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23 Famous Actresses of the 1940s  

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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. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 1945 film Leave Her to Heaven. Ingrid Bergman starred in one of the most popular films of the 1940s and beyond when she appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca in 1942. Later, she appeared in Hitchcock's movies Notorious and Spellbound.

Ava Gardner stole hearts in the 1946 film The Killers, which propelled her into super-stardom. She was under contract with MGM from 1941-1958. 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. She took home a statue for her performance in the 1942 film Mrs. Miniver.

Which 1940s actress is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Gene Tierney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 23 Famous Actresses of the 1940s
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Gene Tierney made her feature film debut in 1940 and quickly became one of the era's greatest actresses. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 1945 film Leave Her to Heaven.

Gene Eliza Tierney (November 19, 1920 – November 6, 1991) was an American film and stage actress. Acclaimed as a great beauty, she became established as a leading lady. Tierney was best known for her portrayal of the title character in the film Laura (1944), and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Ellen Berent Harland in Leave Her to Heaven (1945).Tierney's other roles include Martha Strable Van Cleve in Heaven Can Wait (1943), Isabel Bradley Maturin in The Razor's Edge (1946), Lucy Muir in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), Ann Sutton in Whirlpool (1949), Maggie Carleton McNulty in The Mating Season (1951), and Anne Scott in The Left Hand of God (1955). ...more on Wikipedia

Credits (Film): Laura, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Night and the City, Leave Her to Heaven, The Razor's Edge, + more

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 71 (1920-1991)

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Natalie Wood is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 23 Famous Actresses of the 1940s
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Though she really came into her own in the 1950s and 1960s, Natalie Wood made her feature film debut as a child in the 1940s. Who could resist her sweet innocence as Susan Walker in the classic holiday film Miracle on 34th Street (1947).

Natalie Wood (born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko; July 20, 1938 – November 29, 1981) was an American actress who began her career in film as a child and became a Hollywood star as a young adult. Wood received three Academy Award nominations before she was 25. She began acting in films at age 4 and was given a co-starring role at age 8 in Miracle on 34th Street (1947). As a teenager, she earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). She starred in the musical films West Side Story (1961) and Gypsy (1962), and she received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in Splendor in the ...more on Wikipedia

Credits (Film): West Side Story, The Searchers, Rebel Without a Cause, Miracle on 34th Street, Splendor in the Grass, + more

Birthplace: California, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 43 (1938-1981)

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Lauren Bacall is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 23 Famous Actresses of the 1940s
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Known for her husky voice and lovely locks, Lauren Bacall's 70 year acting career started in the 1940s. She appeared in several memorable films including The Big Sleep in 1946 and Key Largo in 1948. She appeared in four movies with her husband Humphrey Bogart.

Lauren Bacall (, born Betty Joan Perske; September 16, 1924 – August 12, 2014) was an American actress known for her distinctive voice and sultry looks. She was named the 20th-greatest female star of classic Hollywood cinema by the American Film Institute and received an Academy Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2009 "in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures".Bacall began her career as a model before making her film debut as a leading lady in To Have and Have Not (1944). She continued in the film noir genre with appearances with Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947), and Key Largo (1948), and she ...more on Wikipedia

Credits (Film): Misery, The Big Sleep, Murder on the Orient Express, The Shootist, To Have and Have Not, + more

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 90 (1924-2014)

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Elizabeth Taylor is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 23 Famous Actresses of the 1940s
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Elizabeth Taylor started her career as a child star at MGM in the 1940s. During that time she appeared in such films as The White Cliffs of Dover and Little Women.

Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011) was a British-American actress, businesswoman, and humanitarian. She began her career as a child actress in the early 1940s, and was one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s. She continued her career successfully into the 1960s, and remained a well-known public figure for the rest of her life. In 1999, the American Film Institute named her the seventh-greatest female screen legend. Born in London to socially prominent American parents, Taylor moved with her family to Los Angeles in 1939. She made her acting debut in a minor role in the Universal Pictures film There's One Born Every Minute ...more on Wikipedia

Credits (Film): Cleopatra, National Velvet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Flintstones, Giant, + more

Birthplace: United Kingdom

Age: Dec. at 79 (1932-2011)

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