Skip to main content

Classic Hollywood's Most Beautiful Actresses

I like to write articles about Old Hollywood, an interesting era of film and TV.


Jayne Mansfield


Best known for her hourglass figure and sex appeal, Jayne Mansfield was described as "Sex on the Rocks" by Life Magazine. She starred in such films as The Girl Can't Help It, Kiss Them for Me, and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Jayne won the 1957 Golden Globe for "Most Promising Female Newcomer" and is the late mother of Law & Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay.


Grace Kelly


Best known for her poised and graceful demeanor, she was named one of the "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History" by Empire Magazine. She starred in To Catch a Thief, Rear Window, and High Society, and won the 1954 Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in The Country Girl. In 1956, she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco making her "Princess Grace."


Marilyn Monroe


Voted "Sexiest Woman of the Century" by People Magazine, she starred in such movies as Some Like It Hot, Niagra, and The Seven Year Itch. She was born Norma Jeane Mortenson and was the inspiration behind the song "Candle In the Wind" by Elton John.


Lena Horne


Best known for her singing voice, she appeared in such films as Stormy Weather and Panama Hattie while simultaneously breaking ground for black actresses in Hollywood. She was inducted into the Big Band & Jazz Hall of Fame in 1991.


Cyd Charisse


She was considered one of the greatest female dancers in the history of the movie musical and starred in such features as The Band Wagon, and Brigadoon. She has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Ann Margret


Sweden born, this Golden Globe-winning actress starred in such movies as Bye Bye Birdie, Stagecoach, and Viva Las Vegas. Hollywood gave her the infamous nickname "Sex Kitten."


Elizabeth Taylor


She was awarded the title of "Most Memorable Eyebrows" by a magazine poll, and starred in such films as Cleopatra, National Velvet and Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. She is twice an Oscar winner, and was given an American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1993.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Reelrundown

Debbie Reynolds


This former beauty contest winner has starred in such movies as Singin' In the Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown--the latter of which earned her an Oscar nod. She is the mother of the Star Wars Saga actress Carrie Fisher.


Gene Tierney


She was known for her sexy overbite and starring roles in such movies as Laura, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and Leave Her To Heaven, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. She spoke fluent French and was part of the uncredited inspiration behind Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd.


Ava Gardner


She was named "the World's Most Beautiful Animal" in a publicity campaign and starred in such movies as Showboat, The Killers, and The Night Of the Iguana. Her third husband, Frank Sinatra, nicknamed her "Angel."


Lauren Bacall


Best known for her cat-like eyes, she starred in such films as The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not, and The Gift of Love. She is half Romanian and has been an Oscar nominee and a Tony winner.


Rita Hayworth


She was nicknamed "The Love Goddess" and starred in such films as Pal Joey, Gilda, and The Lady From Shanghai. She was featured five times on the cover of Life Magazine, and it is rumoured that the Margarita cocktail was named after her.


Natalie Wood


She was born of Russian heritage and is best known for movies such as Miracle On 34th Street, Gypsy, West Side Story, and Splendor In the Grass--two of which earned her an Oscar nod. She was voted "The Most Beautiful Teenager In the World" by Life Magazine in 1956.


Audrey Hepburn


Born in Belgium, this beauty starred in such films as Funny Face, Charade, Sabrina, and Roman Holiday. People magazine named her one of the "50 Most Beautiful People In the World" and she even has a breed of Tulip named after her.


Maureen O'Hara


Born in Ireland, she's best known for her roles in such movies as The Quiet Man, The Parent Trap, and Miracle on 34th Street. In 1993, she was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.


Lucille Ball


Best known for I Love Lucy, she also starred in feature films like Stage Door, Best Foot Forward, and Du Barry Was a Lady. Before her movies and television show, she modeled for Hatie Cartegie's. TV Guide picked her as the greatest TV star of all time.


Lana Turner


Discovered while sipping a Coke in a drugstore, she starred in such movies as Portrait In Black, Bachelor In Paradise, and Johnny Eager. She is part Scottish, Irish, Dutch, and English. Her nickname in Hollywood was "the Sweater Girl."


Julie Newmar


Known for her beauty and her sense of humor, she appeared mostly in Broadway productions such as Silk Stockings and Lil' Abner. Her role in the latter was (justifiably) named "Stupefying Jones" for her abilities to "stupefy" any man with her killer looks. She went on to play "Catwoman" on the Batman TV Series.


Jocelyn "Jackie" Lane


Often overlooked, this Austrian-born actress appeared in such films as Tickle Me, and Hell's Bells. She has appeared on hundreds of magazine covers world-wide and is the daughter of Princess Arriana von Hohenlohe.


Judy Garland


Best known for her profound singing voice, she starred in such films as The Wizard of Oz, A Star is Born, and Meet Me in St. Louis. She is an Academy Award nominee and a Grammy winner. She received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and is in the Grammy Hall of Fame.


Doris Day


Best known for her roles in Calamity Jane, Pillow Talk, and Send Me No Flowers, she is the daughter of a music teacher and has an intense fear of flying. She performed two songs that won the Academy Award in 1953 and 1956, and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Cast Your Vote!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 nikkiennis


Ian Stuart Robertson on September 14, 2020:


Anonymous on September 12, 2020:

Jean Simmons was the most beautiful actress of all time.

Ian Stuart Robertson on August 17, 2020:

And didn't Elvis get a good bevy of 'beauties' in all of his movies !

Zona on July 18, 2020:

Loved loved Marilyn Monroe. So beautiful and sexy

Carolleminettez on June 28, 2020:

I think the acting was better i mean not better none of that obscene gore and knife slicing the acting was on what they said of the dialogue between the actors close shot anyway ..their will never be does where the times That's my thoughts

Adrian on May 19, 2020:

They were much better actresses back then. And we're certainly more glamorous and beautiful. Gene Tierney, is my favourite.

eeeoddd on March 03, 2020:

Hard to endorse a list that does not include Vivien Leigh or Hedy Lamarr. Of course, beauty is subjective, and that is only my opinion. Having said that, you have two choices: you can agree with me, or you can be wrong.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 10, 2019:

The English method actress Dame Flora Robson known for her matriarchal roles quite convincingly portrayed the Dowager Empress of China, Hze Tiu.

Dame Flora must have been flattered by all those male courtiers on their knees cowering before her, enthroned.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 09, 2019:

I'd pay tribute to the host of Oriental ladies that 'made ti' in Hollywood.

American born Anna May Wong, unforgettable as the formidable Dragon Lady. Next and more recent Nancy Kwan and France Nuyen.

Matsuko Takara who usually portrayed exotic dancers. Jaquie Chan as Cleopatra's slave girl in the 1963 epic. But Tura Santana and her martial arts skills at defeating male adversaries must go down in cult status.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on July 23, 2019:

That is what Women want. Power over men !

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on July 13, 2019:

I'd be interested in who are the most powerful women in Hollywood now.

Andy Freeman on July 06, 2019:

Raquel Welch

Michael Aymard on June 28, 2019:

Dorothy Malone

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 28, 2018:


Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 22, 2018:

The other American actress in the 1971 Diamonds are forever, was Lana Wood (sister of Natalie) who portrayed Plenty O'Toole.

Nancy Sinatra sang the title song for the 1967 You only live twice.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 22, 2018:

No problem with the term 'Bond girl' however i prefer the term ' leading lady' in the James Bond genre. There was no classic Hollywood actress in the series until the fifth venture into the 007 namely Diamonds are forever, when Jill St John appeared opposite Connery as Tiffany Case. Tiffany being a 'play on words' as in Breakfast at Tiffany's. I recall another American actress in that film albeit in a lesser role. By the time Roger Moore appeared as Bond there was a plethora of Hollywood starlets beginning with Jane Seymore.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 08, 2018:

Dorothy Provine, Madlyn Rhu and any leading lady that stared opposite Elvis.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 08, 2018:

Also missing are Eve Arden, Anita Louis, Fay Spain,Gene Tierney, etc.

Andrew on August 07, 2018:

Gosh, that's harsh. There are several stunning actresses missing. Deanna Durbin & Phyllis Brooks were quite stunning too.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on July 24, 2018:

Unfortunately some of the Hollywood starlets were used by studio bosses as 'commodities.'

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on July 17, 2018:

They don't make them like they used to.

Primrosenancy on April 25, 2018:

Where is Donna Reed?

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on April 25, 2018:

SOPHIA LOREN - Timeless beauty.

JOAN COLLINS - Still beguiling.

GAL GADOT - Most welcome to the stardom.

Beautiful on April 23, 2018:

Jayne Mansfield and Lena Horne are drop dead gorgeous but where is Dorothy Dandridge

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on April 23, 2018:

I'd rate Elizabeth Taylor as the most beautiful woman in the world.

Brigette Bardot has probably the most sensual actress of modern times.

Not forgetting Joan Collins for a special mention.

Lars on April 22, 2018:

I would have voted for Hedy Lamarr or Gina Lollobrigida if they had been on the list.

Nivia Jinda Oceana/kikiyo on April 16, 2018:

My list

Sophia Loren

Elizabeth Taylor

Ingrid Bergman

Ava Gardner

Vivien Leigh

Rita Hayward

Audrey Hepburn

This list

Grace Kelly

Ava Gardner

Lauren Becall

Rita Hayward

Audrey Hepburn

kathleen scott on January 30, 2018:

Yeah what about sophia Loren ??? Or Jennifer Jones "" Vivien Lee. OMG How could these beauties be left out?

kathleen scott on January 30, 2018:

Ava Gardner

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on October 24, 2017:

Though not so much in the Hollywood genre, Dita von Tease makes me go 'weak knee'd and feel self conscious.

Luvthe50s on September 28, 2017:

It has to be Hedy Lamar. Not only was she beautiful, she was an inventor. Her beauty, her accent, and her wartime invention can never be equaled today.

Warren W. Spencer on August 30, 2017:

and, Hedy Lamarr

Sara on June 16, 2017:

Donna Reed should be on the list!

Clara on December 29, 2016:

Where is Venetia Stevenson?

steve hayes on December 01, 2016:

You left out the most beautiful woman/actress who ever lived: Hedy Lamarr. I met her during my days under contract to 20th Century Fox and though I preferred Rita Hayworth, Hedy was definitely as close to perfect as a human being can get.

Carol Morris on May 24, 2016:

All of them were so glamorous....but Audrey Hepburn was special.

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on August 10, 2015:

Thank you for reminding me of Natalie Wood. She was just great in every one of her movies that i saw.

Texasstar10 on August 08, 2015:

Natalie Wood died in 1981, not 1961. She's my favorite actress.

jm12012 on June 29, 2015:

I never thought Jayne Mansfield was all that pretty; kind of a mush face really, all she had was bazooms. I admit I like brunettes and "ravenheads," what about Dorothy Lamour, Yvonne de Carlo, Dona Drake, or Ramsay Ames?

Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on December 02, 2014:

the 1950's film making era in Hollywood realised some of the most glamorous talent ever to grace the silver screen. Who could ever forget Joanne Dru, Ida Lupino, Ruth Roman, Fay Spain, Madlyne Rue etc. From personal experience in my wild adolescent phantasies seeing Rita Hayworth in The Happy Thieves just about made me lose control.

Jana on September 09, 2014:

Sharon Tate should be on the list.

dickka on September 02, 2014:



PALOMA on June 17, 2014:


2-Elizabeth Taylor



WVgirl on February 04, 2014:

I don't get it!!! There is nothing attractive about Audrey Hepburn. Skin and bones!

aric levy on November 11, 2013:

no Sophia Loren?!!!

that's just scandalous!!!!!!!

fernanda ferreira on September 18, 2013:

Sorry , i wanted to say Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo, as Natalie Wood is in this list already!

My top 3:

Marilyn Monroe

Ava Gardener

Elisabeth Taylor

fernanda ferreira on September 18, 2013:

Where is Natalie Wood and Greta Garbo??

Lucille Ball most beautiful??!! hummm wrong choice!!!

Anna on April 08, 2013:

Audrey Hepburn is my favorite actress. I love every movie she's ever made. She's so poised and elegant yet her characters are always so delightful and funny. But I don't think she's the most beautiful actress of that time.

My top 3 would be:

1. Marilyn Monroe

2. Rita Hayworth

3. Ann Margret

george on December 14, 2012:

Greta Garbo... Not on the list??? God!!!

And she was GOD!!!

Anoop Aravind A from Nilambur, Kerala, India on June 10, 2012:

what a hub!

roy on June 01, 2012:

1. Marilyn Monroe

2. Rita Hayworth

3. Maureen O'Hara

Alice on April 04, 2012:

They left out Ingrid Bergman...

maxximuss on June 24, 2011:

Hedy Lamarr,,,Stunning looks,totally awesome beauty,,nothing compares,,she is the best.

caramelipal on June 01, 2011:

1. Ava Gardner

2. Elizabeth taylor

3. gene tierney

4. Marilyn Monroe

5. Audrey Hepburn

6. Lana Turner

7. Rita Hayworth

weseppers on May 03, 2011:

Beautiful, LOve it.

carlito 4667 on May 02, 2011:

I find it incredible that one of the most natural beauties to ever grace the silver screen was not listed.

In my and others opinion INGRID BERGMAN was one of the most naturally attractive and sexy females ever.

TheSloneGal on May 01, 2011:

I have always said that women from back then were 1000 times prettier then today's I think it has allot to do with the make up not as thick and not much and so one along with the cloths back then to were better and you did a great job on this hub thank you very much

Macknee on April 28, 2011:

so classic and unforgettable, they are talents forever in our hearts. we will never forget them, just from them I know how to be elegant and stylish, the beauty of classic. so now I like buying some designers and luxuries, like Chanel, Chriatian Louboutin, Tory Burch, Tom Ford and so on. Among them, I especially like Tom Ford the talented designer, I like buying them on To be a stylish lady like them.

celebritie on April 27, 2011:

Audrey Hepburn is my favorite of all time

Tatara from Asia on April 27, 2011:

I love Natalie Wood!

schoolgirlforreal on April 26, 2011:

I love Ava Gardner, her performance in Show Boat was unforgettable and what a beautiful face!

BevsPaper from Central Indiana on April 26, 2011:

It is a toss up for me...I've always admired Lauren Bacall but then Audrey Hepburn was also someone I thought was gorgeous. Great hub!

ladyjojo on April 26, 2011:

#1. Lana Turner conquers all of them in looks, well that's my point of view,lol. starred in "Immitation of life" and "Madam X" which broke my heart and made me cry, what a harsh and mean mother-in-law she had in that movie.

#2. Marilyn Monroe

#3. Audry Hempburn

#4. Elizabeth Taylor

Have a nice day ;)

Kenngd on April 26, 2011:

My vote was for grace

june irvine on April 25, 2011:

My vote was for grace..She was beautiful inside and out....And Monaco could use another Grace Kelly

june irvine on April 25, 2011:

My vote was for grace..She was beautiful inside and out....And Monaco could use another Grace Kelly

sidshah on April 25, 2011:

I like Gene Tierney the most from past and want to see her back if I get a chance of past.. :(

Yadira on April 25, 2011:

They left out the most beautiful lupe velez :(

Maurice Young from Atlanta, Ga. on April 25, 2011:

I am 45 yrs old, but I have always loved Audrey Hepburn's characters.

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on April 25, 2011:

Lovely hub. Weren't they pretty back then?

Mindy Bench from Oregon on April 25, 2011:

Awesome Hub! My vote was for you and Grace ;)

nikkiennis (author) on April 18, 2011:

I feel like its unfair! HOW did they look so good? It must have been something in the water...

They sure don't make them like they used to! ;)

BentleyMom on April 18, 2011:

That's a long list but I could not pick one to leave out!!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 18, 2011:

Goodness gracious.... let's go back to the 1950s please.... everyone was so pretty back in the day! O____O

Related Articles