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Plainest woman who became a star?


doctorxx
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I don't know if some would classify Main as a "star", or just well liked character actress, where you'll find a lot of the plain ones. As far as THAT goes, the list could get long. As far as "star" goes, *June Allyson* comes to mind. In the "Dressler/Main" vien, yes, DO add Hamilton to that list. And Mary Wickes, Kathleen Freeman and Thelma Ritter.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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Helen Hunt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Margot Kidder.

 

Margaret Hamilton and Lily Tomlin are simply plain ugly.

 

Was the producers chosing Glenn Close to star in "Sarah, *Plain* and Tall" sending us a suttle message?

 

Is the Sarah Palin HBO movie plain across the board? (plain boring Zzzzzz)

 

By the way, I'm using *Plain Text* to write this. (fitting)

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I don't know if some would classify Main as a "star", or just well liked character actress, where you'll find a lot of the plain ones. As far as THAT goes, the list could get long. As far as "star" goes, *June Allyson *comes to mind.

 

Marjorie Main, like Marie Dressler, was one of those character actors that become actual "stars". Since the early 40s, MGM was costarring her with Wallace Beery in the hopes that the Dressler/Beery magic might be recreated. But she really became a boxoffice name with the MA & Pa Kettle series; during the late 40s-early 50s the team was usually in the Top Twenty Boxoffice stars, per the exhibitors' poll.

 

Joan Davis is another very plain actress. While usually just a featured player, she was often starred in B movies in the mid-late 40s.

 

I agree with June Allyson and Jane Wyman, but also Miriam Hopkins. Allyson and Hopkins also had voices that didn't help in liking them IMO.

 

And how about Judy Canova, Martha Raye and Ethel Merman. Nancy Kelly was a popular leading lady briefly; she was definitely more plain than most of the girls at Fox at that time.

 

Whoever thinks Gene Tierney's overbite makes her plain just doesn't know what plain is.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Mar 5, 2012 1:30 PM

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Janet Gaynor. Not plain, exactly, but very, very mousey.

 

Frankly, I don't think there were many actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age much plainer than Bette Davis, and it's a testament to her talent that she reached the pinnacle of her profession in spite of the face that nature gave her (one can even argue that she attained that status precisely because of her appearance, as her's was a face into which one could read any emotion, so uncluttered was it by any notions, or audience preconceptions, of physical beauty. In essence, her performance became her face, and not vice versa, as it is with so many screen actors).

 

 

As terrific as Olivia DeHavilland is in her greatest film, THE HEIRESS, one cannot help but question how a woman who looks like her can plausibly be made up to look plain, as her character, Catherine Sloper, is supposed to be (in a sense, she's not really, physically, plain, but has been inculcated by her father's subtle, veiled scorn to think of herself as such), but with Bette there is never a question. You must admit that no one was better at playing lonely spinsters than Davis, and she played a lot of 'em.

 

As for the aformentioned Marjorie Main and Marie Dressler, "plain" doesn't describe them, either, since the adjective can only really be applied to a fairly young woman to make fair comparisons. Main and Dressler were never young; prematurely elderly is more to the point.

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I think the average man would consider June Allyson as "cute". Interestingly she broke into the movies with Gloria DeHaven, who was prettier and had a better voice. June may have simply known the right people. Gloria in her last film was still a handsome woman!

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I am a little surprised that someone (guess who?) didn't suggest Barbara Stanwyck. "Plainest" doesn't suggest to me unattractive, and how are we defining "star"? Hollywood make up artists and the wardrobe department can go a long way in making someone beautiful or handsome. So lack of make up and costume can make most anyone look "plain", just like the rest of us, right? Speaking of Olivia De, how about her appearance in *The Snake Pit* ? Or sister Joan, who made being plain a big part of her career. Along with Barbara S. I would agree with nominating Bette Davis for this category. As for the male counterpart, how about Edward G?

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*I am a little surprised that someone (guess who?) didn't suggest Barbara Stanwyck.*

 

Actually, I did think of her, and I think she qualifies. I didn't say so because I didn't want every single one of my posts on this board to be about Stanwyck. ;) I think I may already be guilty of overkill...

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*Plainest woman who became a star?*

 

My choice would be either Marjorie Main or Marie Dressler .

 

Since Main was more of a character actress, Dressler would have to win that one. Every other actual star mentioned in this thread would rank in the upper 10% of attractiveness among women, at least when they were in their 20's. Sometimes the standards for female beauty are just a tad too high.

 

But if you take it up to date, the biggest "plain looking" (not ugly at all) star of them all has got to be Meryll Streep. Terrific actress, but with all the sex appeal of a wet dishrag. She seemed middle age and dowdy right from the beginning.

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I realize that attractiveness is subjective, but putting Eva Marie Saint

alongside Julie Harris is going too far. EMS was much prettier than

Julie. She does play an unglamorous role in Waterfront, but she's still

good looking in that movie, and in something like NBNW she is stunn-

ing. Julie is a fine actress, but she is definitely on the plain side.

 

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Barbara Bel; Geddes was so plain in the eyes of Howard Hughes that when he became head of RKO and was asked for suggestions to improve the studio, he replied only two. Paint it and take Barbara Bel Geddes off the conract list.

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