In these days we have Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Jessica Alba, Charlise Theron, Halle Berry and many others as divas to add some feminine sex appeal to the movies.
In the past, there were other stunning cinema stars that used to be present in men's fantasy and to be inspiration for all women. Different types of beauty, with different personalities; each one representing their time.
To remember this mesmerizing beauty queens:
The 20 Most Beautiful Actresses from the Classic Cinema
20. Jayne Mansfield
One of the biggest sex symbols in the 50's. Jayne was famous for her platinum blond hair and her outfits always revealing her cleavage. She was playboy a playmate for several times, and had a small film star career. Her femme fatale look was normally the main subject of her movies.
A funny moment in the star's history, which she is sitting by the side of the also beautiful actress Sofia Loren in a party, and Jayne's obscene cleavage showing part of her nipple took all the attention, leaving the Italian actress quite uncomfortable with the situation.
Unfortunately Jayne had a fatal car accident when she was still 34 years old, which became an urban legend still commented by many.
19. Jane Fonda
The eternal Barbarella was an icon of beauty and sensuality in the 60's; not only for her acting career, but also for her modeling (she was cover of the Vogue magazine twice).
As opposite to most other stars you will see in this post, Jane isn't only a black and white picture: She still stars a lot of successful movies.
Besides her beauty, she is a winner of two Academy Awards, an influential feminist and political activist that protested against violence towards women in Iraq, and disagreed with the Vietnam War. These are just some of her many realizations. She definitely deserves the respect for proving that a woman can easily be an icon of beauty, and at the same time be an icon of dignity and humanity.
18. Marlene Dietrich
The great legs. The famous cigarette smoking. The woman, with man clothes. Her glamorous style and strong beauty were a big sensation in the 30's. The German born actress, even though was never recognized as deserved at her time, today is considered one of the best female stars of all time by the American Film Institute.
In the 50's, she started to perform in a Parisian Cabaret. Her amazing outfits made of of crystals and swansdown coats where part of her show that amazed many people at the time.
In our days, Dietrich is loved by the gay scene, as the actress was an assumed bisexual, and maybe one of the first women ever (aside Greta Garbo) to adopt the androgynous style.
17. Ingrid Bergman
Possible one of the biggest award winners of Cinema's history. The Swedish girl is always remembered for her performance in the movie "Casablanca" - really unfairly because she stared in many important films, which she earned a lot of respect for, like "Gaslight" and "Murder on the Orient Express" (both Awarded with Oscar), and "Notorious" and "Spellbound" by Alfred Hitchcock.
A delicate, but grown up beauty, that transmit a lot of dignity, were always her style and presence in Hollywood. Ingrid is for sure not remembered only for her beauty, but for being one of the best actresses that ever existed.
16. Lana Turner
On-screen, she was well-known for the glamour and sensuality she brought to almost all her movie roles. Off-screen, she was-well known for her stormy and colorful private life including seven husbands, numerous lovers, and a famous murder scandal. Many of her roles and films are often regarded among Hollywood's best, including Ziegfeld Girl and The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Lana was a very strong woman that didn't have an easy life. She said: "The thing about happiness is that it doesn't help you to grow; only unhappiness does that. So I'm grateful that my bed of roses was made up equally of blossoms and thorns. I've had a privileged, creative, exciting life, and I think that the parts that were less joyous were preparing me, testing me, strengthening me."
15. Claudia Cardinale
Tunisian born, Claudia lived most of her life in Italy and most of her films are from Italian and French origin. She never really broke through American cinema, as she never wanted to spend too long away from Europe. She's done some very successful American movies like "Circus World" and "Blindwest", but her most noticeable participations were in "Once Upon a Time in West" and "8½".
The voluptuous beauty, had her voice dubbed in some movies, as she has a sweet look, but a very strong voice.
In now days she is pretty much involved with political activism and pro-women and pro-gay causes.
14. Diana Dors
The blond bombshell was the British equivalent to Marilyn Monroe. She stared in many comedies. Her look was the famous femme fatale. Big Pin Up poster on the walls of young boys (and old boys too!) in the 50's and 60's.
She started her career at the age of 13, lying to photographers she was already 17. Her success was so much that at some point she was the youngest person to earn a Rolls Royce (being only 20) in her country. Later on she got increasingly involved with religious and charity causes.
Today she is the big icon vintage sex symbol in Britain.
13. Sofia Loren
The most famous Italian actress at her time. Sofia's performance in the movie La Ciociara was the first to receive an Academy Award for a movie in a non-english language. The director was Carlo Ponti, which became her husband some years later.
Sofia is one of the few classic actresses that got old. Still today she is remembered for her exquisite beauty and acclaimed for her talent. Some of her earlier performances such as "Pret a Porter" and "Between Strangers" were acclaimed for a great performance, showing that the actress talent wasn't only valued while she had the beauty of youth. Sofia definitely has an irreplaceable presence in the Cinema's History.
12. Ava Gardner
Ava was born in a tobacco farm and lived there until she was 18, when she decided to move to Hollywood and try a career in Cinema. She never really believed her acting abilities, but in our days she is considered one of the best actresses ever by the American Film Institute.
She didn't have the happiest relationships, as she got divorced 3 times (the third time she was married to Frank Sinatra). Her fans believe her real marriage was with the public and career. She is loved and still venerated by her millions of fans.
11. Ann Sheridan
Ann's actress career started due to her beauty. She won a beauty context which gave as a prize a presence in a Paramont film. From the beginning her talent and unique charming beauty were noticed. Not much later she became Warner's top sex simbol and one of the main 40's Pin Up girl.
Unfortunately because of that she has been signed to many films that didn't show her great talent as an actress and her success started to decline. Movies like I Was a Male War Bride, show how specially talented she was. Many times wasted by movies that would only concentrate her performance on her beauty.
10. Audrey Hepburn
The most noticeble chick flick actress ever. Audrey Hepburn is the darling of many vintage romantic comedies. A winner of an Academy Award, a grammy award, BAFTA, Emmy award and many others, the outstanding actress is also considered the third greatest female star by the American Film Institute.
Audrey Hepburn is another great actress that has also passion for helping humanitarian organizations. She won a prize for her work as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Her timeless beauty and incredible talent is whhy she stands out and get her deserved position as one of the most beautiful actresses in Cinema's history.
9. Jean Harlow
The Platinum blond was one of the biggest sex symbols in the 30's. Also considered by the American Film Institute one of the most important cinema stars ever. Jean's real name was Harlean Carpenter.
Her sex appeal in the movies is one of her strongest points. Once she affirmed never to wear underwear. Also Jean was a very good comedian and talented actress.
Unfortunately the star had a really early death. With only 26 years old she had a cerebral edema.
8. Grace Kelly
We see in the newspaper how the paparazzi follow fashion icons such as Victoria Beckham and same they did to Lady Diana. Grace Kelly used to be the most important icon of elegance at her time. Married to Rainer III, Prince of Monaco, Grace became Princess Grace of Monaco.
Grace's perfect and delicate beauty were symbol of her fairy tale life and dream of every woman in the World.
Before becoming a princess, Grace already had a life of a dream. She was a famous, respected and Academy Award winner cinema star.
Unfortunately, Grace's life didn't end as a fairy tale dream. She suffered a stroke while driving, fell down a bridge and ended up dying the day after the accident.
7. Gene Tierney
She is considered "Undeniably the most beautiful woman in movie history" by Daryl Zanuk (founder of 20th Century Fox).
The talented Academy Award winner actress, stared many movies, and is remembered mostly by "Laura" and "Leave her to Heaven".
While she was traveling in Hollywood, she visited the Warner Bros studios. Fascinated by the actress beauty, the director Anatole Litvak advised her to start a career in movies. She took the advice and started her career staring in a movie being only 17. About that, Gene says "Everyone should see Hollywood once, I think, through the eyes of a teenage girl who has just passed a screen test".
6. Mae West
Not enough being a super star and a sex symbol, Mae also showed her talent as a playwright, screenwriter, producer and director of Broadway Shows.
Mae was a very controversial and polemic person. At some times she was part of woman's liberation movements, and soon later affirmed she wasn't a feminist. She was also a supporter of gay rights.
A saying of the star: "A woman in love can't be reasonable - or she probably wouldn't be in love". Which truly matches with her life. Mae was married for a few years keeping it as a secret because she knew it could ruin her career. Then suddenly during her show "Sex" she declared to be married, as it was happening a lot rumors about that for some time.
A personality, a strong and talented woman behind a femme fatale.
5. Betty Grable
The official Pin Up girl of the World War II, was a dancer, actress and singer. Very famous for having the most perfect legs in Hollywood, rumors say they were insured for 1.000.000 dollars by Lloyds Bank of London.
After small appearances in more than 30 movies, Betty started getting more attention and more complex roles. By the end of the 40's decade, she was already the most well paid actress in Hollywood.
Hugh Hefner, founder of the Playboy magazine, affirmed in an interview to the National Public Radio in 2007, that the Pin Up Betty Grable was the main inspiration for him to build the Playboy empire.
4. Brigitte Bardot
The french bombshell was one of the most popular actresses and sex symbols in the 50's and 60's. She was also a fashion model in the 50's and featured a cover on the Elle magazine. She earned international attention due to the movie "And God Created Woman".
Brigitte also tried a career as a singer, which was successful at some times. She did cover for the Playboy magazine to commemorate her 40th birthday, still looking really good.
Unfortunately age wasn't something good to the moral ideals of Brigitte. She has been fined a few times for making racist comments against Muslims in France and against homosexuals. Besides that she is involved with animal activism. At least her hate for humans doesn't affect her love for animals.
3. Elizabeth Taylor
The eyes. In Liz Taylor's look, what mostly gets compliment is her beautiful eyes lilac color. Of course, all the rest of her small and elegant figure are also reasons for so many male fans around the World.
Besides her beauty and her eyes, Liz Taylor is an Academy Awarded actress, extremely talented that started her career really early. She had a very busy life, full of bad publicity and unsuccessful marriages.
At some point in her career, she was the actress that earned the most money for a movie. This movie was "Cleopatra", most expensive film made at the time.
2. Rita Hayworth
One of the 40's most noticeable actresses, Rita was acclaimed as sex symbol mostly because of her performance on the film "Gilda".
Margarita Carmen Cansino attracted the attention of film producers at the age of 16. Then she changed her name to Rita Haywarth and started a career in cinema. After many small roles, Columbia Pictures lent Rita to Warner. Then she made her first successful film "The Strawberry Blonde", and in her splendid dancing with Fred Astaire in "You'll Never Get Rich" she earned the fame.
Her sensual dance, singing and talented acting, made her successful in Hollywood, and her beauty, made she becames one of the main Pin Up girls of World War II, together with Betty Grable.
1. Marilyn Monroe
Born as Norma Jeane Baker, later became Marilyn Monroe, and definitely the biggest sex symbol of all times. Still remembered for movies such as "Some like it Hot" and "Gentlemen prefer Blondes", Marilyn had an unique and charming talent for comedies. She is considered by the American Film Institute, the sixth greatest female star in cinema of all time.
During her career, Marilyn got involved in many scandals like the affair relationship with the president of the United States at that time, John Kennedy. On his birthday, the unforgettable famous performance of Monroe coming out of the cake to sing him "happy birthday".
Also the famous scene dress flying is one of the most noticeable scenes in the History of Cinema.
The actress definitely reached a point of fame and success that none of the other extremely talented actresses in the list managed to reach, all due to her charm, sensuality, elegance and acting skills. It shows how unique and brilliant her presence in cinema was, and that's why she is the first on the list.