by Tyler V
It might be hard to imagine that hot, gorgeous, and (dare I say it) sexy women existed before the internet, before Playboy, and even before color television. It’s easy to dismiss them at first, because all of those old movies and news reels are just reminiscent of your parents and/or grandparents.
What’s hard to admit, though, is that there’s a good chance that your own grandma was a foxy babe in her time. She knocked your grandpa’s socks off by doing the Charleston or something in one of those scandalous dresses that ended just above the knee.
It’s uncomfortable to imagine, we know. We have evidence, however, that though styles and fashion may change, the true measures of beauty remain the same. So, we present a Chickipedia History Lesson focused on the most alluring women of the 50s.
And we promise not to hit on your grandmother.
Jane Russell was an army brat and classically trained pianist who became interested in drama when she was a child. In 1940, she got the biggest break of her career when multi-ka-jillionaire businessman and inventor Howard Hughes chose her as the lead actress in his controversial western The Outlaw. Russell, Hughes, and their film caused an uproar because of her ample cleavage and the first underwire bra that Hughes designed himself to lift a woman’s assets. It took two years to get the film released, but Russell’s stunning beauty kept the film from becoming a bust. That was too easy. Russell went on to have a very successful career in film and television during the 50s by starring in another film called Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with another actress you may have heard of…
Here’s the duo above…and though Jane is an amazing beauty, it’s hard not to agree with the title of the film when you see Marilyn. The camera loved her, and men around the world have lionized her as one of the most beautiful, most memorable women in cinema. While it would take too long to talk about her full legend here, it is interesting to note that she married Arthur Miller, the famous playwrights. She went from the best athlete in America (Joe DiMaggio) to one of the greatest writers in America. Considering that Miller’s work was enough to attract Marilyn, Death of a Salesman almost seems interesting again. Almost.
Alfred Hitchcock loved his blonde heroines in peril. Though Janet Leigh, his showering star from Psycho, might be better remembered, it’s easy to agree that Ms. Novak was one of the most alluring and unforgettable faces to grace the silver screen when she played Carlotta Valdez in the trippy, emotional thriller Vertigo. The film is considered a masterpiece, and it’s not surprising that Jimmy Stewart almost goes insane by the end of the film; Novak was a woman you could be "crazy about," without exaggeration at all.
Jayne is probably the most famous blonde actress to have been overshadowed by Marilyn’s towering fame, but she lacks nothing in the looks department. She is one of the most well-known and successful pinup girls of the 50s, despite the fact that her film career never really took off. Before she even started her film career, she was already married and a mother. So, in a way, she may well be one of the very first film MILFs in American history. You read it here first.
The voluptuous Betty G. gained most of her notoriety from motivational pinups issued to G.I.’s during World War II, but by the end of the war and early 50s, she was a mega-star. It wasn’t until many years later when lots of military information was declassified that people realized that Grable’s unbelievably long, sexy legs actually gave the Allies the necessary impetus to win the war. Well, maybe they didn’t win the whole war, but her spicy poses certainly couldn’t have hurt. She was also known for starring roles in musicals thoroughout the 40s and 50s and, surprisingly, avoided any kind of real scandal during her career. Now, that is unique.
Taylor is easily the most accomplished actress on this list, as she was nominated for two Oscars for her appearances in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly, Last Summer alongside Audrey Hepburn. Her lavender-colored eyes have hypnotized many, many men through the screen and through the magazine pages where she was featured. Though she has had a bit of a rocky personal life much exploited by the tabloids (she’s been married eight times to seven husbands), she will always be lauded as one of the most famous and recognizable movie stars of all time.
Honorable Mention: Bettie Page
It would be remiss to leave off one of the most famous women of the 50s just because she wasn’t part of the mainstream media. Ms. Page left an indelible mark on the consciousness of the American male in the post-war era, becoming an underground sensation between "photo clubs" where men sent away for photo packets of risque models. If nothing else, Bettie’s sexiness and playful smile should remind you of how you good you have it in in the age of internet, because we get access to our own "photo clubs" in milliseconds instead of having to wait two to three weeks like our ancestors.
A few other beautiful actresses among many: