Bizarre Photos From Studio 54 Explained
By | February 22, 2023
Model Jerry Hall Feeling Frisky in her Lacy Cat Suit.To get the full disco-era experience, one needed only to step inside the doors of Studio 54, the 1970s most well-known disco dance club. Sure, Studio 54 helped to launch the careers of some of the greatest musical groups of the day, but it was also the place to be seen. The hottest movie stars, TV personalities, and entertainers made Studio 54 their hangout. It wasn't just the music that attracted them. It was the atmosphere. In this collection of bizarre and salacious photos, we will get a behind the scenes look at the infamous Studio 54.
Jerry Hall had an eye for fashion and knew just how to push the boundaries for shock value. Many of the outfits she wore to Studio 54 were cutting edge and quite provocative. Perhaps her most iconic look was this lacy, cat suit she wore while prowling around the disco club one night.
Fake I.D.? Nope, The Studio 54 Bouncers Let in Regular Drew Barrymore at Age 12.
Actress Drew Barrymore had a less-than-conventional childhood as one of Hollywood’s hardest working child actors. She later explained that her mother treated her like an adult friend instead of an underage daughter. She quipped that she spent more time at Studio 54 than she did at school. But Studio 54 was not a good environment for a child, exposing Drew to drugs, alcohol, and bad influences. She has been open about her addiction issues that plagued her early teen years, as well as her struggles with recovery.
Did Donald Trump Used to Dance the Night Away at Studio 54?
New York real estate mogul Donald Trump, shown here with his second wife Marla Maples, used to frequent Studio 54 in the late seventies, but no one can recall him ever dancing at the club. He did, however, make a surprise cameo appearance in the 1998 documentary, titled “Studio 54”. As a businessman with an eye for the next big deal, Trump kept tabs on the New York music scene. In this photo from 1992, we see Donald Trump hobnobbing with hip hop artists Shabba Ranks, Tony Terry, Cyndi Lauper, and Super Cat at an after-party for the 1002 Grammy Awards.
One of the most prestigious and notorious places of the disco era, Studio 54 was a bit of a latecomer to the dance club scene in midtown New York in the 1970s. The nightclub didn’t open its doors until 1977 when Steve Rebell and Ian Schrager opened a club in a building that formerly housed a TV studio on 54th Street in Manhattan. Very quickly, Studio 54 became the place to be for celebrities and wannabes of disco’s heyday. One reason why the club was so popular was that not everyone could get inside. The doormen only allowed the rich and famous – and the ‘pretty people’ – through the doors.
Cher Went From the Emergency Room to Studio 54.
Cher wasn’t going to let a little thing like an emergency hospital visit keep her away from Studio 54. That’s just how important it was to be seen at Studio 54. According to the stories, Cher choked on a vitamin one morning and was taken to the hospital to dislodge the pill. Once the issue was resolved and Cher got a clean bill of health, she continued on with her plans for the night … to meet up with bestie Liza Minnelli for drinks and dancing at Studio 54. Yes, Cher was trying to be healthy by taking her vitamins, but it nearly killed her.
An Eclectic Mix of Guests ... The Village People, Caitlyn Jenner, Jane Fonda, and More Gathered at Studio 54.
One of the most exciting things about a night at Studio 54 was that you never knew who would be at the nightclub on any given night. On the night this iconic photograph was taken, the club was teeming with celebrities. The Village People, known for their hit songs “Macho Man” and “Y.M.C.A.”, showed up at Studio 54 and partied with a bunch of other A-listers, including Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, singer Michael Jackson, actress and activist Jane Fonda, and The Electric Horseman actress Valerie Perrine. In addition to the eclectic clientele, the interior of Studio 54 was also ever-changing. Lighting designers Brian Thompson, Jules Fisher, and Paul Marantz created a unique, movable lighting system in the club that could be periodically changed to keep the space dynamic.
Brooke Shields Partying at Studio 54.
Apparently, the bouncers at Studio 54 had no regard for age restrictions when letting patrons into the nightclub. Brooke Shields was not even a teenager when she first started frequenting Studio 54. The young actress and model had created a stir with her appearance in Pretty Baby when she was hanging out at Studio 54 with her mother, Teri. Although Teri enjoyed the hard-drinking party scene at Studio 54, Brooke Shields claims she never drank, stayed drug-free, and made it home by her 10 p.m. bedtime. At the club, she rubbed elbows with celebrities like Andy Warhol, Grace, Jones, and Debbie Harry, as shown in this photo.
Robin Williams Looks Like He Partied Too Hard in this Pic with His First Wife, Valerie.
Robin Williams was a San Francisco bartender in 1976 when he began dating Valerie Velardi. She was at his side when his got his big break, a guest role on TV’s Happy Days which led to his breakout moment when he was cast as the title character in the sitcom, Mork & Mindy. In fact, the couple got married in June 1978, the same year that Mork & Mindy debuted. With Valerie, Robin Williams had his first child in 1983, a son named Zachary. When Robin and Valerie divorced in 1988, rumors swirled that Robin was having an affair with Marsha Garces, Zachary’s nanny.
Blondie's Debbie Harry Brought a Unique Style and Sound to Studio 54.
Although Studio 54 was known as a disco club, punk rocker Debbie Harry of the group Blondie was a regular at the iconic seventies nightclub. With her bleach-blonde hair and edgy style, Debbie Harry represented a new and modern fashion style and musical genre. Since Studio 54 was all about the newest trends, Debbie Harry was a hot commodity at the club. There, she met artist Andy Warhol who made her his muse. In 1980, Warhol produced a series of images from Debbie Harry that are still famous to this day.
The Paris Version of Studio 54 Included Public Baths.
With a nightclub as popular and prestigious as Studio 54 is it only natural that copycat clubs sprang up around the U.S. and abroad. Les Bains Douches in Paris was perhaps the most notorious version of Studio 54. The name translates to “shower baths” and in keeping with this theme, the nightclub boasts thermal baths for guests to cool off in … or do other things in. In was opened as a swanky nightclub in 1978 and combined new music and hot fashions with the baths. Les Bains Douches was a meeting place for the ultra-famous of Europe but attracted American visitors as well. David Bowie, Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone, and Mick Jagger were guests at Les Bains Douches, as well as Europe’s hottest celebrities, like Julie Delpy, Brigitte Nielsen, and Roman Polanski.
Free from Ike and Ready to Launch her Solo Career, Tina Turner Celebrated by Dancing the Night Away at Studio 54.
When this photo of Tina Turner dancing the night away at Studio 54, the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll was nearly 40 years old and in the midst of reinventing herself. In 1976, she split with her husband and partner, Ike Turner, in part because of his cocaine use and in part because of his physical abuse. That year, she launched her solo career with Rough and Love Explosion, a disco album, before returning to her rock roots.
Father-Daughter Dance. Texan John Fawcett on the Studio 54 Dancefloor with his Famous Daughter, Farrah.
In the 1970s, one of the hottest television actresses was beautiful Farrah Fawcett. She first married actor Lee Majors and then Ryan O’Neal. And in this photograph, taken at Studio 54 in 1978, Farrah Fawcett is seen dancing with her dad, James Fawcett of Texas. He was visiting his daughter, who had shot to stardom after one season on TV’s Charlie’s Angels and created a hairstyle fad with her bouncy, layered locks.
Michael Jackson and Steven Tyler Joined Studio 54 Co-Owner Steve Rubell for a Memorable Night at the Disco-Era's Most Notorious Nightclub.
In this vintage photograph, we see Steve Rubell, one of the owners of Studio 54, enjoying laughs with Michael Jackson and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith at the famous NYC club. Michael Jackson had recently gone solo when this photo was snapped. In 1979, he released his first solo album, Off the Wall, which spawned two number-one singles, “Rock With You” and “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.” Aerosmith had been together since d1970. Around the time this photo was taken, Steven Tyler and Aerosmith were coming off the tour for their fifth album Draw the Line. Tyler and his bandmate, Joe Perry, were known as the “Toxic Twins” because of their rampant drug use. Surely, spending time at Studio 54 was probably not a good idea for someone who reportedly spent more than $60 million on drugs.
Bianca Jagger's 30th Birthday Party at Studio 54 Was Wild!
Actress Bianca Jagger, who at the time was married to Rolling Stone’s front man Mick Jagger, had her 30th birthday party at Studio 54 on May 2, 1977, and by all accounts, it was a wild and crazy evening. Although this photograph shows the Nicaraguan-born actress with a pair of live doves that were brought into the club for the festivities, it was another animal that caused a stir. Bianca was also photographed riding a beautiful white horse inside the club. Animal rights activists were aghast over reports that Bianca made her grand entrance on horseback, a claim she vehemently denies. As an animal lover herself, Bianca agreed that it was a bad idea for the horse to be in the club but she claims she only rode it for a few minutes.
Mogul Hugh Hefner with One of His Favorite Ladies at Studio 54.
When magazine publisher Hugh Hefner decided to start a cable television network in the late 1970s, he opted to have his launch party at Studio 54. Joining him at the event was his then-girlfriend, Sondra Theodore. At the time, it seemed like Sondra Theodore was living the dream life, but she recently spoke out about her days in Hef's Mansion for a 2021 Docuseries in which she claimed that Hefner was into some pretty freaky stuff.
Robin Williams dancing with his wife, Valerie Velardi, at Studio 54 in New York City, 1979.
Funnyman Robin Williams, shown here with his first wife Valerie Velardi, was on the cusp of superstardom when this photo was snapped of him at Studio 54 in 1979. Immensely talented and quick-witted, Williams, who dropped out of Julliard, was doing stand-up comedy in California when he was cast for a one-time appearance as a wacky space alien on the hit TV sitcom Happy Days. Williams’ hilarity and infectious energy caught the attention of studio bigwigs who cast the relative newcomer in his first starring role in the Happy Days spin-off, Mork and Mindy, which started its run in 1978.
David Bowie and Bianca Jagger Enjoying an Evening at Studio 54.
Bianca Jagger was the undisputed Queen of Studio 54. She was such a regular patron of the notorious nightclub that it was almost like she was hosting her own private parties at the club every night. That was particularly true when her birthday party was held at Studio 54. Bianca knew how to work the crowd and was astute enough to be photographed alongside some of the biggest stars of the day, including David Bowie, shown in this photo. At the time when this snapshot was taken, David Bowie was transitioning from his “Ziggy Stardust” glam punk stage to his “Plastic Soul” stage.
Jawbone Alert: Chiseled John Travolta and Equally Chiseled Sylvester Stallone Raised the Temperature inside Studio 54.
John Travolta and Sylvester Stallone were both becoming big names in the 1970s so it was almost inevitable that the flashy dancer/actor from Grease and Saturday Night Fever would cross paths with the Rocky star. In fact, the two worked closely together on the sequel to Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive, which starred Travolta and was co-written, co-produced, and directed by Stallone. Staying Alive was a bit of a flop compared to the box office success of Saturday Night Fever, but the film started a lifelong friendship between John Travolta and Sylvester Stallone that continues to this day.
Sylvester Stallone and actress Joyce Ingalls pose for the camera at New York at Studio 54, 1978.
Sylvester Stallone and model-turned-actress Joyce Ingalls were photographed together at Studio 54 in 1978. This was the same year that Joyce appeared with Stallone in the drama, Paradise Alley. That was also the same year that Joyce’s name was listed on the divorce papers that Stallone’s wife, Sasha, served him. According to the gossip magazines of the time, Stallone used money from a joint account with his wife to go on a lavish vacation with Joyce shortly after filming wrapped up on Paradise Alley.
Pop singer Elton John, Lana Hamilton, wife of actor George Hamilton, and rock singer Rod Stewart at New York’s Studio 54, 1978, to celebrate at a party given by RCA Records
Elton John may have represented the first wave of the British Invasion, but Rod Stewart led the second wave. With so many British entertainers flooding into the U.S., it was only natural for some of them to form close friendships with each other. That was true of Elton John and Rod Stewart. As this photo shows, the two British rockers frequented Studio 54 together. In this photo, which was taken at a 1978 party thrown by RCA Records, Elton John and Rod Stewart were joined by Lana Hamilton, who was married to actor George Hamilton at the time.
Lady Divine at Halston's party for Bianca Jagger, 1977.
When Halston threw a birthday party at Studio 54 for Bianca Jagger in 1977, one of the special guests was drag queen, Lady Divine. Lady Divine was the stage name of Harris Glenn Milstead, who grew up in a conservative Baltimore family. As an adult working as a hairdresser, Milstead became interested in drag. With the help of John Waters, an independent filmmaker, Milstead created his Lady Divine persona and fully immersed himself in the counterculture scene of New York City. Lady Divine appeared in several films in the late 1960s and 1970s which helped increase his notoriety. Of course, hanging out at Studio 54 also helped Lady Divine’s PR.
Bianca Jagger Earned Her Party Girl Image After Nights Like This at Studio 54.
When Bianca Jagger and Mick Jagger started their relationship, Bianca embraces the new celebrity lifestyle. She was all glamour and glitz on the red carpet, at elegant events and premiers, but she certainly had a wild side. Numerous photos exist of her at Studio 54 where she was known as a party girl. Despite pics like this one that seem to highlight her wild side, Bianca Jagger claimed she helped hubby Mick kick his cocaine habit. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get him to give up his other vice … women. Bianca filed for divorce because of Mick’s infidelity.
Andy Warhol Snapping Selfies with Bianca Jagger.
In the 1970s, polaroid cameras allowed A-listers to take selfies and immediately see the results without waiting to get film developed and prints made. Even though there were often photographers on hand at Studio 54 to capture the exploits of the rich and famous, some people preferred to use their own polaroid cameras. One of these people was pop artist Andy Warhol, shown in this polaroid selfie with Bianca Jagger. We don’t often consider polaroid snapshots are art, but this pic and a series of other ones snapped by Andy Warhol, are now part of the collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
Rod and Alana Stewart Demonstrating How Blondes Have More Fun.
Rod Stewart and his soon-to-be wife, Alana Hamilton (who was once married to actor George Hamilton) proved that blondes have more fun during a night at Studio 54 in 1978. Ironically, Blondes Have More Fun was the title of Stewart’s newly released album which spawned such hits as “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” and “Dirty Weekend.” Together, Rod and Alana looked the part of the beautiful, happy couple, but behind the scenes, things were a mess, especially after the couple married in 1979. Rod later admitted that he was too young and immature for marriage and that he wasn’t ready to give up the hard-partying nights of drunks, drugs, and dancing.
Studio 54 Owner, Steve Rubell, Taking a Nap With Rod Stewart's Wife.
Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell was a wannabe celebrity himself, so he used his prestige as the nightclub owner to hobnob with the famous folks who frequented his establishment. It is not uncommon to see him posing for photographs with the stars that came to play at Studio 54. In this photo, Rubell is resting his head on the shoulder of Alana Hamilton as she sits next to her new husband, British rocker Rod Stewart, at Studio 54. This photo was taken in 1979 shortly after the couple got married. They couldn’t marry until Alana’s divorce from actor George Hamilton was finalized.
Saturday Night Live actors Bill Murray dancing with Gilda Radner at Studio 54 in 1978.
Shoot Saturday Night Live, then head over the Studio 54 to dance the rest of the night away. That was often the routine for the actors and guest stars on Saturday Night Live. In this photo from 1978, we see wacky Gilda Radner on the dancefloor with her SNL co-star Bill Murray. A few years later, Nick Nolte was slated to be the guest host of SNL but he spent the night before at Studio 54. He was reportedly too hungover the next day to host the show. Comedian Eddie Murphy, who was an SNL cast member at the time, had to step in to host the show. It was the only time a current cast member also hosted the show.