Friday, December 19, 2008

20, er.... 10 favorite actresses

This meme comes from Asleep in New York. This was quite difficult for me as, I admit, I don't pay all that much attention to the women in movies usually. Shame on me! If you asked me who my all-time favorite actress is... er, I don't think I could honestly name a true genuine favorite. But I like many actresses for a variety of reasons. So, I'm just picking 10, because after the first ten, it gets into the impersonal generic "oh, I like that actress cuz she's gorgeous and talented" realm, but I don't actually know her work that well. So these ten are ones I have always had special affection for, whose performances haven't diminished over time, or that I still admire (or secretly want to be), or that really did make me pay attention when the men weren't around.

This list is alphabetical by first name (just cuz I needed some order).

1. Anne Baxter

I fell in love with her when I was a kid and first saw her as Nefretiri in Ten Commandments. Not only was she beautiful, but she has that wonderful low, sultry voice. I have a radio show of Where the Sidewalk Ends with her and Dana Andrews, and it really got me musing what she would have been like in the movie instead of Gene Tierney. I like Gene, I really do, she's just so fragile and broken (even when she's playing strong or scheming, she's still incredibly vulnerable), and I can't relate to her the way I can to Anne Baxter. I've actually sought out a few of her movies and liked her in every one. I'm very tempted to name Anne Baxter as my favorite actress.

2. Barbara Stanwyck

She's a newer addition, but as she starred with just about every single classic actor I love (lucky woman!), as well as in Big Valley, I've had tons and tons of screen time with her lately and have really gotten to love her. She can play any kind of character and make you believe in her.

3. Betty Grable

I simply think she's wonderful. I've liked her in everything I've seen her in, and I actually went hunting for more of her movies just because she's so fun and seems so honestly nice.

4. Dorothy Lamour

Mostly a childhood favorite, from watching all those Road pictures over and over and over... Another one with a sultry voice too... and she goes right along with my love of South Seas romance movies.

6. Grace Kelly

I often think of her first when I'm asked about actresses, but that's mostly from how much I love her in Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. I don't particularly like her in High Noon or High Society. Even still, I can't think of any other woman who wears her clothes quite as well or simply looks quite that elegant.

7. Janice Rule

Caught her first in old tv shows, but have since seen her in quite a few movies, enough that I have gone looking for more of her work. There's a simple directness and natural beauty to her that I just really like.

8. Jeanette MacDonald

My dad loved old musicals, so I grew up on a lot of Jeanette MacDonald. I love her particularly in San Francisco, but she gets to sing Tosca in Rose Marie (and have Jimmy Stewart for a brother!), and that, plus her voice, put her ahead of most other musical stars for me.

9. Mary Ure

I've only seen her in two movies (both with Richard Burton, interestingly!), but one of those was one of the base founding movies of my life: Where Eagles Dare. She was the first female action hero I idolized. I always wanted to be a blonde because of her. Heck, I wanted to be just like her in that movie. I mean she's right in there doing everything the guys are, and Richard Burton trusts her to watch prisoners and shoot down bad guys while he's vulnerable. I don't know about favorite actress, but Mary Elison in Where Eagles Dare is still my all-time favorite female character.

5. Merle Oberon

She's the brunette version of Grace Kelly for me. Stunningly elegant, always beautiful even when she's dressed down. And I adore her in Night Song.

10. Vitina Marcus

Ha! Okay, I know almost nobody's heard of her (I assume), but when I was little, she seemed to be in everything the family watched. The Lost World, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Time Tunnel, etc. She was usually playing the exotic and beautiful native girl, and I sooooooo wanted to be her. :-D


  1. Oh, good job! :)

    Anne Baxter - I knew she did the radio version of WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, but I haven't listened to it yet...I also like her! She'd be in my twenty-through-thirty group.

    Betty Grable - she does seem nice, doesn't she? I think I've only seen one or two of her movies, though.

    Dorothy Lamour - I like her too.

    Grace Kelly - I used to love her until I watched more of her movies...she's really great in some, and really awful in others. Always beautiful, though, so I guess it's okay. ;)

    Never heard of Janice Rule, Mary Ure, or Vitina Marcus.

    I kinda dislike Merle Oberon. Not enough to include her on my 'dislike' list, but just enough to avoid her...though I do want to see NIGHT SONG! :)


    "this was quite difficult for me as, I admit, I don't pay all that much attention to the women in movies usually."

    You know, I don't either...for the thirty or so actresses I like, I bet I can name nearly a hundred actors I love! Men are just more fun to watch...

  2. Yeah, Grace Kelly is so hit and miss for me. I also don't like her voice, so I'd rather just look at pictures of her than watch her in movies, but, I still do love her in the Hitchcock films.

    And you know, this isn't really a true "favorites" list. It's just a list of actresses I like a little more than the others. I mean, with the exception of Barbara Stanwyck and probably Anne Baxter, I haven't seen any of these ladies in remotely the quantity of films I've seen even the "lesser" men on my favorites list. Some of them I've only seen in one or two films. Really, that shouldn't count as favorites. I could add Jean Arthur, Claire Trevor, Rita Hayworth, Maureen O'Hara, Myrna Loy, and Ginger Rogers, cuz I love them all too, but I never seek them out either. If they're in something I'm watching, wonderful, if not... oh well. I was talking to my sister about this meme, and she couldn't name a true favorite actress either.

    It's funny, cuz I'd never heard of Janice Rule either. Then I first saw her in a Rote 66 ep and she made enough impression on me that I noted her name and went "wow, she's quite cool." Then she popped up in a Yul Brynner Western I watched. Then in movies with three of my favorite actors, William Holden, Ralph Meeker, and Aldo Ray... then on a Have Gun-Will Travel ep, etc. She just started popping up every time I turned around! It was crazy! That ever happen to you, where you've never heard of someone, and then in the next three months, you see them everywhere?

  3. Oh, it happens all the time! :)

    I love it when I find someone new-to-me, and then they start appearing all over the place...(like Cornel Wilde's been doing!).

    And every time I think it won't happen again, it does, and it's delightful! :)

  4. Interesting list! I like your selection of Vitina Marcus. I remember her (vividly!) from a 'Man From UNCLE' episode where she played a jungle girl, like you mentioned. I like a lot of TV actresses from this same period, but that's grist for another blog. Otherwise, I'd have listed Nancy Kovack!

    BTW, Mary Ure was married to Robert Shaw ("Quint" from JAWS).