My Top 50 Favourite Actresses

by alex-gleed | created - 04 Feb 2013 | updated - 29 Dec 2013 | Public

1. Kathy Bates

Actress | Misery

Multi-talented Kathleen Doyle Bates was born on June 28, 1948, and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls born to Bertye Kathleen (Talbot), a homemaker, and Langdon Doyle Bates, a mechanical engineer. Her grandfather was author Finis L. Bates. Kathy has English, as well as...

2. Julie Walters

Actress | Billy Elliot

For decades, British actress and comedienne Dame Julie Walters has served as a sturdy representation of the working class with her passionate, earthy portrayals on England's stage, screen and television. A bona fide talent, her infectious spirit and self-deprecating sense of humor eventually ...

3. Meryl Streep

Actress | The Devil Wears Prada

Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 21 times, and has won it three times. Meryl was born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, to Mary Wolf (Wilkinson), a commercial artist, and Harry William ...

4. 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 ...

5. 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 ...

6. Sigourney Weaver

Actress | Avatar

Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver in Leroy Hospital in Manhattan, New York City. Her father, TV producer Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., originally wanted to name her Flavia, because of his passion for Roman history (he had already named her elder brother Trajan). Her mother, Elizabeth ...

7. 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. ...

8. Susan Sarandon

Actress | Thelma & Louise

Susan Sarandon was born Susan Abigail Tomalin in New York City, NY, to homemaker Lenora Marie (Criscione) and Phillip Leslie Tomalin, an advertising executive. She is of Italian descent on her mother's side and English, Irish, Welsh, and German on her father's.

After the 1968 Democratic convention ...

9. 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...

10. Dawn French

Actress | French and Saunders

Dawn French was born on October 11, 1957 in Holyhead, Wales as Dawn Roma French. She is an actress and writer, known for French and Saunders (1987), The Vicar of Dibley (1994) and Coraline (2009). She has been married to Mark Bignell since April 20, 2013. She was previously married to Lenny Henry.

11. 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. ...

12. 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 ...

13. Glenn Close

Actress | Fatal Attraction

Seven time Academy Award-nominated actress Glenn Close was born and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut. She is the daughter of Bettine (Moore) and William Taliaferro Close (William Close), a prominent doctor. Both of her parents were from upper-class northeastern families.

Glenn was often seen on ...

14. Jodie Foster

Actress | The Silence of the Lambs

Jodie Foster was born Alicia Christian Foster on November 19, 1962 in Los Angeles. She is the daughter of Evelyn Ella "Brandy" (Almond), a producer, and Lucius Fisher Foster III, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and real estate broker. Brandy had filed for divorce in 1959 after having three children...

15. Melissa McCarthy

Actress | The Heat

Melissa McCarthy was born in Plainfield, Illinois, to Sandra and Michael McCarthy, and was raised on her family's corn and soybean farm. She began her performing career as a stand-up comedian in New York where she appeared at the famous clubs, Stand Up New York and The Improv. She worked on her ...

16. Viola Davis

Actress | Fences

Actress Viola Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, at the then-Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina. When she was two months old her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father, Dan Davis, worked as a horse groomer and trainer. Her mother, Mary Alice (Logan), ...

17. Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Actress | Seinfeld

Julia Louis-Dreyfus was born on January 13, 1961, in the New York City borough of Manhattan, to Judith (LeFever), a special needs tutor and author, and Gérard Louis-Dreyfus, a billionaire businessman. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she spent her childhood in Washington, D.C., and New ...

18. Kate Winslet

Actress | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Ask Kate Winslet what she likes about any of her characters, and the word "ballsy" is bound to pop up at least once. The British actress has made a point of eschewing straightforward pretty-girl parts in favor of more devilish damsels; as a result, she's built an eclectic resume that runs the gamut...

19. Whoopi Goldberg

Actress | Ghost

Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in the Chelsea section of Manhattan on November 13, 1955. Her mother, Emma (Harris), was a teacher and a nurse, and her father, Robert James Johnson, Jr., was a clergyman. Whoopi's recent ancestors were from Georgia, Florida, and Virginia. She worked in...

20. Doris Roberts

Actress | Everybody Loves Raymond

Doris Roberts was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Ann (Meltzer) and Larry Green. She was raised in New York, and took her stepfather's surname. Roberts was a 20-year veteran of the Broadway stage before she began appearing steadily in character roles in film and on television during the 1970s. A ...

21. Helena Bonham Carter

Actress | Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Helena Bonham Carter is an actress of great versatility, one of the UK's finest and most successful.

Bonham Carter was born May 26, 1966 in Golders Green, London, England, the youngest of three children of Elena (née Propper de Callejón), a psychotherapist, and Raymond Bonham Carter, a merchant ...

22. Sandra Bullock

Producer | The Proposal

Sandra Annette Bullock was born in Arlington, a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. Her mother, Helga Bullock (née Helga Mathilde Meyer), was a German opera singer. Her father, John W. Bullock, was an American voice teacher, who was born in Alabama, of German descent. Sandra grew up on the road ...

23. 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 ...

24. Helen Hunt

Actress | As Good as It Gets

Helen Hunt began studying acting at the age of eight with her father, respected director and acting coach Gordon Hunt. A year later she made her professional debut and afterwards worked steadily in films, theatre and television.

25. 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 ...

26. Wanda Sykes

Actress | Monster-in-Law

Wanda Sykes has been called one of the funniest stand-up comics by her peers and ranks among Entertainment Weekly's 25 Funniest People in America. Her smart-witted stand-up has sent her career in many different areas.

She was recently seen in Comedy Central's Wanda Does It (2004), where she tried ...

27. Tina Fey

Writer | 30 Rock

Elizabeth Stamatina Fey was born in 1970 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, just west of Philadelphia, to Xenobia "Jeanne" (Xenakes), a brokerage employee, and Donald Henry Fey, who wrote grant proposals for universities. Her mother is Greek, born in Piraeus, while her father had German, Northern Irish,...

28. Betty White

Actress | The Proposal

Betty White was born in Oak Park, Illinois, to Christine Tess (Cachikis), a homemaker, and Horace Logan White, a lighting company executive for the Crouse-Hinds Electric Company. She is of Danish, Greek, English, and Welsh descent.

Although best known as the devious Sue Ann Nivens on the classic ...

29. Julia Roberts

Actress | Pretty Woman

Julia Fiona Roberts never dreamed she would become the most popular actress in America. She was born in Smyrna, Georgia, to Betty Lou (Bredemus) and Walter Grady Roberts, one-time actors and playwrights, and is of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, and Swedish descent. As a child, due to her ...

30. Patricia Heaton

Actress | Everybody Loves Raymond

While studying acting in New York with drama teacher William Esper, Heaton made her Broadway debut in the gospel musical "Don't Get God Started". She and her fellow students then formed Stage Three, an acting company that produced plays Off-Broadway. They took one production, "The Johnstown ...

31. Patricia Hodge

Actress | The Elephant Man

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

32. 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 ...

33. Mollie Sugden

Actress | Are You Being Served?

Best remembered as 'Mrs. Slocombe' on the British comedy "Are You Being Served?" Mollie Sugden was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire. She attended Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Her first television role came in 1962 with the series "Hugh and I," which ran for four seasons. In 1972, ...

34. Jane Lynch

Actress | Glee

Jane Lynch was born on July 14, 1960 in Dolton, Illinois, USA as Jane Marie Lynch. She is an actress, known for Glee (2009), Wreck-It Ralph (2012) and Role Models (2008). She was previously married to Lara Embry.

35. Kathryn Hahn

Actress | Afternoon Delight

Kathryn Marie Hahn was born in Westchester, Illinois, but her family then moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she spent most of her time growing up. She is of German, Irish, and English descent. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in theater from Northwestern University. She later attended Yale, ...

36. 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 ...

37. Catherine Tate

Actress | The Catherine Tate Show

Catherine Tate is an English actress and comedian, primarily known for the role of Donna Noble in the "Doctor Who" franchise.

Tate was born as "Catherine Ford" during 1968, in Bloomsbury. Bloomsbury is a district of the London Borough of Camden, known as the home of several of London's museums, ...

38. Miranda Richardson

Actress | The Crying Game

Miranda Richardson was born in Southport, Lancashire, England on March 3, 1958, to Marian Georgina (Townsend) and William Alan Richardson, a marketing executive. She has one sister, eight years her senior. Her parents and sister are not involved in the performing arts. At an early age she performed...

39. Anjelica Huston

Actress | The Witches

Anjelica Huston was born on July 8, 1951 in Santa Monica, California, to prima ballerina Enrica "Ricki" (Soma) and director and actor John Huston. Her mother, who was from New York, was of Italian descent, and her father had English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish ancestry. Huston spent most of her ...

40. Edith Evans

Actress | Tom Jones

Edith Evans was the greatest actress on the English stage in the 20th century, treading the boards for over half-a-century. She made her professional stage debut in 1912 and excelled in both classic and modern roles in the West End of London and on Broadway, as well as the Shakespeare Memorial ...

41. 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 ...

42. 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...

43. Joan Cusack

Actress | In & Out

Actress Joan Cusack was born in New York City, New York, and is the daughter of Nancy (née Carolan) and Dick Cusack. Her father was an advertising executive, writer and actor, and her mother was a math teacher. Her siblings - Susie Cusack, John Cusack, Ann Cusack and Bill Cusack also act. Her ...

44. 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 ...

45. Jane Turner

Writer | Kath & Kim

Jane Turner was born on December 1, 1960 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. She is a writer and actress, known for Kath & Kim (2002), Da Kath & Kim Code (2005) and Kath & Kim (2008). She is married to John Denton. They have three children.

46. Miranda Hart

Actress | Spy

Miranda Hart was born on December 14, 1972 in Torquay, Devon, England as Miranda Katherine Hart Dyke. She is an actress and writer, known for Spy (2015), Miranda (2009) and Call the Midwife (2012).

47. Gina Riley

Actress | Kath & Kim

Gina Riley was born on May 6, 1961 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. She is an actress and writer, known for Kath & Kim (2002), Kath & Kim (2008) and Da Kath & Kim Code (2005).

48. Julie Kavner

Actress | The Simpsons

Julie Kavner was born on September 7, 1950 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Julie Deborah Kavner. She is an actress, known for The Simpsons (1989), The Simpsons Movie (2007) and Click (2006).

49. Jamie Lee Curtis

Actress | Halloween

Jamie Lee Curtis was born on November 22, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of legendary actors Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. She got her big break at acting in 1978 when she won the role of Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978). After that, she became famous for roles in movies like Trading...

50. Jane Kaczmarek

Actress | Malcolm in the Middle

Jane grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her mother, Evelyn, was a school teacher. Her father, Edward, is a former Defense Department employee. She is the oldest of four children. Her brothers, Jim & Bill, are a teacher and an entrepreneur respectively. Her sister, Mary, works for an Internet company....



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