The Eyes Have It

My blogging buddy Peter Nellhaus over at Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee has asked me to contribute my own list of “20 Favorite Actresses” to a new film meme making the rounds of the blogosphere. Frankly I was just going to blow him off and ignore his request because these meme things tend to make me nuts but Peter is too nice a guy to ignore. I tried to throw caution to the wind and just quickly put together a list of 20 of my favorite actresses, but as usual I spent way too much time thinking about this and managed to give myself a headache in the process. This meme madness must end! But at least it gave me an excuse to post a bunch of fabulous photos of some of my favorite actresses.

Naturally I ignored the rules and decided to post a list of 23 40 favorite actresses instead of limiting myself to only 20. My list could have been even longer and I’m sure I’ll regret forgetting to include a few more favorites but over time I felt the need to keep adding to the list and finally just doubled the size. Some of these talented and lovely women were never offered the better roles they so richly deserved, while others are acclaimed Academy Award winners and celebrated Hollywood legends. They do have a couple of things in common though; they’ve appeared in a lot of great movies and I never get tired of watching them!

So without further blabbering, here are 20 50 Women I Love Watching . . .

Elizabeth Taylor

Monica Vitti

Sarah Miles

Julie Christie

Barbara Steele

Charlotte Rampling

Kim Novak

Anna Karina

Carroll Baker

Meiko Kaji

Catherine Deneuve

Isabelle Adjani

Brigitte Bardot

Natalie Wood

Deborah Kerr

Sophia Loren

Gene Tierney

Glenda Jackson

Ava Gardner

Ursula Andress

Delphine Seyrig


Edwige Fenech

Ingrid Pitt

Judy Garland

Florinda Bolkan

Marisa Mell

Katharine Hepburn

Soledad Miranda

Barbara Shelley

Bette Davis

Pamela Franklin

Barbra Streisand

Claudia Cardinale

Anita Ekberg

Paula Prentiss

Geneviève Bujold

Marlene Clark

Diana Rigg

Elke Sommer
Elke Sommer

Alida Valli
Alida Valli

Jenny Agutter
Jenny Agutter

Sharon Tate
Sharon Tate
Pam Grier
Pam Grier
Gayle Hunnicutt
Gayle Hunnicut
Linda Hayden
Linda Hayden
Samantha Eggar
Samantha Eggar
Raquel Welch
Raquel Welch
Suzy Kendall
Suzy Kendall
Ewa Aulin
Ewa Aulin


  1. Yeah, well I left out Vitti, Adjani, Karina and Tierney. Argh. Not to mention Irene Jacob, Alfre Woodard, Isabelle Huppert, etc., etc. And I really need to see more of Fenech’s films – geez she’s lovely.

    That was fun searching for the right pictures though. I’m gonna give a shot at an actors list too.

  2. Great list Kimberly. As I look through these and see many of the same faces I would pick it’s nice to see ones that I would probably have forgotten about had I done lead actresses. And then I would have kicked myself. Like Glenda Jackson. I just know I would have forgotten to put her on the list but I love her work so much. And Genevieve Bujold. I know she didn’t make your list proper but she did get an honorable mention, so to speak, and I love her work too.

    Finally, I like that you and I both have a penchant for making photos in a post uniform in shape and size. It just looks better to me.

  3. Homeric !
    What a beautiful collection. I love the Deborah Kerr picture and it is so nice to put the great Miss Fenech here. Well, i think i have to do semething about this.

  4. Kimberly, what an impressive collection; I’m especially impressed by Adjani and Vitti. And what a great choice is Caroll Baker! Those all-American good looks get me every time.

    I like this meme … everybody’s lists have actresses I wish I’d chosen.

  5. Bob – Finding pictures I wanted to use was the best part! I had to resize and fix up a bunch of the pics I selected in Photoshop but I do that a lot. I don’t think people often realize how much time I spend restoring old photos and movie posters, etc. It’s fun to do but time consuming. I couldn’t find a picture of Meiko I liked for example so I had to create the one above and it took me a good 45+ minutes to do it. Next week it will be featured as my “image of the week” on my site.

    Jonathan – I suspect we would share some classic Hollywood ladies in common. Glenda Jackson is fabulous. She’s the only actresses I know of that could go head-to-head with Oliver Reed and that’s saying something! I regret not listing Bujold now, but limiting this to 20 is just crazy. Glad you liked the photos and my layout. I tend to enjoy playing with shapes and images in my blog so naturally I decided to follow suit with this.

    Vincent – I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, Vincent! That picture of Kerr is a favorite of mine as well. I hope you’ll share your own list of favorites too.

    Rick – Thanks! It’s nice to see another Baker fan. I don’t know if anyone’s listed her yet but I really think she is an amazing actress and she had such a varied and interesting career.

  6. A great line-up, Kimberly…but it was difficult getting beyond that blinding, stunning shot of Liz Taylor!

    I believe Liz called Ava the most beautiful actress in Hollywood… she may have been right!

    Thanks for remembering Delphine.

    And Isabelle Adjani is… well… perfect.

  7. Wow! Not only a great list, but you win the picture contest hands down! The eyes have it – lambent and large all around here, too. Lovely, lovely images, and some of the best shots of a few of those ladies that ever were taken; you got my favorite Liz Taylor shot right off the bat, what a hook! As with most of these lists, tho, I’d have to add Louise Brooks, regardless of era. This meme has some great lists, but this one is cherse!

  8. Flickhead – Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the pics. That shot of Liz is a knock out. She looks like she’s devouring the photographer with her eyes. Ava is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous women ever captured on camera. I love her chin! She has the most perfect heart shaped face imaginable. I recently watched her in one of her later roles and I plan on writing about the film soon since I really like it, but it’s amazing how well she aged. She still looked fabulous at 50!

    Vanwall – I’m glad you liked the list and enjoyed the images. Is there anything better than glamour photography? I can look at images like these for hours! I do love Louise Brooks and she was fabulous in the two films I’ve seen her in (Pandora’s Box and Diary of a Lost Girl), but in all honesty I’m not as familiar with her and her work as I’d like to be. I’m sure more of her films are more easily available now so I should make a point of seeking them out.

  9. Recently I’ve caught Susannah York in a couple movies–Images and The Silent Partner–and realized she’s fantastically gorgeous and talented. To think for years I only knew her from Superman! And Mia Farrow c. Rosemary’s Baby, when she looked “like a piece of chalk,” I believe was the description. And her later work in Husbands and Wives is some of the greatest acting I’ve ever seen.

  10. I think everyone participated as that sense of leaving someone worthy out of their list. I should see more films with Meiko Kaji. I did like the first “Lady Snowblood” film, the second not as much. Thanks for playing. As for me being a nice guy . . .

  11. Bless you for including Delphine Seyrig, Deborah Kerr, Monica Vitti and Meiko Kaji, all of whom would certainly be among my own choices. Interesting how many people are picking Isabelle Adjani — she appeals to me, but it’s hard to pick out a definitive performance.

    I was tempted to prepare one of these lists without getting tagged, if only to put the name and face of Irène Jacob out there, but nearly had a meltdown just wondering if Françoise Hardy qualified with her cameo in CLEO FROM 5 to 7.

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, Kimberly! Keep up the sublime work!

  12. Wonderful list Kimberly and such great images. Flickhead tagged me and I ended up doing it twice as I wasn’t happy with my first list…not surprisingly we have several cross overs. Quality work as always…

  13. Wow, what a stunning collection! Great stuff! You hit most of my faves there, though I would add Lauren Bacall and Rosalba Neri (aka Sara Bey). Still, no complaints with this list. You definitely WIN. 🙂

  14. Will – Susannah York is a terrific actress! I haven’t seen Silent Partner, but I think she’s great in Images. I just watched They Shoot Horses Don’t They? again recently and I had forgotten how great she was in that film but I highly recommend it if you’re a York fan.

    Peter – Personally I prefer Meiko in the Jailhouse and Stray Cat films, but I can watch her in anything and everything. Since you’re not really a nice guy I will blow you off the next time you tag me for a meme!

    Tim – Thanks so much! This was incredibly hard to do and I’m still questioning some of my selections. I’m glad you enjoyed some of my less popular choices. I have yet to see Deborah Kerr on anyone else’s list, but I adore her. I personally love the way Adjanai manifests madness. Her roles in Adele H., Possession and Camille Claudel are her real defining moments for me.

    I’m not all that familiar with Irène Jacob’s work so thanks for name dropping her. If you want to share any of her defining moments in film please do so I can search them out.

    I’m not sure if Hardy would make my actress list but she would undoubtedly make my my chanteuse list! On a side note, I just have to say once again that I absolutely love Cleo From 9 to 7 and Corinne Marchand is lovely to watch as well.

    Last but not least, happy holidays to you and yours!

    Chris – Marissa is fabulous! I considered adding her, but much like Rachel Welch, she’s more like pure eye-candy to me. So far I haven’t seen her really show her acting chops. Of course some people might argue that a few of the ladies above are pure eye candy and to them I say – you clearly need to see more of their movies!

    Jeremy – Thanks! I’ll have to give your list of 40 a lookover. I should have done a list of 40 myself, but I would have been doing this for a week and no doubt have a migraine by now. I suspect we’ll share some crossover choices.

    Vicar – Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you liked the list. Bacall and Neri are terrific. Clearly I think we can all agree that selecting a mere 20 out of a sea of lovely & talented actresses, is just madness!

  15. Kimberly – This is a fine list, with very fine pictures that define glamor, and a great reflection of your particular sensibilities. There are a number of women you listed that I certainly would have liked to have list if I hadn’t stuck with the external and internal rules I set for myself. Ava, Ann-Margret, and Sophia were all in contention. My husband loves, loves, loves Carroll Baker, by the way.

  16. my blog’s list was based simply on best performance, although if i had to do one listing my favorite faces i’d have to put rita hayworth, cyd charisse and grace kelly at or near the top.

    btw, love the website.

  17. I’m currently living in fear that someone will tag me on this, or worse fear that someone already has and I didn’t notice.

    So, I won’t be taking up your open invitation or anyone else’s (hypothetical) invitation.

    But your list is terrific. I can’t think of many I’d choose that wouldn’t be among the 28 actresses you chose or mentioned. I’m glad folks like you are here making the effort on things like this to draw some people’s attention.

  18. Hey Kimberly. Wow! What a great list. You made some outstanding choices. Those were some beautiful pictures of those amazing women. I’m a big fan of those. I enjoyed checking out your post. I did one of those myself over at my Sugar & Spice blog. I had the worse time narrowing it down to 20. There were plenty I had to leave off. Again what a fantastic list.

  19. Fabulous photos indeed! You made a fine selection. I can imagine it’s difficult to choose.
    But what about…. Tippi Hedren?? I think she’s amazing in ‘The Birds’ and especially ‘Marnie’! I guess this is an odd choice in the view of many, but I think Hitchcock knew what he was doing casting this captivating woman!

  20. Thanks for the continued comments, everyone!

    Koto – My own picks are based on acting chops as well, but the women above also happen to have lovely faces I enjoy watching too. Picking actresses based on one singular performance that I admired would be really tough since that list could be endless! As for Rita and Cyd, I really like them both and they’re lovely, but they’re not favorites. I’m afraid that Grace Kelly does absolutely nothing for me. I find her incredibly boring to watch, but I know I’m in the minority.

    Neil – I’m so damn sick of memes that I’m not sure I’ll ever do one again, even if someone nice like Peter asks me to.

    Keith – I enjoyed your list as well and we share some similar favorites. This was ridiculously hard to do!

    Vanessa – Thanks!

    Eelko – This was tough. I like Tippi a lot and I think she’s an underrated actress who didn’t make enough good films. But my favorite Hitchcock blond is Kim Novak and she’s on my list. Of course Novak was also in a lot of great films and I just adore her natural sexiness, vulnerability and style.

    Jim – Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Double Life of Veronique. but I’ve never seen it.

  21. You did such a wonderful job in unifying this collection of glamour shots. I think Kim Novak, Monica Vitti and Fenech would be at the top for me, but I definitely would have included Elke Sommer, too.

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