Best Actresses

by theclintdavis | created - 15 Jul 2014 | updated - 15 Feb 2020 | Public

My favorite women of stage, screen and television.

1. 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 ...

2. Jennifer Connelly

Actress | A Beautiful Mind

Jennifer Connelly was born in the Catskill Mountains, New York, to Ilene (Schuman), a dealer of antiques, and Gerard Connelly, a clothing manufacturer. Her father had Irish and Norwegian ancestry, and her mother was from a Jewish immigrant family. Jennifer grew up in Brooklyn Heights, just across ...

3. Anne Hathaway

Actress | Les Misérables

Anne Jacqueline Hathaway was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Kate McCauley Hathaway, an actress, and Gerald T. Hathaway, a lawyer, both originally from Philadelphia. She is of mostly Irish descent, along with English, German, and French. Her first major role came in the short-lived television series ...

4. 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 ...

5. Nicole Kidman

Actress | Moulin Rouge!

Elegant Nicole Kidman, known as one of Hollywood's top Australian imports, was actually born in Honolulu, Hawaii, while her Australian parents were there on educational visas.

Kidman is the daughter of Janelle Ann (Glenny), a nursing instructor, and Antony David Kidman, a biochemist and clinical ...

6. Edie Falco

Actress | The Sopranos

Edith Falco, called Edie, was born on July 5, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York, to Judith Anderson, an actress, and Frank Falco, a jazz drummer. She is of Italian (father) and Swedish, English, and Cornish (mother) descent. Edie grew up on Long Island and attended SUNY Purchase, where she was trained in ...

7. Lorraine Bracco

Actress | Goodfellas

Lorraine was voted the "ugliest girl in the 6th grade" at her Long Island grade school. She moved to France in 1974 where she became a fashion superstar for Jean-Paul Gaultier. Her sister is Elizabeth Bracco. Has two daughters, Stella Keitel by ex-boyfriend Harvey Keitel and Margaux Guerard by ...

8. Cate Blanchett

Actress | Carol

Cate Blanchett was born on May 14, 1969 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, to June (Gamble), an Australian teacher and property developer, and Robert DeWitt Blanchett, Jr., an American advertising executive, originally from Texas. She has an older brother and a younger sister. When she was ten ...

9. Faye Dunaway

Actress | Network

An icy, elegant blonde with a knack for playing complex and strong-willed female leads, enormously popular actress Faye Dunaway starred in several films which defined what many would come to call Hollywood's "second Golden Age." During her tenure at the top of the box office, she was a more than ...

10. Madeline Kahn

Actress | Paper Moon

Madeline Kahn was born Madeline Gail Wolfson of Russian Jewish descent on September 29, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Freda Goldberg (later known as Paula Kahn), who was still in her teens, and Bernard B. Wolfson, a garment manufacturer. She began her acting career in high school and went on to...

11. Rosario Dawson

Actress | Rent

This stunning and resourceful actress has been primarily a film player thus far. Only recently has she been opening herself up more to doing television (the series Gemini Division (2008), which she executive-produced), and animated voice-overs. Dawson's powerhouse talent stands out the most in edgy...

12. Salma Hayek

Actress | Frida

One of Hollywood's most dazzling leading actresses, Salma Hayek was born on September 2, 1966, in the oil boomtown of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Hayek has freely admitted that she and her brother, Sami, were spoiled rotten by her well-to-do businessman father, Sami Hayek Dominguez, and her ...

13. Elisabeth Moss

Actress | The Invisible Man

Elisabeth Moss is an American actress. She is best known for the AMC series Mad Men (2007-2015), Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale (2017) and the films The One I Love (2014) and The Invisible Man (2020).

Initially, Moss had aspirations of becoming a professional dancer. In her adolescence, she ...

14. Angelina Jolie

Actress | Maleficent

Angelina Jolie is an Academy Award-winning actress who rose to fame after her role in Girl, Interrupted (1999), playing the title role in the "Lara Croft" blockbuster movies, as well as Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Wanted (2008), Salt (2010) and Maleficent (2014). Off-screen, Jolie has become ...

15. Helen Mirren

Actress | RED

Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. ...

16. Judi Dench

Actress | Skyfall

Dame Judi Dench was born Judith Olivia Dench in York, England, to Eleanora Olive (Jones), who was from Dublin, Ireland, and Reginald Arthur Dench, a doctor from Dorset, England. She attended Mount School in York, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has performed with the ...

17. Maggie Smith

Actress | Gosford Park

One of the world's most famous and distinguished actresses, Dame Maggie Smith was born Margaret Natalie Smith in Essex. Her Scottish mother, Margaret (Hutton), worked as a secretary, and her English father, Nathaniel Smith, was a teacher at Oxford University. Smith has been married twice: to actor ...

18. Diane Keaton

Actress | Annie Hall

Diane Keaton was born Diane Hall in Los Angeles, California, to Dorothy Deanne (Keaton), an amateur photographer, and John Newton Ignatius "Jack" Hall, a civil engineer and real estate broker. She studied Drama at Santa Ana College, before dropping out in favor of the Neighborhood Playhouse in New ...

19. Jeanne Tripplehorn

Actress | Basic Instinct

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 10, 1963, Jeanne Marie Tripplehorn developed an interest in performing through her father, guitarist Tom Tripplehorn, who at one time recorded with the pop group Gary Lewis & The Playboys on such hits as "This Diamond Ring". (Note: many references list Jeanne's ...

20. Thora Birch

Actress | Ghost World

For some people, oatmeal starts the day off right - for Thora Birch, it launched a healthy career in front of the camera. It's hard to believe that the actress, who slunk into stardom with her turn as the disillusioned daughter in American Beauty (1999), is even related to the apple-cheeked blonde ...

21. Elliot Page

Actor | Juno

Elliot Page was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Martha Philpotts, a teacher, and Dennis Page, a graphic designer. Page wanted to start acting at an early age and attended the Neptune Theater School. They began their career at the age of 10 on the award-winning television series Pit Pony (1999), for...

22. Annette Bening

Actress | American Beauty

Annette Carol Bening was born on May 29, 1958 in Topeka, Kansas, the youngest of four children of Shirley (Ashley), a soloist and church singer, and Arnett Grant Bening, an insurance salesman. She is of German and British Isles ancestry. Her family moved to California when she was young, and she ...

23. Kelly Macdonald

Actress | No Country for Old Men

Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald was born and raised in Glasgow. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was raised by her mother, a sales executive in the garment industry. She has one brother, David. As a hobby, she acted in an amateur theatrical club, which she enjoyed a great deal. ...

24. Natalie Wood

Actress | Rebel Without a Cause

Natalie Wood (born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko) was an American actress of Russian descent. She started her career as a child actress and eventually transitioned into teenage roles, young adult roles, and middle-aged roles. As a teenager, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in...

25. Joan Allen

Actress | Room

Joan Allen was born on August 20, 1956 in Rochelle, Illinois, the youngest of four children. She is the daughter of homemaker Dorothea Marie (Wirth) and gas station owner James Jefferson Allen. Her mother's family was German, and her father had English, Scots-Irish, and German ancestry. She ...

26. Scarlett Johansson

Actress | Lost in Translation

Scarlett Ingrid Johansson was born on November 22, 1984 in Manhattan, New York City, New York. Her mother, Melanie Sloan is from a Jewish family from the Bronx and her father, Karsten Johansson is a Danish-born architect from Copenhagen. She has a sister, Vanessa Johansson, who is also an actress, ...

27. 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...

28. Karen Allen

Actress | Raiders of the Lost Ark

Karen Jane Allen was born in Carrollton, rural southern Illinois, to Patricia (Howell), a teacher, and Carroll Thompson Allen, an FBI agent. She spent her first 10 years traveling around the country with her parents and two sisters. She was always "the new girl in school." Acting did not really ...

29. Anna Kendrick

Actress | Up in the Air

Anna Kendrick was born in Portland, Maine, to Janice (Cooke), an accountant, and William Kendrick, a teacher. She has an older brother, Michael Cooke Kendrick, who has also acted. She is of English, Irish, and Scottish descent.

For her role as "Dinah" in "High Society" on Broadway, Anna Kendrick was...

30. Patricia Clarkson

Actress | The Station Agent

This remarkable, one-of-a-kind actress has, since the early 1990s, intrigued film and TV audiences with her glowing, yet careworn eccentricity and old world-styled glamour. Very much in demand these days as a character player, Patricia Clarkson nevertheless continues to avoid the temptation of ...

31. Jennifer Lawrence

Actress | The Hunger Games

Was the highest-paid actress in the world in 2015 and 2016. With her films grossing over $5.5 billion worldwide, Jennifer Lawrence is often cited as the most successful actor of her generation. She is also thus far the only person born in the 1990s to have won an acting Oscar.

Jennifer Shrader ...

32. Jessica Chastain

Actress | Zero Dark Thirty

Jessica Michelle Chastain was born in Sacramento, California, and was raised in a middle-class household in a Northern California suburb. Her mother, Jerri Chastain, is a vegan chef whose family is originally from Kansas, and her stepfather is a fireman. She discovered dance at the age of nine and ...

33. Dakota Fanning

Actress | War of the Worlds

Hannah Dakota Fanning was born on the 23rd of February 1994, in Conyers, Georgia, USA, to Heather Joy (Arrington) and Steven Fanning. Her mother played professional tennis, and her father, now an electronics salesman, played minor league baseball. She is of German, Irish, English, French, and ...

34. Elle Fanning

Actress | Super 8

Mary Elle Fanning was born on the 9th of April 1998 in Conyers, Georgia, USA, to Heather Joy (Arrington) and Steven J. Fanning. Her mother played professional tennis, and her father, now an electronics salesman, played minor league baseball. She is of German, Irish, English, French, and Channel ...

35. Christina Ricci

Actress | Black Snake Moan

Precocious, outspoken child-teen starlet of the 1990s, Christina Ricci was born in 1980 in Santa Monica, California, the youngest of four children of Sarah (Murdoch), a realtor, and Ralph Ricci, a lawyer and therapist. She is of Italian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, and Scots-Irish ...

36. Elizabeth Olsen

Actress | Martha Marcy May Marlene

Elizabeth Chase "Lizzie" Olsen (born February 16, 1989) is an American actress. She is known for her roles in the films Silent House (2011), Liberal Arts (2012), Godzilla (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and Captain America: Civil War (2016). For her role in the critically-acclaimed Martha ...

37. Juliette Lewis

Actress | Natural Born Killers

Juliette Lewis has been recognized as one of Hollywood's most talented and versatile actors of her generation since she first stunned audiences and critics alike with her Oscar-nominated performance as "Danielle Bowden" in Cape Fear (1991). To date, she has worked with some of the most revered ...

38. Alice Eve

Actress | Before We Go

Alice Sophia Eve was born in London, England. Her father is Trevor Eve and her mother is Sharon Maughan, both fellow actors. She is the eldest of three children. Eve has English, Irish and Welsh ancestry. Her family moved to Los Angeles, California when she was young as her father tried to crack ...

39. Rachel Weisz

Actress | The Constant Gardener

Rachel Hannah Weisz was born on 7 March, 1970, in London, U.K., to Edith Ruth (Teich), a psychoanalyst, and George Weisz, an inventor. Her parents both came to England around 1938. Her father is a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and her mother, from Vienna, was of Italian and Austrian Jewish heritage. ...

40. Holly Hunter

Actress | The Piano

Holly Hunter was born in Conyers, Georgia, to Opal Marguerite (Catledge), a homemaker, and Charles Edwin Hunter, a part-time sporting goods company representative and farmer with a 250 acre farm. She is the youngest of seven children. Her parents encouraged her talent at an early age, and her first...

41. Octavia Spencer

Actress | Hidden Figures

Spencer is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, which she claims is the proverbial buckle of the Bible belt. She's the sixth of seven siblings and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University. A "closet" lover of acting, this practical Alabamian knew that she'd someday work in the film industry, ...

42. Kristen Wiig

Actress | Bridesmaids

Kristen Carroll Wiig was born on August 22, 1973 in Canandaigua, New York, to Laurie J. (Johnston), an artist, and Jon J. Wiig, a lake marina manager. She is of Norwegian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, English, and Scottish descent. The family moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, before ...

43. Diana Rigg

Actress | On Her Majesty's Secret Service

British actress Dame Diana Rigg was born on July 20, 1938 in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England. She has had an extensive career in film and theatre, including playing the title role in "Medea", both in London and New York, for which she won the 1994 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.

Rigg made her ...

44. Catherine Keener

Actress | Being John Malkovich

Catherine Keener is an American actress, Oscar-nominated for her roles in the independent films Being John Malkovich (1999) and Capote (2005). Acclaimed in her community for her quirky roles in independent film and mainstream such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Keener got her start as a casting ...

45. Yvonne Strahovski

Actress | Dexter

Yvonne Jaqueline Strzechowski was born and raised in Australia. Her parents were Polish immigrants. She attended the Santa Sabina College for her high school education. She then went on to study Performance at the University of Western Sydney's School of Contemporary Arts, graduating in 2003. ...

46. Juno Temple

Actress | Atonement

Juno Violet Temple was born in London, England, into a showbiz family, the daughter of producer Amanda Temple and film director Julien Temple. She was named 'Juno' after her parents took a visit to the Grand Canyon during pregnancy, and found they were standing on a butte of Cape Final known as ...

47. Emma Stone

Actress | La La Land

Emily Jean "Emma" Stone was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, to Krista (Yeager), a homemaker, and Jeffrey Charles Stone, a contracting company founder and CEO. She is of Swedish, German, and British Isles descent. Stone began acting as a child as a member of the Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona...

48. Emily Blunt

Actress | Edge of Tomorrow

Emily Olivia Leah Blunt is a British actress known for her roles in The Devil Wears Prada (2006), The Young Victoria (2009), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and The Girl on the Train (2016), among many others.

Blunt was born on February 23, 1983, in Roehampton, South West London, England, the second of ...

49. Emma Thompson

Actress | Sense and Sensibility

Emma Thompson was born on April 15, 1959 in Paddington, London, into a family of actors - father Eric Thompson and mother Phyllida Law, who has co-starred with Thompson in several films. Her sister, Sophie Thompson, is an actor as well. Her father was English-born and her mother is Scottish-born. ...

50. Lauren Ambrose

Actress | Six Feet Under

Lauren Ambrose was born on February 20, 1978 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA as Lauren Anne D'Ambruoso. She is an actress, known for Six Feet Under (2001), Psycho Beach Party (2000) and Where the Wild Things Are (2009). She has been married to Sam Handel since September 2001. They have two children.

51. Sally Field

Actress | Forrest Gump

Sally Margaret Field was born in 1946 in Pasadena, California, to actress Margaret Field (née Morlan) and salesman Richard Dryden Field. Her parents divorced in 1950 and her mother then married stuntman Jock Mahoney, and they had a daughter, Princess O'Mahoney. She also has a brother, Richard Field...

52. Charlize Theron

Producer | Monster

Charlize Theron was born in Benoni, a city in the greater Johannesburg area, in South Africa, the only child of Gerda Theron (née Maritz) and Charles Theron. She was raised on a farm outside the city. Theron is of Afrikaner (Dutch, with some French Huguenot and German) descent, and Afrikaner ...

53. Michelle Monaghan

Actress | Gone Baby Gone

Michelle Lynn Monaghan was born on March 23, 1976, in Winthrop, Iowa. She is the youngest of three children and the only daughter of Sharon (Hamel), who ran a day care center, and Robert L. Monaghan, a factory worker and farmer. She is of mostly Irish and German descent. After graduating from high ...

54. Tilda Swinton

Actress | We Need to Talk About Kevin

The iconoclastic gifts of the highly striking and ferociously talented actress Tilda Swinton have been appreciated by art house crowds and international audiences alike. After her stunning Oscar-winning turn as a high-powered corporate attorney in the George Clooney starring and critically-lauded ...

55. Lily Tomlin

Actress | Nashville

Lily Tomlin was born September 1, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, to Lillie Mae (Ford) and Guy Tomlin, who moved to Michigan from Paducah, Kentucky, during the Great Depression. Her mother was a nurse's aide and her father was a factory worker. She graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1957, and ...

56. Celeste Holm

Actress | All About Eve

Celeste Holm was an only child, born into a home where her mother was a painter and her father worked in insurance. She would study acting at the University of Chicago and make her stage debut in 1936. Her Broadway debut came when she was 19 in 'The Time of Your Life'. She appeared in many ...

57. Felicity Huffman

Actress | Transamerica

Felicity toiled away for 20 years in ill fated television shows, Broadway plays, and independent films in the shadow of her successful husband, actor William H. Macy. Then she got the part of Lynette Scavo in the television series Desperate Housewives (2004) and Bree in the film Transamerica (2005)...

58. Frances McDormand

Actress | Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Frances Louise McDormand was born on June 23, 1957 in Gibson City, Illinois. She was adopted by Canadian-born parents, Noreen Eloise (Nickleson), a nurse from Ontario, and The Rev. Vernon Weir McDormand, a Disciples of Christ minister from Nova Scotia, who raised her in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. ...

59. Joanne Woodward

Actress | Rachel, Rachel

Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward was born on February 27, 1930, in Thomasville, Georgia, to Wade Woodward and Elinor Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward in a modest household. Her one older brother, Wade Jr., who was the favorite of her father, eventually became an architect. Elinor Woodward was a ...

60. Jenny Agutter

Actress | An American Werewolf in London

Jenny Agutter was born on December 20, 1952, in Taunton, Somerset, England, UK. The daughter of an army officer, she spent her childhood traveling and living in different countries. Her film career began at the age of 12 in East of Sudan (1964), which was quickly followed by The Magical World of ...

61. Jean Harlow

Actress | Bombshell

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 ...

62. Patricia Hodge

Actress | Miranda

Patricia Hodge was born on September 29, 1946 in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, England as Patricia Ann Hodge. She is known for her work on Miranda (2009), The Elephant Man (1980) and The Falklands Play (2002). She was previously married to Peter Douglas Owen.

63. Jane Fonda

Actress | Klute

Born in New York City to legendary screen star Henry Fonda and Ontario-born New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw, Jane Seymour Fonda was destined early to an uncommon and influential life in the limelight. Although she initially showed little inclination to follow her father's trade, she was ...

64. Rosamund Pike

Actress | Gone Girl

Born on January 27, 1979 in London, England, actress Rosamund Mary Elizabeth Pike is the only child of a classical violinist mother, Caroline (Friend), and an opera singer father, Julian Pike. Due to her parents' work, she spent her early childhood traveling around Europe. Pike attended Badminton ...

65. Keri Russell

Actress | Waitress

Keri Russell was born in Fountain Valley, California, to Stephanie (Stephens) and David Harold Russell, an executive at Nissan Motors. She began her career on the Mickey Mouse Club in 1991. She stayed with the show until 1993. After leaving The All New Mickey Mouse Club (1989) (where she, along ...

66. Julie Christie

Actress | Doctor Zhivago

Julie Christie, the British movie legend whom Al Pacino called "the most poetic of all actresses," was born in Chabua, Assam, India, on April 14, 1940, the daughter of a tea planter and his Welsh wife Rosemary, who was a painter. The young Christie grew up on her father's plantation before being ...

67. 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...

68. Myrna Loy

Actress | The Thin Man

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 ...

69. Diane Kruger

Actress | Inglourious Basterds

Diane Kruger was born Diane Heidkrüger in Algermissen, near Hildesheim, Germany, to Maria-Theresa, a bank employee, and Hans-Heinrich Heidkrüger, a computer specialist. She studied ballet with the Royal Ballet in London before an injury ended her career. She returned to Germany and became a top ...



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