Idiots Guide: 20th Century Hollywood Beauties

The 20th century saw the ‘Golden Ages’ in the world’s of music, art, and of course Hollywood screen queens. We thought it might be fun to take a stroll down memory lane and highlight some of the more notable women who in many ways set the standard for glamour and beauty. The women presented on this list do not constitute all of the beauties, just some of the more unforgettable. Enjoy!

#10. Elizabeth Taylor 

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There was arguably no bigger movie star in 1950 – 60’s Hollywood than Elizabeth Taylor. A stunning looker, and talented actress, she starred in classic films: ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof‘ (1958), and ‘Suddenly, Last Summer‘ (1959) among dozens of others. Elizabeth’s timeless beauty lands her squarely at #10 on our list.

#9. Diana Ross

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Simply put, Diana Ross was the supremely beautiful lead singer of wildly popular 1960’s group ‘The Supremes’, who are to this day one of the best selling musical groups of all-time. Her radiant aesthetic was even rumored to be the late Michael Jackson’s personal obsession. Weirdo factor aside, imitation is the finest form of flattery they say…

#8. Jayne Mansfield

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Throughout the 1950’s and into the 1960’s Jayne Mansfield shared the Hollywood sex symbol stage with a woman named Marilyn, as one of the original blonde bombshells. Her personal life was largely public knowledge and she lived her life on the edge in may ways. Jayne is #8 on our list but #1 in the hearts of her fans back in the day.

#7. Vanessa L. Williams

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In 1984 Vanessa Williams shattered the glass color barrier that surrounded the beauty pageant universe, when she became the first African American woman to win the title of Miss America. So much more than a transcendent beauty, Vanessa’s career accomplishments are jaw dropping: Multiple Emmy nominations,  a Tony Award nomination, add to that about a half dozen Grammy nominations for her hit songs “The Right Stuff,” “Save the Best for Last,” and others. Vanessa is also the proud recipient of seven (7) NAACP Image Awards, as well as, Three (3) Satellite Awards. Her accomplishments speak for themselves, her exquisite beauty need not speak at all. The term ‘easy on the eyes’ rings true in this case.

#6. Raquel Welch

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How significant was Raquel Welch‘s sex appeal and beauty? In 1966 she had a small role in ‘One Million Years B.C.‘ with only three lines of dialogue. However the publicity photo of her in a doe skin bikini became one of the best selling posters of all-time. Many of them in military barracks during the Vietnam era. More recently you can find her as the spokeswoman for Foster Grant‘s reading glasses. Yes, she still looks amazing.

#5. Dorothy Dandridge

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Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge became the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her stellar performance in the film ‘Carmen Jones‘ (1954) Dorothy was a trailblazer for African-Americans in Hollywood, especially women, during the 50’s and 60’s as she had to endure industry wide racism and the ugly practice of ethnic typecasting. Her legacy has been highlighted by Halle Berry and other contemporary African-American stars in modern times.

#4. Natalie Wood

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In many ways, Natalie Wood embodied the archetype ‘Smoldering Brunette Beauty’. She was seemingly born to be a star as she started show business at the age of five. Her career was an illustrious one as she starred in classic hits movies such as: ‘Miracle on 34th Street‘(1947), ‘Rebel Without a Cause‘(1955), and ‘West Side Story‘(1961). Her immense talent garnered her three (3) Academy Award nominations before she turned 25, with 12 different award nominations overall, winning two Golden Globes along the way. The circumstances surrounding her untimely drowning in November of 1981 are shrouded in rumor, but her timeless beauty will always be something quite certain.

#3. Hedy Lamarr

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From the late 1930’s until the mid 1950’s Hedy Lamarr was the ‘it’ love interest in Hollywood films. Starring alongside leading man legends such as: Spencer Tracy, Clarke Gable, Jimmy Stewart, and others. In addition to her film success Hedy was an inventor! True story. She invented a radio guidance system and spread spectrum technology for torpedoes. So it wouldn’t be a stretch to call her a ‘rocket scientist’. A unique woman who was once referred to as the ‘most beautiful woman in Europe’. Indeed.

#2. Marilyn Monroe

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What can we say about Norma Jeane Mortenson, known to the world as Marilyn Monroe? Well, we could start with the fact that her films grossed over $200 million dollars in a career that was tragically cut short in 1962. $200 million in the 1950’s was and still is,  a.lot.of.money. Marilyn was, and continues to be an American cultural icon, and her staying power is a clear testament to that fact. Not bad for a mid-western kid who spent time growing up in orphanages. She was a true American success story.

#1. Audrey Hepburn

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Is Audrey Hepburn the most beautiful woman to ever live? Depends on who you might ask. In the opinion of this author, the answer would be yes, if the criteria extends beyond mere aesthetic beauty. Besides her bonafides as a screen legend during the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood, what sets Audrey apart was her unwavering dedication to philanthropy, and humanitarian efforts. She was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF, and awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom. Not bad for the spirited call girl ‘Holly Golightly‘ in the cinema classic ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s‘ (1961).  Mrs. Hepburn was truly a one of a kind beauty.