From California to the New York island, the most Oscar-blessed actresses from around the nation
AT LEAST FORTY-ONE STATES can claim an Oscar-winning or nominated actress, although “claim” is a tricky verb. An actress born in one state could live in several others before heading off to Broadway, Hollywood, or college. In most of the following cases, I matched the performer with the state she called home during her coming-of-age years:
ALABAMA: Louise Fletcher attended Birmingham’s Ramsay High, class of 1951. She won the best actress Oscar for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975).
ALASKA Marjorie Rambeau spent a part of her childhood in Nome, Alaska. She received best supporting actress nominations for Primrose Path (1940) and Torch Song (1953).
ARIZONA: Emma Stone spent much of her youth in Paradise Valley and briefly attended Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix. Last year, she received a best actress nomination for Birdman. Valerie Perrine attended Camelback High in Phoenix and received a best actress nomination for Lenny (1974).
ARKANSAS: Mary Steenburgen graduated in 1971 from North Little Rock High and won the best supporting actress award for Melvin and Howard (1980). Tess Harper graduated from Mammoth Spring High School, class of 1968, and was nominated for Crimes of the Heart (1986).
CALIFORNIA: Olivia de Havilland is one of fifteen actresses from California secondary schools who have won Academy Awards. She attended Los Gatos High School and Notre Dame Convent Catholic Girls’ School and won best actress awards for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949). Elizabeth Taylor graduated from L.A.’s University High, class of 1950, and won best actress Oscars for Butterfield Eight (1960) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). Sally Field, Jodie Foster, and Hilary Swank are also two-time Oscar winners from the Golden State.
COLORADO: Hattie McDaniel attended Denver’s East High and became the first black actress to win an Oscar when she received the supporting actress award for Gone With The Wind (1939). Amy Adams graduated from Douglas County High, class of 1992, and has received five acting nominations.
CONNECTICUT: Katharine Hepburn, who attended Kingsford-Oxford school in West Hartford, won four best actress Oscars during her remarkable career, collecting her statuettes for Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), The Lion in Winter (1968), and On Golden Pond (1981). Glenn Close, who attended Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, has been nominated six times.
DELAWARE: No Delaware actress has been nominated for an Academy Award. Elisabeth Shue, born in Wilmington, attended high school in New Jersey and received a best actress nomination for Leaving Las Vegas (1995).
FLORIDA: Faye Dunaway graduated from Leon High in Tallahassee, class of 1958, and won the best actress Oscar for Network (1976). Kim Hunter, a 1940 graduate of Miami Beach High, won the supporting actress Oscar for playing Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).
GEORGIA: Holly Hunter graduated in 1976 from Rockdale High in Conyers and won best actress for The Piano (1993). Julia Roberts graduated in 1985 from Campbell High in Smyrna and won best actress for Erin Brockovich (2000). Kim Basinger graduated in 1972 from Clarke Central in Athens and won best supporting actress for L.A. Confidential (1997).
HAWAII: Bette Midler attended Honolulu’s Admiral Arthur W. Radford High, class of 1963. She was nominated for The Rose (1979) and For The Boys (1991).
IDAHO: Ronee Blakely of Caldwell High, class of 1963, received a supporting actress nomination for Nashville (1975). Mariel Hemingway of Ketchum’s KSVCS High received a supporting actress nomination for Manhattan (1979).
ILLINOIS: Geraldine Page, a 1942 graduate of Chicago’s Englewood Technical Prep, received four best actress nominations and won the Oscar for The Trip to Bountiful (1985). Supporting actress winners: Celeste Holm from Chicago’s Francis W. Parker High; Mercedes McCambridge from Chicago’s St. Thomas the Apostle High; Marlee Matlin from John Hersey High in Arlington Heights; and Jennifer Hudson from Chicago’s Dunbar Vocational.
INDIANA: Irene Dunne, a 1916 graduate of Madison High, received five nominations but never won an Oscar.
IOWA: Donna Reed from Denison High, class of 1938, won a best supporting Oscar for From Here to Eternity (1953). Cloris Leachman from Theodore Roosevelt High in Des Moines won the supporting actress award for The Last Picture Show (1971).
KANSAS: Shirley Knight of Lyons High, class of 1954, received supporting actress nominations for The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1962).
KENTUCKY: Jennifer Lawrence earned a 3.9 GPA at Kammerer Middle School and enrolled for online classes at Louisville’s Ballard High. She won the best actress Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook (2012).
LOUISIANA: Patricia Clarkson, a 1977 graduate of O. Perry Walker High in New Orleans, received a supporting actress nomination for Pieces of April (2003). Corinne Griffith attended Sacred Heart Convent in New Orleans and was nominated for The Divine Lady (1929).
MAINE: Estelle Parsons graduated in 1945 from the Oak Grove School for Girls in Vassalboro and won a supporting actress Oscar for Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
MARYLAND: Helen Hayes attended the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington and won two Oscars, the first for The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931-32) and the second for Airport (1970). Supporting actress winners: Goldie Hawn from Montgomery Blair High in Silver Spring; Mercedes Ruehl from Regina High in Hyattsville; Marcia Gay Harden from Surrattsville High in Clinton; and Mo’Nique from Milford Mill High.
MASSACHUSETTS: Bette Davis graduated in 1926 from Cushing Academy in Ashburnham. She received eleven Oscar nominations, winning for Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1938). Best supporting actresses: Ruth Gordon from Quincy High, class of 1914; Olympia Dukakis from Arlington High, class of 1949; and Geena Davis from Wareham High, class of 1974.
MICHIGAN: Ellen Burstyn, then known as Edna Rae Gillooly, attended Detroit’s Cass Technical. She received six Oscar nominations, winning for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974).
MINNESOTA: Jessica Lange graduated in 1967 from Cloquet High and won a best supporting actress Oscar for Tootsie (1982) and the best actress award for Blue Sky (1994). Gale Sondergaard from the Minneapolis School of Dramatic Arts won the first-ever supporting actress Oscar for Anthony Adverse (1936).
MISSISSIPPI: Diane Ladd graduated from St. Aloysius Academy in Vicksburg. She received supporting actress nominations for Alice Doesn’t live Here Anymore (1974), Wild at Heart (1990), and Rambling Rose (1991).
MISSOURI: Jane Wyman attended Lafayette High in Saint Joseph before dropping out in 1932 and won her Oscar for Johnny Belinda (1948). Joan Crawford attended Rockingham Academy in Kansas City before dropping out in 1922 and won best actress for Mildred Pierce (1945).
MONTANA: No Montana actress has been nominated for an Academy Award.
NEBRASKA: Sandy Dennis graduated from Lincoln High, class of 1955, and received a supporting actress Oscar for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).
NEVADA: No Nevada actress has been nominated for an Academy Award.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: No New Hampshire actress has been nominated for an Academy Award.
NEW JERSEY: Meryl Streep was a cheerleader and homecoming queen at Bernards High in Bernardsville, class of 1967. She has received nineteen Oscar nominations, winning supporting actress for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and best actress for Sophie’s Choice (1982) and The Iron Lady (2011). Susan Sarandon graduated from Edison High, class of 1964. She has received five Oscar nominations, winning for Dead Man Walking (1995). Supporting actress winners: Mira Sorvino, Dwight-Englewood School, class of 1985; and Anne Hathaway, Millburn High, class of 2000.
NEW MEXICO: Kim Stanley grew up in New Mexico and briefly attended the university of New Mexico. She received Oscar nominations for Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) and Frances (1982).
NEW YORK: Jane Fonda graduated from Emma Willard School in Troy, class of 1955, and attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie. Fonda received seven nominations, winning for Klute (1971) and Coming Home (1978). Six other New Yorkers won best actress Oscars: Claudette Colbert, Judy Holliday, Susan Hayward, Anne Bancroft, Barbra Streisand, and Natalie Portman.
NORTH CAROLINA: Ava Gardner graduated from Rock Ridge High, class of 1939, and received a best actress Oscar for Mogambo (1954).
NORTH DAKOTA: Peggy Lee of Jamestown (my grandma McQuade’s hometown) received a supporting actress nomination for Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955).
OHIO: Halle Berry graduated from Bedford High, class of 1984, and won the best actress Oscar for Monster’s Ball (2001). Eileen Heckart, a 1936 graduate of Bexley High in Columbus, won best supporting actress for Butterflies are Free (1972).
OKLAHOMA: Jennifer Jones was known as Phylis Lee Isley when she graduated, class of 1936, from Monte Cassino High in Tulsa. She won the best actress award for The Song of Bernadette (1943). Alfre Woodard attended Bishop Kelley High in Tulsa and was nominated for Cross Creek (1983)
OREGON: No Oregon actress or actor has been nominated for an Academy Award, but directors James Ivory (three), Gus Van Sant (two), Brad Bird (four), and David Fincher (two) combined for eleven nominations. Bird won animated feature Oscars for The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007).
PENNSYLVANIA: Frances McDormand from Monessen High, class of 1975, has received four Oscar nominations and won best actress for Fargo (1996). Grace Kelly from Stevens School in Germantown, class of 1947, won best actress for Country Girl (1954). Ethel Barrymore attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Philadelphia and won best supporting actress for None But The Lonely Heart (1944).
RHODE ISLAND: Viola Davis from Central Falls High, class of 1982, received best actress nominations for Doubt (2008) and The Help (2011). Ruth Hussey grew up in Rhode Island, attended Pembroke College in Providence, and received a supporting actress nomination for The Philadelphia Story (1940).
SOUTH CAROLINA: Joanne Woodward from Greenville Senior High, class of 1947, received four Oscar nominations and won for The Three Faces of Eve (1957). Anna Kendrick from Portland’s Deering High, class of 2003, received a best actress nomination for Up in the Air (2009).
SOUTH DAKOTA: No South Dakota actress has been nominated for an Academy Award.
TENNESSEE: Kathy Bates from White Station High in Memphis, class of 1966, has received three Oscar nominations and won best actress for playing a demented nurse in Misery (1980). Patricia Neal of Knoxville High, class of 1943, won the best actress award for Hud (1963). Reese Witherspoon of Nashville’s Harpeth High, class of 1994, won best actress for portraying June Carter Cash in Walk The Line (2005).
TEXAS: Sissy Spacek was a homecoming queen at Quitman High, class of 1967. She has been nominated for six Academy Awards and won best actress for Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980). Ginger Rogers, who dropped out of Central High in Fort Worth, won best actress for Kitty Foyle (1940). Renée Zellweger from Katy High, class of 1987, has received three nominations and won supporting actress for Cold Mountain (2003).
UTAH: No Utah actress has been nominated for an Academy Award. Loretta Young was born in Salt Lake City but moved with her family to California when she was three. She won the best actress Oscar for The Farmer’s Daughter (1947).
VERMONT: Melissa Leo attended Bellow Falls High and won the supporting actress award for The Fighter (2010).
VIRGINIA: Shirley Maclaine is one of two Oscar-winning actresses from Washington-Lee in Arlington. MacLaine, class of 1952, received six nominations and won best actress for Terms of Endearment (1983). Sandra Bullock, a 1982 graduate from Washington-Lee, won the best actress Oscar for The Blind Side (2013). Julianne Moore attended J.E.B Stuart High in Falls Church from 1975-77 and won the best actress Oscar for Still Alice (2014).
WASHINGTON: Dyan Cannon graduated from West Seattle High, class of 1954, and received best actress nominations for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) and Heaven Can Wait (1978). Frances Farmer also graduated from West Seattle High, class of 1931. While she was never nominated for an Academy Award, the film about her life (Frances, 1982) brought actress nominations for Jessica Lange and Kim Stanley.
WEST VIRGINIA: No West Virginia actress has been nominated for an Academy Award, although two highly regarded performers grew up there. Originally named Joan Letitia LaCock, Joanne Dru attended Wheeling High School. She starred in the best-picture-winning All The King’s Men (1949), plus the John Wayne classics Red River (1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Jennifer Garner graduated from George Washington High in Charleston, class of 1990. Best known for her television work, Garner has received four Golden Globe nominations, winning in 2002 for “Alias.”
WISCONSIN: Nancy Olson attended Wauwatosa East High and received a supporting actress nomination for Sunset Boulevard (1950).
WYOMING: No Wyoming actress has been nominated for an Academy Award.