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Famous Ingénues

Who were the most famous ingénues of all time? This page is dedicated to famous and notorious ingénues of the past and present, from Bettie Page to Katy Perry (who might have been sisters if not for the age difference).

Ingénue Definition: an innocent, artless, naive and/or unsophisticated young woman, or at least one who looks innocent and unsophisticated! Appearances, after all, can be deceiving! Ingénues who are precociously seductive are often called Lolitas after the girl by that name in Vladimir Nabokov's famous novel Lolita.

The most famous ingénues include Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Brooke Shields, Scarlett Johansson, Phoebe Cates, Britney Spears, Natalie Wood, Vivien Leigh, Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Dominique Swain, Fiona Apple, Ariana Grande, Christina Aguilera and Christina Applegate. I have an expanded list of ingénues after my top ten and I have also listed male ingénues or ingenus (without the "e") like Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.

Related pages: Famous Beauties, Famous Historical Beauties, Famous Courtesans, Famous Ingénues, Famous Hustlers, Famous Pool Sharks, Famous Rogues, Famous Heretics, Famous Hypocrites, Famous Forgers, Famous Frauds, Famous Flops, Famous Morons, Famous Hoaxes and Hucksters, The Dumbest Things Ever Said

by Michael R. Burch

(1) Audrey Hepburn [1929-1993] as the courtesan Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

"She had a quality no other actress had: a curious combination of lady and pixie. She was a joy to work with: enormous talent and no ego." — Sidney Sheldon

(2) Norma Jean Baker [1926-1962] was better known as Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe, 1949.

Marilyn Monroe in super cute undies.

"Goodbye Norma Jean, we never knew you at all ..."

(3) Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon.

(4) Greta Garbo

"There are many things in your heart you can never tell to another person. They are you, your private joys and sorrows, and you can never tell them. You cheapen yourself, the inside of yourself, when you tell them." — Greta Garbo

(5) Scarlett Johansson imagined as a modern Joan of Arc ...

Joan of Arc by Howard David Johnson (above)

(6) Lillian Gish [1893-1993]

Lillian Gish has been called "The First Lady of American Cinema." She once remarked with pride, "I played a lewd Ophelia." But she also said, "Young man, if God had wanted you to see me that way, he would have put your eyes in your bellybutton."

(7) Mary Pickford was a silent film star

(8) Christina Applegate went from playing not-so-sweet-and-innocent Kelly Bundy on Married With Children to becoming an international activist, ambassador and philanthropist!

(9) Bette Davis [1908-1989]

Bette Davis, wow so beautiful

"She's got Bette Davis eyes ..."

(10) Ingrid Bergman [1915-1982]

Ingrid Bergman won three Oscars, two Tony awards, and an Emmy. Generally considered to be one of the very best female actors, she is best known for her roles in Casablanca, Anastasia, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Gaslight and Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious and Spellbound.


The French word ingénue originally meant “ingenuous” or “artless.” Over time the word evolved to mean something like “an artless, innocent, naive and/or inexperienced girl or young woman.” The term was first used in the late 1800s by the French dramatist Octave Feuillet to describe young girls in his plays. Today an ingénue may still be defined by youth, naiveté and a lack of sophistication, but is more likely to be sexually alluring. The lines have certainly blurred and become confused, since “ingenues” like Miley Cyrus and Megan Fox hardly qualify as innocent, inexperienced, etc. For males we drop the "e" making the term "ingenu" although I have seen the "e" used for men also.

FAMOUS INGENUES: Christina Aguilera, Julie Andrews (in the Sound of Music), Fiona Apple, Christina Applegate (as Kelly Bundy in Married With Children), Anne Baxter, Brigitte Bardot, Drew Barrymore (in E.T.), Ingrid Bergman, Halle Berry, Lisa Bonet, Leslie Caron (in Gigi and Lili), Phoebe Cates, Claudette Colbert, Miley Cyrus, Dorothy Dandridge, Doris Day (nicknamed the “Professional Virgin”), Sandra Dee, Irene Dunne, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Mia Farrow (in Rosemary’s Baby), Sally Field, Joan Fontaine, Jodie Foster (in Taxi Driver), Megan Fox, Judy Garland, Greta Garbo, Janet Gaynor, Lillian Gish, Julie Gibson, Robin Givens, Ariana Grande, Anne Hathaway (in The Devil Wears Prada), Goldie Hawn, Iman, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Jones, Hedy Lamarr (in Boom Town), Vivien Leigh (in Gone with the Wind), Joan Leslie, Sue Lyon (in Lolita), Shirley MacLaine, Kate Moss, Tatum O’Neal, Mary Pickford, Natalie Portman, Molly Ringwald, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts (in Pretty Woman), Ginger Rogers, Anne Shirley (in Anne of Green Gables), Winona Ryder, Esther Smith, Britney Spears (in her early videos), Madonna (in her “Like a Virgin” phase), Olivia Newton-John (in Grease), Kim Novak (in The Man with the Golden Arm), Debbie Reynolds (a “wholesome ingénue”), Cybill Shepherd (in The Last Picture Show), Brooke Shields (in Pretty Baby), Dominique Swain (in Lolita), Taylor Swift, Kristen Stewart, Hailee Steinfeld, Elizabeth Taylor (in National Velvet), Lana Turner, Emma Watson, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood, Jane Wyman, Loretta Young

FAMOUS MALE INGENUS: Marlon Brando, Barry Brown, Tom Cruise, James Dean, Albert Finney, Cary Grant, Ron Howard, Michael Jackson, Lon McCallister, Dudley Moore, Paul Newman, Donny Osmond, Elvis Presley, Jason Priestley, Prince, Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, James Stewart, John Travolta (in Welcome Back Kotter and Grease)

Daria Zhemkova

Veronica Lake [1919-1973]

Veronica Lake was breathtakingly beautiful. As a teenager, she was expelled from an all-girls Catholic boarding school, so she may have been a bit naughty in her youth (but who wasn't?). As an adult she was arrested for public drunkenness more than once. With art perhaps imitating life, she became known for playing notorious femme fatales in film noirs. Born Constance Frances Marie Ockelman, she took the last name "Lake" because Paramount producer Arthur Hornblow thought it matched her blue eyes, and the first name "Veronica" because he admired her classic beauty. Her best-known movies include The Blue Dahlia (1946), This Gun for Hire (1942), I Married a Witch (1942), Sullivan's Travels (1941) and So Proudly We Hail (1943). She was also a popular pin-up model. Her famous "peek-a-boo" bangs became so imitated that during World War II the U.S. government asked her to pin it back, out of fear that female factory workers would have accidents!

Christina Aguilera

Gene Tierney [1920-1991],%20Gene/Tierney,%20Gene%20(Laura)_01.jpg

Ginger Rogers [1911-1995]

Lana Turner [1921-1995]

Gypsy Rose Lee [1911-1970]

Gypsy Rose Lee

Gypsy Rose Lee was a famous burlesque performer known far and wide for her stripteases. But she was also a dancer, actress, producer, author, and playwright whose 1957 memoir was made into the stage musical and film Gypsy/em>. She also wrote a mystery novel called The G-String Murders and co-produced a musical revue called Star and Garter. It is said that her first striptease was accidental, occurring when the strap of her gown broke and it fell to the floor during one of her acts. She went on to develop a more casual style of striptease, emphasizing the "tease" and incorporating humor. She was frequently arrested during police raids on her performances, which would be considered to be quite tame and in good taste today.

Omer Goldman

Omer Goldman Granot is the daughter of Naftali Granot, a former deputy head of Mossad, an Israeli intelligence service similar to the CIA. She is also a member of the Shministim, a group of young Israeli conscientious objectors or “refuseniks” who refuse to serve in Israel's army after they graduate from high school. Goldman opposes Israel’s military occupation of Palestine and its racist repression of the Palestinian people. She says, by way of explanation: "In Israel, after you finish high school, you have to join the army immediately ... when it was my time to join the Israeli army, I refused, because I am against the fact that the Israeli army is occupying the Palestinian territories and the Palestinian people. I won't take part in a system that commits war crimes and crimes against humanity ... Anyone who uses violence is wrong. But our country, which claims to be democratic, and the IDF, which is supposed to be human, act exactly like Hamas, a terrorist organization. [The IDF] bombs innocent people; it's a terrorist organization, but no one calls it that. We are hurting innocent people; we are acting like a terrorist organization."

Lillian Russell [1860-1922]


Lillian Russell was one of the first American female celebrities. She was an actress and singer known for her stage presence. She was married four times, but her longest relationship was with Diamond Jim Brady, a man known for his enormous appetites, which included gambling, food and (as his nickname suggests) expensive jewels. Her mother was a noted feminist who became the first woman to run for mayor of New York City. In her later years Russell became an advocate of women's suffrage and a popular lecturer and newspaper columnist.

Katherine Hepburn [1907-2003] as Mary Magdalene


Elizabeth Taylor [1932-2011]

Ava Gardner [1922-1990]

Ann Savage [1921-2008]

Ann Savage and I share the same birthday, February 19. The day I discovered her, I received a message out of the blue, Glamour, that made me think of the word's ancient connotation of a magical spell. Then, I swear, the two pictures below were the only ones I could get to paste into this page, as if she was selecting them herself! In any case, Ann Savage is best known today for her role as the cigarette-dangling, "vicious and predatory, very sexually aggressive" femme fatale Vera in the surreal film noir Detour. She has also been called "the perfect vixen," and she certainly chose a notorious-sounding stage name, although she was born Bernice Maxine Lyon. And, at least to me, the first picture looks like a dangerous femme fatale, while the second looks like a very pretty, very sweet Bernice.

Life's like a ball game. You gotta take a swing at whatever comes along before you wake up and find out it's the ninth inning."

The actresses were just scenery. The stories all revolved around the male actors; they really had the choice roles. All the actresses had to do was to look lovely, since the dialogue was ridiculous."

“No one would wish to be remembered for things like Two-Man Submarine or Saddles and Sagebrush, which were typical of the kind of pictures I did. The part in Detour seemed like the opportunity every actress longs for. When I first read the script by Martin Goldsmith I knew that I was going to be part of something very exciting.”

Eva Braun Hitler [1912-1945] as Hel, Queen of Neifelheim, the Norse underworld

Bettie Page [1923-2008]

Bettie Page was one of the first Playboy "playmates" and she was so notorious for doing bondage stills and films that the movie made about her life was titled The Notorious Bettie Page. In 1958, she retired to become a Christian evangelist, after which she returned to live in her Bible belt hometown, Nashville, and went on to do full-time work with Billy Graham. Ironically, after her conversion she had a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized as insane for eight years.

Katy Perry as the second coming of Bettie Page

Princess Diana [1961-1997], Her Radiant Highness

Grace Kelly [1929-1982], also known as Princess Grace of Monaco

Grace Kelly
Princess Caroline of Monaco

Rita Hayworth [1918-1987]

"Rita Hayworth gave good face ..."

Raquel Welch

Beyoncé Knowles as Boudicca!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/beyonce-marie6f.jpg

Lynda Carter as Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons and, of course, as Wonder Woman

Angelina Jolie

Jeanette Lee "The Black Widow"

Anastasia Luppova

Famous Pool Sharks

Kelly LeBrock

Bar Rafaeli

Bar Refaeli

Cher as Cleopatra

Related pages: Famous Beauties, Famous Historical Beauties, Famous Courtesans, Famous Ingénues, Famous Hustlers, Famous Pool Sharks, Famous Rogues, Famous Heretics, Famous Hypocrites, Famous Forgers and Frauds, Famous Flops, Famous Morons, The Dumbest Things Ever Said, Famous Last Words, Famous Insults

The HyperTexts