Top 300 American Actresses

by minalex | created - 02 May 2013 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

1. Dorothy Bernard

Actress | The Little Gypsy

Dorothy Bernard was born on June 25, 1890 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa as Nora Dorothy Bernard. She was an actress, known for The Little Gypsy (1915), The Rainbow (1917) and The Wild Goose (1921). She was married to A.H. Van Buren. She died on December 15, 1955 in Hollywood, California, USA.

2. Mabel Normand

Actress | Mickey

Mabel Normand was one of the comedy greats of early film. In an era when women are deemed 'not funny enough' it seems film history has forgotten her contributions. Her films debuted the Keystone Cops, Charlie Chaplin's tramp and the pie in the face gag. She co-starred with both Chaplin and Roscoe "...

3. 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...

4. 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 fend for themselves. To help make ends meet, Lillian, her sister Dorothy Gish and their mother, Mary Gish ...

5. Miriam Cooper

Actress | Serenade

Miriam Cooper was born to Julian Cooper and Margaret Stewart in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1891. The family was Roman Catholic, and the Coopers were fairly well-to-do. After the birth of five children in five years (one of whom died in infancy), Julian Cooper deserted his family and fled to Europe. ...

6. Mae Marsh

Actress | The Birth of a Nation

Mae Marsh's father was an auditor for the railroad who died when she was four. Her family moved to San Francisco, where her stepfather was killed in the 1906 earthquake. Her great-aunt then took Mae and her sister to Los Angeles. With her show business background, Mae's aunt took them to the ...

7. Dorothy Gish

Actress | The Whistle at Eaton Falls

Dorothy Gish was born into a broken family where her restless father James Lee Gish was frequently absent. Mary Robinson McConnell a.k.a. Mary Gish, her mother, had entered into acting to make money to support the family. As soon as Dorothy and her sister Lillian Gish were old enough, they became ...

8. Virginia Fox

Actress | The Haunted House

Virginia Fox was born on April 19, 1902 in Wheeling, West Virginia, USA as Virginia Oglesby Fox. She was an actress, known for The Haunted House (1921), Itching Palms (1923) and The Goat (1921). She was married to Darryl F. Zanuck. She died on October 14, 1982 in Palm Springs, California, USA.

9. Miss DuPont

Actress | Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman

Miss DuPont was born on April 28, 1894 in Frankfurt, Kentucky, USA as Patricia Hannon. She was an actress, known for Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman (1925), Lombardi, Ltd. (1919) and The Man from Brodney's (1923). She was married to Sylvanus Stokes. She died on February 6, 1973 in Palm Beach, ...

10. Louise Keaton

Actress | Way Up Thar

Louise Keaton was born on October 30, 1906 in Maine, USA as Louise Dresser Keaton. She is known for her work on Way Up Thar (1935), Convict 13 (1920) and Palooka from Paducah (1935). She died on February 18, 1981 in Van Nuys, California, USA.

11. Edna Purviance

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...

12. 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, ...

13. Patsy Ruth Miller

Actress | Fools in the Dark

Patsy Ruth Miller was born on January 17, 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Patricia Ruth Miller. She was an actress, known for Fools in the Dark (1924), Hell-Bent for Heaven (1926) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). She was married to Effingham Smith Deans, John Lee Mahin and Tay Garnett. ...

14. 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...

15. Kathryn McGuire

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.

16. Dale Fuller

Actress | Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

Dale Fuller was born on June 17, 1885 in Santa Ana, California, USA as Marie Dale Phillipps. She was an actress, known for Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925), The Cossacks (1928) and Lady of the Night (1925). She died on October 14, 1948 in Pomona, California.

17. 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 ...

18. Ruth Dwyer

Actress | The Reckless Age

Ruth Dwyer was born on January 25, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. She was an actress, known for The Reckless Age (1924), The Lurking Peril (1919) and The Lost Limited (1927). She was married to William Jackie. She died on March 2, 1978 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, ...

19. 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 ...

20. Janet Gaynor

Actress | A Star Is Born

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 ...

21. Margaret Livingston

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 Seven Keys to Baldpate (1929). She was married to Paul Whiteman. She died on December 13, 1984 in Warrington, Pennsylvania, USA.

22. Bodil Rosing

Actress | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

Bodil Rosing was born on December 27, 1877 in Copenhagen, Denmark as Bodil Hammerich. She was an actress, known for Sunrise (1927), You Can't Take It with You (1938) and Downstairs (1932). She was married to Einer Jansen. She died on December 31, 1941 in Hollywood, California, USA.

23. Merna Kennedy

Actress | The Circus

Merna Kennedy was born on September 7, 1908 in Kankakee, Illinois, USA as Merna Kahler. She was an actress, known for The Circus (1928), The Big Chance (1933) and I Like It That Way (1934). She was married to Forrest Brayton and Busby Berkeley. She died on December 20, 1944 in Los Angeles, ...

24. 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 ...

25. 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.

26. 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 ...

27. Virginia Cherrill

Actress | City Lights

Actress in US and UK films of the early 1930s. Born on a farm, Cherrill was discovered by Charles Chaplin while sitting beside him at a boxing match in Los Angeles; he introduced himself at intermission and hired her for her debut in City Lights (1931). She met husband Cary Grant at the premiere of ...

28. Florence Lee

Actress | City Lights

Florence Dawson Lee was an actress who appeared in films during the silent era, playing older women characters. She was born Florence Dawson in 1864 in Florence, South Carolina, the daughter of Job and Julia Dawson. Her father, a native of Ireland, operated a grocery and liquor business in ...

29. 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...

30. Miriam Hopkins

Actress | The Heiress

Born into wealth in Savannah,Georgia on October 18, 1902, Ellen Miriam Hopkins was able to attend the finest educational institutions including Goddard Seminary in Plainfield, Vermont and Syracuse University in New York State. Studying dance in New York , she received her first taste of show ...

31. Kay Francis

Actress | Mandalay

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 ...

32. Jeanette MacDonald

Soundtrack | Cairo

She was the third daughter of Daniel and Anne MacDonald, younger sister to Blossom (MGM's character actress Marie Blake), whom she followed to New York and a chorus job in 1920. She was busy in a string of musical productions. In 1928 Paramount tested and rejected her, but a year later Ernst ...

33. 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...

A Russian-American actress

34. Ann Dvorak

Actress | Scarface: The Shame of the Nation

Ann Dvorak was the daughter of silent film star Anna Lehr and silents director Edwin McKim. She entered films at the start of sound, as a dance instructor for the lavish MGM musicals. She came to international prominence in Scarface (1932) with Paul Muni, but often complained about the lack of ...

35. Karen Morley

Actress | Scarface: The Shame of the Nation

Born Mildred Linton in Ottumwa, Iowa on December 12, 1909, Karen Morley was adopted by a well-to-do family who moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1920s. She enrolled at Hollywood High School and studied for a career in medicine at UCLA, but a class in theater changed her career ambitions.

After ...

36. Glenda Farrell

Actress | Blondes at Work

Glenda Farrell began as the archetypal wisecracking blonde in 1930s gangland films like Little Caesar (1931) and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932). Diminutive, grey-eyed and undeniably sassy, she was a seasoned performer long before Warner Brothers snapped her up as a contract player in 1929...

37. 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 ...

38. Ruby Keeler

Soundtrack | Sweetheart of the Campus

Ruby Keeler started as a dancer on Broadway. After her marriage to Al Jolson she moved to Hollywood and become a star in Warners musicals opposite Dick Powell. After her divorce from Jolson she retired for almost 30 years, until she appeared in "No No Nanette" on Broadway in 1971 under the ...

39. Bebe Daniels

Actress | 42nd Street

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 ...

40. 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 ...

A German-American actress.

41. Alice Brady

Actress | My Man Godfrey

Alice Brady was born in New York City on November 2, 1892. She was interested in the stage from childhood, as her father was famed Broadway producer William A. Brady. After a few stage productions, Alice was discovered by movie producers in New York, since this was the film capital at the time. Her...

42. Claudette Colbert

Actress | It Happened One Night

One of the brightest film stars to grace the screen was born Emilie Claudette Chauchoin on September 13, 1903, in Saint Mandé, France where her father owned a bakery at 57, rue de la République (now Avenue Général de Gaulle). The family moved to the United States when she was three. As Claudette ...

A French-American actress

43. Ginger Rogers

Actress | Kitty Foyle

Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri on July 16, 1911. Her mother, known as Lelee, went to Independence to have Ginger away from her husband. She had a baby earlier in their marriage and he allowed the doctor to use forceps and the baby died. She was kidnapped ...

44. 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 ...

A British-American actress

45. Paulette Goddard

Actress | Modern Times

Paulette Goddard was a child model who debuted in "The Ziegfeld Follies" at the age of 13. She gained fame with the show as the girl on the crescent moon, and was married to a wealthy man by the time she was 16. After her divorce she went to Hollywood in 1931, where she appeared in small roles in ...

46. Sylvia Sidney

Actress | Beetle Juice

Sylvia Sidney was born in New York City, in the Bronx borough, on August 8, 1910 with the birth name of Sophia Kosow. Her father was Russian born and her mother was born in Romania. They divorced not long after her birth. Her mother subsequently remarried and Sylvia was adopted by her stepfather, ...

47. Lucille La Verne

Actress | A Tale of Two Cities

A legendary stage actress and character player in early films, Lucille La Verne is one of those forgotten legends who seem to fade as the years go on. However, at her prime she was one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation.

Lucille La Verne Mitchum was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on ...

48. Adriana Caselotti

Actress | Modern Inventions

Adriana was born into an operatic family - her father Guido, an immigrant from Italy, taught music in New York City, her mother Maria (from Naples) sang at the Royal Opera, and a sister Louise was a noted opera singer and voice teacher. She was 18 when Walt Disney personally chose her for the voice...

49. Olivia de Havilland

Actress | The Heiress

Olivia Mary de Havilland was born July 1, 1916, in Tokyo, Japan, to British parents, Lilian Augusta (Ruse), a former actress, and Walter Augustus de Havilland, an English professor and patent attorney. Her sister, Joan, later to become famous as Joan Fontaine, was born the following year. Her ...

A British-American actress.

50. Judy Garland

Actress | The Wizard of Oz

One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals.

She was born Frances Ethel Gumm on 10 June 1922 in ...

51. Maureen O'Hara

Actress | The Quiet Man

In America, the early performing arts accomplishments of young Maureen FitzSimons (who we know as Maureen O'Hara) would definitely have put her in the child prodigy category. However, for a child of Irish heritage surrounded by gifted parents and family, these were very natural traits. Maureen made...

An Irish-American actress.

52. Claire Trevor

Actress | Key Largo

Claire Trevor was born Claire Wemlinger in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York, the only child of Fifth Avenue merchant-tailor Noel Wemlinger, an immigrant Frenchman from Paris who lost his business during the Depression, and his Belfast-born wife, Benjamina, known as "Betty". Young ...

53. Barbara O'Neil

Actress | Gone with the Wind

Barbara O'Neil was an American actress, mostly remembered for playing Ellen O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind" (1939). She was once nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress .

O'Neil was born in St. Louis, Missouri to a prominent family. Her father was businessman David O'Neil (1874-...

54. 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 ...

A Swedish-American actress

55. Hattie McDaniel

Actress | Gone with the Wind

After working as early as the 1910s as a band vocalist, Hattie McDaniel debuted as a maid in The Golden West (1932). Her maid-mammy characters became steadily more assertive, showing up first in Judge Priest (1934) and becoming pronounced in Alice Adams (1935). In this one, directed by George ...

56. Katharine Hepburn

Actress | The Lion in Winter

Katharine Hepburn was born on May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut to a suffragist and a doctor who both 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 very close to her brother Tom; at 14 she was ...

57. 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 ...

58. Mary Astor

Actress | The Maltese Falcon

Mary Astor was born Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke, on May 3, 1906 in Quincy, Illinois to a German immigrant father, Otto Ludwig Langhanke, and an American mother from Illinois, Helen Marie Vasconcellos, of Portuguese and Irish ancestry. Her parents were very ambitious for her as they recognized ...

59. Irene Dunne

Actress | The Awful Truth

Irene Marie Dunne was born on December 20, 1898, in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Joseph Dunne, who inspected steamships, and Adelaide Henry, a musician who prompted Irene in the arts. Her first production was in Louisville when she appeared in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the age...

60. Agnes Moorehead

Actress | Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Agnes was born of Anglo/Irish ancestry near Boston, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister (her mother was a mezzo-soprano) who encouraged her to perform in church pageants. Aged three, she sang 'The Lord is my Shepherd' on a public stage and seven years later joined the St. Louis Municipal Opera ...

61. Sara Allgood

Actress | How Green Was My Valley

Dublin-born Sara Allgood started her acting career in her native country with the famed Abbey Theatre. From there she traveled to the English stage, where she played for many years before making her film debut in 1918. Her warm, open Irish face meant that she spent a lot of time playing Irish ...

An Irish-American actress

62. 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 ...

A Swedish-American actress

63. Anne Baxter

Actress | All About Eve

Anne Baxter was born in Michigan City, Indiana, on May 7, 1923. She was the daughter of a salesman and his wife, Catherine, who herself was the daughter of Frank Lloyd Wright, the world-renowned architect. Anne was a young girl of 11 when her parents moved to New York City, which at that time was ...

64. Carole Lombard

Actress | To Be or Not to Be

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 ...

65. Sara Berner

Actress | Rear Window

This accomplished voice actress with an ear for accents, first made her mark on Jack Benny's radio program in the dual role of wisecracking, gum-chewing telephone operator Mabel Flapsaddle and Jack's plumber girlfriend Gladys. Brunette Sara Berner's real name was Lillian Herdan and she was born in ...

66. Teresa Wright

Actress | Shadow of a Doubt

A natural and lovely talent who was discovered for films by Samuel Goldwyn, the always likable Teresa Wright distinguished herself early on in high-caliber, Oscar-worthy form -- the only performer ever to be nominated for Oscars for her first three films. Always true to herself, she was able to ...

67. Anna Lee

Actress | The Sound of Music

The daughter of a clergyman, Anna Lee was born Joan Boniface Winnifrith and encouraged to pursue an acting career by her father. After training at London's Royal Albert Hall, she took to the boards and later began appearing in English films, first as an extra, then working her way up to featured ...

A British-American actress.

68. Frances Dee

Actress | I Walked with a Zombie

Dee was born in Los Angeles, where her Army officer father was stationed, and grew up in Chicago after her father was transferred there. In 1929, he was re-assigned to L.A., and, as a lark, the 19 year old Dee began working in motion pictures as an extra. Her debut was in Words and Music (1929) ...

69. Gene Tierney

Actress | Laura

With prominent cheekbones, luminous skin and the most crystalline green eyes of her day, Gene Tierney's striking good looks helped propel her to stardom. Her best known role is the enigmatic murder victim in Laura (1944). She was also Oscar-nominated for Leave Her to Heaven (1945). Her acting ...

70. Margaret O'Brien

Actress | Meet Me in St. Louis

Born Angela Maxine O'Brien on January 15, 1937 in San Diego, California. Her film debut was one-minute shot in MGM's Babes on Broadway (1941). Her big moment came when she was cast in Journey for Margaret (1942). This film shot her into instant stardom and also resulted in Angela changing her name ...

71. Joan Bennett

Actress | Suspiria

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. ...

72. Margaret Lindsay

Actress | Scarlet Street

Picture-pretty brunette Margaret Lindsay was one of a number of pleasant, sweet-natured ingénues who could do no wrong in a score of 1930s stylish Hollywood pictures. Such altruistic love interests were often overlooked in pictures that were carried by the flashy histrionics of a jaunty James Cagney...

73. Eve Arden

Actress | Our Miss Brooks

Eve Arden was born Eunice Mary Quedens in Mill Valley, California (near San Francisco), 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 ...

74. Dorothy McGuire

Actress | Gentleman's Agreement

A genuine model of sincerity, practicality and dignity in most of the roles she inhabited, actress Dorothy McGuire offered Tinseltown more talent than it probably knew what to do with. A quiet, passive beauty, she had a soothing quality to her open-faced looks and voice. She was a natural when he ...

75. Donna Reed

Actress | It's a Wonderful Life

Donna Reed was born in the midwestern town of Denison, Iowa, on January 27, 1921, as Donna Belle Mullenger. A small town - a population of less than 3,000 people - Denison was located by the Boyer River, and was the county seat of Crawford County. Donna grew up as a farm girl, much like many young ...

76. Ethel Barrymore

Actress | None But the Lonely Heart

Ethel Barrymore was the second of three children seemingly destined for the actor's life of their parents Maurice and Georgiana. Maurice Barrymore had emigrated from England in 1875, and after graduating from Cambridge in law had shocked his family by becoming an actor. Georgiana Drew of ...

77. Kim Hunter

Actress | A Streetcar Named Desire

Her father, Donald Cole, was a consulting engineer, and died in 1926 when Kim was only three years old. Her mother, Grace Lind, once performed as a concert pianist. She had one brother who was eight years older than she, and she was educated at Miami Beach High.

According to an in-depth article on ...

78. 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 ...

79. Rhonda Fleming

Actress | Out of the Past

A native-born Californian, Rhonda Fleming attended Beverly Hills public and private schools. Her father was Harold Cheverton Louis (1896-1951). Her mother, Effie Olivia Graham (1891-1985), was a famous model and actress in New York. She has a son (Kent Lane), two granddaughters (Kimberly and Kelly)...

80. Joan Fontaine

Actress | Suspicion

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 ...

A British-American actress.

81. Lauren Bacall

Actress | To Have and Have Not

Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in New York City. She was the daughter of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a Romanian Jewish immigrant, and William Perske, who was born in New Jersey, to Polish Jewish parents. Her family was middle-class, with her father working as a ...

82. Cathy O'Donnell

Actress | The Best Years of Our Lives

Born and raised in Alabama as Ann Steely, O'Donnell attended high school and college in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, then worked as a stenographer to finance a trip to Hollywood, where she was spotted by a talent scout, leading to her being signed to a contract by producer Samuel Goldwyn.

Recognizing ...

83. Virginia Mayo

Actress | White Heat

Virginia Clara Jones was born on November 30, 1920 in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of a newspaper reporter and his wife. The family had a rich heritage in the St. Louis area: her great-great-great-grandfather served in the American Revolution and later founded the city of East Saint Louis, ...

84. Joanne Dru

Actress | Red River

The daughter of a West Virginia druggist, Joanne Dru came to New York in 1940. In New York she worked as a model and was cast by Al Jolson as one of the showgirls in his Broadway play "Hold Onto Your Hats." When the show closed in 1941, she married popular singer Dick Haymes and went with him to ...

85. Bette Davis

Actress | All About Eve

Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born April 5, 1908, in Lowell, Massachusetts, to Ruth Augusta (Favor) and Harlow Morrell Davis, a patent attorney. Her parents divorced when she was 10. She and her sister were raised by their mother. Her early interest was dance. To Bette, dancers led a glamorous life, but...

86. Shelley Winters

Actress | The Poseidon Adventure

Shelley Winters was born Shirley Schrift of very humble beginnings on August 18, 1920 (some sources list 1922) in East St. Louis, Illinois. Her mother, Rose Winter, was born in Missouri, to Austrian Jewish parents, and her father, Jonas Schrift, was an Austrian Jewish immigrant. She had one sibling...

87. Gloria Grahame

Actress | In a Lonely Place

Gloria Grahame Hallward, an acting pupil of her mother (stage actress and teacher Jean Grahame), acted professionally while still in high school. In 1944 Louis B. Mayer saw her on Broadway and gave her an MGM contract under the name Gloria Grahame. Her debut in the title role of Blonde Fever (1944)...

88. Debbie Reynolds

Actress | Singin' in the Rain

Debbie Reynolds was born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Texas, the second child of Maxine N. (Harmon) and Raymond Francis Reynolds, a carpenter for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Her film career began at MGM after she won a beauty contest at age 16 impersonating Betty Hutton. Reynolds wasn't a ...

89. Jean Hagen

Actress | Singin' in the Rain

Jean Shirley Verhagen (later shortened to Hagen) was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 3, 1923. Her father was a Dutch immigrant. Hagen and her family moved to Elkhart, Indiana when she was twelve; she subsequently graduated from Elkhart High School. Afterwards, she graduated from Northwestern ...

90. Jennifer Jones

Actress | The Towering Inferno

One of the world's most underrated Academy Award-winning actresses, Jennifer Jones was born Phylis Lee Isley on 2 March 1919 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Flora Mae (Suber) and Phillip Ross Isley, who ran a travelling stage show. As a young aspiring actress, she met and fell for young, handsome, aspiring ...

91. Jane Russell

Actress | Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was born on June 21, 1921 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her father was a United States Army lieutenant and her mother had been a student of drama and an actress with a traveling troupe. Once Mr. Russell was mustered out of the service, the family took up residence in ...

92. Eva Marie Saint

Actress | On the Waterfront

Actress and producer Eva Marie Saint was born on July 4, 1924 on Newark, New Jersey. She is known for starring in Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). Her film career also includes ...

93. 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 ...

94. Ava Gardner

Actress | The Night of the Iguana

Ava Lavina Gardner was born on December 24, 1922 in Grabtown, North Carolina, to Mary Elizabeth (née Baker) and Jonas Bailey Gardner. Born on a tobacco farm, where she got her lifelong love of earthy language and going barefoot, Ava grew up in the rural South. At age 18, her picture in the window ...

95. 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 ...

96. Jane Wyman

Actress | Falcon Crest

Jane Wyman was born Sarah Jane Mayfield on January 5, 1917, in St. Joseph, Missouri (she was also known later as Sarah Jane Fulks). When she was only eight years old, and after her parents filed for divorce, she lost her father prematurely. After graduating high school she attempted, with the help ...

97. Angela Lansbury

Actress | The Manchurian Candidate

In 1925, Angela Lansbury was born in Regent's Park, one of the Royal Parks of London. The park was developed by John Nash (1752-1835), James Burton (1761-1837), and Decimus Burton (1800-1881), with construction starting c. 1818. It was first opened to the general public in 1835. It was named after ...

A British-American actress

98. Jo Van Fleet

Actress | East of Eden

Jo Van Fleet was born on December 29, 1915 in Oakland, California. She established herself as a notable dramatic actress on Broadway over several years, winning a Tony Award in 1954 for her skill in a difficult role, playing an unsympathetic, even abusive character, in Horton Foote's "The Trip to ...

99. Elizabeth Taylor

Actress | Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was considered one of the last, if not the last, major star to have come out of the old Hollywood studio system. She was known internationally for her beauty, especially for her violet eyes, with which she captured audiences early on in her youth and kept the world hooked ...

100. Doris Day

Soundtrack | Love Me or Leave Me

One of America's most loved actresses was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Alma Sophia (Welz), a housewife, and William Joseph Kappelhoff, a music teacher and choir master. Her grandparents were all German immigrants. She had two brothers, Richard, who died ...



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