Women directors

by NoWireHangers | created - 04 Oct 2014 | updated - 04 Oct 2014 | Public

1. Kathryn Bigelow

Director | The Hurt Locker

A very talented painter, Kathryn spent two years at the San Francisco Art Institute. At 20, she won a scholarship to the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. She was given a studio in a former Offtrack Betting building, literally in an old bank vault, where she made art and waited to be ...

2. Penny Marshall

Actress | Laverne & Shirley

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

3. Gillian Armstrong

Director | My Brilliant Career

Gillian Armstrong was born on December 18, 1950 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia as Gillian May Armstrong. She is a director and producer, known for My Brilliant Career (1979), Not Fourteen Again (1996) and Little Women (1994). She is married to John Pleffer. They have two children.

4. Jane Campion

Writer | The Piano

Jane Campion was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and now lives in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Having graduated with a BA in Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington in 1975, and a BA, with a painting major, at Sydney College of the Arts in 1979, she began filmmaking in the early...

5. Susanne Bier

Director | Hævnen

Though Academy Award®, Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award winning writer and director Susanne Bier's films often play out against a wide-reaching global backdrop, their focus is intimate, carefully exploring the explosive emotions and complexities of familial bonds. This unique combination is part ...

6. Sofia Coppola

Actress | The Godfather: Part III

Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere (2010), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. She was ...

7. Jamie Babbit

Director | But I'm a Cheerleader

Jamie Babbit was born on November 16, 1970 in Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA as Jamie Merrill Babbit. She is a director and producer, known for But I'm a Cheerleader (1999), Silicon Valley (2014) and Girls (2012). She has been married to Karey Dornetto since 2014.

8. Joyce Chopra

Director | The Lemon Sisters

Joyce Chopra was born on October 27, 1936. She is a director and producer, known for The Lemon Sisters (1989), Smooth Talk (1985) and An American Girl on the Home Front (2006). She was previously married to Tom Cole.

9. Martha Coolidge

Director | Valley Girl

Martha Patterson Coolidge was born on August 17, 1946 in New Haven Connecticut. She studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design, but changed majors, becoming the first film major at the school. She attended and graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she ...

10. Kimberly Peirce

Director | Boys Don't Cry

Kimberly Peirce was born on September 8, 1967 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Boys Don't Cry (1999), Stop-Loss (2008) and Carrie (2013).

11. Catherine Hardwicke

Director | Twilight

Catherine Hardwicke was born on October 21, 1955 in Cameron, Texas, USA as Helen Catherine Hardwicke. She is a director and production designer, known for Twilight (2008), Thirteen (2003) and Lords of Dogtown (2005).

12. Nora Ephron

Writer | Julie & Julia

Nora Ephron was educated at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. She was an acclaimed essayist (Crazy Salad 1975), novelist (Heartburn 1983), and had written screenplays for several popular films, all featuring strong female characters, such as anti-nuclear activist Karen Silkwood (Silkwood (1983), ...

13. Jodie Foster

Actress | The Silence of the Lambs

Jodie Foster was born Alicia Christian Foster on November 19, 1962 in Los Angeles. She is the daughter of Evelyn Ella "Brandy" (Almond), a producer, and Lucius Fisher Foster III, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and real estate broker. Brandy had filed for divorce in 1959 after having three children...

14. Amy Heckerling

Writer | Clueless

Amy Heckerling studied Film and TV at New York University and got a Masters Degree in Film from The American Film Institute. Despite this education she couldn't get a break in Hollywood. However, in 1982, she made Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), and people started to take notice. In 1985, ...

15. Mai Zetterling

Actress | The Witches

Mai Zetterling was born in Sweden in 1925, and lived briefly in Australia while still a child. She's known as a director and actor and trained on the Stockholm repertory stage, she began appearing in war-era films starting in her teens. Following her debut in Lasse Maja (1941), she made quite an ...

16. Leni Riefenstahl

Producer | Das blaue Licht - Eine Berglegende aus den Dolomiten

Leni Riefenstahl's show-biz experience began with an experiment: she wanted to know what it felt like to dance on the stage. Success as a dancer gave way to film acting when she attracted the attention of film director Arnold Fanck, subsequently starring in some of his mountaineering pictures. With...

17. Mimi Leder

Director | On the Basis of Sex

Mimi Leder was born on January 26, 1952 in New York City, New York, USA as Miriam Leder. She is a producer and director, known for On the Basis of Sex (2018), The Leftovers (2014) and Deep Impact (1998). She is married to Gary Werntz. They have one child.

18. Sondra Locke

Actress | Bronco Billy

Sondra Locke was born May 28, 1944 as Sandra Louise Smith, probably in Madison, Alabama. She was the daughter of Raymond Smith, a military man stationed nearby, and Pauline Bayne. Smith departed the scene before Sondra's birth. In 1945, her mother wed William B. Elkins, and together they had a son,...

19. Ida Lupino

Actress | High Sierra

Ida was born in London to a show business family. In 1933, her mother brought Ida with her to an audition and Ida got the part her mother wanted. The picture was Her First Affaire (1932). Ida, a bleached blonde, came to Hollywood in 1934 and played small and insignificant parts. Peter Ibbetson (...

20. Elaine May

Actress | Small Time Crooks

Elaine May was born on April 21, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Elaine Iva Berlin. She is an actress and writer, known for Small Time Crooks (2000), A New Leaf (1971) and Primary Colors (1998). She was previously married to David L. Rubinfine, Sheldon Harnick and Marvin May.

21. Nancy Meyers

Writer | It's Complicated

Nancy Meyers was born on December 8, 1949 in Pennsylvania, USA as Nancy Jane Meyers. She is a writer and producer, known for It's Complicated (2009), Something's Gotta Give (2003) and The Holiday (2006). She was previously married to Charles Shyer.

22. Phyllida Lloyd

Director | Mamma Mia!

Phyllida Lloyd was born on June 17, 1957 in Bristol, England as Phyllida Christian Lloyd. She is known for her work on Mamma Mia! (2008), The Iron Lady (2011) and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018).

23. Katherine Stenholm

Director | Sheffey

In 36 years she directed 72 productions including sermon films, promotional films, multi-image presentations, and feature-length films. In 1950, Katherine Stenholm was directing a stage play of "Cyrano" when she was approached by Dr. Bob Jones Sr., founder of Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC, ...

24. Betty Thomas

Self | Howard Stern

Betty Thomas was born July 27, 1947 in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating from Ohio University with a BA in fine arts. Initially sidetracked, Betty first taught school in Chicago but found herself restricted and needing more of an open forum for self-expression than a classroom. She found herself drawn...

25. Doris Wishman

Director | Satan Was a Lady

Doris Wishman was born on June 1, 1912 in New York City, New York, USA. She was a director and producer, known for Satan Was a Lady (2001), Diary of a Nudist (1961) and Nude on the Moon (1961). She was married to Louis Silverman and Jack Abrahms. She died on August 10, 2002 in Miami, Florida, USA.

26. Ella Lemhagen

Director | Patrik 1,5

One son, Rumle.

27. Marie-Louise Ekman

Director | Barnförbjudet

Marie-Louise Ekman was born on November 5, 1944 in Stockholm, Sweden. She is a director and writer, known for Barnförbjudet (1979), Powder (2001) and Nu är pappa trött igen (1996). She was previously married to Gösta Ekman, Johan Bergenstråhle and Carl Johan De Geer.

28. Thea von Harbou

Writer | Metropolis

Thea von Harbou was born on December 27, 1888 in Tauperlitz, Döhlau, Bavaria, Germany as Thea Gabriele von Harbou. She was a writer and director, known for Metropolis (1927), M (1931) and Elisabeth und der Narr (1934). She was married to Fritz Lang and Rudolf Klein-Rogge. She died on July 1, 1954 ...

29. Margarethe von Trotta

Director | Die bleierne Zeit

Margarethe von Trotta was born in Berlin in 1942. In the 1960s she moved to Paris where she worked for film collectives, collaborating on scripts and co-directing short films. She also pursued an acclaimed acting career, starring in films by well known German directors such as Rainer Werner ...



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