Vintage Photos That Leave Nothing To The Imagination
By Sophia Maddox | May 22, 2023
If you're a fan of history and vintage photography, you're in for a real treat. These stunning images from days gone by will transport you back in time and give you a unique glimpse into the past. From sultry pin-ups to scandalous celebrity shots, these photographs are sure to tantalize and titillate. So sit back, relax, and join us on a journey through the annals of history as we explore these Vintage Photos That Leave Nothing To The Imagination!
In the months leading up to Princess Diana's death in 1997 she was in the middle of a media buzz that couldn't be shaken. Recently divorced from Prince Charles, she went on a world tour to raise awareness about humanitarian issues that were close to her heart, but she also found time to relax in the Caribbean and Mediterranean with Dodi Fayed, he new beau.
This should have been a relaxing time for Diana but everywhere she went she was followed by photographers who wanted to catch a shot of what she was up to even if she wasn't up to anything.
Diana did her best to get away from the paparazzi whenever she could but she couldn't really escape, not when she was one of the most famous people on the planet. Even though she met an untimely end only months after this photo was taken it's good to see her happy for just a moment.
Is there anything that says "1990s" like the leaders of the free world jogging from MacDonald's in short shorts? There's just something about this shot that sums up the whole era. It's both overly familiar and totally uncool. Honestly how cool can you be when you tuck your t-shirt into your running shorts?
Clinton and Gore really made a meal out of their early morning runs during their first term, and it's great that they were being healthy but wouldn't it have been great if they were wearing something less... skin tight?
Three years after this photo made news, Clinton entered an illicit affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. When Clinton's Oval Office infidelity was revealed in 1997, it overshadowed the rest of his time in office. After denying the allegations, Clinton finally admitted his "improper physical relationship" with Lewinsky. While speaking about his infidelity with the New York Times in 2020, the former president stated that he began the relationship to take his mind off of his duties as leader of the free world. He explained:
Nobody sits down and thinks, ‘I think I’ll take a really irresponsible risk.’ It’s bad for my family, bad for my country, bad for the people who work with me... You feel like you’re staggering around — you’ve been in a 15-round prizefight that was extended to 30 rounds, and here’s something that’ll take your mind off it for a while. Everybody’s life has pressures and disappointments and terrors, fears of whatever, things I did to manage my anxieties for years.
Jamie Lee Curtis out with her Psycho mother, Janet Leigh, at Studio 54 (1970s)
Jamie Lee Curtis and her mother, the legendary actress Janet Leigh, were the ultimate mother-daughter duo when it came to partying in the 1970s. In fact, they were such big fans of Studio 54 that they used to go together all the time! Imagine young Jamie Lee, fresh off her success in Halloween, dancing the night away with her glamorous and iconic mother in the legendary disco club. It must have been an unforgettable experience for both of them. Now that's a throwback we would have loved to see.
Suzanne Somers of Three's Company in 1978
Everyone loved tuning in to watch Suzanne Somers on Three's Company. As Chrissy Snow she didn't just have sex appeal, she completed an comedic ensemble that was perfectly balanced between herself, Joyce DeWitt, and John Ritter. Unfortunately, ABC didn't understand her worth.
Throughout her run on the show Somers made far less money than co-star John Ritter, so when her contract was up she decided to renegotiate. Unfortunately things didn't go to plan. She told Good Housekeeping:
My contract was up [for] year six and [as I] renegotiated, it became aware that the men were making 10 to 15 times more than me, and I thought, 'I'm on the number-one show, are the men on lesser shows worth 10 to 15 times more?' So, I was fired for asking, 'cause they wanted to make an example... They couldn't have done it today, but that was the climate back then.
In 1983, Private School exposed the world of high school in a way that no film had up until that point. As one of the earliest sex comedies of the era, Private School followed in the footsteps of Porky's and showed that girls could be just as raunchy as boys... and boy is this movie raunchy. The film stars a who's who of young talent including Phoebe Cates, Matthew Modine, and Betsy Russell (one of the most underrated actresses of the modern horror genre).
Russell has one of the hardest jobs in the film, not only does she have to ride a horse but she has to do it topless. According to Russell she didn't really think anything of the scene, she just did it because she knew that it would be important. She explained:
I did Private School because I knew it would get my foot in the movie door. It got me started in the right direction. I knew what I was getting into when I accepted the part. I wasn't really self-conscious doing the scene because I have no hang-ups about my body... We didn't totally equate nudity with sex like other generations do. Nudity just didn't mean as much to us. My generation had a different attitude about our bodies. We were more open and less inhibited. But it doesn't mean our values or morals were any less worthwhile than our parents. In fact, my parents weren't upset by my topless scene.
There's never been an odd couple in music like Cher and Gregg Allman. In the 1970s she was the reigning queen of pop and a bit of a cultural punching bag. Her music was (and remains) amazing, but she was critically reviled. You can say the exact opposite for Gregg Allman. Not only was he one of the most important southern rock musicians of the era, but he was an amazing songwriter.
When Cher and Allman got together both of their audiences were understandably confused, it really was a beauty and the beast scenario for many of their fans. The couple met in 1975 when she attended one of his solo shows in Los Angles, Allman later said that he didn't say anything to Cher at the time because he was so struck by her beauty, which is kind of romantic.
David Geffin set the duo up on their first date and Allman basically torpedoed the whole thing by getting rip roaring drunk. He later said:
I don't know how to dance, but I got drunk enough to where I did. I danced my ass off. This is when disco was just taking off, so we did some dirty dancing. She had one drink, while I had my 21, of course. When we got back to her place, she took me out to her rose garden, and all the roses were just starting to bloom.
In 1976, Lynda Carter was just getting started. Sure, she was pageant queen with dreams of being a singer but she didn't hit it big until she donned the red, blue, and gold of her Wonder Woman outfit and started fighting crime on ABC.
Carter may look soft but she's anything but. While working on Wonder Woman she had to do her own stunts because all of the stunt personnel on the shoot were men and it didn't make sense to her for them to portray her. So she hung out of helicopters and took falls until the producers decided that it made sense to hire a female stunt double.
Why put herself in danger? Because she believes that women can do anything they put their mind to. She explained, "The generation of women my age had mothers who were saying ‘you can do whatever you set your mind to."
Before she was the Queen of Pop, and even before she was like a virgin, Madonna was just a young woman living in Bay City, Michigan. A middle child of six, she was often left to her own devices and dreamed of doing something that would take her away from Michigan.
Her mother passed away when she was only five years old, leaving her to as the oldest girl in the house. It wasn't easy for the young Madonna, but she made the most of her life. She later explained that she threw herself into her studies because she wanted to make something of herself. She didn't gain her rebellious streak until her father remarried.
Rebellious should have a pair of scare quotes around it. Madonna admits that she got deeper into her studies, and avoided her father and stepmother as much as possible by getting deeply into ballet. Eventually she earned a dance scholarship to University of Michigan, it was her first chance to escape.
"I've got you babe..." Sonny and Cher letting down their hair in a swimming pool
As happy as Sonny and Cher may look in this photo, the couple was always on the rocks even when they were at their happiest. It just so happens that they also made their best music when they were on the rocks. It was a catch-22.
Cher says that she didn't realize that her relationship with Sonny was over until after they had their child, Chaz. When the couple broke things off Cher said that it destroyed Sonny because he loved the work they did together:
He was crushed because he wasn’t going to be Sonny of Sonny and Cher anymore. That’s what hurt him. That’s what really hurt him, and that was sad because he loved it more than I did, really, but he wouldn’t give me my freedom.
While this couple was one of the more steady partnerships in Hollywood, the dark, gloomy look of this photo is an apt look at the hardships they faced towards the end of their nearly 20 year romance.
Much of their time together was spent going from set to set with their children. Bronson made sure that Ireland had a role in as many of his films as possible and it was was important to them to keep their family together so wherever they went so did their kids.
Theres was an idyllic relationship until Ireland was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1984. She wrote two books about her diagnosis and passed away in 1990 at the family's home in Malibu. Her ashes were placed in a cane that Bronson kept with him until his death in 2003, he was buried with it following his passing.
Tanya Roberts, 1982
Has anyone ever worn a loincloth as well as Tanya Roberts? Maybe Christopher Lambert but that's neither here nor there. Roberts has long been a staple of b-movies and genre films, but it's impossible to forget her work on Charlie's Angels and A View To A Kill. In fact, out of all the Bond women she's the one who popped up in the most interesting of places while she was alive.
Roberts knew that she would be facing an up hill battle if she took the role in A View To A Kill, but she knew she would regret it forever if she never appeared in a Bond film. Wouldn't you want to be a part of that legacy? She told the Daily Mail about her mental back and forth before agreeing to take the film:
I sort of felt like every girl who'd ever been a Bond Girl had seen their career go nowhere, so I was a little cautious. I remember I said to my agent, 'No one ever works after they get a Bond movie' and they said to me, 'Are you kidding? Glen Close would do it if she could.' and I thought to myself, well you can have regrets if you wish, but what's the point? At the time I didn't know what I know now, and to be honest, who would turn that role down, really?
The landscape of the talk show circuit was so much more broad in the '70s than it is today where there are really only three or four big names in late night for stars to bounce around to. In the '70s stars could pop in for a short interview on Carson, but for a longform chat that didn't just focus on a few bullet points they went to Cavett, Tom Snyder, or even Jack Paar. But Cavett is who stars called to really have a conversation.
In the '70s, Cavett had everyone on his show from former Beatles to stars like Raquel Welch. She wasn't taken seriously by critics for most of her career, but Cavett knew that she was trying to do good work, or at the very least he knew that she was more than just her looks.
Welch was an amazing get in this era, not just because of her looks, but because she was open and honest about her life - something that was rare in a star then and now.
Caroline Munro is an English actress and model known for her many appearances in horror, science fiction and action films of the 1970s
Few actresses have flitted between worlds as well as Caroline Munro. Throughout her career she jumped from genre films like Dracula 1972 A.D. and Starcrash to legit films like the Spy Who Loved Me and she never missed a beat. Her performances never felt like she was phoning it in even when she was sharing the screen with David Hasselhoff while wearing a leather bikini.
While speaking with Den of Geek, Munro explained that she was able to keep her performances so straight forward and spot on throughout her impressive filmography because she saw it all as work, no matter whether she was in a Hammer Horror Film or a picture with Roger Moore:
I don’t think seeing myself in those posters and in photos is something that really connects as part of my own life, and the life of my family. I mean, I recognize myself, of course, but it’s not really part of my own world. The photos don’t represent who I am, really. It’s work.
Jacqueline Bisset, 1970s
We often hear about "journeyman actors," those performers who go from role to role giving it all they've got, providing an Oscar caliber performance with just a few lines and looks. Jacqueline Bisset is one of those actors. She may be thought of as cheesecake for the viewers at home, but when you break down her filmography it's clear that she's a person who loves to work.
While speaking about filmmaking with Roger Ebert in in 1982, she explained that to her, working on a film isn't just showing up and looking pouty, it's forming a bond with the cast and crew that lasts long after the final cut. She said:
I work hard, and I tend to play hard. I very seldom rest hard. When I am working on a movie, all I want to talk about is the movie. All I want to be with are the movie people. It's like a clan. If I'm asked to people's houses for dinner, I hate to go, because they'll talk about other things... and all I want to talk about is the movie. How a shot was shot. Whether it worked. I think it must sound to other people a lot like somebody discussing golf putts. It's very hard to be interested in a golf putt if it wasn't your putt.
There's an effortless beauty in this shot of Christie Brinkley, it's crazy to think that she never wanted to be a model. After graduating from high school Brinkley moved to Paris to study art. She was going full bohemian and about as far away from tiny swimsuits and perfectly quaffed hair as she could.
It turns out that she just had to half way around the world to get discovered. While standing on line in the post office an American photographer asked her if she was a model and Brinkley wisely said that she might as well be.
A few months later she was the face of three different ad campaigns and she left art school behind forever.
A pretty and young Sally Field in 1975
Can you imagine a world where Sally Field wasn't one of the most famous people on the planet? Well that's what life was like in the early '70s. At the time she was mostly known for playing Gidget and the Flying Nun. Both of those shows were hits, but they didn't make Sally Field an It Girl or anything.
The one-two punch that proved Sally Field had what it took to make her a star was 1976's Sybil and the next year's Smokey and the Bandit. While those films are completely opposite one another they show her entire range of talent. She's super dramatic and all over the place in Sybil, and she got to be sexy and funny in Smokey. It really was a win-win.
Those two films opened up the world to Sally Field and from there on out everyone knew her name.
Brigitte Bardot was one of the most beautiful actresses of any era. You can put her up against Marilyn, Ann-Margret, and Raquel Welch, and she's still a stunner. While her career is really nothing like the women she's compared to, it's unfair to judge her work with that of another actress.
Discovered when she was only a teenager, Bardot's career was based solely around her gorgeous looks and her beautiful blonde hair. Not only did she not have a chance to really find the power in her performances, but she was never given a chance to grow personally.
Constantly hounded by the paparazzi in her native Europe and in America, Bardot dropped out of the filmmaking world to focus on her personal interests. Sadly, she's still being photographed everywhere she goes to this day.
The pretty Sharon Tate modeling a Betsey Johnson dress
No matter how beautiful Sharon Tate looks in a photo or in her films there's always going to be a sadness with her. Cut down before she even hit her prime by the hopped up crazies in the Manson family, Tate just wanted to create a family, something that she was in the middle of doing in August 1969 when Tex Watson and a few Manson girls broke into their mansion.
At the time, Tate was married to Roman Polanski, a director whose star was only rising following the release in Rosemary's Baby. He was primed to take Hollywood by storm and to raise a beautiful family with Tate, but that never came to pass. Following Tate's murder Polanski fell into a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol, and Tate became the poster girl for the end of the hippie generation.
Raquel Welch in a publicity photo for the movie Hannie Caulder (1971)
In the early '70s, Raquel Welch could do anything she wanted but rather than take basic roles that just focused on her looks she took a bunch of left turns and off-kilter roles that make her career all the more interesting.
With Haunie Caulder Welch took the role of the western wife but she turned it on its head. Following the loss of her entire family she picks up a gun and employs a bounty hunter to help get her revenge.
Following her work in the '60s, Welch made it a point to take on roles like this. Her turns in Myra Breckinridge and Kansas City Bomber, along with Hannie Caulder, took her from a bombshell to a legit character actress. This role was Welch taking her career into her own hands.
The grooviness of Dawn Wells in 1970
Even if she never took another role, even if she disappeared off the planet after 1967, her role as Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island made her a sensation. She was the apple in the eye of every teen and pre-teen boy and she helped create the question: Are you a Ginger or a Mary Ann?
Even though there was a versus quality to these two characters and actors, that wasn't the case between the women behind the roles: Dawn Wells and Tina Louise. After Wells' untimely death in 2020, Louise spoke out abould the kindness Wells showed her while they were working on the show. She wrote:
I will always remember Dawn’s kindness to me. We shared in creating a cultural landmark that has continued to bring comfort and smiles to people during this difficult time. I hope that people will remember her the way that I do — always with a smile on her face.
Farrah Fawcett posing in white, 1970s
No one made the '70s their own as much as Farrah Fawcett. She was that decade. From her single season on Charlie's Angels to the poster showing her in a red one piece that made its way to the wall of every bedroom in the suburbs, she was a glorious golden goddess of the groovy era.
More so than her work on Charlie's Angels, this poster defined the decade. Her hair and her tan became must haves for every would-be California girl. She wasn't just some actress, she was Farrah. In the '80s she moved on to more serious work, but it was really in the '70s when she changed the face of culture and we'll always remember her for it.
Jamie Lee Curtis, 1970s
In the 1970s, Jamie Lee Curtis didn't have any prospects. She was fired from a TV show based on a movie starring her father, and her last resort was to star in a little horror movie about a masked killer, it was the last thing she wanted to do but it was the only thing she could do.
Looking back at it now, Curtis' rise from scream queen to legit A-list star seems planned, but while speaking with the NME in 2018 she says it was anything but:
[Halloween] was a little tiny pish of a horror movie shot in 20 days. I’m being honest. I mean, it’s nice that it has a fanbase… I’m not trying to be facetious or cute or clever. Although I do try to do that often… It just bothers me because there’s some feeling that this was some preordained, planned mastermind and that’s just bullsh*t. And John Carpenter will be the first person to tell you. We were making an exploitation slasher movie about killing babysitters. And that’s what it was. Shot in 20 days, shot for nothing. Fast, furious, vicious and what it became really had nothing to do with the intent of the work.
During high school, Madonna was already on her way to stardom even if she didn't know how she was going to make it big. This photo was taken during the production of The Egg. The Super 8 film looks like something that John Waters made on an off day, which is honestly really cool.
This video may be the most artsy thing that Madonna has ever done, and the video shows her spitting up eggs, rubbing them on her face, and then yeah, she has an egg fried on her stomach. It's a classic student film. The whole video, icky as it may be, is a template for Madonna's career. Essentially, if you want to get super famous you have to be ready to have a raw egg cooked on your naked stomach.
English actress Madeline Smith in the 1970s
When it comes to Hammer Horror films, Madeline Smith is one of the actresses that helped define the studio, and she's one of the few who managed to take the jump from b-movies to legit productions. Following Taste the Blood of Dracula and The Vampire Lovers she went on to play Miss Caruso in Live and Let Die, easily one of the most fun Bond films in the 007 series.
While Live and Let Die may have been her biggest film, it was really just the beginning of her career. She continued acting through the 2000s with roles in film and television, she's especially prominent on British TV where she pops up in pretty much everything from Steptoe and Son to The Steam Video Company. Long live Madeline Smith.
A most groovy Raquel Welch, 1970
It's insane to think that anyone wouldn't see Raquel Welch and want to change her to fit a specific mold. She's clearly a star, and from the moment she appeared onscreen it was clear that she had it.
That being said, Welch told Men's Health that when she inked her first deal with 20th Century Fox they wanted to change her name because it was too, well, something:
I signed with them and almost immediately they wanted me to change my name. They came to me and said, 'We have the solution. We figured it all out. You’re going to be Debbie Welch.' I think they were paranoid that Raquel sounded too ethnic. And I thought, maybe I should be more paranoid than I am. But I wasn’t raised thinking of myself or my background as particularly exotic. I felt very American and middle of the road. I knew that I had a little salsa in my blood, but on my mother’s side there was the whole English heritage.
Lynda Carter was crowned Miss World USA 1972
Even though we know her as Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter didn't initially want to be an actress - she wanted to be a singer. Carter's career didn't shoot off like a rocket, instead, she ended up making a pivot after she didn't find success with her band.
How does one even get to be a pageant queen? Do you have to be poached? Is it something you work towards? According to Carter the whole pageant queen thing just sort of happened out of nowhere. She explained:
I’m in Hampton, Virginia in 1972 at the Coliseum. I had stopped singing on the road and gone back to Arizona to regroup. I didn’t want be a singer in a group on the road, and I was going to go study acting. And then this Miss World contest fell in my lap. I’d never been in a beauty contest, but three weeks later, I was walking down the runway at the Hampton Coliseum.
Claudia Cardinale in the film The Legend of Frenchie King (1971)
Claudia Cardinale, also known as the "Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisa," may not have been a massive star in America but she took Europe by storm. Cardinale was clearly the muse of directors like Fellini and Visconti, but her turn Marie Sarrazin in The Legend of Frenchie King paired her with another European star - Brigitte Bardot.
The film may not have been well received but it gave audiences a chance to see these two beautiful women on screen together in a western was a total boon. Following in the tradition of Spaghetti Westerns, Cardinale used her sexuality to excite the audience and boy did it work. Critics may not have adored this film but the audience said, "Bellissimo!"
A young and pretty Jane Seymour, 1970s
Jane Seymour is one of our most beloved British actresses. Sure, she's absolutely gorgeous, but she's also an incredibly gifted comedic actress. While speaking about her career in 2018, Seymour explained that she very well almost quit acting in the early '70s because of sexual harassment. That means no Live and Let Die, and no Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman.
Seymour explained that at an audition with one of the most powerful Hollywood producers at the time she was propositioned and told, "You know what you have to do," before leaving the audition (at the producers house no less) and crying all the way back to her hotel in the cab.
that led her to return to England and take a break from acting, but not for long. She soon won an Emmy award and two Golden Globes and she hasn't ever looked back.
Goldengirl Susan Anton in the 70's
It's hard to ignore Susan Anton, the blonde beauty who broke out in a sci-fi/sports and went on to pop up in just about every TV show of the '80s. Weirdly enough, it wasn't the big screen that made her a big deal, but the small screen.
After working the pageant circuit, Anton went onto star in a series of ads for Muriel Cigars where she sang a jingle and looked cool lightning up, something that an actress wouldn't be allowed to do today.
When the commercials debuted she immediately caught on with the public, and after CBS refused to air the ads for being too sensual the craze that was created by the ban made her an even bigger star.
Legendary Bond girl, Jill St John in 1971
When Jill St. John showed up as Diamonds Are Forever she had no way of knowing that she was changing the landscape of action and spy films forever. As the first American Bond girl, St. John opened up a myriad of possibilities for actresses and helped make the franchise even more international.
In the 1970s, St. John was definitely international. While speaking about her role in the Bond franchise she admitted that her life was enviable even though she had to work long days on set. She explained in her very best impression of a Bond villain:
I lead a great life. I'd be the last one to b*tch about it. I travel around, and ski in the winter and go to all the best watering holes. The only difference between me and the rest of the people at these places is that I work the rest of the year.
Actress Pamela Hensley known for the movie Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, 1979
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century shouldn't have happened. It was over the top, it was camp, and it was absolutely bonkers. Created by Glen A. Larsen, the guy behind Battlestar Gallactica, the series was another big budget science fiction series for ABC, a type of show that they weren't known for succeeding at in the 70s.
For as outlandish as the show was it had sex appeal that was aimed right at teenage boys thanks to Pamela Hensley. She spent most of the series draped in clothing that accentuated every curve, and in some cases she didn't wear anything at all and instead opted to be obscured by steam or a bath. It was a seriously risquee show for the time. Unfortunately the series was canceled after two seasons. We would have loved to spend more time with Princess Ardala.
Actress Susan Dey, 1972
Susan Dey has come a long way from her early years singing on The Partridge Family. Dey rarely talks about her time on the show, some of which likely stems from not wanting to talk about a thing she made when she was a teenager, but also because at the time she was in capital L love with star David Cassidy.
Everyone on set knew that Dey had a massive crush on Cassidy, even co-star and Cassidy's real life stepmother tried to dissuade Dey from following through with the romance, but she didn't listen. Dey had to watch as Cassidy flirted with fans and hooked up with girls in his trailer, something that really destroyed her for a while.
Dey and Cassidy have since made up, sort of. He wrote about hooking up with her in his memoir and she didn't go nuclear on him, so that's something, right?
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
Everywhere you look today there are women rocking cop uniforms on television and film and no one bats an eye, but that wasn't always the case. When Angie Dickinson picked up her shield and gun in 1974's Police Woman she was going about it totally solo.
Dickinson had been kicking around Hollywood for years in supporting roles but with Police Woman she finally stepped into the spotlight, and it didn't take much for her to accept the role. She told CBS:
David Gerber was the producer, and he said, 'Don't you wanna be a household name?' I realized I wanted to be a household name! There was a surge [of women joining the police force]. And a lot of fan letters with that – I became a cop because of you.
Barbi Benton, 1970s
The '70s were great because someone like Barbi Benton could be famous. This isn't too say that Benton never had the star quality of her peers on television, but she was able to go from a model working with Hugh Hefner and turn that into career as a television personality.
Because Benton was only sort of famous she was able to appear on shows like Fantasy Island and The Love Boat multiple times while also popping up as herself on The Sonny & Cher Show and releasing multiple country albums. Benton more or less retired in 1990 and now she lives the good life with her family... and that's how you win the fame game.
Bernadette Peters didn't make a splash as a movie star until 1976, in Mel Brooks' Silent Movie
Known around the world for her theatrical roles and booming voice, Bernadette Peters is amazing at any age. Her voice, her look, and her whole vibe harkens back to the Golden Age of Hollywood which isn't really what we think about when we're talking about the 1970s in film.
So what was it that made Peters throw herself into a style that looks back much more than it focuses on the now? While speaking with Vulture Peters explained that the grandeur of old Hollywood is really what did it for her:
I did sing popular music in high school, but what happened is that I discovered the choices as a performer that would allow me to live emotionally where I wanted to live. Every performer has to make that discovery. Where that realization comes from, I don’t know. Part of it must be what I was exposed to as a kid. When I would come home from school at four o’clock, I’d watch the Million Dollar Movie on television — it was always a classic musical. The beauty of that work was incredible. Hollywood was maybe a little more concerned with the overall visual beauty of the film in those days.
Has there ever been anyone cooler than Debbie Harry? The answer is no. Harry and her band Blondie turned punk music upside down with their disco and pop inspired anthems that showed audiences that you didn't have to play as fast as possible to be tough. That you could be sultry and fun and still be interesting.
As different as Blondie is from the rest of the New York bands from the late '70s, Harry emphasizes the fact that none of the bands really sounded the same, and that it took Blondie a few years to find their sound:
We were very minimal when we started, very rough-edged. So, in that respect, we fit in. But I think every band was totally different and that was kind of curious for the scene... Blondie maybe wasn’t as fully developed as those bands were. But we all had the same kind of philosophy, and that’s more what the punk period was about—wanting change, having a more urban kind of sensibility and some weird kind of wit.
British actress Jenny Agutter looking groovy in the 1970s
Jenny Agutter may not be a household name in America, but across the pond she's something like royalty. She's been on the big and small screens across the western world for decades, popping up in everything from The Six Million Dollar Man to Logan's Run (the movie), to MCU's The Avengers.
Her workman like ability to take on role after role was built over time, but Agutter didn't start thinking about keeping her head down and moving through roles until after she found fame as a child. It was only then that she realized that what's hot today may not be hot tomorrow and it's best to keep moving. She told The Guardian:
One moment you’d be everyone’s favorite and another moment no one would know who you were. I realized that it was very transitory and very ephemeral. A lot of children in films get treated like the whole weight of the work lies on their shoulders. It doesn’t.
Catherine Bach as Daisy Duke on The Dukes of Hazard
It's impossible to separate Catherine Bach from Daisy Duke, the denim short wearing cousin who can drive just as fast as them Duke Boys while looking ten times as better. However, as Bach would say it she was nothing like what the producers initially wanted.
While casting The Dukes of Hazzard producers were searching for a "Dolly Parton type," something that Bach doesn't really fit. She told Fox:
It’s funny because around that time, my agency had fired me and I hadn’t gone out in an interview for two years. According to them, I was too exotic looking... My husband at the time was very connected with show business and worked with Bob Clark, who was writing with the show’s creator, Gy Waldron. He must have told him my stories because Bob called me and said, 'I’m working on this project and I’ve been thinking about you. I bring you up about your stories. I would love for you to try out for this role, Daisy Duke...' After I did my reading during the audition, there was total silence. I thought, 'Oh no, they didn’t like what I did.' Then everyone, we’re talking about 30 people, got up and started clapping. They just connected with my vision of how this part should be played. Two weeks later I was on a plane to Georgia.
Charlotte Rampling back in the '70s showing off some leg
This star of the swinging '60s may be an English rose but she it's Italian cinema that thrust her into the spotlight. With Sardinia Kidnapped and Georgy Girl, both filmed in Italy, she found international success that made her a must cast dramatic actress.
So why would a model like Rampling leave England to work in Italy? She said that she just needed to get out of the county:
Italy is the most wonderful country to work in. They so love beauty and they so love what they’re doing, they so love the actual art of filmmaking. I don’t think Fellini’s films or Visconti’s films ever made any money. They just did it for the grand, operatic feeling. It was so different from the way the English and the Americans were working, there was such passion. And me coming from a rather cold Protestant family, I woke up! That was the beginning of things for me, really.
Cher at the infamous Bunny Club, 1970s
When Hugh Hefner opened his bunny themed clubs in the 1960s, they immediately became a huge hit with the hoi palloi and celebrities alike. Famous folks like Frank Sinatra and Sonny and Cher frequented the clubs and, at least in this photo, Cher got into the bunny costume to help out on the floor.
Who knows if that really happened, but she looks great in the costume. Throughout the '60s and '70s, Hefner's clubs attracted people from all over the social strata with the promise of experiencing the life that Hugh Hefner lived all day every day.
Whether or not visitors actually got a taste of Hef's life is up for debate, but it must have been a fun place to drop a couple hundred bucks.
Cheryl Ladd, 1970s
It can't be easy to fill Farrah Fawcett's shoes. Not only was she one of the first of three Charlie's Angels, but she's Farrah Fawcett! She's an icon of the 1970s. Cheryl Ladd had the tough task of taking over for Fawcett on the second season of the beloved series by playing the little sister of Fawcett's character.
As Ladd tells it, without the option of playing Fawcett's sister she wouldn't have taken the role because it would have been too daunting:
I didn’t know how it would work for anybody to try to replace her. I mean, what a task, right? [Aaron Spelling] 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.
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
In the 1970s, if you were on a soap opera you were basically a rock star and Deidre Hall was definitely a rock star. As Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of Our Lives, Hall lived through some of the craziest storylines that viewers could imagine: she fell in love, she broke up couples, and she was possessed by a demon.
As crazy as that sounds, possession was hot in the '70s thanks to The Exorcist so it made perfect sense that Hall would end up floating with freakydeaky eyes on daytime TV. According to Hall, she wasn't sure about the concept but had faith in Days of Our Lives writer Jim Reilly:
I just thought, you know what, Jim is a devout Catholic. And this is a thing — it's a passion project for him. And I thought it would be safe in his hands. So the only thing that I said at that point was, I would like to make sure that we do it well, that we really reached in deep and we put the money and the time and the effort into it, and so we do it well. And they did and it was magnificent.
In 1978, Jayne Kennedy broke into the male-dominated world of professional football when she became the first female sportscaster on NFL Today
Jayne Kennedy didn't just break through the glass ceiling to become the first sportscaster for the NFL, she smashed through it with a hammer and never looked back. But when the job opportunity to audition for the job was offered to her she was certain that she wasn't going to be talking football with the players. She explained:
Sports had always been a huge part of my life. I knew I could do the job, and I knew it would have been a passion project for me: to be able to work with all of these sports figures who had been my heroes. I managed to convince the head of sports talent for CBS out of New York to give me an audition. When I walked in, there were 15 girls there with blond hair and blue eyes, and then there was me. I said 'Here we go again. I’m never going to get this job, I’m not what they’re looking for.'
Jaclyn Smith in the early 1970s
As one of the first three cast members on Charlie's Angels, Jaclyn Smith had the uphill battle and good luck of being on the ground floor of one of the most beloved series of all time.
While the rest of her co-stars came and went over the course of five years, Smith stuck around for the entire run of the series, something that she wanted to do because of the way that the series promoted pure girl power. She told The Hollywood Reporter:
Really, Charlie's was Aaron. He liked bright, happy, popping. He said it was 'mind candy.' It wasn't meant to be Shakespeare... The lighting was not shadows and moody. Get into their faces, get into their eyes, really look at these girls... [Critics] gave us no value... [Our characters] were emotionally and financially independent. We were making our way. We were strong — we did a lot of our stunts. We had each other's backs. I never thought of it as we were exploited in any way.
Linda Ronstadt in the '70s
Sure, Linda Ronstadt has hits on hits on hits from the '70s and '80s, but aside from her powerful voice and amazing ability to take any song given to her and make it soar she also had an extreme eye for talent.
As the leader of the Stone Poneys and later her own solo group, Rondstadt employed both Don Henley and Glenn Frey of the Eagles, and she even had a hand in the duo working with Jackson Browne on their hit "Take It Easy." It's not every day that an artist is both uber talented and magnanimous with their talented friends.
Rondstadt is absolutely one in a million, and we're lucky that we were able to experience her amazing rise to fame.
Loni Anderson as Jennifer Marlowe, the intelligent and sexy receptionist on WKRP in Cincinnati. She played the role from 1978 to 1982
WKRP in Cincinnati was a weirder show than we give it credit for. The series followed the quirky DJs at a radio station, something that no other sitcom was focused on putting on the air. It turned out that a lot of people wanted to watch the day to day office goofs of a bunch of music fans - and they really wanted to see what Jennifer Marlowe was up to.
Presented as a blonde bimbo, Loni Anderson turned the character into the glue that held the series togeter. She was secretly sly and she knew how to use her looks to her advantage to get the job done. Most importantly she was a laugh riot.
Anderson's work on the show paved the way for hilarious beauties like Lake Bell and Erin Haynes who both cranked up Anderson's sultry physical comedy to its extremes in the 2000s.
Marilu Henner In The '70s For Playing Elaine O'Connor Nardo on the TV show Taxi
Taxi is easily one of the greatest sitcoms that's ever come out of the 20th century. Not only does it still hold up, but it introduced audiences to some of the funniest character actors of the day while laying the template for every sitcom, successful or not, that followed.
Henner wasn't like the rest of the cast of Taxi. Aside from being one of the few women on the show she also happened to be drop dead gorgeous, something that made her extremely recognizable. Henner says that she enjoyed the fame that came with the series, but wished that she could be on the show without all the accolades. She told Roger Ebert:
Sometimes, though, I wish they would ignore me. Sometimes I look like myself, and sometimes I go out of the house looking like a mess and when, people ask me if I'm Marilu Henner I'm ashamed to admit it. In the grocery store the other day, I just said, No, but thanks for the compliment. I think she's very attractive.
Model Jerry Hall partying at Studio 54 in the 1970s. (Photo by Helmut Newton)
For a few brief years in the 1970s, Studio 54 was THE place to be no matter who you were. It didn't matter if someone was famous or not, if they were in Studio 54 they were someone. The scene in Studio 54 was complete debauchery. Sure, there was dancing and carousing but there was also an unhinged amount of drugs being passed around that no one thought twice about using.
It wasn't out of the ordinary for regular people, or regular people for the New York club scene to run elbows all night with the likes of Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger and not think twice about it. That's what made Studio 54 so cool, if you were there it meant you were someone.
Olivia Newton-John’s iconic leather outfit from ‘Grease’
Who can forget the final moments of Grease when Olivia Newton-John steps into the high school carnival not just as a Pink Lady, but as a leather goddess complete with cigarette and hair done to the 9s.
For teenage boys everywhere, the outfit was life changing, but for Newton-John the whole thing was nearly a fiasco. Not only was the outfit so skin tight that she had to be sewn into it, but she couldn't use the bathroom while filming the scene for risk of destroying her costume. Today, the pants are not only still around but they sold at auction for more than $400,000. Do you think the pants are on display somewhere? Or is some very wealthy Grease fan being sewn into them at this very moment?
Stevie Nicks back in the 1970s
In the 1970s, there was Stevie Nicks and then there was everyone else. Not only was she the witchy frontwoman of Fleetwood-Mac, but she had a kind of mystique that you don't just get from being a singer or an actress.
Nicks brought something new to rock music in an era full of overblown stadium rock bands running on pure testosterone. The Mac was one of the most successful groups of the era, but thanks to the feminity of Nicks and keyboardist/singer/songwriter Christine McVie the group brought more nuance to their music than many of the other platinum groups of the era.
Even through the group's ups and downs they've managed to mystify listeners with their sun soaked, pop rock goodness, and we've got Nicks to thank for leading the way.
The always free-spirited Goldie Hawn showing some leg, 1970s
Audiences didn't expect much from Goldie Hawn, the doe eyed flower child who was prone to fits of giggles of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. But she turned that lack of belief in her comedic chops into the main piece of her arsenal.
By the 1970s, Hawn was well aware that audiences thought she was just some young, pretty thing, so when she appeared onscreen she made it count. Through Hawn's work of the era it's clear that she's actually a physical comedian in the classical, vaudevillian sense. She takes pratfalls with the best of them, and can speak volumes just by flashing her big, beautiful peepers.
The groovy Jacqueline Bisset back in the 1970s
Even though Jacqueline Bissett went on to be one of the most dependable character actresses of the 20th century, when she was first getting started in the industry she was really just making sure she got parts so she could score free food.
Bissett says that she didn't start taking acting seriously as a craft until she nabbed a small part in Cul-De-Sac and saw just how important it was to give a performance everything. She said:
I only cared about getting free food in those days. I did a couple of more extra-type things. But the most interesting of the ones I got was a part in a Roman Polanski film called Cul-de-sac. It was really eye-opening and brilliant. He was brilliant. The actors were brilliant. I thought, Golly. This is really interesting. Maybe I could try and be in this business more seriously.'
Who remembers Raquel Welch as The Nun in the movie Bluebeard in 1972
Was it stunt casting to put Raquel Welch in the role of a nun in Bluebeard? Not that she can't play a nun, but audiences don't necessarily think of chastity when they think of Welch.
1972's Bluebeard is definitely not Welch's weirdest movies (that would be Myra Breckinridge), but it's up there. Starring Richard Burton as a man who keeps all of his former wives in deep freeze beneath his castle, and as he moves in on Joey Heatherton the film gets darker and darker. It's really not what you'd expect.
The film also keeps Welch pushed to the side for some reason. Don't you think that if you had Welch in your movie you'd want to put her in as many scenes as possible?
Beautiful British actress Jane Seymour in the early 1970s
Jane Seymour has always been in her prime. This gorgeous English actress who's been acting since the 1970s never seems to slow down and she never seems to age. We don't know how she continues to find the energy to keep working the way she does, but we do know how she keeps looking so young - an intense skin care routine, baby.
While speaking with People Magazine she was open about the care she puts into making her skin look as youthful as it did when she was just getting started in the industry, and she explained why she's never had a facelift (and it's not the reason you think). She explained:
As of now, I have chosen not to have a facelift — but I have nothing against any of it, nothing. Almost everyone I know is doing it and they're really thrilled with the results. I think it's great, and if I felt that somebody could do something that wouldn't change my face, and I would have the results where I would look just like me, I would do it. I'm not saying I'd never do it, but I haven't done it yet.
Stevie Nicks, 1976
Even though Stevie Nicks changed the face of rock n roll and scored some of the biggest hits of the '70s, she still fell prey to the demons of excess found in her jet set lifestyle. Of course there was the serial dating of everyone in the band, but there was also the copious amounts of drugs on hand at every opportunity.
Sultry and enigmatic, Nicks' drug abuse began as a private escape from the whirlwind that followed The Mac everywhere they went. She and Christine McVie went so far as to buy their very own "beautiful coke bottles" that they wore everywhere they went for whenever they needed a bump. This cute partying spiraled out of control almost immediately.
Nicks' first step into the downward spiral of drug addiction happened at a party before the Rumours tour kicked off when she began a 48 hour binge that left her with her contact lenses fused to her eyes, nearly leaving her blind. Nicks escaped the holds of addiction, but it took her decades to leave the "beautiful coke bottles" behind.
Even though the above quote is often attributed to Italy's greatest export, Sophia Loren, the truth of the matter is that she never actually said that but it sounds cool. When the New York Times asked her point blank about the quote in 2015, she answered:
Non è vero! It’s not true! It’s such a silly thing. I owe it to spaghetti, no, no. Completely made up.
Even so, Loren's body of work all harkens back to her homeland. Regardless of whether she's playing an Italian bombshell or just appearing in tabloids she reminds viewers of the beauty of Italy, and how even when we're slurping on spaghetti there's more to the Little Boot than a bowl of pasta.
The final weeks of Princes Diana's life were lonely. She may have been vacationing in the Mediterranean with Dodi Al Fayed, but she was still in the private island of her mind. No matter where she went, whether it was a private yacht or a private island, she was followed by paparazzi with sick desire to capture her every waking moment.
This shot shows just how lonely she really ways. Diana sits in the very lap of luxury on the aforementioned private yacht, yet she's all alone. Her children are with their father, and her boyfriend is nowhere to be seen, and she's left to her own devices. It's a sad truth thast some of the most famous people on the planet have to suffer in a prison of solitude.
Jean Marie Hon never really had a chance to hit it big. Sure, she starred in two below the radar science fiction shows in the '70s, but Ark II never really hit and Man From Atlantis (that's the one where Patrick Duffy can breathe underwater) didn't attract viewers in the way that you'd think an aquatic superhero show would.
Hon stuck around until the mid '80s where she popped up in a couple of TV movies, but she didn't get the chance to show the audience her stuff. It's fascinating that even though she never "made it" she still hits home for viewers today. Maybe it's her very fly '70s look that attracts people, or maybe it's just the fond memories of Hon working as a member of the Cetacean crew while Patrick Duffy pretended to be a gill man.
When you're working closely with someone for years, even if you're pretending to be brother and sister, of course you're going to develop a natural chemistry - especially if that person is Carrie Fisher.
After Fisher passed away, Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill spoke about their affection for one another to the Guardian and admitted that the two made out at one point or another, but more than anything the two were friends who liked to hang out and walk their dogs together even though they had a kind of sort of romantic relationship for a brief period of time. He explained:
Carrie and I were attracted to one another, but I knew from previous jobs that it would have been a bad idea [to get involved with someone on set]. But Carrie and I found pretexts. I remember one time – I’m sure alcohol was involved – we were talking about kissing techniques. I said: ‘Well, I think I’m a fairly good kisser. I like to let the women come to me rather than be aggressive.’ And she said: ‘What do you mean?’ Well, next thing you know we’re making out like teenagers!
Freddie Mercury eating soup in bed with his cats, 1987.
When Freddie Mercury sings "you're my best friend" with that voice that could only come from rock royalty the listener assumes he's talking about one of his band members or even his ex-fiancé. But it's just as likely that he was speaking about his cats.
Mercury absolutely loved his cats, so much so that when he was on tour he would call them from his hotel room so he could talk to them on the phone. Mercury's personal assistant explained how these feline phone calls went down:
He’d get to a hotel, we’d dial through and he really would talk to his cats. Mary [Austin] would hold Tom and Jerry in turn up to the receiver to listen to Freddie talking. This continued throughout the years with succeeding feline occupants of his houses.