In the old days, just being an actress wasn't enough. Everyone had to be a double threat just to keep up with singing actresses like Julie Andrews, Doris Day, Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland. But then musicals fell out of fashion and we find ourselves asking, "Why the hell is Gwyneth Paltrow singing at the Grammys this weekend? Didn't we get enough of her awkward warbling at the CMAs last fall?"
(For the record: Apparently Cee-Lo Green invited her, and the Grammy performance will also feature Muppets. Seriously.)
Even though the singer/actress has fallen out of the norm, there are still plenty of actresses profiting from their pipes. While Gwyneth might not be up for doing duets with her Coldplay-crooning spouse anytime soon, here are some gals who are.
Anyone who saw Zooey Deschanel singing "Baby It's Cold Outside" in 2003's Elf wasn't surprised when she found success singing with M. Ward on She and Him's 2008 debut album. She started singing in jazz clubs in 2001, two years after making her film debut.
Jenny Lewis hasn't acted in a long time, but she got her start as a kid with bit parts on sitcoms, including a stint as a snotty brat who battles Rose over a teddy bear on The Golden Girls. The only acting she's done in the past decade was a bit voice job in the animated film Bolt, as she's been busy with her music. Who knew Scarlett Johansson could sing? She recorded a version of "Summertime" for the 2006 compilation Unexpected Dreams. That wasn't enough to prepare anyone for Anywhere I Lay My Head, a collection of Tom Waits covers that replaced the original gravelly vocals with Johansson-style sultriness.
Apparently, divorcing Tom Cruise can make a girl wanna sing. Shortly after their 2001 divorce, his ex, Nicole Kidman, started belting it in the film Moulin Rouge!. By the end of the year she scored a number one hit in the U.K., dueting with Robbie Williams on Somethin' Stupid. Kidman hasn't recorded since, but occasionally sings with current hubby Keith Urban.
Reese Witherspoon claims she never sang before landing the role of June Carter Cash in 2005's Walk the Line. Six months of voice lessons paid off; she won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal. Forget the raccoon makeup and goth girl shenanigans for a minute, because Gossip Girl actress (and former St. Louisan) Taylor Momsen is showing signs of being vocally talented. Find out first-hand when her band, the Pretty Reckless, play the Firebird on February 22.
American audiences met Brit Minnie Driver in '90s hits Grosse Pointe Blank and Good Will Hunting, where she earned an Academy Award nomination. By the early 2000s, she was moving on to music, releasing her debut album, Everything I've Got in My Pocket in 2004. It reached number 43 on Billboard's "Top Heatseakers" chart. Seastories, her 2007 follow-up, featured collaborations with Liz Phair and Ryan Adams.
While Amanda Seyfried was taking roles on daytime soaps such as As the World Turns and All My Children in her teens, she was also studying opera. What better way to prep for her breakthrough movie role, singing ABBA covers in 2008's Mamma Mia!?