7. The Queen
Speaking of the Queen, she’s looking pretty good for 85, isn’t she? And she was a looker when she was younger, too (like most of the ladies on this list). Long live Elizabeth II!
8. Judi Dench
Heck, if we’ve got Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith on this list, clearly Judi Dench has to join them; also, at 77, she’s at an age with Maggie, which is kind of a nifty coincidence. I’ll always think of her as M in the James Bond films (how glad are you that they carried her over to the reboot?), but she’s also frequently thought of as Britain’s greatest actress of the post-war period, so, y’know, that’s nothing to sneeze at. Fun fact: Dame Judi was London’s first Sally Bowles in the 1968 West End production of Cabaret.
9. Cherry Jones
At 55, Cherry Jones is the youngest one on this list, but I mean, come on. How much do you love her? Lots, is the answer. President Taylor was the best thing about the later seasons of 24. I was also lucky enough to see her on Broadway in the John Patrick Shanley play Doubt—a role for which she won a Tony Award, and which was later taken on by Meryl Streep (see below) in the film adaptation. A formidable woman.
10. Eileen Brennan
Two words: Missus. Peacock.
11. Vanessa Redgrave
Really, all of the Redgrave women should be on this list, but since I can only pick one, 74-year-old Vanessa it shall be. In addition to her many fabulous turns on screen (yes, even the first Mission: Impossible movie), I had the good fortune to see her as Prospero in The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Globe in London over ten years ago. Unlike Dame Helen, Vanessa played him as a man. Love that. And boy was she—and is she still—fab or what!
12. Meryl Streep
I swear, Meryl Streep doesn’t age. Seriously. She’s looked pretty much exactly the same for years, but not in that plastic-y, “I’ve had way too much work done” way. 66? Pah! Surely you jest! I haven’t gotten a chance to see The Iron Lady yet, but I hear her Mrs. Thatcher is intense—and like Glenn Close, she’s up for an Oscar this year. I’ve said this before, I really, really want to see Albert Nobbs and Maggie Thatcher duke it out. Who’s with me?
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.