Chilling Photos From The Groovy Era
The crew of the Challenger, moments before their final flight on January 28, 1986
We can find a myriad of narratives in historical photos, and not all of them are pleasant. They can show us slices of life that we’d rather not think about, and startling images that we can’t look away from. The photos in this collection of chilling points in history will shake you to your core. Many of these shots will keep you up at night, while others will be impossible to look away from.
Be advised, some of these photos are going to be tough to look at, but others will take your breath away. You need to take a long look at each of these shots that show unnerving moments in history. Keep reading, and remember to use caution.
The dangers of space travel always seem so far away. We think of the astronauts running out of oxygen or bouncing off the moon into the cold blackness of space, but it’s the takeoffs that really pose a threat to astronauts. That’s never been more apparent than on January 28, 1986, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after taking off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, killing all seven astronauts on board. One passenger on board, Christa McAuliffe, was a teacher chosen for the flight by NASA’s Teacher in Space" program. All loss of life is tragic, but to lose non-professional personal is absolutely shocking.
Muhammad Ali talks a suicidal veteran down from a high rise, 1981
Muhammad Ali has always been an inspirational figure, and even when he was down on his luck he knew that he was destined to change the world. After returning to the world of boxing Ali fought in “The Thrilla in Manilla” against Joe Frazier, a bout that changed him irrevocably. He was no longer the wise cracking whipper snapper who could lay someone out with his fists and his words, he was an aging boxer, but that didn’t stop Ali from trying to make a difference.
On Jan. 19, 1981, a young man going by the name of Joe was working up the nerve to jump out of a window in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles. There were people on the street telling him to jump to his death while the police tried to coax him inside. Joe told them that he was “no good,” but a few minutes later boxing legend Muhammad Ali drove up the street in a Rolls-Royce. He ran into the building and up to a nearby window where he shouted for the young man to re-evaulate his life. According to the New York Times Ali shouted, “You’re my brother! I love you, and I couldn’t lie to you,” before getting out on the fire escape and guiding the man inside and taking him to a near by veteran’s hospital.
One of the final photos taken of Sharon Tate
Taken days before she was murdered by the Manson family, this photo of Sharon Tate was taken by Terry O’Neill while the young actress hung around her house on Cielo Drive and even while she unwrapped baby clothes. O’Neill and Tate spent all day on August 4, 1969 taking photos. Three days later she was stabbed to death after having dinner at El Coyote. In 2019 O’Neill told the Daily Mail that it’s hard for him to think about the photos because of what could have been:
Sharon was a delight, as lovely as she was beautiful. And she was so excited about becoming a mum. I worked with her a year or so before she was expecting; some really beautiful studio portraits of her. It's hard for me to look at these photos, especially, because there's no way in the world anyone would have predicted what would happen next.
James Dean at a gas station in 1955 was just before his fatal car accident
On September 30, 1955 James Dean took his last drive in “Little Bastard,” his Porsche 550 Spyder. He planned on heading to an auto rally in Salinas, California, somewhere he could cut loose and not have to be a stoic actor. Dean liked to drive fast and his small collection of Porches gave him all the horsepower that he needed. In 1955 Dean raced in the Palm Springs Road Races, the Minter Field Bakersfield race, and the Santa Barbara Road Races. There’s no word if he placed, but that wasn’t the point, he just wanted to fly. Dean initially wanted to tow the Porche to Salinas, but then he decided to drive the car to the race at the last minute. That afternoon, Dean suffered a head on collision with a Ford Tudor on Highway 466. The driver of the Tudor and Dean’s passenger survived, but Dean was killed instantly. He was only 24-years-old.
A photographer realized 30 years later that he took a photo of Robin Williams miming in Central Park
While photographer Daniel Sorine was walking through Central Park one day in 1974 he started snapping shots of a couple of mimes who were goofing off. The entire set of photos is a lot of fun, but the most startling thing about the photos is that Sorine captured early photos of Robin Williams before he became one of the most famous people on the planet. Sorine explained what drew him to Williams:
What attracted me to Robin Williams and his fellow mime, Todd Oppenheimer, was an unusual amount of intensity, personality and physical fluidity. When I approached them with my Pentax Spotmatic they allowed me to invite them into my camera instead of me having to chase after them.
Jacqueline Kennedy reaches for help after JFK was shot in 1969
After a series of shots rang out across Dallas on November 22, 1963, the world was never the same. This photo shows one of the more mysterious moments from the JFK assassination as people have speculated that it either shows Jackie reaching for a secret service agent or a piece of skull fragment. Some people have surmised that she was trying to escape, but according to Former Secret Service Agent Clint Hill Jackie refused to leave her husband’s side even when they made it to the hospital. In 2013 he told CBS:
Mrs. Kennedy had ahold of the president and wouldn’t let go. I pleaded with her to please let us help the president, but she wouldn’t let go. She didn’t want anybody to see the condition he was in because it was horrible. So, I took off my suit coat and I covered his head and as soon as I did that, she let go. We rushed him into trauma room one, doctors came running from all over the hospital, trying to do everything they could to revive him.
A young Osama Bin Laden with his family on a trip to Sweden, 1971
It’s hard to believe it but that smiling boy that’s the second from the right is one of the worst terrorists that the world has ever known. When this photo was taken in 1971, 23 members of the incredibly wealthy Bin Laden family visited Falun, Sweden, too sight see while his one of the oldest brothers entered into business talks with Volvo. At the time Bin laden was only 16-years-old and he didn’t really speak up, The Guardian reports that he was remembered as being reserved on the trip. In an interview with the same site his mother noted that he was a very good kid with a lot of love to give.
16 year old Demi Moore bared all for Oui magazine before she was of age
Demi Moore had the late ‘80s and ‘90s wrapped around her finger. Her raspy voice set her apart from the rest of the actresses of the era, but before she appeared in films like St. Elmo’s Fire and Ghost she posed for cheesecake photo spreads in Europe. One of her first major shoots was a saucy session with French magazine Oui. At the time Moore just wanted to work and she claims that she lied about her age in order to get the job. She’s told various interviewers that she was either 16 or 17 years old when the photos were taken. It seems that in her teens she’d do whatever she could to make it.
Judy and Jerry Griffin met at Woodstock in 1969, this is the only photo taken of them
Imagine meeting the love of your life at the most important music festival in recent memory and only taking one photo. Even worse, imagine not having that photo. That’s exactly what happened to Judy and Jerry Griffin, a couple who met on the road to the Woodstock Music Festival and ended up riding in the same van with one another. During their ride to the festival they got to know one another and never separated. It’s well known that the Griffins met at Woodstock, but it wasn’t until the photo of the couple showed up in the trailer for the PBS documentary Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation. Jerry told People Magazine, “We’d known each other less than 48 hours when that was taken.” What a way to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
Military men commit a burial at sea
Burial at sea has long been something that’s held the imaginations of all nautical obsessed land lubbers. As you might imagine, the Navy has a long list of regulations for how they dispose of bodies in the water. The most upsetting rule about these ceremonies is that family members aren’t allowed to say goodbye to their loved ones because the burials only occur when a ship is deployed. However, the commanding officer who performs the ceremony will inform the family of the date, time, and longitude and latitude after the bodies are tossed to the sea. It's a hefty trade off to send a loved one back to the water from which they came.
Tina Turner letting it all out on stage
Through pain and violence Tina Turner gave audiences the relief that she couldn’t have every time she walked on stage in the 1960s and ‘70s. While performing with her husband and abuser Ike Turner she shouted out hits like “A Fool In Love,” “River Deep-Mountain High,” and their biggest hit “Proud Mary” while dealing with the intense abuse from her husband and band leader. He changed her name, then trademarked it so she couldn’t use it. When they finally separated she incurred the debts from their canceled shows. Things weren’t down for long for Tina Turner. After the release of “Private Dancer” in 1984 she became a superstar, earning the praise she so greatly deserved.
The last known photo of all four members of the Beatles together, taken on August 22, 1969
Two days after recording a final set of overdubs on “Abbey Road” the band convened at John Lennon’s estate for what would be the final Beatles photo session. Each member of the group looks exhausted, and they clearly don’t want anything to do with one another, let alone with rock music. Paul McCartney is the only member of the group who looks like he wants to be there, or at the very least he’s the only member of the band who shaved. Each member of the band except for Ringo brought along someone to help ease the stress of the session. McCartney brought his sheepdog Martha, George’s wife Patti hung out and filmed, and of course Yoko was there. The band wouldn’t reconvene until mid September of that year when the band called it quits.
When Sunny and Cher had each other, babe
Their relationship may have started as platonic when she was 16 and he was 27, but Cher said that she was simply drawn to him when they began singing together. When they first hit it big in 1965 Cher was only 19 and suddenly all eyes were on this seemingly mismatched couple. Even so, Cher says that they were drawn together. In 2018 she told Elle:
I swear, it was like the Maria and Tony scene. Everyone just disappeared. He was the most unusual person I’d ever seen. He had longish hair, and he had the most beautiful suit on, and beautiful long fingers, and Beatle boots, but they were Cuban heels.
After Sonny and Cher hit it big with “I Got You Babe” their lives changed forever, and Cher wasn’t ready. She said:
It sounds so dumb, but everything happened so fast. I didn’t even know where I was. One day we were poor. Two days, three days later, we were famous.
Johnny Cash looks out of it while he eats cake in a bush
The man in black was not only notable for his ability to write some of the best and most down home country songs of the day, but his drug intake was unmatched by anyone other than Keith Richards. His drug and alcohol addiction nearly ruined his second marriage, and he almost killed him multiple times. That being said, this photo isn’t what it seems.
This isn’t some candid shot of Cash with a stolen birthday cake, it’s a promo shot from his 1976 album “Strawberry Cake.” Supposedly, Cash saw a homeless man one day while walking through New York City and it reminded him of how well he’d done with his life. He said that if he knew who the man was he’d “send him a piece of Strawberry Cake.”
Martin Luther King Jr. removing a burned cross from his lawn
For all the work that Martin Luther King Jr. did to curb the tide of racism in the south, he never escaped the ire of the racists whom he was trying to understand. This photo shows that King faced the evil that men do with aplomb - he put on a suit, he shined his shoes, and didn’t let anyone keep him down. It couldn’t have been easy to face down such a horrific threat with a young family by his side. He fought back against racism with his words until he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Albert II, the first humanoid launched into space before his once and only flight
The sad truth of space travel is that before humans were blasted into space scientists used another mammal to make sure we were fit for the coldness beyond the atmosphere. These test humanoids were anesthethized prior to their missions and covered with implants and sensors so researchers could take detailed readings of their trip. Albert II, a male rhesus monkey, was placed in a V2 rocket on June 14, 1949, and launched 83 miles into the sky. Albert II nearly survived the flight, but a problem with the parachute on his recovery capsule lead to Albert dying upon impact.
Jamie Lee Curtis and her mother Janet Leigh in matching outfits at Studio 54
It’s hard to be friends with your parents. Not only are they our disciplinarians, but they’re can be hard to understand. Most people would never party with their mom, but Jamie Lee Curtis isn’t most people. She’s said that when her parents divorced she felt betrayed by her father and became incredibly close with her mother. She told the Huffington Post:
By the time I came along, following my sister, Kelly, by two and a half years, my parents’ bond had deteriorated precipitously as their stardom grew. And like any other save-the-marriage baby, I failed. Janet suffered public embarrassment as Tony chose a 17-year-old replacement, a German actress with whom he was working, and she felt the slings and arrows of tabloid gossip and innuendo. She told me that she did the memorable scene on the train in The Manchurian Candidate the day she found out that Tony had filed for divorce.
After undercover cops arrested her, this exotic dancer showed off in court, Florida 1983
Exotic dancers have never had an easy run with the law. People look down on them even if they pay for their services. This dancer had to prove to a judge that the bottoms she wore while performing didn’t reveal too much - the only way she could do that was by bending over in front of the judge in the same outfit she wore on stage. This saucy photo brought the Floridian dancer acclaim when it ran in Playboy. It’s not clear if the dancer was able to get off without serving time or paying a fine, hopefully she made it back to the club sooner than later.
Freddie Mercury and his ex-girlfriend and lifelong friend Mary Austin
We should all be so lucky as to find a friend as close as Mary Austin was to Freddie Mercury. The two best friends started out as lovers, After meeting in 1969 Mercury and Austin were unseperable. They spent nearly a decade together a couple, but even when after they separated they remained close friends and even lived as neighbors until Mercury passed away in 1991. Mercury explained his friendship with Austin:
All my lovers asked me why they couldn’t replace Mary, but it’s simply impossible. The only friend I’ve got is Mary, and I don’t want anybody else. To me, she was my common-law wife. To me, it was a marriage.
An East German soldier helping a lost boy sneak across the Berlin Wall
When the Berlin Wall went up on August 13, 1961, the city wasn’t ready to be cut in half. The worst part about the forced splitting of the city was the fact that no one from East Berlin was allowed to cross over to West Berlin and vice versa. As chaos ensued this boy found himself on the wrong side of the wall. Rather than doom a child to a life of poverty without his family, this unknown soldier took his career into his own hands and helped the boy across the wall (at this point it was a simple barbed wire fence). The soldier was caught after saving the boy, and while it’s believed that he was removed from his post no one really knows what happened to him.
Princess Diana sits alone on a yacht, July 1997
During the final months of her life, Princess Diana spent her days traveling the world with new beau Dodi Fayed, a billionaire businessman. Her decision polarized the western world. She was already one of the most watched women in the world, now she spent her days alone on Fayed’s yachts and in hotel suites while the paparazzi tried to capture a saucy photo. This picture captured Diana’s lonely opulence. It’s depressing to know that one of the most giving people on the planet could feel so alone. Weeks after this photo was taken Diana passed away on August 31, 1997 after her car crashed in a tunnel in Paris, France, during a chase with the paparazzi.
Neil Armstrong's family watching him launch to the moon, July 16, 1969
July 16, 1969, was a tense day for the families of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. They strapped themselves into Apollo 11 and shot off to make the first moon landing. Armstrong’s family attended the shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center, and while they put on a brave face there’s no way that they weren’t worried about their father and husband. Spoiler alert: Armstrong and company made it to the moon and uttered some of the most memorable words in American history when they touched down. The Apollo 11 crew returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. Hopefully they had a nice dinner once they touched down.
Tough guy Charles Bronson walks hand in hand with wife and co-star Jill Ireland
When Charles Bronson comes to mind fans think of the Death Wish series, with Bronson taking street vengeance on every teenage punk he comes across. In reality Bronson was quite the sweetheart. His made sure that his second wife, Jill Ireland, appeared with him in multiple films. The two were together nearly constantly, which showed that he wasn't your standard Hollywood leading man. Bronson, Ireland, and their children were all close. Whenever Bronson was filming everyone piled into the RV and traveled to location so they could all be together. Unfortunately, Ireland passed away from breast cancer in 1990 at the home she and Bronson shared in Malibu.
The Manson girls in simpler times
Before the murder, before Helter Skelter, Charles Manson was leading a polygamous cult made up of homeless weirdoes and drop outs who sometimes lived with Beach Boy Brian Wilson and sometimes lived in the desert encampment of Spahn Ranch. There, Manson used a healthy amount of LSD to cultivate a group of young women who believed that they were meant to serve him. In 1967 Diane Lake was only 14-years-old when she joined the Manson family. She explained how she was kept in the fold through mind bending drugs and devious sex acts:
LSD was given out like a sacrament. We took turns taking each other’s clothes off, in a circle… He orchestrated all of it. He even arranged the partners.
After Lake left the ranch to visit her family against MAnson’s orders she was removed from the “inner circle,” although she was still rounded up by the LAPD after the Tex Watson and some of the inner most girls carried out a gruesome series of murders over a two night spree.
This 1960s vintage cigarette ad makes the art of seduction sound easy
This ad for Tiparillos posits a reality where two things are certain: violinists are always good to go, and they love a tasty mini-cigar with a plastic filter on the end. Cigarette ads from the 1960s made sure to push the idea that sex was better with a cigarette, preferably before and after, but the ways in which they spread the idea are mind boggling. Aside from the fact that it’s shocking to see a cigarette ad when they’ve been banned for so long, it’s wild that the violinist’s barely there blouse made it past the advertising censors of the day,
Kids take a dip in the Swimmobile, Detroit 1960s
You know that feeling - on the hottest day of summer when the sun is melting your skin and draining your brain, the only thing you want to do is take a dip in the pool. But what if a swimming pool isn’t available? That’s where the Swimmoble comes in. In the 1960s the swimmoble was a traveling pool that was driven through the inner city of Detroit so kids would have somewhere to swim. Young people had to wait until the Swimmobile came around to their neighborhood, but if they were smart they moved from block to block with the pool.
Ann-Margret was born to be wild
Ann-Margaret is one of the great beauties of the 1960s, but she’s not just a glorified Barbie doll, when she wants to she can cut loose. One of her favorite things to do is open up a motorcycle on the highway, something she’s been doing since she was a little girl. She explained:
My uncle rode bikes and when I was a young child, we lived very close to the Norwegian border so we’d travel from my village all the way over among the fjords and mountains… I loved it, and later when I saw The Wild Ones with Marlon Brando, it just blew me away. I had to have a motorcycle. My father owned an Indian motorcycle, so he really couldn’t say anything when I wanted one of my own.
A soldier rescues two children during a skirmish in Vietnam
During the Vietnam War American soldiers weren’t just tasked with fighting the Viet Cong, they were also expected to take care of the South Vietnamese and make sure their children were safe. This wasn’t an easy task, especially when the Viet Cong could and did attack at any time. Regardless of which side of the war the children were born into, they didn’t have a say in the fighting and didn’t have any place in the battles. Soldiers did whatever they could to take care of children caught in the middle of a fire fight, unfortunately not every child survived the war.
Andre the Giant towering over his friends while seated on an ATV
With a massive body that had him standing over seven feet tall, Andre the giant wasn’t the fastest guy on the planet. While living on his farm in North Carolina he got around on an ATV, something that the producers of The Princess Bride used to their advantage while working with the notorious slowpoke on set. According to co-star Cary Elwes you had to see Andre zipping around on a three wheeler to believe it. He said:
The production manager asked him ‘Andre, how do you get around at home on your farm in North Carolina?’ and Andre said ‘I use an ATV, boss’ An all-terrain vehicle. So they searched and I think they found the only all-terrain vehicle in England in 1986… He loved this thing, he would zip along all day. You would stop what you were doing. ‘Oh my god!’ VROOM, this guy going by.
Madonna studied at the University of Michigan for a year
Before becoming queen of pop music Madonna was just a girl with a dream. In the ‘70s she briefly attended the University of Michigan and threw herself into the dance program. According to the university, Madonna lived at University Towers, Apt. 10A, but her real work happened in New York City, She didn’t move to the city that never sleeps until the late ‘70s, and while she lived in Michigan.
Madonna only studied at the University of Michigan for one year, and after that she moved on to try her luck in the big apple, although she previously claimed that she was a “famed high school dropout.”
Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall pose in drag for Brigitte Lancombe
When photographer Brigitte Lacombe wanted to snap a photo of Mick Jagger he said that she could take one picture. Not two, one. Jagger decided that he was going to do his own outfit and makeup and this is what he showed up wearing. Jagger slipped into full drag in makeup and gown, while his partner Jerry Hall wore a full suit with a coat and a tie. Lacombe loved Jagger and Hall’s gender swapped outfits as she felt that their decision was kooky but not too camp to ruin her vision. By the ‘90s Jagger was deep into his art house provocateur phase, and while it may have been strange to his fans at the time, in hindsight it totally makes sense,.
Ann Margret showing off her considerable assets
Ann-Margret immigrated to Illinois from Sweden with her mother in 1946 to be with her father, an electrician who came to America looking for work. Her first taste of stardom came when she was 19 when her act was caught by comedian George Burns and he cast her in his Christmas show at the Sahara in Vegas. From there she took on a series of roles in Frank Capra and George Sidney films. She was so popular that she constantly received letter from soldiers in Vietnam who wanted her to visit, so she went with a band and again with Bob Hope the next year. She told Interview Magazine:
I received sheets of paper that had 3,000 signatures of our guys wanting me to come over there. I went in 1966. It was just Johnny Rivers and the bassist and drummer and me. We went everywhere. And then in ’68 it was the Bob Hope Christmas show, and there were 85 people. So it was different feeling.
Shirley Muldowney posing with a custom car. She survived two explosions in two years
The First Lady of drag racing, Shirley Muldowney, started drag racing in the late ‘50s and shortly after her twin-engine debut she started tearing up the blacktop harder than the men who shared the road with her. Like most of her fellow drivers Muldowney has been involved in some major scrapes. She had two frightening back to back accidents that happened while she was racing her funny cars. The first accident occurred in 1972 at Ohio’s Dragway 42, and a year later her front engine car exploded mid-race. After suffering some nasty burns she switched to rear-engine dragsters which are relatively safer. She became the first woman to win the NHRA Winston Top Fuel Championship in 1977, and she’s still racing today.
Back to black (and red and white) - Amy Winehouse, age six, dressed as Minnie Mouse
It’s hard to look at this photo of a young Amy Winehouse and not think about the tragic turn that her life took when she was 27. In 2011 Winehouse passed away from accidental alcohol poisoning shortly after receiving her second Guinness World Record for the most songs by a woman to simultaneously appear on the UK singles chart, with eight. According to Winehouse, she was a rebellious spirt even from a young age. Shortly before her death she explained:
I wasn’t a tearaway but I definitely wouldn’t conform to anything. I was bad with authority and didn’t want to be told what to do. I’ve never been an idiot – I was a smart girl but I’d do stupid things like go around Asda and nick stuff because my friends told me to. I was a good girl as a teenager.
Debbie Harry in Los Angeles, 1977
In Debbie Harry’s memoir Face It she claims that she avoided being kidnapped and murdered by serial killer Ted Bundy. She writes that one night in the early ‘70s she was trying to catch a cab and ran into a Bundy lookalike:
I was trying to get across town to an after-hours club. A little white car pulls up, and the guy offers me a ride. So I just continued to try and flag a cab down. But he was very persistent, and he asked me where I was going. It was only a couple of blocks away, and he said, ‘well I'll give you a ride.’
There’s no record of Bundy being in New York City ever, but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t there. In a time before cameras were everywhere and smart phones tracked out every move it’s hard to say whether or not Bundy was in New York City. Whoever Debbie harry encountered, thank goodness she made it home that night.
Conoco Oil sprays down a woman for your engine's health
Could there be an ad today where a scientist hoses down a woman? From the outset this ad looks as if Conoco is trying to promote a wet t-shirt contest, but in reality it’s just one of those visuals that looks a little more naughty than it should. The ad is meant to showcase a synthetic product that supposedly helps engines last longer than other oils and that’s light on a crank shaft, but it’s hard to get that from the ad. Ads from the 1950s and ‘60s lean into sexuality in ways that the rest of the media from those areas tried to avoid. This ad is particularly saucy, before you get to randy this ad reminds you of all the possibilities of Conoco oil. The 1950s were amazing.
Raquel Welch twists away her worries at a USO show in a war zone
During the Vietnam War Bob Hope gave back to the American troops in the only way he knew how - by putting on a show. Throughout the war he hosted a ton of shows for the USO, bringing them to bases across Asia, often thrusting himself and the cavalcade of stars into dangerous areas that were under constant threat of attack. In 1967 Hope hosted a series of USO Christmas shows that brought along Raquel Welch who liked to invite soldiers on stage to dance with her. This photo shows her grooving with the 9th Infantry Division. As much fun as Welch was having she was putting her life on the line to help the military get a break from the cruelty of war.
Do you feel lucky punk? Clint Eastwood wasn't comfortable dancing with Princess Diana
In 1985 Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck, and John Travolta were invited to a presidential gala for the sole reason of giving Princess Diana someone to dance with. It’s hard to believe that Diana required a dance partner, but she was such a mesmerizing beauty, and there are strange rules with royalty, that people weren’t sure if they were allowed to dance with her. Apparently even Eastwood felt like that because Tom Selleck claimed that the Dirty Harry actor was nervous about the whole situation. Supposedly while they were dancing Eastwood told Diana, “You’re too old for me,” even though she was only 24.
Ronald Reagan with Serena go to the net with Venus Williams at Nancy Reagan's Celebrity Tennis Tournament, 1990
Serena and Venus Williams have been ripping it up on the tennis court for a long time. So long in fact that that they played at Nancy Reagan’s tennis tournament in 1990. At the time the two sisters were practicing in inner city Los Angeles and dealing with gang bangers and and bullets while they practiced their serves and backhands. If you’ve been paying attention to the sports world recently you don’t need us to tell you that they’ve been dominating the tennis world since they entered into the professional world. Since the early ‘90s the girls have won Olympic medals, tennis trophies, and they’ve claimed the hearts of people everywhere.
That's Lynda Carter hanging out in a groovy chair with some groovy hair
Even though Lynda Carter believed that she only nabbed the gig for Wonder Woman because she looked the part, she was a real talent. It wasn’t just the dark hair and mid drift that drew people towards her, it was her cool attitude that made audiences want to spend time with her. Initially she wanted to be a singer, but when the acting world opened up for her she leaned into her role. After Wonder Woman was canceled in 1978 she hosted a CBS special where she sang, danced, and worked her magic with guest stars. Carter has never left the minds of fans, and she’s continued to appear in comic book adaptations like the CW’s Supergirl.
Bill Paxton, Liam Neeson, and Patrick Swayze played brothers in "Next of Kin"
So what if Liam Neeson is from Europe? He still manages to look like he’s from the backwoods with Patrick Swayze and Bill Paxton. Maybe it’s the dirty trucker hat, or maybe it’s the beard. Whatever it is, these three worked together in Next of Kin, a film that follows Patric Swayze as he returns home to attempt to cut off the blood feud between his brother and the Chicago mafia. If you’ve never seen Next Of Kin you should check it out if you’re into revenge films or just seeing A-list stars act like they’re from the deep American south.
The material girl in a fried egg world, in 1974 Madonna starred in the short film "The Egg"
As a high school student in 1974 Madonna was still interested in creating intense artistic statements and using her body to get attention. In 1974 she appeared in the short film The Egg, directed by Wyn Cooper. In the one minute student film Madonna can be seen eating a raw egg in a bating suit, or rather letting a raw egg spill down her chin while she tries to eat it. After her unsuccessful meal another girl appears to fry and egg on Madonna’s stomach before eating it with a fork and knife. The short is definitely interesting, specifically because you get to see someone suffer for their art in real time.
Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski cutting loose in Los Angeles in the swinging '60s
Even though their outward appearance was one of a happy couple, sources close to Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski all claim that their marriage was anything but serene. Polanski’s marriage to one of the most beautiful women on the planet didn’t stop the director from cheating on her constantly or pushing her into sordid group sex situations. Everyone who knew Tate said that she was gentle and kind, but when she got together with Polanski she was thrust into a life of debauchery. The two married in 1968, but the Manson family saw to it that their marriage never had a chance to leave the honeymoon phase. Tate was murdered just one year later.
It wasn't all blood sweat and tears on the set of "Battle of the Network Stars"
What’s not to love about watching your favorite television actors compete against each other for a modest cash prize? Throughout the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, stars from the big three networks came together to see who had the stuff of Olympic champions. The episodes were treated like actual sports events, so much so that they were presented by announcing legend Howard Cosell. While the show featured celebrities performing athletic feats, it also had them playing games like tug of war and Simon Says; and there’s nothing like watching Lynda Carter turf out at a game that everyone played as kids.
Jamie Lee Curtis' first gig after Halloween was an episode of The Love Boat
Even though 1978’s Halloween set the standard for slasher films while single handedly making the career of Jamie Lee Curtis, the film wasn’t an overnight success. Initially Curtis was disappointed in the film’s failure, but when she went to see it with a large audience she knew that she was a part of something special. She told the New York Times:
It wasn’t a big success at first. I didn’t get any work from it, other than an episode of The Love Boat where I played my mother’s daughter. It was humiliating, but at the same time, it was a gig.
I remember going to see it in Hollywood, and in the middle of the movie, when Laurie is walking across the street to the house where P.J. Soles’s character has just been strangled, this woman stood up and screamed, ‘Don’t go in there!’ In that second, I understood exactly what John intended. The audience cared about Laurie.
Bill Gates was given a ton of independence by his parents
How do you raise your child to be the next Bill Gates? If you ask his parents they’ll tell you that the first trick not to smother him. When Gates was growing up his mother and father gave him plenty of room to be himself and figure out what he wanted. He made decisions that could be scary, like dropping out of Harvard University to movie to New Mexico to start Microsoft, but it paid off when he became one of the wealthiest people on the planet. His father, William Sr. explained:
Mary and I were both concerned about it — I think she a bit more than I. Her expectations and mine were very ordinary expectations of people who have kids in college — that they get a degree.
Yvonne Craig squeeze into her Batgirl costume during season three of "Batman"
Whether you’re a Trekkie or you’ve just got a thing for a gal with a batarang, Yvonne Craig has you covered. In the ‘60s she was the go to girl for playing Orion Slave Girls or plucky sidekicks who looked great in purple. While she was a mainstay on genre television Craig didn’t actually know anything about the shows on which she was appearing until she was cast. According to Craig, whenever she was offered a part she would do her homework so she didn’t disrespect the show’s creators. She said as much when she explained how she was cast as Bat Girl. She told Closer Weekly:
The producer, William Dozier, said, ‘I’m sure you’ve seen our show,’ and I said, ‘Actually, I haven’t, but if I get the part I’ll spend the summer watching re-runs so I know how I’ll fit into the scheme of things.’
Sophia Loren, America's Italian bombshell
Born in Italy, but world famous, thanks to her myriad of screen credits Sophia Loren belongs to everyone. Born to a deadbeat father, Loren turned herself into an honest to goodness star after she was discovered in a beauty contest when she was 14-years-old. She used her warm disposition and killer looks to work her way up the ladder until he won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Two Women. Talented and glamorous, Loren always looks camera ready, there’s something about her that captivates the audience regardless of whether she’s on the big screen or just posing in a candid photo.
The eye-catching Jungle Pam turning heads on the black top
Even if you’re not a racing fanatic. Even if you don’t run your fingers across Funny Car schematics and the differences in tire tread you know about Jungle Pam. She was a presence on and off the track who drew fans to racing while her partner "Jungle Jim" Lieberman changed the way people thought about the Funny Car scene. Pam didn’t know anything about drag racing when she joined up with Jim, but that didn’t stop her from learning everything she could about the work. She wasn’t just a glamorous figure on the track, she was engaged with the scene and even helped re-pack Jim’s parachute and topped the car off with oil. However, after four years she disapeared from the scene.
Queen of the jungle Pat Benatar was almost a school teacher
Today it seems crazy that record executives wouldn’t be drooling over Pat Benatar, that they wouldn’t be clawing over one another to release singles like “Love is a Battlefield,” but in the late ‘70s no one wanted what Benatar was selling. She wanted to be hard rocking musician who toured the country in a bus with a scrappy band, but the execs at Chrysalis had a different idea, they wanted her to be refined. Benatar writes in her autobiography that her first recording session was a “disaster” thanks to her label’s maneuvering:
Everything was wrong. The tracks were played technically well, but they had no soul, no passion. The recordings were a fiasco. I cried for days, saying that I was finished before I’d even started.
After the disastrous first recording session Benatar switched to a producer who’d previously worked with Blondie in order to get a better sound and the rest is history.
She may not have won a trophy at the 1977 Emmys, but Lynda Carter won the night with this dress
Lynda Carter was easily the best dressed woman, nay, person on television the ‘70s. Whether she was fighting crime on Wonder Woman or walking the red carpet at the Emmys she always looked stunning. This Emmys look is simple yet chic and it doesn’t have to do any work to remind the viewer that Lynda Carter is a force to be reckoned with. So how does Carter manage to look so effortlessly beautiful? She avoids the sun. In 2016 she told W Magazine:
[My mother] was so ahead of her time. She said, 'Do not go out in the sun. If you do, you’ll end up like a prune or an old leather purse.' At the time, there was no sun protection, so she’d wear hats and put cream on her face. And she used to give herself a facial with egg whites. She had no wrinkles on her face, and her hands were always soft.
Helen Mirren stunning as Morgana in Excalibur
When this English appeared as Morgana in Excalibur she took a gamble on the high concept fantasy film which could have very nearly ruined her career. According to Mirren the only reason that the film didn’t turn out to be high camp is due to director John Boorman’s deft handling. In 2017 she told the Huffington Post:
[Excalibur] one didn’t leap off the page. It was quite difficult to follow and I think it was very much to John Boorman’s credit that he crafted this very magical world out of what could have been a real mess. Some of those scenes when we read them during rehearsal sounded absolutely embarrassing! We were all like ‘My God, how can we say these lines?’ But with all the other elements, it all started falling into place, especially the lighting and the beauty of the film.
Alice Cooper once lost a boa constrictor in a hotel
Alice Cooper has been performing for decades and he’s rarely been seen without a snake wrapped around his shoulders. He often travels with his pets on the bus and even though he says his snakes have always been sweet, that doesn’t mean that they’re still not freaky. Once, Cooper lost a 12 foot boa constrictor in a hotel room. It took two weeks for his snake to reappear. He told the Telegraph:
I put her in the bath tub overnight as she loved to swim, but in the morning she had gone down the toilet. She eventually emerged two weeks later in a different bathroom, having survived on sewer rats in the plumbing. Charley Pride, the country singer, who was staying in that particular room at the time, must have got the shock of his life.
Susan Sarandon chilling in Cannes without a shirt, 1978
While attending the 1978 premiere of Pretty Baby at the Cannes Film Festival Susan Sarandon was the face of cool. The film took home the Technical Grand Prize, but the real award should go to Sarandon's look. This photo was taken while she was hanging out on the balcony outside of her hotel room, she’s relaxed, she’s cool, she’s confident, and she’s definitely not wearing a shirt. While that’s titilating enough, the real stars of this show are Sarandon’s very cool New Balances over her green argyle socks. She clearly gives zero cares about what anyone thinks. Nothing’s changed.
Fresh faced Jamie Lee Curtis gives a smile after surviving Halloween
When you spend as much time running from knife wielding psychopaths as Jamie Lee Curtis does it can be a lot of work to look so good. She’s gone toe to toe with Michael Myers (the scary one, not the funny one) for decades, making her one of the most recognizable scream queens to ever grace the cinema. However, she almost missed out on her opportunity to star in Halloween. If she hadn’t been fired from a job on a series someone else would have played Laurie Strode. In 2018 she told the New York Times:
My mother was protecting me from being a child in the movie business. Later, I got a part on the ABC sitcom Operation Petticoat. I was fired, and I was devastated. Had I not been fired, I wouldn’t have been available for Halloween. As my Jewish family would say, it was bashert — meant to be. I didn’t give it a second thought that it was a horror movie, and my mom had been in a horror movie.
Ric Flair picking up a couple packs of Coors
At the height of his career wrestling for Jim Crockett Promotions and the WCW, Ric Flair was the heavyweight champion of drinking. As the Nature Boy he worked as a dastardly heel that audiences couldn’t help but love. Flair said that he first started drinking on the road in order to bond with the boys and as a way to get through the pain of beating up his body. In 2017 he told People Magazine, “I’ve never taken a pain pill in my life. I’d just take a shower, flip my hair back and go to the best bar in town.”