Top Ten Actresses of the 30s and 40s

BettyBoopFan58

The Top Ten

1 Bette Davis Bette Davis Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis (April 5, 1908 – October 6, 1989) was an American actress of film, television and theater. Regarded as one of the greatest actresses in Hollywood history, she was noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic, sardonic characters and was reputed for her performances ...read more.

Daring, surprising, indelible on the screen

2 Katharine Hepburn

Loved her in The African Queen with Bogart! - BettyBoopFan58

3 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 .
4 Lucille Ball Lucille Ball
5 Claudette Colbert Claudette Colbert Claudette Colbert (September 13, 1903 – July 30, 1996) was an American film actress and a leading lady in Hollywood for over two decades, and has been called "The mixture of inimitable beauty, sophistication, wit, and vivacity". ...read more.
6 Lauren Bacall Lauren Bacall Lauren Bacall, born Betty Joan Perske (September 16, 1924 – August 12, 2014) was an American actress and singer known for her distinctive voice and sultry looks. ...read more.
7 Billie Burke Billie Burke Mary William Ethelbert Appleton "Billie" Burke (August 7, 1884 – May 14, 1970) was an American actress, famous on Broadway and in early silent film, best known to modern audiences as Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the movie musical The Wizard of Oz.
8 Myrna Loy Myrna Loy Myrna Loy, born Myrna Adele Williams (August 2, 1905 – December 14, 1993) was an American film, television and stage actress.
9 Judy Garland Judy Garland Judy Garland, born Frances Ethel Gumm (June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an American singer, actress, and vaudevillian. The American Film Institute named her 8th greatest female star of classic American cinema. She's also the mother of actress and singer Liza Minnelli.

The Wizard Of Oz GREAT GREAT film! - BettyBoopFan58

10 Mae West Mae West Mary Jane "Mae" West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades. ...read more.

The Contenders

11 Hedy Lamarr Hedy Lamarr Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler (9 November 1914 – 19 January 2000) was an Austrian-American film actress and inventor. Often called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Films”, Hedy Lamarr’s beauty and screen presence made her one of the most popular actresses of her day. ...read more.
12 Jean Harlow Jean Harlow Jean Harlow, born Harlean Harlow Carpenter (March 3, 1911 – June 7, 1937) was an American film actress and sex symbol of the 1930s. ...read more.
13 Veronica Lake Veronica Lake Veronica Lake, born Constance Frances Marie Ockelman (November 14, 1922 – July 7, 1973) was an American film, stage, and television actress. Lake won both popular and critical acclaim, most notably for her role in Sullivan's Travels and for her femme fatale roles in film noirs during the 1940s. She ...read more.
14 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.
15 Marlene Dietrich Marlene Dietrich Marie Magdalene "Marlene" Dietrich (27 December 1901 – 6 May 1992) was a German actress and singer who held both German and American citizenship. This internationally famed actress cum singer was a frontline performer with an amazing long career in the show business. One of the highest paid actresses ...read more.
16 Vivien Leigh Vivien Leigh Vivian Mary Hartley, later known as Vivien Leigh and Lady Olivier, was an English stage and film actress.
17 Claire Trevor Claire Trevor Claire Trevor, born Claire Wemlinger (March 8, 1910 – April 8, 2000) was an American actress. She appeared in over 60 films, winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Key Largo, and earning nominations for her roles in The High and the Mighty and Dead End . She also received ...read more.

Known as the queen of the film noir.

18 Fay Wray Fay Wray Vina Fay Wray (September 15, 1907 – August 8, 2004) was a Canadian/American actress most noted for playing the female lead in the first version of King Kong, in 1933. Through an acting career that spanned 57 years, Wray attained international renown as an actress in horror movie roles. She was one ...read more.
19 Olivia de Havilland Olivia de Havilland Olivia Mary de Havilland is a British-American actress whose career spanned from 1935 to 1988. She appeared in forty-nine feature films, and was one of the leading movie stars during the golden age of Classical Hollywood.
20 Joan Fontaine Joan Fontaine Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland (October 22, 1917 – December 15, 2013) known as Joan Fontaine, was a British-American actress, best known for her starring roles in classic Hollywood films. Fontaine appeared in over 45 feature films in a career that spanned five decades. She was the sister of actress ...read more.
21 Barbara Stanwyck Barbara Stanwyck Barbara Stanwyck, born Ruby Catherine Stevens (July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990) was an American actress. She was a film and television star, known during her 60-year career as a consummate and versatile professional with a strong, realistic screen presence, and a favorite of directors including Cecil ...read more.
22 Lupe Velez Lupe Velez
23 Shirley Temple Shirley Temple Shirley Temple Black (April 23, 1928 – February 10, 2014) was an American actress, singer, dancer, businesswoman, and diplomat who was Hollywood's number one box-office draw as a child actress from 1935 to 1938. As an adult, she was named United States ambassador to Ghana and to Czechoslovakia and ...read more.

Just because she was only a child doesn't exclude her from being an actress (& she was the most popular, by far, than all those mentioned here).

24 Gene Tierney Gene Tierney Gene Eliza Tierney (November 19, 1920 – November 6, 1991) was an American film and stage actress. Acclaimed as a great beauty, she became established as a leading lady. Tierney was best known for her portrayal of the title character in the film Laura (1944), and was nominated for an Academy Award ...read more.
25 Paulette Goddard
26 Miriam Hopkins Miriam Hopkins Ellen Miriam Hopkins (October 18, 1902 – October 9, 1972) was an American film and TV actress known for her versatility. She first signed with Paramount in 1930, working with Ernst Lubitsch and Joel McCrea, among many others. Her long-running feud with Bette Davis was publicized for effect. Later ...read more.
27 Carole Lombard Carole Lombard Carole Lombard, born Jane Alice Peters (October 6, 1908 – January 16, 1942) was an American film actress. She was particularly noted for her energetic, often off-beat roles in the screwball comedies of the 1930s. She was the highest-paid star in Hollywood in the late 1930s. ...read more.
28 Deanna Durbin Deanna Durbin Edna Mae Durbin (December 4, 1921 – April 20, 2013), known professionally as Deanna Durbin, was a Canadian actress and singer, who appeared in musical films in the 1930s and 1940s. With the technical skill and vocal range of a legitimate lyric soprano, she performed many styles from popular standards ...read more.
29 Loretta Young Loretta Young Loretta Young (January 6, 1913 – August 12, 2000) was an American actress. Starting as a child actress, she had a long and varied career in film from 1917 to 1953.
30 Mary Astor Mary Astor Mary Astor, born Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke (May 3, 1906 – September 25, 1987) was an American actress. She is best remembered for her role as Brigid O'Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon (1941). She began her long motion picture career as a teenager in the silent movies of the early 1920s.
31 Ginger Rogers Ginger Rogers Ginger Rogers, born Virginia Katherine McMath (July 16, 1911 – April 25, 1995) was an American actress, dancer, and singer. She is known for her performances in films and RKO's musical films in which she was partnered with Fred Astaire.
32 Madeleine Carroll Madeleine Carroll Edith Madeleine Carroll (26 February 1906 – 2 October 1987) was an English actress, popular both in Britain and America in the 1930s and 1940s. At the peak of her success she was the highest paid actress in the world, earning a then staggering $250,000 in 1938. ...read more.
33 Dorothy Lamour
34 Rita Hayworth Rita Hayworth Rita Hayworth, born Margarita Carmen Cansino (October 17, 1918 – May 14, 1987) was an American actress and dancer. She achieved fame during the 1940s as one of the era's top stars, appearing in a total of 61 films over 37 years. The press coined the term "love goddess" to describe Hayworth after she ...read more.
35 Lana Turner Lana Turner Lana Turner, born Julia Jean Turner (February 8, 1921 – June 29, 1995) was an American film and television actress. She was one of Hollywood's favorite sex symbols and femme fatales who was "discovered" while drinking soda at a diner counter. She made over 50 films and was married seven times.
36 Betty Grable
37 Rosalind Russell
38 Jane Greer Jane Greer Jane Greer, born Bettejane Greer (September 9, 1924 – August 24, 2001) was an American film and television actress who was perhaps best known for her role as femme fatale Kathie Moffat in the 1947 film noir Out of the Past.
39 Vera Miles Vera Miles Vera Miles (born August 23, 1929) is an American actress who worked closely with Alfred Hitchcock, most notably as Lila Crane in the classic 1960 film Psycho, reprising the role in the 1983 sequel, Psycho II. ...read more.
40 Mildred Harris
41 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.
42 Irene Dunne Irene Dunne Irene Marie Dunn (December 20, 1898 – September 4, 1990) was an American film actress and singer of the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s . Dunne was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Actress, and in 1985, she was given Kennedy Center Honors for her services to the arts.
43 Jean Arthur Jean Arthur Jean Arthur, born Gladys Georgianna Greene (October 17, 1900 – June 19, 1991) was an American actress and a major film star of the 1930s and 1940s.
44 Tallulah Bankhead Tallulah Bankhead Tallulah Brockman Bankhead (January 31, 1902 – December 12, 1969) was an American actress of the stage and screen, and a reputed libertine. Bankhead was known for her husky voice, outrageous personality, and devastating wit.
45 Ida Lupino
46 Carmen Miranda
47 Margaret Lockwood Margaret Lockwood Margaret Lockwood, CBE (15 September 1916 – 15 July 1990), was an English actress. One of Britain's most popular film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, her film appearances included The Lady Vanishes (1938), Night Train to Munich (1940), The Man in Grey (1943), and The Wicked Lady (1945). She was nominated ...read more.
48 Ann Miller
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