Classic Studio 54 Photos From The Vault!
Written by Lyra Radford
Studio 54, arguably the most famous club in the world, was located in New York City on, you guessed it, 54th street. It first opened its doors on April 16th, 1977 and stayed open for a short but eventful 33 months. In its first year alone, it managed to pull in approximately $7 million dollars!
Sasha and Sylvester 'Rocky' Stallone enjoying a night out at Studio 54
Here, gazing adoringly at her husband here is Sasha Stallone. The Academy Award winner Sylvester 'Rocky' Stallone was enjoying a night out on the town with his wife when the couple decided to pay a visit to the nation's most popular disco club, Studio 54, on July 6, 1978.
Just a year before this was taken, Stallone was nominated for two Academy Awards for Rocky, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actor. This made him the third man in history to receive these two nominations for the same film, (after Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles). Aside from his long-running role as Rocky Balboa, the actor/filmmaker is best known for his role as soldier John Rambo from the four Rambo films, released between 1982 and 2008.
Check out Diana Ross busting out some limbo-like moves on the dance floor
Singer Diana Ross busting out her limbo-like dance moves at New York’s most iconic disco club. Although much of the music Ross is commonly associated with today came out of the seventies, her original breakthrough was back in the 1960’s while performing with The Supremes. No matter the decade, Ross has certainly made an impact, not just on her adoring fans, but on other artists as well.
Singer Rod Stewart with Steve Rubell at Studio 54.
According to co-owner Steve Rubell: 'The key to a good party is filling a room with guests more interesting than you." It seems he had it right, he certainly knew how to fill a room. Here he is with the megastar, singer Rod Stewart and they both seem to be having a grand ol time at Studio 54. You know, just an ordinary night at Studio 54.
As far as profits demonstrated, it seems everyone was just as intoxicated with the club's atmosphere as these two. Rubell was once quoted as saying, "only the Mafia made more money."
Gilda Radner dancing in pink overalls at Studio 54 is classic!
Here we have a shot of one of the original cast members of the sketch comedy television series, Saturday Night Live, Gilda Radner. She's getting down on the dancefloor in pink overalls of all things. Leave it to the quirky comedy legend to attempt to pull off this outfit, and succeed adorably.
Radner specialized in broad and obnoxious parody performances of television stereotypes. She did bits like "annoying advice specialists" and news anchors on SNL. She even went on to portray those types of characters in her highly successful one-woman show on Broadway in 1979. The hilarious star and wife of actor Gene Wilder died too young, from ovarian cancer in 1989. Gene Wilder carried out her personal wish to use information about her illness to help other cancer victims.
King of Pop, Michael Jackson performing at Studio 54, circa 1975.
Sure, disco reigned supreme at Studio 54, artists like Donna Summer, Grace Jones, and Gloria Gaynor were asked to come in for live performances. But, there was always room for the King of Pop, as a guest and on the stage! Michael Jackson was a frequenter of this hotspot, its said he would often retreat to the DJ booth so he could dance alone.
Robin Williams attends the Robin Williams Opening Party on April 11, 1979
In April of 1979, the first-season finale of Mork & Mindy aired and 27-year-old Robin Williams had just been featured on the cover of Time magazine. He had just become comedy’s ‘darling’ and he stayed that way. Here he is pulling up to the Robin Williams Opening Party at Studio 54 on April 11, 1979.
American actors Brooke Shields (left) and Mariel Hemingway at an Oscars party at Studio 54, circa 1979.
Two young starlets, sitting pretty, all dressed in flowers. Pictured here is the iconic model/actress Brooke Shields of Blue Lagoon fame and Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Academy Award-nominated actress and Mariel Hemingway.
Hemingway began acting at age 14 with her breakout role in Lipstick (1976). She is also known for her role in Woody Allen's Manhattan (1979), Personal Best (1982), and Star 80 (1983). She took a step back in the 1990s to deal with some mental health struggles and then set back to work starring and co-producing videos about yoga and holistic living.
Actress and singer Grace Jones smiles while partying at Studio 54 in New York, 1978.
Jamaican model, actress, singer, and Bond Girl, Grace Jones. Jones was one of the many glamorous celebrities who went club hopping in New York City on a regular basis and she could most often be seen at Studio 54. She would strut her stuff through the club wearing out-there clothing and makeup to match. Not that she was alone in her efforts to stand out, just about everyone there was dressed to impress (or confuse).
Diane Von Furstenberg lounging with boyfriend Barry Diller, at Studio 54.
Here's a shot of fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg lounging intimately on one of the couches at Studio 54, with her boyfriend, media mogul Barry Diller. Certain celebrities were in this club so often, it ceased to feel like a "public place" anymore. They were so at home here.
Liza Minnelli attends Martha Graham Honors Halston on May 21, 1979
Here's a great shot of singer/actress Liza Minnelli, decked out in sparkles and smiles at her favorite hotspot in New York. Anyone who knows Liza knows she loves to dress up, but on this particular day (May 21, 1979), she was in attendance of Martha Graham Honors Halston.
Studio 54 doorman Mark Benecke selects who will enter the nightclub, July 27, 1979.
Can you imagine being the doorman for what was the most popular nightclub in New York City at just 19 years old? Marc Benecke can, he was the head honcho calling the shots in front of Studio 54 back in the 70’s. After having an all access pass to celebs and socialites, Mark ended up opening up his own bars and got into real estate.
Booze, drugs, and sexual freedom permeated Studio 54, circa 1977
This photo was captured in 1977, inside the notorious Studio 54. The rich, the famous, the infamously insane... drugs, booze, scantily dressed men and women of loose morals all resided behind those velvet ropes. An aura of exclusivity, an atmosphere that promoted sexual freedom, and open drug use made Studio 54 the biggest nightclub in the world.
The iconic sign that came to represent Hollywood hedonism, circa 1975.
Here’s a shot of the iconic Studio 54 sign, in this spot that was once a theater. The club, owned by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager was brimming with rich, famous eccentrics. People would get decked out in their most outrageous attire in order to get past those velvet ropes. The club’s aura of exclusivity and atmosphere that promoted sexual freedom, is what made Studio 54 the biggest nightclub in the world.
Woody Allen and Michael Jackson just hanging out at Studio 54, April 1977.
Studio 54 was an icon of the disco era boasting famous celebrities and the best DJs until it's closing in 1979. So needless to say, like most clubs, it had a pretty strict dress code. However, it seems it simply didn’t apply to guests like Woody Allen and Michael Jackson. As you can see in this photo taken in April of 1977, the pop star and filmmaker are so casual and at ease, that they look as if they're ready to pop in a video at home.
Fleur Thiemeyer and Elton John during 'Grease' Premiere - June 13, 1978
Pictured here are Fleur Thiemeyer and Elton John while in attendance of the 'Grease' Premiere party, which was held at Studio 54 on June 13, 1978. Grease is widely considered one of the best films of 1978 so naturally, its release would be celebrated at the best club in 1978.
Can't stop dancing at Studio 54 in New York City, circa 1977.
This woman was dancing the night away at Studio 54 back in 1977. You can tell it was one of those nights where despite being completely exhausted, she was having too much fun to stop. Studio 54 was pretty much the 'epicenter of New York's drug culture', it created an entire subculture built around indulgence.
Studio 54 owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, 1977.
Here we have a couple of very happy business partners, Steve Rubell (R) and Ian Schrager. This photo of the co-owners of the nightclub Studio 54, was taken on May 10, 1077. The men stand arm-in-arm just around the time of the club's opening and immediate success in New York City.
A group dancing at Studio 54 in New York City in 1977.
It was like the club was shouting across town "bring us your weird". Studio 54 so fully embodied its time that it couldn’t have lasted beyond the early 80s even if it hadn’t been shut down. It would have been forced to change with the times and in doing so, would have lost all that made it stand out.
The entrance to the Studio 54 nightclub in New York City, circa 1975.
Disco clubs were all the rage throughout the 1970s but none were as infamous as New York’s Studio 54. The club offered a safe haven of sleepless excitement and unconditional acceptance to those who were a little on the strange side. If one location could sum up an era, Studio 54 would be the place.
Liza Minnelli and Mikhail Baryshnikov showing off their 'night moves'
Okay, so maybe this isn’t as graceful as it gets for ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov but who could say no to a dance with Liza Minnelli at Studio 54? Literally no one. Minnelli was one of the club’s most frequent regulars. After all, “what good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play. Life is a cabaret, old chum. Come to the cabaret. ”
Studio 54 DJ Booth, the best view in the house! Circa 1979
Like most clubs, Studio 54 alternated between DJs and live performances... with DJs being the more frequent of the two. However, unlike most clubs, the real source of entertainment at Studio 54 was the crowd! There were people cross-dressing, barely dressing, not dressed, and some who looked like they accidentally wandered in from a sci-fi convention.
A cool and casual Halston, taking a break from designing at Studio 54, 1979.
Here’s the fashion designer simply known as Halston, just having a smoke at the hottest disco club in New York City on September 4, 1979. Born Roy Halston Frowick, the creator rose to international fame throughout the 1970s for his minimalist, clean designs. His cashmere and Ultrasuede ensembles were wildly popular in discotheques of the mid-1970s and redefined American fashion.
A little dirty dancing at the disco, circa 1979.
Pictured here on the left is a woman dancing between two men at Studio 54, 1979. Scantily dressed men and women of loose morals all resided behind those velvet ropes. An aura of exclusivity, an atmosphere that promoted sexual freedom, and open drug use made Studio 54 the biggest nightclub in the world.
Studio 54 nightclub thumping away in New York City, circa 1975.
Just like that, the Woodstock generation was thrust into a pumping, glittering, memorizing new world of 70s’ disco. It was a match made in heaven, “hippie glam” if you will. It was a subculture that not only embraced their idealism, sexual freedom, and drug use but also gave it a place to call home (and a reason to dress up once in awhile).
Celebrities during New Year's Eve party at Studio 54
Can you even imagine being in attendance at this New Years Eve bash? Just in this single frame alone, we have (from left to right) Halston, Bianca Jagger, and Andy Warhol. Just behind them are Jack Haley, Jr. and Liza Minnelli. This is just a tiny peek into the massive club of (mostly) wall to wall celebrities on the biggest party night of the year.
Nothing like dancing in a mirror mask at Studio 54, February 1979
Every night was a different theme and everywhere you turned was something strange and new to gawk at. Strange color combinations, costumes, face paint, elaborate headpieces... it was hard for any one person to secure the spotlight inside Studio 54 for very long. The guests were the main source of entertainment.
A couple letting loose at Studio 54, circa 1977.
This could have been any night of the week. A couple dirty dancing at Studio 54, letting it all hang out was a pretty common sight. It was always booming and full of one spectacle after the next. People would flock to the hottest club in New York town to get an eye full while getting down on the dance floor.
Ara Gallant and Diane von Furstenberg at a book party held at Studio 54
Here are Ara Gallant and Diane von Furstenberg at the party for Egon Von Furstenberg's Book 'The Power Look' on September 25, 1978, at Studio 54 in New York City. Diane attended this party and was hooked of 54. She just kept coming back for more because nobody knows how to party like former royalty.
A massive crowd on the dance floor of Studio 54 disco. Milan, 1979.
The dance floor was consistently packed, the drinks flowed without falter, and the disco beats just kept coming. Like most things that burn fast and bright, Studio 54 smoldered out. “The life of 54 was cut abruptly short,” Whit Stillman, the director of Metropolitan and Barcelona said. “At the height of it, it was suddenly over.”
A model of the Titanic graced the Studio 54 stage on January 1, 1975.
If it wasn't strange and outlandish decor, then it wouldn't be fit for 54. This photo was taken on the first day of the new year, January 1, 1975. Studio 54 had a model of the Titanic crafted and installed over the stage, so clubgoers could dance beneath its bow.
A crowd eagerly waiting to enter Studio 54.
Studio 54's reputation was conflicting, to say the least, people either loved it or thought it was a complete disgrace. Not that it mattered, every night without fail, a crowd of people would flock to its doors in hopes of getting in. And who could blame them? The place was filled with celebrities who knows who you might run into once through those doors.
Lorna Luft, Jerry Hall, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, Truman Capote, and Paloma Picasso In 1979
This photo was taken at the Interview Party held at Studio 54 in 1979. It features party-guests (and Studio 54 regulars) Lorna Luft, Jerry Hall, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry of Blondie, Truman Capote, and Paloma Picasso. Studio 54 was a melting pot of drugs, celebrities, and all the weirdness New York City had to offer
Mick Jagger at Studio 54 at Bianca Jagger's birthday party, May 1977.
Here's a shot of Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones at his wife Bianca's birthday party, May 1977. Bianca and Jagger met in 1970 and she was already four months pregnant by the time they were married in 1971. They were the embodiment of a “rock-glam” couple with baby Jade in tow until Jagger destroyed their domestic bliss by having an affair with model Jerry Hall.
People would wait in line outside the infamous disco club even when they didn't have liquor!
During the first year, the club was open, Schrager and Rubell were operating without a liquor license. Their "workaround" was to purchase daily permits for caterers, not nightclubs which eventually caught up with them.
The head of the State Liquor Authority closed them down for a night but Studio 54 opened up shop the next night anyway because the party must go on.
At the front door patrons received this notice:
“Welcome! And thank you for joining us this evening. Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding, we are unable to serve alcoholic beverages tonight. However, we have a variety of soft drinks and juices, and you are welcome to drink as much as [you] like at no charge. Studio 54 will remain open; we thank you for helping make it the success that it is.”
Drag artists craved the atmosphere Studio 54 provided
Here's a drag artist photographed inside Studio 54 back in January of 1975. Drag Queens loved the atmosphere the club provided, among the regulars at Studio 54 was famous Drag Queens such as Divine and the Dame Rollerena, who took things up a notch by adding roller skates into her attire.
Disco dancers performing in costume at the opening of Studio 54, 1977.
Taken on the 25th of April in 1977, here's a full view of disco dancers performing in costume at the opening of Studio 54. As word got around that A-listers were always inside so everyone else wanted in on the action. You pair the guest list up with the rampant tales of complete debauchery that was going on inside the club how could people not be curious? People wanted to let loose and express themselves in ways other nightclubs didn't allow. It's because of this, that Studio 54 was always packed to capacity.
Pals Liza Minnelli and Steve Rubell at a party on January 10, 1978
This photo, taken on January 10, 1978, captured a very common sight. Actress/singer Liza Minnelli and Studio 54 club owner Steve Rubell hanging out. These two spent a lot of time together socially, Liza was pretty much a permanent fixture in his club. She moved to New York City in 1961 and began working in musical theatre. So unlike most of the celebrity regulars, she didn't have to fly in for a night out.
Studio 54 was where Hollywood glam and the free love and drugs of the hippie movement would mingle, circa 1970
There was just something about Studio 54 that other clubs just couldn’t replicate. It was a place that just managed to fully embody its time. Sure there were other clubs, wildly successful ones too, but Studio 54 and the 70 just go hand in hand, it’s hard to immediately think of the club at the mere mention of 70’s disco.
Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller at Studio 54, New York, circa 1977.
"I had more fun at Studio 54 than in any other nightclub in the world," Furstenberg once said in an interview with Vanity Fair. Here is a photo taken back in 1977, of the former princess, turned fashion designer, Diane von Furstenberg and her boyfriend Barry Diller at Studio 54.
Singer Rod Stewart with Steve Rubell (L) and Alana Hamilton (C) at Studio 54.
Above, we have singer Rod Stewart (right) sitting with his (now former) wife actress Alana Hamilton (center). On the left is Studio 54 co-founder Steve Rubell with a look of pure bliss on his face as he nuzzles up to the actress.
Just queening around at Studio 54, circa 1979.
Drag queen sightings at Studio 54 were far from a rare occurrence, in fact, it was expected. Outside of the drag shows and theme nights, one thing that people loved most about the club was that it was a judgment-free zone. Dress your best, behave your worst... anything went at Studio 54.
November 1978 - New York Photo shows crowd waiting outside Studio 54, the popular New York City disco.
Disco clubs and roller discos were all the rage throughout the 1970s and while all of them boasted similar music and decor only a few clubs became iconic. And out of all the clubs across the United States, none of them were as legendary as New York’s Studio 54.
Lorna Luft, Jerry Hall, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, Truman Capote and Paloma Picasso at the Interview Party at Studio 54 in New York City.
This photo was taken at the Interview Party held at Studio 54 in 1979. It features party-guests (and Studio 54 regulars) Lorna Luft, Jerry Hall, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, and Paloma Picasso as well as Truman Capote. Studio 54 was a melting pot of drugs, celebrities, and all the weirdness New York City had to offer.
Diane von Furstenberg at Studio 54, New York, 1977.
Nothing like a little royalty on the dance floor! Pictured here is fashion designer and former Princess, Diane von Furstenberg. She was previously married to Prince Egon of Furstenberg, a member of the German aristocratic family. The princess of fashion made quite a few appearances at the flashy, overindulgent venue.
Model Jerry Hall (right) and fashion editor Diana Vreeland (1903 - 1989) at Studio 54, New York, 1977.
Pictured here is model Jerry Hall (right) and fashion editor Diana Vreeland, talking fashion-icon shop here at Studio 54, back in 1977. Vreeland worked for two of the biggest fashion magazines in the business, Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. She ended up becoming the editor-in-chief of the latter. She was also brought in on cool side-jobs, like consulting on costumes over at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1964, she was added to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame!
You didn't have to be famous to get in, just intriguing
People tend to think that the majority of celebrities who frequented the club were wild musicians. But that certainly was not the case. There were people of varied professions and social classes. It was a place where anyone could let loose and forget the expectations of the world outside.
Robert Kennedy, Jr. paid a visit to Studio 54 with his fiancee, model Jules Dreyfus
Believe it or not, Robert Kennedy, Jr. paid a visit to Studio 54 with his fiancee, model Jules Dreyfus. There were many shocking sightings... Margaret Trudeau, Jacky Kennedy-Onassis, and picture here Robert Kennedy, Jr. to name a few.
It's a little strange to picture political figures, environmentalists, authors, and champions of art and education all showing up to a club with rampant drug use and a room upstairs that's completely rubber for "easy cleanup" purposes.
Fashion designer Halston partying w. (R-L) Betty Ford, Elizabeth Taylor, & Liza Minnelli at Studio 54 prior to falling victim to AIDS.
Here is another photo of fashion designer Halston partying with the rich and famous at Studio 54 back in the late 70s. From right to left are Betty Ford, Elizabeth Taylor, and his longtime friend Liza Minnelli.
In 1988, Halston tested positive for HIV, on March 26, 1990, he died of Kaposi's sarcoma, an AIDS-defining illness. Liza Minnelli later sponsored a tribute at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall that was followed by a reception hosted by his friend Elsa Peretti.
Eartha Kitt, Yul Brynner, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gloria Swanson, circa 1978.
Studio 54 was almost more Hollywood than Hollywood! So many celebrities flocked there and not just once in awhile, stars would fly from Los Angeles to New York on a regular basis just to visit the storied club. Andy Warhol, Halston, Michael Jackson, Jack Nicholson, Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, Tom Cruise, Cher, Christopher Reeve, Elton John, Tony Curtis, Brooke Shields, David Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Robin Williams all frequented the club.
Mick Jagger gives Bianca a kiss during Bianca's birthday party at Studio 54, 1977.
Mick and Bianca Jagger were just one of many celebrity couples to make Studio 54 their regular celebratory safe haven. The club was the location for Bianca’s 30th Birthday party and it ended up being one of the most notorious events held there! Fpr Bianca’s grand entrance, she rode a white horse through the club then partied until dawn.
A sea of stars attending Studio 54's first-anniversary party, April 26, 1978
This photo was taken at Studio 54's first-anniversary party on April 26, 1978. From left to right are Steve Rubell, Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger, Andy Warhol, and Halston. The storied nightclub wasn't fated to have many more... after 33-months it was shut down and its owners incarcerated for tax evasion.
Mick and Bianca Jager with friends at her 30th birthday bash, held at Studio 54.
This photo was taken back in 1977, during Bianca Jager's birthday party at Studio 54. Here she sits, comforting fashion designer Halston (left) as her husband Mick sits on the right.
The two would end up divorcing each other shortly after this picture was taken. According to Bianca, she knew the marriage was over about a year into it, though they stayed together for the sake of their daughter, Jade. When Bianca finally did divorce Jagger in 1979, he had already moved on with supermodel Jerry Hall — whom Jagger had stolen away from fellow pop idol Bryan Ferry.
Just one of the many crazy costumes worn on the Studio 54 dancefloor, circa 1977.
It's impressive that anyone even remembers these crazy parties and all the debauchery that transpired...When asked what those chaotic nights at Studio 54, Hollywood talent manager Sandy Gallin said, “In my mind, I remember it as a 10-to-15-year period. In reality, it only lasted two or three years.” It was only 33 months between its opening-night party on April 26, 1977, and the farewell party was thrown for Rubell and Schrager on February 2, 1980, (two nights before they went to prison for tax evasion.
Paloma Picasso at Studio 54, New York, 1977.
Yet another famous frequenter of Studio 54, Paloma Picasso, daughter of Pablo Picasso. The talented designer is best known for her signature perfumes and exquisite jewelry designs for Tiffany & Co. Following the loss of her father in 1973, she briefly lost interest in designing and took a hiatus.
The glare of glitz inside Studio 54, late 1970's
They opened the doors on the 10th of May in 1977 and for the 33-months that Studio 54 was opened, it was a booze and drug-fueled haze. That seemed to last a lot longer than it really did... Which is actually a pretty good way to sum up the entire decade, in fact.
Martha Graham, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, and former First Lady Betty Ford take on the New York club scene, Circa 1979
This photo of glamorously dressed and influential women was taken in May of 1979, It features (from Left to right): American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, British-born actress Elizabeth Taylor, former First Lady Betty Ford, and singer/actress Liza Minnelli all posed together, ready to take on whatever the night may bring.
Rock star Mick Jagger and his future wife, model Jerri Hall, arrive at Studio 54 to attend an 'Oscar' party at the disco club.
Rock star Mick Jagger and his future wife, model Jerri Hall, arrive at Studio 54 to attend an 'Oscar' party at the disco club. Many famous couples chose this legendary hot spot for date nights including Jack Haley Jr. and wife Liza Minnelli, Keith Richards and his wife Patti Hanson, as well as now United States President Donald Trump with Ivana Trump on his arm.
Looking down at the crowd dancing in a blur of lights at Studio 54 in 1978.
Check out this crowd of dancers living it up in a haze of lights at New York's most infamous disco club. The blaring music and copious amounts of drugs and alcohol... a complete overstimulation of the senses and decadence in every way possible was the only recurring theme at Studio 54.
Carlos Souza and Lorenzo Villarini attend Valentino's birthday party at Studio 54, New York, New York, 1978.
Here are Carlos Souza and Lorenzo Villarini in attendance at Valentino's birthday party, held at Studio 54 back in 1978. As you can see they are in clown-like attire. For his circus of a party, fashion designer Valentino decided to dress up as the ringmaster. He also wore Brazilian model Dalma on his arm that night.
For 33-months Studio 54 was the nightlife scene, then it went out with a bang!
The IRS took notice of the fact that this wildly successful nightclub, only paid just $8000 in taxes in 1977. Now we all know they brought in around $7 million that first year...
Needless to say, the club was raided. On December 14, 1978, feds found $600,000 hidden in garbage bags in the building! They also found 300 Quaalude pills and a few ounces of cocaine.
Both Rubell and Schrager were shipped off to prison to serve 13-month sentences. But before they left, they were serenaded farewell by Diana Ross and Liza Minnelli in front of a crowd of stars including Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone, Gia Carangi, and Richard Gere, among others.
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