Who Are the Top 10 Iconic Female Celebrities of the 20th Century?

Who Are the Top 10 Iconic Female Celebrities of the 20th Century?
A few years back, I came across a list published by a website that only publishes lists about people, places and things: from the bizarre to the historical to the scientific to miscellaneous. The list was titled: 10 Iconic Actresses Who Tragically Ended Their Lives.

Iconic? Per Merriam-Webster, the word iconic means:

  • widely recognized and well-established like an iconic brand name; or
  • widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence like an iconic writer.
Or perhaps an iconic actress? The actress example wasn't included in the dictionary definition. But I'm using it now.

I scanned through the list and realized there was only one iconic” person that I recognized. An actress named Capucine*. One seldom forgets celebrities who are known by only one name.

The list was very disappointing. But it inspired me to have a go at creating my own list of iconic female celebrities. It was not necessary, however, for them to have committed suicide. They just needed to meet the criteria specified by the Merriam-Webster definition of the word iconic.

The celebs on my list are American. The list is biased and shows partiality, I know. But I know them! Most of them are women who had a positive impact on my childhood, teenage and young adult developmental years.

  1. Shirley Temple
  2. Audrey Hepburn
  3. Hillary Clinton
  4. Jackie Kennedy
  5. Dorothy Dandridge
  6. Sophia Loren
  7. Katherine Hepburn
  8. Ella Fitzgerald
  9. Lucille Ball
  10. Ingrid Bergman
This is my list. Agree or Disagree.
Who would be on your list?


No one has agreed yet, be the first!


No one has disagreed yet, be the first!


Some of them I agree with..but I think Michelle Obama should be on the list as the first black first lady. Also, Carol Burnett has had a long and illustrious career and should be on the list as should Oprah Winfrey. Dorothy Dandridge may have been a trail blazer in her day, but she is hardly a household name. I think she should be off the list due to lack of celebrity.
Posted by kgord on 11-02-2017
I respect your choices. Carol Burnett is on my list. She's just not in my Top 10. As for Oprah Winfrey? She has overcome abuse in her childhood, climbed the ladder of success without ruthlessly stepping on and crushing other people, and has honestly earned her fame and fortune. But she's not on my list. As for Michelle Obama? She happened to be the wife of Barack Obama. She is a fabulous lady and was, no doubt, a great support to her husband. But … what makes her iconic? The fact that she's black? RE: Dorothy Danbridge: Due to lack of celebrity is exactly the reason why she is not a household name and she should be on the list. She was denied her celebrity status “black in the day”. She gets her kudos and honors, posthumously and in retrospect, i.e. because they didn't give her credit when it was due. In my humble opinion.
Posted by cmoneyspinner on 11-02-2017
I didn't even know this story about Dorothy, I haven't been researching what happened with her. I always thought the reason why she never was a household name was another. And I totally agree with you on Michelle Obama. Don't get me wrong, she was of great support, but her skin color alone shouldn't put her on this list.
Posted by Tania997 on 11-02-2017
I really like your list and I agree with the majority of your choices. I would definitely add Marilyn Monroe to the list and possibly Lady Di (if she counts as a celebrity, it's debatable). Madonna is also iconic, her whole career is a definition of a modern popstar career. Coco Chanel, if she can be called a celebrity, also changed many things and was very influential.
Posted by felabruno on 11-02-2017
Marilyn Monroe did come to mind. But when I started narrowing down the list, she dropped off. Lady Di I had not considered. But if I had, she still would not have made my Top 10. Actually, none of the British royals would have made my list. But if I were going to pick one, it would have probably been Princess Diana, the People's Princess, as she is called. She paved the way for Kate. :) As for Madonna, she could definitely be described as "iconic", but I don't really admire her. So she didn't make my list either. Coco Chanel? Don't even know who she is. (O.o)
Posted by foxchannel on 11-03-2017
Your list is top rated, but i thought you were refering to only top iconic female actresses that ended their lives because there is a confusion here. I will pick Oprah winfrey to be in the list also.
Posted by babyright on 11-02-2017
I understand the confusion. The list that inspired me to make my own list sadly was about female celebrities who had committed suicide. When I came up with my list, I removed that criteria.
Posted by foxchannel on 11-03-2017
Thenk God the OP included celebrities from all walks of life. Most of the people only refer to movie starts, models and singers when they want to talk about celebrities. The word celebrities refer to the individuals who are widely popular. As long as you are popular, you are a celebrity. In that sense Hillary Clinton can always be placed with Audrey Hepburn. I don't recognize most of the women in the list, however, I would like to add author of harry Potter books in this list.
Posted by vinaya on 11-02-2017
J. K. Rowling is indeed admirable. I'll put her on my list for worthy of "Honorable Mention". Thanks for commenting.
Posted by foxchannel on 11-03-2017
Different strokes for different folks,those on your list might be iconic to you because that is how you see them and no one can dispute that with you.Well for me I have the following on my list Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Madonna,Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton. Very passionate women I really must commend them.
Posted by lovely on 11-06-2017
I find lists quite limiting, but I feel more iconic women are found in Hollywood based on the roles they played and the persona they projected. If you say Madonna, most people will know her, Audrey and people think of Audrey Hepburn, Greta, as in Garbo, Marilyn as in Monroe, Ava, in Gardner, Lauren as in Bacall, and these are the most popular ones. I find models are less well know and politicians too, but what are they remembered for? Their looks or their skills?
Posted by Alexa on 11-07-2017
Princess Diana belongs to my list of top 10 iconic women along with some names on the list like Jackie Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. Btw, Sophia Loren is an Italian actress. Princess Diana had touched many lives and was even more popular than the members of the royal family. She outshone her ex-husband and maintained her popularity even after their divorce. Away from the clutches and protocols of the royal family, she was able to lend her name to various causes. She wasn't afraid to touch the hands of people afflicted with AIDS at a time when most wouldn't dare come near them. She even stroke the limbs of a leprosy patient to give comfort. It's no wonder why many mourned with her sons when she died.
Posted by chatbox on 12-21-2017
Top 10 most iconic female celebs of the 20th century? Well Beyonce would definitely make the cut. I also think Michelle Obama, and Jennifer Lopez could make the cut also.
Posted by NickJ on 12-28-2017
Being an icon takes a lot of Aura and public attention, while some influence positively to the lives of the public or negatively as some do, they have all the praises and backlash, supporters and haters. I have made up my own list of 10 female celebrity Icons that have impacted my life, they're women who made me see the light though everything was dark around, with their stories of survival/success /strength they taught women and girls who cared to listen to know how to seek that intelligence to attract and help people around the world. Not like some women like them Kardashian families who are baseless and inculcating nothing but obsession into the lives of youths with perfect illusions of how a life should be spent(menh they are really not worth watching nor idolized).

1.Princess Diana Windsor(deceased). 2.Mother Theresa. 3.Elizabeth Taylor. 4.Cleopatra of Egypt. 5.Merly Steep. 6.Oprah Winfrey.

  1. Michelle Obama. 8.Ellen Degenerous. 9.Lady Gaga. 10.Stella Macarthy.
I guess this is it, my list is crazy too but they are just my honest opinion.
Posted by Adesuwa08 on 02-04-2018
Maybe I cannot name 10 of them but I will just name a few. Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actresses because most of her movies are sensible and worth watching. Who would forget Miss Congeniality and While You Were Sleeping? Another actress but also a singer is Jennifer Lopez. She was so good as a judge in American Idol and I wonder why she had left. One of her best movies was Maid In Manhattan. Correct me if the title is wrong. And with her songs, she’s got a lot of good songs. Princess Diana is one good girl that went astray because of fate. From a commoner to a princess, that’s how fate works sometimes, you really cannot choose what you will become next.
Posted by Corzhens on 02-05-2018