Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.
The Golden Age of Hollywood bestowed upon us some of the most glamorous, talented screen goddesses of all time. With big names like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth and more, this period in Tinseltown truly brought forth some of the biggest names in cinema history. Let's take a look at the top film goddesses of Hollywood's Golden Age.
Born: June 1, 1926 - August 5, 1962
The ultimate sex symbol and pop culture icon Marilyn Monroe was arguably one of the biggest stars of the twentieth century. Her life and persona was full of mystery and intrigue, and the fans and media couldn't get enough of the blonde bombshell. Both her personal and professional life were the focus of great attention, and she quickly emerged as a leading force in Hollywood. Her high profile romances with baseball great Joe DiMaggio and playwright Author Miller only added to her already sky-high popularity. With successful films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot showcasing her acting chops and sex appeal, Monroe effortlessly enticed Tinseltown and cemented her sex symbol status.
Born: October 17, 1918 - May 14, 1987
Margarita Carmen Cansino began her career as a dancer but quickly shifted her focus to acting, ultimately becoming the famous Rita Hayworth and taking Hollywood by storm. Known for her dark red curls and sultry gaze, the beauty was the top pin-up girl for GIs during World War II. Her most notable performance was in the 1946 film noir Gilda, in which she portrayed the titular femme fatale. Her other popular films include Cover Girl, The Lady from Shanghai and opposite Fred Astaire in You Were Never Lovelier. Hayworth was coined "The Love Goddess" by the press, though she was adamant that she was the antithesis of the characters she played. The beauty once famously said, "Men go to bed with Gilda, but wake up with me."
Born: August 29, 1915 - August 29, 1982
Swedish stunner Ingrid Bergman rose to fame with her portrayal of IIsa Lund in arguably one of the greatest films of all time, Casablanca. Her soft and demure beauty captivated audiences, and the role helped propel her into further success. She would go on to star in films such as For Whom the Bell Tolls, Gaslight, Notorious and in Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound. Bergman appeared opposite many of Hollywood's top leading men, including Humphrey Bogart, Gregory Peck, Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy. She won three Academy awards for her acting, proving that not only was she beautiful but she was a powerhouse in her performances.
Born: June 21, 1921 - February 28, 2011
The sultry, raven-haired Jane Russell made quite the splash when she made her motion-picture debut in Howard Hughes' The Outlaw. Promotion of the film focused heavily on the beauty's voluptuous figure, causing quite the stir in Hollywood. Russell was a popular pin-up girl for servicemen during World War II that only further cemented her bombshell status. She would go on to star in a slew of films such as The Paleface, His Kind of Woman, Son of Paleface and opposite fellow film goddess Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Russell would go on to star in more than 20 movies throughout her career and in 1955 founded Waif, the first international adoption program.
Born: May 4, 1929 - January 20, 1993
British beauty and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn is recognized as both a film and fashion icon, and was one of the biggest names in the twentieth century. Hepburn rose to stardom in 1953's Roman Holiday, opposite Gregory Peck. She would win her first Academy Award for her portrayal, and would go on to appear in the beloved classic Breakfast at Tiffany's, Sabrina, Charade and My Fair Lady. Hepburn was known for her grace and sophistication, and she effortlessly captured the hearts of audiences everywhere. She was a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF and devoted much of her life to the organization. Hepburn is a beauty and style icon, and continues to influence today.
Born: February 27, 1932 - March 23, 2011
The violet eyed, raven-haired stunner swept into Hollywood at a young age, but transitioned into mature roles with appearances in Father of the Bride and A Place in the Sun. Taylor was infamous for her love life, with fans and the media constantly eager to know who the beauty was romantically linked to. She found great success professionally, appearing opposite Rock Hudson and James Dean in Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly Summer, the latter for which she won a Golden Globe. Taylor also won an Academy Award for her role as a call girl in 1960's BUtterfield 8. The infamous Cleopatra began her epic romance with Richard Burton, and she would ultimately marry him twice. Though her many loves and marriages were heavily focused on, Taylor was one of the first celebrities to take part in HIV/AIDS activism and she dedicated much of her life to philanthropy.
Born: September 16, 1924 - August 12, 2014
Known for her distinctive voice and sultry looks, Lauren Bacall was one of the greatest film stars of classic Hollywood cinema. She first started out as a model but transitioned into acting, making her film debut opposite future husband Humphrey Bogart in 1944's To Have and Have Not. The couple would star in three films together and became one of the most beloved and popular romances in cinema history. Bacall's other credits include Bright Leaf, Young Man with a Horn and the smash hit How to Marry a Millionaire, in which she appeared alongside Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable. She also went on to perform on Broadway, earning two Tony Awards and further demonstrating her star power.
Born: November 12, 1929 - September 14, 1982
Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco was a gorgeous actress known for her elegance and chic sophistication. Though she only acted for 6 years (she retired at 26 once she married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco in 1956), Kelly appeared in many beloved films. She first gained stardom when she acted opposite Clark Gable in 1953's Mogambo, also earning her a Golden Globe. Kelly also went on to star in The Country Girl, High Noon and three Alfred Hitchcock films: Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. Her fashion, style and beauty throughout her short career continued to be admired by many. The actress has since been cited as one of the "classic Hitchcock blondes" and is revered for her elegance and demure nature.
Born: September 20, 1934
Italian film goddess Sofia Loren launched her international career in 1956, with appearances in pictures like The Pride and the Passion, Houseboat and It Started in Naples. However, it was her role as Cesira in 1960's Two Women that earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress. Her exotic beauty and sultry image cemented her status as a bombshell of the Golden Age of Hollywood. She continued to find success with films such as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Marriage Italian Style and Sunflower. Loren has won numerous awards including five Golden Globes, a BAFTA Award and the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. She is one of the last remaining living actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Born: December 24, 1922 - January 25, 1990
Ava Gardner was known for her sensual, femme fatale persona, and first found success in the smash-hit 1946 film noir The Killers. She would continue to dominate Hollywood by appearing in pictures like The Hucksters, Mogambo, The Barefoot Contessa and Knights of the Round Table. Off-camera, Gardner was known for her colorful love life with leading men including Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Howard Hughes. She had a tumultuous and high profile relationship with Frank Sinatra from 1951 to 1957, only further fueling the media's obsession. Gardner continued acting regularly until 1986, proving just how much star power she possessed.
© 2019 Rachel M Johnson
Rachel M Johnson (author) on August 17, 2020:
Hi Daniel, that would be a great idea for an article, thank you for the suggestions!
Daniel Finn on August 17, 2020:
How about a 1940s blond bombshell listing? Betty Grable,Betty Hutton,Carole Landis,Lana Turner to name a few. Or the most popular PinUps? These 4 ladies would definately be on the list. Just a couple suggestions. Thanks.
Rachel M Johnson (author) on March 28, 2020:
@ Miranda you are so right! She would be an excellent addition!
Miranda on March 28, 2020:
You forgot to add in Lana Turner!
Rachel M Johnson (author) on December 04, 2019:
Hi Wayne, those lovely ladies sound like very good additions to the list!
Wayne on December 04, 2019:
We're Maureen O'Hara and Natalie Wood considered a little late fir this era?
Rachel M Johnson (author) on August 06, 2019:
Hi Michael, I adore Marilyn Monroe! I'm glad you enjoyed the list!
Michael115 on August 06, 2019:
Gotta love Marilyn Monroe! Good list!