As the terms MILF and DILF prove, people can continue being sexy long past their primes. Everyone has heard a variation on the expression: “Women are like fine wine. The older they are, the better they get.” Unfortunately for women, aging is hard on them, but some get lucky and stay gracefully beautiful well into their lives (Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda, for example.) Although these men and women lack the effortlessness of their early beauty, the natural looks they’ve been given continue working for them for decades after their 20s.
However, some celebrities age terribly. From out of control plastic surgery to a general end-of-trying, these celebrities allow their looks to go to the dogs. Some even become parodies of themselves, acknowledging the end of their days of extreme hotness; Kathleen Turner went from playing a total knockout in Body Heat to playing Chandler Bing’s transvestite dad on Friends. She, unlike certain other desperate vedettes, accepted the tide of time instead of trying to surgically hairspray her face into position.
The following is a list of 16 celebrities, both male and female, who were once gorgeous and who are not anymore. Be it just the effect of time or a self-inflicted uglification, these stars were smoking at the beginning of their careers and have since fallen from the sky.
16 Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep is still pretty enough, but she probably isn’t what anyone would call “smoking hot.” But once upon a time she was, being one of the most attractive young actresses in Hollywood.
In She-Devil, the 1980s Roseanne Barr comedy, Streep played the sprightly and seductive young writer who stole Barr’s husband. She had large, blonde hair and enigmatic eyes that made all the viewers want to be her partner, too.
Now, Streep plays mostly sexless, old woman roles (Julia Child in Julie & Julia, Sister Aloysius Beauvier in Doubt,) but back then she played roles of attractive young womanhood because, in them, she was more than just believable.
15 Mickey Rourke
When The Wrestler came out in 2008, Mickey Rourke’s first appearance in a long, long time, people were universally shocked by his new appearance. He was overweight, puffy, and salon-tanned to the point of looking gruesome.
But there was a time when Rourke was one of the preeminent sex symbols of Hollywood. He actually played alongside Kathleen Turner in Body Heat and looked so damn handsome that it was hard to believe his character could be a dangerous explosives wiz. Kathleen Turner’s femme fatale character eventually sought him out behind her partner’s back, which makes sense because who could have resisted a gorgeous face like his?
14 Jack Nicholson
Even though he started losing his hair quite young, Jack Nicholson was a hunk when it came down to it. In a recent interview, he admits that he once felt “irresistible to women.” This makes sense, as any talented, handsome and charismatic actor would feel the same.
But, in the interview, he also says that he no longer feels this way. Even though the journalist acknowledges the vestiges of Nicholson’s sex appeal, there is an understanding that at his age and with his habits (smoking and drinking), he isn't the young, bad boy rebel he once was.
13 Sally Field
We recently exposed the 15 Hottest Women in Comedy. In the intro, we discussed Amy Schumer’s skit “The Last F***able Day,” in which Sally Field comes up. As Tina Fey says, she played Tom Hanks’ love interest in Punchline and then, shortly thereafter his mom in Forrest Gump.
Now perhaps best known for playing the mom in Brothers and Sisters, or for yelling out “You like me!” when accepting her Academy Award for best actress in Places in the Heart, Sally Field was once a bombshell in Hollywood. Her corn-fed, flyover state beauty and charm got her leading roles in romantic comedies.
Although now, no matter how much corn she eats, no one would say she’s totally hot, there was a time where Sally Field was everyone’s favorite girl next door.
12 Sylvester Stallone
Best known for playing Rocky and Rambo, Sylvester Stallone is one of the most famous action heroes to have ever passed through Hollywood. Now a little red, a little wrinkly, and a little puffy, he’s not quite as sexually appealing as he once was, but he once was sexually appealing for sure.
How do we know?
Because, under his stage name “Italian Stallion,” Sylvester Stallone once starred in an adult film called The Party at Kitty and Stud’s. In an extremely blatant instance of aptronym, Stallone plays “Stud,” the hunk who seduces all the pubically bountiful 1970s women he encounters.
11 Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer was once one of Hollywood’s biggest sex symbols: not only did he play a superhero in the 1995 adaptation of Batman, Batman Forever, he also played a sexy pilot in Top Gun alongside fellow leading man Tom Cruise. He played another notorious sex symbol, Jim Morrison, in 1991's The Doors.
Now, however, Val Kilmer looks rough. From the days when he played the slimmest, trimmest, hottest parts on the silver screen, he became overweight and then lost a dramatic amount of weight, leaving him looking a little bit gaunt and frightening. Good for him for losing the weight for his health, but unfortunately for the former hottie, he will never be able to recreate his sexy, pre weight-gain youthful thinness.
10 Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser used to be a good-looking guy. At well over six feet tall, with a trim body and a full head of hair, he got parts that only a leading man type could get. He starred in all three Mummy movies, played the hot but hapless George of the Jungle, and fell in love with the ever-beautiful Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled. Unfortunately for Brendan Fraser, and for all of his fans, his appearance has taken a seemingly irreparable turn for the worse.
After the acme of his career, those three mentioned movies that came after a few lousy romantic comedies, Fraser started to lose his hair and put on weight. Although he did everything he could to save his locks and his trim body, the consuming public had caught a glimpse of his actual appearance and had moved on to something new, letting the once sex-symbol tumble into obsolescence.
9 Matthew Perry
On the first few seasons of Friends, the young Matthew Perry was undeniably adorable. Although his teeth were a little wonky, as proven by veneers acquired in later seasons, and he had a beanpole body, he had the impish charm that got him a role as one of the six faces of young, attractive Americans on the successful TV show.
But, unlike some of his co-stars (Lisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston), Perry aged awfully. Although he says that he was never drunk on the set of the show, he admits that he was often painfully hungover. It’s no surprise that a rough lifestyle like his would have an effect on his appearance. And it did, with Perry becoming overweight and his hair going grey and falling out.
8 Emma Thompson
Unlike the last few entries on the list, Emma Thompson doesn’t look terrible now. But at 56 years old, she isn’t getting anyone’s attention for how hot and sexy she looks. She gets parts mostly for old women, such as the writer character in Stranger Than Fiction or her matronly character in Nanny McPhee.
Back around the beginning of her career, a fresh-faced Emma Thompson played the beautiful Miss Kenton in The Remains of the Day. Although hardly a character teeming with sex, Miss Kenton was still beautiful enough to grab the attention of her house’s extremely devout butler, James Stevens.
Although still comely, Thompson was once a real beauty who could convincingly play the main hottie.
7 Jamie Lee Curtis
Now best known for her ads for Activia, Jamie Lee Curtis is hardly a sex symbol anymore - she’s advertising probiotics to menopausal women, for God's sake.
One of the most famous stripping scenes in movies is Curtis’s dance from True Lies, in which her character puts on a show for her husband, revealing Curtis’s toned body and voluptuous breasts, still super sexy despite her signature cropped hair.
Although now she’s almost a spokesperson for old-womanhood, once upon a time Curtis could get the good ole red blood flowing.
6 Harrison Ford
Unlike most of the men on this list, Harrison Ford is still pretty good looking. He has most of his hair and he hasn’t put on much weight, just the normal amount to be expected with aging.
But, back at the beginning of his career, Harrison Ford was smoking hot. In 1998, he was voted People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive. In the article, they quote Melanie Griffith, renown babe, as saying that he’s handsome. But his roles should speak for themselves: he’s been in three extremely successful action franchises: Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Blade Runner.
Now, with the pierced ear he looks a tad goofy, but back in the day there was nothing funny about Ford’s extreme good looks.
Madonna is now known for not wanting to give up her youth. From her crazy muscular arms, to her onstage kiss with Drake, to her frankly pathetic “Bitch, I’m Madonna” video, Madonna has made herself a reputation for clinging to youth with overly muscular biceps.
But there once was a time where Madonna was a fox, or, as Garth from Wayne’s World called her: “The Queen of Babelonia!” That’s right, with a sultry sense of style and cleavage a mile long, before being a "pterodactyl", Madonna was a symbol of sex.
4 Alec Baldwin
Although he played the sexually charismatic Jack Donaghy on Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin wasn’t what he used to be. Until the third season, when his hair mysteriously changed color, Alec Baldwin was overweight and had grey hair. Some still thought that he looked great, but it was undeniable that Baldwin was no longer the total fox he used to be.
Young Alec Baldwin has been called “a hottie that cannot be forgotten,” for his flowing hair and his reluctance to wear shirts (why should he? His chest has wall-to-wall carpeting.) Now, he’s still handsome enough, but there was a time when Baldwin would have been a prime candidate for People’s Sexiest Man Alive. In fact, in Clueless, Cher Horowitz refers to one of the other’s characters’ handsomeness by calling him “a Baldwin.”
3 John Travolta
John Travolta was totally hot in Grease. The object of Sandy’s summer love, every girl swooned thinking of being Danny’s girlfriend for just a little. Travolta used that sex appeal to land himself a role in Staying Alive, the quintessential disco movie where Travolta plays a slim, sexy, aspiring Broadway dancer.
Unfortunately, Travolta’s looks have mostly left him. His career tanked after Staying Alive, and he had to do TV movies just to stay on the cultural radar. When he finally reemerged almost a decade later in Pulp Fiction, he had put on a lot of weight and his hair was falling out. Now, with gay rumors swirling and a reveal of his baldness, Travolta has accomplished the full fall from sexy grace.
2 Courteney Cox
At the beginning of Friends, Courteney Cox was beautiful. She had that striking black hair, the white teeth, the beautiful blue eyes, and her famously slim body. By the end of Friends, Courteney Cox looked terrible, and yet she still had every last one of those things.
The difference? In the decade between the show’s premiere and its finale, Cox had gotten major plastic surgery done. At the beginning of the show, her face moved naturally and, despite being older than the rest of the cast, she played one of the youngest characters.
By the end of the show, her excessive plastic surgery (on top of admitted Botox injections, it also seemed like Cox had gotten a chin implant amongst other things), she looked much less beautiful than she once did, and with a face surgically frozen it didn’t seem like she’d be able to revert to her previous effortless beauty.
1 John McCain
The 2008 presidential candidate, who many said was not fit for the position because of his advanced age, was a good looking guy long before any dreams of political power. Back when he was a soldier, he had the square jaw and the square hairline that make women swoon and men respect.
Plus, as everyone knows, he was a soldier in Vietnam, meaning that he was probably in pretty good physical shape, as well. His questionable political views notwithstanding, it’s no surprise that McCain was able to woo his lovely wife and once again charm Sarah Palin into being his running mate in 2008. He was once handsome and perhaps still has some residual charm.
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