Famous actress, former boarders

Who is the best actress to graduate from a boarding school?

Boarding schools offer a unique focus on arts and a unique opportunity to develop strength and independence. More specifically, an all-girls boarding environment allows girls to develop and mature in ways that a co-op day school environment simply does not. There are innumerable examples of strong women who grew through the boarding school experience. Young women in arts programs at boarding school can immerse themselves in rehearsals and mock performances, and spend almost all the time they want to on stage. Many of the best actresses in history have honed their craft within the walls of boarding schools.

The list of excellent actresses who have attended boarding school is lengthy.

The nominees for best actress in a boarding school:

Bette Davis

Bette Davis graduated from Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, MA. She was a two time Best Actress Oscar winner and places second overall on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest female stars of all time.

Davis starred in All About Eve (1950), Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and numerous other classics.

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda graduated from Emma Willard School in Troy, NY. She was also a two time Best Actress Oscar winner and can also be called a screen legend. Fonda is also known for her humanitarian work and social activism.

Fonda's most famous roles include Barbarella, The China Syndrome and Coming Home. Her brother, Peter, also attended boarding school, The Westminster School in Connecticut.

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster is a graduate of Choate-Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, CT. She's also a two time Best Actress Oscar winner who has moved in to film directing in recent years. And in spite of her relative youth, it's safe to call her yet another screen legend who cut her performing arts teeth in boarding school.

Foster's numerous classics include her infamous role in Taxi Driver as well as The Accused and other films.

Glenn Close

Glenn Close also graduated from Choate-Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT. The star of Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, 101 Dalmations and numerous other films has been nominated for an Oscar five times.

Uma Thurman

Uma Thurman has appeared in a variety of acclaimed films including Pulp Fiction, Dangerous Liaisons and the Kill Bill movies. She attended Northfield Mount Hermon, a boarding school in Northfield, Massachusetts. In fact, Northfield was where she got her first of many raves and caught her first big break while performing in a production of The Crucible. She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1995.

Still more greats

Many other actresses got their start in boarding school, many of those schools girls only.

They include:

  • Stockard Channing, graduate of The Madeira School in McLean, VA, starred in Grease and numerous other films.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis, yet another graduate of Choate-Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT, has had starring roles in True Lies, the original Halloween and the the cult classic A Fish Called Wanda.
  • Laura Linney graduated from Northfield Mt. Hermon School in Northfield, MA. She has been nominated for an Oscar three times (and counting).
  • Sienna Miller, star of GI Joe and Yellow, attended Heathfield St Mary's School, in Ascot, Berkshire, England, an all girls boarding school. She was named "Film Actress of the Year" at the 2007 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards. Not only can she act, Miller is also a fashion designer.

Canadian Contingent

Canada's boarding schools have produced a number of great actresses. Here's three you should know about:

Kate Reid

Kate Reid had a long career in film, television and on stage. She played often on stage but also had film roles in The Andromeda Strain, Atlantic City and on the TV show Dallas. She is one of several fine actresses to graduate from Toronto's Havergal College (1949).

Stacey Farber

Stacey Farber is so far best known as Eleanor on TV's Degrassi: The Next Generation and stars in the CBC series 18 to Life.

She graduated from Branksome Hall in Toronto (2005).

Margot Kidder

Margot Kidder is most famous as Lois Lane in the original Superman movies, alongside Christopher Reeve.

Like Reid, she graduated from Havergal College (1966).

All images courtesy of wikimedia commons.

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