Actors Who Have Played Cinderella Throughout the Last 100 Years
One of the very first people to play Cinderella on screen was Florence La Badie in a 1911 silent short called “Cinderella.”
The short exists now in the Library of Congress, and around 15 minutes are available to stream on Amazon Prime. It stars Florence La Badie, who was one of the most successful actresses of the era, until she was killed in a car crash in 1917 when she was 29 years old. Her handsome prince was played by Harry Benham.
Mary Pickford took on the role in another silent film that was released in 1914.
Pickford, who was known as “America’s Sweetheart” at the time, starred in this film opposite Owen Moore.
In 1926, Colleen Moore starred in a silent film called “Ella Cinders,” based on the popular comic strip of the same name.
“Ella Cinders” was a modern (at the time) take on the fairy tale, focusing on a young woman named Ella who wants to become an actress. Instead of a royal ball, she wants to attend a party being held for entrants in a photo competition, and there’s no fairy godmother, just a local iceman named Waite Lifter who helps her find a dress. Waite, played by Lloyd Hughes, ends up being her handsome “prince,” too.
Deanna Durbin starred in another “modern” version of Cinderella’s story called “First Love” in 1939. Her character is named Connie.
In “First Love” — the first musical on this list — Connie (Durbin) graduates from finishing school and is forced to move back in with her distant relatives, though they ignore her and she befriends the servants. They’re the ones who raise enough money to get her a dress for a ball her family is throwing.
Meanwhile, she falls in love with Ted Drake (Robert Stack), and after classic musical shenanigans, they reunite and live happily ever after.
Leslie Caron starred as Cinderella in a 1955 version of the story called “The Glass Slipper.”
“The Glass Slipper” is a straightforward retelling of the original fairy tale, with Caron as Ella, who gets mistaken for an Egyptian princess, and Michael Wilding as the Prince.
For a filmed production of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” in 1957, Julie Andrews took on the titular role.
In fact, this version of “Cinderella” was originally written for TV, and then was later adapted into a stage musical, making it Rodgers and Hammerstein’s only musical made for television.
Jon Cypher (later of “Hill Street Blues” fame) played her handsome prince.
In 1960, Jerry Lewis starred in a gender-swapped version of the fairy tale called “Cinderfella.”
In the movie, Lewis’ character was named Fella, and he fell in love with Anna Maria Alberghetti’s Princess Charming.
Another filmed version of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” was broadcast in 1965, starring Lesley Ann Warren.
Warren was just 18 years old when she played Cinderella, while her Prince Charming, played by Stuart Damon, was 28. His mother, the Queen, was played by none other than film icon Ginger Rogers.
The Muppets starred in their own take on the rags-to-riches story called “Hey, Cinderella!” in 1969 with Belinda Montgomery.
The musical aired in 1969 on ABC with Montgomery as Cinderella and Robin Ward as Prince Arthur Charming. Arthur’s best friend and confidant, of course, was played by Kermit the Frog. Cinderella’s two stepsisters were also played by Muppets.
A 1976 musical version of the story called “The Slipper and the Rose” starred Gemma Craven.
The film was nominated for two Academy Awards for its music, as well as a Golden Globe. It was even turned into a stage musical in 1984.
The 1978 TV film “Cindy,” starring Charlayne Woodard as Cindy, brought the musical into the present once again.
“Cindy” is an all-Black re-telling of the classic story that moves the plot to Harlem in the ’70s. Another notable change is that, in this version, Cindy’s dad is alive, which makes the abuse from her stepfamily all the more horrible. Her handsome prince — or in this case, a captain — is played by Clifton Davis.
For a 1985 episode of “Faerie Tale Theatre,” Jennifer Beals donned the glass slippers, just two years after “Flashdance.”
Yes, that’s a young Matthew Broderick playing Prince Henry.
For an episode of “The Charmings” in 1987, the role of Cinderella was taken on by Kim Johnston Ulrich.
“The Charmings” was a sitcom that aired on ABC from 1987 to 1988 and focused on Snow White and Prince Charming — they were magically cursed by Snow’s stepmother and woke up thousands of years later in a modern-day Los Angeles.
For an episode, Cinderella gets magically transported to LA too and attempts to steal Snow’s husband.
One of the most beloved Cinderella adaptations is the 1997 version of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” starring Brandy as Cinderella.
This movie is so beloved that there was a campaign to make sure it was added to Disney+, which it eventually was. It also boasts an iconic cast of Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, Victor Garber as King Maximillian, Whoopi Goldberg as Queen Constantina, Bernadette Peters as the Stepmother, Jason Alexander as the valet Lionel, and Paolo Montalbán as the Prince.
The next year, Drew Barrymore starred in another version called “Ever After.”
“Ever After” is a more grounded take on Cinderella’s story, with no magic, music, or fairy godmothers. In fact, Barrymore’s character isn’t even named Cinderella. Instead, she’s called Danielle.
But some things remain the same — most notably, Danielle still rocks the glass slippers.
This film also boasts an incredible cast, with Anjelica Huston as this film’s version of the stepmother, Dougray Scott as Prince Henry, and Patrick Godfrey as Leonardo da Vinci.
A British TV version starring Marcella Plunkett aired in 2000.
Her version of the character was actually named Zezolla, but she’s not the draw here. Stay for Kathleen Turner’s deliciously evil turn as Claudette, the evil stepmother.
This version of the story also combines the 1950s with the fairy tale aesthetic, making it especially unique.
An older version of Cinderella was played by Ann-Margret in the 2000 miniseries “The 10th Kingdom.”
“The 10th Kingdom” isn’t really about Cinderella — she’s almost 200 years old during the events of the series, but it’s still cool to see an older version of a character we almost exclusively see pre-happy ending.
“Ella Enchanted” is another take on the classic Cinderella story, starring Anne Hathaway. It was released in 2004.
“Ella Enchanted” is based on the Gail Carson Levine novel of the same name. Instead of being tasked with chores and obeying because she’s naturally obedient, Ella is cursed with following direct orders from anyone, not just her stepfamily.
“A Cinderella Story,” starring Hilary Duff as the Cinderella character, was released in 2004.
“A Cinderella Story” follows Sam, a high school student and a waitress, who’s trying to make enough money to go to Princeton … because that’s where princes go, duh. Her “prince,” Austin, was played by Chad Michael Murray, while her evil stepmother was played by Jennifer Coolidge, and her amazing “fairy” godmother was played by Regina King.
That movie was so successful that it got a sequel in 2008, called “Another Cinderella Story,” starring Selena Gomez.
In “Another Cinderella Story,” Gomez plays Mary Santiago, a teenager who wants to win a dance contest in order to appear in a music video with pop star Joey Parker, played by Drew Seeley.
Starting in 2011, Jessy Schram played Cinderella in “Once Upon a Time.”
The ABC series focused on Snow White, her husband Prince David, her stepmother Regina, and her daughter Emma. When Regina enacts a curse that transports the entire Enchanted Forest to a small town in Maine, it’s up to Emma to wake them all up and make them remember their real lives.
One of Storybrook’s residents is Ashley, who’s actually Cinderella, she just doesn’t know it.
Max Schneider co-starred with Keke Palmer in another gender-swapped version of the story, “Rags,” in 2012.
Schneider plays Charlie Prince, a teenager who works at his dead mother’s karaoke bar, called The Palace. While trying to become a successful singer, he meets Kadee (Palmer), a successful pop star who wants to be in charge of her own career.
Anna Kendrick stars in 2014’s “Into the Woods” as Cinderella.
The film version of “Into the Woods,” based on the Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name, incorporates many different fairy tales, including the story of Cinderella — though, she’s not too impressed by her prince, played by Chris Pine.
A holiday take on the story, “A Cinderella Christmas,” aired in 2016 starring Emma Rigby as Candace, aka Cinderella.
Essentially, the entire plot of the film is the same, just moved to modern-day and it happens to take place at Christmas. The big ball is even called the Christmasquerade.
A gender-swapped version called “Sneakerella” drops on Disney+ on February 18, 2022.
In “Sneakerella,” Chosen Jacobs plays El, an aspiring sneaker designer who works in his late mother’s store. The “handsome prince,” or in this case, princess, is Kira King (Lexi Underwood) whose father is a sneaker tycoon.