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The A.F.I. Top 25 Female Silver Screen Performers List
Compiled by Rob Paul

The A.F.I. does like its lists and while some of your favorites may not have made the cut, I think it would be hard to say that none of these ladies are well deserving of the attention they received.

1. Katharine Hepburn

"This dame is terrific - and expert in her craft and so electrifying on the set that if you don't watch out, you're likely to wind up as part of the scenery." - Bob Hope

Oscar winning performance #1: Morning Glory - 1933.
Oscar winning performance #2: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - 1967.
Oscar winning performance #3: The Lion In Winter - 1968.
Oscar winning performance #4: On Golden Pond - 1981.

2. Bette Davis

"Mother of three: divorcee; American, Twenty years experience as an actress in motion pictures. Mobile still and more affable than rumour would have it. Wants steady employment in Hollywood. (Has had Broadway.) References upon request." - From a full page ad Bette Davis paid for when work dwindled in the 50's.

Favourite Film: Of Human Bondage
Just for wicked fun: All About Eve
Oscar winning performance(s): Jezebel and Dangerous

3. Audrey Hepburn "She's a wispy, thin little thing, but you're really in the presence of somebody when you see that girl. Not since Garbo has there been anything like it, with the possible exception of Bergman." - Billy Wilder

Favourite Film: Breakfast at Tiffany's
Not your typical Audrey: Wait Until Dark
Oscar winning performance: Roman Holiday

4. Ingrid Bergman

"I've gone from saint to whore and back to saint again, all in one lifetime." - Herself

Favourite Film: Notorious
Brilliant without a Script: The Bells of St. Mary's
Oscar winning performance(s): Anastasia and Gaslight

5. Greta Garbo

"She gave you the impression that, if your imagination had to sin, it could at least congratulate you on its impeccable taste" - Alistair Cooke

Favourite Film: Ninotchka
All Around Great Movie: Grand Hotel
Oscar winning performance: An Honorary one back in 1954. What about Anna Karenina?

6. Marilyn Monroe

"In Hollywood a girl's virtue is much less important than her hairdo. You're judged by how you look, not by what you are. Hollywood's a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty." - Herself

Favourite Film: Seven Year Itch
Classic Monroe: Some Like It Hot
Oscar winning performance: No Oscar. Uh-huh. No matter what I suggest here I'm going to look a little off-kilter. Still, how about...How to Marry a Millionaire

7. Elizabeth Taylor

"My mother says I didn't open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked." - Herself

"She should get a divorce and settle down." - Jack Paar

Favourite Film: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Just for fun: Giant
Oscar winning performance: Butterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

8. Judy Garland

"A place where there isn't any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place Toto? There must be. It's not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It's far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain." - as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

Favourite Film: A Star is Born
Most remembered for: The Wizard of Oz.
Oscar winning performance: A Special Award award in 1939 but no statuette! Still, there's always Meet Me In St. Louis

9. Marlene Dietrich

"If she had nothing more than her voice she could break your heart with it. But she has that beautiful body and the timeless loveliness of her face. It makes no difference how she breaks your heart if she is there to mend it." - Ernest Hemingway

Favourite Film: Touch of Evil
Wonderful Change of Pace: Destry Rides Again
Oscar winning performance: No Oscars for Fraulein (although nominated for Morocco), however...I have always loved her in Witness for the Prosecution.

10. Joan Crawford

"If you want to see the girl next door, go next door." - Herself

Favourite Film: Rain
Twisted Change of Pace: Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
Oscar winning performance: Mildred Pierce

11. Barbara Stanwyck

"Barbara Stanwyck has played five gun molls, two burlesque queens, half a dozen adulteresses and twice as many murderers. When she was good, she was very, very good. And when she was bad, she was terrific." - Walter Matthau.

Favourite Film: Meet John Doe
A classic: Stella Dallas. Stanwyck was nominated for her performance here. Get out the kleenex for this one!
Oscar winning performance: An Honorary in 1981, but there's always Double Indemnity

12. Claudette Colbert

"The smartest, canniest, smoothest eighteen-carat lady I've ever seen cross the Hollywood pike." - Hedda Hopper

Oscar winning performance: It Happened One Night

13. Grace Kelly

I think Grace Kelly was the finest actress I ever worked with. Forgive me, Ingrid, Kate, Audrey and all the others. But Grace had something extraordinary. - Cary Grant

Favourite Film: To Catch a Thief
More great Kelly/Hitchcock: Dial 'M' For Murder
Oscar winning performance: The Country Girl

14. Ginger Rogers

"She may have faked a little but we knew we had a good thing going." - Fred Astaire

Favourite Film: Top Hat
A Classic Classic of the 'hoofer' movies: 42nd Street
Oscar winning performance: Kitty Foyle

15. Mae West

"My public expects certain things from me - and I'd never do anything the Mae West character wouldn't do. I'd never play a mother. I always think of a mother as a wonderful person and I don't often play a wonderful person. You know I used to be Snow White, but I drifted." - Herself

Favourite Film: She Done Him Wrong
Odd Movie: My Little Chickadee
Oscar winning performance: Doubtful. Though I'm No Angel is considered a classic.

16. Vivien Leigh

"She was very like a cat. She would purr and she would scratch and she looked divinely pretty doing either." - Rex Harrison

Favourite Film: Waterloo Bridge.
Oscar winning performance #1: Gone With The Wind
Oscar winning performance #2: Streetcar Named Desire.

17. Lillian Gish

"I never approved of talkies. Silent movies were well on their way to developing an entirely new art form. It was not just pantomine, but something wonderfully expressive." - Herself

Favourite Film: Broken Blossoms
Just plain fascinating: Duel In the Sun
Oscar winning performance: An Honorary one in 1970, despite a career from 1909 to 1987. Amazing. Although to be fair Orphans of the Storm was a full eight years before the birth of Oscar.

18. Shirley Temple

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when my mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph." - Herself

Favourite Film: Bright Eyes. If just for Shirley singing 'On The Good Ship Lollipop'.
More Fun with Shirley: The Story of Seabiscuit
Oscar winning performance: She was given a Special Award in 1934 and nothing else. Heidi is a classic though.

19. Rita Hayworth

"Every man I've known has fallen in love with Gilda and wakened with me." - Herself

Favourite Film: Gilda
A Worthwhile view: The Lady From Shanghai. Director Orson Welles' decision to have Rita Hayworth cut her hair and bleach it caused a storm of controversy but there it is and makes for an interesting change of pace on Rita's resume.
Oscar winning performance: She never won an award...though Only Angels Have Wings is a unique little film worthy of a second look with Rita playing second fiddle to Jean Arthur.

20. Lauren Bacall

"We discovered Bacall was a little girl who, when she becomes insolent, becomes rather attractive. That was the only way you noticed her, because she could do it with a grin." - Howard Hawks

Favourite Film: The Big Sleep
A Guilty Pleasure: To Have and Have Not
Oscar winning performance: No awards! Travesty! How To Marry A Millionaire is not her best but it is Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Bacall, that's a hard line up to miss.

21. Sophia Loren

"She should have been sculpted in chocolate truffles so that the world could devour her" - Noel Coward

Favourite Film: Grumpier Old Men. Her banter with Matthau kills me!
Loren for Fun!: Houseboat. It is easy to see why she was a sex goddess and had a knack for comedy too!
Oscar winning performance: Two Women

22. Jean Harlow

"Well, the scene required me to embrace her. I think she kind of subdued the acting a bit because we were only rehearsing but not the kiss! When it came to kissing - Harlow was the greatest. And Hollywood being what it was, we did the scene over and over again. They were...happy days." - James Stewart

Favourite Film: Platinum Blonde
Daring for it's time: Red Dust
Oscar winning performance: No Oscars here...but Dinner at Eight has always been one that catches my eye.

23. Carole Lombard

"I've lived by a man's code designed to fit a man's world, yet at the same time I never forget that a woman's first job is to choose the right shade of lipstick." - Herself

Worthy Film Watching: Made For Each Other
Wonderful Screwball fun: Nothing Sacred
Oscar winning performance: No Oscars here...but nominated for My Man Godfrey

24. Mary Pickford

"It was always Mary herself that shone through. Her personality was the thing that made her movies memorable and the pictures that showed her personality were the best." - Lillian Gish

Favourite Film: Sparrows
A Rare Treat: Tess of the Storm Country
Oscar winning performance: Coquette

25. Ava Gardner

"When I lose my temper, honey, you can't find it anyplace." - Herself

Favourite Film: The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
Big Time Musical: Show Boat
Oscar winning performance: Not a one, but a nomination for Mogambo

Copyright© Staffwriter: Compiled By Rob Paul

Evil Ash

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