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Added by JxSxPx on 19 Dec 2011 11:36
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Leading Ladies:The 50 Most Unforgettable Actresses

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As chosen by TCM. Presented in alphabetic order (by last name, they are not ranked).

"Sexy, Strong, and Stylish
Each of the actresses celebrated [here] brought a legendary presence to the screen and made a powerful and enduring mark on film history, defining roles for women on and off the screen."

Purchase the original book here
Average listal rating (86 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
Frank Capra called her his favorite actress for the depth and humanity she brought to her comedic roles, but it was her husky, tremulous voice that spun her gentle kookiness into gold.

Essential Films
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
1936, Columbia

You Can't Take It With You
1938, Columbia

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
1939, Columbia

The Talk of the Town
1942, Columbia

The More the Merrier
1943, Columbia
An overnight sensation in her first film, To Have and Have Not, publicists dubbed her "The Look" but it was really the whole package - the sultry glance, the husky voice, and the brash attitude.

Essential Films
To Have and Have Not
1944, Warner Bros.

The Big Sleep
1946, Warner Bros.

Dark Passage
1947, Warner Bros.

Key Largo
1948, Warner Bros.

How to Marry a Millionaire
1953, 20th Century Fox
Forever remembered as Casablanca's luminous Ilsa Lund, she radiated a truth and goodness that she found hard to escape even in her most controversial roles.

Essential Films
1939, Swedish Film Productions/Scandinavian Talking Pictures

1942, Warner Bros.

1944, MGM

1946, RKO

1956, 20th Century Fox
Average listal rating (77 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
Hollywood's first "It" girl, she was a come-hither goddess with enough energy and charm to light every soundstage in Hollywood.

Essential Films
1926, Paramount

1927, Paramount

1927, Paramount

Dangerous Curves
1929, Paramount

The Saturday Night Kid
1929, Paramount
Beautiful, headstrong, and erotically charged, she and her sleek, bobbed hairstyle defined the 1920s flapper just as her meteoric rise and fall mirrored the fortunes of the Lost Generation.

Essential Films
A Social Celebrity
1926, Paramount

Love 'Em and Leave 'Em
1926, Paramount

Pandora's Box
1928, Nero-Film

Diary of a Lost Girl
1929, Horn Films/Pabst Film

Miss Europe
1930, Sofar-Film
She had true grace and class and radiated European chic, but it was her spunk and clever wit that made her accessible to all.

Essential Films
The Sign of the Cross
1932, Paramount

It Happened One Night
1934, Columbia

1939, Paramount

The Palm Beach Story
1942, Paramount

Since You Went Away
1944, United Artists
From flappers to self-sacrificing mothers to horror film divas, she kept her career going for half a century thanks to her ability to change with the times, but off screen her devotion to Hollywood glamor and the demands of stardom never wavered.

Essential Films
Grand Hotel
1932, MGM

1932, United Artists

Mildred Pierce
1945, Warner Bros.

1947, Warner Bros.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
1962, Warner Bros.
For years overshadowed by her love affair with tycoon William Randolph Hearst, her magnificent gifts as a comedienne are finally earning the accolades they deserve.

Essential Films
1921, Cosmopolitan/Paramount

Janice Meredith
1924, Cosmopolitan/MGM

Quality Street
1927, Cosmopolitan/MGM

Show People
1928, Cosmopolitan/MGM

The Patsy
1928, Cosmopolitan/MGM
Average listal rating (322 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
She famously gave a "bumpy ride" to directors, co-stars, and studio executives alike, bringing audiences a new kind of screen heroine, as tough as any man.

Essential Films
1938, Warner Bros.

Dark Victory
1939, Warner Bros.

The Letter
1940, Warner Bros.

Now, Voyager
1942, Warner Bros.

All About Eve
1950, 20th Century Fox
Average listal rating (140 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
The girl next door of every man's dreams and the woman every girl dreamed of befriending, her trademark chic and feisty career-woman characters helped Rock Hudson take the romantic sex comedy to penthouse heights.

Essential Films
Calamity Jane
1953, Warner Bros.

Love Me or Leave Me
1955, MGM

The Man Who Knew Too Much
1956, Paramount

The Pajama Game
1957, Warner Bros.

Pillow Talk
1959, Universal
The original steel magnolia, her Melanie in Gone With the Wind reflected both her beauty and her strength, but when she sued Warner Bros. to be freed from her contract and won, she changed the studio system forever.

Essential Films
The Adventures of Robin Hood
1938, Warner Bros.

Gone With the Wind
1939, MGM

To Each His Own
1946, Paramount

The Snake Pit
1948, 20th Century Fox

The Heiress
1949, Paramount
Famously androgynous and eternally exotic, this leggy German beauty dazzled audiences on-screen and off with her carefully contrived and controlled image as an icon of forbidden passions and daring love.

Essential Films
The Blue Angel
1930, UFA

1930, Paramount

Shanghai Express
1932, Paramount

Destry Rides Again
1939, Universal

Witness for the Prosecution
1957, United Artists
Average listal rating (39 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
A classically trained singer with great versatility, her lyrical inflections and subtle charms added a unique spark to all of her roles.

Essential Films
Show Boat
1936, Universal

The Awful Truth
1937, Columbia

Love Affair
1939, RKO

Life With Father
1947, Warner Bros.

I Remember Mama
1948, RKO
One of the most flawless faces and intense women in movie history, with a whiskey-and-cigarettes voice and a mysterious, elusive quality captured forever in her famous line from Grand Hotel, "I vant to be alone."

Essential Films
Flesh and the Devil
1926, MGM

Grand Hotel
1932, MGM

Queen Christina
1933, MGM

1936, MGM

1939, MGM
Average listal rating (279 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
Exotic and exuding raw sex appeal, she was pure sensuality wrapped in the form of an earthy goddess, an intoxicating mix of vitality and vulnerability.

Essential Films
The Killers
1946, Universal

Show Boat
1951, MGM

1953, MGM

The Barefoot Contessa
1954, United Artists

The Night of the Iguana
1964, MGM
Average listal rating (309 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
The combination of her incomparable voice and emotional fragility could turn even a lighthearted musical into a powerful work of art.

Essential Films
The Wizard of Oz
1939, MGM

Babes in Arms
1939, MGM

Meet Me in St. Louis
1944, MGM

Summer Stock
1950, MGM

A Star Is Born
1954, Warner Bros.
Average listal rating (50 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
A beautiful redhead with emerald eyes, she inspired legions of fans during World War II with quietly selfless, always relatable home-front heroines who kept their heads during the perils of war.

Essential Films
Pride and Prejudice
1940, MGM

Mrs. Miniver
1942, MGM

Random Harvest
1942, MGM

Mrs. Parkington
1944, MGM

Julia Misbehaves
1948, MGM
Average listal rating (92 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 0
One of the matriarchs of cinema, she virtually invented Method acting on film by using her ethereal beauty to reveal complex internal struggles with simple, subtle gestures and expressions.

Essential Films
Broken Blossoms
1919, United Artists

Orphans of the Storm
1922, United Artists

La Boheme
1926, MGM

The Scarlet Letter
1926, MGM

The Wind
1928, MGM
Average listal rating (113 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
When an overzealous hairdresser dyed her hair platinum, the Blonde Bombshell was born, but it was her smarts and sass that made her a star during a tragically short, but legendary, career.

Essential Films
Red-Headed Woman
1932, MGM

Red Dust
1932, MGM

1933, MGM

Dinner at Eight
1933, MGM

Libeled Lady
1936, MGM
The flame haired Brooklyn beauty, part hard-boiled sex goddess and part tenacious workhorse, set fire to 1950s cinema with her gutsy portrayals of women way over the edge.

Essential Films
Smash Up: The Story of a Woman
1947, Universal

My Foolish Heart
1949, RKO

With a Song in My Heart
1952, 20th Century Fox

I'll Cry Tomorrow
1955, MGM

I Want to Live!
1958, United Artists
Forever immortalized as Gilda doing a mock striptease in a black strapless satin gown, she was christened "the Love Goddess" by the press, and World War II soldiers made her their pinup queen.

Essential Films
You Were Never Lovelier
1942, Columbia

Cover Girl
1944, Columbia

1946, Columbia

The Lady from Shanghai
1948, Columbia

Pal Joey
1957, Columbia
Elegant and angelic, she has enchanted generations. Whether she played a princess, a nun, or an iconic Manhattanite, she infused each of her characters with a bit of her own humanity and charm.

Essential Films
Roman Holiday
1953, Paramount

1954, Paramount

Funny Face
1957, Paramount

Breakfast at Tiffany's
1961, Paramount

1963, Universal
Her dramatic depths and independent spirit were the constants of her career, starting with her insistence on playing tough, hard-headed women. She became the ultimate "battle of the sexes" heroine.

Essential Films
Bringing Up Baby
1938, RKO

The Philadelphia Story
1940, MGM

Woman of the Year
1942, MGM

The African Queen
1951, United Artists

The Lion in Winter
1968, AVCO Embassy
Average listal rating (34 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
An earthy beauty and an incredible talent, she fought to over-come racial stereotypes and limitations and became Hollywood's first glamorous African American star.

Essential Films
The Duke Is Tops
1938, Million Dollar Productions

Cabin in the Sky
1943, MGM

Stormy Weather
1943, 20th Century Fox

Swing Fever
1943, MGM

Broadway Rhythm
1944, MGM
Average listal rating (530 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
From high society to Hollywood stardom to royal life in Monaco, she was the ultimate blue-blood blonde, a fairy-tale princess who seemed born to her official title, "Her Serene Highness."

Essential Films
High Noon
1952, United Artists

Dial M For Murder
1954, Warner Bros.

Rear Window
1954, Paramount

To Catch a Thief
1955, Paramount

High Society
1956, MGM
Average listal rating (109 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Delightfully proper on screen, with an engaging, ladylike voice, she had an impeccable grace and fair beauty that belied the discipline and the intense dedication she brought to her craft as an actress.

Essential Films
Black Narcissus
1947, Universal

From Here to Eternity
1953, Columbia

The King and I
1956, 20th Century Fox

An Affair to Remember
1957, 20th Century Fox

The Innocents
1961, 20th Century Fox
Average listal rating (119 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
She once claimed, "Any girl can be glamorous, all you have to do is stand still and look stupid." But behind her beauty and glamorous exterior was a keen intelligence and a great inventive mind.

Essential Films
1933, Ceskoslovensky Filmexport

H. M. Pulman, Esq.
1941, MGM

Tortilla Flat
1942, MGM

The Conspirators
1944, Warner Bros.

Samson and Delilah
1949, Paramount
Average listal rating (339 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
The two most famous Southern belles in history (Scarlett O'Hara and Blanche DuBois) were played by a British actress whose black hair and catlike green eyes barely masked the determination she shared with her most memorable characters.

Essential Films
Gone With the Wind
1939, MGM

Waterloo Bridge
1940, MGM

A Streetcar Named Desire
1951, Warner Bros.

The Deep Blue Sea
1955, 20th Century Fox

Ship of Fools
1965, Columbia
She brought a tomboy's enthusiasm and a vixen's curves to the screen, tools that captured the physicality and wit of screwball romantic comedy and made her one of the most beloved stars of the 1930s.

Essential Films
No Man of Her Own
1932, Paramount

Twentieth Century
1934, Columbia

My Man Godfrey
1936, Universal

Mr. and Mrs. Smith
1941, RKO

To Be Or Not to Be
1942, United Artists
Average listal rating (413 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
A sensation when she hit the American screen, the voluptuous Italian goddess came to life with a feisty realism and a regal sensuality that never seems to age.

Essential Films
1958, Paramount

Two Women
1960, Embassy Pictures Corp.

El Cid
1961, Allied Artists

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
1963, Embassy

Marriage, Italian Style
1964, Embassy
Average listal rating (98 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
Confident, sophisticated, whip smart, and equipped with a wit as dry as the martinis she favored in her films, she had a gift for nuance and comedic timing.

Essential Films
The Thin Man
1934, MGM

Libeled Lady
1936, MGM

The Best Years of Our Lives
1946, RKO

The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
1947, RKO

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
1948, RKO
She brought a unique hyrbid image to the screen: part kooky comedienne, part natural dramatic actress. Her tender, funny performances built a bridge between 1950s repression and 1960s rebellion.

Essential Films
Some Came Running
1958, MGM

The Apartment
1960, United Artists

Irma La Douce
1963, United Artists

Sweet Charity
1969, Universal

Term of Endearment
1983, Paramount
Perhaps the greatest sex symbol of our time, with a blend of sexual confidence and childlike vulnerability that fired imaginations and inspired a worshipful protectiveness from generations of fans.

Essential Films
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
1953, 20th Century Fox

How to Marry a Millionaire
1953, 20th Century Fox

The Seven Year Itch
1955, 20th Century Fox

Bus Stop
1956, 20th Century Fox

Some Like It Hot
1959, United Artists
Average listal rating (163 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
One of the most enigmatic sex symbols of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and one of the last studio-made stars, she was blonde and beautiful, all passionate heat blanketed with intellectual chilliness.

Essential Films
1955, Columbia

The Man With the Golden Arm
1955, United Artists

1958, Paramount

Bell, Book and Candle
1958, Columbia

Kiss Me, Stupid
1964, Lopert
Hollywood's ultimate Irish lass, she was a flame-haired beauty with a spirit that made her a match for her larger-than-life screen partners John Wayne and John Ford.

Essential Films
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
1939, RKO

How Green Was My Valley
1941, 20th Century Fox

The Black Swan
1942, 20th Century Fox

Miracle on 34th Street
1947, 20th Century Fox

The Quiet Man
1952, Republic
Often known simply as "America's Sweetheart," she was a smart, tough negotiator who took charge of her career and almost single-handedly invented celebrity in Hollywood.

Essential Films
Stella Maris
1918, Artcraft

1920, United Artists

Little Lord Fauntleroy
1921, United Artists

1926, United Artists

1929, United Artists
She was fresh faced, bubbly, and utterly wholesome, but behind the sugar was plenty of spice: a determined and accomplished singer, dancer, actress, and stage artist with a survivor's spirit.

Essential Films
Singin' in the Rain
1952, MGM

The Tender Trap
1955, MGM

The Catered Affair
1956, MGM

Tammy and the Bachelor
1957, Universal

The Unsinkable Molly Brown
1964, MGM
She may be best remembered dancing in the arms of longtime partner Fred Astaire - but she was also stellar in the romantic comedies and dramatic roles she embraced.

Essential Films
Top Hat
1935, RKO

Swing Time
1936, RKO

Stage Door
1937, RKO

Kitty Foyle
1940, RKO

The Major and the Minor
1942, Paramount
Smart and quick-witted, she set the standard for a new office archetype: the busy, never ruffled, and always-on-top-of-it modern working woman.

Essential Films
Night Must Fall
1937, MGM

The Women
1939, MGM

His Girl Friday
1940, Columbia

Auntie Mame
1958, Warner Bros.

1962, Warner Bros.
A determined woman who willed herself to be beautiful, she honed her sense of style as seriously as she did her acting and took enormous chances to play modern, sexually charged women.

Essential Films
Their Own Desire
1929, MGM

The Divorcee
1930, MGM

Smilin' Through
1932, MGM

Marie Antoinette
1938, MGM

The Women
1939, MGM
Average listal rating (58 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Thanks to her breezy sex appeal, pinup curves, and love of a good time, she was christened "the Oomph Girl," a playful name for an actress with a prolific career.

Essential Films
The Man Who Came to Dinner
1941, Warner Bros.

Kings Row
1942, Warner Bros.

Shine On, Harvest Moon
1944, Warner Bros.

Nora Prentiss
1947, Warner Bros.

I Was a Male War Bride
1949, 20th Century Fox
She talked tough, worked hard, and was a little rough around the edges, but her ability to imbue a part with unflinching emotional commitment made her a star.

Essential Films
Stella Dallas
1937, United Artists

The Lady Eve
1941, Paramount

Ball of Fire
1941, RKO

Double Indemnity
1944, Paramount

Sorry, Wrong Number
1948, Paramount
A glamorous and iconic silent star, forever remembered for her legendary, gutsy comeback in a film made thirty years after her heyday, Sunset Blvd.

Essential Films
Sadie Thompson
1928, United Artists

Queen Kelly
1928, United Artists

The Trespasser
1929, United Artists

Father Takes a Wife
1941, RKO

Sunset Blvd.
1950, Paramount
Beginning with her screen debut at age ten, she has riveted audiences with her stunning beauty, violet eyes, and emotional depth; she is a legend for the ages - the quintessential movie star.

Essential Films
Father of the Bride
1950, MGM

A Place in the Sun
1951, Paramount

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
1958, MGM

Suddenly, Last Summer
1959, Columbia

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
1966, Warner Bros.
Average listal rating (177 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
One of the great beauties of the 1940s and 1950s, she lit up the screen with her stunning green eyes and beautifully sculpted face - but it was her performance in the haunting noir classic Laura that proved unforgettable.

Essential Films
Heaven Can Wait
1943, 20th Century Fox

1944, 20th Century Fox

Leave Her to Heaven
1945, 20th Century Fox

The Razor's Edge
1946, 20th Century Fox

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
1947, 20th Century Fox
Average listal rating (147 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Early in her career, she was known as "the Sweater Girl," a teasing, fun-loving blonde bombshell who grew up to become the benchmark for Hollywood glamour.

Essential Films
Ziegfeld Girl
1941, MGM

The Postman Always Rings Twice
1946, MGM

The Bad and the Beautiful
1952, MGM

Peyton Place
1957, 20th Century Fox

Imitation of Life
1959, Universal
Average listal rating (83 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
With a swish of the hips, a roll of the eyes, and a saucy "Come up sometime, see me," she earned the title "the Empress of Sex," and did it all through suggestion, often in period gowns that covered her from head to toe.

Essential Films
She Done Him Wrong
1933, Universal

I'm No Angel
1933, Paramount

Belle of the Nineties
1934, Paramount

Klondike Annie
1936, Paramount

Every Day's a Holiday
1937, Paramount
MGM's Million Dollar Mermaid, she created the aquatic musical and made history with astounding athletic stunts and a glamorous approach to swimwear that made her an All-American dream girl.

Essential Films
Bathing Beauty
1944, MGM

Neptune's Daughter
1949, MGM

Million Dollar Mermaid
1952, MGM

Dangerous When Wet
1953, MGM

Easy to Love
1953, MGM
Average listal rating (269 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
She morphed effortlessly from the sweetest of child stars to a captivating and vulnerable young woman in performances that epitomized the complex generation coming of age in the 1950s.

Essential Films
Rebel Without a Cause
1955, Warner Bros.

West Side Story
1961, United Artists

Splendor in the Grass
1961, Warner Bros.

Love With a Proper Stranger
1963, Paramount

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
1969, Columbia
From the twilight of silent films to the dawn of television's Golden Age, she graced the screen with her ladylike charm, her liquid, luminous eyes peering out from more than one hundred films.

Essential Films
1938, 20th Century Fox

The Stranger
1946, RKO

The Farmer's Daughter
1947, RKO

The Bishop's Wife
1947, RKO

Come to the Stable
1949, 20th Century Fox

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Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago at Apr 6 14:46
Wonderful just wonderful! Forever imitated never equaled!!!!

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