Best Actress Performances (1937 and Beyond)

by idonnowho | created - 13 Jan 2014 | updated - 04 Dec 2017 | Public

1. 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 ...

Best Actress of 1937 (for "The Evil Queen" in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs").

2. 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 ...

Best Actress of 1939 (for "Dorothy Gale" in "The Wizard of Oz").

3. Kathryn Beaumont

Actress | Alice in Wonderland

Kathryn Beaumont was just ten years old when she was chosen for the voice of Alice, in Disney's animated version of the classic children's tale, Alice in Wonderland (1951). Walt Disney was so impressed with Kathryn's long curly blonde hair, sparkling eyes and acting ability, that he chose her as ...

Best Actress of 1953 (for "Wendy Moira Angela Darling" in "Peter Pan").

4. Peggy Lee

Actress | Lady and the Tramp

Peggy Lee was Born Norma Dolores Egstrom in Jamestown, North Dakota, on May 26, 1920. At age four her mother died. Peggy's father, a railroad station agent, remarried but later left home, leaving Peggy's care entrusted to a stepmother who physically abused her. Peggy later memorialized this in the ...

Best Actress of 1955 (for "Darling", "Peg" and "the Siamese Cats" in "Lady and the Tramp").

5. Betty Lou Gerson

Actress | One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Betty Lou Gerson was born on April 20, 1914 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. She was an actress, known for One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), Cinderella (1950) and Cats Don't Dance (1997). She was married to Louis R Lauria and Joe Ainley. She died on January 12, 1999 in Los Angeles, California, ...

Best Actress of 1961 (for "Cruella de Vil" in "101 Dalmatians").

6. 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...

Best Actress of 1964 (for "Mary Poppins" in "Mary Poppins").

7. 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...

Best Actress of 1965 (for "Fraulein Maria" in "The Sound of Music").

8. Virginia McKenna

Actress | Born Free

Talented flaxen-blonde British star combined her deep loves for acting and for wildlife throughout most her adult life. Born in London, England on June 7, 1931, her family possessed a sturdy theatrical background. Mother Anne was a jazz pianist, composer and cabaret performer while father Terry, an...

Best Actress of 1966 (for "Joy Adamson" in "Born Free").

9. Samantha Eggar

Actress | The Collector

Samantha Eggar was born on March 5, 1939 in Hampstead, London, England as Victoria Louise Samantha Marie Elizabeth Therese Eggar. She is an actress, known for The Collector (1965), Hercules (1997) and The Phantom (1996). She was previously married to Tom Stern.

Best Actress of 1967 (for "Emma Fairfax" in "Doctor Dolittle").

10. Shani Wallis

Actress | Oliver!

A popular musical name noted on film for one delightfully feisty Cockney lass, Shani Wallis was born in 1933 in Tottenham (North London), England, and initially studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on a scholarship. On stage from age 4 and performing in repertory as an early teen, she ...

Best Actress of 1968 (for "Nancy" in "Oliver!")

11. Angela Lansbury

Actress | The Manchurian Candidate

The daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a high-ranking politician, Angela Brigid Lansbury studied acting from her youth, departing for the United States in 1940 during the Battle of Britain. She was contracted by MGM while still a teenager and nominated for an Academy Award for her ...

Best Actress of 1971 (for "Miss Price" in "Bedknobs and Broomsticks").

12. Carole Shelley

Actress | Robin Hood

Though English-born, Carole Shelley spent almost her entire award-winning career in the theatre in America, becoming one of Broadway's mainstays and a true pioneer of the American theatre.

Shelley was born in London, England, to Deborah (Bloomstein), an opera singer, and Curtis Shelley, a composer. ...

Best Actress of 1973 (for "Lady Kluck" in "Robin Hood").

13. Michelle Stacy

Actress | Airplane!

Michelle Stacy was a cute, prolific, and pretty popular child actress of the 70s who acted in both films and TV shows alike for six years straight. Perhaps best known as the voice of "Penny" in the charming Disney animated feature, The Rescuers (1977), Michelle also had memorable small parts in the...

Best Actress of 1977 (for "Penny" in "The Rescuers").

14. Jeanette Nolan

Actress | The Fox and the Hound

Jeanette Nolan began her acting career in the Pasadena Community Playhouse and, while a student at Los Angeles City College, made her radio debut in 1932 in "Omar Khayyam", the first transcontinental broadcast from station KHJ. Her film debut was probably also her best part, Lady Macbeth opposite ...

Best Actress of 1981 (for "The Widow Tweed" in "The Fox and the Hound").

15. Natalie Gregory

Actress | Oliver & Company

Natalie Gregory was born on October 20, 1975 as Natalie Lynn Gregory. She is an actress, known for Oliver & Company (1988), Alice in Wonderland (1985) and Magnum, P.I. (1980). She has been married to Marc Mitchell since 1997. They have two children.

Best Actress of 1985 (for "Alice" in "Alice in Wonderland").

16. Janice Karman

Writer | Alvin & the Chipmunks

Janice Karman was born on May 21, 1954 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Janice Felice Karman. She is a writer and actress, known for Alvin & the Chipmunks (1983), The Chipmunk Adventure (1987) and Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007). She has been married to Ross Bagdasarian Jr. since September 27,...

Best Actress of 1987 (for "Brittany Miller", "Jeanette Miller" and "Eleanor Miller" in "The Chipmunk Adventure").

17. Natalie Gregory

Actress | Oliver & Company

Natalie Gregory was born on October 20, 1975 as Natalie Lynn Gregory. She is an actress, known for Oliver & Company (1988), Alice in Wonderland (1985) and Magnum, P.I. (1980). She has been married to Marc Mitchell since 1997. They have two children.

Best Actress of 1988 (for "Jenny Foxworth" in "Oliver & Company").

18. Jodi Benson

Actress | Toy Story 3

Jodi Benson, a native of Rockford, Illinois, has received worldwide recognition and critical acclaim as the voice of Ariel in the Academy Award-winning Walt Disney animated feature film, The Little Mermaid (1989), as well as the bubbly voice of Tour Guide Barbie in Disney's Toy Story 2 (1999), ...

Best Actress of 1989 (for "Princess Ariel" in "The Little Mermaid").

19. Angela Lansbury

Actress | The Manchurian Candidate

The daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a high-ranking politician, Angela Brigid Lansbury studied acting from her youth, departing for the United States in 1940 during the Battle of Britain. She was contracted by MGM while still a teenager and nominated for an Academy Award for her ...

Best Actress of 1991 (for "Mrs. Potts" in "Beauty and the Beast").

20. Lea Salonga

Actress | Mulan

Lea Salonga began her singing career at the age of ten, when she recorded her first album, Small Voice. She also hosted her own musical TV show, "Love, Lea". She starred in "Miss Saigon" and was then offered the role of the singing voice of Jasmine in the Disney film Aladdin (1992). She has ...

Best Actress of 1992 (for "Princess Jasmine" in "Aladdin").

21. Moira Kelly

Actress | One Tree Hill

Born March 6, 1968 in Queens, New York, she is the third of six kids. Her father, Peter, was trained as a concert violinist. Her mother, Anne, is a nurse. Both are Irish immigrants. Moira was raised in Ronkonkoma, NY. She attended Connetquot Senior High School and graduated in the class of 1986. ...

Best Actress of 1994 (for "Nala" in "The Lion King").

22. Christine Cavanaugh

Actress | Dexter's Laboratory

Christine Cavanaugh was born on August 16, 1963 in Layton, Utah, USA as Christine Josephine Sandberg. She was an actress, known for Dexter's Laboratory (1996), Babe (1995) and Jerry Maguire (1996). She was married to Kevin James Cavanaugh. She died on December 22, 2014 in Cedar City, Utah.

Best Actress of 1995 (for "Babe" in "Babe").

23. 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 ...

Best Actress of 1996 (for "Cruella de Vil" in "101 Dalmatians").

24. Lindsay Ridgeway

Actress | Boy Meets World

Lindsay Ridgeway was born on June 22, 1985 in Loma Linda, California, USA as Lindsay Elizabeth Ridgeway. She is an actress, known for Boy Meets World (1993), Cats Don't Dance (1997) and The Wonderful World of Disney (1995).

Best Actress of 1997 (for "Darla Dimple" in "Cats Don't Dance").

25. Suzanne Pleshette

Actress | The Bob Newhart Show

Suzanne Pleshette achieved television immortality in her role as Bob Newhart's wife in the 1970s classic situation comedy, The Bob Newhart Show (1972). For her role as "Emily Hartley", wife of psychologist "Bob Hartley" (played by Bob Newhart), Pleshette was nominated for the Emmy Award twice, in ...

Best Actress of 1998 (for "Zira" in "The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride").

26. 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 ...

Best Actress of 1999 (for "Jessie" in "Toy Story 2").

27. Eartha Kitt

Actress | The Emperor's New Groove

An out-of-wedlock child, Eartha Kitt was born in the cotton fields of South Carolina. Kitt's mother was a sharecropper of African-American and Cherokee Native American descent. Her father's identity is unknown. Given away by her mother, she arrived in Harlem at age nine. At 15, she quit high school...

Best Actress of 2000 (for "Yzma" in "The Emperor's New Groove").

28. Cameron Diaz

Actress | There's Something About Mary

A tall, strikingly attractive blue-eyed natural blonde, Cameron Diaz was born in 1972 in San Diego, the daughter of a Cuban-American father and a German mother. Self described as "adventurous, independent and a tough kid," Cameron left home at 16 and for the next 5 years lived in such varied ...

Best Actress of 2001 (for "Princess Fiona" in "Shrek").

29. Zoe Caldwell

Actress | Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

As a testament to her remarkable talent, Broadway has honored esteemed stage actress Zoe Caldwell four times with Tony Awards: for "Slapstick Tragedy" (1966), for her title role in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1968), for her searing performance as "Medea" (1982), and as opera diva Maria Callas ...

Best Actress of 2002 (for "The Grand Councilwoman" in "Lilo & Stitch").

30. Ellen DeGeneres

Producer | Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Emmy-winning talk show host Ellen Lee DeGeneres was born in Metairie, Louisiana, a New Orleans suburb. She is the daughter of Betty DeGeneres (née Elizabeth Jane Pfeffer), a speech therapist, and Elliott Everett DeGeneres, an insurance agent. Her brother is musician and producer Vance DeGeneres. ...

Best Actress of 2003 (for "Dory" in "Finding Nemo").

31. Roseanne Barr

Producer | Roseanne

Firebrand Roseanne Barr has long been one of America's funniest and most controversial comedians.

She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Helen (Davis), a cashier and bookkeeper, and Jerome Hershel "Jerry" Barr, a salesman. Her family was Jewish, and had moved to the U.S. from Russia, Lithuania, ...

Best Actress of 2004 (for "Maggie" in "Home on the Range").

32. Cameron Richardson

Actress | Alvin and the Chipmunks

Cameron Richardson is making her move into the industry spotlight. She starred opposite Jason Lee and Jane Lynch in 20th Century-Fox's hit Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007) and played a mentally-challenged character in the HBO series 12 Miles of Bad Road (2007), opposite Lily Tomlin and Mary Kay Place.

...

Best Actress of 2007 (for "Claire Wilson" in "Alvin and the Chipmunks").

33. Anika Noni Rose

Actress | The Princess and the Frog

Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose recently finished filming the lead role of the pilot episode Beast Mode (TBS / Macro), which is based on life of legendary boxing trainer Ann Wolfe. Anika is also serving as Co-Executive Producer.

In 2018, Anika starred in the title role of 'Carmen Jones' in John ...

Best Actress of 2009 (for "Princess Tiana" in "The Princess and the Frog").

34. Mandy Moore

Actress | A Walk to Remember

Amanda Leigh Moore was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, on April 10, 1984, to Stacy (Friedman), a former news reporter, and Don Moore, an airline pilot. During her childhood, her family moved to Orlando, Florida, where she was raised. She has Russian Jewish (from her maternal grandfather), English, ...

Best Actress of 2010 (for "Rapunzel" in "Tangled").

35. Jenny Slate

Actress | Zootopia

Jenny Slate was born on March 25, 1982 in Milton, Massachusetts, USA as Jenny Sarah Slate. She is an actress and writer, known for Zootopia (2016), Obvious Child (2014) and The Secret Life of Pets (2016). She was previously married to Dean Fleischer-Camp.

Best Actress of 2011 (for "Zoe Henderson" in "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked").

36. Keke Palmer

Actress | Hustlers

Keke Palmer was born Lauren Keyana Palmer in Harvey, Illinois, a south suburb of Chicago, to Sharon and Larry Palmer, both former actors. Palmer showed vocal promise as a five-year-old, when she belted out "Jesus Loves Me" in her church choir. A year later the singer-actress had a solo in her ...

Best Actress of 2012 (for "Peaches" in "Ice Age 4: Continental Drift").

37. Idina Menzel

Actress | Frozen

Idina Menzel was born on May 30, 1971 in Syosset, New York, USA as Idina Kim Mentzel. She is an actress, known for Frozen (2013), Rent (2005) and Enchanted (2007). She has been married to Aaron Lohr since September 2017. She was previously married to Taye Diggs.

Best Actress of 2013 (for "Queen Elsa" in "Frozen").

38. Kaitlyn Dias

Actress | Inside Out

Kaitlyn Dias was born on May 11, 1999 in El Dorado Hills, California, USA as Kaitlyn Rose Dias. She is an actress, known for Inside Out (2015), American Crime (2015) and The Shifting (2013).

Best Actress of 2015 (for "Riley Anderson" in "Inside Out").

39. Ginnifer Goodwin

Actress | Big Love

Ginnifer Goodwin was born Jennifer Michelle Goodwin on May 22, 1978, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Linda (Kantor), who worked at FedEx, and Tim Goodwin, who had a recording studio. Bright and talented, Ginnifer carried her love for theater and acting through her high school years. She graduated from ...

Best Actress of 2016 (for "Judy Hopps" in "Zootopia").



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