Rewrite: December 13th, 2000
An actress is the female variant of the word actor in modern english. An actress is someone of the female gender who performs on stage, or in television, movies, or other venues of physical performance for purposes of storytelling. A woman does not have to be financially compensated or even critically acknowledged as an actress in order to call oneself an actress. She simply has to appear before some sort of audience at some time in her life and perform someone other than herself; from that moment on she may choose to call herself an actress if she so desires.
Many women in the entertainment industry strongly dislike the word 'actress,' They consider themselves actors and would never use 'actress' to describe themselves or their fellow women performers. This may stem from the equal rights movement of the past century, or maybe just common sense: it is admittedly stupid to have a separate word specifically for women. It's like calling all firemen firepersons so the women don't get left out. Political correctness can be a nasty thing.
A complete list of professional actresses of past and present from various backgrounds, levels of success and reknown would include but not be limited to the following: