Meg Ryan

During the 1990s, Meg Ryan was the queen of American romantic comedy - an updated Doris Day relentlessly touted as "America's Sweetheart" for her wholesome heroines in a steady string of mating mix-ups. Ryan embodied the cute, bubbly but befuddled objects of desire in Nora Ephron-penned hits "When Harry Met Sally" (1989), "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993) and "You've Got Mail" (1998) - films which earned her the rare following of both male and female fans who either wanted to take her home to mom or be her best shopping buddy. Ryan regularly sought to explore new territory outside of her well-worn but popular persona as a dizzy romantic stereotype, and she garnered some positive feedback for a SAG-winning performance as an alcoholic in "When a Man Loves a Woman" (1994) and a U.S. Army captain in "Courage Under Fire" (1996). Ryan's Hollywood A-List status took a dip in the new century when an extramarital affair with co-star Russell Crowe tarnished her girl-next-door image and spelled the end of her marriage to actor Dennis Quaid. When the scandal blew over and enough time had passed, she sought to reclaim her leading actress status, by reinventing herself in more mature roles as middle-aged moms in comedic crisis. Though she was no longer a top leading lady, Ryan became a steadily working character actress.