Photographs That Show A Different Side To The Most Beautiful Women In History
By | March 16, 2021
This is a collection of women in photographs who are so beautiful we can't look away.
Take a closer look at these rare photos and stories that were left out of history books, and may change your perspective on history forever.
These photos and stories show a different side to the past than we already know. Each of these women are beautiful in their own way, but look closer and you'll be intrigued at what you may find...
For audiences, Vivien's Leigh's performance as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind is one of the greatest achievements in film history, but for Leigh it was an extremely grueling shoot where she had to put up with American actors questioning why she was there, and she was dealing with her own mental health issues while on set.
Leigh's role as O'Hara became her calling card, but it was also a role that she couldn't escape. She was terrified of typecasting or of having to continue to play Southern Belles simply because that's what she became known for. She once said:
I think typecasting is one of the menaces, really, because you get used to what someone is going to do and then it holds no surprise for you.
Cher is not someone that you mess with. Not today and especially not in the '60s. As a performer, whether she was singing or acting, Cher always realized that she was looked down by the press and seen as a flash in the pan - even if that flash has lasted for decades at this point.
While speaking about her so-called "trashy" lifestyle, Cher noted that there's been a bevy of "trashy" women since the dawn of Hollywood who did just fine for themselves, but for some reason she's always singled out as a problem. She told Film Comment:
There’ve been lots of trashy vamps who’ve been really good actresses. I mean there’s been lots of trashy people. Marilyn Monroe was a great actress; she was a real trashy woman… How about Mae West? How about Heddy Lamar? How about Ava Gardner? How about all kinds of actresses who lived a life that makes me look like f*cking Mary Poppins, you know?
There's no standard way to be discovered in the entertainment industry. Some actors get their start on the stage, others use family connections, and Pamela Anderson was discovered while in attendance a B.C. Lions football game when she was only 22 years old.
When a scout from Labatt Beer saw the young Anderson on the Jumbotron wearing a cutoff Labatt's shirt he knew that she was their next spokesmodel. She was quickly brought into the company and had her photo plastered in magazines and around Canada. The ads caught the sight of Hugh Hefner (because of course they did) and she was brought down to Los Angeles to model in his magazine.
This just goes to show that no matter where you're going you should always wear branded merchandise, you never know what you're going to get out of it.
There's no end to the discussions of Sharon Tate's final day on Earth, something that's both sad and terrifying. For many of those who were close to her in the late '60s, they're constantly reminded about the tragedy they experience in 1969 when the news of her gruesome passing was reported, but Tate's sister is the person who carries the most weight around Tate's early end.
Tate's sister Debra says that Sharon was the perfect embodiment of the '60s, a free spirit who had an easy beauty and natural grace. She told the New York Times:
I think that she was custom-made for that era, because she was truly a natural beauty. That particular era was all about freedom of spirit, and you were just coming out of the buttoned-up ’50s and early ’60s... And then fashion took a huge swing, and it was freestyle, and minimalistic. They needed a face and a body that was equally free-spirited and un-coifed, but yet beautiful and gentle, which is what the ’60s were all about, right?
Daisy Duke's cutoff jean short shorts are iconic. It's impossible to talk about the Dukes of Hazzard without mentioning them, but according to Catherine Bach those incredibly important shorts almost never existed.
Before the series went into production Bach was told that her character would be parading around Hazzard County in a series of poodle skirts and go-go boots. It's definitely a look, but not the look that Bach thought would work. She told In Style:
[The creators] wanted me to wear a poodle skirt that matched the tablecloth. I said, ‘You want me to match the tablecloth? That’s demeaning to women.’ I had go-go boots, a white turtleneck and a blonde wig because the creator loved Dolly Parton. I thought, ‘We need a costume change.’ So I got my jean shorts that I could never get even, with cowboy boots and a little top … They loved it.
Even though Priscilla Presley was just a girl when she met Elvis while he was stationed in Germany, this couple was star crossed. It makes sense that they were together, he was The King of rock n roll and she was easily the grooviest chick in the land.
However, Priscilla always worried about whether or not she was good enough for Presley in the eyes of the press, the fans, and the man himself. It's a ridiculous thought because she's a beautiful woman, but while speaking with the Guardian she admitted that when she became pregnancy with Elvis' child that's all she could think about:
After we got married in May 1967, when I was 21, I got pregnant straight away. Initially I was devastated. I thought, 'Oh my gosh, here I am married and now I'm pregnant and I'm not going to look attractive any more.' It was certainly a rocky time. It was hard for Elvis too because he was a sex symbol – the most wanted sexual specimen in the world. And he was apprehensive about what his fans would think about him being a dad and how that would affect his status as a sex symbol.
It wasn't easy to be Shirley Muldowney in the 1960s, but it must have been fun (as long you discount the multiple injuries). Known to her enemies and competitors as "Cha Cha," Muldowney was fierce on the track even when she was facing down horrific injuries.
After sustaining debilitating injuries in a dragster crash in 1984, Muldowney made her way back to the track after months of operations and rehab. She could have bowed out, but knew that if she never returned to the world or racing that her detractors would be proven right. She says that she returned just to prove everyone wrong. The sexist behavior thrown her way dissipated as racing opened up to everyone, and now she recognizes that she played an important part in the history of drag racing:
The older I got is when things started to change, and the more respect I got. Now people will come up to talk to me and they’ll start crying. They’re just thankful.
"Jungle" Pam Hardy -- 1973...she seemed to have the life the young girls would only dream about, but she sadly took her own life.
In the world of drag racing there's no one quite as beloved as "Jungle" Pam Hardy. Discovered by funny car driver "Jungle" Jim while she was walking down the street, Pam quickly became his partner both off and on the asphalt.
While Pam didn't know much about cars she certainly understood how to wow the audience. While checking the oil on Jim's car or making sure it was in the right place on the track she made to show off her assets and keep all eyes on Jim's car. She really was one of the most forward thinking performers of the era.
Pam wasn't in the world of funny car racing for long...shortly after gaining fame and popularity, she sadly took her own life.
The 1970s in New York City was one non-stop party, or at least it seemed that way. According to Blondie's Debbie Harry, she didn't hang out at Studio 54 very often even though there are tons of photos of her at the club.
Harry says that the one time that she really had an amazing time at the world famous dance club was during one of Warhol's parties where luminaries from the art, literary, and music scenes were all invited. She told Elle:
I remember going to Studio 54 and getting drunk. And not really knowing how I got drunk, and ending up in a pile of bodies. I don’t think I went there a lot – it wasn’t my scene. We were more downtown rockers. The time that I do remember [most] specifically was when Andy threw the party for Interview magazine. I was on the cover and I met Truman Capote – I was so star struck I could barely talk. I think he was high. With the loud music you couldn’t really talk.
Madonna has been famous for so long that it's easy to forget that she grew up in Michigan and that she wasn't raised in a fame lab somewhere. After studying dance and years of working menial jobs while performing in dingy clubs throughout New York City she finally hit it big in the '80s.
Even though Madonna got exactly what she wanted, fame, she admits that she wasn't ready for it in the moment, but who is? She told the Guardian:
It took my breath away. I can’t begin to tell you. I remember the first concert I did on the Virgin tour, in Seattle, when everything became big and I had no way of being prepared for it. It literally sucked the life out of me, sucked the air out of my lungs when I walked on stage. I sort of had an out-of-body experience. Not a bad feeling, not an out-of-control feeling, but an otherworldly feeling that nothing could prepare you for.
Looking at Jane Fonda's career in both film and politics it's hard to imagine that she was gung ho about appearing as the sexy space age secret agent in Barberella, but there she is in Roger Vadim's very sensual sci-fi film.
The film is truly a master work of European sensibilities, but that doesn't mean that Fonda was happy with her work after the film was released. The film became a cult classic from the moment it was released, but that doesn't mean that Fonda was proud of her new found success. She admits that at the time she was mortified about what she'd done, but that today she gets why the film works and why she had to wear such glamorous costumes:
For a long time, I couldn't look at it. I thought that it was politically incorrect, you know. I can look at it now and laugh at it, and find it very charming.
As the star of Bewitched Elizabeth Montgomery went out of her way to make this sitcom about a witch on a mission to lead a normal life the best thing she could. The series was a massive hit, and it even destroyed in reruns in the '80s and '90s.
Montgomery said that she wasn't totally surprised that the show was so popular because she worked hard to make it the best it could be. The one thing she didn't like? Giving interviews about it. She explained:
It’s a strange thing . . . I loathe to chat away about me. I’ve never liked it. I always hate interviews. I just want to act, and do the best job I can. Hopefully, people will appreciate it. That’s what my job is. It isn’t sitting down and talking about me. If I were a gardener, I would be out there trying to make gardens as pretty as I could, and not expect people to come up to me and ask a lot of questions. What it boils down to is this: It’s always easier for me to talk about other things than it is to talk about me.
Young Demi Moore, circa 1980s...she left home at age 15, and her first paid gig was a nude photo shoot at age 16
For many performers, getting in front of the camera is a job but for Demi Moore it was an escape. During her teenage years her home life was reportedly terrible so she left home at 15 with the intent of doing something with herself. She briefly lived with a guitarist while she was 16, and then she took off to Europe to do some modeling.
Moore says that she didn't make much money off the endeavor, but when you're young you don't really care about the money and would rather just have an experience. It wasn't until the young model returned to the states and married rock musician Freddy Moore that things began to align.
She earned roles in General Hospital, TV movies of the week, and by the mid-'80s she was a full fledged member of the Brat Pack. It took long enough, but Moore finally achieved the stardom she was looking for.
When Roger Moore took over the mantle of 007 in Live And Let Die he did so with one of the most beautiful Bond girls to ever grace the screen. Madeline Smith played the Italian agent Miss Caruso, and has said multiple times that her favorite part about appearing in the film was getting to listen to Paul McCartney's music before anyone else.
Smith says that at the time she didn't really think much of appearing in a Bond movie, and that it was just something that she got to do. Of course, now, she realizes what a big deal it was to work with Moore on this film. She explained:
Interestingly enough in those days, all that time ago, it was not considered such a huge thing to do, it could actually ruin you career because they would type cast you forever. Some time people were not always happy to accept the part, and that’s actually true. Now it’s a huge career enhancer, it was not a minus or plus in those days, it was delightful to have done. I didn’t get any publicity from it at all at the time which is interesting, now it’s actually paying off, you have to remember that it was 1973.
Even though Brigitte Bardot brought an early end to her film career in 1973, she's remained in the public eye simply by the virtue of the public's love for this '60s beauty icon.
Bardot tired of the spotlight and the constant need to be "on," but she's never stopped speaking to the press. After retiring from filmmaking she went on to establish the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, a group that does everything in its ability to help animals. She said of the foundation:
We have financed the construction of a wild animal hospital in Chile, as well as a park to care for mistreated bears in Bulgaria, for koalas in Australia, for elephants in Thailand, and for horses in Tunisia. If the foundation wasn’t active, a great many species conservation programs would be non-existent.
Model Jerry Hall partying at Studio 54 in the 1970s. (Photo by Helmut Newton)
Going to Studio 54 in the 1970s must have been one of the most exciting parts of your week, and the photos from the brief period of hedonism show just how much fun it was to dance and rub shoulders with celebrities and art stars.
Those images were captured by some of the most fascinating photographers of the era, including Helmut Newton and Rose Hartman. While speaking about her photographs, Hartman explained that she's able to time travel when she sees them and that she loves it when someone tells her that the photos do the same for them:
I was thrilled that I was able to take these pictures, for example Lou Reed talking with Andy Warhol, or Jerry Hall sitting with Diana Vreeland, who was Editor-in-Chief at Vogue. Images like that just thrill me! I was delighted that I was able to take them. People come up to me all the time, and some don’t know I took the photo, obviously they weren’t even born back then, and they would say 'You took that photo? That is a fabulous photo.' It was true, it is true. It never gets old.
It's impossible to fill Farrah Fawcett's shoes, or her amazing floppy hair, or her red bathing suit. Basically, there's no point in trying to make audiences forget about Farrah Fawcett because that's never going to happen. Cheryl Ladd knew as much when she was asked to take over for Fawcett in season two of Charlie's Angels.
Fawcett became a mega star off the back of this beloved ABC series and left after one season. When series creator Aaron Spelling asked Ladd to take over she politely declined. Spelling could have just moved on to the next actress, but he saw something special in Ladd. He insisted that she wouldn't be replacing Fawcett, but adding nuance to the character by playing her sister. That's something that Ladd could get on board with. She explained:
He said, ‘Why couldn’t you be Jill’s little sister and you’re already part of the family?’ I said, ‘I’m in!’ It was brilliant.
The glamorous Elizabeth Taylor, 1956
Without a question, Elizabeth Taylor is our first modern Hollywood star. Not only was she immensely popular onscreen, but her marriages were intense fodder for the press.
When it came to being a star, Taylor says that she loved being onscreen and working with her fellow artists, but that when it came to having photos taken of herself she could take it or leave it unless she was having her shot snapped by a friend. She told Interview Magazine:
Having to smile when you don’t feel like it. Turn to your left, turn to your right. Smile when you feel like snarling. There’s something meretricious and superficial about having to look into the camera knowing you should look your best, knowing you should try to look pretty. It’s all about self and I hate that, unless it’s with someone I love taking my picture.
The grooviness of Dawn Wells in 1970
Even if Dawn Wells had never acted again after she played Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island she would still be an icon of the 1960s. Once the series ended she went on to appear on beloved shows like Bonanza and The Love Boat while continuing to portray Mary Ann of new versions of Gilligan's Island.
A lot of actors would hate to be defined by one role, but while Wells was alive she never shied away from talking about the role. She even appeared on Space Ghost Coast to Coast to goof about the role, specifically because she believed that Mary Ann was a great model for young people:
I think it’s very difficult being a parent, or a best friend. There’s no guidelines. My generation was pretty black and white. There were no drugs, no sex before marriage. Now with all of the temptations and all of the permissiveness everywhere, it’s much harder to raise a child. But there still needs to be a guideline behind it, and I think that’s Mary Ann.
Suzanne Somers from Three's Company goes for a solo hay ride
Even though Suzanne Somers is a part of the triad of power that made Three's Company the astounding sitcom that we all know it to be, she was fired after having the temerity to ask to be paid a wage that was parallel to what co-star John Ritter was making.
Her crusade to get paid backfired and she was written out of the show without getting to say goodbye to her fans. Even worse, she was briefly blacklisted from Hollywood. While speaking with In Style, Somers said that she was so out of the loop that she couldn't even catch a cold:
After I was fired, I couldn't get a job. And I still don’t know what they told the cast, but everyone turned against me. So much so that I remember walking down Rodeo [Drive] one day, and the wardrobe guy who I created the Chrissy outfit with — you know, the sandals and the hot pants — saw me and crossed the street. It was sad.
Young and beautiful Victoria Principal, from the early 80's.
Victoria Principal may be most famous for playing Pamela Barnes-Ewing on Dallas, but she's just as star struck as everyone else when it comes to one of the most endearing prime-time soap operas to ever hit television.
For Principal, it wasn't that she was one a huge series. That was great, but she notes that the thing that really blew her away about appearing on Dallas was the fact that everyone was so kind to her on her first day of filming. She told TV Insider:
Everything was new to me; I was nervous, and yet I felt strangely sure that I was where I was supposed to be and with the people I was supposed to be with as though this had happened before... I remember looking up at [executive producer] Lenny Katzman as he leaned outside the car door giving us direction and thinking that I trusted him and would do my best to please him. I remember looking at Patrick when he did not know it and thinking, 'this a nice person.' And that made falling into his arms and our love scenes that day so much easier and natural.
Susan Sarandon, her first movie appearance was in the movie "Joe," 1970.
It's without question that Susan Sarandon is one of the most accomplished actresses of our time. She rose from inauspicious beginnings in the independent films of the '70s to bare it all (sort of) in The Rocky Horror Picture Show before making her mark in the '80s and '90s.
Never someone to shy away from speaking her mind, Sarandon has always made sure that directors, journalists, and even other actors know exactly where she's coming from even if it hurts someone's feelings, especially when it comes to men. While speaking about the trouble that male executives have with female leads she told The Independent:
Maybe women just have more fluid imaginations. Because it’s a male-driven, patriarchal society, men haven’t had to adjust. Maybe they just haven’t been challenged in terms of their imagination.
By the time Marilyn Monroe had shed the skin of Norma Jean and fully embraced the life of a celebrity she understood just how important it was that everyone got a piece of her, even if that she had nothing to give to herself. Monroe was seen as the quintessential blonde bombshell, but she was so much more than that.
The difference between Marilyn Monroe's interior and exterior life was so different that they were essentially two different people shoved into one body. In the last interview she ever gave, Monroe tried to explain what it was like to be her, and it doesn't sound fun:
I realize some people want to see if you're real. The teenagers, the little kids, their faces light up. They say, 'Gee,' and they can't wait to tell their friends... In the morning, the garbage men that go by 57th Street when I come out the door say, 'Marilyn, hi! How do you feel this morning?' To me, it's an honor, and I love them for it... You know, those are times it's nice. People knowing who you are and all of that, and feeling that you've meant something to them.
Heather Thomas, the Fall Guy beauty
Hailing from the mean streets of Greenwich, Connecticut, Heather Thomas was bound for Hollywood before she could say "fun in the sun." She scored her first role when she was only 14 years old in the series Talking with a Giant before bouncing around to a couple of shows. But then lightning struck, figuratively. In 1981 she was hired on The Fall Guy to play Jody Banks.
Thomas appeared in more than 100 episodes of the series before going on to pop up in TV movies and various shows for one-off appearances. Even though that sounds like a decline, for Thomas it was a way to wean herself out of the entertainment industry. She's been vocal about having to constantly deal with stalkers from the time she was hired on The Fall Guy and didn't want her kids to have to put up with that kind of lifestyle.
She's gone on to be a writer and an activist, so it looks like things never really fell off for Heather Thomas.
Raquel Welch bounded onto screens in 1960s as an immediate sex symbol, but she didn't think that was the way that her career was going to go early on. While speaking with GQ, Welch explained that her first real role was as a scientist, but when her saucy look in One Million Years B.C. was revealed there was no way that she was going to be typecast as a lab coat wearing brainiac:
I didn’t know I was going to burst on the scene as a sex symbol. I mean the first part that I played under my contract at 20th Century Fox was Fantastic Voyage where I played a scientist! I was going to be reduced to microscopic size and injected in the human bloodstream traveling in inner-space to examine how the body really works... But that particular costume that I wore in One Million Years B.C. [the fur bikini], that image of me was circulated all over the world even before Fantastic Voyage really hit the screen.
"Blonde" Brigitte Bardot -- 1950s
There's no one quite as iconic as Brigitte Bardot, the European beauty who entranced audiences on both sides of the pond through a multitude of film appearances that touted her beauty over anything else. Audiences think of her as a blonde bombshell, but Bardot was actually a brunette.
Shocker of all shockers, Bardot's bleached out pigtails began their lives as a mop of brown hair pulled into a side ponytail. However, it was director Roger Vadim who made sure that she had a striking look. He gave her icy blonde locks that mystified audiences.
Would Bardot have had the same effect on audiences with brown hair? There's really no way of knowing but we suspect she'd be beautiful with any hair color.
Olivia Newton-John as 'Sandy' in "Grease" (1978)
It's impossible to imagine anyone but Olivia Newton-John playing Sandy in Grease, but during the casting phase of production feelers were being put out to everyone from Marie Osmond to Linda Rondstadt. If you're scratching your head just know that so was John Travolta.
Travolta knew that no one else could embody that role so he made it clear to the producers exactly why she needed to play Sandy. He explained:
Every guy in the world wants Olivia Newton-John as their girlfriend. And I knew that because I wanted that, I felt the same way. And every girl wants to be like her and I said, 'If you don’t see this, you guys are nuts,' ’cause there’s only one person in the world that was Sandy, and that was Olivia Newton-John.
Heather Locklear embodied the California lifestyle in the '80s
Is there anyone who was more emblematic of sunny California than Heather Locklear in the '80s and '90s? Like many of the actresses in her peer group she got her start as a model during college. Locklear just had the perfect look so it made sense, but her career didn't really take off until she was cast as a can-do police officer on TJ Hooker in the early '80s.
Locklear has been a part of so many massive shows from the era, and for a brief period she was even pulling double duty on Dynasty and TJ while making one off appearances on The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. It's genuinely amazing that she was able to get anything else done with all of her work in the '80s, and it's even more impressive that she continued working in the '90s with nearly 200 episodes of Melrose Place.
It's clear that Locklear didn't want to be seen as just a soap opera actress or a sitcom star. She worked hard to have it all.
Goldengirl Susan Anton in the 70's
Susan Anton made a career out of using her golden pipes to sing one of the most memorable cigar ads of all time before going on to pop up on TV throughout the '70s and '80s, but when she was growing up she had no idea that she was going to be in the entertainment industry.
While speaking with Las Vegas Magazine, Anton revealed that the entertainment industry wasn't an option for her because she's just a gal from southern California:
When I was growing up I didn’t have a real plan. I had no idea. I thought I was really going to go to college and just get married and probably be a nursery school teacher... When the Miss Redlands pageant came along there was a talent portion... I had never sung in front of anybody, but I just had a feeling I could do it. I decided to enter that pageant and I won, and that then sent me to Miss California, which sent me to Miss America. I finished second runner-up to Miss America, and so singing onstage and being in front of an orchestra and performing for an audience, I realized that this is what I really wanted to do.
Lovely Jamie Lee Curtis -- Late 1970s
It's ironic that the sweet and sunny Jamie Lee Curtis spent the 1970s as the premiere scream queen in films like Halloween, Terror Train, and Prom Night. Curtis herself is admittedly not a fan of horror films, but before she was chased by Michael Myers through Haddonfield, Illinois, she couldn't get a meeting to save her life.
Curtis knows that horror gave her the career she longed for, but she also recognizes that she's not the first scream queen to help "elevate" the genre. She explained:
First of all, I wasn’t the first, my god. There were a lot of women in the ‘50s who were doing a lot of screaming. My mother being one of them in the ‘60s. So, I would say I was just a modern, when horror took its center stage, in the ‘70s, I certainly represented that for a nanosecond…
Rocker Suzi Quatro posing in all leather and boots, 1975.
Suzi Quatro is a rocker who took a circuitous route to fame. Hailing from Detroit Rock City, this bass playing wild woman had hit single after hit single in England and Australia, but American success evaded her. That is until she showed up on Happy Days.
According to Hollywood lore, producer Garry Marshall didn't even audition Quatro for the role of Leather Tuscadero. After seeing a picture of the rocker on his daughter's wall he knew she could play the part. For Quatro, it was anything but just another gig, it finally gave her a boost in the States. She told the AV Club:
Everybody knew me. I had fans all over America, but the single success didn’t follow me over. That’s the difference. Then Happy Days came along, and of course I played Leather Tuscadero, and then it was nationwide television. Number one show—I’m on there doing some of my hits, playing the bass guitar, being me. So I kicked down the door as Suzi Quatro, then I kicked it down again as Leather Tuscadero, who is Suzi Quatro. So however it happened, it happened. It doesn’t make any difference to me. I mean, I sold 55 million records, so I’m not kickin’.
Deidre Hall may be best known for her role as Dr. Marlena Evans on the soap Days of Our Lives, a role she took on 1976
There's something about the day in and day out of the soap opera life that sounds like a slog. Every day actors have to memorize their lines and perform them perfectly on camera... or else.
Long time Days of Our Lives star Deidre Hall says that even though there's a lot of work involved with a show like that she actually loved the work when she was doing it, mostly because she was looking for a family of actors. She told Soap Opera Digest:
I was brought in to play a character’s backstory, so I was the reason that Brad had left his hometown and gone on to live somewhere else. What was interesting was, my time there I was sort of the little kid with her nose against the glass, you know, saying, 'This looks like fun and these people rent summer places together and they travel together and I like that and I want to do that.' It could not go forward, but I got a real taste of the kinship that can be had in daytime when people work together for hours at a time. I wanted me some of that.
Angie Dickinson as Sergeant Suzanne “Pepper” Anderson in the police drama Police Woman broke new ground with its portrayal of a woman in a leading role and as a police officer
With Police Woman Angie Dickinson didn't just become a household name, she became a one woman recruiting machine for the police force. After seeing her take down baddies with little help from the men in her department thousands of women applied to be on the police force, finally aware that they too could make a difference.
Even though she was an inspiration to women everywhere, the last thing that Dickinson wanted was to be seen as a sex symbol. Not that she didn't think she was beautiful, she just figured that it would ruin her career. She told CBS:
I wouldn't want to be known only as a sex symbol. I wanted to be known as an actress, equally or, even more so. Like Marilyn Monroe. She was known as the greatest – rightly rightly so – sex symbol of all time, Boy, try to do Shakespeare after that!
Alyssa Milano as 'Samantha Micelli' on the classic '80s sitcom, "Who's the Boss?"
Throughout the '80s Alyssa Milano was mostly known as the star of Who's The Boss? This classic sitcom endeared her to audiences everywhere as the sweetheart daughter of Tony Danza, but she almost pulled the title of goth teen dream away from Winona Ryder.
While speaking with the Huffington Post in the 2000s, Milano revealed that the role of Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice came down to her and Ryder, with Ryder finally snagging the part. She explained:
It was between the two of us, and she actually got the part. You always wonder what would have happened differently in my life had that worked out, not that I would want it to be any different, but it’s just an interesting thought game. I was so little. You just hear, ‘Oh, you didn’t get it. Someone else got it’ — which was hard.
Alexandra Bastedo, a British actress, in the series "The Champions"
The beautiful Alexandra Bastedo grew up in Essex and Brighton before going on to study at the Worthing School of Drama. Rather than specifically pursue acting, Bastedo entered the Miss Teenage Diplomat competition when she was 16 years old and beat out 4,000 other girls to take the prize.
Following her win, Bastedo was taken to Hollywood by Columbia Pictures where she popped up in the film 13 Frightened Girls! where she remembers that she "did a lot of screaming," for four weeks. After the film she was offered a contract with the production company but her parents refused to let her keep working until she finished her education.
Rather than shy away from the camera forever, Bastedo finished her education and started popping up on television and in the James Bond spoof Casino Royale. She never really cracked America, but she worked frequently in Spain and England, mostly on television.
Stevie Nicks, Hot '70s Queen Of Rock 'N Roll, In Rare Photos
Stevie Nicks was barely a known quantity when she took over lead vocal duties with Fleetwood Mac in the mid '70s, but it was on the band's apex achievement, "Rumours," where she became a megastar. The in-fighting, the inter-band relationships, the rumors, they all served to take Nicks from the singer of a band to one of the most famous people on the planet.
Before Nicks rocketed to stardom she was a part of a duo with Lindsay Buckingham, a waitress, and as her mother pressed - a student. While speaking with Dazed Digital she explained that her mother supported her career, but only after she received a proper education:
[Nicks' mother] would say, ‘I know you’re going to be a singer – and I think you’re very good, and I totally support you, Stevie – but you will go to college for five years. You can be in a band, that’s fine, but you’ll go to college because I will not have you stand in a room full of men unable to keep up with them. You are going to be independent.’ I thank God for my mum. Talk about pragmatic.
Supermodel Christie Brinkley, 1978.
There will never be another Christie Brinkley. This superstar model didn't just jumpstart the wave of Sports Illustrated cover models who found fame outside of modeling, but she defined (and continues to do so) what the life of a model can be like.
Not simply intent on posing in front of a camera in a bathing suit, Brinkley creates in her spare time. An artist at heart (she was discovered while studying art in Paris), much of Brinkley's current life is taken up by pottery and sculpture, specifically shell art. While speaking with the New York Times she admitted that the one thing she'd really like to do is make out of broken ceramics:
I have piles of broken plates. I envision making a work of art with them. I have to say, I keep everything that breaks.
Pam Grier - From 'Foxy Brown' And 'Coffy' To 'Jackie Brown'
Pam Grier is one of the most iconic actresses of the 20th century. Not only did she essentially create the blaxploitation genre with roles in Foxy Brown and Coffy, but she continued her onscreen domination into the '90s with an absolutely heartbreaking performance in Jackie Brown.
While speaking with the New York Times in 2019, she explained that she doesn't believe that her early worked would have been shoved into a genre had she not been a woman. She explained:
It wasn’t called blaxploitation until I put my feet in the men’s shoes. Men had done the same type of formulaic films before I did. It wasn’t until I stepped in their shoes that they said, 'Well, these movies are for a black audience.' I was creating the market for films about women fighting back and using sexuality.
"Dreamland" -- Sophia Loren on a visit to Disneyland in 1963
No one just gets to walk into Disneyland and do whatever they want, unless they're Sophia Loren (or possibly Johnny Depp). Back in 1962, Loren was given the star treatment at the Happiest Place on Earth after winning an Oscar for Two Women.
Loren brought her husband, the Italian film producer Carlo Ponti, along with her to the park and the couple were able to bypass the crowds and entered the rides through exit doors.
According to her chaperone for the big day, Loren spent two hours walking around the park in heels and never broke a sweat before taking off and looking as glamorous as she did when she arrived.
The groovy and pretty Sharon Marie Tate, 1960s
Throughout the 1960s, Sharon Tate was a star that was always on the rise. After being discovered through simply just existing, Tate appeared on television covered in spectacles and a brown wig to hide her immense beauty from the audience, apparently producers were worried that the audience would believe she was too beautiful.
Even though she was hampered first through getting wigged and then with being saddled with standard blonde beauty roles audiences couldn't get enough of her, and can you blame them? It's impossible to look away from her.
Sadly, Tate was cut down before she could enter her prime when the Manson family invaded her home in August 1969. She forever remains a beautiful symbol of the end of the '60s.
Actress Susan Dey, 1972
Any boy coming of age in the 1970s had a huge crush on Susan Dey, how could you not? As one of the stars of The Partridge Family she stuck out as such a gorgeous ray of sunshine that audiences gravitated to.
It just so happened that she was on the series with David Cassidy, one of the biggest heartthrobs of the era. Not immune to Cassidy's charms, Dey spent much of her time on the series quietly in love with Cassidy with a crush that was never returned.
The story came out long after the series ended, which has to be embarrassing and it's likely why she's never really spoken about the series after she moved on.
Michelle Pfeiffer in "Grease 2" 1982.
It's insane that anyone made it out of Grease 2 with their careers intact, especially Michelle Pfeiffer. As a follow up to one of the most iconic musicals of all time, the film isn't bad by any means but it's so out of left field (there's a mystery biker after all) that it just doesn't feel the same.
As one of her earliest roles, Pfeiffer took the role like a fish to water but she almost didn't even step in front of the camera. While speaking with James Corden she explained the audition was a fluke. She explained:
I went on a lark. My agent said, ‘Oh just go.’ I wasn’t a dancer, I wasn’t a singer, and I was in this short purple skirt with go go boots and we had the dancing auditions... I kept sneaking in the back and finally it was only me.
Marilu Henner In The '70s For Playing Elaine O'Connor Nardo on the TV show Taxi
Marilu Henner was in the thick of the boy's club that was Taxi, one of the zaniest and most ground breaking sitcoms of the 20th century. Not only was it known for just being straight up goofy, but it featured Andy Kaufman in one of his few "normal" roles.
While the myth around Kaufman states that he was a wild man most of the time, Henner says that he really did his best to be as sweet and professional as possible. She explained:
Andy was nice. He had like 7 out of 13 [episodes] so he wasn’t in every episode. And he didn’t come in on Mondays, he came in on Tuesdays. Mike Binder would come in and read the Andy parts. And what happened was he’d come in Tuesday for the afternoon run through, they’d walk him through. The script was always written in English and he would do his Latka gibberish and you felt like you understood him after a while. Then he’d come in on Friday [tape day]. So he had a very truncated schedule.
A young and groovy Helen Mirren, 1960s.
Whether we're talking about her during the swinging '60s, or watching her toss of hilarious lines in one of the Fast and the Furious films (she really does have quite the filmography) it's impossible to ignore the beauty of Helen Mirren.
Just don't let her hear you call her "beautiful," it's not a word that she feels applies to her or much of the world's population. While speaking with the Guardian she explained her stance against the term as eloquently as possible:
I hate that word. Kate Moss is beautiful, so is David Beckham, and I can appreciate a beautiful girl walking down the street. Young is beautiful. But the majority of us are something else, and I wish there was another word for it.
Catherine Deneuve was known as a French beauty
Catherine Deneuve really has done it all. Sure, she's one of Europe's greatest actresses, but she's also a singer, a model, and a political activist. It's insane that she even has the time to do so much.
With literally more than one hundred films to her credit it's hard to pick just one movie that really defines her, but for us the money is on 1968's Repulsion. In this classic elevated horror film Deneuve takes the audience into the mind of a disturbed young woman who feels the world closing in on her. She says that making the film was a unique experience because there were so many people from all over the world working on it, but it was just her, director Roman Polanski, and the film's co-writer who spoke French:
It’s funny because three of us were French: Roman, who, despite being Polish, spoke French all the time, Gérard Brach, and me. We really were the Three Musketeers. Everybody else on set was British. Roman knew exactly how to be respected by the crew, he was no pushover. But because we spoke French, we experienced the making of that film a little from the sidelines, in a rather unique atmosphere. We were a core within the team.
"Europe or bust!" 1975 campaign -- British model Beverley Pilkington
In 1975, England was on the precipice of a major decision: whether or not they should stay in the European Community, otherwise known as the EC. At the time, the country was split over whether to stick with Europe or to become an entity unto themselves in terms of their place on the world stage.
To sell the idea of England sticking with the EC, the "Europe or Bust" campaign utitlized the nomenclature of the the hippie movement and made sure to hand out shirts to plenty of beautiful women.
Wherever you fall on the argument of England working with the EC and then the EU, you have to admit that the strategy of getting beautiful women to put the word out for your cause is a great idea.
Barbi Benton, 1970s
Barbi Benton made the most out of the primetime television circuit of the 1970s. After getting her start with Hugh Hefner she started a dual singing and acting career that turned her into a legitimate star. She released country albums like "Barbi Doll" and a self titled record while appearing on four seasons of Hee Haw.
At the same time she made multiple appearances on The Love Boat and Fantasy Island, which were must-do opportunities for performers on the rise during the '70s. Benton may not have ever scored a massive hit by any means, but the fact that she had a solid career in show business before retiring in the late '80s is really cool. And you know we'll always have love for this groovy beauty.
Anita Ekberg was another smoking hot, curvy, blond that captured audiences’ attention in films!
Hailing from Scandinavia, Anita Ekberg remains one of the most mysterious beauties of the 20th centry. Like many of the beauties who held Hollywood hostage with their icy stares, Ekberg first became a known entity after becoming Miss Sweden and continuing on to the Miss Universe contest.
Even though Ekberg never became Miss Universe, the folks at Universal Studios found her enticing and offered her a contract where she appeared in films with Abbot and Costello while learning how to ride horses in the Hollywood Hills. While she went on to become a memorable star in Europe she later admitted that during her early years in Hollywood she just preferred to hang out with horses rather than take drama lessons. Honestly, same.
Farrah Fawcett as Holly in the 1976 film Logan's Run.
It is absolutely insane that Farrah Fawcett is in Logan's Run. Not because she's the rare American in this thoroughly English hard sci-fi picture, but because it was released in 1976, the same year that she became one of the most famous people on the planet.
The producers of Logan's Run obviously didn't have a crystal ball or they would have given her more to do in the film. Instead, she appears briefly as a futuristic hottie and then disappears from the film forever. Fawcett had only appeared in couple of movies before Logan's Run, and she popped up in a ton of TV shows stateside but nothing that showed the star power she really had.
Premiering three months before Charlie's Angels, Logan's Run remains one of the strangest pieces of Fawcett's career, one that fails to use her as well the icon of the '70s that she truly is.
Claudia Cardinale, a beautiful Italian actress of the 1960s and 1970s
In the 1960s and '70s Hollywood was awash with beautiful European actresses and we're here for it. Claudia Cardinale was best known for her role in Fellini's 8 1/2, but by the late '60s she was all over American cinema playing an extremely glamourous and mysterious woman from across the sea, but that was a life that Cardinale was uniterested in.
With fears of being typecast, Cardinale returned to Europe by the end of the decade and threw herself into the continent's cinema. Rather than lose out on roles this decisision gave Cardinale more work than she could ever imagine. She remains an absolute babe, and we love her all the more for sticking to her ideals.
Danish actress Annette Stroyberg, 1960s
As one of the many women in director Roger Vadim's life, it's no surprise that she's regarded as one of the most entrancing women in European cinema. Sadly, as talented as Stroyberg was during her short life she was mostly known as one of Vadim's exes. He even wrote about how she always existed around him in his book Bardot, Deneuve, Fonda -- My Life With the Three Most Beautiful Women in the World.
Stroyberg called it a day with acting in the early '60s, but she was always a passing concern for film lovers who wondered where she got off to. Rather than continue to chase her old career, Stroyberg moved around American and Europe until she passed away in Denmark in 2005.
Dorothy Dandridge was the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for best actress in 1954, for her role in "Carmen Jones"
Dorothy Dandridge is easily one of the most important actresses of the 20th century. She got her start at the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater in the 1920s, but by 1940 she was appearing in films like Lady from Louisiana with John Wayne and the adaptation of the Broadway hit, Carmen Jones.
When the film was released in 1954, it became a massive success. In November of that year she became the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Life Magazine and as the film continued to wrack up box office receipts she was nominated for a Best Actress award at the Oscars, a first for an African-American.
Sadly, Dandridge wasn't recognized as the trailblazer that she was until the 1980s when Black actresses acknowledged the hard work she put into Hollywood.
Yeoman Banks may have only appeared in one episode of Star Trek, but she's become an indelible part of the series thanks to the fact that she appears in one of its most beloved episodes, "Shore Leave."
Banks got her start as an actress after she worked as Miss Rheingold in promotions for the beer throughout the early '60s. By 1966 she was chosen to be the saucy starship worker who tempts Doctor McCoy on a pleasure planet before realizing that she's been quasi brainwashed. Banks went on to appear with none other than Elvis Presley in Live a Little, Love a Little in 1968 and she remains a fixture of the science fiction convention world.
Farrah Fawcett was the '70s golden girl!
It's not an understatement to say that Farrah Fawcett is the most iconic star of the 1970s. She spent most of the decade popping up in films and television with her husband Lee Majors, but when she delivered the one two punch of season one of Charlie's Angels and her amazing poster she essentially took over the '70s.
The poster, you know the one, shows Fawcett smiling her million dollar grin while wearing a red swimsuit as her amazing locks fall around her shoulders. The poster wasn't just popular because Fawcett was in it, but because she was a part of crafting the look.
Photographer Bruce McBroom explained that Fawcett was responsible for doing her own hair and makeup for the shoot. She was supposed to wear a bikini but instead opted for the red one piece because it already belonged to her.
Jaclyn Smith in the early 1970s
Tanya Roberts is one of the most well rounded members of the Aaron Spelling crowd. Not only was she one of Charlie's Angels, but she also had her own clothing line at K-Mart. Roberts knows how important it is for people to be able to get the most bang for their buck.
Roberts says that she got her first taste of penny pinching when she was working on Charlie's Angels when the entire group had to do their own hair and makeup. She explained:
It was always about the trio on that show. We all went to work in a motor home. We all put hair dryers on. It was all about hair. The best thing about Charlie’s Angels was the show, the bonding. We lost David Doyle and we lost John Forsythe and we lost Farrah [Fawcett]. It’s hard to go back. You miss those people. It’s hard.
Jan Smithers, who played 'Bailey Quarters' on the TV show "WKRP in Cincinnati" started off her career as a model in 1966.
After growing up in Los Angeles, Smithers was unsure about what she was going to do with her life. She liked art but didn't want to be a painter, and she wasn't all that good in school, but when she appeared on the cover of Newsweek when she was 16 years old she was suddenly inundated with requests from managers and agents.
Smithers and her mother slept in their car while searching for an agent, and this tenacity paid off. In 1974 she had a starring role in Where the Lilies Bloom before going on to play a part in the major success of WKRP in Cincinnati.
No longer a television star, Smithers says that most of her days are focused on finding tranquility through meditation and yoga.
Joan Jett of the 'The Runaways' performing on stage, 1977.
With The Runaways, Joan Jett helped usher in an era of aggro hard rock that took from punk and glam but churned out something much more important. With the all-girl group, Jett turned expectations upside down while rocking harder than any of the boys in the scene.
Today it's not that crazy to have an all female group, just look at Haim and The Donnas, but in the '70s it was almost sacrilege to have a group of powerful, awesome women. Even when Jett tried to take guitar lessons she ran into pushback. She told Interview Magazine:
The guy brought out sheet music and tried to teach me 'On Top of Old Smoky.' That was the last lesson I ever took. Being told that girls can’t play rock ‘n’ roll-I mean, even as a kid, it was so illogical to me-it’s like, what do you mean? That girls can’t master the instruments? I’m in school with girls playing cello and violin and Beethoven and Bach. You don’t mean they can’t master the instrument. What you mean is they’re not allowed.
It's hard to peel your eyes away from Madolyn Smith, the brunette beauty whose first role is in Urban Cowboy, one of the coolest films of the denim and diamonds era when country music mingled with disco.
While Urban Cowboy was a huge hit that still resonates today, Osborne didn't have much of a film career following 1980. However, she did go on to star in a series of television films before popping up in shows like Cheers and Trapper John, M.D.
After marrying NHL player Mark Osborne, Madolyn retired from acting and settled down and that's just great.
It is absolutely insane that there were no female bus drivers in Chicago until 1974. According to Mary Wallace, whenever she asked about a job as a bus driver she wasn't just given the brush off, she was made fun of. She said that people at the CTA told her that there were no "facilities" for her to work as a driver, but she didn't stop pushing for the job.
Wallace called and called until the CTA finally relented and hired her to drive the State Street bus in June 1974. She spent the next 17 years driving through the city - she even made the paper for her landmark position as a bus driver. Once again, that is insane.
The best thing about Wallace's driving job was that she was able to help other women and minorities get a job at the CTA, something that she's proud of. She explained, “When I opened this door, it opened up a whole lot of opportunities."
Meryl Streep takes public transportation
There's no actor from the 20th century who is able to touch what Meryl Streep can do. She not only embodies a character onscreen, but she brings that character to life and makes the audience believe that they're watching something organic in real time.
Streep didn't come out of the womb with amazing acting skills, instead she learned how to find the emotional reality of a character while studying at Yale. She explained:
Out of necessity you gathered your tools rather quickly. The value of the education was in its eclecticism. Good acting is the way we introduce ourselves to others, the way we discover people at a party. I love actors who don't let the audience objectify their characters.
Pam Grier was the epitome of Groovy, 1970s.
There's something about Pam Grier that you can't look away from. She's an actress that gives a voice to millions of people while not making a big deal about it. She's cool, she's foxy, and she has attitude.
While speaking about what it is that separates Pam Grier from the rest of Hollywood she explained that the difference between her and everyone else is that she bites into the material and doesn't let go, no matter if it's a Tarantino Film or a Roger Corman movie:
Once I started learning really theater, and they realized I raised the attitude of a B-Movie to Strasberg, to Robert De Niro, to Neighborhood Playhouse, the Method in the Roger Corman movies, that’s what propelled me into the light of, ‘No, she bites into it, she’s edgy.’ That’s what Quentin loved about my work.
Phoebe Cates holding 'Gizmo' on a colorful Japanese "Gremlins" promo photo in 1984.
Phoebe Cates is easily one of the most beautiful actresses to come out of the '80s. Thanks to films like Paradise and Fast Times at Ridgemont High teenage boys everywhere had a new icon. Even though she was known for showing it all (or 90% of it) in those films, she could still be America's sweetheart in Gremlins.
While discussing her body of work, Cates explained that she understood how the game was played and didn't mind going topless in her early films, especially if the nudity served a purpose:
I was only 17 when I did my nude scenes in Paradise. They were serious and more difficult because they were not easily justified. But the topless scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High was funny, which made it easy. In this business, if a girl wants a career, she has to be willing to strip. If you’ve got a good bod, then why not show it?
Queen of the jungle Pat Benatar was almost a school teacher
Just think, we might never have known that love is a battlefield if Patricia Mae Andrzejewsk had chased her initial passion of being a teacher rather than changing her name to Pat Benatar (thanks to a marriage) and going off to become a singer.
Bouyed by one of her own teachers, Benatar moved to New York City where she performed at Catch A Rising Star and in off Broadway plays to hone her already incredible vocal skills. It took some time, but before she knew it label representatives were skulking around her performances and trying to figure out if she was the real deal. Finally, she inked a deal with Chrysallis Records, but it was an uphill battle to convince them that she could compete with the boys filling arenas.
Raquel Welch in a publicity photo for the movie Hannie Caulder (1971)
Hannie Caulder isn't exactly one of Raquel Welch's most beloved films, but what other movie features Welch playing a frontier housewife looking for revenge while Ernest Borgnine plays a kind of comedic relief? If you're shouting, "None! None other movies!" Then you're correct.
By 1971, Welch had performed the Hollywood shuffle in every which way. She played a sexpot, a scientist, and she even made cameos that showed off her specific assets. Hannie Caulder was a chance for Welch to take on a leading role while tapping into the Spaghetti Western market. The film may not have made the critics swoon but it definitely made cash at the box office, proving that Raquel Welch will always be a draw.
Sally Field in promotional shoot for "Smokey and the Bandit" (1977)
It's absolutely wild that Sally Fields wasn't already America's sweetheart after her back to back roles in Gidget and The Flying Nun. Are those shows great pieces of art? No, but they showcase the unstoppable charm of Fields and that should have been enough. It just wasn't.
Fields didn't gain the recognition she deserved until she gave to wildly different performances in the mid '70s. First, she starred in the made for TV movie Sybil as the titular character, a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder. Then she finally showed what she could do on the big screen in Smokey and The Bandit, a film where she was able to show that she could hang with the boys just as well as she could get into serious character work on the small screen.
The sassy Barbi Benton, 1970
Barbi Benton may have gotten her start with Hugh Hefner, but that doesn't mean that she was an anything goes kind of gal. Always someone with her eyes on the prize, Benton realized from early on that she needed to branch out from being a model if she wanted to inject longevity into her career.
She may have been dating Hefner in the early '70s, but she moved away from his magazine to work in film and television, scoring her biggest on screen hit with Hee Haw of all shows. From there on out she became a staple of late-night television. Not only was she gorgeous, but she was someone who could hold a conversation and that's really appealing to audiences.
After retiring from the entertainment industry Benton went on to work as an interior designer while raising her family.
The Sophia Loren on the set of a film in the 1960s.
It's impossible to talk about the 1960s without mentioning Sophia Loren. Not only is she easily the biggest star to come out of Italy since spaghetti and meatballs, but she's an actress who's able to carry whatever picture she's in. Even if you don't think you've seen Loren, you've seen her. Just don't ask her which role made her a star.
When asked if she knew which moment in her exceedingly fascinating career she explained that it's not something she thinks about until she's looking at the entirety of her filmography:
Because when you are, you still wonder if whatever you did in your life is the right thing, even though it took so many years. You only realize this when people talk about you and your career, and they remind you of things that please you. It’s very nice to live it, to go through it again, with other people that saw you from the beginning.
Has there ever been an actress as well rounded as Lynda Carter? Sure, she played Wonder Woman, but she was also an amazing athletic talent on Battle of the Network Stars and she's been known to sing her lungs out at the drop of a hat. A polyglot by nature, she was doing the multi-hyphenate thing while most actors were just happy to be on network Tv.
Carter didn't come to the entertainment industry to be an actress, she initially wanted to front her own band. She took a stab at the life of a touring musician for a while but she and her group couldn't catch a break. It wasn't until she returned home to Arizona that she became involved in the pageant world. After getting a few wins under her belt she had an agent and shortly after that she was on TV. Some times things just work out.
Jayne Mansfield, a blonde bombshell stuns in yellow
Throughout the 1950s Jayne Mansfield was touted as 20th Century Fox's answer to Marilyn Monroe. She was blonde, she was bubbly, and she could sing and dance with the best of them. Like Monroe, Mansfield had more to her than just her looks. Sadly, after crafting the persona of a star unlike anyone had ever seen the 1960s came along with its call to make things more natural and less calculated.
Mansfield spent the 1960s returning to the stage while stirring up trouble whenever she had the chance. In 1966 she was photographed hanging out with Anton LaVey while in San Francisco. The photos gave the impression that she was carrying out some evil plan, but Mansfield said that she just liked hanging out with LaVey, that there was nothing untoward about their friendly relationship.
We'll never really know what happened. In 1967 Mansfield passed away after a horrific automobile crash in Louisiana.