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Classic Hollywood's most beautiful women

Tracy E. Gilchrist | November 05, 2007

Old Hollywood glamour, class and style occasionally show up on today�s red carpet but there�s nothing quite like old-school Hollywood. Not only were Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly head-turning beauties whose careers thrived despite and because of their personal lives but they had acting chops to boot! The likes of Lindsay Lohan could learn a thing or two from the stunning, classy ladies who came before them – like how not to flash the goods climbing out of a limo.

Marlene Dietrich: A long-rumored and unapologetic bisexual, Marlene was a German import with endless sex appeal. Marlene�s androgynous turn in a top hat, tails and tights in Morocco, rendered young women and men – around the globe – gob-smacked. One of the most enduring images in Hollywood, Marlene the androgyne transcends age and gender.

Ingrid Bergman: �Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time,� utters Ingrid Bergman�s Ilsa to Humphrey Bogart�s Rick in Casablanca. One of the most iconic actresses of all-time, Bergman continually proved she was more than a mere Swedish bombshell.

Her roles, and that face that could break a million hearts, are indelibly stamped on movie history from the troubled heiress in Gaslight, to her wealthy playgirl turned captive by her Nazi sympathizer husband in Alfred Hitchcock�s Notorious. Later in her career, Bergman left Hollywood to make serious art – and her stunning daughter, Isabella – with Italian director Roberto Rossellini.

Elizabeth Taylor: In the 1958 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams� sexual, southern potboiler, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Elizabeth Taylor is breathtaking in a simple, white slip. Her sexually frustrated Maggie the Cat to Paul Newman�s repressed homosexual Brick, remains one of the most beautiful on-screen pairings in history. Move over Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt!

A bona-fide movie-star who played the quintessential fag hag in Williams' Suddenly Last Summer, and an Oscar winner for playing a high-priced hooker in Butterfield 8, Taylor was the first celebrity to ever make a million for a flick when she pulled in that amount for the extravagant bomb, Cleopatra. An outspoken AIDS activist since the beginning of the epidemic, Taylor�s still a national treasure.

Grace Kelly: The model �Hitchcock Blonde,� Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco turned heads and smashed the stereotype of the dumb blonde. Kelly�s stunning blonde coiffure, impossibly cinched waist and elegantly long neck wrenched focus away from her �leading� men, including Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window and Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief.

But the American beauty who grew up to become a princess was more than a pretty face. She nabbed an Oscar for her dialed-down role in Country Girl. In 1982, Kelly died tragically in a car crash traversing the winding roads near Monaco but her elegance and class continue to endure.

Audrey Hepburn: One of the most beloved actresses of all time, Audrey was both a bona-fide movie-star and a heartfelt humanitarian. Sound familiar Angelina? Early in her career, Audrey played the stunning every girl in Funny Face, Sabrina and Roman Holiday, but when she inhabited the lovably quirky Holly Golightly in the big-screen version of Truman Capote�s novella Breakfast at Tiffany�s, Audrey sealed her deal as a gay icon and truly great actress.

Audrey also went on to become the face of Eliza Doolittle, the original Pygmalion in My Fair Lady, but it was a hard sell believing that elegant Audrey ever needed refining. While Hollywood virtually stripped Lillian Hellman�s The Children�s Hour of it�s lesbian subtext, as co-owners of a school for girls, who couldn�t blame Shirley MacLaine�s character for falling in love with Audrey�s?

Katherine Hepburn: The woman who was once named �box-office� poison has become – along with Meryl Streep – one of the most gifted actors of all-time.

From her gender-bending turn in Sylvia Scarlett to her snappy repartee in films like Pat and Mike, The Philadelphia Story and Bringing up Baby and on to dramatic blockbusters including The African Queen and later, Guess Who�s Coming to Dinner, Katherine�s high cheekbones, New England upper crust accent and flaming red locks have become the trademarks of one of Hollywood�s most stunning and talented women.

Natalie Wood: Natalie Wood brought the boys – and if it weren�t the repressed early 1960�s, the girls – to her balcony as Maria in West Side Story. Sure the raven-haired beauty didn�t sing her own songs for the film, but who could take their eyes off of Wood on the Balcony during �Tonight�?

Before that she made Jimmy Dean�s troubled youth swoon in 1955�s Rebel without a Cause. And the same year she played Maria, Wood teamed with a gorgeous young Warren Beatty in the tale of forbidden young love in Splendor in the Grass. Wood played the troubled teen girl like none of today�s starlets could touch. In 50 years it�ll be Lindsay who? But Natalie�s screen persona is indelible.

Sophia Loren: Still a stunner in her early 70�s, Sophia Loren puts the voom in �va va voom.� This buxom Italiana is equally loved in Hollywood and in Italy. A poster girl through the ages, Sophia is old-school glamour and pure sex personified.

Making her mark in Vittorio De Sica�s Two Women, about ties that bind women and rife with some Sapphic subtext, Sophia is thrilling in black and white. Nearly 50 years later the Roman bombshell�s signed on for a role in the big screen version of the sexy Broadway play Nine. Sophia� still so smoking she�s likely to give her co-stars, a pair of younger beauties, Penelope Cruz and Catherine Zeta-Jones, a run for their money! – Gay Link Content

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