Actresses Who Play Icons - People - Stylist Magazine

Actresses who play icons

Top 40 actresses who play icons

Movie stars and their real life muses

Acting is a tricky enough art alone, without the added pressure of emanating a legendary face from history. So a tip of the fedora to these talented thespians, who have risen to the challenge of playing icons in Hollywood and beyond, ably re-living their characters' legacies on-screen. The result is a double take of the highest order, with the movie star's own fame enhancing that of their subject. With Michelle Williams receiving rave reviews for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe this week, we take a look at other actresses who have embodied real-life legends of history. Read on for more details...

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Picture credit: Rex Features

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Marilyn Monroe The actress: Michelle… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Marilyn Monroe

    The actress: Michelle Williams

    The film: My Week With Marilyn (2011)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Etta James The actress: Beyonce The… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Etta James

    The actress: Beyonce

    The film: Cadillac Records (2008)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Edith Piaf The actress: Marion… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Edith Piaf

    The actress: Marion Cotillard

    The film: La Vie En Rose (2007)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Bettie Page The actress: Gretchen… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Bettie Page

    The actress: Gretchen Mol

    The film: The Notorious Bettie Page (2005)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Coco Chanel The actress: Audrey… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Coco Chanel

    The actress: Audrey Tautou

    The film: Coco Before Chanel (2009)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Audrey Hepburn The actress: Jennifer… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Audrey Hepburn

    The actress: Jennifer Love Hewitt

    The film: The Audrey Hepburn Story (TV movie, 2000)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Jane Birkin The actress: Lucy… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Jane Birkin

    The actress: Lucy Gordon

    The film: Gainsbourg (2010)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Joan Crawford The actress: Faye… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Joan Crawford

    The actress: Faye Dunaway

    The film: Mommie Dearest (1981)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: June Carter Cash The actress: Reese… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: June Carter Cash

    The actress: Reese Witherspoon

    The film: Walk The Line (2005)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Harper Lee The actress: Catherine… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Harper Lee

    The actress: Catherine Keener

    The film: Capote (2005)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Nancy Spungen The actress: Chloe… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Nancy Spungen

    The actress: Chloe Webb

    The film: Sid And Nancy (1986)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Wallis Simpson The actress: Andrea… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Wallis Simpson

    The actress: Andrea Riseborough

    The film: W.E. (2011)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Wallis Simpson The actress: Gwyneth… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Wallis Simpson

    The actress: Gwyneth Paltrow

    The film: Glee TV episode (2011)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Wallis Simpson The actress: Amber Rose… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Wallis Simpson

    The actress: Amber Rose Sealey

    The film: Bertie and Elizabeth TV series (2002)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Tina Turner The actress: Angela Bassett… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Tina Turner

    The actress: Angela Bassett (seen here alongside Laurence Fishburne as Ike Turner)

    The film: What's Love Got To Do With It? (1993)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Eva Perón The actress: Madonna The… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Eva Perón

    The actress: Madonna

    The film: Evita (1996)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Anne Boleyn The actress: Natalie… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Anne Boleyn

    The actress: Natalie Portman

    The film: The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Virginia Woolf The actress: Nicole… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Virginia Woolf

    The actress: Nicole Kidman

    The film: The Hours (2002)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Amelia Earhart The actress: Hilary… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Amelia Earhart

    The actress: Hilary Swank

    The film: Amelia (2009)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Zelda Fitzgerald The actress: Alison… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Zelda Fitzgerald

    The actress: Alison Pill

    The film: Midnight In Paris (2011)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Adventurer Baroness Karen Blixen The… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Adventurer Baroness Karen Blixen

    The actress: Meryl Streep

    The film: Out Of Africa (1985)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Jayne Mansfield The actress: Loni… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Jayne Mansfield

    The actress: Loni Anderson

    The film: The Jayne Mansfield Story (TV movie, 1980)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Iris Murdoch The actress: Judi… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Iris Murdoch

    The actress: Judi Dench

    The film: Iris (2001)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Joan Jett The actress: Kristen… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Joan Jett

    The actress: Kristen Stewart

    The film: The Runaways (2010)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Queen Elizabeth I The actress: Cate… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Queen Elizabeth I

    The actress: Cate Blanchett

    The film: Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Marilyn Monroe The actress: Susan… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Marilyn Monroe

    The actress: Susan Griffiths

    The film: Marilyn and Me (TV movie, 1991)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Marilyn Monroe The actress: Mira… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Marilyn Monroe

    The actress: Mira Sorvino

    The film: Norma, Jean & Marilyn (TV movie, 1996)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother The… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

    The actress: Helena Bonham Carter

    The film: The King's Speech (2010)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Anna Wintour The actress: Meryl… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Anna Wintour

    The actress: Meryl Streep

    The film: The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Sylvia Plath The actress: Gwyneth… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Sylvia Plath

    The actress: Gwyneth Paltrow

    The film: Sylvia (2003)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Cleopatra The actress: Elizabeth… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Cleopatra

    The actress: Elizabeth Taylor

    The film: Cleopatra (1963)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Outlaw Bonnie Elizabeth Parker The… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Outlaw Bonnie Elizabeth Parker

    The actress: Faye Dunaway

    The film: Bonnie And Clyde (1967)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Beatrix Potter The actress: Renée… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Beatrix Potter

    The actress: Renée Zellweger

    The film: Miss Potter (2006)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Maggie Thatcher The actress: Meryl… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Maggie Thatcher

    The actress: Meryl Streep

    The film: The Iron Lady (2011)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Supermodel Gia Carangi The actress:… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Supermodel Gia Carangi

    The actress: Angelina Jolie

    The film: Gia (TV movie, 1998)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Selena Quintanilla-Perez The actress:… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Selena Quintanilla-Perez

    The actress: Jennifer Lopez

    The film: Selena (1997)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Jackie Kennedy The actress: Katie… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Jackie Kennedy

    The actress: Katie Holmes

    The film: The Kennedys (TV mini-series, 2011)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Jane Austen The actress: Anne… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Jane Austen

    The actress: Anne Hathaway

    The film: Becoming Jane (2007)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Loretta Lynn The actress: Sissy… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Loretta Lynn

    The actress: Sissy Spacek

    The film: Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)

  • Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Queen Elizabeth II The actress: Helen… More details

    Actresses who play icons

    Actresses who play icons

    The icon: Queen Elizabeth II

    The actress: Helen Mirren

    The film: The Queen (2006)

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