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Starlets That Helped Shape the World of Film for the Better


It is easy to get caught up in the glimmer and glamor that makes Hollywood what it is. Take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and you might find yourself overwhelmed by the lofty names of stars that have emerged as legends, both in Hollywood and in cinema in general. Some have even helped shape Hollywood as a whole, helping establish a certain standard of beauty, poise, and overall excellence. These starlets achieved just that. Read on to learn who they were.

1. Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor was introduced to the spotlight at a very young age. She was born in London, although she also was a U.S. citizen at birth. Even as a child, people always remarked how vivacious Taylor seemed, that she always seemed to have a certain glimmer in her eye, which inspired her mother even more to direct her into acting.


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A couple major studios feuded for Taylor, most notably Universal and MGM. Ultimately, Taylor’s mother decided that Universal’s offer was more ideal. By the age of 12, she established herself as a serious actress when she starred in the 1944 film National Velvet. As she grew older and more mature, so did the roles she found herself taking on. Over the course of her career, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress several times, reigning victorious twice: in 1961 for her performance in BUtterfield 8 and again in 1967 for her work in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

2. Bette Davis

This wasn’t just your everyday starlet- if anyone took her craft seriously, it was Bette Davis. Known for portraying nuanced characters in numerous critically acclaimed films, Davis never settled for just okay when it came to the big screen and as a result developed a reputation for her frenzied need for perfection. The characters she brought to life were not always the most affable; in fact, many were downright unlivable. Nonetheless, she fit into her roles so easily that audiences could not help feel as she delivered.


After arriving in Hollywood and enduring some trying screen tests, Davis scored a deal with Universal Studios, with which she made some ambitious but generally unknown films. It was her work with Warner Bros Studios, in a film called Of Human Bondage, that really caught critics’ eyes. She ended up scoring her first Oscar nomination for her performance. Over the course of her career, Davis would rack up two Academy Awards for Best Actress, several nominations, and recognition from the American Film Institute in the form of a lifetime achievement award. She was the first woman to be graced with such an honor.

3. Jayne Mansfield

With her bright eyes and flirty smile, Jayne Mansfield claimed the title as one of Hollywood’s most lauded sex icons and enjoyed that title for more than decade. As such, she was one of the first Playboy Playmates and was championed by Fox 20th Century as one of its biggest names. Before embarking on her illustrious career, she triumphed at many beauty pageants. Beyond this, she impacted the film industry significantly by being the first woman to appear in the nude in a major film.


Of course, Mansfield had much more to offer Hollywood than a pretty face and an enviable figure. She also ascended the ranks of Hollywood as a respected actress. She starred in such iconic films as Too Hot to Handle, The Girl Can’t Help It, and Wayward Bus. She ended up claiming both a Golden Globe and a Theater World Award. Today, Mansfield’s legacy lives on through her daughter, actress Mariska Hargitay.

4. Marilyn Monroe

There is perhaps no beauty icon more ubiquitous than Marilyn Monroe. Whether she first caught your eye when you caught glimpse of the famous Andy Warhol painting featuring her, or you just have seen the endless black-and-white pictures in which she flashes her winning smile as her skirt billows around her–Marilyn Monroe continues to endure as one of Hollywood’s most significant figures.


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Marilyn Monroe rose to prominence in the 1950s and managed to bring in a total of $200 million among her film over the course of her career. Although she most commonly portrayed vapid characters whose main traits were their attractiveness, people quickly took to Marilyn Monroe as a person: a woman who managed to shine among so many others even after escaping a childhood that was never provided her certainty as she shuffled from one foster home to the next. Her best known films include Monkey Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, and Some Like It Hot. She earned a Golden Globe for her performance in the latter work.

5. Ava Gardner

Consistently ranked among the top tier of women in cinema, Ava Gardner has appeared in countless hit films. She first got her taste of public admiration when her sister’s husband took her portrait and later showcased it prominently in his own New York studio. Her picture caught the eye of the right person, and soon Gardner found herself boasting a contract with MGM Studios.

Ava Gardner Starlets


During the following years, she starred in one film after another, all varying in success. It was her performance in the 1946 film noir The Killers that really confirmed her reputation as a talent worth following. In 1953, she received even more attention for her performance as Eloise Kelly in the romantic drama Mogambo. She scored an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her memorable performance. Gardner was also married to a few famous men– Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and of course, Frank Sinatra.

6. Barbara Stanwyck

With a career spanning several decades, there was plenty to admire about Barbara Stanwyck. She was a favorite amongst movie buffs, critics, and directors. Like many burgeoning starlets, she got her start as an actress in theater. From then on, she enjoyed success not only as a movie star, but as a television sensation as well.

Barbara Stanwyck starlets

Stanwyck stunned many with her ability to adapt to roles so effortlessly. In one film she could be cold and calculating, an unrelenting force not to be reckoned with. In the next, she could be brimming with charisma and affability. Over the course of her career, she was nominated for four Oscars (for Stella Dallas, Balls of Fire, Double Indemnity, and Sorry, Wrong Number, respectively). When she turned to television, she received an Emmy Award for her role in her very own show, The Barbara Stanwyck Show.

7. Hedy Lamarr

Born in Austria, Hedy Lamarr was trained in theater in Berlin. Eventually, she returned to Austria, where she became professional involved in the world of film as a script girl. She scored her first role in a film in 1933, at the age of 18, when she starred in the Czech-Austrian film Ecstasy.


Although the role sexualized her greatly, to the point it resulted in significant backlash and made Lamarr uncertain about her film career, her performance became something of a hit among European moviegoers. By the time Hollywood got hold of her, she had starred in such notable films as White Cargo, Boom Town, and Totilla Flat. Beyond the limelight, Lamarr enjoyed coming up with innovative ideas and teamed up with composer George Antheil to develop and perfect a radio guidance technology intended to be utilized by torpedoes during World War II. The technology did not take off until a couple decades later. Even so, the team accomplished a feat that would end up shaping many facets of modern technology, including everything from Wi-fi to Bluetooth.

8. Grace Kelly

Unstoppable and versatile, Grace Kelly dabbled in–and excelled–in many arenas before taking to the big screen. At the ripe age of 20, she embarked on a lucrative career that involved everything from television work to theater. In 1953, just three years after really establishing herself as an actress, Kelly garnered much critical acclaim for her performance in the romantic drama Mogambo. She managed to take both an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe victory.

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Just a year later, she went on to take the prize of Academy Award for Best Actress, after giving a gritty and nuanced performance in the drama The Country Girl. As fruitful as her career was, Kelly ultimately resigned as an actress and settled down after marrying Prince Rainier III of Monaco. She at that point assumed the title of Princess of Monaco.

9. Debbie Reynolds

Over the course of her eventful career, Debbie Reynolds garnered several awards and much critical acclaim for her masterful performances and soaring singing voice. Her career took off in the 50’s as she appeared in numerous musical films, perhaps most notable the 1952 Singin’ in the Rain. At that time, Reynolds was just 18-years-old.

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In 1964, she earned her first Academy Awards nomination for Best Actress for her exceptional performance in the musical movie The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Additionally, she also managed to establish a respectable music career, scoring a gold record for her hit version of the song “Tammy.”

10. Lena Horne

Lena Horne first ventured into stardom at the young age of 16. Little did she know then that she would enjoy a career that would last for seven decades. She started as a chorus girl for the exclusive New York City-based Cotton Club. After a while, she transitioned into Hollywood and scored some notable roles in several musical films.

Lena Horne starlets

Some of her most notable films include Swing Fever, Duchess of Idaho, and Meet Me in Las Vegas. However, she soon came to accept that Hollywood life was not quite what she hoped for herself and returned to her place of true expertise, the nightclub scene. She scored several Grammys over the course of her career.

11. Lauren Bacall

Considered a leading figure in the Golden Age of Film, there is no denying that Lauren Bacall earned her gilded legacy and status as of the finest actresses of all times. Before embarking on her successful acting career, Bacall enjoyed working as a model. Before turning 18, she got the opportunity to grace the covers of such magazines as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

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It was in 1944 that she scored her major role alongside fellow Golden Age legend and future husband Humphrey Bogart, in the film To Have and Have Not. Moreover, it was when she to up acting that her identity began to metamorphose. Believe it or not, Lauren Bacall was just a stage name; the actress was in fact born as Betty Joan Perske. She had won several prestigious awards over the course of her career, including a Golden Globe and a Tony Award.

12. Gene Tierney

Like many notably starlets, Gene Tierney enjoyed the beginning of her career on Broadway. Her first role was relatively simple; in 1938, she starred in It’s a Wonderful Life! as nothing other than an unnamed girl whose job was to carry a bucket of water. Still, even without speaking, Tierney managed to captivate the audience with her inimitable grace.


Eventually, Tierney scored much larger roles on Broadway, most of which earned her unwavering praise. However, by the 1940s, the aspiring actress was ready to move on to Hollywood, where she scored a contract with 20th Century-Fox. Tierney is perhaps best known for her exemplary performance in the 1944 film noir entitled Laura. It was this part that got her nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

13. Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood became a household name at an impressively young age. That success carried into adulthood, at which point she had been nominated for a total of three Academy Awards before turning 25, an achievement no other actress at the time could claim.

Natalie Wood starlets

Her first most recognizable role was perhaps in the film Miracle on 34th Street. She went on to star in such classic films as West Side Story, Rebel without a Cause, and Splendor in the Grass. She has been regarded as one of Hollywood’s most industrious actresses, with Time noting that she always seemed to be working on some notable project.

14. Lucille Ball

Indeed, it is hard not to love Lucy–Lucille Ball, to be most precise. She first dared into the public eye as a model, as early as 1929. After her modeling career ran its course, she ventured onto Broadway, where she tried on a new identity: Diane Belmont.


It was in 1962 that Lucille Ball truly as established herself, becoming the first woman to manage an entire television studio. Her studio, Desilu Productions, saw success with such projects as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. It was, after all, in the world of television where Ball saw most of her success. She scored a total of 13 Primetime Emmy Awards and claimed four of them.

15. Audrey Hepburn

Born in Belgium but raised in England and abroad, Audrey Hepburn has come to be known as one of the major players in the Golden Age of Cinema. The American Film Institute has ranked her among the top three actresses of all time. As a child, she was trained as a ballet dancer.


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Audrey Hepburn had the honor to being the first actress to claim an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, AND a BAFTA Award for a single performance: her role in the 1953 film Roman Holiday. She has also scored both an Emmy and a Tony Award. Even some of the most talented people of Hollywood cannot boast such an accomplishment.

16. Anita Ekberg

Born in Italy, Anita Ekberg’s career started out with much glitter and glamor. She competed in the Miss Universe pageant and advanced far enough to be named a finalist. She ultimately did not claim the title, but she did get the attention of Universal Studios, who offered her a contract.

Anita Ekberg starlets


But that contract was just the beginning for the young starlet. She would find herself enduring some intense training–not just in obvious areas like voice and acting but also in such things as horseback riding and fencing. It did not take her long to establish herself as a premier beauty icon of the 50’s, appearing in countless magazines, including Playboy. She appeared in such films as War and Peace, Man in the Vault, and Hollywood or Bust. For a while, she was touted as “Paramount’s Marilyn Monroe.”

17. Brigitte Bardot

Born in Paris, Brigette Bardot frequently went by her initials, which were of course B.B. As a child, she held aspirations of becoming a ballet dancer. Eventually, however, she ventured into the world of acting. At first, many of the films in which she appeared her quiet affairs–that is, until she starred in a highly controversial film entitled And God Created Woman. At this point, Bardot had become a household name.

Brigitte Bardot starlets

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Other notable film credits include Viva Maria!, for which she received a BAFTA Awards nomination for Best Foreign Actress. She also starred in such works as In Case of Adversity and Come Dance with Me. Although she remains relatively quiet today, Bardot still resides in Paris, France.

18. Judy Garland

Judy Garland, with her innocent look and lilting voice, has taught many of us that there really is no place like home. After all, her most well-known role is arguably as Dorothy from the timeless 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz. However, this starlet has plenty of other credits to her name.

judy garland starlets

Garland’s career began with her two sisters. Together, they sang vaudeville under the name the Gumm Sisters. When she went on to pursue her acting career, many attempted to capitalize on her natural girlish appearance, which is perhaps why she fit so well into the role of Dorothy. She received an array of awards, including a Special Tony Award, a Juvenile Academy Award, and a Golden Globe. Some of her other well-regarded films include The Harvey Girls, Easter Parade, and Meet Me in St. Louis.

19. Lana Turner

While Hollywood has seen plenty of elegant actresses, there is something about Lana Turner’s brand of grace that begs for a second glance. In fact, at the height of her career, she was named the “most glamorous woman in the history of international art.” Turner has enjoyed a fruitful career that has spanned over 50 years.

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In that time, she managed to establish herself both as an actress and as a stunning pinup model. She first entered a contract with Warner Bros when she was just 16. Moreover, she has appeared in such films as Honky Tonk, Somewhere I’ll Find You, and Johnny Eager.

20. Doris Day

Doris Day first established herself as a singer for a group called Les Brown & His Band of Renown. There, as the band’s vocalist, she saw the song “Sentimental Journey” resonate deeply with the general public. Eventually, she left the band and made a name for herself as a solo artists, producing over 650 songs along the way. Her prolific nature and distinct voice helped her secure her reputation as one of the finest singers of her time.



But Doris Day’s legacy did not end there. Eventually, she ventured into Hollywood, as most young stars often do. She was an incredibly versatile actress whose training as a singer worked to her advantage. Thus, not only did she thrive in traditional Hollywood dramas but in musical movies as well. Some of her best words include Calamity Jane, Pillow Talk, and Move Over Darling.

21. Ann-Margret

Often considered the “female version of Elvis,” Ann-Margret has certain developed a legacy for herself. Because of the constant comparisons to Elvis that came her way, she even recorded her own version of “Heartbreak Hotel.” While Ann-Margret enjoyed some success as a singer, it was when she wandered into the world of acting that she really started to get used to the taste of fame.


But even when she hit the big screen, her voice continued to soar and resonate with audiences. She hit it especially big when she starred in the 1963 musical film Bye Bye Birdie. Some of her other notable works include Viva Las Vegas, Tommy, and Carnal Knowledge. Moreover, Ann-Margret claimed many awards over the course of her career. She had not only two Academy Award nominations to her name, but also five Golden Globe wins, two Grammys, and an impressive six Emmys awards.

22. Raquel Welch

One of Raquel Welch’s most notable roles might have just been what helped propel her career forward. In 1966, she starred in the sci-fi film Fantastic Voyage, which resonated deeply both with audiences and with critics. Eventually, 20th Century Fox took notice of her and offered her a contract.

raquel welch starlets


Thus, Welch went on to be a major movie star of both the 60s and the 70s. Her performance in the 1973 film The Three Musketeers landed her a Golden Globe. Beyond being a talented actress, Welch also was admired for her beauty. Publications such as Empire and Playboy ranked her among their most attractive women lists.

23. Jane Russell

From the 1940s to well into the 1950, Jane Russell enjoyed her status as a revered sex icon. Born in Minnesota, she soon traveled to California where she quickly landed a role in a 1973 western film called The Outlaw. Throughout her career, she dabbled both in music as in film.


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Because of her voluptuous figure and stunning facial beauty, Jane Russell was also able to establish herself as a pin-up model. As for her films, she starred in many over the years. Some of her most notable ones include Calamity Jane, The Las Vegas Story, and The Tall Men.

24. Veronica Lake

With her sleek hair and full-lipped smile, Veronica Lake established herself not only as an actress, but something of a beauty icon as well. Surprisingly, her actual name was not Veronica Lake but instead Constance Frances Marie Ockelman. She started her acting career by taking on minor roles, perfecting her particular brand along the way.

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Known primarily as a film noir star, Lake continued to appear in films throughout 1940s. She struck it big when she starred in the 1941 comedy Sullivan’s Travels. Not only was it her first leading role, it was also the role that garnered her the most positive attention from critics. It is also assumed that Lake was the inspiration behind the sexy and glamorous Jessica Rabbit.

25. Cyd Charisse

Cud Charisse’s influence over the Hollywood is quite impressive, especially when one considers all it took for her to become to accomplished. As a child, she suffered from a brutal bout of polio, which wreaked complete havoc on her body. Still, she pushed through and even trained as a ballet dancer. She became quite the skillful dancer. In fact, dancing made up the bulk of her early career.


With time, however, she gravitated more and more toward acting, both on television and on the big screen. Some of her most notable works include The Band Wagon, Singin’ in the Rain, and Silk Stockings. In 1992, she tried something new by venturing into the Broadway scene. In 2006, she was honored with the National Medal of the Arts and Humanities by President George W. Bush.

26. Jean Harlow

Jean Harlow rose to prominence as a premier sex symbol of the 1930s. As an actress, many of her early films did not see much success–that is, until actor James Hall took note of her. Soon, she joined him on the set of the 1930 film Hell’s Angels, which became Jean Harlow’s signature role.

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Off screen, Jean Harlow radiated not only with physical beauty but also with a great sense of purpose and personality. Many who worked with her noted that her sense of humor was always a delight. Although she never again quite scored a role as big as the one she took on it Hell’s Angels, she did still star in several other films. They include such titles as Iron Man, This Thing Called Love, and Goldie.

27. Jeanne Carmen

Jeanne Carmen was a woman of many talents. Not only was she an actress, a beautiful model, and an irresistible pin-up girl. She also established herself as a trick-shot golfer. Although she was born and raised in Arkansas, Carmen traveled to New York while still just a teen and found work as a Burlesque dancer.


After enjoying a relatively successful modeling career, she took on roles in B movies. Some of her most notable works are Born Reckless, The Monsters of Piedras Blancas, and Guns Don’t Argue. Beyond this, she also made an appearance in a The Three Stooges work.

28. Joi Lansing

Joi Lansing’s presence was quite widespread when she first embarked on her luminous career in the early 40’s. In films, the roles she played were usually relatively small. However, she stood out as a stunning beauty icon of the era. Directors went to great lengths to emphasize her curvaceous figure. Naturally, Joi Lansing also enjoyed a career as a pin-up model.

joi lansing starlets

Some of her more major roles include parts in films like Marriage on the Rocks and Hot Cars. She might be most recognizable as the woman who portrayed Zita in the opening sequence of Orson Welle’s work Touch of Evil. Beyond this, she also managed to become quite accomplished as a television star when she took on the role of Vera Payson in an episode of Perry Mason. She also cameoed in such television shows as State Trooper, Petticoat Junction, and I Love Lucy.

29. Cleo Moore

In many respects, Cleo Moore was the quintessential 1950s Hollywood blonde beauty. Unsurprisingly, she began her career as a pin-up girl and gained much  recognition as such. It was in 1952 when her acting career showed promise of taking off, when she accepted a contract from Columbia Pictures.

Cleo Moore starlets

Columbia Pictures naturally touted Moore as its next big star. Many predicted she might even surpass in fame such grand Hollywood figures as Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe. Instead, Cleo Moore managed to establish a brand and personality of her very own. She starred in such films as Hit and Run and Over-Exposed.

30. Kim Novak

Kim Novak signed on with Columbia Pictures in 1954 and slowly began to eclipse her contemporary Cleo Moore. Over the next several years, she would remain fairly consistent as an actress and take on roles in such films as Pal Joey, Picnic, and The Man with the Golden Arm. She garnered much attention and critical acclaim in 1958 when she starred in the Alfred Hitchcock classic Vertigo.

kim novak starlets

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As promising as Kim Novak’s acting career turned out to be, she did not remain in the spotlight for long. Before she could really bask in the eye of the spotlight, she bowed out of Hollywood as a prolific actress and appeared in films in unpredictable bursts throughout the following decades. Still, her contributions to Hollywood never went unnoticed. She scored two Golden Globes over the course of her career. What’s more, you can even find her name plastered on a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

31. Maureen O’Hara

Maureen O’Hara hails from Ireland and frequently transfixed moviegoers with her shimmering red hair. While she performed in films of various genres, her area of expertise appeared to be western films. Like many of the most successful actresses of the time, she helped lead the art of cinema into its Golden Age.

Maureen Ohara starlets


She began training as an actress as young as 10, and her training went on until she turned 14. It was not long until she found herself in Hollywood, ready to embark on a meaningful career. Some of her most notable films include Sinbad the Sailor, The Spanish Man, and Miracle on 34th Street.

32. Julie Newmar

A dancer by training, Julie Newmar caught many eyes when she performed in the Ziegfeld Follies. But what sets her apart from many other starlets is that she enjoyed a career as a choreographer for Universal Studios at the age of just 19. She continued to thrive on Broadway for a while.



In 1961, Newmar scored a Tony Award for her role in The Marriage-Go-Round. She also really began to shine on television. One of her better known roles might have been as Catwoman in the Batman television series that aired in the 1960s. It was not a regular role, but she appeared often enough to establish herself as the character.

33. Jan Sterling

Beautiful with a certain elusive charm and fiendish gleam in her eye, Jan Sterling enjoyed unbridled success as an actress throughout the 1950s. Before that, however, she got a start on Broadway when she was still just a teen. She scored roles in many different productions, including Over 21, Panama Hattie, and Bachelor Born. Also during this time, she was playing around with her stage identity and considered taking on the name Jane Adriance for a while. Ultimately, it was decided Jan Sterling suited her best.

jan sterling starlets

When she at last made it to Hollywood, she dabbled in both television and in film. Her best known performance was arguably as Sally McKee in the 1954 film The High and the Mighty. She was lauded thoroughly for this role  and even managed to score a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Although she did not win, she also earned an Academy Award nomination.

34. Mamie Van Doren

Born as Joan Lucille Olander, Mamie Van Doren built much of her career around being an eerie Marilyn Monroe lookalike. She gained much attention for her performance in the 1957 film Untamed Youth. However, she first got a taste of the big screen when she appeared the 1957 romance Jet Pilot. However, that role was minor and required her to say just one line.

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For a while, Mamie Van Doren saw success as a pin-up model before finding her niche in the nightclub scene of New York City. Eventually, Universal Studios offered her a contract, which she accepted. Some of her other notable works include such films as Star in the Dust, Running Wild, and The Girl in the Black Stockings.

35. Greta Thyssen

Hailing from Denmark, Greta Thyssen saw success as an actress in the United States for almost an entire decade. She did not embark on her acting career until 1952, after reigning victorious in the Miss Denmark competition. Naturally, she came to the U.S. hoping to make an even greater name for herself in Hollywood.

greta thyssen starlets

Heavily influenced by Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, Thyssen greatly aspired to be such a lauded symbol in her own right. She even appeared alongside Monroe in the 1956 film Bus Stop. Other notable performances include Terror is a Man, Journey to the Seventh Planet, and Accused of Murder. Additionally, she appeared on many television series, including Bachelor Father and Dragnet.

36. Barbara Nichols

Barbara Nichols is best known for inspiring many a laugh or smile for over two whole decades. She spent her childhood in Queens, New York. While in New York, she enjoyed a decent stint on Broadway before eventually taking off for Hollywood, in pursuit of something bigger.

Barbara Nichols starlets


She returned to Hollywood in the 50’s. While she never really took on many lead roles, she did find success as second leads in many cases. Some of her most notable films include The Pajama Game, Miracle in the Rain, and That Kind of Woman. She has also appeared in numerous popular television shows, including The Twilight Zone, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hawaii Five-O.

37. Carol Ohmart

Carol Ohmart differs from many other of the lovely women on this list, in that her specialty is not necessarily drama or romance but instead a genre not usually associated with glitz and glamor: horror. Additionally, she scored roles in various film noir. Before beginning her acting career, though, she was quite the beauty queen. In 1946, she competed for the title of Mis Utah and won it. She then went on to the Miss America pageant and managed to claim fourth place.


Often touted as a potential “Next Marlyn Monroe,” Ohmart gained much attention for her performance in the gritty crime drama The Scarlet Hour. Her most ambitious role was perhaps as a cold, calculating wife who neatly plots to murder her husband in  a film entitled House on a Haunted Hill.

38. Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge hailed from Cleveland, Ohio and first stepped into the spotlight as a singer, with her sister at her side. The two formed a group called The Wonder Children and traveled all over the South, charming many audiences with their distinct voices.

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Although she continued to pursue her talents as a singer throughout her career, she also established herself as a talented actress. Theres perhaps no greater evidence of this than the fact she made history as the first African-American woman to receive an Academy Award nomination.

39. Sheree North

As might be clear, after Marilyn Monroe enjoyed unwavering success as THE sex icon of her time, film studios clamored to lay claim to the “next” Marilyn. In fact, 20th Century-Fox had enjoyed such unprecedented prosperity with Monroe in its arsenal that the powers-that-be were desperate to find someone to follow in her footsteps. Sheree North would hopefully be the answer to their prayers.


However, after screen-testing her for two separate roles, it was determined that she was not the right fit for either of them. Nonetheless, 20th Century-Fox soldiered on. She eventually went on to star in such films as No Down Payment, In Love and War, and Mardi Gras. Although she never quite satisfied Fox’s “next Marilyn Monroe dream,” she did manage to stake out a personality of her own.

40. Adele Jergens

Adele Jergens grew up in New York. In 1939, she competed at the New York World’s Fair and claimed the title of “Miss World’s Fairest.” For some time, Jergens found work as both a model and a chorus girl and even served as an understudy for Broadway actress Gypsy Lee Rose.


In 1944, Columbia Pictures took interest in Jergens and offers her a contract, which she signed. Although a natural brunette, she soon found herself dyeing her hair blonde. For the rest of the decade, she would enjoy a steady career as an actress, taking on roles in such films as The Dark Past and Down to Earth.

41. Marie McDonald

Marie McDonald was recognized as a natural beauty at a young age. She started competed in pageants and as result racked up quite a few accolades. Her most notable titles included “Miss Yonkers,” “Miss Loew’s Paradise,” and “The Queen of Coney Island.”



Although her success would make any aspiring model happy, Mcdonald moved to Hollywood hoping to eventually make it as a actress. She eventually took on a contract with Universal but later decided to accept an offer from Paramount instead. Son after signing her contract with Paramount, Mcdonald starred in the film Lucky Jordan. Very quickly, she began to be noticed for her coveted physique, which is how she earned the nickname “The Body Beautiful.”

42. Martha Hyer

Educated at Northwestern University, where she graduated with a degree in drama, Martha Hyer spent her post-graduation life in California, studying at the well-regarded Pasadena Playhouse. Eventually, she saw signs of her acting career coming to life when she accepted a contract with RKO.

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Her first roles were fairly minor. Eventually, she managed to score larger supporting roles, including a part in the 1957 film Battle Hymn, followed closely by a role in Mister Cory. However, it was her performance in the 1958 drama Some Came Running that really earned her ample attention. She scored an Academy Awards nomination for her stellar performance.

43. Farrah Fawcett

When it came to stardom, Farrah Fawcett had mastered it better than most. She was an esteemed actress, as well as an incredibly desirable model. In fact, after posing in a red swimsuit for a photoshoot, people very quickly wanted to better know her. That poster now boasts the title of the best selling pin-up poster to ever hit the market.

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Like many accomplished actresses, Farrah Fawcett started off with relatively small roles, mostly in television shows and commercials. When she scored the part of Jill Munroe in the hit television series Charlie’s Angels, her career took off almost instantly. Over the course of her career, Fawcett scored a total of  six Golden Globe nominations and four Emmy Awards nominations.

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Sources: Huffington Post, Listal,IMDb

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