Leading lady


Leading lady

Leading lady is an informal term for the actress who plays a secondary lead or supporting role, usually a love interest, to the leading actor in a film or play. It is not usually applied to the leading actress in the performance if her character is the protagonist.

A leading lady can also be an actress of renown. For example, Lynn Fontanne and Helen Hayes were both referred to as the 'leading lady of the theatre' in their time. Similarly, Mary Pickford was called the 'leading lady' of the cinema.

The epithet has been applied to an actress who is often associated with one particular actor, for example, Olivia de Havilland was Errol Flynn's leading lady in several films, Katharine Hepburn had a similar association with Spencer Tracy, and Lauren Bacall with Humphrey Bogart. A leading lady is also an actress who is typecast in romantic supporting roles.

The term is also used collectively, as in 'Hollywood's leading ladies' to refer to a group of notable, famous or popular actresses.

ee also

*Character actor
*Leading man
*Movie star
*Supporting actor


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  • leading lady — noun count the main actress in a play, movie, or television show …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Leading Lady — Der Ausdruck Leading Lady („führende Dame“) bezeichnet im Repertoiretheater des englischen Sprachraumes das Rollenfach der weiblichen Geliebten. Neben dem Leading Man („führender Mann“), der routinemäßig als männlicher Liebhaber eingesetzt wird,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • leading lady — noun actress who plays the leading female role • Hypernyms: ↑actress * * * noun, pl ⋯ dies [count] : an actress who plays the most important female role in a play or movie * * * ˌleading ˈlady [leading lady] ˌleading ˈman noun the actor with the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • leading lady — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms leading lady : singular leading lady plural leading ladies the main actress in a play, film, or television programme …   English dictionary

  • leading lady — Synonyms and related words: actor, antagonist, antihero, bit, bit part, cast, character, cue, danseur noble, diva, fat part, feature attraction, feeder, first tragedian, headliner, heavy, heavy lead, hero, heroine, ingenue, jeune premier, lead,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • leading lady — noun Date: 1860 an actress who plays the leading female role …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • leading lady — n. leading actress, actress who plays the principal role in a movie or play …   English contemporary dictionary

  • leading lady — /lee ding/ an actress who plays the principal female role in a motion picture or play. [1870 75] * * * …   Universalium

  • leading lady — lead′ing la′dy [[t]ˈli dɪŋ[/t]] n. sbz an actress who plays the principal female role in a motion picture or play • Etymology: 1870–75 …   From formal English to slang

  • leading lady — /lidɪŋ ˈleɪdi/ (say leeding laydee) noun the principal female actor in a play, film, etc …   Australian English dictionary


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