Classic Actresses

by Randy_D | created - 07 Nov 2012 | updated - 25 Oct 2015 | Public

1. Ann Sheridan

Actress | Kings Row

Ann Sheridan won the "Search for Beauty" contest which carried with it a Paramount screen test. Signed to a contract at 18, she was put into a number of small roles under her real name of Clara Lou Sheridan. As she got better, her name was changed to Ann. In 1936, after two dozen films, she went to...

2. Priscilla Lane

Actress | Arsenic and Old Lace

Priscilla Lane attended the Eagin School of Dramatic Arts in New York before she began touring with her sisters in the Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians Dance Band. She was a popular singer with her sisters and, after 5 years, she was signed to a Hollywood contract with Warner Brothers in 1937. ...

3. Ginger Rogers

Actress | The Major and the Minor

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 ...

4. Ann Sothern

Actress | The Whales of August

Ann Sothern's film career started as an extra in 1927. Originally a redhead, for the comedy roles she began to get she bleached her hair blond. After working at MGM and on Broadway, Ann was signed by Columbia Pictures for Let's Fall in Love (1933). The next year she would work with Eddie Cantor in ...

5. Joan Blondell

Actress | Grease

With blonde hair, big blue eyes and a big smile, Joan was usually cast as the wisecracking working girl who was the lead's best friend. Born into vaudeville to a comic named Eddie, Joan was on the stage when she was three years old. For years, she toured the circuit with her parents and joined a ...

6. June Allyson

Actress | Executive Suite

American leading lady whose sweet smile and sunny disposition made her the prototypical girl-next-door of American movies of the 1940s. Raised in semi-poverty in Bronx neighborhoods by her divorced mother, Allyson (nee Ella Geisman) was injured in a fall at age eight and spent four years confined ...

7. 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 ...

8. Constance Bennett

Actress | Topper

Independent, outspoken Constance Bennett, the first of the Bennett sisters to enter films, appeared in New York-produced silents before a chance meeting with Samuel Goldwyn led to her Hollywood debut in Cytherea (1924). She abandoned a burgeoning career in silents for marriage to Philip Plant in ...

9. Marian Marsh

Actress | Svengali

One of the early sound era's most attractive young leading ladies, doll-faced Marian Marsh enjoyed a short yet significant film career as the star of several memorable 1930s melodramas opposite some of the cinema's best, most charismatic lead actors. Her youthful, wide-eyed innocence combined with ...

10. Bonita Granville

Actress | These Three

Daughter of Bernard Granville, Bonita Granville was born into an acting family. It's not surprising that she herself became a child actor, first on the stage and, at the age of 9, debuting in movies in Westward Passage (1932). She was regularly cast as a naughty little girl, as in Onschuldige ...

11. Glenda Farrell

Actress | Mystery of the Wax Museum

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...

12. Jean Arthur

Actress | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

This marvelous screen comedienne's best asset was only muffled during her seven years' stint in silent films. That asset? It was, of course, her squeaky, frog-like voice, which silent-era cinema audiences had simply no way of perceiving, much less appreciating. Jean Arthur, born Gladys Georgianna ...

13. 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...

14. Kay Francis

Actress | Trouble in Paradise

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 ...

15. Veronica Lake

Actress | Sullivan's Travels

Veronica Lake was born as Constance Frances Marie Ockleman on November 14, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the daughter of Constance Charlotta (Trimble) and Harry Eugene Ockelman, who worked for an oil company as a ship employee. Her father was of half German and half Irish descent, and her ...

16. Susan Strasberg

Actress | Picnic

Susan Strasberg was born in New York City on May 22, 1938. From the time of her birth, she was destined to be an actress, as her father was Lee Strasberg, acting coach at the famed Actors Studio in New York. In 1953, Susan made her acting debut in the episode Goodyear Television Playhouse: Catch a ...

17. Patty Duke

Actress | Valley of the Dolls

Patty Duke was born Anna Marie Duke on December 14, 1946 in Elmhurst, New York, to Frances Margaret (McMahon), a cashier, and John Patrick Duke, a cab driver and handyman. She is of Irish, and one eighth German, descent. Her acting career began when she was introduced to her brother Ray Duke's ...

18. Clara Bow

Actress | Wings

Clara Gordon Bow, destined to become THE flapper of the 1920's, was born on July 29, 1905 and raised in poverty and violence in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother tried to slit Clara's throat when she attempted to enter the film industry. She won a photo beauty contest which launched her movie career ...

19. Grace Bradley

Actress | Wake Up and Live

A petite and extremely lovely blonde "B" film actress who eventually deserted her career in favor of standing by her man (cowboy icon William Boyd, aka, "Hopalong Cassidy"), Grace Bradley spent the rest of her life in his shadow and devoting herself to her husband's career. Bill's Hoppy was the ...

20. Genevieve Tobin

Actress | The Petrified Forest

The daughter of a stage entertainer, New York-born actress Genevieve Tobin started treading the boards as a child and appeared in the role of Little Eva in the silent short Uncle Tom's Cabin (1910). Her older brother George Tobin and younger sister Vivian Tobin also became stage and film actors. By...

21. Dorothea Kent

Actress | The Last Express

Dorothea Kent was born on June 6, 1916 in St. Joseph, Missouri, USA. She was an actress, known for The Last Express (1938), Het begon met Eva (1941) and Having Wonderful Time (1938). She died on December 10, 1990 in Burbank, California, USA.

22. Phyllis Calvert

Actress | Mandy

Phyllis Hannah Bickle was born in Chelsea in 1915 and studied dancing at the Margaret Morris school of dance, until an injury forced her to give up dancing and turn instead to acting. Her 70 year film career began with a bit part in The Arcadians (1927) when she was just 12 years old. Along with ...

23. Margot Grahame

Actress | The Three Musketeers

Margot Grahame was born on February 20, 1911 in Canterbury, Kent, England as Margaret Clark. She was an actress, known for The Three Musketeers (1935), Criminal Lawyer (1937) and Black Magic (1949). She was married to Augustus Dudley Peters, Allan McMartin and Francis Lister. She died on January 1,...

24. Evalyn Knapp

Actress | Perils of Pauline

Evalyn Knapp was born on June 17, 1906 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA as Pauline Evelyn Knapp. She was an actress, known for Perils of Pauline (1933), Bachelor Mother (1932) and One Frightened Night (1935). She was married to Dr. George A. Snyder. She died on June 12, 1981 in Los Angeles, California...



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