A sex symbol is a famous person of either gender, typically an actor, musician, model, teen idol, or sports star who is found to be sexually attractive by the public or by a substantial niche audience. The celebrity "star system"—the tabloid papers, paparazzi, and gossip talk shows — play an important role in creating and sustaining the public perception of which stars are viewed as attractive. These media industries are in turn sustained by a strong public demand for sexually alluring photographs or footage of celebrities, including both posed, scantily-clad publicity shots for magazines like Maxim and unauthorized beach or nightclub photos taken by pararazzi with zoom lenses.
Film's Golden Age sex symbols include 1930s stars Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow ("The Platinum Blonde"), Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Mae West and Clark Gable. 40s and 50s icons Rita Hayworth (nicknamed "The Love Goddess"), Ava Gardner, Jane Russell, Betty Grable, Bettie Page (in print and underground films), Lana Turner, the three "Blond Bombshells": Marilyn Monroe (the most iconic sex symbol of Hollywood's Golden Age)- Jayne Mansfield - Mamie Van Doren, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Kim Novak, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck and Cary Grant. Important 60s and 70s sex symbols included Ursula Andress, Mark Hamill, Ann-Margret, Jacqueline Bisset, Barbara Bouchet, Jane Fonda, Sharon Tate, Raquel Welch, Catherine Deneuve, Nichelle Nichols, Pam Grier, Ali MacGraw, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Sean Connery, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Robert De Niro and John Travolta.
In the 1980s, other signtificant sex symbols at one point or another during that period included Harrison Ford, Val Kilmer, Matt Dillon, Charlie Sheen, Bruce Willis, muscle man Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mel Gibson, Meg Ryan, John Travolta, Michael J. Fox, Patrick Swayze, Matthew Broderick, Robert Downey Jr., Sean Penn, Kathleen Turner, & Carrie Fisher.
As TV's influence grew during the last three decades there was a shift to TV stars becoming more famous, Pamela Anderson, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Carmen Electra, Farrah Fawcett, Lucy Liu, Valerie Bertinelli, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mila Kunis and Don Johnson, all became sex symbols through TV.
More recent silver screen icons are Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie,Demi Moore, Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn, Keira Knightley, Alicia Silverstone, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Cameron Diaz, Johnny Depp , Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Will Smith, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Colin Farrell, ,Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Megan Fox, Charlize Theron, Christian Bale, Ewan McGregor, Brandon Routh, Jake Gyllenhaal,Heath Ledger and Hugh Jackman .
Many models and supermodels are widely known enough to be considered sex symbols. Some of today's sex symbols who have become famous as models include Anna Nicole Smith, Twiggy, Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, Naomi Campbell, Cathy Ireland, Gisele Bündchen, Christy Turlington, Ana Beatriz Barros, Laetitia Casta, Adriana Lima., Alessandra Ambrosio, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Kate Moss Male models: Tyson Beckford, Marcus Schenkenburg.
Other sex symbols with less notoriety in the mainstream include:
Several World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers of both genders have earned a sex symbol status. These include Divas such as Trish Stratus and Stacy Keibler. Popular male sex symbols in the industry include Randy Orton, Dwayne Johnson, and John Cena.
Ginuwine: * talks about being a sex symbol * gives advice to the ladies * reveals why he dedicates new CD `The Life' to his late parents. (Cover Story).
May 07, 2001; Mention the name Ginuwine and women seem to go into a frenzy. As one female fan told JET: "His name is Ginuwine, but we like to...
Path to 'sex symbol' is lined with abuse ; 'Last Tango in Paris' was, depending on your perspective, either a very sexy movie or a very scary one.
Feb 13, 2011; I had never seen anything like it. I sat in the movie theater holding my breath as Marlon Brando wielded the stick of butter. For...
Sex Symbol; WHAT HOPE FOR THE REST OF WOMANKIND IF ALEC BALDWIN THINKS HIS WIFE IS THE MOST UNFEMININE WOMAN HE'S EVER MET? GABRIELLE DONNELLY GETS AN L.A. CONFIDENTIAL WITH KIM BASINGER
Oct 26, 1997; Kim Basinger? It can't be. The woman in front of me runs a hand through her beautifully-cut short, light brown hair and sighs...