As the entertainment industry has grown, we have seen some sex symbols appear, both male sex symbols and female sex symbols. These are people that are regarded as being really damn sexy. The people that are often cast purely for their looks alone.
Of course, there have been hundreds upon hundreds of actors, musicians, etc. that have been regarded as sex symbols at some point. This made this list pretty damn difficult to put together. However, we are fairly confident that this list of the top 30 sex symbols ever contains some of the best-looking people to ever enter the entertainment industry. We are sure that you will agree with every single one of these people, even if there were others that you wish you could have included.
Let’s jump in, shall we?
You can think of Jean Harlow as one of the original sex symbols. She wasn’t in the film business for long, but she certainly had an impact. Sadly, due to an early death, we never got to see more of this absolute goddess. She wasn’t just about the good looks, though. Oh no.
She was also a tremendous comic actress, and some of her movies helped to make stacks of cash for MGM studios. If you want to see her at her absolute best, then you need to be checking out the likes of ‘Read-Headed Woman’, ‘Reckless’, and her final movie ‘Saratoga’, although that one had to use a few body doubles during the production because of her early death.
You know that you are sexy when religious groups are looking to censor you. Mae West was one of the most influential comic actresses in history. She was also one of the most censored. Turns out that she thrived on it. This was a woman that was always trying to push the bounds of what was regarded as ‘safe’ to say.
To give you an idea of how sexy some people thought she was, during World War II, the American military named their lifevests ‘Mae West’, which rhymed with breast. So, and forgive us for saying this about somebody that has long since passed, she clearly had a set of knockers on her. This was a woman that really set the world of female sex symbols rolling.
You just knew that we had to include Marilyn Monroe on this list at some point. So, we stuck her near the top of this list. This way you wouldn’t be waiting too long for her to appear. This woman is famed for dating presidents, Actors, Musicians, up-skirt photos, nude photos, etc. She is famed for being one of the sexiest people alive too.
However, she was also a top film actress. She was also the first person to ever appear on the cover of Playboy, which is a pretty big claim to fame as it is. Sadly, she died an early death. Thankfully, she left behind countless fantastic movies and pictures of her. This means that people will be able to enjoy the wonder of Marilyn Monroe for many, many years to come.
Sadly, it seems that many of the sex symbols that we will be discussing on this list died early. We have another woman that died in her early 30s here, and another of the early playmates. While Jayne Mansfield didn’t quite hit the levels of fame that Marilyn Mansfield had, she was still a massive deal at the time.
This blonde babe achieved fame through her acting, as well as various wardrobe malfunctions that seemed to happen in many public appearances. It seems that she was more than happy to play into the idea that she was a sex symbol. She was contracted to 20th Century Fox throughout her short career, appearing in several different movies for them.
Raquel Welch is actually the first actress on this list that is still alive. Crazy, right? Although, she is well into her 80s now. While many of the other women on this list were known for their comedy roles, Raquel Welch is perhaps best known for her horror roles, with a few starring positions in some classic movies produced by Hammer Films, one of the greatest horror studios of all time.
Just a few short years ago, she managed to appear third on a list of the top sexiest actresses from the 20th Century, which certainly isn’t a bad position to get in. She was even still acting as recently as 2017, although we doubt she is going to be having any more television or movie roles.
This is another woman that we are positive you were expecting would appear on this list at some point. This British actress has often be touted as one of the sexiest people in the movies. One of the first movies that she was ever involved in was Roman Holiday, this was a rom-com.
Now, the movie was pretty decent, but she is known for being the very first woman in history to secure the treble; an Oscar, BAFTA, and Golden Globe all for the same role. This goes to show that she was way more than just a pretty face. She was a fantastic actress. After she retired from the movies, she spent much of her life working for charities too, which goes to show that she was a tremendous person.
At the time of writing, this French actress is 86, so we are going to assume that she is nowhere near as good-looking as she was during her heyday. But, we doubt much can beat how good she looked during the peak parts of her career. In her incredibly short movie career, she managed to star in a huge 46 movies, some of them in French, some in English.
All veered toward the more sophisticated side of things. Once she realized that she had accomplished everything that she had set out to do, she became a successful singer. Once that career was done, it was onto animal rights activism. So, it is evident that this woman was so much more than just being a sex symbol.
Lana Turner was, at one point, one of the highest-paid actresses working in Hollywood. We aren’t really surprised about that. Her beauty was sure to attract people to the cinema. While she had a few ups and downs in her career, most notably the fact that her daughter ended up murdering somebody, nobody ever really forgot the sheer talent that Lana Turner displayed.
When she wasn’t acting in movies, she was spending a huge amount of time working on a modeling career, and we have no doubt that during the 1940s, many men throughout the United States were googling pictures of her. She did gain a reputation as somewhat of a diva in Hollywood, but we are sure this was born out of her desire to look perfect.
Gina Lollobrigida was an actress for a short period of time. She looked stunning in the movies that she acted in too. We are sure that you knew this. She is included on a list of the top sex symbols, after all. What we are more interested in was the way in which her career progressed.
Normally, when people leave the acting game, they become activists, models, or something. Gina Lollobrigida turned into a successful photojournalist. In fact, she is probably best known for being one of the first people to interview Fidel Castro. Hotel Paradiso is probably one of the movies where she looked the best, so if you want to see her at the top of her game, then watch her alongside Alec Guinness in that successful movie.
Elizabeth Taylor is another name that we are pretty certain you expected to see on this list. This woman was famed for playing one of the most beautiful women in history; Cleopatra. Well, at least who is assumed to be one of the most beautiful women in history. We still aren’t quite sure what Cleopatra actually looked like.
She was one of the first women to have any real power in Hollywood. At one point, she was disillusioned with the whole acting game as she felt producers had too much control over her. For the next few years, producers would bend over backward to give her more control. She was one of the first celebrities to take part in HIV/AIDs activism too. Almost 20-years before other celebrities would do it.
Sophia Loren, an Academy Award-winning actress, is next up on our list. She is an Italian actress, so you just know that she is going to be naturally beautiful. Despite being 86 (at the time of writing), she is still starring in movies. One of the most recent being the Netflix movie ‘The Life Ahead’ which was released in 2020.
While she doesn’t quite have the same looks that she did early on in her career (she is almost 90!), she does still have the acting chops. Her beauty meant that she was one of the first women ever to be photoshopped onto nude bodies. She successfully sued about it.
Next up, we have Swiss actress Ursula Andress who is perhaps best known for her role as Honey Ryder in the James Bond film ‘Dr. No’. She actually starred in a couple of James Bond movies in her career. The other one not actually being related to the well-known James Bond franchise at all.
There was a parody of Casino Royale a couple of decades ago. She was acting up to 2005, and around the same time, she was named as one of the sexiest women to ever grace the silver screen. Nowadays, she apparently spends most of her time switching between living in Rome and in Switzerland, although we are sure she earned it. She spent her life batting off the gaze of men.
Farrah Fawcett is perhaps best known for starring in the TV show ‘Charlie’s Angels’, and we are sure that she had plenty of men with posters of her up on the wall at the time. Over the years, she starred in countless movies and TV shows, and she looked gorgeous in all of them, even when she entered her later years. Sadly, Farrah Fawcett was taken from us way too soon by cancer in her 60s. If it hadn’t, then she likely would still be acting to this very day.
The thing with Bo Derek is that while she was regarded as a sex symbol, she hasn’t really starred in that many great movies. The very first one that she starred in was a rousing critical and commercial success; 10. However, her subsequent movies, all directed by her husband at the time, were met with awful reviews.
Although, people still flocked to see the beauty of Bo Derek. Nowadays, she still engages in a bit of TV and movie acting, and you may find her on the odd documentary every so often. She still puts on a decent show. While she is almost 70, you can still see remnants of her good looks.
Madonna is one of the most successful musicians in history. While you may not necessarily be a fan of her work, there is no denying that she completely changed the pop industry. She is still performing to this very day, although it is fair to say that she has lost a little of her good looks.
However, when she first got started in the movie business way back in the 1980s, she was an absolute goddess. She has made some controversial documentaries in her time too, and while she did not come across as the best person in the world when she starred in those documentaries, she still managed to retain fame, and she can easily sell out arenas, even to this day.
Baywatch. Pretty much all you need to know about this. While we are sure that Baywatch did have some awesome storylines, we are positive that the majority of people watched the show just so they could see Pamela Anderson slow running across a beach while wearing a tight fitting bikini.
She actually still looks good today, even though she is getting on a bit. Her history as a sex symbol actually played a key role in the first Borat movie, where Borat made it his mission to kidnap her. She is still starring in movies to this day.
Honestly, one of the hottest scenes we have ever seen in a movie is watching Angelina Jolie shower in the first Tomb Raider movie. Now, it was a terrible movie and nothing like the games, but we will still turn that movie on every so often just to see this babe in the shower. Yes. We know that porn exists.
She still has a tremendous amount of good looks to this day, and when one of the male sex symbols, Brad Pitt, is willing to leave Jennifer Aniston for you, you just know that you look good. She is still starring in movies, but she is now known for her charity work, and probably adopting way too many children.
In World War II, there were a lot of pin-ups being used by the American military. However, it is claimed that Rita Hayworth was the pin-up that people were using more than any other woman. This goes to show just how damn sexy people found her. She started her career as a dancer, and ended it an actress.
Sadly, she was taken in her 60s by Alzheimer’s Disease. However, it is down to this woman that we know so much about the condition. Because her battle was so public, it encouraged more research into the condition. While this doesn’t really play into her sex symbol nature, it is nice to know that she ended up having a huge impact on the world beyond this.
Pam Grier is a little bit different from some of the sex symbols that we have covered already. While many of those were spending their time starring in comedy movies, or perhaps a bit of romance, Pam Grier was one of the very first female action stars.
It turns out that people not only loved her good looks, but the fact that she was really kicking ass on the big screen. While she is in her 70s now, she is still getting acting jobs. In fact, if you have ever played the game Grand Theft Auto V, she is one of the voice actors on one of the radio stations!
Tina Turner is one of the top female rock and roll stars of all time. In fact, even in her 80s, she is still performing. What is interesting about Tina Turner is that she managed to achieve a huge amount of fame at a time when it would have been exceedingly hard for a black female singer to make it in the business.
This goes to show the amount of talent that she had. While she has had several ups and downs throughout her career, many of which were in relation to her husband Ike Turner, she has continued to thrive and is still producing top 40 singles. Crazy, right?
Cybil Shepherd has had quite the career, and is still acting to this day. She is perhaps best known for starring in the movie Taxi Driver. She has had a string of famous admirers too. At one point, she almost married Elvis Presley, although he was too addicted to drugs for her to make it work.
She managed to catch the attention of Robert de Niro, and even Jack Nicholson asked her out. However, she ended up marrying a mechanic. Turns out that you don’t need to be a famous actor to get with one of the hottest people in Hollywood.
Jackqueline Bisset is actually closely associated with another of the female sex symbols on this list; Angelina Jolie. In fact, she is her godmother. Jacqueline Bisset is perhaps best known for the various movies that she starred in during the 1970s. Airport and Murder on the Orient Express being the best known of them.
She won an Oscar for the second role. Nowadays, you are likely to find her starring in BBC TV shows. However, the fact that this English actress is also fluent in both French and Italian has resulted in her being found on the silver screen in those two countries too.
Many people probably remember Kim Basinger from 9 1/2 Weeks. However, who can forget her in that movie? it was damn erotic. Although, the very first time people got to enjoy her beauty was when she starred as a Bond Girl. Over her career, she has been an actor, singer, and activist.
She is also known for the string of relationships she has had with various actors and musicians. Of course, her most famous marriage being to that of Alec Baldwin. However, she supposedly also had an affair with Prince. Perhaps most recently, she has starred in the movie Fifty Shades Darker which, despite being a movie known for being kinky, she wasn’t really a sex symbol in.
Melanie Griffith has starred in several movies over her career, with Body Double being her most famous, although we are sure that this is because she played the role of a porn star in it. No. You do not get to see her actually star in porn.
To give you an idea of how beautiful she was in her heyday, Melanie Griffith managed to marry some male sex symbols such as Antonio Banderas and Don Johnson. Her acting was on point too, having picked up several awards during her long career.
Sharon Stone probably holds the record for one of the most paused moments in movie history. Hell, we are positive that most of you have paused the movie at the pivotal moment in Basic Instinct. Although, this movie happened long after people started to regard her as a sex symbol in the 1980s.
Even in her 60s, Sharon Stone is still regularly acting, mainly in Netflix productions. Hell, we would probably still call her damn sexy.
While you probably wouldn’t trade the 1980s Sharon Stone for the 2020s Sharon Stone, we are positive that you wouldn’t say no if she came onto you.
Demi Moore, at one point, was one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywod. She was paid a huge wad of cash to star in the movie Striptease. The film was regarded as terrible and almost killed her career, but it was still worth it for us. The poster for the movie involved a naked Demi Moore, and we are sure that people loved to have it hung up on the wall.
Even in her 60s, this woman is still a babe. Hell, she was hot enough that Ashton Kutcher, another person regarded as a male sex symbol, was happy enough to marry her, even though she was in her 50s at that point. Yes. This caused a ton of controversy.
Charlize Theron is probably one of the most versatile actresses on this list. She has starred in Disney movies like Mighty Joe Young, and as a serial killer. She has picked up countless awards, and she still picks them up to this day. Although, we are sure that her acting chops haven’t stopped people idolizing the beauty of this South African babe. She is still in her 40s, which means that we have a lot more to come from her still.
Penelope Cruz may be almost 50, but one look at her, and you would swear that she is still in her 30s. We suppose it must be those Spanish genes that she has. She is perhaps best known for her starring roles in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Blow, and Vanilla Sky. Even today, she does a spot of modeling due to how gorgeous she looks, and she is often paid rather healthy sums of cash to be the face of all manner of beauty products.
Giselle Bundchen is the only non-actress on this list. She is purely a supermodel. In fact, some people regard this Brazilian as one of the best supermodels in history. Of course, because she is a model, she has managed to bag herself some male sex symbols, including Leonardo DiCaprio, who she had a long relationship with. Nowadays, she spends a lot of time doing activism work alongside the UN.
Megan Fox is one of those women who we are positive was only ever cast in movies as a sex symbol. She first came to prominence in the movie Transformers, which involved a rather long scene of her repairing a vehicle. While she certainly isn’t the best actress in the world, she has a habit of continually being cast in movies as a bit of eye candy.