Thousands upon millions come to Hollywood seeking to claim some of fame’s glory and most start out like most people looking for gold: getting dirty and sifting through rocks. Or in this case going from casting call to casting call seeking the ideal part. Everyone gets a start somewhere and these are the roles of some of the top Hollywood actresses, the roles that started it all.
Julia Roberts – Satisfaction: Babs was the name of Julia Robert’s role in the film Firehouse, however, she was not given official credit and perhaps she might not have wanted it. In 1988 she landed the role of Daryle in the film Satisfaction. The story for the film was a about a female rock band and after doing less than stellar at the box office the title of the film was altered to Girls Of Summer for its debut on television. The name change, it has been stated, was because Satisfaction sounded too sexual, or others say it was to fool people who had already seen it into watching it again.
Reese Witherspoon – The Man In The Moon: In 1991 Reese made her film presence known in the tragic love drama Man In the Moon. Playing 14 year old Dani Trant, a girl in love with her older sister’s boyfriend, Reese was nominated for a Young Artist Award and though she didn’t I’d say she deserved a win. The movie ends on a very sad note, however, Witherspoon’s career became all the more sweeter.
Glenn Close – The World According to Garp: Skipping through a series of television projects, Glenn Close made her movie debut opposite Robin Williams in the 1982 film The World According to Garp. Close played the role of William’s, or Garp’s mother Jenny Fields, though she wasn’t much older than Williams at the time.
Nicole Kidman – BMX Bandits: Kidman was landing television movie roles before 1983’s BMX Bandits, however her role as Judy is what we’re counting as her first film credit. Judy of course was the friend of two expert bike riders who get entangled in a bank robbery scheme.
Meryl Streep – Julia: One of the all time most respected actresses Meryl Streep made her debut with the small role of Anne Marie in the 1977 film Julia. Streep came close to being offered the title role, however, she needed to prove herself to Hollywood first and Vanessa Redgrave became Julia. Jane Fonda played a lead in this story about a playwright smuggling funds into Nazi Germany.
Jane Fonda – Tall Story: Jane Fonda got her break as June Ryder in the 1960 film Tall Story. The story for the film was a light comedy centering around the sport of college basketball.
Uma Thurman – Johnny Be Good: Uma did some voice acting for an Asian animated feature prior to 1988’s Johnny Be Good, however, the role of Georgia Elkans stands out more prominently as her film debut. 80’s go to guy Anthony Michael Hall headlined the cast alongside Robert Downey Jr in a tale about a high school football star considering ditching a career for more schooling with his girlfriend Uma…er, I mean: Georgia Elkans.
Jessica Alba – Camp Nowhere: Her first role was a camper by the name of Gail in the family comedy Camp Nowhere. This film came out in 1994 and Jessica Alba landed the part thanks to her hair style. The original girl in the role dropped out of the production and Alba’s hair matched hers helping the filmmakers to quickly decide she could fill in.
Jessica Biel – Ulee’s Gold: Biel played the role of Casey Jackson in the Peter Fonda led film Ulee’s Gold in 1997. Fonda played Ulee Jackson a beekeeper with a dysfunctional family. Of course it was the dysfunction religious television family on 7th Heaven that really brought Biel into the spotlight.
Jodie Foster – Napoleon and Samantha: Even though Jodi Foster began her career at the age of two and did a lot of television work, especially with Disney, her first film role did not come until 1972. Napoleon and Samantha is a Walt Disney film about two children who run away with a circus lion, and Foster was Samantha. While filming the movie Foster was attacked by one of the lions and still has the scars.
Cate Blanchette – Police Rescue: An Australian actress, Cate Blanchette, got her first film role in the adaptation of an Australian television series called Police Rescue. The movie came out in 1994 and Blanchette had the role of Vivian.
Drew Barrymore – Altered States: Drew Barrymore is widely known to have gotten an early start on her Hollywood career and the pitfalls of stardom. Before being Gertie in E.T. she was Margaret Jessup in the Sci-fi horror film Altered States, released in 1980. The movie stars William Hurt as a scientist experimenting with psychedelic drugs.
Cameron Diaz – The Mask: Cameron’s Diaz’s move from model to actress may be well known to many, with her movie start coming via the corny Jim Carey flick The Mask in 1994. Diaz played Tina Carlyle the beautiful dancing object of Carey’s affections.
Jennifer Garner – Deconstructing Harry: To many Jennifer Garner will only and always be remember for her role in the spy action series Alias. However, she did other television work and some short films, netting her first full feature roles in 1997’s Deconstructing Harry. This Woody Allen film has her credited as Woman In The Elevator.
Milla Jovovich – Two Moon Junction: As another model turned actress, Milla Jovovich got her acting start in 1988 with Two Moon Junction. Her character, Samantha Delongpre, wasn’t the lead in this tale of a woman’s erotic affair with a carnival worker, however Jovovich started getting more and more screen time rather quickly in her career.
Lindsay Lohan – The Parent Trap: Lindsay Lohan was a hard working actress on television projects at a young age, however, her break into feature films came with the 1998 version of The Parent Trap. Lohan played the twins Hallie and Annie Parker who were trying to get their divorced parents back together.
Kate Winslet – Heavenly Creatures: Before spreading her arms on the front of the Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio feeling her up, Kate Winslet started out her film career with director Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures. Winslet took on the role of Juliet Hulme in this 1994 released film.
Christina Ricci – Mermaids:Even more scary than her roles in Casper or the Addams Family series, perhaps is the fact that Christina Ricci made her feature debut starring opposite of Cher. The 1990 film Mermaids had Ricci playing Cher’s daughter Kate Flax.
Winona Ryder – Lucas: Remember that 1986 Corey Haim led film about the nerd trying to play football? Well, forget Haim and remember Winona Ryder because she got her film acting start in the role of Rita for that film: Lucas.
Angelina Jolie – Lookin’ To Get Out: Angelina Jolie actually left the last name of Voight on when getting her credit for her first movie Lookin’ To Get Out. Jolie had the small role of Tosh in this film starring her father Jon Voight, who also got a writing credit.
Whoopi Goldberg – Citizen: The artsy 1982 film Citizen gave as the first performance of the woman who wanted her stage name to sound like Whoopie Cushion and followed her mother’s advice and added a Jewish sounding name to the end.
Ashley Judd – Kuffs: The silly 1992 police comedy Kuffs is where Ashley Judd first showed off her big screen acting talents. Judd played Wife of Paint Store Owner.
Vivica A. Fox – Born On the Fourth of July: Actress Vivica A. Fox was first seen on television on soap opera sets, however, if one were to pay attention during Oliver Stone’s Tom Cruise starring drama from 1989, Born On The Fourth of July, then they would see Vivica A. Fox. Fox was credited as a Hooker at the VA Hospital.
Naomi Watts – For Love Alone: An Australian actress, Naomi Watts, is one of those Hollywood success stories where she was down on her luck and about to be evicted when her stardom check came through. Her first film came way back in 1986 with the historical romance film For Love Alone. Watts was cast as Leo’s Girlfriend; an odd name indeed.
Anjelica Huston – Hamlet: Before being Morticia Addams or any one of a various amount of memorable roles, Anjelica Huston did some unaccredited work in films, starting with being a hand model in the original Casino Royale. However, she got her name recognized by 1969 with a British release of Hamlet also starring Anthony Hopkins. Huston was a Court Lady.
Laura Linney – Lorenzo’s Oil: The 1992 film Lorenzo’s Oil was the start of Laura Linney’s career. She was cast as Young Teacher in this story about Nick Nolte trying to save his son from disease.
Claire Daines – Little Women: Claire Daines grew to the height of popularity with the MTV drama My So Called Life, and she also managed to star in some short films as well. However, it was 1994’s version of Little Women that counts as her first feature film credit. Daines played one of the March sisters, more specifically: Beth.
Michelle Pfeiffer – The Hollywood Knights: ” At last, a motion picture that moons a man on the land.” Indeed that was the tagline for the 1980 comedy The Hollywood Knights. Indeed Michelle Pfeiffer played the role of Suzie Q the lead along with Tony Danza. The film also starred Fran Drescher and indeed, indeed if I had a list of films to make sure I don’t watch I’d put it on there.
That’s all for now folks. Yes there are more actresses. Yes there will be more firsts, and hopefully we will all be entertained.
A coordinated investigation of online entertainment encyclopedias such as Wikipedia, entertainment blog sources of a random nature, my own unfortunate brain’s knowledge, films, and of course IMDB was helpful along the way.