As a couple of weeks ago I posted my Top Ten Favorite Actors Voices, I feel that it’s only fair to have a female equivalent to that.
Well, to be consistent with the male voices post, I’m going to single out one classic actor’s voice that I consider the best of the rest. That honor would definitely go to the exquisite beauty Ava Gardner, who happens to be Gregory Peck’s close personal friend and co-star in no less than three films: The Great Sinner, The Snows of Kilimanjaro and On The Beach.
On top of being ridiculously beautiful, Ava has this sexy, breathy voice that sounds so flirtatious and beguiling. It doesn’t seem to change as she gets older, in fact, her voice in The Great Sinner in 1949 and On The Beach ten years later she still sounds so sultry.
Here’s a clip from her first collaboration with Gregory Peck (Ava shows up at 1:15):
So anyway, here’s a shortlist of actresses whose rich, silky voice are as lovely as their looks. Here they are random order:
1. Cate Blanchett
Seems like people with great voices are involved in the Lord of the Rings adaptation somehow, as you might’ve noticed in the male version of this list. Well, I couldn’t possibly not include Blanchett as her narration in the Fellowship of the Rings intro is just superb. Her voice is so soothing with a great deal of poise. I’ve seen a number of her movies and her voice is one of my favorite part about miss Blanchett
2. Kate Winslet
Here’s another Kate whom I adore dearly. Both are beautiful, freakishly talented, and have a distinct honeyed voice I could listen all day long. The first time I heard Winslet’s voice was in Sense & Sensibility, which remains one of my favorite films of all time. I especially love this scene of the heartbroken Marianne reciting Love is not love as she watches her beloved Willoughby’s house from a distance. It never fails to move me to tears. Winslet also has a gorgeous singing voice, as you can see in this Alan Rickman post.
3. Emily Blunt
Did you know that Emily had a stammer as a kid? But at the age of 12, her teacher asked her to play a character with a different voice which ended up helping her overcome it. I enjoyed listening to Emily talk, in all her films I always notice it, such as this one in The Young Victoria. She apparently can sing, too, when she was dating Michael Bublé, she sang briefly at the end of the song Me and Mrs. Jones in his Call Me Irresponsible album.
4. Thandie Newton
The Zimbabwean-British actress’ got what I’d call an alluring voice. I’m not an expert in the various English accents but whatever it is she has it’s just so lovely to listen to. I sometimes would watch her interviews just to hear her speak, even though I’m not particularly fascinated by Thandie’s personality. Here she is with my favorite Scot who happens to sound as sexy as he looks, Gerry Butler, in Rocknrolla.
5. Michelle Pfeiffer
Speaking of sexy voices, there’s not one more sensuous than Pfeiffer’s voice. Interestingly enough, her trademark on her IMDb page is listed as ‘husky voice’ and ‘cat-like eyes,’ hence she is the perfect Catwoman. I’m sure people who’ve seen The Fabulous Baker Boys would also recall her memorably sultry rendition of Makin’ Whoopee in that red dress on top of the piano. But since we’re talking about speaking voices on this list, here’s the scene of her in Batman Returns with Michael Keaton:
6. Carey Mulligan
When I saw Carey the first time in An Education, I noticed a couple of things right away. One is her strong acting ability, and the other is how euphonious her voice is. Then I saw Never Let Me Go months later and her narrating voice is just beautiful, there’s such melancholy and vulnerability in the way she speaks that sticks out in my mind. I think I’ve become a fan of hers partly because of her voice.
7. Helen Mirren
Yes I’m a card-carrying member of Dame Mirren as I mention her a lot in this blog. The 66-year-old Brit actually came from a Russian Aristocratic family who ended up moving London. I love her posh yet sympathetic tone in her voice, it’s distinctly memorable and easy on the ear. Well, the Oscar winner is apparently set to guest star on Glee as the “inner voice” of a character whose identity is still being kept a secret (per AceShowbiz). Interesting, I might have to watch that clip on YouTube. Now here’s a clip of her with Bruce Willis in RED:
8. Vera Farmiga
I’ve become a big fan of Farmiga ever since Up in the Air. But it’s her role in Source Code that makes me notice her voice as there’s a lot of dialogue between her and Jake Gyllenhaal’s character. Her voice is intelligent but yet infused with warmth and sincerity. She can also be playful and seductive like in Up in the Air and Henry’s Crime, in the latter she brought in her theatrical training where she got her start on Broadway.
9. Catherine Zeta-Jones
The beautiful Welsh actress is a trained singer and dancer, so perhaps she realizes the power of one’s voice as an actress. She won an Oscar for her supporting performance in Chicago, and most people probably remember her in that role, but for me, one of my favorite roles of hers is in The Mask of Zorro. I noticed right away what a pleasing voice she has, it’s sensuous with a hint of mystique about it.
10. Judi Dench
Whether in a period drama or an action thriller, Dame Judi’s voice commands attention. She’s a tiny woman (only 5’1″) with a booming, authoritative voice that one can’t ignore. But apart from that, I actually like listening to her voice, there’s a certain world-weariness combined with a no-nonsense attitude. I think it’s genius to cast her as M in Goldeneye, her scenes with Bond always brings a smile to my face as even 007 is just no match for her spunk and wit.
Rachel Weisz, Eva Green, Marion Cotillard, Famke Janssen, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Connelly, Jessica Chastain.
Well, what are your thoughts on my picks? As always, please do share your own favorite actress(es) with the most pleasing voice.
73 thoughts on “Top Ten Favorite Actresses with the Smoothest Voice”
The female voices I like are Audrey Hepburn, Jean Simmons and Lauren Bacall. (Yes, names of Hollywood’s yesteryear again. What of it?)
Hey, you won’t get any complaints from moi about mentioning classic icons 😀 Oh yeah, all of them do have gorgeous voices. I also think Ingrid Bergman has a very pleasant voice, too.
For me, hands down it is Joanne Woodward. Her voice velvet smooth, soothing, with an incredibly pleasing lilt.
My favorite female voice is Jaclyn Smith. I always found it clear, soft and sexy. She’s not a major film star of the screen but she is a major television personality.
Oh yeah, I remember Jaclyn Smith’s voice, she’s definitely an iconic tv star.
Cate Blanchett was the one who immediately sprang to mind. 🙂
Yay, she’s definitely in my top five!
I wouldn’t call it “smooth”, but I loooove Katharine Hepburn’s voice. It’s perfect for the kind of characters that she played- a spunky lovable firebrand.
And Ava Gardner… that woman was gorgeous.
Yeah, her voice is as iconic as her acting. I’m not a huge fan of hers but I can see why she’s so celebrated. As for Ava, I read one time that Gregory said whilst filming with her, every time she walked by, the crews would go abruptly quiet as to observe her remarkable beauty. I’m surprised these two gorgeous people didn’t hook up in real life but they did became great friends for life.
Nice one… Glad to see Carey Mulligan in the list. She’s my celeb crush of the moment 😉
Well you’re a man of great taste, Raghav 🙂
Hey, you got TWO Americans this time! I’m impressed. 😉
Last month I had the opportunity to see Piper Laurie speak at a screening of ‘Carrie,’ and she definitely has a great voice. Very theatrical.
Ahahaha, well I don’t plan ’em to be all Brits/Aussies, again I’m not grading their accents, just the sound of their voice 🙂 I don’t think I know who Piper Laurie is, do you happen to have a clip of her voice?
Piper Laurie… The Hustler, Carrie, Children Of A Lesser God, Twin Peaks. Here’s a clip. Go to the 1:50 mark to the 4:20 mark. Great voice and actress.
I’m been waiting for this one, Ruth, and you, as usual, didn’t disappoint. Bravo for the list you’ve put together. Such a excellent one to lead off with, too. The Great Cate and her prologue voice over to LOTR-TFotR hits all the notes. It also highlights and dispels the notion that women don’t make good voice-over artists (the recent NY Times piece covered this well a short while back). But I adore all of these you have on your roll. I, too, love Vera Farmiga’s work in ‘Up in the Air’, but her part in ‘Source Code’ really demanded something extra, but subtle, in ‘Source Code’ and her voice work in the film made it happen. My picks:
• Piper Laurie – her work in film, especially ‘Carrie’, can’t be minimized
• CCH Pounder – the woman can do anything in my book
• Mercedes McCambridge – ‘The Exorcist’ is not ‘The Exorcist’ without her voice as the demon Pazuzu, period
• Audrey Hepburn – a no brainer for a fan like me
• Kathleen Turner – still one of the great voices around
• Eartha Kitt – not only a great songstress, but voice who could captivate
• Barbara Stanwyck – see the answer below
• Betty Davis – the woman who onscreen, in acting or voice, who hold her own against anyone, man or woman
Thanks Michael! That article is bogus, women don’t make good voice over artists??! Most of Disney princess movies rely on them to make their animated features a success, and that is just one area of voice over. In any case, preaching to the choir I guess as you are already in agreement w/ me 🙂
Oh I can’t believe I left out CCH Pounder, I LOVE her voice as Moat in Avatar. And the original Catwoman definitely worth a mention. The rest I’m in agreement with also, except for Piper Laurie, I just asked Rich who she was, sorry…
I’m thrilled you like my list!
Can’t argue with your choices, those are very good actresses and have great voice.
I would have included Meryl Streep on my list, she was the voice of the fairy godmother in A.I. and her voice was quite haunting and sweet at the same time.
Hmmm, I’d never thought about Streep’s voice but now that you’ve mentioned it I guess she does have a nice voice. I forgot it was her voice in AI.
Michelle Pfeiffer’s voice goes right through me, in the nicest possible way!
Her sultry chanteuse Susie Diamond is one of my favourite movie characters and I’m really pleased you mentioned her.
When you mentioned “husky voices” Lauren Bacall is the other actress I instantly thought of and I also like Holly Hunter, who has a very distinctive speaking voice.
Your list is great, I really enjoyed it.
I can’t possibly not include Michelle’s voice, her voice is just so sexy, even as a woman I recognize that. Yeah Bacall’s husky voice is clearly legendary, it’s a bit too deep for my liking though, same w/ Kathleen Turner’s voice. It’s almost a bit um, manly 🙂
Bacall’s and Turner’s voices did grow more husky and deeper as they got older. Still, when they were younger they had a quality, and a growl, in their voices that just about any man would find beguiling.
Top ten actors with coolest voices they forgot robin williams scottish blirish german french welsh some native american i love the way he said anything romantic love okay please obession i love him i love his movies i had too see him hear his voice once again i wish i could kiss him hold him hear him say my name makes my tempature rise he makes me laugh he makes me cry aw daddy come on my dreams
Great list, lots of deserving choices. Carey Mulligan is one of my favorite actresses at the moment — she’s got it all, voice included!
She does doesn’t she? I also like Jennifer Lawrence, both are so talented!
Rachel Weisz and Gemma Arterton should be in top six, both have identical velvety voices like smooth chocolate in golden wrapping 🙂 Rachel even gave her voice to dragon Safira in ERAGON, amazing work!
Blanchett, Zeta Jones, Emily Blunt and Judi Dench are magnificent both with their voices and in all other ways 🙂
Can’t stand number 6!
I’m still puzzled as to why you hate Carey so much Dez? She seems like a very amiable person, even on screen she projects a certain warmth about her.
Here’s some ones that weren’t mentioned. By the way I’m a sucker for the Irish and the Scottish brogue. Kelly MacDonald (Trainspotting, Boardwalk Empire), Elaine Cassidy (Felicia’s Journey, The Others), Natascha McElhone (Californication, Ronin) and Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, Hanna) who’s growing up to be a fine actress. Begorra! And how about a shoutout for the sultry Jessica Lange and the smokey Lauren Bacall.
Hey me too, Dave, a lot of my fave actors are often Irish/Scottish 🙂 I like your choices. McElhone does have a lovely voice, have you seen her in Laurel Canyon when she seduced Christian Bale, woof [fan self] Oh you must be thrilled that MacDonald will be voicing the protagonist in Pixar’s Brave then. Btw I forgot to mention English actress Saffron Burrows, I like her voice too, she was in Circle of Friends, TROY and The Bank Job.
Ah… ‘The Bank Job’. One of my favorites from 2008. Good pick with Saffron Burrows, Ruth.
I have no idea what qualifies as a smooth voice ahah except maybe the antithesis of Emma Stone’s coarse voice? 😀 I guess I would add Sigourney Weaver and Angelina Jolie
I’ll throw my vote in for Jolie as well 🙂
I actually like Emma’s voice but not enough to make the top ten though. Jolie’s voice is all right, especially when she’s speaking w/ a British accent, so yeah I’ll give her that.
Adore, adore, adore Kate Winslet in Sense and Sensibility!!!! Cate Blanchet and Judi Dench are absolutely gorgeous too, great voices!
Yay Ruth, glad to hear! I do love the cast in S&S, especially Rickman as Col. Brandon. His scenes w/ Kate are just so heart-wrenching.
Good choices. Another who I think has a lovely voice is the talented actress Emma Fielding.
Great post matey. I love it.
Mine would be Marilyn in Some Like It Hot… while not the smoothest, she kinda mumbled and slurred it in such a sexy manner I fell in love with her over and over again when ever she spoke….
Have a great weekend my friend
Ah Marilyn, of course! I’m sure you love her rendition of Happy Birthday as well eh matey? 😉
I agree on you on Vera Farmiga, Carey Mulligan, Zeta Jones, Winslet and Blanchett. Farmiga is a great actress to me, beautiful but radiates intelligence. This is a different yet great topic, Ruth 🙂
Totally agree w/ what you said about Vera. Thanks for visiting Andina.
Cate Blanchett, EMILY BLUNT, Carey Mulligan, Catherine Zeta-Jones . . . I think all would have made my list. Love this idea for a post. Interesting to learn about Blunt having a stammer as a kid. I think she has one of the most listenable (is that even a word?! ha!) voices out there.
Both Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence have voices that I actually like the sound of a lot. (Think Jennifer Lawrence NOT in Winter’s Bone, ha.) I think it’s that they both have a little darker, lower voices.
Very fun post, Ruth!
Ahah ‘listenable’ I like that word 🙂 Oh yeah I like Jennifer’s husky voice, more so than Emma, but I like both of them as an actress. Glad you enjoy, Kris.
Good picks Ruth !
I was glad to see that you included Judi Dench because I kept going from one to the next on your list and I was starting to get worried you were not going to include her but, fortunately, you came through at the end..haha
My only criticism would be not including the amazing Bette Davis who not only had a good voice, but also excellent diction.
Oh Dame Judi has always been on my list, not to worry. As for Bette Davis, well I’ve never seen her films, hence the exclusion. But I’m sure she deserves to be on the list 🙂
I definitely would choose Cate too…she is beautiful and her voice is very soothing.
Thandie has this voice that is different to most actresses. I miss listening to Michelle’s sexy voice, she should play more.
Great list Ruth.
Hi Nov, I miss Michelle too, I think she’s gonna be in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows this year.
Michelle’s just been in New Year’s Eve and she’s also got Welcome To People due for release. Happy days for us Pfeiffer pfans)
Mentioned elsewhere but I like Lauren Bacall and Kelly MacDonald and Dame Meryl and Kathleen Turner.
I am a somewhat regular listener to audiobooks and I must say that the Brit actress Emilia Fox’s voice is brilliant.
In addition I like (mix of old and young):
There are probably more to be mentioned …
Thanks for giving equal time, Ruth!
Hi Iba, I really should get an audio book or two, should come in handy to and from work. Oh I’m glad you mentioned Deborah Kerr, she has a lovely voice when I saw her in Beloved Infidel.
Gotta love Emily Blunt.
Good call Sam 🙂
You’re completely right, Ruth, Ava’s voice is loooovely. You know she’s American but you can’t exactly place whereabouts.
CZJ was fantastic in Zorro. She’s absolutely stunning and, now you mention it, does have a very sensual voice that matches her looks very well.
Hi Claire, Ava & Greg are basically perfect aren’t they, they look and sound amazing. I really like Mask of Zorro, and she’s one of the main reasons the movie work so well. Can’t believe she’s Welsh, I though she was from Spain!
You got many excellent choices here, including Carey Mulligan whose voice i just very deep for a young lady.
I like listening to Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago and it was kinda a bliss too listening to Vera Farmiga in Source Code.
For me, one name you didn’t mention was Annette Bening. I remember when I was watching a roundtable video and I heard her voice it was very soothing and commanding.
You know what, you’re absolutely right about Annette Bening. I remember her voice in The American President, yes soothing and commanding is the perfect description.
Can’t really disagree with this list. I’ve never hidden my love of the British ladies. But if I had one vote it would go to (and several other comments have mentioned her) Lauren Bacall. THAT voice transcends all other voices that have ever spoken dating all the way back to the first cavewoman that figured how to grunt.
Miss Bacall definitely has the total package doesn’t she? Gorgeous face, killer figure, and THAT voice. I saw Designing Woman recently, the one w/ my beloved GP and she’s just so stunning in all those designer frocks. Nice to know she was such a loyal wife to Bogey, too.
I adore Mia Farrow, Lauren Bacall and Leslie Caron in voice department…
What about Renée Zellweger’s voice? I find it, very sexy. Frankly, I couldn’t think of any other way of putting it.
I only recently saw this list, and I must add a +1 to the following: Jean Simmons, Deborah Kerr, and Barbara Stanwyck. Actresses I’d like to add include Greer Garson, Maureen O’Hara, sisters Olivia de havilland and Joan Fontaine, and Myrna Loy. An interesting thins about Ava Gardner, is that she was born in the state of NC, which is where I currently live. I wouldn’t have brought this up, except to mention that once I knew that, I could still hear the cadence, if not the accent, of that upbringing if that makes sense. During that time in Hollywood, people with southern accents were given voice lessons to get rid of it. Or in the case of Alabama-born Tallulah Bankhead, they trained in Britain and learned to speak that way.
Isabella Rossellini and Shohreh Aghdashloo
Every one of your choices is excellent.
Hey thanks! Which one is YOUR fave?
It would have to be Judi Dench, she has such clarity and depth in her voice.
Great choice!! I LOVE Dame Judi Dench, she and Dame Helen Mirren could read a phone book and make it charming!
That is very true.
Wonder why Susan Sarandon and Renee Zellweger are not on this list. I think Renee has got a very sweet kind of a voice. But I find Susan Sarandon’s voice very attractive and arresting.
Great list! I would add two: Mia Farrow in Peyton Place, when her voice was so soft and musical, and Kim Basinger.
Oh yeah, Kim Basinger sure has a nice voice.
I have very beautifull collection too, this actress was played role Aida in TV serie “A.O.S”. https://wallpaperfully.com/mallory-jansen-aida-agents-shield-marvel-tv-series
Meg Foster, DS9 “the muse” is a good example of her voice. I only know her from one other movie ” They Live”. Surprised nobody has mentioned her.
I’m so late to this but that’s a very good list.
Ava did have that great voice which retained the underlying purr even as the years added a whisky roughness to it. I’m guessing it was the studio training because as she admitted in her fantastically entertaining autobiography when she was discovered by MGM she had a thick Southern accent and often was next to unintelligible. She worked hard at losing it and certainly benefitted from it all those years.
My list would be more vintage than yours though I would retain Ava Gardner.
My top ten would run this way, except for number one in no particular order:
Alexis Smith-She had the most wonderfully rich speaking voice. When Fitzgerald described Daisy in The Great Gatsby as having a voice full of money I instantly pictured Alexis and whenever the book is mentioned she comes immediately to mind.
I always thought Gemma Arteton
Ah yes she does have a gorgeous voice!