Favorite Classic Actresses

by MovieBookLvr | created - 18 May 2015 | updated - 15 Jan 2017 | Public

1. 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 ...

Favorite movie: The Big Sleep

2. 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...

Favorite movie: All About Eve

3. 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 ...

Favorite movie: The Man Who Knew Too Much

4. Audrey Hepburn

Actress | Breakfast at Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn was born as Audrey Kathleen Ruston on May 4, 1929 in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium. Her mother, Baroness Ella Van Heemstra, was a Dutch noblewoman, while her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, was born in Úzice, Bohemia, to English and Austrian parents.

After her parents' divorce, ...

Favorite movie: My Fair Lady

5. 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 ...

Favorite movie: Bringing Up Baby

6. 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 ...

Favorite movie: Dial M for Murder

7. 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 ...

Favorite movie: A Star Is Born

8. 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 ...

Favorite movie: Gaslight

9. 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 ...

Favorite movie: The Long, Hot Summer

10. Rosalind Russell

Actress | Auntie Mame

The middle of seven children, she was named, not for the heroine of "As You Like It" but for the S.S. Rosalind on which her parents had sailed, 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 ...

Favorite movie: Auntie Mame

11. 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 ...

Favorite movie: The Dark Corner

12. Deborah Kerr

Actress | From Here to Eternity

Deborah Jane Trimmer was born on 30 September 1921 in Glasgow, Scotland, the daughter of Captain Arthur Kerr Trimmer. She was educated at Northumberland House, Clifton, Bristol. She first performed at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, London. She subsequently performed with the Oxford ...

Favorite movie: From Here to Eternity

13. Julie Andrews

Actress | The Sound of Music

Julia Elizabeth Wells was born on October 1, 1935, in England. Her mother, Barbara Ward (Morris), and stepfather, both vaudeville performers, discovered her freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice and immediately got her a singing career. She performed in music halls throughout her...

Favorite movie: Mary Poppins

14. 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...

Favorite movie: Miracle on 34th Street

15. 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 ...

Favorite movie: All About Eve

16. 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...

Favorite movie: McLintock!

17. Vivien Leigh

Actress | A Streetcar Named Desire

If a film were made of the life of Vivien Leigh, it would open in India just before World War I, where a successful British businessman could live like a prince. In the mountains above Calcutta, a little princess is born. Because of the outbreak of World War I, she is six years old the first time ...

Favorite movie: Gone with the Wind

18. 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 ...

Favorite movie: Giant

19. Janet Leigh

Actress | Psycho

Janet Leigh was the only child of a couple who often moved from town to town. Living in apartments, Janet was a bright child who skipped several grades and finished high school when she was 15. A lonely child, she would spend much of her time at movie theaters. She was a student, studying music and...

Favorite movie: Psycho

20. Lizabeth Scott

Actress | Too Late for Tears

Lizabeth Scott was born Emma Matzo on September 29, 1922 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the oldest of six children of Mary (Pennock) and John Matzo, who were Slovak immigrants. Scott attended Marywood Seminary and the Alvienne School of the Theatre in New York City, where she adopted the stage name of ...

Favorite movie: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

21. 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 ...

Favorite movie: The Heiress

22. 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 ...

Favorite movie: Rebecca

23. Ann Miller

Actress | Mulholland Dr.

Ann Miller was born Johnnie Lucille Ann Collier on April 12, 1923 in Chireno, Texas. She lived there until she was nine, when her mother left her philandering father and moved with Ann to Los Angeles, California. Even at that young age, she had to support her mother, who was hearing-impaired and ...

Favorite movie: Kiss Me Kate

24. Kathryn Grayson

Actress | Kiss Me Kate

Kathryn Grayson was born Zelma Kathryn Elisabeth Hedrick in Winston-Salem, NC, on February 9, 1922. This pretty, petite brunette with a heart-shaped face was discovered by MGM talent scouts while singing on the radio. The studio quickly signed her to a contract, and she was given acting lessons ...

Favorite movie: Kiss Me Kate



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