Funniest Women of All Time

by gonewiththewindlove | created - 12 Aug 2012 | updated - 12 Aug 2012 | Public

1. Lucille Ball

Actress | I Love Lucy

The woman who will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their ...

2. Joan Rivers

Actress | Spaceballs

Joan Rivers was born on June 8, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Joan Alexandra Molinsky. She was a writer and actress, known for Spaceballs (1987), Iron Man Three (2013) and Rabbit Test (1978). She was married to Edgar Rosenberg and James Bennat Sanger. She died on September 4, ...

3. Carole Lombard

Actress | My Man Godfrey

Carole Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on October 6, 1908. Her parents divorced in 1916 and her mother took the family on a trip out West. While there they decided to settle down in the Los Angeles area. After being spotted playing baseball in the street with the ...

4. Phyllis Diller

Actress | A Bug's Life

The indefatigable nonagenarian finally put out an autobiography in 2005 and entitled it "Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse", which pretty much says it all when recalling the misfit life and career of the fabulous, one-of-a-kind Phyllis Diller. It may inspire all those bored, discouraged and/or ...

5. Fanny Brice

Actress | The Great Ziegfeld

Fanny Brice was a popular and influential American comedienne, singer, theatre and film actress, who made many stage, radio and film appearances but is best remembered as the creator and star of the top-rated radio comedy series, The Baby Snooks Show. Thirteen years after her death, she was ...

6. Betty White

Actress | The Proposal

Betty White was born in Oak Park, Illinois, to Christine Tess (Cachikis), a homemaker, and Horace Logan White, a lighting company executive. She is of Danish, Greek, English, and Welsh descent.

Although best known as the devious Sue Ann Nivens on the classic sitcom Mary Tyler Moore (1970) and the ...

7. Kathy Griffin

Actress | The Cable Guy

Kathy Griffin was raised in the near-west Chicago suburbs, in an Irish-American family. She has three older brothers and an older sister. When her parents retired to California, Kathy moved west with them after graduating from Oak Park River Forest High School and began trying to break into show ...

8. Sophie Tucker

Soundtrack | The Great Gatsby

What becomes a legend most? For the beloved Russian-born entertainer Sophie Tucker, it was most definitely the live stage. The stage was her home. She fed off a live audience and it's what made her the sensation she was. Seeing her up close and personal was to get the very best of her. Movies and ...

9. Bea Arthur

Actress | The Golden Girls

Actress-comedienne Bea Arthur was born on May 13, 1922 in New York City to a Jewish family. She grew up in Maryland, where her parents ran a dress shop. At 12 years old, she was the tallest girl in her school at 5'9". She earned the title "wittiest" girl in her school, and Bea's dream was to be in ...

10. Marion Davies

Actress | The Patsy

Marion Cecelia Douras was born in the borough of Brooklyn, New York on January 3, 1897. She had been bitten by the show biz bug early as she watched her sisters perform in local stage productions. She wanted to do the same. As Marion got older, she tried out for various school plays and did fairly ...

11. Tina Fey

Writer | 30 Rock

Elizabeth Stamatina Fey was born in 1970 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, just west of Philadelphia, to Xenobia "Jeanne" (Xenakes), a brokerage employee, and Donald Henry Fey, who wrote grant proposals for universities. Her mother is Greek, born in Piraeus, while her father had German, Northern Irish,...

12. Moms Mabley

Actress | Boarding House Blues

One the most successful entertainers of the Black vaudeville stage, also known as the Chitlin Circuit, was Jackie "Moms" Mabley, born Loretta Mary Aiken in 1894. At the apex of her long career, she was earning $10,000 a week at Harlem's Apollo Theatre. Mabley focused on conventional topics such as ...

13. Margaret Cho

Actress | 30 Rock

Margaret Cho was born Dec. 5, 1968 and raised in San Francisco. Her grandfather was a Methodist minister who ran an orphanage in Seoul during the Korean War. Ignoring the traditions of her patriarchal culture, her mother bravely resisted an arranged marriage in Korea and married Margaret's father ...

14. Amy Poehler

Actress | Inside Out

Amy Meredith Poehler was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to high school teachers Eileen Frances (Milmore) and William Grinstead Poehler. Her brother is comedian Greg Poehler. She is of Irish (from her mother) and English, Irish, German, and Portuguese (from her father) descent. Amy was first ...

15. Mae West

Actress | She Done Him Wrong

Mae West was born in Queens, New York, to "Battling Jack" West and Matilda Doelger. She began her career as a child star in vaudeville, and later went on to write her own plays, including "SEX", for which she was arrested. Though her first movie role was a small part in Night After Night (1932), ...

16. Vivian Vance

Actress | I Love Lucy

She was born Vivian Roberta Jones, with a brother and four sisters. After the family moved from Cherryvale to Independence, Kansas, she studied drama under Anna Ingleman and William Inge. Their next move, to Albuquerque, New Mexico brought her to the Albuquerque Little Theatre, which provided her ...

17. Chelsea Handler

Actress | This Means War

Chelsea Handler was born in Livingston, New Jersey, to a Mormon mother, Rita (Stoecker), who was born in Germany, and an American-born Jewish father, Seymour Handler. She was the youngest of six children. In 2002, Chelsea was one of the stars of Oxygen's Girls Behaving Badly (2002). Chelsea got her...

18. Wanda Sykes

Actress | Monster-in-Law

Wanda Sykes has been called one of the funniest stand-up comics by her peers and ranks among Entertainment Weekly's 25 Funniest People in America. Her smart-witted stand-up has sent her career in many different areas.

She was recently seen in Comedy Central's Wanda Does It (2004), where she tried ...

19. Fran Drescher

Writer | The Nanny

Francine Joy Drescher was born on September 30th, 1957 in Flushing, Queens, New York to Mort Drescher and Sylvia Drescher. Fran, as she is called, attended Hillcrest High school in New York with another now-famous name, Ray Romano. She was a studious girl and was quite popular. In fact, at age ...

20. Marilyn Monroe

Actress | Some Like It Hot

Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, comedienne, singer, and model. She became one of the world's most enduring iconic figures and is remembered both for her winsome embodiment of the Hollywood sex symbol and her tragic personal and professional struggles within the film industry. Her life and ...

21. Estelle Getty

Actress | The Golden Girls

She was truly one mother of a mom...on stage, on film and on TV. A favorite firecracker on 80s and 90s television, tiny character player Estelle Getty became best known for her carping, meddlesome moms -- complete with bemused, cynical looks, irreverent digs and dead-pan Henny Youngman-like ...

22. Gilda Radner

Actress | Saturday Night Live

Gilda Radner was one of the great comic geniuses of the 20th century, ranked up with Lucille Ball and other comedy legends of the highest caliber. She was born on June 28, 1946, in Detroit, Michigan, the younger of two children of Henrietta (Dworkin), a legal secretary, and Herman Radner, a ...

23. Mo'Nique

Actress | Precious

Monique received a standing ovation when she stepped on stage for the first time in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, giving her confidence to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. After numerous stand-up performances, she took a leap forward with one of the starring roles in The Parkers (1999)...

24. Ethel Merman

Actress | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Born in the Astoria section of Queens, New York City, Ethel Merman surely is the pre-eminent star of 'Broadway' musical comedy. Though untrained in singing, she could belt out a song like quite no one else, and was sought after by major songwriters such as Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Having ...

25. Carol Channing

Actress | Thoroughly Modern Millie

Carol Channing was born January 31, 1921, at Seattle, Washington, the daughter of a prominent newspaper editor, who was very active in the Christian Science movement. She attended high school in San Francisco and later worked as a model in Los Angeles. She attended prestigious Bennington College in...

26. Rue McClanahan

Actress | The Golden Girls

A New York stage actress in the 1950s, McClanahan was plucked from the stage by Norman Lear for roles on All in the Family (1971) and later Maude (1972). For two years (1982 - 1984), she played "Aunt Fran" on Mama's Family (1983) until her character was killed off and she joined the cast of Golden ...

27. Penny Marshall

Actress | Laverne & Shirley

Penny Marshall was born Carole Penny Marshall in the Bronx, New York, on October 15, 1943. The Libra is 5' 6 1/2", with brown hair and green eyes. She is the daughter of Marjorie (Ward), a tap dance teacher, and Anthony "Tony" Marshall, an industrial film director. She is the younger sister of ...

28. Jean Harlow

Actress | Dinner at Eight

Harlean Carpenter, who later became Jean Harlow, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 3, 1911. She was the daughter of a successful dentist and his wife. In 1927, at the age of 16, she ran away from home to marry a young businessman named Charles McGrew, who was 23. The couple pulled up ...

29. Kristen Wiig

Actress | Bridesmaids

Kristen Carroll Wiig was born on August 22, 1973 in Canandaigua, New York, to Laurie J. (Johnston), an artist, and Jon J. Wiig, a lake marina manager. She is of Norwegian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, English, and Scottish descent. The family moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, before ...

30. Rosie O'Donnell

Actress | Sleepless in Seattle

Rosie O'Donnell was born into an Irish-American family in Commack, Long Island. She is the middle of 5 children, and is the daughter of Roseann Teresa (Murtha) and Edward Joseph O'Donnell, an electrical engineer for the defense industry. Her mother died when she was ten. She said that she watched ...

31. Molly Picon

Actress | Fiddler on the Roof

The little "yente" with the big, expressive talent, New York-born Yiddish icon Molly Picon entertained theater, radio, TV and film audiences for over seven decades (from age 6) with her song-and-dance routines while helping to popularize the Yiddish culture into the American mainstream as well as ...

32. Bette Midler

Soundtrack | The First Wives Club

Multi Grammy Award-winning singer/comedienne/author Bette Midler has also proven herself to be a very capable actress in a string of both dramatic and comedic roles. Midler was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 1, 1945. She is the daughter of Ruth (Schindel), a seamstress, and Fred Midler, a ...

33. Rosalind Russell

Actress | Auntie Mame

The middle of seven children, she was named after the S.S. Rosalind at the suggestion of her father, a successful lawyer. After receiving a Catholic school education, she went to the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York, having convinced her mother that she intended to teach acting. In 1934...

34. Whitney Cummings

Actress | Made of Honor

Whitney Cummings was born on September 4, 1982 in Georgetown, Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Whitney Ann Cummings. She is a writer and actress, known for Made of Honor (2008), Whitney (2011) and The Wedding Ringer (2015).

35. Sarah Silverman

Actress | Wreck-It Ralph

Two-time Emmy Award winner Sarah Silverman is one of the most versatile talents in entertainment, with credits including that of actress, creator, writer, executive producer, comedian, and author. Silverman will next be seen in both The Book of Henry and The Lonely Island's Popstar: Never Stop ...

36. Sandra Bernhard

Actress | The King of Comedy

Love her or hate her, this comic diva is a one-of-a-kind, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners artiste. Racy, confrontational, offensive, cynical, off-putting and angst-ridden to a T, this flinty stand-up from Flint, Michigan was born on June 6, 1955, the daughter of Jerome Bernhard, a proctologist, and...

37. Ellen DeGeneres

Producer | Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Emmy-winning talk show host Ellen Lee DeGeneres was born in Metairie, Louisiana, a New Orleans suburb. She is the daughter of Betty DeGeneres (née Elizabeth Jane Pfeffer), a speech therapist, and Elliott Everett DeGeneres, an insurance agent. Her brother is musician and producer Vance DeGeneres. ...

38. Whoopi Goldberg

Actress | Ghost

Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in the Chelsea section of Manhattan on November 13, 1955. Her mother, Emma (Harris), was a teacher and a nurse, and her father, Robert James Johnson, Jr., was a clergyman. Whoopi's recent ancestors were from Georgia, Florida, and Virginia. She worked in...

39. Joy Behar

Actress | Ice Age: Continental Drift

Joy Behar was born on October 7, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Josephina Victoria Occhiuto. She is an actress and writer, known for Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012), Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) and Hall Pass (2011). She has been married to Steve Janowitz since August 11, 2011. She was ...

40. Jackée Harry

Actress | 227

Jackée Harry was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and reared from the age of nine in Harlem, New York, by her mother, Flossie. At the tender age of fourteen, Jackée landed the lead role of the King in her school's production of The King and I. Upon graduation from New York City's High School ...

41. Roseanne Barr

Producer | Roseanne

Roseanne Barr, one of America's funniest comedians, has another side that not many people have seen. She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. During her teenage years, she worked as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. She married Bill Pentland and they had three children together. They remained ...

42. Mary Tyler Moore

Actress | Ordinary People

Mary Tyler Moore was born on December 29, 1936 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, to Marjorie (Hackett) and George Tyler Moore, a clerk. Her maternal grandparents were English immigrants, and her father was of English, Irish, and German descent. Moore's family relocated to California when she was eight. Her ...

43. Carol Burnett

Actress | Annie

The entertainment world has enjoyed a five-decade love affair with comedienne/singer Carol Burnett. A peerless sketch performer and delightful, self-effacing personality who rightfully succeeded Lucille Ball as the carrot-topped "Queen of Television Comedy," it was Burnett's traumatic childhood that...

44. Cloris Leachman

Actress | The Last Picture Show

The record-breaking actress set a record when at age 82, she appeared on Dancing with the Stars (2005). Cloris Leachman was born on April 30, 1926 in Des Moines, Iowa to Berkeley Claiborne "Buck" Leachman and the former Cloris Wallace. Her father's family owned a lumber company, Leachman Lumber Co....

45. Esther Rolle

Actress | Driving Miss Daisy

Best known for the role of Florida Evans on the 1970s sitcoms "Maude" and "Good Times," African-American actress Esther Rolle proved to be as spirited and iron-willed off-camera as well. The gap-toothed actress with the gravelly voice was born in Pompano Beach, Florida, the 10th child of 18 born to...

46. Jean Stapleton

Actress | All in the Family

Jean Stapleton was born Jeanne Murray in Manhattan, New York City, to Marie A. (Stapleton), an opera singer, and Joseph Edward Murray, a billboard advertising salesman. Her paternal grandparents were Irish. She was a cousin of actress Betty Jane Watson. Other relatives in show business were her ...

47. Isabel Sanford

Actress | The Jeffersons

Isabel Sanford was a Broadway actress for over thirty years before moving to Hollywood. She made numerous guest appearances on TV, including a stint as a supporting cast member on The Carol Burnett Show (1967). Until her passing, Isabel continued to act frequently, most recently in a series of ...

48. Loni Love

Actress | Soul Plane

Loni Love is a Detroit native, born from Houston, Texas that went to Prairie View A&M University in the Lone Star State for about four years, and got her degree in engineering. Though Loni Love is a stand-up comedian, Loni worked as an engineer for IBM and other companies for about ten years. Then,...

49. Sofía Vergara

Actress | Hot Pursuit

Sofía Margarita Vergara Vergara was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her mother, Margarita Vergara Dávila de Vergara, is a housewife. Her father, Julio Enrique Vergara Robayo, provides cattle to the meat industry. She has five siblings. She was educated at a private bilingual Spanish/...

50. Marla Gibbs

Actress | The Jeffersons

Armed with an acid dry wit and a full arsenal of sarcasm and sass, African-American character comedienne Marla Gibbs showed up on 70s TV with a bang in middle age (44). Landing the feisty maid role on the popular ground-breaking CBS comedy, The Jeffersons (1975), eventually led to her very own ...