33 notable women with Hudson Valley ties
Women's History Month is celebrated every March and International Women's Day is celebrated annually on March 8. Here are our 33 notable women with ties to the Hudson Valley, presented in alphabetical order.
Diane Sawyer: The ABC evening news anchor, who has called Palisades home, broke new ground as the first female correspondent on CBS's award-winning news magazine, "60 Minutes." Sawyer has won numerous awards for her broadcast journalism work, including three Emmys.
Barbara Bush: The former first lady is a Rye native who attended Rye Country Day School and married George H.W. Bush at the First Presbyterian Church in Rye. As a literacy advocate, she founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy nearly 25 years ago.
Hillary Clinton: The former Secretary of State, New York U.S. senator and first lady, who lives in Chappaqua, has a myriad of achievements in and out of politics. She's said she's now working on a second memoir; some say a second presidential run in 2016 may be next.
Glenn Close: A Northern Westchester resident, the six-time Oscar nominee has won two Emmys for her starring role on the television series "Damages." She also co-founded the nonprofit Bring Change 2 Mind to raise awareness about mental health issues.
Elizabeth Custer: The widow of Gen. George Armstrong Custer owned a home in Bronxville, where she often stayed when not traveling around the world to speak about her husband and defend his role in the tragic Battle of LIttle Big Horn. In 1909, she helped organize a four-day event to raise funds for what would become Lawrence Hospital Center in Bronxville, and served on the hospital's board of directors.
Ruby Dee: Dee, who lives in Mount Vernon, was married to fellow acting legend Ossie Davis for more than 50 years before he died in 2006. Besides her decades-long acting career, she had an active role in the civil rights movement.
Eve Ensler: Raised in Scarsdale, the playwright and performer penned the award-winning "The Vagina Monologues," which has been translated into more than 48 languages and performed in more than 140 countries. A noted women's rights activist, she founded "V-Day," a worldwide movement with the goal of ending violence against women.
Geraldine Ferraro: A Newburgh native who attended Marymount School in Tarrytown, Ferraro was the first female vice-presidential nominee on a major party ticket, joining Walter Mondale in his bid for the presidency and losing to the Ronald Reagan/George H.W. Bush ticket during the 1984 election. Ferraro also served three terms in the House of Representatives and also was an ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
Ella Fitzgerald: Raised in Yonkers, Fitzgerald was an iconic jazz vocalist known for her classic interpretations of the American songbook. A Peabody Award and Presidential Medal of Freedom were among the notable accolades she achieved in her lifetime.
Gish Jen: Raised in Scarsdale, the acclaimed novelist is known for focusing her stories on the immigrant experience in America. Jen's second novel, "Mona in the Promised Land," based on her upbringing in New York, made the New York Times "Notable Books of the Year" list.
Angelina Jolie: The Oscar-winning actress and mother to six, who spent part of her childhood in Palisades, has been prominently involved in a number of international humanitarian projects, including work with the United Nations.
Vivien Leigh: The late actress, who briefly lived in Palisades, won two Best Actress Academy Awards for her work in "Gone with the Wind" and "A Streetcar Named Desire."
Susan Lucci: A daytime TV legend, the Scarsdale native famously earned 19 Daytime Emmy nominations for her role on "All My Children" without a single win. In 1999, the actress finally won the Daytime Emmy Award.
Audra McDonald: The five-time Tony Award winner, who lives in Croton-on-Hudson, was the first person to win three Tonys before age 30. McDonald also starred on the television series "Private Practice" and is an active advocate for marriage equality.
Rosie O'Donnell: The actress/comedian, who lives in Nyack, has had a successful career in television and movies, including hosting the Emmy-winning "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" for six seasons. She also started "Rosie’s Theater Kids," an arts education organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children through the arts.
Joan Rivers: The Larchmont native was one of the pioneering female comedians of her day, and is also a bestselling author, actress and TV personality. The 2010 documentary "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work," explored her decades-long comedy career.
Eleanor Roosevelt: Roosevelt, who lived in Hyde Park while married to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the longest-serving first lady in presidential history. A noted human rights activist, she was the first chairwoman of the UN Commission on Human Rights.
Nina Simone: Simone, a former Mount Vernon resident, was a renowned jazz singer with a unique deep, raspy voice. She died of natural causes in 2003 at age 70. A biopic bearing her name is in production with Zoe Saldana playing the lead role.
Martha Stewart: The Bedford resident is a successful entrepreneur and founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., and has launched a successful publishing empire and a variety of lifestyle brands.
Sojourner Truth: The civil rights and women's rights advocate was born in Ulster County in 1797. Born into slavery with the name Isabella, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth after she escaped from her master in 1843. The town of Esopus has a self-guided tour called the Sojourner Truth Freedom Trail.
Vivian Vance: The actress, who briefly lived in North Salem, is best known for her role as Lucy Ricardo's best friend Ethel in "I Love Lucy." Vance’s talents as a comedic sidekick earned her four Emmy Award nominations, winning once for best supporting actress. She is pictured at left with co-star Lucille Ball.
Madam C.J. Walker: Walker, who lived in an Italianate villa called Villa Lewaro in Irvington, was the first African-American female to be a self-made millionaire. The home is now privately owned, but is part of Westchester's African American Heritage Trail.
Barbara Walters: A graduate from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers, Walters was the first woman to co-anchor an evening news broadcast on a major network. In addition to her venerable journalism career, which includes stints at "Today," ABC News and "20/20," she also is the co-host and co-executive producer of the popular talk show "The View."
Vera Wang: The Pound Ridge resident and noted fashion designer is best known for her haute couture line of wedding gowns, which have been worn by celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Chelsea Clinton. Wang's fashions are also frequently worn by celebs at red carpet events.
Martha Washington: The nation's first first lady and wife of President George Washington lived at Hasbrouck House in Newburgh (now known as Washington's Headquarters) during the Revolutionary War.
Dar Williams: The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter was born in Mount Kisco but raised in Chappaqua. A resident of Cold Spring, she is well known for her social activism and championing of environmental causes.
Vanessa Williams: The Chappaqua resident was crowned Miss America in 1983. Since then she's had a diverse career in movies, television, music and on Broadway, including earning multiple Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award nominations.
Debra Winger: The Irvington resident is a three-time Academy-Award nominated actress and author. She is also involved with several non-profit humanitarian and social justice organizations, including the Tahirih Justice Center and Sightsavers International.
Sylvia Woods: The Mount Vernon resident owned the world-famous Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem. She died July 2012 at age 86.
Catherine Zeta-Jones: The Oscar-winning actress lives in Bedford with her husband Michael Douglas. In 2011, she was given the Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Prince Charles for her charity work.