Monday, November 17, 2014

Starlets: The 10 Sexiest Ladies From the Golden Age of Hollywood

Hollywood has always been a place high in glamour, but never so much as back in what most film historians call the Golden Age of Hollywood. Stretching from the last days of the silent era to the fall of the studio system, basically from 1925 to 1959 (just to put some hard numbers on the thing), the Golden Age of Hollywood was a place chock for of glitz and glamour. This was a time where the men were dapper and the dames were drop dead gorgeous. That's right, I'm talkin' about classic Hollywood here, so I can call 'em dames if I wanna! Anyhoo, with this in mind, I decided to make me up a list of those aforementioned drop dead dames that I thought were the so-called bee's knees. The sexiest ladies from that oh so Golden Age. Now since there were so so so many beautiful women in Hollywood back in the day, many oh so beautiful ladies ended up missing the list. Sexy stars like Jean Harlow, Vivien Leigh, Clara Bow, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Susan Hayward, Jeanne Crane, Joan Fontaine, Olivia de Havilland, Fay Wray, Dorothy Lamour, Dorothy Mackaill, Carole Lombard, Maureen O'Hara, Ida Lupino, Kay Francis, Miriam Hopkins, Lupe Valez, Jean Arthur, Joan Blondell, Kate Hepburn, Mary Pickford, Bette Davis, and Joan Crawford (before she was all eyebrows and shoulder pads) were sadly left on the proverbial cutting room floor. Other ladies, such as Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, and Natalie Wood are left off the list due to the major parts of their careers taking place after the end of that oh so Golden Age. So, without further ado, let's get on with this thing.

And awaaaaaaay we go...

Ann Dvorak * Hedy Lamarr * Judy Garland * Una Merkel * Veronica Lake

Any self-respecting top ten list just has to have some runners-up, and this top ten list is no different. Pre-code beauty Ann Dvorak, the knock-out little sister of Scarface; the gorgeous Hedy Lamarr, as brilliant as she was beautiful; the tragic Judy Garland, whose sultry voice only added to her sexiness; funny girl Una Merkel, the sassy, sexy sidekick of the early sound era; petite powerhouse Veronica Lake, the witch everyone wanted to marry. These are the five classy, classic beauties who just missed out on the list proper. But speaking of that list proper, let's get on with the damn thing. Oh, hold up a sec, we have one more addition before we actually get on with the damn thing...

Special Mention: Peggy Cummins

Okay, I had to throw Peggy Cummins in here. Anyone who has ever seen Gun Crazy, understands why this was a thing I just had to do. Granted, Miss Cummins is far from a household name, even for those into classic cinema, and Gun Crazy is really her one hit wonder of sorts (yeah, there was Night of the Demon, but c'mon!), but damn that girl and those guns sure do make for great looking movie. Plus, placing her in as a special mention, may just be a cheap shot at getting eleven lovely ladies into this list...or sixteen, if you count the previous runners-up. Yup.

10. Ingrid Bergman

This beautiful woman played many parts in many movies, and played them all well, damn well, but she will always be known for her classic portrayal of iconic movie love interest Ilsa, in Casablanca. A lady who almost came between not only two men, but two (or more) warring nations. A classic beauty from the hinterlands of Sweden (okay, actually she's from Stockholm) Ingrid Bergman took Hollywood by storm before running off with a married Italian director and becoming an outcast for a while. Yeah, outcasts are sexy, baby!

9. Grace Kelly

Not only one of the most stunning figures in Hollywood history, but Grace Kelly was the very epitome of her own name. The grace that Miss Kelly put forth (and yes, Grace was her real first name, not just a studio affectation) equaled her amazing looks. This fellow native Pennsylvanian made just fourteen films (three of them with some guy named Hitchcock!) before being swept off her high heels and turned into the Princess of Monaco. Always stunning and always a vision of grace and beauty. That was Grace Kelly. And hey, she could get into the middle of a good murder mystery with the best of 'em. Just ask Hitch.

8. Barbara Stanwyck

Stanwyck may not be the typical ideal of beauty, and therefore is not mentioned in many of those inevitable most beautiful actresses list (ya know, like this one) but her classic looks, her steely reserve, and her snarky way of delivering her lines, makes Babs quite sexy in my book. There is a story about when Babs was filming Forty Guns, and a stuntman refused to do a horse stunt because he thought it was too dangerous, and the then 50 year old Stanwyck stepped in and did her own stunt. Now that is fucking sexy as all get out!! From her sultry Precode days to her later years of embarrassing stuntmen, Babara Stanwyck deserves to be on any sexy ladies list.

7. Louise Brooks

The ultimate Pre-code flapper chick, Lulu was iconic in her famed bobbed haircut (that hairstyle was a huge trend thanks to Brooks), playing prostitutes and other fallen women, until her refusal to work within the all-powerful studio system, essentially ended her career shortly after the sound era began. After this she became some sort of half crazy recluse, but before this, her roles in some of the best, and sexiest, silent films ever made, make Louise Lulu Brooks an easy candidate for this list.

6. Lauren Bacall

Yeah, Betty Bacall was drop dead gorgeous, but it was that raspy, breathy voice that made her go beyond mere looks, and into the realm of pure sultry sex appeal. The lovely and talented Miss Bacall is the star on here with the longest career, having just shuffled off this mortal coil earlier this year, but the brunt of her career took place in that aforementioned Golden Age of Hollywood. Oh, and damn if she doesn't know how to whistle. Just put your lips together and blow.

5. Rita Hayworth

Margarita Cansino, as she was born, was one of the most desired pin-up girls of the WWII era, and of course then there was that performance of Blame it on Mame in Gilda. Though her natural hair colour was dark brown, almost black, and she famously went  blonde for hubby Orson Welles in The Lady from Shanghai, Rita was mostly known as a knock-out redheaded beauty. Hell, the lady even married a prince (more than a decade before Grace Kelly) and according to some stories, had the cocktail (the Margarita!) named after her by a lovestruck bartender-cum-drink inventor.

4. Janet Gaynor

The adorable Miss Gaynor was the veritable bee's knees (yeah, I used that term again!) back in the silent days, even becoming the very first Oscar winner for Best Actress in 1929, and even though her career ended just a decade after the sound era came in, and is therefore unknown in today's circles, even by many film fans, I haven't forgotten the classic actress who just so happens to be the cutest thing Hollywood has ever had going for it. And, if you want to go the stereotypical male route of lesbians being hotter than straight women, then Miss Gaynor has that going for her as well.

3. Gene Tierney

I still stand by the statement (which I have made in other posts) that Gene Tierney has the sexiest overbite in Hollywood history. Her beauty was more than enough for Dana Andrews to fall madly, obsessively in love with her in Laura, and this was after seeing just a portrait of the girl. Tierney made a career out of playing femme fatales, and even though all these men know she is bad news, they are willing to take the chance. I think it might be that overbite.

2. Marilyn Monroe

Yup. The ultimate blonde bombshell. Marilyn was so sexy, and so known for that sexiness, that most people forget that not only was she a great comedic actress, with some of the best comic timing in Hollywood history (just watch Some Like It Hot) but also a great dramatic actress as well (just watch her final completed film, The Misfits). And just like the other ladies on this list, talent just makes the sexy even sexier. But alas, no matter how sexy Marilyn (just one name needed) may be, she is only number two on this list, which means we now get to number one...

1. Greta Garbo

So how could any self-respecting list of the sexiest, the most beautiful classic Hollywood actresses, not only include the great Greta Garbo, but also not put her in the top spot? No self-respecting list could do that. Garbo (only one name needed here) was the epitome of classic beauty. That face, that voice, that aloof, don't give a fuck attitude. It all adds up to make Garbo (again, just one name needed!!) the sexiest actress from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Hell, it makes Garbo the sexiest actress from any time period. Heads and shoulders above all her contemporaries AND anyone who came after. Forget Clara Bow, Garbo is the true It Girl. The true It Woman.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.


  1. Hm. Personal opinion governs your list (and my mental one) to the point where some of your omissions seem criminal... at least to me. You made some great choices, though!

  2. Of course personal opinion governs my list, as it does for every other list I have ever compiled. And yeah, leaving the likes of Vivien Leigh and Jean Harlow off this list, and relegating Hedy Lamarr to mere runner-up status, seems kinda criminal to me as well, but I just couldn't help myself.

    1. Well, you still did very well!

      I made a list of my "five favorite" comic book and comic strip artists once. I believe there were ten or twelve names on the list...

    2. Yeah, I'm always trying to sneak some extras into all my lists. Purists be damned!

  3. The Great Garbo is #1-well she could take a picture from any side. Gene Tierney is a great pick for your list and Hawkeye Pierce would agree with you on that overbite(mentioned it in MASH). Janet Gaynor is a surprise especially over mean Hedy or Vivien Leigh. I would always have Carole Lombard on the list as she was a beauty with a gutter mouth:) I think Billy Wilder said he would have loved for Barbra Stanwyck to greet him at the door withan apron on..and nothing else

  4. Yeah, Barbara Stanwyck was underrated. VERY sexy lady.

    And I just mentioned Gene Tierney in my latest post. I like the overbite, too.

  5. I know I play around and mock you for your misogynistic ways, but I do love the empowered women of classic Hollywood. Great list. Not less than four of my personal heroes (Garbo, Bergman, Bacall, and Marilyn) are on this list.