Do You Remember These Celebrities From the 60s? [Nostalgia]

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Sixty years ago one of the grooviest and most turbulent decades ever was just getting started.  Everything was changing. Music, politics, culture and art were all undergoing a major transformation.

For people that lived through it, it may seem like it was just yesterday. For those that didn’t, it may seem like ancient history.

But just like today, the ‘60s were filled with famous actors, artists, bands, directors and sports figures that captured our attention and left their mark on our culture.

Let’s take a look back at a few of the IT celebrities from the ‘60s.

The Bubbly Blonde – Goldie Hawn

Every generation seems to have its bubbly blonde, but few with this much-staying power. Goldie Hawn started out as a giggly go-go dancer on the sketch comedy show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In but went on to make a string of hit comedies (Shampoo, Private Benjamin, The First Wives’ Club, etc.)

Her other legacy: daughter Kate Hudson!

The Boy Band – The Beach Boys

They may have been a garage band from California, but the Beach Boys unique sound resonated with more than just teenagers.

Their innovative album “Pet Sounds” and the single “Good Vibrations” established them as cutting edge innovators and were said to have influenced many other famous rock musicians.

Like another boy band you might have heard of called The Beatles.

The Style Icon – Audrey Hepburn

Her ‘60s films Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade and My Fair Lady are still considered classics.

Equally influential was her sense of style. Classic and elegant, her fashion sense has carried right over to the present generation.

Need a go-to look? You’ll never go wrong by emulating Audrey!

The Thrills Director – Alfred Hitchcock

Film director Alfred Hitchcock got his start in the ‘40s but was still going strong when the ‘60s rolled around.

The master of suspense released Psycho in 1960 and The Birds in 1963. Today, his films still rank as some of the most studied of all time.

The Creepy Actor Guy – Anthony Perkins

Anthony Perkins starred on Broadway and even released three pop albums, but he’ll always be best remembered for playing Norman Bates in one of the most suspenseful movies of all time, Psycho.

After that, it was kind of hard to shake the creep factor.

The Guitarist – Jimi Hendrix

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame depicts him as “the greatest instrumentalist of all time.” Hey Joe and Purple Haze were two of his most iconic hits. But his meteoric career ended in 1970 when he passed away from an overdose.

However brief his presence on the world stage, his legacy as a musician has never died.

Related: The Best Guitars for Beginners

The Supermodel – Twiggy

Before they started mass-producing supermodels, there was Twiggy. Her big eyes, big eyelashes, short hair and boyish frame, were simply iconic.

She modeled all over the world. And, like any good supermodel, landed on the cover of Vogue.

In 1970 she retired from modeling with the statement, “You can’t be a clothes hanger for your entire life!”

Related: 15 Quotes About Modeling [That Will Shock You]

The Groundbreaker – Sidney Poitier

Bahamian-American actor Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field. He was also a part of the famous March on Washington in 1963.

In 1967, he continued to break ground with three films about race relations: To Sir With Love, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night.

The Sex Symbol – Ann-Margret

Singer and actress Ann-Margret was so red hot that they billed her as the female Elvis Presley.

And in fact, she starred with the “King” in 1964s Viva Las Vegas. That’s a whole lot of sex appeal in one musical.

While platinum blonde Marilyn Monroe was the sex symbol of the 1950s, red-headed Ann-Margaret was a stark, stunning, contrast.

The It Couple – Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

This pair of British actors were known for their chemistry onscreen and off. They married in 1964 amidst a scandal (Taylor was married to actor Eddie Fisher when their affair started), but that didn’t keep them from being one of the most talked-about couples for over a decade.

In 1975 they filed for divorce. But their legend as one of Hollywood’s most famous It Couples lives on.

The Singing Duo – Sonny and Cher

There are some people that would claim their vocal talents were somewhat lacking. But that didn’t keep Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” from climbing the charts in 1965. They went on to make more hit music and a ‘70s TV show, The Sonny and Cher Show.

By 1975 they were divorced and Cher went on to have a major solo career. Yeah, she’s a survivor.

The Sports Icon – Muhammad Ali

Part boxer, part political activist, Muhammad Ali was no stranger to controversy.

But that didn’t prevent him from becoming one of the leading heavyweights of all time. He kept his audience captivated with his verbal and physical sparring.

His nickname “The Greatest” aptly sums him up.

The Hero – Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong touched down on the moon in 1969 with the words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

What more needs to be said?

The Artist – Andy Warhol

Controversial pop artist Andy Warhol was famous for a lot more than his pictures of Campbell Soup cans. He was also an author, a rock producer (The Velvet Underground), a magazine founder (Interview) and an all-around promoter of the bohemian and intellectual set.

And yet somehow it’s his famous blonde mop we always remember best. Go figure.

The Tough Guy Actor – Steve McQueen

His first major hit was The Magnificent Seven. After that, he went on to play a host of tough-guy roles including The Great Escape, Bullit and The Getaway.

No matter what he starred in, he always seemed like the guy who could beat you up and steal your girlfriend.

The Power House Singer – Aretha Franklin

There’s only one of her and she is the undisputed Queen of Soul. “Chain of Fools”, “Natural Woman” and “Think” (just to name a few) all hit the charts in the 1960s.

Respect, baby. Respect.

The First Lady – Jackie O

Long before Michelle Obama wowed us in Jason Wu and Narciso Rodriguez, Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis made bold fashion statements with matching suit sets and pillbox hats.

The Jackie O phenomenon did not die when her president-husband was assassinated in 1963. She remained a fashion icon well into the 70s, thanks (in part) to her love of oversized sunglasses. 

The Girl Next Door – Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood captured hearts as a child actor in Miracle on 34th Street, then soared to popularity as Maria in 1961’s West Side Story.

She was just 43 years old when she drowned in 1981 and her death is still under investigation. Was it an accident or a murder? We may never know.

The IT Girl – Edie Sedgwick

In the mid 1960’s in New York City, Edie Sedgwick was the IT girl. This socialite turned model turned aspiring actress had her own presence in the NYC scene, yet will always be known as Andy Warhol’s muse.

The Superhero – Adam West

From 1966 to 1968, Adam West was the original superhero as TV’s Batman, but his career and legacy have stretched far beyond the 60s and well into the millennium.

Today, Adam West is a well-known voice-over actor (most notably for his portrayal of Mayor Adam West in Family Guy). He has also made a cameo appearance in The Big Bang Theory, as the beloved hero of the comic book-loving Sheldon Cooper.

The Late Night TV Host – Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson wasn’t the first person to host a late-night television show, but he was by far the most revered. With a 30-year tenure as The Tonight Show host from 1962 to 1992, Carson paved the way for every future late-night host, including David Letterman, Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon.

The Teen Heartthrob – Frankie Avalon

Along with other teen heartthrobs, such as Bobby Darin and Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon had the ladies swooning in the 1960s!

Long before he would play the role of “Teen Angel” in the 1978 movie Grease, Avalon was the teen angel, turning young women into adoring fans with movies such as Beach Blanket Bingo, Back to the Beach and Bikini Beach.

Related: Do You Remember These 17 Celebrities from the 1970s?

The Hippie – Janis Joplin

It is impossible to talk about the 60s without talking about hippies, and Janis Joplin was the queen of the folk-rock-hippie-counter-culture movement.

Janis hit the music scene in 1962 and died of an overdose in 1970. In her short life, she recorded timeless tunes such as “Piece of My Heart,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” and “Cry Baby.”

The Leading Man – Cary Grant

Cary Grant wasn’t your typical movie star in Los Angeles. He was the ultimate leading man, beloved by Hollywood and legions of loyal fans to this day. Grant appeared in more than 50 films, including classics like An Affair to Remember, To Catch a Thief and Bringing Up Baby.

His ability to create on-screen chemistry with co-stars such as Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman and Katherine Hepburn, was nothing short of incredible.

The Diva – Diana Ross

As the lead singer of The Supremes, Diana Ross was a diva in the best possible sense of the word. In addition to her powerhouse vocals and an endless string of hit songs, she also became a fashion icon known for her bold, wild outfits and hair.  

The Socialite – Zsa Zsa Gabor

Zsa Zsa Gabor was both an actress and a socialite, though her personal life attracted more attention than her acting. In the 80s she was charged and found guilty of driving without a license while possessing liquor and slapping the face of the police officer who pulled her over for a traffic violation.

The Victim – Sharon Tate

Of all the celebs to make this list, the story of Sharon Tate is by far the most tragic.

Just two years after her breakout silver screen performance in Valley of the Dolls, Tate became famous in a different way – as a murder victim of the Manson family. She was eight and a half months pregnant at the time of her death.

The Band That Changed the World – The Beatles

There has never been a bigger, more important, or more influential band in the world than The Beatles. When the Fab Four crossed the pond to America as fresh-faced mop-top Brits, they started a revolution, sparked a frenzy known as Beatlemania, and solidified their place in music history forever.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, who are now both in their 80s, continue to tour (as solo artists with their own bands) to this day. 

You might also be interested in: 21 Images From The ‘80s That Will Instantly Take You Back

Jessica Heston

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