Jackie. She died on March 2, 1978 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.
39. Mildred Davis
Actress | Safety Last!
Mildred Davis was born on February 22, 1901 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Mildred Hillary Davis. She was an actress, known for Safety Last! (1923), A Sailor-Made Man (1921) and Grandma's Boy (1922). She was married to Harold Lloyd. She died on August 18, 1969 in Santa Monica, California, ...
40. Loretta Young
Actress | The Farmer's Daughter
Sweet, sweeter, sweetest. No combination of terms better describes the screen persona of lovely Loretta Young. A&E's Biography (1987) has stated that Young "remains a symbol of beauty, serenity, and grace. But behind the glamour and stardom is a woman of substance whose true beauty lies in her ...
41. Cissy Fitzgerald
Actress | Patricia Gets Her Man
Cissy Fitzgerald was born on June 20, 1873 in Blean, Kent, England as Marie Kathleen Kipping. She was an actress, known for Patricia Gets Her Man (1937), The Painted Angel (1929) and Flirtation (1934). She was married to Osmund Mark Tucker. She died on May 10, 1941 in Ovingdean, Sussex, England.
42. Estelle Clark
Actress | The Crowd
Estelle Clark was born on May 7, 1898 in Warsaw, Poland, Russian Empire as Stasia Zwolinska. She was an actress, known for The Crowd (1928), Don't (1925) and Sinners in Silk (1924). She died on December 3, 1982 in Ventura, California, USA.
43. Julanne Johnston
Actress | Dame Chance
From Indianapolis Julanne's family lived briefly in Pittsburg, Pa., and then settled in Los Angeles where she attended the Hollywood School for Girls. She also studied dancing, went on tour with the Ruth St. Denis dancers, which led to her first screen part as a dancer. In her post-screen life in ...
Actress | Po zakonu
Aleksandra Khokhlova was born on October 4, 1897 in Berlin, Germany as Aleksandra Sergeyevna Khokhlova. She was an actress and assistant director, known for Po zakonu (1926), Luch smerti (1925) and Sasha (1930). She was married to Lev Kuleshov and Konstantin Khokhlov. She died on August 22, 1985 in...
45. Ann Christy
Actress | Speedy
Tiny, blue-eyed Ann Christy started in films with a bit part in Long Pants (1927) with Harry Langdon. She was then signed by one of the three major producers of silent comedy, Al Christie, to appear in a series of short comedies filmed at Paramount. It was there that she was spotted by Harold Lloyd...
46. Marion Byron
Actress | Steamboat Bill, Jr.
At Warner Brothers, tiny, five feet tall Marion Byron was nicknamed (and occasionally billed as) "Peanuts". She was a cute and vivacious soubrette who featured in early, long forgotten musicals, with titles like Show of Shows (1929), Broadway Babies (1929) and Playing Around (1930). Marion began ...
Actress | My Lady's Slipper
Julia Swayne Gordon was born on October 29, 1878 in Columbus, Ohio, USA as Sarah Victoria Swayne. She was an actress, known for My Lady's Slipper (1916), The Painted World (1914) and The Painted World (1919). She died on May 28, 1933 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
Actress | Mat
Vera Baranovskaya was born in 1885 in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire as Vera Vsevolodovna Baranovskaya. She was an actress, known for Mother (1926), Takový je zivot (1930) and Leichtsinnige Jugend (1931). She died on December 7, 1935 in Paris, France.
49. Rosa Valetti
Actress | M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder
Rosa Valetti was born the daughter of industrialist Felix Vallentin, and was the sister of Hermann Vallentin. She first appeared on the Berlin stage and later also in Paris, Bruxelles and Vienna. During the first WW she worked for Ludwig Roth, her first husband, at the Residenz-Theater in Berlin. ...
50. Lya De Putti
Actress | Othello
The daughter of a Hungarian baron and countess, Lya De Putti went on to perform classical ballet in Berlin, Germany, after a brief stint in Hungarian vaudeville. She later made several films at the German UFA studios, most notably Variety (1925), before going to Hollywood in 1926. While in America ...
51. Mabel Van Buren
Actress | The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Mabel Van Buren was born on July 17, 1878 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. She was an actress, known for The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), Brewster's Millions (1914) and Ramona (1916). She was married to James Gordon and Ernest Joy. She died on November 4, 1947 in Hollywood, California, USA.
52. Mae Busch
Actress | Sons of the Desert
Mae Busch can certainly claim career versatility, having successfully played Erich von Stroheim's mistress, Lon Chaney's girlfriend, Charley Chase's sister, James Finlayson's ex-wife and Oliver Hardy's wife! She was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1891; her parents were in the theater and when she...
53. Vilma Bánky
Actress | The Son of the Sheik
Vilma Bánky appeared in Hungarian, Austrian and French movies between 1920 and 1925, the year in which Samuel Goldwyn signed her, in Budapest, to a Hollywood contract. In Hollywood she was billed as the "The Hungarian Rhapsody". In the mid and late 1920s she was Goldwyn's biggest money maker, ...
54. Agnes Ayres
Actress | The Sheik
Extremely popular silent star of the 1920s. Her popularity was enhanced when she co-starred with Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik (1921) and The Son of the Sheik (1926). She made her screen debut at Essanay Studios in 1915. While she was popular in the 1920s (thanks to the patronage of her lover, ...
Actress | Tretya meshchanskaya
Lyudmila Semyonova was born on February 17, 1899 in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire as Lyudmila Nikolayevna Semyonova. She was an actress, known for Bed and Sofa (1927), Poseyali devushki lyon (1956) and Moy syn (1928). She died on May 25, 1990 in Moscow, RSFSR, USSR.
56. Phyllis Haver
Actress | The Midnight Express
Phyllis Haver was born Phyllis O'Haver on January 6, 1899, in Douglas, KS. When she was a child her family moved to California. Young Phyllis got a job playing piano at a local movie theater. Producer Mack Sennett saw her and hired her to be one of his "Sennett Bathing Beauties". Between 1916-20 ...
57. May McAvoy
Actress | Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Silent-screen star May McAvoy was born in an upscale area of New York City. Her well-to-do family owned and operated a large livery stable situated where the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel now stands. She initially wanted to be a teacher but became intrigued with show business after watching a friend ...
58. Julia Faye
Actress | The Ten Commandments
Julia Faye's career is inextricably linked to director Cecil B. DeMille. He was her mentor, while she was for many years his mistress (a liaison which was tolerated by De Mille's long-suffering wife Constance Adams). Julia was born in Richmond, Virginia, of French-American parentage. She had a ...
59. Marie Prevost
Actress | The Racket
Marie Prevost was born Mary Bickford Dunn in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, on November 8, 1898. She broke into films when she was 18 years old in Unto Those Who Sin (1916). Finding work in films was difficult in the early days, just as it is today. Marie found herself doing odd jobs until 1917, when she...
60. Ilka Grüning
Actress | Peer Gynt
Ilka Grüning was born on September 4, 1876 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. She is known for her work on Peer Gynt (1919), Figaros Hochzeit (1920) and Words and Music (1948). She died on November 11, 1964 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
61. Evelyn Brent
Actress | The Silver Horde
Petite, sultry leading lady of the 1920's and 30's, who was born and schooled in Tampa, Florida, until the age of ten when she lost her mother. She moved to New York with her dad and started modelling while still in her teens. Her original intention was to go into the teaching profession. Instead, ...
62. Lucie Höflich
Actress | Herr Tartüff
Lucie Höflich was born on February 20, 1883 in Hannover, Germany as Helene Lucie von Holwede. She was an actress, known for Tartuffe (1925), Anastasia: The Czar's Last Daughter (1956) and Sky Without Stars (1955). She was married to Georg Anton Mayer and Emil Jannings. She died on October 9, 1956 ...
63. Zasu Pitts
Actress | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
Classic comedienne Zasu Pitts, of the timid, forlorn blue eyes and trademark woebegone vocal pattern and fidgety hands, was born to Rulandus and Nellie (Shay) Pitts, the third of four children on January 3, 1894. Her aged New York-native father, who lost a leg back in the Civil War era, had settled...
Actress | The Mark of Zorro
Marguerite de la Motte was trained as a dancer, reputedly by the great ballerina Anna Pavlova, and entered films in 1918. She played opposite Douglas Fairbanks in many of his productions. Like many performers of the silent era, however, she was not able to sustain her career with the coming of ...
65. Priscilla Bonner
Actress | 3 Bad Men
Priscilla Bonner was born on February 17, 1899 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. She was an actress, known for 3 Bad Men (1926), Charley's Aunt (1925) and The Red Kimona (1925). She was married to Dr. E. Bertrand Woolfan and Allen Wynes Alexander. She died on February 21, 1996 in Los ...
66. Aud Egede-Nissen
Actress | Das Phantom der Oper
Aud Egede-Nissen was born on May 30, 1893 in Bergen, Norway. She was an actress and producer, known for Das Phantom der Oper (1916), Anna Boleyn (1920) and Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (1922). She was married to Paul Richter and Georg Alexander. She died on November 6, 1974 in Oslo, Norway.
67. Carmel Myers
Actress | Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Though she is little remembered today, silent screen star Carmel Myers had a high-flying career in her heyday and was ranked among the screen's most glamorous and enticing vamps. She was born at the turn of the century in San Francisco, the daughter of immigrant parents. Her father, a rabbi, ...
68. Gerda Maurus
Actress | Frau im Mond
Gertrud Pfiel was born in present day Croatia, the daughter of an engineer and inventor. A strikingly beautiful blonde with high cheekbones and expressive blue eyes, she grew up in Vienna where she was trained as a singer and dancer, embarking on a theatrical career by the age of fifteen. Until ...
70. Clara Bow
Actress | Wings
Clara Gordon Bow, destined to become THE flapper of the 1920's, was born on July 29, 1905 and raised in poverty and violence in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother tried to slit Clara's throat when she attempted to enter the film industry. She won a photo beauty contest which launched her movie career ...
71. Pola Negri
Actress | Die Bergkatze
Pola Negri was born in Lipno, Poland, and moved to Warsaw as a child. Living in poverty with her mother, a teenage Pola auditioned and was accepted to the Imperial Ballet. Due to an illness that ended her dancing career, she soon switched to the Warsaw Imperial Academy of Dramatic Arts and became ...
72. Betty Amann
Actress | Asphalt
Born in Germany to American parents, dark-haired Betty Amann (born Philippine Amann) grew up in the US. She began her screen career as Bee Amann in the mid-'20s, but returned to Germany after appearing in a 'Tom Tyler' Western for low-budget FBO Pictures. Arriving in the wake of Louise Brooks, she ...
73. Valeska Gert
Actress | Die 3 Groschen-Oper
Valeska Gert was born on January 11, 1892 in Berlin, Germany as Gertrud Valesca Samosch. She was an actress, known for The 3 Penny Opera (1931), Wood Love (1925) and Juliet of the Spirits (1965). She was married to Robin Hay Anderson and Helmuth von Krause. She died on March 15, 1978 in Kampen, ...
74. Doris Pawn
Actress | The Penalty
Doris Pawn was born on December 29, 1894 in Norfolk, Nebraska, USA as Doris Alice Pahn. She was an actress, known for The Penalty (1920), Putting It Over (1922) and Always the Woman (1922). She was married to Samuel William Dunaway, Paul Reiners and Rex Ingram. She died on March 30, 1988 in La ...
75. Ethel Grey Terry
Actress | The Penalty
A graduate of the Notre Dame academy at Roxbury, Massachusetts, Ethel began her career as a classical dancer working under the direction of Belasco and the Shuberts. She began her career on the stage at two years of age, later being going to New York to pursue a career on the stage. On Broadway she...
76. Claire Adams
Actress | The Big Parade
Claire Adams was born in Winnipeg, Canada (her brother was prolific screenwriter Gerald Drayson Adams), and after her education in that country she was sent to a private school in England, where she studied drama. At the outbreak of World War I, however, she joined the nursing corps and spent the ...
77. Marie Dressler
Actress | Min and Bill
Once you saw her, you would not forget her. Despite her age and weight, she became one of the top box office draws of the sound era. She was 14 when she joined a theater group and she went on to work on stage and in light opera. By 1892, she was on Broadway and she later became a star comedienne on...
78. Alice Terry
Actress | The Conquering Power
Alice started as an extra in films at age 15. She worked in "Inceville" and would appear as several characters in 'Civilization (1916)'. In 1917, she would meet director Rex Ingram and they would marry in 1921. It was also in 1921 that Alice would gain acclaim as Marguerite in 'The Four Horsemen of...
Actress | Ship of Wanted Men
The daughter of a clergyman and a mother, who was an accomplished painter of portraits and landscapes, Stella Dorothy Sabiston spent her formative years in her home state of Alabama. She had three siblings, all of whom died relatively young. She attended the University of Alabama, but always ...
80. Fay Wray
Actress | King Kong
Canadian-born Fay Wray was brought up in Los Angeles and entered films at an early age. She was barely in her teens when she started working as an extra. She began her career as a heroine in westerns at Universal during the silent era. In 1926 the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers ...
Actress | The Monster
Gertrude Olmstead was born in Chicago, IL, on Nov. 13, 1897. She entered the film business early, making her film debut in The Fox (1921) at 17 years of age. The next year she appeared in the hit The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1922). She stayed busy throughout the 1920s, appearing in a total of...
82. Asta Nielsen
Actress | Hamlet
Danish leading woman of German films who became one of the greatest stars of the silent era. A native of the Copenhagen suburb of Vesterbro, Nielsen was the daughter of a coppersmith and a washerwoman, both of whom died before Nielsen was fifteen. Her stage debut came as a child in the chorus of ...
83. Barbara La Marr
Actress | The Three Musketeers
Reatha Watson (Barbara La Marr) is possibly most famous as supposedly being one of the first drug-related deaths in Hollywood, but while she had a serious drinking problem she in fact died of tuberculosis with complications of nephritis. She is notable for other reasons, among them her successes as...
84. Bebe Daniels
Actress | The Maltese Falcon
Bebe Daniels already had toured as an actor by the age of four in a stage production of "Richard III". She had her first leading role at the age of seven and started her film career shortly after this in movies for Imperial, Pathe and others. At 14 she was already a film veteran, and was enlisted ...
85. Nita Naldi
Actress | Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Nonna Dooley, the future silent screen star, began her career as a showgirl in a Shubert revue in the Winter Garden, later went on to the famed Ziegfeld Follies.
After a successful career on the stage with the Follies, Nita decided to try her hand with films in Hollywood. Her rise to fame was very ...
86. Eugenie Besserer
Actress | The Jazz Singer
Eugenie Besserer was born in Watertown, New York on Christmas Day of 1868. She was largely a silent film actress who made her debut in 1910's silent version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910). She was 42 at the time. For the most part Eugenie was a character actress, much in demand for filling in ...
87. Belle Bennett
Actress | Flesh and Spirit
Belle Bennett was born on April 22, 1891 in Milaca, Minnesota, USA as Ara Belle Bennett. She was an actress, known for Flesh and Spirit (1922), Recaptured Love (1930) and Courage (1930). She was married to Fred Windemere, Jack Geller and Howard Ralph Macy. She died on November 4, 1932 in Los ...
88. Vera Lewis
Actress | Betty in Search of a Thrill
Vera Lewis was born on June 10, 1873 in New York City, New York, USA as Vera Mackey. She was an actress, known for Betty in Search of a Thrill (1915), Four Daughters (1938) and Lombardi, Ltd. (1919). She was married to Ralph Lewis. She died on February 8, 1956 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, ...
89. Betty Bronson
Actress | Everybody's Acting
Betty Bronson's discovery reads like a Hollywood dream. As a New Jersey teenage bit-player, she was rocketed from obscurity when she was chosen to play the part of Peter Pan in 1924's Peter Pan (1924). She was hand-selected by author J.M. Barrie and beat several Hollywood superstars to the part, ...
90. Kathleen Key
Actress | Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Kathleen Key was born on April 1, 1903 in Buffalo, New York, USA as Kitty Lanahan. She was an actress, known for Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925), The Desert's Toll (1926) and The Man from Brodney's (1923). She died on December 22, 1954 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.
91. Helen Lynch
Actress | Romance of the Underworld
Helen Lynch was born on April 6, 1900 in Billings, Montana, USA as Helen Emily Lynch. She was an actress, known for Romance of the Underworld (1928), Minnie (1922) and Bustin' Thru (1925). She was married to Carroll Nye. She died on March 2, 1965 in Miami Beach, Florida, USA.
Actress | Chicago
Virginia Bradford was born on November 7, 1899 in Memphis, Tennessee, USA as Ada Virginia Estes. She was an actress, known for Chicago (1927), Atta Boy (1926) and Two Lovers (1928). She was married to Thomas Prentice, Cedric Belfrage, Frederick Minter and Joseph Petrie Lyons. She died on October 30...
93. May Robson
Actress | Bringing Up Baby
Born Mary Jeanette Robison. She was the youngest daughter of Henry Robison of Penrith, Cumberland, England and Julia Schelesinger of Liverpool, Lancashire, England. Her father died in 1860 and her mother remarried. In 1866/67 they were living in St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and moved ...
94. Lien Deyers
Actress | Le capitaine Fracasse
Dutch actress Lien Deyers was discovered by the great German director Fritz Lang, who gave her a part in his film Spies (1928). After that she became a big star in Germany and appeared in many successful films in the 1930s. She married director Alfred Zeisler. When the Nazis came to power, she and ...
95. Yelena Kuzmina
Actress | Chelovek No. 217
Yelena Kuzmina was born on February 17, 1909 in Tiflis, Russian Empire as Yelena Alexandrovna Kuzmina. She is known for her work on Girl No. 217 (1945), By the Bluest of Seas (1936) and Russkiy vopros (1948). She died on October 15, 1979 in Moscow, RSFSR, USSR.
96. Olive Borden
Actress | Half Marriage
Considered one of the most beautiful actresses of the silent era, Borden was a 'Mack Sennet' bathing beauty at 15 and reached the peak of her career in 1926 when she made 11 films for Fox Studios and was earning $1,500 a week. Refusing to take a salary cut, Borden abruptly left Fox in 1928 and made...
97. Lydia Knott
Actress | Rocky Rhodes
Lydia Knott was born on October 1, 1866 in Tyner, Indiana, USA. She was an actress, known for Rocky Rhodes (1934), Luck in Pawn (1919) and As Ye Sow (1914). She died on March 30, 1955 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.
98. Natalie Talmadge
Actress | Passion Flower
Natalie Talmadge was the middle daughter of the original "stage mother", Margaret Talmadge (Peg). Her two sisters, Constance Talmadge (the comedienne) and Norma Talmadge (the tragedian) were also in the movies, and had their own production companies, bankrolled by Norma's husband in the 1920s, ...
99. Gilda Gray
Actress | Piccadilly
The creator of 'the Shimmy' was a voluptuous blonde dancer with mischievous eyes, born Marianna Michalska in Kracow, Poland. Her parents died tragically and she was eventually adopted from an orphanage. Her foster-parents took her to the U.S. in 1909, where she commenced her career singing in her ...
100. Irene Rich
Actress | Fort Apache
Born Irene Luther on October 13, 1891, silent-screen femme Irene Rich came from a once well-to-do family in Buffalo, New York. Her father had a reversal of fortune while she was quite young and the family subsequently had to move to California. Following her education, Irene pursued a career as a ...