February 5, 2018

Childfree Celebrities: Famous Hollywood Edition: Actors and Musicians– Women’s History Month


Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the trailer for the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time for another fun list of childfree celebrities. We could list many famous women who do not have kids but these women have something to say about being childfree and proud!

This time we celebrate our favorite actresses,

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo (Photo credit: aclbraga)

comediennes, TV personalities and musicians:

Oprah Winfrey – Media guru

Dolly Parton – Actress, singer-songwriter

Betty White – Actress

Janeane Garofalo – Comedian, actress and political activist

Eva Mendes – Actress

Tallulah Bankhead – Actress of the stage and screen

Paulette Goddard – Actress and Broadway performer

Stockard Channing – Actress

Sarah Brightman – English classical soprano, actress, songwriter and dancer

Shirley Manson – Scottish singer and actress, lead singer of rock band Garbage

Claudette Colbert – French-born American-based actress

Lauren Hutton – American model and actress

Mary Chapin Carpenter – American folk and country musician and winner of five Grammy Awards

Mary Pickford – Actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Daphne Zuniga – Actress

Ginger Rogers – Actress, dancer, and singer

Cameron Diaz – Actress, model

Kathy Griffin –  Comedian, actress “It seems like kids don’t have the rights they need. For example a prison sentence for a child molester is so so incredibly low and yet in a way, kids are running the world (in many ways) it revolves around these kids but I don’t feel like we’re really protecting them. I want to really protect kids. I want to give them rights they need, I don’t want to give them the right to annoy me in a restaurant, I want to give them the right not to get molested.”

Caitlin Moran – British TV Personality  “No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer, and crippled by it.”

Christine McVie – Singer Fleetwood Mac

Nanci Griffith – Singer, guitarist and songwriter

Bo Derek – Actress, model and animal welfare activist

Bonnie Raitt – American blues singer-songwriter

Jean Arthur – Actress and major film star during the 1930s-40s

Julie Christie – Actress and Academy Award winner, starred in Doctor Zhivago

Lily Tomlin – Actress, comedian and writer

Jaqueline Bisset – Actress

Lara Flint Boyle – Actress

Mae West – Actress and sex symbol

Jean Harlow – Actress and sex symbol

Helen Mirren – Award-winning actress

Marisa Tomei – Actress

Dusty Springfield – British pop singer

Janet Jackson –  Singer, songwriter and actress

Billie Holiday –  American jazz singer and songwriter

Katharine Hepburn –  Actress and winner of four academy awards

Marilyn Monroe – Icon,  actress, singer and model

Liza Minnelli – Actress and singer

Janis Joplin – Singer and songwriter

Stevie Nicks – Singer, member of  Fleetwood Mac

Portia de Rossi – Actress

Bessie Smith – Blues singer of the 1920s and 30s

Debbie Harry – lead singer of Blondie

Pam Grier – Actress

Gloria Gaynor – Singer

Mary Pickford – Actress and co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Bettie Page – Pin-up girl

Ashley Judd – Actress, women’s rights activist “Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.”

Zooey Deschanel – On kids from a Marie Claire interview:  “Don’t hold your breath waiting for Deschanel to announce a pregnancy, either. “That’s never been my focus,” she said of having children. “I like kids, and I like being around kids, but it was never an ambition, something, like, I need. I like working. That’s what I like doing. I like to work.”

Ava Gardner – Actress

Greta Garbo – Actress

Ellen Degeneres – Television host, actress and stand-up comedian

Margaret Cho – Actress, comedian, women’s rights activist and LGBT rights activist

Maria Callas – Soprano opera singer

Leah Dunham – Writer, director, actress

Kim Cattrall – Actress

Jo Frost – British nanny and television personality, better known as Supernanny

Julia Child – American chef, tv personality and author.

Rachel Ray – TV Chef

Quite an accomplished list! Did we miss anyone WNKies?

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  1. Hi Amy, I liked the list, but I don’t think Marilyn Monroe should be on it. She attempted to have children, but had miscarriages. It’s possible that she would have had a child if she had not died at 36. We’ll never know.

  2. Amy Guglielmo says:

    Excellent point! We realize that some of these women are/were childfree by choice and some are/were childless by circumstance. We still choose to honor Ms. Monroe!

  3. I don’t believe I saw Chelsea Handler’s name on this list. She is one of the most outspoken child-free celebs out there and I love her for it. In fact, she just did an interview with Oprah on “Oprah’s Next Chapter” where Oprah asked her about it. I don’t remember her response completely, but she said something like “I have dogs and I prefer them because they don’t talk back.” It was a classic Chelsea response and hilarious.

    Also, this quote is attributed to her and I love it:

    “I would rather sit next to a transgender person and discuss why every single one I’ve met smells like a bar in the daytime than listen to people tell my why I want to have children and that I just don’t know it yet. I do know, because I’m me and my feelings are the ones in my head. I don’t want to have kids, and it’s not a device to get attention or have conversations about it. I simply find children incredibly immature and, more often than not, dumb.”

  4. Scarlett says:

    That doesn’t make any sense. What’s the point of a list like this if it’s not about the childfree? MM clearly wanted children. She was not childfree.

  5. wyrdwhorl says:

    Caitlin Moran has two children – although she is supportive of the CF choice.

  6. N. Ella Vincent says:

    Audrey Meadows, Alice from the Honeymooners and Beverly Guy Sheftall, noted author on race and gender

  7. N. Ella Vincent says:

    Dana Delany, from Body of Proof, Aisha Tyler and Sheryl Underwood from The Talk

  8. N. Ella Vincent says:

    Rachel Maddow

  9. Fran Drescher

  10. YES!!!!!!!!!

  11. The interesting thing is the total lack of an “expected” pattern. As is reflected in the list, childfree women can be gorgeous bombshells(Garbo, D. Harry, B. Page) just as easily as more “plain Jane”, “androgynous” types or whathaveyou (IOW it doesn’t matter their “opposite sex appeal”).
    A childfree can be an ambitious and work-centered type or just as easily more laid back. She can be a shy and reserved type, OR quite extroverted/outspoken or a bit “wild”. Her choice doesn’t have to be influenced by any ideology–as seen above, some childfrees are outspokenly feminist while just as many aren’t at all feminist-affiliated. I don’t expect childfree women of a strongly conservative/traditional persuasion to be common, but that doesn’t mean strongly progressive personalities are a given.
    I like that there is variety in the notion of women (and people) who don’t want children, no real solid stereotypes. We come from all walks of life. The most important single factor is simply knowing that parenting isn’t for you.

    *And with that said I’d like to pose some doubt as to Jean Harlow’s inclusion, who was 26 at the time of her death (and possibly less suitable than the already questioned Marilyn). Even in the 1930s that would be very early for “now or nevering” a woman’s motherhood potential–this regardless of the fact that Harlow did reportedly, in fact, have dreams of being a mother (I think she even wanted to retire for this purpose).

  12. Telecat says:

    Thus, she is a breeder, not childfree.

  13. Telecat says:

    Dana Delany is also the most beautiful woman in the world.

  14. Telecat says:

    BeBe Neuwirth is childfree.

  15. You left Gabrielle Coco Chanel off the list! And Cleopatra, I don’t think she had children.

  16. Sassi Boem says:

    Winona Ryder & Kirsten dunst are childfree

  17. C. McDonald says:

    Wow, I feel like I’m in great company! Some of the women I admire and respect most are on this list: Greta Garbo, Ginger Rogers, Kate Hepburn, Lily Tomlin, Helen Mirren, etc… I love them that much more knowing they didn’t contribute to world overpopulation. That and I just don’t like kids.

  18. I’ve been viewing your website and comments. Now permit me to introduce you to my blog (http://joraber33.blogspot.com/) and book: “Famous But No Children.” In my book, I’ve put together a list of 700 notable people – men and women, mostly from the pages of history, because there is much emphasis on current childfree celebrities, giving the impression that this is merely an issue of the 21st century.

    In my research, I found that many Nobel Prize winners did not have children; also many of the world’s great philosophers. There needs to be more attention given to childfree writers, scientists, social reformers and people in the fine arts. But I appreciate your blog. This is such an important issue in our critically overpopulated world.

    J.O. Raber

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