Over the years I’ve grown to love the Golden Age of cinema more and more. As my love for movies has matured, I’ve found myself appreciating film history and the great classics that came from that special time. I also discovered just how many beautiful actresses there were during that period. So I thought it would be cool to do a Phenomenal 5 that looked at the beautiful women of the Golden Age of movies. Talk about hard, this could easily be a Phenomenal 20 but you know the rules. As a point of clarity, by the Golden Age I’m referring to the end of the silent era all the way to the early to mid 60s. Now that’s a lot of years so obviously this isn’t the definitive list. But these five Golden Age actresses are without a doubt phenomenally beautiful.
#5 – DEBBIE REYNOLDS
There was always something so adorable about Debbie Reynolds. She had such pep and energy but she was also a beautiful actress. Now some may point to the fact that Reynolds made several movies past the Golden Age. I would counter that by saying the bulk of her best films came within that wonderful era. She made her first film in 1948 but it was “Singin’ in the Rain” from 1952 that made her a star. In this classic her beauty matches her song and dance skills as she steals one scene after another. She would go on to make 22 films throughout the 1950s and she seemed to get prettier with each one. Whether she was dancing alongside Gene Kelly in “Singin’ in the Rain” or roughing it on the frontier in “How the West was Won”, Debbie Reynolds was an astounding beauty.
#4 – MARILYN MONROE
Seriously, did you expect me to have a list of Golden Age beauties and not include Marilyn Monroe? For many, she is the first name to pop up when having a conversation about beautiful actresses. While I think you can debate Monroe’s acting abilities, there’s no denying that she was a gorgeous woman. In fact some believe her popularity as a major sex symbol was greater than her popularity as an actress. What ever the case, Marilyn Monroe became a cinematic icon and her beauty adorned magazine covers, wall calendars, and several great films including “The Seven Year Itch” and “Some Like it Hot”. Sadly Monroe died at the young age of 36 with so much ahead of her. But she left us with memories of one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the big screen.
#3 – GRACE KELLY
Not many women can say they had an opportunity to be a celebrated actress and a royal princess. Well Grace Kelly could and you can add ‘one of the most beautiful women in film history’ to the list as well. Kelly only appeared in eleven pictures but many became true classics. She appeared in two of my very favorite Alfred Hitchcock films “Dial M for Murder” and “Rear Window”. She also appeared in other wonderful movies such as “High Noon” and “To Catch a Thief”. Regardless of the movie, she was absolutely stunning and it’s hard to take your eyes off of her. She retired from acting at the early age of 26 and went to be the Princess of Monaco. She had a tragic end to her life but she left behind so many reminders of her great talents and her incredible beauty. There’s no way I could leave her off this list.
#2 – AUDREY HEPBURN
While she may not be one of the sexy blonde bombshells that took Hollywood by storm, to me Audrey Hepburn is one of the most beautiful actresses of her era or any era. It was easy to be attracted to Hepburn’s peppy and graceful charms on the screen. It was even easier to be mesmerized by her physical beauty – the dark hair, the big eyes, the darling smile. Her sprightly attitude fits perfectly with her glamorous appearance and throughout her movies you couldn’t help but be swept away by her presence. From her early films such as “Roman Holiday” and “Sabrina” to later Golden Age films like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Charade”, Hepburn dazzled audiences during her amazing run. Some may downplay this choice, but I think Audrey Hepburn is nothing short of stunning.
#1 – INGRID BERGMAN
I still remember the first time I saw Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca”. I thought she was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen in the movies. Nothing has changed. I still feel the same way. Much like Kelly and Hepburn, Bergman had an undeniable grace and elegance to her. But she also had a beauty that could command and sometimes take over the screen. Her look wasn’t showy or overtly sexy like Monroe and others. The Swedish beauty possessed a subtle and natural allure. Don’t believe me? Well just watch her in “Casablanca”, “Gaslight”, and “Notorious”. Bergman would often times take on roles that would require her to hide her beauty. But even then you couldn’t help but recognize her as a gorgeous leading lady.
So there are my five choices. So many other beautiful Golden Age actresses come to mind. Who did I miss? Please take time to share your pick.