Classic Comedy Actresses

by humphreyking | created - 02 Jan 2014 | updated - 03 Jan 2014 | Public

1. Audrey Meadows

Actress | The Honeymooners

Audrey Meadows was born in New York City as Audrey Cotter, the youngest of four children. After she was born, her family returned to Wu'chang, China, where they worked as missionaries. Her family returned to the US and settled in New England when Audrey was age 6, and she and sister Jayne Meadows ...

The Honeymooners

2. Carole Lombard

Actress | My Man Godfrey

Carole Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on October 6, 1908. Her parents divorced in 1916 and her mother took the family on a trip out West. While there they decided to settle down in the Los Angeles area. After being spotted playing baseball in the street with the ...

3. Thelma Todd

Actress | Horse Feathers

Thelma Todd was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, an industrial city near the New Hampshire state line. She was a lovely child with good academic tendencies, so much so that she decided early on to become a schoolteacher. After high school she went on to college but at her mother's insistence ...

**=Feature-length Film

With Laurel & Hardy:

Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) Whispering Whoopee (1930) Another Fine Mess (1930) On the Loose (1931) Chickens Come Home (1931) The Devil's Brother (1933) ** The Bohemian Girl (1936) **

With Harry Langdon:

Sky Boy (1929) Hotter Than Hot (1929) The Shrimp (1930) The Head Guy (1930) The Fighting Parson (1930) The King (1930)

With Charley Chase:

Snappy Sneezer (1929) Crazy Feet (1929) Stepping Out (1929) All Teed Up (1930) The Real McCoy (1930) Dollar Dizzy (1930) High C's (1930) Looser Than Loose (1930) The Pip from Pittsburg (1931) Rough Seas (1931) The Nickel Nurser (1932)

With Zasu Pitts:

Catch as Catch Can (1931) War Mamas (1931) The Pajama Party (1931) Let's Do Things (1931) Seal Skins (1932) Alum and Eve (1932) Sneak Easily (1932) The Soilers (1932) Red Noses (1932) The Old Bull (1932) Strictly Unreliable (1932) Show Business (1932) Asleep in the Feet (1933) Maids a la Mode (1933) The Bargain of the Century (1933) One Track Minds (1933)

With The Marx Brothers:

Monkey Business (1931) ** Horse Feathers (1932) **

With Buster Keaton and/or Jimmy Durante:

Speak Easily (1932) ** Palooka (1934) **

With Patsy Kelly:

Air Fright (1933) Beauty and the Bus (1933) Backs to Nature (1933) Done in Oil (1934) One-Horse Farmers (1934) Three Chumps Ahead (1934) Babes in the Goods (1934) Bum Voyage (1934) Soup and Fish (1934) Maid in Hollywood (1934) Opened by Mistake (1934) I'll Be Suing You (1934) Slightly Static (1935) Top Flat (1935) Hot Money (1935) The Tin Man (1935) The Misses Stooge (1935) Treasure Blues (1935) Sing, Sister, Sing (1935) Twin Triplets (1935) All-American Toothache (1936)

With Wheeler & Woolsey:

Hips, Hips, Hooray! (1934) ** Cockeyed Cavaliers (1934) **

4. Margaret Dumont

Actress | Duck Soup

Margaret Dumont would probably consider it a tragedy that she is best-known for her performances as the ultimate straight woman in seven of the Marx Brothers' films (including most of their best). By all accounts she never understood their jokes (offscreen and on), which is of course a major reason...

5. Dorothy Lee

Actress | Cockeyed Cavaliers

After finishing high school, Dorothy Lee went to vaudeville, sang with Fred Waring and His Pennsylvaninans and made her film debut in Syncopation (1929). In Rio Rita (1929) she was teamed with Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey and appeared in almost all of their movies, like Margaret Dumont in The ...

6. Lucille Ball

Actress | I Love Lucy

The woman who will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their ...

7. Marion Davies

Actress | Show People

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 ...

8. Myrna Loy

Actress | The Best Years of Our Lives

Myrna Loy was born Myrna Adele Williams on August 2, 1905 in Helena, Montana, to Adelle Mae (Johnson) and David Franklin Williams. Her paternal grandparents were Welsh, and her mother was of Scottish and Swedish descent. Myrna was raised in Helena and nearby Radersburg. Her father, a rancher, was ...

9. Mae West

Actress | She Done Him Wrong

Mae West was born in Queens, New York, to "Battling Jack" West and Matilda Doelger. She began her career as a child star in vaudeville, and later went on to write her own plays, including "SEX", for which she was arrested. Though her first movie role was a small part in Night After Night (1932), ...

10. Zasu Pitts

Actress | Greed

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...

11. Katharine Hepburn

Actress | The Lion in Winter

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 ...

12. Jean Harlow

Actress | Libeled Lady

Harlean Carpenter, who later became Jean Harlow, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 3, 1911. She was the daughter of a successful dentist and his wife. In 1927, at the age of 16, she ran away from home to marry a young businessman named Charles McGrew, who was 23. The couple pulled up ...

13. Rosalind Russell

Actress | His Girl Friday

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...

14. Patsy Kelly

Actress | Rosemary's Baby

Patsy Kelly was born Bridget Sarah Veronica Rose Kelly on January 12, 1910, in Brooklyn, New York. She began performing in vaudeville when she was just twelve years old. Patsy worked with comedian Frank Fay and starred in several Broadway shows. She was discovered by producer Hal Roach who paired ...

15. Veronica Lake

Actress | Sullivan's Travels

Veronica Lake was born as Constance Frances Marie Ockleman on November 14, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the daughter of Constance Charlotta (Trimble) and Harry Eugene Ockelman, who worked for an oil company as a ship employee. Her father was of half German and half Irish descent, and her ...

16. Jean Arthur

Actress | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

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 ...

17. Kay Francis

Actress | Trouble in Paradise

Kay Francis is possibly the biggest of the 'forgotten stars' from Hollywood's Golden Era, yet, for a while in the 1930s, she ranked as one of the most popular actresses, tagged the 'Queen of Warner Brothers', by 1935 earning a yearly salary of $115,000 (compared to Bette Davis with $18,000). The ...

18. Barbara Stanwyck

Actress | Double Indemnity

Today Barbara Stanwyck is remembered primarily as the matriarch of the family known as the Barkleys on the TV western The Big Valley (1965), wherein she played Victoria, and from the hit drama The Colbys (1985). But she was known to millions of other fans for her movie career, which spanned the ...

19. Shirley Temple

Actress | Captain January

Shirley Temple was easily the most popular and famous child star of all time. She got her start in the movies at the age of three and soon progressed to super stardom. Shirley could do it all: act, sing and dance and all at the age of five! Fans loved her as she was bright, bouncy and cheerful in ...

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