Cleopatra, Nefertiti, and Helen of Troy. Sex symbols have been around since time began. There has probably always been that one, special person in the group the just exuded a luscious radiance, dripped sensuality, with more than your recommended daily dose of sexiness and pure beauty. We call name it the ‘IT’ factor, that unfactorable thing which makes some individuals absolutely magnetic to gaze upon. Indeed, we are drawn the sensual and beautiful, we crave it, we search for it, we want it. When we find it, we idolize it, and inundate it with reams of love notes, facebook postings and admiration. Today, we are doing a rank and file one some of the most alluring female sex symbols in modern time. So, sit back, relax and become familiar with some of the most beautiful women of the 20th century, as we present to you, our top ten list of the hottest female sex symbols of our era.
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Here are some of the Top 10 Female Sex Symbols of All Time
10. Jean Harlow
Jean Harlow was the first, original Hollywood blond bombshell. Born in 1911, Harlean Carpenter survived various childhood illnesses to rise to become Hollywood’s image of bona fide sex goddess. She was a talented actress in drama as well as comedy. Her look was a combination of platinum blond hair and shaved eyebrows, with brows then drawn thinly in pencil. Indeed, Harlow was so loved by the public, that she was the first actress to be featured on the cover of Life magazine. Jean found her way into the world of film by becoming a movie extra.
In 1930 she received her first ‘acting role’ in “Hell’s Angels”. 1931 saw her stardom blossom in the film “Platinum Blond”. It was this film that cemented her in the role of a Hollywood sex goddess. In the years that followed, her roles in “Red Dust”, “Bombshell”, and “Dinner at Eight” proved her worth as a multi talented actress as well, as she confidently succeeded in both comedic and dramatic roles. The American Film Institute ranked Harlow as the 22nd greatest female actress of all time. Jean Harlow passed away on June 7, 1937. She was filming the movie ‘Saratoga” when she succumbed to acute uremic poisoning. However, her legend lives on as every new generation discovers this talented and most beautiful woman.
9. Bo Derek
In the 1980’s movie screens across the country exploded when Bo Derek jogged in slow motion across the screen, her hair expertly tweaked and turned into gorgeous cornrow braids, as she ran over the sands, with the grace of sleek, swift gazelle. The movie was “10” and it made Bo Derek an instantaneous goddess of the screens sensuality and sexuality. Bo Derek, whose real name was Mary Cathleen Collins, was born in November 20, 1956 in Long Beach California. Known today as an American film and TV actress, movie producer and model, in 1979 Americans caught their first glimpse of her in the film, “10”, in which she was nominated for a Golden Globe. Groomed for stardom by her husband John Derek, who also groomed actresses Ursala Andress and Linda Evans, Bo Derek found success as one of the decades hottest sex symbols. In 1981 Bo starred in “Tarzan, the Ape Man”, which was designed to showcase her fabulous physique. The film was directed by her husband John Derek, and was a box office success as the 15th highest grossing film of 1981. August 1980 and September 1981 Bo had featured spreads in Playboy magazine. Bo left the Big Screen. She was a diligent companion to her husband John and cared for him lovingly until his passing in 1998. Today, Bo relaxes with actor John Corbett, works hard for animal rights and still occasionally performs in film and TV.
8. Kim Basinger
Kim Basinger, Kimila Ann Basinger, was born on December 8, 1953. this gorgeous and intelligent lady began her career as a model before making the brave decision to head out to Los Angeles to begin her acting career. Basinger began her career by taking roles in made for TV movies, such as “The Phantom of the Flight 401”, and “From Here to Eternity” in 1979. In 1981 Basinger did a beautifully done, sensual pictorial for Playboy magazine, which appeared in print 2 years later. 1983 saw Basinger give a most stunning and sensual performance as a Bond Girl Domino Petachi, opposite Sean Connery in the film, “Never Say Never Again”. In 1997 she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the 1997 film, L.A. Confidential, as well as a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild award. But it was the cult film 9-1/2 weeks in 1986 by Adrian Lyne that solidified her sensual allure with movie goers. Still going strong and gorgeous at 62, Kim Basinger will play the character Elena Lincoln in the much anticipated film, “Fifty Shades Darker”.
7. Bettie Page
Bettie Page was a stunningly beautiful woman who worked as a model and became known as the “Queen of Pinups”. She was a different type of sex symbol. While most sensual stars had platinum blond hair, Bettie Page was adorned with sleek and shiny hair, black as pitch, with bangs across her forehead, all contrasting against her soft and silky porcelain skin. Her signature black hair and bangs, along with her sultry, yet ‘girl next door’ appearance led people to see her as the perfect sex symbol, ‘sexy for the bedroom, yet cute enough to take home to mom’. Bettie Page was one of the first Playboy magazine Playmates of the Month, when her Miss January 1955 pictorial appeared. The sensual and striking pin ups of Bettie Page have influenced artists such as, Olivia De Berardinis, for generations. Bettie Page was unapologetically sexy in her pinups. She exuded confidence, and surety in her work. Her presence is still felt today in her ever-expanding cult following, clothing and books, as new generations have found and appreciate her beauty and charm.
6. Farrah Fawcett
The honor of the top selling pin up poster in history, selling 12 million copies, belongs to Farrah Fawcett, for her iconic red swimsuit poster of the 1970’s. Farrah was born Ferrah Leni Fawcett, February 2, 1947. Nominated 4 times for an Emmy and nominated 6 times for a Golden Globe, she began her career performing in toothpaste commercials and other general television work. She had the perfect 70’s physique, blond hair and gorgeous smile. After much commercial and TV work, Farrah saw her rise to stardom as Jill Munroe in the 1970’s crime drama “Charlie’s Angels”. She only worked on the series for one year, but made a massive impression on television audiences everywhere.
Indeed, according to Robert Thompson, professor of Television and Pop Culture at Syracuse University, “If you were to list 10 images evocative of American Pop Culture, Farrrah Fawcett would be one of them.” Her full and feathered hairstyle became a hit with girls and women all over America, as they frosted and layered their locks in an effort to look more like Farrah. After her stint with “Charlie’s Angels”, Farrah continued to work for stage and screen. In 1995 she posed for a semi nude pictorial spread for Playboy magazine, and in July 1997, at the age of 50, she did another spread, which became a top seller. The video which accompanied the spread became famous as she used her body as a brush, painting on a large canvas. She met with acclaim for her theatrical talent in “The Burning Bed”, “Extremities”, and “Small Sacrifices”. Farrah passed away on June 25, 2009 from Cancer.
5. Pam Grier
Those who are fans of the 70’s ‘blackspoitation’ films will most certainly recognize the talent, grace and beauty that is Pam Grier. Pam can be aptly described as a gorgeous amazon. Her widespread appeal arose from the fact that she had the guts to play brave and tough women on the screen, women who could hold their own, had no fear and yet held themselves proud with strength, courage and beauty. Pam Grier was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and is seen by many as the first female black action star. Grier moved to Los Angeles, California in 1967. Her films like Coffy and Foxy Brown involved sensuality, skin, sex and violence, and they entertained and found an appreciative cult audience. The characters Pam Grier played were smart, gorgeous and loaded with courage and confidence. Indeed, and Pam never lost the spicy and flavor that made her an iconic, smart and tough sex goddess of the screen. Quentin Tarantino brought forth “Jackie Brown” to the screen and chose Pam Grier for a starring role, which garnered her a Golden Globe nomination for best actress. Rotten Tomatoes has her listed as the second greatest female action star in films. In 2010, Grier wrote her memoir, Foxy: My Life in Three Acts.
4. Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren began acting as a teen, at the age of 15. Born in 1934 in Rome, Italy in extreme poverty, as well as living through the air raids of World War II. In post war Italy, opportunity in the little city of Pozzuoli was scarce, and in order to obtain money to feed her mother and sister, Sophia entered a beauty contest for ‘Miss Italia’, wearing a dress she fashioned from window curtains, where she placed second. This brave and courageous post war waif would soon become one of the worlds most talented and sensual women. This intelligent, gorgeous and well spoken woman received a 5 picture contract from Paramount Movie Studios in 1956, which was intended to turn her into an international star. Her performance in “Two Women” in 1962 saw Loren get an Oscar for Best Actress. Sophia has also received a Grammy, 5 Golden globes, BAFTA and a Laurel Award. Her career in Hollywood blossomed with films such as “Houseboat”, where she starred opposite her lifelong friend, fellow Hollywood heart-throb, Cary Grant. Indeed, Sophia Loren has been voted one of the sexiest women of all time by Mens Health Magazine, as well as other publications. Today, at age 82 Sophia is as breathtaking as ever, and can be seen at award shows and other arts and entertainment events.
3. Pamela Anderson
As far as iconic sex symbols go, no one can deny Pamela Anderson’s place. Pamela Anderson was born in Ladysmith, British Columbia, July 1, 1967. This compassionate and talented woman holds the record for gracing the cover of Playboy magazine 13 times. This lovely and talented Canadian born performer began working in Labatt beer advertisements, when she then hit the pages of Playboy. Anderson made her small screen debut in TV’s ‘Home Improvement’ playing against comic Tim Allen, as the Tool Time Girl. Her debut on “Home Improvement” got her ready for her first standout role in the television show, “Baywatch”. Baywatch showcased her talent as well as her curves, garnering her much acclaim and a sizable fan base. After a successful stint on “Baywatch”, Pamela then produced the TV series V.I.P, and continued to be active in the world of arts and entertainment. Along with smarts and beauty, Pamela is also tireless devotee to compassionate causes, and is an advocate for animal rights across the globe.
2. Brigitte Bardot
France has given the world the Eiffel Tower, Art, and Brigitte Bardot. Born in 1934 Paris, France, Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot would grow up to be one of the most celebrated and beautiful women in the world. A student of the dance, Bardot moved into the theatrical arts in 1952. World wide fame came into her world when she starred in the film, “And God created Woman”. Brigitte Bardot was seen by many as a lovely, smart and delicate ‘sex kitten.’ Sapiosexuals unite, for Bardot was the darling of the Intellectual class, and was called the ‘thinking man’s sex symbol’. Bob Dylan dedicated his very first song to Brigitte Bardot. Her name also appears in Dylan’s song “I Shall Be Free”. Simone de Beauvoir referred to Bardot as a “locomotive of women’s history.” Bardot refused to enter Hollywood, instead staying in France to make her films. For a stunning and talented woman such as Brigitte to have never touched Hollywood, yet reach such stardom is a commendable feat indeed. Beatles members John Lennon and Paul McCartney were huge fans of Bardot, and planned to make a film with her, but those plans evaporated. In 1974 Brigitte nude pictorial spread in Playboy magazine was done in honor of her 40th birthday. Today, Brigitte is politically active in her native France.
1. Marilyn Monroe
Here we are, at number one. This next lady should be no surprise to anyone. The greatest female sex symbol of all time goes to Marilyn Monroe. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, Marilyn was capable of projecting a look of fresh innocence along with sensuality and sexuality. Like Sophia Loren, Marilyn grew up in poverty, experiencing a painful and lonely childhood, being passed from foster home to foster home. In 1944 Marilyn was working in an arms factory, and agreed to be photographed by David Conover of the US Army Air Forces First Motion Picture Unit, in an effort to portray female factory workers in a positive light. In January 1945, Norma Jean quit working at the factory and began modeling for David Conover, and appeared in over 30 magazine covers. Her voluptuous appearance and innocent smile made her an instant pin up sensation. She soon became Playboy magazines very first Playmate of the Month in that magazines very first issue. When she came to Hollywood, she successfully worked her way up from small roles to starring roles. In 1953 she became one of Hollywood’s most successful stars making films such as “Gentlemen Prefer Blond’s” and “How to Marry a Millionaire”.
Marilyn was a very bright woman who was not to happy about being typecast as the ‘dumb blond’. One of her most critically acclaimed roles was for her performance in “Bus Stop”, which allowed her to showcase her abundant acting talent. Monroe was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actress for the film “Some Like it Hot” in 1959. Marilyn’s star continued to brighten the night sky and her iconic roles in Gentlemen Prefer Blonde’s, Some Like it Hot and the Seven Year Itch continue to engage audiences everywhere, with her fan base constantly growing, with no signs of slowing down.
There you have it, our top ten countdown on the worlds most gorgeous sex symbols of our time. Each of these women were smart, talented and had courage, and they did it in one of the toughest industries in the world: The entertainment industry. Their grace, strength and beauty will live on forever in the reels of celluloid and photographic imagery. Forever loved, embraced, and adored, these women will continue to gain fans and ignite the fascination and admiration of fans across the globe.