The 1940s was a great decade for film. Alfred Hitchcock was really coming into his own as the master of suspense and Frank Capra gave movie-goers a holiday film that would be loved even decades after its initial release. The actresses of the 1940s were often great beauties with endless talents that were able to thrive in the captivating roles of the day.
Who was the most popular actress of the 1940s? Gene Tierney tops our list. She made her feature film debut in 1940 and quickly became one of the era's greatest actresses. Many will recognize Ingrid Bergman, one of the most famous 1940s female movie stars, for her role in Casablanca in 1942.
Ava Gardner stole hearts in the 1946 film The Killers, which propelled her into super-stardom. Greer Garson was by far one of the most popular actresses of the 1940s. During that decade she was nominated for an Oscar a record-setting five years in a row, taking home a statue for her performance in the 1942 film Mrs. Miniver.
Scroll on below to learn a bit about these beloved 1940s starlets.
- Photo: MGM / Wikimedia Commons / Public DomainFemme fatale Lana Turner was one of the great beauties of Hollywood's golden years. During the 1940s, she appeared in The Postman Always Rings Twice and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- Credits (Film): Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Bad and the Beautiful, Imitation of Life, Johnny Eager
- Birthplace: Wallace, Idaho, USA
- Age: Dec. at 74 (1921-1995)
- Dancer/actress Cyd Charisse started her career in the 1940s with roles in Fiesta and The Unfinished Dance. In 2006, she was awarded the National Medal of the Arts and Humanities.
- Credits (Film): Singin' in the Rain, Brigadoon, Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood, The Band Wagon
- Birthplace: Texas, USA, Amarillo
- Age: Dec. at 86 (1922-2008)
- Lucille Ball may be best known for playing the zany Lucy Ricardo on I Love Lucy, but she previously appeared in dozens of films. In 1945, she appeared in Ziegfeld Follies and Without Love.
- Credits (Film): All the Right Moves, Top Hat, Stage Door, Room Service, Follow the Fleet
- Birthplace: Jamestown, New York, United States of America
- Age: Dec. at 78 (1911-1989)
- Ruby Keeler was a popular singer and dancer when she decided to retire from the movie business. She played Betty Blake in the 1941 film Sweetheart of the Campus.
- Credits (Film): 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, Go into Your Dance, Dames
- Birthplace: Dartmouth, Canada
- Age: Dec. at 83 (1910-1993)