Ingrid Bergman on the set of Stromboli, 1949
Ingrid Bergman, who won three Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama, (for Gaslight in 1945, The Bells of St. Mary's in 1946 and Anastasia in 1957) and one Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie (for A Woman Called Gloria in 1983). Pictured here on the set of Stromboli, 1949.Gordon Parks—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Ingrid Bergman on the set of Stromboli, 1949
Rosalind Russell, on the set of Auntie Mame, 1956
Olivia de Havilland in 1945
Ethel Merman from "Call Me Madame" - 1950
Judy Garland in 1944
Anita Ekberg in 1951
Deborah Kerr in 1947
Joanne Woodward in "The Three Faces of Eve" in 1957
Elizabeth Taylor with Montgomery Clift in 1950
Marilyn Monroe in 1957
Shirley Maclaine in Irma La Douce in 1963
Julie Andrews as Cindarella in 1957
Ann Bancroft in The Miracle Worker, 1959
Lynn Redgrave in Georgy Girl, 1966
Carol Burnett in "The Best of Everything" - 1958
Barbara Streisand in 1966
Ali MacGraw on the set of "Love Story" in 1970
Jane Fonda in 1961
Patricia Neal in 1947
Liza Minelli in 1965
Ingrid Bergman, who won three Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama, (for Gaslight in 1945, The Bel
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Gordon Parks—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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20 Stunning Photos of Classic Golden Globe-Winning Actresses

Jan 09, 2015

The Golden Globes might be the Oscars’ slightly less gilded little sister, but it has bestowed that golden statuette to some of history's finest actresses — on both big screen and small — since its inaugural ceremony in 1944.

Years before Amy and Tina took the stage, before your Benings and your Blanchetts, your Dunhams and your Daneses, a different crop of actresses commanded the attention of the Hollywood Foreign Press. Queens of comedy like Carol Burnett paved the way for comediennes to come. The Comedy or Musical category saw more of the latter than today’s awards do, dominated by the voices of Judy Garland, Julie Andrews and Barbra Streisand. Shirley MacLaine and Rosalind Russell reigned with five wins apiece until they were finally, inevitably, eclipsed by Meryl Streep.

It’s hard not to notice the staggering lack of diversity among winners and nominees alike — not until 1986, when Whoopi Goldberg won for The Color Purple, did a black actress take home a Globe. The homogeneity of ceremonies past represents as much a lack of opportunity for black actresses as anything else, a situation which is changing, if gradually. This year, the directors’ field could see its first win by a black woman, with the nomination of Ava DuVernay for the highly acclaimed Selma.

These stars of Hollywood past — some of whom, like MacLaine and Streisand, continue to churn out new work — were invariably documented in the pages of LIFE. And what better time than now, as we wait to find out which of this year’s nominees will emerge victorious, to take a walk down memory lane and revisit the forebears of today’s red carpet royalty.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

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