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22 Famous Actresses of the 1950s

Updated August 21, 2019 224.8k views22 items

The 1950s featured the rise of blonde bombshells and their beautiful brunette counterparts. Musicals and romantic comedies were still wildly popular throughout the decade, but suspense thrillers and dark dramas were also bringing in money at the box office.

Who was the most popular actress of the 1950s? Marilyn Monroe tops our list. With her iconic looks and wispy voice, Marilyn Monroe defined the classic Hollywood actress. She appeared in such classic 1950s films as Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Before becoming Princess Grace of Monaco, Grace Kelly was Hollywood royalty. In the 1950s, she starred in Rear Window, Dial M for Murder and To Catch a Thief.

Petite and spunky, Audrey Hepburn has remained a fashion icon years after her death in 1993. In the 1950s, she appeared in great films like Roman Holiday, Sabrina, and Funny Face. Other great actresses from the 1950s include Shirley MacLaine, Jayne Mansfield and Dorothy Dandridge.

Which 1950s actress is your favorite? Take a look at this list and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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  • Marilyn Monroe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 22 Famous Actresses of the 1950s
    Photo: Antonio Marín Segovia / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    With her iconic looks and wispy voice, Marilyn Monroe defined the classic Hollywood actress. She appeared in such 1950s films as Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
    • Credits (Film): Some Like It Hot, All About Eve, The Misfits, The Seven Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
    • Age: Dec. at 36 (1926-1962)

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  • In 1952, Debbie Reynolds appeared in one of the most iconic musicals of all-time, Singing in the Rain. She was only 19 at the time the film was made.
    Mary Frances "Debbie" Reynolds (April 1, 1932 – December 28, 2016) was an American actress, singer and businesswoman. Her career spanned almost 70 years. She was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her portrayal of Helen Kane in the 1950 film Three Little Words, and her breakout role was her first leading role, as Kathy Selden in Singin' in the Rain (1952). Other successes include The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953), Susan Slept Here (1954), Bundle of Joy (1956 Golden Globe nomination), The Catered Affair (1956 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Winner), and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), in which her performance of the song "Tammy" reached... more on Wikipedia
    • Credits (Film): Singin' in the Rain, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Charlotte's Web, How the West Was Won, In & Out
    • Birthplace: El Paso, Texas, United States of America
    • Age: 88
  • Shirley MacLaine is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 22 Famous Actresses of the 1950s
    Photo: movie studio / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Shirley MacLaine is still regarded as an amazing actress, but she got her start in the 1955 movie The Trouble with Harry. She has been nominated for an Oscar six times, and she finally took home a trophy for Terms of Endearment in 1984.
    • Credits (Film): The Apartment, Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment, Being There, Valentine's Day
    • Birthplace: USA, Virginia, Richmond
    • Age: 85

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  • Audrey Hepburn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 22 Famous Actresses of the 1950s
    Photo: Hans Gerber / via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
    Petite and spunky, Audrey Hepburn has remained a fashion icon years after her death in 1993. In the 1950s, she appeared in great films like Roman Holiday, Sabrina and Funny Face.
    • Credits (Film): Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday, Charade, Wait Until Dark
    • Birthplace: Ixelles, Belgium
    • Age: Dec. at 64 (1929-1993)

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