We’ve seen many powerful women grace our screens in one capacity or another. Each woman on this list was chosen specifically for her iconic reputation, whether in comedy, fashion, or just being one of the most amazing TV characters ever. They have impacted popular culture, television, and movies.
Most significantly, these super women have had a lasting impression on Hollywood and the world. Let’s travel back in time and think about the good ol’ days. You’ll see how deserving these women are to have graced our screens with their talents. You rock, gals!
Lea Thompson’s role in the Back to the Future trilogy contributed to the change in dynamic of how women were no longer sexualized objects. Her role as Lorraine Baines McFly proved that women could also be witty and funny too. Thompson started her career by appearing in TV commercials at age 20.
She has appeared in hit films, television shows, music videos, and video games. Thompson starred in Dennis the Menace, Switched at Birth, and appeared in the Netflix film Sierra Burgess is a Loser. Her daughter is Zoey Deutch, best known for her roles in Beautiful Creatures and Why Him?
Mary Tyler Moore
“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage.” The cultural icon affectionately nicknamed the Queen of Brooklyn, Mary Tyler Moore is remembered for her sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. She received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in Ordinary People.
Her humorous performances were a huge step forward for women, defying gender norms and women’s prejudices. Tyler Moore, a recognized author, battled diabetes and alcoholism. She spoke up for animal rights, women, and diabetes research. Mary Tyler Moore passed away in 2017 at 80 after enjoying a wonderful, full life.
The one and only Jane Fonda is iconic for many things, but always reminding us to be ourselves is close to the top. “I don’t want my wrinkles taken away – I don’t want to look like everyone else.” And she doesn’t. She looks absolutely stunning for a woman in her mid-80s!
She can reminisce on a variety of careers and achievements. Actress, author, model, political activist, and fitness fanatic! Not to mention her two BAFTA Awards and two Academy Awards. In her words, “your age is less chronological and more attitudinal.” We couldn’t have said it better.
Next, we have the alluring, dramatic Sophia Loren, who is unmistakably Italian. She is one of the most renowned Italian superstars, with a timeless and priceless natural style and grace. The 1950s were the height of Loren’s career in Hollywood, which earned her the nickname The Italian Marilyn Monroe.
As a singer and film actress who starred in films like Two Women and Marriage Italian Style, Loren was a significant sex symbol. Nearing 90, Sophia’s acting days are over, and she now lives in Geneva, Switzerland, reaping the rewards of a long, successful career.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar’s role as Buffy Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer immortalized her as one of the greatest female role models in history. Her tenacious spirit and, let’s face it, terrific movements not only inspired us all to learn martial arts, but they also helped #GIRLPOWER become a trend.
Gellar was discovered at a café when she was 4 years old, and from there, she developed a passion for acting and modeling. She co-founded Foodstirs, is married to Freddie Prinze Jr., and has two kids. Gellar still works out and doesn’t drink much or smoke. A real-life Wonder Woman.
Susan Olsen is a radio host, artist, animal rights activist, and actor. That is quite a list, right? Anyone who is featured on The Brady Bunch is assured a place in TV history because it is without a doubt one of the most iconic shows of the 1970s.
The little girl from Brady Bunch is now a grown woman. Olsen last appeared in the 2015 film Mama Claus, Deck the Halls with Guts. It was unquestionably a shift from her typical family-friendly genre. IMDB describes this movie as Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Last House on the Left flick!
Angie Harmon, formerly a professional model, was discovered at the age of 23 by none other than David Hasselhoff while on a flight. Sounds like a pretty good ice-breaker story, right? After the chance meeting with Hasselhoff, Harmon appeared in Baywatch Nights and C-16: FBI before joining the Law & Order cast.
Harmon graced the covers of ELLE, Esquire, and Cosmopolitan before moving to the big screen. She starred in Agent Cody Banks, Seraphim Falls, and End Game. She has won a People’s Choice Award and Gracie Award and most recently starred as Detective Jane Rizzoli on the TV series Rizzoli & Isles.
You undoubtedly recognize Joyce DeWitt from her several leading roles in plays and musicals, including her portrayal of Janet Wood in the acclaimed ABC series Three’s Company. Her theater productions include Oklahoma!, The Crucible, The Mikado, Li’l Abner, Peter Pan, Dracula: An Original Rock Musical, The Vagina Monologues, and Gypsy.
DeWitt holds degrees in both arts and fine arts. She is a committed environmentalist and activist who recently co-hosted the World Food Day Gala at the Kennedy Center with Jeff Bridges. She is committed to eradicating hunger and homelessness as well as a variety of other challenges.
Margot Kidder is renowned for playing Lois Lane alongside Christopher Reeve in the Superman film series. Kidder was a Canadian-American actress and activist who worked for more than 50 years. She earned a Daytime Emmy Award and three Canadian Screen Awards. Kidder’s nervous breakdown in 1996 garnered media attention.
It was perhaps the first indication of her mental health problems. Kidder was a tough environmental and anti-war activist, well-known for her outspoken political views. She was tenacious and influenced a new generation of political speakers. Sadly, Kidder committed suicide at the age of 69. Rest easy, Margot.
Sally Struthers, who is best known for playing Gloria Stivic in All in the Family, has enjoyed a lengthy career in the spotlight. Her two Emmy honors came from her performance as Gloria, which launched her career. Additionally, it was a rather liberal role at the time.
It broke prejudice and inequity. She also portrayed Babette on Gilmore Girls. Struthers has gained notoriety in the theater as the lead in the productions of Hello Dolly and Annie. Struthers is a multi-talented entertainer who is also devoted to activism, working with organizations like ChildFund and making several commercial appearances!
Raquel Welch’s appearance in THAT fuzzy bikini after emerging from the water gave rise to a brand-new global sex symbol. Many men and women were drawn to her performance in One Million Years B.C. and one of the most popular pin-up posters of all time. Raquel Welch is an alluring woman.
After going through one divorce and having two children, she went to Dallas and began working as a model at 25. Unfortunately, despite being a typecast as an attractive bombshell, her career didn’t exactly take off as she’d intended. She’s in her early 80s now and is still a beautiful woman.
When your career starts just a few months after your birth, you must be destined for fame. After a Firth Carpet TV commercial, Kim Richards played Prudence Everett in the TV series Nanny and the Professor. She appeared as a guest star in many TV shows in the 1970s.
Some of these include Emergency!, Diff’rent Strokes, Alice, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, CHiPs, Magnum, PI, The Dukes of Hazzard, and Little House on the Prairie. Richards also became a regular cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in 2010 and stayed on for five seasons.
The Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Olympic scandal from 1994 will never be forgotten. Following back-to-back victories in 1992 and 1993, Kerrigan was horrifyingly attacked by Tonya Harding’s ex-husband. Kerrigan suffered an excruciatingly painful knee injury, but she recovered and won silver. She is a star in her own right.
Even though her rise to popularity was not graceful and was tainted by the hostility of others, her ability and skill on the ice demonstrated her resiliency and perseverance. These are two qualities that define a great role model. After that, she participated in Dancing with the Stars season 24.
Jacyln Smith, a regular on Charlie’s Angels, played the tenacious Kelly Garrett. She became famous because of her role in the TV show and even made the cover of Time magazine! After Charlie’s Angels, Smith shifted her focus to more business-related endeavors, pioneering the concept of celebrities creating their own lines.
She had a selection of women’s clothing for Kmart. Since then, she has debuted a bed and bath line and a wig collection for Paula Young Wigs. The wig route is specific because Smith had breast cancer in 2003; this was her way of giving back.
Thanks to her fame from the TV series Charlie’s Angels, Ladd advanced her musical career by delivering the National Anthem at the 1980 Super Bowl XIV and released three albums. Her success on television led to a series of TV movies, including one where she played the legendary Grace Kelly.
Before securing a lengthy 29-episode run on the TV drama series Las Vegas, some other guest roles on shows like Charmed and CSI: Miami were successful. She most recently appeared in the poorly rated movie Unforgettable. She will nevertheless always be an angel to us!
Charlie’s Angels Jill Monroe was the girl everyone wanted to be or be with. Despite the show continuing for nearly another decade, angry fans claim it wasn’t the same following her cameo. Fawcett was a four-time nominee for an Emmy and a six-time nominee for a Golden Globe.
In her later years, Fawcett recorded a “video diary” of her illness called Farrah’s Story, which chronicled her battle with cancer and eventual death. In 2009, she died at 62. Hollywood and the rest of the world will remember her fondly and miss her terribly.
Dawn Wells’ appearance on Gilligan’s Island gave her significant success. She starred in other TV and movie projects and even debuted her show in 1985 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Vegas. She was named one of TV Guide’s “50 Sexiest Stars of All Time” in 2005.
She may be a celebrity, but she is still human. A few years ago, Dugg Kirkpatrick, her close friend, started a fundraiser to help the Gilligan’s Island actress pay off her medical debt. Loyal supporters raised nearly $140,000 in 10 days. Sadly, Dawn died in December 2020 at 82.
Marina Sirtis was born in London to Greek parents Despina and John Sirtis, who fought to prevent her from becoming an actress. Sirtis discreetly applied to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama because she was determined to make it in the industry. And she did.
She is most recognized for her role as Counselor Deanna Troi in the Star Trek franchise. Dreams really do come true! Following her Star Trek performance, the British-American actress made appearances on Crash, Grey’s Anatomy, and NCIS. We last saw her as Mal Reese in the 2020 film, Debt Collectors.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
With fledgling acting careers that began when they were just 6 months old, the Olsen twins catapulted to popularity in the 1990s! Their brands, The Row and Elizabeth and James, are making waves in the fashion industry. These brands have been spotted on celebrities and in upscale websites and department stores.
With a net worth of $100 million, they were included as the 11-richest women in business on the 2007 Forbes list thanks to their company, Dualstar, which produced their own brands of teen clothing, fragrance, and home décor. Incredibly talented and business-savvy women making big moves.
The Big Bang Theory’s Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz helped Melissa Rauch establish herself as a lovable character. Funny enough, Rauch’s voice doesn’t sound anything like Bernadette’s at all! She based Bernadette’s voice on both of her parents: her father’s “eerie, haranguing imitation” of Mrs. Wolowitz and her mother’s “sweet, high-pitched purr”!
A true comedienne. Rauch is more than just a pretty face: She and husband Winston Rauch co-wrote and produced the movie The Bronze. At 42, Rauch has a daughter named Sadie with her hubby and voiced Harley Quinn in the animated movie Batman and Harley Quinn.
Maureen McCormick, who is best known for playing Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch, struggled as a young adult. She once became so dependent on cocaine that it was the only thing keeping her going. It even caused her to stay awake for days on end.
While battling addiction, she started stage acting and appeared on reality TV. Her book, which revealed her turbulent history and drug abuse, made its debut at number four on The New York Times bestseller list. She may not be a perfect example of a great role model, but she overcame hardship.
Justine Bateman is best known for her seven seasons on the NBC sitcom Family Ties. She is also an accomplished author. Following the end of Family Ties in 1989, Bateman went on to write and direct movies like Push, Five Minutes, and Violet. She also obtained a pilot’s license.
And she earned a computer science degree from UCLA in 2016! Although Bateman has accomplished a lot, she has something significant to say about the “fame cycle” phenomena. She also has strong opinions about reality television. In her words, “reality programs are the cancer of this particular country.”
Actress, musician, author, and life coach. Quite a list! Lisa Whelchel was undoubtedly popular in the 1980s; you may have seen her as Blair Warner on The Facts of Life or as a Mouseketeer on The New Mickey Mouse Club. She subsequently made a name for herself as a speaker.
One of which her appearances was at Women of Faith Christian Conferences. She also released the contemporary Christian album All Because of You. Whelchel is an accomplished author, writing books about friendship, motherhood, children, and spirituality. What a richly varied career, and what a legacy to leave behind one day!
Erika Eleniak, an American-Canadian actress, Playboy Playmate, and former model, began acting at 13 in the 1982 movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial as the girl Elliott kissed! She appeared in Playboy magazine just seven years later. She then quickly rose to stardom by appearing in Baywatch and Charles in Charge.
She also appeared in The Beverly Hillbillies, Under Siege, and The Blob. Eleniak struggled with her weight and a devastating ectopic pregnancy. But soon after, she became pregnant and gave birth to Indiana. Marilyn Monroe Back? is the title of her newest project and is now in pre-production.
Jacqueline Bisset’s career began in 1965, and she had her first major performance in the Finney/Hepburn movie Two for the Road. She next played Miss Goodthighs in the satirical Casino Royale. After that, Bisset took up a lot of roles that weren’t very noteworthy.
However, her choice to perform in French movies in the 1970s earned her recognition as a serious actress. In 2010, she received the Légion d’Honneur honoring her enduring love for France, and Nicolas Sarkozy called her a “movie icon.” Did you know that Jacqueline is also Angelina Jolie’s godmother?
One of the most beautiful picks on our list dates all the way back to the glitzy 1970s. Bo Derek, real name Mary Cathleen Collins, achieved stardom in the film “10.” She continues to be best remembered for that role even after more than 40 years have passed.
She also appeared in Tarzan, Bolero, the Ape Man, and Ghosts Can’t Do It. Bo wasn’t known for playing feisty female roles, but she was notorious for her seductive and wanton sex appeal. She currently spends her time in semi-retirement with John Corbett while continuing to do occasional side-acting work.
Connelly was a child model. We shouldn’t be surprised, given that only 2% of people in the world have those gorgeous green eyes. Connelly is best recognized for her performance in the musical fantasy movie Labyrinth. She used the exposure from the movie to launch a successful acting career.
She had standout roles in A Beautiful Mind, Dark City, and Requiem for a Dream. Connelly has a heart as big as her beauty. She champions human rights and works to ensure that everyone has access to clean water and shelter. Connelly appeared in Top Gun: Maverick alongside Tom Cruise.
According to Sasha Alexander, she “wanted to be an exotic dancer,” but when that didn’t work out, she thought she’d “take on acting.” And that has proved to be a wise and possibly more lucrative choice. She ditched her Serbian tongue-twister of a name, Suzana S. Drobnjakovi Ponti!
Sasha Alexander later played Gretchen Witter on Dawson’s Creek and starred in the films Yes Man, and He’s Just Not That Into You. Sasha has recently had appearances in Shameless and Rizzoli & Isles, where she co-stars as Dr. Maura Isles with Angie Harmon, who you might recognize from our list.
Bond girls are known for being seductive, mysterious, and immensely desired. Ursula Andress is arguably the most well-known Bond girl. Ursula is a fixture on any “best bikini moments” list, always seen donning the iconic cream bikini. Andress, a Swiss native, played Honey Ryder in the first Bond movie, Dr. No.
She was successful in Hollywood and Italy and will be remembered for her lasting beauty and contribution to cinema. The now 86-year-old actress and model has since ended her careers, but she will always be referred to as “the ultimate Bond girl.”
Elisabeth Shue grew up in a fairly difficult household, where her parents divorced and she turned to drugs to cope. Ironically, it was her first significant appearance in the television series, Call to Glory, that catapulted her to popularity after she appeared in The Karate Kid.
But Shue regularly played the “good guy’s trophy” at the end of a movie, like in Cocktail. Shue’s appearance in The Saint alongside Val Kilmer demonstrated her versatility. Since then, the 58-year-old has gone on to star in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and she has more projects in the works.
Melissa Sue Anderson
Melissa Sue Anderson is an American-Canadian actress who began her career as a child actress and later made numerous TV commercial appearances. She was cast in the role of Mary Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie after a Bewitched episode. She has more than 50 film credits.
Anderson has appeared in Which Mother Is Mine?, Happy Birthday to Me, and Midnight Offerings. The blue-eyed beauty avoids the spotlight these days despite having an estimated net worth of $1.5 million. With the release of The Con is On in 2018, Anderson doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
It is understandable why Winona Ryder (née Winona Laura Horowitz!) is such a legend, given her filmography, which includes Beetlejuice, Mermaids, Edward Scissorhands, The Age of Innocence, Reality Bites, Girl, Interrupted, and more. The generational star, though, lost her popularity in 2001 when she was caught shoplifting.
She may never be as popular as she was in the 1990s, but since reappearing in 2006, Ryder has appeared in Star Trek, When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story, and Black Swan. She also plays Joyce in the popular Netflix series Stranger Things. Never say never!
They say a girl’s best friend is a diamond, but in Applegate’s case, it appears that her mother is. She is best known for playing Kelly Bundy on Married…with Children and made a name for herself in both film and TV, winning an Emmy Award and other prestigious nominations.
The actress appeared to have it all — she is intelligent, attractive, and funny — but tragedy befell her when, in 2008, she received a breast cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, the actress detected cancer early enough to undergo a double mastectomy before it progressed into a more dangerous form. An actual Wonder Woman.
The character of Jeanie in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, played by Jennifer Grey, was one that every older sister with an annoying little brother could relate to. However, it was her role in Dirty Dancing that made her a superstar; typically, the dancing moments with costar Patrick Swayze comes to mind.
Grey was nominated for a Golden Globe for the performance. Even after surgery on a malignant node on her spine, she astonishingly won the 2011 Dancing with the Stars — her debut! In 2017, Grey joined a host of other well-known women in Los Angeles for the Women’s March. #GIRLPOWER
Phoebe Cates wanted to pursue dancing at age 10. However, this was just fleeting because she later said that she didn’t like the industry. She played the lead role in the 1980s classic, Gremlins, and its sequel. Cates also appeared on the covers of Tiger Beat, Seventeen, and Teen Beat.
In 1993, TV Guide named her line, “Which one of you bitches is my mother?,” from Shirley Conran’s novel-based series, Lace, as the finest in TV history! With experience in singing and acting, Cates broadened her horizons by launching her store, Blue Tree, on New York’s chic Madison Avenue.
What do Twister, Square Pegs, Quicksilver, Less Than Zero, The Lost Boys, and Crossroads have in common? Jami Gertz! Gertz was discovered by Norman Lear during a nationwide talent search and is best recognized for these roles! In 1981, she made her film debut in Endless Love.
Gertz continues to be a well-known figure thanks to additional parts in Still Standing, Ally McBeal, and The Neighbours. She continues to help others by serving as a board director for the Melanoma Research Alliance, spending her hard-earned money on this cause. Good work, gal!
Major babe alert! Marines and Americans alike fell in love with Catherine Lisa Bell, well-known for her role as Major Sarah MacKenzie in JAG! “Almost every Marine I’ve met says I portray a Marine dead-on, which is really, really flattering,” she is quoted as saying.
The stunning American-Iranian actress also acted in the movies, and TV shows The Good Witch and Army Wives. Bell played the lead role in the 2016 Netflix Original movie The Do-Over with Adam Sandler and David Spade. Internet reports about a JAG reunion have been circulating more recently.
Argentinean and British actress Olivia Hussey is the star of Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. In the late 1960s, Olivia was the most popular teen in the world, thanks to her beautiful blue eyes and angelic features. She embodied purity in her portrayals of Juliet, the Virgin Mary, and Mother Teresa.
However, Hussey always had a bit more edge off-screen! She won the David di Donatello Award and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Juliet. Hussey moved into Sharon Tate’s former home one month after Tate was murdered by the Manson family. Quite unsettling, huh? But she did seem at ease.
Did you know that Courteney Cox almost didn’t play Monica Geller in Friends? Nancy McKeon was her rival. While she may not be well-known by her real name, she is most known for playing Jo Polniaczek on the popular 1980s television series The Facts of Life.
The actress starred in several TV films during the 1980s and 1990s. McKeon participated in Dancing with the Stars season 27. Here’s one more interesting fact: McKeon and her parents had a secret meeting with Pope John Paul II while she was starring in The Facts of Life.
Eve Plumb is known for playing the middle daughter, Jan, in Brady Bunch. She has been an actress since she was 6 and has since found success in a different creative endeavor. As a self-taught painter, she has been working diligently on her career for the past 20 years.
Being inspired by a single moment of her day, she says, “I sometimes describe my art as ‘spontaneous still life.’” Her work is displayed in large part in numerous American galleries. Despite her fame, she occasionally still makes on-screen appearances —most recently on Tom Selleck’s police drama Blue Bloods.
Julie Benz is a bit of an acting chameleon that can fit into different roles. She has starred in some fantastic productions. Though more recently for her performance of Rita Bennett on Dexter, she is most known for playing Darla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off series Angel.
She won two Saturn Awards for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. Benz later appeared as Chin Ho’s girlfriend, Abby Dunn, in the CBS television series Hawaii Five-O. She seemed to have more than enough money with those acting credits to buy a few Benzs for herself!
It was evident that Kristin Laura Kreuk was destined for more after making her television debut on the Canadian teen drama Edgemont. The actress, who is half Dutch and half Chinese, is best known for playing Lana Lang in the TV series Smallville. Kreuk’s performances were not just on television.
She played Catherine Chandler in Beauty and the Beast. Kreuk appeared in Snow White: The Fairest of Them All, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Eurotrip, and Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy. Recently, Kreuk got into some trouble over a scheme with the marketing company NXIVM, but her reputation was soon cleared.
When Erin Moran, a former child star, was cast as Joanie Cunningham in the 1970s, she already had about 10 years of acting experience under her belt. Although Moran had appearances on Murder, She Wrote, and The Love Boat, her success never matched that of her fame from Happy Days.
Sadly, Moran had personal and financial difficulties, and was even reportedly homeless at some point. Up until retiring in 2012, the actress acted in many shows and movies. After a five-year battle with throat cancer, Moran passed at 56. We hope she is at rest after all the suffering she went through.
Canadian actress Erica Durance played the much-coveted role of Lois Lane in the TV series Smallville. Not a small role! Durance began acting in movies after her time on Smallville, making cameos in films like The Butterfly Effect 2, I Me Wed, Island Heat: Stranded, Sophie, and Sheba.
She landed another prominent role in June 2012 as Dr. Alex Reid in Saving Hope, a story that included her real pregnancy! That’s something to one day show the kids, for sure! Not straying far from her Smallville roots, Durance portrays Kara’s Kryptonian mother, Alura Zor-El, in Supergirl.
Before Happy Days, Kelly initially worked as a photographer, snapping celebs like Jimi Hendrix, Neil Diamond, Andy Warhol, and Cream! Kelly was Fonzie’s girlfriend on Happy Days. Later on, Kelly had several guest appearances on shows like Starsky & Hutch, Kojak, Charlie’s Angels, The Dukes of Hazzard, and Fantasy Island.
Despite her name being spoken so frequently, in 1998, it wasn’t for the right reasons since she was arrested for shooting a shotgun into a neighbor’s window! It appears that Kelly is a bit of a loose cannon — literally. Since a second incident in 2000, Kelly has avoided trouble.
Before her first performance in The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Michelle Trachtenberg appeared in several TV commercials. She played the lead in Harriet the Spy in 1996 and Inspector Gadget in 1999. Trachtenberg played Dawn Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She also played Maggie in 17 Again.
You might also recall her from the popular television series Gossip Girl as Georgina Sparks, the archenemy of the Upper East Side. Michelle seems to have had a successful career, and her most recent appearance in Sister Cities suggests that she is showing no signs of slowing down.
Hayden Panettiere had her first commercial role at 11 months! She then starred alongside Denzel Washington at 11 years old. You’ll surely recall her from the television show Heroes as Claire Bennett. She was nominated for several Golden Globe Awards for her portrayal of Juliette Barnes in Nashville.
But our obsession with Panettiere doesn’t end there; she is also a devoted mother and an activist! She may have played one of her most significant roles by openly discussing her experience with postpartum depression, a topic that is frequently shunned and rarely given the attention it needs.
Marilyn Chambers was a pornographic film actress, actress, exotic dancer, and model. She was also a vice-presidential candidate! Chambers was ranked 6th on AVN’s list of the Top 50 Porn Stars of All Time and is best known for Behind the Green Door (1972) and Insatiable (1980).
She gained notoriety while appearing in pornographic films but also found success in mainstream acting. Chambers pursued acting, singing, writing, modeling, and theater! She ran for the U.S. Vice President in 2004 and 2008. Sadly, this leading lady was found dead a year later by her 17-year-old daughter.
Yvonne De Carlo
Yvonne De Carlo rose to fame as a Hollywood movie actress in the 40s and 50s. Her debut performance was in Salome, Where She Danced. She went on to become a famous movie actress and singer. De Carlo made history by becoming the first American movie star to travel to Israel.
She appeared in films like Hurricane Smith, Scarlet Angel, Lights Out, and the 1954 film The Ten Commandments as Sephora, Moses’ wife. She starred in several popular movies, TV series, and stage productions. De Carlo died of heart failure in 2007, but she clearly lived a full and exciting life!
Few television shows are as well-known as Dallas. The show, which was well-known for its glamor, drama, and scandal, sent audiences into a frenzy. She starred in the series from 1978 until 1991, giving a strong performance as Sue Ellen Ewing. Linda Gray is an actor in her own right.
She works in film, theater, and television. She’s also an accomplished director, producer, and model. Gray undoubtedly chose the right field to work in and has talent. A few years ago, the 81-year-old publicly compared Dallas’ major antagonist J.R. Ewing to former U.S. President Donald Trump. Yikes!
Angelica Huston, director John Huston’s daughter, began working in the family business by playing minor roles in her father’s movies. She gained attention with the movie The Postman Always Rings Twice and won an Academy Award for Prizzi’s Honor — the third generation of the Hustons to win the prestigious award.
She appeared in The Dead, Mr. North, Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Witches, The Grifters, Bastard out of Carolina, The Life Aquatic, and Gardens of Stone. Huston has amassed over 75 film and television roles and garnered nearly 40 honors, including an Oscar. She is also an accomplished writer and movie director. Wow.
“I arrived in California with no job, no car, and no money, but, like millions of other girls, a dream.” Victoria Principal was crowned Miss Miami in 1969. Bernard Cornfield, Principal’s well-connected lover, helped her advance her acting career by introducing her to the “right people” and expanding her network.
She had a few roles to her credit and even posed nude for Playboy magazine, but it was her portrayal of Pamela Barnes Ewing in Dallas that really cemented her reputation. A best-selling author, Principal also launched a skincare brand and production firm, Victoria Principal Productions!
The late Betty White was a famous American actress and comedienne. She was one of the female entertainers with the longest TV careers and also had the honorary title of 4th Mayor of Hollywood! She is remembered best for playing the cheeky Sue Ann Nivens on Mary Tyler Moore.
… and the slightly disoriented Rose Nylund on the hysterically funny Golden Girls. White is regarded as one of the trailblazers in the entertainment industry and one of the first women to act, produce, and direct in Hollywood. She has been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.
Iowa-born Beverley Owen had a dream. Beverley relocated to New York to pursue her ambition of acting and to test the waters. In the 1950s, most jobs for women were as typists or receptionists; Owen worked as the latter before she was dismissed from CBS because of her terrible typing abilities.
It turns out she was better at reading lines than typing them. She didn’t start getting attention until she was cast as Marilyn Munster in the first season of The Munsters. After only 13 episodes, the blonde-wig-wearing Beverley abruptly left the show to wed writer and producer Jon Stone.
The legendary Elvis Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley is next. The former model is renowned for her role as Jenna Wade in Dallas and her performances in The Naked Gun films. The reasons Priscilla divorced Elvis have been discussed extensively over the years, but Priscilla Presley has been more forthcoming recently.
Being married to a celebrity like Elvis meant being confined to the house. The young and beautiful Priscilla chose to live her life according to her own rules to “find out what the world was like” because she felt in some ways that her youth had been robbed. Go, girl!
British actress Hayley Mills debuted opposite her father, Sir John Mills, in Tiger Bay. After being spotted by one of Walt Disney’s producers, it was suggested that she take the lead in Polyanna, which propelled her to prominence and earned her an Academy Award! Mills was a Walt Disney fan favorite.
She played Susan and Sharon in the movie The Parent Trap. Mills made a seamless shift from her performances as Susan/Sharon and Polyanna to more serious ones. Currently 76 years old, Mills has two kids and most recently appeared in the Party Face theater play by Isobel Mahon.
Who could ever forget the famous scene from Crocodile Dundee that made Juilliard graduate Linda Kozlowski famous? When Kozlowski was cast as the female protagonist opposite Australian rogue Paul Hogan, their chemistry on screen grew, and they began dating in real life! Kozlowski has appeared in many movies since then.
Some of them are Village of the Damned, Backstreet Justice, Almost an Angel, and The Neighbor. Her marriage to Hogan in 1990 makes it seem as though her role in Crocodile Dundee was predestined. However, the couple divorced in 2013, and she later remarried her Moroccan lover, Moulay Hadid Babaa.
The next woman is none other than C.J. Parker from Baywatch. Can you believe Pamela Anderson is already 55? Anderson shot to fame after THAT Playboy Magazine cover in February 1990. She was soon handed roles on Home Improvement, Baywatch, VIP, Raw Justice, and Barb Wire.
Pamela has unfortunately had bad luck with men, having turbulent relationships with Tommy Lee and Kid Rock. She fell in love with French footballer Adil Rami, but the relationship crashed in 2019. She also married and divorced Hollywood producer Jon Peters. Next, it was her bodyguard, Dan Hayhurst, whom she also divorced.
Suzanne Somers, 75, exuded health as she walked in heels and a low-cut T-shirt from an ET interview. The actress credits lots of vitamins, no alcohol, being… “kinky,” practicing yoga, and spending time with family for her good health. She must be doing something right if she still looks so young.
But don’t let that distract us from her acting prowess. Somers has achieved significant success in her roles as Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company and Carol Foster Lambert on Step By Step. She has also dabbled in writing, singing, entrepreneurship, and serving as a health advocate.
You’ve certainly heard of Lisa Bonet, the famous character she played as Denise Huxtable, who will go down in TV history and gave her popularity to rise as an actress. Lisa Bonet was born to a teacher and an opera singer. Lenny Kravitz, her first husband, wrote songs about her.
They welcomed Zoë into the world in 1988. Bonet last had an appearance in the Ray Donovan TV series in 2016. In 2017, she wed Aquaman hunk Jason Momoa after being in a relationship together since 2005. Before divorcing in January 2022, the couple had two children.
Remember how we were just worshipping mega-hot Suzanne Somers? Actually, they are linked, but not because they are both attractive; rather, it is because Priscilla was cast in Three’s Company to play Suzanne’s role. She went on to star in A Vacation in Hell.
She has also starred in Licence to Kill, The Devil’s Rejects, Thr3, Mallrats, and the TV series Jane the Virgin as a result of her participation on the show. The 67-year-old, who has been married to actor Ted Monte for 15 years, has made sporadic recent appearances in TV movies.
Christina Ricci, America’s favorite wide-eyed goth girl, gained notoriety as Wednesday Addams in 1991’s The Addams Family. However, she has since broadened her filmography with roles in such films as The Ice Storm, Now and Then, Sleepy Hollow, Prozac Nation, and the brief TV series Pan Am.
She also appeared in Z: The Beginning of Everything and The Lizzie Borden Chronicles. The Casper actress and her ex-husband, James Heerdegen, with whom she had a son, Freddie, filed for divorce in 2020. She found love again with a hairstylist, Mark Hampton, and the pair is expecting a baby.
Loretta Swit’s portrayal of Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan from M*A*S*H is her most popular performance. Her portrayal of the head nurse was compelling, and she was one of the few cast members to stick around for the entire run of 11 seasons.
Not a character to mess with, for sure! Swit is well renowned for her acting and singing, in addition to her commanding presence on television. In the late 1980s, Loretta Swit was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, demonstrating how popular she was with American viewers.
Melissa Gilbert made her acting debut as Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie. As she became older, her career veered toward acting roles in TV movies and providing voices for animation series like Batman: The Animated Series. Gilbert also ran for U.S. Congress as a Democrat in Michigan.
She won the primary. Unfortunately, she was forced to withdraw due to head and neck injuries sustained in an accident in 2012. The accident happened mid-performance on Season 14 of Dancing with the Stars. The injuries were more severe than first thought, impacting her political campaign.
Grassle, a California native, won a scholarship to study theater at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She made her Broadway debut shortly after she got back. But it was on TV that she would really make her mark, starring in Little House on the Prairie as Caroline.
After the show ended, Grassle continued to appear in films and TV shows, including Wyatt Earp, Murder, She Wrote, The Love Boat, and Battered. Grassle is currently enjoying her success in San Francisco. The 80-year-old is still going strong, making an appearance in Where’s Roman? in 2017.
Marie Osmond possesses a strong musical talent, which is not surprising given that she is a member of the illustrious Osmond family. The only daughter, she was born in Utah into a family of nine children. Marie had more success pursuing a solo career in country music.
All her siblings went into the entertainment industry. Osmond co-hosted the TV show Donny & Marie with her brother Donny. Being active in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s shows that Ms. Osmond never slowed down! Osmond, who continues to perform today, ended her 11-year Las Vegas residency a few years ago.
The Bahamian actress was one half of one of the first interracial couples to appear on prime-time television. History-making! Besides her groundbreaking role in The Jeffersons, Roxie appeared on Broadway in The River Niger and hosted the public affairs program Inside Bed-Stuy, which covered events in Brooklyn.
Roxie is also the mother of rock star Lenny Kravitz! In addition to acting, Roxie was a champion for children’s rights who received recognition from the city of Los Angeles for her significant work. Roxie, unfortunately, succumbed to breast cancer at a young age, dying in 1995 at age 66.
Feldon worked as a model for Revlon, which is hardly surprising given her looks. Her portrayal of Agent 99 set a new standard because it showed a woman capable of handling a demanding and dangerous job. This was an era when women were frequently constrained and limited to domestic “careers.”
Her character showed women that it was OK to be intelligent, shrewd, and determined. In addition to acting in many plays and commercials, Feldon produced several TV movies and reprised her role in the 2008 Get Smart adaptation. An accomplished writer, Feldon is 89 and in good health.
Phylicia Rashad is not only remembered as the mother on The Cosby Show but also of the African-American community at the 2010 NAACP Image Awards. She received two Emmy nominations for her work on The Cosby Show. Rashad won a Tony Award for her performance in A Raisin in the Sun.
That made her the first Afro-American actress to do so. Rashad was also a natural in the theater, with roles in Dreamgirls, Into the Woods, Jelly’s Last Jam, and Gem of the Ocean. You may have most recently seen Phylicia Rashad in the boxing movies Creed and Creed II.
Valerie Harper, a four-time winner of the Prime-time Emmy Award, is most known for her work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off, Rhoda. Not to mention the Golden Globe nominations that came with Chapter Two! She is also renowned for her stage performances.
Harper has performed in several Broadway productions, earning a Tony Award nomination for her performance in Looped. She dabbles in acting and performing on stage these days, but her main focus — which dates back to her co-founding of LIFE in 1983 — remains on humanitarian organizations and movements.
Sandra Kay “Sandy” Duncan is an actress, comedian, singer, and dancer. She gained popularity for her performance in the Broadway revival of Peter Pan and in The Hogan Family. She Duncan started her career at age 12. She was named in Time magazine’s “most promising faces of tomorrow” in 1970.
Duncan also starred in The Million Dollar Duck, The Star-Spangled Girl, and The Cat from Outer Space. She has been nominated for two Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and three Tony Awards. She has received a great deal of praise and attention for her stage performances.
Like many women on our list, Christine Lakin began her acting career in commercials. Her first significant role came in the American Civil War drama Rose and the Jackal. She was chosen for the Step By Step role of Al Lambert in 1989, for which she would become most well-known.
Her presence in a Bud Light commercial seen by millions of Americans during Super Bowl XLI, solidified her Hollywood reputation. She voiced Joyce Kinney in Family Guy and appeared on the talk show The Kilborn File. Lakin was cast in 2016 for the cable Television series Hollywood Darlings.
Staci has intelligence, beauty, and acting skills. Keanan, an actress who later became an attorney and whose real name is Anastasia Love Sagorsky, is best known for playing Nicole Bradford on the sitcom My Two Dads and for playing Dana Foster on the television series Step by Step.
Keanan decided to change careers despite starting her acting career at age 5 and continuing through her mid-30s! 2013 saw Keanan’s admission to the State Bar of California; today, she practices law in Los Angeles under the name Anastasia Sagorsky. Who says you can’t have it all? You rock, girl!
“Not everyone can be trusted. I think we all have to be very selective about the people we trust.” Damn straight, Shelley! Long is best known for playing Diane Chambers in the comedy Cheers. Did you know that for her work on the show, she was awarded two Golden Globes?
Yep, she also won an Emmy! She was unquestionably a hit on the series. Long is also known for playing DeDe Pritchett on Modern Family, where she is, as usual, up to her hilarious shenanigans. She most recently played Grandma Murphy on Milo Murphy’s Law.
Actress and fashion model Terry Farrell is best known for playing Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She also played Reggie in the series Becker. The Iowa native spent 18 months modeling while also studying acting. After 94 episodes of Becker, Farrell voiced a character in Tipping the Rift.
She retired in 2002 to devote more time to her family. She was reportedly dating Adam Nimoy, who is THE Leonard Nimoy’s son. We believe this girl deserves another chance at happiness. Terry made a semblance of a comeback with a role in the television series Renegades in 2017.
Jane Elizabeth Leeves is an actress, model, comedian, singer, producer, and dancer best known for playing Daphne Moon on Frasier. Her performance earned her Emmy and Golden Globe nominations! She made her television debut on The Benny Hill Show in 1983 and appeared in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
Jane kept busy between Frasier work, appearing in Throb, James and the Giant Peach, Miracle on 34th Street, Music of the Heart, and The Event. The 61-year-old, who is renowned for speaking her thoughts, supported the LGBT community in 2012 by participating in an advertisement for the NOH8 Campaign.
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Although she appeared in “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” Jennifer Love Hewitt’s career was launched by “Party of Five” a few years earlier. When she was chosen for the lead in “Ghost Whisperer,” she had ongoing acting and another popular TV show on her hands.
In addition, the actress has written four books.; the last of which, “The Day I Shot Cupid,” was released in 2002. After Criminal Minds ended in 2015, she went three years without acting until making a comeback to television in 2018 with a role on “9-1-1.”
It’s safe to say that Mandy Moore ruled the late 1990s. She paved the way into the 2000s, whether it was as a singer or an actress. Before she turned 16, her debut album “So Real” was already certified platinum, and by the time she turned 18…
…she already had three other successful albums. She managed to balance making music with advancing her acting career by appearing in The Princess Diaries. We agree that no star can shine that bright forever, But Mandy remains a huge success story and an inspiration to many in her late 30s.
Before landing the lead role in My So-Called Life, which made her famous, Claire had already had a number of film roles to her credit. Claire has been acting in film and television since she was a little child. She won a Golden Globe for playing Angela Chase.
… and two more for her performance on Homeland. Danes made a seamless move from television to big-budget movies. Claire Danes is just as famous today as she was 20 years ago, even though she is now actively involved in charitable causes and speaks out on political issues.
Julia began acting professionally before she even started high school, securing a regular role in the children’s mystery series Ghostwriter. But 10 Things I Hate About You was the movie that propelled her to fame. Since then, Julia hasn’t stopped working, including a recurring role in the Bourne series.
She had outstanding guest roles in Dexter and a leading role in Riviera. Julia, who is now married and a mother, calls herself a “former vegan.” She tried the diet for a while before realizing that it made her anemic and that she missed red meat too much.
Kirsten Dunst is one of the few actresses who have grabbed as much recognition at a young age and sustained a successful career. When she was 12, her role as a ghoul in Interview with the Vampire made her famous. But she had already appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
It was clear she was on the road to fame. We have all seen Kirsten in numerous significant dynamic roles, whether they were in Get Over It, Wimbledon, the Spiderman series, Mona Lisa Smile, or Melancholia. She married Jesse Plemons in 2022, and they have a son.
Liv is gorgeous, and in the middle of the 1990s, she seamlessly made the switch from modeling to acting. Since then, she has continued to be a household name. Her life may have been quite different. Liv didn’t always know that she was the daughter of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.
She met Steven Tyler by coincidence, and when she noticed their likeness, she had a difficult conversation with her mother. He turned out to be her father. She and her father quickly developed a close bond; he picked her to star in the music video for Aerosmith’s hit single “Crazy”. The rest is history.
Rachel Leigh Cook
The late 90s hit She’s All That catapulted Rachel to her zenith of fame as a movie star, and two years later, she starred in the popular Josie and the Pussycats, which went on to become a cult classic. Rachel continues to work as an actress.
She still maintains her stunning appearance, but these days she usually appears in smaller films. In 2004, she got married and started a family. This was when her career took a back seat. Rachel has contributed immensely to children’s education and was honored by the Obama Administration in 2011.
After appearing in the early 1990s music videos for Aerosmith’s songs “Cryin” and “Amazing,” Alicia Silverstone immediately became a popular name in the industry. Her 1995 performance as Cher in Clueless, followed by the part of Batgirl in Batman & Robin, solidified her status as a mainstay in Hollywood.
The actress has maintained her presence with roles in Braceface, Miss Match, American Woman, and The Baby-Sitters Club. Offscreen, Silverstone has written “The Kind Diet” and “The Kind Mama” and talked about her son, Bear Blu. She has also been outspoken about parenting and a vegan diet.