Legendary Icons – Male Sex Symbols of Last Century
Here is a list of legendary male sex symbols throughout the ages. Since any “measurements” we’d include would be downright pornographic, I’ve gone ahead and found a nice shirtless picture of almost every gorgeous guy. Also, it turns out that a lot of male sex symbols wear cowboy hats at some point of their career, so if there’s one of those floating around I’ve included it.
Rudolph Valentino, also known as The Latin Lover, The Great Lover, The Sheik, and The Great Lover of the Silver Screen, starred in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the role made him a star. He had two scandal-filled marriages, and also sang and danced.
And while no cowboy hat picture was readily available, the following gem was available, and it simply boggles the mind.
Nice shoes, Rudy.
Also known as The Tasmanian Devil, Flynny, Satan’s Angel (thanks, Marlene Dietrich), and The Baron, Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn was best known for his role in The Adventures Robin Hood (1938) and In the Wake of the Bounty (1933) where he played Fletcher Christian. I think that’s also the one where he sticks the knife in the ship’s sail and rides it down. He was married 3 times, had 4 children, and died at 50 of a heart attack.
This is him as Robin Hood. Holy bad hair day, Batman.
Jude Law portrayed Errol Flynn in the movie The Aviator. Jude Law did not make this list. I take issues with his jaw.
Known as Gabe, The King of Hollywood, and Pa (thanks to Carole Lombard), Clark Gable was a very big movie star who was very well known for many roles, including that of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. He was married five different times. He may have stayed settled with Carole Lombard, but she died in a plane crash in 1942. Seven years later he remarried.
He is still a sex symbol, regardless of his moobs (see above) and the fact that Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara) claimed he had the worst breath in the whole world.
Neato fact – Clark Gable ALSO played the role of Fletcher Christian – in the 1935 movie Mutiny on the Bounty. The thirties were a big time for movies about the HMS Bounty. Fun times, that led to the discovery of the Pitcairn Islands.
The coolest thing, by far, about Gary Cooper, is the fact that he was friends with Ernest Hemingway for over twenty years. In fact, though it’s purely coincidence (probably), Hemingway’s suicide was one short month after Cooper died of prostate cancer. Gary Cooper was the epitome of style and dashing handsomeness, and he stared in a lot of Westerns. That’s why there is a picture of him with a cowboy hat.
Unfortunately, no pictures were found with Cooper shirtless. If you have one, please feel free to leave a comment. Another tidbit of info – Cooper turned down the lead in Gone With The Wind. Lucky for Clark Gable, eh?
Cary Grant was one smooth mofo. He did have slightly Puritan morals, in that he refused the role of Humbert Humbert in Kubrick’s Lolita. He WAS married to five different women during his lifetime, so he wasn’t THAT much of a Puritan. He also, to my knowledge, doesn’t have a photo with a cowboy hat. But this outfit is pretty cool:
Cary Grant was British, but he cultivated an American midwest accent very well, and was sort of known for it.
Also, there is a shirtless picture. You’re welcome?
Chairman of the Board, Ol’ Blue Eyes, La Voz, The Voice, Swoonatra, The Sultan of Swoon – all these names apply to the one and only Frank Sinatra. A Hoboken native, Sinatra won the hearts of a collective America with that voice, those eyes, and that swagger.
He also played a sailor at one point, apparently. He was married four times – once to Mia Farrow – and he was a member of the Rat Pack along with Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop.
Named Elvis Aaron Presley, he is better known as The King…of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He was a pop singer, an actor, a soldier, and an absolute dreamboat. Check him out in uniform:
It can be easy to overlook the later, bloated, sequin years. Especially when you see a picture like this:
How cute was he?
James Dean, star of Rebel Without a Cause, died tragically at the age of 24 years old. Not before he captured the hearts and loins of young women in the 1950′s. His bad-boy image and soulful eyes continue to haunt generations of women far beyond Dean’s time.
Looked good in a cowboy hat, didn’t he?
Rock Hudson was a sex symbol to women, who were attracted to his masculine good looks in the movies, and to men, too, since it turns out that Hudson was actually homosexual. He died of AIDS, and was the first famous person to announce he had it. So, handsome, talented, and BRAVE. That was Rock Hudson.
He was in Giant with James Dean, hence the cowboy hat.
AND he wasn’t afraid to take his shirt off.
The blue eyes, the pouty lips, the exceptional pecs. Paul Newman was a sex symbol first, and a saintly philanthropist after that. He was awesome. The Long Hot Summer is one of the best movies ever. And not that crap remake with Don Johnson. Who also didn’t make the list
Obligatory cowboy hat picture.
Can we just say? Damn.
Blond, blue-eyed Robert Redford was the Condor in Three Days of the Condor , Gatsby in The Great Gatsby, and an A-1 hunk of the first degree. The Way We Were? Wowsa.
He is a man’s man – he did a lot of his own stunts in movies and he made sure the stunt men were paid anyway. Nice.
And I guess he plays a mean game of tennis.
Even at 81 years old, Sean Connery is still considered one of the sexiest men alive. Back when the was none other than 007 – James Bond – he was unstoppable. Plus, that Scottish accent is to die for.
In lieu of the cowboy hat shot (which is very hard to find, by the way) we thought we’d remind you of Bond…James Bond.
David Cassidy was, well, a pretty big deal in the 1970′s because of his role as Keith Partridge on The Partridge Family. His mom on The Partridge Family was also his stepmom in real life – having married David’s dad Jack Cassidy (of TV fame). Because the mullet precludes any need for a picture with a cowboy hat, here is a picture of a single cover that should please the snarkier of you.
The Puppy Song was actually written by Harry Nilsson. He wrote it because Paul McCartney asked him to. That might bring the question, “Why does this list lack a single member of The Beatles?” Well, Gentle Reader, your humble author is a stark raving Beatles fan, and can’t just stick them in a list of sex symbols. Plus, most girls wanted to MARRY a Beatle. Anyway, Paul McCartney asked Harry Nilsson to write this song for Mary Hopkin. David Cassidy covered it as his B-side to “Daydreamer.”
Burt Reynolds. Famous for many “road” films, as well as his amazing mustache (seen in the below photos), his wildly popular Smokey and the Bandit solidified his sex symbol status long after notable appearances in Deliverance, The Longest Yard, and White Lightning.
Another well-known part of Burt Reynolds’ life was his high-profile romance and marriage to Loni Anderson. They were married for 7 years, and were tabloid fodder when they decided to break up. He was also romantically linked to Sally Field and Dinah Shore.
He obviously, ahem, was not afraid to take his clothes off, either. Wow. Awkward.
Billy Dee Williams
Probably best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, beautiful Billy Dee Williams is also an accomplished painter. His paintings cost a bundle.
He also looks awesome in a fedora, eh?
For a short time, Williams was also the spokesperson for Colt 45 Malt Liquor. Many people consider advertisements of his ads as highly collectible, though you won’t get him to sign one of those “collectibles.” He refuses.
Harrison Ford did a little bit of acting in the 1960′s, but it didn’t take, and he became a carpenter. He had a role in American Graffiti, but the real breakthrough came in A New Hope, the first Star Wars movie. The role of Han Solo started in 1977, and it was VERY well received by the female population. Then, in 1981, Ford appeared as Indiana Jones in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark and it was all over. A whole nation was in love.
He continues to make films, and is still a fabulous actor, and handsome to boot, but the 1980′s were the heyday of Ford’s career. More Star Wars movies, Blade Runner, Working Girl, and a slew of other movies made Harrison Ford arguably the most popular actor of the 1980′s.
I don’t know what this photo is from, but are we complaining? I didn’t think so.
New Jersey-raised Bruce “Bruno” Willis found his fame playing David Addison on the popular TV show “Moonlighting.” The chemistry between Willis and co-star Cybill Shepherd was amazing…until the show jumped the shark and allowed the two leads to get together. Thus, “Moonlighting” became a cautionary tale. Too bad TV continues to refuse to listen.
Willis also played John McClane in the Die Hard movies, making him an even BIGGER star. No cowboy hat, though. Sorry.
Patrick Swayze (RIP) started his career as a heartthrob with his portrayal of Darrel Curtis in the movie The Outsiders in 1983 and became every boy’s hero as Jed in Red Dawn in 1984. He won the hearts of everybody’s mom and grandma as Orry Main in the mini-series North and South.
But the crowning jewel – the role that sealed his fate as an iconic sex symbol, was his role as Johnny Castle in 1987′s Dirty Dancing. Oh yeah, and then there was Road House. Yeah, Patrick Swayze was the sexy king of the 1980′s.1990′s
Brad Pitt had a number of TV roles in the 80′s, including a guest spot on 21 Jump Street, an uncredited role in Less Than Zero (ok, so that was a movie), a stint on Dallas, and a short run on Growing Pains. His nothing status was elevated to Sex Symbol History with his role in 1991′s Thelma & Louise.
Thelma & Louse led to the ill-fated Johnny Suede (though he looked really good), and he continued being a hot ticket until he hooked up with Angelina Jolie and became a goateed father to millions. Sad.
But that makes us feel better, doesn’t it?
Let’s face it. Denzel hasn’t lost any of his charm, even now that it is well into the 2000′s. And, he didn’t reach iconic sex symbol status by playing sexy, substance-less roles. In 1992 he played Malcolm X in the biopic, and continued to play serious roles for the majority of the 1990′s. So, he’s a serious sexy man.
Another thing we love about Denzel is that he’s been married to the same woman, Pauletta Washington, since 1983. They have four kids together.
Denzel has won two Best Actor Oscars (Training Day and The Hurricane), won a Best Supporting Oscar for Glory, and was nominated for two other Oscars in his career. And that’s so far, Folks.
George Clooney rose to sex symbol status on the small screen, first with his role as Booker Brooks on Roseanne, then on a show called Bodies of Evidence, and then on the hit show Sisters. Come 1996 he got a prominent role (leading, that is) in From Dusk Till Dawn, that weird Quentin Tarantino vampire movie, and then his career was off like a rocket.
In 1998 he played Capt. Charles Bosche in The Thin Red Line, but since everybody and his brother was in that movie, the photo above comes from 1999′s Three Kings – a surprisingly good flick. He also played Batman, but we won’t talk about that.
And, who are we kidding, plenty of people still have huge crushes on Clooney. He is, thus far, a confirmed life-long bachelor. Despite the fact that he was married for a brief period, he has embraced bachelorhood to the nth degree. He’s said that he will never again marry, and that he will never have any children. Michelle Pfeiffer and Nicole Kidman both lost a $10000 bet that he would father a child before his 40th birthday. He sent their money back, saying that he bet double or nothing that he still wouldn’t have any kids by the time he turned 50. That’ll be May 6th of this month, so unless there’s something we don’t know, both ladies will be paying up soon.
We all first took notice of RPatz (as TMZ calls him) when he played Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Then. Oh then. Then Twilight happened. Stephanie Meyer’s clumsy yet wildly popular series about a regular young girl who falls in love with a noble and tortured vampire (played by Pattinson) has taken the world by storm and people simply freaked over him.
He’s done other projects during this time, like when he played Salvador Dali and was in that movie with that blonde girl from Lost, but all anybody talks about is the Twilight stuff, and whether or not Robert is dating/married to/having a baby with his costar, the much-less-pretty-than-him Kristen Stewart.
So, he’s a really big deal, and we couldn’t leave him off the list, but if he’s on the list there is somebody else that needs a spot as well.
Robert Pattinson’s co-hunk in the Twilight series is Taylor Lautner. And, he’ll be 19 years old in February, so I’m telling myself that his appearance in this list is not at all creepy. Heck, James Dean was pretty darn young when he was so popular, so…
Since Lautner was only 16 years old when the first Twilight movie came out, lots of people felt pretty skeezy thinking he was cute and all. Still though, there were countdown clocks until his 18th birthday ala The Olsen Twins. He was seventeen when New Moon (the second of the Twilight series), so still off limits, but since the producers had considered replacing him because of his lack of muscles, he buffed up big time.
Now he’s not only a big movie star, he’s a model of fitness and stuff.
Taye actually became a sex symbol with 1998′s How Stella Got Her Groove Back, but he’s been such an enduring example of hotness that he made the list for the 2000′s. He was a hottie patottie on Ally McBeal in 2001, and appeared as a suave bandleader in 2002′s Chicago.
I’d be lying if I said I never watched Private Practice, and Diggs is a lead on that show. In addition to being super handsome, and having a rocking physique, he’s also a fine, fine actor.
We mentioned the physique, right?
This picture is actually from the 1990′s, when Johnny Depp was Tom Hansen on 21 Jump Street. Orignally, I was going to put him on the 1990′s portion of the list because of that. 21 Jump StreetNightmare on Elm Street didn’t quite achieve. was Depp’s road to the American heart and mind (and other parts) and got him to an audience that his role in
So, the 1990′s saw Depp do Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Benny & Joon, and Don Juan DeMarco, all films that reinforced his OH-my-goodness he’s the most beautiful man alive status, but it was also in the 1990′s where he took some risks. He did Ed Wood (if you haven’t seen it, well…), Dead Man (a stunning Jim Jarmusch fiilm), The Ninth Gate (a devastatingly weird Polanski film), and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (he played the Hunter S. Thompsonesque character).
The 2000 years saw him play a combination of edgy roles and crowd-pleasing roles. Either way, he’s been an iconic, massively popular sex symbol (which he has a very hard time understanding, which just makes him more attractive) since the 1990′s and will likely continue to be so for years to come.
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