Studio 54 Photos Show How Crazy That Past Really Was
By | February 27, 2023
Robin Williams loved to bring his wife to Studio 54
A glimpse behind the curtain of history can tell us so much about the stars and celebrities that we think we know so much about. Seeing photos of the events as the unfolded, colorized just for you, shows just how decadent the most famous club in the world really was.
Studio 54 was the one club where the famous and the infamous mixed with reckless abandon, with lines of would-be dancers begging to be let inside. What happened behind the walls of this storied New York City club? How late did the parties go and exactly what did stars like Mick Jagger, Jamie Lee Curtis, and a very young Drew Barrymore get up to at these all-night ragers?
Look closer, these new colorized rare photos and stories dig deeper into the history that you think you know to tell the real stories and hidden secrets of Studio 54.
Fame brings a darkness upon people, even the most outrageous of us all. Robin Williams was only at the beginning of his lengthy career when he started going to Studio 54, but according to eye witnesses he was already being followed by a cloud. He was one of many stars who let it all hang out at the club, but he did it enough to draw notice.
Mark Fleischman, who purchased Studio 54 from its original owners at the dawn of the '80s, writes that the club's most extravagent years were fueled by wild parties:
I partied with the people who loved [going crazy]. Belushi would get extremely aggressive with the clientele and staff. Robin Williams would get very energetic and funny.
Dustin Hoffman shows off his wild '70s fashion on the dance floor
Is that Dustin Hoffman staring out at us through the camera lens? It certainly looks like it. He may be known for his stature as a critical darling, but he was getting down at Studio 54 just like the rest of New York City in the '70s.
At the time, Hoffman says that his private life was nothing like his public persona. He later confessed that the '70s were the "candy store years," where he did whatever he wanted with whomever he wanted. Hoffman admitted that when he was Studio 54 he was up to no good but that he put those days behind him.
Is it right to allow a child into a dance club full of deviants and debauchery? Definitely not. Did it happen? Absolutely. The doors to the club were always open to the not even 10-year-old star.
In 2018, Barrymore told Norm MacDonald that the reason she went to the club so often is because her mother brought her as a way to help her escape the harsh realities of child stardom:
I had a mom, but she was more like my best friend. She was like, 'Do you want to go to school and get bullied all day, or do you want to go to Studio 54?' And I was like, 'Yes, absolutely! I don't want to spend the day with these little f*ckers who are just awful.' Kids are so mean.
Rod Stewart and Elton John take in New York, New York
To be a star at Studio 54 was to be pampered beyond belief. Co-owner Steve Rubell knew that he had to keep his famous patrons happy to make sure they kept coming back and giving the club free press. To make sure they were always around he resorted to more than a few underhanded tactics.
One anonymous celebrity who was a regular at the club told Vanity Fair:
No matter how tired you were, you’d be there for five minutes and you’d feel really marvelous. The music got to you, and the fact that everybody seemed to be happy and jolly.
One year before Studio 54 became the place to be, Sylvester Stallone made a huge splash with Rocky in 1976. He went from a struggling actor to one of the most famous people on the planet, and he flexed that muscle whenever he had the chance... Especially on the dance floor.
At the time the club was struggling so the owners made sure to pay Joanne Horowitz a kind of finder's fee for every celebrity she could get into the joint. If they wound up on the cover a magazine she made even more money. She told Page Six:
For [Sylvester] Stallone and Michael Jackson, I was paid the most; $250 each if they got the covers of The Post or the Daily News, $150 for inside. For People magazine, I got $250. Same for Time or Newsweek... Stallone got photographed with his girlfriend, not his wife, and he wasn’t too pleased.
Divine, 'the Godzilla of drag'
Divine was made for Studio 54. This larger than life, loud and proud drag queen was more than just a known entity on the New York club scene, they were the star of a series of cult films by John Waters and everyone wanted to be around them. They weren't the average person that you'd find out at the club, but Studio 54 wasn't your average club.
Studio 54 was a place where everyone could mingle no matter what they were into. It was assumed that if you were allowed in the club that you were cool, or at the very least that you could hang with some of the more outrageous people that were a constant presence on the dance floor. You didn't have to match eyeshadow for eyeshadow with "the Godzilla of drag," but it would help you get in if you did.
Liza Minnelli shuts down the dance floor
Liza Minelli was such a constant presence at Studio 54 that even when the first iteration of the club was going downhill she was seen as an integral part of the nightly operation. In 1978, the IRS brought the hammer down on the club's original owners and found that they were skimming 80% of the profits. Obviously, the club's owners went to jail.
The night before their sentences began the two owners threw the biggest going away party that New York had ever seen. People partied like there was no tomorrow. As a send off, Diana Ross and Liza Minnelli serenaded the crowd with song after song as if Rome were burning.
With so many famous people coming and going out of Studio 54 it's kind of insane that they never actually had a liquor license. Most of the people going to the club were usually on something other than booze, but a liquor license is still required to have a functioning club. The way club owners got around that is honestly genius.
Rather than apply for a liquor license, the owners bought single day catering licenses. Of course, the authorities began to wonder why a club would need hundreds of catering licenses and they started to move in. It didn't take long for the party to stop and the music to end once that happened.
A beauty in blue...
Glamorous and out of control, Studio 54 was the one place where everyone fit in as long as you were willing to lose yourself. The original incarnation of Studio 54 only lasted for just over two years (33 months to be exact), but everyone who visited the scene knew that they were in for a good time. However, visitors who didn't likely wouldn't return.
Myra Sheer, a long time accolyte of the club, explained the elation of entering the club for the first time:
The first time I went there, I remember my mouth was dropping. Then I looked around and realised, ‘No one else’s mouth is dropping. Act like you’re cool.’ I had just moved to New York and thought, ‘Wow this is the glamour!’ I didn’t realise it was one singular sensation.
It's an industry secret that many of the celebrities who attended Studio 54 on the regular were often there by invite only. Some stars had to actually pay to get in, but there were a few who were specifically asked to show up. Stars like Andy Warhol and Grace Jones weren't just there to dance, they were part of the attraction.
Myra Sheer, the club's publicist, explained how she got so many stars in, and who had to pay:
They hired me on instinct. In the first week or so, Steve gave me the call list. Andy Warhol, Richard Gere — it was my job to call them. Andy would always take the call. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were comped but the rest of the group had to pay.
David Bowie goes full glam for his night at the Studio
Studio 54 came at the dawn of the age of celebrity, when everyone knew exacltly what David Bowie and Mick Jagger looked like. Fans knew that if they wanted to see their favorite stars all they had to do was get into Studio 54. That is, if they could get in.
In the late '70s, going to Studio 54 was a must-do for any visiting celebrity, no ifs ands or buts. As co-owner Ian Schrager put it:
Any celebrity that came into New York made a stop on The Tonight Show, then made a stop at Studio 54. That's just the way it was.
David Bowie and Iman... the perfect couple
It's no secret that Iman saved David Bowie's life. In the late '70s and early '80s Bowie was a mad man who prowled the streets of New York and stayed in plush penthouses in Gramecry Park. When he wasn't at Studio 54 he was at CBGB and getting up to no good in the after hours.
Bowie was known for hoovering up large quantities of powders and who knows what. But after meeting Iman the "Rebel Rebel" singer turned all of that off like a switch. All it took was the love of a good woman to set him on the right path.
John Travolta and Sylvester Stallone were regulars while filming 'Staying Alive'
During the making of Staying Alive, the Broadway themed sequel to Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta and Sylvester Stallone frequented Studio 54. It was the perfect time for these two stars to hit the floor. Not only were they young and looking for fun, but they were flush with cash.
The biggest stars of the day made their way to the club so they could flaunt their new found success. Even though it was democracy on the dancefloor they were still known entities and treated as such. At the onset of a culture focused on celebrities, these two men lived like kings.
Rod Stewart enjoys the sights of 54
Young hearts be free tonight... Rod Stewart could have been singing about any given night at Studio 54. As a place to dance and a place to play, the short-lived NYC club couldn't have been better. But many stars didn't know the darkness at the heart of the club.
Owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager made sure to hide their financial woes from the celebrities who stopped in for a night. They didn't want anyone to know that they were hiding a ridiculous amount of money and cooked books in their offices. If they gave up that information it would have ruined all the fun.
Donald Trump never danced at Studio 54
Everyone who was anyone had to make an appearance at Studio 54 during its golden years. It didn't matter if they were a mogul or an actor, if they wanted to be seen and admired they knew that they had to pass those velvet ropes. In the late '70s and early '80s going to Studio 54 wasn't just a thing to do, it was a right of passage.
Co-owner Ian Schrager describes seeing everyone who was everyone come through the club, including you know who:
Over the next few years, every celebrity or big shot came to Studio 54. But nobody pestered anyone for an autograph, so they could be themselves. Andy Warhol was shy and just liked to watch. Mick Jagger was the same as he was on stage and Diana Ross was an amazing dancer. I never saw Donald Trump dance, though. He was a serious guy.
All eyes are on Debbie Harry
Debbie Harry has lived an insane rock n roll lifestyle, and in the '70s that meant getting on the dance floor at Studio 54. As the singer for Blondie, most of her nights were taken up by performing. However, she admits that she found plenty of time to get up to no good.
Harry told Elle about her memorable trips to Studio 54:
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 starstruck I could barely talk. I think he was high. With the loud music you couldn’t really talk.
The Village People pose with a young Michael Jackson and a couple of babes... look closer to see Caitlin Jenner on the left
In 1977 a confluence of styles and subsets of people mixed in New York City, changing the world forever. Gay, straight, working class, and wealthy, they were all welcomed into Studio 54. The club created a place where everyone could be their true selves - even if they had to hide it as soon as they hit the pavement.
Studio 54 really was the only place where you could see a young Michael Jackson hanging out with the Village People and Caitlin Jenner of all people. It was a special place that, in spite of its darkness, brought people together. It's hard to imagine a place like this existing again.
Tina Turner lights up the dance floor
Tina Turner was escaping the harsh present when she went to Studio 54 to dance her blues away. At the time she had just ended a tempestuous relationship with her then-husband Ike Turner and she wanted to go out. Not only did she want to go out and dance after that horrible time, she deserved to do so.
Studio 54 was a safe haven for people who were searching for personal freedom. Within the walls of the club they could be safe from the harsh realities of the outside world. Sadly, when the sun came up and the music faded those realities were still waiting.
Hugh Hefner and one of his bunnies survey the dance floor
Hugh Hefner was a man about town long before Studio 54 became the must-see nightspot in New York City. At the time he was running his magazine and its branded clubs, but they weren't really a place where someone would go and dance. Hefner traveled to Studio 54 for a change a pace, he wanted to know what young people were doing.
Bill Farley, the former publicist for Hef's magazine wondered out loud about the difference between Hefner's world and Studio 54 to Vanity Fair:
I wonder if the entertainment model hadn’t changed a little because—taking Studio 54 as an example—people had moved on to loud dance clubs, a lot of coke was going around, and that kind of stuff wasn’t happening at the our clubs. Dancing was part of what you could do there, but they weren’t dance clubs primarily.
1970s party girl Jerry Hall
Jerry Hall's early days as a model parallel the rise of Studio 54, but they're also on track for another monumental moment in rock history: the marriage of Mick and Bianca Jagger. At the time, Hall was just having a blast in New York City. She might have also been creating a wedge between the Rolling Stones singer and his bride.
There's no straight forward story or clear evidence, but the Jaggers separated in 1977. That's the same year that Mick and Jerry began dating. It's a relationship that didn't specifically require the hottest club of the '70s, but it's hard to imagine their under the radar meet-ups happening frequently without the help of the darkness of Studio 54.
A long night at 54...
There was an unspoken rule at Studio 54: there needed to be more women than men on the dance floor. Not only did the women of the era provide a specific vibe, but they made sure that the club wasn't brimming with testosterone. To make sure that happened the door men made sure to let in about one guy for every ten women.
That practice may have felt unfair to the guys waiting outside in the cold, but 19-year-old Marc Benecke says that he was always happy to let people in if they had the right energy. He said:
One of the things I think that made me a good doorperson was that I can really feel [people's] energy and for the most part, where they're coming from.
Robin Williams was a regular at the club throughout its incarnations
Williams and his wife went to the club often and they stayed late. Not much is known about what his wife got up to, but Williams was known for turning into the life of the party after ingesting certain substances. He may have been America's sweetheart, but at Studio 54 he could do whatever he wanted.
Rod Stewart and Steve Rubell hold court just off the dance floor
Studio 54 was known for being a haven for people living outside the norm. It didn't matter how someone identified, as long as they were cool they would be welcomed at the Studio. Of course, the outside world didn't understand that mindset at the time.
Rod Stewart made countless sojourns to the club where he partied until dawn. Many members of the rock press were critical of his time at this experiemental club, but he didn't care. For Stewart, he was just living life and having the kind of fun that he felt that he was supposed to be having - he didn't care about what anyone thought.
Brooke Shields and Debbie Harry play dress up
Brooke Shields is an anomaly in the world of Studio 54. She was a teenager when the club was at its height. She dressed up and went into this very grownup world while she should have been hanging out with people her own age.
Shields says that she was able to go to the club and still be home in time to study and get a good night's sleep. Her self-control must be off the charts. While speaking with the Guardian she explained that even though she's led a crazy life, show business helped her keep her world in line:
If not for the entertainment industry, I would have been a train wreck. The movie business kept me afloat and sane.
Bianca Jagger holds doves while at a party thrown by fashion designer Halston at Studio 54
Taken at a party thrown by the fashion designer Halston, this shot shows Bianca Jagger dancing with two white doves and in a white dress created by the designer. As amazing as Bianca looks in this photo, Halston wasn't always kind to his models. Often, before going to 54 he would play tricks on people wearing his designs.
Friend Bob Colacello told Town and Country Mag:
We’d gather at his house before you’d go to [Studio] 54 or before you’d go to some Martha Graham gala and he would give the girls dresses to wear. Marisa would come down and he’d say ‘don’t tell her she’s wearing it backwards.’ And he thought that was so funny. It actually looked good frontwards or backwards.
Farrah Fawcett is stunning in white
Without a doubt, Farrah Fawcett is a star who essentially defined the 1970s. She was on the cover of every magazine and her famous poster (you know the one) was on the wall of ever dorm room in America. It makes perfect sense that she was a presence at Studio 54.
Doorman Marc Benecke told the New York Times about the first time he saw Fawcett at the Studio:
I never was that super star-struck, but I remember very vividly when Farrah Fawcett first came to the club. A white limo pulled up and she got out with this white blond hair and wearing all white. I remember it was snowing. It was this total Hollywood cinematic vision come to life.
Bill Murray and Gilda Radner were no strangers to the party at Studio 54
It's crazy to think that Studio 54 and Saturday Night Live were both happening in New York City at the same time. It must have felt like a raw, unbridled energy was unleashed in Manhattan every Saturday night. Once the show came to an end the cast had to have somewhere to go - and they went to the Studio.
Remember, at the time the cast of SNL were rock stars. When they walked into the club there was a palpable energy, things got more exciting and everyone wanted to be around them. However, it's believed that the cast liked to keep to themselves and hang out in the mysterious rubber room...
A Crowd Gathers Around The Doors To Studio 54
If you've never heard of Studio 54, either you've been living under a rock since the dawn of mankind, you're opposed to having a great time at clubs or you were born 2 hours ago. Gen X'ers and millennials alike all know about one of the most iconic clubs to ever exist in New York City.
Studio 54 was a club located on, you guessed it, 54th street in New York City. It first opened it's doors on April 16th 1977 and stayed open for a short 33 months, but making approximately $7 million in its first year.
You see, not only was this club open to the weird and those who wanted to express themselves, it was also frequented by many a celebrity. Let's take a look back at some of Studio 54's most memorable moments.
The area that would soon be known as Studio 54 was formerly a theater. The club quickly got a reputation that many people loved, but many hated as well. Every night, crowds of people would stand in the hopes of getting in.
The Dancefloor at Studio 54
Studio 54's was known as the spot where celebrities and socialites gathered to have fun. Naturally, when word spread, many people wanted to get in to have a chance to meet the rich and famous.
Where Else Could You See The Village People, Caitlyn Jenner, and Michael Jackson in the Same Place?
Ah, the Village People - the epitome of disco-era fun! With their colorful costumes, catchy tunes, and energetic performances, they brought an extra dash of flair to the dance floors of Studio 54. Who could resist the temptation to boogie down to "Y.M.C.A." or "Macho Man"? The beats were so infectious that even the most reluctant partygoers found themselves getting swept up in the groove. The Village People ensured that the crowd at Studio 54 was never without a reason to hit the dance floor, and their music kept the party going all night long!
Cher Doing Her Thing With Steve Rubel (Third From The Left), Co-Owner Of Studio 54
Cher, the Queen of Pop, never stays down for long! Even during the brief downturn in her popularity in the disco era, she remained a fixture in the public eye. She was always seen at the hottest spots, dazzling onlookers with her bold fashion choices and larger-than-life personality. Whether she was hitting the dance floor at Studio 54 or striking a pose at a red carpet event, Cher made sure that she was front and center. And who could blame her? With her iconic voice and undeniable star power, she was a natural fit for the glitz and glamour of the disco era. Cher may have faced a brief dip in popularity, but she never let that keep her from shining bright and proving her lasting impact on pop culture.
A Non-stop Roller Disco Queen!
Among the regulars at Studio 54 were Drag Queens of all shapes and sizes. Pictured, is Dame Rollerena, a famous New York City Drag Queen (at the time) who was known for skating along the streets in the city.
Lucy Arnaz Tearing Up The Dance Floor
Pictured here is actress, singer and dancer, Lucy Arnaz. For those who don't know, Lucy's mother is none other than the one and only, Lucille Ball. The successful actress is one of many celebs who often came to the club.
Rock and Roll Legends Keith Richard and Chuck Berry Catching Some Disco Heat
Imagine if Keith Richards and Chuck Berry walked into Studio 54 during the height of the disco era! The scene would have been absolutely priceless. One can picture Keith, with his trademark swagger and mischievous grin, sauntering onto the dance floor and showing off his moves to the beats of "Stayin' Alive." Meanwhile, Chuck would be strutting across the floor with his patented duck walk. These two rock and roll legends may have had roots in a different musical genre, but they were never ones to shy away from new experiences. Maybe Keith was just doing a little research for The Rolling Stones' foray into disco with their hit single "Miss You," or maybe he and Chuck were simply looking to shake things up and have a good time. Either way, the sight of these two icons in Studio 54 would have been a unforgettable moment in music history.
Broken Legs But Make It Fashion
When people talk about how popular this club was, they were in no way exaggerating. Getting in was a many people's bucket list. Even the sick or those with broken and/or fractured legs came out, when they should have been in bed.
Princess Diane von Furstenberg Reigns On The Dance Floor
Not only were celebs and socialites on the guest list, royalty came as well. Pictured here is designer and former Princess Diane von Furstenberg. She was previously married to Prince Egon of Furstenberg, a member of the German aristocratic family.
Steve Rubel, Liza Minnelli, and Halston Take In The Carnage At Studio 54
Pictured is none other than Liza Minnelli, one of the clubs most frequent celebs. Also next to her are fashion designer Halston, on her right, and on the left is one of the co-owners of Studio 54, Steve Rubell.
Rudolph Nureyev Brings His Ballet Skills To Studio 54
The fashion rules were non-existent at Studio 54. Men were allowed to wear trousers as tight as they wanted, as ballet star Rudolph Nureyev is doing in the picture. He's seen here with some friends of his who also visited the club in 1979.
Meanwhile In The DJ Booth...
Pictured is Andy Warhol and some other VIP guests getting a tour of the iconic club. The DJ booth and control panel was often manned by multiple people. Club co-owner Steve Rubell often brought his favorite clients there to select the songs they wanted to hear.
A Fashionably Restrained Elton John
Can you guess who this is? You're right, it's Elton John. The British singer liked to visit the club whenever he was in town. This is one of his many appearances at Studio 54. Another picture of him tugging up his pants to allow him to dance more freely was also taken.
Bette Midler and The Temptations!
Studio 54 also held parties for celebs. In this case, the party in question was the the Temptations, to celebrate their new contract with Atlantic records in May 1977. Pictured is singer and actress Bette Midler, congratulating the Temptations on their achievement.
Disco Halloween... How Would You Dress?
Although this look would be considered somewhat normal for those who frequented Studio 54, this party was actually held on the club's first Halloween in 1977. The outfits on this day were some of the strangest that the club had ever seen in its short life.
Sophia Loren Partied So Hard She Ripped Her Blouse
Italian actress and beauty pageant contestant Sophia Loren is seen leaving the club with a split in her blouse. Sophia, who was in the city to promote one of her books at the time, decided to stop by the club on March 11th 1979.
Everyone Got On The Dance Floor At Studio 54
Normally, children weren't allowed at Studio 54. But exceptions were made on special occasions. Pictured here is dancer Rudolf Nureyev and Ricky Schroder, a child star who had an appearance on The Champ.
Liza Minelli, Fashion Queen
In another Studio 54 club appearance, Liza Minelli is seen teasing a man about his shoes. She declined his invitation to dance because of his ugly shoes; something that sadly happens to men around the world today.
Do These Guys Seem Tall To Anyone Else?
Among the celebs who visited Studio 54, were basketball legend Pete Maravich, Rich Kelley and Aaron James. The guys went to the club after a game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Taking a Powder
Cross-dressing was so normal at Studio 54. In fact, it was expected and encouraged. The more scandalous or out there the people dressed, the more likely they would be chosen to enter its doors.
The Invisible Man or Nah?
People came out in so many different kinds of get-ups that it was soon difficult to differentiate between what was real and what was fake. This man was rumored to have just left the hospital after facial reconstruction, others say it was just a self-made mask.
Brooke Shields Watching From The Sidelines
Here were are in the legendary Studio 54 in the late 1970s, a glittering beacon of disco, decadence, and debauchery. And who better to grace its dance floor than the youthful and radiant Brooke Shields, a rising star who was taking the world by storm with her stunning beauty and natural acting talent. With her iconic eyebrows, mile-long legs, and porcelain skin, she was the epitome of 70s glamour and a regular fixture at the club's exclusive VIP parties. People couldn't get enough of her, and she was plastered on billboards everywhere, a true icon of her time. And who could forget her role in the film Pretty Baby, a haunting portrayal of innocence lost that only added to her allure and made her the darling of Studio 54 and beyond.
Andy Warhol and Jerry Hall Having The Time Of Their Lives On The Edge Of The Club
Ah, the 1970s, a time of glitz, glamour, and groundbreaking artistic expression. And who better to embody that spirit than the one and only Andy Warhol, the king of pop art and a larger-than-life personality in his own right. With his signature silver wig, dark glasses, and playful demeanor, Warhol was a regular at Studio 54, the epicenter of New York's hedonistic nightlife scene. He rubbed elbows with the club's owners, models like Jerry Hall, and other celebrities, soaking up the energy and capturing the essence of the era in his art. Whether he was conducting impromptu interviews, dancing the night away, or simply observing the decadence around him, Warhol was always the life of the party, a true icon of the times.
Arnold Schwarzenegger At The Center Of The Dancefloor
Studio 54 in the 1970s, a place where anything and everything was possible, including the sight of a certain Austrian muscleman shaking his stuff on the dance floor. Yes, we're talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger, the multi-time Mr. Universe winner and soon-to-be movie star who was making waves both on and off the stage. With his massive physique, chiseled features, and infectious charisma, Arnold was a force to be reckoned with, and he was always the center of attention. As he moved his gigantic body around the dance floor, surrounded by an adoring crowd, it was clear that he was having the time of his life. This was a man who had already conquered the world of bodybuilding, and was now ready to take on the world of entertainment, one boogie at a time.
Tony Curtis Looking Suave In a Velvet Jacket
The 1970s, a time when even the most glamorous of Hollywood stars couldn't escape the ups and downs of fame. But that didn't stop Tony Curtis, the song and dance man who had captured the hearts of audiences everywhere, from letting loose and having a good time. Despite a career that was in a nadir, Curtis was a regular at Studio 54, the hottest club in town, where he could let his hair down and enjoy himself. With his suave style, devil-may-care attitude, and irresistible charm, Curtis was the life of the party, drawing crowds and captivating everyone with his moves on the dance floor. Whether he was performing one of his signature songs or simply enjoying the music, Tony Curtis proved that even in the midst of a career slump, he was still a star in every sense of the word.
Andy Warhol: Ready To Party
The 1970s, a time when art and excess collided in a explosion of color and creativity. And who better to navigate this wild world than Andy Warhol, the king of pop art and a master of reinvention. As a central figure in the over-the-top world of Studio 54, Warhol was drawn to the spectacle of the club and its notorious owner, Steve Rubell. With his signature silver wig, dark glasses, and insatiable curiosity, Warhol was always at the center of the action, soaking up the energy and capturing the essence of the era in his art. Whether he was conducting impromptu interviews, dancing the night away, or simply observing the decadence around him, Warhol was always the life of the party, a true icon of the times and a testament to the limitless possibilities of creativity and self-expression.
Author Truman Capote Makes His Presence Known At Studio 54
The 1970s, a time when being a celebrity was a full-time job in and of itself. And who better to embody this new reality than Truman Capote, the legendary author and purveyor of high society gossip. Despite his reputation as a master storyteller, Capote spent much of the '70s as a celebrity who didn't do much other than be a celebrity (or so it seems). So, it makes perfect sense that he would put off adding a few pages to whatever he was working on in lieu of stepping out and having some fun. And what better place to do that than Studio 54, the pulsing heart of New York's hedonistic nightlife scene. With his impeccable style, quick wit, and insatiable curiosity, Capote was a regular at the club, soaking up the energy and basking in the glow of the city's most glittering lights. Whether he was hobnobbing with the city's elite, regaling the crowd with tales of his adventures, or simply enjoying the music, Truman Capote proved that even the most celebrated of writers could still enjoy a good night out.
Teenage Disco Queens Brooke Shields and Mariel Hemingway
1978, a time when youth was king and innocence was in short supply. And who better to embody this duality than the young and gorgeous duo of Brooke Shields and Mariel Hemingway, two rising stars whose faces were splashed across magazines and billboards everywhere. Despite their tender years, these two ingenues were already making waves in the grown-up world of the New York City club scene, and Studio 54 was no exception. Shields, fresh off the cover of Vogue, was the darling of the fashion world, while Hemingway, with her striking beauty and magnetic presence, was the epitome of the bohemian spirit. Despite being way too young to be at the club, these two young performers were always the center of attention, attracting crowds and capturing the hearts of everyone around them. Whether they were twirling on the dance floor, chatting with the city's elite, or simply soaking up the energy of the moment, Shields and Hemingway proved that youth and beauty could still be a powerful force in the world of pop culture.
Studio 54, a place where age, race, gender, and sexuality were but mere concepts, and the only thing that mattered was having a good time. In the 1970s, New York was a city in transition, and Studio 54 was at the forefront of this cultural revolution. It was a place where everyone was welcome, regardless of their background or status, and where the only rule was to let your hair down and enjoy the moment.
Whether you were a young starlet, a seasoned celebrity, or just a regular person looking for a good time, Studio 54 was the place to be. With its glitzy lights, pulsing music, and electrifying energy, the club was a melting pot of humanity, a place where people from all walks of life came together to dance, laugh, and simply let go. And that, above all else, is what made Studio 54 so special. It was a place where everyone was free to be themselves, a place where anything was possible and where everyone was there to have a good time, no matter what.
Hearts of Glass, Debbie Harry and David Bowie
Studio 54, the disco hotspot of the 1970s, was not just a place for the glitterati to let loose. It was also a haven for the cool kids, a place where icons like Debbie Harry of Blondie and the legendary David Bowie could sneak in late at night and just be themselves. No paparazzi, no fans, no one trying to get a piece of their fame - just pure, unadulterated fun. In the late hours, these icons could dance to the beat of the music, mingle with the beautiful people, and bask in the freedom that came with being anonymous.
The allure of Studio 54 was that it was a place where you could be whoever you wanted to be, and for these music legends, it was a chance to let their guard down and just be regular people for a night. So, whether you were a disco diva or a rockstar, Studio 54 was the place to be if you wanted to let loose, have a good time, and escape the pressures of fame, even if just for a little while.
Diana Ross Absolutely OWNING The DJ Booth
Diana Ross, the disco queen of the 1970s, was not just a regular attendee of Studio 54, she was the life of the party. Known for her powerful voice and larger-than-life personality, she was often seen taking over the DJ booth and playing whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. With her impeccable taste in music and her unapologetic confidence, she would have the entire club dancing to her beat. Her impromptu DJ sessions were the stuff of legend, and everyone eagerly awaited the moment when the Disco Diva would grace the booth and take control of the music. Whether she was spinning classic funk, soulful R&B, or just her favorite hits, there was never a dull moment when Diana Ross was in the building. So, if you were lucky enough to catch one of her DJ sets at Studio 54, you were in for a night of pure, unadulterated fun, filled with the music, energy, and spirit of one of the greatest performers of all time.
Dolly Parton Making New Friends
Dolly Parton may be the queen of country music, but she got a taste of the disco life when Steve Rubell, co-owner of Studio 54, brought in a herd of farm animals to welcome her to the legendary club. While the sight of the legendary singer surrounded by horses, chickens, and mules made for some truly memorable photos, the smell must have been unforgettable. It's a testament to Parton's down-home charm that she was able to adapt to the funky scene and embrace the chaos of a disco club filled with barnyard animals. It's just another example of why Dolly will forever be a true icon of pop culture.
Where Else Would Freddie Mercury and David Johansen Ever Cross Paths?
Studio 54 was a melting pot of legendary musicians, where global rock stars like Freddie Mercury from Queen and cult favorites like David Johansen from the New York Dolls could mingle, dance, and even perform together. This legendary club had a way of bringing together musicians from diverse backgrounds and making them feel at home.
It was a place where unlikely friendships were forged, and where the music and fashion of the '70s and '80s was elevated to an art form. Studio 54 was more than just a club, it was a cultural touchstone that brought people together and made them forget about their differences for a night. It's no wonder that so many legendary musicians of the era still look back on their time at Studio 54 with fondness, and why the club continues to be a symbol of the glamour and excess of the disco era.
Fashion Was A Focal Point At Studio 54
Grace Jones was a cult sensation long before she became an international icon, but it was her omnipresence on the New York City club scene that cemented her place in the pantheon of pop culture legends. Jones was a regular at Studio 54, where her unique sense of style and her fearless performances made her a darling of the disco crowd. Her eclectic fashion sense, which combined bold patterns and bright colors with avant-garde accessories, was a true reflection of her unapologetic approach to life.
Whether she was taking the stage for a mesmerizing performance or simply sipping cocktails in the VIP section, Jones always looked fashionable and glamorous. Her appearances at Studio 54 helped to launch her career and solidified her status as a fashion icon and cultural trailblazer. It's no wonder that to this day, Grace Jones remains one of the most beloved and imitated personalities of the disco era.
Elizabeth Taylor Embraced the Disco Scene
Studio 54 was a place where anything was possible, so it's no surprise that even mega-famous personalities like Elizabeth Taylor were drawn to its free-spirited energy. As one of the most iconic figures of her generation, Taylor was already an important part of the LGBTQ community, and she found a welcoming home at Studio 54.
The club was known for embracing cultures of all kinds, and Taylor was free to let her hair down and enjoy the wild, hedonistic atmosphere. Whether she was hosting an extravagant party or simply enjoying a night on the dance floor, Taylor was always surrounded by the kind of energy and excitement that only Studio 54 could provide. It's no wonder that the club remains one of the most legendary and beloved places in New York City, and that Taylor's legendary nights at Studio 54 are still remembered as some of the most glamorous and memorable of her illustrious career.
Alice Cooper and David Cassidy Rubbing Elbows
Who would have thought that Alice Cooper and David Cassidy would be the best of buds? On the surface, it might seem like these two icons of 70s pop culture would never be able to see eye to eye, but their friendship outlasted the disco throb of Studio 54. Cooper, the shock rocker known for his theatrical performances and outrageous stage antics, and Cassidy, the heartthrob from The Partridge Family, bonded over their mutual love of music and their place in the pop culture pantheon. Despite their vastly different personas, these two legends of the 70s found common ground at Studio 54, where they could be seen sharing drinks and laughs and maybe even hitting the dance floor together. Their friendship was a testament to the free-spirited energy of the disco era, and a reminder that even the unlikeliest of people can find common ground when they're surrounded by the glittering lights and pulsing beat of Studio 54.
Keith Richards, James Brown, and John Belushi Looking For Trouble in Studio 54
When Keith Richards, James Brown, and John Belushi converged at Studio 54, it was a recipe for one wild and unforgettable night. These three famously hard-partying guys were the very embodiment of the hedonistic spirit of the disco era, and they brought their A-game when they hit the club. Whether they were dancing to the pulsing beat, indulging in the free-flowing cocktails, or simply exchanging stories about their wildest adventures, these three legends of music and comedy were in their element. There's no doubt that this night was one for the books, a non-stop party that raged on until the break of dawn. It's the kind of night that could only happen at Studio 54, where the boundaries of what was acceptable were always being pushed and where anything was possible. So here's to Keith, James, and John, three of the hardest-partying guys of their generation, who left it all on the dance floor at Studio 54.
Liza Minelli and Michael Jackson
Liza Minelli and Michael Jackson may have come from different worlds, but they found a common bond at Studio 54. The legendary club was a place where icons of music and entertainment could come together and let loose, and these two legends of the 70s were no exception. Whether they were dancing the night away, sipping champagne, or simply enjoying each other's company, Minelli and Jackson formed a friendship that would last a lifetime. It's hard to imagine two more different personalities coming together, but their shared love of music and performance drew them close, and they quickly became inseparable. Their wild nights at Studio 54 are still remembered as some of the most legendary in the club's history, a testament to the free-spirited energy that made the club so special. So here's to Liza and Michael, two of the brightest stars of the 70s, who found a friendship that lasted a lifetime, all thanks to their wild nights at Studio 54.
A Fresh Faced Madonna Hanging At Studio 54 Before She Was The Biggest Pop Star In The World
Madonna was the epitome of the Studio 54 spirit, a rising star with an unbridled energy and a daring sense of style. In 1983, when she first started hanging at the legendary club, she was just coming into her own as a singer with a string of underground dance hits. But little did anyone know that she was only a few short years away from becoming an international pop sensation, thanks in no small part to her sensational appearances on MTV.
Madonna was a regular at Studio 54, cutting loose on the dance floor and soaking up the free-spirited energy of the place. She quickly became one of the club's most recognizable figures, known for her daring fashion choices and her electrifying stage presence. So here's to Madonna, a true icon of the Studio 54 era, who used her time at the club as a launching pad to become one of the biggest pop stars of all time.
Everyone Wanted A Piece Of Studio 54
Studio 54 was the ultimate hot spot, a place where everyone wanted to get a glimpse of the action, no matter how old, young, rich, or famous they were. It was a true melting pot of cultures and personalities, where everyone was welcome, so long as they had a good time. From the young and hip to the old and wealthy, everyone wanted a piece of the Studio 54 magic. The club was so popular that even people who wouldn't normally be caught dead at a dance club would come just to see what all the fuss was about.
The doors of Studio 54 were always open to anyone who wanted to come in and see the spectacle, and it was a true feast for the senses, with a pulsing dance floor, dazzling lights, and a never-ending parade of celebrities and revelers. So here's to Studio 54, the ultimate hot spot, a place where everyone wanted to be seen, and where the party never stopped.
Joe Namath Proving That He Has Moves On And Off The Field
Joe Namath was more than just a football star, he was a true icon of the seventies, and he was just as comfortable on the dance floor as he was on the football field. So, when he took a break from throwing the pigskin around and hit the legendary Studio 54, he was right at home among the glittering lights and pulsing beat. Namath was unlike any other NFL player of his time, he was a free spirit who wasn't afraid to let loose and have a good time, and that's exactly what he did at Studio 54. With his suave style and smooth moves, he showed the world that football stars could party with the best of them, and he quickly became a regular on the dance floor, showing off his moves and having a blast with the crowd. So here's to Joe Namath, a true football legend who showed that even the toughest guys can have a soft spot for the dance floor.
Stevie Wonder and Teddy Pendergrass at Studio 54, 1977
Imagine the sweet, soulful sounds of Stevie Wonder and Teddy Pendergrass ringing through the glittering halls of Studio 54. The dance floor must have been lit as the two musical legends took the stage and sang their hearts out, bringing their unique styles to the iconic club. It was a meeting of the musical minds, with Wonder's hands on the keys and Pendergrass' powerful voice creating a soulful symphony. The crowd was likely in awe as they grooved to the music, making memories that would last a lifetime. It was a night of pure musical magic and a reminder of the incredible talent that was born out of the golden era of Studio 54.
Dancing The Night Away
Dancing at Studio 54 was like taking a step into a magical world where anything was possible. The throbbing beat of the disco music, the flashing lights, and the sea of bodies moving in perfect harmony created an electrifying atmosphere that was simply unforgettable. It was a place where you could let your hair down, kick off your shoes, and just be yourself. Whether you were a socialite, a rock star, or just a regular joe, everyone was welcome at Studio 54 and everyone was encouraged to let loose and have a good time. It was a true celebration of freedom of expression, and a place where you could dance until the sun came up without a care in the world.
Suzanne Somers Throwing Down on the Dance Floor
Suzanne Somers was known for playing the ditzy but lovable Chrissy Snow on Three's Company, but at Studio 54, she let loose and showed that she had some serious moves on the dance floor. She twirled, shimmied, and grooved like nobody was watching, not caring that she was one of the most recognizable faces on TV at the time. It was like a secret escape from the bright lights and pressure of Hollywood, and for a night, she was just a normal person letting loose and having a blast at the iconic club. Who knows, maybe her wild night at Studio 54 inspired some of Chrissy's dance moves on the show.
Tax Evasion and the Dance Invasion
Steve Rubell and the other co-owner Ian Schrager were charged and sentenced with tax evasion. The building was raided and bags filled with money were found. The case eventually led to the downfall of the club.
Steve Rubel, On His Way Out
Steve and Ian went to prison for a little under a year; from February 4th 1980 to January 30th 1981. After their release, they opened another nightclub that they named Palladium.
Studio 54 is still being spoken about today.