07/04/2011 09:21 am ET Updated Sep 03, 2011

Greatest American Actresses (PHOTOS)

Like most other fields, professions, hobbies and, well, really, anything else, to truly succeed, on a lasting level, as a woman in show business has required a double standard-satisfying portfolio of talent, dedication and brains. As Hollywood rose from its short, silent roots to a full blown, culture-setting industry, it was of course men who made -- and took for their own the most prominent, glory-filled parts in -- film.

First cast as ladies in distres and objects of desire and prize, it took certain landmark talents to prove that women can not only appear on camera, they can own it in ways all their own. In Hollywood today, while certain segregations and institutional biases still exist (to which the gender of screenwriters, directors and producers can in many ways be linked), the woman star takes the lead now more than ever before.

In recognition of that growth, and in honor of the American creative and business dominance of show business, this July 4th, we take a look at some of the greatest American-born women actors, putting to a vote just which one is the greatest. Of course, all have their arguments, and it may-well be impossible to decide, but it's at least worth looking back at their careers.

To take a look at some of the greatest male actors, and vote on who you think is the absolute best, click over to this conversation-packed article.

UPDATE: It's still early, so we've added five more actresses that were foolishly overlooked.