Can You Identify These Classic Hollywood Actresses?

By: Bambi Turner

Bette Davis batted those famous eyes on Broadway before becoming a Hollywood star in the '30s. She won the Best Actress Oscar twice in 1935 and 1938, but it was her work as waitress Mildred Rogers in the 1934 film "Of Human Bondage" that was her breakout role.

Rita Hayworth's trademark red hair made her the perfect choice to star opposite James Cagney in "The Strawberry Blonde" in 1941. She paired with Fred Astaire for two flicks in the '40s and danced with Gene Kelly in "Cover Girl." Later, she became known for film-noir work, like her role in the 1946 film "Gilda."

Ginger Rogers was already a Broadway star before heading for Hollywood. She paired up with Fred Astaire in ten films and won an Oscar for her role as a retail clerk in the 1940 film "Kitty Foyle." Two decades later, she was back on Broadway starring in "Hello Dolly!"

Jane Russell got her big break in Hollywood with the 1943 film "The Outlaw." The studio had trouble with the censors when releasing the film, however, because of Russell's voluptuous figure and low-cut tops. In addition to posing for countless pinup pics, she later starred opposite Bob Hope as Calamity Jane in "The Paleface."

Greta Garbo was a huge star in the silent era, and her 1930 talkie debut in "Anna Christie" was marketed with the tagline "Garbo Talks!" She earned an Oscar nomination playing a courtesan in the 1936 film "Camille," then retired at the age of 35, settling into life as a serious art collector.

Joan Fontaine played the second Mrs. de Winter in the 1940 version of "Rebecca." She won an Oscar for her role in the 1941 flick "Suspicion," then paired up with Orson Welles to make "Jane Eyre" in 1943.

Joan Crawford transformed from a Broadway dancer into one of Hollywood's leading ladies in the '40s. She won the Oscar for Best Actress thanks to her role in "Mildred Pierce" and had another huge hit with "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" After her death, her daughter published a much-disputed account of her relationship with her mom that left the star's legacy a bit dimmed.

Elizabeth Taylor was a child star in the '40s before transitioning to adult roles by the '50s. She won an Oscar in 1960 for "BUtterfield 8" and again in 1966 for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Her most famous role just might be her turn as the Queen of Egypt in the 1963 film "Cleopatra."

It's hard to believe that a classic British actress was able to transform into Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, but Vivien Leigh did it so well that she picked up the Best Actress Oscar for her work. She is also famous for playing Blanche DuBois in the 1951 production of "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Gloria Swanson was one of the most famous actresses of the silent era, known for her extravagant wardrobe and glamorous style as much as she was for her work on screen. She is best remembered today as the reclusive Norma Desmond in the 1950 classic "Sunset Boulevard."

Shirley Temple made her movie debut at the ripe old age of three. Two years later, she sang "On the Good Ship Lollipop" in "Bright Eyes," before moving on to films like "The Little Princess" and "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm." Later in life, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and the Czech Republic.

Marlene Dietrich was a silent-era star known for her bold personality and style. She played cabaret singer Lola Lola in "The Blue Angel" in 1929 before stepping into one of her most famous roles the next year, wearing a men's tuxedo and top hat in the 1930 movie "Morocco."

Bubbly blonde singer Doris Day had a smooth transition to film in the '50s, starring in "Calamity Jane" in 1953 and "The Man Who Knew Too Much" in 1955. She had her biggest commercial success with romantic comedies from the late '50s through the end of the '60s.

Carole Lombard had her biggest hit with "My Man Godfrey" in 1936 and was even nominated for an Oscar for her role as a wealthy woman who hires a man to act as her butler. Her career came to a tragic end when she died in a plane crash in 1942 after spending an evening in Nevada selling war bonds.

Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr had several movie hits in the '30s and '40s but is best known for her role in "Samson and Delilah" in 1949. Somehow, she still made time to invent a radio-guidance system during WWII. The tech was later developed into something we know today as Bluetooth.

Katharine Hepburn won four Best Actress Oscars, for "Morning Glory," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," "The Lion in Winter" and "On Golden Pond." She co-starred in the 1941 film "The Philadelphia Story" with Spencer Tracy, which led to a 26-year love affair between the stars.

Grace Kelly starred in Hitchcock classics like "Rear Window" and "To Catch a Thief," then received an Oscar nomination for the 1953 flick "Mogambo." She retired at age 26 to marry Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

Jean Harlow was one of the biggest stars of the '30s, starring in "Hell's Angels" in 1930 as well as a series of films with Clark Gable. Tragically, her career ended in 1937 when she died of kidney failure at age 26.

Dorothy Dandridge had her first starring roll in the 1953 film "Bright Road" as a teacher trying to help a troubled student. She became the first African-American actress to receive an Oscar nomination for her work in the 1954 film "Carmen Jones."

Ava Gardner appeared in films from the '40s through the '70s. She picked up an Oscar nomination for her role in "Mogambo," then starred in a series of disaster flicks before moving to TV in the '80s.

Betty Grable was so well-known for her gorgeous legs that a studio once took out a one-million-dollar insurance policy on them. Her biggest onscreen successes came in 1947 with "Mother Wore Tights" and 1953 with "How to Marry a Millionaire."

Margaret Sullavan was a theater star before moving to Hollywood in the '30s. She earned an Oscar nomination for her role in "Three Comrades" in 1938 and made four movies with James Stewart before dying of an overdose in 1960.

Audrey Hepburn was a ballet dancer before turning her attention to film. She won an Oscar for Best Actress as Princess Ann in "Roman Holiday," then starred in the delightful flick "Sabrina" the next year. Her biggest hit came in 1961 with her role as the whimsical Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Barbara Stanwyck starred in more than 80 films over her long career. She earned Oscar nominations for "Stella Dallas" in 1937, "Ball of Fire' in 1941, "Double Indemnity" in 1944 and "Sorry, Wrong Number" in 1948.

Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman won two Oscars for roles in the 1944 film "Gaslight" and the 1956 flick "Anastasia," but to classic-movie fans, she'll always be Ilsa—a woman torn between two men in French-ruled Morocco.

Lucille Ball spent the '30s and '40s working as a model and B-movie actress, often using the stage name Diane Belmont. By 1951, she had her own TV show, "I Love Lucy," which co-starred husband and band leader Desi Arnaz.

Carmen Miranda was a huge star in her native Brazil before moving to Hollywood in the '30s. She got her big break in 1939 with "Down Argentine Way," then donned a fruit hat for "The Gang's All Here" in 1943, one of more than a dozen films she starred in during the '40s and early '50s.

Mae West served 10 days for moral corruption after penning a 1926 Broadway play called "Sex." She was 40 years old in 1932 when she began her film career, but that didn't stop her from acting in dozens of films.

With her deep voice and signature "look," Lauren Bacall became one of the biggest stars of the '40s. In addition to four films with husband Humphrey Bogart, she co-starred with Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe in "How to Marry a Millionaire."

Veronica Lake peeked out from behind strands of her signature blonde hair to win fan's hearts in films like "Sullivan's Travels" and "The Hour Before the Dawn." Her career ended abruptly thanks to troubles with alcohol and a reputation that she had become difficult to work with.

Marilyn Monroe packed a lot into her short life. She not only married and divorced three times but also starred in some big box office flicks, including "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "How to Marry a Millionaire" and "The Seven Year Itch."

Debbie Reynolds became a huge star thanks to "Singin' in the Rain" and was later nominated for an Oscar for playing the title role in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." She was married three times. Her first marriage was to singer Eddie Fisher, shown here in 1955. Her daughter Carrie Fisher went on to act as well; she was in a little film called "Star Wars."

Olivia de Havilland played the graceful Melanie Wilkes in "Gone with the Wind," then picked up a pair of Oscars for "To Each His Own" and "The Heiress." She made more than 50 films in her career and was still going strong at age 102 when this quiz was published in 2019.

After dominating the Broadway stage in the 1920s, Claudette Colbert made the move to Hollywood. She played a socialite who falls for a reporter in the 1934 flick "It Happened One Night," then took on roles in "Cleopatra" and "The Palm Beach Story."

Judy Garland was just a teenager when she starred as Dorothy in the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz." After an Oscar nomination for "A Star is Born" and a Grammy win in 1961, she died of an overdose in 1969.

Femme fatale Lana Turner starred opposite Mickey Rooney in the Andy Hardy flicks before moving on to more adult roles. She famously traded kisses for war bonds during WWII, co-starred with Clark Gable in four films and had her breakout role opposite James Stewart in the 1941 movie "Ziegfeld Girl."

With her bright red hair, Maureen O'Hara stood out on screen in five John Ford films. She played the lead in the holiday classic "Miracle on 34th Street" and starred opposite John Wayne in "The Quiet Man" in 1952. She is seen here in RKO's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" in 1939.

Jayne Mansfield landed her first starring role in "The Girl Can't Help It" in 1956, but it was her role in "The Wayward Bus" the next year that earned her a Golden Globe. She tragically died in a car accident in 1967 at age 34. Popular TV actress Mariska Hargitay is one of Mansfield's five children.

Deborah Kerr had one of her most memorable onscreen moments on that Hawaii beach in the 1953 film "From Here to Eternity." She is also remembered for "The King and I" and "An Affair to Remember." Despite six nominations for Best Actress, Kerr never won an Oscar.

Lena Horne struggled in Hollywood because of her race, but she won a Tony Award for her role in "Jamaica" in 1958. She is also remembered for singing the title song in the 1943 production of "Stormy Weather," as well as for extensive TV work in the '60s and '70s.

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Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

The period between the development of "talkies"—movies with sound at the start of the 1930s—and and when televisions became common in the home in the late '50s is known as Hollywood's Golden Age. Fans flocked to theaters to get their entertainment fix, studios churned out some of the greatest movies of all time and actors and actresses glittered onscreen and off, thanks to studio-controlled images and a whole lot less paparazzi than what today's stars deal with.

Even as technology improves, special effects and CGI create new movie magic and generations of eager young actresses get their chances for movie stardom, the films produced during the Golden Age live on. Not only because of their engaging storylines and for the glimpse they offer into simpler times, but for the magnetism of their stars. Because what would "The Wizard of Oz" be without Judy Garland, or "Gone with the Wind" without Vivien Leigh as the stubborn Scarlett?

Though names of these legendary actresses live on, there are many today who might have never seen them light up the screen. Think you can still put a face to the name of some of the most famous actresses from Hollywood's Golden Age? Take our quiz to prove it!

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