Famous 19th Century Actresses

Find out more about the greatest 19th Century Actresses, including Mae West, Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, Sarah Bernhardt and Hattie McDaniel.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Mae West

Mae West
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 17, 1893
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bushwick
Died: November 22, 1980
Mae West began her career as a child actor in vaudeville. She later appeared in films such as You Done Me Wrong and Go West, Young Man. She became famous for her signature double entendres and sexual liberty she projected on screen. She also wrote books and plays later.

 2 Hattie McDaniel

Hattie McDaniel
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 10, 1895
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wichita
Died: October 26, 1952

Hattie McDaniel was an American actress, comedian, and singer-songwriter. She became the first African-American to be honored with an Academy Award when her portrayal of Mammy earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Also a radio performer, Hattie McDaniel was the first African American woman to express her skills as a singer on the radio in the US.

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 3 Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford
3
Famous As: Actress, Producer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: April 8, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Toronto
Died: May 29, 1979

Academy Award-winning Canadian-American actor Gladys Marie Smith, better known by her pseudonym, Mary Pickford, was also one of the co-founders of Pickford–Fairbanks Studios and United Artists. She and 35 others co-founded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was also known as "America's Sweetheart" of silent films.

 4 Esme Creed-Miles

Esme Creed-Miles
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 5, 2000
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London Borough of Barnet Barnet, England

 5 Ethel Barrymore

Ethel Barrymore
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 15, 1879
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: June 18, 1959

 6 Billie Burke

Billie Burke
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 7, 1884
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Died: May 14, 1970

 7 Josephine Earp

Josephine Earp
3
Famous As: actor
Birthdate: 1861 AD
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: December 19, 1944
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 8 Irene Dunne

Irene Dunne
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 20, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Died: December 4, 1990

Irene Dunne was a prominent actor of the Golden Age of Hollywood. She is best known for her comedy roles and was nominated for the Academy Award five times. Some of her best-known films were Theodora Goes Wild and I Remember Mama. A devout Catholic, she received the papal knighthood.

 9 Sarah Bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 22, 1844
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 26, 1923

Sarah Bernhardt was a French actress known for playing important roles in popular French plays of the early-20th century.  Her decision to play Hamlet inspired Theresa Rebeck's play Bernhardt/Hamlet, in which Janet McTeer portrayed Sarah Bernhardt. In 1960, Bernhardt became the earliest born person to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 10 Shirley Booth

Shirley Booth
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 30, 1898
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Died: October 16, 1992

Shirley Booth is best remembered for her Academy Award-winning role in Come Back, Little Sheba and was one of only 24 people to earn the Triple Crown of Acting, namely the Academy, the Primetime Emmy, and the Tony awards. She also appeared in a TV production of The Glass Menagerie.

 11 Kathrine Narducci

Kathrine Narducci
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 22, 1965
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: East Harlem, New York City, New York, USA

 12 Lillie Langtry

Lillie Langtry
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 13, 1853
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Jersey
Died: February 12, 1929

 13 Virginia Dare

Virginia Dare
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 6, 1882
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 8, 1962

 14 Ethel Waters

Ethel Waters
2
Famous As: Actor, Singer, Jazz musician, Stage actor
Birthdate: October 31, 1896
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chester County
Died: September 1, 1977

 15 Spring Byington

Spring Byington
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 17, 1886
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Died: September 7, 1971

 16 Lola Montez

Lola Montez
2
Famous As: Stage dancer
Birthdate: February 17, 1821
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Grange, Ireland
Died: January 17, 1861

 17 Adele Astaire

Adele Astaire
2
Famous As: Actor, Dancer, Stage actor
Birthdate: September 10, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Omaha
Died: January 25, 1981

 18 Gracie Fields

Gracie Fields
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Famous As: Actor, Comedian, Singer
Birthdate: January 9, 1898
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rochdale
Died: September 27, 1979

 19 Mabel Normand

Mabel Normand
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 9, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Brighton, Staten Island,
Died: February 23, 1930

 20 Dame Gladys Cooper

Dame Gladys Cooper
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 18, 1888
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hither Green, London, United Kingdom
Died: November 17, 1971

 21 Judith Anderson

Judith Anderson
2
Famous As: stage actor, film actor
Birthdate: February 10, 1897
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Adelaide
Died: January 3, 1992

 22 Marion Lorne

Marion Lorne
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 12, 1883
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Pittston, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: May 9, 1968

 23 Virginia Rappe

Virginia Rappe
2
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: July 7, 1895
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: September 9, 1921

 24 Marie Dressler

Marie Dressler
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 9, 1868
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Died: July 28, 1934

Marie Dressler was a Canadian comedian and actress. A major film star during the Depression-era, Dressler received the 1931 Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Min Divot in the 1930 American comedy-drama film, Min and Bill. Her life and career inspired a play titled Queen Marie, which was written by Shirley Barrie.

 25 Alla Nazimova

Alla Nazimova
12
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 3, 1879
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Yalta, Crimea, Russian Empire
Died: July 13, 1945

Alla Nazimova was a Russian-American actress who had an extensive career on Broadway. She acted in the classic plays of playwrights like Ibsen, Chekhov, and Turgenev. She eventually moved on to films and had an equally successful stint in cinema as well. She was openly bisexual and had sexual relationships with women while being married to a man.

 26 Edna Purviance

Edna Purviance
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 21, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paradise Valley, Nevada, United States
Died: January 11, 1958

 27 Maude Adams

Maude Adams
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 11, 1872
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Died: July 17, 1953

 28 Dorothy Gish

Dorothy Gish
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 11, 1898
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States
Died: June 4, 1968

 29 Margaret Dumont

Margaret Dumont
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 20, 1882
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Died: March 6, 1965

 30 Peggy Wood

Peggy Wood
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 9, 1892
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: March 18, 1978

 31 Maud Gonne

Maud Gonne
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 21, 1866
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tongham, United Kingdom
Died: April 27, 1953

 32 Dorothea Jordan

Dorothea Jordan
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 22, 1761
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Waterford, Ireland
Died: July 5, 1816

 33 Moyna Macgill

Moyna Macgill
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 10, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Belfast, Ireland
Died: November 25, 1975

 34 Loie Fuller

Loie Fuller
2
Famous As: Actor, Lighting designer, Choreographer, Artist, Dancer, Stage actor, Model
Birthdate: January 15, 1862
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Illinois
Died: January 1, 1928

 35 Bessie Love

Bessie Love
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 10, 1898
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Midland, Texas, United States
Died: April 26, 1986

 36 Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker
20
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 13, 1886
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tul'chyn, Ukraine
Died: February 9, 1966

 37 Ruth Chatterton

Ruth Chatterton
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 24, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: November 24, 1961

 38 Ellen Terry

Ellen Terry
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 27, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Coventry, United Kingdom
Died: July 21, 1928

 39 Colleen Moore

Colleen Moore
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 19, 1899
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Port Huron, Michigan, U.S.
Died: January 25, 1988

 40 Alice Brady

Alice Brady
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 2, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: October 28, 1939

 41 Anna Held

Anna Held
2
Famous As: Actress, Singer
Birthdate: March 8, 1872
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: August 12, 1918

Anna Held was a Polish singer and stage performer. Although her personal life and relationship with Florenz Ziegfeld overshadowed her professional career, Anna Held's uninhibited style inspired the popular theatrical revue productions on Broadway, The Ziegfeld Follies. Her relationship with Florenz Ziegfeld also inspired films like The Great Ziegfeld and Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women.

 42 Una O Connor

Una O Connor
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 23, 1880
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Belfast, Ireland
Died: February 4, 1959

 43 Texas Guinan

Texas Guinan
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 12, 1884
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Waco, Texas, U.S.
Died: November 5, 1933

 44 Marilyn Miller

Marilyn Miller
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 1, 1898
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Evansville, Indiana, United States
Died: April 7, 1936

 45 Gertrude Lawrence

Gertrude Lawrence
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 4, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newington, London, United Kingdom
Died: September 6, 1952

Gertrude Lawrence was an English actress, singer, and dancer. She also performed musical comedy in the West End of London and on Broadway in New York. She was introduced to the entertainment world as a child and grew up to become a famous multi-faceted performer. She won several awards. In her later years, she taught acting. 

 46 Nellie Clifden

Nellie Clifden
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Unknown

 47 Adah Isaacs Menken

Adah Isaacs Menken
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 15, 1835
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
Died: August 10, 1868

 48 Lily Pons

Lily Pons
2
Famous As: American-French operatic soprano
Birthdate: April 12, 1898
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Draguignan, France
Died: February 13, 1976

 49 Dame Edith Evans

Dame Edith Evans
2
Famous As: British actress
Birthdate: February 8, 1888
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 14, 1976

 50 Tina Modotti

Tina Modotti
2
Famous As: Photographer
Birthdate: August 17, 1896
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Udine, Italy
Died: January 5, 1942

Italian-American photographer Tina Modotti was the daughter of migrant laborers in Austria. She later worked in a textile factory in Italy, before moving to the U.S., where she acted in Italian theater. Initially excelling in still lifes and portraits, she later gained fame for her signature close-ups of Mexican workers.