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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."