Pin-ups may not be as popular today as they were back in the 40’s and the 50’s, but they are still well remembered because they represent the simple beauty and lust that makes men (mostly) fantasize.
Many beautiful models were displayed all across the United States and around the world but some women gained more fame than others. When we think Pin-ups, Bettie Page, Marilyn Monroe, Jaynes Mansfield and, of course, Betty Boop comes to mind.
But what makes a model a “pin-up model”? Surely the hairstyle, makeup and clothing is a big indicator but the long and sexy legs on display is really the icing on the cake.
Here are a short list of the most popular Pin-Ups models through the years. If you think this list should be longer, do not hesitate to tell us in the comments. We will even leave your link if they point to legit websites!
The Pin-ups, the golden age of sex symbols
10. Betty Garble, pin-up girl, dancer, model, and singer
Betty Garble (December 18, 1916 – July 2, 1973 as Elizabeth Ruth Grable) was an American actress, pin-up girl, dancer, model, and singer.
Her 42 films during the 1930s and 1940s grossed more than $100 million, and she set a record of 12 consecutive years in the top 10 of box office stars.
9. Zoe Mozert, one of the early 20th century’s most famous pin-up artists and model
Zoë Mozert (April 27, 1907 – February 1, 1993 as Alice Adelaide Moser) was an American illustrator. She was one of the early 20th century’s most famous pin-up artists and models. She painted hundreds of magazine covers and movie posters during her career.
Mozert frequently was her own model, using cameras or mirrors to capture the pose.
8. Veronica Lake, femme fatale with a peek-a-boo hairstyle
Veronica Lake (born November 14, 1922 – July 7, 1973 as Constance Frances Marie Ockelman) was an American film, stage, and television actress.
Lake won both popular and critical acclaim for her role in Sullivan’s Travels and for femme fatale roles in film noirs with Alan Ladd during the 1940s. She was also well known for her peek-a-boo hairstyle.
7. Josephine Baker and her girdle of artificial bananas
Josephine Baker (born 3 June 1906 – 12 April 1975 as Freda Josephine McDonald) was an American-born French entertainer, activist and French Resistance agent.
During her early career she was renowned as a dancer, and was among the most celebrated performers to headline the revues of the Folies Bergère in Paris.
Her costume, consisting of only a girdle of artificial bananas, became her most iconic image and a symbol of the Jazz Age and the 1920s.
6. Ava Gardner, one of 25 Greatest Female Stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema
Ava Gardner (December 24, 1922 – January 25, 1990) was an American actress and singer. She appeared mainly in small roles until her performance in The Killers (1946).
Gardner appeared in The Hucksters (1947), Show Boat (1951), Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), The Barefoot Contessa (1954), Bhowani Junction (1956), On the Beach (1959), 55 Days at Peking (1963), Seven Days in May (1964), The Night of the Iguana (1964), The Bible: In the Beginning… (1966), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), Earthquake (1974), and The Cassandra Crossing (1976).
She is listed 25th among the American Film Institute’s 25 Greatest Female Stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema.
5. Jane Russell, one of Hollywood’s leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s
Jane Russell (June 21, 1921 – February 28, 2011 as Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell) was an American film actress and one of Hollywood’s leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s. Russell moved from the Midwestern United States to California, where she had her first film role in 1943 in The Outlaw.
In 1947, Russell delved into music before returning to films. After starring in several films in the 1950s, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953, Russell again returned to music while completing several other films in the 1960s. She starred in more than 20 films throughout her career.
4. Rita Hayworth, The Love Goddess
Rita Hayworth (born October 17, 1918 – May 14, 1987 as Margarita Carmen Cansino) was an American actress and dancer. She achieved fame during the 1940s as one of the era’s top stars, appearing in a total of 61 films over 37 years.
The press coined the term “The Love Goddess” to describe Hayworth after she had become the most glamorous screen idol of the 1940s. She was the top pin-up girl for GIs during World War II.
3. Jayne Mansfield, a major Hollywood sex symbol during the 1950s and early 1960s
Jayne Mansfield (born April 19, 1933 – June 29, 1967 as Vera Jane Palmer) was an American film, theater, and television actress. She was also a nightclub entertainer, a singer, and one of the early Playboy Playmates.
She was a major Hollywood sex symbol during the 1950s and early 1960s, while under contract at 20th Century Fox. She was also known for her well-publicized personal life and publicity stunts, such as wardrobe malfunctions.
2. Marilyn Monroe, famous blonde bombshell and one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s
Marilyn Monroe (born June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962 as Norma Jeane Mortenson) was an American actress, model, and singer. Famous for playing comic “blonde bombshell” characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and was emblematic of the era’s attitudes towards sexuality. More than half a century later, she continues to be a major popular culture icon.
By 1953, she had leading roles in the noir film Niagara, which focused on her sex appeal, and the comedies Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire, which established her star image as a “dumb blonde”. The same year, her images were used as the centerfold and in the cover of the first issue of the men’s magazine Playboy.
Although she played a significant role in the creation and management of her public image throughout her career, she was disappointed when she was typecast and underpaid by the studio. She was briefly suspended in early 1954 for refusing a film project but returned to star in one of the biggest box office successes of her career, The Seven Year Itch (1955)
More pictures of Marilyn Monroe here on her official Zeman page!
1. Bettie Page, the Queen of Pinups
Betty Page (April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008), was an American model who gained a significant profile in the 1950s for her pin-up photos. Often referred to as the “Queen of Pinups”, her shoulder-length jet-black hair, blue eyes, and trademark fringe have influenced artists for generations. She began to find work as a pin-up model, and posed for dozens of photographers throughout the 1950s.
Page was “Miss January 1955”, one of the earliest Playmates of the Month for Playboy magazine. “I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society,” said Playboy founder Hugh Hefner to the Associated Press in 2008.
Hope you likes our top 10 list of the most popular pinups!