7. Jeanne Moreau. She looked like the French Bette Davis, but she was closer to the sister Ingrid Bergman never had. There isn't a role where Moreau doesn't completely feel immersed in her role, and she earned a career that included working with Orson Welles (who called Moreau "the greatest actress in the world"), Louis Malle and Francois Truffaut, to name a few. It's a true delight to see her come alive in front of the camera. Favorite Performance: Her most famous and celebrated, as the unpredictable Catherine who inspires both freedom and tragedy to Jules and Jim. It's been rumored that by the end of filming, both the young director Truffaut and the old novelist of the source novel Henri Serre (and the film's producer to boot) were all in love with Moreau.
8. Lee Remick. Remick never had the big stardom she deserved; after her heyday in the 1960s she mostly did made-for-TV movies. But she leaves a huge impression in whatever she touches. Elia Kazan first discovered her when he gave her a debut as the girl who steals Andy Griffith's heart (she also knows a thing or two about twirling a baton) in his masterpiece A Face in the Crowd and used her again in his obscure gem Wild River, her favorite role. Remick had this gift of communicating so much with her eyes, which said more than most actors do with their whole bodies--I can watch The Omen completely on mute and understand exactly what's going on because of what her eyes say. Favorite Role: As Jack Lemmon's loyal wife who follows him into the darkness of alcoholism in Days of Wine and Roses, she's the film's breaking heart.
10. Natalie Wood. A rare actress who made the graceful transition from child actress to mature adult, Natalie Wood worked with more idols before the age of 20 than most actors do in a lifetime, from Orson Welles to Bette Davis. However, she really came into her own starting with her fiercely emotional performance as a confused teen seeking solace in other troubled souls in Rebel Without a Cause, and people who are turned off by her first scene where she's overwrought will never see the grace and the agonizing honesty she brings to the film. And that's what separated her from the rest: her truthfulness. Favorite Performance: in Elia Kazan's powerful story of sexuality and adulthood, Splendor in the Grass.
11. Ava Gardner. Slowly, very slowly, I understand her appeal, and I find a great actress in a star who never considered herself very well. She can play unearthly goddess (The Barefoot Contessa, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman) and she can play brash and drunk (Mogambo, Night of the Iguana) with equal believability. She was an actress you never really got over, and you're not alone: her tortured marriage to Frank Sinatra was so passionate he sobbed hysterically when he heard of her death. Favorite Performance: I love her soft-spoken goddess in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, but I find it impossible to forget her damaged, understanding performance as the woman who has to come to terms with love and eventual death in On the Beach.
12. Dorothy Malone. Another actress who never really got the big career she deserved, she did manage to win an Oscar for playing the nymphomaniac sister of Douglas Sirk's gleefully operatic Written on the Wind, though her best performance is possibly in Sirk's next film as a long-suffering, deeply hurt wife in The Tarnished Angels. And like most of the underrated actresses on this list, she is an utter delight to discover and she steals every scene she's in. And it takes a great actress to steal the show from Lauren Bacall not once but twice--the first time in my Favorite Performance of hers, as the unnamed bookstore proprietress who bonds with Bogie over wit and books in The Big Sleep. For about five minutes you completely forget about Bacall, and in her turn in Sirk's grand opera of melodramas you barely even remember Bacall was in the film.