Top Ten Actresses of the 1920s

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The Top Ten

1 Louise Brooks Louise Brooks Louise Brooks, born Mary Louise Brooks (November 14, 1906 – August 8, 1985), was an American film actress and dancer noted as an iconic symbol of the flapper, and for popularizing the bobbed haircut. ...read more.
2 Clara Bow Clara Bow Clara Gordon Bow (July 29, 1905 – September 27, 1965) was an American actress who rose to stardom in silent film during the 1920s and successfully made the transition to "talkies" after 1927. Her appearance as a plucky shopgirl in the film It brought her global fame and the nickname "The It Girl". ...read more.
3 Marion Davies Marion Davies Marion Davies, born Marion Cecilia Douras (January 3, 1897 – September 22, 1961) was an American film actress, producer, screenwriter, and philanthropist. ...read more.
4 Greta Garbo Greta Garbo Greta Garbo, born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson (18 September 1905 – 15 April 1990), was a Swedish-born American film actress during the 1920s and 1930s. ...read more.
5 Betty Compson Betty Compson Betty Compson, born Eleanor Luicime Compson (March 19, 1897 – April 18, 1974) was an American actress and film producer. Most famous in silent films and early talkies, she is best known for her performances in The Docks of New York and The Barker, the latter earning a nomination for the Academy Award ...read more.
6 Louise Dresser
7 Lillian Gish Lillian Gish Lillian Diana Gish (October 14, 1893 – February 27, 1993) was an American actress of the screen and stage, as well as a director and writer whose film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 in silent film shorts to 1987. Gish was called the First Lady of American Cinema, and she is credited with ...read more.
8 Renee Falconetti
9 Louise Fazenda
10 Joan Crawford Joan Crawford Joan Crawford, born Lucille Fay LeSueur (March 23, c. 1904 – May 10, 1977) was an American film and television actress who began her career as a dancer and stage showgirl. The American Film Institute ranked Crawford 10th on their list of the greatest female stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema .

The Contenders

11 Bessie Love Bessie Love Bessie Love, born Juanita Horton (September 10, 1898 – April 26, 1986) was an American motion picture actress who achieved prominence mainly in the silent films and early talkies. With a small frame and delicate features, she played innocent young girls, flappers, and wholesome leading ladies.
12 Mary Pickford Mary Pickford Gladys Louise Smith (April 8, 1892 – May 29, 1979), known professionally as Mary Pickford, was a Canadian-American film actress, writer, director, and producer. She was a multifaceted pioneer of early cinema, a talented performer, a creative producer and a savvy businesswoman who helped shape the ...read more.
13 Gloria Swanson Gloria Swanson Gloria May Josephine Swanson (March 27, 1899 – April 4, 1983) was an American actress and producer best known for her role as Norma Desmond, a reclusive silent film star, in the critically acclaimed 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. ...read more.
14 Theda Bara Theda Bara Theda Bara, born Theodosia Burr Goodman (July 29, 1885 – April 7, 1955) was an American silent film and stage actress. Bara was one of the most popular actresses of the silent era, and one of cinema's earliest sex symbols. Her femme fatale roles earned her the nickname The Vamp (short for vampire), ...read more.
15 Edna Purviance Edna Purviance Edna Purviance (October 21, 1895 – January 13, 1958) was an American actress during the silent movie era. She was the leading lady in many of Charlie Chaplin's early films and in a span of eight years, she appeared in over 30 films with him.
16 Norma Shearer
17 Eleanor Boardman
18 Anita Page Anita Page Anita Page, born Anita Evelyn Pomares (August 4, 1910 – September 6, 2008) was an American film actress who reached stardom in the last years of the silent film era.
19 Dolores Costello Dolores Costello Dolores Costello (September 17, 1903 – March 1, 1979) was an American film actress who achieved her greatest success during the era of silent movies. She was nicknamed "The Goddess of the Silent Screen". Member of the Barrymore family of actors, she was Drew Barrymore's grandmother.
20 Pola Negri Pola Negri Pola Negri, born Apolonia Chalupec (3 January 1897 – 1 August 1987) was a Polish stage and film actress who achieved worldwide fame during the silent and golden eras of Hollywood and European film for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles.
21 Olga Baclanova Olga Baclanova Olga Vladimirovna Baklanova (19 August 1893 – 6 September 1974) was a Russian-born naturalized American actress of stage and screen, radio host and performer, operatic singer, and ballerina. ...read more.
22 Brigitte Helm Brigitte Helm Brigitte Helm (17 March 1906 – 11 June 1996) was a German actress, best remembered for her dual role as Maria and her double, the Maschinenmensch, in Fritz Lang's 1927 silent film Metropolis.
23 Colleen Moore
24 Renee Adoree Renee Adoree Renée Adorée, born Jeanne de la Fonte (30 September 1898 – 5 October 1933) was a French actress who appeared in Hollywood silent movies during the 1920s.
25 Mabel Normand Mabel Normand
26 Janet Gaynor
27 Norma Talmadge Norma Talmadge Norma Marie Talmadge (May 2, 1894 – December 24, 1957) was an American actress and film producer of the silent era. A major box office draw for more than a decade, her career reached a peak in the early 1920s, when she ranked among the most popular idols of the American screen.
28 Constance Bennett Constance Bennett Constance Campbell Bennett (October 22, 1904 – July 24, 1965) was an American stage, film, radio and television actress. She was a major Hollywood star during the 1920s and 1930s and for a time during the early 1930s, she was the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, as well as one of the most popular. ...read more.
29 Leila Hyams Leila Hyams Leila Hyams (May 1, 1905 – December 4, 1977) was an American model, vaudeville and film actress, who came from a show business family. Her relatively short film career began in the 1920s during the era of silent films and ended in 1936. Although her career only lasted around twelve years, the blonde ...read more.
30 Anna May Wong Anna May Wong Anna May Wong, born Wong Liu Tsong (January 3, 1905 – February 3, 1961) was an American actress. She is considered to be the first Chinese American movie star, and also the first Asian American actress to gain international recognition. Her long and varied career spanned silent film, sound film, television, ...read more.
31 Corinne Griffith Corinne Griffith Corinne Mae Griffith (November 21, 1894 – July 13, 1979) was an American film actress, producer and author. Dubbed "The Orchid Lady of the Screen", she was one of the most popular film actresses of the 1920s and widely considered the most beautiful actress of the silent screen. Shortly after the advent ...read more.
32 Dolores Del Rio Dolores Del Rio Dolores del Río, born María de los Dolores Asúnsolo López-Negrete (August 3, 1904 – April 11, 1983), was a Mexican actress. She was the first major female Latin cross-over star in Hollywood, with an outstanding career in American films in the 1920s and 1930s. She was also considered one of the ...read more.
33 Myrna Loy Myrna Loy Myrna Loy, born Myrna Adele Williams (August 2, 1905 – December 14, 1993) was an American film, television and stage actress.
34 Mildred Harris
35 Mildred Davis
36 Barbara Bedford
37 Mary Nolan Mary Nolan Mary Nolan, born Mary Imogene Robertson (December 18, 1902 – October 31, 1948) was an American stage and film actress, singer and dancer.
38 Zasu Pitts
39 Blanche Sweet
40 Mary Philbin Mary Philbin Mary Philbin (July 16, 1903 – May 7, 1993) was a notable film actress of the silent film era, who is best known for playing the roles of Christine Daaé in the 1925 film The Phantom of the Opera opposite screen legend Lon Chaney and as Dea in The Man Who Laughs. Both roles cast her as the beauty in ...read more.
41 Alla Nazimova
42 Vilma Bánky Vilma Bánky Vilma Bánky (January 9, 1901 – March 18, 1991) was a Hungarian-born American silent film actress, although the early part of her acting career began in Budapest, spreading to France, Austria, and Germany. Bánky was best known for her roles in The Eagle and The Son of the Sheik with Rudolph Valentino ...read more.
43 Billie Dove Billie Dove Billie Dove, born Bertha Bohny (May 14, 1903 – December 31, 1997) was an American actress. Dubbed "The American Beauty" after appearing in the movie of the same title (1927), she was one of the most popular actresses of the 1920s, appearing in Douglas Fairbanks' smash hit Technicolor film The Black ...read more.
44 Barbara La Marr Barbara La Marr Barbara La Marr, born Reatha Dale Watson (July 28, 1896 – January 30, 1926) was an American film actress, noted for her beauty and her tempestuous marital history. ...read more.
45 Alice Terry Alice Terry Alice Frances Taeffe, known professionally as Alice Terry (July 24, 1900 – December 22, 1987), was an American film actress and director. She began her career during the silent film era, appearing in thirty-nine films between 1916 and 1933.
46 Dorothy Mackaill Dorothy Mackaill Dorothy Mackaill (March 4, 1903 – August 12, 1990) was a British-American actress, most notably of the silent-film era and into the early 1930s.
47 Catherine Hessling Catherine Hessling Catherine Hessling, born Andrée Madeleine Heuschling (22 June 1900 – 28 September 1979) was a French actress and the first wife of film director Jean Renoir. Hessling appeared in 15, mostly silent, films before retiring from the acting profession and withdrawing from public life in the mid-1930s. ...read more.
48 Viola Dana Viola Dana Viola Dana, born Virginia Flugrath (June 26, 1897 – July 3, 1987) was an American film actress who was successful during the era of silent films. The diminutive actress appeared in over 100 films, but was unable to make the transition to sound films.
49 Bebe Daniels Bebe Daniels Phyllis Virginia Daniels, known professionally as Bebe Daniels (January 14, 1901 – March 16, 1971) was an American actress, singer, dancer, writer and producer. ...read more.
50 Marie Prevost Marie Prevost Marie Prevost, born Marie Bickford Dunn (November 8, 1896 – January 21, 1937) was a Canadian-born film actress. During her twenty-year career, she made 121 silent and talking pictures.
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