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Added by Beech on 29 Dec 2009 08:21
63659 Views 19 Comments

Sex Symbol of Her Time

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Average listal rating (91 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
1930s - Mae West: Mae did a good deal of acting on stage before starting on motion pictures in 1932. She wasn't hesitant to challenge the norms of the time, staging a play called Sex in 1927 and serving ten days in jail for "corrupting the morals of youth". A great quote from her: "It's not the men in my life that count, it's the life in my men."

Best known for: Her blond looks and outspoken manner.

Contenders in the 1930s:
Marlene Dietrich

Greta Garbo

Jean Harlow

Joan Crawford

Personal 1930s Fav: Mae West for her spunk
Beech's rating:
1940s - Rita Hayworth: Rita started acting in the 1930s but by 1940, she started taking lead actress roles. During the early 1940s, Rita also became one of the two famous pin-up girls (Betty Grabel being the other) for Americans serving in WWII.

Best known for: Her lips and her curves.

Contenders in 1940s:
Betty Grable

Jane Russell

Ava Gardner

Ingrid Bergman

Personal 1940s Fav: Ava Gardner is as shapely as Rita but I think she's prettier.
Beech's rating:
1950s - Marilyn Monroe: Marilyn started modelling in 1946. In 1950, she moved from minor actress roles to more prominent roles. She starred in a series of prominent movies in the 1950s. Sadly, she died of a drug overdose in 1962 in which neither suicide nor homicide could be ruled out.

Best known for: Her iconic blond hair and her generous curves.

Contenders in 1950s:
Bettie Page

Grace Kelly

Jayne Mansfield

Elizabeth Taylor

Personal 1950s Fav: Bettie Page with her beautiful face and outstanding figure
Late 1950s to early 1960s - Brigette Bardot: Brigette started acting in 1952 with her first world-famous role being in the 1956 film And God Created Woman. She continued to act until 1973 when she retired and started to focus on animal rights.

Best known for: Her looks, her French charm and her role in popularizing the bikini in the 1950s.

Contenders in the late 1950s to early 1960s:
Sophia Loren

Natalie Wood

Personal late 1950s to early 1960s Fav: Sophia Loren with her esotic looks and breathtaking figure.
Beech's rating:
Average listal rating (290 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Late 1960s to early 1970s - Raquel Welch: As a young adult, Raquel acted in plays, was a weather forecaster and modelled. After doing some bit roles, she started to get substantial movie roles by 1966 in movies Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years B.C. Through the late 1960s and early 1970s, she was considered the leading sex symbol of her time.

Best known for: Her surprisingly narrow waist alongside her generous hips.

Contenders in the late 1960s to early 1970s:
Catherine Deneuve

Jacqueline Bisset

Elke Sommer

Personal late 1960s to early 1970s Fav: I agree with history on this one. Raquel is beautiful and has lovely curves.
Beech's rating:
Late 1970s - Farrah Fawcett: Farrah's time in the limelight was short-lived. She burst onto the scene in the TV series Charlie's Angels in 1976 and this well-known poster was everywhere for a few years.

Best known for: Her smile and wavy hair style.

Contenders in the late 1970s:
Christie Brinkley

Donyale Luna

Cheryl Tiegs

Cheryl Ladd

Personal late 1970s Fav: Cheryl Ladd is not that curvy but I always liked her smile.
Average listal rating (629 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 0
1980s - Sharon Stone: Sharon acted in a series of roles in the 1980s and also appeared in Magnam P.I.

Best known for: Her iconic face and nudity in certain mainstream films.

Contenders in the 1980s:
Bo Derek

Princess Diana

Kim Basinger

Meg Ryan

Paulina Porizkova

Personal 1980s Fav: Paulina Porizkova for her lovely face and figure.
Early to mid-1990s - Claudia Schiffer: Claudia is primarily a fashion model and she has appeared on over 500 magazine covers.

Best known for: Her resemblance to the young Brigette Bardot.

Contenders in the early to mid-1990s:
Julia Roberts

Demi Moore

Cindy Crawford

Personal 1990s Fav: Claudia Schiffer is my favourite. She has the looks and the curves.
Beech's rating:
Late 1990s to early 2000s - Jennifer Lopez: Jennifer is a singer/actress who came into the spotlight in 1997 taking the lead role in the film Selena. She then went on to receive saturation coverage as "JLo" in the media for several years.

Best known for: Her substantial behind. In a world of increasingly thin models and actresses, Jennifer's large, round and frequently shown-off behind helped create a cultural shift. After JLo, prominent behinds were no longer widely seen as unattractive. For that shift, I can almost forgive the saturation JLo coverage we endured back in those days.

Contenders in the late 1990s to early 2000s:
Cameron Diaz

Charlize Theron

Kate Beckinsale

Pamela Anderson

Personal late 1990s to early 2000s Fav: Kate Beckinsale looks great and her particular English accent is music to me.
Beech's rating:
Average listal rating (1283 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0
Late first decade of 2000 - Megan Fox: Megan is an actress and model. She frequently appears in men's magazine "Hot" lists, being voted by FHM readers as the "Sexiest Woman in the World" in 2008 as well as being number one for Moviefone's "The 25 Hottest Actors Under 25" in 2008.

Best known for: OK, I'm stuck on this one because I don't find Megan especially attractive and I don't understand her current level of fame.

Contenders in the late '00s:
Scarlett Johansson

Eva Longoria


Jessica Alba

Kelly Brook

Personal late '00s Fav: Kelly Brook with her amazing curves.

From the 1930s to present, this is the list of the pre-eminent sex symbol of the day.

I am not arguing that these were the most beautiful women of each era. Only that during the period, the media gave more focus to her and her beauty than to her peers of the day. I also list the "contenders" for sex symbol in each period.

At the very bottom of each item, I list my own personal favourite from that time period.

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Posted: 8 years, 8 months ago at Dec 31 22:37
Megan Fox to spoil yet another list...

I hear you. She wouldn't make my personal top 50 for the time period ... but she seems to be very popular with many men.
Posted: 8 years, 8 months ago at Jan 7 22:49
Mae West kinda reminds me Christina Aguilera . . .
Posted: 8 years, 8 months ago at Jan 8 0:39
No! Wrong! Sophia Loren was MUCH BIGGER star than Bardot; she won an Oscar and was nominated a few times as well, Bardot was not. Did you know Bardot never even made a film in Hollywood or FOR Hollywood? This list is fantastic but the Sophia Loren as second to Bardot is 100% incorrect historically. I love both but any film historian will tell you that.
Posted: 8 years, 8 months ago at Jan 8 0:41
Ingrid Berman was not a sex symbol either, that should be Jane Russell,a glaring omission.

Donyale Luna? who is that? You mean Cheryl Tiegs or Susan Anton? :) great list though truly. Ok, I'll stop lecturing and go vote! Great stuff truly!
Posted: 8 years, 8 months ago at Jan 8 14:53
Amanda: I agree that Jane Russell and Cheryl Tiegs were notable misses so in they go. The balancing act will be keeping the list from being so long that it becomes difficult to read.
Posted: 8 years, 7 months ago at Feb 18 16:42
Great list!!
But... I don't think that Kate Beckinsale is a 1990s or early 2000s sexual symbol, because last year she was named by Esquire Magazine as the sexiest woman alive. She's more famous now, and more beautiful and sexy than before. ;)

But it's just my opinion.
I love Kate Beckinsale.
Posted: 8 years, 4 months ago at May 10 0:21
sophia loren is NOWHERE NEAR brigitte bardot as an icon/sex symbol! the fact that brigitte didnt make any hollywood movies and STILL became as big as she did here... that says something! all the other european beauties went hollywood... bb didnt have to. i have a pinup book that says at the start of their careers, over 43 actresses copied bardots hair and eye makeup and women are STILL copying bardot with the full lips, cat eyes and messy, tousled hair. kate moss, pam anderson, kylie minogue, and claudia schiffer are all inspired by bb. not only that, brigitte popularized the bikini, she popularized gingham, she put st. tropez on the map... shes an ICON and trendsetter far more than sophia loren. and on every hottest women list, brigitte ranks WAY higher than sophia- look it up. sophia is not even in bbs league.
Posted: 8 years, 4 months ago at May 18 3:01
one more thing-brigitte bardot coined the term sex kitten. that term did not exist before bb. that word was invented to describe her. she is the ORIGINAL sex kitten!
Posted: 7 years, 3 months ago at Jun 27 0:19
i have to agree with superamanda... Sophia Loren is in a league way ahead of Bardot. She has MANY more awards and accolades WORDLWIDE (not just Hollywood) than Bardot ever did. Plus, Bardot's look (for me) was kinda average, like she was a beautiful woman, but her look wasn't anything unique like Loren's, and the things Bardot was famous for (ie. her full lips, cat eyes and the messy hair look)that was all done by hair and make-up artists, whereas Loren's beauty was far more unique, and she naturally had her look.
Posted: 7 years, 2 months ago at Jun 27 20:02
Great list. I think Scarlett J. is hotter than Megan Fox, I don't like Scarlett J that much either. ^_^
Posted: 7 years, 2 months ago at Jul 15 14:36
I will never understand how people ever considered someone as unattractive as Mae West sexy, Or Marilyn for that matter. I don't know why Eva, Charliza, Kate, Jennifer Lopez and Julia Roberts are even on there either cuz I ain't never heard of them being sex symbols. Also, you dont need to be "curvy" to have a nice body. Tell me this isn't nice!

A lot of those women are but a lot are also terribly unattractive and overrated. Besides, where's Heidi Klum? Audrey Hepburn? Gisele Bundchen? Lauren Bacall? Kate Moss?
Ingrid wasnt exactly a "sex symbol" (which is a compliment!) but she was definitely sexy :-)
Posted: 7 years, 1 month ago at Jul 31 15:20
Love this list. My personal all time fave : Elizabeth Taylor.

RIP Elizabeth!

EDIT: I personally think that Liz matched Marilyn in the '50s. If Marilyn was known as this sex goddess, Liz had a different appeal. She was known more for her regal beauty. Her beauty (esp. those eyes) was what set her apart and made her famous in the first place. You cannot deny that in her prime, Liz was one of the most breathtakingly beautiful women in Hollywood (if not the world). That is also one of the reasons why she became the highest-paid actress at that time for Cleopatra.

So different stroke for different people. Where as Marilyn epitomizes the ultimate curvacious blonde bombshell, Liz on the other hand embodied this elegant sophisticated beauty with her dark hair and unique violet eyes (and just as curvacious as Marilyn too). Although I think that compared to Liz Taylor, Audrey Hepburn had much bigger fan base/admirers.
Posted: 7 years, 1 month ago at Jul 31 15:28
Btw I'm surprised to see Claudia Schiffer in the '90s. Not that I don't think she's gorgeus. But I always feel that the '90s specifically belongs to someone else, such as Julia Roberts, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Pamela Anderson etc to name a few. For models, I always thought that Cindy Crawford was bigger than Schiffer in the '90s. Eversince she became the face of Revlon, she became a household name in the US and worldwide. Her face was everywhere, so much that she became the richest/highest-earning model in that decade.
Posted: 6 years, 5 months ago at Apr 24 15:55
Well,nice list:D
But just wanna know, why can't Angelina Jolie be added in this list?
Posted: 6 years, 4 months ago at May 17 17:31
ewww Mae West a sex symbol?? She looks scary to me, those teeth, that nose...instant turn off
Posted: 5 years, 10 months ago at Nov 18 2:25
Pret-teeehh, pret-teeehh, pretty good! Cindy Crawford was my fav in the 1990s, but Schiffer is a worthy winner
Posted: 5 years, 10 months ago at Nov 18 5:20
I'm sorry but how a list abou sex symbols doesn't have Angelina Jolie?
Can't vote it, sorry u.u
Posted: 4 years, 11 months ago at Sep 30 2:54
I am the sexiest man Monroe, is a symbol of sexy
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at May 14 15:01
The hottest here is Raquel Welch! Period.

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