One of the most enjoyable things about following a favorite actress' career is seeing them grow in their craft and change their appearance with their many roles. We remember stars from when they were young, like Kirsten Dunst playing a child vampire, and now acting in renowned films with big and small studios behind them. These actresses all give us a piece of themselves in every part, so we feel a kinship with them when we see them on screen.
The actresses on this list are icons of film, television, and theater. Many of them have been working in the entertainment industry since they were very young. And all of them are still working today, which is a testament to their talent and bankability. They are doing away with the notion that a leading actress is only worthy in her youth by staking out their own production companies and directing their own films.
We love seeing all of their roles that we may have forgotten. It reminds us of how far they've come, and how much they've blazed trails through our favorite entertainment and culture at large. Show business wouldn't be the same without Ellen DeGeneres coming out on television, or Oprah Winfrey cheering us all on while taking on the racism and sexism of the industry. Our culture is better because all of these women chose to give us a small part of themselves.