Over the years, Hollywood styles and tastes have changed, especially when it comes to appearance. Classic beauties like Dorothy Dandridge and Hedy Lamarr have been replaced by women filled with silicone and injections. I mean, c’mon, have you seen the humungous asses of these women today? It is ridiculous that women feel pressured to create beauty standards that no one can achieve.
Remember the days when women had classic good looks and liposuction and botox weren’t even a thing? (Yeah, I barely do either.)
The good news is, when it comes to diversity, today’s beauty standards are way more inclusive than in the past. The bad news is, now all women, regardless of size, race, creed, or nationality, have a pressure-filled, near impossible, low self-esteem-creating standard to live up to. But that’s another article for another day.
Right now, let’s relish in the Hollywood good old days when women only had the pressure of squeezing into a teenie, tiny corset to get the perfect pencil-thin waistline.
So today, we are honoring ye’ old-school hotties that you’d probably date today. (Kids, if you don’t know ’em, Google ’em. You might learn something.)
1) Lana Turner
- Birth name: Julia Jean Turner
- Born: 1921
- Died: 1995
Summary: This classic beauty was an American actress with a lucrative career that spanned over 50 years. She starred in the box office smashes, Imitation of Life, and The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Career: She was discovered by Warner Bros at sixteen, where she signed her first contract. Soon after, she moved to MGM, where she was cast in more youth-oriented comedies like Ziegfeld Girl and Dancing Co-Ed. Next, she starred in Somewhere I’ll Find You with Clark Gable, the first of four films they would be in together.
Personal Life: Lana has dated some of the heavy hitters in Hollywood. She was also engaged to Howard Hughes in 1946, who, at that time, was the wealthiest man alive. She was married seven times between 1940 to 1972. Her first marriage lasted less than a year, with each subsequent marriage lasting no longer than five years.
Did you see the stats? Lana loved married life. If you were looking to settle down, she would’ve been your perfect partner. Unfortunately, she probably would have divorced you not long after saying, “I do,” but wowzers! What a beautiful life to live for 1-4 years.
2) Ava Gardner
- Birth name: Ava Lavinia Gardner
- Born: 1922
- Died: 1990
Summary: Ava Gardner was an American actress who signed a contract with MGM in 1941. She first appeared in smaller roles until her breakout performance in the 1946 film The Killers, a film by Robert Siodmak.
Career: Ava was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for the film Mogambo and later for best actress for a Golden Globe and BAFTA for The Night of the Iguana. She was considered a big part of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Personal Life: This classic beauty has been married three times. The first time was in 1942 to actor Mickey Rooney. The marriage only lasted a year. Her second marriage was to American composer and band leader Artie Shaw. That marriage also only survived for a year. Her third marriage was to singer Frank Sinatra. That turned out to be her longest union. They married in 1951 and ultimately split in 1957.
Aside from being organically gorgeous, with her dark hair and natural curves, Ava defied all Hollywood stereotypes and still became successful. Even though she’s had short marriages, she’s proven she can be in it for the long-ish haul with her six-year marriage to Ol’ Blue Eyes himself.
Unfortunately, she seems to have preferred guys in the spotlight, so you would’ve only had a chance if you stepped up your game. Dishwashers need not apply.
3) Dorothy Dandridge
- Birth name: Dorothy Jean Dandridge
- Born: 1922
- Died: 1965
Summary: Dorothy Dandridge was an American actress, singer, and dancer and the first African-American film star nominated for an Oscar for the popular hit musical Carmen Jones.
Career: Early in her career, Dorothy performed in venues like the Apollo Theater and the Cotton Club. In addition, she performed as part of the singing group, The Wonder Children, and years later, she sang with The Dandridge Sisters. She also appeared in several films but in uncredited roles.
Personal Life: In 1942, Dorothy married Harold Nicholas, one half of the famous tap duo, the Nicholas Brothers. They divorced nine years later. In 1959, she married Jack Denison. That union only lasted three years.
C’mon. No, really, c’mon. Have you seen her? Aside from being spectacularly beautiful, Dorothy exhibited extreme resilience by dealing with racism while simply trying to do what she loved; sing, dance, and act.
As shown in her marriage track record, she may get sick of you quickly, but oh, what an amazing thing to wake up to this beauty for 3-9 years.
4) Elizabeth Taylor
- Birth name: Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor
- Born: 1932
- Died: 2011
Summary: Elizabeth Taylor was a British-American actress who started her career in 1940 as a child actress. In the 1950s, she was one of the most popular stars of classic Hollywood cinema.
Career: She received an Academy Award in 1961 and 1967. In her early career, she starred in the film Life with Father, Father of the Bride, and An American Tragedy. She also starred in film adaptations of Tennesse Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly, Last Summer. She won an Oscar for Butter 8 (1960) even though she publicly denounced the film. During the filming of Cleopatra in 1963, she met and fell in love with Richard Burton while they were both still married to others.
Personal Life: Where to begin? Elizabeth Taylor has been married–wait for it–eight times, so let’s dive in.
- Conrad Hilton Jr: 1950-1951
- Michael Wilding: 1952-1957
- Michael Todd: 1957-1958
- Eddie Fisher: 1959- 1964 (Princess Leia’s daddy for all you science fiction geeks)
- Richard Burton 1964- 1974 and 1975- 1976 (Apparently, he came back for seconds)
- John Warner: 1976- 1982
- Larry Fortensky: 1991- 1996
(Whew! If I left your name off the list, raise your hand, and I’ll add you later.)
Obviously, she loved the companionship of a partner (one guy, even twice). According to the timeline, you had approximately a year to squeeze your way in between her first and second marriages to Richard Burton. After that, she was pretty much booked up.
Additionally, for you sci-fi fans, just think: you could’ve had bragging rights for dating Princess Leia’s step-mom. How cool is that?
5) Grace Kelly
- Birth name: Grace Patricia Kelly
- Born: 1929
- Died: 1982
Summary: The incomparable Grace Kelly was an American actress who starred in several poignant films in the early to mid-50s. Later, she became Princess of Monaco when she married Prince Rainier III in 1956.
Career: Grace started appearing in NYC theatrical productions and TV broadcasts in 1949. She garnered more interest when she appeared in the adventure/romance film Mogambo for which she received her first Oscar nomination. She later won an Academy Award for Best Actress for the drama The Country Girl. At 26, she retired from acting to marry Prince Rainier and begin her newly appointed duties as Princess of Monaco. She also starred in the following:
- High Noon
- High Society
- Alfred Hitchcocks, Dial M for Murder (my personal fave)
- Alfred Hitchcocks, Rear Window
- To Catch a Thief
Personal Life: In 1956, at just 26 years old, Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier to become the Princess of Monaco. The regal couple had three children: Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, and Princess Stephanie.
She was beautiful. She had style. She also encompassed poise and grace. Plus, she was all about family. She left a highly successful career to get married and have children. Albeit, he was a prince; nonetheless, she left Hollywood for love. When was the last time you saw a woman completely leave the spotlight for a man? (I’ll wait). It doesn’t get more devoted than that.
6) Josephine Baker
- Birth name: Freda Josephine McDonald
- Born: 1906
- Died: 1975
Summary: Josephine Baker was an American-born French singer and dancer who was a symbol of beauty, poise, and vitality of Black culture. In 1920, she took Paris by storm with her provocative dance and songs.
Career: In her younger years, Josephine became a touring dancer at 16 years old with a dance troupe from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Then, in 1923, she joined the chorus of a traveling company, performing in the musical comedy Shuffle Along. She then moved to New York and performed on Broadway in the show Chocolate Dandies and Plantation Club.
Later, in 1925, she moved to Paris and became one of France’s top music hall entertainers.
Personal Life: Josephine Baker was married four times. The first marriage to Jo Bouillon lasted from 1947- 1961. Her second marriage was to Jean Lion and lasted from 1937-1940. Her third marriage, to William Howard Baker, lasted four years, from 1921-1925. Her fourth and final marriage was to Willie Wells from 1919-1919.
Her marriage history indicated a few things. According to her first marriage, she was capable of being in a long-term committed union. However, she also seems to have been rather spontaneous regarding matters of the heart. (See Willie Wells)
Josephine was the perfect package. She could commit to you, but at the same time, she was no glutton for punishment. When it was time to terminate a relationship, she didn’t blink twice (See Willie Wells again.)
7) Marilyn Monroe
- Birth name: Norma Jean Mortenson
- Born: 1926
- Died: 1962
Summary: Marilyn Monroe started out as an American actress who later became a universal sex symbol. She starred in numerous successful films in the 1950s, and today she is considered a pop culture phenomenon.
Career: In 1946, she became a model, and shortly after, she signed a contract with Twentieth Century Fox, where she got the name “Marilyn Monroe.”
After forgetful roles, she became a nude model, which is how one of her photographs brought her a role in the movie Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hay! Her biggest movies came with such titles as
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
- How to Marry a Millionaire
- There’s No Business Like Show Business
- Some Like it Hot
Personal Life: Marilyn was married three times. Her first husband was James Dougherty from 1942- 1946. Her second marriage was to baseball player Joe DiMaggio from 1954- 1955. Author/playwright Arthur Miller was her third and final husband from 1956-1961.
Aside from being beautiful and a pop culture icon, Reportedly, Marilyn had a heart of gold.
She donated to many causes, including ones for underprivileged children. Other causes she donated to include: WAIF (an organization that placed abandoned children in new homes,) The Milk Fund for Babies, March of Dimes, and Various other welfare charities.
8) Sophia Loren
- Birth name: Sofia Costanza Brigida Villani Scicolone
- Born: 1934
- Died: N/A
Summary: In 1950, this Italian beauty began her film career at sixteen. She appeared in several minor roles until signing a five-picture deal with Paramount in 1956, which helped launch her international career. Her film appearances include:
- The Pride and the Passion
- It Started in Naples
Career: She won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Cesira in the movie Two Women. This made her the first actor to win the coveted award for a non-English-language performance. She also holds the record for earning seven David di Donatello Awards for Best Actress.
Personal Life: Sophia has been married twice, but it was to the same man. She first wed Carlo Ponti, an Italian film producer, in 1957. Unfortunately, the marriage was annulled five years later. Her ex had previously been married to someone else, but they divorced in the same year he first exchanged vows with Sophia. (I dunno, it seems a little sloppy to me.)
Although a prominent fixture in Hollywood, Sophia Loren managed to stay under the radar, which is perfect for someone interested in having the perks of that lifestyle without any of the flashiness.
Also, Sophia is a 100% committed woman, unlike others who marry if the wind is high (yeah, I’m looking at you, Liz). Finally, although Sophia’s been married twice, it was to the same guy, so we’ll only count it as once.