Actresses Over 50 We Can’t Get Enough Of

by Ali MacLean
Apr 16, 2018 at 10:10 a.m. ET
Nicole Kidman Oscars red carpet
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There is a dearth of roles for seasoned actresses, fueling scientific innovation intended to keep women looking younger even as they get older. When Botox is commonplace and getting a nip/tuck is as mundane as going to the grocery store, growing old gracefully seems to be a thing of the past. 

Fortunately, there are talented trailblazers and mavericks who knock down doors, kick butt and take names. These women don't take no for an answer, and they refused to be pushed aside just because they made another trip around the sun. They are living proof that age ain’t nothing but a number and talent rises to the top. We are all the better for it.

1 /10: Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer red carpet
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1/10 :Michelle Pfeiffer

Age: 59 years old

Birthday: April 29

No one should have to be sold on Michelle Pfeiffer. She is after all, Ladyhawke. If you didn’t catch that medieval bestiality fairytale set to synthesizers, then you may know her as the Scarface moll Elvira, or as the Cool Rider in Grease 2, who made the sequel so much better. She has also been Married to the Mob and one of the Witches of Eastwick, adorned a grand piano in The Fabulous Baker Boys (which won her a Golden Globe), and donned the tight latex Catwoman suit in Batman Returns. And that’s all before she met Coolio. Pfeiffer has been nominated for an Oscar three times (Dangerous LiaisonsFabulous Baker BoysLove Field). She took a career break to raise her kids but returned with a few hits, including an award-nominated turn opposite Robert DeNiro in The Wizard of Lies. Next up, she joins the superhero flick Ant-Man and the Wasp. It’s so good to have her back.

2 /10: Viola Davis

Viola Davis headshot
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2/10 :Viola Davis

Age: 52 years old

Birthday: Aug. 11

Viola Davis gets away with murder every time she comes on screen because she absolutely kills it in every role she plays. She cut her teeth in procedurals like Law and Order and CSI while quietly doing great work in films like Doubt and Eat Pray Love. But the role of Aibileen Clark in The Help, her lead role on How to Get Away With Murder and her gut-wrenching performance as Rose in Denzel Washington’s adaptation of Fences have earned her Emmy, Golden Globe, and Oscar awards. Davis has lots of projects in the works, including a film adaptation of Terry McMillan’s book I Almost Forgot About You, which she is also producing. We’d expect nothing less from a boss lady like Davis.

3 /10: Laura Dern

Laura Dern headshot
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3/10 :Laura Dern

Age: 51 years old

Birthday: Feb. 10

Laura Dern is an American icon. Some may be too young to remember her early turns opposite creepy Treat Williams in Smooth Talk, creepy Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet or soon-to-be creepy Nicholas Cage in Wild at Heart, but she was fantastic in all of them and then some. Dern has been nominated for two Oscars but hasn't won one yet Luckily, she was recognized for her roles as Secretary of State Katherine Harris in Recount, the well-meaning but unhinged Amy Jellicoe on Enlightened and the brittle, abrasive Renata on Big Little Lies (which brought Dern a boatload of awards). But more impressive was her turn as Dale Cooper's assistant Diane Evans on the revival of Twin Peaks in 2017. Next up, she will play author J.T. Leroy in a biopic and team up with Judd Apatow for a female football comedy.  

4 /10: Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman headshot
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4/10 :Nicole Kidman

Age: 50 years old

Birthday: June 20

Kidman has won so many trophies that her place must have as much gold as Fort Knox: one Oscar, a BAFTA, a handful of Golden Globes and a bevy of Emmys. This Aussie has come a long way from Days of Thunder. In fact, getting out from under her ex Tom Cruise’s thumb may have been a catalyst, as Kidman then made Moulin Rouge and The Hours and took home hardware for both. She just cleaned up this awards season, taking home the gold for her role in HBO’s limited series Big Little Lies, and is back on set filming Season 2 opposite Meryl Streep. Up next, Kidman also has a Karyn Kusama detective film and the movie version of the best-selling book The Goldfinch.


5 /10: Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek headshot
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5/10 :Salma Hayek

Age: 51 years old

Birthday: Sept. 2

Salma Hayek is probably best known for her sexy turn in Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn or her Oscar-nominated performance in Frida. However, she should be lauded for her excellent work in the indie Beatriz at Dinner, which falls into the genre of post-election films. Even more impressive than Hayek's acting is her recent work in the #MeToo movement and spearheading the Time’s Up group, which provides legal assistance for women who have been sexually harassed. Hayek has donned a producer hat for Ugly Betty and did a humorous turn as Alec Baldwin’s nurse lover on 30 Rock. Next, she will team up with Baldwin again for the upcoming film Drunk Parents.


6 /10: Holly Hunter

Holly Hunter headshot
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6/10 :Holly Hunter

Age: 60 years old

Birthday: Mar. 20

All hail Holly Hunter. She burst onto the scene and into our hearts as the pint-sized cop in Raising Arizona and has been tearing up the silver screen ever since. She picked up an Oscar for The Piano and recently put her wry spin on the mom role in the tearjerker dramedy The Big Sick, and she can currently be seen in the new Alan Ball HBO series Here and Now.

7 /10: Geena Davis

Geena Davis picture
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7/10 :Geena Davis

Age: 62 years old

Birthday: Jan. 21

Geena Davis was already beloved from cult classics like Beetlejuice before she won the best supporting actress Oscar for The Accidental Tourist. 

Following that statue grab, she captivated the world when she and Susan Sarandon drove off that cliff in Thelma and Louise, and Davis followed that up by playing ball with Madonna and Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own. She played the first female president before Hilary even planned on running, played a doctor and recently got possessed. But her biggest role has been in helping to right the ship when it comes to equality in Hollywood. Davis started the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which fights for gender parity and has made some headway in getting more women in front of and behind the camera.

8 /10: Robin Wright

Robin Writer House of Cards premiere
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8/10 :Robin Wright

Age: 52 years old

Birthday: April 8

From princess bride to president, Wright has always had a regal air about her. She's had a busy few years, playing a warrior goddess in Wonder Woman and a futuristic captain in Blade Runner 2049. See the theme? She’s always in charge. Few could hold their own in a series with Kevin Spacey, and only one could take over the lead role in House of Cards this season and become the new president. I’m with her.


9 /10: Mary-Louise Parker

Mary-Louise Parker headshot
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9/10 :Mary-Louise Parker

Age: 53 years old 

Birthday: Aug. 2

MLP might as well stand for MVP. Parker has appeared in hundreds of television shows and movies, and she's also a Broadway veteran. Parker made a big impact in the made-for-TV version of the Broadway play Angels in America, which won her an Emmy and a Golden Globe. After her stint on the wildly popular TV series The West Wing, she landed the lead role in the long-running comedy Weeds, which earned her another Golden Globe. Being awesome in every role she lands isn’t enough for Parker; she decided to write a book, too, called Dear Mr. You. Next up for Parker is the FX comedy Compliance, in which she stars opposite Courtney B. Vance.

10 /10: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus red carpet
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10/10 :Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Age: 57 years old

Birthday: Jan. 13

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has buoyant charm and a likability that covers for the devastating cutting lines she delivers. It seems like she was always Elaine to Jerry’s Seinfeld, and for that she picked up a Golden Globe and an Emmy. But she also starred on two of her own sitcoms, Watching Ellie and The New Adventures of Old Christine, and had a great guest star spot on Arrested Development. Louis-Dreyfus stretched her drama muscles when she starred opposite James Gandolfini in the melancholy film Enough Said. However, her brightest performance has been the five-time Emmy-winning role of Selina Meyer in the comedy series Veep. Skewering the world of politics, Louis-Dreyfus is charming and despicable, ambitious and neurotic, and always hilarious. She is currently undergoing cancer treatments but still shooting the final season of Veep and planning to star in a remake of the Swedish film Force Majeure.