Movie Stars: Women–Box-Office Champions by Decade

The subject of my new book is The Power Elite: America’s Movie Stars. Over the next several weeks, we will run articles about movie stardom as a social-cultural-political phenom as well as profiles of individual stars, from the beginning of the sound era to the present.

Top Female Movie Stars: Women among the Top Ten (by Decade)

Of the women who functioned as top box-office stars over the past 80 years, about half were on the list for only one year or two.  These are women who happened to have made popular films–mass entertainment, but have not ncessarily been durable stars with a definable screen image that the lay public can relate to.

Female Stars in 1930s

Garbo, Greta (1932)

Crawford, Joan (1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936)

Gaynor, Janet (1932, 1933, 1934)

Dressler, Marie (1932, 1933, 1934)

Harlow, Jean (1933)

Shearer, Norma (1932, 1933, 1934)

West, Mae (1933, 1934)

Temple, Shirley (1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939)

Colbert, Claudette (1935, 1936, 1947)

MacDonald, Jeanette (1936)

Rogers, Ginger (with Fred Astaire) (1935, 1936, 1937)

Henie, Sonja (1937, 1938, 1939)

Loy, Myrna (1937, 1938)

Withers, Jane (1937, 1938)

Faye, Alice (1938, 1939)

 

Female Stars in 1940s

Davis, Bette (1939, 1940, 1941, 1944)

Garland, Judy (1940, 1941, 1944, 1945)

Grable, Bette (1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951)

O’Brien, Margaret (1944, 1946)

Garson, Greer (1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946)

Bergman, Ingrid (1946, 1947, 1948)

 

Female Stars in 1950s

Williams, Esther (1949, 1950)

Day, Doris (1951, 1952, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966)

Hayward, Susan (1952, 1953, 1959)

Monroe, Marilyn (1953, 1954, 1956)

Wyman, Jane (1954)

Allyson, June (1955)

Kelly, Grace (1955)

Novak, Kim (1956)

Bardot, Brigitte (1958)

Taylor, Elizabeth (1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968)

Reynolds, Debbie (1959, 1960)

 

Female Stars in 1960s

Dee, Sandra (1960, 1961, 1962, 1963)

Ann-Margret (1964)

MacLaine, Shirley (1964)

Andrews, Julie (1965, 1966, 1967, 1968)

Hepburn, Katharine (1969)

Streisand, Barbra (1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980)

 

Female Stars in 1970s

McGraw, Ali (1971)

Hawn, Goldie (1972, 1981)

O’Neal, Tatum (1976)

Keaton, Diane (1977, 1978)

Fonda, Jane (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982)

Clayburgh, Jill (1979)

 

Female Stars in 1980s

Spacek, Sissy (1980)

Field, Sally (1980, 1984)

Derek, Bo (1981)

Parton, Dolly (1981, 1982)

Streep, Meryl (1984, 1985, 2009, 2011)

Goldberg, Whoopi (1986, 1992, 1993)

Midler, Bette (1986, 1988)

Turner, Kathleen (1986, 1989)

Cher (1987)

Close, Glenn (1987)

 

Female Stars in 1990s

Roberts, Julia (1990, 1991, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004)

Moore, Demi (1990)

Foster, Jodie (1991, 1994)

Bullock, Sandra (1995, 1996, 1999, 2009, 2011)

Peiffer, Michelle (1996)

Diaz, Cameron (1998)

Ryan, Meg (1998, 1999)

 

Female Stars after 2000

Kidman, Nicole (2001, 2002, 2003)

Zellweger, Rene (2002)

Zeta-Jones, Catherine (2002)

Witherspoon, Reese (2002, 2005, 2008)

Jolie, Angelina (2005, 2008, 2010)

Fanning, Dakota (2006)

Hathaway, Anne (2010)

Lawrence, Jennifer (2013, 2014)