Hollywood's Leading Men Who Defined The Art Of Cool
Lauren Hutton Cuddles Up to Robert Redford on his Yamaha
Hip, macho, athletic, outdoorsy, musical, and smooth…the men of the sixties were a lot of things, but above all, they were COOL. This collection of photographs will remind you just how amazing the gentlemen of the 1960s really were. From actors and musicians to athletes and celebrities, the dudes of the sixties really set the bar high for the rest of their gender.
This pic of Robert Redford and Lauren Hutton was taken during the filming of the 1970 movie, “Little Fauss and Big Halsy”, about two motorcycle racers. Redford, an older, womanizing, professional motorcycle, and an amateur racer, played by Michael J Pollard, form an unlikely friendship. Hutton’s role of Rita Nebraska was originally intended to go to Grace Slick. Although “Little Fauss and Big Halsy” was one of Redford lesser known films, his portrayal of the motorcycle racer cemented his cool dude persona.
A Shirtless Clint Eastwood Doing the Manly Thing - Working on his Car
You’d be hard pressed to find a more prolific actor than Clint Eastwood. During the early 1960s, he was successful as a star on the TV series, “Rawhide”, before moving into films, starting with spaghetti Westerns. He appeared in all five “Dirty Harry” films which helped to cement his image as a symbol of masculinity. Eastwood’s list of movies covers the gamut of genres from Westerns with “Unforgiven” and “Pale Rider” to comedies with “Every Which Way You Can” to war flicks like “Kelly’s Heroes” and “Where Eagles Dare” and thrillers like “Play Misty For Me.”
Sean Connery on a Beachy Time Out with a Sexy Bond Girl
When sexy Sean Connery landed the role of James Bond, he was unsure about committing to a multiple film deal but his agent told him that if the films were a success, his career would skyrocket. He embraced the role of Secret Agent 007 in five movies, “Dr. No”, “From Russia With Love”, “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball”, and “You Only Live Twice.” The films were a huge hit. He then agreed to appear in more Bond films…”Diamonds Are Forever” and “Never Say Never.” Although Connery played an ultra-smooth, manly spy, he found himself in danger while shooting “Thunderball” when he was in a pool of sharks. One of the sharks slipped through the Plexiglas and set its sights on Connery.
Did Burt Reynolds Pose In The Buff For A Centerfold? Oh Yes, He Did!
As an actor on the cusp of super-stardom, Burt Reynolds made the decision to appear in his birthday suit in the centerfold of Cosmopolitan magazine. While the public was used to the idea of scantily clad women posing in men's publications, the feminist movement of the early 1970s made it the perfect time for the first male celebrity photos spread. Reynolds recalls that he drank heavily just before the photo shoot as a way to calm his inhibitions, and then he had fun posing on a bearskin rug. In April of 1972, the historic issue of Cosmo hit the newsstands and Reynolds became an instant household name.
A Motown Great, Marvin Gaye Sitting in the Studio 1970s
“Heard it Through the Grapevine,” “How Sweet it is to Be Loved By You”, and “What’s Goin’ On”…all classic Marvin Gaye songs. The singer helped to define the Motown sound in the early 1960s, as a session player and then as a solo artist. His string of hits made him a household name and a favorite among fans. The memory of Marvin Gaye lives on for a whole new generation of fans when the young artist Charlie Puth released a single, “Let’s Marvin Gaye and Get it On” in 2015.
Paul Newman and Racing - a Lifelong Love Affair
Although he is sitting on a motorcycle in this picture, Paul Newman is an avid auto racing enthusiast. He raced cars throughout the 1970s and registers for auto races under the name P. L. Newman so as to not draw attention to his celebrity. He competed in the Sports Car Club of America circuit and won four national championships. Newman drove for the Bob Sharp Racing Team in the Trans-Am Series. He continued to race and, in 1995, at the age of 70 years and 8 days, New man became the oldest driver to participate in a winning team in a sanctioned race.
John Huston, Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller on the Set of The Misfits
Arthur Miller was a Pulitzer Prize-winner playwright at the top of his game, with shows like “Death of a Salesman,” “The Crucible,” and “All My Sons”, when he was thrust into the spotlight, even more, when he married Hollywood mega-star, Marilyn Monroe. Although Monroe’s life was a mess of affairs and drug addiction, she genuinely loved Miller and he loved her. Even after their divorce, after five years of marriage, Miller often served as Monroe’s shoulder to cry on.
The Cool and Confident Sidney Poitier Receiving an Academy Award for Best Actor
Always cool and confident, when Sydney Poitier received an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964, he became the first black performer and the first Bahamian-American to do so. It was for his role in “Lilies of the Field,” which he quickly followed up with “To Sir, With Love,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, and “In the heat of the Night.” Although he has been named one of the Greatest Male Stars of Hollywood, Poitier shifted his focus to directing. He was knighted in 1974 by Queen Elizabeth II and even served as the Bahamian Ambassador to Japan for about ten years.
David Bowie in the Netherlands, 1970, by Nico van der Stam
One of the most influential musicians of all time, David Bowie was cool personified. His work was praised by critics and adored by fans. Countless of today’s artists list Bowie as an inspiration. His musical and fashion innovations were continuously changing and evolving, allowing Bowie to remain at the cutting edge throughout his career. He had eleven number one albums, nine gold records and five platinum ones. Bowie was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Bowie passed away from liver cancer in January of 2016.
Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal in Love Story - the Film that Made Him a Star
A soap opera actor, Ryan O’Neal was hesitant to take the lead role in “Love Story”, directed by Arthur Miller in 1970 but when the film became a box office hit, O’Neal became a genuine star. He even earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his part in the movie. O’Neal was, however, angry that his co-star, Ali MacGraw, shown here with O’Neal, earned a percentage of the film’s profits but he did not. In 1973, Ryan O’Neal starred with his daughter, Tatum O’Neal, in “Paper Moon” and watched as his daughter won an Oscar Award. In the early to mid-1970s, Ryan O’Neal was second only to Clint Eastwood as the most popular movie star of the day.
Melvin Van Peebles - A Jack of all Trades and a Master of them too!
This cool dude is quite the Renaissance man! After earning a degree in literature from Ohio Wesleyan University, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in German where he met his wife, an actress and photographer. The couple moved to Mexico and Van Peeples earned a living by painting portraits. When he returned to the United States, he published his first book “The Big Heart” and followed it up with filmmaking, acting, directing, composing music, and play writing. Toss in photography and novel writing, too.
The King of Cool - Steve McQueen
A cool dude with a cool car! Steve McQueen earned the nickname ‘The King of Cool’ in Hollywood. McQueen’s characters struck a chord with the 1960s counterculture movement, turning him into a sought-after leading man and box office draw. He was often cast as the anti-hero and fans couldn’t help but root for him. During the sixties and seventies, he appeared in “The Cincinnati Kid,” “The Thomas Crown Affair”, “The Towering Inferno”, “The Great Escape”, and “The Magnificent Seven.” For a time, became the highest paid celebrity in the world.
Elvis Presley's Concern with his 2-year Military Leave from the Entertainment Industry Only Enhanced His Popularity
The King of Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley was a bona fide megastar, with hit after hit and movie appearances under his belt, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1958. Cool Elvis didn’t try to use his fame to shirk his patriotic duty. Instead, he stated that he was looking forward to serving his country and noted that he didn’t want to be treated any differently than any other privates in the Army. He said, “The Army can do anything it wants with me.” Privately, though, The King was concerned that his two-year absence from the entertainment industry would ruin his career. Fortunately, that was not the case. Serving your country is cool. Elvis Presley Army Mugshot 1960 by Daniel Hagerman.
Barry White, the King of Soul Belting it out on Stage in 1970
Barry White’s sultry baritone voice made him the king of soul. In fact, someone once described his voice by saying, “If chocolate fudge cake could sing, it would sound like Barry White.” Although he is best-loved for being a solo singer with The Love Unlimited Orchestra during the 1970s, Barry White earned 106 gold albums, 41 of which when platinum. One of the best-selling artists of all time, White’s music crossed genres from soul to disco, to funk. Perhaps his most iconic song was “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe.”
Multi-faceted Burt Lancaster in one of his Typical Tough Guy Roles Opposite Audrey Hepburn - 1960
Burt Lancaster was often typecast as the movie ‘tough guy’ but he did branch out to play more complex and romantic roles, while still maintaining his ‘tough guy’ image. This photo was taken during the filming of the John Huston western, “The Unforgiven,” which cast Lancaster opposite Audrey Hepburn as his half-breed adoptive sister and love interest. Lancaster also starred in “The Birdman of Alcatraz” and “Elmer Gantry”. Although he was nominated for Academy Awards four times, he only won once, for his role in “Elmer Gantry.”
Iconic Romantic 1960s Lead, Rock Hudson, had a Complicated Personal Life
Rock Hudson was the quintessential Hollywood heartthrob and dashing leading man. His rugged good looks, winning smile, and cool demeanor made him a favorite star. Women wanted him and men wanted to be him. But Hudson was hiding a secret that could destroy his image and career. He was homosexual…a taboo in the 1960s. In order to protect Hudson’s image and portray him as straight, the actor’s publicist, Henry Willson, arranged for Hudson to Willson’s secretary, Phyllis Gates…a marriage that lasted only a few years. Hudson’s sexual orientation was one of Hollywood’s worst kept secrets. The actor died of AIDS in 1985.
Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, Together an Unstoppable Force in Movies, Also Advanced Martial Arts in the U.S.
Two martial arts legends, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan! Bruce Lee, a Hong Kong-American, used his martial arts experience to become an actor and pop culture icon. He is credited with the increased popularity of the martial arts in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, as well as improving the way that Asians were being portrayed in Hollywood films. Jackie Chan is also a Hong Kong martial artist known for his work as an actor, director, and stuntman. Chan, however, was often praised for his comic timing while doing martial arts. Individually, these are a couple of cool dudes. Together, they are an unstoppable force!
Successful Actor and Outspoken Activist, Gregory Peck, on the Set of The Big Country (1958)
In addition to his well-known Hollywood career, Gregory Peck was politically outspoken. During the 1940s when many of his fellow actors were being accused of being Communists and blacklisted in Hollywood, Peck was beseeching the House Un-American Activities Committee to do more investigations into Communist activities in the movie industry. In the seventies, Peck’s name was floated as a possible Democratic candidate to run against fellow actor Ronald Reagan for governor of California. He later said that President Lyndon Johnson confided in him that had he won re-election in 1968, he would have asked Peck to be the U.S. ambassador to Ireland. Peck was, however, outspoken about the Vietnam War and President Nixon placed him on his enemy list as a result of his activism.
Peter O'Toole in “Lawrence of Arabia,” the Movie that Gave O’Toole his first Academy Award for Best Actor, 1962
A classically trained Shakespearean actor, Peter O’Toole was launched into international superstardom when he played T. E. Lawrence in the 1962 film, “Lawrence of Arabia.” This photograph of O’Toole was taken during the filming of “Lawrence of Arabia,” the movie that gave O’Toole his first Academy Award for Best Actor. In fact, O’Toole has the honor of holding the record for the most Academy Award nominations for acting without a win. O’Toole almost didn’t live long enough to see the end of the 1970s. The health issues he was having was misdiagnosed as being caused by alcohol abuse when, in fact, the actor had stomach cancer. He had his pancreas and a portion of his stomach removed.
Was Womanizing Warren Beatty the Subject Behind Carly Simon's Hit Song - "You're So Vain"?
Warren Beatty had a well-earned reputation for being a womanizer throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He was involved in numerous high-profile romances with fellow celebrities and photographs of him with different women were plastered all over the gossip magazines. In fact, Beatty’s love life was one of the most popular stories for the scandal sheets. He was engaged to actress Joan Collins in the early 1960s, but his numerous affairs ended the romance before they hit the alter. Another one of Beatty’s many lovers, singer and songwriter, Carly Simon, wrote her 1972 mega-hit, “You’re So Vain,” about a self-centered boyfriend, about Beatty shortly after their very public breakup.
Did You Know Michael Caine Wasn't Just a Famous Actor?
Michael Caine might be a super-cool British actor with an awesome, sexy accent, but he also has an odd guilty pleasure. He loves trivia! He often spouts little-known facts and delights in sharing tidbits of knowledge with others. His friends refer to him as the “biggest mine of useless information.” Caine is fond of using the phrase, “Not many people know this,” as a preface to his sharing of trivia. He is the author of four trivia books, as well as two biography books, and a non-fiction book on acting.
Peter Sellers was not the First Choice for Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther Movies
It is impossible to think about “The Pink Panther” and Inspector Clouseau without thinking about the comic genius behind the character, Peter Sellers. But did you know that Sellers was not the first choice to play the bumbling detective? Sellers was only considered after Peter Ustinov backed out. Although Sellers spoke the lines written for him in the script, he was the genius behind the character’s memorable personality, as well as his accent, mustache, and trademark trench coat. “The Pink Panther” was one of the top films of the 1960s and earned Sellers many accolades. He once said, “I played Clouseau with great dignity because he thinks of himself as one of the world’s best detectives.”
Woody Allen and his Two Personalities, Off-Screen and On-Screen
Long before Woody Allen’s name was linked with Soon-Yi Previn and the Me Too Movement, the actor, director, comedian, and playwright was considered to be one of the entertainment industry’s biggest jack-of-all-trades. He worked in stand-up comedy, wrote and directed plays and movies, and acted in many of his own films, much like Alfred Hitchcock before him. As a comedian, he adopted the demeanor of an insecure, nervous intellectual. It is this character that we see over and over again in many of his films, leading many of his fans to assume that Allen was like this in real life. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Cool dude Allen was suave and confident.
The Deeper Mission of the Iconic "Every Man" Actor Richard Dreyfuss
Richard Dreyfuss made a career out of portraying the ‘every man’ in some of the biggest films of the 1960s and 1970s, including “Jaws,” “The Good-Bye Girl,” “American Graffiti,” “Stand By Me,” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Aside from acting, this cool dude has a mission…to resurrect and promote citizenship and civics education in American classrooms. Dreyfuss understands that it is the power of the citizens that holds a democracy together and he wants to empower students to exercise their rights as citizens, understand the democratic process, and gain the critical thinking skills required to be tomorrow’s leaders. He started the Dreyfuss Initiative in 2006 to facilitate this.
Later in his career, Jon Voight often played bad guys but when he started his acting career in the 1960s and 1970s, he played cool characters. His character in “Midnight Cowboy,” shown in this pic, Joe Buck, was a wannabe gigolo. He appeared in “Deliverance,” “Coming Home,” and “The Champ”. Did you know that Voight is the father of Angelina Jolie? Both Jolie, and her brother James Haven, followed in their famous father’s footsteps to become acclaimed actors in their own right. The acting gene seems to be in Voight’s DNA.
The Legendary 'Mr. Warmth' Don Rickles...Never another like him (1960s)
Funnyman Don Rickles started as a stand-up comedian and was a master at ‘insult comedy’. This cool dude was known for his quick humor and wise cracks. His talent helped him land movie and TV acting roles in such shows as “Run Silent, Run Deep” with Clack Gable and “Kelly’s Heroes” with Clint Eastwood. He starred in televisions “C.P.O. Sharkey” in the 1970s. He was a regular guest on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”. “The Late Show with David Letterman”, and more. Later, he was cast as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” movies.
From Action Movies to Novelist - Gene Hackman
Although he is now retired from acting, Gene Hackman enjoyed a career that spanned more than fifty years and some of Hollywood’s most notable movies. His breakout role came in 1967 when he played Buck Barrow in “Bonnie and Clyde”. He went on to star in “The French Connection,” “The Poseidon Adventure”, “Hoosiers”, and “Superman”. In retirement, Hackman started a new career as a novelist and has published several books.
The ‘Triple Crown of Acting’ Award Goes to Perpetual Bachelor, Al Pacino
Although Al Pacino has enjoyed a prolific acting career and is one of only a few actors to have completed the so-called ‘Triple Crown of Acting’, earning an Emmy, a Tony and an Oscar, he is equally remembered for his off-screen romances. A committed bachelor, Pacino has yet to marry despite his numerous love affairs. He has a daughter with his former acting coach, Jan Tarrant and twins with actress Beverly D’Angelo. He was romantically linked with D’Angelo for about seven years, but the two never tied the knot. Pacino has also dated Jill Clayburgh, Marthe Keller, Kathleen Quinlan, Diane Keaton, and Lyndall Hobbs.
Versatile John Travolta - From Cool Dude in “Welcome Back, Kotter” to a Woman in the Musical "Hairspray"
Cooler than cool, John Travolta was often typecast as the cool dude, especially in some of his earlier works. He first gained a following of fans for the TV series, “Welcome Back, Kotter”, and went on to play the cool dudes in “Grease” and “Saturday Night Fever”. Who would have thought back then that Travolta would one day wear a dress in a hit movie? Yep, he played Tracy Turnblad’s mom, Edna, in the 2007 musical, “Hairspray.”
Edgy Jack Nicholson with date Anjelica Huston, 1970s
Jack Nicholson is so good at playing deranged psychopaths that he made a career out of portraying them on film. You can see some of his finest, maddest acting in “The Shining”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” He has also appeared in comedies and dramas, such as “Terms of Endearment,” “As Good As It Gets,” “Red,” and “The Witches of Eastwick”. He earned cult status for his portrayal of the Joker in the 1989 film, “Batman”. Nicholson is a sports enthusiast and has held Los Angeles Lakers’ season tickets since 1970. In addition, he collects fine art and his collection is said to rival that of many museums.
James Caan from "The Godfather" to "Elf" to Real Life Master of Gosoku Ryu Karate
Today’s generation may know James Caan best for playing Walter Hobbes in the perennial Christmas favorite, “Elf”, but their parent will remember his more for playing the hot-headed Sonny Corleone in the 1972 classic, “The Godfather.” In between, Caan has enjoyed numerous memorable starring and co-starring roles that helped him to become a Hollywood legend. When he wasn’t acting, Caan was working on his martial arts skills. He has trained for more than thirty years and has moved up through the ranks. Currently, he is a Master of Gosoku Ryu Karate and a earned the title of Soke Dia by the International Karate Association. Now that’s cool. James Caan in "The Godfather" directed by Francis Ford Coppola, 1972.
Robert Duvall's Varied Career from M*A*S*H to Dance Studio Owner
Did you know that Robert Duvall played Boo Radley in the 1962 film, “To Kill a Mockingbird”? It might have been a small role with not a lot of screen time, but it helped launch Duvall as one of Hollywood’s leading men. He can be seen in “The Twilight Zone,” “True Grit”, and “M*A*S*H”, from which this photo was taken, in addition to numerous other memorable films. In all these roles, Duvall plays the cool dude, but he can also be a romantic. He owns a tango studio in Argentina, where his wife is from, and another in the United States. He is an accomplished tango dancer and we all know that the tango is the dance of love.
Robert De Niro a Practitioner of the Stanislavski System of Acting in "The Last Tycoon", 1976
Robert De Niro, who earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Vito Corleone in “The Godfather Part II”, was a practitioner of the Stanislavski system of acting. A key component of the Stanislavski method encourages actors to embrace the role to its fullest while exploring internal and external aspects of the character. For his role in “Raging Bull,” De Niro gained more than 50 pounds and learned to box. For his role in “Cape Fear”, he ground his teeth down. He briefly moved to Sicily before shooting “The Godfather Part II”. He drove a taxi cab to prepared for his role in “Taxi Driver,” and he learned the saxophone for “The Untouchables.”
Jack Lemmon as the Office Clerk C.C. Baxter in 'The Apartment' (1960)
Did you know that Jack Lemmon was also an accomplished singer, piano player, and golfer, in addition to being a sought-after leading man? He performed on several of the soundtracks for movies he acted in, including “Three for the Show,” “You Can’t Run Away From It”, and “My Sister Eileen”. His first solo album was titled, “A Twist of Lemmon” and he followed it up with an album called “Some Like It Hot” that he recorded at the same time he was filming “Some Like It Hot” with Marilyn Monroe. A piano solo album followed. Lemmon was also considered to be the star of the Celebrity Pro-Am golf tournament at Pebble Beach.
Christopher Lee and Gillian Hills in Beat Girl (1960)
Christopher Lee’s deep, commanding voice was perfect for playing a movie villain. And throughout his career, which spanned almost seven decades, Lee was known for his bad guy roles. He caught the public’s attention for playing Dracula in a series of films and for being the bad guy in the James Bond movie, “The Man With the Golden Gun”. He also appeared in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Hobbit” trilogy, and in two of the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy.
George C Scott, a Powerful Character Actor in Dr. Strangelove
Although best-known for playing General George S. Patton in ”Patton” and General Buck Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove" or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”, the list of George C. Scott movies, plays, and television appearances is quite lengthy. He enjoyed live theatre and was equally comfortable on the stage as he was on a movie set. He was also comfortable in front of the camera and behind it. In addition to acting, he was a stage and film director and producer.
Shakespearean Actor, Richard Burton in the recording of Camelot, 1960
Who could forget Richard Burton’s performance as King Arthur in “Camelot”? The musical play, which debuted in the 1960s and also starred Julie Andrews as Queen Guinevere, was adapted for the stage by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. President John F. Kennedy was a huge fan of the musical and often listened to a recording of Burton singing the title song. The musical became linked with Kennedy’s administration and was often referred to as the Camelot Era. Photo by Don Hustein.
Embracing the City's Vibe, the New York Underground 1960s, 70s, & 80s
The New York Underground was a name assigned to the vibrant, artsy spirit of downtown New York City during the ‘60s, '70s and ‘80s. During this time period, musical artists embraced the vibe of the city and captured the spirit of era in their musical experimentation. Blondie, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Velvet Underground, and the Talking Heads were all part of the movement.
A Chance Meeting of Two Greats, Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood 1972
This photo of Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood captured a chance meeting of the two superstars. It took place outside a hotel in Arizona in 1972. Newman was there shooting “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean” and Eastwood was passing through. It is a wonder that these two huge box office draws never starred together in a movie. What a movie that would have been!
Michelle Phillips and Dennis Hopper (Actor and Artist) in Taos, New Mexico, 1970
Dennis Hopper starred alongside Peter Fonda, James Dean, and other cool dudes of the 1960s and 1970s, but he vacillated between the big screen and the small screen for much of his career. Acting wasn’t Hopper’s only artistic pursuits. He earned acclaim as a photographer, painter, sculptor, author, and poet, as well. Did you he created the cover art for Ike and Tina Turner’s 1966 hit single, “River Deep – Mountain High”?
The Deadly Celebrity Scandals of the '70s Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious
Sid Vicious, the British bassist and singer with the Sex Pistols, was heavy into drug use. The situation escalated when he began dating Nancy Spungen, and the two entered a relationship built on drug use and codependency. When Spungen was found stabbed to death in Vicious’s hotel room , the punk rocker was arrested for her murder. Vicious himself died of a heroin overdose in 1979.
The New York Knicks Hero, Walt 'Clyde' Frazier, brought them their only two championships in 1970 and 1973
In the sports world of the 1970s, there was no one hotter than Clyde Frazier. Smooth on and off the playing court, Frazier led the New York Knicks to the team’s only two championships, in 1970 and again in 1973. Frazier became a sports broadcaster upon his retirement from playing and amassed a following with his bold and unique fashion choices. He even has a fan website, Clyde So Fly, that records and comments on every suit he wears as the color commentator for the Knicks.
Curtis Mayfield Performs in 1972, Bringing Hope to a Tumultuous Decade
One of the hallmarks of Curtis Mayfield’s music was the infusion of social consciousness. He was able to write hit songs that achieved mainstream popularity while also serving as rallying cries for the Civil Rights Movement. Legend has it that his song, “Keep On Pushing”, was the most popular sing-along song for the Freedom Riders. Even Martin Luther King liked the song, as well as Mayfield’s other hits, “People Get Ready” and “We’re A Winner”, because they inspired hope and bravery during the tumultuous decade.
James Brown Brings Down the House at the Paris Olympia, 1971
The Godfather of Soul, James Brown is one cool cat. Although he started off as a gospel singer, Brown enjoyed success in multiple musical genres during his fifty-year career. He recorded 17 number-one singles but Brown really shone as a stage performer. He had a way of electrifying the crowd with his vocals, his stage presence, and his stellar dance moves. He was an exciting performer to watch and he approached his concerts like giant house parties.
Mick Jagger, a Rockin' Great-Grandfather as a Youth in 1970.
A key player of the counterculture era, Mick Jagger, lead singer and founding member of the Rolling Stones, has transcended being a singer, songwriter, and musician and has become one of the most influential musicians of the rock and roll era. Despite his drug use and numerous romantic flings or maybe because of them…, Jagger earned a reputation as a hip and cool dude. Jagger and the Stones set the bar for cool pretty high during the 1970s with wild costumes, flashy stage shows, edgy music, and extravagant lifestyles. It is weird to think that now, Mick Jagger is a great-grandfather!
Frank Sinatra with then-U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy Outside of The Sands Hotel
During the 1950s, Frank Sinatra cemented his status as a bobbie-soxer heartthrob and a Rat Pack regular. In the 1960s and 1970s, the classic crooner turned his attention to Las Vegas and became one of the first stars-in-resident to do regular Vegas acts. He even recorded “Sinatra at the Sands” at the Sands Hotel in Vegas, where this photo was snapped with Sinatra and future president, John F. Kennedy.
The Academy Awards Ceremony 1960 - Charlton Heston
How is it possible that Charlton Heston has appeared in nearly 100 movies? With a career that has spanned six decades, the Hollywood star with the commanding voice and charismatic stage presence has starred in some cinematic classics. Who can forget his roles in “Ben-Hur”, “Planet of the Apes,” “and “The Ten Commandments”? This larger than life cool dude was a hit with the ladies due to his chiseled good looks and a favorite with the guys for his action roles in some of the 1970s best disaster flicks.
The Memorable Pop Artist Leader, Andy Warhol between 1966 and 1977
Ultra-cool Andy Warhol was hip and edgy and leader of the pop art movement. He single-handedly changed the visual art movement and elevated advertising to an art form. He expanded from pop art into film and multimedia and embodied the 1970s with his use of bright colors and striking graphics. Warhol wasn’t the reserved artist type…he hobnobbed with celebrities and made friends with the rich and famous.
Tony Curtis and Dean Martin on the set of "Who Was That Lady", 1960 with Dennis the Menace
Admittedly, Tony Curtis landed much of his early roles solely on his chiseled good looks and all-American appeal. But he proved to be more than just a pretty face. His role in “Houdini” earned him critical acclaim and helped his to land more complex roles. He appeared in “Sweet Smell of Success”, “Spartacus,” and “The Defiant One”, which earned him an Oscar nomination. But he also appeared in light comedies, including “Some Like It Hot” with Marilyn Monroe.
Shirley Anne Field and Albert Finney in "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" 1960
Before he appeared in the Jason Bourne movies and in the James Bond film, “Skyfall,” Albert Finney was a Shakespearean actor who was classically trained in stage acting. He is one of few actors who was able to balance a stage career with movie and television roles. He is perhaps best known for “The Entertainer”, “Two For the Road”, and “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,” the movie that was being filmed when this photo was taken.
Sexy Robert Mitchum with Eleanor Parker in "Home From The Hill", 1960
Robert Mitchum is often credited for starting the anti-hero character that so often pops up in films of the fifties, sixties and seventies. He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1945 movie, “The Story of G.I. Joe.” Although he did much of his work prior to the 1960s, Mitchum was still a popular leading man America Film Institute named Mitchum in the number 23 spot on its list of the greatest male stars of classic Hollywood.
Robert Conrad, Cool and His Not-So-Cool Moves
Robert Conrad most often appeared in Westerns during his long movie career. In fact, he was presented with a star on the Walk of Western Stars in Newhall, California, for his work in the genre. Off-screen, Conrad was married to his first wife for 25 years and the couple had five children. He met his second wife, LeVelda Ione Fann, when he emceed the Miss National Teen-Ager Pageant. Fann, a contestant in the pageant, walked away with the title, the crown, and a date with the emcee. Conrad and Fann had three children together. In 2003, Conrad was driving drunk and crossed the center line of the highway, colliding his Jaguar head-on with an oncoming car. Conrad was sentenced to six months house arrest, probation, and ordered to undergo alcohol counseling. Not a cool move.
Jim Morrison and the Sad Premature Death of The Charismatic Singer and Songwriter for the 1960 Rock Group, The Doors
A musician with a poet’s soul, Jim Morrison, the frontman for the Doors, attracted attention with his rockstar lifestyle, one-of-a-kind voice, and his poetic lyrics. The Door was co-founded by Morrison in Venice, California, in 1965, and two years later, the band shot to stardom with the release of “Light My Fire.” Morrison joined a list of prominent celebrities who died tragically young. His death in 1971 came just months after the deaths of Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix and two years to the day after the death of Brian Jones, guitarist for the Rolling Stones.
Natalie Wood and James Garner in Cash McCall (1960)
James Garner was well-known for his TV roles…Bret Maverick in “Maverick” and Jim Rockford in “The Rockford Files” but he also appeared in more than 50 movies. A sports lover and talented athlete, Garner played semi-pro baseball, collegiate golf, and owned a racing team. He was regular at the Raiders games, as well as the University of Oklahoma football games. He stayed active throughout his life and often enjoyed a game of golf. Garner was a cool competitor whether it was on the screen or the athletic field.
Three Notable Western Movie Actors, Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey, John Wayne in "The Alamo", 1960
A true one-of-a-kind, John Wayne, or the Duke, as he was called, personified the rugged cowboy with a softer, gentler side. Most of his films were Westerns or war flicks, but Wayne’s appeal was broad. A cultural icon, John Wayne’s name is synonymous with the tough-as-nails American. John Wayne remains as popular today, as he was before his death from cancer. In fact, Wayne is the only person to be consistently named to the Harris Poll of the Most Popular Film Actors.
Australian-born Actor Peter Finch with His Wife, Eletha
An Australian born actor, Peter Finch rose to international stardom after appearing opposite Audrey Hepburn in “The Nun’s Story”. Following the success of this film, Finch appeared in a run of flops, but redeemed himself with a series of British films, “The Pumpkin Eater,” “Girl with Green Eyes” and “The Flight of the Phoenix”. He later co-starred with Sophia Loren, Julie Christie, Robert Aldrich, and Angie Dickenson. He was originally cast to play Julius Caesar in “Cleopatra” but when he had to postpone shooting, the role was give to Rex Harrison.
Eye Candy, Tony Curtis, as Antoninus, a singer of songs, in "Spartacus", 1960
A blockbuster historical drama, “Spartacus” was a big-budget epic directed by Stanly Kubrick, and based on the legend of the slave revolt in ancient times. The film had an all-star cast, including Kirk Douglas as Spartacus, John Gavin as Julius Ceasar, Laurence Olivier as Marcus Licinus Crassus, Jean Stapleton as Varina, and Tony Curtis as Antonius. The film was met with popular and critical acclaim is remains one of the most popular films of all times. Part of the appeal was the eye candy...Curtis and others in togas.
Bruce Lee's Influence Behind His Command of Martial Arts
As a youngster, Bruce Lee got into several street fights. His father, a Cantonese opera star and actor, decided his son needed to learn how to defend himself. He set about teaching his son the basics of martial arts. It was Bruce Lee’s command of martial arts that led him to Hollywood. He received notoriety for his appearances in five films, “The Big Boss”, “Fist of Fury”, “Way of the Dragon”, “Enter the Dragon,” and “The Game of Death.”
Robert Redford, Outstanding Actor and Sex Symbol but also the Founder of the Sundance Film Festival
Robert Redford started acting in the early 1960s and it didn’t take him long to become a huge Hollywood star. He starred in some of the best-loved films of the sixties and seventies, including “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Jeremiah Johnson,” “The Sting”, and “All the President’s Men.” In addition to acting, he is an acclaimed director. He directed “Ordinary People,” “A River Runs Through it,” and “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” among others. Redford is the founder of the Sundance Film Festival which he started in 1978. Held annually in Park City, Utah, the festival is the largest independent film festival in the country.