Best Actresses...

by Jake_Flagrant | created - 27 Aug 2011 | updated - 31 Oct 2015 | Public

Some of my favourite, in no particular order

1. Linda Darnell

Actress | Fallen Angel

Linda Darnell, one of five children of a postal clerk, grew up fast. At 11, she was modeling clothes, giving her age as 16. At 13, she was appearing on the stage with little theater groups. Her mother encouraged her to audition when Hollywood talent scouts came to Dallas. She went to California and...

2. Judy Davis

Actress | Husbands and Wives

Davis was educated at Loreto Convent and the Western Institute of Technology and graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 1977. She found international success with the role of Adela Quested in A Passage to India (1984). Her performance was nominated an Academy Award for Best...

3. Ingrid Bergman

Actress | Casablanca

Ingrid Bergman was one of the greatest actresses from Hollywood's lamented Golden Era. Her natural and unpretentious beauty and her immense acting talent made her one of the most celebrated figures in the history of American cinema. Bergman is also one of the most Oscar-awarded actresses, tied with ...

4. Maggie Cheung

Actress | Fa yeung nin wah

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 ...

5. Laura Dern

Actress | Jurassic Park

Laura Dern was born on February 10, 1967 in Los Angeles, the daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd. Dern was exposed to movie sets and the movie industry from infancy, and obtained several bit parts as a child. Her parents divorced when Dern was two and Dern lost contact with her father for ...

6. Rita Hayworth

Actress | Gilda

Rita Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Cansino on October 17, 1918, in Brooklyn, New York, into a family of dancers. Her father, Eduardo Cansino Reina, was a dancer as was his father before him. He emigrated from Spain in 1913. Rita's American mother, Volga Margaret (Hayworth), who was of mostly ...

7. Isabelle Huppert

Actress | Elle

Isabelle Huppert was born March 16, 1953, in Paris, France, but spent her childhood in Ville d'Avray. Encouraged by her mother Annick Huppert (who was a teacher of English), she followed the Conservatory of Versailles and won an acting prize for her work in Alfred de Musset's "Un caprice". She then...

8. Marlene Dietrich

Soundtrack | Witness for the Prosecution

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 ...

9. Susanne Lothar

Actress | Funny Games

Susanne Lothar was born on November 15, 1960 in Hamburg, Germany. She was an actress, known for Funny Games (1997), The White Ribbon (2009) and Anna Karenina (2012). She was married to Ulrich Mühe. She died on July 21, 2012 in Berlin, Germany.

10. Giulietta Masina

Actress | Le notti di Cabiria

Born in San Giorgio di Piano, Giulietta Masina spent part of her teenage years living with a widowed aunt in Rome, where she cultivated a passion for the theater and studied for a degree in Philosophy. She began her career on the radio with the program "Terzoglio" (1942), about the adventures of ...

11. Ellen Burstyn

Actress | Requiem for a Dream

Ellen Burstyn was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Correine Marie (Hamel) and John Austin Gillooly. She is of Irish, French/French-Canadian, Pennsylvania Dutch (German), and Native American ancestry.. She worked a number of jobs before she became an actress. At 14, she was a short-order cook at a ...

12. Anna Karina

Actress | Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux

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 (1960), 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 "...

13. Irène Jacob

Actress | La double vie de Véronique

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 ...

14. Naomi Watts

Actress | Mulholland Dr.

Naomi Ellen Watts was born on September 28, 1968 in Shoreham, England, to Myfanwy Edwards "Miv" (Roberts), an antiques dealer and costume/set designer, and Peter Watts (Peter Anthony Watts), the road manager to Pink Floyd. Her maternal grandfather was Welsh. Her father died when Naomi was seven and...

15. Isabelle Adjani

Actress | Possession

Isabelle Yasmine Adjani was born in Gennevilliers, Hauts-de-Seine, a suburb of Paris, to Emma Augusta "Gusti" (Schweinberger) and Mohammed Adjani. Her father was a Kabyle Algerian, from Iferhounène, and her mother was a Bavarian German. She grew up speaking German fluently. After winning a school ...

16. Harriet Andersson

Actress | Viskningar och rop

Discovered at age 20 by celebrated director Ingmar Bergman, she became part of Bergman's regular stable of performers; in fact, he wrote Summer with Monika (1953) especially for her breakthrough. Extraordinary and versatile as an actress, her roles have ranged from the naive young wife in Sawdust ...

17. Julianne Moore

Actress | Far from Heaven

Julianne Moore was born Julie Anne Smith in Fort Bragg, North Carolina on December 3, 1960, the daughter of Anne (Love), a social worker, and Peter Moore Smith, a paratrooper, colonel, and later military judge. Her mother moved to the U.S. in 1951, from Greenock, Scotland. Her father, from ...

18. Jeanne Moreau

Actress | Jules et Jim

When people gave Louis Malle credit for making a star of Jeanne Moreau in Elevator to the Gallows (1958) immediately followed by The Lovers (1958), he would point out that Moreau by that time had already been "recognized as the prime stage actress of her generation." She had made it to the Comédie ...

19. Setsuko Hara

Actress | Banshun

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 ...

20. Isabella Rossellini

Actress | Blue Velvet

Isabella Rossellini, the Italian actress and model who has made her home in America since 1979 and holds dual Italian and American citizenship, was born cinema royalty when she made her debut on June 18, 1952 in Rome. She is the daughter of two legends, three-time Oscar-winning Swedish-born actress ...

21. Emily Watson

Actress | Gosford Park

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 ...

22. Charlotte Gainsbourg

Actress | Antichrist

Charlotte Gainsbourg was born in London, England in 1971. She is an Anglo-French actress and singer. The daughter of English singer and actress Jane Birkin and French songwriter, singer and actor Serge Gainsbourg, she was raised in Paris. Charlotte made her motion picture debut in 1984. In 1986, ...

23. Shelley Duvall

Actress | The Shining

Shelley Alexis Duvall was born in Fort Worth, Texas, the first child to Bobbie Ruth (Massengale, 1929-2020), a real estate broker, and Robert Richardson Duvall (1919-1994), a lawyer. At the time of her birth, her mother was visiting her grandmother in Fort Worth, though Duvall was raised in Houston...

24. Bae Doona

Actress | Cloud Atlas

Doona Bae was born in Seoul, South Korea. Her mother, Hwa-Young Kim, is a stage actress. Bae started out as a model. She soon moved to T.V. and movies, and it proved the right move. Her first movie was The Ring Virus (1999). Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000) (aka "Barking Dogs Never Bite") and Take ...

25. Carina Lau

Actress | Di renjie: Tong tian di guo

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 ...

26. Thelma Ritter

Actress | All About Eve

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 ...

27. Gena Rowlands

Actress | The Notebook

Virginia Cathryn "Gena" Rowlands is an American film, stage, and television actress, whose career in the entertainment industry has spanned over six decades. A four-time Emmy and two-time Golden Globe winner, she is known for her collaborations with her late actor-director husband John Cassavetes ...

28. Ruth Gordon

Actress | Rosemary's Baby

When Ruth Gordon convinced her father, a sea captain, to let her pursue acting she came to New York and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She acted in a few silents made at Fort Lee, New Jersey, in 1915. She made her Broadway debut in "Peter Pan" as Nibs the same year. The next 20 ...

29. 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 a former teacher turned transit clerk and his wife, also a former teacher. Throughout elementary and high school, Kim did not get along well with teachers. She even ...

30. Grace Kelly

Actress | Rear Window

On November 12, 1929, Grace Patricia Kelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to wealthy parents. Her girlhood was uneventful for the most part, but one of the things she desired was to become an actress which she had decided on at an early age. After her high school graduation in 1947, Grace ...

31. Maria Schneider

Actress | Ultimo tango a Parigi

Maria Schneider was a French actress. At age 19 she became famous for Bernardo Bertolucci's film Last Tango in Paris (1972), and The Passenger (1975).

As a teenager, she adored films, going to the cinema up to four times a week. She left home at 15 after an argument with her mother and went to Paris...

32. Penélope Cruz

Actress | Vicky Cristina Barcelona

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 ...

33. Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Actress | 10 Cloverfield Lane

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is an actress known for her versatile work in a variety of film and television projects. Possibly most known for her role as Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), she has also starred in critically acclaimed independent films such as Smashed (2012), for which...

34. Deborah Kara Unger

Actress | The Way

Deborah Kara Unger was the first Canadian accepted into the prestigious Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art. She made her feature film debut in Prisoners of the Sun (1990), followed by roles in Christopher Crowe's Whispers in the Dark (1992), Till There Was You (1991), and Highlander: The...

35. Charlotte Gainsbourg

Actress | Antichrist

Charlotte Gainsbourg was born in London, England in 1971. She is an Anglo-French actress and singer. The daughter of English singer and actress Jane Birkin and French songwriter, singer and actor Serge Gainsbourg, she was raised in Paris. Charlotte made her motion picture debut in 1984. In 1986, ...

36. Rooney Mara

Actress | Carol

Actress and philanthropist Rooney Mara was born on April 17, 1985 in Bedford, New York. She made her screen debut in the slasher film Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005), went on to have a supporting role in the independent coming-of-age drama Tanner Hall (2009), and has since starred in the horror ...

37. Halle Berry

Actress | Catwoman

Halle Maria Berry was born Maria Halle Berry on August 14, 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Bedford, Ohio to Judith Ann Hawkins, a psychiatric nurse & Jerome Jesse Berry, a hospital attendant. Halle first came into the spotlight at seventeen years when she won the Miss Teen All-American ...

38. Pam Grier

Actress | Jackie Brown

Pam Grier was born in Winston-Salem, NC, one of four children of Gwendolyn Sylvia (Samuels), a nurse, and Clarence Ransom Grier Jr., an Air Force mechanic. Pam has been a major African-American star from the early 1970s. Her career started in 1971, when Roger Corman of New World Pictures launched ...

39. Katherine Waterston

Actress | Inherent Vice

Katherine Waterston is an American actress. She is best known for Inherent Vice (2014), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), and Alien: Covenant (2017).

Waterston made her feature film debut in Michael Clayton (2007). She also had supporting roles in films including Robot & Frank (2012), ...

40. Amy Adams

Actress | Arrival

Amy Lou Adams was born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy, to American parents, Kathryn (Hicken) and Richard Kent Adams, a U.S. serviceman who was stationed at Caserma Ederle in Italy at the time. She was raised in a Mormon family of seven children in Castle Rock, Colorado, and has English, as well as ...

41. Lisa Bonet

Actress | Angel Heart

Lisa Bonet was born in San Francisco, California, to Arlene Joyce (Litman), a teacher, and Allen Bonet, an opera singer. She has lived most of her life in New York and Los Angeles; in L.A., she attended Reseda High School and Celluloid Actor's Studio. Her father was African-American and her mother ...



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