Top 10 Sex Symbols of the 50s & 60s That We All Know and Love

Tags: #MarilynMonroe ,   #ElizabethTaylor ,   #JamesDean ,   #BrigitteBardot

Alex O'Brien

Alex O'Brien

Last updated:  2021-06-16 20:45:53

Every era has its sex symbols, but due to the development of the movie industry and the internet, now they have a much easier time reaching the audience. Yet, back in the 50s and 60s, being a public figure was prestigious, and rare ones got to enjoy being popular worldwide. So let's take a look back and see who among the famous had the privilege of being a sex symbol.

10. Ursula Andress

Ursula Andress owes all her glory to the one and only white bikini

Ursula Andress is a Swiss-American actress best known for her appearance as the first Bond girl in the movie Dr. No. The famous scene where she appears in a white bikini rising up from the Caribbean Sea wearing a large knife on her hip was later chosen as the sexiest moment in history. 

However, due to her strong Swiss accent, she was dubbed in the movie. Yet her beauty made her a sex symbol of the 60s. Later in her career, she could pick roles of her choosing, all due to that white bikini moment. She even appeared in Playboy in 1965. 

9. Paul Newman

Paul Newman enchanted everyone with his blue eyes

Paul Newman was an American actor who seduced the public with his blue eyes and muscular look. From his first appearance in the early 1950s, he was set to be a movie star. Although his first movie wasn't a big success, he kept on going until "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" from 1958, which was a major box-office smash.

Newman was a simple man, a devoted husband, with a strong passion for race cars. He was the owner of one of the most successful Indycar teams, accomplishing eight titles. He had a charity organization for the children and stood up among the first to support the rights of the African-Americans and the LGBT community. Newman was enthusiastic about politics, and he once said that his greatest accomplishment was when he ended up as nineteenth on Richard Nixon's enemies list.

8. Alain Delon

Alain Delon's appearance in "Purple Noon" gained him a reputation of a
sexy bad boy

By his early 20s French actor Alain Delon was already labeled as one of the most extraordinary screen talents of his time. His good looks contributed a lot to that and got him romantic roles. However, in "Purple Noon," he showed his dark, sexy side.  

Media connected Delon with criminals, and he was involved in a case wrapped around the death of his bodyguard back at the end of the 1960s. The scandal involved the future French Prime Minister Georges Pompidou and his wife. Delon was problematic on and off the screen, which added to his popularity and sex symbol status. The truth is that many ladies like bad boys!

7. Elizabeth Taylor

The performance in the movie "Cleopatra" might be the best work of Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor was an American actress born in England. However, shortly after her birth, her parents returned to the United States to escape the outbreak of World War II. She started acting at an early age, and by her twenties, she became a movie star which preceded her name for the rest of her life. Movies like "Cleopatra." and "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" gained her the status of a sex symbol. Her love life intrigued the public, as she married eight times.

Elizabeth Taylor mesmerized everyone with her signature velvet eyes. She also lured the looks everywhere she appeared with her hourglass figure. Somehow Liz was able to pull off a combination of the strong independent woman image mixed with her energetic on-screen sex appeal. Until the end of her life, she was a great humanitarian.

6. Sean Connery

The role of James Bond marked Sean Connery's career and vice versa

Sean Connery was the first James Bond, and he kept on appearing in that role for two decades. The Scottish actor added his own signature to the famous 007 agent role, which was never disputed. The status of the sex symbol preceded Connery for a long time, as well as his "Best Bond" ranking. 

While the movies weren't so praised by the critics, the public just loved James Bond and his sexy girls. His handsome look and deep voice made the ladies adore him, as the role of the 007 agent capable of overcoming every problem made men respect him.

5. Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch owes her worldwide popularity to the famous fur bikini

Raquel Welch keeps her status as the sexiest star in the movie industry, and there are no questions about it. She became famous in the mid-'60s after just a couple of roles, but after her appearance in a fur bikini in the movie "One Million Years B.C.," she became legendary. The poster for the film was one of the highest-selling ones.

Welch's appearance and the sex icon status ended up the era of Hollywood blonde bombshells. She maintained her status for a long time, and even at an old age, she proved that women in their 70s could be the stars of the red carpet.

4. Elvis Presley

The King's music still lives and sounds excellent

The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, was a sex symbol of the century, not just the 50's and 60's. He died in 1977 at the age of 42, and his death still intrigues the public. Presley was a singer, musician, movie star, and complete legend! His fans made a big mess everywhere he appeared, resulting in a saying, "Elvis has left the building!"

His good looks, seductive smile, and signature dancing made him the celebrity icon. Hence, even today, Elvis impersonators are very popular. His music still lives, and his fans celebrate him, making him the legend that will never be forgotten.

3. Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot's charisma enchanted everyone

French actress, model, singer Brigitte Bardot was an undisputed sex symbol in the 1950s and 1960s. Most of her fame is due to her first husband, director Roger Vadim who gave her a part in the movie "And God Created Woman." After the success of it, she gained international glory and mesmerized the whole world. 

Her charisma and the roles of a sexually emancipated woman with a hedonistic lifestyle inspired many French intellectuals. Brigitte Bardot, or B.B. as she was better known, became a passionate animal rights activist later in her life. She retired early from the entertainment industry, in 1973.

2. James Dean

Ultimate bad boy, rebel, icon

James Dean was an actor, teen idol, and sex symbol of the '50s. His appearance in the movie "Rebel Without a Cause" was a portrait of his lifestyle. This handsome bad boy appeared in just three movies, but this didn't stop him from becoming known worldwide.

Unfortunately, Dean died in a car accident in 1955 when he was just 24. His premature death made him an icon of American pop culture as he stayed forever young. His good looks and acting talent were responsible for his immediate success, but his rebellious nature tragically ended his life.

1. Marilyn Monroe

The famous blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday" to JFK

The most intriguing and controversial on our list by far is Marilyn Monroe. She was a blonde bombshell, the first "Dumb Blonde" on the screen, and the icon of sexuality. Therefore, she remains the sexiest woman ever, even though she died a long time ago.  

Although she started acting in the 1940s, she became famous and gained a Hollywood movie star symbol after "The Seven Year Itch" in 1955. Marilyn Monroe's alcohol and drug abuse, along with her intriguing love life, occupied the public's attention all the time. Her allegedly romantic relationship with President John F. Kennedy caused a big fuss, especially after she sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" at the celebration of his 45 birthday. Her death was a mystery that, till the present day, intrigues the public.

To conclude, public figures back in the day enjoyed respect. Nudity wasn't necessary to regain the sex symbol status, and we can say it was much more sophisticated back then. Still, they had to work hard or have a lot of luck to succeed, as becoming worldwide famous wasn't so easy as it's today. Unfortunately, now we have celebrities with great self-marketing. Due to the internet, they can become instantly recognized without talent, not counting their promotional skills.

Which celebrity figure have we left out? How is the most timeless among these stars we listed? Please write your thoughts in the comment section below. 

Cover photo: DekoArt-Gallery/pixabay.com


Similar Articles

Latest Articles

Top 5 Articles

Trending Articles

Sponsor Ads