What do Audrey Hepburn, Vivian Leigh, Jennifer Lawrence, and Sophia Loren have in common? All won an Academy Award before they turned 30. They are not alone in that regard. Using IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and other online sources, 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of actors and actresses who won Academy Awards for their performances when they were under the age of 30 – making them the youngest Oscar-winners in history. (How did the awards end up with a man’s name? Learn why “the Oscars” and other little-known facts about the Academy Awards.)
Besides taking home the golden statuette at an early age, some of these Oscar recipients have other distinctions. Six of the performers on this list won the Academy Award in their first theatrical film: Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God”), Timothy Hutton (“Ordinary People”), Tatum O’Neal (“Paper Moon”), Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”), Anna Paquin (“The Piano”), and Barbra Streisand (“Funny Girl”).
Matlin, who at 21 was the youngest actress to win for Best Actress, was also the first hearing-impaired person to win an acting Oscar. Hutton was the youngest man to earn an acting Oscar, when he won for best actor in a supporting role at 20. At 25, Hudson was the youngest African-American to win the honor. (Besides her acting abilities, Hudson is known for her powerful singing voice. Here are some actors you didn’t know are also musicians.)
Janet Gaynor, a major star in the 1930s, was the first performer of any age to win the Best Actress Oscar, and the only one who won for multiple film roles – in “7th Heaven” and “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans” (both 1927), and “Street Angel” (1928). She was 22 at the time.
Besides their work in motion pictures, four women who won acting Oscars before they turned 30 – Shirley Jones, Goldie Hawn, Patty Duke, and Miyoshi Umeki – would go on to have noteworthy careers in television. Speaking of Umeki, she was the first Asian-American woman to win an acting Oscar.
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